Tuesday, June 7, 2011

X-Mania Europe - Kurahashi Q&A

We did this last week, before Kurahashi won singles and got second place in the 3on3, but my questions were mostly general so enjoy this late "preview." Riz0ne co-produced this post; look for more material like this from us as SBO approaches.

What are your thoughts and expectations about X-Mania Europe?

I'm extremely glad to see SF2 with its long history getting played not just in Japan but also in distant countries. I hope that X-Mania Europe continues annually like the original.

I wonder why your match against John Choi is one of the most famous SF2 matches ever. What are your thoughts about that fight?

On top of the fact that O.Sagat has a huge advantage over Guile, I think it made a strong impression on everyone because of the close comeback finish.

What do you think about the Ryu vs. Guile match?

I personally think it's close to even and that winning or losing comes down to the players' abilities. Out of the multitude of matches in SF2 Ryu vs. Guile is one of the most exciting.

The other day Kikai could be seen using a throw/option select Flash Kick auto-mixup. Do you use that trick? Any other tricks for Ryu or Guile that movie hounds might not be aware of?

I use that trick. Another one for Guile is the Flash Kick out of standing hit stun. When your opponent comes at you with a safe jump, right before you stand up move the joystick diagonally down in their direction. This forces a standing hit stun animation while you retain your charge. From there press up and you can do a Flash Kick. This trick works for other charge characters, too.*

So you move the joystick from down-back to down then down-towards to force the standing hit stun? Not down-back to neutral to down-towards?

Right as the opponent's attack connects move from down-back to down-towards. You don't need to hit neutral. It's also possible to do Guile's super out of standing hit stun.

Pretend there's a potluck dinner at X-Mania — what would you bring? In other words, tell us about something you like to eat that you make or get nearby.

I would say Sushi, Gratin or Oniku Zenpan**. Also I make different kinds of salads for myself.

Thank you very much. Good luck at X-Mania EU and SBO. I'm rooting for you so please crush Nuki.

Thanks for the support. My teammates are strong this year so we definitely want to crush Nuki and win the whole thing.


* Pretty sure that my translation is ok here but I'm still not sure what to make of it. I mistakenly (?) thought the trick used a crouching fierce when I posted about it earlier. Also: Tsuji video.

** Some kind of meat dish.


  1. Yeah, I always thought it was a stuffed cr fierce into flashkick as well. If getting hit while holding d/f causes you to go into standing hitstun, this is total news to me. Interesting stuff

  2. LOL.. at Ryu and Guile being an even match. How is Ryu vs Guile even in Super turbo? Ryu can out fireball guile and he use the super to control the match. All Ryu has to do is land a red fireball and he can start safe jumping Guile all day. Can Guile safe jump Ryu of a connected sonic boom? Nope. Guiles super is practically useless vs Ryu unless Ryu fucks up a safe jump or gets sucked in by doing a meaty attack. Doing a meaty attack is pretty useless once Guile has his super cued because the benefit doesn't outweigh the cost. The best thing to do is just walk and try to bait it out. Ryu can stop all Guiles jumpins from full screen using a standing roundhouse and a duck strong but Ryu can jump at Guile from ranges with roundhouse and forward kick where it stuffs all his anti airs CLEAN. The angle has to be precise. In some instances he can jump at Guile when he is busy throwing a sonic boom with jump fierce but that most of the trades with cr fierce but occasionally it wins. He can also use a shoryuken when Guile jumps. Once Ryu gets a knockdown he has so many mixup opportunities against Guile its not even funny! Most of the time Guile's super just hits once and thats it. After it hits once Guile is left open to be punished. Once Ryu puts guile in the corner (what Daigo did to Muteki in sbo i believe) he can do a sweep to fireball all day and Guile cant get out. ShootingD beat Tsnoppi 6-4 and there is a set on nocio video of ShootingD just demolishing Muteki. I seen Muteki and Kurahashi play and Kurahashi has won the majority of the matches. I saw almost every Guile player lose to a ryu player in the recent 5v5. Ryu wins that match there is even a chart where pro players agreed it was 6.5 to 3.5 ryu. Daigo even said Ryu vs Guile is 6-4 to Ryu. I remember seeing Kurahashi lose to Daigo. Daigo put him in the corner and Kurahashi was so scared of the sweep to fireball pressure than Daigo just walked up to him and threw him!

    Possible mixups for Ryu against Guile when he knocks him down:

    Safe jump throw
    Safe jump dragon punch
    Safe jump overhead
    Safe jump (Guile guesses throw) low forward xx red fireball
    Safe jump (guile guess throw) SUPER
    Safe jump rush punch to sweep
    Cross up hurricane kick to either throw, sweep, or if a flashkick whiffs you book him with a rush punch low forward red fireball combo!
    Knockdown red fireball
    Cross up overhead
    Cross up throw
    Cross up (wait a second low forward red fireball) that is if Guile anticipates a throw
    Knock down overhead
    What can Guile do to Ryu besides that cheesy flashkick or throw mix up. Ryu has way more tools way more options to get rid of Guile. I want to find the link of the nocio video where it shows Muteki getting waxed by ShootingD in the marathon set and another pink colored Guile totally getting demolished by the Black gi Ryu. Bottom line is Ryu can wax Guile. I have no idea what Kurahashi was thinking when he said it was nearly an even match. I wonder why he retired Guile if hes such a solid character?

  3. I forgot to mention one thing and that is the hurricane kick. The short kick hurricane kick can trick Guile into thinking he can punish it but he will almost nearly get swept or thrown. If the Ryu player is clever he will DP after it. After landing a roundhouse hurricane kick Ryu can neutral safe jump as well!!!!!!

  4. wow. to anonymous above. thats one long detailed opinion.

    Probably cuz Kurahashi plays both characters and owns, he doesnt see a difference XD

    But like you said, general consens is among top (japan) players, ryu has the advantage in the match up.

    Ryu owns all projektile characters cept Sim and (O.) Sagat imo.

  5. Another thing i wanted to add was even if Guile lands a jump roundhouse on Ryu there is a 70 percent chance he will land on a fireball on the way down which leads to Ryu's endless safe jump barrage!

    Last time I checked Kurahashi retired Guile bro to play Ryu.

  6. Pasky calm the fuck down. At worst it's 4-6 for Guile. I've spectated you on GGPO and you're not even close to using Guile to his potential. Maybe start by reviewing footage of say Yuuai's (Nomura) Guile who was and remains the best Guile who has played on GGPO (cbf finding replay links, maybe later), before criticizing Kurahashi whose opinion on this matchup if pretty accurate. He knows this matchup inside out, ffs.

    There is no way Ryu can jump in on Guile. The only time he can stuff Guile's cr.Fierce is with a lucky j.fierce, which only works <10% of the time. All other times Guile's cr.Fierce will trade favorably. If you're losing to this shit then you're booming from too close and the startup of cr.Fierce is losing to their air attack. I repeat, if your cr.Fierce is losing somehow then you're booming at the wrong time or from the wrong range. Watch match vids -- how often do shotos land a jump-in on Guile (who's not knocked down?) There are instances, but it's very rare. This clues you in that Guile's anti-air is supreme and is a no-fly zone for shotos. Of course there are gimmicks here and there, especially against Ken with top-spins over and whatnot, but in general, it's a no-fly zone and stays that way.

    If they land further away use cr.MK early for tripguard damage. If further away than that then simply boom. You cannot jump-in on Guile, I don't know how you can say that his anti-airs fail against Ryu. I mean, Guile is a fucking turtletank anywhere except when he's stuck in the corner.

    Spacing and footsies are key -- you cannot boom from too close. Ryu's who repeat gimmicky shit like Ryu's doing cr.HK->short Hurricane (a favorite of say, DGV) should be stopped if you react fast enough with a normal which will put him in blockstun. Do you see Japanese Ryu's doing this shit in match videos? Not much, which clues you in that it shouldn't be a threat, so stop fearing this kind of rushdown pressure because it's not dangerous.

    Guile's footsies in this match are key, and the tachimawari overall is roughly even, i.e., don't do booms from too close, always backfist when the opportunity arises, and use his cr.MK to outfootsie (footises are an acquired skill and sense of spacing as well as sense of whether they'll throw shit out is required for this). When they get close, hesitate, and if you sense they're going for the cr.RH->FB pressure, see if you can outfootsie with moving backwards a few pixels and baiting their missed cr.RH, for a free cr.MK punish. This and footsies in general are key if you want to not die to Ryu's walkup cr.HK->fireball lockdowns.

    Notice how Muteki always hesitates and doesn't throw a boom for a few split seconds when he sees that Ryu is in range for a hurricane. But as soon as Ryu is one pixel further away from that range, he throws booms. If you're at close range you have to hesitate slightly before throwing booms. Once your boom is onscreen, you have the advantage and can press forward if necessary for footsies pressure, or backfist if they FB'd. Alternatively if the range is not optimal you just keep booming and maintain the distance game.

    Yes, Guile is at a disadvantage on paper from 3/4 to full screen because Ryu's fb's are faster. But anywhere closer than fullscreen and you are a threat for a jump-in roundhouse/MK, so it reduces to a classic jump/no-jump mindgame of when Guile will jump (if at all). Not much needs to be said on this, it's just standard guesswork and reading your opponent to jump at the right time; and conversely on their part good reads and hesitating at the right point in the fireball stream to make you jump and you eat a DP.

  7. (continued)

    It is true that Guile often ends up in the corner much more than the converse. However, this does not necessarily mean you're gonna lose and give up crying. You have to keep a calm head and solid fundamentals, because when you're in the corner you're most at risk from getting hit by walkup cr.HK, or walkup hurricane. This is where you hesitate and play super safe, teching throws rather than trying fancy shit, etc. If you can just open up the spacing to the point where you can freely boom and advance forward, then you've effectively escaped that bird cage. I can write more on this specific topic of corner pressure if you want.

    Anyway, I get the sense you're intimidated by playing US rushdown style Ryu's in the typical vein of say Valle and DGV. Trust me, this type of Ryu play gets DEMOLISHED in Japan, because to be win as Ryu you need to know how to DEFEND in the footsies and mid-game spacing metagame. Witness Valle struggling against Daigo in HDRemix (admittedly this is 6-4 for Guile in Remix), Watson losing to Kurahashi, and so on. The matchup has been figured out, and it comes down to extremely solid footsie and spacing play, good reads by both players. It has nothing to do with Ryu being overwhelmingly stronger than Guile in this matchup at all. Guile's footsies, spacing and anti-air are effective.

    Go lookup Yaya(Guile) vs Gotoh(Ryu) from the most recent Kasugai50 videos. Analyse and study. This is far, far from the hugely disadvantageous matchup you make it out to be.

    Btw sorry for this long-ass rant/reply in which I didn't really say much. I just want to point out that your understanding of this matchup is lacking, hence you think it's like 3-7 Guile.

  8. I just re-read your post and here are some specific points:

    -- Sure, Ryu's cr.MP and DP will stop Guile's jump-ins, but only if he pauses and sees you jump, and/or if he pauses because he expects you to jump. Your jumping happens to have been predicted, basically. In match vids you will often see (yes, Tsunoppi and Muteki as you mentioned) risk a jump at some point if they're confident in their read that the Ryu will hadoken. There is always risk reward, but in your case you're probably just jumping at the wrong time. Also it's rare that you'll land a hit with a jump-in, to then land on a slow fireball due to jumping from far range -- this doesn't happen that often. Guys like Tencho are really good at baiting Guiles to land on this though. To summarise -- jumping is riskier for Guile, so don't jump so much. Sometimes, you should if you have a *good read* and sense a fireball coming. Remember, Ryu's can't FB willy-nilly, they have to pause and vary their timing (this is fireballing 101) otherwise they WILL eat a jump-in from Guile.

    -- If Guile eats Ryu's super then Ryu got really lucky on a basically guess/desperation read. This happens basically NEVER if Guile is out of the corner, but it is a danger if you're stuck in the corner. So play it safe; it's better to take damage slowly from fireball pressure than risk a move that will mean you eat damage much faster. For this to land, Ryu has to basically guess that you'll throw a boom at that exact moment; but chances are you don't, so you either block the Shinkuu or jump over it and let it pass through like most top Guiles do.

    -- As mentioned previously, Guile's anti-air is supreme and if you're losing in the anti-air battle then you're definitely doing something wrong. Don't boom from too close where they can guess-jump over and stuff your cr.Fierce.

    -- "Once Ryu gets a knockdown he has so many mixup opportunities". You're exaggerating how dangerous this is. Firstly, most of the time, when Ryu gets a knockdown on you, he is only in optimal range for a forwards safe jump, which you will naturally tech the throw that follows, or block the cr.MK->FB trap. Either way the worst you suffer is a teched throw and ending up closer to the corner. He cannot do an overhead because the range after you block his safejump is non-optimal for that. If after a knockdown he walks up and threatens to with low/high mixups, there's something called reactions where you can reversal FK or stick a normal out to stuff his move. Do you ever see top JP Ryus doing that kind of shit? No. They play textbook to maximize their risk-reward, which means, safejump (with okizeme variations, usually leading into a throw to move you further towards the corner). Occasionally, Ryu WILL be in range after a knockdown on you to crossup. This usually happens if he knocks you down near the corner. This is obviously more dangerous, but there's not much you can do about that specifically other than try not to eat the crossup (usually defending this is easy, I haven't seen anyone aside from Tencho do ambiguous crossups on Guile), and react quickly by standing up if you see the overhead startup animation.

  9. (continued)

    -- Escaping the corner is tricky. Whilst the fireball birdcage can theoretically run forever, in reality you rarely see Ryu completely dominate without Guile being able to answer. Ryu can do at most three or four connected fireballs in his fireball trap -- after this point, technically his advantage is not that great. If he has super charged, he can threaten with that, but he cannot super on reaction to a boom. Like I said before, if you eat the super here, it is because he GUESSED that you would boom at that exact moment, so he did the super in anticipation. That is the only time you would eat the super. All other times, you can jump back over the super -- this happens so much in match videos (Kurahashi vs Watson, Muteki against anyone, etc). Ryu's try to continue their advantage/momentum by unleashing the super early in anticipation of catching a boom startup, only for the Guile player to have successfully baited and avoided the super entirely (or simply blocked). Another thing to watch out for is the classic whiff or pause in the fireball trap to get you to jump up, only to land on the subsequent delayed fireball. This works on a lot of Guile players, but know that essentially it is still guesswork for Ryu. If Guile instead booms in response to the delayed fb, then Ryu's advantage is entirely lost and he'll probably eat a backfist. At this point, the spacing is such that the birdcage no longer applies, your options improve and you can work to push Ryu out a little further again.

    -- Your list of "mixups":
    ---- Safe jump dragon punch does not apply to this matchup, I don't know why you mention this.
    ---- Safe jump overhead does not work. Get some reactions and stand up or stick something out if you see the overhead starting up.
    ---- Safe jump cr.MK->fb works, but usually Ryu's will try to get (basically guaranteed) damage with a throw instead
    ---- Safe jump, pause, super: Learn your tech timings, this is tough on faster speeds so play on slower speeds (Guile benefits from textbook play at slower speeds anyway)
    ---- Crossup hurricane: why are you trying to flashkick on wakeup. Block the crossup, it's not ambiguous on Guile. If it's a poorly timed or executed crossup hurricane you can super it on wakeup though. All other times, block.
    ---- Crossup roundhouse: out of all the options you listed, this is the only really dangerous situation because in this case Ryu actually *does* have too many options. Just block normally (i.e. low), but watch out for that overhead. That takes care of everything because at worst you will eat a throw which you just tech, and avoid worse options like eating a low forward into fb or super.

  10. LOL you moron.. just look at Japan... look at those pro Guiles who lose to pro Ryus. Watch the 5v5... you don't know shit. RYU CAN JUMP ON GUILE from a far with Roundhouse and Forward kick stuffing all his anti airs. In ce Guile had a ST Roundhouse but he no longer has that as an effective tool. Old Guile has a st roundhouse but it did does not have the same priority as CE making him weaker. WHY DID THE JAPANESE SAY IT WAS 6.5 3.5 TO RYU? How come on nocio video the black gi Ryu beat the Grey Guile to a pulp? Why did Daigo beat both Muteki and Kurahashi. That is not an even match is what im saying. Why does KIKAI practically lose everytime to a Ryu player. The Ryu vs Guile match is 6-4 to Ryu its not "practically" even. If that was such a case Guile wouldn't be losing to Ryu nearly everytime. The whole point about the safe jump mixups was that Ryu has so many of them because as soon as he knocks down Guile he CAN JUMP AT HIM FOR FREE!!!!!! He only needs to land a red fireball to start safe jumping him all day. Can Guile can offensive of on Ryu by landing one sonic boom? That match is not even.. if it was an even match those results on NOCIO VIdeo would have said otherwise. Sure Guile CAN win the match but he is still at a disadvantage to Ryu and pro japanese Ryus prove my theory right all the time. Man you can even look on NH2's site. He had sets of unnamed pro Japanese players. There were 2-3 sets of a Pro Guile vs a Pro Ryu and the Pro Guile did not stand a chance as soon as the Ryu player started doing that corner pressure sweept to fireball.


    If you say my knowledge is lacking then you say most Japanese players knowledge is lacking or the Guiles in Japan flat out suck because they get WAXED By Ryu ALL THE TIME BRO!!!!! "6.5 3.5 in favor of Ryu." So not only are you insulting my intelligence but their intelligence as well. Man i hope i can find those links nh2 posted to prove my point. If the match is slightly even you would see Guile win over Ryu alot more but that clearly is not the case. TRY THIS YOUR SELF THROW A SONIC BOOM FROM FULL SCREEN AND HAVE RYU JUMP AT YOU WITH ROUNDHOUSE OR FORWARD KICK IT WILL STUFF ANY ANTI AIR HE HAS!!!!! Most of the time Guile is too busy throwing out a sonic boom and stuck in recovery so by the time he does his cr fierces Ryus jump kick would have already stuffed it. This needs to be timed from 3/4 screen. Once again bro i personally think this match is in RYUS favor. NOT HEAVILY IN RYUS FAVOR as EVEN YOU STATED but still in HIS FAVOR. Even you agreed with me bro. "4-6 at worst." Im not saying this is a horrible match for Guile. This match is winnable no doubt but Ryu DOES HAVE AN ADVANTAGE even if it is a "slight" one as you say. The results in Japan prove it.

  12. LOL@ my mixups not working. Every single one of those mixups work because I have seen them done by pro japanese Ryus to Guiles.

  13. Sorry i didn't mean you "Throw a sonic boom from full screen but THREE FOURTHS SCREEN" and then have Ryu jump kick you with roundhouse and forward kick.

  14. sigh, God forbid people experience matchups a bit differently than others.

    Good stuff Nohoho and RizOne. any chance you can check out some moonspeak forums and find out what kurahashi and kusumondo had to say about the event to their peers?

  15. I wish people would put the passion they have for Internet bickering into playing sf fiercely.

    Kareeeeem - I've corresponded with Kusu a bit. First I wrote him in Japanese he responded in English so I just wrote back in English. Now I'm worried he couldn't understand ^^;

    Kurahashi wrote that maybe it was good he lost on Sunday people got really excited. The 2ch guys wrote a lot of 空気読め about Kurahashi it's like "slow your roll dude" like when he goes first at those versus team battles kinda too strong.

  16. Oh also mattsun posted a pic of the xmania EU shirt that everyone signed very very cool

  17. lol, all kurahashi said was "I personally think it's close to even [...]". 4-6 is close to even. nuff said, blud

  18. "Good stuff Nohoho and RizOne. any chance you can check out some moonspeak forums and find out what kurahashi and kusumondo had to say about the event to their peers?"

    They liked the event and want to go again with more players. So if there is another big tournament next year you could get more top Japanese to attend.

  19. Plane tickets from the US to France are much less expensive earlier in the year!! *cough*

  20. wtf happened in here? lol

  21. woooooooooooooooow

  22. Hey blogger has templates for mobile devices not bad.

    1. Nohoho, only assholes screams during SSF2x tournament to help their friends.
      And guess what, you're one of them :)

  23. LOL@ you deleting my comments but let me just keep it civil here.

    1. Daigo and Valle are not of equal skill level and you can't determine character matchups based on players who are not even in skill level. The examples i used is of Pro Japanese players. Daigo beating both Muteki and Kurahashi. In the 5 v 5 The Ryu players straight up dominated the Guile players. The nocio videos of the Guiles vs the Ryus proves my theory as well.

    2. Yaya's guile lost to Gotohs Ryu 4-1 so your example proves my theory over your own!

    3. HDREMIX is not Super Turbo so don't use that game to determine tiers in Super Turbo as you stated up above.

  24. kurahashi knows whats up.

  25. You guys should calm down. Even among top Japanese players, there is skill difference. Even if one gathered like Sasori, Sashishi, Tencho, D, Kurahashi and maybe Daigo, there would still be a difference between them, possibly even due to recent availability of training time, not to mention styles.

    Daigo beat Muteki at that match just because the latter fell for that air tatsu trick, when Daigo pretty much knew he mostly lost the match and had to try one last thing, and it did pay out, Muteki could not readjust the cr.fwd timing fast enough (or due to tension) and then ate the full desperation super. It is just a match, people shouldn't make it mean more than it does.

    BTW, Guile's cr.fierce is great, but does that shit suck online...

    Thanks for the content, NH2 and RizOne. But I still couldn't understand that Guile trick. Offensive crouching puts a character in standing hitstun? I'm lost.

    BTW, option-select DP in safe jump can work at that match-up, but it is mostly useless, and still risky. Odds are Ryu's SRK will beat the Flash Kick due to the first start-up frames getting "wasted" when Ryu has not yet started his Shoryu, but then he can also get hit at the head and lose cleanly, or trade, and the whole idea is punishing the whiffed move. Perhaps as a desperation shit when Ryu has no life left, but then one should not jump in the first place, I suppose.

    I agree with NH2, people should play more, and not mind people with 150 ms ping or the like!

  26. I would like to apologize for double-posting. I can not edit my previous comment. Anyway, can someone please link the videos or the post with the 5v5s? I have trouble with the match-up, sometimes.

  27. http://www.nicovideo.jp/watch/sm14755797


    Check it out. Some Dictator versus Sim tactics videos.