BBTag/Ragna the Bloodedge/Strategy
Ragna's drive doesn't really dictate his game plan, it only augments his health to give him a little bit more sustain. Unlike in the mainline Blazblue titles, where Ragna's game plan involved out-spacing his opponents with his superior normals, in this game his best spacing tools are locked behind Smart Combos and the general attack range of the cast of BBTAG are longer than those in his main series. Thus, Ragna wants to stay as close to his opponents as possible, especially because his inability to deal with zoning is even more pronounced here than in previous titles. He has amazing combo potential and corner carry as well as a plethora of lows and overheads, meaning that Ragna's main goal is to use his fantastic pressure and mix-ups to open up opponents, then use said corner carry potential to apply his similarly strong corner oki.
Ragna is a very easy character to pick up and play and his oki is very much reflective of that. He can easily convert any combo into effective oki without much effort thanks to the wide variety of special moves used to end his combos. In fact, the only specials that he has that don't lead directly into good oki are his Gauntlet Hades and Dead Spike moves, both of which can combo into a different special move that does have good oki. Generally, Ragna wants to end combos with Gauntlet Hades into Spinning Kick into either Inferno Divider into Axe Kick mid-screen or Nightmare Edge into its follow-up in the corner.
1) Inferno Divider (A+D~A/B/C~A/B/C): Works anywhere on the screen, both on the ground and in the air. Has minimum damage scaling and start-up invincibility. Cannot burst or call assists until endlag has finished.
2) Hell's Fang (214A~A/B/C): Only works when grounded and works best when used in or near the corner.
3) Nightmare Edge (j.214A~A/B/C): Only works when airborne and works best when used in or near the corner.
4) Blood Scythe (214C): Works anywhere on the screen, both on the ground and in the air. Has minimum damage scaling but requires 1 bar of meter.
5) Carnage Scissors (236B+C): Only works when grounded but works anywhere on the screen. Has minimum damage scaling, start-up invincibility, and potentially safe-jump oki but requires 2 bars of meter.
6) Devoured by Darkness (214B+C): Only works when grounded but works anywhere on the screen. Has minimum damage scaling and start-up invincibility but requires 2 bars of meter.
Choosing an Oki Route
1) Inferno Divider is Ragna's most basic and universal oki option. It can be used at the end of essentially any combo, at any point in a combo, regardless of screen position, available resources, or remaining hitstun. It also comes out extremely fast, as little as 7 frames when done in mid-air, allowing Ragna to squeeze out as much damage and meter out of a combo as possible. The generous amount of minimum damage is just icing on the cake. However, it has the smallest frame advantage out of all his oki tools, meaning that the follow-up pressure will also be basic and somewhat unsafe, so use the others if they are available.
2) Hell's Fang is Ragna's grounded oki option, one that gets stronger the closer Ragna is to the corner. Thanks to Belial Edge canceling into specials when done at the correct height, it can convert any air combo into Hell's Fang. When combining the corner carry of both Belial Edge and Hell's Fang, they can very easily set up corner oki. Note that it isn't good for oki mid-screen due to the massive push back on hit and it is also the lowest damaging option he has.
3) Nightmare Edge is an air only oki tool, one whose follow-up attack works similarly to that of Hell's Fang. It is powerful in the corner but somewhat poor mid-screen due to the push back on the follow-up. Belial Edge is also helpful here as even at the end of long combos it can combo into Gauntlet Hades which can then combo into Nightmare Edge via a forward double jump cancel, though only in the corner. This route is Ragna's most damaging oki set up in short combos, but in longer ones the minimum damage from Inferno Divider is higher. The frame advantage is high enough that Ragna can safe-jump non-counter reversals, making it his go-to combo ender in the corner.
4) Blood Scythe is an unusual choice for oki as it is generally used to extend combos rather than end them. However, the extra hitstun that is normally used to continue combos can also be used to create safe-jump oki. It too can used either directly out of Belial Edge or after linking it into Gauntlet Hades, making it applicable at the end of long combos. The fact that it can be used in almost as many cases as Inferno Divider only makes it that much stronger. However, the meter cost and subsequent 180 frame meter build cooldown makes this an expensive option.
5) Carnage Scissors is Ragna's easiest to use Super and it has similar oki to the follow-up attacks of both Hell's Fang and Nightmare Edge. So-so oki outside the corner, great oki in the corner. The height at which the opponent gets hit by this move changes the frame advantage on hit. If the opponent was high enough in the air, Ragna can actually get a safe-jump off of this, making it very strong. Remember, it costs 2 bars to use and has a 180 frame meter build cooldown.
6) Devoured by Darkness is probably Ragna's weakest oki option due the fact that it's slow start-up and high cost makes it hard to use. It also has oki that is comparable to that of Inferno Divider, meaning Ragna doesn't have enough of a frame advantage to apply any legitimate mix-ups. While it can be used after a partner's super via Distortion Skill Duo, it only makes the set-up even more expensive. Only use if damage is more important than oki. Has the same meter cost and meter build cooldown as Carnage Scissors.
When fighting opponents who don't use Reject Guard that much or those who lack the meter to do so, Ragna has some simple strings that can maintain pressure while leaving room for mix-ups.
1) 5AA > 2A > 5AA : Basic string that starts with Ragna's go-to poke 5A, has a low, and ends with a jump-cancelable normal. Can still cancel into either 2B or 2C for another low or into either 5C or Gauntlet Hades for an overhead. Jump-cancel allows for pressure resets and for a jump-in overhead / empty jump-in low mixup. Stopping at 5A also allows Ragna to use throws, which most opponents won't expect mid-blockstring.
2) 5BBB or 236B : Ragna has two moves that have a dash cancel, 5BB and B Dead Spike, both of which can be used to reset pressure and keep opponents close. 5BBB is unsafe on block but can be true-blockstringed into while Dead Spike is only -1 on block but has a gap where opponents can escape.
Note: Keep track of which moves are jump-cancelable as it is your best tool for baiting reversals, resetting pressure, and keeping Ragna close to his opponents. This includes his best grounded overhead Gauntlet Hades, though only its follow-up attack (Spin Kick) and only if the opponent is standing as it whiffs on crouching foes.
Tips and Tricks
Ragna's Soul Eater health steal is generally weaker than the passive blue health recover that the backline character enjoys. However, Soul Eater recovers true health while switching him out or using Resonance Blaze only recovers potential health. Knowing how to manage his position in the team is important for maximizing his health gain and keeping Ragna alive.
Ragna's greatest weakest is his lack of projectiles and poor long range options. His only tool for contesting zoning is his Carnage Scissors super that requires two bars and is very committal. Forcing him to burn meter on Reject Guards on then keeping him at a distance with projectiles is a good idea.