Sakura's Zoning Game + Corner Pressure & Chip Discussion

So after a small debate on NeoEmpire Forums (just joined there). I got into a discussion about zoning.

Everyone knows Sakura’s fireball is not great but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be used at all. From what I’ve seen from Sakura players in Team Sakura and elsewhere very few try to zone at all outside of using her normals for keep away and footsies.

Here are some ways I zone (not all but I just wanna get the ball rolling).

Let’s discuss zoning strategies in this thread including corner pressure, chip pressure / wins or mix ups from the threat of say and ex fireball that will kill if they try to fa it or don’t avoid it.

Zoning with Sakura is pretty easy and I encourage Sakura players to use it especially against characters with no fireball.

Stop thinking of using fireballs with the intent of it hitting the opponent.

What you want is for them to jump over the fireball so you can lp or mp shouoken them as a far anti air.
You should throw the fireball and follow it a bit like chun and guile do. Even if they neutral jump you can catch em with hp shou anti air. You will get used to the spacing and timing for it with practice and sometimes you have to forward dash first. You won’t always be able to do it.

If they focus dash forward then you can mp shou to catch the focus dash. This is a nice simple zoning strategy that I use alot but you won’t be able to do it alot against good players so you will have to mix up your spacing and feint fireballs etc like how every other zoning character does.

Video example of Uryo vs Zangitan you’ll notice alot of Sakura zoning:


^ Match starts 8 mins in and the commentators don’t have a clue about Sakura.

Okay now you guys talk about your strategies.

Good thread Mister.

Still learning Sakura and even more determined to do so after finding out I’m one of the very few if not the only Sakura player in my scene in Ireland.

What I like to do when the opponent doesn’t have much hp left after landing a backthrow:
EX Hadouken, dash forward and then jump+tatsu. Most people will jump the fireball so that they won’t get chip damage and then your tatsu hits them out of the air into the fireball. Like this:


If they take the chip damage you’ll land savely in front of your enemy. If they dont have alot of hp left then you can just pull of a overhead or if you think he will try standing block.

Quite possibly one of the coolest setups I’ve seen in this game.

Yeah during that fight it was the first time I discovered it so I saved it on replay because it looked badass. Been using it ever since.

I dig it. Will definitely be playing with this some.

What if they just Neutral Jump. If it doesn’t beat that or gets bodied by neutral jump then it should be used sparingly, don’t want to lose because of it.

It’s true, you can zone with her fireball somewhat especially against characters with no fireball of their own. However, there are factors that inhibit our zoning ability greatly.

*The speed of the fireball- the slow speed means it’s pretty easy to react to in a way that is dang near useless to us. Specifically, many opponents simply focus the fireball, building their ultra and reseting the situation. This can be viewed as beneficial to us as the people are likely to try to jump over the fireball after we have recovered and anti air accordingly, however the other factors hurt this possibility to experienced players…

*The hitbox- the fireball is tiny making it easy to jump over and in general run away from. A smart player can easily jump over the small fireball early enough to avoid an anti-air because of the next factor.

*Recovery- thankfully this is getting better in AE, but for now this in combination with the other factors makes the fireball hard to follow up on regardless of the player’s reaction. As it is right now, close to a Guile chucking booms he can punish a fireball clash with a boom with a forward Fierce. :frowning:

This is where EX fireball comes into play. The bigger hitbox is a great help. Great players like Skatan use it very well, I need to start using it a bit more especially against cornered opponents.

Now, Rose’s fireballs recover just as badly, but they seem to have pretty good zoning with fireballs, but I believe the fireball is even slower than ours (jab ver) and obviously the hitbox is bigger. EX fireball is very fast.

I like to use a lot fireballs in my game actually even it’s effective especially after the opponent as eaten a few anti-airs. I believe it’s somewhat unexpected sometimes for a fireball from a Sakura to come out. That’s when I really try to zone with them.

i should probably zone more with my sakura lol

My Sakura is very jump happy. I should learn to play a more patient game sometimes, but I always just go straight ahead with reckless abandon. I think changing up one’s style like this is probably the hardest thing to do, even moreso than learning links and such.

Had a neutral jump yesterday (most players don’t do this), nobody hits nobody.

I remember that awesomeness :tup: Only way that could have been more awesome is if you finished with Shinkuu after they fell onto the EX Hadouken :rofl:

Thats pretty awesome! This is exactly the sort of thing I was hoping would come out of this thread. Thanks for sharing it!

I try to zone with Sakura, it just doesn’t work for me.

I know this is a bit character specific but if you use Sakura’s far. mk on Fei Long’s chicken wing, it stuffs it clean.

With the right spacing of course. It’s a very useful poke.

true, especially during ranked matches. stupid pixels, making my blood pressure skyrocket lol

shit, I’ve been backing up to get out of cody’s ruffian range thinking that I’m zoning, no wonder I get rushed at all the time.

I do remember zoning with sak, just not a lot…iirc, what I do is try to walk back and forth to psych out my opponent and catch them with pokes like st rh, cr mk and sweep. oh wait that’s footsies, shit!

Corner pressure? lots and lots of tatsus + 1 throw attempt. mix up the tatsu timing, if the opponent has a solid poke, i would do hk tatsu (unsure if its safe on block), do a normal into lk tatsu, then repeat without creating a consistent pattern. I’ve only ben doing this on one guy who thinks its safe but will reversal after i do it a few times.

Yah it is really hard to apply constant pressure on characters with dp when they are cornered. Characters with no strong reversal though are fun!

I like to do a block string followed by overhead. Mix in some neutral jump hp, mk, lk. Some neutral jump hk air tatsu. Some far then xx lk tatsu. c. mk xx ex hadoken. Walk up s.lp> s.hp.

I mix in some throws aswell (trying to keep it forward throw though).

I find its easy to get grabbed out of walk up c.hp since its 4 frames start up so I try to do s.hp.

its easy to be dp’d out of any tatsu (shunpuu) start up.

I say when in doubt, don’t try to zone with her.

For corner, yeah sometimes I just do hk tatsu, back dash hk tatsu.

For more pressure, I like to do light moves canceled into lk tatsu many times, you can get up to 3 I believe before the lk tatsu will whiff. Of course, you can be always be mashed (by normals) out of these strings because our tatsu corner pressure isn’t as strong as someone like Bison, Balrog, or even viper.

Her fireball zoning is very important against Honda imo. Until they realise they can just fadc the fireballs to get in lol.