Kenshiro

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Introduction

Kenshiroportrait.png
Kenshiro's play-style is quite standard, as one might expect from the main character of a fighting game. He has good normals, well-balanced specials, and his bread and butter combos are very easy to master. His mixup abilities are very good as well thanks to his extremely fast instant air dash B, and he is capable of applying a lot of pressure in the corner. On the defense he is not lacking either, having both an invincible uppercut and Musou Tensei that he can use to get out of bad spots. Overall Kenshiro is a very solid character, and great choice for players of any level.


Strengths:

  • Good corner mixup
  • Great star reducing ability, capable of 4 and even 5-star combos
  • Equipped with many options for escaping pressure


Weaknesses:

  • Bad matchups against Toki and Juda
  • Has a huge hitbox, which makes him very easy to combo


Before diving right into the combos be sure to familiarize yourself with Kenshiro's special/super moves and important normals.

Normal Moves

See Normal Moves section.

Special Moves

See Special Moves section.

Combos

See Combos section.

Matchups

Kenshiro

One of the better mirror matches, Kenshiro versus Kenshiro play comes down to who has the best grasp of the character. Zoning is very important, and you will want to be familiar with how to use and combat Kenshiro's main normals, which are far C, far D, 2B, 2D, and air dash jump B.

Although you need to memorize quite a few combo variations to be able to dribble Kenshiro from any location on the screen, if you are capable of doing so and your opponent is not you will be at a significant advantage, so it is definitely something worth practicing.

Unlike a Raoh mirror match, luck is not much of a factor here, and generally the better player will come out ahead most of the time.

Raoh

While Raoh is at the advantage, this is still a very close match. Raoh can and will kill you from pretty much any hit, so it is important to not give away rounds by making overly risky plays. On the other hand, Raoh is hands down the easiest character for Kenshiro to dribble, so you will want to practice until you can do it consistently.

At round start your best bet is usually just to crouching guard. From starting distance your far D will beat pretty much anything Raoh does, but most Raoh users know this and will just wait to see if you do it, then hit you with his 2D while you are recovering. This of course will result in your death if he has Boost or Aura, so you should be especially cautious in such situations.

As far as normals go, you are at the advantage at far D range, but at closer distances Raoh can beat out most of your attacks. You can get guaranteed hits with far D when Raoh misses with most of his moves, such as his Grave Shoot, Kohou, 2D etc, but in many cases you are not able to capitalize on opportunities because you always have to be wary of Insatsu. You also want to be careful to avoid careless air dashing as Raoh's far B, far D, and jump A are all extremely effective against low jumping opponents and can easily be chained into 100% combos.

Guard Cancels are guaranteed off of all of Raoh's moves, both specials and normals, but you still need to pick your spots carefully or you will end up eating a Counter Hit chop. You especially want to avoid doing a Guard Cancel off of Raoh's close or far D as most Raoh users will buffer a chop here every time. Some players also like to bait your Guard Cancel with Raretsuken, then Boost cancel it into a chop, so this is also not necessarily a safe spot to Guard Cancel when your opponent has meter.

This is a good matchup that can go either way, so you will want to make sure your combos are well practiced and you don't take unnecessary risks.

Toki

Although it probably comes as no surprise, Kenshiro's worst matchup is Toki. On top of all of his other strengths which need no introduction, Toki is blessed with being extremely hard to combo. Even basic high jump combos are very difficult on Toki, and while you can use the so-called 'basic' recipe on him from any location on the screen, he is hands down the hardest character for Kenshiro to dribble.

Your far A and B are very effective against Toki's air dash jump D, but you want to avoid using far D for zoning as Toki can easily punish it with his 2D. Close D also functions well as an anti-air when Toki uses his A teleport to attack you from above. If your opponent does 2A > teleport > 2A, you can hit them with your own 2A as they arrive behind you, but you cannot punish teleports done after 2C or 2D unless you Agility Guard them.

If you are able to get Musou off things get a bit easier for you, as Toki can no longer carelessly spam his 2D at mid range. 2A > 2D does not combo on block, which means you are able to Musou the 2D - you should try to buffer in a Musou every time you guard 2A. When you do successfully Musou one of your opponents moves, he will often try to escape by using Boost. If you have Boost as well you can chase after them and punish with a big combo.

Toki users love to use Tenshou Hyakuretsuken after air attacks or by itself as a tiger knee in the corner, but this is quite easy to deal with once you realize that you rarely ever need to actually block low. 2B is Toki's only low attack and it comes out quite slow, so you should generally only block high and just focus on guarding in the right direction and not getting thrown. This is quite counter-intuitive as blocking low is generally the default in most fighting games, but is definitely something you want to get used to.

At the opening of the round jumping back is usually your safest option. If you think your opponent is going to open with a 2D however, you can beat it with your own 2D and follow up with a combo.

When you use Guard Cancels on Toki you want to make sure you perform them as quickly as possible after blocking his attack. If you are too slow he will often simply teleport through you and get a free combo.

This is an awful matchup, but unfortunately cannot be avoided. While extremely difficult, if you are able to master the Toki-specific dribble combo, you should see a big increase in your win rate.

Shin

Kenshiro versus Shin is a very even match, which is quite fitting for these two rivals!

Since Shin has such a strong mixup game, you will want to activate Musou as soon as possible. If you get knocked down and think you are going to get crossed up with Shin's jump B, you can do 4 > 6 > neutral on wakeup, which will get you an Agility Guard or Musou, depending on which direction you are hit from. Musou also forces Shin to be cautious with his zoning moves, especially far C.

When Musou is not an option, Shin's far C can be avoided by crouching, after which you can hit him during the recovery with far D. His 2B can also be really annoying, and is effective against your air dash attacks. Depending on the positioning, Shin can just mash 2B when you air dash, avoid your attack, and hit you when you land.

You can bait a reversal super from Shin with your 2B, as long as you time it right and aren't too close to him. To punish use 236D, which will counter hit and net you a free star. Shin can also do the exact same thing to you with his 2B, so reversal uppercuts are not advisable unless you have Boost. If you guard a Gokutoken, you can get a guaranteed hit with 623A or close D and follow up with a high jump combo.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you have a guard bar against Shin. Since he is very lacking in ways to deal with Guard Cancels, don't be afraid to use one to escape a Guard Crush string. Failing that your best bet is to Aura Guard and try to jump away when he gets pushed back far enough.

This is one a the few matchups where you might actually mistake Hokuto for a 'normal' fighting game. Rarely will you see a dribble combo, and both sides have an even chance of winning.

Rei

Kenshiro's best matchup out of the top 4 characters. Rei is considered to have a slight advantage, but it is nothing that can't be overcome with a little bit of practice.

While not quite on the same level as Raoh, who you can use the same combo on in every situation, Rei is very easy for Kenshiro to dribble. At the very least if you master the Basic High Jump Dribble and Boost Jump D Dribble, you will be able kill him from most locations on the screen.

Rei's corner lockdown is down right ridiculous thanks to his ability to Jump Cancel many of his normals, but luckily Kenshiro has quite a few ways of getting out of pressure. If your opponent does a close D or 2D > air dash jump B > jump D, you can Agility Guard the jump B and get a guaranteed hit with 623A. The same thing applies if your opponent goes for air dash jump B > 2A. However if they do air dash jump B > 2B your uppercut will not hit and you will probably die - in this case you can beat his 2B with 2A instead, which will net you a ground hit and allow you to go for a dribble easily. Doing Agility Guard > 623C will beat out all of Rei's options, but costs more meter to follow up with after. 2B > air dash jump B can be beaten by 2A before the jump B hits. Also, 2B > 2D does not combo on guard, and is a great spot to go for a Musou. Knowing this, you can easily punish Rei users who are too predictable with their attack strings.

If Rei tries to close the distance on you from mid range with an air dash jump B, you can hit him with far B or D and go for a high jump combo. If the moves clash, quickly follow up far B with far D, and far D with a Grave Strike, respectively. You can also try out other options to punish Rei's air dash attacks such as 214A and 6B.

Due to his long crouching recovery, when you score a hit on Rei while he is crouching, far C, 2C, and close D will all combo into 236D or a Banishing Strike.

Overall this is a very even matchup - if you practice countering Rei's rushdown and perfect your dribble combos, you should be able to win more often than not.

Juda

Juda is a very tough match for Kenshiro. Whereas Kenshiro struggles to approach him, Juda is able to apply pressure and create favorable situations easily thanks to his followers.

Air dashing to close the distance is not recommended as Juda is able to effectively beat your attacks with his far A, far C, Banishing Strike, and Stamp uppercut. This limits you to the ground for the most part. Far C is quite effective against most of Juda's normals, and can be hit confirm Boosted into far D. When possible, kill Dagar with far B instead of blocking his attack.

At the opening of the round Juda will usually go for a 2D or Banishing Strike, but unfortunately there is little you can do about it. Your best bet is generally to just crouching guard and see what he does. If you jump backwards Juda can set up a land mine safely, which is never good for you.

Don't forget that Juda's Banishing Strike has an insane amount of active frames. You will probably have to get hit with it a few dozen times to get the sense of it. Juda users love to throw around raw Banishing Strikes, so being able to Musou them is very important.

This is one of Kenshiro's worst matchups, and it definitely shows - facing off with Juda often feels like an upward battle, and you have to struggle for each win.

Thouther

Thouther's biggest strength lies in his all-out style of constant attacking and hard-to-see wakeup patterns. As Kenshiro is equipped with a variety of moves that help him deal with Thouther's pressure, he is considered to have a very big advantage in this matchup.

Your far D is extremely effective against Thouther, and really shines in a variety of situations. It allows you to prevent him from dashing in, and can beat low air fireballs before they are able to execute. Far D is also good for catching him when he tries to jump away from you. As Thouther has no real way of dealing with it, you can use far D much more freely than in other matchups. If your opponent tries to combat your far D with Hikanu! you can bait him by canceling the recovery into 6B, which has Super Armor and will cause wall bounce on Counter Hit.

Thouther has a guard bar against you, which means he is always under pressure to escape when defending. Kenshiro's 2B will beat two of his main normals, 2B and 2C, which makes simply doing dash 2B over and over a very effective way of locking him down. If your opponent guards you can go for an air dash jump B, and you can pick off any attempt to jump away with far D. Getting too close to Thouther can be dangerous however, as his close B is his fastest normal, having a 4 frame startup. Back dash close B is especially effective against careless wakeup attacks, so you will want to be cautious in such situations.

You should try to avoid guarding Thouther's fireballs as much as possible, as this will allow him to rush in and put pressure on you. Low air fireballs can be combated with far D, whereas 214A is effective against fireballs done higher in the air. You can even Boost after you reflect the projectile, which often will catch Thouther off guard and allow you to go for a big combo. 623B and air dash jump D are also very good for preventing fireballs done at a distance, and 623C works well against fireballs of any height as long as you are in range. 236236A can be used to net you huge damage and 2 stars if your opponent is carelessly shooting off fireballs from long range. Finally, if you are unable to combat his fireballs in any of the above ways, just high jump away and look for a better opportunity.

Once you get knocked down in the corner Thouther's mixup is very deadly, so you always want to make sure you active Musou as quickly as possible. This allows you to effectively deny some of his setups, and forces your opponent to approach you differently. When blocking, using Aura Guard is a good way to push Thouther back, and will often allow you to jump away and escape.

All in all Kenshiro's ability to combat many of Thouther's strong points give him a significant advantage in this matchup.

Jagi

Although somewhat hard to combo, at 7:3 Jagi is one Kenshiro's easiest matchups. Kenshiro is superior to Jagi in almost all aspects, and Musou makes most of Jagi's zoning and mixup options unsafe.

When Jagi takes a hit while crouching he recovers extremely fast(think the opposite of Rei), and because of this 2B > far D will not combo. In the event you do hit him while he is crouching you will want to connect 2B to 2D and follow up with a (Boost) Grave Shoot or 623B.

If your opponent is capable of using Jagi's magical Basuke combo then you will want to avoid getting thrown or hit with his overhead near the corner when he has more than 2 Boost.

Jagi has two combo enders that can be a pain if you don't know how to get out of them. The first is 'Gas Hame,' which is done by ending a Banishing Strike combo with a match and then dashing in and dropping gas barrels over and over, causing the match to ignite the barrels and continuously knock you down. This can be escaped using Musou, a Guard Cancel, or a reversal uppercut.

The other, known as 'Misora-shiki,' is likewise done by ending a Banishing Strike combo with a match, and then using his gas super with a slight delay so it covers the ground under you. This results in the gas igniting in a huge fire when you get up, and will net Jagi a bit over a full bar of Boost if you guard it. This is generally followed up by a Heavy Strike or other mixup, which using the boost gained allows Jagi to reset into another Banishing Strike combo. This however is extremely easy to counter - if you have Musou activated you can just Musou it, otherwise it is safe to simply not guard and take a small amount of damage from the fire. If you are low on health without Musou and can't afford to take the hit you can also Guard Cancel just before the Heavy Strike connects, although the fire still hits sometimes anyways for reasons unexplained.

That said, Kenshiro has a big advantage in this match and you should be able to win here most of the time.

Mr. Heart

While Kenshiro is considered to have a huge advantage, the way you must approach this matchup is unique, and playing against Heart as you would any other character is a recipe for disaster. If you go into this match not knowing how to deal with Heart's style of play, you will probably lose before you even figure out what is going on. If at all possible you want to take the Player 2 side to secure an even bigger advantage - Mr. Heart is unique in that when he is sitting in the Player 2 position some of his combos become easier to perform, and he gains access to combos that will not work when he is Player 1.

For half a bar of Aura Heart is capable of using a special Guard Cancel that allows him to follow up with a combo on hit. It basically functions in the same way as Baiken's counter moves do in Guilty Gear, with the main difference being that Baiken can't kill you in one combo. This makes it very hard to pressure Heart in the conventional means, as your usual attack strings will be quickly countered if he has meter.

Another important point is that Heart can store up the Super Armor from his jump C by charging the move and then landing before it executes. This makes it so he can absorb a hit if you attack him while he is performing any normal or special move, which really lets him get in your face. Once he has stored the armor you can get rid of it by either hitting him with any attack or normal throw, or making him guard a move that does chip damage(all special moves). However, he is able to guard special moves without losing his armor charge by making use of Aura Guard.

At the very beginning of the round you can go all out on the attack, but once Heart builds up 50% Aura your general strategy should be to stay at around mid range and pressure him with far B and 2B. When he tries to jump back and apply armor you can punish him with 623B, and if he high jumps towards you you can knock him out of the air with 623A. If he does manage to store up an armor charge, use 236A repeatedly just outside of Earthcrush range, which forces him to choose between saving his armor or conserving Aura.

If you guard a B Earthcrush you can hit him with far D if he does not have armor, or 623B if he does. D Earthcrush is harder to punish, but it you Musou it you can usually get a guaranteed hit with 236D.

This is another matchup where Kenshiro is at a big advantage, but it is necessary to make significant adjustments to your general strategy.

Mamiya

Mamiya is considered to be at a 6:4 advantage in this matchup. Add to that the fact that you have probably never practiced any combos on Mamiya because no one uses her, and you are likely going to be at a serious disadvantage if you ever actually come across a competent Mamiya user.

With her great mobility, crazy projectiles, and unblockable wakeups, Mamiya poses a real threat if you let her take the initiative. Once on the defense however, she drops extremely quickly. Because she possesses a guard gauge against Kenshiro, Chikuseki high jump combos are extremely effective, and one combo is often enough to take the whole round.

Against Mamiya you really want to take the fight to her right away and keep the pressure up the whole time. As long as you don't let her build momentum you should be able to come out on top in this fight.

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