When do you use cr.mp, cr.mp, cr.hk? instead of say, cr.mp, cr.fp, XX wk.tatsu? Why? I understand that the 1st combo would keep them close and allow for mixup opportunity. Do you do that combo vs characters that you want to rush down? Do you do it vs characters without srk? Does it depend on the player and not the character? (IE it's a player that you think is good at being aggressive, so you use the wk tatsu to push them away)
There are a couple of reasons why I end my combo into a sweep, Tatsu, or DP.
In about mid-screen, it's better to push your opponent into the corner. That is if you have the ability to end your combo into a Tatsu. Thus, if you are too far you can end with a sweep (untechable knock down), safe-jump for free pressure and meter, and push your opponent into the corner with your block-strings.
Ryu is in the corner
If you are in the corner, it's better to end your combo with Tatsu if possible. You'll notice a lot of Ryu players that end their combo into sweep try to cross-up with Tatsu as their next mix-up in order to get out of the corner. When you end your combo with Tatsu you get additional space for yourself while pushing your opposition into the corner as well.
Your opponent is in the corner
It's better to build as much meter as possible during the whole round as well as prepare yourself for next round. When your opponent is in the corner make sure to end your combo with a lk.Tatsu or lp.DP. Tatsu and DP in the corner followed by mp.DP will give you the same amount of damage. However, lp.DP into mp.DP will give you more meter. Make sure to keep that in mind when you are ending your combo in the corner.
Occasionally in the corner, I will end my combo with sweep to do a certain mix-up. But for the sake of damage and meter, I'll traditionally end my combos with Tatsu or DP for extra meter gain and damage.
How my combos end are not so much dependent on who the player is as opposed to which character they are playing. All characters I put into the corner are limited in their actions and options. Depending on the character, how much meter they have, and my position on the screen as well as when and where I hit them gives me an idea of how to end my combos.
It's also dependent if they have a 3/4/5 frame DP. For example, you can't really safe jump Ryu after ending your combo into sweep, but you can still do a mix-up on the ground or an empty jump. Another example is Sagat. His DP is 5 frames and allows you to do safe-jumps with free pressure.
There is also the case of how much invincibility their wake-up options have. For example, you really want to be as close to C.Viper as you can when she's knocked down. However, you also have to be aware of her invincibility on some of her moves as well as her options on wake-up.
Against Zangief, you want to a little extra space to keep yourself out of his SPD range. You can't really do a safe-jump on Zangief and you really don't want to be close him. When I play against Zangief (and I've just ended my combo) it's very common for me to set up a safe meaty fireball for free chip damage and meter, pressure Zangief for space while creating space for myself, and continue on with my game-plan.
As you can see it all varies between different characters. All in all, it really depends on the situation at hand. For example, if you need to end the round with a killing combo that's when you want to use DP instead of Tatsu.
Ryu's combos differ at every pixel you and your opponent are when the initial combo starts. That's why it's always important to stay alert visually, adapt and know which combos can connect at certain spaces, understand the situation after the combo ends, and always maximize your damage and meter gain.
Hope you guys are enjoying these segments! What's your favorite Ryu combo? Don't forget to leave your questions and comments below. :)
P.S. I think my favorite combo is against Chun-Li. I can do f.HP xx cr.MP xx cr.MP xx cr.MK xx HK.Tatsu.