N Ken Matchup Strategies


Hi All

As a relatively new pretty much unilateral N Ken player, I think it would be helpful to get a lot more insight from advanced players on specific matchup strategies for Ken. This may be a good informal way to build up data which can be vetted and amalgamated for the wiki later by approved people to add. The dojo videos are great but without text instruction they can be limited for newer players.

I also find that the matchup calculations can be misleading:, 5-5, 4.5-5 etc. as they only really apply to expert level. For example: Ken vs DJ is listed as 5-5, where as far as I’m concerned, an autopilot basic to average DJ player can stuff a Ken player of the same level. Same with Honda, even though it’s supposed to be a serious advantage matchup for Ken.

There seems to be no real strategy at all for fighting Ryu other than risks and a lot of hail-mary play.

Ken vs a competent Guile is a nightmare for anyone who can’t juice-kick for free. Getting in for Ken is like climbing the Berlin wall and getting out of the corner is, again, heavily juice-kick reliant, from my limited perspective.

Any input would be welcomed. I get the impression that a lot of expert players graduated from becoming very good with Ken and moved on to other mains, possibly because they found that he couldn’t win enough matches against the higher tier characters at advanced level.

He is one of the most enjoyable ST characters to learn because he has a lot of depth, options and flair but I think a lot more data from others on the matchup side for newer players to move beyond basic competence and luck.



Have you already looked through the dedicated Ken thread?


Hey! Forums on SRK are pretty dead for ST. Majority of discussion has moved to facebook groups and at strevival.com/forums

Matchup numbers are mostly subjective, and like you mentioned, not really standardized. Different players will rate matchups differently depending on whether they account only for high-level play, or an average of all different skill levels, or even factoring in outlier players who are exceptionally talented at even bad matchups. But generally, most players get matchup numbers well within the ballpark.

Although Ken is generally considered weaker than Ryu, there are extremely good Ken players who have done well in tournaments, especially in Japan. Aniken and Mattsun are both excellent examples of players who can take Ken to a higher level. It really just depends on your goals. If your sole goal is to win a lot of matches, then you might be better off just picking a top tier and running with it. But if your goal is to play your favorite character that you enjoy, then I say stick with it and learn the nuances of all matchups, even the bad ones.

Ken’s greatest strength is his combo potential and comeback potential. Although he has a lot of disadvantaged matchups, he can turn one good read into a series of very powerful mixups and good damage. But in order to do that, you need to be extremely good at learning to read your opponent and execute his combos and mixups to a consistent degree. Playing neat and clean isn’t really his style, but going in-line with his character design, I think he was purposely made this way in order to encourage flashy, nearly disrespectful, playing ability.

As far as advice, a lot of players are willing to help you out, but it helps to ask specific questions. It’s difficult to write out a short response to general questions like, “How do I get better?” and it’s easier and more effective to answer specific things like, “How do I zone out Honda?” or “How do I safe jump (insert character)?”


Sorry, didn’t see this, trouble, thanks for your reply. A lot of it you find out through repetitive play.


Pretty much, but it also helps that there’s YouTube videos, guides, SRK ST Wiki, FB groups, Discord chat, etc… to talk about this. The game’s been around a long time, so quite a lot of things have been discovered about it.

The wonderful thing is, this game isn’t really “tech” heavy. It mostly comes down to your fundamentals, reactions, defense, player reads, and timing.