Ryu is an all-rounder type but mostly wants to play a mid range neutral where he can control the game with his projectiles and normals that are safe through special canceling.
He does not quite have the speed Ken has but he is given two projectiles that both do 15+ damage and can be mixed up for many different speeds and distances. The projectiles should be used to cover space and lock the opponent’s movement. Use Hadoken on the ground to get the opponent to jump, or use Hadoken in the air to act as a long range air-to-air. Hadoken can go really fast and far, or really slow and short. It is a single hit projectile that is meant to beat out attacks and projectiles that do less damage than it. Shaku is a multi hit projectile that has more uniform speeds but are still different across its three versions. Because it is multi-hit, it loses to almost every attack, but it does more damage than Hado, and it can lead to big shield damage or combos.
He has a fast startup, long lasting NAir that can be used as a preemptive air-to-air but then fast fallen to apply pressure against a grounded opponent. His FAir, BAir, and UAir are also great for air-to-airing. BAir is really strong and UAir is intangible on the arm and can be special canceled on the first hit to Shoryuken for a kill. On the ground, Ryu has LFTilt for stopping approaches due to its intangibility. Its launch angle allows Ryu to combo into aerials for high damage combos. He also has LDTilt, HDTilt, LUTilt, and DSmash for pokes. He has HUTilt for an anti-air against an opponent who lands on top of him and HJab for an anti-air against short hops. With proper use of these tools Ryu can apply a selective pressure to condition the opponent to doing a certain action that Ryu can then get a hard punish on. This is where Ryu gets his big openings into lots of damage.
Ryu doesn’t play on platforms but he is good at locking platforms from being used by the opponent in neutral due to his slow fireballs and air-to-airs. He does this by throwing a slow fireball at the platforms so that if the opponent were to land on them, their feet would get clipped, and when he is under the platform the opponent is on, he sharks with UAir which can lead to ladder combos.
At long range Ryu can use his projectiles to zone, but against actual zoner characters, their projectiles are likely to beat Ryu’s. He is much better playing at mid-range where he can get the full use of all of his normals and projectiles. He can approach behind a slow fireball to close the distance safely.
If Ryu hits a shield he is able to apply shield pressure with the use of his fast tilts and special cancels into his block strings or frame traps. For example, Ryu can do NAir into a light tilt and NAir is safe and the light tilt can catch OOS options, but also, Ryu can do an unsafe aerial like FAir or DAir then cancel into a special to catch OOS options. Ryu might also want to cancel rising aerials in Focus Attack which will make them safe against single hit OOS options that Ryu can then punish. Ryu can even B-reverse or Wavebounce out of the special cancel with SHABRFADC/SHAWBFADC. Ryu doesn’t really try to go for shield breaks like Ken does. He almost always wants to condition the opponent to escape shield a certain way so that he can get his own combo off into high damage or a potential KO. But if the opponent decides to hold shield he can get a shield break with ease. Shield break strings can be found here. Ryu can also go for tick throws to gain stage control. This is done by hitting the opponent’s shield then grabbing them.
Out of Shield
Out of Shield Ryu has a frame 6 USpecial for an easy, strong punish, frame 6 NAir for a weak but safer punish, frame 9 USmash that can be auto-turned by delaying it at least one frame for a slower but safer punish, frame 9 UAir for jumps after pressure, frame 13 shield release auto-turn LDTilt which is good against close range, unsafe attacks, frame 14 auto-turn LUTilt which is good against opponents who tend to jump after hitting an attack on shield, and frame 16 auto-turn DSmash which is good against opponents who try to space tilts on shield. Ryu can also jump to try and land aerials to call out defense after the opponent’s pressure.
Out of Parry
Out of parry Ryu can do whatever he wants. Ryu can use light tilts against safe moves on parry, LFTilt or DSmash against spaced attacks on parry. If Ryu gets a proper parry punish, he can get pretty good damage.
On hit Ryu has frame 1 heavy armor with Focus Attack, but it gets beat by multihits. Ryu has a frame 3 air dodge. When being juggled Ryu can use B-reverse Focus Attack to change momentum then dash cancel to change momentum again. When launched off stage Ryu has Focus and Hado to stall his recovery and Focus can be used to help get Ryu out of being edge guarded or to get him closer to the ledge. If Ryu is launched far off stage, Tatsu can be used to help Ryu model shift away from the blast zone, but it should not be used to go to the ledge because of its slow speed and very high end lag. Ryu’s Shoryuken does not snap to ledge but He has 3 different versions that go different heights to help with that. Shoryuken can be used to shark the ledge but it can be two-framed and it will trigger counters. Using input Shoryuken can prevent being 2-framed because of the arm intangibility. And if the opponent ever goes off stage to try and counter Ryu’s USpecial, Ryu can use UAir to trigger the counter then special cancel into Shoryuken to then use its intangibility to go through the actual attack.
Below is a list of counters that Ken and Ryu’s Shoryuken go through. Although it is inferring to when done on the ground, it also applies to when done in the air.
Made by Lernonad:
Stages for Ryu provide more or less the same advantages for Ryu and should instead be picked to counter your opponent's character, playstyle, or preferences. That being said, there are some stages that provide more advantage for Ryu than other stages
You should absolutely be trying to go to these stages unless you know that your opponent's character does exceptionally well on these stages.
Small Battlefield is arguably the best stage for Ryu to go to, especially if you don't want to think too hard regarding stage counterpicks. The main stage is as wide as Final Destination (ideal for making sure people cannot keep out of Ryu's below-average run speed), and the lower platforms can be full hopped onto, in addition to being the perfect height for short hop Hadouken to cover them. Functionally, it's just Final Destination but with Battlefield's lower platforms including FD's blast zones, so killing on both the top and sides is no issue. The one thing to be aware of is that because you can full hop onto the platforms, they can interrupt jump-ins if you start too close to the center of the stage, so be careful there.
Compared to Kalos Pokemon League, Northern Cavern's blast zones are much more conducive to Ryu landing kills (the ceiling and sides are closer to the stage than FD's), and the platforms in the corners being low enough to full hop onto means that chasing opponents trying to platform camp is easier and that higher recovery mixups being slightly easier. NC can effectively be played as an "FD-lite" stage with greater ability to kill off the top. Sadly, most tournaments do not have this stage legal.
These stages are great alternatives for Game One if the other stages were striked.
Final Destination is considered to be the "average" in terms of stage width and upper, lower, and side blast zones. A lack of platforms can make Ryu's approaches slightly more linear, but it also means that there's literally nothing to get in the way in regards to stage-spanning combos (ex. UAir juggles) or full hop approaches. Only issue is against characters you want to platform camp (ex. Little Mac) or if you absolutely need the platforms in order to help escape certain ledge trap attempts. Typically though, being juggled isn't too much of a problem since most of the time you're trying to fade back to ledge anyway.
Hollow Bastion is like Final Destination in literally every single way EXCEPT for the Smashville-like platform, which is low enough to full hop onto. At times, Ryu can use the platform as a pseudo-"shield" against characters trying to jump high against fireballs, and if he lands a tipper LFTilt in the right spot than he can use it for a double UAir juggle into aerial DP, which can kill solidly due to having FD's ceiling blast zone. Against characters trying to zone you out, you'll have to resort to staying on the ground or short hopping, due to platform impeding on full hops and Ryu's platform drop being slower than average.
These stages aren't bad enough for you to strike but should only be picked depending on the character your opponent plays.
Lylat can be controversial as a stage choice, though in main stage width it's roughly equivalent to FD, while also having a unique 3-platform layout and slants in the corners of the stage; the 3 platforms being roughly the same position is also beneficial to get out of juggle situations, especially compared to Battlefield and Yoshi's Story. The blast zones for Lylat are some of the most consistent when it comes to killing, having the same ceiling as FD, moderately closer side blast zones, and the best lower blast zone for spike kills. Ryu cannot full hop onto platforms directly above him, but if he starts around mid-stage and full hops to the side platforms, he'll land on them. Because of the thin ledges, you'll want to avoid this stage against characters that are good at 2framing or otherwise clipping lower recoveries.
Another stage that's exactly as wide as Final Destination, the walls can make recovering more difficult due to being forced into a more linear (directly straight up) recovery angle as well as giving wall jumpers more flexibility to recover themselves; the side platforms allow for high recovery mixups but Shoryuken and Tatsu can cut into it due to endlag/landing lag. However, the platforms have a niche in being able to help escape being juggled at times. The ceiling and side blast zones are larger than FD, but the bottom blast zone is moderately better for spike kills in comparison. Because you cannot full hop onto the platforms, avoid picking this stage if you know the opponent will try to camp you out on them (though having Hadouken/Shaku can help here), or if either you or your opponent's recoveries can be noticeably affected in a way that's disadvantageous for you.
The absolute largest legal stage in the game. This stage can be volatile due to how massive it is, especially in regards to zoners/people actively trying to run away, but depending on the MU it can also be turned in Ryu's favor due to Hadouken zoning. The side blast zones are larger than FD's, but the ceiling is the same, so vertical kills stay consistent while Ryu can use his weight to help survive off the sides as long as he sticks around mid-stage. Furthermore, the platforms cannot be full hopped onto in case Ryu wants to full hop to close in distance on the opponent (but the platforms on PS1 can be full hopped onto), and the small platform widths allow for possibly the easiest Hadouken pratfalls/jab locks across any stage. However, be warned about trying to recover low, as the geometry of the underside of the stage and the lower camera not going down as low as Final Destination's camera means that it's actually easy to get stuck underneath the stage and SD when trying to recover low. This is a stage you want to be as comfortable as possible playing on, as the Ultimate scene as a collective adores this stage.
- Smashville is the 2nd-smallest legal stage in the game in regards to it's main platform. The single platform is too high to full hop onto, which makes it the most ideal stage if you think you need to close the distance against the opponent as fast as possible; bear in mind that the small stage width means that it's also recommended to play more footsies against the opponent than trying to use Hadouken. The ceiling is slightly higher than FD's, but the side blast zones are also slightly smaller. When doing vertical combos, you'll have to make sure that you instant double jump so that you'll reach the platform while also being able to land as soon as possible.
Assuming Yoshi's story is not legal, you should be banning these stages unless you know that your opponent's character does not do good on them.
A bit of a strange stage, even with hazards off it'll periodically change platform layout. It's slightly larger than FD (curiously, the right corner of the stage is closer to the side blast zone than the left corner is) and the side blast zones are closer than FD's, which means you can kill off the side fairly easily, though side blast zone kills aren't typically Ryu's specialty compared to Ken. When the platforms temporarily leave, the stage is essentially just purely FD but bigger, and the first platform layout has an inverted triplats layout that makes it good for escaping juggles, but can also let the opponent platform camp. Related is the fact that the ceiling is slightly higher than FD, so this can be a counterpick stage if you feel you need to both break juggles as fast as possible and survive off the top.
While it's as large as FD in width, the low triplats layout can make the stage awkward to maneuver around, and the ceiling is higher than FD's while the side blast zones are about the same. Ryu isn't particularly good at juggling opponents from the main stage to the lower platforms to the upper platforms, so he can't take advantage of the top platform for combos all that well, especially compared to other characters. If you really value the side platform layout of Small BF (such as MU counterplay, Kirby's Fthrow being an example) but it's banned or you already won (Dave's Stupid Rule), then it's an okay choice.
Unless your opponent's character does exceptionally terrible on this stage, you should not be going here.
Like Battlefield, but more exaggerated - the side blast zones are smaller than FD while having an equivalent ceiling, but this is the smallest legal stage in the game (even smaller than Smashville!) which can be polarizing against characters that you want to keep your distance from, has a similarly awkward layout to Battlefield in terms of moving around (though you cannot full hop onto the lower platforms, which helps with approaching), the stage being walled instead of a floating platform forces your lower recoveries to come at a more linear angle while benefitting those that can wall jump similar to Kalos, and has slanted ledges in the corners similar to Lylat for those that are bothered by that. UAir xx DP on characters standing on a platform can kill solidly, but this stage is really only for characters that you seriously want to close the distance on as fast as possible and you think that the platforms won't assist them in running away.
Ryu has good ground mobility. His air mobility, although fast, is lacking in acceleration. This means that he cannot use air drift like many other characters can. His aerials are not disjointed. So against a jump-happy Ryu, it is very easy to anti-air him.
His tools on shield look safe but can be escaped before he starts his block strings by rolling out of them. Tilt mash on shield is not safe against anything frame 4 or faster. And after a few tilts, once it is staled, frame 5 or faster will beat it as well. Try not to spotdodge them though because tilt mash will catch the end lag of the spotdodge. Auto turn around can be a pain but that’s not the real problem people have. The problem they have is the tilt mash in neutral. Ryu does a landing aerial into mashing tilts and the opponent rolls through Ryu’s first move and gets caught by the tilt spam. Or he is mashing on shield and they roll behind Ryu and he catches them with tilts. The most simple counterplay is to not roll behind Ryu. The more effective counterplay is to actually counter the tilts he is mashing. Ryu is still in lag and if he is mashing LTilt then the best option would be to hit him from above, with an aerial. If he is mashing LUTilt then the best option would be to hit him from below with a DTilt. LUTilt has less range than LDTilt so the opponent can roll behind Ryu to get out. But they are also less safe on shield so after a few tilts they become stale. Just be sure to get out after 2-3 LUTilts. Furthermore, when doing an aerial on Ryu’s shield with the intent to cross-up, make sure the aerial is safe on shield, so that Ryu can’t punish you with an auto turn attack OOS or a b-reverse USpecial. Focus Attack is slow and has heavy armor that goes away after Ryu is hit. That means that the opponent can hit him again to break the armor and to launch Ryu. And, if he tries it on the ground, it does lose to grabs. On shield it is safe and if fully charged it is unblockable, so it is best to roll away from Focus Attack, but do not roll in as Ryu can change the direction of the attack.
When Ryu is offstage be ready to edge guard his Tatsu back to stage. Otherwise, be ready to two-frame Shoryuken with a disjoint.
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