Interested in more stuff like in the rest of this post? Well, I have a whole blog post on it now, with hitboxes and frame data, so check it out – or don’t, I don’t care:
Long ramblings from a 3S Ibuki main with way too many hours devoted to the character:
Ibuki is a character who has drastically shifted in game plan with each game she has been in. One of the many reasons I’ve never considered myself an Ibuki loyalist, because I frankly don’t like her much outside of in 3S. She’s objectively better in second impact, but less interesting, and, let’s be honest, she was just a better Ken in 2nd impact; all about hit-confirming into super, with the easy (and many) confirm options.
SFIV Ibuki was silly to me. It really pained me to see what they did to her. Yet, I also like seeing characters be altered, but they really sort of twisted her around in ways which felt off-putting to me. A lot of what was strong about her in the SF3 games weren’t really emphasized, and again, she was kind of a completely different character. I don’t know much of anyone who mains Ibuki in 3S and SFIV, because they’re completely different characters as far as gameplay goes. You’d have to have a real affinity for the thigh holes to really play a character with no similarities to your playstyle.
Considering the nature of SFV, with the severe lack of hard-knockdown, and the differentiating wake-up options of none, quick, and back-rise, I think it’s safe to say that Ibuki could well be (design wise), most similar to her 3S design. 3S Ibuki also lacked hard knockdown capability (despite Raida being one of the only special moves to have offer hard knockdown), and instead, more focused on a really solid footsie game and soft knockdowns, to allow you to continue pressure. If you were capable of hit-confirming properly, you would nearly always want to confirm into Kazekiri (her DP), which offered what was essentially 3S’s form of hard-knockdown, knock-up. The time it took for the opponent to hit the ground was essentially psuedo-knockdown and setup time. This allowed you to go for the classic Kunai-setups, which were no where near ambiguous blocks in 3S, but what they were was an oki – a forced block. Even if they parried the kunai (OS’ing it is easy), they still paused for 16 frames, generally plenty of time for you to hit the ground, this allowed you guaranteed pressure, which is really important for her.
Aside from that, her gimmicky setups were limited to her relaunch setups, which were varied and plentiful due to 3S’s juggle point system. Typically, there were only a handful you would ever use, but it was important to always have a few pocket setups for longer sets. Regardless, despite it seeming hard to deal with for new players, her relaunch setups are easily OS’d, and really, just easy to react-block to. Hardly something I’d considering OP even in a game without parries, as her launcher, if it only hit once, was unsafe, as it couldn’t be jump cancelled.
Dash mix-ups, slow, but good for screwing up wake-up inputs. Her dash was slow, easily thrown. Backdash, one of the longest and slowest, throw immune even in 3S, and punishable out the whazoo.
Character traits aside, the joy of 3S Ibuki comes at higher level play, where her gimmicks don’t work anymore, and she becomes one of the characters that requires exceptional fundamentals to do really well in the footsie game. Sadly, she is a bad character to start with (I can attest, as I learned, more or less all I know about fighting games from a 3S Ibuki perspective), as you don’t learn how to footsie until later in her life-span. You can win for years off of gimmicks, until you finally face good players, then she falls apart, and I enjoy that. The gimmicks still work, but they cease to be gimmicks, and instead solid options – mix-up options. Poetry in motion was something often used to describe an Ibuki on the offensive, and I want to see that come back.
Ibuki by her nature in 3S was primarily an aerial character. She exuded the most dominance in the air, possessing the BEST jump-in mix-up game out of anyone in 3S by a vast degree, as well as possessing two really powerful aerial options for altering landing timing and punishing premature or overzealous trip guard attempts (Kunai, which stopped her completely while being thrown, and her super, which auto-corrected when crossing up). In my opinion, SFV Ibuki, not only for being more in-line with her character, but also to broaden SFV’s roster playstyles, should focus on aerial dominance. She as well, should focus on stun. Ibuki momentum in 3S meant she could stun in just a few series of attacks if you made mistakes too quickly in a row. I paid more attention to the stun bar than the life bar in 3S, I would like that to be the case here as well.
Return her far jab to it’s former glory of being a pressure tool. It was highly plus in 3S, while also being one of the fastest possible normals in all of fighting games. (2/2/2) On counter-hit, it should allow for a link, as would be possible in 3S, if counter-hits existed, as it was one frame away from being able to link into MK (possible in stun combos), and could (on hugo only), be linked into her LK-MK target combo. It should allow her to walk in after the jab, where she could then jab again – this could be offset by making it crouchable. (Ibuki’s hardest match-ups in 3S were often due to her far jab being able to whiff if they crouched.)
Return her b.MP-HP target combo. Due to the SFV having SF3’s priority system, this target combo is not only a great reset option after her launcher, but also an amazing tool against certain characters, as the compact hitbox of b.MP beats out a lot of moves if properly spaced. I only want this for myself really, as I never see any Ibuki in 3S save for me use this target combo as much in the way that I use it. Drastically underused gem. (Especially against Dudley.)
Return her launcher to it’s former glory, with actual launch height and numerous options after it. Do not limit her to certain normals after a launch.
f.HK should remain to be her strongest far-reaching poking tool, while doubling as her crush counter. Like 3S, I’d love it if it whiffed most of the time on crouchers, except if they were pressing a button, thus expanding their hurtbox.
cr.HP should be her other crush counter, doubling as her anti-air crush, and if hit against a grounded opponent, launch them. Seeing as it is always super jump cancelable on hit or block, this is a really great option for her, if you can successfully fish for it at it’s very awkward range in melee.
f.MK should preferably still be very linkeable afterwards, while also moving her forward a bit farther than her SFIV version, being more in line with her 3S version, which was often used to beat out lows in neutral and slowly move yourself forward. Less for damage or linking, more for advantage to move in to your ideal range.
Make far HP cancelable on the second hit, so it’s not a trainwreck of a normal.
Keep her target combos as a series which can be started from any hit within it. (LP-MP-cr.HK-HK for instance can be started from any point.)
Seeing as anti-airing in SFV is a no-brainer, if they do not give her a V-skill like the one I mention below, all of her pursuing attacks like her cr.HK-HK target combo super jump cancel, will cease to be useful, as you could just anti-air her every time. This would have to be changed to either being a juggle state, or an almost definitive safe jump sort of timing.
Give her a super jump still.
Fast walkspeed is a must.
Good jump arcs!
Kunai should have decent enough hitstun, as to be linkable if you land soon enough, or meaty them on someone’s wake-up or quick-rise.
EX Kunai should go back to being a valid cross-up tool, and being a great way to start pressure from a neutral or forward jump. It was THE most important move for her in 3S. Yet not at all in prior SF3 games.
Still waiting on a useful command jump… Make it shorter or cancelable into normals, or something.
Tsumuji, while her main and safe confirm option, is also a tool for Ibuki that is really designed around the parry system. It’s multiple versions hold little value in games without it. I would like to see them add some sort of value to the different versions in SFV. Perhaps adding in overhead variants in heavier versions, to give using it more purpose.
Raida, like Tsumuji but even more so, is a special designed around parries. Seeing as a blockable throw is irrelevant in SFV (Save for Ryu), Raida ceases to hold much value. While I said above that Tsumuji was Ibuki’s safest confirm option, Raida was often times the safer option despite being more unsafe and punishable on block. This was a result of it’s subtle and quick animation, coupled with it being unable to be red parried (something Tsumuji is easily destroyed by, thus why the other versions of it existed). Seeing as that is no longer required, raida needs to function in some new manner to be of any relevance. I suppose, it if still offers a hard knockdown, it is a valid option if you have your opponent cornered.
Kasumi Gake should absolutely remain. Continuing to be a valid command dash option to continue pressure, that relies more on the illusion of safety rather than actual frame advantage when canceling into it. Despite that though, I would like to see bulkier normals like her far HP allowing her to be only -1 or 0 if being canceled into on block.
Kubiori should NOT be a hard knockdown, or, like in 3S, should be much harder to combo into, as to allow it’s reward to be more potent.
Possible Supers / V-skills / V-Triggers:
Kasumi Suzaku: Very likely candidate for her super option. YET at the same time, it lacks a lot of it’s purpose without being accessible more often. SFIV’s version was far too dependent on damage, as opposed to the utility of having this aerial option. I think this should NOT be her super.
Yoroi Doushi: While I think a command grab that does 50% is a bit too potent for a fast character like Ibuki, I think the meter management of the character could be interesting enough where holding onto the full super stock is hard. Thus, like in 3S, this super is less about using the super, and more about the fear it induces, which inherently forces your opponent to make decisions they wouldn’t normally make. I think it’s an okay option, but not the best.
Yami Shigure: This is an okay option for her super. This super was underrated in 3S, due to it being one bar. The super itself, is actually really good. It’s a full screen whiff punish tool. This is a good option for her super, and perhaps the most likely to fit into her game. Despite not being an aerial super, it is a high stun super (sort of), that’s generally safe, and can be used to punish baited attempts by opponents from a distance. I could also see this being her V-trigger, but I wouldn’t hope for it.
Hashin-Sho: This super was OP in 2nd Impact because it had multiple bars and was fast, high damage, stun, and a launcher – it was literally everything you could want. Being one bar, I could see it being an okay option, but perhaps still a bit too strong.
Kasumi Suzaku V-trigger variant: Either Ibuki is a 1 bar V-trigger character, this V-trigger can use only one bar, her V-bar is just a bar with no divider, or perhaps activates in a similar fashion as Zangief’s. Regardless, this allows her to stop mid-air and use Kasumi Suzaku, auto-correcting, and throwing Kunai in conjunction with how long you hold it down (How many bars.) Like 3S, I’d like this to be unsafe on block/hit if done poorly. I’m up in the air on if this should stop her dead in her tracks, or make her continually drift with whatever momentum she had during the jump. In 3S, she would rise slowly with each volley, which is something which separated a lot of bad Ibuki’s from good ones – very easy to make it unsafe by being too overzealous.
V-skill: Leap Frog* (Yeah, that’s right, I’ve wanted this since 2006): While airborne, Ibuki can press her V-skill to attempt to kick/bounce off opponents, fireballs, and even stop normals by catching the attack and jumping off of it. When connected, Ibuki continues her jump with whatever jump arc she had before. If she connects with nothing, Ibuki loses her footing upon hitting the ground. (I’d say maybe 6-8 frames of recovery sound reasonable. Enough to punish if you’re quick enough.) All attacks she connects with continue, allowing her, against lengthier anti-airs, to land perhaps and punish. (Perhaps what direction you do when inputting V-skill changes the height of the jump or whatever.)
Personally, I think it fits well with her character, her airborne gameplan, and I think it sounds fun. I think the concept of it could create not only interesting strategies and unique attack strategies for Ibuki, but also counter strategies and baits by the opponent. It’s one of those V-skills that just seems fun to me.
That’s all for now, that’s certainly enough of my ramblings for the time being. I’m sure I’ll have more to say later.