Ibuki is no longer the character I fell in love with, but that’s okay

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Her playstyle, I fell in love with her playstyle

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Ibuki was one of the handful of characters I dabbled in while playing Street Fighter IV. The others were Hakan (my main), T. Hawk, Dan, Seth, and Makoto. Once I found out that Ibuki’s neckbreaker slide was a lot like Hakan’s belly slide, I was all about it. I never got to the point where I was using her “vortex” and constantly mixing everyone up, but I enjoyed her playstyle and saw mild success.

Well, her Street Fighter V incarnation is different. But hey, that’s fine by me. The slide is still there, and so is the neckbreaker, but they are very different moves now. The slide stands alone, and the neckbreaker is her back throw. 

Regardless, I’ve been playing a bunch of her, and here’s what I’ve learned.

[Header image from Dead End Thrills]

The Basics

Ibuki has changed a lot since her Street Fighter IV days. As I’ve mentioned, I played her a decent amount in the past game, yet this time around I find myself having to re-learn a lot of what I knew. She’s still all about mixups, though the “vortex” that defined her in IV is long gone.

She’s a resource-heavy character. Her EX moves are great, and there are plenty of opportunities to use them. Her Critical Art is pretty far-reaching, which also makes it a good option in many situations. Plus, her kunais are a resource that she needs to keep track of in order to get the most out of her game. If you’re terrible with keeping tabs on resources, being successful as Ibuki will likely prove challenging.

  • Kasumigake aka Command Dash (Quarter-circle forward, Kick)

This is a huge part of Ibuki’s mixup game, but don’t feel discouraged if you aren’t using it often early on. Use it to dash under people or even to close the gap when it’s safe to do so. Learn the distances in training, and understand the angle of the Heavy Kick version, which launches Ibuki into the air. After a bomb explosion it’s usually possible to use the HK version to get up to the opponent and follow up with a Heavy Punch into Heavy Kick. Looks badass, too!

  • Kazekiri aka Upkicks (Forward Dragonpunch motion, Kick)

These Upkicks can be a decent anti-air at times, especially the EX version, but it depends on the situation and angle. Keep in mind that these move Ibuki forward when trying to space appropriately (the button pressed determines how far). 

  • Raida (Half-circle back, Punch)

What a great move. Raida is a great combo-ender, and can even grab people out of the air. The EX version deserves a special shoutout, since it moves Ibuki a good deal forward, allowing for some sweet combos off of bombs or kunais.

  • Kunai (Quarter-circle forward, Punch)

Okay, so kunai are another resource that Ibuki players must keep track of. She starts the match with six, and using this move reduces it by one. In order to replenish, you must input the Kunai Hoju, listed below. The button pressed affects the angle, which again, you need to understand in order to use it effectively. The EX version sends an explosive with it, which will pop up the enemy if it hits. This move has great synergy with her V-Trigger. At close distance, cancelling Kunai into V-Trigger works wonders.

Also, holding and releasing a punch button will release all kunais at once in a straight line. This can be a good way to continue a combo on someone who gets blown away (by either a V-Trigger bomb or EX Kunai) or to punish from a distance. This can also be done in the air, but you need to hold the Kick button instead.

  • Kunai Hoju aka Grab Dat Kunai, Gurl (Half-circle back, Kick)

This leaves Ibuki way open, but is the only way to restore kunais outside of the idle animation. The longer the kick button is held, the more she’ll grab out of….her pocket, I guess? 

  • Rokushaku Horokudama (V-Trigger) (HK + HP)

It throws out a goddamn bomb that can be batted around with attacks before it explodes. Pressing forward or back will increase its time until detonation, with forward increasing it the most. It’s a blast (heh) to play around with and to mix up and confuse the opponent. Works great in combos and has awesome synergy with her EX Kunai, EX Raida, and HK Command Dash.

Combos and Anti-Airs

Use these early on when you’re still getting the hang of everything. I highly recommend doing Ibuki’s trials, as many of these combos are based off of techniques taught there (or straight up pulled from there). 

  • Target Combo = sLP, sMP, sHP

Get used to this, because it will likely become your go-to combo many times. It’s a target combo, which means that it is very easy to execute — just tap the three punch buttons in order and bam! Combo. Now, this doesn’t to a lot of damage by itself, but there’s plenty you can do with it.

  • Target Combo, LP Raida

This has been my go-to combo, especially early. If leading with a jump in, throw in an aerial Medium Kick straight into the target combo.

  • Forward MK, sLP, H Raida or H Upkicks

I like this combo because it starts with her overhead (an attack that hits high, aka it works on crouching opponents), which is great for her mixup game. It also gives some freedom at the end of it, since both heavy versions of the Raida and Upkicks will combo. For what it’s worth, both of these combos do the same damage, but ending with the Raida will create more stun.

  • DF MK, sLP, H Upkicks or EX Raida

Ibuki’s slide is a decent way to get in during the neutral game, but the spacing is difficult. This combo will not always work, is what I’m trying to say. Play with the distances in training mods to get a feel for the spacing. The EX Raida version of this will obviously deal more damage, so if you’ve got meter to spare, go for it!

  • Target Combo, HP+HK, cMP, EX Kunai, HK Command Dash, HP, HK

This combo is flashy as shit, and it’s really not too difficult to perform. The last bit can be tricky with the timing, but that’s about it. This is a great combo to perform when you’ve got the resources to do so. Practice it for those third-round comebacks when you’ve forgotten to use any EX moves or kunais for the first two rounds. Wait, that doesn’t happen to you? HAH ME NEITHER.

  • Anti-Airs

Back + MP is a great anti-air, and can be followed up by either a command dash and LP Raida or her Critical Art. Of course, Ibuki also has her air-throw if you ever find yourself air-to-air with the opponent. Her Upkicks are a decent AA as well, but you should use the EX version whenever possible.


Here are some of the videos that helped me along the way.

YouTube user pdcsky puts in some amazing work to his Street Fighter V videos. They are some of the best produced and easy-to-understand videos to watch. If you only want one video to help you learn Ibuki, make it this one.

While not as well produced, Bafael is easily one of the best people to follow for all things Street Fighter V. He’s consistently working on combo lists and videos for newer players and veterans alike. Make sure you pay attention to the inputs on the left-hand side, since they aren’t displayed anywhere else in the video. He gets into some more advanced things about halfway through.

This video is great because it starts off with easier combos and soon ramps up to high level stuff. Plus, they slow down most of the combos to really get a good feel for how they work. I wish more combo videos did that! Even if you don’t need it slowed down, it’s great to automatically see the combo twice in a row to help reinforce it into your brain.

Yet another great and well-produced video! Either Ibuki is getting a lot of love from past players who also happen to be good content creators, or more people are happy to create videos like this to help others (me) out. This one is a little more complicated since it deals with pressure and setups and isn’t just a list of combos, but trust me, it’s all crucial to understand eventually.

There’s also a follow-up video on her neutral game and defense here. For anyone wondering what the <3f> or <4f> notations are in the video, it’s frame data. In other words, a move with <3f> comes out in three frames, or 1/20th of a second. Moves that take a lot of frames to come out usually do more damage or have some other great feature to them to make up for it. Moves that come out in two or three frames are often jabs, EX moves, or Critical Arts.


I hope some of these resources have helped! I don’t know that I’ll be sticking with Ibuki in the future (Alex is still my favorite character by far), but I do enjoy her playstyle in V, even if it no longer has what I loved about her in the first place. Her Target Combo is pretty critical to a lot of combos early on, but you don’t need to rely on it! Many of the videos listed above show plenty of combos without using it. I’ve had the most trouble “getting in” with Ibuki, so I play pretty defensively and let them come to me. Let me know what works for you!

[This guide is based on a Season Pass code provided by the publisher.]

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Patrick Hancock
During the day, he teaches high school kids about history. At night he kicks their butts in competitive games like Rocket League, Dota 2, Overwatch, and Counter-Strike. Disclosure: I've personally backed Double Fine Adventure, Wasteland 2, Dead State, SPORTSFRIENDS, Torment: Tides of Numera, STRAFE, and The Binding of Isaac: Four Souls. I have previously written for AbleGamers.com and continue to support them whenever possible (like HumbleBundle).