Here’s my list of which ultras I use against which characters.
Abel: Ultra 1. He doesn’t really whiff much or have anything really unsafe on block that would warrant the use of Ultra 2. You can use Ultra 1 to grab him out of poorly timed rolls and use it as a last ditch attempt to stop his crazy offense.
Adon: Ultra 2. You can whiff punish obviously HK jaguar tooths by dashing behind them and activating ultra 2 during the recovery. You could probably use ultra 1 to punish poorly spaced jaguar kicks on block but good Adon’s wont’ really use it at that range. Nothing else about this matchup really sways me either way but I’d like to have ultra 2 to scare him from using HK tooths recklessly.
Akuma: Definitely U2. Scare him from throwing ground fireballs from near 3/4’s screen, even air fireballs are risky if he isn’t using them super safely. Bad demon flips can be punished by dash under to ultra 2. Plus comboing into ultra off SJC will actually net you some solid damage on Akuma because he only has 850 health any ways.
Balrog: Looking at U1 for this one right now. You can punish any TAP that you block at a close range with grab ultra 1. Ultra 1 will grab him for free out of any poorly used medium, hard or EX rush punches. If you see him flash yellow and he’s dashing forward at you that’s free grab U1 basically. It’ll also deter him from doing random overhead dash punch mix ups while pressuring you with strings as well.
Blanka: U2. Blanka ain’t gonna come near you unless he has to any ways. Plus once Blanka gets meter it’s hard to pressure him without worrying about EX up ball bullshit. If you have Ultra 2 though once u gain ultra 2 he can’t EX up ball you while you’re standing on the ground or he can be reversal Ultra 2’d. Regardless if you block it or it hits you. You can also punish on hit or block with HP neck breaker but Blanka being hard to vortex makes things difficult if you don’t have a health lead. At least with Ultra 2 you can be sure that you’ll have the ability to pressure Blanka at close range and if he goes for EX up ball you can punish him back hard.
**Cammy: Either or **(I would personally choose U2 but whatever). Blocked cannon spikes that aren’t FADC’d are free ultra 2 punish. You could also probably just dash up to her and mash ultra 1 if she stays close enough afterwards. Haven’t tested it. Nothing really about this matchup that warrants using either or. Good Cammy really isn’t going to whiff shit much any ways and good Cammy’s keep shit safe on block.
Chun Li. Definitely U2. This bitch is just going to be trying to poke the shit out of you from a distance all day any ways and she won’t be moving forward at you much. Plus she’s going to be trying to throw fireballs at you while walking or jumping forward with them so you are locked in place for pressure strings and mix ups. Though with ultra 2 you can definitely have another reason to stop that. Any obvious fireball that she throws will force her to lose 400-500 damage. That plus all of your other options to stop fireballs will at least kill that element and help you to move in. Most of her shit is safe on block but forcing her to lose 400+damage if she does an obvious fireball is huge.
Vega/Claw: Ultra 2. Matchup wise I don’t see any reason to use U1. Least not yet. I was messing around with Kara Ultra 1 vs. some of his pokes because the extra grab range could be a deterrent for his poking game. Though that’s mostly theory right now. At least with U2 you’ll get a free punish if you focus dash forward in the right direction vs. any of his non EX Izuna Drop claw attacks. Plus any whiffed or blocked EX scarlet terror is definitely free U2 punish.
Cody: Definitely U2 for right now. I like how U2 stops him from using his projectile game. Considering how little damage his rocks do and how crazy the damage is on raw U2 the risk reward is highly in your favor if u catch him throwing an obvious rock. Ultra 2 will also pass through people trying to chip you with criminal upper since criminal upper is technically a projectile.
C.Viper: U2 so far. Viper has a hard time zoning you out because her footsies aren’t that great and u can punish any poorly used NON ex seismo with Ultra 2 pretty easily. A good tactic is to hold focus and armor dash through once you see a seismo and then reaction ultra 2 the recovery. As long as C.Viper didn’t feint you can just mash ultra because the recovery frames on an uncancelled or whiffed seismo is horrendous. EX seismo’s recovery is a little better and not worth trying to ultra 2 through unless the Viper player is getting seriously predictable.
Dan: Don’t really matter.
DeeJay. Definitely Ultra 2. Another character that’s pretty much never gonna go near you unless he has to. Might as well deter his fireball game a bit with ultra 2’s pass through fireball ability. Any bad fireballs will definitely get U2’d.
Dhalsim: Ultra 2 for sure. Fireballs are his only chance to really zone you out and dashing forward at him can really scare him from throwing a fireball. You can dash forward from almost full screen away and if you see him throw a fireball Ultra 2 IS FREE punish. Once you have ultra 2 Dhalsim has to place his fireballs really strategically or they’ll get passed through for huge damage. Which means if you force the Dhalsim player to stop throwing fireballs that kills a lot of his zoning game and allows you to be more aggressive. It gives you a bunch of free damage without having to spend all day chasing him down to finally do it.
Dudley: I guess Ultra 1 for now**. Dudley has to get in close to do his damage and he has good health and stun so SJC into ultra isn’t going to really scare him a ton unless you have a full ultra bar and even then it probably won’t kill him unless he’s really low. Ultra 1 punishes EX machine gun blow on block which is useful and u can use U1 to deter his rushdown pressure a bit.
E.Honda. Either or. For right now I like using Ultra 2 because it stops Honda players from using any regular headbutt. Especially useful against the typical online Hondas who just run those. Ultra 1 can be useful as well because it stops him from rushing u down with buttslams. Any blocked buttslam at close range is free U1 punish. Depends on the play style of yourself and the Honda player as to which ultra I think u should choose. Overall I would just stick with Ultra 2 personally to stop Honda’s that are low on EX meter from using desperation headbutts.
**El Fuerte: Probably Ultra 2 for now. **Blocked splash (Tostada Press) is free ultra 2 punish. Blocked forward run slide special (Calamari Slide) is free U2 punish. Too good to have to not use vs. him.
Fei Long: Ultra 2. You can use your footsies like c.MK and df+MK to force chicken wing to whiff and if it does it’s free U2 punish afterwards. Most of his shit is safe on block otherwise and he’s going to be spacing and poking you a lot so I don’t really see U1 being a ton of use matchup wise.
Gen: Eh…probably either or. Most of his shit is safe on block or safe enough where u can’t really U2 punish. Blocked close Oga kick should be free U1 punish since it’s like virtually neg 8 on block so at least you have that. All the other Oga kicks are like neg 9 or more on block so U2 could punish those pretty well either way.
Gouken: Eh…probably ultra 2 for now. Ultra 1 could be interesting against him since his wake up game is really weak and if you force an attack or counter out of him on wake up that could be serious damage that’s worth trying. Unless he neutral jumps u probably won’t die for trying ultra 1. Ultra 2 does give you the ability to through his projectiles and from a very long range too since the very start up of his fireball extends his hit box hella far.
Guile: Ultra 2. Not much reason to use U1 vs. him IMO since he’s just going to be trying to keep you out any way. You could probably try using U1 mix up shenanigans since he’s kinda free on wake up and has trouble against cross games but I would prefer ultra 2 to kill any obvious fireballs. Even if his fireballs are really hard to whiff punish with an ultra. Plus if you have ultra 2 that means he can’t chip you with sonic hurricane since u can just activate your ultra 2 to bypass the his fireball based ultra.
Guy: Probably use Ultra 1 vs. Guy**. Don’t really see any reason to use U2 vs. him. Most of his shit is too safe on block to warrant using ultra 2 and Ultra 1 could be a useful deterrent against his rushdown. Guy just wants to get in your face and stuff u with shit so might as well have something to scare him into staying out and take advantage of him if you knock him down. U1 particularly could deter his run mix ups a bit.
Hakan: Probably Ultra 1 for now. Ultra 2 doesn’t really do anything for you in this matchup worth talking about and considering Ibuki’s Ultra 1 starts up in 2 frames that means it might be risky for Hakan to use command throw mix ups vs. you at close range since his command throw takes at least 3 frames to start up. Plus since he’s free on wake up it’d be good to keep him in the mix with.
Ibuki: Probably U1.
Juri: U2 for sure. Punish bad dive on block easily with U2. Punish obvious fireball attempts with U2. Punish any low blocked MK/HK/EX pinwheel kicks with U2 ect.
Ken: Eh both have their uses I guess. Ultra 1 can punish HK hurricane kick on hit or block. Also will punish shoryu FADC dash forward. Ultra 1 will generally deter his rushdown a bit. Ultra 2 stops his fireball game but Ken doesn’t really need to fireball in this match much and since Ibuki’s reversal game is kinda free he’s just going to be looking to land knockdowns and go wild on you any way.
Makoto: Ultra 1. Stops her from using Hayates on block at close range and oroshi (overhead chop) as well for big damage.
M.Bison/Dictator: Ultra 2. He’s another character that’s going to be poking the shit out of you for a while and when he does decide to rush you down his BnB’s keep him too far away from you on block to utilize U1 as a punish. Ultra 2 isn’t bad to stop poorly used stomps by walking or dashing under and then U2ing the other way. Neither ultra is really that important in this matchup I don’t think but I would run U2 just for the little things it can do in this match.
Rose: U2 is an obvious choice. Stops her fireball game from a very long range. Especially considering she can’t reflect your kunais (they’re not projectiles) that just helps to make her projectile game even less useful in this matchup.
Rufus: Eh…probably U2 for now**. If Rufus does EX messiah then backdash FADC’s afterwards it’s free U2 punish. Ultra 1 would be more useful against him IMO if his offense wasn’t based around constantly leaving and landing back on to the ground.
Ryu: Either or. Ultra 2 is obviously good for limiting his fireball use. Ultra 1 deters him from using random HK hurricane kicks (unsafe on block to reversal grab U1) or shoryu FADC dash forward (unsafe on block to reversal U1 grab).
Sagat: U2. Gives him just one more reason to stop shooting shots at you and the range you can do it from is pretty nasty. Nothing about this matchup really seems to warrant the use of U1.
Sakura: Learning towards U2. Just because it gives her one more thing to worry about when it comes to using fireballs. Most good Sakura players don’t fireball much any way so whatever. U1 doesn’t really seem to have any practicality in this matchup outside of running gimmicks on her wake up since all of her block strings space her away from U1 grab range after they finish.
Seth: U2 obviously**. Stops him from zoning with booms. If you’re fighting against Ultra 1 Seth it basically shuts the ultra down in some ways. If you are anywhere within half screen and he does the ultra you can use the invincibility frames of your ultra 2 to bypass through his ultra and hit him out of it for huge damage. The idea is to wait for the ultra flash to finish and then time your ultra so that you fly through the “projectile” portion of his ultra. The timing is kinda strict but it works. Ibuki’s ultra 2 also punishes Seth’s ultra 1 on block if u block it from near point blank range. You can always just jump over the ultra after you see the flash but if u don’t get a chance to immediately react with a jump you still have options.
T.Hawk: Either or. Ultra 2 can punished blocked condor dives without much thought. Though Ultra 1 could probably be useful since u should be able to dash up and ultra 1 him after a blocked condor dive any way. EX condor spire is negative 3 on block so if they force you to block it from too close of a range u should be able to ultra 1 EX condor spire on block. All regular condor spires are at least neg 7 on block so free U1 punish against those as well if they are too close to you after you block them. The more I think about it the more I’m probably leaning towards U1 in this match.
Zangief: Ultra 2 for sure. Stops him from using his lame ass EX green hand FADC bullshit that normally allows Gief to borderline have a safe DP with 3 meters. If you block a regular or EX green hand and he FADC’s afterwards (forwards or backwards) it’s free Ultra 2 punish. His dash is too slow to get away from the ultra 2 after blocking. Any regular green hand that u block or hits you is unsafe (at least neg 5) so those are easily punished with jab to neckbreaker combos.
**So overall with my personal matchup experience if I look at how the ultras are useful in specific matchups I definitely prefer U2 overall. **There are too many matchups where U2 has specific abilities for punishing things on block or going through projectiles that could be key factors. Plus the ability to SJC into ultra is nice as well. With my list you’re pretty much looking at more than 2 times the amount of matchups warranting the use of U2 overall for matchup purposes over U1. Of course U1 will definitely just fit the play style of certain players better but Ultra 2 tends to have specific perks in a lot of matchups for me.