Street Fighter V Tutorial: The Basics of Ryu

With SFV appearing at Six Flags locations throughout the summer and making appearances at gaming conventions and tournaments between now and it’s release in spring 2016, a lot of you guys are going to get your hands on the game early.  Those who pre-order on PS4 will get access to the open online beta July 23-28.  Since my last post about the mechanics of the game was well-received I thought I would continue on with the series.  This time I’ll be focusing on Ryu since I believe that is the best character for every player to start with when learning a new Street Fighter game.  

The Adam of all fighting games that every fighting game character in gaming is in some way inspired by or descended from makes his glorious return in Street Fighter V.  After a series of updates in SF4 rendered him a shell of his former self, as well as the rise of his soul-selling variant Evil Ryu, Ryu is arguably more powerful than ever.  

What’s New/Changed

The biggest changes I noticed about Ryu after several days of playing SFV is his ability to keep pressure on, a change in the type of normals you use to do combos, and his parry which is his V-Skill.  Let’s start with his normals.

Also, SF4 placed a large emphasis on cr. LK and cr. LP.  This is mostly removed which causes a lot of his main combos from SF4 no longer work.  Gone are cr. LK, cr. LP, cr. HP xx Tatsu combos as well as cr. LP, cr. LP, cr. MK xx Fireball combos.  

Notable Normals

Standing MP (st. MP)

This move is probably the normal that seems most different from SF4.  It was rarely used in SF4, largely due to cr. MK being a better normal for poking and cr. MP being better for combos.  However, in SFV, this normal is the main button used for continuing combos off of a jump-in and for up-close pressure.  

st. MP can be linked into cr. HP off of a deep jump-in, which can be then cancelled into Fireball, Shoryuken, or Tatsu as expected.  You can also link it into sweep (cr. HK) for a knockdown.  

It is also the starting button of his target combo: st. MP, st. HP, st. HK which knocks the opponent back and they spin while they’re falling.  

It is cancellable but it’s more efficient to use it as the starting point for combo or frame trap pressure.

Standing Light Kick (st. LK)

It took a couple of days to realize the utility of this move.  In probably every other version of Street Fighter, st. LK had an diagonally pointed upwards hitbox.  It could be used as an anti-air effectively from a certain range, though didn’t do much damage.  It could also be used as a way to fake out your opponent into thinking you were going to throw a fireball.

In SFV, this has been changed to his cl. LK animation from SF2.  In addition, it is now Special Cancellable.  This could be useful for close range Option Select buffering with his Fireball.  

It’s his most useful poke at just outside of throw range and can be used to safely finish a round when the opponent is low on life without incurring much risk. Similar to the way that a cr. LP could be used to finish a round in SF4, except seemingly more effective because it has better range than cr. LP.  

Crouching Heavy Kick (cr. HK)

Ryu’s sweep used to be one of his best footsies tools in nearly every Street Fighter game ever.  Although it’s still useful in these situations for whiff-punishing, the recovery on block is really long.  I mean REALLY long.  This makes it a much bigger risk to throw out because if you’re not certain that it will connect, you run the risk of being punished heavily.

This changes the footsies battle because it can no longer be thrown out without careful consideration.  Though there’s no frame data currently available, the recovery on block seems nearly double what it is in SF4.  

Axe Kick (B+HK)

This is a new command normal that Ryu didn’t have in other games.  I believe it forces stand, but I could be wrong.  It’s definitely not an overhead, but if you hit a deep jump-in, you can land the Axe Kick and link into cr. MP.

Standing Heavy Kick (st. HK)

This is Ryu’s Crush Counter normal.  Crush Counters are a form of Counterhits where you gain additional frame advantage because the opponent reels back significantly.  Although st. HP can also be used as a Crush Counter, st. HK gives the full animation and allows you to continue a combo.

Specials

Hadoken (Fireball)

Ryu’s Fireball seems largely unchanged, with the exception of when he is in V-Trigger Mode, which we’ll get into later.  The EX version still knocks down and is useful in Fireball fights.  

Shoryuken (Uppercut)

The iconic Uppercut from all past Street Fighter games returns.  It seems to have remain largely unchanged from SF4, with the exception of the HP variation having seemingly less invincibility.


As with SF4, MP Uppercut is your best bet for an anti-air, though I didn’t try LP Uppercut too often.  It’s possible that LP Uppercut does more damage which would make it better on the ground for hard reads, but MP is most reliable for anti-airs.  

EX Uppercut is a great anti-air as before, but one notable difference is that it can be used in the corner to juggle.  So you can a combo with LK Tatsu in the corner and then follow up with EX Uppercut.  

Tatsumaki (Hurricane Kick)

This move seems most changed from its SF4 iteration.  Let’s first start with the air Tatsu.  

In SF4, air Tatsu could be used to perform ambiguous cross-ups that could be followed up by a Super for big damage.  In this game, cross-up air Tatsus seem to be a thing of the past.  So far, it’s only use seems to be to change the trajectory of your jump in order to avoid the opponent’s anti-air Uppercut.

On the ground, HK Tatsu has been altered slightly.  It seems to be easier to go through projectiles with it as opposed to in previous Street Fighter games where you the timing was tighter.  

Positional advantage has also been changed.  In SF4, HK Tatsu would sometimes put you on the other side of the opponent after the animation finished, but usually only if you were close to the corner.  Now it seems like HK Tatsu almost always puts you on the other side of the opponent.  

This is useful for regaining the screen position advantage by switching sides to get out of the corner, however, if you’re not conscious of this side switch, it will put you behind your opponent, thereby stopping the corner push you may have been building towards.  In this instance, MK Tatsu would be a better choice because it will keep you on the same side.

LK Tatsu is probably most changed and improved.  Most notably and straightforward, it can now be followed up with his Critical Art (Super) off of a juggle.  This means that with a full EX Meter stocked, you can do j. HK, cl. MP, cr. HP xx LK Tatsu -> Super which does a lot of damage, probably around 45%. 

If you end a combo with LK Tatsu midscreen, it puts you in a good position for an ambiguous jump-in if they Quick Stand, allowing you to continue the pressure and momentum.  

In the corner, you can follow it up with EX Uppercut for lots of extra damage.  

EX Tatsu is still useful for corner juggles and does a fair amount of stun.  Air EX Tatsu still keeps Ryu in the air which could be useful to save yourself from landing on a Fireball after a mistimed jump.

Critical Art

Ryu’s Critical Art has a similar animation of his Ultra 1 in SF4 but can be hit confirmed similarly to the way Supers were used in 3rd Strike.  This means that buffering the two quarter-circle motions after pressing cr. MK can be an effective way to punish your opponent’s whiffed throw or misplaced poke.

You can also cr. MK xx Fireball and you have enough time to confirm if the opponent doesn’t block and then do another quarter circle forward (QCF) + any punch to complete the Critical Art input.  This is an old technique from

Basic Combos

Instead of going through an exhaustive list of all possible combos, we’re just going to cover ones that seem most useful or different from his SF4 iteration.  

j. HK, st. MP, cr. HP xx LK Tatsu

This combo is notable because st. MP was rarely used in SF4 and almost never in combos.  You must land a deep jump-in and be as close to the opponent as possible, otherwise cr. HP will whiff.  LK Tatsu is used because if they Quick Stand, you get an ambiguous cross-up opportunity off j. MK.  The LK Tatsu can also be followed up with his Critical Art if you have a full EX Meter.

st. MP, st. HP, st. HK

This is Ryu’s new Target Combo and the HK gives you a spin-back knockdown.  This is similar to Sagat’s Tiger Uppercut reelback animation if you landed a counterhit.  I’m not quite sure what the damage is or why you would use it instead of a LK Tatsu ender but maybe there will be some uses for it developed later on.  If you are close enough, you can start this Target Combo with an additional st. MP.  

st. MP, st. MP, cr. HK

This combo is useful because you get a knockdown afterwards which allows you to either set up a jump-in or force them into a guessing game of wakeup options.  

j. HK, Axe Kick, cr. MP xx EX Tatsu, EX Uppercut (Corner Only)

So far, this is the only use I’ve seen for Axe Kick and this could be useful if you jumped in and they were crouching since Axe Kick forces stand.  

F+HP, st. MP, st. MP, st. HP, st. HK

This combo is useful after a stun if you didn’t have meter because it builds about half an EX stock.  

V-Reversal

Ryu’s V-Reversal is done by pressing F+PPP while in blockstun.  If the opponent is airborne, you’ll get a knockdown, but on the ground they just get pushed back outside throw range, similar to a push block in Marvel vs. Capcom 3.  It is most useful against attacks with longer animation because if you use V-Reversal against a light attack, the opponent will be able to block.  

V-Skill: Parry

Ryu’s V-Skill is his parry from 3rd Strike, with a very similar animation.  It is performed by pressing MP and MK simultaneously and it’s notable that there are recovery frames and animation.  This is a stark contrast to 3rd Strike because parries were performed by tapping forward on the stick instead of a two-button press.  Also, if you missed a parry, there was no recovery animation.  Either you hit the parry or nothing happened, or you parried high and the opponent attacked low, etc.

The parry is a defensive option that allows you to “absorb” one hit from your opponent and immediately counterattack with a move like an Uppercut or throw.  It’s different from a Focus Attack because you don’t take any white damage and there is no counterattack built in.  You must perform a counterattack manually and the options you have will be determined by what type of move you parried.  

For example, if you parried a Fireball midscreen, you have no real options to counterattack because you are so far away.  However, if you parried a Fireball at point blank range, you could counterattack with an Uppercut.  Parrying a light attack, might give you an opportunity to throw, but without further testing, it’s hard to say which attacks are most useful as counterattacks.  

If you parry an attack with a long recovery animation such as an Uppercut or sweep, you definitely have enough time to land a high-damaging combo because you are immediately able to counterattack.

One thing to note is that parrying jump-ins and counterattacking is not very effective.  This was more useful in 3rd Strike, but was possibly changed to encourage the use of traditional anti-airs like Uppercuts and normals to defend against jump-ins.  

You cannot parry hits while in blockstun.  So for example, Chun Li’s cr. MK xx Lightning Legs cannot be parried if you block the cr. MK first, meaning you’d have to parry the whole sequence, starting with cr. MK.

Parries can be used even against multi-hitting attacks like Ryu’s F+MP overhead, EX Fireballs or even V-Triggered special moves like Cammy’s powered up Spiral Arrow.  The timing is somewhat similar to multi-hitting moves in 3rd Strike which means that you don’t have to mash parry, but instead time each one about ¼ to ½ second apart.  I’m pretty sure this timing will vary based on the attack that you are parrying, with some being faster than others, however, in 3rd Strike, multi-hitting projectiles were all the same timing.

All attacks can be parried except for throws and command throws.  This means that all normals, specials and even Critical Arts can be parried with enough practice.

In SFV, the recovery animation adds an element of risk to trying to parry everything.  If your opponent hits you while you are in parry recovery animation, they will score a Counterhit or a Crush Counter which will stagger the opponent and allow for additional hits.

Ryu has a two-stock V-Gauge Meter and parrying a projectile builds ⅓ of a V-Gauge stock.  This means that if you parry six projectiles, you’ll have a full V-Gauge early on.  This can serve as a way to dissuade the use of Fireballs as keepaway tactics early on in the round.  

One welcome change from the 3rd Strike system is the removal of low parry.  This means that your parry will cover both high and low options.  Also, there is no air parry.

With practice over time, parrying will become more and more prevalent and is a critical aspect of Ryu’s game that you’ll need to master in order to fully realize his potential.  Additionally, becoming proficient at parrying will give you extra opportunities to build V-Gauge aside from just taking damage.

How to Practice Parrying Before the Release of SFV

If you aren’t able to make it out to an event where SFV is playable but still want to practice parrying between now and the official release, there are a few options available.  

Firstly, you should practice parrying Fireballs and other attacks in 3rd Strike with Ryu.  Although the parry motion of tapping Forward is counterintuitive, it will give you an idea of the timing required to parry projectiles and EX Projectiles.  

Omega Mode Ryu in USF4 also has a similar parry, however this parry is performed by pressing F+MP+MK, making it a bit more difficult to perform effectively.  Also, since the SF4 engine was not built with parrying in mind, multi-hit attacks must be parried much faster than in 3rd Strike.  However, practicing parrying in this mode will get you used to using two buttons to parry as opposed to tapping forward.

I plan to set one of my buttons to MP+MK to allow for a one button parry because this seems less error-prone than parrying with two buttons.  I’d still prefer to just tap forward, however, but I can see why Capcom chose to keep V-Skill commands consistent amongst all characters.  

V-Trigger: Denjin Mode

Ryu’s V-Trigger Mode puts him into Denjin state.  He seems to move faster and do more damage, but the most noticeable changes are to his Fireball.

While in V-Trigger Mode, your Fireballs gain the ability to be charged which can lead to an unblockable state and more stun and are also significantly faster.  The longer the Fireball is charged, the more stun it will do, and the higher the strength of the Fireball, the less time it takes to reach a full charge.  

You can release the Fireball at any time, however, it releases automatically once it becomes fully charged.  This adds an additional degree of complexity and potential because if a Fireball reaches its maximum charge before you intend it to, it will release and likely miss the opponent.

LP Fireball can be charged the longest which makes it ideal for knockdown situations where you’re not sure whether they will Quick Stand or not.  However, because it is the weakest, it takes the most amount of time in order to reach the unblockable state.  Also it is nowhere near as fast as HP Fireball, making it easier for the opponent to jump over it if you don’t time it as a meaty to connect as they’re standing up.  

HP Fireball’s charge time is much faster, making it seem like a good option after a knockdown at first glance.  However, it can be easy to mistime your HP Fireball and have it miss completely because they decided not to Quick Stand.  I found it to be unreliable after a knockdown because Quick Stand is so fast, allowing the opponent enough time to jump forward and hit me while I was still in recovery animation of the Fireball.  The speed of HP Fireball during V-Trigger Mode is most similar to the speed of HP Fireball in Omega Mode of SF4.  

MP Fireball may end up being the most reliable option after a knockdown due to it’s slightly slower speed and longer maximum charge time.  

EX Fireball can be charged up extremely fast, with the caveat meaning that if you try to use it after knockdown and they don’t Quick Stand, your EX Fireball will go over them while they are still on their back.  What it can be used for, however, is after the opponent blocks a cancellable normal like cr. HP, cr. MK or cr. MP.  When you are applying constant pressure, activating V-Trigger after a blocked normal can be scary and effective.  The opponent is likely to continue blocking, so charging a full EX Fireball and guard-breaking is a strong possibility.  

Even if they try to block a fully charged EX Fireball, the guard break will increase their Stun Gauge by about 70% and do about 15% health which is quite substantial.  

If you connect with a fully charged V-Trigger Fireball, it will fill the opponent’s Stun Gauge and dizzy them.  If they block a fully charged V-Trigger Fireball, it won’t increase the Stun Gauge, but it will cause a momentary guard break that you can combo after.

While in V-Trigger, your Uppercut does additional damage.  There didn’t seem to be any additional properties to it.  However, one use way that it can be useful is to activate V-Trigger when you see the opponent jump.  The activation freeze allows for extra time to get ready to anti-air with a V-Trigger Uppercut which looks like it does about 15% damage.  

I haven’t seem V-Trigger Tatsu used at all so don’t know of any additional properties.  

Summary

Overall, Ryu seems far more interesting in SFV than in SF4.  He does a lot of damage, is well-rounded, makes great use of his V-Trigger because of his Denjin Fireball game and has a strong defensive option with his V-Skill, the parry.

For those looking to get a headstart on the competition, playing Omega Mode Ryu will get you used to the ridiculously fast HP Denjin Fireballs and using MP+MK to practice parrying.  

Thanks for reading, please let me know if I missed anything or if you have questions.  Street Fighter V is available for pre-order now on Amazon.  Those who pre-order on PS4 will get access to the open online beta July 23-28.