Well, I played Thunder pretty much solely and completely until Cinder launched, and I’ve stuck with him since, holding Thunder as my alt. I can’t say the more frustrating experiences of playing as thunder came from fighting Jago, but fighingt Fulgore. Of all the characters in the cast Fulgore is the greatest weakness to any Thunder player, IMO.
That said, I don’t believe this is an uneven fight. It’s the typical grappler vs. zoner in some respects. You typical don’t learn much in the fight against “Jump-back Jagos”, just how to become more efficient at beating them. A number of players looking for cheap, easy wins try to master this strategy and I saw it a lot. Despite it being a common strat though, it still has variations that make it frustrating to defend against with a single strategy, necessitating the need to diversify your punishments. The key to these guys typically lies in walking them into the corner, and giving them space so they feel comfortable in making “stupid decisions.” “I may be cornered” says the Jago player, “but I’m at range to get away with doing endos and medium wind kicks instead of lights,” to which he is wrong. These types of players typically aren’t very skilled, they just know their safe stuff. What they don’t realize is their moves aren’t as safe as they think. At half screen distance, a good DP can connect and punish off a bad endo, or at least you can hit them with a Skyfall on their recovery. So while endos may be safe on block, who says you’re going to block it?
More on the “Jump back Jago” is you have a great advantage of anti airs that beat out a lot of anything they can do in the air. These are especially effective against cornered opponents. However, I would suggest not getting in too close until he’s thoroughly scared enough to let you in. You sound like you know when to recognize an empty YOLO DP (I hate using that acronym, but it’s appropriate at this point) and punish, you just gotta be deceptive about the range. Let him think you’re coming in close enough, but just barely stay out and maybe “dance” a little. Tempt him to act and punish for his ill-considered courage. Typically, these guys also, as they walk back tend to throw long distance wind kicks after an endo or jumping back to throw you off. Just play patiently, not too aggressively, and see what he does. Jump back Jagos have so many bad habits, it’s easy to terrify these guys, and the false sense of security/bravado they get when they see a grappler is a bad problem for them too.
Really, Thunder you just have to have patience and cunning, until you get in. But even so, Jump back Jago doesn’t sound like your real problem. It sounds like you are having problems keeping your aggression/rushdown game in the close going. Sadly, Thunder’s tools all seem to be negative on block, but the light versions of ankle slicer and triplax are still fairly safe on block. I used to use these as a kind of frame trap, where light triplax into light ankle slicer makes a fairly convincing bait for them to use a cr. lk or cr. lp for a hit to cancel into an opener. The ankle slicer catches those who love their cr. lk into wind kick and hits them hard and fast. If it’s blocked, light ankle slicer is still fairly safe on block, and playing off it, you could use it to continue pressure if you’re at the right range, and he’s still afraid to block. Ankle slicer is a very useful special a lot of Thunder players under utilize, despite it’s huge reach, low invincible hit box, and the unusual way the Thunder’s hitbox moves backwards and then forwards. I’ve seen DP’s miss off that move, and neutral jump attacks.
As far as fighting aggressive Jago’s and retaliation, Jago blockstrings tend to have something telegraphed you can Shadow Counter at some point if you have the meter. It’s learning to recognize and react at those moments that can be tough. Also now there are places with frame traps where you wants you to throw something out to be stuffed, but in those situations, if you’re willing to spend the meter, a Shadow DP makes him regret this decision, as frame traps don’t usually account for these. Also given the Thunder’s DP moves forward with lots of momentum, it tends to catch them at surprising ranges.
Learn to use Thunder’s Shadow moves effectively, he’s just so good when he has meter. I long range wind kick is easily punished by your choice of Shadow Triplax into combo, given the one hit of armor can absorb the hit from the wind kick, or on block, give him the fear of Thunder from his Shadow Call of the Earth. Off a successful Shadow CotE, you can go for a Call of Sky buff and use it as a Sabrewulf style mixup, or back off a bit from him and use his longer range triplax to build wake up pressure and cancel the triplax recovery into a murder of crows dash, and continue with your pressure on the opposing side. The sabrewulf dash does do a good job of mixing them up and getting openings, but careful not to overdo that one, as it is much more punishable of a tactic once it’s predicted.
Shadow DP is invincible on startup, and is active very quickly. Shadow Ankle Slicer, while it has a long startup, it’s reach and low invincibility is super good, but it’s better to use this one sparingly. It’s good in mid combo to rack up potential damage quickly especially while they are in lockout, and you have to maximize you potential in that short window. Shadow CotE is just great damage, and after the initial startup 5 frames, is instant grab after the shadow freeze effect for great damage, but is also ridiculously good as a cash out ender for a level 3 and 4 damage ender. Shadow Triplax is great for armor to catch them off guard in their pokes, and when used at certain ranges where you expect pokes, you get them for an opener.
However, Thunder’s normals in this situation are also really good, as a lot of Thunder’s normals out reach Jago’s. St. HP, St. HK, St. MK, Cr. HP, Cr. HK, Cr. MP all have their uses in this fight. His overhead is also good to close distance, and canceled into medium ankle slicer or light triplax -> light ankle slicer is a decent mixup. St. HP and St. HK tend to be good when you have the right range down for when to use them, beating out several of Jago’s own normals and specials.
I’ve got a lot of general advice, but the best thing to be aware of is to remain patient until you’ve identified some of that Jago’s general habits. Once you know how he fights, you can see the individual normals and specials he uses more frequently, his spacing habits, etc. It’s more or less reading and baiting him into his own mistakes, or capitalizing on gaps in his offense.
However, I’m no pro player, so like with all advice, take it in stride. If you have any questions though, I’ll try and answer them as best I can, but the more specific your question can be, the better I could answer it.
Also, @xSkeletalx I’ve played several games of Warzone now, so I know much better what I’m doing. I will say though, Halo 5’s unlock system is terrible. All armor and extras unlocks are based on random chance? Even worse, 343 made a cardinal gaming sin in the microtransaction area and literally selling power for cash. If you have a chance at getting tanks and other high power utilities for merely having extra cash, you’ve done something wrong. I had fun on those games though, even if we got owned on flag. Good games.