Monday, April 11, 2011

Ryu vs Ken


A classic match up that I have a lot of problem with since Vanilla until now. No doubt it was an even match up in SF4, but shifting to SSF4 with Ken adding an ultra 2, once Ken has ultra meter it instantly changes the match up. I would say it’s slightly turns into Ken’s favor (5.5:4.5) because Ultra 2 of Ken’s can shut down Ryu’s zoning. Ken has more superior normals compare to Ryu except his low strong. Ken has a faster start up low forward and a WAYYY faster recovery on his sweep even though the start up is not as fast as Ryu’s, but Ken’s unique F.MK covers his slow sweep. Ken’s F.MK has a great range and fast start up allowing him to punish a lot of moves on block. This special kick also allow Ken to do moves like KARA throw (GREAT RANGE), kara uppercut, kara fireball and even kara focus….anyways, enough introduction of Ken’s In my opinion, the best strategy in this match up is……….RUN and throw jab fireballs.

Ground Game:

Far Range: Like any other matchups, throw fireball and build meters. Since Ken has a slower start up Hadoken, it is not hard to react and counter with a full screen forward jump air tatsu.

Mid Range: This range Ryu loses to Ken because of slower normals and Ken’s It is not a great idea to challenge him in a footsies match…however if you plan to fight him at this range…a timed and spaced low strong of Ryu’s which does beat Ken’s OR throwing smart fireballs before Ken’s normal hits you are probably the only solution that I know of at this range…

Close Range: This range is as hard as mid range due to Ken’s kara throw/ frame trap mix-ups. You want to option select tech with low strong just so that it’s harder for Ken to do a safe poke string> walk back > kara throw your whiffed normal because he has to walk farther back + you might already recover from your low strong by the time his grab reaches you. However, there’s nothing much you can do against his fierce SRK frame trap but to delay tech and predict it.


Hadoken: Tatsu/Forward jump air tatsu or super and ultra 1.

Ex Version: Same as normal version

Hurricane Kick: Doesn’t hit on crouch and can be punished with any moves. On top of that Ken’s hurricane kick does not go through Hadokens.

Ex Version: Same as normal version except it goes through Hadokens.

Shoryuken: Ex SRK

Ex Version: Ex SRK beats this version clean

Against Ultra 1: It’s hard for Ken to land a full animation ultra 1 especially against Ryu. Ken’s Ultra 1 IS an AA ultra, he shouldn’t be able to land a full animated ultra unless you are jumping NOT AFTER a knock down, crumpled by his focus attack or got hit by a counter-hit fierce SRK.

Against Ultra 2: This ultra is so good… has great range and it goes through projectiles. Don’t challenge his ultra by throwing projectiles (treat it as Abel’s ultra 1). Ken can also combo into full U2 by linking from Ken’s normal fireball which highly increases his chance of using ultra meter when compared to ultra 1.

On Ryu’s Wakeup:

Ken has this common safe setup on Ryu that almost EVERYBODY uses it and it’s easy to do and effective. Here is the setup: Ken ending his combo into fierce SRK then immediately crosses up with jump LK = Ryu can’t uppercut it. However, Ryu can avoid this setup by NOT doing a quick wake up and just lie on the ground.
Ken has two cross up tatsu setup after his forward throw. The first setup is just simply cross up with LK tatsu and the second is after the forward throw, does a ground tatsu to go behind you and does a neutral jump “air kara tatsu (I don’t know why it’s called kara…)” and that tatsu crosses you up.
Other then these setups Ken’s over heads are very hard to block. Though its only one hit, but it still deals a “decent” damage and it’s very effective when use to finish off an opponent. Beware once you have low life.
Mind games and Option Select:
Not much OS against Ken on his wake up except OS sweep on ground. Ryu does have a safe jump on Ken, however only works if Ken is AA with his MP SRK because it is a 4 frame start up move. (Remember, as long as it’s not a 3 frame move, you can perform a safe jump.) After a forward throw and a back throw, the cross up on ground tatsu setup works on Ken (if you watched my dvd you should know what I am referring to :D)

Things to be aware of:

His forward ex air tatsu contains 2 hits that force you to block high. It’s a very tricky move that I am sure the Ken user himself/herself doesn’t even know if it’s going to one or two hits. Therefore before the ex tatsu actually hits they would be mashing on moves like low jab…sweep, etc. Ken’s cross up air ex tatsu is very hard to AA with SRK. When I was in Japan, there was this Ken player always using his air ex tatsu to bait my SRK and punishes. Therefore whenever I play against a Ken, especially when I have a life lead, I would use low fierce as my AA just so that it beats that weird EX tatsu.
Ken’s jump HK has farther range than Ryu’s jump HK. Which means at a range where Ryu’s jump hk doesn’t reach, Ken’s might hit. Be careful with your Hadokens.

Some sample videos against Ken. Hope these helps.

As always….questions and know where to go.  


  1. Amazng, I like what you said when you have a life lead "you would use low fierce as your AA just so that it beats that weird EX tatsu". I've been in that sitauation, and not used low fierce!, I decided to buy the RYU cross counter DVD, it's my most treasured DVD! it's helped me a lot! and the perfect reference if I drop form, it's a good tool. Thank you AIR!

  2. just curious about your opinion on who you think is the best Ken player... Playerjun(Bon) or Momochi...

  3. @ Air
    How is it possible to beat Ex air Tatsu? especially After your knockdown, its very difficult to predict whether the ken player will go for a cross up tatsu or any other attack such as his cross up J HP, mk, lk etc. Shoryuken usually loses to cross up tatsu. furthermore ken has direct ultra connection if he lands crossup ex tatsu.
    IMO you should main Ken instead of Ryu. he has better normals, Far better shoryuken and not so bad zoning. AE Ken is way better than AE Ryu.

    @ Ant
    Both are top notch ken players, but momochi imo is little better due to better mind games.

  4. @Vladan thank you! buy it through my blog please :D

    @Ant momochi...way more solid. I beat playerjun way more then he beats me...i think playerjun is more on the fancy side when compared to momochi..crazy footsies + defense. Plus momochi's ken beats me more than i beat him.

    @Vikrant you can't beat ex air tatsu on wake up...that move is too good, you gotta block. A lot of ppl been telling me to main Ken..but i just can't because no knock down tatsu n different fireball. But i am considering a new main for AE atm..

  5. nice post air, especially like the videos -- very strong play!

    i had a couple of questions, why jab fireball? i know you mentioned it on the DVD and showed how effective it was in the corner.. but is jab fireball also the best mid screen? is it to help control the pace?

    a general question, should you always go for the safe option on their wake up (like chip damage)? i sometimes feel like i play too much like a wuss on their wake up and pass up on damage -- i always think they are going to wake up ex spinning bird kick or wake up srk... even if they dont have 2 bars. do you ever have this problem?

    as always, thanks for your time and ill continue to be a fan

  6. thanks for the response.... i love to watch momochis footsies.. hes just so good at footsies and zoning.. but playerjun is just so damn fun to watch play... another good blog ...great job....

  7. @arthur coz by the time your jab fireball hits ur opponent u r already recovered.
    it really depends which char u r playing against and how much life lead u have or how much life u need to chase.

    @ant thx for reading!

  8. Does Ken's F.Mk leave the user with frame-advantage when blocked?

  9. @tan not quite sure..i think if its perfectly spaced it's even. If his is deep then he's -2f

  10. A new main...try sticking with Yang lol. You should go CHQ on saturdays freely of your choice.

  11. Hi Air, appreciate ur post in your blog. Love reading them. Talking about ken, during your stay in Japan, did you manage to vs dragonboy, wao, strike-san and emillio Kens in SF4? Since there were so few grandmaster kens in japan, they must be soild in order to get that rank. What are your thoughts if you have vs them.

  12. @daniel_kim i work sunday to thursday 9 hrs per day. friday and saturday i spend with my i don't like chq's's really really bad, lol. But maybe i'll drop by one day :D.

    @hero thx for liking my blog. I played wao, emilio and dragonboy, not strike-san. Anyways, i did alright against them and emilio is not that great lol.

  13. @Air Dang, you a very busy man! Alright I better work on my Zangief if I want to even be close to beating you! XD

  14. Oh that's how you change name on Google Account, anyways I heard you went today XD, too bad I don't go out often, I'm such a loner -_-. Thanks for the matchup tips, they help me out alot in Super.


  15. Air, can you do match up guide for Ryu against Yun please? Thanks

  16. Air, can you do match up guide for Ryu against mokoto please? Thanks

  17. Thanks, I need to get better at fighting Ken. He just literally rapes me. His dang SRK is so powerful.