My thoughts on matchups so far:
Baz: 7-3: Sensei can stay above lightning pretty well and can chase the Baz down when he’s trying to build meter. In punch stance he can meet the Baz horizontally in the air or force the Baz into the corner, or if he jumps and Baz charges lightning he can divepunch horizontally safely over the lightning unless he’s too far down in his jump arc. If he flies over on top of Baz with divepunch, he can land on Baz with stance switch divekick. Baz’s kickfactor is amazing in most matchups but for Sensei a simple superjump into divepunch basically negates it. If Baz starts his kickfactor with the same kick that kills you, unlike most characters at the start of the next round you can jump over or even kickback over his attempt to rush into you. And he cannot headshot except with his air special mighty swing, so he can’t take away your meter. As long as you stay away from grounded kick stance as much as possible because your legs are so high in the air, this doesn’t seem very hard.
Dive: 6-4: Dive controls the space in front of him pretty well with normal dive into kick and short hop into kick, but Sensei can out range both of them with divepunch and controls space better than Dive. Dive also doesn’t have very good backward movement and Sensei is great at chasing down. Terminal velocity keeps this matchup from being any worse.
Jefailey: 8-2: Pick yolo gem, he starts out with a giant head. If you can get a headshot, the next 4 headshots are guaranteed, and the chances of you getting a headshot are pretty solid. If you win the first round without a headshot, you should have meter for superjump at the start of the second round, so just do superjump into divepunch into stance switch divekick for a headshot in the second round. He can pick yolo gem himself or even just dive gem to jump up and meet you in the first round. But I still think Sensei should be able to win the first round whether with headshot or no, and if he does, I think the next 4 rounds are pretty simple.
Kenny: 6-4: Sensei crushes a couple of his stances. Seems like he’s mostly a threat when he has more horizontal movement stances so that he can throw a spirit bullet and chase you down, but Sensei is better than most at dealing with these. You can kickback out of the way of the bullet then superjump way up to the top of the screen where horizontal stances can’t really hit you, then run out of the corner with top of the screen divepunch. If he releases the bullet closer to you, you can react with superjump divekick because there’s some significant startup to the bullet. As for the individual stances, use the same ideas as with the characters themselves, except don’t worry much about Sensei stance and don’t worry about things like feint or marneto or fly when he’s in the air in those stances. Also rmember that he’s shorter on the ground than other characters, so some of your corner kill setups and post-headshot combos don’t work as well on him.
Kick: 5-5: Kick has better mobility than most characters, so Sensei’s unreactable range isn’t quite as significant. He can force rounds on Sensei with party starter, can capitalize on poor kicks by Sensei with new angle, and his kickfactor can be tough for Sensei to deal with. On the other hand, Sensei can control the air and can react to Kick’s movements with divepunch or divekick. If he backs Kick up to the corner, he can get into position to set up guaranteed kills because Kick’s jump is too short to get over. He can also stay away from Kick pretty well too and can almost always win timeouts with super jump divepunch into the middle of the stage.
Kung: 6-4: Keits says he thinks Kung wins this matchup, but I don’t really see it yet. Certainly when she has a rift and meter for teleport she’s hard for Sensei to attack, but I don’t think Sensei needs to attack. I think he can stay away, build meter, and time her out with superjump divepunch into the middle of the stage. If she tries to pressure Sensei, he can get away with super jump punchdive to move behind her or land on top of her with divekick. He can also outrange her since divepunch done low to the ground will hit people’s feet, whereas from that range her kick will whiff and can’t hit people’s feet. Her unreactable range is a range to avoid, but that’s fine, Sensei has a pretty high and far kickback and can attack well horizontally out of it with divepunch so you can stay away from her while still being a threat. If you’re in punch stance and want to move backward without doing a full kickback since raw divepunch is risky against her, make sure that you stance switch at the top of your jump into divekick. That way, you’ll have created some space and you’ll still be a horizontal threat after landing with divepunch loaded.
Markman: 5-5: Markman with kickbox constructed is a threat because he can kick upward as Sensei comes in from above. You have to take care about your attack angle and timing too for fear of feint. Markman moves backward pretty quickly so he can get out of Sensei’s pressure. At the same time, Sensei can escape Markman pretty easily, can stay on top of him where he can’t attack Sensei without the box constructed, and can strike from above. Sensei also can attack from outside Markman’s range. And unfortunately for Markman, he has to spend time trying to get the ability to kick upward. The items are cool and change the match, but at least so far I haven’t come across any Markman players who have actual setups in response to which ones come out. If they can make real setups with those items, that’d be a game changer I think.
Mr. N: 6-4: He can’t go in very hard, he just doesn’t have the angle for it and Sensei can react to him too well with 1/3-1/2 screen divepunch. He has a very high jump and the ability to float and even jump above that with marneto into rejump, but Sensei’s super jump gets him above everything to beat MrN in the air with either kick version from that same 1/3-1/2 screen range. If he goes into the air and does a kick before getting high up making you whiff over him, then oh well, his horizontal movement isn’t good enough to chase you down. At the same time though, I don’t think Sensei can go in very well against MrN either because MrN’s kick angle is pretty useful defensively and his run into kickback is a good way to beat a poorly placed divepunch. Also, this is one of the only matchups where Sensei can’t get back to midstage at the end of a round with super jump divepunch; if MrN is closer to the middle, he can wait until Sensei superjumps, float with marneto, and punish. Since MrN can shut down offense fairly well, he can concentrate on building meter, and his kickfactor is scary. You have to make sure that you maintain that 1/3-1/2 screen range so you can punish meterbuilding and offense and follow him if he runs away.
Redacted: 7-3: Redacted cannot attack Sensei because at a smart range Sensei gets to react to anything she does. At the same time, Sensei can attack Redacted because her horizontal mobility is so poor that high up divepunch stance switch divekick is really tough for her to escape. Redacted does have to attack, because Sensei can win all time outs with super jump divepunch even from 2/3 of the way towards the corner.
S-Kill: dunno yet, haven’t played even a decent one yet
Shoals: 5-5 Everyone keeps saying this is a bad matchup for Sensei, but I haven’t had enough experience against top level Shoals yet to see it. So far I’ve been able to play pretty well against her from 3/4 screen, 1/2 screen, and right up close. From 3/4 screen you can punish bad dives and kicks and don’t even really have to worry about whether she flies because of how high Sensei’s jump and super jump are and how horizontal his divepunch goes. If you’re 1/2 screen you can react to her moving forward by doing kickback then depending on the angle and range you can sometimes get a punchdive, or if she jumps up you can do a superjump up to meet her in the air with a divepunch or divekick, and if she did an early kick and you whiff over her then oh well, she won’t be able to punish. Then closer than that is where I think she has the advantage… until you get very close to her because it’s tougher for her to attack people who are close to her on the ground than it is for Sensei in kick stance. I think you have to make sure you don’t overcommit to offense. Her kickback is amazing and her ground special is like a higher version of her kickback that she can kick or fly out of, so if you let loose with a bad divepunch she can escape well and punish you. I do think that it’s important to build meter as soon as possible so you have superjump available for punishes and escapes as often as possible.
Stream: 7-3: I don’t really know how Stream deals with this matchup so far. Sensei can play from just outside max divepunch distance and just react to Stream. Make sure not to jump up until Stream does something in the air because his air kickback and double jump allow him to get away from or above you if you go in early. So if you just wait out an air action from him, as far as I can tell Stream just has to back up and look for a setup. Sensei has longer unreactable range, has the mobility to threaten from the air and escape Stream, can come down on Stream’s head even when Stream is horizontal with divepunch stance switch divekick, can trade with Stream’s feet with divepunch, etc. Just make sure you’re playing from outside of Stream’s unreactable range, so like 1/3 screen.
All this said… I feel like I’m wrong about all his matchups lol. People who have had much more experience with the game than I have don’t think he’s as good as I do. Maybe they’re right! I just need more experience to see.