Xiao Hai: This was how I defeated Daigo's 'Sheng Long' to stand a chance - in-depth tips for the Cammy vs. Ryu match-up

Posted by Cheng Kai 'KarbyP' Sim • May 1, 2014 at 4:04 p.m. PDT

Ultra Street Fighter 4 is currently out in arcades in Japan, but not in China -- and that's a good thing for all of us.

Because since Chinese pro Cammy player Xiao Hai could not get his hands on the game, he decided to spend a bit of his time to write a long and detailed forum post going over all of the pre-match preparatory work he did before going up against MCZ Daigo Umehara at the Topanga World League. Where he managed to beat Daigo rather convincingly, at 7-to-4.

EventHubs reader Ahgama, who first saw Xiao Hai's post on the 17utt.com forums, got his friend to translate the entire piece. He then cleaned it up and sent it to us.

As EventHubs's own KarbyP happens to be Singaporean Chinese, we've also taken a look at the original Chinese text, include anything that Ahgama's friend left out, and edited the entire piece to try and have it read as smoothly as possible.

Hit the jump to read this great piece, which takes a very comprehensive look at the Cammy vs. Ryu match-up, at high-level play.

Xiao Hai even has a neat little trick for beating Daigo's MP 'Sheng Long' -- that's literally Chinese for 'Shoryu' -- to get into point-blank range with Cammy, allowing her to initiate 'Horror Mode'.

That's how Xiao Hai stood a chance.

Match Revision: Xiao Hai vs. Daigo

Since for the moment we can't practice in Ultra Street Fighter 4, and since even in USF4 the Ryu vs. Cammy match-up more or less remains unchanged, in this post I'll share a little about the sort of prep work I do before a match.

By the third night of the competition, I was completely exhausted. After the match with Bonchan, I looked like I was about to collapse. Got back to the hotel at about 1AM, and at that point all I could think about were fight tactics for the matches I would be playing against Xian and Daigo the following day. To the point that I could not sleep at all.

After failing to fall asleep, I got up at about 3AM, turned on the Xbox, and started practicing.

As my first match for the following day would be against Xian, I practiced all of my tactics for the Gen vs. Cammy match-up first. Then I went back to sleep at about 6AM, woke up again at 10AM, felt tired and went to sleep at 1PM, and woke up at 2PM.

By the time I got to the tournament grounds at 4PM, I was so tired that I was yawning the whole way through. So tired that my eyes teared up quite a bit (everyone who saw me at the venue laughed at how tired I had looked), until it was finally time for my matches. Honestly, it was a really tough experience.

Alright, that's enough digressing. On to the main topic at hand: [How did I prepare for my match against Daigo]

First we need to look at the various ways in which Ryu can hurt Cammy, and how Cammy can hurt Ryu.

Usually the matchup is Cammy-Ryu 6-4, but at the top level it's 5-5. Why do I say that? Let's start with a comparison of footsies: Ryu has a slight advantage in terms of attack range with 2mk 2hk. Cammy can counter-poke with 2mk and 5hk (far standing HK).

Further away Cammy has a small technique which is 2mk buffered into Spiral Arrow. If Ryu tries to poke with 2mk he will get hit (with Cammy's 2mk into Spiral Arrow). At this range, Ryu cannot use 2hk to whiff punish, but at top-level play Daigo would not poke at that range anyway.

(After that, further out,) There's a certain range where only Ryu can 2mk Cammy and Cammy can never poke back, as if she pokes back she gets whiff punished.

Even further out, as long as Cammy does not have any EX bars, Ryu can Hadouken. At that range, even if Cammy Focus Absorbs the Hadouken and dash forward (sa66 or "saving Attack, forward dash"), Ryu will still be at frame advantage. Additionally, Hadouken is a move that can do chip damage.

Once Ryu gets the health lead, as long as he does not throw out Hadoukens (which can be punished by EX Spiral Arrow or Ultra)... since Cammy cannot beat Ryu in footsies, Cammy will definitely lose. That is the one absolute advantage Ryu has over Cammy.

So at this point, you might think, "but wait, aren't we forgetting about Cannon Strike?"

True, Cannon Strike is the one move that breaks up this impasse. You could use it to counter Ryu's 2mk.

At high-level play, the main point of this move isn't to hit Ryu. It is more to make Ryu hesitate. Let's analyze it: if a Ryu player wants to counter Cammy's Cannon Strike, then it is very, very easy. All he has to do is to hold back on the stick, and as soon as Ryu sees Cammy jump, DP. If Ryu wants to go for a 2mk poke, just watch Cammy, and visually confirm that Cammy is still on ground before you press the button for real. All pro-level Ryu players can do this.

So how does this change things? The breakthrough comes from the 0.X seconds of psychological warfare that comes into play, when Cammy walks forward. Because it's no longer max Ryu 2mk range once Cammy walks forward, he has to worry about random Cannon Strikes.

Ryu needs 0.X seconds to confirm whether Cammy has jumped or not, so he'll hold back while Cammy is holding forward. And because Cammy's walk-forward speed is faster than Ryu's walk-back, after 0.x seconds here's what the situation turns into: a range where both characters’ 2mk can hit each other.

At this range, being able to hit-confirm from 2mk into Spiral Arrow (don't throw out Spiral Arrow if 2mk is blocked) is the crucial factor. At high-level player, you need this advantage.

(On another note,) Usually 5hk pokes aren't there to hurt Ryu. It's more there for distraction and gauge building. Also throwing 5hk out encourages your opponent to go for a Focus Attack, in which case Cammy can perform, on reaction, 2mk xx Spiral Arrow.

Next, what can Cammy do if meterless? I found that there's a distance where Cammy's 2lk (crouching LK) will not hit Ryu normally, but if Ryu 2mk or throws out a Hadouken then it will hit, which can then be confirmed into Spiral Arrow. Therefore, just walk up and block because Ryu's 2mk does no chip and if canceled into Hadouken then I can Focus Absorb it. Even if he goes straight for the Hadouken (not from crouching MK) it's just a tiny bit of chip. I just need that one chance to knock Ryu down.

For most people, when they see Cammy has meter and leaves for the air, they will always Shoryu. Chances are, 95% it will hit. The remaining 5% only happens when Cammy is too close and Cammy does not do a low EX Cannon Strike as she's jumping, which makes Ryu's immediate MP Shoryu whiff.

Even if Ryu recovers from the whiffed MP Shoryuken without getting punished, he will be scared of a delayed EX Cannon Strike which can evade a 2nd Shoryuken attempt. Therefore Ryu's safest choice here is to block. But if Ryu blocks, Cammy will be at point-blank range and horror mode begins.

How about LP Shoryu then? There's a chance of it getting beaten outright by a low EX Cannon Strike and connecting into combo. And that's the mind game being played here. Without it, Cammy can never get in.

Moving on... Almost every Ryu now knows about 2hp OS throw tech (crouch tech with LP+LK+HP), so a lot of Cammy players do not use low EX Cannon Strikes (as it would get hit by Ryu's crouching HP). How should you deal with this? It's very simple really. Ryu's 2hp is 4f. Cammy's 2lk is 3f. All I have to do is (pretend that I'm going to throw or go for an EX Cannon Strike, but instead) do a delayed 2lk button press. (This beats the 2HP OS throw tech.) If, in response, Ryu goes for a Focus Attack, then all you have to do is go for a 2lk 6lp blockstring. If he performs a focus-backdash, after 2lk Cammy can walk forward 5lp 2mk xx Spiral Arrow.

Some people have noticed that Daigo would sometimes leave Ryu standing still without blocking or doing anything, and think that he's doing that to taunt. That's not the whole story, really. Two reasons: 1) This is a psychological tactic, but we all knew that already. 2) Standing still hurtbox is smaller than moving or crouching.

This is Daigo combining psychological warfare and the game system perfectly. But since he also did this last year, I came up with a tactic to counter it, and that is by throwing out a random Spiral Arrow.

It's a complete gamble, but I have a methodology that gives me a very high success rate on this gamble.

I'll try to describe what Daigo is thinking when he does this: When two players are at neutral, to break the stalemate, he will stand still to start the psychological war.

When he decides to stand still he has already decided how long he will stand (0.8s-1.8s) and not hold back to block at all.

If this is a trap for me, he will tap down on the lever to crouch around the 0.5s mark, or pull back to block around the 1.0s.

So for the first couple of times when he attempts this, I'll try to download his habits.

After a few times, when he realises that I consistently did not fall for the trap, he will think that perhaps I have already figured it out and stop the trap setting (by holding back to block after 0.5/1.0s) when leaving Ryu defenseless, to change up the strategy.

At this moment when he decides to change things up, is when his defensive awareness decreases. That's when I immediately Spiral Arrow and hit him with it. You can watch the videos again and it's not hard to find out.

And that's my review of the Cammy-Ryu match-up. Recently I haven't been home a lot, and have been writing these on my mobile phone, so I couldn't include any pictures to illustrate. I thought I'd just share my thought process anyway.

Source: 17utt.com forums. Our thanks to Ahgama for submitting this in!

Translated by Ahgama's friend (who wishes to remain anonymous), and cleaned up by Ahgama and EventHubs's own KarbyP.

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