First off, wake up super is never a good idea. It’s a waste of meter, even if it hits. Wake up parrying is worse. Never do wake up parry. I can prove mathematically that wake up super/Dragon Punch/anything is statistically better than wake up parry. Since I mentioned it, here is a quick and simple argument to show what I mean. Suppose there are 4 possible things your opponent can do to you on wake up: 1) high attack 2) low attack 3) throw 4) block. If you parry high, you counter #1, but lose to #3 and #4. Similarly with a low parry, you counter #2 but lose to #1 and #3. But a fierce Dragon Punch on the other hand beats #1, #2, and #3. It only loses to #4. Therefore fierce Dragon Punch is ALWAYS a better option than parrying. This doesn’t even have to be contained to wake up situations. In any instance, fierce Dragon Punch is a better option than parrying. Fierce Dragon Punch can be used as a substitute strategy for teching throws if you think about it.
Anyways, back to wake up moves. I used to think that Ken’s jab Dragon Punch was his best wake up move because of the possibility of kara DP for massive damage and building bar. But it turns out that fierce Dragon Punch is a much better choice. It does less damage, and builds less bar than jab DP x2, but it hits more often, and that’s the key. How does it hit more often you might wonder.
3rd Strike is the first Street Fighter game to not have auto blocking after the first hit of a multi-hit move. If you block the first hit of say a fierce Dragon Punch, if you let go of the joystick or try to attack, you get hit by the rest of the DP. The lack of auto guard is what makes fierce Dragon Punch Ken’s best wake up move.
Often times people will do hesitation attacks on wake up. You do this when you suspect a wake up parry, so you hesitate your attack just a little to hit them after the parry window, but before they can move the joystick back to block. You can also do this to counter attack a crouching tech attempt by hitting their jab on recovery. They plan to attack, and do; they just hesitate a second before doing it, usually holding down back or just walking back before attacking. Now, if you were to do wake up super, the majority of the time it will get blocked because they will see the super freeze and know not to attack. However, if you do fierce Dragon Punch, it will hit more times than it would in any other SF game because of the lack of auto guard. In attempting a hesitation attack, they will inadvertently block the first hit of the fierce DP, but end of getting hit by the second or third hit. Since there is no super freeze, there is nothing to react to in order to decide to block. If people planned to attack, they will get hit by part of the fierce DP, unlike with a super where they can react in time to block. Characters like Ken and Chun Li who have verifiable links/cancels into supers will get hit by this all the time as they hesitate and attack, only to get hit by the last two hits of the DP.
Also, characters going for throws, especially those with long kara throws will get hit by fierce Dragon Punch all the time. Essentially any type of attack on wake up, even intentionally delayed attacks will all get hit by fierce DP. And of course any normal attack or meaty attack will get beat or at least trade with fierce Dragon Punch. The only time fierce DP doesn’t hit is if they intentionally decided not to attack and bait out the wake up move.
Fierce Dragon Punch is Ken’s best wake up move. It’s better than strong DP because of the extra hit and extra range. It’s also better than EX DP because it doesn’t waste any meter, and the extra hit of EX DP doesn’t ever make the difference of being hit out of auto guard. If EX Dragon Punch hits on a late hit, most likely plain fierce DP will hit too.
Of couse you don’t want to fierce Dragon Punch every time. Especially say against like Urien with meter, you should block low. You still have to be smart. Knowing when to fierce DP is key as well. When in doubt, just block low. However, if you just have to do a wake up move, do fierce Dragon Punch.