Character Types/Character Strategy


I’m fairly new to fighting games, and as I’ve read through the forums, I’ve noticed that some characters get referred to as shoto characters, grapplers, charge characters, rekka characters, and so on. I’m just curious, what do some of these character types actually mean, and what type of strategy implications does this have? Some of this I’ve been able to piece together myself, but I’m hoping someone can give a clear breakdown and example of the different character types or skeletons, and what type of strategy the different character type would imply. Thanks for any help!


Going to use SFIV as an example of this

[] Shotos: Characters who have a basic and balanced toolset for any situation, most of them have the same 3 moves along with some variations on them depending on the character: Hadoken (fireball), Shoryuken (dragon punch, dp, uppercut) and Tatsumaki Senpukyaku (tatsu or hurricane kick). They are usually recommended to beginners since they rely on and can teach you the fundamentals. Playstyles differ per character. Examples would be Ryu, Ken, Akuma, Dan, Sakura, Gouken, Oni, Evil Ryu
] Grapplers: Big and slow characters, these guys have trouble getting in, but if they do, they bring lots of damage with them. They have good normals and high-damaging command grabs (usually just called SPDs) Examples: Honda, Zangief, T. Hawk, Hugo
[] Rekka characters: Characters who have a special move that requires repeated motion inputs to complete the entire move. (aka qcf+p done 3 times in a row) Named after Fei Long’s Rekkaken. Only 3 characters that have this are Fei Long, Yang, and Rolento
] Charge characters: characters who have moves that aren’t motion based (ex: :qcf:) but instead are executed by charging (holding back/down) for usually 1 second and then going to forward then pressing a button. There are characters who have motion inputs along with charge moves but its usually only one or two charge moves in their move list. Examples of charge-exclusive are Decapre, Honda, M. Bison, Dee Jay, Guile, Blanka, Vega, Balrog
[] Zoning characters: These guys are excellent at space control, they usually have a great projectile except in Dhalsim’s case, he has super-long reach on his normals Examples: Sagat, Guile, Dhalsim, Poison
] Rushdown characters: Characters whose movesets are also based around getting in, but instead of being slow, they are explosive characters with high damage, good okizeme (wakeup game, something that can be explained later) but either have poor reversals, low health, or both. Examples: Decapre, Ibuki, Makoto, Dudley, Seth, Akuma, Sakura, Yun, Yang, Abel, C. Viper, Cammy, Guy, Rolento, Rufus

There are also characters who are also like shotos with a jack-of-all trades moveset but dont have shoto moves. These characters are Cody, Dee Jay, Juri, and Rose


Awesome, thanks for the answer.


Great post, J_ism.

This was in the prima guide to USF 4, although I don’t agree with all of the below.

A broad set of character archetypes include: zoner (projectile-based characters), dive-kicker
(any character with air-altering offensive attacks), grappler, turtle (such as a non-projectile
charge character), footsie-based fighter (characters excelling at close and mid-range), and
vortex-based fighter (those with powerful mix-ups on opponent’s wakeup).

Some characters may fall in two or more of these categories, but will usually have some kind
of weakness to balance their strengths. For instance, Akuma and Seth can be considered
as almost all of these archetypes, but have extremely low health to counterbalance their
considerable strengths.

List of characters for each archetype:
• Zoner: Chun Li, Dee Jay, Dhalsim, Evil Ryu, Gouken, Guile, Oni, Poison,
Rose, Ryu, Sagat
• Dive-kicker: Adon, Cammy, Decapre, Juri, Makoto, Rufus, Yang, Yun
• Grappler: Abel, El Fuerte, Hakan, Hugo, T. Hawk, Zangief
• Turtle: Balrog, Blanka, E. Honda, M. Bison
• Footsie-based fighter: Cody, Dan, Dudley, Elena, Fei Long, Guy, Ken,
Rolento, Sakura, Vega
• Vortex-based fighter: Akuma, C. Viper, Gen, Ibuki, Seth

You can then follow a general hierarchy of which archetype is effective against another.
• Zoners are effective against: grapplers and turtles.
• Dive-kickers are effective against: zoners, footsie-based fighters, and
vortex-based fighters.
• Grapplers are effective against: turtles and dive-kickers.
• Turtles are effective against: dive-kickers and vortex-based fighters.
• Footsie-based fighters are effective against: grapplers and turtles.
• Vortex-based fighters are effective against: turtles and zoners.


Chun-Li a zoner? Makoto a dive kicker???


It’s weird, isn’t it? Chun should be in the Footsie-based section I think. Makoto does have “air-altering offensive attacks” but she’s not a divekicker.


I guess anyone with a projectile is labeled zoner. And anyone with an attack that can alter their trajectory in the air is a dive kicker. The thing with Makoto though is that unlike a dive kick, her ax kick doesn’t propel her downward nor change her angle off attack. It’s basically a instant aerial attack that immediately brings a stop to her jump, with only the EX version actually altering her position in the air slightly.