Sabrewulf is a tried and true rush down character. He does poorly at a distance, but can close in on an opponent quickly. Once he's in, he is extremely deadly. If you're just starting with Sabrewulf or Killer Instinct in general, check out our KI Beginner's Tips and How to Play: The Basics articles to get an understanding of the fighting system and tips for playing Sabrewulf and the other five characters. This unofficial article will go a little more in-depth on Sabrewulf, but for a complete rundown of Sabrewulf and everything else KI, check out Prima's KI Fan Book and free eGuide.

Special Trait: Cross-Up Dash

Every character in Killer Instinct has some sort of special trait that's exclusive to him or her, for the most part. Sabrewulf's is the ability to cross-up an opponent with his dash. When he's close to an opponent, he can dash forward and cross to the other side of his adversary. When used properly, it becomes very difficult for the opponent to know which direction to block.

The best time to use the dash cross-up is after a knockdown. End a combo with the heavy Eclipse or Running Uppercut (followed by a juggle of your choice), then immediately dash forward. If the opponent uses a quick rise (stands up immediately), you'll cross-up to the other side, ready for a mix-up. If the opponent remains on the ground and does not quick rise, make note of this. The next time you can delay the dash for a moment to time it as the opponent gets up.

This strategy also works well after the heavy Ragged Edge Ender in the corner. This will splat the opponent, leaving them stunned and giving you just enough time to use the cross-up dash. The level of your Ender determines how long the opponent is stunned, but to maximize the damage from this cross-up setup, you want to cross-up and attack as soon as the opponent gets out of the stun. This resets the combo instead of simply knocking down the opponent (depending on the KV level). You won't be able to end a second combo with the wall splat, but it's a great strategy to get two combos for the price of one.

Normals

Sabrewulf has four notable Normals. The first is his crouching medium punch. It has longer reach than most of his other Normals, and hits low. It can also be canceled into any of his special moves. This is especially effective if you cancel into the Jumping Slash or Hamstring for an overhead, low mix-up. You can also cancel into the Ragged Edge, but be cautious of a Shadow Counter if the opponent has meter.

The second notable Normal is Sabrewulf's crouching heavy punch. It hits low like the crouching medium punch, but it causes a hard knockdown. This means that the opponent cannot quick rise. It gives you plenty of time to setup a cross-up dash or jump-in.

Speaking of jump-in attacks, Sabrewulf's jumping heavy kick is especially good. When blocked, it leaves the opponent in enough block stun to virtually guarantee a cross-up dash attempt. The trick here is not necessarily the cross-up dash, but the threat of the cross-up dash. Once you have the opponent ready to block the opposite direction, mix in a throw or simply start your combo without the cross-up dash to keep the opponent guessing.

Last but not least is crouching heavy kick. This is one of Sabrewulf's best anti-air Normals. It can also be canceled into the Ragged Edge or Jumping Slash to juggle an opponent for a bit more damage after an anti-air. It won't hit if the opponent is coming in right over Sabrewulf's head, so get the jump angles down in Practice mode so you know when to use crouching heavy kick and when to use Eclipse or one of Sabrewulf's other anti-air attacks.

Ragged Edge

The normal Ragged Edge should really only be used when an opponent does not have Shadow meter. It's always two hits, with the light and medium versions being safe when blocked, but if the opponent has meter, they can Shadow Counter the second hit every single time (if they're skilled). You can hit confirm the attack after a crouching medium punch, but it takes good reactions to do so.

The Shadow Ragged Edge is a different matter. It's not Sabrewulf's best Shadow Linker, but it has a lot of carry. Once an opponent is locked out during a combo, use the Shadow Ragged Edge to push them closer to the corner to setup a wall splat and potential combo reset. It's also one of Sabrewulf's fastest attacks with a decent amount of range. It can punish things that would otherwise be safe. For example, if Jago uses a heavy Wind Kick from a distance, it's very difficult to punish, despite the fact that it's -5 when blocked. However, the Shadow Ragged Edge can punish the attack with proper timing.

Run

Sabrewulf's Run by itself is not very good. It can't be canceled and Sabrewulf is completely vulnerable during the running animation. However, the three attacks that initiate from the Run are very good and essential to Sabrewulf's rush down strategies. The Hamstring hits low and crosses up when it hits, the Jumping Slash is an overhead, and the Running Uppercut is a useful preemptive anti-air and is the only Run attack that's safe when blocked.

After a crouching medium punch, mix-up between the Hamstring and Jumping Slash. Both attacks are very difficult to see coming, which gives Sabrewulf a true 50/50 guessing game. The opponent has to guess between blocking the overhead Jumping Slash or the low Hamstring. When they hit, both attacks lead into combos.

The Running Uppercut is a great tool because it's safe. Use it as much as you like and an opponent cannot punish if it's blocked. It's best used to prevent an opponent from jumping. It's very common to find an opponent jumping after a safe block string or series of attacks. A quick Running Uppercut will knock them out of the early part of the jump with proper timing. You can also follow the attack with an Eclipse or juggle of your choice.

Eclipse

The Eclipse is Sabrewulf's primary special move anti-air. It covers the area immediately in front of Sabrewulf, as well as the area above his head and directly behind him. It can also be used to juggle after the Running Uppercut Ender or any time an opponent can be juggled. It has start-up invincibility, making it a risky but effective wake-up attack after you get knocked down. It's unsafe if the opponent blocks, but if you have Instinct Mode available, you can Instinct Cancel the attack if it's blocked to remain safe.

The Shadow version of the Eclipse is invincible for much longer than the normal Eclipse, and hits five times, making it easier to Instinct Cancel if it's blocked. This should be your go-to attack if an opponent is pressuring you and you just need to get them away. Like the normal Eclipse, this is not safe if the opponent blocks, so be cautious when using it.

Rabid Bites

Sabrewulf's special combo ability is the Rabid Bites. It essentially lets him use the same Auto-Double repeatedly until the combo comes to an end. This is both good and bad. It's good once an opponent is locked out because you can build damage quickly with heavy Auto-Doubles and not have to worry about Linkers or Manuals. However, since you're repeating the same Auto-Double over and over, it's easy to Combo Break. With that said, it's also easy to bait a Combo Breaker and catch an opponent with a Counter Breaker. Just be very careful when using the Rabid Bites.

Instinct Mode

Sabrewulf's Instinct Mode gives him a 20 percent damage boost and adds chip damage to all of his attacks. The damage boost comes in handy when you need a big combo, but don't waste it. This is best used as soon as an opponent is locked out so you can combo for maximum damage with minimal threat of a Combo Breaker. The chip damage also comes in handy if an opponent is near death but just won't die. Activate Instinct Mode, then use Normals canceled into the Running Uppercut for decent chip damage. You can also use Sabrewulf's magic series, which allows him to chain light punch into medium punch into heavy punch, then cancel into a special move.