+-----------------------------+ 
|VIRTUA FIGHTER 4: SARAH FAQ  |
|by Robyrt (robyrt@marney.org)|
|Latest version: 0.4 (4/3/02) |
+-----------------------------+


/---------------\
TABLE OF CONTENTS
\---------------/


- Introduction
- Legend
- Movelist
  - Normal Stance
  - Flamingo Starters
  - Flamingo Stance
  - Throws
  - Miscellaneous Moves
- Basic Strategy and Flowcharts
- Select Combos
- Credits


/-------------\
VERSION HISTORY
\-------------/


0.4 - Formatting. First release version.
0.3 - Select Combos, Flowcharts.
0.2 - Movelist, Intro, Legend, Basic Strategy.
0.1 - Movelist - Normal, FL Starters, Throws.


/----------\
INTRODUCTION
\----------/


This FAQ is intended for the beginning or intermediate Sarah player, not a
complete newbie to VF4. If you don't know how the game works, go through
training and arcade mode a few times until you get the hang of the basic game
mechanics. This FAQ is also not intended to be an exhaustive list of every
flowchart or combo available, only the ones I consider effective or stylish.
Speaking of style, Sarah has plenty of it, especially now that she's a viable
character again. Don't forget that you're playing a game, you're mostly here to
have fun, and having fun while also winning handily is the best kind. :-)
Primarily, Sarah is a poking and MC centered character most of the time, and
becomes very aggressive and flowchart-oriented in flamingo stance. You won't
have to use flamingo stance often (or at all), but it's essential as a backup
option to change the flow of a match or get in some damage you normally
wouldn't from a confusing flamingo flowchart.


/----\
LEGEND
\----/


Button Layout:

ub  u  uf
  \ | /          
b---n---f        P K
  / | \        G
db  d  df

G/P/K = Tap G, P, or K respectively
,     = One after the other
+     = At the same time
->    = Next hit of a combo
b     = tap back (away from your opponent)
B     = hold back
MC    = major counter (hit while opponent starts a move)
mC    = minor counter (hit while opponent finishes a move)

This FAQ assumes the reader has been through training mode at least once, and
thus should be familiar with things like techrolls (d+P+K+G or u+P+K+G as you
hit the ground) or bounce combos (land a hit as the opponent hits the ground). 

Your "foot position" (sometimes "stance") refers to the position you are in
relation to the opponent. It's best to explain this in a diagram, where you
are looking down from above and X is where somebody's foot goes:

YOU     X      X   OPPONENT
          X  X

This is "open stance". Your front leg matches up with his front leg. In this
stance, a kickflip or sidekick is more likely to connect.

YOU     X    X     OPPONENT
          X    X

This is "closed stance". Your front leg matches up with his back leg. In this
stance, throws are more likely to connect.


/----------------------\
MOVELIST - NORMAL STANCE
\----------------------/


Punch - P(G)
------------
Sarah has the fastest punch in the game, meaning this move is great for
interrupting an opponent's attack. Although just pressing P will get you a
punch, it's a good idea to press G as the punch recovers, to make sure you
don't accidentally do a PK combo when you really wanted, say, a punch and a
d+K puntkick. (Hence the P(G) notation.) Although the punch gets used a lot
when you really need to MC something, it doesn't do the damage of PPP, so
it's not always your best option.

Punch, Kick - PK
----------------
Just like PPP, except that it leaves you in a better position after it hits.
However, you shouldn't be using it unless you really need the damage anyway,
so a slight advantage when it hits should be the least of your worries.

Punch, Sidekick - P,d+K
-----------------------
A useful addition to Sarah's flowcharts, the sidekick is actually better than
her normal sidekick, so it's great to keep opponents on their toes. It's not
quite as powerful or advantageous as PK, but the sidekick stagger against a
croucher is certainly worth it if your opponent hasn't learned not to crouch
by now. It's also very good at catching a dodging opponent, but only in open
stance (where the characters' leading legs face each other).

Double Punches - PP
-------------------
Use these as a flowchart starter - use the threat of a third punch to prevent
interrupts, or cancel and go for an elbow if you think they'll crouch.
However, it's not as useful in most situations as a simple P(G), and leaves you
at a disadvantage on normal hit (always bad for someone like Sarah, who wants
to keep the pressure on 24/7).

Double Punch, Kick - PPK
------------------------
Combos only. The kick hits high and is rather weak, but hits very low to the
ground for a high kick, allowing you to scrape in a couple extra hits as they
bounce.

Flash Piston Punch - PPP or PP,u+P or PP,b+P
--------------------------------------------
When you want quick damage, use this. While PPP is the only version that lets
you follow up with a rising knee (see below), the third punch is inferior to
both other versions. In a nutshell, the PPu+P third punch is faster, while the
PPb+P third punch gives you less of a disadvantage on MC. Unfortunately,
unless you get an MC, you'll be at a significant disadvantage, so use PK
instead unless you're trying to lure your opponent into a counterattack by
delaying one of the punches (all of which can be significantly delayed).

Triple Punches, Flipkick - PPP,b+K
Triple Punches, Jumpkick - PPP,u+K
Triple Punches, Rising Knee - PPPK
----------------------------------
Since Sarah lacks even the basic mid/low guessing game after PPP, try to stay
away from these except in combos. They aren't guaranteed, so you can rarely
expect to connect them on the ground; basically, use them to keep the
opponent from throwing or crouch blocking after a PPP. If you want to catch
crouching opponents, the jumpkick executes the fastest, so use it in those
rare occasions when you haven't been hit out of the PPP already. In combos,
the flipkick does the most damage, so it's usually the best choice. The knee
should only be used when you're trying for a ring out with a combo, since it
pushes them fairly far back on an air hit.

Low Punch - d+P
---------------
Another basic tool to interrupt an opponent's attack. d+P MC -> throw is a
fairly simple tactic, and very effective, especially against the AI. Be
careful: it can be blocked standing, which leaves you wide open for a stagger
or low throw. Also, Sarah's options from a crouch are fairly limited, so
buffering in a forward dash after a blocked d+P is probably a good idea. (For
example, if you want to use the knee after a d+P, input f,f,f+K to stand and
knee instead of getting a rising knee.)

Elbow - f+P
Elbow-Knee - f+PK
Elbow-Chop - f+P,df+P
---------------------
The elbow is Sarah's fastest mid move and one of her best moves overall. When
it hits, either of the followups is guaranteed: the knee is a guaranteed
knockdown and the chop takes off 1 DP from Shun. More importantly, after a
blocked elbow, you can safely follow up with the chop. The elbow is great for
poking, and is very safe itself: either followup can be delayed to catch an
opponent who goes for the throw or counterattack. On MC, a delayed elbow-knee
will float for a small combo. After a couple rounds of getting interrupted
after an elbow, you'll probably have regained the initiative enough to even
try for a throw after the elbow. On a sidenote, the chop after the elbow takes
off only 1 DP from Shun, not 2.

Back Knuckle Turn - b,b+P
-------------------------
Like the name says, Sarah punches while she turns around. Sarah actually has
decent options with her back turned, and this is the fastest and safest way to
get there. However, you won't need to use this often, since most of the time
you'll be better off with the ability to block than with a sweep.

Kick - K
Kick, Punch - KP
Double Kicks- KK
----------------
Sarah's high kick has a lot more priority than it did in VF3, so it will
connect fairly reliably at close range. In general, it's a waste of time to go
for a single or double kick, since the KP is so much better. The KP will
actually float the opponent on normal hit, guaranteeing a simple combo like
b+K-> u+K for respectable damage. Since KP starts with a kick, it's fast; since
it ends with a punch, it's safe when blocked; since it hits high, it can make
for an unpleasant surprise against a reversal-happy opponent. A great style
move, or simply one to pull out when your usual tricks are getting taken down.

Dragon Cannon - db+K
--------------------
The "DC" is one of Sarah's best moves, and certainly her best float starter.
This move should be in the back of your mind all the time, waiting for the
opponent to whiff or try a charge move. When he does, nail him with a combo
(the easiest guaranteed one being df+PK, u+K) for upwards of 70 damage. During
execution, Sarah ducks low enough to avoid high punches, and since the kick
sweeps upward, it's easy to get an MC with this (provided, of course, your
opponent isn't blocking). It is, of course, massively counterable when blocked,
so don't throw it out all the time. If you're feeling adventurous, whip one
out at the start of the round against an aggressive opponent (it will just
barely miss an opponent at the start).

Knee - f+K
Knee, Rising Knee - f+K,df+K
----------------------------
While the knee is a very important move for characters like Wolf and Jeff, and
still gets some decent combos for Sarah, it's overshadowed by the superior DC.
It does move her forward a little more than the DC, but it'll still whiff just
as often as its fellow float starter. The rising knee afterward is almost
completely useless (its only use being to catch opponents who are slow to
throw after a blocked knee, since it will connect after the knee only in rare
wall combo situations); just stick with the knee and hope you can d+P a botched
counterattack. The knee also changes your foot position, so some combos may
have reversed stance requirements.

Lunging Knee - f,f+K
--------------------
Great range and a guaranteed knockdown make this the move to use when you see
something whiff at long range. While it hits mid, Sarah lifts off the ground
slightly, so it'll still miss things like Lei's crab stance or a sitting Shun
at most distances. At close or medium range, you're probably better off using
one of her crescents or the DC isntead.

Rising Knee, Descending Knee - D,f+KK
Rising Knee, Knee - D,f+K, (pause) K
-------------------------------------
When using this, you should automatically go for the knee (not the descending
knee) followup. The knee does more damage, leaves you closer to the opponent
afterwards for possible okizeme, and will MC an opponent who's slow to
counterattack after the rising knee is blocked. The only use for the
descending knee is in combos, where it will sometimes connect for extra style
points. The rising knee itself is a good counterattack or MC tool from a
crouch, but it doesn't have much range and is easily beaten by the opponent's
d+P. However, the damage is very respectable and both followups are guaranteed.

Toekick, Puntkick - d+P+K,K
---------------------------
A very reliable float starter for Sarah, with an easy followup being P, d+KK.
Although the toekick itself is a rather pathetic, slow move, the puntkick
afterward is guaranteed, floats for a nice big combo, and can even be delayed
to protect you after a blocked toekick. Because it's 2 hits, both of which are
fairly slow, it's best used at medium range, where you can catch your adversary
as he runs in. If you're on the offense at medium range, though, it's better to
use something that moves you forward more, like d+KK or uf+K+G.

Puntkick, Sidekick - d+KK
-------------------------
Yet another one of Sarah's VF2 standbys that's been (mostly) restored to its
former glory for VF4. The puntkick itself is moderately fast, hits very low to
the ground (it will reliably hit on the bounce in combos), has good range, and
knocks down on MC. With said MC hit, the sidekick is guaranteed; if blocked,
you can delay the sidekick to snuff most counterattacks. It's a great way to
move closer (both hits are safe when blocked), and is great for hitting people
out of their stances (Lei and Shun especially). Of note is that the puntkick
will not change your foot position (open / closed) but the sidekick will.

Illusion Kick - df+KK
Mirage Kick - df+KKK
Illusion Kick, Puntkick - df+KK,f+K
Illusion Kick, Low Kick - df+KK,b+K
-----------------------------------
Since Sarah's sidekick is rather pitiful in comparison to her elbow, she
compensates by getting a free second hit. The second kick comes out very fast
after the first, but it does hit high, so be prepared for opponents to duck.
Fortunately, you have a guessing game after the Illusion Kick - a low kick, a
mid-hitting puntkick, or a high kick. All but the puntkick will knock down
(all three on MC), so the low kick is generally the best option (since the
Mirage Kick followup is easily ducked and the puntkick is easy to see coming).
The first hit is rather slow, but it's an effective tool to keep the pressure
on when you're out of elbow range.

Backspin Kick Turn - b,b+K
--------------------------
While this move will float slightly on MC and gives you plenty of style points,
it's just generally worse than a Turn Back Knuckle if for some reason you want
to turn your back. Since Sarah is slightly off the ground, an MC will land you
a painful air combo. Although this kick is a semicircular attack (it must be
dodged to Sarah's front), don't count on it to hit a dodging opponent; use K+G.

Spin Turn Kick - D,b+K
Double Spin Kick - D,b+KK
-------------------------
While these kicks hit high, they have very good priority and are an effective
way to turn around as an extra option from crouch. The first kick turns you
around, while the (guaranteed) second kick turns you back forward.
Unfortunately, they leave you at a disadvantage as you turn, so the second
kick should only be used when you're desperate for another 15 points of damage.
The first kick takes off 1 DP, but again, a simple df+P chop is easier to land
and more effective for taking off DP.

Flipkick - ub+K
---------------
The flipkick is nowhere near as useful as it was in previous games, since Sarah
now has a noticeable lag on startup and does less than 40 damage. While it does
knock down and do a respectable chunk of damage, it does less damage than an
edge kick, a DC, etc. and is much more easily counterable when blocked. Even in
combos, it will connect only in open stance, so this move should be avoided
except for style points when you're feeling overconfident.

Full Spin Dive - u+K or uf+K
Full Spin Dive, Moonsault - u+KP or uf+KP
-----------------------------------------
The FSD is Sarah's new float starter, and it's got several things to recommend
it. It can't be reversed, it avoids low moves, it does respectable damage on
MC, and it can be followed up with a moonsault to switch positions easily.
The uf+K version travels slightly forward, but executes a couple frames slower.
Unfortunately, Sarah turns around and jumps during the execution of the FSD, so
if you're MCed you're looking at a very painful back stagger or float combo.
It's also very easy to see coming, so don't expect to be catching anyone by
surprise. Its main use is against reversal-happy opponents, since a round kick
would be better against low moves and is much safer to use.

Round Kick - u+K+G
Step Round Kick - f+K+G
-----------------------
This move has always been Sarah's tool of choice for trashing low kicks, low
rising attacks, sweeps, etc. It knocks down, is safe when blocked (although you
are at a sizable disadvantage), and floats on MC. Since Sarah is airborne
during execution, it'll avoid and punish low moves, but leaves you hanging if
you get MCed. The f+K+G version is better for advancing and easier to time
against rising attacks, but the u+K+G has better combo potential and executes
much faster. Feel free to use this as a poke against defensive opponents,
setting you up for okizeme on a normal hit.

Tornado Kick - uf+K+G
---------------------
Treat this move as you would any really slow attack - only to be used as a
surprise. Although it's got a very obvious windup animation and  hits high,
it's difficult to counter when blocked and always knocks down for a decent
amount of damage. It also gets you plenty of style points if you manage to MC
something (Sarah leaps high enough to avoid low and even some mid moves).
Still, it's too risky for most situations, but if you've managed to back your
opponent into a defensive position, it's a fine way to close in for your pokes.

Side Hook Kick - db+K+G
-----------------------
Sarah's axekick-style move has been toned down to the point of near-
uselessness. It's slower and has less range than the puntkick, and its only
redeeming quality is that it causes a "slam" animation (that can't be
techrolled out of) during a float combo, and forces the opponent to crouch
(where Sarah's mid-hitting arsenal gets free damage). Still, even on MC, it
doesn't have the guaranteed damage of the puntkick or round kick followups, so
it's restricted to specific combos where the slam will allow an extra ground
hit. While it takes off 1 DP from Shun, that's no great shakes either.

Crescent Kick - K+G
-------------------
Unlike most crescents, Sarah's is actually fairly useful because it hits mid.
Use this to nail dodging opponents (since it's a circular attack, it'll catch
them during the dodge, even if they crouch dash to avoid getting punished).
Otherwise, don't bother, since you have plenty of other mid-hitting kicks
(like a puntkick or toekick) that execute faster and do better damage.

Shin Slicer - d+K+G
-------------------
Purely by the numbers, the shin slicer is a fairly useless move: slow, 
staggerable/low throwable even when it hits, all for a measly 25 damage.
However, on an MC, the shin slicer finally becomes useful, as it causes a foot
crumple (meaning a free pounce). It's also got surprising range (more than any
sweep), so use it at long range to lessen the disadvantage you're at without
the MC. Besides, you can count on it to hit at least some of the time: since
low attacks aren't exactly Sarah's strong point, opponents probably aren't
crouching except to avoid throws, and certainly not crouching at mid to long
range (where her mid-hitting arsenal comes into play).

Double-Footed Sweep - df+K+G
----------------------------
When you're not sure your shin slicer will MC, use this instead, since it
always knocks down. It's also a circular attack, so it'll hit dodging opponents
fairly often and can only be reversed by Aoi. Unfortunately, it's just as easy
to see coming as the shin slicer, so use it only after successfully avoiding an
attack to hopefully catch the followup.

Low Kicks - D+KK
----------------
Like most characters, Sarah's low kicks are fairly pathetic and should be used
only when you're desperate for damage. The second kick isn't guaranteed,
doesn't knock down, and leaves you just as vulnerable as the first kick - that
is, at a disadvantage even on MC. If you're looking to eke out those last 10
points of health, you might get lucky with a low hit, but you'll probably be
better off hoping for a low punch interrupt.

Crash Tornado - D,n+K+G (charge)
--------------------------------
Without charge, this is simply a high-hitting, slower version of her normal K+G
crescent, but on a full charge, it hits mid for very nice damage and staggers
when guarded. Sarah is half-crouched while charging, making it useful to avoid
some high moves while you go for the charge attack, but unless you have the
copious amounts of time required, don't bother.

Spin Edge Kick - b+K+G
Spin Heel Sword - ub+K+G
------------------------
Although they look similar, these moves should be used rather differently. The
b+K+G is faster and causes a special "slam" animation that can't be techrolled,
meaning a pounce is guaranteed. It also has great priority, since Sarah's leg
moves in a downward arc right in front of her. The ub+K+G, on the other hand,
has more range and causes a "flop" animation allowing for a small combo
(generally df+KKd+K). Most of the time, the b+K+G is better because of the
speed and priority, but against obviously whiffed moves or stances the extra
range on the ub+K+G is useful. The Spin Heel Sword is also more stylish, and
isn't as risky as some style options like the uf+K+G Tornado Kick (and it
switches foot position without being as punishable as, say, a knee).

Right/Left Side Kick - u,P+K+G or d,P+K+G
-----------------------------------------
While Sarah's dodge attack isn't great, it's serviceable. It resembles a
sidekick, but gives a sizable advantage even on a normal hit, and a lot of
disadvantage when blocked. If you don't think a float starter will connect
after your dodge, you can go for this, but it's just as unsafe if blocked as
any of her more damaging options.


/--------------------------\
MOVELIST - FLAMINGO STARTERS
\--------------------------/


Chop-Kick - df+PK
-----------------
The fastest way of getting into flamingo stance (the chop executes in 12
frames), and also more damaging than most. However, both hits are high and it
doesn't give the impressive frame advantages the other starters do. However,
against aggressive opponents, it may be the only option. As an extra bonus,
the chop takes off 2 DP from Shun, and the Chop-Kick is actually a staple in
combos, since it does good damage and provides access to the excellent flamingo
flipkick.

Switch Kick - b+K
-----------------
The kick itself is rather short-ranged, medium speed, and weak, but it's faster
than the Double Rise Kick. While the advantage times you get on an MC are
better than the Hide Side Kick or the Chop-Kick, they can't touch the Double
Rise Kick, and the Switch Kick itself is only a few frames faster and does just
over half the damage. While it has some use in combos, try to stay away.

Hide Side Kick - P+K
--------------------
Sarah's sabaki move is just like a cheap knockoff of the Double Rise Kick in
every way except the sabaki properties, which allow it to chew through high and
mid punches and kicks as well as elbows at the beginning of its startup
animation. Since you won't be using it unless you anticipate said high or mid
attack, it doesn't give much of an advantage at all and is very slow to start
up. It's got obvious uses in the heat of battle, but for general purposes,
there are better options.

Double Rise Kick - b+P+K
------------------------
Your main flamingo starter, this move's only weakness is its painfully slow
execution. If you can get past that, perhaps by starting from medium range or
using it after a blocked move, the advantage times are amazing: 8 frames when
*blocked*, 10 frames on normal hit. Unfortunately, it knocks down on MC, but
you'll rarely be scoring MCs with such a slow move. If you can avoid getting
jabbed out of the startup yourself, by all means use this to get into flamingo
stance, since it puts you in perfect position to start the flamingo craziness.


/------------------------\
MOVELIST - FLAMINGO STANCE
\------------------------/


Back Roll Escape - b
--------------------
This is one of the few moves in VF4 that can actually be interrupted by a
throw. Why? Because it's almost invincible to anything else. Sarah backflips
out of flamingo stance, high and fast enough to avoid low, mid, and most high
moves during execution. It's great for getting out of danger, but unfortunately
you forfeit any advantage or pressure you may have in flamingo stance.

Step-in Menace - f
------------------
Sarah's dash from flamingo stance is surprisingly fast, but has some lag time
after you dash forward. Since you'll probably be up close and personal most of
the time in flamingo, you won't need to use this much, but when you do, it's
perfectly serviceable. Because of the long animation, it's also perfect for
buffering in the Gatling Kick Beat.

Cut-in Punch - P
----------------
Sarah can punch from flamingo exactly like she can from normal stance, except
that this punch only does 8 damage instead of 10 and gives slightly less
advantage on MC. It's still the fastest way to exit flamingo stance, and can
continue with punch sequences to get you happily back into flowcharts from
normal stance.

Cut-in Chop-Kick - df+PK
------------------------
Again, just like the Chop-Kick from normal stance; it's fast enough that it's
guaranteed after your flamingo high kick MCs to keep up the pressure. If you
want to exit flamingo, use a punch instead, but if you see the opportunity for
free damage, feel free to abandon your kick flowcharts and go for the chop-kick
instead.

Moonsault - uf+P
----------------
One caveat to the flamingo moonsault is that it does NOT exit flamingo stance.
Instead, Sarah will be standing there with only her kicks to protect her. It's
still a viable way of switching sides (and probably safer than her regular
moonsault, given that your opponent will expect fast kicks from flamingo), but
nothing special.

Right High Kick - K
Round-Trip Kick - KK
--------------------
Sarah's main flowchart starters from flamingo stance. On an MC from the single
kick, a chop-kick is guaranteed for extra damage, as is the second kick. After
the first kick, you can follow up with a second kick (for damage, or delayed
for a possible MC), a Cut-in Middle to catch crouchers, or a d+K hit throw for
a very simple pressure game. Remember, the kicks' weakness is that they hit
high and can be easily ducked, leaving you open to an MC low move to knock you
out of flamingo.

Side Kick Combination - KKK
Low Cut Combination - KK,d+K
Cannon Combination - KK,K+G
----------------------------
Unlike Sarah's other strings, the Low Cut Combination 3-hitter is actually
guaranteed after a normal hit from any kick. While the ending low cut doesn't
do a hit throw, it's good if you're desperate for damage. The Side Kick
Combination is simply there to easily catch opponents who ducked the kicks,
and in fact isn't much faster than hitting G after the second kick and doing a
df+K Cut-in Middle afterwards. The Cannon Combination is far too risky to be
used, since the cannon recovers much too slowly for a float and leaves you wide
open if it's blocked.

Hand Hold Neck Cut - d+K (hit) P+G
----------------------------------
A great option, this hit throw takes a good amount of practice to be reliable
but actually does more damage than her P+G flamingo catch throw, and can't be
interrupted by throws like the catch throw can. It's a great way to make your
opponent think twice about blocking the high kicks and PKing you out of
flamingo, and does almost as much damage as some of Sarah's normal throws.

Guard Crush Sword - f+K
-----------------------
The name says it all: a high, slow, circular attack that staggers a guarding
opponent. If you've managed to put the opponent totally on the defensive with
pokes and flamingo strings, this is the number one way to follow up, since it
gives copious advantages any time it connects. On an MC, it'll even turn the
opponent around, likely provoking a frantic turnaround attack you can easily
punish. However, it's much too slow to be used in most situations, where your
opponent is in your face and any slow move will just provoke a P(G) from him.

Cut-in Middle - df+K
--------------------
It looks like a mid-hitting version of the flamingo high kick, and it is: not
as advantageous for you, obviously, but it's reasonably fast and will of course
stagger a guarding opponent. Another main flowchart, allowing you to go into
some of your slower flamingo moves from a stagger or MC hit.

Somersault Kick - u+K
---------------------
Although much better than her regular kickflip, the flamingo version is still
combos only. If you know you can get a hit, there are better options from
flamingo alone, let alone when considered with her other moves. However, it
hits very low to the ground, making it extraordinarily useful in combos.

Fake - P+K
----------
Imagine it as Sarah's low punch reversal. It has very little recovery, meaning
you can mash P+K against an expected low punch and have it work every time.
Against a low punch ONLY, it knocks the opponent to a crouch and staggers them
so long that a Heel Sword Slash combo is guaranteed. Against anything else, it
works well to taunt your opponent, but that's it.

Side Neck Cut Sword - u+P+K or d+P+K
------------------------------------
Unfortunately, these dodging crescents are fairly easy to see coming, but
they're still useful just like her normal dodge attack: to get free damage
when you dodge something. (They're also her only way of dodging from flamingo,
which considering your opponent will probably be trying to MC you out of
flamingo stance a lot, is rather useful.)

Neck Cut Slash - K+G (hit) f+P+G
--------------------------------
Along with the Guard Crush Sword, this is Sarah's slow-execution option against
defensive opponents from flamingo stance. A special property of this hit throw
is that it works only when the opponent is guarding or on a normal hit (an MC
will knock down instead of doing a throw). You can use this to catch guarding
opponents or someone rushing in, but otherwise it's still too slow to be
effective from the short ranges flamingo operates in.

Low Spin Kick - d+K+G
---------------------
This sweep is slower than Sarah's backturned sweep, not to mention everyone
else's sweep attacks, but it does bring Sarah low to the ground and is a low
circular attack, which is always good. Use it like her df+K+G normally: to be
used only when you see a high move coming, or else you're asking to be punished
with at least a loss of advantage, at the most a low throw.

Heel Sword Slash - f+K+G
------------------------
A flamingo version of Sarah's ub+K+G, it should be used exactly the same way.
Of note is that it is guaranteed after a successful P+K Fake sabaki, allowing
you to connect the standard df+KKb+K or pounce.


/---------------\
MOVELIST - THROWS
\---------------/


Front Suplex - P+G
------------------
Not as bad as some standard P+G throws, but not her best throw either. This
will switch the ring position 90 degrees, and leaves you both on the ground
when it connects. However, it shouldn't be relied upon because it's easy to
escape and isn't very powerful.

Shell Break Elbow - P+G (side)
Back Drop - P+G (back)
Low Back Drop - P+K+G (back)
------------------------------
While these have their uses when you have an opportunity, they don't do nearly
as much damage as a DC combo will in the same situations. The Low Back Drop is
the only one that's worth it, since crouching opponents can't be comboed very
well and the back throw can't be escaped. For the others, it's better to go for
what's likely an MC float combo.

Lightning Knee Smash - b+P+G
----------------------------
This throw should be pulled out only when you're in danger of having the better
throws escaped, or as a wall throw. It does less damage than the Front Suplex,
but doesn't change the ring position and leaves you in a good position to add a
down attack or punish the opponent's rising attack. Against a wall, however,
the damage becomes highly impressive and a df+K ground hit is guaranteed
afterwards. It's easy to spot when you've got the wall throw, as Sarah does
four knees instead of three. Note that unlike most wall throws, your OPPONENT
must be backed against the wall to get this throw. Of course, a single wall
combo will put them in just the right spot.

Rolling Face Crush - uf+P+G
---------------------------
Sarah's catch throw is, like all catch throws, unescapable and able to grab
people out of moves. Sarah dashes forward and to the side, then grabs high, so
while a low punch will beat it easily, standard attacks will NOT. It's also got
a lot more range than any normal throw, so if your opponent isn't prone to duck
at mid range (which he shouldn't be, after eating a few elbow or puntkick
staggers) feel free to throw this out and break through a defensive opponent.
However, it has too much of a windup time to be useful as a normal throw.

Neck Breaker Drop - f,f+P+G
---------------------------
The only use for this throw is to switch sides as a desperation move. Even if
it's escaped, you switch sides and land on the ground, giving you an
opportunity to escape the ring out. Of course, an opponent trying for a ring
out probably won't give you many chances to throw him, and in every other
respect the Leg Hold is better.

Leg Hold Throw - b,f+P+G
------------------------
Sarah's best throw, and the one that puts her in the greatest danger if
escaped. At 55 base damage, it's only slightly less powerful than the Fallen
Angel, and switches sides with the opponent. An immediate df+K ground kick will
beat an opponent's rising attack for some extra damage. However, when escaped,
the other guy has a guaranteed side throw. As a result, it's a good idea to
buffer in a side throw escape - guard when you see the Leg Hold escaped, so
you can hopefully turn back around before the damage is done.

Fallen Angel Throw - f,db+P+G
-----------------------------
Sarah's new "powerful" throw, the guaranteed ground kick afterwards makes it
slightly more powerful than the Leg Hold. It's also got a very rare escape
command (the db+P+G is usually reserved for a low-damage position exchange
throw), so most opponents will prefer to simply reverse f+P+G and b+P+G when
they have the chance.

Leg Hook Throw - P+G (flamingo)
-------------------------------
While this throw is easy to execute and looks rather cool, it's overshadowed by
Sarah's low cut hit throw (which has way more priority than a throw) and the
Gatling Kick Beat, which is almost identical in startup and does more damage.
Given an option, you should only be doing this by accident when the Gatling
Kick Beat doesn't come out, if you're decent with the hit throws.

Gatling Kick Beat - u,b,d,f+P+G or d,b,u,f+P+G (flamingo)
---------------------------------------------------------
A tremendously stylish move (and a catch throw, which can't be escaped), Sarah
is unfortunately highly vulnerable as she moves in during the execution of the
throw. In fact, throws or attacks of any kind will interrupt this. If you
connect it, however, it does plenty of damage and even more style. The
execution for this is tricky, since a "b" input from flamingo will cause Sarah
to backflip out of the stance. Therefore, you have to buffer it into another
move (usually a high kick, sidekick, or even the step-in menace) so that the
720-degree joystick motion required is already mostly through its journey by
the time you recover.


/----------------------\
MOVELIST - MISCELLANEOUS
\----------------------/

NOTE: Sarah can perform most moves (including throws) while her back is to the
opponent just as if she was facing the right way. However, she has a special
set of backturned moves only accessible from that position; see below.

Moonsault - uf+P
----------------
Sarah is the only character with the luxury of being able to switch sides
easily at mid to long range. (This is too slow to be used at long range, as an
early MC will leave you floating with your back turned.) You land facing the
opponent, assuming they haven't moved. Obviously, you want to use this as the
opponent starts a rush or dashes in, to gain maximum advantage from your
positioning. It's not a very aggressive move, but can be a useful option to get
out of that corner or away from RO quickly.

Step Hook Kick - U+K (release K at midpoint of jump)
----------------------------------------------------
The only one of Sarah's hopping attacks with using - the others aren't even
listed, they're so bad. This does give you the advantage and will obviously hop
over low and some mid moves, as well as being an acceptable way to get close
while still being unexpected. It even knocks down on MC, but don't expect
miracles from it.

Soccer Ball Kick - df+K (opponent on ground)
--------------------------------------------
Although Sarah's light down attack is rather short-ranged, it's faster than
most down attacks and doesn't leave you open to much if you miss. Use this to
punish opponents who don't techroll, and in certain guaranteed situations
(like after the Fallen Angel throw).

Jumping Knee Stomp - u+P (opponent on ground)
---------------------------------------------
Use only in guaranteed situations. Sarah has the best pounce in the game (along
with Jacky and Vanessa), which will catch anything up to a quick rise (P+K+G)
in the early stages of its animation. However, it's still to risky to use
except on a flop, crumble, etc. hit where the opponent is unable to techroll.

Turn Rising Kick - db+K (back turned)
-------------------------------------
Sarah actually has decent options with her back turned, and this is one of the
best. Since she hops forward while doing the kick (which hits mid), it doesn't
have much range, but it's almost impossible to hit her out of its execution.
It travels at a similar angle to the DC and always knocks down, making it a
good choice if you think your opponent will follow up with a jab or something.

Turn Low Spin Kick - d+K (back turned)
--------------------------------------
Sarah has access to a sweep with back turned, and this one is great because
it's very difficult to counter and will knock down on a normal hit. In fact, on
MC, it'll float high enough for you to get in a possible ground attack. It
ducks almost instantly, so it's great for avoiding opponents who are slow to
capitalize on back staggers or moves like Kage's f+P+G flipover.

Reverse Moonsault - uf+P (back turned)
--------------------------------------
The moonsault is one of the few moves you may actually want to do with your
back turned. It carries you away from, not over, your opponent, and is just
like a normal moonsault except reversed. However, you have to be careful you
don't RO yourself while trying to get away, as the moonsault has a lot of
range and will go over low walls.

Turn Knuckle - P (back turned)
Turn Low Straight - d+P (back turned)
Turn Kick - K (back turned)
-------------------------------------
Just like their standing counterparts, but a hair slower and less advantageous
in frame terms because Sarah spends some extra time twisting around to face
you. Of these, only the standing punch is useful, since you have better mid and
low options with your back turned anyway.

Dragon Kick - f+K (your back turned)
------------------------------------
Sarah does a b,b+K that turns her back around to face the opponent. It doesn't
leave you at a disadvantage and will avoid some low moves, but is fairly slow
and short-ranged. Thus, it's strictly for style; if you want to score a hit,
you're better off with the Turn Rising Kick.

React Round Kick - b+P+K+G (facing the wall)
Wall Back Roll - ub+P+K+G (facing the wall)
--------------------------------------------
I don't think I've ever used these in serious play. They usually require your
back to be turned, the kick version can be blocked on reaction, and they both
leave you at a big disadvantage as you land. Anyone's turnaround attacks will
trash you at this point.


/---------------------------\
BASIC STRATEGY AND FLOWCHARTS
\---------------------------/


Don't expect to be able to use flamingo stance all the time, or even in every
match. Instead, use it when you feel you need the extra attack options
flamingo gives you. Remember, although Sarah is more mobile in flamingo than
most other characters are in their stances, she is still unable to block or
duck and therefore highly vulnerable to jabs. Thus, most human opponents won't
let you stay in flamingo stance for more than a second or two, so get used to
hitting P(G) to get out of flamingo and avoid taking a painful combo because
you were trying for just one more MC high kick. However, all the flamingo
starters give you so much advantage that you can force a high/mid/low guessing
game as soon as you're in flamingo.

You'll be spending most of your time in the starting position, "normal" stance,
which is where Sarah has access to her two big strengths: effective pokes and
powerful combo starters. Unlike Lau, who must rely on 2 or 3 moves to set up
for a throw or major combo, Sarah can poke effectively at close or mid range
without becoming repetitive. However, she also lacks a sweep move from a normal
position (or any decently fast low move, for that matter), and must rely on the
mid/high/throw choice to deal damage, rather like Akira. Also, Sarah only does
major damage in float combos, which means that although your throws aren't very
powerful, they do similar damage so you are free to vary throws widely and
reduce your chances of being escaped. 

Close range options:
--------------------
- Elbow, for flowcharts and staggers
- High Punch, for poking and flowcharts
- Low Punch, for MCs
- Throw, to do real damage
- Chop-Kick, to get in flamingo quickly
- Round Kick, for knockdowns
- Dragon Cannon, for MCs
- Rising Knee-Knee, for low punch MCs
- Crescent Kick, against dodging opponents

Mid range options:
------------------
- Puntkick-Sidekick, for poking
- Toekick-Puntkick, for defense
- Double-Footed Sweep, for knockdowns
- Double Rise Kick, to get in flamingo
- Illusion Kick, for 50/50 guessing games
- Spin Edge Kick, for MCs
- Catch Throw, against high defenders

Long range options:
-------------------
- Tornado Kick, to close in
- Shin Slicer, for poking
- Lunging Knee, for MCs
- Moonsault, for switching sides

Flamingo options:
-----------------
- Right High Kick for poking and flowcharts
- Cut-in Middle for staggers and flowcharts
- Hand Hold Neck Cut, against high defenders
- Back Roll Escape, to avoid attacks
- Cut-in Punch to get out of stance
- Neck Cut Slash against obvious mistakes
- Gatling Kick Beat at mid range

Flowchart options from standing P:
----------------------------------
- (canned) PP for quick damage
- d+P for MCs
- f+P to keep them standing
- (canned) d+K to catch dodgers
- P to keep the pressure
- Throw to punish high defenders

Flowchart options from d+P hit:
-------------------------------
- P to start P flowcharts
- d+P for MCs
- Throw for mixups (especially against AI)
- D,b+K for turnaround
- D+K for quick damage

Flowchart options from f+P:
---------------------------
- (canned) K for knockdown
- (canned) delayed K for MCs
- (canned) df+P for safety when blocked
- f+P to keep the flowchart going
- Throw... you know the drill
- db+K to punish high attacks

Flowchart options from flamingo K:
----------------------------------
- (canned) K for more flowcharts
- P to get to standing P flowcharts
- df+K for staggers
- d+K,P+G (use like a throw)
- u,b,d,f+P+G against quickrise or backdashes
- d+K+G against high moves
- df+PK to keep the pressure

Flowchart options from flamingo KK:
-----------------------------------
- (canned) d+K for free damage
- (canned) K for staggers
- P+K against low punches
- K+G,P+G against overly defensive opponents
- P to get out of flamingo
- d+K+G against high moves


/-------------\
SELECTED COMBOS
\-------------/


db+K Dragon Cannon (DC)
-----------------------
-> P, b+K, u+K (guaranteed on mC or MC)
-> df+PK, u+K (guaranteed on normal hit)
-> df+PK, P, db+K (standard MC combo)
-> df+PK, P, b+K, u+K (MC on lightweights only)
-> df+PK, P, db+K+G, df+K (MC on lightweights only)
-> db+K,db+K (purely for annoyance, can be techrolled)
-> df+PK, df+PK, u+K (standard wall combo)
-> KP, PPPb+K (MC on lightweights only)

f+K Knee
--------
-> PPPb+K (standard normal hit, may be stance-dependent)
(see DC combo list, may require MC on some combos)

d+P+K,K Toekick-Puntkick
------------------------
-> P, d+KK (standard normal hit combo)
-> P, b+K, u+K (standard MC combo)
-> d+KK (guaranteed on normal hit)

u+K+G Round Kick
----------------
-> b+K, u+K (can be techrolled)
-> d+KK (MC only)
-> db+K (standard combo)

KP Kick-Punch
-------------
-> b+K, u+K (guaranteed on normal hit)
-> P(G), b+K, u+K (standard MC combo)

u+K Full Spin Dive
------------------
-> P(G), b+K, u+K (guaranteed on MC)

ub+K+G Spin Heel Sword or flamingo f+K+G Heel Sword Slash
---------------------------------------------------------
-> db+K,db+K,db+K (non-techrollers only, style points)
-> df+KKb+K (standard combo)
-> df+KKf+K (closed stance only)
-> d+P, D,f+KK (requires precise distance, mid/lightweights only)

d+K+G Shin Slicer (MC only)
---------------------------
-> u+P (best damage)
-> df+K+G (stylish, very weak)
-> D+KK (second kick can be techrolled)

f+P,K delayed Elbow-Knee
------------------------
-> b+K, u+K (can be techrolled, lightweight characters)
-> b+K, d+K+G (hits techrollers)
-> b+K, f+K+G (can be techrolled, midweight characters)


/-----\
CREDITS
\-----/


Thanks to:
- God, for everything. You da man!
- Ice-9's Sarah Dojo, enormously helpful (I was tempted to cut-and-paste).
- Adio, Yupa, and Vansen (the Sarah players at VFDC I remember) for combos.
- The VirtuaProject and VFDC movelists, for frame data.
- My family, for putting up with me while I wrote this :-)
- Sega-AM2 for a truly awesome VF4 home conversion.


That's it! Now go play VF4!