Post up all your Ken strats, match-up advice, combos, etc here. There's a lot of players who prefer to play O. Ken, so this thread is just for N.Ken.
-- Crouching Mk
-- Crouching RH (can cancel into Hadoken)
-- Crouching MP. (Good priority)
-- Standing Roundhouse. (Ok not a footsie but very useful in footsies as has great range and pretty fast).
-- Knee Bash (Towards + MK) (See Knee Bash mixups)
-- Rolling throw (towards + roundhouse)
-- Shoulder Drop (towards + Mp)
Knee Bash is Ken's best throw but the shoulder drop can grab from slightly further away and the Rolling Throw can be useful to put your opponent where you want them.
Jab Dragon Punch is Ken's best reversal, try drumming all three punch buttons to maximise chances of getting any sort of dragon punch on reversal. I tend to double-tap the jab as I prefer Jab DP for reversal attempts.
Fierce DP is one of the few moves in the game that hits on the first frame, meaning that in theory an opponent can never safe jump in on you. However, if they bait it out of you, your ass is toast on the way down.
Popular Mis-Conception: Shoryu-Reppa (Ken's super) is NOT a reversal. Even if you get a reversal message you can still be beaten when trying this as a reversal attempt.
EDIT: (Thanks jchensor)
Actually, this is not technically true. The reason ShoRyuReppa is "not" a Reversal is because the game won't LET it be one. There is a glitch that if you manage to pull of a True Reversal with the ShoRyuReppa, the game freaks out and, instead, makes you do the previous special move you did. That's how those Combo Videos make Ken do those really low Hurricane Kicks to the floor for one hit right when he gets up, by getting hit out of an Air Hurricane Kick and then doing a Reversal Super. Instead of ShoRyuReppa coming out, you get the one hit Air Hurricane Kick instead.
But if you play AE (the arcade I play at removed ST and put in AE), then ShoryuReppa can be used as a reversal and it's pretty damn good for this use.
- Dragon Punch (duh)
- Crouching Fierce (aka the Mexican Uppercut), good if you don't think you can get out a dragon in time, Also has quite a high hit box, so you can hit with just the tip of the uppercut.
- Standing Mk. Not great but has some uses.
- Standing MP. Underrated move in my opinion, beats a suprising amount of stuff clean and can connect at a ranges where sometimes a Dragon can miss.
- Far standing Fierce. Similar to MP, if anyhting, has more priority than MP but way slower.
- Close Fierce. Good priority and good as a last resort anti-air.
- Close MK.
- HCF + K. Kind of like Ryu's standing Roundhouse.
- Ken's other funky kicks (DP motion plus Kick, QCF + K).
Air - to - Air's
-- Air hurricane kick.
-- Jumping Roundhouse.
-- Jumping Jab (comes out really early).
-- Jumping Fierce.
-- Air throw (In air, towards+mk)
-- Jump straight up Roundhouse
Connecting Shoryu-Reppa from Cr.short X 2 (Hit Confirm)
One always asked question about N.Ken, is how do you connect the Shoryu-Reppa off two crouching shorts? It's a link, and you do it by kara-ing a jab with a short for the super. So you would do crouching short, crouching short, QCF X2, jab + short. The timing for this is the same as if you would connect three crouching shorts on an opponent. At first it's pretty tricky, but this method works for me at least. One tip I would give is to let go off the buttons very quckly before doing the QCF's as if you keep them held down too long, you can end up negative edging and getting Ken's funky kick to come out instead of the Super.
You can also connect the Shoryu-Reppa from crouching MK and a jumping HP, and both of these can be pretty useful.
Connecting Jump Jab to Hurricane.
This is another tricky piece of execution with Ken. You can combo his jumping jab into any hurricane kick (HK is best). This is particularly good after a Knee Bash. The best way to do it is to do a QCB and then at back press jab followed by HK very quickly. (Or do the Jab at down-back).
Ken's air hurricance in ST is really nasty, there are several different variations of them. One of the best is known as the "Juice Kick." This is when you do a air hurricane almost immeadiately after jumping towards the opponent. If you do it right, Ken's arc of his hurricane kick will be REALLY low to the ground. This almost has the effect of a Dhalsim stlye teleport, but you hit at the same time! This is really good agaisnt Sagat, if you sense he is going to throw a Low Tiger, you can Juice Kick him and connect with his limbs before he recovers!
Basic Game Plan
With N Ken you really are aiming to just score a knock down. Zone the opponent with Hadoken's and anti -air if they jump-in, and use footsies to keep them away. I would always cancel into a fireball or funky kick after a crouching MK or RH for safety. Get closer to the opponent in between hadokens with Back + Roundhouse, a funky kick or even a short hurricane. It can often be advantageous to dragon punch through an opponent's fireball, to both build meter and gain ground. If you can charge Ken's super up quickly, he becomes a big threat as there are a number of ways to engineer an opening to land this.
You can also go for a jump-in attempt (although don't spam this as you ass will be handed to you). Ken can cross up with Jumping MK, or you can go for a tick throw by clipping the very edge of the opponent's hit box with a jumping RH or jumping short. Also don't be afraid to use a air hurricane to cross up your opponent so you hit on the other side, and then vary this by htiing them the next time on the side facing you. Ken can also use an early jumping jab to jump-in. This is a really funky move as it changes Ken's trajectory in the air somewhat, making for a slightly different arc to his jumping kick moves. You can then combo in the air into a hurricane (and if you connect, finish with a sweep on landing for a good 3 hit combo), or it will keep you safe to then go for throw, tick, zone, whatever. You can also go for a Jumping Fierce which stuffs a lot of air-to-air moves out because of it's immense priority, or if you connect with it deep enough, you can link a super from it on landing. Keep your opponent guessing as to whether you will cross them up, or hit them regularly, and keep them guessing if you will hit deep or high. As stupid as it sounds, sometimes just jumping straight up can bait an opponent into throwing a DP style move if you have conditioned them to expect a jump in, and you can counter appropriately.
If you can score a knock down, then you can setup Ken's wicked ambiguous jump-in games as the opponent is getting up. Because Ken's Cross Up Mk is such a great move, and because he has plenty of other moves to back him up, he is a tremendous threat if he can jump in. You can often safe jump-in with jumping short, or if you think your opponent will expect this, you can go for the cross-up. After this you have a massive list of options you can go for:
- tick throw
- short, short super
- overhead funky kick
- dragon punch (to beat a tech throw attempt)
- crouching mk XX hadoken / dragon / funky kick
This can ineveitably lead to landing a Knee Bash (towards + MK), which in can turn lead to an all manner of nastiness.
On knock-down you can also go fora tick throw, or to just keep the pressure on the opponent by timing a fireball to hit them as they are waking up.
Knee Bash Mix-Ups:
Jesus this is one nasty mofo of a throw. Not only does it do good damage, it offers you the chance to mixup and go for somethign else afterwards. I'll leave the pro's to come in and digress all the options you can go for, but here are some starters:
-- Walk up, cr. short X 2, hit confirm to super.
-- Walk underneath the opponent, combo. (I would go for standing HP xx Jab dragon as you recover quickly in case the opponent blocked).
-- Jump in Jab XX Hurricane. When you land you get another mixup, you can go for knee bash, dragon punch, tick throw, cr.mk into dragon, sweep XX fireball. Loads of
-- Tick throw (e.g. crouching short into knee bash)
-- Jab Dragon (If you think opponent will try to tech out of what they think is another Knee Bash)
-- Nothing at all (If you have conditioned them with a lot of follow up tick throws, they may well try to reversal, so do nothing, waith for them to land from their reversal move and then combo them).
-- Jump over cross-up MK.
-- Crouching Mk / Sweep into fireball.
-- Walk underneath, crouching MK / Sweep into fireball.
On top of this Ken also has the classic Fireball trap, although in comparison to Sagat and Ryu, Ken's version is week. At the right ranges, if you throw a jab fireball and it is blocked, then you can throw a fierce fireball for free which the opponent will have no choice but to block. The jab fireball also travels pretty slowly, allowing you to advance towards the opponent. If they jump over your fireball, anti - air them with one of your anti-air's, or if they are jumping from far away, Sweep them as they land, cancelling into a fireball in case they land safely. Mix-up your fireballs when applying pressure from afar and be wary of Ken's recovery on his Fierce fireball, you asking to be jumped in at if you throw this at the wrong time. Be wary when fighting characters like Guile, Sagat and Ryu, whose faster travelling projectiles will wear you down gradually in a fireball war.
Of course I am sure that anyone who has ever played any SF2 game is well aware of the intricacies of the Fireball trap, so I won't expand on it any further here.
Psychic Dragon Punches
Ken's DP is one of the best moves IMO in ST. It comes so quickly, has mad priority and recovers really fucking fast. Only O. Ken has a better DP style move in this game. You can therefore exploit the assests of the DP to use "Psychic" style tactics to beat pokes and throw attempts to really head-fuck your opponent. The use of Psyhic DP's is matchup-dependant, but you can DP through Dhalsim's long limbs, a Shoto's sweep, you can clip an opponent throwing a fireball on start up and pass through the fireball or trade. Again AI won't expand on this, but take a look at any high-level N Ken player (particularly Japanese players Ani-Ken and M.Tsun) and you will see lots of uses of this technique.
Funky Kick / Wacky Kick Ground Cross-Up Trick
If you are pretty much on top of your opponent as they are getting up, if you do a QCF + K, you can sometimes cross up the opponent on the ground and end up on the other side of them. As far as I am aware it does not work al all characters. Perhaps someone else can clarify how this trick is done consistently.
- Cross-up MK, crouching stong XX RH Hurricane Kick. Good damage and good chance of dizzying and works on all characters.
- Short, short XX super.
- Jump in Jab XX RH Hurricane, Sweep XX Fireball / Hurricane. Good 3 - hit combo of a jump-in jab, typically after a knee-bash. The fireball / hurricnae at the end won't connect but can be used for safety / following up.
-- More to add later.
Yoga Book Hyper Translations - Courtesy of NKI
TECH.02 - You should master the walking DP
"Equally as important as well-timed fireballs is the walking DP. That is, walking towards the opponent, and when you get close, doing a Jab DP. If the opponent sticks out a move to try to stop you from walking forward, not only will pretty much every move will lose to the DP, but they also get knocked down, so you can continue to pressure them as they get up. Of course if you whiff the DP, the opponent can punish it, but because they'll be scared of that DP, it's pretty easy to close the gap just by walking towards them. You want to keep the pressure on the opponent."
TECH.03 - Safe jump Jab after knee bash throw
"If you jump immediately after the knee bash throw, it can be a safe jump depending on who your opponent is. It is extremely useful against Ryu, Boxer and DeeJay, so you definitely want to use it against them. All you have to do is hold up/towards as the throw is finishing. As soon as you're air-born, hit Jab, and it will be a meaty on the landing opponent."
Note from NKI: It's only a safe jump against Boxer, and DeeJay's Forward and RH upkicks. (DeeJay can hit Ken with reversal Short upkicks, but not Forward or RH.)