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Sakura Ultra Street Fighter 4 Moves, Combos, Strategy Guide

Guide last updated on
June 2, 2014 at 9:09 p.m. PDT


Sakura Ultra Street Fighter 4 Character Guide


Character Overview

Although most tier lists show Sakura as the second worse character in the game, in front of Dan, her ability to rush down opponents and dizzying them can make her a formidable threat even to veteran players.

She has a strong mix-up game that begins on a knockdown, and also after landing her EX-Arcing Hurricane Kick. If you can manage to stay on your opponent and never let up pressure, she can win a lot of matches that are supposed to be difficult for her.

Like the other console characters, Sakura is underrated by most players.

Since her vanilla Street Fighter 4 days, Sakura has gotten a few minor upgrades to improve her play style. You can now cross up your opponents with Jumping Medium Kick, and her new Ultra, Shinku Hadoken is both extremely easy to combo into, as well as having both the ability to shoot straight, or at a diagonal from the ground. Because the game has also been tweaked to balance out the entire roster, some of her matches are slightly easier. However she still has the hardest time playing against defensive characters and players who turtle.

You will still have to play an up close game with her, but you must be more aware now than usual since most players will know her tricks. Play her patiently, punish, and you'll get the win.

Strengths
+ Good foot and move speed.
+ Solid set of normal moves and many can be Canceled.
+ Strong offensive pressure tactics which can lead to dizzies.
+ In Super Street Fighter 4, she can now cross up with Jumping Medium Kick.
+ EX-Arcing Hurricane Kick is bloody awesome. Has great juggling potential, it's safe on block and leaves you at a frame advantage. Plus, you can do other tricks with it.
+ Ultra 2 is extremely easy to combo into, plus can be used as anti-air.
+ Ultra 1 still produces great damage and can also combo into.

Weaknesses
- Low stamina ranking.
- Very few ways to do damage from a distance, needs to be up close.
- Can have a difficult time consistently applying pressure to turtling (heavy defensive) players.
- Has limited anti-air options.
- Relies heavily on EX-moves to win.
- Technical character; you need to have great execution and use plenty of "mind games" to win with her.

General offensive strategies

Sakura is best played as an offensive rushdown character because from afar, she can't deal much damage.

Also, in a sense she is a high-risk, high-reward character because you have to play close up with her, and some of her moves leave her very open to being punished. Mistakes cost Sakura more life than most fighters because of her below-average stamina.

At the same time, she has some damaging combos and great ways to set up her Ultra, plus a strong mix up game.

You'll need to practice hit confirming because if your opponent blocks, you have to be careful which moves you follow up with, and if they're open you want to land a big combo.

Sakura players should look for lots of knocks downs, follow up with her Jumping Light Kick as a cross and then combo, or threaten to throw or just stay in range to apply pressure and wait for a lapse in your enemy's defense.

Using an Air Reset after an EX-Arcing Hurricane Kick

After landing her EX-Arcing Hurricane Kick most players follow up with a combo, but if think you can catch your opponent off guard — execute a normal move instead as they're coming down from the air to perform a Reset so the other fighter lands on their feet.

Many players will expect to be knocked down here and landing on their feet and having to deal with Sakura directly in their face and threatening to do more damage can be an unexpected and surprising situation.

While you shouldn't do this in every instance, throwing in an Air Reset when the other player doesn't expect it can generate some big damage. This works well because instead of being knocked down, your enemy lands on their feet and must QUICKLY choose which side to block on, or to try and tech throw.

These are the most common moves to perform an air reset with Sakura after an EX-Arcing Hurricane Kick.

  • Walk up then Standing Light Punch
  • Jumping Light Kick
  • Jumping Hard Kick
  • Jumping Hard Punch
  • Walk up then Towards + Medium Kick
  • Walk up then Crouching Heavy Kick (Sweep)
  • Walk up then Crouching Light Kick

The walk up Standing Light Punch and Jumping Light Kick in particular are very good for two reasons. These moves allow you to slip past your opponent by dashing behind them while they're being reset in the air.

If they are not expecting you to end up on the opposite side, you can usually combo into another EX-Arcing Hurricane Kick and eventually dizzy them. If they're expecting a cross up dash, delay your dash command for a brief moment, you won't end up on the opposite side of your enemy, but because they saw you dash they might THINK you are going to. Again, this allows you to set up another combo.

If you feel your opponent is getting wise to which side they need to block on, simply throw them instead as they land on their feet, or use two Crouching Light Kicks first and Link into a bigger combo or again walk up and throw them.

Switching back and forth between these tactics can make it difficult for your opponent to defend the onslaught and you'll be taking off large chunks of their life as they try to figure out how to counter it.

Other setups with Sakura's Air Reset

While the Standing Light Punch and Jumping Light Kick set up easy ways to dash behind your opponent, it is still possible to cross them up after connecting with a Jumping Hard Punch or Kick. The timing however is different.

You need to hit your opponent on the way down, pausing briefly for a moment before jumping with your attack. If you do not time this correctly, they'll be too far away and you won't be able to dash under them. But if you perform this late enough in your jump, you'll get to their opposite side.

Another move that works as an Air Reset is Sakura's Crouching Light Kick. The timing on the move is tricky at first — you must throw this out a split second before they hit the ground — but this gives your opponent even less time to react.

If your opponent is catching on to your mix up tactics, you can sweep them instead. The timing on your Crouching Hard Kick (sweep) is also tricky though, but connecting with it eliminates the other fighter's ability to do a 'quick get up', giving you more time to set up your next attack. You can cross up again with a Jumping Light Kick, or take a step back and use the Crouching Hard Punch as an ambiguous cross up.

Special Moves

Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick or Joystick
Fireball (Hadouken)
Holding down the punch button used will enable you to charge up your projectile, and releasing the button makes it come out. Charged fireballs do more damage, but travel less distance.

You won't win projectile battles with either version of your fireball, but the speed of the attack can confuse opponents on jump-ins thinking they can avoid it.

Just like in Vanilla Street Fighter 4, her fireball still deteriorates before it can go off screen.

Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick
Shoryuken (Dragon Punch Uppercut)
All three versions of this move can be Focus Attack Dash Canceled (FADC). A decent move, Light is the best option for anti-air, but because Sakura slides forward before launching into her uppercut, consistently knocking people out of the air with it is difficult.

Hard Punch Shoryukens work great in combos as the damage is good and it will still fully connect from a fair distance out.

You can juggle your opponent for an additional hit after landing a Light Punch Shoryuken if you go into a Medium Punch Shoryuken immediately after wards. This does less damage than if you hit them with a full Hard Punch Shoryuken, but it works good to take off a bit of extra life when you need to use the Light Punch version.

You can still use the Light version to bait jump ins after throwing a fireball, but remember on wake up, this is NOT a good move to use as you can be thrown out of it.

Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick
*Armor Breaking*
Arcing Hurricane Kick (Shunpukyaku)
A good move to use in combos, plus the Light Kick version is safe on block, and the Medium and Hard attacks aren't easy to punish.

You can Link into a Standing/Crouching Light Punch or Kick and follow up with another combo after landing the Light Arcing Hurricane Kick from the right range, but the timing can be tricky.

The Hard Kick version can be used to end combos and can even go over projectiles if timed properly.

This still has great priority in combos, where you can chain a normal after the Light version is thrown out to extend the combo. Hard does the most damage and can finish a combo, but remember it doesn't knock down.

Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick (In the air)
*Armor Breaking*
Air Arcing Hurricane Kick (Air Shunpukyaku)
Handy to escape bad situations or alter the trajectory of your jump to throw off anti-air attempts.

Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick       Joystick Joystick Joystick
Jump Smash (Sakura Otoshi)
This move has a somewhat low priority and the only time it should be used is after landing an EX-Arcing Hurricane Kick so you can do additional damage.

When your opponent sees this coming, it's easy to counter it.

EX Moves

Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick
EX-Fireball (Hadouken)
Travels a little bit faster than her regular Fireball, plus it's larger in size and offers unlimited range (i.e. it never dissipates).

Also hits twice, does good damage — works alright as a chip (block) damage attack as well knocking down when it hits.

Like Sakura's regular Fireball, the EX version can also be charged by holding both Punch buttons, this makes her attack take off more power, but it doesn't decrease the range at all.

Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick
EX-Shoryuken (Dragon Punch Uppercut)
Offers several frames of invincibility while the attack is starting up, letting you blow through some moves that her regular Shoryuken simply could not — even letting Sakura get through a few projectiles and Ultras if your timing is spot on.

This is also a great move in simple bread and butter combos because of the damage output.

But it's extremely easy to punish if blocked and not really great against jumping characters unless you have stellar timing. But if you need to get the other player off of you, this move will do the trick.

Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick
*Armor Breaking*
EX-Arcing Hurricane Kick (Shunpukyaku)
The go to move for Sakura's combos. The last hit launches your enemy up into the air letting you juggle with her Jump Smash or Ultra.

This attack is also safe on block, but not only that, you'll be left at a frame advantage so you can throw other moves out there before your opponent recovers from the block stun. Simply put — this is a terrific move.

One of the few drawbacks is that sometimes the last hit (launcher) will whiff crouching opponents, so try nailing them with a Standing Hard Punch beforehand, which stands them up ensuring the move fully connects.

This move works well all over the screen, and in the corner you can set up some nasty tricks to catch your opponent off guard.

Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick (In the air)
*Armor Breaking*
EX-Air Arcing Hurricane Kick (Air Shunpukyaku)
Makes Sakura float in the air a bit longer than her regular Arcing Hurricane Kick.

Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick       Joystick Joystick Joystick
EX-Jump Smash (Sakura Otoshi)
This tracks based on where your opponent is standing at, allowing it to travel full-screen or a very short distance.

Works great as a fireball deterrent because Sakura can punish an opponent from basically any distance who tries to pester her with projectiles.

Be careful with this move though — doing it at the wrong time can lead to your health bar being depleted very quickly. And although Sakura is jumping while doing this attack, it can be blocked either low or high.

Super and Ultra Moves

Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick
Super — Karu Ichiban
A decent Super that you can combo with after a Hard Punch or Kick jump in attack, but most players recommend saving your EX-meter for your Arcing Hurricane Kick.

Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick
*Armor Breaking*
Ultra 1 — Haru Ranman
A very good Ultra. You can connect with this after a Focus Attack, a Hard jump in attack and of course after the EX-Arcing Hurricane Kick.

After connecting with an EX-Arcing Hurricane Kick, dash forward and execute your Ultra to juggle with it. Dashing forward lets you connect more hits and you'll want to start the Ultra when your opponent's back is a little above Sakura's head while she's standing, or it will miss.

Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick or Joystick
Ultra 2 — Shinku Hadoken
There are two versions of this move depending on if you use the Punch or Kick button. Punch makes a huge fireball fly straight ahead, Kick fires it at an anti air angle.

Although the damage output is a lot less than her Ultra 1 — Haru Ichiban, it is a very high priority ultra than can help her against characters who jump in, and also characters who have air tracking moves (like Akuma's Demon Flip).

You will sometimes trade hits if you use this to counter certain moves, but you'll be getting the full damage output compared to a single hit or so from your opponent.

It is also easy to combo right after EX-Arcing Hurricane Kick, but be careful when doing this in the corner. Doing it too early or too late may cause the ultra to whiff entirely, or give you only one hit.

Combos

Jump in with Hard Kick, Crouching Medium Kick, Cancel into Hard Punch Fireball
You can Cancel into most of Sakura's Special Moves after the Crouching Medium Kick.

Jump in with Hard Kick, Crouching Light Punch 2x, Link into Crouching Medium Kick, Cancel into Hard Punch Shoryuken
Timing on this can be tricky because of the Link into Crouching Medium Kick, but this is a powerful combo.

Jump in with Hard Kick, Crouching Medium Kick, Cancel into EX-Arcing Hurricane Kick, juggle with Jump Smash or Dash then juggle with Ultra
You need to be fairly close when you execute the EX-Arcing Hurricane Kick or it will not combo.

Jump in with Hard Kick, Standing Hard Punch, Cancel into Fireball, Cancel into Focus Attack
You need to have two EX bars of Super meter to Cancel out of your Fireball into a Focus Attack.

Level 2/3 Focus Attack, Standing Hard Punch, Cancel into EX-Arcing Hurricane Kick

Crouching Light Kick, Chain into Crouching Light Punch, Link into Crouching Hard Punch, Cancel into EX-Arcing Hurricane Kick
Good combo to use with Sakura's EX-Arcing Hurricane Kick mix up game.

Jumping Hard Kick, Crouching Medium Kick, Cancel into EX-Arcing Hurricane Kick

Focus Attack Level 2/3, Light Arcing Hurricane Kick, Link into Crouching Light Punch, Link into Crouching Medium Punch, Cancel into Light Arcing Hurricane Kick, Link into Standing Light Kick, Cancel into EX-Arcing Hurricane Kick
Doesn't do a significant amount of damage, but causes a healthy amount of stun.

Jumping Hard Punch, Crouching Hard Punch, Cancel into Hard Punch Fireball, Focus Attack Dash Cancel, Crouching Hard Punch, Link into EX-Arcing Hurricane Kick, Ultra
This combo does massive damage to your opponent, and with a Full Ultra Meter, you can take roughly half your opponent's life off with this nifty combo.

Normal Moves

This is not a complete list of Sakura's regular moves, just some note worthy ones.

Joystick Joystick Joystick
Jumping Drop Kick
Some people don't expect this move often, but this is a great heavy move that can Link into a Crouching Hard Punch or your sweep.

Joystick Joystick Joystick
Crouching Medium Punch
This move comes out fairly fast, and can even beat crouching pokes. Also works well in Link combos since it can be Canceled into your special moves.

Joystick Joystick Joystick
Crouching Hard Punch
Technically her best anti-air. Also great in that it can be Canceled into Sakura's special moves. Most importantly, if you're opponent is crouching and you use this, this will make your opponent stand up and you can go into an EX-Arcing Hurricane Kick.

Joystick Joystick Joystick
Overhead Kick
Like Ryu's overhead punch, this move must be blocked high. Also comes out fast too.

Joystick Joystick Joystick
Jumping Hard Punch
Basically a one-hit Sakura Otoshi, but this is the go to move for many jump-in combos, and to hit opponents out of the air, because this move hits straight and can beat out other jumping attacks.

The neat thing about this move is that if you time and position your jump right on a standing character, her smash will actually allow her to cross up and allow her to continue to combo from the opposite side.

Other Resources

Heavy contributions to this guide by SSJ3X-II, SFilp and Chibitenshin.


Comments

shannaro1992 said on March 13, 2010 at 7:06 p.m.

Hooray for the return of Sakura's jumping MK cross-up! She needs it. She's all about dizzying her opponents and eat away chunks of their life along the way. Yes, jumping LK does work but it does crap damage and it doesn't offer much stun value.

She's very much a high-risk character as she needs to be played toe to toe with her opponents. She becomes beastly when she's right in front of them as she's capable for throwing out a full-on assault with her normals and arcing hurricane kicks.

It's too bad that she relies heavily on link combos and EX moves to do the wrecking. This just means if you're bad at links, then winning with her is that much more difficult.

#1
Triforce said on April 26, 2010 at 5:27 a.m.

Can't wait to used her buff version tomorrow.

I've been getting my links down a lot better lately-I'm ready for SUPER baby, bring it on! :-)

#2
shannaro1992 said on April 26, 2010 at 4:50 p.m.

As predicted, projectile-type ultras are always easier to land but less damaging.

#3
Tomiwa11 said on April 27, 2010 at 1:09 a.m.

it seems like the only damage nerfs for sakura were her ex-shouoken which got reduced but 20, and her light, medium and hard jump smashes - so her damage output shudnt be hurt too much compared to other characters

#4
drunkendan said on April 27, 2010 at 9:21 a.m.

she's been my main since alpha 3(didn't play alpha 2 until the anthology XD)a VERY good charqacter in my book

#5
Triforce said on April 28, 2010 at 12:40 a.m.

EX-Hurricane into KKK version of Ultra II seems to be a combo working well for me.

But I'm sure you guys'll update this thing eventually with much better setups for her U2-I'm still pretty noobish sometimes at the end of the day. :-)

#6
shannaro1992 said on April 29, 2010 at 6:50 a.m.

Ultra II seems to look better and better. Comboing into it is as easy as hell, and Sakura gets a very reliable anti-air.

#7
Tomiwa11 said on April 30, 2010 at 12:41 p.m.

sakura people! light shouoken into horizontal shinku works! just in case peopel didnt kno
but its only in the corner
it also hits on heavy and EX shouoken - but only 3 of the hits land

#8
Danielq94 said on May 1, 2010 at 3:53 p.m.

Shinku is way better than haru ranman, yeah it does less damage but there are so many ways you can hit with it and combined with jumping MK Crossing up an the improved range on EX Shunpuu ssfiv is shaping up to be a good game for sakura.

One question though why did they give one of sakura's super's back to her as an ultra? Shouldn't they have given her nekkestu hadoken (EX3) or something

#9
chobi_pho said on May 22, 2010 at 3:06 a.m.

@uiuiuiui

ROFL *thumbs up*

anyone up for a one on one sakura battle?!
or maybe a team battle of sakuras? :D

#10
supershinbison said on June 1, 2010 at 3:51 a.m.

okay im a bison mainer and have been for years. i have been picking up sakura for awhile now and i do really like her. i find that her best long range pokes are standing h kick and standing m kick as well as her overhead. surprisingly she has good normal move anti airs standing h punch, standing h kick(this has to be spaced properly) close standing h kick and crouch h punch obviously. i find it best to footsie in and out of standing h kick poke range and aggressively pushing the opposition back with fireballs and at the same time baiting jump ins. footsing around standing h kick range sets up perfectly for standing h punch anti air. for hit trapping i use crouch m punch and crouch m kick as they are good two in ones into her fireball or ex hurricane. when in close use lots of tick throw set ups on the opposition and mix it in with crouch l punch or crouch l kick to hit trap into your ex hurricane combos. i find it that always going for resets are bad instead use a couple knock downs and mix those reset.....

#11
supershinbison said on June 1, 2010 at 4 a.m.

..continued
combos and don't always go for the combo after a reset. train the opponent to be wary of throws and mix in the combos up with the throws imo using her resets wisely makes them harder to predict. your opponent will already be so worried about the resets and potential dmg output from them that u can push them away with a solid footsie game. her ultra 2 is by far her better ultra as it has more uses. here's a nice combo i did to my sparring buddy. crouch lk, crouch lp, crouch mp, hadouken, fadc, crouch lp, crouch lk, crouch mk, ex hurricane, lp dp into ultra 2. it got dmg scaled crazy but was fun to pull off:) i want to continue to progress with sakura and if anyone wants to play my gamertag is well none other than supershinbison lol. hoped this could help someone.

#12
Hadookie said on June 3, 2010 at 11:34 p.m.

@supershinbison

Playing at st.HK footsies range seems to be Sakura's most comfortable spacing for most matchups since it is also the optimal range for landing her cr.HP antiair (except Mantis Gen, Guy, or anyone else with funky jumparcs).

I would like to note however that your combo:
cr.LK -> cr.LP -> cr.MP xx Hadouken -> FADC -> cr.LP -> [cr.LK -> cr.MK] xx EX Hurricane -> LP DP -> Ultra2
Linking the cr.MK after the cr.LK is not possible to the best of my knowledge.
I'm pretty sure you meant: FADC -> cr.LK -> cr.LP -> cr.MK xx EX Hurricane
Still an awesome combo ;D
*EX Hurricane portion of combo might not land if opponent is crouching*

#13
supershinbison said on June 4, 2010 at 4:09 a.m.

lol my bad we all make typing mistakes right? the crouch lk was before the crouch lp. whew and yeah i know the hurricane misses at times with crouching opponents but he was standing so i got him lol. tbh i prefer standing h punch for anti air purposes cuz the dmg is higher and i have more time to dash in after i hit. the recovery on the standing hp is better. not to say that the crouching hp is not good but a spaced standing hp works better in some instances and seeing as how sakura deals little dmg it's always good to push extra imo.

#14
Hadookie said on June 6, 2010 at 4:43 p.m.

Yeah cr.HP definitely has horrendous recovery and I've lost count of the many instances where I've regretted using it (usually against shallow empty jumps).

I find her close st.HP to be rather good at stopping crossup attempts since it seems that the hitbox on it feels like guile's cr.HP, but faster startup.

#15
RedCycloneFTW said on August 21, 2010 at 7:41 a.m.

Everybody knows that Zangief loves Sakura especially when he gets her in that ultra of his he ruins her he gives her the good ol rope a dope treatment.

#16
supermvc3 said on August 31, 2010 at 2:52 p.m.

sakura is the only charcter that can beat me on easy, in this, in mvc2. the girls in this game are overpowerd

#17
rexblood said on June 22, 2011 at 8:34 p.m.

about the "new" air shunpukyaku try this combo in the corner

cr. hp xx EX shunpukyaku, Air EX Shunpukyaku, ultra 2 (537 dmg, 410 stun)
(if you jump in with hp or hk, it does 571 damage, 587 stun) which is awesome

you can also do it without the EX air Shunpukyaku( just do regular, it should do 2 hits) it does 483 damage 370 stun)
if you jump in does 522 dmg 552 stun

should work on most characters, but smaller ones have a more strict timing
so start with zangief since it's easier

#18
Dobbeltje_ said on July 21, 2011 at 3:28 a.m.

SAKURAAAA , love the LP shouoken MP shouoken anti air

#19
jalitoberry said on August 27, 2011 at 4:35 p.m.

sakura is too good.

#20
careful_u_might_hurt_yourself said on October 13, 2011 at 7:31 a.m.

@Thwomp

ahahahaha "Sakura leg and panty action"

#21
Virtuoso said on October 30, 2011 at 4:07 p.m.

Ohh! very interesting. I never in my life played Street Fighter but when release SF4 I wanted to play, I am a noob in SF but I'm learning a lot.

Thanks.

#22
MaysTheCraze said on November 10, 2013 at 11:57 a.m.

Is this ever going to be updated? lol

#23
RedRyu said on December 29, 2013 at 10:39 a.m.

I know, right? It's 2013 you think they would contribute to the fgc. No wonder why it's called eventsnubs. /:(

#24
RedRyu said on December 29, 2013 at 10:41 a.m.

Did I say 2013? Who gives a $4!1 the economy's still havin problems.

#25
SSJ3X said on March 13, 2014 at 2:01 p.m.

Man I wrote this a long time ago, and it's still isn't updated o_o...

#26
XxShotoVenomxX said on March 26, 2014 at 6:20 a.m.

great character love her tatsu loop does big damage and i love both her ultras ;)

#27


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