Ken (HDR)

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Introduction

Ken is usually considered to be a mid-tier character by most players in ST. However, since receiving many tiny buffs in HDR and just one nerf (Knee Bash range), he is widely considered to be at least top of mid tier. Ken is a very solid, strong character, and plays somewhat similar to Ryu except that he's much better suited to rushing down the opponent. Using his faster walk speed, he can threaten Knee Bash loops, use psychic Jab Shoryukens that are very safe, Overhead Crazy Kicks, massively damaging combos and hit-confirmable Super combos (cr Short x 2, Super). Ken can also zone very effectively in certain matchups, but is not as strong as Ryu in the zoning game due to the longer startup and slower speed of his Hadokens. But Ken can use the fast recovery and slow speed of his Hadokens to rush down the opponent by following up meaty Jab Hadokens with Shoryuken/throw/sweep mixup games. He also has the best Dragon Punch in the game, which is superior to Ryu's Shoryuken in that his Jab Shoryuken rises faster, has a bigger hitbox and is safer on block due to its faster recovery. The Strong Shoryuken has complete invincibility for all of its hitting frames and the Fierce Shoryuken hits on the 1st frame making it risky to safe-jump, as well as being able to juggle with the Super Attack.


Ken may not be top tier, but he is one of the most difficult characters to deal with when used intelligently.



Color Options


JAB STRONG FIERCE HOLD PUNCH START

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SHORT FORWARD ROUNDHOUSE HOLD KICK O.Ken Alternate
(Not selectable in Remix mode)
SHORT

--Colors captured by Jizzon.
--Blitzfu 02:29, 24 July 2010 (UTC)

Changes From Super Turbo To HD Remix

Knee Bash
The range of the Knee Bash is now slightly less than it was in ST, and the first hit of the Knee Bash does less damage. This doesn't seem to make that much of a difference on Ken's Knee Bash loops, as they are still very effective and very deadly. His other throws are unchanged, and now have the benefit of being more useful due to their throw range being greater than the Knee Bash.

Strong Shoryuken
It is now completely invincible for all of its hitting frames (all the way up). It's also a 1-hit knockdown attack, where in ST it was a 2-hit attack that did not knockdown on the 1st hit.

Fierce Shoryuken
It now has a wider arc, giving Ken more horizontal range than in ST (almost twice as much). It also always knocks down, where in ST it wouldn't knockdown on the 1st or 2nd hits. It also always juggles against airborne and grounded opponents for a total of 3 hits. Technically, it does more damage than ST due to hitting airborne opponents for 3 hits (ST Ken only hits airborne opponents once), but in reality, it's not that much more damage than a Jab or Strong Shoryuken. It still hits on the 1st frame, but it has no additional invincibility beyond what it had in ST.

Short Tatsu
It now has slightly less range, making it more similar to Ryu's Short Tatsu, though it's not quite as fast as that. It's now more practical to follow it up with a Jab Shoryuken or a throw after passing through a Sonic Boom, Yoga Fire or Low Tiger Shot.

Forward Tatsu
It now goes slightly farther.

Roundhouse Tatsu
It now goes farther and faster, giving it more uses as a suprise attack and to cover ground to get close to the opponent. It's also much tougher to react to due to its speed. It now also does about half as much dizzy as in ST.

Roundhouse Air Tatsu
It now goes slightly farther, but doesn't seem to make much difference since all Air Tatsus are tough to predict due to their capability to alter jump trajectories.

Crazy Kicks
They now have simplified motions:
Short Crazy Kick (QCF Short): was previously F,DF,D Kick
Forward Crazy Kick (QCF Forward): was previously QCF Kick
Roundhouse Crazy Kick (QCF Roundhouse): was previously HCF Kick
Overhead (QCF hold down any Kick or tap any Kick twice): was previously any Crazy Kick motion and hold down any Kick or tap any Kick twice.

The simplified motions are a very welcome change. N.Ken was almost uncontrollable in ST due to footsies being hampered by the F,DF,D Crazy Kick, as well as unwanted, negative-edged Crazy Kicks coming out in all sorts of situations. This is something that even advanced players had trouble with.

Super Attack
It can now be used as a reversal attack, so it's great to beat wakeup pressure games. It also hits on the 1st frame, same as the Fierce Shoryuken, so it can result in huge damage to punish a safe-jump. It can also be used to juggle with a Fierce Shoryuken for a total of 5 hits, before or after the Fierce Shoryuken.



Moves List

Normal Attacks

STANDING NORMALS

Far Jab
It's pretty good for stopping Blanka's Horizontal Rolls and even Bison's Scissor Kicks. Very fast recovery and can be rapid-fired into a chain combo, as well as cancelled into Specials or Supers.
Close Jab
Has a slightly more vertical range than far Jab, but has less horizontal range. It can be cancelled into Specials or Supers.
Far Short
A standing poke with a good, low offensive hitbox, but has slower start-up than a cr Short or a st Strong. It cannot be cancelled into Specials or Supers.
Close Short
Same animation as far Short but has a bigger offensive hitbox and less vulnerability, but also starts up slowly. It can be linked into cr Short or cr Jab, but cannot be cancelled into Specials or Supers.
Far Strong
A great, high poke that is very fast and can be cancelled into Specials or Supers. It's a decent anti-air vs far jump-ins such as Blanka's j RH as it has pretty good horizontal range and priority.
Close Strong
Slower startup and less horizontal range than far Strong, but it can also be cancelled into Specials or Supers.
Far Forward
A decent anti-air for close jump-ins and especially good vs Hawk's Condor Dive. It cannot be cancelled into Specials or Supers.
Close Forward
Not much good for anything and often comes out when you've failed to execute a Knee Bash. It cannot be cancelled into Specials or Supers.
Far Fierce
Not used for much of anything. Cannot be cancelled into Special or Super Attacks and has same range as far Strong and does more damage, but is slower to startup and recover.
Close Fierce
Decent anti-air for close jump-ins and against certain angles of Wall Dives. Good for combos as it does good damage and can be cancelled into Special or Super Attacks. Ken's offensive hitbox is slightly smaller than Ryu's.
Far Roundhouse
Ken's longest range grounded normal but cannot be cancelled into Special or Super Attacks. Great for footsies and punishing whiffed attacks, it can also be used as a mid-hitting anti-air.
Close Roundhouse
Exactly the same as far RH.



CROUCHING NORMALS

Jab
Also good for stopping Rolls but not much else. Can be linked into other crouching light Normals and can be cancelled into Specials and Supers.
Short
A great, all-purpose crouching attack that can be used as a chain link into another cr Short or st Short and can be cancelled into Specials and Supers. Also good for tick-throws.
Strong
One of the best Normal attacks, it's quick, has great priority and gives frame advantage on block for tick-throws and other mixups. It's so quick, it can be hit-confirmed into Special and Super combos without needing to be cancelled. It can also be linked into cr Strong x 2, cr Forward, cr Fierce or cr RH. Very useful against Balrog's Rushes, Honda's Slaps, Blanka's slides and other footsies. When in doubt, use this Normal.
Forward
A good Normal for mid-range footsies. It's best used for keeping grapplers out while having faster recovery than the cr RH so that you can follow up with a Shoryuken if the opponent jumped-in instead. It's great as a meaty into tick-throws or Shoryuken mixups, as well as for combos as it can be cancelled into Specials and Supers. Cancel with caution if the opponent has meter though, as it doesn't combo into Hadoken from mid to max range and can be countered with a reversal Super by most characters in the game.
Fierce
An okay anti-air, it's mostly useful for combos as it can be cancelled into Specials and Supers. It also has a limited use vs close range Wall Dives.
Roundhouse (also known as the sweep)
One of the best Normals, it can knock down the opponent. It's mostly used to cancel into Hadokens to push opponents away. It's one of the only sweeps in the game that can be cancelled into Specials and Supers. Cancel with caution if the opponent has meter though, as it doesn't combo into Hadoken from mid to max range and can be countered with a reversal Super by most characters in the game.



JUMPING NORMALS

Jab
Has the most vertical range of all the jump punches. The neutral and diagonal jump versions can be cancelled into Air Tatsu, which sets up tick-throws, mixups and Super combos.
Short
Best used for safe-jumps as it hits lower than jump Jab and has plenty of active hitting frames. Only the neutral jump version can be cancelled into Air Tatsu, not the diagonal jump version.
Strong
Has a higher offensive hitbox than jump Fierce. The neutral and diagonal jump versions can be cancelled into Air Tatsu, which sets up tick-throws, mixups and Super combos.
Forward
Ken's only diagonal jumping Normal that can cross-up all opponents, it can also be used as an ambiguous cross-up. Time it right as you're over the opponent's head on wakeup and it will cross-up ambiguously. Very useful vs Zangief and Hawk. It's also a good safe-jump attack and combo-starter and also has decent horizontal range. Only the neutral jump version can be cancelled into Air Tatsu, not the diagonal jump version.
Fierce
Hits the lowest of all the jump punches. The neutral jump version has more vulnerability than the diagonal jump version. Can be cancelled into Air Tatsu for tick-throws, mixups and Super combos.
Roundhouse
The diagonal jump version has the most horizontal range of all Ken's jumping normals, however it can only cross-up a few opponents. Mostly used to deal damage and for its reach. Only the neutral jump version can be cancelled into Air Tatsu, not the diagonal jump version.



Normal Throws

Punch Throw
F or B Strong/Fierce
Roundhouse Throw
F or B Roundhouse
These 3 throws have the same range and do the same damage. The Kick version throws the opponent much farther away, and is good for moving the opponent into the corner, but recovers slightly slower than the Punch version.
Knee Bash
F or B Forward
Ken's most useful throw, it has the least throw range, but has an extremely high damage potential. Most opponents will fear this "throw loop" due to Ken's post-Knee Bash options. After bashing the opponent, he can either:

  • jump by holding UF while the opponent is being bashed, and perform a meaty j Jab cancelled into Air Tatsu. This can be followed up with another Knee Bash or mixed up with a Shoryuken or sweep. The meaty jump attack after a Knee Bash is a safe-jump only vs Balrog, every other character can perform a reversal Special Attack and beat the j Jab (including Dee Jay who can perform reversal Upkicks that will beat it, Bison and Dhalsim can beat it with their reversal Super Attacks and Zangief can reversal Lariat to beat it). Against some characters like Guile or Chun Li, the jump attack will cross them up without connecting.
  • walk under the opponent as they are landing and perform a meaty cr Short into another Knee Bash or perform meaty cr Short x 2 into a Super combo. Or meaty st Fierce into a Shoryuken combo.
  • pretend to walk under and sweep the opponent from the front or Shoryuken to beat their reversal attempt.
  • perform an empty bait by doing nothing and punishing the opponent's reversal attack attempt.
  • execute an Overhead Crazy Kick to catch them blocking low.

The post-Knee Bash options are endless and should be exploited fully in just about every matchup, especially vs the top tier characters like Dhalsim, Balrog and Vega. It pays to be very creative with this awesome throw.
Air Throw
Jump, F or B Forward/Roundhouse
Ken executes his Roundhouse throw on an airborne opponent. It has good priority in air-to-air situations.


Special Attacks

HADOKEN (also known as Fireball, Blue FB)
QCF Punch
Jab travels the slowest but recovers the fastest and Fierce travels the fastest but recovers the slowest. Strong is in between the two. Meaty Jab Hadoken on a knocked down opponent is very potent and can be followed up with a Knee Bash, Shoryuken, sweep, etc. Fireball trap on a cornered, knocked down opponent: meaty Jab Hadoken followed by Fierce Hadoken from about mid-screen range is a 2-hit blockstring and cannot be escaped if blocked.

SHORYUKEN (also known as Rising Dragon Punch, DP, Uppercut, SRK)
F,D,DF Punch
All Shoryukens are invincible-on-startup, but Jab and Fierce lose their invincibility just before Ken jumps into the air, making him vulnerable to grounded throws such as SPD for a small, 2-frame window. Fierce Shoryuken has a slightly bigger vulnerable hitbox in the upper-body area than Jab, making it tougher to pass through fireballs with it. Jab and Strong Shoryuken are the best for passing through fireballs, and the Strong Shoryuken is completely invincible until its highest peak. The Jab is the safest on block and the Fierce juggles and hits on the 1st frame. The Jab and Strong hit on the 3rd frame, so even they are difficult to safe-jump on, as the opponent only has a 2-frame window to land safely. If Ken is knocked down and crossed up, you can perform a backwards DP motion (F,DF,D,DB Punch). The last input, DB, will become DF as the opponent has crossed over, and a Shoryuken will activate.

TATSU MAKI SENPUU KYAKU (also known as Tatsu, Hurricane Kick, HK, Helicopter Kick)
QCB Kick
The Roundhouse travels the furthest and fastest and the Short travels the shortest distance. The Forward Tatsu is in between the two. Unlike Ryu, Ken has no startup invincibility on his Tatsus, however all his Tatsus are airborne and hit much faster than Ryu's Tatsus. They can be used to pass through Sonic Booms, Yoga Fires and Low Tiger Shots. If performed on a crouching, blocking opponent, the Tatsu will force them to stand up and block, thereby guaranteeing at least one blocked hit of the Tatsu.

AIR TATSU MAKI SENPUU KYAKU (also known as Air Tatsu, Air HK)
Jump, QCB Kick
Ken's Air Tatsu has a bigger hitbox than Ryu's Air Tatsu, but Ken does not knock down grounded opponents. Air Tatsus are not overheads, they can be blocked while crouching or standing. All Air Tatsus can be performed during diagonal and neutral jumps. There are many different variations of Air Tatsus depending on when in the jump arc that the Tatsu is executed. The strength of Kick used can also affect the duration in the air, due to stronger Kicks causing more spins. But as a rough guide, there are about 5 versions of the Air Tatsu, with different trajectories and uses:

Juice Air Tatsu (also known as Juice Kick, TK Tatsu, Top Spin Tatsu, Rainbow Tatsu)
This Air Tatsu is executed as soon as Ken jumps, sometimes even during the pre-jump frames. The Juice Tatsu has the fastest take-off and landing and travels in a rainbow arc. It's horizontal range is almost twice that of a normal jump-in and it can also be used as a cross-up. The first and last hit can strike some crouching characters such as Sagat's Low Tiger Shots. Most players simply jump and input QCB Kick as quickly as possible, but some players input the QCB motion first, then jump and then input Kick after (TK motion). Either way, the motions must be done very, very quickly to execute this Air Tatsu, and it's one of the most difficult maneuvers to perform in the game.

High Air Tatsu
It is executed as Ken is rising into the air but before he reaches the peak of his jump arc. This Air Tatsu has the highest and farthest range of all the Air Tatsus, about full screen distance. But it is slow and easily punishable as it has a long air recovery time. Mainly used to escape the corner, or to catch up to a knocked down opponent from full screen or to beat certain Wall Dives or other aerial attacks.

Diagonal Air Tatsu
It is executed at the peak of the jump arc. It descends in a roughly straight, diagonal line and is good for crossing up the opponent or hitting other anti-air attacks from the back such as Vega's Flipkick or Dee Jay's Upkicks, or even Shoryukens. It has pretty good horizontal range, over half screen distance, and can even hit some crouching opponents as it descends (Ken's Tatsu is better for this than Ryu). The neutral jump version does not descend in a diagonal line, but is still very useful to alter Ken's jump trajectory to avoid projectiles or to throw off the opponent's timing.

Cross-up Air Tatsu (also known as the Ambiguous Air Tatsu)
It is executed slightly after the peak of the jump and as Ken has begun to descend. It has almost the same horizontal range as a jump-in but descends slightly farther. It is this tiny change of trajectory that makes this Air Tatsu the most deadly to cross-up with. After knocking down the opponent, it is best performed from just outside cross-up range (about max cr Short range). As Ken jumps, it seems that he will not be able to cross-up with a j Forward. But executing this Air Tatsu will alter Ken's jump trajectory, and he will cross-up the opponent and strike from behind. If blocked, in most situations (not all), it will give enough frame advantage to follow up with a sweep combo, or a throw or a Shoryuken mixup. This Air Tatsu is very useful, but the range and timing can be a little tricky to perform. The best example of this was performed by Daigo's Ryu vs Afrolegend's Balrog.

Late Air Tatsu
It is executed at the last moment before Ken reaches the ground. This is the only Air Tatsu that does not alter Ken's jump trajectory significantly. It can be used to build meter, and can also hit crouching opponents sometimes. To use it as a crossup, execute it in the opposite direction after crossing up the opponent (QCF Kick).

CRAZY KICKS (also known as Funky Kicks)
Short Crazy Kick (also known as Outside Crescent Kick)
(QCF Short)
It hits all crouching opponents except Blanka. From max range and point-blank range it will hit twice. But for some reason, from mid-range only the 1st hit will connect. This gives Ken frame advantage and can be followed up with a Shoryuken or a sweep for a combo. If it hits twice, it does not give any frame advantage.

Forward Crazy Kick (also known as Inside Crescent Kick)
(QCF Forward)
The most useful Crazy Kick, it hits twice from close range. It is most often used in cross-up combos vs big characters, and can dizzy the opponent very quickly (cross-up Forward, cr Forward, Forward Crazy Kick, Overhead, sweep).

Roundhouse Crazy Kick (also known as Roundhouse)
(QCF Roundhouse)
It can hit a few crouching characters (example: Dhalsim and Zangief), and will knock down every character on hit. It can also be used vs Ryu, Ken and Akuma to cross them up when they are knocked down or a reset. This is a glitch that can be devastating, but can only be performed against those 3 characters and only in the direction that Ken was facing when the round started. Example: if Ken started the round on the 1P side (facing right), he can only perform the cross up while facing right and not while facing left. This trick can only be performed at point-blank range and will not cross up if the opponent is not knocked down or resetting.

Overhead (also known as Axe Kick)
(QCF, hold down any Kick or tap any Kick twice)
A very useful attack that must be blocked high. At point blank range, it can be followed up with a sweep for a combo. The quickest Overhead can be performed using the Forward Crazy Kick. The other 2 Crazy Kick Overheads are slightly slower to startup, but have slightly more horizontal range.


Super Attack

(also known as Shoryu Reppa)
QCF x 2 Punch
Ken performs 2 Shoryukens in a row, and is completely invincible until the 2nd Shoryuken begins to descend. It has decent horizontal range, and is best used up close to punish whiffed attacks, or in a combo or to beat safe-jumps and wakeup pressure games. Opponents will frequently try to empty bait the Super on wakeup. It can also be used to juggle with the Fierce Shoryuken.


--Blitzfu 21:51, 16 June 2010 (UTC)

The Basics

Advanced Strategy

Matchups

Vs Ryu

Vs Ken

Vs E.Honda

Vs Chun Li

Vs Blanka

Vs Zangief

Vs Guile

Vs Dhalsim

Vs T.Hawk

Vs Cammy

Vs Fei Long

Vs Dee Jay

Vs Balrog (Boxer)

Vs Vega (Claw)

Vs Sagat

Vs M.Bison (Dictator)

Vs Akuma

HDR Main Page