Where did Xiao Hai succeed when Sanford and Ryan Hart failed in the Zangief Matchup?

As the thread title states…what did xiao hai do differently from your observation of the matchup?

I noticed him heavily relying on standing roundhouse, but we all knew that was a good button against gief.

he also got a lot of mileage off of crouch lp into fireball fadc.

But what was it in his overall strategy that made it so hard for snake eyes to steamroll him like he did the aforementioned sagat vets?

Focused less on throwing fireballs and more on whiff punishing and anti aired literally every jump.

Gief mains are smart they know when you want to throw a shot and how long you’ll wait before you do. I think Xiao Hai had an advantage simply by not being a Sagat main and only using him for what i assume is just this MU.

He also didn’t shit his pants when Gief got close or scored a knockdown like Sanford and Ryan Hart do.

nice observations mars. im just blown away by how cleanly he played though…dudes reactions were on point.

It’s that KOF98 skill

I also noticed that many times he switched from a very cautious and defensive play to a more offensive and risky style. I mean, there were times when he just didn’t stop pressing buttons at his opponent’s face and showing zero fear.

Part of it is his KoF fundamentals for anti-airing at angles that Tiger Uppercut would whiff at. If you noticed he used close s.Strong to anti-air Snake Eyez when he was directly above him.

I think he managed to whiff punish all of Zangief’s approaches: Namely, LPGH, Far HK, far cr.HK, whiff cr.MK, dash, jumps.

He’s probably using some kind of o/s cr.LP xx Low Tiger … then FADC hit confirm into cr.MP xx Tiger Uppercut. Most definitely. He managed to whiff punish LPGH, cr.MK nicely.

After the EXGH or LPGH on hit, Snake Eyez rarely pulls the trigger with SPD. Xiaohai was able to exploit that with cr.LP in order to get away.

He had such great reads against Snake Eyez. Waited in the corner and did a late neutral jump into big damage against SPD. I think Snake landed near zero SPD’s outside of punishes. He got one walk up SPD in the mid screen as he was feinting the EXGH, but other than that, not much.

I don’t think he’ll be able to win against Hagejin or Cantona. But he doesn’t main the character! Did a great job against USA’s best.

Nice one EG…insight from a gief player is always good to have.

And you are definitely right about Xiao Hai buffering cr lp into ts and then hit confirming from there into FADCs.

Haven’t really seen Cantona or Hagejin in action, but yeah…Xiao Hai just played the match flawlessly…against snake at least.

Here’s a compilation of Hagejin


and here’s Hagejin bodyslamming them busters, namely, Diago


In terms of “Best”, you can’t really define it, because there’s so many skillsets to a great player. It’s very difficult to truly know 100% of any given match-up. Snake Eyez is not as technically knowledgeable in terms of match-ups than the Japanese Zangiefs, but he has good “reads”, which is what ultimately counts at the highest level of the game. It’s a shame, that many of the world’s best players can’t afford or make it to EVO, unless TWITCH TV supports them. So we’ll never really know. But they could send Snake Eyez over to Japan on a solo suicide mission!

If Xiaohai, who doesn’t even use Sagat regularly, can 7-0 Snake Eyez, think of how much damage Bonchan or Santaro can do?

In answer to your question, Krimzn

A match from Ryan Hart.


Very True. Notice how he abuses jump back, to create space, to allow him to tiger shot more. Notice also how he’s constantly backing himself into the corner out of fear. Instead of addressing the big picture, of fighting Zangief up-close with his defensive footsies. Not throwing out the other ranged pokes like cr.HP, far HP, far MP, cr.MK, etc. Eventually he ends up in the corner much quicker. Also they panic out too much, going for the Tiger Uppercut. They act and forfeit their rights, allowing Zangief to react and take the advantage. This was the opposite with Xiaohai, who forced Snake Eyez to act, giving him the power to react. But for that to happen, Xiaohai’s footsies must have been superior, to not allow Snake Eyez to get in point blank range for the SPD/combo mix up. *With respect to Snake Eyez who rarely goes for the grab, an FA absorb back dash would be the better option, as it can also evade any option selects to catch back dash. Snake also rarely chases down the back dash with any high speed/high risk pursuit, eg. MPGH or HPGH or EXGH.

Also note, that when Ryan hart stopped throwing tiger shots, and gambling at that dangerous midrange, where Zangief can reaction jump, he did much better. He either Tiger shot outside of Zangief’s MK jump range, or very close which makes reaction anything (like EXGH or jump) very difficult, because a) you have less time, and b) you have 100x more threats like other fast pokes. Example: To do the reaction EXGH, you basically can’t block for that anticipation period.

I hope to sometime review and contrast the matches of Xiaohai, Sanford and Ryan Hart.

EG bringing the good stuff yet again :slight_smile:

Nice one brother…the review and contrast is a great idea actually.

Oh and i meant to ask you something. I noticed that you keep mentioning jump medium kick with Sagat being a good button. Are you talking about neutral jump mk or forward jump…if its neutral jump, then i agree that its a good button, but if it’s forward jump, then i think its slightly underused as gat has harder hitting buttons with similar range like forward jump roundhouse and forward jump fierce.

FYI, XiaoHai’s main was Sagat in Vanilla SF4. He defeated Mago’s Sagat before.

To punish SPD or AS or Ultra 1 with a neutral jump, the best button I found with Sagat was neutral jump MK. The others don’t angle down enough, especially, that during Zangief’s whiff animation, where he lowers his hitbox, he’s a bit shorter. Neutral HP or HK or MP, all miss or are very hard to do. Like a very late “frame perfect” Neutral HK etc.

I can’t recall what I mentioned about Sagat’s forward jumping MK. But it’s so good against projectiles. For example, take Ken’s hadouken, you could reaction towards jump from 50% to 65 or 70% screen, press and hit MK as soon as you reach your apex, connect with Ken’s extending palm and combo into HP or EX Tiger Uppercut, or cr.MK if you happen to be closer. You could probably use it like Zangief’s HP Superman, in that you jump, at that range, and only press MK, if they hadouken, otherwise land safely out of reach of their anti-air.

On top of that, to go through fireballs, with

  • kara HP or EX Tiger Uppercut
  • U2
  • Possibly EX Tiger

I don’t remember forward jumping HK or HP to have more range than MK. Best to check.

And neutral jump LK has the most range for Sagat’s neutrals, but probably not as effective as neutral MK, against forward moving moves, like rekka, dash punch, ken’s step ken, etc