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Velociraptor's tier list and basic guide for Gouken in Ultra Street Fighter 4 version 1.05

Posted by John 'Velociraptor' Guerrero • May 9, 2015 at 7:06 p.m. PDT • Comments: 35

I have here my thoughts on all of Gouken's match ups in the most recent version of Ultra Street Fighter 4.


As a bonus, I've gone into some detail for each and every match up, sans the mirror. If you choose to read the specifics, remember that Gouken only has about three different game plans.

Usually he sits back and zones though some matches allow for him to go in when he's comfortable. Other matches demand he always stay back, even after he scores a knock down. The worst matches are the ones wherein he's out-zoned and forced to try to go in.


Click the image of Gouken to see the match up chart

ABEL
Abel's ability to move through Gouken's fireball maze with his roll and his wheel kick make this match difficult for the old man. Abel's new found strength in his faster change of direction makes it even easier for him to start his pressure. Once in, Abel's rock-paper-scissor mix up game is especially difficult for Gouken to deal with.

For Gouken, this match is won in the keep away game via normals and counter pokes. He also must be able to guess and/or read Abel's options when he finds himself in a knock down play. If you score a knock down, you have to keep the pressure on strong with frame traps and throw mix ups all day.

ADON
I give this match a 5.5 advantage in Adon's favor. It is very important that Gouken reads Adon's advances and punishes him on his way in. Standing fierce is good to stop flip kicks. Sweep is good to stop dash-ins. Be very careful with fireballs, don't be obvious or he'll get in for free and you could eat an Ultra 1. Adon's pressure works well against Gouken, as it is very difficult to peel him off of you once he gets in.

Adon's LOVE to block string into flip kick. This is not a true block string so look for it and punish with ultra or EX Tatsu.

AKUMA
This match used to be terrible because of Akuma's vortex ability. Delayed wake up nerfs Akuma's knock down mix up game considerably so it's no longer a death sentence for Gouken when he hits the floor. This now becomes a fireball match as well as a fight for airspace control. While Akuma is still no slouch by any means, the fact that he has low life against Gouken's massive damage output is what tips the scale in Gouken's favor. One wrong guess and you're looking at half health and close stun.

I've seen a lot of people comment on this match up saying that Akuma can simply use his Demon Flip to get in. Gouken's jumping fierce shuts down all of Akuma's air approaches. This match hinges on your ability to manipulate Akuma via fireballs and make him approach you. Once you knock him down, Gouken's pressure is pretty scary. You can option select his wake up teleports (in either direction) with U2. Close mp>fireball>U2. You'll either get mp into fireball block string or if they teleport you'll get mp into auto correct U2.

BALROG
EG|PR Balrog, Keno and I all agree on this match up spread. Gouken can zone Boxer fairly easily. He loses when Boxer gets in and starts his pressure, especially in the corner.

At intermediate levels, it may seem very difficult for Boxer to win but the patient players will wait and pick their spots. As hard as it is for Boxer to reach Gouken, it is equally hard for Gouken to recreate and distance.

BLANKA
Blanka is scary online. Offline, his gimmicky set ups shouldn't work as well. Don't throw too many fireballs as he can get through them with slide or ex ball. Only safe jump him and don't try to cross him up too much as he has wake up ex up ball. Blanka is only at advantage when he knocks you down. Gouken should feel pretty comfortable at all ranges whether it be far, medium or up close. Should he knock you down, he only has strike/grab mix ups and he's got to hit you a lot to kill you. Eventually you should be able to guess right (usually this just means blocking and letting him push you away) and then you're far enough to control the match again.

Standing roundhouse after throw tech is usually prosperous, as Blankas really want to be next to you so they'll try to move forward and keep that gap closed. Crouching mp>fireball and sweep are great tools to use to get in. Always be ready to punish blocked balls with Ultra 2. You can follow it up with a dash punch as this will be one of the rare occasions wherein your opponent is grounded when you U2 them. Gouken's pressure is very scary for Blanka so frame trap away.

CAMMY
5.5 in Cammy's favor. Cammy used to dominate in this match. Her relentless pressure and disgusting set-ups made her a scary opponent for Gouken. Though she still has some great damage she has lost many of her set ups due to delayed wake up. Gouken can give her a hard time via fireballs and normals as long as he doesn't get too predictable. This match up is heavily based on footsies and spacing as Gouken wants to keep Cammy guessing her way in. Once she's in his face, as is the case with most characters, she becomes a problem.

Zone her out as best you can until you score a knockdown. This is another character that you'll have to go in on with a strong offensive mix up game.

CHUN-LI
This match is in just a tad in Chun's favor because of her ridiculous poke range. Gouken can't really approach her and she has multiple means of negating his fireballs with her EX-Hazanshu, Ultra 1 or Super. This means the match boils down to footsies.

Chun maintains advantage, like I said, because of her pokes. Gouken gets a fighting chance when he scores a knockdown and can start pressuring. One hit is devastating to Chun as she is a bit squishy. The key in this match is patience and whiff punishes until you can get a safe offense started.

CODY
This match is very tough for Gouken. Cody can keep up fairly well in the mid range/zoning game and Gouken has a hard time dealing with his YOLO Zongks and frame traps once he is in. Cody's projectiles are very quick in their recovery so he can match Gouken's fireball game. With ex-meter, Cody can react through fireballs with his sliding kick, thus negating Gouken's zoning game. Cody hits like a truck and you can easily find yourself stunned against him. Gouken must rely primarily on footsies and normal use to keep Cody at bay. When Cody is applying up-close pressure, blocking tends to be the best option. Eat a few throws in hopes that Cody will push you away or take a chance with a YOLO bingo.

C. VIPER
Delayed wake up helps Gouken a little bit and changes the match from a 6.5 to a 6 or 5.5 in Viper's favor.

Though a knockdown from Viper is no longer a death sentence, she now has low forward combos and red focus crumbles that can lead to massive damage from footsies. Gouken must watch the sky as well as the ground in Ultra.

Gouken relies on his damage and stun output to put Viper down before she gains momentum. Neutral jump fierce punch will punish impatient attempts to get in with burn kicks and thunder knuckle pressure. Jump back fierce punch is also nice against burn kicks though be careful not to corner yourself.

Vipers seem to love to DP out of pressure so you have to be able to read those from Viper player to Viper player. (They're either going to do it a lot or ALL OF THE TIME.) There's no better feeling than blocking a Viper's guessy uppercut and then staring them in the face while you ultra them and tell them to go play Marvel… I'm not bitter…

DAN
Gouken beats Dan in the zoning game primarily. Dan's only real threat are his safe Dan kicks but you can use standing Fierce to shut those down before they reach you. You can approach Dan but there's no real need to. Kill him with fireballs and footsies.

When Dan does get in his pressure can seem difficult to deal with, but many Dans will guess uppercuts and kill themselves if you just block. You can resort to EX Tatsu if things get hairy. Don't use counter much as Dan kicks will break glass.

DECAPRE
Decapre’s offensive mix ups are difficult for Gouken to deal with, but he can control the space fairly well to make sure she never gets her game started.

Fireballs are important, but you must be incredibly selective. Most Decapre’s will start with fake teleports hoping you do a move at the wrong time and create an opening. Throw fireballs after you see Decapre has begun her teleport. At this point, she will already be cancelling it because she hasn’t seen you do anything.

Usually Gouken wants to zone, but in this match, it’s best to walk Decapre’s down, using crouching medium punch and sweep to cover the area in front of you. Her defense is not the best, so apply pressure once you’re in.

DEE JAY
This is a turtle match. As long as Gouken is wary of Dee Jay's EX Rolling Sobat kicks he should be fine.

Gouken can control the pace of the match fairly easily. Manipulate Dee Jay into jumping in or guessing an unsafe Sobat kick and punish accordingly. Resist the urge to attack from the air as Dee Jay has some pretty good answers for anti airs.

DHALSIM
This is a unique match in that Gouken has to go in. At first glance, this match seems like it might be in Gouken’s favor. High damage and decent mobility, from the demon flip, are scary for Sim players. A seasoned Dhalsim will see that they can actually counter every attempt Gouken makes at getting close.

Gouken can’t really throw fireballs except at full screen, because Dhalsim can match them and then punish with forward fierce punch. Every variation of the demon flip is beaten by the anti air EX- Yoga Flame, so that becomes a non-option when Sim has any meter.

Gouken really has to guess his way in, forfeiting life and meter to do so. Once in, you can’t give Dhalsim a second chance. Once he creates space again, you’re likely done for. If Sim plays reactionary and perfectly, there’s kind of nothing Gouken can do to get in.

DUDLEY
Gouken cannot afford to be on autopilot with his zoning here. Dudley's incredibly long combos and high stun output pose a big threat once he's in. Crouching heavy kick is essential for Gouken in this match though it must be mixed in with oddly timed fireballs and wiggles. After a knock down, mix Dudley up with ambiguous jumping medium kick on wake up. If Dudley catches Gouken with a clean counter-hit, it's curtains for the old man. Once Dudley gets Ultra 1 stocked, this match becomes even worse.

I find that low counter on wake up is a good option as it covers both Dudley's overhead and sweep options. Take advantage of Dudley's poor uppercut by mixing him up when you get a knockdown. Don't be afraid to put pressure on him and go for frame traps as Dudley's defensive options are not the best.

E. HONDA
This one is certainly in Gouken’s favor. Honda has a miserable time trying to navigate the fireball maze. There’s not really a reason for Gouken to ever go in. Just be sure your anti air Tatsus are on point and keep Honda out.

Honda should never get too close, but standing round house can also keep him at bay. The match changes drastically if Honda is indeed able to close the gap.

ELENA
Elena is… odd. She can pester you with low-damage offense all day long. It’s kind of difficult to zone her, so be ready for her to get in your face. Once she’s there, low counter becomes your friend. Her go-to 3 frame light kick loses to it, as well as does her overhead.

Gouken’s combos can easily whiff on Elena, so stick with ending your combos with medium palm. In this match, you need to get the knockdown and apply pressure in Elena’s face. Since you’re playing close, I suggest Ultra 1 to make the threat of throw increasingly scary.

EL FUERTE
Fuerte has to guess correctly quite a few times to win but the guesses tend to be in his favor. Don't get knocked down by Fuerte, (easier said than done.) If and when you do, I like to choose a single option for escape and go with it until it works. Off of a knock down, throw is a good option against Fuerte's who like to Ex-run on their wake up. The threat of back throw into ultra 1 will make them think twice about doing so.

Fuerte's EX Quesadilla, (the chest bump) is pretty scary in Ultra. It's something you have to watch for and sniff out now. Keep an Ultra 2 stocked to punish a blocked Quesadilla Bomb. Against a good Fuerte, it really just comes down to who can read the other player and capitalize.

EVIL RYU
He’s probably the strongest character in the game. His deadly combos can start from a crouching medium kick’s distance away, and his counter hit combos will leave you hurting and stunned. If you find yourself on defense, block more than anything. Wait out the storm and let E. Ryu push himself away.

Play the zoning game as best you can against Evil Ryu. If you get in your opponent’s head, you can read a fireball and get a jump in combo. This is DEVASTATING to an Evil Ryu as he has low life. Going in isn’t the best option, but there are certainly times to do so.

FEI LONG
This is a match wherein the less patient your opponent is, the stronger your advantage. Fei wins once he’s in your face, but you should make it impossible for him to get there. If you do get knocked down, you kind of have to guess your way out.

This match requires the Gouken player to be on point with punishing Fei’s attempts to get in via EX-Chicken Wing, unsafe Rekkas and dashes. Zone with fireballs, sweep and standing fierce punch. Beat Fei’s special move advances with EX-Tatsu. Go in only if you’re at a life deficit, otherwise continue pestering and frustrating your opponent.

GEN
Fireballs work well against Gen. His low health and stun also make things easier for Gouken. The only time Gouken is really scared is when Gen able to get within poke range.

Spend your time making sure he doesn’t get close enough to hit you out of the startup of your fireballs. Feel free to pressure Gen after knock down as his only option is EX-Uppercut.

HUGO
This is one of Gouken's easiest match ups. Fireball and Ex-Tatsu make Hugo's life very hard. Hugo's sheer size makes zoning him particularly easy. Gouken's armor-breaking EX-Tatsu beats all of Hugo's runs.

Like Honda, Gouken should not let Hugo get close. If Hugo does get in, then it's a guessing game to try to get him off of you. You have the tools to not let it get to that point.

GUILE
In this match, even a life lead via chip damage is huge. Gouken has a slight advantage, as he tends to be able to deal with Guile’s Sonic Booms with his own fireballs.

Gouken wants to keep Guile out of his "sweet spot" which is essentially his far standing fierce punch range. Guile wins when he gets to start thrashing Gouken with his normals. There are going to be about 500 fireballs per round when these two square off. Jump-in reads are round-winners though I highly don't recommend risking going to the air against Guile unless he's knocked down.

As stressful as it can be, force Guile to approach you and take advantage of EVERY mistake in the form of jump-ins or whiffed moves. Be wary of the ex sonic boom as it can give him the slight life lead and thus change the flow of the match.

GUY
This match is very rough for the old man. Guy can negate fireballs with reaction slide, and he destroys Gouken up close with counter hits and frame traps. Without the use of fireballs, you’ll have to rely on normals as Guy tries to approach.

Crouching medium punch is a good poke tool as you patiently dance and duck in and out of Guy’s poke range. Neutral jump fierce punch is good if you can read Guy’s attempts at flipping in. When under pressure, you pretty much have to guess your way out. Counter is very viable, but don’t do it on wake up. Never crouch tech, as that’s Guy is looking for. This match takes a lot of patience. When you get pressure started, don’t let him out.

HAKAN
Oiled Hakan is dangerous, so your main job is to keep him at bay until he’s dry. At this point, you have a strong control of the match and can actually go in with relative ease walking him down and using normal until you score a knockdown.

When Hakan has knocked you down, waking up crouching light kick will get you out of his running grab shenanigans. As with any grappler, you’re going to have to guess your way out. Wake up EX-Tatsu will deal with a few of Hakan’s options so it’s a better bet in this match than in others.

IBUKI
I feel this match is slightly in Gouken’s favor. Ibuki’s vortex is not as effective on Gouken because of EX-Counter. Her poor defense and low life make her easy to go in on once you’ve scored a knockdown.

Don’t be overzealous with fireballs. Beat Ibuki in the footsie game and get your offense started.

JURI
I feel that this match is in Juri's favor 5.5. She can match Gouken's fireball game and she has pretty good anti airs. Her pressure is decently scary especially with Ultra 1.

There are two phases to this match. First is a zoning game to determine who must come to who. Juri's low fireballs can be a problem so watch out. If you find yourself needing to go in (as you usually will) then you either have demon flip or forward ground movement. If you choose to flip, early air parry is usually a good bet.

Juri’s defense isn’t great, so if you do score a knockdown, go in hard.

KEN
This match is pretty straight forward. Gouken wants to zone, Ken wants to get in. For Gouken, it really becomes a game of identifying when Ken wants to move in horizontally, (via step kick/kara throw) or from the air, (via jump in/ EX-Tatsu.)

As you download your opponent, pester them with fireballs galore. Just don't become obvious in your patterns, Ken sticks to you like flypaper once he’s in. Even after a knockdown, stay back and throw more fireballs.

MAKOTO
This is a match filled with fireballs and anti airs. She’s relatively easy to zone, but you have to keep Makoto at bay as her offense is incredibly devastating once she’s in.

The only thing you really need to worry about when attacking Makoto is her EX-Command Grab as it absorbs a hit and can completely change the flow of battle. With that in mind, you can attack her pretty hard if you choose to go in.

M.BISON
This match is a little in Bison’s favor. It can be insanely rough once Bison gets Gouken in the corner, but patient fireballs and anti-airs to stop Bison’s advances usually pay off.

Gouken can’t do too much in the neutral game, so a knock down means you have to go in and try to open Dictator up. Use Ultra 2 to option select teleports.

ONI
I think Oni's character design is optimal for the current version of Street Fighter 4. This match up is similar to Ken on steroids. I give the advantage to Oni at 5.5.

As Gouken, you really never want to be close to Oni. This is a zone as much as possible match up. It's just too risky to be close enough for Oni to get his pressure started. A single combo leads to nearly half life and a set up for a second combo into stun.

Gouken wants to frustrate Oni into making poor choices as he tries to get in. Even after a knock down, I suggest continuing to zone most of the time. If you do find yourself in pressure, block more than anything. Throws are much less nasty than Oni counter-hit combos.

POISON
While I haven’t had a ton of experience in this match, my general consensus is thank Gouken takes an advantage because he can match her fireballs. It’s not too difficult to stay at a comfortable range and simply chuck plasma.

Should the opportunity arise via knockdown, it’s not the worst idea to go in and pressure Poison, especially if you are at a life deficit.

ROLENTO
BT|Nemo thought this was Rolento’s easiest match up in Ultra. Recent patches have altered that a bit, but Rolento’s zany offence gives him an advantage. It’s important that Gouken stay on his feet and hit Rolento as he tries to get in your face. Once you’re knocked down, it’s a nightmare for Gouken, so only throw thoughtful fireballs.

Rolento’s weakness is his defense, so you have to be ready with strong pressure once you knock him down. You also have to know your punishes with your three frame jab. Find out what’s -3 and make sure you capitalize every time.

ROSE
This is one of Gouken's worst match ups in my opinion. Rose completely negates fireballs from full screen so don't throw them from afar. You can get away with footsie fireballs (meaning ones within normal range) as it's much harder for Rose to react at this distance. Rose's normals are very strong and she is a very safe character. It's difficult for Gouken to open her up.

I find the best strategy is to first see if rose will throw fireballs at you. Her recovery is very bad and so you can react with a jump in into the business if she's too close. You can also use focus to play footsies as many Rose players will abuse her awesome normals and her slide at mid-close range.

You must take advantage of the fact that her pressure into soul spiral is not a true block string. EX-Tatsu or Ultra in between her crouching medium punch into Soul Spiral if she becomes overzealous with it (and most Roses will.)

If you land a knock down always option select her back dashes/EX Soul Spiral on wake up with EX-Tatsu. This match requires constant thought and immense patience. Auto pilot will get you killed.

RUFUS
Gouken wins this when he’s far, loses when he’s close. The first inclination is to always be full screen and chuck plasma. While this is viable, a good Rufus is going to start reading you and make his way in.

When Rufus is uncomfortably close, but not quite in your face yet, use normals like standing medium kick and crouching medium punch to keep him at bay. Traditionally, Rufus players aren’t worried about footsies in this match because most Goukens just want to play the fireball game.

Being close is very risky because of EX-Messiah, so your best bet is to stay away even on knock down. The closest you should ever get of your own accord is crouching medium punch distance. On defense… pray and guess.

RYU
This match is pretty honest Street Fighter. Fireballs and anti airs are the foundation here. Gouken has advantage as his recovery is faster, but Ryu can cause trouble once he’s in low forward range.

As Gouken, you’re winning when Ryu is far. Treat this match like Ken and try to be at a comfortable zoning distance as much as possible. It’s often better to forsake pressure off a knockdown in order to re-establish the zoning game.

SAGAT
Sagat does a good job of controlling the space with his fireballs and is known for his high damage output but Gouken outshines him in both of these categories.

Gouken wins the zoning game as Sagat has gained some recovery on his Tiger Shots making him more susceptible to dash punches and jump ins. Furthermore, Sagat is extremely tall and has a higher hurtbox than most of the cast so Gouken's instant air tatsu can be a major problem for him. This match is mostly about fireballs and special moves for Gouken. Stay away from resorting to normals if possible.

SAKURA
This match is about zoning. Sakura’s seemingly endless combos, corner carry and set ups make her scary. She has a difficult time getting through the fireball/sweep maze. Sakuras can guess EX-uppercut, Tatsu or Otoshi, but these are all easily punished if you see them coming.

Even if you score a knockdown, don’t go in unless you really need to make up life. When you’re close, Sakura is at advantage.

SETH
This match used to be horrible, but with delayed wake up, Seth is going to have a harder time. It essentially comes down to the fact that Seth needs a few more correct guesses than Gouken.

Every time Seth goes for a command grab he's risking losing half of his life bar. Uppercut FADC is no longer a viable option for Seth unless he's willing to spend 3 bars. Delayed wake up means his terrifying set ups are no longer as much of a threat.

Seth can still get close to Gouken fairly easily. All in all, Gouken wants to read Seth's nerfed guessing game and take away large amounts of health at a time.

T. HAWK
This is one of Gouken’s easiest match ups. T. Hawk has a very hard time getting close. Gouken’s fireballs and standing fierce punch keep him at bay fairly easily.

Be ready to EX-Tatsu Hawk’s jump-ins and EX-Condor dives. Standing fierce beats out Condor Spire cleanly. As is the case with grapplers, if T. Hawk is next to you, he's winning. An option I find to work more often than not is to do medium counter on your own wake up. Strong Hawks often use meaty normals in their vortex.

VEGA
I feel that Gouken wins this match because he’s able to zone Vega fairly well. Much like the Gen match up, Vega only wins when he is at his sweet spot, just out of Gouken’s sweep range.

Keep him far away or stay up in his face with pressure and you should be able to get the win. Use Ultra 2 to punish any wall dives he does when you’re on your feet.

YANG
I give Yang the advantage here 5.5. Yang has multiple ways of getting around fireballs and his pressure poses a real threat to Gouken. Gouken never likes dive kicks... ever.

Beat Yang with solid footsies. Sweep and cr. mp into the business. Gouken can deal solid pressure if he scores a knockdown. I feel the best course of action is to patiently find your opening to knock Yang down and then be in his face as much as you can.

YUN
Good luck...
Yun's pressure is a nightmare for Gouken and he gets in pretty easily. I find the best way to try to deal with Yuns is to establish a no-BS attitude early. Most of the time Yuns will strike as opposed to grab or command grab. Show him that you'll EX-counter, make him hesitate with his offense so that you can escape.

Dive kick is very scary for Gouken as well. There is a spot you can stand wherein if Yun neutral jumps you can take a step forward and EX-Tatsu regardless of if he dive kicks or not. Find this spot and try to stay in it. Jump back heavy punch/heavy kick can get you out of delayed pressure set ups.

Don't push a lot of buttons. Don't crouch tech a lot. There is a lot of educated guessing involved in this match up for Gouken. Remember that you have a lot of damage and stun on your side.

ZANGIEF
Gouken is one of Zangief's worst match ups. Gouken's st mk is a great footsie tool especially when mixed with sweep. Fireball away until Gief has meter. Once he has a bar and the threat of EX-Greenhand, you still use fireballs but not in the same way. It may feel counter intuitive, but I've found that fireballs up close (in normal range) is very useful. Gief cannot react at this range with EX-GH. Make sure your anti airs are on point and this match is extremely difficult for Gief. A strong 6.5-3.5 in my opinion.

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