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[CSE] Valkenhayn vs Ragna

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Discuss the Rag matchup here. Credits to Orion.



I'd guess they'd try to go for a 5B to stuff you in which case you could try and use 6A if you're feeling godlike but I tend to opt out for 2B as it goes under his 5B and nets you a CH. Sadly though, you can't go CH2B>Rozen so if you have meter, you can opt out to do 2B>5C>Jager>RC>2C>etcetcetc follow up

Dead Spike:*

6A guard point avoids Dead Spike from hitting Valkenhayn, close range 6A leds to a Counter Hit into a 5C hit-confirm and combo afterwards.

Instant blocking what comes before Dead Spike will leave Ragna open to a CH 5B punish.

You can make the 2nd hit of GH whiff by using 5D > w[5B] as shown here.



Their game plan:


You just wanna out footsie Ragna. His defensive options are too strong to try and run a lot of Wolf mixup even if we can avoid it with 4/7C cause all he has to do wait and throw it late or just not throw it at all and back up. You'll wanna play just outside you max 5C range as that puts his 5C out of range as well. The hitbox on Ragna's 5C can actually rival that of Valk and Litchi so you do have to play a bit cautiously. But if you're just outside his 5C range you can hit him should he whiff. Also the reward for him hitting a max range 5C on CH is minimal without meter so the Risk of playing against it isn't too high. Valk gets CH5C>Rozen from any distance so Ragna is at a big disadvantage there.

If he gets in on you, be sharp and pay attention to pressure, IB'ing Ragna's pressure is very easy so any time you can react to him throwing a 2D or Dead Spike, do so accordingly. If you have meter, you can IB>Sturm through his 2D and if you catch Dead Spike, IB>SJ>D>3C>[W]j.B to punish it. Its possible to do it without the 3C or the super jump but its a bit harder.*

I'd say this matchup is even. Both characters are very strong and have amazing normals. Its the battle of the footsies.

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I'd like to note, Hell's Fang and Air Gauntlet Hades is actually useful here outside of combos for Ragna, and only because Valkenhayn cannot block in wolf form. Of course, they do carry the risk of whiffing, and are both very punishable, but I just wanted to point it out. Just another thing to keep in mind.

And while Ragna does have great defensive options so reckless rushdown isn't advisable, he actually has some advantage over Valkenhayn at neutral, just because of the combinations of great hitboxes with good start-up and recovery speeds on his 5B, 5C, 2B, and 2C. Beating him at neutral is gonna take a lot of good reading and spacing.

You can also usually jump over Deadspike on reaction, and the safest way Ragna can even go into it without rapid cancelling still gives you 10 frames to do something to him (The highest level normal he can cancel into Deadspike off of is 5C and 3C, both of which are level four, and offer 18 frames of blockstun, and Deadspike has 28 frames of start-up). Try to disrespect it whenever you can, Ragna resetting pressure against you isn't good for you at all. The same goes with 6D. A very slow move to start up (26 frames), try not to respect it if you can. Sturm, poke, or even throw him out of it (he's not airborne until frame 20, though he has foot invul throughout the move) if he gets too predictable with it, and since it can cancel into j.D, it's a great pressure reset tool for Ragna.

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Considering that I'm quite confident with that matchup, I would like to share what I know.

---------Neutral game----------

Like Kiba and LuminAbyss pointed out, Ragna's footsies are really dangerous and hard to deal with in both human and OBVIOUSLY in wolf mode. Based on what I talked about with Ragna players, the most annoying part for them is to manage to get in and that's pretty much what you have to abuse in order to win the matchup: playing a cat and mouse game with him.

The idea is pretty much to frustrate him into trying to get in which will make the Ragna player do a mistake.

The easiest way is simply to go to the other side of the screen and run back and forth in wolf mode. Like Lumin pointed out, the biggest threat at this point is obviously Hell's Fang and THAT'S what you will have to react to. Once you see Ragna getting his usual purple flames (Really easy to react to), hits 7C to make him whiff and punish. You don't even need to do anything in particular. Just land and punish.

The easiest thing you can punish while playing tag with him is IAD jC which is a huge mistake that you will be able to punish right away with w5B. Be really careful however. If Ragna didn't airdash, he might be trying to bait the w5B with a double jump so don't think Ragna jumping grants you a free combo.

Another thing quite rare he can pull off is Belial Edge after baiting w5B. It's not really great to be honest but it's still a possibility.

If the Ragna player seems to actually know how to keeps his cool, wolf cross ups shenanigans work wonders especially because of his particular vertical hitboxes. 6A seems kinda helpless and never manage to catch Valk unless you're being predictable. On the other hand, the move that might hinder you the most in the air when you try to get in seems to be 623D and not GH. GH isn't really that much of a threat but 623D can and WILL get you if you wolf cannon in order to cross him up or simply don't vary your air shenanigans and the axe kick that will follow will give him oki meaning you're now in a defensive situation.

This should be more than enough to beat him in neutral. Of course, you can still try to get him on the ground in wolf mode or even throw a ballsy w236A to surprise him but 5B will easily beat you in that case. Doesn't mean you can't use it sometimes to surprise him or bait the 5B. I don't really think that you have enough time to get big rewards by baiting and punishing it though. Depends of how confident you are.

---------Offensive game----------

Inferno Divider is obviously a huge threat in offense and will beat a LOT of things you will try to pull off in wolf mode. If you want to keep pressuring, you have 2 choices: Either pressure and make sure to have enough wolf gauge to be able to try baiting some mashing 5A/2A/ID attempts OR cross him up.

The latter is actually particularly useful against Inferno Divider and it's quite common to see it whiff completely once you're behind him if he likes to use it a lot. If it happens, you have more than enough time to walk and lands a 2C to punish accordingly and get a ton of damage.

The option I use the most though is simply to go to the other side of the screen after I get oki. True, it will make the match draw out longer but it's a pretty good choice against ID-happy ragnas. If you're quite confident into playing tag, it will frustrate him even more leading to more mistakes meaning better rewards for you.

---------Defensive game----------

Ragna's pressure is actually quite crappy. As explained extremely clearly by Lumin, Dead Spike is what you have to watch out for as well as 6D.

Against Dead Spike (Assuming it's stuff>5C>Dead Spike):

IB 5B CH>Rozen works quite well and is an insanely good choice if the opponent is in 5B's range. If it's not in 5B's range . . . Aouch.

Jumping out of Dead Spike is the easiest choice but there are actually ways to punish it WITHOUT instant blocking.

The easiest way simply consist to jump forward and press jC which will grant you a counter hit EXCEPT when you're at max range. If you got some wolf gauge, you can do jC CH>delay>j214B and get a free combo.

However in my opinion the best way requires a bit of training but it's MUCH better.

When you see the Dead Spike coming, jump>jD>3C>wjA. Will avoid Dead Spike at any range wherever you are and will give you a CH at best or the opponent will have enough time to block which allow you to start pressuring anyway.

Against 6D (Assuming against it's stuff>5C>6D):

Simply press 5A>2C and combo if HE'S in 5A's range. If he isn't, don't bother or you will eat a CH. If 6D isn't in 5A's range it will most likely whiff. Sturm wolf works wonders as a punish.

Another thing I would like to point out that I've only seen rarely: you can get crossed up with a simple jump-in jC which will combo with a 5B once Ragna lands. He can also do it with jB but he needs to be much closer to the ground to pull it off. It will either be used as a meaty if you neutral tech or after a 5A in pressure. Don't know if it's actually a good choice or not but now you know that it's a possibility.

Of course, if you disagree, I would be more than glad to talk more about it and hear other opinions. I believe it would only make the matchup much easier to understand.

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Nice post. Let me add somethin' minor.

When you see the Dead Spike coming, jump>jD>3C>wjA. Will avoid Dead Spike at any range wherever you are and will give you a CH at best or the opponent will have enough time to block which allow you to start pressuring anyway.

Alternatively you can use jump > j.B > j.214B which is the more optimal route. You can deal 4k if you can get him to the corner (the midscreen to corner combo is j.B > j.214B > 6D > w236A > w236B > 6C > wj.B > wj.A > 5D > 2C > 6C > 2C > 6B > 236A > 5B > 2C > Choice of ender).

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