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Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo/Ryu/Matchups
Ryu is an overall well balanced character with no overpowering strengths or weaknesses, and as such he can lay well against most of the cast. He doesn't have a lot of matchups where he can particularly excel, but playing Ryu means most of the time, you'll be facing a 4/6 matchup at worst.
Matchup placements are based off of Goukipedia's JP Average Matchup chart. Most old characters aren't played at a high enough level to warrant tier list placements, so with the exception of Old Ryu, Ken, T.Hawk, and Sagat, they'll be listed alongside their New counterparts.
Serious Advantage Matchups
E. Honda (7.5-2.5)
Block; step back a bit then use crouching Strong (beats Hundred Hand Slap and Sumo Headbutt); jump back.
Use your projectile game to zone him, and cr.Roundhouse or Shoryuken to punish jump-ins. Against Sumo Drops, prefer Shoryukens, back + strong (throw) or cr.strong xx red Hadouken, as Ryu's increased crouching kick vulnerability gets them stuffed, usually. If he gets up close, do not panic. Watch out for opportunities such as a jump-in or a Buttslam, and be ready to walk up and cr.Roundhouse into Hadouken to keep him honest about standing just outside your range. Try red Hadoukens between his pokes occasionally. If he does a Super, either Shoryuken him right away if you got the time or simply block the first hit and use a reversal Shoryuken to knock him out of the air. If you score a knockdown, simply have him wake up on meaty Hadoukens and continue with your zone game. Do not attempt normal meaties against him: odds are you will eat a free Oicho Throw.
It is important to keep in mind that while Ryu's projectile game is hard to get around, experienced Honda players will eventually get in if you stick to just throwing Hadoukens. Thus, it is important to feint with normals so he does not know when a real projectile will be fired, and mix some rush punches or even walking up so as to punish jump-ins with Shoryukens. This will cause major damage, reset the situation, and push him back at his own corner.
Vs. Old E. Honda:
The plan is similar to that against the New version of the character, but the exact way one applies it should differ since he has different normals. Be wary of the Hadouken baits Old Honda players should give you, since they will want to leave one of his many standing kicks' legs waiting for you to extend your hurtbox and eat the knockdown.
He has an even harder time jumping over projectiles, since he does not have the steerable neutral jump hp. You should abuse that and try to prevent him from ever getting close. Don't throw too many slow projectiles, since he can easily react to those and neutral jump them, preventing you from throwing further Hadoukens since that slow one won't leave the screen immediately.
Block, walk up block, walk up cr.kick xx Hadouken, cr.Strong.
Stay on the ground. Crouching Strong beats a number of his pokes, but does not have enough reach to guarantee that you will control him in footsies. Use Hadoukens from a distance or between his pokes to push him back. If he uses his horizontal Rolling Attack, block it standing and do a reversal Fierce Hadouken to punish him. If Blanka jumps in on top of you, use a Shoryuken. If he jumps from a distance such that it would whiff, use cr.Roundhouse, standing Strong and jumping Fierce as anti-air. Blanka can often counter those moves, so mix them up to keep him off balance. If you score a knockdown, use your projectile game or jumping Fierce if you believe he will try a reversal. Do a Hadouken as you land to punish a possible reversal back hop. The horizontal rolling part of Blanka's super can be hit by Hadoukens.
You should watch out for normals with exceptionally good priority. Blanka's standing Short and neutral jumping Forward kicks have no projected hitboxes, so do not try to counter those with vulnerable normals or specials.
Blanka has several ground cross-ups he can apply either mid-screen or at the corner. Those can be countered by a reversal Shoryuken, but since he switches sides, you must either reverse the command completely, or use the →(↘)↓↙ motion. There is one exception that you must be wary about: ground cross-ups after a blocked strong punch cancelled into a Surprise Forward hop. Your attack will completely whiff almost every time, leaving you vulnerable to his biting attack or devastating combos. React with a counter throw instead.
His Electric Thunder attack, if ever used, can be countered by crouching strong (preferably cancelled into a Hadouken. If he ever whiffs a Vertical Rolling Attack, remember to punish it on the ground with a crouching attack, since most of Ryu's standing normals will whiff after he touches the ground.
Vs. Old Blanka:
He is strictly weaker than Blanka. No cross-up aerial Short means you only need to worry about dizzy combos from the front.
Block, Rush Punch into throw, jump back, backwards juice kick.
Use your projectile game to zone her, and use standing Strong or cr.Roundhouse to punish jump-ins. If she gets up close, try a red Hadouken between her pokes, or a walk-up cr.Forward or Roundhouse into Hadouken only if she does not have super. Jump ins, Spinning Backfist and Hooligan Combination can all be punished with a Shoryuken on reaction. If she is closer to you, it might be a better idea to use a cr.Fierce as a counter to random Hooligan Combinations, as it should be harder to input the Shoryuken motion in time.
She is rather vulnerable to ambiguous cross-ups, so the aerial Roundhouse, cr.Strong hit-confirmed into Shoryuken is a good option. Alternatively, you can link cr.Forward after the punch and cancel it into a Fierce Hadouken for a dizzy combo. In case she blocks it, mix up throws, cr.Short into cr.RH xx Hadouken, cr.Forward xx Hadouken, cr.Strong (safer in case you mess up the timing), or just wait and react accordingly.
In case she hits you in the air with close standing Strong, she will have a nasty cross-under as a follow-up. In case she does go for the cross-under, you can counter it the same way you would Boxer or Ken's throw loops: input the Shoryuken motion in the direction she is walking. So if she walks to the left, it should be ←↓↙ + punches. If you want to have a chance to throw her too, you may use ←↓↙← + punches, Forward and Roundhouse. This can also result in Tatsus in case she does not cross under.
Do not throw slow Hadoukens as soon as she gets super, as she can react to them. Also, watch out for baits such as blocked Spiral Arrow, which you can usually take advantage of and force her to block a Hadouken, but she should be buffering the super motion just so you do something slow enough for her to hit a button and land the full super.
Vs. Old Cammy:
Mostly the same as Cammy, but she has no super, Hooligan Combination and cross-up aerial Short, giving her less chances of delivering high damage.
Since Old Cammy can be safe-jumped, you can use the Aniken strategy against her. Simply throw her as much as you can, varying your ticks (one jumping weak attack, one jumping weak attack and one grounded weak attack, one jumping medium attack, etc.) until she is dead, or until she manages to reverse. When she is cornered, she can no longer walk backwards, which makes it easier to walk up and throw her again after any whiffed attack or moment of hesitation.
Hadouken, walk up and block, walk up st.Strong, wait.
Your fireball game is better: you have faster projectiles, shorter start-up and shorter overall recovery. Force him to take risks and punish accordingly, closing the distance when possible to push him into the corner.
If he whiffs a Fierce or Strong Shoryuken, or a Shoryureppa, it might be hard to guess which side he will land. By crouching and using the Forward kick, you will get the right direction everytime. As it is not that safe and his Jab Shoryuken is a threat, do cr.Forward, ←↙↓↘→ + P + K so as to cancel the kick into either a red Hadouken or a Tatsu. If you are cornered and you have super, do a cr.Forward xx super as you normally would when the enemy lands in front of you.
If you feel like pressuring his wake-up with Shoryukens for chip damage (mostly recommended if Ken is about to die), always use the Jab one, and make sure he wakes on on it. Else, Ken's Jab Shoryuken will stuff yours due to its better horizontal and vertical range. Conversely, if Ken is pressuring your wake-up with a Jab SRK, just accept the chip, as Strong and Fierce Shoryukens lose cleanly and Jab Shoryuken may also get hit around Ryu head cleanly, which is easier for Ken to do than the other way around.
Ken's cross-up Tatsu causes the hit or blockstun of a Fierce or Roundhouse, take that into account when trying to reverse knee bash attempts.
Fei Long (6-4)
Fei Long has a powerful mixup game in his MK overhead and Chicken Wing. You'll need to keep your eyes peeled for his mixups, since a lot of them can be started from long range.
Vs. Old Fei Long:
walk up cr.Forward, neutral jump Fierce or Roundhouse, standing Jab or Strong, wait.
Old Fei is the 50% master in Super Turbo. Every time he touches you after a jump or a knockdown, you will be vulnerable to either a throw or a cr.Forward into Rekkas. The latter is devastating, and leaves you almost dizzy - if you are lucky. Watch out for that, and don't mash throws every single chance you get to avoid becoming predictable.
He is Fei Long without the Rekka Kicks but with a few more cancels. Zone him, and get your cr.Roundhouse well spaced. He is also easily crossed-up on full knockdowns.
Since Old Fei can be safe-jumped, you can use the Aniken strategy against him. Simply throw him as much as you can, varying your ticks (one jumping weak attack, one jumping weak attack and one grounded weak attack, one jumping medium attack, etc.) until he is dead, or until he manages to reverse. When he is cornered, he can no longer walk backwards, which makes it easier to walk up and throw him again after any whiffed attack or moment of hesitation.
Dee Jay (6-4)
Walk up and block, walk up cr.kick into Haoduken, block.
Use a barrage of Hadoukens to cancel his Max Out game, and rush punches or short Tatsus to close the gap and push him into the corner. If he jumps, you will be in position for a Shoryuken for high damage and a full knockdown. At the corner, keep the pressure up with Hadoukens, rush punches into throw and crouching kicks into Hadoukens. Do not threaten him with whiffed normals: most his normals have good priority and will either beat or trade with your attacks. This is specially true for cr.Forward, which gets beaten cleanly by Dee Jay's cr.Strong and cr.Forward. If he tries to escape, use close standing Fierce or Shoryuken. If he jumps from a distance such that a Shoryuken is unsafe, try a perfectly spaced sweep, diagonal Fierce or check his usual action after he lands. Due to the threat of cr.Roundhouse, you may be able to simply walk up and throw him. Neutral jumping roundhouse will stuff his diagonal jumping Roundhouse, but it is very risky. Only use it if you know for sure it will get used.
If you score a knockdown against Dee Jay, consider either safe jumping, meaty Hadouken, cross-up Tatsu or meaty cr.Forward into cr.RH or another cr.Forward. Dee Jay's reversals have trouble hitting low, so you can usually punish him afterwards (Jackknife Maximum kicks) or simply stuff him (Machine Gun Upper). Avoid meaty Jab Shoryukens, as his standing Roundhouse will punish it on block and his Short upkicks will beat it cleanly.
As it is usual against charge projectile characters, pay attention to his style, the clock and your life lead. The more jumpy the enemy gets, the more dangerous it is to throw Hadoukens, but the more damage you deal if you feint and punish with Shoryukens. Also, as his projectiles are fast and some of his normals have long reach, watch out when throwing a Hadouken if the previous one has been blocked or if you are at a frame disadvantage. You may eat a Max Out or a standing Roundhouse and get hit out of your projectile.
If cornered, stay calm. Dee Jay may get a sort of long block-string pressure going, but he will eventually have to either give up frame advantage or take some risk such as jumping in or trying to predict a Hadouken with standing RH. Be ready to sweep, SRK or get a red Hadouken in between his pokes. Also, be wary of supers, which will surely get all hits if you are cornered.
Watch out for trying to reversal throw after his awesome cross-up aerial Forward kick. Talented Dee Jays will use cr.Jab linked into cr.Short either once or twice, canceling it into Machine Gun Upper for major damage. Concentrate on softening the throw in that situation, and consider yourself lucky if your opponent always goes for the st.Strong xx Dread Kicks, which can be simply blocked.
Vs. Old Dee Jay:
Mostly the same as N.Dee Jay, but he has no Super and must rely only on Machine Gun Upper for a special anti-air. Installed Shoryukens should beat any reversal attack he tries on wake-up.
M. Bison (Dictator) (6-4)
Block, Strong Hadouken, rapid-fire st.Jab.
Dictator will try to poke you with his kicks and hit you out of your projectiles, then force you to throw a Hadouken or predict one and punish with a Touch of Death combo. Also, he will want to put you in a defensive position and tick throw you from a range only Shoryuken will work, as Tatsus get beat by his punches. To avoid that, Ryu will use well placed projectiles, which will put Dictator on defense and force him to either play patiently and carefully, or take constant risks.
If you get him cornered, pressure him with Hadoukens. He is particularly vulnerable to your projectile trap.
From full screen, Dictator can punish Hadoukens on reaction with Headstomps. Thus, keep constantly feinting so you can throw occasional Hadoukens (Fierce only). If you bait a Headstomp, diagonal Strong can punish it for some good damage and a full knockdown.
Learn the timing for crossing him on on knockdowns. This will put Dictator in a situation his only hope is to block correctly. If he does not, he will eat aerial Roundhouse, cr.Strong and either a Hadouken or a Shoryuken, which can be hit-confirmed. If he blocks correctly, he still has to deal with guessing games between throw, cr.kick (xx Hadouken) and Shoryuken. Avoid Tatsu as a follow-up as Dictator can react with diagonal Strong for a 3-hit juggle combo.
Training should help you differentiate jump-ins from Headstomps and Devil's Reverse. You must punish the jump-ins with Shoryukens: allowing Dictator to land aerial attacks on you is a losing strategy, even if you manage to block them. His tick throw game is very strong, and his block strings will allow him to get meter early, limiting your options.
If he tries a super from mid or long distance, use a Shoryuken on reaction. If you bait a super by jumping, Fierce beats it on the way down, if he is not anymore invulnerable, which is usually the case. Do not throw Jab Hadoukens from close and mid distance when he has bar: he will punish with the super on reaction.
If he tries a Headstomp while you are standing, crouch to avoid it. Zone him carefully and be ready to Shoryuken jump-ins.
Vs. Old M. Bison (Dictator)
A weaker version of Dictator. He does have some extra cancels from his original Super Street Fighter 2 version, so he can still use his Touch of Deaths however.
Use a barrage of Hadoukens to cancel her Kikouken game, and Rush Punches or short Tatsus to close the gap and push her into the corner. If she jumps, you will be in position for a Shoryuken for high damage and a full knockdown. At the corner, keep the pressure up with Hadoukens, rush punches into throw and crouching kicks into Hadoukens. If she tries to escape, use close standing fierce or a Shoryuken. If she jumps from a distance such that a Shoryuken is unsafe, block or jump back . Her Super Combo is a threat when charged. Because she can store it while walking forward, be extra careful with your projectiles. If she uses the neckbreaker on your wake-up, block it low. It will change sides and hit as a cross-up if she does it from point-blank range. She can hit you out of Hadoukens with a number of safe pokes such as standing forward kick. Time a projectile between pokes to avoid getting countered, but know you will be wide open for a dizzy combo if she guesses right and jumps in.
Vs. Old Chun-Li:
She has no Super, which is a big help to you, but her aerial game is boss-like. You will only beat her jump-ins with deep Shoryukens or close Fierces: all other normals are likely to get stuffed. That aside, a less troublesome match for you.
Walk up and block, walk up and Roundhouse Tatsu if he uses Sonic Boom, walk up cr.kick into Haoduken, block.
Use a barrage of Hadoukens to cancel his Sonic Boom game, and Rush punches or short Tatsus to close the gap and push him into the corner. If he jumps, you will be in position for a Shoryuken for high damage and a full knockdown. At the corner, keep the pressure up with Hadoukens, rush punches into throw and crouching kicks into Hadoukens. If he tries to escape, use close standing Fierce or Shoryuken. If he jumps from a distance such that a SRK is unsafe, crouching Strong should beat all his jump-ins.
Guile can be easily crossed up. If you score a knockdown and you are either losing or near your own corner, try the safe and tested cross-up RH then cr.Strong combo, or other mix ups, such as throw, Jab into throw or cr.Forward xx Hadouken as he recovers. If you don't have time to cross him up, Guile is still particularly vulnerable to aerial Forward, cr.Strong, hit-confirmed into Shoryuken, in case he ever misses a reversal. This does major damage and stun, so he should be one attack (any) away from being dizzy, if he survives it.
If you manage to corner him - which is not easy - and if any crates or barrels which might be over there have already been destroyed, any Jab Shoryuken will set you up for a safe jump against him. Jumping short into short kick is a good way to keep him guessing about throws or a low attack.
Vs. Old Guile
Same as above, but old.
T. Hawk (5.5-4.5)
Crouching Strong, wait, jump back.
Hawk can kill you with his Typhoon loop. Fast. You have to keep him out if you want to survive. Hawk's plan, on the other hand, is to get in. This is the match-up, not trying to escape the loop, which means you are already counting on luck or an execution mistake.
Hawk has several ways of getting in, but all of them put him in range for some of Ryu's melee attacks, or force him to give up blocking, which also leaves him wide open to Hadoukens. He can simply walk up and do a Typhoon, which you can counter with a crouching kick or Red Hadouken. We can whiff a normal outside your range and throw you faster by previously buffering the command, which you can also stop with a crouching kick or Hadouken. The normal whiff can be a warning. This, however, force you to throw a normal or a projectile which he can predict and punish with cr.RH, getting a fast knockdown, or even walk-up and Rising Hawk, which gives him the full knockdown, to great advantage. From a range, he can control some space with Roundhouse, which gets stuffed by your Strong punch, and can be hit if he attacks again by a properly timed Hadouken.
Other ways of getting in are aerial normals (Jab "wall" or Fierce) and the Condor Dive, or simply dive, for short. Both are extremely dangerous: the dive knocks you down while even accepting a jumping normal will probably lead to you getting sucked into Mexican Typhoon. The Dive gives Ryu some time to either block it or punish it, which can be done with a Shoryuken, standing Jab or standing Short, depending on the angle. Notice he can only dive until the apex of his jump. As he falls, he can only use normals. The normals, usually Jab, can be swept from the right range, or punished with a Shoryuken from closer range. Know your options (Shoryuken, sweep, standing/jumping punches) and be ready to use them. If the jump is ambiguous, try to simply jump back, as accepting it will lead to a safe option-select throw attempt. If you have super, you can use it as anti-air in that situation. Crouching Roundhouse gives you a safe jump on Hawk, if it hits. You have to wait for a split second before jumping, or your aerial attack will whiff.
If he gets you in his loop, your only way out is the super. Among Ryu's specials, the one that has the best chance of escaping the loop is Short Tatsu. Rarely, the Tatsus can also allow Ryu to escape the installed Rising Hawk after safe jumps, but this demands certain fortunate distances and timing from Hawk as he jumps. It may also help before the typhoon, as a Rising Hawk, crouching Strong or Fierce do less damage than the command throw, and there is a small chance that they mistime a move and you get away with a throw or Shoryuken. Hawk players know that the super will push them back, so they will often try to predict it and punish with a dive, jump or Rising Hawk. Watch out, try to read his intentions and not be predictable.
This match-up has some interesting aspects regarding zoning. Ryu has the better recovery on his projectile, the Hadouken, but Sagat's has options among which area of the screen he covers and either a faster or slower projectile than those of Ryu. Also, while Ryu remains vulnerable for more time after throwing his projectile, Sagat happens to have a faster punishment for extended limbs with his aerial Roundhouse than Ryu with any of his jump-ins. However, Ryu has the option of either ducking high Tigers or using Tatsu through or above low Tigers, together with modifying his jump arc on reaction with the air Tatsus if he mistimes a neutral jump.
While both characters are strong from a distance, Ryu has trouble due to Sagat's fast projectiles and his worse ability to punish limbs from further away. Ryu's super through low Tigers also allows Sagat to block the remaining hits due to the extended limbs giving enough time to recover, so accepting damage while getting cornered is risky. On the other hand, while Sagat's Tiger Uppercut has more range than Ryu's Shoryuken and is safer on block, it has much less invulnerability. Up close, Ryu has stronger tools: the threat of the Shoryuken, longer range on his cancelable crouching kicks, Shakunetsu Hadouken that knocks down, negates Sagat a range where he can jump in and not eat a Shoryuken, punishes any high fast Tiger on reaction after ducking them and punishes slow projectiles with reaction super. Thus most Ryu players will choose to rush Sagat down.
To close the gap, keep feinting to bait a jump in, Short Tatsu through low tigers and rush punches when Sagat can not throw a projectile on your face. You can get Sagat to jump by throwing many projectiles, but as his jump arc is short and his aerial Roundhouse has good damage and range, this is riskier than usual. Do not get carried away when trading projectiles.
Your usual anti-airs (Shoryuken, st.Short, st.Strong, diagonal Fierce) work well in this match, but you must be aware of his range. As for Sagat, a Ryu player will soon learn not to spam jumps against him, as just three of his options - Tiger Uppercut, far Fierce and crouching Roundhouse - are enough to negate almost any air attack.
If you score a knockdown, your two main options are meaty Hadouken or cross-up Tatsu. A safe jump is possible (same timing as against Claw), but harder to time due to Sagat's Uppercut having a start-up of just three frames, and maybe useless, if he gets a Jab one to come out, which is safe on block. Also due to the fast start-up, built-in Shoryukens are hard. Consider the cross-up Tatsu if you are not about to corner the opponent, and the Hadouken otherwise, naturally. Tiger Uppercut has a deceiving range when he gets cross-up, and as Ryu's leg is partially vulnerable, he can be hit out of the move if he lands close, even it Sagat's move comes out the wrong way. Favor Tatsus at the apex of Ryu's jump, to hit Sagat safely and land outside the range of his crouching Roundhouse. Avoid Shoryukens on his wake-up, unless he is spamming Jab Tiger Uppercut: he can simply block and punish with a Fierce punch, every time.
It s a good idea to save your super for punishing slow high Tigers and as a mix-up in the corner, where Sagat will have very few options. Do not go for unavoidable chip damage, unless that will get him to die or at least deny him block against special moves. Also, recall that the extended limbs on low Tigers will allow Sagat to block the remaining hits almost every time, even if the corner or the end of the screen limit his reeling animation. Sagat's super is invulnerable: punish the recovery, and watch-out for predictable Hadoukens from mid and close range.
Old Ken (5.5-4.5)
Hadouken, walk up and block, walk up st.Strong, wait.
Old Ken's Hadoukens can be annoying, but you still have a better start-up on your Hadouken and, more importantly, a faster projectile speed. Because of that, he has to constantly throw Hadoukens at you if he wants to get a projectile exchange going, which makes him more predictable.
You can't counter his diagonal Roundhouse with standing punches, as the leg is invulnerable, so get your walk-up Shoryuken ready or simply block. Else, keep your Hadou-Shoryu game going, sweep him if he jumps from a distance or do a late Jab Hadouken or walk up standing punch if he is happy with Shoryukens when landing.
His close game can be very dangerous, as if he is worked with the Shotos' option selects, his Shoryuken will beat yours, resetting the situation. You need reversal throws to escape if he does not make a mistake.
Old Ryu (5-5)
Block, walk up and block.
Be careful here. His blue projectiles are better than yours, so he will zone better. Try to build your Super bar while staying away from the corner, where he is deadly. Also, notice his blue Hadoukens have better start-up, which can cause some confusion if you are not used to facing him instead of New Ryu. Be careful when trying to reverse with a Hadouken after having blocked a Hadouken of his, as there is a good chance you will get hit out of your projectile. As soon as you have Super, the game will change in your favor and he will have to be extra careful with his projectiles, the with difference from New Ryu that he has no hope of ever building a Super of his. Watch out for random jumps and juice kick shenanigans.
Do not challenge his wake-up with any Shoryukens and do not challenge his Shoryukens on your wake-up. Remember: he is invincible during the whole active part of the move, and his Shoryuken stays active longer than yours.
Since Old Ryu can be safe-jumped, you can use the Aniken strategy against him. Simply throw him as much as you can, varying your ticks (one jumping weak attack, one jumping weak attack and one grounded weak attack, one jumping medium attack, etc.) until he is dead, or until he manages to reverse. When he is cornered, he can no longer walk backwards, which makes it easier to walk up and throw him again after any whiffed attack or moment of hesitation.
Ryu (Mirror Match)
Ryu is you, so keep your zoning and footsie tricks in mind, and make good use of aerial Tatsus to avoid getting hit by Hadoukens. Do not throw slow Hadoukens from close range when he gets his super: motion buffering and reactions will allow the opponent to punish it on reaction. Also, do not cancel the tip of crouching kicks into Hadouken while they have Super: they can reverse said kick. If you are about to kill him, never use Strong of Fierce Shoryukens to chip him to death: the vulnerability with allow them to be stuffed cleanly by reversal Shoryukens.
Most the character's strengths and weaknesses show in this match. You can be safe jumped, or have a safe cr.Strong meaty as you wake up. Your Hadoukens can be punished hard from mid range if they guess them, and you will be one hit away from dizzy after that, in case they finish the combo with a blue Hadouken. In case they use a red one (Shakunetstu Hadouken), you should have a bit more leniency, but will eat a full knockdown. Your aerial Roundhouse is not too reliable against yourself (or any Shoto, for that matter), but it can be made ambiguous, and you can use a Tatsumaki instead to hit them a bit later from behind. On the other hand, that Tatsu is particularly vulnerable to Shoryukens, even if they go the wrong way, since Ryu's leg is vulnerable.
Stand still and wait, Red Hadouken, walk up cr.Forward xx Hadouken, walk up cr.kick, jump back + tatsu.
Here's your objective:
- Don't get knocked down.
- Don't block jumps if you can trade or beat them.
- Don't get overwhelmed by his footsie arsenal.
- Don't get cornered.
His objective is to land Screw Pile Drivers, get in melee range so as to put you on pressure and corner you, so you are vulnerable to safe jumps into SPD loops.
Your projectile game mostly fails against Zangief, as he can evade Hadoukens with Lariats and his jumps are short, often allowing him to hit your extended arms before you can react with a Shoryuken. You will want to throw projectiles in the hope he messes up and with timing such that he will get hit if he tries to predict them with a Green Hand. He can also use his st.Forward kick to poke you from outside your normal move range. If it whiffs, you can try crouching or standing Strong to stuff it, but recall these two options project your hitboxes forward a bit. That aside, you can try walk up sweep or cr.Forward, simply feint or use a Red Hadouken between his pokes. While Zangief can counter all these, mixing up between them all makes it troublesome for Zangief to use his many ground tools. You must try not to default to blocking, at it allows Zangief to Lariat in front of you freely, getting meter and position while you stay pinned due to block recovery. If you see a Lariat and you are not blocking, however, you can walk up and sweep him with your crouching Roundhouse. Also, keep in mind that kick Lariats are vulnerable at the end of the move and punch Lariats have the range increase as Zangief spins. This means you risk getting stuffed if you guess a kick lariat wrong (Hadouken) or SPDed or punched if you guess a punch Lariat wrong (while walking forward for a crouching kick). From middle distance, use rush punches to quickly advance and punish Lariats, being ready to use a Shoryuken in case he jumps.
Do not default to Shoryukens as a reversal move against Zangief. First of all, it is not safe on block, and due to Zangief's SPD range, he can usually throw you as you land. In addition to it, the move is throwable before getting airbone. If Zangief tries a delayed SPD or even a Running Bear grab from maximum range, he may throw you out of the Shoryuken. Ryu's Short Tatsu will be very helpful in such situations, but do not overuse the move: after a safe jump, if Gief sees it coming, he can Lariat you out of it and earn a cross-up guessing game that will most like end in you taking a lot of damage. In the worst case, you may be dizzied and lose the round there.
This is one of the many match-ups where you must not allow the opponent to freely jump on you. Unless he is out of range, have the Shoryuken, standing Roundhouse kick or the sweep ready. Each time you block a jump-in, you are vulnerable to guessing games which are on his favor. Know the ranges of your different anti-airs and apply them. Also, be careful with your sweeps, since overusing the move can lead to eating a deadly combo into a knockdown.
If you score a knockdown, know your jumping Strong and Jab punches will stuff his reversal Lariat. This will force him to block, which then gives you some mean guessing games with options among throw, delayed Jab Shoryuken or Short Tatsu (for throw mashers) and crouching kicks into Hadouken or Super. If you get him on his corner, pressure him with cr.kicks into Hadouken, sweeps and projectiles. Lariats are risky for him there, as he has little room to walk back and avoid sweeps, but he is forced to try something risky in that situation. Be on the safe side, though: if he grabs you, he can steer his SPDs to spin in the direction of his own corner, extending his pressure in both sides of the screen.
In this match-up, do not
- try cross-up Tatsus;
- try meaty grounded normal attacks;
- spam Forward and Roundhouse Tatus;
- default to Shoryuken as a reversal;
- default to Red Hadouken between his pokes;
- default to backward or down back, getting pinned down during Lariats;
- try meaty aerial kicks;
- try any meaty aerial attack on top of him;
- discard the risk of him jumping on you.
Zangief does have a slight advantage against Ryu, but if Ryu is on his toes, he can give Zangief a lot of trouble.
Old T. Hawk (4.5-5.5)
Most of the things talked about in the New T. Hawk section still apply, but keep in mind that Old Hawk has better normals.
Balrog (Boxer) (4-6)
Block, wait a bit and st.Strong, small step towards and cr.Forward, jump Back.
Your plan is to somehow prevent Boxer from getting his offense going and killing you before you can try something. His offense comes from his many awesome Rush Punches, Turn Around Punch, high priority special headbutt, good range and priority normals, and the best Super in the game. Use standing Strong to punish predictable or random rushes, and zone him with Hadoukens. Mix their speeds to make it harder for him to simply ignore them while building meter by headbutting though them, punish jumps and Fierce headbutts appropriately. If you score a knockdown, use safe jumps, cross-up tatsus, or simply have him wake up on a Hadouken.
Safe jump -> Block
- cr short, throw
- wait 1 frame or 2, cr forward xx fireball
- cr mp, frame trap cr RH
If he gets close, watch out for predictable Hadoukens, as he can Headbutt though them for a knockdown and then apply a mean guessing game on your wake-up. His main options are Jab Heabutt (beats anything but blocking), bait (so as to punish a reversal or whiffed Fierce), cr.Jab (x1/2) into hold or bait, meaty cr.Forward into hold or linked into cr.Strong xx Low Rush. This last combo dizzies almost every time when you are waking up, so be on your toes with your reversals or simply block. When he builds super, try to build yours and minimize risks. In no account should you throw slow Hadoukens near him when he has full bar. Take note that his super will beat yours almost always, so be careful if using frame traps. If you can bait his super, jumping Fierce beats it after the invulnerability wears off. Your cr.Strong can beat his cr.Strong from the right range, and it will also stuff his standing Fierce. You can eat a cr.RH from that range, however.
Vega (Claw) (4-6)
Block, walk back, jump back, jump back and Tatsu.
There are two main strategies for fighting Claw: total rushdown (Gotoh, Futachan) or turtling (ShootingD).
Total rushdown will be trying to get close, use your normals on prediction to his so as to try and stuff his pokes (e.g., if both characters attack at the same time, Ryu's cr.Roundhouse will usually beat or trade with most his moves, but can lead to a 3-hit combo if he jumps or at least a slide or cr.Strong if it misses), and counter his Wall Dives by mixing up your many options. While he can hit you out of any attack except a Shoryuken with proper timing, he has no one-size-fits-all way of beating all options among Hadouken, let him land and Hadouken, Shoryuken, rush punch and Shoryuken, rush punch and crouching kicks, st.Short, towards diagonal RH, towards diagonal Strong, neutral Jab/Short/Strong, backwards diagonal RH/Fierce/Strong.
Learning to safe jump Claw is extremely important. That is your only chance, together with mixing up cross-up Tatsus, to try a comeback when he gets a life lead (which will happen many times). While Claw has control of both ground and air, he can get dizzied around 75% of the time if you score a 3-hit combo on his wake-up. Else, if he reversals, knock him down again to continue your offense. Know that you can not safe-jump Claw after a sweep, unless it hits really late. Don't try, or he will hit you with Scarlet Terror and initiate the infamous wall dive loop for free.
There is a distance where, if Claw jumps in, he can get swept for free. Naturally, he will rarely jump from that distance, which means you can try to throw occasional projectiles as he tries to advance or back off to re-position himself. Most his pokes are vulnerable at the height of his stomach, which is a region most Ryu's far and crouching normals can not reach. However, this means a Hadouken can hit him out of most his pokes, if it does not get stuffed. If he jumps in from close distance, you can react immediately with a Shoryuken, or use st.Short. From a slightly larger distance, st.Strong will hit most his jump-ins.
The main threat of being offensive against Claw is the chance of dying from a single knockdown. A series of ambiguous dives can make it hard to block and reverse, leading to other full knockdowns and further high damage. Your best bet, usually, is to try a Shoryuken and a Tatsu. Shoryukens will meaty and close to meaty dives, but get stuffed by cross-up dives with proper timing and trade with reversal Shoryukens from the front. Meaty dives will be beat by reversal tatsus, and beat them otherwise. The command →↓↘→+punches (piano) + kicks (piano) has a good chance of option-selecting between Shoryuken and Tatsu on ambiguous cross-ups. This is used by DGV, damdai and several top Japanese players. Else, you can try to hold all punches and use →↓↘→ + punches (piano release), to try an option select between Shoryuken and blocking. Depending on how he uses the Flying Barcelona Attack, it may cross you up sooner or later, or even not cross you up at all. Thus, alternative Shoryuken motions can be used to deal with each kind of dive attack, among →↓↘, →(↘)↓↙, or ←↓↙. Unfortunately, if you do get crossed up, you have no guarantee that the move will travel in the correct direction, even if you do get it to come out.
The power of the Flying Barcelona Attack is precisely the reason why another strategy is employed: total turtle. The Japanese player ShootingD is famous for this approach. Basically, you will walk back, crouch block and jump back into Tatsu, Strong, RH or nothing and get your back to the corner, so you can not be cross-up with wall dives. The only way to cross you up is by using super, Izuna Drop or by throwing you out of the corner first. Here, the Ryu player will rely on fast reflexes to punish Claw's jump-ins and rolling attacks (Rolling Crystal Flash), punish or evade wall dives, stuff or counter walk-up throws and block everything else. In between Claws pokes, he can throw seemingly random Hadoukens to deal damage and try to get a life lead, which will be exploited for more damage as Claw gets more reckless or predictable trying to equalize. If you score a knockdown, the plan is to either have him wake up on a Hadouken, unless you are losing. If you need the comeback, either safe jump or cross-up Tatsu, with occasional walk up and either use the overhead swing or fake it, in the hope he tries a flip kick.
The Flying Barcelona Attack can be dangerous even if you are expecting it, since it is very fast and you have no way of telling when it will hit, nor how high, nor where in the screen he will land. To make matters worse, the move is an inherent option-select, since it will become the Izuna Drop if it is activated close enough and you are vulnerable. Your options include st.Forward, st.Short, cl.Roundhouse, cl.Fierce, cr.Fierce, Shoryuken, diagonal jumping punches, neutral jumping Short (hits both sides), aerial Tatsu, having him land on a Hadouken, Shinkuu Hadouken, or simply crouch and let him fly over you, if that's the case.
In this match, Claw has the clear advantage, but with fast reflexes and good execution you can make it much harder for him to obtain damage from his offense. Ryu has the chance of killing Claw every time he knocks him down, and if the player is fast enough to SRK his jump-ins, his offensive options are quite limited in terms of damage.
Old Sagat (4-6)
- Strong/Fierce Hadouken (loses to standing Fierce, sort of beats doing nothing);
- Short Tatsu (avoids low Tigers, loses to standing Fierce);
- Step up cr.RH (against whiffed st.Fierce and straight jump RH);
- wait a bit and Hadouken (if he whiffs anything);
- wait, block, step up and block (most stable options).
Old Sagat has even faster projectiles than Old Ryu, and the overall recovery is also faster. He will wear you down in a projectile war. In addition to it, his jump has a shorter arc, making it easy for him to hit extended arms after Hadoukens, while his low Tiger is much harder to hit (only by prediction). Thus, committing to throwing projectiles is more dangerous to Ryu than to Sagat. Sagat also has the longer reach of his Tiger Uppercut and cr.RH in relation to Ryu's Shoryuken and cr.RH. Ryu, on the other hand, has ways of avoiding projectiles with Jab Shoryuken, Short Tatsu, jump, jump and air Tatsu. In addition to it, he has his super move, which will force Old Sagat to be more careful with his Tigers.
Your plan is to fire projectiles as appropriate to gain meter while avoiding, blocking or nullifying his Tigers as safely as you can; use standing normals (st.Strong, st.Short) and Shoryukens if he jumps, and be on your toes if he ever tries a surprise Tiger Knee. If you score a knockdown, your most stable option is meaty Hadouken and then another Hadouken to push him back or a Short Tatsu to get closer and apply pressure (better with full bar). The idea of throwing as many projectiles while feinting is still valid, but as his Tigers recover so much quicker than your Hadoukens, he will be with the advantage when it comes to hitting the enemy out of his projectiles and punishing extended limbs. Try to obtain a full bar so he will hesitate and give you more room to advance and apply a Hadouken/cr.kick xx Hadouken pressure and eventually take him to the corner or force him to take risks such as Tiger Knee, Tiger Uppercut jump-ins and normals by prediction.
Sagat's extended limbs will mean that he will have time to recover if you use super against a low Tiger and he is neither cornered or on the other side of the screen. Keep that in mind before using super or reaction to a slower low Tiger midscreen just to see Sagat get away with less damage than you have accumulated to obtain full bar. Only the high Tiger will make him vulnerable to the full super anywhere in the screen.
Sagat has some trouble with cross-up Tatsus. However, his Tiger Uppercut does have good reach in the early stages. Do not try cross-up Tatsus that land close to him, but favor timings that will allow you to hover past him, hitting him from behind as he is already rising in the air. If you are one attack away from killing him, consider jumping in a way you could do a cross-up Tatsu, and simply using Roundhouse, hitting him just before crossing him up.
If you mess-up a jump so that Old Sagat is likely to Tiger Uppercut you, there is nothing that can avoid damage if he times his move right. It is no different than him jumping at you honestly. However, if he messes up and uses the move too early, know that you may trade or even beat the move cleanly with your aerial Fierce punch. In other words, it does not hurt to try. From close distance, consider a hovering air Tatsu, which sometimes evades his retaliation Tiger Uppercut, would he try to hit with the deep part of the move. Good Sagat players will simply use early st.Roundhouse to beat anything you try when jumping from closer range (similarly to your cl.Fierce, but with no proximity requirements), so do not consider this a reliable option, at all.
This can not be stressed enough: be on your toes, many tournament matches have ended with Ryu losing for having accepted (read "blocked") a single jump in that was either his only chance of a comeback or a sure kill if he reacted and used (Fierce) Shoryuken in time.
- Wait and cr.Strong;
- Small step and Jab Shoryuken;
- Block, small step and block.
Dhalsim has lots of ways around your Hadoukens if he has room, so you need to constantly feint before using them, and use them sparingly anyway. Particularly, he can jump and drill from most distances to hit your extended limbs. While his far attacks have awesome reach and recovery, they have poor priority. Ryu can often punish whiffed normals with his own normals from just outside Dhalsim's reach. Dhalsim players will avoid poking from those distances, though, harassing you with standing kicks and Yoga Fires. Do not jump at him honestly: he has several normals that beat your aerial normals cleanly or hit you around the apex of your jump, before you decide to attack. If you predict a Yoga Fire or react to one from close range, use Roundhouse Tatsu for good damage and a full knockdown.
After full knockdowns, always use meaty jumps, else he will either punish or avoid your attacks with slides. His hitbox is relatively fat, so he is vulnerable to cross-ups, but remember you have to hit meaty, or he will slide below you, then use a hold or a throw afterward. Dhalsim also has bad reversals, so meaty attacks are interesting. Meaty cr.Forward into cr.Forward xx Hadouken will dizzy almost every time. If he ever uses Yoga Teleport to surprise you (odds are he will not, it just does not work unless you are about to block a slow projectile), cr.Strong x2 xx Hadouken should dizzy him most the time.
When he gets super and you are cornered, control your impulses. Predictable pokes, jumps or Hadoukens can be punished with his super.
Your main plan is to 1) constantly feint while throwing a few Hadoukens to get some damage, maybe a life lead, with some luck, 2) pay attention to his Yoga Fire pattern, as the knockdown after a Tatsu gives you the chance to win the round right there, 3) get full Super and scare him, shutting down his constant poking, Super on reaction to mid-screen Yoga Fire or Flame and super in between his pokes as he tries to push you back and 4) use Shoryuken, air Tatsus or diagonal Strong against his air game (these last two options demand acting early).
Serious Disadvantage Matchups
Call a tournament organizer. If one is unavailable, pray.