Two weeks later: thanks to guns1inger’s advice I feel a lot more comfortable with Juri fights. Actually, learning the discipline to handle that matchup has carried over into my other matches as well. I can’t imagine myself being the only one who benefits from these types of breakdowns; couldn’t we manage something like this for the other characters as well using his post as a template?
I’ll start with one of the matchups I feel more confident in (and hope that you guys will chime in with your corrections).
Ryu’s successful neutral game against Heihachi is predicated upon his ability to keep Hei out using his fireballs, strong grounded normals, and formidable array of anti-airs. While Ryu is a well rounded character with the ability to switch from zoning to rushdown in about the time it takes to CADC a fireball, this approach brings him into the space where Hei has options, and consequently isn’t in his best interest.
Hei’s neutral game is all about establishing the range where he can begin to threaten Ryu - namely near the edge of f+mp’s range. This space keeps you outside the range of Ryu’s low forward (arguably his best grounded normal), gives you the option to punish the recovery of any ill-advised attacks with your f+mp or a jump in, and allows you to anti-air into a full combo with b+mp. At closer range, your cr. mk buffered into raijin stance is a better option than f+mp due to its faster startup. With bar, EX RU becomes a threatening option on reaction to just about any fireball or whiffed attack.
Your goal, as is the case against most anyone in this game, is to work Ryu into the corner by forcing him to respect your optimal range.
One thing to look out for as you back Ryu up is his air tatsu. While not nearly as dangerous as Ken’s, Ryu’s ability to alter his jump arc and cross you up can foil your attempts to limit his real estate. If you can get a good read on his jump and the spacing is right, you can AA with your choice of b+mp, f+lp>mp, or chrome dome, or dash under it and punish. And of course blocking is an option, but then you’ve got to skip ahead to the “He’s In There” section, and where’s the fun in that?
Note: If you’re at full screen, you can reflect Ryu’s slow fireball pretty reliably and use it as a shield (you’ll need pretty godlike reactions to reflect the fast ones), but I would recommend just neutral jumping them and dashing afterward to close the distance. There’s no point in risking eating fireballs since there’s nothing you plan to do at full screen anyway.
You’re In There:
So you’ve managed to back Ryu up, knock him down, or find some other way to get in his face with frame advantage… mix. him. up. Just remember (and how can you forget?) that Ryu has a 3 frame invincible reversal up his sleeve. Always.
I know a lot of you out there love Hei’s f+lp>mp. Understand that if you do this against a good Ryu, he will srk you between the hits for a full combo - not good times. In general, you’ll want to opt for safe strings into manual high/low mixups. f+lp>lp>qcf+lp is a nice block string that gives you options. (There’s lots in the general thread about how to follow up this string)
An alternative to the demon breath safe string is jab pressure into f+lk followed by more jab pressure with some hammer punches and throws tossed in there. Occasionally stagger your jabs to bait out attempts at reversals (Ryus love their dps) - and if you want to get really risky, try jabs into counter. It catches Ryu’s dp as well as any other counterpoke.
In general, do your normal Hei thing, but be mindful of Ryu’s invincible dp.
He’s In There:
Things don’t always go according to plan, and you’ll occasionally have to deal with Ryu’s pressure game. Don’t worry - Hei has some really solid tools available to deal with it. Most of Ryu’s pressure comes from three places:
Jab pressure CADC into throw/more jabs/overhead. When Ryu starts jabbing,expect he’s going to CADC. It puts him at -4, making it punishable with just frame timing (Hei’s jab is 4 fr. startup), but even if you can’t punish him, correctly anticipating it will put you back on the offensive.
Jab pressure into crossups - a lot of characters, Ryu included, will try to take advantage of Hei’s significant AA blindspots using repeated jumps/crossups. For me, the best answer to has been a jump back mp, mk, or hk. If you’re in the corner, you’ll have to just dash under or get creative. While this doesn’t yield the best results in terms of damage, the reset situation (and resulting strong position for Hei) is enough to dissuade your opponent from trying to abuse this.
cr. mk into some flavor of donkey kick. This looks scary, and it’s easy to feel like this is broken, especially considering that ex and hk are both + on block. Against Hei, if Ryu does this, his pressure ends. If Ryu goes with cr. mk into lk or mk donkey, it’s a true blockstring, but is negative on block, allowing you to start your offense. If Ryu tries to play for continued advantage and opts for the HK donkey, it is not a true blockstring. So here’s what you do… as soon as you see the animation for donkey kick, counter. If he opted for the true string, you’ll auto-block. If he goes with the hard donkey kick, you get the counter.
TL : DR
Ryu has a really strong neutral game. The onus is on Hei to work to establish his ideal (f+mp) range by neutral jumping fbs and maintaining AA range while advancing. Ryu should play to keep him out.
Hei’s goal is to corner his opponent (not Ryu specific, per se, but important)
On the offensive, standard tactics apply, but Hei has to respect the dp. Baiting the dp can be very effective, especially if it’s backdashed, preventing a tag cancel.
[*]Ryu’s rushdown game plays to Hei’s strengths; he has an answer for almost all of Ryu’s pressure tactics: specifically his 1fr counter and solid air-to-air response to shallow crossups.