I’m kind of in the same boat as you. I don’t play seriously all that much, but I do get to see some of the best Norcal players at times, so here’s my viewpoint.
1.) There’s a lot to this game, probably more than any other SF game thus far. It has elements of every other SF game and a lot from KOF as well.That doesn’t automatically make it a good game however, but that’s not the point here.
One of the major things I’ve noticed is that characters that score knockdowns are good. In CVS2, a lot of characters can score knockdowns off of C.Jab or C.Short attacks. Some characters use throws to score a quick knockdowns. Once you score knockdowns, you can go for cross-ups. This footsie game is always important in SF games, but CVS2 has a lot of options to deal with it, depending on groove.
To change gears, turtling only seems to be a major part of the game because some of the best characters are turtlers. Blanka (top tier character) turtles 24/7. That may be an overstatement, cuz I’ve seen some top level Blanka players that don’t turtle, but on a more basic level people will. Once you learn to RC Electricity, and some ways to use it, Blanka’s general strategy changes a lot.
If you take a look at Sagat (the other undisputed top tier character) you see a more of a rushdown type of character. He’s good because he can crush a turtler’s guard and fast. When he does, he makes it hurt. Complete opposite of a turtle.
2.) In all reality, N groove dominates. A lot of charcters benefit from having Run as opposed to Dash. There’s very few characters that don’t need Run. Rolls, specifically roll cancelling, is also useful for almost all characters. Some characters are only playable because of their RCs (Yun and Gief come to mind), and some characters just get better with RCs (think Blanka). Combine that with small jump, safe fall, counter attack, and counter roll and you’ve got probably the most versitile groove.
I don’t think there’s really much concensus as to what groove is best after that. A lot of people will say K groove. Rage is pretty good with powerful characters and as long as you are good at landing your super, you should do well. Other people would say C is next, but I don’t think Air Guard is all that useful. I, myself, use A groove over C because of the damage and versitility that CCs provide in meter usage is too good to overlook. But, people still use C groove, so it can’t be that bad.
The only bad groove is S groove, mostly because other grooves have better ways to do what S does, and infinite level 1 supers just isn’t good. P groove is also low on the list, but theoretically, it’s got potential. I saw KSK playing at EVO and he rocked for the most part. He made me think P-Cammy is definitely worthy. For P-groove to get recognition, a top player is going to have to pick it up and start placing in tourneys with it. Most people i’ve seen that play P doesn’t play it seriously.
There’s one thing in CVS2 that is really great to me. You can literally play any character you want. Because of the different groove options (a lot of it due to RC) you can play any character (except maybe Kyosuke) and do well. I think the fact that it’s possible to win a tournament without Blanka and Sagat on your team means that there’s a lot more to the game than a lot of people give it credit for. Just my two cents.