Ken Guide: Matchup Chart and Combos | List of Ken Command Inputs | Super Smash Bros Ultimate

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Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Ken Guide

This is a guide to using Ken in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Ken's bread and butter combos, how to unlock, frame data, alt costumes and skins, as well as Ken's matchups, counters, and tier list placement can all be found here.

Ken Tier and Overview

Stats and General Info

Ken
Ken Image
Game Series Street Fighter
Smash Bros. Debut SSBU
Fighter Number 60E
Unlock Order 57
Number of Jumps 2
Weight 103 Units (26/87)
Dash Speed 1.76 (37/87)
Air Speed 1.12 (30/87)
Fast Fall Speed 2.24 (64/87)
Special Attributes None

Tier List Placement

SSBU Ken Icon A Tier Tier

A close range brawler with explosive kill power

Smash Ultimate Ken has the unique mechanic (shared with Ryu and Terry), which allows him to always face an opponent in 1 vs 1 battles. Ken has very potent combos and powerful moves like Shoryuken (Command Input) and Down Aerial that are great for KOing. Ken also has a decent projectile in Hadoken. His deadly combo game and powerful finishers allow him to deal devastating damage to opponents after finding an opening.

Ken has somewhat underwhelming mobility, as well as a poor recovery. His attacks also lack range, and thus he struggles against swordies and characters with projectiles. This also makes it a bit difficult for Ken to approach opponents in order to start combos. Ken players will need to be careful not to get edgeguarded and be creative with their approachーif they can find an opening and take advantage of it, they can be rewarded greatly!

See Our Tier List Here!

Ken's Strengths and Weaknesses

Strengths ・When using the command-input, Shryuken KOs foes very early
・Super Armor on Down Special
・Has a good projectile (neutral special and Shakunetsu Hadoken)
・Will auto-turn to face 1 vs 1 opponents, making it easy to hit his moves
・Extremely deadly combo game
Weaknesses ・Always faces the opponent, and thus cannot use Bair easily
・Poor recovery makes him easy to edgeguard
・Somewhat high execution (getting used to command inputs and auto-turn)
・Focus Attack is easy to counter
・Struggles to land when put in disadvantage

Ken Matchup Chart

Matchup Chart

Ken Image
-2
Mr. Game & WatchPac-ManPikachu
-1
Bowser Jr.CloudDuck HuntInklingLucinaLuigiMarioMarthNessPalutenaRoySamus/Dark SamusSephirothShulkSnakeSonicVillagerZero Suit Samus
0
Banjo & KazooieBowserBylethCaptain FalconChromDiddy KongDonkey KongFalcoFoxGanondorfGreninjaHeroIce ClimbersIsabelleJokerLinkLittle MacLucasMega ManMeta KnightMewtwoMii GunnerMin MinOlimarPeach/DaisyPichuPiranha PlantPokemon TrainerR.O.B.RidleyRobinRosalina & LumaRyuSheikSimon/RichterSteveToon LinkWarioWii Fit TrainerYoshiYoung LinkZelda
+1
BayonettaCorrinDr. MarioIkeIncineroarJigglypuffKing DededeKing K. RoolKirbyLucarioMii BrawlerMii SwordfighterPit/Dark PitTerryWolf
+2

Notes About Matchup Chart

1. -2 = Disadvantage. -1 = Slight Disadvantage or Even. 0 = Even. +1 = Slight Advantage or Even. +2 = Advantage.
2. The matchup chart was based around both the opinions of professional players of each character, as well as our own experience through playing Ken.
3. Characters within each tier are unordered
4. Pokemon Trainer's individual Pokemon (Squirtle, Ivysaur, and Charizard) as well as Echo fighters with no significant difference than their regular counterpart are not shown.
5. For other characters who are not shown here, we are still investigating the matchup.

List of Ken's Command Inputs

Command-Input Moves

Commands Description
Hadoken
(↓↘→+AorB)
Deals 1.25 more damage than the regular Hadoken.
Oosoto Mawashi Geri
(←↙↓↘→+AorB)
A powerful roundhouse kick that can KO enemies near the ledge during high percents.
Nata Otoshi Geri
(→↘↓+AorB)
A combo extender that can be chained into a shoryuken or forward smash attacks for a potential kill.
Inazuma Kick A move that can deal massive damage to shields. Use it to mix up Nata Otoshi Geri and Oosoto Mawashi Gero against turtling enemies.
How to Use: Hold attack button after using Nata Otoshi Gero/ Oosoto Mawashi Geri
Tatsumaki Senpuukyaku
(↓↙←+AorB)
Deals 1.16 more damage than the regular
Shoryuken
(→↓↘+AorB)
Grants increased invulnerability (Iframes) and more damage than the standard input.

Easy Commands

These commands can be used to execute these moves without relying on the regular input that was listed on the command list.

Command Description
Oosoto Mawashi Geri
(↙↓↘→+AorB)
A simpler command for Oosoto Mawashi Geri, since it's a melee attack, using this input will allow you to hit enemies easier as it doesn't force Ken to perform a back step.
Shoryuken
(↘↓↘+AorB)/ (→↘→+AorB)
An alternate input to Shoryuken. This can be used easily after performing Ftilts or Downtilts.

Ken Combos

Bread and Butter Combo List
Jab → Jab → Shoryuken (→↓↘+AorB)
Up Air → Shoryuken(→↘→+AorB)
Forward Tilt (Melee) → Shoryuken (→↘→+AorB)
Up Tilt→ Shoryuken (→↘→+AorB)
Dair→ Shoryuken (↘↓↘+AorB)
Focus Attack (Full charge) → Back step(Cancel Focus Attack's animation)→Short Hop Forward →Nair→DTilt→DTilt→Tatsumaki Senpukyaku(↓↙←+AorB)

Bread and Butter Combo Guides 1

Jab→Jab→Shoryuken(→↓↘+AorB)

A combo that can be used against enemies even in their mid percents. After connecting the 2nd jab, immediately use Shoryuken to complete the combo.

Up Air→Shoryuken(→↘→+AorB)

An air combo that deals considerable amount of damage. After up air, immediately use Shoryuken to complete the combo.

FTilt(Melee)→Shoryuken(→↘→+AorB)

To perform this combo, make sure that you are at pointblank range before using forward tilt or the combo will fail. Make sure to use Shoryuken as fast as you can after your forward tilt hits to connect the two moves.

Bread and Butter Combo Guides 2

Up Tilt→Shoryuken(→↘→+AorB)

Similar to the forward tilt combo, after up tilt connects, use Shoryuken immediately to buffer it and have it be used as soon as forward tilt ends.

Dair→Shoryuken(↘↓↘+AorB)

A falling down air combo, it deals high damage and can potentially kill enemies with high percents.

Focus Attack (Full charge) → Back step(Cancel Focus Attack's Animation)→Short Hop Forward → Nair → DTilt → DTilt → Tatsumaki Senpukyaku(↓↙←+AorB)

This combo requires precise inputs into canceling the full animation of Ryu's Focus Attack and executing a short hop. Do not wait for Focus Attack's ending animation. Instead, cancel it quickly with a back step then go for a short hop to execute the rest of the combo.

Ken Frame Data and Moveset

Best Out of Shield Options

Move Frames
Up B 6 Frames
Up Air 8 Frames
Neutral Air 9 Frames
Up Smash 9 Frames
Shield Grab 10 Frames
Foward Air 11 Frames
Back Air 11 Frames

Ken has quick startup on his aerials, as well as a very fast up special and decently quick grab. Up special (Shoryuken) is the go-to out of shield option, since it comes out so quickly, and can KO opponents reliably. Any of his aerials, such as neutral air, can be used as well, and are less committal. His shield grab has decent startup, but short range and limited follow-ups, so it is usually not the best option.

Jab (Neutral Attack)

1v1 Damage (%) Startup Frames
Jab 1 - Light
(A)
1.8 2
Jab 1 - Heavy, Close 14.4/9.6 7/8
Jab 1 - Heavy, Far 7.2 9/16
Jab 2 1.8 3
Jab 3 6.0 8

Jab

Ken's jab can be linked to his Shoryuken or his Inazuma Kick if you do it twice. It's a good move to throw out as a quick get-off-me tool.

Inazuma Kick

Ken's neutral held attack is a two-hit axe kick called Inazuma Kick. Using it also depends on the distance between Ken and the opponent, so it may be hard to pull off.

Dash Attack / Tilts

1v1 Damage (%) Startup Frames
Dash Attack
(Dash + A)
14.4 7
Dash Attack (Weak Hit) 9.6 10
Forward Tilt - Heavy
(← or → + A)
6.0/12.0 10
Forward Tilt - Light 7.2/8.16 3/8
Up Tilt - Heavy
(↑ + A)
9.6/14.4 7/8
Up Tilt - Light 2.4 3
Down Tilt - Heavy
(↓ + A)
8.4/6.6 6
Down Tilt - Light 1.92 2

Dash Attack

Ken's Dash Attack has a quick startup and long-lasting hitbox. It can be used to whiff punish, and to catch an opponent in landing lag.

Forward Tilt

Ken's Forward Tilt can be a light elbow uppercut by pressing the attack button briefly at a short distance from your opponent. This elbow strike is very strong as it can be connected to Shoryuken or Drop Kick.

Up Tilt

Ken's Forward Tilt releases a quick elbow attack by pressing the Attack button briefly. This can be used as a starting point for a combo that links into a Shoryuken, so use it to KO opponents with high percents. It's very potent when used to punish an opponent's ledge jump.

Down Tilt

Ken's Down Tilt can activate a short kick by pressing attack briefly. This move can also start a combo that leads into Shoryuken. This move is quick, and is generally used as a poking tool.

If you hold attack for a long time, you can perform a long-reaching sweep. SInce your opponent gets launched lightly, you can combo this into Hadouken.

Smash Attacks

1v1 Damage (%) Startup Frames
Forward Smash
(Smash ← or → + A)
19.2/14.4 13
Up Smash 1
(Smash ↑ + A)
20.4 9
Up Smash (Weak Hit) 16.2 10
Down Smash
(Smash ↓ + A)
19.2/14.4 5
Roundhouse Kick
(← ↙ ↓ ↘ → + A)
12.0 9
Roundhouse Kick - Lightning Heel Split 12.0 9
Roundhouse Kick - Lightning Heel Split, With Derivation 12.0 17
Drop Kick
(→ ↘ ↓ + A)
6.0 12
Drop Kick - Lightning Heel Split 6.0 15
Drop Kick - Lightning Heel Split, With Derivation 12.0 20

Forward Smash

Ken's forward smash is a roundhouse kick. It is a great KO move, thanks to the sweetspot at the end of his foot whch causes additional damage and knockback. Throw this out on an opponent getting up from the ledge.

Up Smash

Ken's Up Smash comes out quickly and can be used out of shield, so use it to counter your opponent's big moves with long end lag, as well as for snuffing out an aerial approach.

Down Smash

Ken's Down Smash comes out quickly and has good range. You can hit opponents on the ledge, so use this move out of a dash for a quick punish.

Aerials

1v1 Damage (%) Startup Frames
Neutral Air
(A + no direction while airborne)
9.6/7.8 6
Neutral Air (Weak Hit) 7.8/4.8 9
Forward Air
(Hold ← or → in the direction you are facing + A while airborne)
16.8/10.8 8
Forward Air (Weak Hit) 14.4/9.6 10
Back Air
(← or → Opposite of the direction you are facing + A while airborne)
19.2/15.6 8
Up Air
(↑ + A While Airborne)
7.8 5
Down Air
(↓ + A While Airborne)
14.4 8

Neutral Air

Ken's Neutral Air hits approaching opponents easily thanks to its long lasting hitbox. It is extremely safe on shield (-2/-2), so it's always a good move to throw out in the air. While slightly slower than Ryu's neutral air, it has a bigger hitbox, making it a more useful tool.

Forward Air

Ken's Forward Air has a long lasting hitbox and deals excellent damage. Additionally, you can connect it to Shoryuken depending on how you hit it.

Back Air

Ken's Back Air is a technique that comes out quickly and has high damage. However, it is difficult to pull off because Ken automatically faces his opponent in 1v1 battles. In order to be able to pull this off, you'll need to become very good at using a RAR back air (reverse aerial rush).

Up Air

Ken's Up Air kicks upward, and can be comboed into a Shoryuken once it connects with an opponent.

Down Air

Ken's Down Air can meteor smash diagonally. Do this by the ledge to try and land an edgeguard, but beware that Ken has a poor recovery.

Specials

1v1 Damage (%) Startup Frames
Neutral Special - Hadouken, Light
(B)
5.4 13
Neutral Special - Hadouken, Medium 6.0 13
Neutral Special - Hadouken, Heavy 6.6 13
Side Special Hit 1
(← or → + B)
3.6 8
Side Special - Ground, Hit 2-4 3.6 13/18/23/28/33/38
Side Special - Aerial, Hit 2-4 2.4 13/18/23/28/33/38
Up Special - Ground, Weak Hit
(↑ + B)
15.6 6
Up Special - Ground, Weak, Late HIt 8.4 9
Up Special - Ground, Medium Hit 1 9.6 6
Up Special - Ground, Medium Hit 2 7.2 9
Up Special - Ground, Strong Hit 1 2.64 5
Up Special - Ground, Strong Hit 2 9.6 6
Up Special - Ground, Strong Hit 3 7.8 9
Up Special - Aerial, Weak Hit 14.4 6
Up Special - Aerial, Weak, Late HIt 8.4 9
Up Special - Aerial, Medium Hit 1 8.4 6
Up Special - Aerial, Medium Hit 2 7.2 9
Up Special - Aerial, Strong Hit 1 2.64 5
Up Special - Aerial, Strong Hit 2 9.6 6
Up Special - Aerial, Strong Hit 3 7.2 9
Down Special - Charge 1, Fastest
(↓ + B)
14.4 32
Down Special - Charge 2, Fastest 12.0 42
Down Special - Charge 3 20.4 70

Neutral Special (Hadouken)

The Hadouken is a ranged special that can be used to control the opponent's movements and limit their options, making it a useful poking tool and way of racking up damage on a ranged opponent. It has noticeable lag, so don't use it when already close to an opponent.

Side Special (Tatsumaki Senpukyaku)

Ken's Side Special is the Tatsumaki, which can travel farther the longer you press the button. Use this for horizontal recovery, or for reading an opponent's roll. Be careful as you can only use this once in the air.

Thanks to the move's intangibility, it is a great approach tool, especially for closing the gap on zoners, and at high percents, it can KO.

Up Special (Shoryuken)

Ken's Up Special is the Shoryuken, which can be used as a recovery move or a combo finisher. Additionally, holding the special button will release a flame effect and deal more damage and knockback. To use it effectively as a KO move, make sure to use its command input.

Down Special (Focus Attack)

Ken's Down Special is Focus Attack, which grants a super armor effect that can take one attack and follow up with a counter. If charged fully, the opponent will get stunned on hit, opening them up for further attacks.

How to Cancel a Special Attack

You can cancel special attack by flicking the stick twice either left and right either during Ken's charge up pose or immediately after the attack hits.

Grab / Throws

1v1 Damage (%) Startup Frames
Pummel 1.56 1
Grab (Normal) - 6
Dash Grab - 9
Pivot Grab - 10
Forward Throw (Throw)
(← or → While Grabbing)
10.8 16
Back Throw (Throw)
(← or → While Grabbing)
14.4 41
Up Throw (Hitbox)
(↑ While Grabbing)
18.0 27
Up Throw (Throw) 9.6 18
Down Throw (Hitbox)
(↓ While Grabbing)
3.6 18
Down Throw (Throw) 7.2 19

Forward Throw

Forward Throw has a strong knockback angle so try to use it to put opponents over the ledge then prevent them from recovering.

Back Throw

Back Throw has a strong knockback angle so try to use it to put opponents off the stage, and prevent them from recovering.

Up Throw

The opponent is launched slightly upwards. This will connect with up air at low percentages.

Down Throw

The opponent is pummeled downwards then launched slightly upwards. This will connect with up air at low percentages, and is Ken's go to throw at early percents.

Final Smash

Attack How to Use Effect
Shippu Jinraikyaku / Shinryuken Press B after obtaining the Smash Ball Ken's Final Smash changes based on how close he is to the opponent. When ranged, he uses a powerful uppercut attack, which can hit multiple enemies. At close range, he will perform a series of powerful kicks ending in a strong final kick.

Ken Balance Changes

Version 7.0.0 Balance Patch

Change
Down Tilt Attack (Heavy) Adjusted launch angle.
Down Smash Attack Now possible on hit to cancel the attack animation into a special move.
Reduced the power against shields.
Side Special Made the pivoting leg invincible while rotating when used on the ground.
Made it easier to hit multiple times.
Other Increased shield size.

Version 4.0.0 Balance Patch

Change
Basic Movements The attack after a perfect shield will be unleashed after facing the opponent.

Version 3.1.0 Balance Patch

Change
Neutral Attack 1 Increased the amount of time you can cancel with a special move.
Neutral Attack 2 Increased the amount of time you can cancel with a special move.
Neutral Attack
(Heavy, Close Range)
Adjusted launch angle and distance.
Neutral Attack
(Heavy, Close Range)
Increased attack power and maintained launch distance.
Side Tilt Attack
(Light, Close Range)
Increased the amount of time you can cancel with a special move.
Side Tilt Attack
(Light, Long Range)
Increased attack range for the tip.
Side Tilt Attack (Heavy) Adjusted launch angle.
Up Tilt Attack (Heavy) Adjusted launch angle when hitting an airborne opponent.
Down Tilt Attack (Light) Increased the amount of time opponents will be in the damage animation when the move hits.
Down Tilt Attack (Heavy) Shortened launch distance.
Side Smash Attack Extended launch distance.
Down Air Attack Increased the amount of time you can cancel with a special move or a Final Smash.
Side Special Increased the first attack’s range when the move is performed on the ground.
Shortened the hitstun shuffle travel distance.
Up Special Made it easier to hit multiple times.
Shortened the hitstun shuffle travel distance.
Made the first attack not negate other attacks.
Extended launch distance when hitting an opponent on the ground with a flaming Shoryuken.
Extended launch distance when hitting an opponent in the air with a light Shoryuken or a flaming Shoryuken.
Shortened the launch distance for medium Shoryuken.
Command-Input Move Shortened the hitstun shuffle travel distance when Nata Otoshi Geri hits.
Command-Input Move Increased attack power of Oosoto Mawashi Geri and maintained launch distance.
Command-Input Move Increased power of Inazuma Kick.
However, the power against shields will remain the same.

Version 3.0.0 Balance Patch

Change
Edge Attack Shortened hitstun time.

Version 2.0.0 Balance Patch

Change
Neutral Attack Opponents hit in the air will be launched, making it easier to hit them with the next hit.
Neutral Air Attack Shortened the landing time after using the move.
Forward Air Attack Shortened the landing time after using the move.
Down Tilt Attack Can no longer jump immediately after using the move.

How to Unlock Ken

Unlocking Via Smash Mode
57th Fighter Unlocked
After unlocking Duck Hunt, let 10 minutes pass OR play another battle in smash after soft-resetting OR return to the menu from World of Light
Unlocking via Classic Mode
Clear Classing Mode 8 times using Yoshi.
Unlocking via World of Light
Dracula's Castle

There are three ways to unlock Ken. Completing any of these, then defeating Ken when they appear in the “a New Challenger Appears” screen will allow you to use them afterward.

How to Unlock Characters Fast

Ken Alt Costumes and Skins

Ken Alternate Costumes

Ken Reveal Trailer

Reveal Trailer

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    New Comment

    • >>[6]
      Depends on who it is you struggle against. I'd say generally someone like Wolf or Palu is a good secondary for any character. Byleth's largest drawback is mobility and frame data, so a character with faster options and movement is your best bet.

    • >>[4]
      Hi! We actually have a section on Marth's matchups here:
      https://game8.co/games/SSBU/archives/281194#hl_2
      As Marth has great range and framedata, a good matchup will be a character that can whiff punish with quick burst options, and have a way to get in and find an opening! Quick characters with excellent frame data, like Pika, Greninja, or Sheik, ZSS, or Sonic are our top recommendations!
      Thank you for using our guides!

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