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Ken Masters is Ryu's eternal best friend and sparring rival. He trains constantly in order to keep up with Ryu, focusing on his signature move, the Shoryuken. He also has a family life, with his wife Eliza and his son Mel. Ken was born and raised in Japan by a Japanese father and Japanese/American mother. Early on in his life, his mother and father would argue and fight, and were on the verge of divorce. This caused Ken to rebel, and dye his hair blonde. Ken's rebellious nature made his parents rethink their relationship and come back together, but he keeps his hair blonde as a reminder. Ken was sent to train under his fathers old friend, Gouken, at the age of 12. There he met Ryu, who would become his closest friend. Both swore to become the best fighters they could, and once they left the dojo, Ryu went to Thailand to take on Sagat and Ken went to the US to compete in tournaments there. He met Eliza while competing, and has since then been deciding whether or not to settle down with her or fight forever like Ryu.
In CvS2 Ken is a strong shoto-style character. While he has a weaker fireball, and no red fireball, his dragon punch specials are higher damage, stronger, and overall much better. As a shoto, Ken is adaptable and can be played in a variety of ways, from slow neutral to aggressive rushdown. He isn't as extreme in the mixup department as Akuma/Gouki, but he has plenty of ways to stay in and some good tools to open opponents up. Overhead followups to his safe specials, plenty of plus frames, and good confirm combos make him very scary.
In neutral, Ken can adapt to the opponents gameplan very well. Moves like 2MK, 5HP, 2MP, and his powerful Shoryuken allow him to control from a range. However, among the shotos, his fireball is the weakest. This hurts his zoning and general fullscreen presence badly, and while fireballs in CvS2 are generally weak, this is still a major weakness. Ken has to commit a lot more to approach against good zoning characters, as his fireball recovers too slow to effectively approach behind in the way Guile or Ryu can. Another issue is that Ken has to risk more to open an opponent up. While he can generate plus frames easily, his overheads leave huge reactable gaps, and he only has normal throws.
If you want a good all rounder that generally plays aggressive, works well in any groove, and has some damaging up close combos, Ken is for you.
Best - A/C: As a shoto with a varied toolset, Ken works very well in any groove, but is usually seen in A-Groove and C-Groove. A-Ken is likely the most powerful, thanks in no small part to A-Grooves powerful Custom Combos. Ken has a very easy to perform CC, and the utility of activation makes him a lot scarier. A-Groove gives him rolls as well, which are very useful for him as he has many useful roll cancels. C-Ken has a bit more in the way of defensive options, like air block and Alpha Counters, alongside a powerful level 2 combo. In trade, he loses access to Custom Combos, and has to be closer or get a good hit to utilize his meter and make it scary.
Useful - N/K: N-Groove is a bit behind but still very powerful. N-Ken is more geared to rushdown, with run and hop to aid his mixup and approach. Ken can more easily pressure after blocked LK Geri, and run pressure can be scary. N-Ken doesn't spend meter well in general however, as without having Max Mode spent the best you get is a confirm into level 1 Shoryureppa. K-Groove is similar. Rage makes his damage even better, and JD is very strong. Losing rolls is a big hurt however, as Ken can no longer RC Geri kicks.
Worst - S/P: S-Ken and P-Ken are very weak in comparison to his other grooves. His level 1 supers aren't powerful enough to make having infinite ones very worthwhile, he doesn't get much from dodge, and having to charge safely to gain meter harms Ken as a character who wants to approach. P-Ken loses access to a lot of what makes him strong, like his supers and rolls, and while hop still helps him here it just is too much to give up. Parry is inconsistent for Ken as well, as Kens punishes are strong up close but from farther distances aren't as solid.
Ken is a powerful all-rounder who leans toward aggressive rushdown with his close range pokes and Geri Kicks. Ken is best played in A-Groove or C-Groove.