Ken (SSBU)

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This article is about Ken's appearance in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. For the character in other contexts, see Ken Masters.
Ken
in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Ken SSBU.png
StreetFighterSymbol.svg
Universe Street Fighter
Availability Unlockable
Final Smash Shippu Jinraikyaku / Shinryuken
KenHeadSSBU.png
Ken Turns Up the Heat!
—Introduction Tagline
Ken joins the battle as Ryu's Echo Fighter! Their differences are carried over from the original game: Ken's Hadoken is shaped differently, his strong Shoryuken has flames, and he moves a bit faster. He has two Final Smashes: Shinryuken and Shippu Jinraikyaku.
Super Smash Blog, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Official Site

Ken (ケン, Ken) is a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. He was announced as a newcomer during the November 1st, 2018 Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Direct, alongside Incineroar. He is an Echo Fighter of Ryu, thus being classified as fighter #60ε.

Ken's English voice actor is Reuben Langdon, who has voiced the character since Street Fighter IV, while his Japanese voice actor is Yūji Kishi, who has been voicing him since Street Fighter III: Third Strike.

How to unlock

Complete one of the following:

With the exception of the third method, Ken must then be defeated on Boxing Ring.

Attributes

Being the more aggressive "shoto" compared to Ryu, Ken shares most of his attributes with some slight tweaks. As a medium-heavyweight of average size and mobility, Ken has decent frame data and damage output, as well as a dependable ground game due to his decent traction and above-average dashing speed. However, other attributes are polarized in an attempt to replicate the physics of Street Fighter; Ken's walking speed is extremely slow, and while his air speed is average, this is counteracted by his moderately high falling speed and short jumps. Additionally, he has very low air acceleration, and his air friction is uniquely locked at 0 while jumping, causing his jumps to follow a fixed "arc" unless the player steers them manually. Finally, Ken's fast fall increases his falling speed by 40% instead of the usual 60%. Overall, this grants Ken effective burst movement through dashing and jumping, but forces him to commit when approaching through the air and makes it difficult to land or move short distances.

Despite his average attributes, Ken is one of the most unique fighters in Ultimate, as he has access to many variations of both his standard and special attacks (a trait only shared with his base fighter, Ryu). His jab and tilts can either be held or tapped; tapped attacks are faster and usually combo well into themselves, while held attacks have greater KO potential and can serve as combo finishers. This also applies to his special moves (other than Focus Attack), which gain different effects like increased power or altered hitboxes when the button is held; they also see an increase in power when used with the original Street Fighter inputs. This effectively gives Ken two movesets, one for starting combos and racking up damage, and the other for scoring KO's. This versatility gives him access to potent true combos and mix-ups, leading to a strong punish game overall.

Ken's standard attacks are also unique in that most of them (even his tapped tilts) have a freeze frame multiplier of at least 1.8x, making them surprisingly safe on shield given their poor range and average damage output. This grants Ken an effective means of applying shield pressure and make some of his combo starters difficult to escape.

Ken's grounded moveset boasts considerable utility. His tapped jab and down tilt both hit on frame 3, making the former useful for relieving pressure, and the latter excellent for extending combos due to its launch trajectory being useful for followups, such as grabs. Tapped up tilt's low knockback, high speed and active frames make it effective for combos, either into itself, Shoryuken, or even down aerial at high percents near the ledge. Held down tilt can be canceled on hit into a special move, making it effective for shield pressure and damage-racking even at high percents. Down smash is quite powerful for its speed, and up smash lowers Ken's hurtbox while charging. Both tapped forward tilt and held jab are altered at close range, both becoming very potent at starting combos into his special moves. Additionally, Ken will automatically face his opponent in 1-on-1 matches while standing on the ground, making it considerably easier to land his effective ground attacks.

Ken's aerial moveset is effective as well. Neutral aerial is a sex kick with low knockback and has only five frames of landing lag, making it useful for combos and kill confirms even at high percents. Forward aerial is quick, highly damaging and has good range; it can be chained into itself through repeated jumps, and its sourspot deals high shield damage. Up aerial has fast startup, a fairly active hitbox and decently high reach, making it useful for juggling, and both it and down aerial can auto-cancel from a full hop.

Complementing Ken's moveset and combo potential is his wide array of powerful finishers; some of his held tilts, smash attacks and aerials are very capable KO moves due to their high speed. Held up tilt grants upper body intangibility on frames 4-10 while hitting on frame 7, making it deceptively safe for KOs when combined with its speed and tapped up tilt setups. Up smash makes an effective substitute for held up tilt as a finisher, and its wide hitbox can catch aerial approaches. Ken's forward smash has long range, fast startup and is his strongest standard ground attack, making it useful for hard punishes. Back aerial is Ken's strongest aerial, and is fast and has good range despite its small hitbox. Forward aerial also serves as a decent KO move, enhancing its already impressive utility. Finally, down aerial is a powerful meteor smash with fast start-up and long duration, making it a deadly edgeguarding tool. Combined with his excellent combo ability, Ken's punish game is incredibly effective and versatile, being able to rack up damage or KO very easily after connecting with almost any attack.

Ken's signature special moves are also effective in their own ways. Hadoken is a large ki projectile, with three travel speeds based on input method; the standard version is capable of locking, while the input variation deals more damage. Tatsumaki Senpukyaku propels Ken forward hitting multiple times throughout the attack and potentially leading to followups. While Ken's signature Shoryuken serves as his main vertical recovery move, it is most well-known for its offensive utility, due to its sweetspot's high knockback, multiple powerful hitboxes, and brief intangibility (frame 5), making it both a powerful KO option and a potent anti-air. The input version of Shoryuken has increased KO power, even longer intangibility (frames 4-6, with arm intangibility frames 1-14), and lower landing lag, and can easily be chained into from Ken's other moves. Focus Attack grants Ken heavy armor against a single hit, and incapacitates opponents when at least half charged, allowing for followups. It can also be canceled on hit, after tanking a blow, or even while charging, allowing Ken to fake out with a shuffle that also provides horizontal recovery distance. His close held neutral attack, first two hits of tapped neutral attack, close tapped forward tilt, held down tilt, and all aerials can be canceled into special moves, allowing Ken to combo into Shoryuken or Tatsumaki for KOs and Focus Attack for mixups and safety.

Outside of the standard special moves, Ken also has access to the Oosoto Mawashi Geri roundhouse kick and the Nata Otoshi Geri crescent kick using inputs only. The former is a powerful KO option at the edge with much more safety than his other special moves, while the latter is a combo extender that leads into either a forward smash, a down smash, or even a Shoryuken with proper reading. Furthermore, both attacks can be cancelled into Inazuma Kick, which deals heavy shield damage, further complementing his ability to pressure and deplete shields with his lengthy blockstrings.

Lastly, Ken has a long-distanced recovery and is surprisingly difficult to combo, traits not shared with most heavyweights. Tatsumaki Senpukyaku has large hitboxes and doesn't cause helplessness; this combined with canceled Focus Attack's armor and momentum boost grants surprisingly effective horizontal distance and protection. Shoryuken travels a good vertical distance, reaches above edges, and can stage spike reckless edgeguarders. Focus Attack also serves as an effective combo breaker, and neutral aerial and input Shoryuken both grant high speed and intangibility, and can even lead into combo or KO opportunities respectively. These traits allow Ken to survive to very high percents when used effectively, which also allows him to take full advantage of rage.

Despite his abundant strengths, Ken has his weaknesses as well. Though his recovery travels a long distance, it becomes very short if extendable elements, such a Tatsumaki Senpukyaku, cannot be utilized. Focus Attack requires a brief charge before it can be canceled. Tatsumaki's long duration and low damage makes it vulnerable to being interrupted by long-ranged attacks, and he can only use it once without landing or suffering hitstun. Ken's falling speed, low jumps and poor air acceleration make it difficult to recover from below the stage, as Shoryuken's recovery is almost strictly vertical and has high endlag, making Ken's vertical recovery easy to predict and interrupt. While Ken excels at shield pressure, his grab game is sorely lacking; his throws have high damage, but none of them have effective follow-up or KO potential. Down throw is his only combo throw at very low percents, and the extra utility of his throws (down throw instantly breaking shields, and up throw's kick KOing bystanders) does not apply in a 1-on-1 setting, making them situational.

Ken also suffers from a weak neutral game. Despite his good frame data (especially for his tapped tilts and neutral aerial), his slow walking speed and short range hinders the otherwise great utility of his tilt attacks, which gives him trouble against characters who possess disjointed hitboxes, especially when combined with his tall stature. Ken's only projectile, Hadoken, is punishable if used carelessly due to its long endlag, weak damage and low priority. Aside from the advantages granted his neutral aerial and Focus Attack, Ken's fixed arc jumps make his aerial approach highly committal and thus very predictable. These issues force Ken to play patiently and take advantage of any opening, as he has trouble against opposing camping. Focus Attack's utility is also match-up dependent, as it becomes much less effective against fast or multi-hitting moves (such as Roy's forward aerial or Cloud's Cross Slash, respectively). Because Focus Attack is also Ken's main method of escaping combos, this makes him susceptible to certain combos and juggles due to his high weight and quick falling speed, and his slower fast-fall occasionally makes it difficult to land safely.

Finally, Ken struggles to "force" early KOs, as his KO potential relies heavily on executing combos. While Ken does possess some powerful moves, like back aerial and sweetspotted forward smash, these usually require hard reads to land, and most of his other moves have low knockback scaling due to being tailored for combos. Ken's superb combo ability does largely compensate for this, but without accounting for opposing SDI, or without full knowledge of Ken's moveset, setups and combos, he can have a difficult time taking stocks. Ken's multihit special moves can be fallen out of if not used properly, leading to him being unsafe, or even punishable if he is not careful. Finally, the emphasis on Ken's unique inputs means that his non-input special moves have lower power, and a mere slip of the hand can be more detrimental than usual, at worst even causing a self-destruct while recovering.

Overall, Ken is a combo-oriented fighter with a fearsome offensive ability, as his unique mechanics deliberately give him access to powerful true combos essential to the competitive success of most characters; his ability to trap opponents in hitstun or shield pressure, multiple options for escaping or negating combos, and dependable recovery all make Ken very rewarding and unpredictable. However, his polarized movement, mediocre vertical recovery, and lacking approach make him difficult to play optimally. His high learning curve in particular is perhaps his biggest issue; much practice is generally require for his input specials to use them reliably and consistently, rather than accidentally inputting the wrong move.

In spite of his weaknesses and high learning curve, Ken's results and representation are more notable than Ryu's. Some players choose to utilize both accordingly to play to either's strengths, whether it be reliable damage and zoning or massive combo opportunities and options.

Differences from Ryu

Ken is considered the original "Echo Fighter" in fighting game history, but unlike other Echo Fighters in the game, Ken's differences extend beyond visual changes and damage distribution, using the gameplay differences from Super Street Fighter II Turbo onward to distinguish him from his mirror character, Ryu. He primarily trades Ryu's stronger knockback from single hits and zoning capabilities in exchange for more combo routes and damage-racking capabilities, similar to their differences in their home series. Several of his attacks are entirely different as well, and he is also slightly faster than Ryu.

Since Ken has multiple entirely different moves from Ryu, he is near-universally accepted to be the most unique Echo Fighter, being the only Echo Fighter that is a semi-clone. As such, he, much like fellow Echo Fighters Chrom and Lucina, is not expected to share a tier list spot with his base fighter, and is expected to be legally allowed to be used with his base fighter in Squad Strike.

Aesthetics

  • Change As with all other Echo Fighters, Ken has unique taunts and victory animations.
  • Change Ken says "I'm ready for ya! Bring it on!" during his on-screen appearance rather than being silent like Ryu. His dialogue is the same as his fight entrance in Street Fighter IV.
  • Change Unlike Ryu, Ken faces forward with a neutral expression instead of looking dejected or annoyed during his clapping animation.

Attributes

  • Buff Ken's walking (0.75 → 0.825), dashing (1.6 → 1.76) and initial dash (1.76 → 1.936) speeds are faster than those of Ryu, with his initial dash and run speeds being identical to those of Mario.

Ground Attacks

  • Change Held neutral attack is Inazuma Kick, a double-hitting axe kick resembling up throw. It is somewhat hard to land by itself, as its effective range tends to overlap with his close variant. It deals a large amount of shield damage.
  • Change Neutral attack's second hit is based on Ken's Street Fighter III close medium punch.
  • Change Ken's held forward tilt is his far standing medium punch, a straight with his right arm, as opposed to Ryu's Collarbone Breaker.
    • Buff Held forward tilt is faster and deals more knockback at a lower angle.
    • Nerf Held forward tilt has less range and far less shield damage.
  • Forward smash:
    • Change Ken's forward smash is based off of his standing heavy kick introduced in Super Street Fighter II Turbo.
    • Buff It has less start-up (frame 15 → 13).
    • Nerf It has less range and does not make Ken travel forwards.
    • Nerf It deals less damage (16%/17.5% → 12%/16%), making it slightly weaker despite its higher knockback growth (98 → 102).

Aerial Attacks

  • Neutral aerial:
    • Change Ken's neutral aerial is based off of his diagonal jumping medium kick in SFII, as opposed to Ryu's diagonal jumping light kick.
    • Buff Due to it being a kick rather than a knee, the range of the move is increased compared to that of Ryu's neutral aerial.
    • Buff It has less ending lag than Ryu's (FAF 36 → 28).
    • Nerf It has more startup lag (frame 4 → 6).
    • Nerf Its duration is shorter (4-31 → 6-17).
    • Nerf It has a sourspot on its clean hit that deals less damage (8% → 6.5%).
    • Change The late hit deals more damage on its sweetspot, but less on the sourspot (4.5% → 4% (sourspot)/6.5% (sweetspot).
    • Change The late hit has more base knockback (13 → 20).
  • Up aerial:
    • Change Up aerial is based off of his neutral jumping light kick, a kick straight upwards.
    • Change It deals considerably less knockback, which hinders its KO potential, but makes it much better for combos.
    • Buff It has less startup (frame 6 → 5) and has a longer duration than both hits of Ryu's up aerial (6 (first)/10 (second) → 5-9).
    • Nerf It deals less damage (11% (total) → 6.5%) and only hits once.
    • Nerf It does not grant partial intangibility.

Throws

  • Buff Ken's back throw, Hell Wheel, has him roll backwards twice, allowing him to cover more distance and move closer to the edge of stages from farther away.
  • Nerf Ken's back throw takes a longer time to release opponents compared to Ryu's back throw.

Special moves

  • Buff Ken has more input command moves than Ryu.
    • Buff He has Oosoto Mawashi Geri, an outward roundhouse kick from Super Street Fighter II Turbo similar to Ryu's standing held neutral attack that can be canceled into Inazuma Kick by holding the attack button, letting him use his special cancels without committing to the potential endlag of Shoryuken and Tatsumaki Senpukyaku and mix up his attacks. Inazuma Kick also deals a fair amount of shield damage, making it much riskier to block Ken during his blockstrings. At the edge, Oosoto Mawashi Geri makes for a reliable KO option from his special cancel normals.
    • Buff Ken also has his Nata Otoshi Geri, a swiping roundhouse kick from Super Street Fighter II Turbo with a unique input (forward, down forward, down, special/attack) that Ryu does not have. He can cancel either the startup of the move or after the first hit and change it into his Inazuma Kick by holding the attack button. Its low knockback and angle make it useful for combos, leading into down smash, forward smash or a Shoryuken.
  • Hadoken:
    • Change Hadoken contains an image of Ken's hands, as it does in the original Street Fighter II.
    • Nerf Hadoken deals less (7%/8% → 4.5%/5.5%), with even his strongest input Hadoken (6.8%) dealing less damage than Ryu's weakest standard Hadoken (7%).
    • Nerf Hadoken has slightly more startup lag (frame 12 → 13).
    • Nerf Ken does not have access to Ryu's Shakunetsu Hadoken, meaning that he lacks a multi-hit projectile.
    • Nerf Ken's Hadokens do not vary in speed as significantly as Ryu's do depending on how long the button is held. This reduces his space control and approaching options.
  • Tatsumaki Senpukyaku:
    • Change Tatsumaki Senpukyaku hits multiple times, as opposed to Ryu's single hit.
    • Buff If all hits connect, Tatsumaki Senpukyaku deals more damage.
    • Buff Due to its multihit property and distance, Tatsumaki Senpukyaku can be used to drag opponents offstage far away at low percentages, being effective against opponents with poor recoveries.
    • Buff Tatsumaki Senpukyaku has less endlag, allowing for followups after the move is complete.
    • Nerf Tatsumaki Senpukyaku does significantly less knockback compared to Ryu's.
    • Nerf Tatsumaki Senpukyaku connects less reliably than Ryu's, and lacks a final hit, making it punishable.
  • Shoryuken:
    • Nerf Shoryuken deals less knockback than Ryu's equivalent and hits at a slightly more horizontal angle.
    • Buff Holding the special attack input performs a Heavy Shoryuken, which hits more than 2 times, and has a flame effect.
    • Buff Although it KOs later, Ken's Shoryuken deals more damage and has powerful hitboxes throughout the move in contrast to Ryu's Shoryuken losing strength the longer it is out. Shoryuken can also drag enemies upwards, letting it kill earlier when close to the top.
    • Buff Ken can travel more horizontally during his Heavy Shoryuken. This makes certain combos possible and horizontal recoveries easier.
  • Focus Attack:
    • Change Ken performs a spinkick in his Focus Attack instead of a straight punch. The hitbox comes out 1 frame later for all variants, however with total duration unchanged this also allows Ken to act 1 frame earlier on hit.
    • Change Focus Attack launches at a lower angle (60 → 45), and the uncharged version has slightly more base knockback (100 → 110), hindering its followup potential but aiding its ability to set up edgeguards.
      • Buff The lowered angle improves the fully charged version's KO potential on aerial opponents.
    • Nerf Ken does not lunge forward as far in his Focus Attack, slightly hindering its range.
    • Buff Ken's Focus Attack has him kicking at a lower elevation than Ryu's punch which makes him capable of hitting certain downed opponents that Ryu cannot (such as Zelda).
  • Change Ken has two unique Final Smashes, Shinryuken and Shippu Jinraikyaku. Shinryuken produces a giant pillar of fire with immense vertical range, which is similar to its appearance in the Marvel vs. Capcom series, which reused Street Fighter Alpha sprites in its 2D-era games. Meanwhile, Shippu Jinryaikyaku has Ken furiously kicking opponents before ending in a devastating series of hurricane kicks, much like his Guren Senpukyaku Ultra Combo II from Super Street Fighter IV and the ending of his Guren Enjinkyaku Critical Art from Street Fighter V, but is ultimately based on his Shippu Jinraikyaku Super Art from Street Fighter III. Shippu Jinraikyaku occurs when Ken initiates his Final Smash near an opponent. Otherwise, he will perform Shinryuken.

Update history

Ken has been notably buffed overall in game updates so far, with most of his significant buffs coming in the 3.1.0 update. Many of his multi-hit moves connect more reliably and have a lower SDI multiplier, and more importantly, his moves that can be special canceled have a longer window to do so, making his combos more consistent. His held, close neutral attack has completely changed for the better, now functioning as a reliable combo starter at a much wider percent range.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate 2.0.0

  • Buff Neutral aerial auto-cancels earlier (frame 34 → 28), matching the move's interruptibility. This allows it to autocancel from a short hop.
  • Buff Forward aerial auto-cancels earlier (frame 41 → 38), matching the move's interruptibility. This allows it to autocancel from a rising full hop.
  • Nerf Ken can no longer interrupt his down tilt with a jump.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate 3.0.0

  • Change Edge attack deals less hitlag.
  • Change Shoryuken's animation has been slightly altered.
  • Bug fix Focus Attack sliding has been removed.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate 3.1.0

  • Buff Neutral attack 1 and 2 can be cancelled with a special move for a longer amount of time.
  • Buff Neutral attack (heavy, close) deals drastically less knockback (70 (base)/70 (scaling) → 25/15) and sends at a slightly more horizontal angle (85° → 80°), making it a much better combo starter even at high percents.
  • Buff Neutral attack (heavy, far)'s second hit deals more damage (6% → 10%) with knockback compensated.
  • Buff Forward tilt (light, close) can be cancelled with a special move for a longer amount of time.
  • Buff Forward tilt (light, far)'s tip has a larger hitbox.
  • Change Forward tilt (heavy) sends at a slightly more horizontal angle (38° → 34°).
  • Buff Up tilt (light) sends at more vertical angle when hitting airborne opponents, making it a better combo starter (66° → 75°).
  • Buff Down tilt (light) deals more hitstun.
  • Buff Down tilt (heavy) deals less knockback (70 (base)/23 (scaling) → 73/16), allowing it to combo at a wider percent range.
  • Buff Forward smash deals more knockback (26 (base)/100 (scaling) → 28/102).
  • Buff Down aerial can be cancelled with a special move for a longer amount of time, making it identical to Ryu's variant.
  • Buff The first hit of Tatsumaki Senpukyaku has a larger hitbox when used on the ground (3.5u → 4.5u).
  • Buff Tatsumaki Senpukyaku has a lower SDI multiplier (1 → 0.5).
  • Shoryuken
    • Buff Shoryuken's hits connects more reliably and it has a lower SDI multiplier (1 → 0.5).
    • Buff Shoryuken's first hit no longer negates other attacks.
    • Buff Shoryuken's grounded heavy version has more knockback growth (121 → 126).
    • Buff Shoyuken's light and heavy aerial versions have more knockback growth (49 → 55 (light), 100 → 107 (heavy)).
    • Nerf Shoryuken's medium aerial version has less knockback growth (121 → 112).
  • Command Input Moves
    • Buff Nata Otoshi Geri has a lower SDI multiplier (1 → 0.5).
    • Buff Oosoto Mawashi Geri deals more damage (10% → 12% (both hits)) with knockback compensated.
    • Buff Inazuma Kick deals more damage (6% → 10%) with shield damage compensated.

Moveset

Note: All numbers are listed as base damage, without the 1v1 multiplier.

  Name Damage Description
Neutral attack Inazuma Kick[2] (held, far) 1.5% (hits 1 and 2) Tapped: A jab, followed by a short straight-punch, followed by a hook. The second hit is based on Ken's Street Fighter III close medium punch. The first and second hits can be special-canceled, and are also able to lock.



Held (far): Ken performs his Inazuma Kick: a double-hitting axe kick. It is somewhat hard to land both hits, as the range tends to overlap with his close variant. This move causes Ken to slightly move forward, and deals a good amount of shield damage; coupled with its ability to be followed up from Ken's unique roundhouse kicks, it is useful for shield pressure. Cannot be special-cancelled.

Held (close): An uppercut similar to his held up tilt, but with significantly different properties, doing virtually no knockback and being special-cancellable. This makes it extremely potent for combos, reliably cancelling into Shoryuken even at high percents.

5%
6% (hits 1 and 2, held, far)
12% (held, close)
Forward tilt   6.8% (tapped, far), 6% (tapped, close), 5% (arm), 10% (fist) Tapped (far): The tsumasaki geri[3], a kick used in Karate. It launches the opponent diagonally upward. As with Ryu, it is good for following with a dash attack or forward aerial at low percents, and grants intangibility on his leg from frames 7-12. Cannot be special-cancelled.

Tapped (close): An inward hook. Like with Ryu, the move causes the opponent to slightly shift towards Ken. The only purpose of this move is to initiate combos.

Held: A straight with his left or right arm. While it is faster and deals more damage that Ryu's Collarbone Breaker, it has less range and far less shield damage. It is based on his far standing medium punch. Cannot be special-cancelled.

Up tilt   2% (tapped), 12% (held) Tapped: The sok ngat[4], an uppercut-style elbow strike used in Muay Thai. Identical to Ryu's version.

Held: An uppercut. As with Ryu, it grants his upper body intangibility from frames 4-10, making it a surprisingly effective anti-air attack and KO move.

Down tilt Light Ankle Kick (tapped)
Heavy Ankle Kick (held)
1.6% (tapped); 7% (leg, held), 5.5% (foot, held) Tapped: A crouching, Hapkido-style shin kick. As with Ryu, it can be repeated as fast as the player can press. Any prone opponents will be lightly launched back onto their feet, allowing for longer combo strings.

Held: A lunging, Hapkido-style shin kick. As with Ryu, Ken's Shoryuken combos well from this attack.

Dash attack   12% (clean), 8% (late) A flying kick. Identical to Ryu's version.
Forward smash   16% (foot), 12% (leg) A roundhouse kick. Unlike Ryu's forward smash, it has less range, and doesn't move him forward as much. It also has slightly less base knockback. Based on his standing heavy kick introduced in Super Street Fighter II Turbo. Can cancel into his Final Smash upon hit.
Up smash   17% (clean), 13.5% (late) Squats and then rises up to throw an uppercut. Makes his hurtbox smaller while attacking, making this a good anti-air attack. Grants intangibility on frames 3-6. Identical to Ryu's version.
Down smash   16% A legsweep. Identical to Ryu's version.
Neutral aerial   8% (clean, bent leg), 6.5% (clean, leg/ late, bent leg), 4% (late) A downward angled kick. While weaker than Ryu's neutral aerial, the move has increased range. The strongest hitbox is at Ken's bent leg. Hitting with it will also cause the opponent to slightly shift towards Ken, much like his close, tapped forward tilt. At mid percents, hitting clean with his bent leg will cause anyone behind Ken to move in front of him, allowing for combos into his special moves. It is based on his diagonal jumping medium kick in SFII.
Forward aerial   14% (clean sweetspot), 12% (late sweetspot), 9% (clean sourspot), 8% (late sourspot) A flying kick. Similar to Ryu's version, though Ken's clean and weak sweetspots deal slightly less damage.
Back aerial   16% (leg), 13% (foot) An outside crescent kick. Since Ken always faces his opponent in one-on-one matches, one must perform a reverse aerial rush in order to use it for edge-guarding.
Up aerial   6.5% A kick straight upwards. Unlike Ryu's up aerial, it only hits once. Can cancel into any of his special moves upon hit. Based off of his neutral jumping light kick.
Down aerial   12% (grounded opponent), 15% (aerial opponent sweetspot), 11% (aerial opponent sourspot) A downward angled cross. Identical to Ryu's.
Grab   Reaches out.
Pummel   1.3% A knee strike while holding the opponent in the collar-and-elbow position. It is based on his Tsukami Hizageri (つかみ膝蹴り, "Grasping Knee Kick") throw in the Street Fighter Alpha/Zero games.
Forward throw   9% The seoi nage[5], a Judo throw. Identical to Ryu's.
Back throw Hell Wheel 12% Ken performs a tomoe nage[6]. However, when he lands on his back, he uses his free foot to spring him and his opponent off the ground. He then uses the momentum from the first roll to toss them away after landing a second time on his back, thus causing him to roll backward a total of two times. This allows him to cover more distance and move closer to the edge of stages from farther away.
Up throw   8% (throw), 15% (kick) A stretch kick transitioned into an axe kick. Identical to Ryu's version.
Down throw   3% (hit; throw) Pins the opponent to the ground and performs a knifehand strike, much like Ryu. Deals less damage.
Floor attack (front)   7% Kicks behind himself and then in front of himself before getting up.
Floor attack (back)   7% Kicks around himself before getting up.
Floor attack (trip)   5% Kicks behind himself and then in front of himself before getting up.
Edge attack   10% Performs a crouching shin kick while climbing up.
Neutral special Hadoken 4.5%, 5%, 5.5% (Standard), 5.6%, 6.2%, 6.8% (Input) Quickly cups his hands to his side and then thrusts them forward to launch a blue ki blast from his cupped hands that deals low damage and knockback, and may cause tripping at low percents. As in the original games, Ken's Hadoken is weaker than Ryu's version. Since Ken does not have access to Shakunetsu Hadoken, he can only do two versions of the move: a small blue Hadoken (special button only), and a minutely stronger and larger inputted Hadoken (↓ ↘ → + attack/special). Combos well out of his tapped tilt attacks and aerials, and is mainly used to rack up damage due to its low damage outputs, knockback and slow speed. Both variants can cancel into his Final Smash. Like in the original Street Fighter II, Ken's Hadoken contains an image of his hands.
Side special Tatsumaki Senpukyaku 3% (Standard, ground, hits 1 - 4), 3.4% (Input, ground, hits 1 - 4), 3% (Standard, midair, hit 1), 2% (Standard, midair, hits 2 - 4), 3.4% (Input, midair, hit 1), 2.3% (Input, midair, hits 2 - 4) A jumping, spinning crescent kick. Unlike Ryu's version of the move, Ken's version hits multiple times, has less endlag, and doesn't grant intangibility on his leg. Also, Ken will announce the move by name whether he uses the input or not (Ryu only announces the move if it was performed via input). If all hits connect, it can deal more damage than Ryu's version. The multi-hits can also drag opponents offstage at low percents, making it effective against characters with poor recoveries. However, Ken's Tatsumaki Senpukyaku deals significantly less knockback than Ryu's, repurposing the move from a KOing option into a combo starter and combo extender. Any of the hits can be canceled into his Final Smash.
Up special Shoryuken 13% (Standard ground, fast tap), 8%/6% (Standard ground, mid-fast tap; hits 1/hit 2), 15.6% (Input ground, fast tap), 9.6%/7.2% (Input ground, mid-fast tap; hits 1/2), 2.2%/8%/6.5% (Heavy, Standard ground; hits 1/2/3), 2.6%/9.6%/7.8% (Heavy, Input ground; hits 1/2/3) A leaping uppercut. Ken's Shoryuken deals less knockback than Ryu's equivalent and hits at a slightly more horizontal angle. However, it deals more damage and has powerful hitboxes throughout the move (in contrast to Ryu's Shoryuken, which loses strength the longer it is out). Shoryuken can also drag enemies upwards, letting it kill earlier when close to the top. Depending on how long the button is pressed, Ken's Shoryuken will hit a different amount of times: tapping the button fast causes it to hit once, tapping the button at a mid-fast speed causes it to hit twice, and holding the button performs Heavy Shoryuken: a flaming Shoryuken that hits 3 times. Can cancel into his Final Smash.
Down special Focus Attack 12% (Level 1), 10% (Level 2), 17% (Level 3) Similar to Ryu's version, version, but with a spinning kick instead of a punch. Additionally, the uncharged version on grounded and aerial opponents, as well as the semi-charged and fully-charged versions on aerial opponents, launch opponents at a lower angle.
Final Smash Shippu Jinraikyaku / Shinryuken 1.2% (hits 1 - 13), 13% (hit 14), 1% (initial hit), 3.2% (hits 1 - 4), 4% (hit 5), 4.3% (hits 6 - 10), 7% (hit 11) Ken's Final Smash varies depending on range. At point-blank range, Ken traps the opponent with Shippu Jinraikyaku, a furious series of kicks, followed by devastating series of hurricane kicks. At any other range, Ken performs the Shinryuken, an uppercut which produces a giant pillar of fire with immense vertical range.

Roundhouse Kicks

Unique to Ken, he has two additional special moves that are performed only by input. Both moves, each being a variation of roundhouse kicks, originate from Super Street Fighter II Turbo. These moves can only be used on the ground.

  • Oosoto Mawashi Geri[7]: An outward roundhouse kick, which resembles Ryu's far, held neutral attack. The input is the same as Ryu's Shakunetsu Hadoken: a half-circle input (← ↙ ↓ ↘ → + attack/special). By holding the attack button, he will cancel it into Inazuma Kick. The Inazuma Kick deals a fair amount of shield damage, making it much riskier to block Ken during his blockstrings. He also gains intangibility on his leg for frames 7 and 8. The move does 12%, while the cancelled Inazuma Kick, deals 10%. Works well as a safe combo ender, particularly at the edge where it becomes a powerful KO option.
  • Nata Otoshi Geri[8]: A swiping crescent kick that hits twice, launching them into the air. This move uses a unique input, a reversed forward quarter-circle (→ ↘ ↓+ attack/special), that Ryu does not possess. While not always guaranteed, the attack leads into various followups and resets. Much like Oosoto Mawashi Geri, holding the attack button will cancel into Inazuma Kick (cancels after the first hit only). As with his Oosoto Mawashi Geri, the Inazuma Kick cancel deals fair shield damage. The two hits both deal 5% each, and the cancelled Inazuma Kick deals 10%.

Canceling

Ken can perform a special move out of certain normal attacks, a mechanic known in their home series as special-cancelling. By pressing the special button or doing the command input after connecting with a normal attack on hit or on shield, Ken will cancel the endlag of the normal attack and perform the move. The normal attacks that can be canceled include the first two hits of neutral attack, tapped and held down-tilt, tapped up-tilt, and proximity forward-tilt and held neutral attack. He is also capable of doing so with his aerials. Special-cancelling allows Ken to perform blockstrings and hit confirms into Shoryuken for a kill, Tatsumaki for a combo, Hadoken for safety and pressure, and his roundhouse kicks for mixups and KOs at the edge. He can also bait the opponent out with a special cancel into a Focus Attack, further increasing mixup potential.

On-screen appearance

  • Walks onto the stage from some mist in the background, then gets into a fighting stance while saying "I'm ready for ya! Bring it on!". Nearly identical to Ryu's on-screen appearance.

Taunts

  • Up taunt: Faces the screen, and announces "Yeah!" while giving a thumbs-up. Based off of his Street Fighter Alpha winpose.
  • Side taunt: Catches his fist in his hand and points forward, saying "Get serious!" Based off of his unique intro with Ryu in certain games, matching the latter's own side taunt. The quote itself comes from Ken's fifth Personal Action in Street Fighter IV.
  • Down taunt: Moves his finger towards himself, beckoning towards himself while saying "Bring it on!". Resembles his Street Fighter IV intro along with his quote.

Idle poses

  • Adjusts his gloves.
  • Wriggles the fingers on both hands, then crosses his arms and pumps them.

Victory poses

  • Brushes his hair before giving a thumbs-up to the camera, saying "I did it!" (やったぜ!, I did it!). Based off of his Street Fighter Alpha victory pose, which recurs throughout the series.
  • Punches twice, does a roundhouse kick similar to his forward smash, and raises his fist while saying "Challenge me after some practice." In Japanese, he says いくらでもかかってこい! (Come at me as much as you like!), his win quote from Street Fighter II.
  • Kicks twice (the first being the Nata Otoshi Geri, and the second being the Oosoto Mawashi Geri) and performs a beckoning gesture, saying "I knew I'd win! Hah!" In Japanese, he says スパッと勝つと気持ちいいな! (It feels good to win a spat!), one of his generic win quotes from Street Fighter V. Based off of his victory pose throughout the series, specifically his Street Fighter V variant.
A remix of the victory theme from Street Fighter II.

Classic Mode: Red-Hot Rivalry

Ken's congratulations screen.

All of Ken's opponents are rivals to the main character of their franchise of origin. Because Crazy Hand represents the destruction of Master Hand’s creations, Crazy Hand is encountered in Master Hand’s place on lower difficulties.

Round Opponent Stage Music Notes
1 Dark Pit DarkPitHeadSSBU.png Palutena's Temple (Battlefield form) Dark Pit's Theme
2 Wolf WolfHeadSSBU.png Venom Star Wolf's Theme / Sector Z (for 3DS / Wii U)
3 Dark Samus DarkSamusHeadSSBU.png Frigate Orpheon Multiplayer - Metroid Prime 2: Echoes
4 Link LinkHeadBlackSSBU.png Temple Great Temple / Temple
5 Luigi LuigiHeadSSBU.png Mario Bros. Underground Theme - Super Mario Bros.
6 Ryu RyuHeadSSBU.png Suzaku Castle (Ω form) Ryu Stage
Bonus Stage
Final Crazy Hand Final Destination Crazy Hand (Less than 7.0 intensity)
Master Hand / Crazy Hand (Intensity 7.0 or higher)
On intensity 7.0 and higher, Master Hand fights alongside Crazy Hand.

Credits roll after completing Classic Mode. Completing it as Ken has Ken Stage accompany the credits.

Role in World of Light

Finding Ken in World of Light

Although Ken does not appear in the World of Light opening cutscene, he was vaporized and later imprisoned alongside the rest of the fighters (sans Kirby) when Galeem unleashed his beams of light.

Ken was one of the many fighters that fell under Dharkon's control upon Galeem's first defeat. He can be found in Dracula's Castle behind an evil ghost; Akuma must be defeated in order to reach him.

Fighter Battle

No. Image Name Type Power Stage Music
60ε
Ken SSBU.png
Ken Neutral 10,600 Boxing Ring (Ω form) Ken Stage


Spirits

Ken's Fighter Spirit can be obtained by completing Classic Mode. It is also available periodically for purchase in the shop for 500 coins. Unlocking Ken in World of Light allows the player to preview the spirit below in the Spirit List under the name "???". As a Fighter Spirit, it cannot be used in Spirit Battles and is purely aesthetic.

In Spirit battles

As the main opponent

Spirit Battle parameters
No. Image Name Series Enemy Fighter(s) Type Power Stage Rules Conditions Music
602
JackLevin.png
Jack Levin F-Zero series Ken KenHeadBlueSSBU.png
Wii Fit Trainer WiiFitTrainerHeadGreenSSBU.png (×3)
Neutral
8,800 Big Blue (Battlefield form) •Sudden Final Smash •The enemy will suddenly have a Final Smash
•Reinforcements will appear during the battle
Dream Chaser
766
KazMiller.png
Kazuhira Miller Metal Gear Solid series Ken KenHeadYellowSSBU.png
Snake SnakeHeadGreenSSBU.png (×3)
Shield
9,600 Midgar (Battlefield form) •Attack Power ↑ •Defeat the main fighter to win
•Timed battle
•The enemy has increased attack power when the enemy's at high damage
Encounter
942
Don Flamenco Spirit.png
Don Flamenco Punch-Out!! series Ken KenHeadYellowSSBU.png
Attack
3,600 Boxing Ring N/A •The enemy's up special has increased power
Stamina battle
•The enemy favors up specials
Vega Stage
996
Dan Hibiki.png
Dan Street Fighter series Ken KenHeadBlueSSBU.png
Neutral
1,600 Suzaku Castle (Ω form) •Jump Power ↓ Stamina battle
•The enemy loves to taunt
•All fighters have reduced jump power
E. Honda Stage Type A
1,197
Munchymonk.png
Munchy Monk Rythm Heaven series Ken KenHeadBlueSSBU.png
•Tiny Kirby KirbyHeadWhiteSSBU.png (×3)
Shield
1,500 Spirit Train Item: Food •Defeat the main fighter to win
•The enemy favors up specials
•The enemy is easily distracted by items
Fruit Basket

Alternate costumes

Ken Palette (SSBU).png
KenHeadSSBU.png KenHeadGreySSBU.png KenHeadBlueSSBU.png KenHeadWhiteSSBU.png KenHeadGreenSSBU.png KenHeadYellowSSBU.png KenHeadCyanSSBU.png KenHeadBlackSSBU.png

Reveal trailer

Gallery

Character Showcase Video

Trivia

  • Ken's pose in his official artwork is much like the pose in his Street Fighter III artwork.
    • It also resembles Ryu's pose in his Smash 4 artwork, only mirrored.
  • Ken's attack on Wario's motorcycle in the character showcase video is a reference to the car smashing mini-game from the Street Fighter II games.
  • Ken's inclusion makes Street Fighter the second third-party universe to have more than one representative, after Castlevania.
    • Ken is also the second third-party Echo Fighter.
    • Additionally, Ken is the first Echo Fighter based on a third-party veteran, as Richter debuted alongside Simon.
    • Ken is the second clone to debut in their home series in the same game as the base fighter, after Falco in Melee, who debuted in Star Fox alongside Fox.
  • Ken is the second newcomer in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate to be from a franchise that had its first character introduced in Super Smash Bros. 4, and the only one to be from a DLC-introduced franchise. His inclusion also makes Street Fighter the second franchise with a single character in Smash 4 to receive another playable character, the first for both instances being Animal Crossing.
  • Ken is the first character revealed for Ultimate to share a reveal trailer with a character not from the same franchise, having been revealed in the same trailer as Incineroar.
  • Ken's showcase of Shippu Jinraikyaku after a successful parry in his reveal trailer is a reference to "Evo Moment 37" (sometimes referred to as the "Daigo Parry"), a famous portion of an EVO 2004 match between top Street Fighter III players Justin Wong and Daigo Umehara.[1]
  • Ken and Richter are the only Echo Fighter newcomers with a CGI trailer as well as the only one with CGI footage for their splash art. Daisy did not have either, while Chrom and Dark Samus had only gameplay footage for their trailers and their official artwork for their splash arts.
  • Interestingly, Ken's appearance in Ultimate marks the fourth time in any game where his eye color is blue opposing to the usual brown after Street Fighter X Tekken and Street Fighter IV.
  • With the inclusion of his Roundhouse Kicks, Ken has a total of six unique special moves at once, making him the only character in the series with this distinction.
    • This also makes him the character with the most amount of special moves that can't be used in midair, the number being 2.
  • Ken is one of the few characters who speaks while teetering: he voices a surprised "Uh oh!".
  • Ken is the only character who speaks when he grab releases an opponent, voicing a quick "Whoops!".
  • Ken has the third highest amount of voice clips for any character in the game, with 62 clips. Kirby and Joker are the only characters who have a higher amount, with 97 and 98 total clips, respectively (counting the clips from the Phantom Thieves of Heart).
    • Strangely, his Star KO clip is unavailable in his sound library, making him the only fighter with this distinction.
  • Ken and Mario are the only characters that possess the Neutral typing when unlocking them in World of Light.
  • In the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Collector's Edition Guide by Prima Games, Ken is the only Echo Fighter to not be covered in the same section as his character of origin, Ryu.
  • Ken, Dr. Mario, Ivysaur, Greninja, Little Mac, Ryu, Cloud, Dark Samus, and Olimar are the only characters to never appear as minions in any Spirit battles.

Notes

2.^  "Inazuma" translates into "Lightning"
3.^  translates into "Toe Kick"
4.^  translates into "Uppercut Elbow"
5.^  translates into "Shoulder Throw"
6.^  translates into "Circle Throw"
7.^  translates into "Big Outer Roundhouse Kick"
8.^  translates into "Hatchet Dropping Kick"

References

  1. ^ [1]


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