Tuesday, 24 July 2012

How-to-Slash Part 3: Setups

Part 3 of the Jozhear Blog for Vega Beginners is a section about SETUPS. I figure this section was mandatory for the upcoming matchup guides, because I'm going to be referring to these kinds of set ups very often in each of the matchup guides, as some setups are very useful against some characters, while impossible to use against others.

Each section involves a certain type of knockdown that Vega can attain, and follow ups pertaining to each that contribute to Vega's offense.

Before you read, follow me on twitter, damn you.

EX Barcelona Knockdown

Safe Jump

The safe jump is an extremely reliable method of offense that comes after hitting an EX FBA and getting an untechable knockdown. One of the aspects of an untechable knockdown that makes it so important to actively seek in matches is that it basically creates the precise moment where your opponent is getting up, which allows you - with some knowledge of wakeup timings - to run a consistent mixup that will always work in these circumstances. This is opposed to untechable knockdowns which are the result of moves like Scarlet Terror or Sky High Claw connecting.

How a safe jump works is a matter of frame data. Any character with a 3-frame reversal, like Ryu and Ken, cannot be safe jumped, and it's because any time you use a jumping normal, 2 frames of recovery are automatically added to your jumping animation. This means that even if you time a jump in to hit just as they become vulnerable, the 3 frames it takes for their shoryuken to come out is fast enough to hit you during the 3 frames where you are incapable of blocking (the final frame of your jump where the jump-in is supposed to connect with the opponent, and the 2 additional recovery frames to your landing). Because you always have a 3 frame recovery added to any jump where you press a button, it's impossible to safe jump characters with a 3 frame DP.

Remember that the way frame data is written is that the start up frames actually include the first active frame as well. This means that any time you calculate the overall frame data of a move, you should take away one frame from the total because the last frame of start up doesn't actually exist. The amount of active frames annotated by the frame data remains the same - that last frame of startup was added so that when you look at other characters' frame data, you can see that a move they have is -4, and you know that since your move connects on the 4th frame, you are able to punish it. So in the previous example, Ryu's shoryuken starts up in 2 frames and hits on the third, allowing it to punish safe jumps.

However, anyone with a 4 frame or slower reversal - Guile, Chun Li, Balrog, among others - are all fair game and can be safe jumped using this c. mp set up. The main reason it is so useful is because any of these characters who don't have a 3 frame reversal are - for the most part - forced to block your jump in. Any attempt at a reversal will be blocked by you so long as you time the safe jump right. This means that because they blocked your jump in, you have tons of frame advantage to work with - you're at about +11 on block on most of your safe jumps! This gives you the power to mix up your opponent with frame traps and throws every time you succesfully safe jump them, and it's absolutely necessary for Vega's offense because it turns a good footsie move, or combo, or punish, into a pure offensive situation for Vega. This is a liberty few characters have, and it's for these reasons that it's so important to Vega's game. Any time you connect with an EX FBA, you should be ready to continue pressuring and mixing up your opponent.

Some characters actually get up slower from EX FBA knockdowns and as a result you have to change what move you whiff to make sure the timing for the safe jump is perfect.

Thanks to my friend Street 11 for the following info -

Vega, Sagat, Dhalsim, Blanka, and Gen if he has the stick in neutral on his wakeup get up 1 frame slower than normal after an EX FBA knockdown. Against these characters, whiff st. mp instead of c. mp to make sure the timing is 100% accurate - st. mp is only 1 frame slower than c. mp so it works perfectly as a place holder.

Now, Hakan gets up a whopping 5 frames slower than normal. In this case, Vega doesn't have a perfect placeholder normal for the timing like he does for every other character. However, considering Hakan has good defense against safe jumps anyway, because of his EX Grab and Ultra being invincible during the jump and hitting your grounded recovery, it's best to stick to regular offense. If he has no meter, dash, wait a brief moment, and neutral jump, as that should closely resemble "perfect" timing.

The moves you whiff basically act as a placeholder that makes it so eyeballing when to safe jump your opponent isn't necessary - you CAN do that and it actually makes it a lot harder for opponents to read your safe jump - but it takes a lot more practice and can be really risky in certain scenarios where you really just want to provide yourself with the frame advantage necessary to mix an opponent up to hell.

Corpse hop (Ghetto and ambiguous)

You can also corpsehop an opponent after an EX FBA knockdown and this is performed in one of two ways - the first is by dashing forward, then cosmic heeling over to the other side. This isn't necessarily an 'ambiguous' corpsehop, but you can disrupt a back charge and make it a little more difficult for your opponent to read your offense by diversifying your movements. This also sets up good timing for meaty c. lp's and c. lk's, so if in the event you need to change sides to get out of the corner and would likely to safely initiate tick throw pressure, the "ghetto" corpse-hop is a good way to do it. However, to make your mixup more ambiguous you can also choose to just walk forward and corpse hop your opponent by Cosmic Heeling over their fallen body. This is a lot more difficult than the ghetto corpsehop but if done correctly can be a LOT more ambiguous. In this instance you're not really going for a meaty but rather, for a surprise hit from either the left or right side. The idea here is to hop over them with cosmic heel at the precise moment they are getting up - some hitbox interaction can make it extremely hard to tell what side Vega will land on. In this case, you can choose to hit confirm out of c. lp's or just go straight for an EX FBA cancel off a single move, or even choose to do a close fierce for a full-damage surprise mixup. This can be unsafe to reversals and some buttons since it's done by feel and can be different on a lot of characters, but it's very useful as one of your tricks from the bottom of the barrell.


An EX FBA knockdown is also a good time to do meaties. This is especially useful against characters like Ryu and Ken who can't be safe jumped. Ground pressure is useful against these characters, because their most meaningful reversal - the DP - doesn't have the horizontal reach necessary to hit a blocking Vega on wakeup when he's spacing some of his meaty pokes enough to still hit confirm off of them. For example, if you perform a meaty c. mk from about 1/2 distance, if Ryu gets hit you can still combo to EX FBA off of c. mp. If you do nothing and Ryu DP's, the DP will just whiff. This means that any attempt to stop Vega's offense in these situations carries a heavy risk, and this is basically a substitution for a safe jump against these kinds of characters. The damage for your correct reads is about the same, but you don't get the same heavy-frame data guarantee that you do off of a blocked safe jump. Regardless, using meaty moves like c. mk can open up some new combo possibilities that do pretty big damage.

You can also perform a meaty jump out fierce, and there's a reason why this particular situation is a good time to use this tactic - when characters are waking up, they can be hit by instant overheads. Most crouching characters won't get hit by Vega's jump out fierce instand overhead, because their crouching stance is small enough to actually crouch under the hitbox of the fierce, even if you do it as close to the ground as you can. But the trick to getting instant overheads to connect on opponents as they're waking up is that crouching actually has a start up time accompanied with it. It's about 3 frames, and this means that even if an opponent crouches on their wakeup, it'll take 3 frames for them to actually get into a stance small enough to avoid the move. Basically, they are blocking low, but doing it while still standing. This means that a jump out fierce will easily connect in these situations.

A jump out fierce requires about 8 frames worth of start up to connect, so any set up that involves a last-frame meaty for c. mk will also work for a jump out fierce, as long as you're close enough to connect with it. While the jump out fierce instant overhead is unsafe on hit, as long as you leave it to the last hit of an opponents life bar it's VERY hard to defend against because it comes out too fast for opponents to react to. It's a cheap way of guaranteeing a KO, but it's not safe to all reversals, either. A wakeup LP DP by Ryu can mean a free ultra for him if you do too many instant overheads.

Since you know that your opponent is knocked down and rises on the 60th frame, look at Vega's frame data and combine total-frame numbers to find setups you can create by whiffing certain moves and allowing the last one to be meaty. If you perform a meaty, you gain extra frame advantage on hit since the hitstun of normal moves that leave opponents in a grounded state are usually always concrete, and since you're hitting at a time later in the moves' animation you recover faster with the same amount of hitstun, opening up new combo opportunities. For instance, if you perform a meaty c. mk that hits on its second active frame, you can combo into another c. mk. This means basic hit confirms into c. mp can be replaced by c. mk for more damage in certain situations.

EX FBA Cross up

Arguably the hardest of Vega's set ups - the EX FBA Cross up. This move has huge damage potential and perpetuates itself as long as Vega has another bar after the initial EX FBA, which basically cements it as an extremely powerful offensive maneuver. The timing for this is very difficult and very hard to master enough to get it out with 100% success, but because you can still move around with EX FBA after the off-the-wall portion and because this tactic has such a huge payoff it is a super good idea to practice a lot enough to get it semi-consistently.

The timing is achieved by whiffing an MK ST or an HK ST on some characters, then waiting a very brief moment - only a few sixtieths of a second after you've attained a down charge sufficient enough for EX FBA after whiffing the ST - and performing an EX FBA towards your opponent. If the hitbox of the EX FBA hits the opponent meaty, and manages to hit on the precise frame such that the hitbox is on the other side of the opponent, then it will cross up! This works on everyone as far as I know, but is a lot easier against some than others. Sagat and E. Honda, among other big characters, are very easy to hit, but some characters like Cody or Vega are much harder to connect against.

Even if you decide to go for one of these but you don't have meter for another attempt at a cross up, you can just choose to do any of the set ups that have been discussed on this page for further offensive pressure. It's an incredibly useful tactic that will likely turn heads at the local jamming spot - use it wisely and practice it a lot.

Forward Throw

Dash Forward Meaty

After a forward throw, you have precisely enough time to dash forward and do a meaty st. lk on most opponents. The st. lk will hit on the second frame because of the timing of the dash, Vega's recovery animation from the throw, and the opponents' wakeup animation. For some characters, you need to use different moves as a meaty because they get up more slowly than others, just like for the EX FBA set up. Most characters will get hit by the meaty st. lk though, which is good for two reasons- you can connect with a c. mk on hit and on block you are +3, which is great frame advantage for st. lk range.

Against some other characters, performing a meaty c. mk is a great idea and comboing two in sequence is definitely possible. This opens up huge damage potential and is still great for running pressure with because like the st. lk set up you will still be at +3 on block and +6 on hit.

The mixup is also good because after the st. lk you can option select a sweep - this works on about half of the cast and is a great way of maintaining pressure after a connected forward throw. To mixup with the st. lk, you can actually whiff a c. lp just before your opponent gets up, and since they see the animation of the c. lp come out but can't react fast enough to the fact that it didn't hit him, you can get a throw. As long as you adhere to that basic mixup and don't go for the +3 on block every single time, this mixup will remain troublesome to your opponents and you should be able to score some damage.

More information on option selects you can use with this will arise with each individual character matchup. They don't work on everybody, so it's better to comment on them individually.

Back Throw

Safe Jump

Off of the back throw, you actually have a perfect safe jump against a couple of characters - Abel, Balrog, Sagat, and Zangief. All 4 of these characters can't crouch under holding up-forward after the back throw and pressing j. mp, and each of them do not have a reversal fast enough to anti-air you - however, Zangief and Abel can perform their invincible EX Grabs on wakeup which will grab you out of the recovery period of your landing. Balrog and Sagat, though, are stuck - this safe jump is actually very effective against the both of them. They are forced to block the jump in in nearly all circumstances - Balrog can backdash or EX Headbutt, and the reason either would work is because if you option select a sweep to catch Balrog backdashing, EX Headbutt is slow enough that your sweep will still come out but actually lose to the invincibility on Balrog's headbutt. For this reason, it's actually worth it to let him backdash sometimes -he loses a great deal of space by backing himself in the corner and you still maintain an advantage. Remember that this serves as a reminder to be conscious of where you and your opponent are where you're throwing them - if Balrog can backdash a safe jump after back throw because you might be afraid to eat an EX Headbutt, then you probably shouldn't be back throwing him when he's already in the corner and can then back away for the rest of the screen. Conversely, if you're in the corner and you back throw Balrog, he has no where to backdash to and you might even be able to punish him on reaction if he does!

This safe jump also serves as a "ghetto" safe jump which in this case is basically slang for 'it shouldn't work but sometimes it does'. It actually beats most Shoryuken-style anti-airs, so if you back throw them and jump towards them, Ryu's LP SRK gets beat, and the other three SRK's will all whiff! This sounds good on the surface but the reality of the situation is that their crouching stances (all of the shotos') are small enough to crouch under the j. mp altogether. Ken can also hit this set up with an EX or HP SRK. As long as they know what you're doing, they should know that there is almost no reason for them to do an SRK and as long as they crouch they basically eliminate all risk on their behalf. In fact, if they're aware of this intricacy and you continue using this set up, they can actually c. mk you out of the recovery of your landing and punish you instead! As long as you're aware who it works on and who it doesn't, though, you should be safe in most scenarios. Stick to meaties against people who are aware of the logistics of this set up - of course, if it works, it works. Keep using it against the people who aren't aware what is going on with this particular set up.


Some of the meaties you can perform after a backthrow are pretty useful. You have more leeway after knocking an opponent down with a back throw than a forward throw, so the setups you have are different. Think of it this way - when you knock someone down with a forward throw, the meaty set up involves dashing up into a light normal like st. lk. However, since we know a safe jump exists off the back throw - to be specific, it'll safe jump 5 frame moves like Sagat's Tiger Uppercut - you recover faster during a back throw. For this reason, you can do stuff like dash up Cosmic Heel, which hits on some of the latter active frames, meaning you might not be totally safe, but with some solid post-blocked-Cosmic Heel mindgames in place, you can get some good work done. In addition, you can train your opponents to expect certain meaties off of your forward throws and fake with them doing the same setups off of the back throw. Dash up c. mks are too fast off this set up so they make for a good fake - the part about the back throw that is kind of lame is that you don't really have any set up that involves using meaties with your light moves because you can't get to your opponent with a move fast enough to set up a proper meaty timed easily. However, it's easy enough to eyeball the timing for a meaty if you're used to the impact point of your Cosmic Heels, so always try throwing down the meaty c. mk after a dash forward and a slight delay. 


Some of the mixups that take place after sweep are difficult to do consistently. The reason for this is because the sweep has so many active frames - at any moment when you hit the sweep, the time your opponent spends on the ground will always be the same, but the time you spend recovering from the sweep is different. The sweep has 13 different active frames which essentially means there are 13 different realms of possibilities of safe jumps and corpse-hops and etc., that are nearly indistinguishable in terms of how they look. With that said, most post-sweep-knockdown set ups are hard to put together because of how you can't always predict when you will hit with the sweep. Regardless, one of my go-to-mixups is just a simple scarlet terror corpsehop. Like the time it takes for you to recover from the sweep, every time you hit someone with a sweep, you're left at a different distance after. In fact, if you space your sweep perfectly you're usually left at about c. jab distance. The same goes for a succesful hit - use the different strengths and trajectories of scarlet terror to make sure your corpsehop mixup is ambiguous. From point blank, LK can corpse-hop the opponent but you're usually not left at point blank after a sweep - we're going to assume for practical causes that you're spacing your sweeps - so it's useful to mixup with MK and HK as well in the event that an LK wouldn't actually corpse-hop. Making the mixup as ambiguous as possible is your highest priority after a sweep - safe jump knockdowns are very hard to eyeball and can result in a lot of unnecessary damage if you're too unsafe with them and start jumping into reversals.

Scarlet Terror

After you connect with a scarlet terror, you have a lot of interesting options. Vega is unique in that when he connects with his reversal, he spends much less time occupied by the animation of the scarlet terror than his opponent does falling to the ground. For this reason, you can do a wide variety of mixups, corpsehops, safe jumps, and also slide-unders, but there is one glaring variable that can't be ignored. The knockdown off of a Scarlet Terror is not untechable, so your opponent can actually choose to tech the wakeup and get up quickly, or not, and get up more slowly. For this reason, relying on safe jumps off of a scarlet terror isn't very realistic, and you'll have to come up with mix ups to baffle both an opponent that quick rises and one that doesn't.

My favorite option after a scarlet terror is the slide-under. The main reason I enjoy using it is because if my back is to the corner - which is not an uncommon situation because I play a keep-away oriented Vega in many matchups - and I connect with a cosmic heel to scarlet terror, I can sweep under them and change sides. This way, I can then begin backing them into the corner, or, conversely, back up for the rest of the screen while maintaining the keep-away playstyle. There's not much of a mixup here, other than the fact that the sweep takes place largely off-screen and can surprise your opponent briefly as they quick rise, but it's an excellent means of maintaining appropriate momentum and keeping your opponent on edge. Vega is largely a spacing-oriented character, so maintaining proper distance between yourself and the corner is very important. In this case, sweeping under opponents can be very useful because it allows you to get any space back thatyou've given up or, continue moving your opponent into the corner. It doesn't matter if they quick rise or not - as long as you have the initial goal in mind, which is use a sweep to get to the other side, then mixing up can take a back seat and you can play a bit less of a risky game in favor of accomplishing your main goals first.

Ambiguous corpse-hop mixups are very useful against opponents that enjoy quick rising. The main reason this mixup is good is because all it takes is a slight step forward to make a cosmic heel cross up, and staying still before doing a cosmic heel for it not to cross up, and this works on a lot of characters - it's super ambiguous. I also prefer to do the cl. hp follow up more after a Scarlet Terror knockdown that people quick-rise from than after the EX FBA where opponents are forced into an untechable knockdown because it's much easier to time a cosmic heel to still be ambiguous and meaty during this kind of knockdown. Of course, if your opponent doesn't quick rise, the mixup basically disappears but you can still safely maintain kara throw pressure and mixups with success. In the event that your opponent chooses not to quick rise, you can still go for the cosmic heel mixup but your timing has to be a little different.

Safe jumps can also be performed with the scarlet terror but are a little more subject to change than the EX FBA set ups - part of this has to do with the fact that, of course, opponents can choose when to tech, but it also has to do with the fact that when you hit someone with a scarlet terror, the trajectories and timing of the move differ a lot more than EX FBA Izuna knockdowns, which are always the same because Vega always brings the opponent down with him to hit the ground and recovers faster than they do. I wouldn't recommend safe jumps in most of these cases because they are so subject to change, and I personally opt for standard kara throw pressure or corpse hop mixups in most situations. Regardless, the same principals for safe jumps do apply - you can usually achieve proper timing for safe jumps after scarlet terror by whiffing either c. mp or c. mk. I also usually perform dash in, a brief moment of hesitation, than a neutral jump roundhouse for safe jumping, but you usually have to eyeball the safe jump to get it perfectly.

Piece of Mercury also can corpse hop opponents and it's after a scarlet terror knockdown that this corpsehop work best. You can walk right up to the falling opponent and hop over them just as you would with Cosmic Heel, but at a closer range in this case. The same mixups apply as the cosmic heel mixup - I just find that the cosmic heel mixup is easier, and more ambiguous. Regardless, experimentation is key - anything you can use to open up an opponent will eventually work. Piece of Mercury and Cosmic Heel have only a 1 frame differential in their recoveries so using either to corpse-hop is a good idea.
One trick I found a while ago is that after you connect with a scarlet terror, you can perform a Short Backslash (KKK), and then a sweep right away, and this sweep will be spaced perfectly. Use it how you will! Anyone who is holding back to walk out of Vega pressure will be hit instantly, and you'll be at +1 with good spacing to maintain kara throw pressure afterwards.

Lastly, you can still do the EX Barcelona crossup after a scarlet terror knockdown, but with some added attributes - because your opponent can choose to quick rise or not, unlike the EX FBA knockdown, the properties of this mixup will change. When they quick rise, whiff the MK Scarlet Terror like usual and go for the EX FBA cross up. It works in exactly the same ways as the EX FBA hard knockdown barcelona mixup. However, if your opponent doesn't quick rise, then the EX FBA will obviously go right through them. At this point, though, you will have enough time to perform an ambiguous wall dive on them as they get up! It's like a fail-safe for whether they will quick-rise or not - a rarity among the mixups I discussed in this section. All you need is for the izuna to connect in this case and you'll be able to perform a legitimate safe jump with a guaranteed chance of success. Saving the meter for this kind of mixup is actually beneficial since the mixup works if they quick rise or not - as long as you're aware how the Barcelona works with respect to your opponent, that mixup can always have a chance of success.

Air to Air

The reason I include this section is because there actually are some pretty decent set ups after hitting opponents air to air. In this section I'll talk about connecting with a jumping move and also about connecting with an air grab, because both set ups following these moves are different.

If you connect a jump fierce against an opponent who is also in the air, they are left "floating" in a brief reset state that allows them to be invincible until they reach the ground. Of course, some exceptions to this "floating" rule are moves that put opponents into a juggle state, like Rufus' j. hk or Seth's j. mp. However, Vega doesn't have moves like that - instead, the setups that occur as a result of hitting with one of these normal jumping moves involve dashing under the opponent as they are being reset. In fact, you don't even have to dash - just as long as you can get close enough to the opponent as they are becoming vulnerable that it's not clear what side you're going to end up on, your set up will work. Since you have plenty of time to decide how to get under the opponent no matter what move you connect with, I usually just opt with close fierce after a dash-under or walk under. You can use anything you like, really. The faster the move is that you choose, the more likely it is that they won't be able to react in time. Close fierce has a big dividend for connecting with it though, so I usually opt for that move. If your dash-under set ups are too predictable, you can always just go for a standard frame trap mixup by using throws too - basically, you get a 'knockdown' from connecting with an airborne move that doesn't give as much leeway as an EX FBA or Scarlet Terror knockdown, but the mixup can be sufficiently ambiguous.

In addition, you can use this period to just go for an EX FBA cross up! Like the meaty set ups, you want the flying-up portion of the attack to hit the opposite side of your opponent just as they become vulnerable. It takes a lot of practice and intuition to nail on the fly but it's just as hard to defend against as the normal EX FBA cross up set ups.

After connecting with an air grab, you have a couple options. The first is, normally if you connect with an air grab you have all day to do a Barcelona and come down on the rising opponent with an Izuna Drop. In fact, off of some air grabs, you can do the Barcelona too fast - it's best to practice this tactic in a variety of situations to get a feel for when the Barcelona mix up would be most effective, as whiffing a Barcelona while going for damage can hurt you severely. You can also do the EX FBA cross ups here too, but the main difference between this knockdown and your EX FBA hard knockdown is that the timing of their recovery changes depending on the height with which you connect the air grab. Vega throws the opponent down hard and lets himself down gently, so if you're up high your opponent will hit the ground long before you do, and if you're low you will land only shortly after they do. For this reason concrete set ups are difficult, but if you know your trajectories you can come up with solid set ups in any scenario where an air grab connects.
Also remember that your recovery out of an air grab is identical to the trajectory with which you initially jumped. For example, if you air grab someone out of a backwards diagonal jump, you will recover by falling backwards, while your opponent is always thrown far in front of you. This can leave you out of range for a lot of setups you would normally be able to use and as a result takes away from the move's overall viability as an offensive turn-around move, like EX FBA is. The best strategy for set ups after an air grab is either the aforementioned Barcelona tactics, or just simple kara throw pressure. However, I think that the best possible set up for a Rolling Izuna Drop - Vega's super - is off of an air grab. The reason for this is because it's so rare to connect with a regular Izuna drop on an opponent without having already spent meter to hit confirm into it. In most cases, if you connect with an EX FBA into Izuna and want to super someone, you have to connect with 3 more Izunas, which is not exactly reliable. The air grab costs no meter, so if you're sitting on a super it is actually pretty viable to try throwing it out in this situation.
However, there's something that should be stated about the air grab, and something that both flabbergasts and irritates me. When Vega air grabs someone, you can't actually maintain a back charge - the reason for this lies in the animation. As Vega performs the move, he actually gently carries his opponent behind him, hence bringing them across his own horizontal axis - Vega breaks his own back charge during the animation of the air throw! Because of this broken charge, you have to wait a brief moment to pull off meaty RCFs, whiff scarlet terrors for meter, and of course, the super. Always be aware that your back charge isn't as it appears in these situations! Despite that, however, your down charge remains intact at all times.

Splendid Claw

Vega's Ultra 2, like any ultra in the game, creates an untechable knockdown situation. The good news is, Vega can capitalize on this knockdown, while some who connect with an ultra can't. There are three set ups I know of that are both pretty useful - the first is a simple meaty. After an Ultra 2 connects, dash up to your opponent, whiff a c. lk, and then input a c. mk - this c. mk will hit on the 2nd active frame, hence giving you more frame advantage (+3 on block and +6 on hit) and giving you some pretty decent offensive pressure after you just hit with a high-damage ultra. There are moments where if I focus an opponent with about 50% life, and crumple them, and backdash, I'll think, 'Well, I don't really feel like spending the meter for an EX FBA hard knockdown, and I have 50% life so chances are I can get another ultra by the end of the round by absorbing attacks and taking a little bit of damage, and a Cosmic Heel, Scarlet Terror combo is either out of range or won't do enough damage - I'll go with Ultra 2'. The best part is obviously the fact that it creates an untechable knockdown while doing a bunch of damage, so having a good set up to follow up with in addition to the decent damage is pretty beneficial. Obviously this is not exclusive to reversal Ultra 2's or anti-air Ultra 2's as they all cause the exact same knockdown, even with proximity to the corner taken into account.

You can also whiff a c. mp immediately after the recovery period of the ultra, and perform an EX FBA cross up by waiting a brief moment after the c. mp whiff and performing an EX FBA towards your opponent. This is difficult, just as all EX FBA cross ups are, but just as rewarding, and difficult to deal with. However, the timing will change depending on your proximity to your opponent and the corner, so be mindful that in certain situations you'll either have to wait longer than normal to do the EX FBA, or do it sooner - depends on how you're used to doing this. Either way, the dividend for hitting someone with an ultra and an EX FBA afterwards can be somewhere near 700 damage if you don't have your mask on. Obviously, that can turn a match around pretty quick. A useful technique to master.

The third is a classic safe jump - this one is simple. Take a few brief steps and jump. The steps have to be very brief, enough that it seems like you're hardly walking at all. You basically want to emulate the same amount of time that it takes for your meaty and for your cross over EX FBA to work. Of course, like your other safe jump set ups, you can use sweep option selects to compound the usefulness of this set up, so long as you ensure that your jump in is connecting. Otherwise, you might just do an empty jump sweep, which can set you up for some serious hurt.

Rolling Izuna Drop

The setups that come about as a result of connecting with Rolling Izuna Drop aren't actually the same as the ones that happen as a result of a normal izuna drop, for a couple of reasons - first of all, you have no meter since you used it on the super, so cross over EX FBAs and damaging hit confirms of any kind are not possible. Second, the recovery time for Vega after he connects with a Rolling Izuna Drop is longer than if he were to connect with a normal izuna. For this reason, follow up Izuna loops are less viable and you need to change how your safe jumps work.

So instead of whiffing a c. mp after connecting with a Rolling Izuna Drop, whiff a c. lk. This move is fast enough that the time spent whiffing a c. lk and then jumping in on your opponent makes it safe. If you had more time left over after a super, then you could whiff a c. mp like normal but since you have less time only a c. lk will suffice. Of course, a super that causes a hard knockdown and leaves you with enough time to safe jump at all is still a very good super, and the damage that comes with a connected super is nothing to sneeze at.

The Flying Barcelona Special is a little different. This is probably one of the most rarely seen moves in this game and there's a reason for that - if you have a set up that works with the super, you're definitely going to try hitting with the Rolling Izuna Drop and not with the Flying Barcelona Special. However, unlike normal Flying Barcelona Attacks, you actually get an untechable knockdown off of the claw slashes! Additionally, your opponent is sent flying across the screen just as if you were to hit them with the claws. This also means you have plenty of time left to follow up with Izunas, and maybe a safe jump if you leave them in the corner. The problem is the timing for your follow ups will always change because Flying Barcelona Specials never connect at the same time, unlike Izunas and Rolling Izuna Drops alike.

Bloody High Claw

Ultra 1 setups are similar to Splendid Claw but you have a little more time after BHC to run a mixup than you do with splendid claw - you're also a little bit further away and depending on how you hit your opponent, you may stay on the same side of the screen or you may switch. 

If you hit an opponent with the upwards-part of the BHC and the follow up connects, then you will change the side you recover on. However, if you perform the ultra off the wall behind you and the slashes are the only part that connects, you will stay on the same side. Because back-wall Ultras keep you on the same side, if you punish a fireball from full screen you can continue to push your opponent in the corner. Conversely, big  punish Ultra 1 combos change your side and can mean you need to switch to the other side to maintain safety and momentum.

After a Bloody High Claw I usually place positioning with greatest importance. Izuna Drops can sometimes be warranted as the knockdown time is greater than Splendid Claw, but safe jumps are hard to space since you are put pretty far away from your opponent, right in a small pocket where j. hk is too narrow to hit and j. mk and j. mp are too far away against crouchers. For this reason, you have two options I consider good go-to's after Bloody High Claw.

The first is the same c. mp whiff, EX FBA cross up that you can perform after a Splendid Claw knockdown. After the BHC connects, whiff a c. mp, wait a moment, and EX FBA. The timing is somewhat similar but you have to slow it down a bit for the post-Bloody High Claw knockdown because you are further away from your opponent, and there's more travel time before the EX FBA hits your enemy.

The other is more practical. All you have to do is walk towards your opponent and press a button roughly when you get into close-normal range. At this range, basically everything you do that is slower than a c. lp will be meaty. C. mk is a good move to use here because two c. mks can easily combo if you're performing the first one meaty, and against some characters this can open up some big damage opportunities. Otherwise, go with cl. hp to hit meaty and get some big damage or basic tick throw / kara pressure. Bloody High Claw, unlike most of Vega's knockdowns, doesn't really set you up for continuous offensive pressure. Because the ultra is intended to be used as a full-screen fireball punish or big damage Burn Kick punish, you usually want to kill with it or use it as a means of shutting down full screen tools, which means you're probably sitting on a lifelead. It's best to stick with that strategy in the event you're succesfully connecting with Bloody High Claws.

Alright! That does it for another installment of the How-to-Slash series of guides.

The next one will be about "Putting it All Together" - some instructions on how stringing together vital aspects of Vega's gameplay can maintain momentum and how to utilize complementary options in Vega's toolset to shut opponents down, and also the kind of strategies that Vega isn't as well-equipped to deal with.

Remember to follow me on twitter and stay tuned for the next entry!


  1. hey, thank you on the installment but I find kinda not well organized or rather not clear enough, If you used bullets,sections, a vid or two instead of this solid post. I very admire your work and I know you are doing one hell of a job to put whats in your mind into this blog, so thank you again, cheers
    - Marty

  2. Loving the blog so far man, can't wait to see the future installments!

    It's great to have a Vega representing Canada, good luck in the future!