The Ideal Ibuki

I made this post for those who care for a long read about my thoughts on Ibuki and what they should do to improve her. It is very very long. It will be broken up into two sections.

The first section are my comments on Ibuki as a character and why she deserves to be changed. The second section explains the changes that I feel should be made which is also broken into 3 sections.

Please excuse my composition mistakes.

The Ideal Ibuki

This current Ibuki (2013) is far from how the character was designed to be and I feel like the development team behind Ibuki hasn’t put enough thought into her. There is a lot of evidence to suggest this such as:

  1. Many of her moves are useless or are significantly flawed. Many characters usually do have moves such as these but are balanced by other properties. Ibuki completely isn’t because she has way too many moves that she needs to function properly that don’t. Furthermore she doesn’t have an alternative because all the alternatives are useless or flawed. Just to mention a few examples:

a. Tsujigoe is very slow to startup, has many frames of landing lag and doesn’t have any real options besides Kunai which is unsafe on block and non comboable on hit. There is rarely a reason to ever use this move besides wanting to be punished. They could have easily made this move viable by having no lag frames upon landing if you did not throw a Kunai and by making Kunai combo upon hit.

b. All the versions of Raida are so similar to each other that there is hardly a reason to use any but 1 version. Furthermore EX Raida is beyond useless, essentially being an 8 frame low attack that does 140 damage with 1 bar, and being almost -30 on block. Why raida is massively negative on block for the properties of the move makes no sense. Even lp shoryuken (From Ryu or Ken) is less negative on block than lp raida (which is the least negative on block out of all the Raida).

c. EX neckbreaker has no use besides being faster than Neckbreaker and doing slightly more damage. With Sazan and EX Neckbreaker not being able to go through most projectiles, and her having no alternate ways around them, she has severe problems against projectile characters.

d. Hammer Kick being one of the slowest and most obvious overheads in the game is also very punishable on block. The fact that they made Xiaoyu’s overhead so good, which looks very similar to Hammer Kick, but then they made Hammer Kick this terrible still amazes me. For those who don’t know, Xiaoyu’s overhead has a faster startup, is +3 on block and ground bounces for significantly way more damaging combos while requiring low execution (At least 500 damage for 1 bar). Hammer Kick being airborne on frame 3 doesn’t make this move that great that it deserves to be this much worse. After the patch Xiaoyu’s overhead is still good although it is -2 on block which is fair, while Hammer Kick is still just as bad as it was previously.

e. lk Hien being an even slower and more punishable overhead than hammer kick also does not even connect on characters who are crouching directly in front of you.

f. TC5 doing only 114 and having no options other than that makes it not worth using ever.

g. Tsumuji being very weak, while making you punishable and right next to your opponent on block makes this move practically useless and unfitting. This particularly makes no sense because there are characters like Hwoarang who is not only way better than Ibuki in pretty much every possible way but has a similar technique that is +1 on block (Dynamite Heel which does more damage and can be tag canceled for 400+ damage with one meter)! Even Lili and Asuka who both have reversals and are undeniably much better characters have a similar move to tsumuji that is less than -3 on block.

h. None of her moves causes wall bounce when many look like they could or should.

I. EX kazegiri followup doesn’t work on characters unless you hit them from max close range while they are standing with TC4. If they are crouching you are forced to do a heavily scaled high execution combo to still do less damage. You can’t even hit them with TC4 and go straight into EX kazegiri if they are crouching even though TC4 forces standing. EX kazegiri is practically unusable in its current form due to its ridiculous requirements and the heavy execution combos that follow.

J. NJ HP which looks almost exactly like Xiaoyu’s nj HP does not have a crossup hitbox when Xiaoyu’s does (2013). Every character that I am aware of that has a similar move (Asuka, Xiaoyu) has been given a crossup hitbox.

k. The second attack of Yoroitoshi is beyond useless. Its startup is extremely slow and is -40 on hit and -77 on block. Furthermore Ibuki cannot tag out safely after this move hits which is something she really needs.

  1. She has many weaknesses, and such few strengths. Her lack of projectile invincible moves or ways to deal with projectiles is both completely unfair and unjustified. It’s as if the developers completely forgot to address this problem.

My Intention

So realizing this, I thought I should write this explaining what changes should be made to Ibuki to make her a fun, playable and competitive character that better fits her image, while not being a “cheap” character.

First I would like to talk about the type of character Ibuki has been designed to be. In Third Strike she was a fast and mobile character, with great normals. In SSF4 she became slower yet she had tricky mixups and high damaging combos, while requiring very high execution.

In SFXT she lost her strong mixups, and her speed and damage output are now average. She still has high execution combos but they are not worth using at the moment. She currently has the worst defense options in a game where two hits will kill her. Now, where rolls are no longer a free escape option does this problem become significantly devastating. Her cross cancel (or Alpha counter) sometimes does not hit properly not allowing her to tag safely, and she has problems tagging out safely in general. Unlike Ibuki in previous games she no longer has ways to deal with projectiles. For all this she has nothing to make up for it, and that’s where the problem lies.

Ibuki should be a difficult character to use due to having heavy execution and having to be very strong with the basics to use her well. When mastered, this character should really shine as a very strong character offensively. Her footsies and normals should be well above average as is her speed to get in and out quickly. Opening up opponents who are turtling with her mixups shouldn’t be weak either, but her mixups aren’t her forte unlike characters such as Akuma and Lili.

Without having her kunai vortex she shouldn’t have to rely on mixups to win. Playing solid basics should be what she does best. Her trade off for having such an excellent offense is her high execution as well as having extremely poor defensive options as she has no move with invincibility. She has no reversal, like a DP, or evasive move with invincibility like Vega’s backflip or Dhalsim’s teleport. However just like Vega makes up for his lack of reversal options with superior walk speed and unique punishing abilities, do I feel that Ibuki should as well. By having poor defense options she should have strong punishing options to keep her from being pinned down when the opponent does something unsafe, and she should have superior walking speed to compliment both her offense and defense.

I have been suggesting in the past to do as few changes as possible to keep her current metagame but to make her competitive. However I believe it would be best to give her a more thorough change so that more of her move set becomes useful by giving her both buffs and nerfs. Ibuki should not be a 1 dimensional character that can abuse moves like st jab, or Tsumuji while staying in the opponent’s face, nor should she have such strong low options such as cr mk x TC 8 combos making all of her other combos obsolete.

So I propose this list of changes so that the proposed buffs will make her more like she was designed. A fast character who is strong offensively but weak defensively, who requires a lot of time and skill to use properly.

<b> (Edit: I changed the format of this post to account for the 2013 changes. I also cut down the list of changes significantly.) </b> <div><br></div><div>

<b> Changes necessary for balancing the current Ibuki’s abusable strengths: </b> <div><br></div><div>
<b> 1. TC 8 and Cr MK: </b> <div><br></div><div>
1. Ibuki can no longer combo into TC 8 from a chained st hp OR chained cl hp. <div><br></div><div>
2. Cr MK should have 6 frame startup <div><br></div><div>
3. Cr MK should only have 13 recovery frames (This would make it +3 on hit and -1 on block). <div><br></div><div>

TC 8 being able to be done from chains was a strong offense option in particular that made her seem viable. Even though this combo failed due to factors outside the player control such as the enemies position slightly changing, it makes no sense to be able to have such an offensive option and be safe on block from that range with a low attack that has a 7 frame startup, while requiring low execution. Because of this ability it made way too many of her other moves (and combos) not worth using ever such as neckbreaker. This ability also made TC 6 a lot less useful. Deleting this option and making her other moves work like they are supposed to will balance her significantly.

With TC 8 not being a possible option from Cr MK, means that Cr MK has become a very weak normal. However Cr MK was one of Ibuki’s best pokes in SF4 and it really fit her style. It was fast coming out and had very little lag. Furthermore it was neutral on block and + on hit but comboing into it was very situational. I find this type of cr mk much more suitable for Ibuki. She also has a very short range cr lk making this her main tool to hit low when she is outside that range. With the TC8 nerf this move deserves to be better. <div><br></div><div>

<b> Changes that are necessary for balancing her unfair weaknesses: </b> <div><br></div><div>

<b>1. LK Hien </b> <div><br></div><div>
1. Lk Hien should have its hitbox increased so that it will hit crouching opponents who are directly in front of you. Since it is an overhead, there is no reason why it should completely whiff against a nonmoving crouching opponent directly in front of you. <div><br></div><div>

<b> 2. Walk speed </b> <div><br></div><div>
1. Walk speed is buffed to 88% forward and 80% backward (It is currently 73/63). <div><br></div><div>

For a character who is focused on footsies, has no reversals, average dash speeds, slow floaty jumps, and low health, walk speed is everything. It is one of your means of defense. If Raven can have 80/80 walk speed who has better zoning/combo potential/ reversals/ a better jump/ faster forward dash/ more health, then Ibuki should have great walk speed as well! <div><br></div><div>

Ibuki having average walk speed makes absolutely no sense. Not only does she need it offensively, but she needs this defensively for not having a reversal. You need to be able to position yourself better if you don’t have reversals and being able to walk away from pressure better. <div><br></div><div>

Offensively she needs this to be able to get in faster and apply stronger pressure since many of her pressure tools will be made fair and push her away. Her overheads are very slow so she has to rely on her ground game to get in and apply pressure.<div><br></div><div>

<b>3. EX neckbreaker </b> <div><br></div><div>
1. EX Neckbreaker is fully projectile invincible on frame 1 till its active frames finish. <div><br></div><div>

Ibuki is the only character in the game without a way to get past projectiles. It is a completely one sided match to fight characters like Guile because she has no way to get past most of the characters’ projectiles. This is a huge oversight. <div><br></div><div>

To account for this massive problem, she should at least be able to use meter to at least get a punish. EX neckbreaker is never used ever because for 1 bar it is just not worth the damage to do in combos, and it otherwise has no property that makes it usable in other circumstances. By making EX neckbreaker completely projectile invincible it will succeed much more as a tool to punish projectile users. <div><br></div><div>

<b> 4. Fix Yoroitoshi </b> <div><br></div><div>
1. Yoroitoshi is now -13 on block. <div><br></div><div>
2. The second part of Yoroitoshi activates sooner making it a true block string. <div><br></div><div>

Currently Yoroitoshi is one of the easiest punished moves in the game which makes no sense due to its usage. It does a little bit of damage by itself when used for punishes or reversals, and should still be easily punishable but not by 70+ frames. <div><br></div><div>

<b> Final changes that allow the character to properly fit her image as Capcom designed her to be as well as allowing her to be a strong, competitive, but balanced character: </b> <div><br></div><div>

<b> 1. Fix Hammer kick </b> <div><br></div><div>
1. Hammer Kick should be -2 on block (Just like Xiaoyu’s) <div><br></div><div>
2. Hammer Kick should have a lot more pushback on block. <div><br></div><div>

These changes are very reasonable since her hammer kick is among the slowest unique overheads in the game and is too unsafe on block. It is very similar to Xiaoyu’s overhead although Xiaoyu’s starts up 1 frame faster, is -2 on block, punishes backdashes, and groundbounces for easy high damage combos. The least they could do with Ibuki’s hammer kick is make it safe on block. <div><br></div><div>

<b> 2. Tsumuji </b> <div><br></div><div>

  1. LK and MK Tsumuji will have massive pushback on block (Just like MK Tsumuji in SSF4) <div><br></div><div>
  2. All Tsumuji high hits now do 40 damage each. <div><br></div><div>

The Tsumuji nerf in 2013 made Tsumuji unfairly unsafe which significantly weakened Ibuki’s pressure game. By increasing the pushback of LK and MK Tsumuji on block, Tsumuji would still no longer be abusable like it currently is, but it won’t be unsafe like it is currently. This change helps maintain her image as a character that gets in and out quickly. Considering Ibuki’s weaker combo potential and damage output, she should receive a slight damage buff on all Tsumuji high hits to help balance this out.<div><br></div><div>

<b> 3. St LP: </b> <div><br></div><div>
1. St LP nerfs should be reverted. <div><br></div><div>

St LP pressure is gone with St LP being -1 on block and having short range. Lowering its frame advantage on block to -1 and reducing its range was severely damaging to her playstyle, and the nerf itself makes no sense. This nerf was completely unjustified. <div><br></div><div>

<b> 4. Kunai </b> <div><br></div><div>

  1. All Kunai (including EX) float higher and more upward for 20 more frames on hit. <div><br></div><div>

Kunai used offensively is currently very risky and on hit the reward is completely underwhelming. You get a 30 damage knockdown that can be quick recovered. With this change she would receive a decent reward for using Kunai offensively. <div><br></div><div>

<div><br></div><div> <div><br></div><div>

I feel that these changes will make Ibuki how she should be. Without going overboard and making all of her moves better or just outright deleting her weaknesses, I tried to make her main moves at least as competent as other characters’ moves. Furthermore with her huge weaknesses still in place she will still be a difficult character to use but a lot more viable due to her strengths actually being significant. <div><br></div><div>

I hope you all enjoyed this post. Please leave me some feedback whether positive or negative.

I loved watching Sako’s Ibuki in SF4. She seemed like a high execution character who was worth the rewards. Obviously she had her vortex as well, but at a high level, it wasn’t THAT effective. But let’s get back to her X Tekken incarnation. I feel like her nerfs were COMPLETELY unjustified. Especially when you compare her to the Tekken cast (as you have previously mentioned). It’s like Capcom deliberately want her to be low tier. I feel like for what she has, it could be better. As far as I know, I find it ridiculous that she can only combo into HK Spin Kicks off her target combo, which then requires a one frame link to do more damage after that. Especially when many characters have better footsies and damage output for less execution, (my main, Ryu. Being a prime example). I can only reason that too many scrubs moaned about her being OP, when that was never the case. If anything, she needs more help, more like Paul.

While I understand (somewhat) of what you’re saying here Alex, I can also see that you’ve done your homework on this character. That isn’t a surprise to me though lol. Anyway, I always joke with you saying Ibuki is broken and whatever but after talking to you and reading these posts, it seems that a lot of her nerfs were unjustified. I really wish Capcom would hire you instead of people like Combofiend (no disrespect to him).

At the end of the day though, It seems like sf x t 2013 is going to be all about the Tekken characaters UNLESS they have some hidden buffs/nerfs like I told you about when you were over here. We’ll just see what happens when that patch comes out… I’m not too excited for it anymore though after some of the changes I’ve read about.