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Ryu: Street Fighter 3 Third Strike Strategy Guide and Moves

Guide last updated on
August 21, 2011 at 4:25 a.m. PDT

Ryu: Street Fighter 3 Third Strike Character Guide

Character Overview

Ryu is a very powerful character. He's capable of turning a losing match into a winning one in just a few moves. He's great at punishing mistakes, and many players feel he's at his best when applying a lot of offensive pressure to your opponent.

Some players prefer more of a turtle style with Ryu, which he can be effective at as well. Especially when coupled with setting up your opponent for an easy parry, and then counter-attacking.

Although Ryu is a middle tier character, he's deadly in the right hands.

+ Ryu's moves hit hard, doing good damage and stun
+ He has several very effective combos
+ Exceptional ability to punish an opponent's mistakes
+ Good stamina (defense) rating, meaning he takes less damage when hit and isn't easy to stun
+ His moves have pretty good priority
+ Effective at rush down AND defensive tactics, meaning he can play two different ways
+ He has some great EX moves
+ Good mix up game that will keep the other fighter guessing what's coming next

- He doesn't have as many viable options for consistently landing his Super Arts as other top tier characters
- Average movement rate and move speed
- Usually depends on EX moves and Super Arts to win matches
- He sometimes must rely on parry set ups and mistakes to deal damage to his opponents

Setting up a Parry and Combos

Parrying an attack with Ryu is a way to guarantee landing some of his best combos. It's important for Ryu to bait his opponent into attacking him — parrying that attack — and nailing them with one of his huge damage combos. Here's some ways to set these up.

After a Light Kick Hurricane Kick
Ryu's Light Kick Hurricane Kick travels a short distance, and he recovers from it somewhat quickly, which means he's in a great situation to throw his opponent. This will scare some players into either trying to counter throw or usually attacking with a mid-range or low attack.

Threatening a throw
If you dash up or tick throw your opponent a few times, many players will try to stick out pokes to counter this. When you think they'll go for a poke, parry and nail them.

Training your opponent to do dumb things
Because of Ryu's strong mix up game, you can train your opponent to do some things they shouldn't. Landing some throws and overhead hits will make most players block high. When they do this, you can break out some of Ryu's mostly safe combos that start out hitting low.

Playing head games
Mixing up your game is very important for Ryu players. To that end, making your opponent think you're going to do something, and then doing something else entirely is very beneficial. For example, dashing in after doing an anti air attack and throwing them a few times will make them expect you'll repeat this process. This is when you throw a wrench in their plans and set up a parry or try to land a hit confirmable Super Art. Remember to mess with your opponent's head whenever possible.

Staying Offensive

Being able to stay offensive with Ryu involves mixing up your attacks. It's easy for an opponent to counter what you're doing if they know it's coming, so make sure you do not get predictable.

Keep in mind that Ryu's moves at an average speed, so it's important that you pick your attacks based on what your opponent is showing you. More than likely your move isn't going to come out faster than your opponent's, so you should be picking your attacks wisely, and using his priority to your advantage.

Here's some other general tips.

• If your opponent is close and you feel like they're going to try and counter attack, throw out an EX-Fireball. Even if they block, it's usually safe to throw these out, and it's nice damage if you catch them.

• If the other fighter is blocking low, a universal overhead hit works well, along with Ryu's toward + Medium Punch overhead. Also, you can simply dash in and throw them, or use a tick throw. This will train your opponent to block high when getting up, or to try and counter attack.

• If the other combatant starts blocking high, do a crouching Medium Kick and Cancel into his Fireball or Hurricane Kick.

• When your opponent starts showing you openings in their defense, try to set up a hit confirmable situation if you're using Super Arts 1 or 2, if you're using Super Art 3 (Denjin Fireball) look for a way to score a combo that will knock them down.

This basic set tactics is VERY effective because Ryu is such a powerful character. A couple of wrong guesses and Ryu has turned the match in his favor.

Video: Street Fighter 3 Third Strike Guide: Ryu Denjin Fireball Set Ups

This movie demonstrates how to speed up and set up Ryu's Denjin Fireball Super Art. Watch ►

Movie by the
Music by Delerium

Setting up SA3: Denjin Hadouken (Stunning Unblockable Super Fireball)

One of Ryu's most popular Super Arts is the Denjin Hadouken. It's popular among lesser players because if you're playing against someone who's not very good at parrying, you can basically dominate them with this.

Remember to circle the joystick in a 360 motion to charge the Denjin Fireball up faster.

Most players set up this Super Art by canceling a Shoryuken (Dragon Punch) which will stop the animation and immediately go into this move, but you can also set this move up by going into it any time your opponent lands flat on their back as they'll take a few moments to stand up — giving you time to charge this.

But even if you're playing against an opponent who's good at parrying, there's still some ways to land this, but they do require a bit of a sixth sense and positioning.

Setting up the Denjin Fireball

  • After a Shoryuken cancel into SA3 — if your opponent blocks this, just release the Denjin immediately so they can't punish you, and you'll get a hit or two in.
  • After you hit someone with a Light or Medium Hurricane Kick, go into the Denjin: A Hard Hurricane Kick takes longer to recover from, giving you less time to charge the Fireball.
  • After an air-to-air attack where you land first, nail your opponent as they come down.
  • When the enemy jumps in, knock them back with an anti-air move and then go right into the Denjin before they can fully recover for a quick couple hits.
  • If your opponent is on the verge of being stunned, throw out a fireball at close range, this fireball acts as a poke that you can cancel immediately, then go into the Denjin Fireball, pause for a split-second and have them eat the Denjin before they can counter-attack — this will stun them and really piss them off.

Some tips to help you land it

  • Throw the Denjin Fireball when close to your opponent. If you're too far away you give them more time to see this coming and parry correctly.
  • Wait a split-second after your opponent stands before you release the fireball, as most players will try to time their parry at the moment they stand up.
  • If they start parrying that, try experimenting with throwing out early and late Denjins as this will mess with their timing.
  • After a combo ending in a fireball, cancel into the Denjin to surprise your opponent and get a few more hits in.


Ryu's combos are absolutely devastating. This can not be stated with enough importance, because they're a huge key to him winning matches. Here's the most common combos, but keep in mind this is not a list of every possible one, just some of the effective ones you should know.

Important note
Most of Ryu's normal moves can be canceled into a special move or super art, giving him a lot of options. Feel free to mix and match his other normal moves with the combos below.

Jumping Hard Kick, Crouching Medium Kick, Cancel into Fireball
Ryu's basic Bread and Butter combo. This is usually safe unless you do it in the corner or your opponent parries it. Although the damage isn't top end, its range and ability to be safe when executing it make it a nice situational set up.

Jumping Hard KIck, Crouching Hard Punch, Cancel into Hard Kick Hurricane Kick
This is one of Ryu's most damaging combos without using part of your super meter, the Hard Kick version does very good damage, and if your opponent blocks this low, depending on your position you'll sail over their heads far away giving them little chance to counter attack.

Jumping Hard Kick, Standing Medium Kick (Close Range), Cancel into Hard Punch Dragon Punch
Ryu's Standing Medium Kick at close range is one of his best regular moves. It must be parried high, and it's easy as pie to cancel. Use it a lot.

Standing Hard Punch (Midrange), Chain into Standing Hard Kick
Ryu's sticks out a straight punch and chains into a roundhouse kick. An OK combo.


Crouching Medium Kick, Cancel into EX-Fireball
This is a VERY safe combo, because it's difficult to parry and if your opponent tries, they're likely to get hit a few times for their trouble.

Ryu comes out of his EX-Fireball animation a hair before his opponent recovers from blocking, which gives you an advantage as well. This set up can be wicked in the right hands.

Standing Medium Kick, Cancel into EX-Joudan Sokotou Geri (Sliding High Kick), after your opponent bounces off the wall, Hard Punch Dragon Punch
Want to make your opponent fear making a mistake? Use this combo on them next time they leave themselves open.

This is one of Ryu's best ways to punish an opponent for screwing up.

Crouching Medium Kick, Cancel into EX-Hurricane Kick
Another mostly safe EX-combo, meaning your opponent will likely have a difficult time counter-attacking you before you recover.

This is great combo when you think your opponent is going to block high or parry when getting up, because you can nail them for some nice damage, but if you guess incorrectly, you're usually safe from being hit.

Super Art Combos

Do note that we have not listed every possible Super Art combo for Ryu. What we've tried to put here are the main combos you should know, but keep in mind you can combo into his super arts with most of his normal moves.

SA1: Shinkuu Hadouken (Super Fireball)

Crouching Light Kick, Crouching Light Kick, Cancel into SA1
This is a great way to hit confirm this super. On some characters you can add a Crouching Light Punch between the kicks for an extra hit, and more time to confirm the hit.

(In the corner) Crouching Medium Kick, cancel into an EX-Hurricane Kick, go into SA1 as soon as you land
A pretty solid combo overall, timing can be a bit tricky at first because you have to time your Super Art to come out the moment you land.

(While your opponent is in the air) Jumping Light Kick or Punch, cancel into SA1 when you land
You have to hit your opponent so that you'll land before they do. This is a fairly effective combo against players that like to jump a lot. You can really catch them off guard because your Light move comes out so quickly and has great priority, and then you nail them with a Super Art for their trouble.

(Opponent in corner) Super Fireball, Super Fireball, Shoryuken
This only works when your opponent in is the corner, but if you hit them with a Super Fireball, you can do another one to catch them while they are falling and when they're falling from that, nail them with a Hard Punch Shoryuken. If you do not have enough super meter, just do a Hard Punch Dragon Punch after the first Super Fireball. You can launch into the first Super Fireball in the corner from a combo as well. Very nasty.

SA2: Shin Shoryuken (Super Dragon Punch)

After hitting your opponent with a Shin Shoryuken, make sure you finish them off as they're falling with another move. A Hard Kick Joudan (Sliding High Kick) or Hurricane Kick are your best bets.

Crouching Light Kick, Crouching Light Kick, Cancel into SA2
One of the best ways to land this super. You can confirm you've hit your opponent and launch right into one of the most damaging supers in the game. Simply nasty. It's also possible to cross your opponent up with Medium Kick before going into the two Light Kicks if they're crouching when you hit them.

Toward + Hard Punch (Dash Punch), Link into SA2
Another great way to confirm you've hit your opponent. You'll usually have to trick the other fighter into trying to throw you or do something dumb to land the Dash Punch, but being able to hit confirm into the Shin Shoryuken makes it worth the effort.

Crouching Medium Kick, Cancel into Hard Shoryuken, Cancel into SA2
This will dizzy your opponent if their stun gauge is filled 60% of the way or more. If you land this when your enemy is near the corner and you stun them, jump up and juggle them with Hard Punch as they're coming down and juggle again with an Hard Sliding High Kick. The Sliding High Kick will not juggle unless you dizzy the other fighter.

Follow up on a dizzy opponent with a Jumping Hard Kick, then Crouching Hard Punch and Cancel into his Hard Hurricane Kick, which should kill them. Just a devastating combo when you land everything.

Note: Using Standing Medium Kick, instead of Crouching Medium Kick, does more stun to your opponent, so if their stun gauge is only 40% of the way filled, you can try setting up this combo that way.

This section edited by TJ369.

Hit confirms

Ryu has a nice set of hit confirming moves. This allows him to know if he's hit his opponent before launching into a devastating combo/super combo.

  • Towards + Hard Punch (Dash Punch)
  • Two Crouching Light Kicks
  • Standing Medium Kick (Close Range)
  • Crouching Medium Punch
  • Crouching Medium Kick

Special Moves

Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick
Hadouken (Fireball)
Ryu's Hard Punch Fireball comes out quickly, and can actually be used as a decent poke. You'll want to throw these out sparingly though, because it's not difficult to parry or counter. The other versions of Ryu's normal Fireball have very limited use, mostly just for throwing people off on parrying timing.

This move can be handy in combos and Super Art combos as the fireball motion counts as the first part of a Super Art if done quickly enough.

Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick
EX-Hadouken (Flashing Fireball)
This move comes out very quickly, is good at helping to keep your opponent in a specific area (zoning) and does good damage. It's difficult to parry when thrown at close range, especially when coupled with other attacks, and if your opponent blocks this you recover a hair faster than they do.

Many people refer to this move as a, "Super Poke," because of the above. You're at your best when throwing this out at close range and catching your opponent off guard with it. Do not underestimate this move if you're a Ryu player, it's great. Do not over use this though, nor throw it from full screen distance because it's easy to parry if you give them that kind of time to react.

Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick
Tatsumaki Senpukyaku (Hurricane Kick, can be used in the air)
Ryu's Hurricane Kick has good priority, does a lot of damage, and works very well in combos. It isn't difficult to punish though, so make sure you pick your spots when you use this and you should be OK.

Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick
EX-Tatsumaki Senpukyaku (Flashing Hurricane Kick, can be used in the air)
Ryu stays in one place while spinning like mad. Good damage and it's hard to counter making this a very nice move in the right situations.

Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick
Shoryuken (Dragon Punch)
Ryu's Dragon Punch is a solid move. The priority is good, and it's a very effective way to finish off some combos. You'll want to be careful when using it though, because it's MUCH more punishable than in past Street Fighter games.

Use the Hard Punch Dragon Punch for extra damage when you know you're going to land a hit. And you can use the Light Punch version to counter some moves. A great move to use to knock your opponent down.

Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick
EX-Shoryuken (Flashing Dragon Punch)
Ryu's EX-Dragon Punch has limited use. It has excellent priority for counter attacks, and can be really helpful to help escape if you're stuck in the corner, but besides that, there isn't much you can do with it.

The problem is the damage your get from landing it is marginally better than a Hard Punch Shoryuken if you hit your opponent with the first part of the animation. BUT it's actually worse damage than a non-EX Dragon Punch if you hit them with the latter part of the attack.

Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick
Joudan Sokotou Geri (Sliding High Kick)
Ryu moves forward while doing a high kick. Some people will use this after a low parry because it will still hit most crouching characters if you're close enough, but still out of combo range.

Besides that this move has very few practical uses, as it's easy to spot and counter. You're usually better off using his other stuff, but it's sometimes funny to see your opponent get insulted that you actually managed to hit them with this thing — even if it happens to be after a parry.

Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick
EX-Joudan Sokotou Geri (Flashing Sliding High Kick)
This is a GREAT punishing move. If your opponent does something stupid, simply do a close range standing Medium Kick or standing Hard Punch, cancel into the EX-Joudan Sokotou, watch them bounce of the wall, and nail them with a Dragon Punch for big damage. After you land a few of these your opponent is going to start being much more careful.

Joystick Joystick Joystick
Personal Action (Taunt)
Ryu strikes a pose and flexes his muscles. You're wide open to an attack when you taunt. This increases your stun recovery rate by 10% the first time and then 21% for the second taunt. These benefits last the whole round. Maximum 2 taunts, 33% bonus.

Command Moves

Joystick Joystick Joystick
Dash Punch
This makes Ryu dash forward and hit twice with his fist. At first you might not think this is a terribly useful move — until you see how easy it is to hit confirm it.

A great tool in the right hands.

Joystick Joystick Joystick
Overhead Punch
A pretty good move overall. Ryu takes a short hop forward and does an overhead punch that will hit an opponent blocking low twice.

Super Arts

Ryu is one of the few characters with three viable Super Arts. There isn't a clear winner here, because it mostly comes down to your play style. In the end, you should choose the Super Art you think best compliments your game.

Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick
SA1: Shinkuu Hadouken (Super Fireball)
A 5 hit version of Ryu's fireball. Good damage and very hit confirmable. Many players argue that this is his super art of choice because if gives you the most EX-meter to play with, it's the easiest to hit confirm with, and it's just plain effective.

The juggles you can pull off with this are very nice too.

You can hold a max of two stocks when your super meter is full, and you get approximately 5.6 EX moves.

Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick
SA2: Shin Shoryuken (Super Dragon Punch)
Ryu does a Shoryuken after hitting his opponent with several punches. A very powerful super art, draining about half of your opponent's life when you land it. Against low stamina characters like Yun, hitting with this almost guarantees you'll win the match.

The problems with this super art is it's one long bar, meaning it takes awhile to charge, and if you miss with it, you're wide open to a counter attack. Also, since Ryu's EX moves are so good, it can be hard to keep this charged.

Ryu does have some solid hit confirms with this move, but they're not nearly as easy to pull off as SA1. This is probably his least popular super when all is said and done.

This super holds one stock and gives you approximately 3.2 EX moves.

Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick Joystick
SA3: Denjin Hadouken (Stunning Unblockable Super Fireball)
An unblockable Super Fireball that does solid damage, and lots of stun and hits 5 times when fully charged. Keep holding the punch button to charge this up.

Important: Repeating a 360 (full circle motion) while this move is charging will make it charge up faster.

Although this is unblockable, it can be fully parried, so it's very important that you throw your opponent's timing off to land as many hits as possible.

This is an absolutely killer super art in the right hands, but picking it does limit your EX move ability, and if you're not good at mixing up its use, it's just parry bait.

This super holds 1 stock and gives you approximately 2.4 EX moves.

Ryu's character select colors Guide edited by Pherai, TJ369 and Wantonx.


Ryu_Apprentice said on March 9, 2010 at 10:20 a.m.

I have to confess I kind off prefer third strike to sf4 because of the parries

Chow said on March 29, 2010 at 11:15 p.m.

jumping FP -> standing close FP -> Shoryuken -> Shin Shoryuken -> Joudan-Sokutou Geri

Combo isn't that good.
Meaty cr.Forward into Shin Shoryu is better IMO.

Avoiding Shin Shoryu is best.
Ryu's EX moves are just too good.
And he does great stun damage as well.

It's better to either use his ex moves or go for stun.
Shin Shoryu may do a lot of damage, but it takes too long to build meter for it since Ryu doesn't have too many offensive options.


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