[MU] Ryu


Smash Apprentice
Dec 6, 2014
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
While good Ryus are a rarity there is a Ryu on PR in my region. Link vs Ryu has been a struggle and is a struggle. The character's combo ability and punish game is amazing and his ability to land and recover is top notch.

I've also played Venom twice in bracket along with Darkshad. At this point I'm not sure how we're supposed to win this MU so let's take a look at it as a community.

Scizor vs Trela is a good show of why this MU is so terrible but I'll take a few days to break down the entire set and organize thoughts.
- Ryu's slow walk is one of the toughest things for Link to get past
-- Walking makes it ever so easier to PS incoming projectiles while keeping access to his tilts at all times
- Ryu's Bair is safe on shield not that we can grab him OoS anyways
-- It is however possible to Up-B OoS
--- This is especially possible if the Ryu dashes away after the Bair connection or if you PS
--- However in general it's best to simply respect Bair and stay out of range
- 0:38 While Focus can protect Ryu against one Up-air he'll have to dash as any following hit will simply break through
-- Fair will beat Focus if both hits land and is good damage
- While Scizor really used Bair in this MU it should generally be better to Fair as having a disjoint is far more valuable
-- Ryu's Fair and Bair out ranges our Bair and Nair
- Scizor utilized some cross-up Bairs to get past Ryu's shield
-- I'm not sure how agreeable this is as Shoryu OoS is a legit option with which he can call out any Bairs with
-- Ryu can also just Bair OoS to catch us as we pass through

Things to Remember:
- When stuck in up-tilts on your shield you need to watch for a chance to roll away as the collar bone breaker will likely break shield if you get hit by more than two up-tilts
- 90% Is in fact death percentage as True Shoryu can kill with a bit of rage
- Shoryu has start-up intangibility from frame 3 - 5 with normal Shoryu and frame 1 - 6 from True Shoryu
-- If a Ryu has whiffed and you're hoping to instantly punish you could find yourself being hit by a Shoryu instead if they can act again
-- It's also not uncommon for Ryus to do Shoryu land then Shoryu again upon whiff
-- Something the local Ryu does is F-smash into Shoryu, sounds dumb but it worked once on me
--- This character is dumb af
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Smash Apprentice
Oct 20, 2013
Here are my thoughts on the Ryu Matchup.

Beating Ryu is literally playing to not get touched. Link is generally a very poor defensive character, his out of shield options are minimal and his weight makes him combo food for literally the entire cast. Surely you know this as a Link player. But this fact must truly be embraced and accepted when fighting Ryu. Short answer is that your terrible defense is something you can overcome, accept that getting hit once will take you to 70% and that getting hit again will probably be your stock. If you’re near the corner combo starters like falling nair can actually combo you into Dair spikes from 0 so in certain situations it becomes a one hit game.

Where Link struggles is terribly obvious but Ryu has a lot of struggles in this matchup as well. Link wants to make Ryu’s life truly miserable, make his range feel truly inadequate and ultimately make Ryu feel like he will lose to you if he stays on the ground.


In Neutral your gameplan movement-wise is to keep going from corner to corner. A Ryu moving towards you will have trouble catching options like Cross-Up SH Bair, roll through and Full Hopping over him with a bomb in hand. Ideally you’d want to be in center stage but the moment you get there in neutral it will typically be too close for comfort and you’ll find yourself going to the other corner of the stage.

Ryu on the ground is truly terrifying though and simply running from him will not net you damage. Eventually one of your corner escape options will be read and viciously punished. The best way to extend this runaway neutral game is to play around Bomb set on the ground. Retreating zair with bomb in hand is amazing. A SH empty jump into Z-drop bomb is amazing (if ryu lands on your shield afterwards with a button his hitboxes are so big that bomb will definitely blow up and punish him). And of course when you have space simply dropping a bomb between you two is amazing.

The more you can make the Bomb set on the ground a problem the easier it will be to continue running away from Ryu. Ryu’s natural responses to bomb set on the ground are shielding and jumping. Grabbing comes with an unbelievably hard cost if you miss but landing grabs are key. If you show Ryu that his shield will enable him to stay grounded, even in the face of your bomb, then he is still winning the match. So look for those points where you know Ryu is going to shield and really focus on capitalizing.

The goal is to get Ryu jumping and more specifically jumping at a range that you can predict and punish yourself with an air to air Fair or Nair. In tenser moments retreating/neutral jump zair is amazing for this purpose as well. Mistiming your Air to Airs come with a much lower cost than missing a smash or a grab on the ground. A single fair or a single bair will still do a fat chunk of damage but it won’t be nearly as bad as getting punished on the ground or letting him get a jump-in punish on you.

There is little value to throwing ground to ground boomerang in this matchup as a powershielded boomerangs enable Ryu to make up so much ground and get to those ranges where he dominates the matchup.

When you have space I like to do retreating Full Hop Bomb Pulls, Ryu won’t really be able to chase you up there and punish you. A poorly spaced bomb pull in the air still gives you options like tossing the bomb, double jumping, z-dropping it or going for a zair. Due to the presence of zair as an option here (multi-hit nonetheless) I would always suggest turning around and facing Ryu before you pull that bomb so the threat of the zair is present.

Short hopping and Z-drop z-catching bomb is a very useful tool in the matchup, especially in the corner. The worst thing you can do in the corner against Ryu is show your hand to him early. Don’t move yourself towards the stage at all until you’ve shown him that you’re willing to wait. Poking with Jab1,2 Whiffing Nair and Zair are all safe ways to get that roll through or that Jump Over you desperately need in the matchup. The moment you see Ryu begin an initial dash or go for an air to air jump read that’s your time to go back to the stage and set a bomb in place and make him chase you to the other corner. When Ryu is at kill percent you can use the fact that they know you’re looking to escape the corner to stop your momentum, turn around with a pivot grab, f-tilt, whatever is appropriate and apply corner pressure yourself to secure kills.


If Ryu is in a situation where he has to Up-B to ledge you can jump and shove a Dair by the ledge. Aiming to get the spike hitbox is a bit ambitious due to the enormous hitbox on Shoryuken. But it’s easy to put a late hitbox Dair by the edge that will consistently force Ryu into a stagespike situation. If the dair has been out long enough you can even cover the tech-wall-jump with up-b which will net you a Kill or put Ryu in a bad situation.

Tatsu’s to the ledge should be intercepted always with bomb toss or arrow at least and a Dair Spike ideally. Relying on Dair so much to edgeguard is a very risk-prone strategy. Messing it up is forcing yourself to go to the ledge and if your ledge option gets read then its curtains.

But using dair in these two ways isn’t particularly difficult but you need to be confident in your Dair edgeguards to make this matchup a lot easier. You are working so hard and playing a terrifying game in the neutral so focusing on your ability to close out stocks in this matchup is key.

Grab game

Grabs are key as I mentioned earlier to get Ryu jumping. But converting off of grab is by no means free.

There is only One Guaranteed Down-throw follow up in this matchup. A rageless Link can true combo down throw to up-tilt on Ryu from 40-70%. Getting a grab for the kill is great too though typically Ryu will have to get grinded out to 150% or so before that happens.

If you go for downthrow up-tilt and it’s not a true combo Ryu can just mash focus, flutter down to you and punish you with the focus attack. This can lead to your death, how unfair you worked hard for that grab. Well typically if your up-tilt gets focused you have enough time to roll away and get out of the focus punish. Forgetting this fact can cost you stocks.

Downthrow to Nair is not guaranteed against Ryu ever but it is still an option worth considering, starting at around 60% I like to downthrow Ryu and go for Nair, especially if the Nair will knock ryu off stage and lead to an edgeguard situation. Generally in matchups where you have solid edgeguards I would suggest opting for Nair, the only real follow-up off of throw that has horizontal knockback.

Of course your Nair can be focused too. But you want that to happen the “fake” downthrow to nair is a focus bait. As you rise with nair you will cross up Ryu as focus keeps him firmly in place. Simply hit him with from the other side with Bair1 fast fall to break his focus. Depending on his height you put yourself in a situation to follow up with Up-smash (if he’s still firmly above you) or turnaround jab123 (if ryu is close to the ground). Or if you’re feeling yourself Bair1 into turnaround F-smash can be effective and net you some very early kills with practice. You may need to Bair 1 into perfect pivot F-smash to avoid the dead zone in the front of F-smash and be careful not to cross Ryu up again with this Bair1 and mis-space your punish.

At low percents, the ones before Ryu can be true combo’d by anyone I would still suggest going for downthrow. If they have the habit of trying to focus out of your followup you can simply react to the focus with up-smash and net a very good punish you don’t deserve. At percents where up-tilt true combos though, the spacing where this up-smash bait will work gets wonkier and wonkier. You can find yourself whiffing hits 2 and 3 of the upsmash and getting viciously punished for your error. I’d recommend doing it at lower percents mostly.

Lastly there is a lot of risk incurred in going for Down-throw to Up-air in this matchup to secure kills (focus is the problem here again). But if you’ve successfully punished focus or baited it out then it is very viable for killing Ryu, especially if he failed to DI away from you, so keep that in mind.


These are my thoughts on the matchup and I’ve found it to be one of my most successful matchups as Link in tournament so I hope you all found this helpful.


Smash Rookie
Dec 30, 2013
I think the 2 posts above have a ton of great points and are really helpful. Something I'd add is:

Jab: Scizor didn't really use it at all in that exhibition against Trela. In my local scene I have to play a Ryu often who is solid at power shields. Jab is your friend. Often he'll PS a bomb or boomerang and approach grounded. Jab 2 and 3 out range his tilts and can clank with his dash attack. So if you see a PS start up jabs, even if jab 1 misses you'll be covered and if he stops the approach stop your jabs. Links jab are also quick enough to get through focus. After d throws pivoting out and jabbing can often set up solid situations for Link and at the worst he fades and you miss and the neutral is reset.
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