The "Level Up My Ken" Thread

I’ve seen a couple people post videos over on the video thread, but felt like it would be better if we had a thread dedicated purely to helping each other get better with Ken. Feel free to drop your matches in this thread and anybody who is willing can offer critique on your play.

I’ll go first then…

You jump a lot. Jumping in general is bad in street fighter. If you had walked more you would’ve been presented with more opportunities to bully with normals and whiff punish. Because you’re not comfortable with your ground game you get blown up trying to work your way in, and jumping a lot, and walking forward very little is just surrendering the pace of the match to the other person completely.

Also, I don’t see you throw a lot of fireballs, which is fine, but when you do throw them they’re usually in true neutral. This is iffy, cause you usually don’t get punished for them, but on the flip side they probably won’t hit, because the opponent has more than enough time to react at that distance. Characters with fireballs usually have worse normals than characters without fireballs, because fireballs, when used right, act like unbeatable super normals. So the correct way to use fireballs in SFV is either from a distancing where the opponent can’t jump over them or beat them with any tool they have, or when the opponent is expecting a normal. The first situation really doesn’t occur too often, as a lot of character have ways to deal with that spacing, but the second one is applicable all the freaking time. So play the walk back and forward normals game, and then put out the fireball at spacings and timings you feel they don’t expect it.

The Necalli MU is a good example of good fireball usage being important. Using them at the middle distance is a big no-no, because Necalli’s can beat fireball on prediction (with v-skill), and usually trade with them on reaction (again, with v-skill) and both of these are really good outcomes for them, the latter maybe even more so than the former. You gotta think about it in terms of resources. Necalli gets v-gauge for hitting you with v-skill, and then gets more for getting hit by fireball. Fireballs damage in and of itself is small enough that the health loss is no great loss to Necalli, while the V-gauge is invaluable. A less traditional “resource” is stage positioning. If Necalli’s v-skill trades with that fireball he can walk forward a bit, or dash forward once, as you recover. You’re pushed towards the corner by being hit and whatever comfortable distance there was between you and Necalli is now dictated by how the Necalli wanted to be spaced. Point is, this isn’t a fight where that fireball uppercut game is going to go over well.

Instead, you want to be chucking those fireballs after a shimmy or in a range where Necalli is motivated to bully with a strong normal/ in range where you’ve been doing things that aren’t throw fireball. Say Necalli is positioning himself really well and aggressively spacing with his gahlike That shit will keep you at a range you don’t like all day, and walking back to outspace it can be difficult if the Necalli is smart. Strong alternative is to take that step back outside of its range and then chuck plasma. Fireball will beat his normals in all situations, and will only lose to jump/ v-skill, both of which are hard reads at that range and not good ideas unless he’s expecting fireball specifically. In a more offensive fashion, fireball can be used to bully at the closer range. If you do > step forward > to push the opponent back, it’ll make them start wanting to out position, or push buttons to get you away from them in the time you’re taking that step forward. if you instead > walk forward a tiny step and walk back > fireball, you’ll eat any normal the try to use to push you out. In general you gotta understand that situations where you’re in range of you’ve got better options out of walking that can be more rewarding, but at the in between distances where you’re just out of range of those, and think your opponent isn’t thinking about fireball, use fireball.

Sorry that’s kind of lengthy, but I feel like “use fireballs the right way” wouldn’t have been helpful/ been met with flack.

Also, as a much smaller aside, is only good when it’s eating normals they put out to retaliate. A lot of the time you’re doing it automatically, which is bad cause it just puts the opponent at slight advantage. If you want to use in neutral well, you gotta use it in relation to movement more. I started figuring that out when I was playing against a Chun would would poke at me with after they would block my I would put my at max range, walk back a tiny step after they blocked it, and then would eat Chun’s These situations are where it shines more than just in neutral.

And last really small thing, don’t cross people up when they’re in the corner. The pressure you get is much more valuable than the damage you could get, unless you can take the round, and even then, if it’s not ambiguous it’s easy for the opponent to deal with, and if they block it it puts you in a super bad situation immediately.

awesome stuff man. That really puts some things in perspective. Lately I’ve been playing a lot more lounges instead of ranked because I’m losing/winning up and down and feel like once you start doing that, you are at the appropriate level and need to improve to beat players. So I’ve been looking for ways for my Ken to improve and I’ve come up with getting the timing down for HK CC OS run (which is probably why I’m doing it so much lol, practicing during a match no good) and doing better mixup more consistently with empty lows, dash under after a AA and go for throw or neutral jump instead of always going low which everyone seems to be expecting. Both helpful enough I guess, but this training with neutral I feel will really elevate me if I can get better with my FB pressure. I was trying to punish that st.rh of Necalli with Tatsu but could never block it close enough, using FB as an extension of my normals is a great idea. And just not jumping in general will force my neutral to improve. I also feel like I have to throw out good buttons for the sake of being creative, but mp and are really strong. So hopefully with those and actually using V-reversal I can stand my ground instead of jumping.

Tks for the reply, I’ll post up more videos for critique but I have a solid gameplan now to improve upon. Great timing too, as I was starting to get frustrated with losing back n forth in the 6500lp region when I felt I was still stronger than my opponents, at least with mixup. Now I see how important defense is and neutral game. I think this is the real way to elevate especially as a shoto.

Yeah, when i first picked up sf4 it took me forever to stop jumping, but once you do and you’re forced to engage with situations on the ground you get better at dealing with that shit.

Also a word of warning on the fireball thing, there are some mu’s where it’s just not the best idea, or you should use it really sparingly. For instance, that shit is not very good against Bison unless you’re catching him trying to poke you with has medium or heavy buttons and your slightly out of range. Good to have and use every now and then, but not as often as it can serve you in other MU’s. Experiment. Once you get good at it just see what mu’s it works better in.

So I am going to be that guy who post a win but I played against a Mika who had way more points than me and it was a pretty close game.
Usually when I loose I can see what I did that was stupid but here I think I played pretty well compared to my understanding of the game, which is why I post it. I’d like it if you guys could point out the flaws that you see in my gameplay.
In my pov I see that I don’t confirm good enough.

Ok…Think I’m improving, slowly…lol…those hit confirms though! Gonna take a while to get. Feel free to rip me up guys!

Would really appreciate any criticism. I know I need to improve light years to compete but have to start somewhere so let me have it.


First of all you need to punish her stuff better. I watched the first 5 min and you didn’t punish two of her spiral arrow that you blocked as well as canon spike (crush counter).

You also look a bit scared, you need to keep the pressure more when you’re on her, use overheads and throws (I didn’t see any but I might I’ve missed it).

Putting myself on the chopping block! Let me have it people.

You jump way too much. A more skilled player would have killed you with anti-airs alone. Pressed buttons a little too much, she kept knocking you down. And be conservative with fireballs. They’re pretty useless.

Some ken matches I have been trying to figure him out for a while now and i just don’t get it lol. And my poor defense does not help.

Hey guys,

I have been playing Ken for a few weeks, and picked up SFV after a long hiatus from fighting games. I am finally getting used to the new combos and playstyle for the character, but I seem to be stuck between 1000-1500 BP. My biggest problem is getting in with Ken. I tend to rely on cr.MP without being great at confirming off it, but often I cannot even get in range for TC1 (Chin Buster) to connect.

Take a look at my first video upload below and let me know your thoughts. I am also looking for some sparring partners (Ken or other characters) around 1500-2000 to play against.

If ur jumping in, mk > > tc1 xx whatever will connect 99.9% of the time with and without a crossup. Very easy to confirm because if the medium kick hits, the rest of the combo will hit, if not you go to and if that hits continue, and finally you can go to s.bmp and confirm off that but dont follow through with the hp for tc1 or ur free. Some times people try and interrupt you after the (if its blocked). It’s often a dp and if you notice someone do it, you can easily bate it out and punish them super hard for trying that. Other than that you really need to be right up on the guy to land the > tc1 combo so utilize it for meaties or just practice the more useful s.lp > tc1 (confirm the bmp if u can or cancel in to ex.hadoken to be safe on block).

I’m the purple Ken. I really feel like I’m too conservative, I just don’t feel confident in challenging attacks against really good players up close. Seriously, I feel like im Rocky getting my ass handed to against Apollo creed, dancing all over me.

Edit: holy shit, I just rewatched the first match and did not know kens super carries opponents across the whole stage.

This is weird that this guy didn’t ragequit on you. He definitly doesn’t play like a rank 25. He has to be the most unsafe Ken I have ever seen past bronze.

What I noticed the most in your first video is that you failed a lot of DP punish, at one point two in a row (one too early, one too late). You need st.hp xx run > st.lp TC1 hk.tatsu with no meter. Honestly you kill this guy with just that done 90% of the time easy. He is DPing like he has to do a certain amount to save his family from death.

I feel you play the opposite of “too conservative” you two basically never play mid range, it’s kinda like “go ham go ham go ham” take a break full screen “go ham go ham go ham”. But I feel that might be mostly his fault which would mean you have trouble setting your pace, which comes back to the point where you need to punish his bullshit way harder and maybe he’ll stop going crazy. If he doesn’t you win.

It feels weird to say that if he is really a rank 25, which I REALLY don’t think he is, but he is this kind of Ken in bronze (he is better than bronze tho) that you can kill by just waiting and punishing the DP. Then again maybe he noticed what I just saw here and decided “fuck it then I’ll go ham” but I doubt it because he would have played serious when he was about to loose.

So I feel the first thing to get better at for you is just doing your crush counter combo on every DP.

Umm…how the heck is that dude rank 25? lol…no offense, but that was really sub-par play from someone with so many points, but yeah, more proof that points mean squat I guess. FatalFrame, you should have killed that guy a lot sooner than you did. You have a match-up rundown right above me so I’ll just post generally.

  • Punish properly If you are going to play Ken, you need to do more than throw him after a blocked DP. You left tons of damage on the table for no apparent reason.
  • Push into the corner. Mirror matches can be a bit unusual, but the gameplan remains the same. There’s no reason to walk back so much, footsie/whiff punish, pressure
  • Learn Ken’s optimal combos and meaty setups. After a forward throw, you can meaty after a dash, meaning that guy had no business back dashing on wake-up after he got thrown. Also, punish with S.HP into V-trigger, not into V-trigger, you are leaving too much damage on the table that way. In fact, after a S.HP CC, you can run cancel target combo 1 after first hit into a FB then V-trigger off the FB for big damage.

Help a Ken out, bros. Recently faced a Chun Li user in a few first to 5 matches in the battle lounge. The pressure was real. At times I just didn’t know how to get past the pokes on the ground and good aa game. I feel like I’ve plateaued and just can’t seem to get any better. Any advice?

Match against tampa bison. I gotta anti air more and confirm better. i jumped a lot intentionally this match.

Hey guys i dont mind some criticism on mu Ken. Stuggling to reach super gold. Im Final_Getsuga on this acc but World-Warrior on main acc. Any feedback or tips would be appreciated