How to play Ken in Street Fighter 6: Moves, combos & backstory

How to play Ken in Street Fighter 6: Moves, combos & backstory
Images via Capcom

Written by 

Dave McAdam


2nd Jun 2023 00:00


Do you want to learn to play Ken in Street Fighter 6? Street Fighter 6 has a roster of new and returning fighters, each with their own moves, strategies, and stories. Ken is the second character to ever appear in the game, originating as a palette swap for Ryu. A lot has changed in those 30+ years, so let's take a look at how to play Ken in Steet Fighter 6.

Street Fighter 6 Ken: The basics

Ken kicking Guile in the face in Street Fighter 6
Click to enlarge

For the longest time, Ken was simply another Ryu with some slight variations. Where Ryu favoured range and using fireballs, Ken was stronger with his kicks and his uppercuts. Over time, Ken developed from a typical Shoto (Ryu-like) character, into more of a rush-down character.

Rush-down as a concept is quite simple, it is a playstyle that puts pressure on the opponent. A rush-down character stays in their opponent's face as much as possible, constantly hitting them with moves from all angles.

In Street Fighter 5, we saw Ken move fully into this role, and now in Street Fighter 6, he continues to be strongest when played this way. While Ken still has very similar moves to Ryu like the classic Hadoken and Shoryuken, he has added new moves such as the Jinrai Kick and the Dragonlash Kick. Both are excellent tools for closing gaps and exerting pressure.

Street Fighter 6 Ken: Moves and basic combos

Ken has added some new moves to his classic repertoire, giving returning fans some new tools to play with. Below are his special moves, unique attacks, as well as some basic combos to show you how to use them.

Special Moves

Ken hitting Guile with an EX Shoryuken, one of his most useful special moves in Street Fighter 6
Click to enlarge

Special Moves Input
Hadoken Down - Forward - Punch
Shoryuken Forward - Down - Down/forward - Punch
Tatsumaki Senpu-kyaku (Hurricane Kick) Down - Back - Kick
Dragonlash Kick Forward - Down - Down/forward - Kick
Jinrai Kick Down - Forward - Kick (followed by forward and any kick for follow-up)

Unique Attacks

Ken defeating Ryu with a unique attack in Street Fighter 6
Click to enlarge

Unique Attacks Input
Chin Buster (Target Combo) Medium Punch - Heavy Punch
Triple Flash Kicks Medium Kick x2 - Heavy Kick
Quick Dash Any two kick buttons pressed together(followed by any kick for follow-up)

Super Arts

Ken using one of his Super Arts in Street Fighter 6
Click to enlarge

Super Arts Input
Dragonlash Flame (Down - Back/Down - Back)x2 - Kick
Shippu Jinrai-Kyaku (Down - Forward/Down - Forward)x2 - Kick
Shinryu Reppa (Critical Art) (Down - Forward/Down - Forward)x2 - Punch


Ken hitting Ryu with his target combo in Street Fighter 6
Click to enlarge

Ken has a handful of key combos you should know. First of all, his crouching medium kick is a perfect way to begin a combo. Follow it up with a Hadoken, then add a Tatsumaki or a Shinryu Reppa, his Critical Art.

For more damage, you can start a similar combo with Chin Buster, Ken's target combo. This can lead right into a Shoryuken, a Super, or a Critical Art. You can also follow the medium/heavy punch with his Quick Dash, then complete the combo with a kick or a special attack.

Ken's standing medium kick is a great tool for poking, even better because it naturally combos into a second medium kick, followed by a heavy kick. If you are new to the game or haven't played in a long time, this simple-to-execute combo is a great tool to get comfortable in matches.

Long story short, most of Ken's combos start with a hit confirm with either a medium punch or medium kick, followed by heavy, then a special move. More often than not, whenever you can combo into Hadoken, you can use the EX version and then immediately combo into a Super or his Critical Art for a pile of damage.

Street Fighter 6 Ken: Backstory of the character

Ken posing after a win in Street Fighter 6
Click to enlarge

Ken Masters is a lifelong martial artist, much like his friend and rival Ryu. Unlike Ryu, Ken comes from a wealthy American family, from whom he inherits the family business. Ken's priorities have always been martial arts, and competing with Ryu to be the best. Ken is a world-champion fighter, but always feels a step behind Ryu.

By the time of Street Fighter 6, Ken has learned to move beyond his rivalry and friendship with Ryu, and focus more on his wife and son. However, fighting is forever a high priority for Ken, and while organising a martial arts tournament in the developing nation of Nayshall, he is caught up in a conspiracy to frame him for terrorism.

Although he is cleared of the charges, Ken loses almost everything and must go into hiding to protect his family. He returns to fighting in order to learn about the plot that destroyed his reputation, cost him his company, and drove him from his family.

That is it for our Street Fighter 6 Ken guide. For more on the game, check out our Street Fighter 6 commentators guide.

Dave is a Senior Guides Writer at GGRecon, after several years of freelancing across the industry. He covers a wide range of games, with particular focus on shooters like Destiny 2, RPGs like Baldur's Gate 3 and Cyberpunk 2077, and fighting games like Street Fighter 6 and Tekken 8.

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