For best effect, cycle between these tactics as the enemy character, time, and life lead dictate. Run and zone when you’re ahead, rush and dive when you need to catch up.
- Midrange Zoning: Park at half screen and throw S.HP, C.HP, C.MP, Slide, Jab Roll. Your primary goal isn’t to hit with these moves, it’s to cover the space just in front of them. Any move they attempt will get interrupted. By being a little outside your range, you highly decrease the chances of your pokes getting dragon punched. Jump at your opponent just outside the tip of your longest reaching jump normal, J.MP. If they antiair, it will miss, but if they fireball, you’ll catch them in a J.MP,C.MP combo. This is very safe for all but a couple characters with wide sweeping uppercuts, like Ken and DeeJay.
- Slide Range: You don’t have a lot of priority at point blank distance, so your close range zone is just outside Ryu’s sweep distance. You need faster reactions at this range and should be more hesitant to press buttons since you can get Shoryuken’ed easily. Stay crouched, occasionally hitting a poke or Slide. Watch for whiffed normals and high recovery specials to punish. NJ.MK is another good option. Occasionally follow up a Roll or jump in with a throw and then get back to this range.
- Runaway: Sit at fullscreen and walk backwards if they get too close. Poke with S.FP and Jab Roll unless they have a good rush move. In that case, use NJ.MP or J.HP. Look for jumps to antiair and short specials to punish. Use 3P Handspring to avoid fireballs. Once you get half screen away from the corner, FBA and steer back then forward to give yourself the highest arc over them. If you suspect they’re going to antiair your FBA, stop short and bait them. If they get you cornered, you just need a couple open frames to C.LP into LP Sky High Claw and get out that way. Against much of the cast, you can keep this up all day and there isn’t much they can do about it. Chasing after you always leads to openings.
- Wall Dive Spam: Once you get a knockdown, do a FBA and time it so you’re flying through them and extending your claw during their wakeup. Press punch a little late and the attack will cross up. If you can consistently perform this, it’s impossible to react block and has to be 50/50 guessed or reversal timed. Even at top player level, this alone can be incredibly hard to deal with.
- With the opponent in the corner, jump in with J.LK then jump forward with an immediate J.LK instant overhead. Hold up-back in the air to triangle jump off the wall and come down with a J.HP to beat anything they use to chase you.
- You can always combo after a Roll with a C.MP, but if the last hit of your Roll is meaty, you can combo with C.HP or C.HK.
- Some opponents like to grab you out of wakeup Roll pressure. Blow this up by starting your Roll early or from a little farther away. You want to be far enough away to be outside their grab range on frame 1 of their wakeup, but still as close as possible to interrupt any normal they’re hitting.
- Vega has a long 14 frame window between charging back and pressing forward + punch on his Roll. You can use this window to take almost a full step forward before finishing the input. Practicing this timing gives your pokes significant extra range and variety and makes them harder to predict.
- Never be afraid to just sit there doing nothing full screen for a while, even if you’re losing. Impatience affects even good players. Eventually you’ll get an opening to land a Super from a careless fireball or get them to eat pokes from chasing you.