Ryu is a versatile, balanced character that can be played in a variety of styles. Ryu can rushdown and mixup or he can sit back and zone with fireballs. Your initial goal in a match is to feel out what kind of style your opponent prefers, then don’t let them do it.
Up close, Ryu can LK hurricane and LP dragon punch to and catch your pokes. This is to his advantage – he takes little damage if you hit him with a normal, but gets a knockdown to start his oki game when he succeeds. You want to be very deliberate with your pokes and throw them out sparingly.
From long range, Ryu will just throw fireballs and wait for you to react. Your wall dive is strong against his narrow dragon punch, but at far range he has plenty of time to react. His J.MP and J.HK are both very good at hitting you air to air, so you only want to wall dive when you think you can catch him in a fireball.
Mid range is where you have your best advantage. With good reactions, you can watch for a fireball and punish it with a jump in combo, usually J.MP, C.MP. Once you establish this, he can’t throw fireballs recklessly, so you have more openings to poke at him with LP Roll and C.HK slide. If he jumps or hurricane kicks, Scarlet Terror him out of it. If you’re slightly outside of half-screen, you can you Scarlet Terror a regular jump or an air hurricane which changes the trajectory.
Old Ryu: Old Ryu can be a pain to deal with. His fireball pressure is a little faster, so the fundamentalist precise shoto players are very strong with him. He doesn’t have his Super, so you can take more risks when poking or pushing him away. But he also gets that shitty air hurricane unblockable, which really sucks to deal with. Avoid the S.HP range which is usually when they want to try it. You can S.LP as they’re passing over you sometimes, or can 3K Backflip as a last resort.
- If Ryu is using those nasty crossup air hurricane kicks, do an early 3K Handspring to go through the active part. You want to do it a little early so you recover in time to throw him as he’s landing. If you’re anticipating these, slide to go under him or walk back until you’re out of crossup range.
- When you knock down, LP Roll at him as he’s getting up. He’s going to start using LP Dragon Punch. When he does, delay your roll slightly so that you claw him after his DP active frames. If he did anything else, it will still hit him out of it.
- HK Scarlet Terror juggle if he hurricane kicks. If he crosses you up with one, wait until he’s farther away and C.HP to punish him, this will trade or lose if you do it when he’s close. If he’s landing close to you, C.MP will safely hit but only as he’s descending.
- Many Ryus like to get around sweep range then spaz out with LK hurricanes and LP dragon punches and normals in a semi-random flurry to try and get you confused and guess-reacting. Just play it calm and wait in defensive crouch until you’re certain of hitting your punish. The worst you’re going to eat is a throw which isn’t a big deal.
- When at sweep range, jump back, then immediately take a quarter step and jump in with J.MP. This bait catches a lot of Ryu players who want to establish their fireball game.
- If you’re jumping fireballs and getting caught with a sweep, J.MK and J.FP have ideal hitboxes to beat it out. Alternatively, its safer just to always jump and land just outside his sweep range, which often lets you punish whatever he does next.
- Ryu’s dragon punch has very little horizontal movement, so you can do empty wall dives all day and fish for a reaction. You just have to be careful about not landing on fireballs.
- Ryu’s fireball has a deceptively high hitbox, so Sky High Claw over a fireball is hard to time right. Only use it if you have the perfect midscreen positioning to go over it at the peak of your wall spring.
- If you’re stuck in the corner and being fireball trapped, do a 3P or 3K Handspring and go through one fireball. This will reset his pattern which will give you enough time to poke him off you.