Sagat, the Emperor of Muay Thai... He's the final boss of the first Street Fighter game, and can be one of the best bosses that appeared in the series. In this game, he's nice to begin. If you don't like the Shotos, but like their Special Moves, Sagat is like them in this game, and I don't know why SNK did this to him.
Sagat's Good and Bad Things
- Easy to play and learn;
- Has a Shoto-styled gameplay(I think it's a Good Thing);
- Has nice Supers;
- His uppercut is nice on combos;
- Has a nice combo with his Exceed involved.
- His classic high and low projectiles can be bad if you don't know how to use them;
- His ground projectile don't hit low(Unlike his ST version);
- Has few cancelable moves;
- His Special Moves can be easy to whiff/block;
- His MAXIMUM Mode Options are too limited.
Sagat's arsenal of Normal Moves is not so good as you can (probably) think, but some moves are easy to use. Think of Sagat as an "Advanced Shoto" in this game, and you'll see why as you learn what is written below.
s.LP - (Far) Sagat performs an attack with his elbow. Sadly, this is not a rapidfire move. The damage is normal for a light attack, and this move is cancelable. Whifs on low crouching characters. (Close) A fast punch in the opponent's face. Cancelable, but cannot combo on itself. Whiffs on low crouching characters.
s.LK - (Far) One of Sagat's pokes. His foot extends far away, and the damage is normal for a Light attack. Not cancelable, but it's a fast kick. Use ONLY on poke situations. (Close) Bad move, really. The startup is bad for a Light attack, and you can think that it hits low, right? I'm sorry, but you're wrong. But this move has something that the s.LP moves don't have. It doesn't whiffs on low crouching characters. If the opponent is abusing of the crouching state, this move can be an option. Wait, it's not only that. This move is not cancelable, but this move is Supercancelable, in which means that this move can be canceled on any Super Move, but don't use, because they will not connect. Just avoid this move if you want.
s.HP - (Far) One of Sagat's pokes. Not cancelable and whiffs on low crouching characters, but the damage and range are nice for a poke. Now just decide if you will use f.LK or f.HP on poke situations(You can use the two of them if you want). f.HP has better damage, but whiffs on the low crouching characters(The opponent generally will not crouch on poke situations, but you need to know that). f.LK has better range, don't whiffs on the low crouching characters and it's faster, but the damage is worse. (Close) His best cancelable move. Can be used as an anti-air on some cases. This move is the best to combo, and the damage is nice, so combo with it when you want to punish your opponent.
s.HK - The far and the close versions are the same. A two-hit attack with nice reach. When you're far, it's a good poke to use on tall characters. If you're close, you can cancel only the first hit and the second whiffs on low crouching characters. The damage of the first hit is good, so cancel it when you want. You can combo with the second hit only on the MAXIMUM Mode.
j.LP - (Diagonal) A quick attack with the elbow. Your reliable air-to-air weapon. Can be used on combos, but it's hard to do that. (Neutral) A straight punch. Nice defensive and air-to-air move, but neutral jumps are something rare on this game. Use if only on defensive ways if you want.
j.LK - (Diagonal) A kick with nice reach. Good to use when your opponent is far away, and only that, I think. (Neutral) A knee that aim down, I think. You can use when your opponent don't have a high jump, which can be rare.
j.HP - The diagonal and the Neutral versions are the same. The damage is nice, but can be hard to combo on some standing characters because of the attack hitbox. Good to use on tall characters.
j.HK - (Diagonal) Sagat's best move to combo. This move has a nice reach, so you can use this to hit your opponent in the air too. (Neutral) Strange kick that aims up. Use this only when the jump is finishing, in that way you can surprise your opponent sometimes. If the opponent has a higher jump than you, use it.
cr.LP - Fast punch, cancelable, but it's not a rapidfire move, sadly.
cr.LK - Quick kick, low damage, cancelable, as always.
cr.HP - Nice reach, but not so good as a poke(He has better options). The damage is nice and this move is supercancelable only(And the Supers can connect with this move).
cr.HK - Quick kick that knocks down. Can be used as a low poke, and only that.
Now, you'll see why Sagat can be called a real Shoto in this game. If you know on how to play with any Shoto(Ryu specifically) you'll be kind of used to those two below.
- f+LP - Well... It's almost the same as Ryu's f+LP. It's an overhead attack that can be used on the opponent's wakeup. Comparing this move with Ryu's, Sagat's f+LP has better startup, but does only one hit and the damage is decent. Ryu's f+LP does two hits and the damage is(a little) better, but has worse startup. The recovery of them is the same. It's not cancelable and don't knocks down.
- db+HK - It's Sagat's cr.MK, his best low-hitting move. It's almost the same as The Shoto's db+D in this game. Why almost? You cannot cancel a normal move into this move, sadly. The attack has the same animation as Sagat's cr.HK, but a little faster and don't knocks down, so you can use this as a low poke if you want. It's cancelable and it's simple to use on basic combos.
Now you'll see Sagat's Shoto-like arsenal of Special Moves.
- QCF+P - Some people call this only "Tiger"(probably because of Street Fighter 2). This is Sagat's classic projectile that he had since the first Street Fighter game. Use with his zoning abilities. This move has some "Bad Things", because almost all of the characters can duck under it(This move whiffs against Choi standing). It negates normal projectiles, but whiffs against some projectiles, like: Iori's QCF+P or even Sagat's Ground Tiger. (Characters that cannot duck under this move: Demitri, Hugo, Earthquake, Shiki and Genjyuro).
Ground Tiger Shot
- QCF+K - Can be called "Ground Tiger". He had this move since the second SF game, and this make this move a classic move, but in that game, this move hits low. In this game, forget this rule. This move is easy for the opponent to jump over, so you can avoid this, but if you want to use, use with his zoning abilities, against those ground projectiles or as a meaty fireball.
- DP+P - Sagat's classic DP. Abuse of this when your opponent jumps over you. The classic DP rules are here too(Invincibility and those things) The LP version does a short leap and only one hit, I think it's better as anti-air. In the HP version the leap is longer and can do up to 5 hits(If the opponent is in the air you can do less than 5 hits), so use this version in combos only.
Tiger Crush(a.k.a Tiger Knee)
- DP+K - This move can be called classic too. Sagat performs an attack with his knee that does 2 hits on each version. I recommend you to use the LK version only, because it goes further, and the HK version leaves you more open for some GCFs.
If you played with Sagat before, you'll be used to those below, probably.
- QCF(2x)+P - Avoid it if you want. The same rules on the Tiger(Special move) can be applied here. It destroys normal projectiles, so you can use in a projectile war if you want. The characters that cannot duck this move are the same. It whiffs against Choi standing. This move don't lose hits when it absorbs normal projectiles(unlike Ryu's Shinkuu Hadouken). If the last hit don't connects with the opponent, he will not be knocked down(Try this: cl.LK and this move). HP version is a little faster.
Ground Tiger Cannon
- QCB(2x)+P - Almost the same as above(Almost because the characters cannot duck under it - By.: Captain Obvious, aka Redarts (talk). The same rules of the Ground Tiger(Special move) can be applied here. It's easy to jump and block, so you can avoid this. HP version is a little faster.
- QCB(2x)+K - His best super, I think. The damage is nice, and the first hit needs to be blocked low, so you can use this on combos or when the opponent will get up. The opponent will be on a jugglable state after the last hit(On each version), but you can connect something only on the corner. The best followups will be on the combos section.
- QCF(2x)+KK(Or BD if you want) - His classic SF2 Super, but here it's an Exceed, so you can use it only one time. Sagat performs an Tiger Crush/Knee, followed by two Tiger Uppercuts. Sagat has invincibility up to the first Uppercut. The damage is nice, and it can be a followup for the Tiger Raid. More details on the combos section.
His gameplan is only to mix your High/Low Tiger Shots while you're far from the opponent(I think that's his plan on any game, but here, he's kind of unique) by using your pokes, command moves and meaty projectiles(That's what they call "Zoning") and to try to land the Tiger Raid to combo in the corner(Can be hard depending of the matchup). Sagat don't have good MAXIMUM combos, so if you're in MAXIMUM Mode, just use Super Moves. And if you know the basics on how to play with Ryu on any game, you can try to use those basic tactics(He's a Shoto here, remember?).
Basic Combos(You can add if you know some)
1- [Jump Attack] db+HK, QCF+P/K - 2 hits; 3 with a Jump Attack
The classic Shoto combo "cr.MK + Fireball". You don't need to add the jump attack sometimes, because this can be hard to use on those small characters(Choi and Zero), but it's not impossible. Easy if you want to begin. The damage is decent. You can use this combo if you land the db+HK as a poke to push your opponent if you want(But will not connect).
2- [Jump Attack] cl.HP, DP+P/K - 6/2 hits; 7/3 with a Jump Attack
Sagat's cl.HP is his most damaging cancelable move, but it whiffs against those low crouching characters, so watch out if you want to use. In this combo, DP+HP is the best choice, because it does more hits and more damage. The DP+K does only one hit on this combo.
3- [Jump Attack] cl./cr.HP, QCB(2x)+K, DP+HP/DP+K(On the corner) - 12/9 hits; 13/10 with a Jump Attack
Simple combo, really. If you get used to this, you can use the Exceed after the QCB(2x)+K part(more details on that will be on the Advanced Strategy), but those two are only options if you don't have/don't want to use the Exceed.
Sagat's best combo
Now we're on the good part of this. Sagat is that guy who don't like the opponent, but he likes to poke on him. A true Sagat player needs to know that you have only one good Super Move to use, only one time to use an Exceed, only one opportunity to use his f+LP, only one projectile that can be used as a meaty fireball, only one hit on his DP+LP(sorry, I'll stop now). On the "Sagat's Good and Bad Things" section, there's something interesting on his Good Things. What is it, are you asking that? Probably no. But is the combo involving his Exceed(which is his most damaging). Here it is:
[Jump Attack] cl./cr.HP, QCB(2x)+K, Exceed (Corner only) - (I got) 15 hits(You can get more than that, I think); 16 with a Jump Attack
That's his most damaging combo. It's not so hard to do, but to get THAT damage, the first uppercut needs to whiff, and the second uppercut needs to hit the opponent, so you need to time well. The cl./cr.HP part is optional to this combo. I think it does 75% of damage on the opponent's health. The opponent will be with only 25% of health, so he/she can use his/her Exceed after this combo(Just try to make them use their Exceed in you, and make sure to block/jump just to punish them).
Well... Resets are really important here, because they can lead to more damage. And with Sagat, this is true. Remember the combo above? He could juggle with his Super. But what if we don't use the Exceed after it? Let's try this:
(Corner only) [Jump Attack] cl/cr.HP, QCB(2x)+K, cl./cr.HP(Don't cancel it)
Yeah, you can think: But and the damage? Here is a phrase that I learned from a pro fighting game player: "What matters in fighting games isn't 'how you do damage', is 'how can I get to the damage'." When I heard this, I started to think about that. And later, when I saw a video with many resets in a tournament, I thought more, and then I found this damaging reset above. So, what can I do after the cl./cr.HP hits?
- First, don't cancel it(You already knew that).
- Second, analyse your opponent. See if he/she is blocking high/low in wakeup situations(Resets are like... Faster wakeups).
- Third, react to the reset. I putted cl./cr.HP, because with the cl. version, you'll have more time to think, and the opponent can have more time to react. With the cr. version, you'll have less time to think, but the opponent will have less time to react too(If you time well, I mean). It's up to you now.
- Fourth, do a low/overhead move. If you have meter, you can do something like cr.LK, QCF(2x)+K, DP+HP/DP+K/Exceed. If you don't have the meter, just do the same combo, but without the Super. Now for the overhead variant: (After the reset) f+LP(It's an overhead, remember?), DP+HP. This combo only works in MAXIMUM Mode. You can even repeat the reset, by doing that combo, and then cr.LP(As a low), the Super, cl./cr.HP many times.
If you're having trouble with this, I found a video with it. Click  <- here, jump to 3:48 and good luck.