How to Play Street Fighter Professionally with Ryu and Ken

by on September 29th, 2013
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In a previous article I covered how someone could make a living as a professional Street Fighter player. Sponsorships and appearance bonuses are constantly offered to the very best professional gamers. But in this article, I’ll give some tips and strategies to playing the Street Fighter characters Ryu and Ken.

Learning Their Differences and Similarities

Ryu and Ken, as Street Fighter characters get grouped together often because they play very similarly. They both have fireballs, hurricane kicks, and dragon punches, and their basic movesets are almost identical. They even look pretty much the same.

They primarily differ in their execution of fireballs and dragon punches. Ryu throws two kinds of fireballs- a large and a small one. The large one is far more likely to stun an opponent, and it deals a bit more damage. Ken, on the other hand, only throws a single type of fireball that is identical to Ryu’s small one.

Ken has the advantage in dragon punches though, as his dragons punches are faster and farther reaching than Ryu’s. His strong dragon punch sets his fist on fire, causing extra damage. It also acts as a combo, racking up several hits on an opponent when he is close enough.

Playing to Win

Ryu and Ken are both great at playing a short to medium-range game. They can counter and attack quickly. Ken is better at fighting enemies in the air with his strong dragon punch, while Ryu handles opponents on the ground better with his two fireballs.

If you want to play a long range game against your opponent with Ryu and Ken, you’ll have to vary your fireballs. Change up using fast and slow fireballs -especially if your opponent is trying to advance- and you’re likely to get in a few hits.

Take advantage of a fireball hit on an opponent by coming in close with varied attacks. Jump kicks, followed by sweeps are pretty predictable for veteran players, but jumping in with no kick and following it with a throw is a great way to get in some extra damage.

When you jump at players, they assume you’re going to attack them with a high move, so they will usually block. The extra time they take to block is the perfect opportunity to get in a throw.

If you’re attacking another opponent when you are both in the air, it is usually better to use a jumping punch rather than a kick, as the punch counters more moves. Alternatively, if an opponent is jumping toward you, it is safer to jump straight in the air to attack, rather than toward them, as the straight jump attack counters more moves as well.

Causing Damage

If you’re playing Street Fighter 4, then focus attacks are the key to setting up large combos. Don’t go out of your way to use focus attacks, as they open you up to an easy throw. Instead look for opportunities like an opponent’s failed Ultra Combo or a dazed opponent. Use these times to unleash your focus attack.

Never do a focus attack and not follow through with something else. If you have one built up, an Ultra Combo is the perfect companion move for a focus attack. Otherwise, stick with a large combo or a powerful super move to follow through on a focus attack.

Whittling away at your opponents is a great way to cause lots of damage over time. One way to do that is through the constant use of fireballs. Even if they block them, opponents still take a little damage. And when they try to break free of your fireball barrage, that’s when you change up the speed of the fireballs.

Using any other super moves to whittle away health is dangerous with Ryu and Ken. Both their hurricane kicks and dragon punches leave them open for attack if they are blocked. If an opponent does block a super move, it is best to counter quickly with a light move, like a crouching punch or kick or a light dragon punch.

With these strategies and a lot of practice, you should be on your way to winning with Ryu and Ken.


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