View Full Version : new article as per request, a reflection on Ken Masters

10-10-2010, 11:31 PM
Well God of Muay Thai requested I look into Ken Masters from Street Fighter and this is what I came up with, hope y'all enjoy, any more requests just lemme know)[again i appologise for seemingly hillbilly grammar]

Welcome back to another episode of Character "Gems" Corner, I am your host Nathan "NJBrock" Spade and today I have been requested to take a look into a popular character from the Street Fighter License that has since rotated out, One half of the "Shotokan Brothers" and probably one of the most influential design characters of the early game, KEN. I will do this a little differently than the last few, as I am going to take a look at EACH Character and compare and contrast them based on their abilites and symbols and what playstyle they have. Let us start out, going in numerical order(or "Dot" Order) with the first one.

[All, Fire, Void]
Hand: 6
Vitality: 25
E: Commit: Your [ALL] attack gets +2 Speed.
E: Discard 1 momentum: Draw 1 card. Only playable if you have an attack card in your card pool.

Now at first you will probably notice that his abilitys look underwhelming, but consider this was the VERY first set of the game and the majority of cards at that time were [ALL] cards and you'll understand how good he could have been. His second E was the one that made him stand out as his main theme of Drawing, the ability looks horible at first but consider that he could ALWAYS if he had momentum keep the assault going and re-fill his hand after an attack spree made him VERY viable, few very competative versions of him were made though. His symbol spread was good at the time as Void was the original dominant symbol and could fit well in ANY Void deck. Unfortunately for this character he was over shadowed by his Deck version:

[All, Good, Void]
Hand: 7
Vitality: 22
F: Commit, reveal your hand: Draw X cards. X equals the number of attacks in your hand. [Errata: Only playable once per turn]
R: Discard 1 momentum: When taking damage, reduce that damage you take by 1(min 1).

Aww the Rainbow Bright character card, for those who don't get the inside joke, look up the character and you'll see why I say that; back to discussion This character dominated the Meta for the first 2 sets as a VERY dangerous character to play against mainly because of Void and void's main weapon at the time, LOTS OF DISCARD, which he could negate the cost of discarding by using his form a few times a turn(which was quickly fixed a few sets later by a simple errata to once per turn) and quickly using small attacks with discard like Hiza Geri and then following it up with Maelstrom Divide for huge damage AFTER discarding his opponent's hand away with a combination of Charisma + Ancient Insight. His other ability was marginal at best and really was never used except in emergency situations. Also take note of his hand : vitality ratio, as this was actually considered BELOW average for a 7 hander at the time(7/23 was common) and with a 7 hand he quickly became a dominant force, and still is to a lesser extend in legacy today. The next one was greeted with lukewarm reception on it's spoiling:

[Good, Void, Water]
Hand: 7
Vitality: 21
All of your attacks with Difficulty X or less get the Reversal Keyword. X equals your Momentum.
E: Commit: If this attack deals damage, your opponent discards 2 cards.

Now at first glance, there seems to be nothing to look at, but then you notice he still has the Void resource AND he also has an ability that turns ALL of his attacks into reversals(not your opponent's as a similar promo Alba2 did) for the meer cost of having a number of momentum equal to or greater than the difficulty of your attacks, in Void that is not too hard to do as it has a LOT of discard to make sure attacks get thru and has quite a few throws, meaning you could easilly start throwing Shadow Banishment as a Reversal, or block twice with an attack then throw Tiamat's Rampage (or Timmay as a lot call it) at your opponent for almost certain death. His vitality went down 1 but really didn't mater in the long run. His other ability was one that almost garnered to a Throw build as it forces your opponent to discard 2 cards for your attack dealing damage, the trade off? commit your character, at the time it could have been a backbreaking cost but in the long run a very fair cost to kill your opponent's hand. A few sets later we finally got 2 new kens, let's look at the Ultra Rare version from Extreme Rivals:

[Earth, Fire, Void]
Hand: 7
Vitality: 24
E: Discard X moemntum: Your attack gets +X speed.
R: Commit, discard 3 cards. After you fail to play a card, draw X cards. X equals the failed card's control.

Yes you are reading his hand : vitality correctly, 24 vitality with a 7 hand size, yet he was RARELY played, reason being, his abilites were considered TOO overcosted, discarding momentum for a speed bonus was looked down uppon as most were at the time wanting to use it towards POWERFUL instead of speed. The Second ability requires THREE cards to be discarded AND you to fail a check, granted if used on your opponent's turn trying to block with a character it can refresh your hand but in the long run it wasn't looked at as VERY viable, now he COULD have synergy with cards like Ruler of Southtown if he shared symbols with it to make him draw TONS of cards but wouldnt remotely be viable, the only thing really making this character stand out is the fact he has 3 very good offensive symbols and a 7 hand. Now to the Rare from the set:

[Chaos, Fire, Void]
Hand: 6
Vitality: 25
R: Discard 2 cards: After you draw a card, you may take any number of cards from your hand and and add them to your momentum.
F: Commit, commit X foundations: Your opponent commits X of their Foundations. Each player draws X cards.

Now this was a very interesting character, loses 1 hand size and gains 1 vitality from his UR version but at the same time has 2 very unusual abilites. Any time he draws cards he can immediately discard 2 cards and add up to the number of cards in his hand to his momentum, which if you're running a LOT of momentum based abilites this helps a LOT, as you can throw your hand -1 card into your momentum then throw out a huge multi attack or powerful attack. He also synergizes with his Form from this ability. His Form allows you to self stun yourself and forces his opponent to commit themselves down the number of foundations you commited(or less if they have less) then both players draw cards equal to the cards you stunned. This can lead to one of 2 builds, you can either sit back and try to mill your opponent out by digging thru their deck with that ability, sometimes combo'd with Vast Resources, OR you can use it to re-fill your hand and continue the assault and maybe get all your opponent's good checks into their hand and they'll start failing their blocks(which if you timed your form properly they'll be checking for printed control +1(character card commital) AT BEST. Let's move on to the next promo version:

[Earth, Good, Void]
Hand: 6
Vitality: 28
E: Commit: This attack gets -X damage. X equals half of this attack's damage(Rounded down).
F: Commit: Your opponent gains X vitality and commits X (errata: of their) foundations. X cannot be greater than your opponents maximum vitality minus their current vitality.

Now at first the Character looks iffy, but if you look REALLY Close at the Form, it is a back breaker if timed right, this character I've piloted to many wins in my local meta, just using him off Earth and throwing all of Earth's control out and damage pumps, the trick with his form is to make sure you've dealt X or more damage to your opponent, where X equals the number of ready foundations they have in play, THEN use his Form as your first Form of the turn and go to town on your opponent, he also has Good to fall back on for reduction if your opponent gets a turn and starts to go off on you keeping you alive for that one final attack on your opponent. Finally let's look at the most Recient version from Domination:

[All, Order, Void]
Hand: 6
Vitality: 26
E: Discard 1 momentum: If this attack deals damage, Each player Draws X Cards. X equals the damage dealt.
E: Commit 1 foundation: Each player choses one of their opponent's momentum which is discarded.

Now here is an example of a Character that could be a BIG Contender in Extended but rarely sees any play, his abilites can make or break your deck VERY easilly and he has symbols that can back up any build for you(and 3 symbols that are VERY competitive in the Extended meta) his problem though... He is overshadowed by his own support cards, which take away from his abilities. Let's look at his first ability: "Discard 1 momentum: attack deals damage, each player draws cards equal to the damage dealt" This is one of the few times where attacking can lead to EITHER win condition(mill or vitality loss) yet in Extended rarely do you see attacks deal more than 3-4 damage which is not that good for using an ability like this(unless you are desperate for attacks). His other ability CAN be very viable especially with some newer cards in standard, as he can commit a foundation to chose one of his opponents momentum and discard it, the payoff, the opponent gets to do the same back to you. Yeah you're losing a foundation AND a momentum but you get to keep any face up momentum your opponent has at bay if it's causing you problems OR maybe even keep your opponent from using powerful or multiple OR even Flexible Body to deal with your attacks or their attacks.

Now that we've looked over the characters let's pick one to build a deck off of... hmm I'll chose Ken7 to build off of for an Extended deck and will try to keep it as I always try to do, with the exception of starter rares there will be NO rares or URs in this deck and will try to keep it somewhat playable.



Amy's Sidestep x4 2/5 +2M
Warrior's Path x4 2/5 +2M


Assassin's Secret x4 4/3 3H4 (C: Weapon) +2H
Chobi Jishi x4 4/3 3L4 Weapon +1H
*Crack Counter Forward Vaulting x4 4/3 4H3 Reversal +3H
*Double Cyclone Punch x4 4/3 3L4 Ranged +2L
High Plasma Beam x4 4/3 3H3 Ranged +1H
Hiogi x4 4/3 3L3 Weapon +3H
Kuzuryu Reppa x4 6/3 4M6 Multi: 1 +1H

Dark Messiah x4 3/5
Holding Ground x4 2/4 +2L
Light on One's Feet x4 2/5 +2H
Not Human x4 2/5
Program Malfunction x4 3/5 +1M
Psycho Style x4 2/5/4
Sisters of Battle x4 2/5 +3M
To the Ends of the Earth x4 3/5 +3L
Together Again x4 2/5 +2M
Weapons are Unnecessary x4 1/5 +1H

Makai High Noble x4 1/6 +1H
Will for the Fight x4 2/5 +3M

So after a lot of looking thru all the cards availible I chose [Order] to build from, Reason being, Order has a lot of tools at it's disposal to make an interesting deck and has a lot of common and uncommon cards that do stuff that you usually see on Rares and Ultra Rares. The explinations, the actions I chose Warrior's Path for it's anti discard ability PLUS the fact it has a good damage pump and a block on it. The other action i chose was Amy's Sidestep as it makes blocking a LOT easier and it also kicks itself from the card pool upon blocking(you can in your own build later take either of these out).

Attack wise I found out the hard way a LOT of Order's best attacks are Rares and URs like Deathcopter attack but since I limited myself to commons and uncommons + starter rares, I came down to the following lineup: First Assassin's Secret, reason being, good Off Centre speed and damage, and when played after a weapon gives you momentum, good block too. Next we have Chobi Jishi, a personal favorite of mine from back in the day as it allows you to gain back vitality when it deals damage, good attack to play after you've been hammered on by your opponent, also has a good block. Now we have two options for attacks that I couldn't chose between so we'll list both, Crack Counter Foward Vaulting is good because it's a Reversal and can cycle your opponent's hand in a pinch as well as yours, Double Cyclone Punch immediately goes to momentum after you block with it and is a good attack in general, anyone wanting to build this deck can chose either or neither. High Plasma Beam, one of Orders TRUE Kill Buttons usually best used with lower hand size characters but still can be used very efficiently with Ken, and even with Paul Phoenix. Hiogi, seriously read this card for those wanting to build an extended order deck, it gives your next attack +2 Damage, as long as Hiogi deals damage, time it right and you can lead into a kill attack. Lastly we have Kuzuryu Reppa, one of the best Starter Deck exclusives in the game, and was so universally used(the only one better was probably Tiger Fury from Sagat's deck until it got errata'd... darn), A free use of your Ability PLUS Multiple 1, yeah sign me up, yeah i know it's 6 difficulty, but for what it does, it's amazing.

Foundation wise we had a LOT of choices but I was able to settle on the following: First, Dark Messiah, this card grants a +3 Damage bonus to [Order] attacks and can also cancel any momentum gaining ability. Holding Ground, a card that MAY need to come to standard(this card could have single handedly killed Hilde), is a very good card in it's own as it allows you to ignore ANY modifications to an opponent's attack OR your attack, say your opponent reduces your attack to 0 and skips the block step, commit this and they take the printed damage of that attack. Next we have Light on One's feet, this lets ya change ANY attack to ANY zone, helps a lot when you're on the defensive, OR if you know what's in your opponent's hand and can force them to off zone block. Next we have Not Human, which I've always called More Machine than Woman 2.0 and is a card that should go in any [Order] or [Good] deck that can pack it, being able to reduce the damage of an opponent's attack to 1(most of the time) is very powerful and anyone who can use that should if possible. Program Malfunction, is a very powerful card that will lock your opponent's problem cards for a FULL turn(your turn + opponent's next turn) as long as ya leave it commited after it's ability, and a +1M block on it is good also, 3 Diff is steep but for it's ability i'll take it. Next we have the Split card Psycho Style, which can either as an Action and as a Form commit 1 card of YOUR CHOICE in your opponent's staging area, or as a foundation you can slowly commit out your opponent's resources by commiting yours, powerful but sometimes a problem card for you. Sisters of Battle, -4 to your opponent's speed is a nasty weapon especially if they're running MOSTLY attacks from that character's set, opponent plays attack that is 8-10 speed a few of these will bring it down to blockable range. To the ends of the Earth, a powerful little card that can end turns fairly easilly especially in multiples as it gives your blocks 'Breaker 2' as long as you can commit 2 foundations to use it, nice. Together Again, well here we have a re-usable +1 Speed ability AND an ability to make blocking easier AND a good block, what's not to like about it. Finally Weapons are Unneccessary, 1 difficulty, static -1 damage maybe -3 if it's a weapon attack and a good high block, nice card.

For the Sideboard I chose 2 utility foundations that can be subbed in at any time. First ya have Makai High Noble, this card can keep an opponent's foundation destruction at bay and start removing their cards from their staging area as punishment, it also has a good block and a 6 check, not a bad card all around. Secondly we have Will for the Fight, which is a good answer to Discard as you immediately draw X+1 cards after you discard cards, where X equals the number of cards ya discarded, it also gives you +2 damage to your attack, which is a nice ability to have if ya can't kill your opponent quickly. Well there's the review of Ken and a deck, do note I am not reccomending that this is the ONLY way to play Ken but meerly a starting point on how to play him, you can always take this deck and playtest with it and then modify or just tear apart and re-build as you see fit. Until next time this is Nathan "NJBrock" Spade, signing off.


10-10-2010, 11:46 PM
I really, really, REALLY have wanted to use .:::Ken:::. and :::Ken::: . Going to seriously start looking for .:::Ken:::. now, this really pumped me up.

10-11-2010, 12:48 AM
Thanks for choosing mine! This is an interesting take on ken, i never considered making him not void haha.Ken ** is my favorite one except it has bad art.

10-11-2010, 02:09 AM
I think next you should make an article about either Hoahmaru or Nightmare :)


10-11-2010, 05:13 PM
Nightmare or Haohmaru hmm, well by Default Haohmaru means a look at his Alter Ego Mitsurugi also... i'll look into that BRT... oh and you should STILL Be banned from Legacy, LOL.


10-12-2010, 01:38 AM
Nightmare or Haohmaru hmm, well by Default Haohmaru means a look at his Alter Ego Mitsurugi also... i'll look into that BRT... oh and you should STILL Be banned from Legacy, LOL.


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