Having trouble w/ fundamentals. Should I just return to using Ryu?

Hello everyone. I began my journey with SF4 this year around February. Since then, I’ve only invested a mere 300 hours into the game. When I first started playing, I mained with Ryu, and used him for about 50 hours, got bored with him, and proceeded to switch to Evil Ryu because he looked more appealing to me. So, I’ve been using Evil Ryu for months now, and so far it seems that I’m having a lot of trouble using him. I’ve been playing with a very experienced player recently, and he has been helping me a lot, and he has made me understand how weak my fundamentals just are. I have trouble anti-airing consistently, I don’t block well, my fireball spacing is bad, my footsies aren’t very good, etc. So it seems that using Evil Ryu this early in my SF career is probably counterproductive. And my question is, will reverting back to normal Ryu help me learn the fundamentals that I need? And if yes, if I develop stronger fundamentals and then decide to return to Evil Ryu, will I notice improvement at all in terms of skill? Thanks a lot.

To be honest their fundamentals are the same. Really the only advantage for Ryu is a 5f cr. MK instead of a 7f one. This means a lot of times for E. Ryu he can’t go poking super aggressively with his cr. MK and needs to rely on his spacing a bit more. At the same time though, there is less risk on a blocked cr. MK so they both have their advantages. E. Ryu’s only downside is if you can’t consistently execute his Stomp combo’s or constantly miss Fireball FADC’s into some sort of combo. If you are not hit confirming or execution is bad then maybe go back to Ryu, if your hit confirming is fine but you are losing the neutral then I wouldn’t switch. However, only do this if you would rather play Ryu. Stick with whoever you want to play, but realize E. Ryu requires a lot more execution than Ryu.

The mid-range mindset is exactly the same. Generally speaking you want to find the range of your opponents most common poke and just wiggle around just outside that area. I’d look at those videos on the front page currently of Momochi vs Daigo. Watch these videos. One of the biggest things is understanding when you are at advantage in the fireball game and they go over that very well.

Game 1
Game 2
Game 3

Do you know when you should use a jab fireball vs a fierce fireball?
Can you consistently react to whiff punishes.
Can you consistently react to jump-ins.
^ all this can be improved with playing and studying.

Play a couple games online where all you do is block, DP, and cr. MK->Fireball. No big combo’s or pressure on wake-up. DP’ing in this game is pretty easy if your looking for it that is what the term ‘juggling focus’ means. Sometimes you stop start looking for something specific, this inherently speeds up your reactions. It is odd, but it definitely works.

I think you should pick one character and stick with them. Your best time investment is always going to come from learning more how to play your main character rather than playing someone else and hoping it teaches you some generalized skill.

I do the same thing as you, when I start getting frustrated with an oddball character, I go back to Ryu and end up winning most of my matches again. That said, I believe that fundamentals vary from character to character, for example the things that you think about when playing Vega/Claw are going to be different versus playing a shoto or a grappler. I think that Ryu is good for starting out at the game because his tools are simple and effective, but getting good at Ryu is not necessarily going to make you better at other characters. Spacing, anti-airs, pressure, wake-up game etc need to be learned separately for each character to compete at a high level with them.

However, on the other hand, playing other characters can teach you mental skills that can help you out with other parts of your game. Learning Sagat can improve your fireball game, Hugo can build some mental resilience against fireballs being thrown at you, Dee Jay can help you with blocking, etc, because being successful with these characters means that they need to be better at some things more than other characters. It also gives you some inside knowledge to how those players think so you can read their spacing and what they want to do.

So to answer your question directly, playing Ryu is going to make you better at Ryu. If you want to get good at other characters, learn how to play those characters, and understand that it’s going to be an uphill battle because you’re essentially starting from square 1.5 over again.

This, you may not realize it, but learning your characters matchups indirectly helps your fundamentals. Say you’re using Ryu/E.Ryu against Vega, and you try to fireball or cr.MK xx fireball too close, you’re going to get tagged with a cr.MP xx EX FBA combo most of the time if the Vega is good. This will teach you better fireball spacing. If you’re playing against Yun, and he’s divekicking your face for free and you can’t deal with it at first, eventually you will get tired of losing to that shit, and you will get better at anti airing.

Once you’ve mastered your characters matchups, you will realize that you are much better at the game even when picking a different character. Just stick with E.Ryu, but the most important part is to examine and analyze why you lost in the first place. Once you do that, just keep practicing the counters to whatever stratehy you are losing to, abd you will get better. Train smarter, not harder.

I kinda agree with the maining a char and learning how to play the matchups suggestion.

And I really strongly disagree with people who say to use Ryu to learn how to play… if anything Ryu teaches you is how to crutch on a character that has an easy solution to everything… he doesnt really teach you how to play safely or with thought cause everything he does is easymode. I really hate the whole concept behind Ryu and shotos in general in Street Fighter 4.

I really hope that they somewhat balance all the characters in SF 5 to be almost equally easy/hard to use. Having super easy mode characters and super dificult characters just ruins the game cause most of the players playing online (bad casual players) flock to the easymode characters and never really learn how to play the game since they are playing fisherprice characters.

What defines a character as “super difficult”? I can only name a few characters that require solid play to function well, moreso than ryu, being Dhalsim, Vega, and maybe balrog. The rest of the cast just has higher execution and more options. I recently went back to ryu because I realized that after playing a brainless cammy, rose, and gouken since the end of AE2012 I had no fundamentals.

Sure you can say Viper is a hard character to play, but you can turn off your brain once you have the fierce-feint-fierce down and can do burn kick setups. Sure Gief needs to find an opening, but once he does it’s 50-50 setups all day. Yeah sakura tatsu loops are tough to hit, but when you have a jump fierce that beats DPs and safe ex tatsu you can just keep pushing and make openings.

What does Ryu have? A fireball that leads to death if jumped over, a DP that leads to death if baited, and a tatsu that you have to read the opponent to use properly. Ryu is street fighter, because he is about decision making, not fancy combos or vortex or 50-50s. Ryu gives lower skilled players a taste of the kind of play you expect from every character at the competition level; he necessitates proper spacing, anti-airs, and a fireball game because without them you can’t get very far. Fisher-Price? Maybe to you.

I agree with the rest: Just stick with Evil Ryu. Just focus on aspects of the game and try to think about what the opponent would want to do, when and why. You can get damage off simple stuff like button tatsu shoryuken to ease mental stress on that front.

Ryu can spam fireballs at you pointblank and anti air you if you jump over them.

Ryu can land ultra in many easy ways, one being lp dp anti air into ultra.

these 2 things alone dont teach a new player anything but “hey this is easy ill keep using this guy instead of that guy who cant even combo into his ultra and has a super slow fireball or one that doesnt even have a fireball”

I think ryu is the character with the second most safest fireball game, first being guile (or sagat in certain matchups), they both can throw fireballs from any range without much to worry about.

hes easy in many other ways too, its just dumb. we dont need easy characters we just need a slightly lower execution barrier with all characters so that all characters are accessible to people of all skill levels.

This needs to be in scrubquotes.

Maybe, but why is there 10k Ryu’s and only like 1k Gen players. Serious question for you since you wanna sling the insults around.

Are you really comparing:

One of the most popular videogame characters of all time (2nd probably only to Mario), who is the progenitor to the most widely used template in all of fighting game history, that has appeared in numerous games (including every SF game ever, multiple crossover fighters, even RPGs), and is the main character of SF (and Capcom’s current mascot).


A dying old man that no one cares about, that requires the intricate use of stance-switching which changes everything from his walkspeed to jump arc to special moves, who has only ever appeared in the SF series (and only 4 of those excluding the updates to SF4.)?

Hmmmmm, I wonder why…

If superficial easiness was a factor at the expense of fundamentals, new players would choose Ibuki instead of Ryu. Dial combos, air dominance, vortex, speed etc

So many factually wrong statements. Ryu’s fireball is one of the more ineffectual in the game because all the anti-fireball tools in the game have been built to work against it. It’s as if the game hates Ryu.

Consider that a key part of a fireball’s safety is the recovery - how long does it take from launch to have you ready to block and antiair again? Some other fireball characters compared to Ryu:

Guile: Faster startup, much faster recovery, much lower total frame count
Sagat, Low shot: Slightly faster startup, slightly longer recovery
Sagat, High shot: Faster startup, slightly faster recovery, lower total frame count
Akuma, normal fireball: Faster recovery, lower total frame count
Akuma, light red fireball: Much slower startup, much faster recovery, longer total frame count
Gouken: Much slower startup, much faster recovery, lower total frame count
Poison: (Much) slower startups, (much) shorter recoveries, lower frame counts

Most of the relevant fireball characters have better fireballs in terms of frame data than Ryu does. Slower projectile travel time is a good thing, it stays on screen longer and controls space more effectively.

Ryu is easy to do things with, his tools are intuitive and straightforward. That doesn’t mean Ryu is easy to win with against an opponent who knows anything, not in this game. In something like ST where Ryu is actually really strong you might have a point. Even in AE2012 you’d have more of a point. Now? No.

Ryu’s far away fireball game doesn’t do shit, it’s focus bait. Closer, and the recovery becomes a problem. It’s typically best used from a bit outside cr.mk / sweep range as a normal poke, where it isn’t exactly safe. (See here, here)

Fireball recovery is hardly everything. The speed buff alone makes a big difference up-close especially when you’ve conditioned your opponent to not jump. The bigger difference between shot speeds also gives him Sagat-like zoning gameplay. I main both Ryu and Sagat and I don’t feel as if Ryu is irrelevant in comparison. The opposite in fact. He’s got actual walk speed for one thing and in many match-ups I feel like he’s just a better Sagat. Out of the characters you’ve listed only Akuma has a directly comparable and slightly better fireball game and even then that’s a character that has 150 less HP and is also top tier. You make out Ryu to be this super-weak character in Ultra but that’s far from the case. He is objectively stronger than he was in AE in all aspects except the universal reversal and oki nerfs that weren’t exclusive to him. Nothing that affects his core gameplay negatively and I’m glad they did away with all that AE garbage, anyways. I have no sympathy for AE scrubs that relied on Ryu’s gimmicks.

This “Ryu is weak” sentiment is highly overstated. People switched to E. Ryu because he’s indisputably the best (or one of the best) characters in the game at the moment. But Ryu himself isn’t weak, just overshadowed by his evil version. He’s perfectly serviceable with a solid game-plan for every range. He’s still able to walk his opponent into the corner and keep him there. He has more room than Akuma/E. Ryu to take chip damage to carry this task out safely even with conservative usage of fireballs. His fireball changes make him the most fun he’s ever been in SF4 imho.

Not sure what point you were trying to make with the two videos. That Ryu’s fireball is punishable? I mean, the way Infiltration punished those fireballs could be done to Sagat and Akuma as well. Your point about fireballs at long range being focus bait is also not exclusive to Ryu.

That other guy’s post was dumb, though.