-------------Above from Neo---------
This is one of those matches that look easy on paper, but actually play out to be very difficult if you lack match up knowledge. I am lucky to be blessed with the ability to play in perfect connection one of the better Rachel's which allows for some concrete match up info. If your one of those players that have no rachel in your local area I highly recommend looking for one on netplay as this match heavily requires the experience.
Rachel Pressure-5B,2B,5B,2B truth be told this is her main pressure tool outside of frog oki and cross under stuff. Pretty much she can input 5B,2B twice before she is out of range.5B,5A,and 6B are JC combined with her drive which is able to accelerate the speed in which she lands after a jump Rachel has access to IOH setups and very fast empty jump lows. Rachel's pressure is filled with very solid 50/50 stuff and the IOH j.a is insanely fast and has no gaps for any sort of mash out. A lot of her normal's that are unsafe can be canceled into 236A to make it safe outside of instant blocking. So for the most part her pressure is very safe and all her combo's lead into frog oki with taking a good 3-4K on average out of your health. As far as frame advantage goes she really doesn't have anything outside of the frog,tempest dhalia, and tk sword iris that really give her heavy frame advantage most of her normal's are all negative but the amount of block stun they give is high so essentially even on IB you won't be able to mash out. She doesn't really need to rely on frame traps due to the amount of block stun her normal's have and truth be told all her mix up is based around IOH,empty jump low, empty jump grab,cross under stuff,etc. so overall her mix up is pretty basic but definitely get's the job done.
Rachel's anti air's- 6A ( crazy good due to it having guard point over the usual head invulnerability,really good hit box),2A( not all that reliable due to it being 7 frames but works occasionally),5A (6 frames better than 2A,but doesn't really have a great hit box like others), 2C (Bootleg DP,poor anti air choice,but on counter hit leads into big damage with heat),5B( good hit box air unblockable). 6A will always get the job done and despite it's slow start up (13 frames) it will stuff everything you do as an air approach (never trading due to it's guard point). DO your best to stay out of it's massive range, also it can be quite hard to punish due to only having 15 frames of recovery so your best bet is to avoid it all together.The last thing you want if to get counter hit 6A,BBL,frog oki giving her the momentum and losing 1/3 of your health.
Tao pressure on Rachel- You can pretty much do whatever you want ( when you catch her) 2C has guard point so it's not a reliable reversal due to being able to grab her out of it, she has a 7 frame 2A so it's not all that good for mashing so long as your pressure is air tight. Do your best to bait 2C as much as possible as it's a free TRM punish or better yet 2C,dash 3C,loop counter hit punish which deals a good 4K. Rachel's back dash is pretty good and when she has wind with the proper amount of space she can really get out of there. So make it in your best interest to react to her back dash with 5D as she will be air borne so you can do 5D-B,5B,5C,loop. When she wind's away chase her as all she can really do is throw lobelias which isn't all that bad. Never give Rachel space to breathe and you should be fine, throws (purple/green) work really well on her as she can be grabbed out of 2C start up so take advantage of Tao's great TRM setup's.
Neutral game- Rachel is very versatile and can switch from zoning to rush down in a heart beat, most zoner's in the game really can't zone Tao effectively unfortunately Rachel is a special case. When combined with wind her Lobelia's cover very advantageous angles for her making random drive cancels for gaining space not that great, her wind also reduces the distance in which your travel as well essentially slowing the pace of the match down. Things like 236A winded and non winded cover the space in front of her and and drive cancels done in the 1-2 jump air space. 236B winded and non winded is good for covering the jump air space of 2-3 while making a low curve towards the end covering a little bit of jump air space 1 from full screen. Lobelia's also make rods on the ground which Rachel can detonate (sword iris) they are very good at just controlling space as they are good at catching random air drive cancel's and are quite easy to hit confirm when Rachel is in range. They can lead to solid damage with 50 heat (BBL) and will end with frog oki which is never good for Tao. When the rods are out simply use your three jumps combined with barrier to approach, it's very good to IB sword iris in the air as you will still have access to your unused jump's,it's really easy, and it's free meter. 214D is pretty good as well, closes the gap and you can barrier block through out the entire animation. Avoid taking as much zoning damage as possible and just overall don't let Rachel control the pace of the match.
Escaping Rachel pressure- There actually is no escape her IOH j.A has no gap (can't even hexa edge) and her moves all have ton's of block stun , so all that is left is Counter assaulting. If Rachel ever does 3C she pretty much just ended her pressure so use this time to get away you could also try to IB all the hit's they choose to do of 3C and start some pressure with 5B but it's not recommended as she can do one hit of 3C and cancel into 236A to be safe or do 3C,sword iris, 5A for a frame trap. If you ever IB 236A you can either go for a punish if it's point blank range (-7 on IB) or just start your pressure if they are a bit further away from you generally if your not punishing it I recommend just returning to neutral or trying to close the gap a bit. outside of this her pressure is really hard to get out of not to mention block as it's filled with a bunch of fuzzy guards and empty jump stuff. Barrier blocking help's a bit as her normal's have some push back and when combined with barrier you can really make some distance to get away just watch out for pumpkin as when it's out she can not only make things unsafe stuff safe she can also get in on a grounded Tao for free.
Best tools in the match up- Triple jumps is all you really should be doing to be honest, drive approaches can be easily stuffed by 6A or random out by lobelias so try to use things like j.4D,j.D,2D conservatively, but still sometimes you just got to let a drive go fully through and see what happens. Rachel cannot and will not be challenging you in the air all too much, but if they attempt anything use j.C/j.D to remind them where they belong ( on the ground throwing lobelias). j.D is really good when they are trying to do stuff like tK georger or summon a pumpkin in the air so be sure to take advantage of these small opportunities when they come. 6B is pretty good as well as it is +2 on block and can be combo into 5B,6A, 2-3 reps of loop on a crouching Rachel (no counter hit required). Barrier dash cancel is good as well for covering some ground space as staying just to the air just wont cut it all the time. Always try to go for the loop oki ender on Rachel as she can do a lot of stuff high up in the air so making her air tech low to the ground gives you the chance for green grab air throw stuff or random cross under 6A with Tao.
Corner/Near corner only:
(loop),High jump -> 236B x2 -> j.5D~B -> j.2D~C -> 236B x5 (oki finisher)
You may get less damage but having Rachel tech so low to the ground really helps in pinning her down. And last but not least Crawl remains to be high risk, mid reward so use it as you see fit you can crawl 5A,6A,j.b,j.c,first hit of 5C (as stated by X AJ X). I personally don't see it's use in this match as I got perfected for trying to IB crawl stuff and got hit by 5B/2B when using it in the neutral. You can crawl all the hits of Tempest Dahlia (projectile super) besides the last one so I guess this is a legit usage for it not sure how much it helps.
What to watch out for/What you may want to do- Cross under George can be deadly so pay attention, IOH j.a is a really fast over head and can go straight into a low or fuzzy guard when blocked so work on that defense as much as possible. Rachel has access to cross under neutral tech shenanigans and stuff like cross up j.2C ( not a high but breaks a primer and can be canceled into lobelia to make it safe on block) so always be ready to block from either direction. When she has 50 heat don't get cat chaired (2C) as on counter hit it leads to big damage and frog corner oki. 4B is an over head and also breaks a primer,but she needs to win to really make use of it, still it's an over head and last time I checked were still in america so yea do your best to block this as it is very slow and you don't want to give her any free damage. Do your best to IB george (lol just mash back) as you can gain a lot of free meter for doing this up to 25% I believe which can be really helpful for counter Assault mashing, like in every match never sit on your meter counter assault when you can and just like makoto's orb don;t counter assault george as it is a free bait/waste of heat and your still stuck in the mix up. TK sword iris puts her at a lot of plus frames so as tempting as it is to press buttons you can't so just remain patient and block. Blocking will be your best and only option from time to time unless you get lucky and they want to 4B you (hexa edge this please) so just remain patient and wait till you have the heat to counter assault. Try your best to avoid letting Rachel summon her minions (george & pumpkin) in your face as it is a free mash out. If they try to summon george in the neutral and he is approaching you as you are pressuring her grab Rachel (purple or green doesn't matter) as it will make george disappear immediately regardless of whether they tech the throw or not. Tempest Dahlia is pretty much her momentum switcher so just block this or crawl it when ever you see it as they will throw this out to switch momentum in the match whenever they can.
Final words- Overall this match up is really random and it is possible to lose a lot of damage by getting hit with random lobelias so do your bets to avoid them. Most of Tao's matches are hit run this one is more like hit and don't stop she has no DP so keep the pressure on her. You might spend an entire match catching her so when you do catch her make it your best interest to make the best out of the small opportunity. Rachel is really good at running away and with her drive is good at stopping your advances so don't get flustered when you can't catch her as this will lead you to be make bad decisions in your approach, keep a clear mind and wait it out if need be. Always end with the oki ender as the standard ender leaves her really high in the air to wreak havoc on you from above without you being able to do anything about it plus she can just wind away from you making trying to predict her landing hard to do. DO NOT SAVE YOUR BURST Rachel is a primer breaking machine and can just eat away at your barrier gauge safely,so try to burst in between rounds as saving them is just not worth it at all outside of maybe wake up gold burst. Overall the hardest thing to do is catch her and pin her down,I find myself relying a lot more on reads rather than spacing when I am approaching her because of how random the match up feels in terms of controlling space. Both characters feel like they just do stuff in the neutral and make the best out of any random hit. Now that Rachel has damage and overall better mix up than CS1 this is definitely a harder match up than before so much practice is required you can't just abuse drives any more now you need to properly space yourself or be put in oki for your mistakes.
Edited by Domethieus, 14 April 2012 - 11:12 AM.