TL;DR (For Beginners)
Check this Guide to Tager Basics for whenever you want a more thorough look at Tager's kit. This section takes information from there and condenses it even further.
- 44: Incredibly strong backdash, akin to a reversal in many situations.
- 5A: Fastest normal and surprisingly large. Can set up command grabs
- 2A: Low risk antiair
- j.C: Helps move Tager faster in the air
- j.2C: Baits anti-airs, amazing punish if you jump over an unsafe attack.
- j.63214A: Tager's closest approximation to a double jump
- 4D: Applies magnetism, good way to end blockstrings
- 5D: Neutral spacing tool, incredible effective range if they're magnetised.
- 22D: Oki tool, sets magnetism
- 236B: Useful for approaching zoners and blowing up slow attacks
- 360A: Fast command throw, especially with good defense
- 720C: Amazing Command Grab Super for punishing even 1F gaps
- 41236D: Punishes slow attacks, destroys projectiles, only way to apply magnetism at range
Above all else, Tager requires patience, he wants to get close to his opponent but his lack of mobility means he can't close the gap aggressively or evade pressure easily. Due to being a big target and having no meterless reversals, there's no getting around having to learn to block properly and just having to deal with pressure strings, particularly knowing when to Instant Block, Barrier Block and Backdash to create gaps. With good defensive skills he can transition into offense with his command grabs and other callouts, often turning the tide of the round. Most of Tager's combos and grabs lead to Gadget Finger Oki; While not his strongest oki option it still keeps the opponent close, has solid frame advantage, gains respectable heat and applies magnetism. Once he takes the offense, Tager's magnetism plays a big part in his combos and pressure; It extends the range of a lot of his moves, improves many combo routes.
Tager doesn't have many extensive blockstrings. They're often short and try to find ways to mix in a throw or set up magnetism. Most of the time you'll be fishing for counterhits with 5D (still valuable to land on block), ending short strings with 4D, or setting up a tick throw. These are some ideas to take and integrate into your game:
- 5A > 5B > 5C > 6A > 4D
A basic way to set up magnetism on the opponent. Most strings into 6A can set up magnetism or a command throw. You can optionally insert one or two 6B stomps before the final 4D to vary the timing of any followups.
- 5A > 5B > 5C > 236A
Leaves Tager quite minus, but helps keep him in after 5C. You can threaten a sledge followup, back off, or command grab. There is a small reversal gap after 5C so you can also swap 236A with 3C if in range to catch reversal attempts. If they're at full range you can try using 5D to apply magnetism and possibly catch them doing something.
- 2A > 5B > 360A
Basic setup into a command throw. With magnetism, you can drag them in. 360A won't special cancel, so you need to recover from 5B before inputting it.
In the corner, Tager can set up air hit 6Bs in order to get a hard knockdown. This route is done off of many corner routes including his corner 6C->5D loop and 6C > 5D > 236B routes. Afterwards, he can gatling 6B > 2D. After 2D, 2B catches any rolls or no techs, and lets Tager recover in time to either block DPs, use 360A, or 5B to meaty. If 2B picks up any rolls/no tech attempts, then it loops back into 6C > 5D loops with 2B > 5B > 5C > 5D.
There's variations of this as well; You could just end in 6BB, 6B > 236A, or 6BB > 22D (explained below). If you've already used 236B in the combo, you can safe jump with j.B instead. Keep in mind that in order to set up this safe jump, you'll have to cut some filler from your combo.
You can even combine this with hitstop OS! You can buffer a 5B in case the 2B lands. If the 2B whiffs it is very likely they have used emergency tech. In that case, you can quickly input a 360A/B to catch them out, then proceed to set up with Gadget Finger!
Gadget Finger (GF/22D) Oki
This is one of Tager's most well known oki options. There are a few major benefits to Gadget Finger oki:
- Sets up Magnetism
- Increases Magnetism time if already applied
- Leaves Tager at +10 (less notable at midscreen)
- Versatility: GF can be reasonably setup on most confirms.
Many of Tager's gimmicky resets also work from this oki:
Atomic Collider (AC) Oki
Another prominent oki option at midscreen. Atomic Collider generally leads to safe jump j.B or Gadget Finger. You also have many options if you don't want to go into safe jump or GF. If you end on Atomic Collider outright, Tager can...
- 236B to catch rollers.
- 6BB or 236A to catch no/delay techs.
- 4D to pull in people who emergency tech and mixup with a 5B low or 360A
Crimson Punisher Oki
Crimson punisher is Tager's go-to air combo ender. The following are some options he has from this:
- 5A > 4D to catch backward rolls. Common option.
- 5A > j.A and loop back into crimson punisher.
- Meaty delay tech with 5B or 360A, for example.
- Catch no tech with 5B.
- Delay 5B to catch the end of forward roll. This will hit them while they're in crouching state.
5A > 4D is a strong tool for magnetizing the opponent. It works whether or not the opponent is magnetized. Very useful because many people like to try and roll away from Tager. You can combine this with hitstop OS. Hit 5A > 4D quickly. If they roll, Tager will combo into 4D. If not, 5A will whiff and you have time to react to whatever they did! The rest of the options are relatively cut and dry.
Tips and Tricks
- Avoid being predictable! Tager's moveset is extremely powerful, but very committal; getting your moves predicted in advance will get you easily countered.
- You can create somewhat gimmicky resets by ending combos early at certain points. Depending on how they react, you can reset with an unblockable Atomic Collider or Wedge Catapault.
- Don't rely too much on using Sledgehammer as a gap closer, it's unsafe on block and easily punishable with crouching moves. Similarly, try to avoid using 2D to approach in neutral situations as it is easily punished.
- Use j.C, j.2C and j.63214A to alter your air momentum to make yourself harder to predict in the air.
- Try not to simply fire Spark Bolt at full screen the instant you have it ready, try to use the threat of having it available to simply approach them.
- Use IB and IBB to create gaps so that you can command grab them in the middle of their pressure! Tager is particularly good at beating stagger pressure.
- Learn how to do standing 360 spins. You actually don't need to do a full 360 motion. In layman's terms, you only actually have to input a 270 motion. You can also use grounded specials during jump startup. This means you can input 4123678A to get a standing command grab (360A) without using anything to buffer.
- Tager's command grabs have a lot of great properties, avoid simply spinning the stick and mashing a button when you're being pressured:
- They all have a long recovery and can still be counterhit during this time.
- Only 720C is invulnerable on its first frames, so his other grabs will always lose to correctly timed meaty attacks and frame traps.
- While you can spin the stick while in blockstun and still block if the blockstring has no gaps, this is not true of low hits; they must be blocked by holding 1 at the moment they connect. (This is also true of overheads, but there are far fewer overheads in tight blockstrings)
- Every character has ways of baiting throws as part of their pressure; including throw-proof moves, moves that swap sides or back away to safety or just jumping (Including jump cancels)
- Jump startup is invulnerable to throws. Certain setups lose to jumping, though Tager can call jump outs with a standing button or Atomic Collider.
- Certain safejumps do not cover Wedge Catapault attempts, practice and see what works
- Tager's anti-airs have weak Head Invulnerability, if any, and tend to be quite unsafe if they miss. Low airdash approaches and aerial oki can work well.
- Be aware of both Tager's heat gauge and his spark bolt availability. Both of these lead to nasty surprises if you aren't aware that Tager has these options!
- Try not to be predictable yourself, or you'll find yourself eating the same command throws each time.
- Sometimes this means not teching combos in certain situations or using different wakeup options