Hello all! Ill let the OP be an introduction of the basics of the character. It would be really nice to have a discussion of advanced/matchup specific strategies with other interested SF4 players in this thread.AKUMA
He is badass
High damage output
Good normals (Better than average shotos due to St.HK and cr.HK)
Delicious focus attack
Good assortment of defensive options
Strong zoning ability
Good variety of offensive options
Strong anti-focus tools
Can split ayer's rock into half, destroy submarines and crush islands
Low health. He cant take damage for shit
Can take little stun...
Very strict execution (mess up and then his low health will make punishment really painful)
Akuma is a really strong character IMO but his learning curve is pretty steep. I hope my research will help aspiring akuma players Basic zoning:
Anti-air: HP uppercut. HP upper cut is the uppercut with the most invincibility, tied with Ken's MP uppercut.
When opponent recovers after you... like after jumping over a fireball, or walking into you.
HK: Good against focus attack. Neutral recovery on block, meaning that both akuma and the opponent recover at the same time. This is best used against characters that cannot duck the second hit at tip (Sagat, Zangief, Abel). Jumping back or backwalking/backdashing after it is very safe.
cr.HK: Great sweep. Safe against most characters at tip. With meter, you can cancel it into super or ultra, if it gets focused. So yes, you can use it as an anti-focus.
cr.MK: 5 frame low kick that goes really low. Its got good properties, and can combo into a fireball on CH, when it hits at tip. It makes akuma go low, so things like tiger knees and devil's reverse miss.
Jump up EX zanku: This murders attempts to focus through things like 2HK or 2MK. Its very safe.
Fierce fireball: Up close, people cannot jump this on reflex, so it acts as a limb. Its good in the sense that it builds meter and does block damage. IF they start focusing through it, do, HK, 2HK ultra EX fireball or EX zanku. If they jump, anticipate and then uppercut.
When you recover later, after you jump over a fireball, or you are moving into your opponent.
Zanku/EX zanku: After you jump over a fireball at mid range, you can do an EX zanku to kill any attempt to poke you while you land. If they are trying to bait it to make you waste it, throw normal zankus to control their movement.
FADC: You can uppercut sweeps or fireballs if the opponent does them.
crMK: To go under stuff like Sagat HK.
Uppercut: VERY risky but might be important sometimes.Setups:
1.HK (2): This means getting the second kick of HK guarded. Akuma is at neutral frames, so a perfectly plinked cr.MK is uninterruptable by almost everyone. If you know the opponent will not interrupt, you can go for a block string or an overhead. This can also set up cr.MK mixups.
2.cr.MK variations: Against opponents who expect the fireball after cr.MK, you can choose to not do the fireball, and take advantage of the opponent's later reaction.
Against opponents who look for the fireball and continue to guard, only to realise there is no fireball, and then poke back: cr.HK will trip them.
Against opponents who look for the fireball and do a FADC to punish the fireball with uppercut: cr.MK into a 2 hit or 3hit shakunetsu hadoken or cr.HK into ultra or HK into a combo.
Against opponents who just guard passively: Play tatsumaki cross up(will be mentioned below), HK with the second hit blocked, demon flip mixup (will be mentioned below).
Against opponents who poke back immediately: do the fireball.
Against opponents who uppercut or do ultras that beat fireballs: Guard and punish.
3. Akuma's tatsu crossup is very powerful as it can combo into HP uppercut for chunky damage, or sweep for a reset. It is mixed up a normal j.HK. The tatsu cross up is done by jumping forward and doing a HK tatsu when at the peak of the jump to hit the back of your opponent.
4. Demon flip mixups work best at the distance after cr.MK is blocked IMO.
If you know your opponennt will uppercut a demon flip, do the HK demon flip into a dive kick to bait the uppercut.
If you know he will not uppercut because he stinks in doing anti-air or because of the first option, do a MK demon flip into a throw, crushing palm, late divekick, or a whiffed crushing palm into a throw mixup.
Crushing palm leads to obscene blockstun, allowing akuma to continue blockstring pressure.
Late dive kick will beat mashy attempts to tech throw. The delay in mid air will prevent you from landing immediately, allowing the opponent to whiff his throw for you to kick him.
The throw will hit them as long as they wish to stay on the ground and guard.
A whiffed crushing palm into a throw works if they don't tech it at the right time. If they tech it at the right time, you can do a cr.LK cr.LP cr.LP tatsu to punish them.
Also, if you know your opponent is not going to uppercut, you can do an empty jump-in for mixups.
4.. Jump forward and EX zanku is an excellent but expensive (1 meter) way to get in to your opponent. you can play an overhead mixup or go to play another block string game.
5. Throw mixups on the ground. In the middle of blockstrings, you can mixup your throw with a delayed cr.MP, uppercut or EX tatsumaki. You could also bait whiff and then HK.Okizeme
When the opponent is waking up at a distance, forcing them to block a HP shakunetsu hadoken is ideal becuase it does great chip damage.
On wakeup, demon flip and tatsu cross up is very strong. You could also go for a meter cr.MP or an empty jump- into throw or 2MK hadoken FADC HP tatsu uppercut.Defense:
Teleport: Teleport is EXTREMELY important for Akuma because of his low health and his great command of space. Its also really good because it travels really far and can only be punished if the opponent fully commits to baiting it. At the same time, some characters can punish it well only if they have meter. When in a block string or when in the corner, and you need to regain the space to begin the dynamic of his zoning game, teleport is a very good answer if the opponent chooses not to prepare punishment for it.
Jump RH tatsu to fly away!: Very strong tool to get out of corners. Opponents have to commit to a jump attack with a vertical hitbox to catch you.
Uppercut: Standard shoto answer when under immense pressure :/ If up close, HP uppercut is strong because it is hit checkable. If slightly further, LP uppercut is more suitable because it launches on a single hit.
Jump back: Jumping back is good since Akuma can throw a zanku.
Backdash: Akuma's backdash is meh but it does the job of getting out of pressure.Basic combos:
st.HK (link) cr.LP LK tatsu HP shoryuken
st.HK st.LP st.HK st.LP LK tatsu into uppercut/sweep (works best against abel, boxer, guile, sagat. These guys can be swept after a regular LK tatsu too.)
cr.LP st.HP/cr.MP LK tatsu HP shoryuken (VERY important off demon flip divekick. Hitcheck it. If its guarded throw a hadoken to make it safe. If it hits, do a LK tatsu. Don't worry if they are crouching/standing since the dive kick FORCE stands.
close st.HP LK tatsu HP shoryuken (Best punisher at close range. HP comes out at 4 frames which is the speed of cr.MP). If you have meter, do HP Hadoken EX cancel, dash forwad, HP light tatsu HP shoryuken, End the combo with HP shoryuken immediately after HP if they are crouching.
Everyone plays a character differently! So feel free to use different methods to defend and offend!
Disclaimer: I know these but I can't do them (yet). LOL. Still I hope it helps players who will be able to take Akuma to a good level.
Please feel free to discuss matchups! Matchups
Ryu: Ryu vs Akuma is even but it is not easy. You must have strong fundamentals because Ryu punishes mistakes very hard. Mistakes must not be made even though ryu can dictate a quick pace because of his movement and efficient means to force mixups.
At the moment, I believe in pressuring Ryu with fireballs while he has little meter, and try to force in some setups; especially Tatsu crossup, demon flip mixups and HK setups.
The moment ryu has that ultra, and has the meter, its time to play a lot more defensive and let him throw the fireballs or walk in. If he throws fireballs, jump up over it and mixup between a regular zanku and an EX zanku. A low EX zanku eats up attempts to move in, focus or sweep. So to beat that, ryu has to jump back to make akuma waste the meter. Thats where Akuma should use the normal zanku to push his position forward, to bring ryu a little bit closer to the corner.
If ryu knows you are looking out for the fireball and moves in, throw fireballs or sweeps to push him out.
DO NOT throw a triple shakunetsu on wake up when he has ultra. You are asking to die.
Be very very careful when Ryu has ultra and super. Your air fireball game becomes risker the moment he has those. Stock up one meter to have an EX tatsu to avoid those in the air. Also when Ryu has super, do not sweep him. A sweep equates to a free super. Throw a fireball or a cr.MK.
If you do not have a life lead, throw fireballs to get into sweep range to start some offense. If the ryu refuses to jump them, throw out shakunetsu hadokens. Mixup the LP and HP shakus. Punish Ryu's tatsu with an Ultra/Super or uppercut.
Sagat: Yay! We use a character that makes Sagat come to US. You MUST make sagat come to you. Do so by destroying his fireball game with Shakunetsu hadokens. Footsies with sagat is very simple; it is a matter of whether to HK or not. Sagat's most damaging and most consistent answer to a well placed HK is uppercut, but that is very risky. If you are certain that sagat will just guard, try to play a tatsu crossup or a demon flip mixup. Those are more effective because of his size. Not to mention, Sagat has more difficulty in dealing with crossups.
Against sagat, you would like to learn combos that end with st.LP because st.LP links into st.HK. Ending a combo with sweep after a tatsu is great too because it allows us to cross sagat up again.
This matchup is really annoying for Sagat if played right, but its still even because of the difference in vitality, and Sagat's crazy damage output from one right guess.ANTI-AKUMA (If you want to know more counter strats that i know, please feel free to ask! I'd like to make it harder for akuma players like myself so that we can develop our game further ):
Versus jump up air fireball: Jump attack or dash under and sweep.
If akuma knows that you are going to jump attack immediately, he can just jump up vertically at distance, bait your jump attack to whiff, and then punish you with cr.LP the moment you land. If he knows that you are trying to get under him to sweep/focus, he will do a low double fireball.
versus fireball: Jump in! Or do a tatsu/EX blanka ball or something.
st.HK... YOU MUST punish ST.HK if you duck it. Ryu can do stuff like cr. MP cr.MP HK tatsu. Characters can even land ultras if they duck it!
cr.HK. If you can punish it, do it! Ryu gets a free super.. Chun li gets a free super/ultra. So yeah find out what you have to punish it even if blocked at tip!
If you see demon flip, and you have no choice but to guard it, crouch guard. The dive can be blocked low. Also if you crouch, you cant get thrown easily. At the same time, you will block the sweep.
Akuma's Tatsu is very punishable on block. Its not like ryu's or kens.
Learn how to bait teleport and find out how you can punish it very hard.