RFK vs Kikosho
So one thing I’ve been battling with is why should I ever RFK into ultra 2 instead of just ultra 2. After all, RFK to U2 does less damage then just straight ultra 2, ultra 2 covers a much wider range with its attack, is active longer, and has more invulnerability. For a while the only reasoning I could come up with was if you combo RFK to ex legs to ultra, you get more damage then just straight ultra, not a ton more, but in the right situations it could certainly be worth it. However, upon comparing RFK to U2 more closely as anti-airs I’ve found something that most of the vets probably knew but I did not.
Kikosho causes chun-li to step forward. That might not sound like a big deal, but it actually is. If you just compared the hit box and hurt box of RFK and U2, U2 looks vastly superior, but what you don’t see from screen shots is the characters current location relative to where they were when they started the move. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’ve lost way to many matches where my opponent jumped at me, I was certain they were going to hit me in the face, I ultra 2’d, and some how they went right over me, then did a max damage combo on me during the U2 recovery. For the longest time I thought I was just bad at judging distance or something, but as it turns out, if your opponent is jump kicking such that their foot should hit your face, if you U2, you’ll step under the kick prior to doing the giant kikoken. To get kikosho to anti-air they either need to be coming down at your chest or lower, or coming down in front of you (such as via a neutral jump). As a side note, I learned that the distance from which I can punish an empty neutral jump with ultra 2 is actually much better then I realized.
But what this means for RFK is that, if your opponent is coming toward your head, RFK to U2 IS better then straight ultra 2 in most situations, since it does not move you forward, and its directly in front of your head where the hit box is. Same thing with on the end or cross up distances, depending on the hurt box of the attack RFK might get stuffed or wiff, but neither of those is going to be as bad as the punish your probably going to face from a wiffed U2.
RFK vs E. Ryu
So Ryu with a dive kick, its a thing, and I’m not a fan. Especially since the dive kick almost seems to have been custom made to stuff ex birds. But fear not, RFK is actually okay against it. Just like other dive kicks, I recommend aiming for later then sooner, both to make sure that the timing doesn’t throw you off, and that maybe if he doesn’t go for the kick but a cross up normal, it misses your back shoulder do to the upper body invulnerability. Now the angle of the dive kick is another one of those that means he can get over your hit box and stuff you entirely, but its a very precise spot where this is possible, a little further forward or backward and he either wiffs, or you can stuff him, so unless he’s doing it after a knock down, simply taking a step forward or backward can be enough to allow RFK to work.
As for his jumping normals, I didn’t find any were particularly bothersome for RFK, I was stuffing them all with ease, including with the slightly delayed timing. Pretty much all of his jumping normals have extremely wide, flat, hurt boxes, usually lower then the actual hit boxes, making them pretty much ideal for RFK to stuff, even on deep jump ins.
The biggest issue RFK has in this match up, however, is actually not stuffing the move, but what to do after one. Most of the time off a trade you can ultra 2… but who uses ultra 2 vs evil ryu? And if you can ultra 1 off a trade, I haven’t pulled it off myself and not for lack of effort you can be certain. Depending on how deep the trade was you might be able to get a little ex legs damage off a trade, but more then likely only just enough to come out slightly better then even on the damage trade overall, which is not good when you have to use a meter to trade evenly with a free command normal. On pure stuff you can easily combo to ex legs with out issue, so there’s always that, but I still haven’t managed to ultra 1 after a legs despite effort there as well, obviously if you can this becomes a heck of a lot better, but so far it seems impossible based on my skill and tests. You can some times land some stomps, very rarely all three, usually 1 or 2, and at some distances it seems like 0. Unlike poison, where you almost have to not be trying not to land stomps, e-ryu’s fall speed and arc mean you basically want to keep walking forward until just the moment before he’d hit the ground and then instant heal stomp, any sooner and you’ll almost always wiff the stomps from my testing.
This basically means your often not getting more then 100/110 damage off a stuff, which isn’t awful, but its questionable if the risk outweighs the reward here, especially considering how difficult the stomp timing is so you might even get only 40/50. Having said all that, 160 damage off a RFK dash to ex legs isn’t that bad for a meter (ex kikoken only gives 100 if lands, after all), and since his dive kick does stuff ex bird as well as it does, you could use this as an ex bird anti-air replacement. While corner carry is rarely a huge point of emphasis for me vs Evil Ryu, it does count for something as well that it does carry him a little bit.
Final Verdict: The only real negative I have for RFK in this match up is the lack of potential to turn it into big damage. Simply put, your probably not going to scare your opponent out of dive kicking or jumping at you with RFK in this match up… but that doens’t mean its still not useful. Even if you only get 1 stomp, its still more damage then st.mk, and it doesn’t raise the height of your hurt box like st.mk does either. I don’t see it as an essential tool in the match up or anything, but not necessarily a bad thing to have in your back pocket in case your e ryu opponent trys to dive kick your ex birds.