Moving on with the character balance changes coming to Street Fighter V at the end of this month, VesperArcade now turns his attention to Ken. Mr. Master’s patch notes are pretty light, as he only received the universal changes to his medium and heavy Shoryukens that were covered in a previous video, and his Thunder Kick going from -2 to -4 on block, making it punishable, like it was in Season 1. Though it may seem like a minor change on paper, Vesper feels it has significant ramifications for Ken, and wanted to discuss them in much greater detail.
In Season 1, Ken’s Thunder Kick was already punishable, but in Season 2 it was changed to -2 on block, making it now safe against even the fastest normal attacks. The biggest change, however, is to the advantage on hit, which was changed to +2 from 0. Now, this might not sound like much, but Ken can now combo from his Thunder Kick overhead if it hits crouching opponents, because it actually becomes +3, since it hits them meaty. To be fair, he can’t do this on Birdie, Zangief and Urien, since they’re taller characters, and he’ll only be +2 on hit.
Vesper goes on to showcase the plethora of setups this can provide Ken with, due to having 3-frame specials in his Light Shoryuken and Tatsumaki Senpukyaku, as well as other ways he can mixup with it in the corner for dangerous offense.
So, Capcom making this -4 on block but keeping its combo potential seems like a compromise, without nerfing it too hard. For one, most overheads in the game are -6 right now. You can’t combo after most of them afterwards, yet they can be punished harder than Ken’s overhead after April. You also might argue that Ken’s overhead is slower than normal, since Capcom increased the startup from 23 to 26 frames, the same as Chun-Li’s, so we could definitely spin in circles debating on how to balance this.
Lastly, Vesper provides his traditional “final verdict” on Ken’s standing.
My final verdict on Ken, based on these changes alone, is overall nerfed. Ken will still have his wold corner game, since his throw loops remain untouched, but his opponent can now punish him if he reads correctly on a blocked Thunder Kick. And Ken players might think twice now, before using it when they’re really low on health. Capcom obviously wanted to even out the risk and reward, balance out the scales a bit on this overhead attack, so after this change, I wonder where Ken will end up? I honesty think right now, Season 2 Ken is somewhere in the top 10 region. I personally think he’s the best shoto of the three. But after this change, and Akuma getting a slight buff to his HP, I’m really curious where he will land.
You can view the full video above, and if you’re curious about other changes coming to SFV, you can check out his previous coverage at these links:
- Uppercut changes
- Jump back throw OS removed
- V-Reversal and charge changes
- New moves & Air Force Base changes
- CFN features & Kanzuki Private Beach changes