How is a Ryu ideally supposed to play?


I’ve been training with Ryu (and Akuma, but hes for the lulz) and realized something: I don’t know what I’m supposed to do as Ryu. What kind of game plan am I going for? Am I supposed to zone until I can knock them down, then try to cross them up and rinse and repeat til they’re dead?

I don’t find Ryu’s play style as obvious as for example Akuma. With Akuma I know my goal is to score a knockdown then proceed with ambiguous cross ups.

But what the heck am I supposed to do with Ryu? I’ve been playing with a friend, were on the same skill level (though he had 1k bp while I have none) and here’s what I think I did during the matches.

DP on his jump ins
Punish his blocked sweeps with my own sweep
On knockdown, either toss a fb, walk up grab, walk up backdash, jump in, cross up, air tatsu cross up.

The only combos I saw myself landing were simple lp lp mp tatsu, cr. mk fb, sps dp, stuff like that.

Is there something I’m missing? Would like some guidance…


watch alot of Daigo, Air, XsK Samurai matches. keep on watching and soon you will notice what why and when to do stuff.


If they’re coming at you, just focus entirely on countering them. Learn the timing for his cHP, your shoryu distance, and his MK. And get down the timing on jab into Shoryu, to help with short range punishes. As for offense… well, ideally you want to spend as little time on offense as possible and just beat them when they come to you. If you’re down and need to attack, though, you’ll want to get down your fireball timing and your jumping tatsu crossup. Though, because Ryu has fewer moves than most of the other shotos, and his normals don’t help him move forward like Ken’s, you have to be a lot more careful.

Also, maybe try out Ken for a while, get a feel for the difference between them. He’s a tad slower, but his MK lets him move forward and deal damage, similar to Guile’s bLK, and the movement on his shoryus is different. Like, I normally play Oni if I want a shoto, and I always get screwed over at some point when I go over to Ken and whiff an EX Shoryu, because Ken spends so much more time in the air. But still, worth trying out the others.

But yeah, mostly be defensive. Then again, that’s kinda the answer in most how to play SF4 questions, so it’s not the most helpful thing. Wish I could help out with the offense more, but I’ve kinda learned more footsies by just playing than I did any sort of reasonable offense, so I just kinda fall into bad patterns when I do go onto he offense. Or spam specials with Vega, if the opponent has no idea how to deal with them <.< I think part of the problem with becoming well rounded might be that, if you’re up against someone worse than you, they don’t know how to respond s oyou can do anything and build up bad habits. If you’re up against someone who’s better than you, they know the timing and their safe jumps and can whup you with pretty much anything. Like, when MMM first switched over to stick, I watched a Balrog whip him 2 matches in a row using nothing but turn punches, because he knew all the timing to get past an Oni with poor execution.


Ryu’s trait as a character is he doesn’t have a cheesy game plan. Instead he’s incredibly solid and well rounded, and you should play every match as it comes when you play Ryu.


But he definitely seems more of a defensive character, not someone you would rush in with and expect to live.


Search Youtube for “Air Guide to Ryu SF4”


You’d be surprised. Look up Alex Valle’s SF4 matches. Daigo oftentimes likes to rush down players that he thinks are playing scared.


Will be doing some research today. thanks everyone


Hadoken, hadoken, hadoken, Shakunets! Hadoken, SHORYUKEN, Cr. MK–Hadoken, hadoken, hadoken.


Watched the full hour and a half of Air’s ryu tut on cross counter, and i learned a few tricks and option selects.

Nonetheless theres definitely nothing you can really abuse with Ryu, you just have to play well with fundamentals. That’s what I feel anyway… zone with fireball, anti air everytime they jump, whiff punish, block and counter attack, know timings and spacing of your own moves as well as opponent, all very standard textbook stuff in fg’s.

amirite or am i a total idiot


Ryu plays a combination of three ways.

You have to play to the person
This is your ability to read the person, if they can’t block your jump ins, jump in on them. If they eat a lot of fire ball damage run away and end you combos in light tatsu to start the fire ball game again.

You have to play the match up
This is you training room time. Character specific combos are what people usually use training mode for, but you should really be learning your spacing and your opponent’s spacing. Also know their wake up games. Other things that involve the match up are your choice in OSs and frame traps. There are more things, but you should have an idea by now

You have to play the specific playstyles
Rushing down, running away, spacing (footies) and turtle-ing are all playstyles that change the way you act at certain ranges. Rushing down will change how you use your meter, meaning that instead of metered combos, you are using meter to fadc back when you block string yourself out. Using a dp during footsies will usually mean that you are going to use some meter for an ex fire ball since you want to discourage jumps, but a turtle might not decide to waste the meter and after a dp to try and build more meter to get super, making the option to turtle even stronger. A good example of the different ways taking different actions in the same situation is, if you have 50% meter and crossed somebody up. If you do a safe block string and are pushed out but playing aggressively, you would want to fadc the hadoken and get back in there for more pressure. If you were playing footsies, once you were pushed out, you would have saved the meter for a dp into ex fireball, or raw ex fire ball during neutral.

I’ll pm you an extra write up…


This. 100% of the time. Rinse and repeat = you win.


Ryu is special because he has the tools to do everything good, just not the best with anything. If you lack something in your Ryu game play chances are you lack that mindset to use his tools that way. If you can’t Rushdown with Ryu, then spend some time playing a rushdown character to add the rushdown mentality to your gameplay.


While most will say ryu is suposed to play defensively, I have learned the optimal way to play him in most matchups is a mid-range, burst damage character.

However, since he is so fundamentally based, you must also learn how to adapt to the player more than almost any other character.

What I would suggest is to stay just outside footsie ( range and try to throw fireballs to build meter and feel out/condition your opponent. If he gets focus happy, this is when you either go for:

1: EX Hadoken, it’s a fast way to deter your opponent from getting predictable with walking forward or fishing for focus. Learn the optimal ranges and situations to use this move, as it does cost meter and only does 100 damage.

2: xx hp srk. This does 260-300 damage, which is VERY good considering it started from a 5 frame low. This is the best focus deterent from just outside close range, because hp srk has invincibility frames, so you won’t get counterhit or trade with the focus attack. Be careful with this though, as if they backdash or you are out of range, it will whiff for a huge punish.

3: SPS (forward + hp), which is your max damage/range (for a normal) punish against focus. Learn to confirm off of a single hit of this into hp srk, as it will happen often when you start using it more. Also, learn the sps, link, as it is much easier and leads to more combos than cr.hp. Learn the timing for the sps, xx EX hadoken, U1 juggle, as it is a midscreen, 1 meter combo into ultra for solid damage
(Does not work on all characters). The downfall to this move is it is easily stuffed thanks to it’s slow startup.

Other than that, it’s mostly about staying in footsie range and bullying with xx hadoken, and anti airing properly.

Oh yeah, and learn to react with the proper anti air at least 80% of the time!
This is super important to playing Ryu as it will make them not want to jump, and the extra damage is extremely helpful.

Lastly, try to incorparate his overhead into your game as much as you can without getting predictable. The extra 80 damage and mindgame is useful against good opponents more than you would think.

I forgot to mention, corner control is super important, so try not to cross them up or let them out of the corner. Keep them there as long as possible or you will lose more matches then you think. Corner control is more important to Ryu then people give it credit for. So learn when to end combos with hk tatsu
when you think you need that corner control.

Lol, last thing for real, but read maj’s footsie guide if you haven’t already, and practice your spacing and whiff punishing more then anything else until you are 100% comfortable with the ranges for all of his tools. Seriously, whiff punishing is necessary in any fighting game, so the faster you learn to react to it the better you will be at any fighter.


A good mid screen ultra is a Cr. MK xx EX Fireball FADC Ultra 1. As long as the MK is used a bit closer than max range, it lands everytime. Just a bit of a pain to get consistent execution d:

But thanks very much for the tips, I’ve been incorporating SPS, Fierce DP into whiff punishes, and Cr. MK xx Fireball FADC Sweep/FADC cr. HP xx Fierce Tatsu are all very effective too.

I would go as far to say that Ryu’s main damage output all stems from that one cr. MK confirm.