|Figure 1: The Reactive Ryu|
Ryu has two primary specials (we are going to ignore the tatsumaki for the moment). Hadouken, which controls horizontal space, and Shoryuken, which controls vertical space. Due to the nature of these specials and the space they control, Ryu can theoretically win using only these two moves. Given this, Ryu's gameplan can be distilled down even further:
|Figure 2 : Ryu Gameplay (Simplified)|
The above assumes you are at your opponent's jump-in range. It could be argued that this degenerates Ryu's gameplan into a game of rock-paper-scissors, thereby leaving too much to chance. This is a fair assessment, however one must acknowledge that rock-paper-scissors has always been part of the very core of Street Fighter gameplay. The factor by which this element of chance is negated increases as you learn to read your opponents better. That being said, no one is ever truly in control of a match; behind every good read lurks a certain probability that you may guess wrong.