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Sabrewulf in a nutshell

This will be more of a description and breakdown of the character than a guide on how to play him. I'm going to go in extreme detail about every aspect of the character much more than general strategies. The purpose is to give people who want to pick up the character the proper building blocks for doing so. I find this to be more useful than a “you should be doing this” guide, as it allows players to organically get a feel for the character and naturally find what tools are best for each situation- it's easier to build good habits this way, rather than trying to condition them to make seemingly arbitrary button presses before they know why they are pressing that particular button.

So here is Sabrewulf in a Nutshell


Character Overview

Sabrewulf is the pure embodiment of the rushdown character archetype. He's a ground pounder; to accentuate this, he has tools to keep the opponent out of the air as well. Sabrewulf has insane pressure when he gets in throw range, with extremely positive-on-block normals. However, he prefers to hang around sweep distance, because that's where he can check you with his long-reaching, fast, safe normal pokes that are currently rivaled only by Orchid. At first glance, he appears to be an unsafe character. All his openers are either unsafe (hamstring/jumping slash) or easily shadow-countered (ragged edge); but in reality, Sabrewulf does not need to resort to these tools often. He gets many mixups from his unique cross-up dash, and he is perfectly fine with making you block lengthy frametraps as opposed to opening you up anyway- this only gives him more access to his Shadow Eclipse by giving him meter.


s.MP, cr.MP, cr.HP

This video illustrates the footsies range/speed for Sabrewulf. All his medium punches are 5 frames. His cr.MP outranges a large portion of the cast. His s.MP is of normal range, however it is often faster than many other characters'. His cr.HP and back + s.HP have particularly long range, and much faster than average, and are better on block then most of the cast. All in all- he has some of the best pokes in the game.

So as you can see in the video, Sabrewulf has the best overall range and speed on these normals. More often then not, Sabrewulf is able to throw the first punch because of this. s.MP and cr.MP both have good range, and are 5 frames on startup. cr.MP has slightly more range than s.MP, so unless you are worried about the opponent throwing out a low-crush move, that is your better option at that range. His medium punches, while faster and longer reaching than most other characters', aren't often BOTH faster and longer reaching. For example: his mediums do not out-range Jago's mediums, but does beat his crouching medium in terms of speed.

But his poke still demands a massive amount of respect, because his sweep (cr.HP) has an extremely fast startup and is relatively safe on block compared to most other sweeps. With a 6 frame startup, and a range that beats virtually every other 6 frame normal, the opponent is always in danger of a hard knockdown if they attempt to out-poke Sabrewulf. It's hard to understate the utility of this move. This is what makes opponents crouch and sit there for you to use overpower on them to start your frame traps. This is what tempts opponents to resort to their negative-on-block advancing low crush moves. At -6, cr.HP is technically unsafe, but with the fast startup, opponents must be focusing almost exclusively on using a far-reaching punisher to successfully do so. It is generally quite safe compared to most other sweeps.

cr.HP is quick enough to punish most other sweeps as well. At the same time, opponents can't do the same against Wulf. He can throw out his sweep more often and more safely than other characters. There aren't many moves outside of shadow moves that can punish a -6 sweep from Wulf at max range. Most other sweeps are -7 or more on block and can be punished by Wulf's 6-frame sweep. It demands a tremendous amount of respect at sweep distance, and it helps Sabrewulf to control the footsies game. Abuse it, and it will let you abuse many of your other tools as well once they are trained to respect it.


Overpower (Back + s.HP)

Why is it so great Wulf's normals demand respect in footsies range? Overpower. Back + s.HP is Sabrewulf's command-normal, and his best tool of all. It has deceptively long reach, is + on block, and can be charged for more reach and more frame advantage. All Sabrewulf players should become intimately familiar with the maximum range of overpower, because it is VERY deceptive due to the extra forward lunge at the beginning. A level 1 overpower reaches far enough, that at maximum range, Sabrewulf will still be out of medium-normal-move range after it connects sometimes. Be wary of this so your frame traps don't whiff.

Look at the RANGE of overpower shown in this image. It combines the first frame before Sabrewulf executes the overpower, with the final frame of his overpower to reall show you how incredibly far this reaches, especially in as few as 7 frames. Though you are seeing the second active frame of overpower, which technically hits on frame 8, but is +3 instead of two. The two active frames of overpower have slightly different distances, with the second frame reaching the furthest. Therefore, if you hit overpower at maximum distance, you have hit on the last active frame and are +3. You are out of range of 4 frame light attacks, and are therefore free to frame trap this +3 advantage into a second +7 overpower. This is actually what I am doing in the first video of this section. I have Wulf set to record this pattern, while I try to interrupt the next overpower with Jago's punch- but I can't. It frametraps.

Overpower has 2 main benefits. First, it has GREAT range and is + on block. It's a footsie tool for sweep range, and makes that range dominant for Sabrewulf. Second, it reels Sabrewulf in closer, so he can initiate frame traps, block pressure, and possible tick-throws using his above-average throw range. Overpower doesn't just allow Sabrewulf to start frame traps, it also allows him to continue them. After any jump-in attack or any cr.LK, Sabrewulf get's a guaranteed overpower. In particular, cr.LK → Overpower can be chained indefinitely until the opponent DP's out of it, Shadow Counters, or back dashes. Against some character, like Fulgore, this is particularly dangerous because if you corner him without meter, he only has 1 of those 3 options remaining- and it is risky and unsafe. Glacius (with his lack of a backdash) is also particularly vulnerable to this.

The cr.LK chain effect shows how overpower reels Sabrewulf in closer, whereas most frame traps end because characters are pushed out. Sabrewulf is not pushed out so easily thanks to overpower. This not only means the frame traps are longer, but it means there are more opportunity for tick-throws during these block strings- because Sabrewulf remains closer for longer. This next video shows how using overpower gives Sabrewulf more tick throw opportunities than he would otherwise without using it. In a single block string, you can have THREE different times where the opponent has to guess if the next move is going to be a tick-throw, or a normal. This is a very dangerous situation.

I am purposely slowing myself down in the video and not making the cr.LK → overpower frame trap as I should be, just so it's slow enough that you can clearly see what is happening. It's important in a real game you don't miss any frames between cr.LK and overpower because it is a very strict frame trap and does not have a chain input buffer.

Later I will go into how throws combined with dash are an effective way of opening an opponent up. I say this because Sabrewulf players should train themselves to be patient, and go for these block strings to build up meter to keep a Shadow Eclipse ready. Sabrewulf players should not be so eager to go for mixups rather than block strings all the time, if they know their block strings will still leave them plenty of opportunity for opening an opponent up. Don't worry about ALWAYS confirming an Overpower on hit into Ragged Edge for the combo- know sometimes that you need meter, and that you have good chances of getting a combo after a meter-building block string with tick throws anyway.


cr.LK, cr.MK, s.MK

Sabrewulf's “kick normals” are really his “bite normals”. These aren't footsie tools as their range is much shorter, they do not chain into themselves, and s.MK is much slower than Wulf's other pokes. cr.LK, cr.MK, s.MK each have one thing in common: good frame advantage on block. These are Wulf's pressure normals, though each plays a unique and distinctly different role.

As previously mentioned, cr.LK is an amazing tool on block. It is +4, which opens up a frame trap with Sabrewulf's 7-frame-startup overpower move. With a 4 frame startup, and 5 frames of hit advantage, it can be linked into itself several times. However, after linking this move a couple times and hit-confirming it a combo, the combo-meter is near-full and you can't get much damage. So often times it may be preferable to opt for just going into overpower and mixing up the opponent with either continued pressure from Sabrewulf's bite normals or a tick throw. The range on cr.LK is quite short, so while it's block-advantage makes it the best for post-overpower pressure, it is sometimes only possible to use cr.MK to continue pressure without whiffing. So while cr.LK is a great block string tool, it lacks some versatility. If you intend to use this for a block string you are committed to that, as you can't gain much from punishing button presses that attempt to interrupt the string. Your only real gain for an opponent not respecting this pressure is you get a free overpower follow-up that can't be shadow countered. Though one should not see this as a small gain given Sabrewulf's excellent pressure, and the opportunities offered by follow-up tick throws.

cr.MK functions somewhat similarly to cr.LK. It has slightly better range, so it is sometimes a go-to pressure normal after an overpower at certain distances- however it is not as + on block or hit. What stands out about this move is the active frames. The number of active frames make this an extremely effective meaty attack. Hitting at the end of the active frames (which overlap with recovery frames) make this more + on hit. Hitting on one of the last several active frames will make this move +5 on block/hit, where it is normally +2 on either: this makes it actually possible to link cr.MK into Sabrewulf's light punch, or safely frame-trap it into overpower (neither of these possible unless you hit on the last active frames of cr.MK). I am not putting this forward so much as a tactic you should definitely do (though you definitely can if you wish)- I am more using this to demonstrate how the superb number of active frames of cr.MK really stand out. If you find you are having trouble making the frame trap from cr.LK into overpower, you may have an easier time doing so on knockdown pressure if you become adept at timing a cr.MK meaty to hit on the last few active frames- this affords an extra frame of leniency on the frame-trap link. In the video above, I use my dashes to time the link (dashes have a 5 frame input buffer towards the end, which helps the timing). All in all, cr.MK tends to be optimal for starting block pressure on knockdown, for using as a meaty attack after a knockdown-crossup dash mixup, and when the reach of cr.LK is not enough in certain situations.

cr.LK and cr.MK are both good tools for pressure, but as previously mentioned- you often commit to pressure with no chance of combos when using them. Your way of opening the opponent up comes with tick-throw opportunities with the side benefit of meter building. s.MK gives a little bit of both. It's good for block pressure on knockdown, and can efficiently hit-confirm into a combo. As a Sabrewulf player, you should be VERY comfortably with linking s.LP after a successfully connected s.MK. While it isn't as efficient for you KV meter as a simple cr.MK into ragged edge as a meaty, it is hit-confirmable so you can choose between pressure and damage more freely than with the other meaty attacks. This move also has a 7 frame startup and 2 active frames, so you do run ore of a risk of accidentally whiffing it as a meaty early than you do with cr.MK, but with practice this should not happen often. You can much more easily confirm into a combo with s.MK than cr.LK, however the pressure options are more limited after s.MK: the +2 on block isn't enough for a guaranteed overpower. Finally, the 7 frame startup means the opponent has slightly more frames to attempt to react if you use s.MK as a meaty after a post-knockdown dash (as opposed to cr.MK which is faster). It's not too much, but may still be significant enough to make a dash-through + meaty long enough to be reactable at times against certain quick-reflexed opponents (given the crossup dash was not ambiguous).

Both cr.MK and s.MK do very well on counter hit. So if your opponent's wakeup was reversed and you get a counter-hit off stuffing it, you will find for example cr.MK can chain into another cr.MK. This means you can use cr.MK to confirm into a combo similar to s.MK even if your original intent ws a block string. The chained cr.MK's on counter hits give you plenty of time to realize your block string can now be confirmed into a combo instead if you wish to do so.

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j.HP, j.HK, j.MK

Sabrewulf's air attacks are serviceable. Not as good as other character- but much better than you'd expect from a ground-pounder. Sabrewulf is pretty up to speed, with the only difference being slightly less startup and/or slightly less active frames on air normals compared to other characters'. Sabrewulf's best air-to-airs are his j.MK and j.HK. The former has a quicker startup, and the latter has better reach. Both get the job done good enough. Sabrewulf's only decent jump in attack is j.HK, though it gives very good advantage on block. Any j.HK that is blocked allows Sabrewulf to safely frame-trap into Overpower, and even charge it to a higher level. This has the benefit of getting even more frame advantage out of overpower, and making it more difficult to shadow counter it after a jump-in.

However, Sabrewulf should avoid taking to the air as much as possible. While his air normals are good enough- he lacks a crossup and none of them have very good range. An opponent may backdash out of range and hit Sabrewulf on trip guard, or even forward dash under Sabrewulf as he jumps for an easy full punish. Other mishaps such as Orchid doing a blockade runner, Spinal sliding, or Jago windkicking can put them behind you accidentally, and allow them to punish your jump- given none of Sabrewulf's jump attacks have a crossup hitbox that will guard behind him. In short- avoid jumping when possible.


back throw and forward throw

So far I've talked a lot about Sabrewulf's throw, and for good reason. It is the move that makes hi block strings so dangerous. Sabrewulf's above-average oki pressure makes the hard knockdown of a throw much more dangerous than usual. Sabrewulf has very good throw range. It allows him more tick-throw opportunities during block string, whereas a character like Jago has this opportunity only at the point where he is extremely close to the other character. Overpower allows for even more tick throw opportunities. To sum it up, Sabrewulf can throw opponents a very large amount of times, and by all means should.

Sabrewulf's throw gives him the opportunity to utilize his powerful crossup dash. His forward dash is 20 frames, so he can dash twice while an opponent is knocked down after a throw, and still have time for a meaty attack. This fulfills the role of reversing wakeups and acting as a safe-mixup. The startup of the forward dash is somewhat hard to see when Sabrewulf is close to the opponent, meaning a dash + meaty attack gives less time to react than one would normally think a 24 frame mixup would. However, a dash + quick normal is still 24 frames in total, and it is possible for this to be a little less of a true 50/50 than it should be. Many Sabrewulf players use Shadow Eclipse after a cross-up dash, as the 0-frame freeze removes even that slight possibility of the opponent reacting rather than guessing. It becomes a 20 frame mixup with a hard-to-see startup rather than a 24+ frame mixup. Especially if you are using s.MK as your meaty instead of cr.MK: a dash + s.MK amounts to a total of 27 frames. Even with the start of the dash difficult to see, the end of it plus the startup of the meaty attack can make it blocked more often then it should be compared to cr.MK as a followup. If you still want the hit-confirmability/pressure mixture of s.MK after a throw knockdown, I recommend using a back throw.

(SPECIAL NOTE): This paragraph was written before the season 2 patch. It mentions Sabrewulf's dash works as a strong mixup because the startup is hard to see, or Shadow Eclipse can be used as a way to further limit the reactibility of the dash. Two changes in the patch revert this. First, Sabrewulf's dash is no longer as front loaded. More of his dash animation now happens on the recovery frames when he is behind you as opposed to in front of you. This makes it more noticeable and more reactible in general. On top of that, Shadow Eclipse will lose it's 0 frame freeze and therefore no longer be reliable as a mixup. Therefore, I HIGHLY recommend Sabrewulf players start adjusting to using the ambiguous back-throw crossup dash setup, as it will still remain a strong 50/50 regardless of this change. Non-ambiguous dashes and double dashes will STILL be useful for reversing wakeups and being able to more safely apply oki pressure, but they WILL NOT be as effective for mixups as they used to be. Use the ambiguous dash setup in the video below if you want good mixups off throws.

Sabrewulf's back throw has more advantage than his forward throw. As you can see in the video above: after a back throw, Sabrewulf has enough time to talk back to an ambiguous distance before dashing in on the opponent, making it extremely unclear to the opponent which side Sabrewulf will be on at the end. Sabrewulf can land in front, or behind, and the opponent does not have the same chance of reacting to this as an unambigous dash or double-dash after a throw. This is only possible after a back throw. Sabrewulf's forward throw does not have enough advantage to back up to an ambiguous distance, and land in front of the dash in time to safely bait a DP wake-up if he chooses to do so.



Sabrewulf is the most dangerous character to jump on. However, opponents often can't rule this out, as staying on the ground just allows them to be constantly out-poked, and they will sometimes jump as a way of mixing up their approach. Eclipse is Sabrewulf's way of reminding them they have no such option.

Light, Medium, and Heavy Eclipse have a 3, 5, and 7 frame startup respectively. They are not invincible on startup, however Sabrewulf is invincible during the active frames of medium and heavy eclipse. The advantage of eclipse over other anti-air moves is clear: it's hitbox. The horizantal reach of the hitbox is decent enough, but it is the vertical reach that makes it stand out. Most anti-air moves have a hitbox that focuses on the forward-diagonal region in front of them. This often makes them less effective when dealing with jump ins from a close distance- ones that often will cross-up. By the time the anti-air move is active, the opponent is directly above you and in the blind spot of your anti-air's hitbox. This is a vulnerability of even Wulfie's amazing cr.HK anti-air. Eclipse covers this blind spot, as you can see in this screenshot of the hitbox for Sabrewulf's heavy eclipse. Sabrewulf players should stick to using heavy eclipse and medium eclipse. Preferably heavy, but medium is 2 frames quicker on startup if you were late in reacting to the jump- the difference for medium is the hitbox is not as large as heavy.

cr.HK is also an excellent anti-air that shouldn't be overlooked just be eclipse is amazing as well. It has more active frames than eclipse, good reach, and a startup that is faster than the anti-air normals of many other characters. It's 7 frame startup means this is also your go-to heavy manual. That majority of the time you connect with a cr.HK, you should be able to cancel it into heavy eclipse for more damage. Sometimes the heavy eclipse will whiff if done at max range.

Shadow Eclipse has received a massive overhaul. So I have currently cut the section dealing with it until I can gain more experience with it's post-patch version.

Lastly, Sabrewulf's running uppercut is a decent anti-air option as well. It combines the horizantal reach of his cr.HK anti-air with the vertical reach of his eclipse anti-airs. It is good for countering deep jump-ins designed to land outside of the range of cr.HK. It also efficiently counters neutral jumps an opponent might try if they are looking to counter and punish a running Sabrewulf that may go into hamstring or jumping slash. It's final utility is as Sabrewulf only safe options to cancel out of his run move. It is -2 on block, and if it hits at maximum distance is slightly less negative (it cannot be made to be + on block). It is quick, has long reach, and a very short recovery- so it is an optimal way to stop a run early enough to whiff in front of the opponent and not worry about being punished for that whiff.


Running uppercut has a few unique traits that can extend it's utility past previously mentioned situations. First, it allows Sabrewulf to get his highest-damaging meterless anti-air combos. The higher in the jump you catch the opponent, the stronger the combo can be. You should be able to catch opponents high in their jump often with this, because the run moves Sabrewulf forward. Running uppercut is often a move used in prediction of a jump at maximum jump range. If they do jump, you'll hit them just before they reach the apex- if they don't jump, you'll still hit them at a far enough distance to be safe from the consequences of -1 or -2 frame disadvantage. The second extended utility is the option-select nature of run. If you find you mistimed the start of run such that the hitbox of running uppercut will whiff behind the airborne enemy or be under them (it is possible to whiff under at the apex height of a jump), you have the option of instead going into a hamstring which will safely slide you under the enemy, even far enough behind them to be missed by a cross-up-hitbox of certain jump attacks, even working as a great hitbox lowering tripguard (similar to how Orchid can use her sweep for the same purpose).

The flexibility of run cancels bolsters the utility of running uppercut. Sabrewulf players should be accustomed to knowing when and what to cancel into to counter an opponent's jump while running.

To put it all together, here is the air-control of Sabrewulf given by his 3 main AA moves. I am using heavy eclipse in this case. In order of which move comes out fastest, it is cr.HK (frame 7), heavy eclipse (frame 9 for largest hitbox), and running uppercut varies, but a quick cancel should be somewhere around 8 frames or less.