Obviously there's gonna be a lot of work to optimizing Ibuki. She's not a character that you can be lazy with and get results and she has some inherent flaws that have to be overcome with other parts of her toolset in order to maximize her. Use this thread to look up notes, tech options or just generally ask a question about the character.
DevilJin's notes on Ibuki. Updated with overall gameplan with Ibuki and what you should focus on trying to land in the match..
Ibuki can be a tricky character to use. She has a lot of different elements of what makes a good character, with some inherent flaws to keep her from being too overpowered. She has the really fast walk speed of a mid range character, but has buttons with large hurtboxes on them more similar to a lower tier character like Gief or Guile. Which means pressing the correct buttons with Ibuki will be a bit more nuanced than it is with Ryu or Chun Li. You’ll have to do a lot more counter poking and whiff punishing, but it’s possible to work the neutral game with her normals and when mixed with a meter for EX kunai, can make some dangerous things happen even before V Trigger.
The key to her neutral game I feel is 3 main things.
Find a way to land LP raida.
Find a way to land s.MK, c.HK, s.HK target combo (aka sweep target)
Find a way to gain V Gauge (land your V Skill and f+HK/s.HK)
Those are the 3 main things you need to focus on as those will get you to a victory the quickest. These are also great things to focus on because they will also inevitably complete her neutral game (or at least the most important aspects of it). Learning each one also teaches you how to use her different buttons and v skill. LP raida and sweep target are good for giving you strong setups for pressure and/or carry to the corner. Your V Trigger is important to turn the match around and give you access to much bigger damage, so the V Skill and f+HK/s.HK can become important there as well. Below I’ll go over these 3 options and the neutral tools to get you to those situations in depth.
NOTE: The kunais ARE an important to her gameplan, but I feel they can’t be the MOST important since they’re a finite resource and IMO she can honestly win matches without using them other than to VTC into a combo. It’s more a sub part of her gameplan that adds to the basics you are already using. I’ll go over those in a later section.
1. Landing LP raida is important for Ibuki because it can be done without having to fish for a counter hit or 1 hit confirm which makes it easier on execution and muscle memory to accomplish. The nice thing about LP raida is that it basically is like ending a combo with a command grab. It’s an attack grab that has the same knockdown properties as a throw so whenever you land it, the opponent can only neutral tech. Giving you a pretty set and forget dash up s.LP or s.MP as a meaty. One of the issues with a lot of characters in SFV is that they have difficulty covering all non invincible button presses after a knockdown combo. LP raida makes it so Ibuki doesn’t have to worry about this. You knock them down you should know what to do. s.LP is easier to time as a meaty, but s.MP can also work.
Your best options to land LP raida are to connect with her LP, MP, HP target combo at close range, land s.MP at a slightly farther range or from furthest range you can just chain s.LK into LP raida. In order to land her LP target combo safely, you’ll want to link with c.LP or s.LP. Preferably s.LP since that’s faster. s.LP, LP, MP, HP, into LP raida confirm at close range. If you see the target string is getting blocked you can press LK to keep yourself safe on block (end the target string with LK instead of HP) . This is only really good at near point blank range though so you wont always have access to this.
s.MP, s.LK, LP raida is really important as this is one of the farther ranged confirms into a combo that you can do safely. Pretty easy to confirm as you can easily see that the s.MP and s.LK have connected before committing to the LP raida. Just remember the cancel window for s.LK into LP raida is pretty short. You can’t hesitate at all when comboing into LP raida or it will whiff or just not come out. You can land this combo from almost the max range of s.MP.
s.LK straight into LP Raida also works, but it is harder to confirm. You’ll have to look for this as a whiff punish when people whiff certain buttons in front of you or just play with your gut and go for it. s.LK to HK kazekiri is also a nice alternative that does a bit more damage, but doesn’t give you as good oki.
2. Finding a way to land s.MK sweep target is also a BIG part of her gameplan. Firstly, it’s a bit more difficult to confirm since you will have to put together counter hits or one hit confirms to get it to land. When you do, it gives you solid meterless damage, corner carry and basically the best post combo meaty setup in the game. Mainly because you can cancel the sweep target into MK command dash and be at very heavy plus frames (probably between like 8 and 10 frames or more). Get enough time to shimmy, throw, meaty and everything inbetween. They go into an air reset that doesn’t cause a knockdown so there is no tech available to them. They just have to take the pressure.
Your main tools for landing s.MK sweep target combo are counter hit s.LP, counter hit s.MP, counter hit c.MP and one hit confirm/whiff punish s.MK.
Counter hit s.LP/s.MP/c.MP combo into s.MK at similar ranges. s.LP will combo into s.MK at max range, while s.MP and c.MP whiff at max range. Which means s.LP is your most guaranteed counter hit. If s.LP lands on counter hit, go straight into s.MK. s.MP and s.MK have more range than s.LP, but they will only combo into s.MK from around the same range as s.LP. s.MP and c.MP counter hits are still really good and give you a bit more time to confirm if you land them. Even if you just mash s.MK after s.LP and they block, you’re still only minus 1 on block. You can set up these counter hits by doing different frame traps to open people up for them. You can do s.LP or s.MP then walk in throw. Then then next time they expect a throw counter hit them with another s.LP or s.MP then combo that on counter hit into the s.MK and start the sweep target.
Play around with the buttons and watch the PAN pressure tutorial for other ideas on how to get the counter hits off these buttons.
The other important way to land s.MK sweep target is raw landing the s.MK. There’s different ways to do this. You can try to one hit confirm this by just looking for the s.MK to hit and then going into the target combo. This is pretty hard to do though as the cancel window for the swep target is pretty short and doesn’t give you a lot of time to confirm if the opponent isn’t really doing anything first. You can try to look for a counter hit message to help you confirm, but you of course ideally want to land this without a counter hit sometimes.
In order to more reliably land this without counter hit, you can try to look for whiff punishes or shimmy people during throws and do it. An example is walking up to Ken right around his s.HK range, making him whiff the s.HK then pressing s.MK and going into the target. You can also walk up to someone then walk backwards to shimmy and punish their throw whiff with the s.MK.
3. Building her V Gauge by landing her V Skill and f+HK or s.HK are I feel the last big part to her neutral game. Ibuki I feel is designed like Necalli where she’s made to be a comeback/late game character. She can win at the start of the round, but it does take a good amount more of resets and pressure as most of her heaviest damage and oppression comes from having the VTC and the bombs ready. You can win an entire round pretty easily just off the momentum from the V Trigger bombs.
When you are in mid to far range, your main tools are going to be V Skill, f+HK and s.HK. This is because Ibuki’s main combo conversion tools like her standing punches and kicks have short range and large hurt boxes that aren’t really conducive for long ranged poking. They’re meant more to win as you get closer, but not much effectiveness once you’re far out.
V Skill is very important as it beats most standing and crouching normals from the opponent once active. She is susceptible to counter hits and her hurt box is rather large before and after its active, but once its active its got a pretty nice hit box that can stuff button really well. It’s technically a projectile so it will beat any normal that isn’t a projectile as long as its spaced right. The non charged version builds about ⅓ V Gauge on hit and a tiny bit on block. The charged version is slower start up, but has a bigger hit box and is very safe at only minus 3 on block.
The regular version is only minus 5 on block so you can still use it in block strings against most characters without worry. Long as you’re spaced out far enough you can use strings like s.MP, c.MP to V Skill to catch people trying to press buttons after or just build a bit of V Gauge. During the initial start up frames of her V Skill she seems to move back a bit giving her room to make buttons whiff and punish them. This is a good help to her neutral game as it allows her to poke without worrying about the large hurt boxes on a lot of her poking buttons. Plus the V Gauge build.
f+HK and s.HK are also pretty important. f+HK is your main tool that can priority trade vs mediums and lights and still win. It also crushes most low normals so you can use it and win for free against a lot of low hitting normals. Space it towards max range for the most effectiveness, but even if you use it at close range it’s still safeish at minus 3. Just be careful of the heavy start up and how her hurt box extends during the move. If you land this move on counter hit and get crush counter, you should usually just combo into HK kazekiri.
s.HK works pretty well vs a lot of good standing buttons and is only minus 2 on block. It’s also a bit faster start up than f+HK. Really good to counter hit buttons like Karin’s s.HK, Mika’s s.MK and other strong annoying standing buttons. Has no lower hit box though so it will lose to any lower hitting mid button or a low attack. If you land this on crush counter you can easily go into s.HP, HK kazekiri from a decent range. If you have V trigger you can do all kinds of nasty damage and reset to them. If they’re too far away from s.HP you can always throw EX raida then command dash in with Raida and keep pressuring.
s.HK also has a really good AA hit box that can stuff farther range jump ins pretty easily. On crush counter you can command dash in and Raida as well.