Want to know the best Street Fighter 6 Ken combos and special moves? Times have been tough for Ryu’s rival over the years, but none more than getting wound up in a conspiracy to ruin his reputation. He has since been acquitted, but he now fights with a new purpose and perhaps the most diverse moveset of his career.
For some of us here at PCGamesN, there’s a tendency to main-pick this member of the Street Fighter 6 roster in every one of his fighting game appearances. After all, his basics are familiar, but his focus on rush-down techniques makes him historically a decent choice, so it’ll be fascinating to see how he fares in the Street Fighter 6 tier list. Ken is no different, and with our various hands-on time over the past few months, so we have some tips on performing his new special moves and working them into combos efficiently.
How to play Ken in Street Fighter 6
Ken’s fighting style is similar to previous games in that he excels at close quarters. With many ways to dish out the pain, including a command dash to link seemingly impossible combos, His mid-game is also reasonably strong as he has some great kicks and ways to close in the distance.
His Hadokens are the only real leftover from his Ryu clone days, as all other similar techniques, such as the Shoryuken and Tatsumaki, have alterations to make them unique. As such, he tends only to use Hadokens as part of a combo or to keep the enemy on their toes at middle to long range. Another big thing to remember is that in Street Fighter 6, Ken’s inputs require a bit of muscle memory as he often changes sides mid-combo.
Street Fighter 6 motions
While he does have plenty of moves, none of Ken’s motions are especially complex or anything those who have used him or Ryu would not be familiar with. In case you need a refresher, here are all of the relevant movements with explanations for each one:
Here are the most important motions for Ken in Street Fighter 6:
- Quarter-circle forward – push down on the d-pad or stick and quickly rotate to the direction your character is facing.
- Quarter-circle back – push down on the d-pad or stick and quickly rotate in the opposite direction to the one your character is facing.
- Z Motion – press forward, then quickly press down and rotate so you’re pressing down and forward simultaneously.
- Overdrive – known previously as EX moves, this is the same move, but you press any two punches or any two kicks. It consumes two bars to the Drive Gauge to execute.
Street Fighter 6 Ken special moves
Hadoken – Quarter-circle forward + Punch
Ken’s projectile move is primarily used as a way of applying pressure from a distance, or as part of a combo. The strength of the punch determines the speed of the fireball. The Overdrive version of this move hits twice and launches at full speed.
Shoryuken – Z Motion forward + Punch
A rising uppercut that has a longer startup and launches enemies higher, depending on which punch is used. The Overdrive version of this move ignites Ken’s fist, delivering a short uppercut, followed by a much bigger punch for big damage. This move changes if used straight after the Quick Dash to ignite on fire and hit five times no matter which button you press, but lacks an Overdrive option.
Tatsumaki Senpu-kyaku – Quarter-circle back + Kick
Performs a series of aerial kicks which launches Ken forwards. The light and medium versions hit opponents twice, while the heavy version hits three times. The Overdrive variant makes Ken rise higher, hitting four times, followed by a knockdown kick. This move also changes if used with Quick Dash to ignite on fire and hit five times, no matter which button you press, however, there is no Overdrive version.
Aerial Tatsumaki Senpu-kyaku – Quarter-circle back + Kick
A version of the Tatsumaki Senpu-kyaku Ken performs while jumping forward. None of the regular buttons are different, but the Overdrive version ignites his foot, hitting the opponent twice. You can use this as a cross-up while leaping over the opponent.
Jinrai Kick – Quarter-circle forward + Kick
The more basic version of Ken’s famous Shippu Jinrai-kyaku super art from Street Fighter III: Third Strike, this forward-moving roundhouse can be followed up with the following moves:
- Forward + LK: Kazekama Shin Kick – Ken stops and hits a low kick. This is safe on block.
- Forward + MK: Gorai Axe Kick – Ken stops and executes an overhead kick.
- Forward + HK: Senka Snap Kick – Ken uses his momentum to swing round for a second roundhouse kick, launching the opponent.
All three of these moves have an additional action you can perform after the Overdrive version of the second hit. The Kasi Thrust Kick requires you to press forward and any kick but adds a third kick to knock the opponent away. The Overdrive version also ignites his kick on fire.
Dragonlash Kick – Z Motion + Kick
This leaping roundhouse kick closes the distance between you and your opponent and is a way to continue combos. You’ll switch sides if you use it during a combo while the opponent is in the air. Your kick of choice affects the startup time and damage, while the Overdrive version is nearly instantaneous. This move ignites if you use it as part of the Quick Dash.
Quick Dash – two Kicks
Ken performs a short dash, handy for linking combos that he would otherwise not be able to reach in time. This move also alters the properties of the Shoryuken, Tatsumaki Senpu-kyaku, and Dragonlash Kick if performed during the dash. Ken can also perform the following moves mid-dash:
- LK: Emergency Stop – Ken halts his movement.
MK: Thunder Kick – Ken performs a lightning-quick axe kick.
HK: Forward Step Kick – Ken stops before thrusting his foot out a good distance.
Street Fighter 6 Ken Super Arts
Level One: Dragonlash Flame – Quarter-circle back x2 + Kick
Ken kicks his opponent before launching into a series of short kicks in the air. This move is invincible at the beginning and switches positions with your opponent upon completion.
Level Two: Shippu Jinrai-kyaku – Quarter-circle forward x2 + Kick
This is Ken’s classic Third Strike super art. He executes a swift set of flaming Jinrai kicks before launching his opponent into the air with an aerial Tatsumaki.
Level Three: Shinryu Reppa – Quarter-circle forward x2 + Punch
Ken performs a Shoryuken, then go into a series of fiery uppercuts if that first hit connects. If your vitality is at 25% or lower, this is proceeded by a final slug in the face that causes a hard knockdown. If the first hit doesn’t land completely, Ken will follow up with a second fiery Shoryuken instead.
There are two schools of thought with Ken’s combos, but if you’re just starting with the character, we don’t recommend practicing too many combos that require the Quick Dash. Besides, he has plenty of options outside the complex combos that use Quick Dash, as you can cancel any combo ending with a Shoryuken into his level three super art for huge damage.
Once you’ve mastered the basic combos, you can try incorporating Quick Dashes to extend them beyond their normal capabilities. We highly encourage you to experiment in training mode as Ken has the potential to do so much, but the dash’s timing can make some moves tricky to execute.
Crouching MK xx Hadoken
A very simple combo here, but it’s the one you should learn first, as Ken’s crouching medium kick is such a good poking move at mid-range. It doesn’t do much damage, but it maximizes the punishment for a cocky opponent who thinks they can get the advantage. After the Hadoken, you can extend this combo with his level two super art for even more damage.
MK, MK, HK
This is the Triple Flash Kicks target combo, and it does good damage. It also encourages you to press buttons at the correct time, as mashing them will not work.
MP, HP xx Tatsumaki Senpu-kyaku
The third simple combo of this list allows you to keep your foe guessing while fighting up close.
Crouching LK, Crouching LP, Light Tatsumaki xx Medium Shoryuken
Another good combo to learn as it gets you in the habit of trying to juggle your opponent. The timing will take some practice, but you can always try replacing the Shoryuken with its Overdrive version for maximum damage.
With that, you should now know all of the new Street Fighter 6 Ken combos and every one of his special moves. Ken’s play style is simple to grasp, particularly if you’ve played Street Fighter before, but mastering the newer techniques will separate you from the rest of the competition. If you find his fighting style isn’t for you, try one of the other characters in the roster, such as Chun-Li, Kimberly, Jamie, or Luke, as they may be better suited to your experience.