EVO2K9 has come and gone and Sagat was no where to be found in the Top 8 for Street Fighter 4. Seems a little odd for a character that even CAPCOM themselves consider to be overpowered to begin with right?
For all the complaining that goes on in forums about how he is "so broken" and needs to be nerfed you would think at least one Sagat player would break into the top 8. Granted there were over 1000 people who entered EVO, so anything could happen, but he is EASY MODE right? How hard could it be?
There were plenty of Akuma, Rufus and Ryu players in the Top 8 but that does not make those characters better than Sagat, not on paper anyway. This also seems to be the case not only at EVO, but many many tournaments in the US that led up to EVO. For months I'd check results and it was pretty rare to see a Sagat actually win a tournament and very few would even be in the top 8. What the hell, isn't this guy TOP TIER?
So what could it be? What makes it so hard to grab that #1 spot with Sagat?
His size and lack of mobility is a bigger issue than many people care to recognize. When playing characters like Ryu, Akuma and Balrog, if you are not careful and let them get close to you, it's a lot harder for Sagat to create distance between him and his opponent without committing to something like an Uppercut or Tiger Knee. Also, since he is so tall, once he is a sitting duck like that, its much easier to cross him up and keep him locked down compared to the rest of the cast.
For instance, Akuma's far standing Roundhouse, a two hit move that leads to some of his more damaging combos, actually hits twice on a low blocking Sagat instead of just once like it does on many other characters. This may not seem like a big deal, but in a match up like this where Sagat has to hunt down a run away Akuma, something that is counter intuitive to his overall gameplan, this is just one more thing that will test your patience.
His slow walking speed also makes it harder to play footsies and be tricky with him because you can't play with ranges as easily as some other characters like Ryu and Balrog. It's more about throwing a ton of Tiger Shots, hoping your opponent makes a mistake and capitalizing on it with your max damage combo. This is fine if you are an extremely solid player, but under pressure it can prove to be difficult to do everything absolutely by the book in clutch situations.
Another point that was brought up to me by a friend of mine is that Sagat is the very first match up that most people learn. No one wants to lose to a Sagat and it's crucial to learn the Tiger Shot game and everything else in his arsenal to even stand a chance. I highly doubt most players put in as much time playing against say Abel and C. Vipers as they do Sagat and this shows at tournaments. I will watch players go up against some of my friends who play these more unorthodox characters and look completely lost, but soon as they meet up with me in the brackets it's like they've been playing the match up for years.
So what do you guys think? Are these valid reasons for Sagat not winning a ton of tournaments or should us North American Sagat players stop complaining and just practice more?