You’ve looked at the character select screen and figured out very quickly; Karin is the only way to go. I’ll be happy to tell you, that you’ve made the right choice. Obviously you’re not 100% sure of that yet, otherwise you wouldn’t be watching this, I know I know, but trust me, you’ve made the right choice. We’re going to go through the following points today: Pressing Karin’s Buttons, Specials, her V-Trigger, Kanzuki-Ryu Guren no Kata, Can Openers, Bread & Butter Combos, and we’ll briefly touch upon Mix Ups (briefly) Before we start, I want you to keep one thing in mind, I am not an expert, I am not a pro player and I am certainly not an online warrior that gives a damn about his points. I’ve been playing Karin for exactly two weeks, at the point I’ve been putting this together, so take it for what it is.
Karin is a pressure tool and she’s decked out, but it’s important to know what each button actually does for you as a player. Let’s go through each of her buttons one by one. Let’s start with her buttons in a standing position. Her standing LP has decent reach and can link into another light attack. Her standing MP stuffs a lot of moves and allows her to easily hit confirm specials. Standing HP reaches deceptively far, has high priority over other moves and is Karin’s best anti air. It can be somewhat slow when dealing with grounded opponents though. Her standing LK is a good interruption tool and one of her best buttons by far, we’ll further dissect this button during one of the later topics in this video though.
Standing MK is going to be your most often pressed button, it reaches far, stuffs a lot of normals and when spaced correctly even acts as another anti air, although rather poorly, so stick to standing HP when you’re dealing with jump ins. If you hold towards your opponent when pressing MK, you will get Karin’s overhead, Tsumujigari. The overhead serves its purpose in hitting crouching opponents, but if your spacing is anything, but the absolute max distance this move will allow for, expect to be countered hard. Also, even though it might look like she’s airborne, she’s not! She can easily get grabbed out of it. To avoid rising sodium levels in your own body, never ever use this move when you’re right in front of your opponent and always hold away from your opponent when you want to execute a standing MK. I can’t stress this last point enough, burn this into your muscle memory, always hold back when you want to execute a standing MK! Lastly we have her standing HK, which I personally use mainly for far reach punishes and as a hit confirm for V-Trigger activation.
Next up we have crouching moves. Her crouching LP, same as with her standing LP allow you to link another one into it. This button also has another property, which we’ll discuss together with standing LK, during the aforementioned later segment. Karin’s crouching MP is her quintessential combo starter. It links into both her standing MP and her crouching MK. This branching in which link to go for is actually very important and will be further dissected during the BnB combos segment. Crouching HP is pretty awesome and very deceiving. At first glance it looks like that this is supposed to be her anti air, but it isn’t. While it’s possible, it’s very tricky to punish jump ins with this attack as it leaps forward a lot, usually resulting in completely missing what you were trying to hit and subsequently having to pay a lot of health for it. Instead you’re better off using it, after a blocked standing LK to try and fish out throw attempts. Karin’s crouching LK is fast, but you’re mainly going to use it for interrupts, when you’re finding yourself in a situation where you’re getting looped by characters like Dictator and Nash for example and you don’t have any V meter stocked up.
It also cancels into some specials like Tenko and Mujinkyaku. Her crouching MK is pretty much what you’d expect, it has decent reach and cancels into specials. It’s one of her best attacks, but it gets stuffed easily. During footsies you absolutely want to throw in standing LKs to stuff your opponent’s attacks. Karin’s crouching HK is a very tempting button, it reaches far, has a high probability of a hard knockdown, due to the crush counter mechanic in Street Fighter V and does relatively high damage for a stand alone attack. Like most crouching HKs though, it’s recovery is abysmal! This move will get you killed more often than not, if you abuse it.
Unless you’re expecting to punish a specific move, only use it to punish blocked, max distance crouching HKs your opponent threw your way. With Karin you don’t really want to be airborne outside of trying to land a cross up, fake a cross up, or neutral jumps to punish throw attempts. For example jump HK is a good punish for throw attempts and with forward jumps you’d probably want to use her MK, which is also her go to cross up. While I am sure the other buttons do serve a purpose somehow in character specific match ups, I couldn’t find any great universal use for them.
For all intents and purposes though, Karin is a grounded character, so you really don’t wanna spend any more time in the air than you absolutely have to. Like every other character, Karin has two throws, both of which are ok, but nothing to write home about. Karin’s V-Skill, Myo-Oken, is good for frame traps, building V-Meter on Block and Hit and for hit confirm activation of her V-Trigger. The recovery on just quickly tapping MP and MK is pretty bad, instead you want to hold the two buttons. There will be a small wind up time for the move to come out, but you’ll be safe on block at least. It’s not a move you really want to keep on spamming, but you also don’t want to ignore it, as it does build your V-Meter without being defensive. Worth noting is, that the move can destroy projectiles, and when going through a projectile, will even be granted increased reach. It’s really hard to time this though, so this property will be more used through reads, rather than reactions.
With that, we’ve gone through Karin’s normals! Feeling tired yet? I hope not, there’s still quite a bit to go through here. Karin is a physical character, she doesn’t have any projectiles whatsoever. So unless you’re in close proximity to your opponent, you don’t pose much of a threat to them. Other than walking, forward dashing and jumping, Karin has two specials that allow her to close the distance though. The first one is Kanzuki-Ryu Hokojutsu Seppo… but fuck that, we’re going to call it “Command Dash” going forward! The distance you can close with this move is dependent on the kick button your press. LK has the shortest reach, MK goes a bit further, HK goes the furthest and the EX version, while faster sits between MK and HK in terms of distance travelled. The EX version also has the added bonus of going through projectiles. What makes this dash scary is one of its two follow ups; Orochi. Karin’s Orochi, has a really big hitbox, and leaves you safe on block.
It also leaves you in a perfect position to squeeze in a standing, or crouching MK. The EX version, puts your opponent into a crumpled state, like Focus Attacks in Street Fighter IV did. This allows for mix ups, which is once again something we will go through a bit later in this video. The second command dash follow up is Tenko. You really only want to use this move within combos and never just throw it out there. It’s highly unsafe and will get you punished really hard on block. Tenko comes in two distinct flavours, just frame and normal. The just frame version does more damage, but other than that both are just as viable in most situations.
Having said that, as the differences for the most part are negligible, you really want to train your hands to go for the just frame version, as the added damage, as well as the extended time it gives you on follow up inputs in your combo, will make life much easier. The EX version doesn’t have a just frame input though. In regards to both the EX versions of Orochi and Tenko, you will have to execute an EX Command Dash for those moves to become their respective EX versions. You don’t have to press two punch buttons at all, just the EX command dash will activate the EX version of whichever follow up you go for. Please note; Karin’s EX Orochi is NOT safe on block! The second move that is used to close distance is her Ressenha. Same as with her Command Dash, the strength of the button you choose determines the distance Karin will travel. LP having the shortest reach, while HP going the furthest. You can actually punish projectiles on reaction from, almost, full-screen, as it will leap over the projectile and hit your opponent during their recovery animation.
Karin’s EX Ressenha, is practically an entirely different move. It will go up at a really weird angle and is a decent-ish anti air. Don’t rely on this too heavily though, its hitbox is wonky and will sometimes not hit at all, if you’re just a pixel off. It’s a good reversal, in situations where you know it will hit, but never throw this out on a whim, as you will pay for it really damn hard. Her normal Ressenhas also have two follow ups, if you so choose. The first one is Senha Kusabi, a slide that would make Rockman proud! If your Ressenha hits, this is the follow up you want to go with, as it’s a guaranteed follow up hit.
Even on block you might want to go with it, because you’re going to get punished either way. Of course you do have the option to go with Senha Resshu instead, but the chances of that hitting are very slim. You see, Kusabi is a low, so once the opponent knows that, they will be blocking low, Resshu only hits standing opponents though. This means that if your opponent is crouching after blocking Ressenha, both follow ups will be avoided at the same time. Depending on your spacing there’s a chance that your Resshu will go over the opponent, but it’s very slow.
So you’re probably going to get punished pretty bad anyway. Ressenha can be good when you’re doing mix up, but unless it’s a reaction punish, you’re gambling with your health bar. It really is a move you never want to spam or rely on, as careless abuse will open yourself up to more pain, than your opponents could ever achieve by themselves. Dependent on the kick button you press when activating Mujinkyaku you will have four different versions of the same move, with different applications. LK will just do the double kick without any follow up. MK adds a suped up version of Karin’s overhead Tsumujigari and HK will tag on two slashing kicks. The EX version will add a pirouette that hits twice in front of the double kick and ending in a flying kick. As with most of Karin’s specials, none of these are safe to simply throw out there and most importantly, her MK version’s overhead follow up, does not combo. So be careful when you use it, as you can be interrupted all the same as is the case her with her normal Tsumujigari. The LK version serves as a good combo ender and if you have the meter available, even as a combo extender.
Her HK version is a ground combo ender, as the slashing kicks will whiff, if the enemy is being juggled. The EX version can be used as a replacement in any of the described situations, but the damage output and the situation it leaves you in aren’t really that much more beneficial to Karin, so in most cases I tend to save the meter, unless I am absolutely certain that the EX version’s increased damage output will close out the round. Those are Karin’s specials and the one thing to take away from here is, other than her Orochi, all other specials she has, leave her wide open, both whiffed and on block. For your neutral game, participating in the footsie-lympics, you really need to rely on your normals. Kanzuki-Ryu Guren no Kata is Karin’s V-Trigger activation, which I’ll just be referring to as Guren Ken going forward. Guren Ken does not grant her a damage boost or better frame advantage on all of her moves.
Instead she re-acquires her Street Fighter Zero 3 move, Guren Ken, including all of its follow ups. Guren Ken is by far your most threatening tool and when used correctly, can drive your opponents absolutely insane. An added bonus to her V-Trigger activation is, that you can use it as an animation cancel on most of your normals, similar to how you would have done with an FADC in Street Fighter IV. It’s very important to keep in mind though, that this only works off of normals; not specials! Guren Ken is a forward dashing Rekka style attack that hits twice.
It goes straight through projectiles cancelling them out and even allows for a selection of follow ups. Guren Hosho adds the animation of Myo-Oken. It naturally combos into Guren Ken and comes with the added side effect of catching people pressing buttons on block. Guren Senha adds a suped up version of Karin’s Ressenha, which has much higher frame advantage and can be comboed off of. Guren Senha does not combo from Guren Ken though, which means that you’ll have to use it as a mix up. Guren Chochu is an elbow attack, which does not combo into Guren Ken.
It might look useless at first, but when you’re pressuring your enemy you get another three options out of this move. The first option is Guren Hochu, which will cross up your opponent, on the ground. It looks amazing at first, but if your opponent has seen this once, they’re likely going to block it and that’s what you want them to do, because of the other options Guren Chochu allows for. Guren Resshu as opposed to Karin’s Senha Resshu, is in fact a really good tool. With Guren Ken you’re given tools to force the opponent to think about blocking while standing up, which a blocked Ressenha wouldn’t. The likelihood of landing a Guren Resshu is infinitely higher than a Senha Resshu, but if your opponent doesn’t get hit by it, you’re just as much of a sitting duck, as you would’ve been with a Senha Resshu.
Guren Kusabi combos into both Guren Ken and Guren Chochu. It’s a good move to use, when you’re opponent is expecting you to go for a Guren Hochu or Resshu. Guren Kyoho is your get out of jail free card, but it’s not as free as it first seems. You are susceptible to far reaching EX moves and even supers, which can catch you while you’re still in your retreating animation. Guren Kyoho is the best option out of everything Karin has with Guren Ken though, as it puts a lot of pressure on the opponent and makes them think twice about randomly tossing out an unsafe move that is supposed to interrupt you. It basically keeps them honest and allows Karin to continue her offence. Yashagaeshi Is not actually part of her V-Trigger activation, in fact it will hinder you from activating Guren Ken. While that sucks, do not underestimate the usefulness of V-Reversals. When characters are starting to press buttons right in your face, Karin doesn’t have too many options to get out of it.
Your best bet would be an EX Ressenha, which isn’t a good idea, because if it’s blocked or if you whiff, you will be in a much worse situation than while you were still blocking. Staying alive is much more important than activating Guren Ken, so do not save your V-Trigger for an activation, if you’re getting pressured. Your top priority should be to get the enemy off of you! Now that you know all of Karin’s moves there’s still the issues of actually hitting your opponent. Opening up your opponent is vital, which is why I want to go through this before we dig into her Bread and Butter combos. No combo in the world is going to help you, if all your attacks are getting blocked, right? Which brings us back to the aforementioned standing LK and crouching LP attacks. Both attacks are really fast and put in a lot of work when you’re close up. These are your can openers and we’re using them to fish for counters.
In my opinion standing LK is the superior move, but it really depends on how you play, so really you can use them interchangeably with a few exceptions. The frame advantage on your standing LK on block, will even allow you to stuff most non-EX moves, if you string your crouching MP correctly. If you have your crouching MP blocked as well, you’re now forced to make a decision. You will either block or continue your offence. This is dependent on the actions of your opponent. If you have a very defensive opponent, who is crouch blocking a lot, you might want to follow this up with a standing MK followed by Tsumujigari. Or you could go for a crouching MK into an Orochi, which brings you right back into the perfect position of hitting standing MK.
Experiment with this to find your own style and keep in mind that Karin is pressure character, and you always want to be in standing MK range to be a threat. If your opponent has EX meter available, you want to be a bit more cautious and go for blocking after a blocked crouching MP and be less frequent with your standing MK. Your crouching MK into Orochi is a better option here, as Orochi will leave you safe on block, but it’s not uncommon to have your crouching MK get stuffed, so be mindful of what your opponent is doing. The combos I am outlining here are what I deem most useful. I am sure the scaling can be optimised in a lot of ways, but this what I am using at least. Feel free to modify this to your heart’s content. This is Karin’s most basic combo and should only be used as an interrupt. Given the speed at which you need to accurately cancel Mujinkyaku from the second LP, as well as how deceptively hard it is to combo LP into LP without mashing, I don’t rely on this combo that much and use very rarely.
If you’re proficient in interrupting your opponent’s pressure up close with an LP, standing or crouching, this would convert into guaranteed damage. Crouching MP is Karin’s essential combo starter, which links into both standing MP and crouching MK. If your combo is starting in close proximity to your opponent, standing MP is the better choice as it will give you more choices to continue your combo and also does more damage. From a standing MP you can combo into all versions of Mujinkyaku, Tenko, Orochi and even the light version of Ressenha. Crouching MK on the other hand only really allows for Mujinkyaku and Tenko. As the majority of your damage requires you to juggle off of a Tenko anyway, it really is just a matter of spacing. If you’re close you want a standing MP and if you’re bit a further away, you want to choose crouching MK. Here are a few variations. This is pretty much all there is to Karin’s combo game. Most of her game is played with footsies and trying to close the distance to her opponent. Once you’re in range you will either look for whiff or block punishes or fish for counters with standing LK and/or crouching LP, which link into crouching MP to start your combos.
You will keep repeating this process until your opponent finds a way out, at which point it’s back to square one to find your way in and fish for either counters or punishes. This one I was told through a comment on one of my videos on my other channel, by a user named Kevin Kuoch. The second one I saw in a replay and had to implement it into my own game.
Unfortunately I am not 100% which player I stole this from. While it wasn’t Mago, it was one of the top 5 Karin’s on the leaderboards, so my apologies for not giving a proper shoutout here. To be clear, the mix up isn’t just the dash under the opponent! The dashing animation is what starts the mix up. Delaying the dash, will leave you in front of them for example, which you might want to do after they’ve seen it once already.
Or do it just as early and do a neutral jump, or do a grab if they’ve seen that one already. A mix up is a mix up, because you’re supposed to be… mixing it up. This is not something you can be taught, you’ll just have to experiment and get a feel for it. Even what I said in just these last sentences, shouldn’t be taken as gospel, because if you’re doing the same thing over and over, it will no longer be a mix up. Now it would just be a recognisable pattern! As I mentioned in the beginning, I am neither a pro nor an expert, this is just what I’ve come up with playing her the past two weeks.
Some of this might be absolutely wrong in higher level play or will be outdated with new tech that is going to be discovered in the coming weeks. This should give you a head-start with Karin though and allow you to mold your own game from here on out. Lastly, do yourself a favour; accept losses and learn from them. Don’t ragequit, don’t give up and keep practicing both your execution and reaction timing. Street Fighter is a very visual game, if you can make your hands respond to the information your eyes have taken in, you’ll have people ragequit on you in no time. Plus, once Capcom has fixed the ragequitting issue, it will once again be enjoyable, to have someone ragequit on you! Thanks for watching and hopefully see you around in a heated battle over that last sliver of life..
As found on Youtube