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What's up everybody! Smash alpha here with a guide on Ryu, the champion of the street fighter series. This guide is for people who are using Ryu, know how his moves work(light hits, heavy hits, etc) and aren't exactly sure what to do with him or if you are just looking to see all the world warrior has in his arsenal of soul crushing artillery. So without further or do, Ryu.
Ryu is considered a high tier character with overall balanced stats. He has above average weight being the 14th heaviest character and above average damage output while also having below average ground and air speed. Ryu is a character that just exudes confidence. Just look at him. With arms like Dwayne Johnson this guy has every reason to walk like a boss. When you are playing as Ryu, you are playing for respect. And your job is to punish anyone who fails to respect your steroid strength.
• Amazing combos
•Ridiculous attack power
•Strong out of shield options
•Good distanced recovery
•Linear recovery leaving him vulnerable to semi spikes
•Inputs can be hard to do consistently
•Throw game leaves much to be desired
An overview of his moveset and each moves uses.(damage wont be included due to there being other guides about his moveset damage)
•Weak jab: A strong 3 hit jab with the first jab coming out frame 2, only rivaled by Zero Suit's frame 1 jab. A good way to beat a dash grab and a good move to get breathing room.
•Strong jab: A quick round house kick with decent Ko potential at higher percentages. Good to be used out of a spot dodge or even out of shield. Is also good for the same uses as weak jab.
•Dash attack: A flying kick mostly good for punishing rolls, missed techs, and landings.
•Weak ftilt: A decent spacing tool out of pivots to punish opponents chasing you.
•Strong ftilt: A strong option out of weak tilts. Most people when caught in Ryu's weak tilts will hold shield in hopes there will be time between your tilts for it to come out. Use ftilt out of weak utilts or dtilts and if they are holding shield it will come out and strong ftilt will hit their shield breaking it.( something I learned was when trying to do strong ftilt out of weak dtilts if you try to go straight from weak dtilts to strong ftilt by simply moving the analog stick in an upward quarter circle arc a hadoken will come out and it will be blocked by their shield. To avoid this quickly release the analog stick and then move it forward.)
•Weak dtilt: Great combo starter. You can combo a number of these into each other depending on the opponent's weight and DI. It's also a great out of shield option.
•Strong dtilt: A good way to stop approaches as well as punish opponents holding the ledge for too long.
•Weak utilt: Like dtilt a number of these can be comboed together. It's a good out of shield option and combo starter.
•Strong utilt: A decent killing move at high enough percentages and a good anti air.
•Fsmash: A powerful killing move that should only be used to punish a whiffed attack or an airdodge into the ground.
•Usmash: A strong attack that can be used as an anti air.
•Dsmash: A good way to punish those who hold the ledge for too long.
•Fair: A good spacing tool with decent teach. Can also kill if used on opponents offstage.
•Nair: A good combo starter and due to its lingering hitbox it is a good move to use for covering ledge getups.
•Uair: Can be used to juggle opponents and is even capable of killing.
•Bair: A powerful move that is great for edgeguarding and is a viable kill move.
•Dthrow: A throw with some combo potential at low percentages but isn't a reliable kill option.
•Uthrow: Like dthrow has some combo potential at low percentages and like dthrow it isn't a good kill option.
•Fthrow: Mostly useful for setting up edgeguards. Also isn't a viable kill option.
•Bthrow: Good for setting up edge guards. And, repeat, it isn't a viable kill option.
•Hadoken: Amazing spacing tool. It can also be used for edgeguarding. Red hadokens are good for shield pressure since they are multihit. Also you can mix up how long you hold the special button depending on what type of hadoken you want. Alternating between tap hadokens and held hadokens can make for some minor mind games. As far as different uses for each, tap hadokens dont travel as far and go slower so they are safer to use against characters with reflectors. Held hadokens go faster and farther and are good at applying pressure from a safe distance.
•Tatsumaki: A good horizontal recovery and can be used to punish rolls. Also if used right after a jump you will rise slightly with it and if done right when you start falling it will angle downward. This can be useful in mixing up your recovery. Also Tatsumaki can be a decent out of shield option. When using Tatsumaki as an offensive option you should almost always opt for the tap one due to it ended sooner reducing the likelihood of getting punished due to the move not having that much hitstun and the fact that it moves you in the same direction that it sends the opponent.
•Shoryuken: A good vertical recovery and an even better kill move. Awesome combo finisher and out of shield option. I honestly don't find much use for the tap Shoryuken. It still can function as a recovery option but lacks the power to reliably kill. But it is a safer option in a situation where the held version will get you punished since it sends you farther up leaving you vulnerable for a longer amount of time. Also note that different versions of shoryuken have different invincibility frames. True shoryuken is your best version for killing but has slightly less distance than a held shoruken.
•Focus attack: Great way to escape combos, avoid being spiked, and to avoid opponents trying to hit you with a single hit smash attack. Also the air dash cancel can be used to play mind games and note that the 3rd level of focus attack ignores shields and the 2nd level can break shields. Focus attack is also an awesome combo starter. As you should know Focus attack only absorbs the impact of one hit so after taking a hit either release it dash cancel away(if in the air) before they can hit you again. Also A level 3 Focus attack if landed and canceled can lead straight into a true shoryuken.
How to play Ryu
Ryu can be played multiple ways but I have found that two playstyles seem to be the most viable. But Ryu's core playingstyle is that he is a spacing character. His two most viable ways of play are forms of spacing. In the neutral the relationship between the two players is usually one is trying to keep the other out and one is trying to get in. The character with the most range is usually the one trying to keep the other out while the one with less range is trying to get in. If as Ryu you have less range and the opponent is trying to keep you out, you should use what I call aggressive spacing. If you have more range and they want to get in then you should use what I call passive spacing. In most matches you may switch between using either playstyle and how much you use one over the other is dependent on who you are playing against.
Aggressive spacing is a form of spacing that involves not really spacing your opponent out, but pushing them into a corner. You use hadoken and your aerials to force them to the edges of the stage. Stay close enough to be able to constantly apply pressure and punish any attempt they may make to get more space but have enough distance to be able to react to a possible counter attack. This playstyle requires alot of perfect shielding and utilization of red hadokens. The red hadokens are to keep your opponent in shield longer due to the multi hits so you can advance more. You are basically slowly constricting them into a small space where they have less options and are likely to make hasty decisions in an attempt to get more space which you can punish. The goal is to make them either go defensive or to focus on trying to get more space. If they happen to push you back with an attack or grab dont worry. Just keep advancing. Dont run in. Walk forward slowly and only dash when you can safely do so to close space between you two. This playstyle works well against characters who rely on being able to keep their opponent out. Examples would be villager, marth, and link. This playstyle is ideal for getting edgeguard kills or you can go for some of the kill setups I will go over later in the guide.
Passive spacing is more so traditional spacing which involves walling your opponent out. Your basic strategy is to keep the opponent away from you in multiple ways, punishing their approaches and pressuring from a distance with hadokens. Tilts, hadoken, and your aerials are good ways to keep people out and discourage approaches. The goal is to punish their approaches making them fear approaching. This playstyle utilizes more of Ryu's out of shield options since the opponent's hurtbox will usually be in range for your out of shield options. Passive spacing is effective against characters who rely on getting in close. Examples would be captain falcon, sonic, or ganondorf. This playstyle usually leads to an out of shield or out of spot dodge punish taking their stock but kill set ups can also be used.
These are some good combos to use to rack up damage. Some are dependent on DI, rage, and opponent's percentage. Since the percent a combo works at can depend on rage, weight, falling speed, etc I will be using percent ranges. Also the amount of damage dealt by a combo are based off of all possible number of tilts, inputs used, and sour spot and sweet spot damage.
Low percent: 0-40%
Mid percent: 40-80%
High percent: 80+%
•2-3 weak dtilts >tatsumski(Low to High percent)(12-20%)
•2-3 weak utilts >Short hop nair >fast fall > dash attack(Low percent)(19-27%)
•2-3 weak dtilts >strong ftilt(Low to High percent)(12-15%)
•2-3 weak utilts >strong ftilt(Low to High percent)(12-15%)
•First jab >tatsumaki(Low to High percent)(10-16%)
•Falling nair >dash attack(Mid to High percent)(11-17%)
•Uthrow >shoryuken(Low to Mid percent)(20-26%)
•2-3 weak utilts >short hop fair(Low to High percent)(18-21%)
These are some kill setups that I find to be reliable.
•First jab >shoryuken
•2-3 weak utilts> strong utilt
•2-3 weak utilts>shoryuken
•2-3 weak dtilts>shoryuken
•2-3 weak utilts>dair(near edge of the stage so it spikes them)
Mindset of playing Ryu:
As I said earlier in the guide your mission as Ryu is to make them respect you. Make them respect the fact that even if they get you to like 40% with a 6 hit combo you can even it up with 3 hits easy. Make them respect that you can kill them as early as 50% with a true shoryuken. Make them respect that if they even touch your shield you coming out of it with them weak utilt bows or them weak dtilt footsies to lead into their demise. As Ryu, you should be calm. Patient. You have the power to kill at any percentage from 50% and up and with your weight most people cant kill you until well over 120%. When playing Ryu you should have a calm, clear head and you should be methodically observing your opponent. Seeing what they like to do and punishing them for it. Ryu is a character that requires attentiveness. Which is why he is so great. Alot of players tend to zone out when playing( a habit I go over in my guide 10 habits keeping you from the top). This is not good to say the least. But with Ryu you can't zone out because to play him you have to consciously be paying attention to your inputs. You have to consciously pay attention to whether you are holding the button or not. To whether you want to put in a half or quarter circle. Ryu is a character that forces you to pay attention. So do it! With Ryu, be a deadly predator who uses your keen senses to exploit your prey's vulnerability. Think about what your prey's options are and which they will most likely choose and then eliminate them. Watch them struggle to find different ways to get around you, to beat you, to escape. And continue to limit their options, crush their will to do whatever plan they had coming into the match. Watch as they realize just how helpless they are. They will think " what was I thinking trying to fight this Goku built monster of a man?" And once you have left them with no option but defeat, let them choose how they wish to receive it. They hit your shield? Then they have chosen death by shoryuken. They recovering low? They have chosen death by Down air. Let them choose, and then fulfill their death wish...muahaha!
Well that's my guide guys. Hope it was at least somewhat helpful. This guide is mostly opinion based as far as how to play Ryu. His viable playstyles were chosen based off of observations of Trela's gameplay as well as off of the opinions of other Ryu mains. I'd like to especially thank LeifEriksson for his help providing me with some good info on Ryu gameplay. And now that you know some ways to play Ryu, go out and wreak havoc with him. Destroy the sheiks! The marios! And especially the rosalinas!