My Rufus Is Hitting A Ceiling

I play on PSN and can’t seem to get past 1,600 PP (sad, I know).

I feel like I jump too much, and like my mix-ups on knockdowns get me punished. The latter is a huge problem because I don’t go into a knockdown scenario with a lot of confidence, yet I see Ortiz and Wong just dive kick in without a care in the world (rarely punished mind you).

I know it’s something I’m doing, because this character looks ridiculous when it’s played by anybody but me. But my cross-up dive kicks get me thrown or crouch-jabbed on block more than I’ve ever seen, my b-n-b eats a mashed SRK 50% of the time, and I’m never sure how to approach properly.

I come from playing Balrog whose game plan is inherently spelled out. It seems like you can play Rufus a few different ways and be successful, yet I can’t seem to figure out anything that will take me to the next level.

Any advice?

How are you doing crossup divekicks?

On wakeup, you do a crossup divekick before they fully get on their feet. Aim around mid body and divekick just as they’re getting up. What side the divekick hits is determined by when you do it. The later you do the divekick after jumping as they wakeup it should hit them from the front. You should practice divekick vortex after a sweep or a delayed wakeup after a GT. If you did crossup divekick right on wakeup you should have enough time to combo.

I’m not sure if this is how you’re doing them or you’re waiting till they get up then aiming at their head.

Also not much advice I can give you because I don’t know which areas you need help in. Post some gameplay of yourself, then people can critique and tell you what you’re doing wrong.

I feel there’s pretty much things to say about Rufus. He’s an explosive character who gains the upper hand in momentum, has a few mixup + huge comeback factor (Ultra 1 = able to put it almost anytime). You can’t play him in a “total” rushdown style all along, because his normal are weak (best normal is a 4F) against reversal or 3F jab, his dive-kick can become predictable and punished heavily if not angled correctly. He’s more like an “offensive turtle” style, capitalizing on mistakes, playing with opponent’s habits (tech throw/reactions) and going berserk when opponents give you opening, allowing you to deal damage.

- From the “far” screen :
You don’t have many options, since your main weapon, dive-kicking all day, can’t be reach. Crouch HP, rolling Down-Forward MK are 2 nice tools to control space, but are punishable if abused (focus counter). The best think would be to on the middle screen facing your opponent or even better, close quarter, to begin the dive kick mix-up.

- On middle screen :
It’s a good start to “enter” in a dive kick happy situation. Even if Rufus has not good footsies moves, Standing MK is pretty nice to check / counter fireball happy characters. Standing LP and Down LP are good to bait / check what your opponent is doing. Your best situation would be to knock down your opponent with Crouching HK sweep after his whiffed moves, or Roll Down-Forward MK then throw, even fake dive kick to “enrage” his reactions, and make your attacks less predictable. Fake dive kick are also good to gain distance pretty quick and followed with Crouching LP are very good for poking. Or a Jump HK + EX Snake Strike if your opponent chose to jump. It really depends on the situation. For example, if you’re facing Ryu, going into a dive kick mode is very bad, as most of Ryu moves can counter you on air : Down HP, Standing HK, and Shoryuken. So, playing on his habits to counter you for examples with fake dive kick, or a good sweep will be your priority over simply mashing normal and try to play an “all out” style by hoping to get some random damage. If your opponent is very passive (like a Guile), your main priority will be to close the gap and start your dive kick mix up to gain the advantage. It’s all about knowing if you can go on attack mode or not.

Another way is to push you opponent to play footsie with you on the ground. As an example, 99 % of Ryu always Down MK >> Hadoken on middle screen distance if they don’t know what to do. Bait it out and “enter” with an instant Dive Kick to close the deal. Learn to see the habits and exploits them. That’s how the dive kick, probably the only good move from Rufus, is made for.

- On close combat screen :
The best situation for Rufus in my opinion, since that’s where you’re going to get your damage with dive kicks mix-up. His health bar allows you to make mistakes, but the risk ratio is pretty much in his favor. In short :

  • After a blocked dive kick, either your opponent : press buttons, tech or reversal.
    –> if they press buttons, just throw
    –>* if they tech*, just frame trap with Standing LK >> Standing MP >> combo time after, or even better, make another instant dive kick to punish with a more damaging combo if the’re standing – if they do some crouching option select throw anti-air, simply cross them up. It’s all mind game
    –>* if they reversal*, just block, after the dive kick, you’re safe, then you punish them on recovery

Rufus’s game truly shines when you force your opponent to react in a certain way. For example, if you Dive kick >> Standing LK >> Throw, and your opponent tech it, you know he’s probably going to do that again, so instead of doing a throw, just do another instant dive kick, and punish the tech (either stand or crouch). You adopt some “predictable” pattern, but you change the options at the end to deal damage. That’s in short the essence to play him.

Either :

  • Dive Kick >> then throw (if opponent is not tech happy or thinking you’re doing a block string afterwards)
  • Empty Dive kick (not touching your opponent) >> Throw (on your opponent’s wake up, or if your dive kick whiffs from middle screen)
  • Last minute dive kick on opponent’s wake up (simply jump forward + input the dive kick before you almost land on the ground) >> combo time (if your opponent think you’re going to empty jump + throw and try to react by pushing buttons)
  • Dive Kick >> instant dive kick >> combo time or Dive Kick >> Standing LK >> Instant dive kick >> combo time (to counter tech or throw habits)
  • Dive Kick >> Crouching LK >> Crouching LP >> Standing LP >> Standing MP (for people who try to jump or back dash = very good to harass / poke / meter building, and then set up a throw on next attack)

You get the idea, these are a few set ups you have to toy your opponent, force him to play in a certain way (or for you, to see HOW he plays), then adjust your game accordingly to the context.

The worst mindset with Rufus would be to dive kick, then do a block string ending with a galatic tornado because your opponent blocked it and try to dive kick again, rinse and repeat in hope of getting something. Not only is your opponent going to start countering you with reversal / 3F jab / backward jump, thus shutting down your options, but you’ll be “forced” to make mistakes instead of following your gameplan, and you become predictable without even realizing it.

Here’s some gimmicks I use for fun / exploiting Rufus’ potential :

  • Anywhere in the screen :
  • (blocked) Crouching LP >> Sweep HK : for some reasons, this works like some sort of frame trap, and if your opponent try to react, they will often get a sweep as a counter
  • (blocked) Crouching LK >> Crouching LP >> Empty dive kick >> throw : the pushback and distance allows this set up to work, your dive kick will miss but you’ll get a throw if they try to counter you, you block if you feel he’s doing a reversal.
  • (blocked) dive kick >> (blocked) Crouching LK >> Throw = very good set-up, the Crouching LK is fast enough for this to work
  • After a knockdown --> ambiguous cross up dive kick = either you land in front or behind your opponent : can’t really explain this well, it depends on the character you’re facing and dive kick height + your opponent wake up moment. It’s all about testing on different characters in the game to get the feeling.
  • On corner :
  • forward throw >> LP snake strike >> crouching LP then either throw or instant dive kick : the crouching LP times perfectly most wake up for you to throw and execute this set up. Dive kick if you expect a tech behind.
  • forward throw >> dive kick cross up before the opponent wakes up >> from the other side, quick neutral jump then dive kick = very very ambiguous, you either land in front or behind after the dive kick hits and it’s very difficult to block
  • forward throw >> standing HP or crouching LK X 2 >> cross up dive kick : this set up allows you to truly cross up on your opponent’s wake up + land behind him, whereas if you try to cross up dive kick in the corner, you’ll land in front. Thus making a fake cross up dive kick.

That’s it for now… Hope it will help you a bit ! :slight_smile:

One big mistake is always trying to input combo after a missed dive kick (either too high and touching the head portion of your opponent) = you don’t have enough frame to do a standing LK (you can get thrown). Either input a throw or better, another instant dive kick to punish if you feel your opponent is going to do the same.

Thanks for the input guys, I’ll try and get a video posted for critique.

In the mean time…

Most of my cross-up dive kicks get me punished on block (or on hit even). I can’t seem to land them low enough to do anything. For example:

My friend plays Adon…
I get him in the corner and cross-up dive kick…
If I throw after, he techs…
But if I attempt LK after, he gets the throw…

Shouldn’t my LK hit? What’s happening here? Is it *super *strict timing?


After blocked b-n-b (dive kick, :lk:, :hp: xx :qcf:+:hp:), I definitely don’t dive kick again. I usually just wait to see what they do. Typically if I touch any button after a blocked GT, I eat a move. I learned that quickly.

  • Standing LK close is about 5F if I’m not mistaken. After a corner dive kick in the corner, you’ll usually hit the upper part of your opponent’s body. Dive kick is 7F + on block, which means you have much less frame advantage when you land on the ground. Worse, your opponent HAS the upper hand with either a 3F throw or a 3F jab. Usually, like I said, when you do a “bad” dive kick, either :
  • block (100 % safe on reversal)
  • throw (3F move + eat any button mashing attempts)
  • do another instant dive kick (to punish throw or throw tech)

The key is to know how to be patient, predict, react, and punish (with Ultra 1, dive kick cross up, BNB combo, throw and AA ex Snake Strike or Jump HK)

  • Going in a blocked BNB is pretty bad in my opinion. Why ? Because any dive kick attempts should either leave you to :
  • get a throw (with a knockdown = more mix-up)
  • punish any options your opponent has and deal damage with the BNB (usually tech throw or jump options or buttons mashing)
  • bait any reversal moves (since they are invincible and often abused = thus playing with your opponent habits)

This is how you win. Because dive kick is easy to punish when you see it. And a blocked BNB only push your opponent away, allowing him to get his thing together and prepare his defense since you need to “chase” him again, and take risks again. You want the pressure to be put on them, allowing them to make bad decisions,

Know that in SSF 4, Rufus was the only character to have the highest damage dealt for the throw move because it’s part of his game. His only “bad” options are :

  • not having good normal = means opponent can easily counter you = match up against Ryu is difficult
  • not having decent reversal = messiah are easily baited by simply jumping back
  • having a bad back dash / weird hitbox = making difficult for defense

When you’re only thinking about being agressive, you’re not playing the character the way it should be played. Rufus only deals damage under strict conditions by creating openings and exploiting your opponents habits.

Definitely makes sense. Thanks. I should clarify, though, that for the blocked b-n-b, I’m hitting the dive kick and s.LK. If I don’t hit either of those I don’t go for the 1 frame s.HP and GT. So if/when moves are getting blocked, it’s ONLY s.HP and GT. Make sense?

I understand.

For me, going into a Standing HP >> then finishing in GT or Standing LK >> Standing HP >> GT only push your opponent away + cut you many options. Of course you can do this to push your opponent to the corner, or create some space to prepare yourself for defense. But the BNB is only good when you hit because you get a knock down (which can be quick risen) + lots of damage. When your opponent blocks, you have better options to have him react + expect you to do a move, and then play your set ups.

Plus, Ryu like character can reversal and counter you after a Standing LK >> Standing HP >> GT. Try to play against Guy in the hardest mode and let him use Ultra 1. You’ll be surprised to see the holes.

It’s good to use a Standing LK after a dive kick, because it’s a move that allows you to confirm your hit THEN go into combo mode. You should try to play Abel, he’s in my opinion the hardest character in terms of “reaction” based game (his link Forward MK >> Standing HP >> COMBO has to be confirmed on first hit). And you need to make lots of decision, because he’s almost one answer to every situation, but it’s very risky for him if he misses.

I feel you should try to master dive kick first. Not only as a “move”, but as part of Rufus way to move, dominate space, and rythm pacer. Like walking, and jumping.

The match between Chobixinco and Shiro is a perfect example. Try to play as Shiro and ask yourself how and why he lost this FT 10. Chobi was really insane in his mix up and reaction game. You’ll learn even more I guess.

link : [media=youtube]EdK-lhFEvbI[/media]

This totally helps. I never realized how many dive kick mix-ups there were.

Another thing…

I’m noticing that :hp: Galactic Tornado gets me in on a lot of Shotos and Guile, but I don’t see this at the top level of play. Is this because many top players try to avoid this, or because the people I’m playing don’t know that there’s something they can do about it? It feels safe to me so long as the distance/timing is right.

I don’t really fo Galactica Tornado to “enter” because it can be countered if your opponent is quick at reaction (or worse, can be punished by many type of ultras). It’s pretty good if your opponent is fireball happy, but even so, simply jumping HP or dive kick are better alternatives. GT is always safe on block, what is horrible is the slow startup, and the fact it’s easy to react.

I just wait patiently, do lots of fake dive kicks or simply sweep if he’s playing footsies with me while maintaining the perfect distance / position to do so (for his moves to whiff). I find this better in risk reward ratio (punish via a good 254 damage combo if a dive kick connect or if you can knock down your opponent VS being punished by reversal / or normals = being hit by 1 move)

I feel like I always get punished for doing j.HP or dive kick over fireballs. Seems like thy have enough time to SRK yeah? Or in Guile’s case, he can always eke out a c.hp before my attack hits.

Yeah, but if you can predict well, a connected jump HP is better for fireball characters (because you can combo afterwards).

You can go to training mode, and do hadoken >> shoryuken by yourself to feel the gap for punishment. It’s the best way to learn by yourself and understand how to position / gain advantage in different situation.

Also, against Guile, you’re right, his sonic boom is clearly better and can almost be considered as an invincible “normal”. Which you can bait by delaying the dive kick when jumping. If he jumps to throw you, just do jump HK to punish. Nevertheless, do what you’re comfortable at for the moment. Don’t rush. It took me around 1 year and half to play Rufus correctly and figuring out things by losing a lot online. :slight_smile:

Time your jumps to be unexpected or really close in length. What usually works is let them get fireball happy and choose a “random” time to jumping, best way is to feel it out. For example, let them start throwing and if they keep throwing them jump in at the right space like at fireball 5-6. This works a good deal of time but the timing and situation has to be just right. As mentioned previously, you can also HP Galatic through them but watch out for jumping or reversals. In some cases you can also punish with cr HP but again you have to have the right spacing and reaction.

Also, remember to dive kick preferably at their ankles or feet. You get more frames if you hit lower in the body to input Lk or whatever your going to do. In some match ups players will automatically DP your dive after block and beat out any buttons you pushed. I feel akumas and kens do this a lot. Test each player out first to see how he reacts and try to mix him up by being creative. Throw out some sweeps with shotos so they can hold downback and after a while dive kick them , they most likely will not be able to react to an unexpected dive.