Everybody needs to talk about Zangief now

Ok, so Gief was the first character to get mentioned three times in that Most Entertaining Character thread. Accordingly, he’s going to have the honor of being the first character we talk about.

There was a thread a while ago that brought up the idea of discussing one character for a set period of time. Let’s try one character per week and if it turns out that we need more time, we’ll make that call at the end of the week. The goal is going to be to gather tips and tricks and such, so that we can finally develop the SRK CvS2 Wiki into something presentable.

We’ll start with a “fun” character, then do a “serious” character, and alternate like that. So get to talkin’, kids.

Here’s what’s currently up there:

It’s quite sad. We can do better.

Maj, i’ve actually been using gief a lot in casuals lately, ask Viscant, haha.

Anyways, Gief is a good character, I’ll try out some stuff this week and make a big post. Good idea.

I like grapplers a lot. Gief is the original grappler, I think that’s also why he’s probably a little behind the rest. I think he has the worst mobility of any grappler in the game, even though in return he gets the most damaging cmd throws (is that even true?).

Effective range
Well I don’t know much about gief in cvs2 specifically, but I can tell by comparing him to… say… honda, he doesn’t have anything even close to the ranged game honda has. Honda doesn’t need to close the distance to be effective/annoying/good. IMO Gief does, he just doesn’t have the threat from far away meaning everyone knows you’re going to try to get closer. Other characters that shine up close due to mixups and such usually have ways to get there like normal/fast walking speeds, normal jump arcs, half-decent rolls, safe rollcancels, ways to cover safe falls after common knockdowns.

Character sizes, and stage sizes factor as well, so he can’t really drive you into a corner like say Hugo in 3S. Once you do land a cmd throw the positioning resets and you have to do it all again. Same for lariats. His glowhand and sweep are exceptions obviously.

It seems to make more sense (to me) on paper to be defensive with Gief, since he has a good AA, and getting close to him on the ground means dealing with a possible knockdown or something else. In K you get JD > 360 which is infinitely excellent. K seems to work out the best because of the likelihood you’ll get hit a bunch of times. You’re raged and you are scary.

Anyway, I just listed a bunch of things I hate about Gief, sorry. It’s just that there is so much less reward for dealing with runaway and monster pokes than there is with other grapplers. Maybe that makes it more rewarding to win.

I am the best A-Zangief player in the world.:lovin:

i’m curious as to what exactly you’re looking for. basics like anti airs, effective pokes, combos, good/bad match ups, best groove (imo k)?

i probably have the best k zangief in the US. everyone needs to use more low jump neutral short, running 360+P/K, and random air supers against blanka, LOL.

on a serious note, k zangief gets seriously murdered against vega

edit: nothing useful to add

I think maj just wants to start some discussion so that any information about this character gets brought to light so everyone can benefit. I think it’s a great idea, as long as people don’t misinterpret others’ opinions as personal insults.


So here’s some things I’ll throw out there maybe get something going. So yeah, there are no move overlaps with circular motions so RC’ing gief’s run grab (360+K from far) is just as easy as any other hcf or qcf RC. This gives him something to threaten with other than c.hp and c.hk from outside grab range. You can do it from standing starting from forward, then moving through down then back and up, inputting roll somewhere at back or up-back. Or you can buffer part of the motion during something else starting at up circling to forward which means you can RC it in the same way you RC qcf and hcf moves, so you should be able to do it without much practice.

db+mk xx I-can’t-throw-fireballs-but-my-hand-can-glow-in-the-dark combos using any strength punch. Doing it from up close and using the HP version you’ll end up still within lp SPD range. Counters people trying to jump away with more pain than just a sweep.

Lariats have pretty crappy invincibility. PPP can go through projectiles for the most part and has upper body invulnerability during startup, and KKK has the same thing for the lower body. Some testing in training mode will show you that you will still trade a bunch of times because the first hiting frame is not invincible. Fortunately neither of these is very hard to RC. If you’re going to rely on RC’ing lariats for AA purposes then the Kick version is shorter so you can run up after the knockdown quicker and close the distance that way. If you don’thave roll or dont’ want to RC then PPP is obviously the better one. It’s safest to AA from a crouching position since that way you’ll guarantee that you’ll stand up into their hitboxes and guarantee at least a trade. Also if you RC it, start from crouching so if you mess up you’ll roll away out of danger.

Neutral jump up+hp does a shitton of stun. 40 points. It’s of limited use imo since you’d need to follow up or preceed it with a bunch of other stun to dizzy and it’s not like gief is very good at that. All his throws make stun either time out or disappear.

RC’ing Vanishing Flat (glowhand) can be useful to get close, since gief ends up standing where his hand was when it hit (hp version moves him slightly past it even). If you RC it just outside it’s hitting range you can SPD or Suplex. This isn’t really airtight since the vanishing flat isnt’ exactly fast on recovery or startup.

Generic cmd throw setups: Roll, JD, early whiffed jump attack or even empty jump, shallow quick recovering move (d+j.lk).

i’m seriously sitting here trying to think of a good match up for zangief and can’t. this is gonna be tougher than i thought.

quick question. can gief punish normally safe scissor kicks from bison with a lp 360? that would be pretty good if he could and definately worth mentioning.

he’s got great anti airs with or without meter (lariat, down mp, standing lp, anti air super), he can punish blocked blanka balls with crouching fp or his anti air super, he has a cross up with his fp splash… and that’s all i can come up with right now. maybe that will get the ball rolling.

This is a great idea. It feels like this forum is coming alive. I’ll post some stuff in an hour or so. Just woke up…

Ok, here’s the only pretty good thing I got so far. It seems lame, but has a tendency to work cause the SPD is instant grab out of the roll, and the roll does crossup, which makes a lot of shit like low shorts/jabs/forwards/whatever hit in the wrong direction, and it also makes throws whiff (in the wrong direction, of course). Holding back and pressing fierce/rh early for the throw works, but the setup is in Gief’s favor IMO.

-crossup splash, c. jab, c. jab, (crossup) roll, SPD

If they get used to the idea of you going for this crossup roll, SPD, you can easily adapt and go for a plain ol’ SPD tick after the c. jabs.

Also, deep crossup splash, running grab is good…grabs people a lot more than it should.



close s.LP
3/4/13 x,x/o,x/o,o
500,400 ±0/±0

far s.LP
3/4/13 x/o/o
500 ±0/±0

7/2/13 x/x/o
1100 +5/+5

11/6/23 x/x/x
1600 -3/-3

3?/6?/14 x/o/o
400 -5/-5
(my apologies, this is one of the few sections of the scans that’s not very clear, somebody else please confirm the frame data for this move)

7/10/15 x/x/o
1100 -5/-5

6/9/28 x,x/x,x/o,x
1500,1300 -13/-13

3/4/8 o/o/o
300 +5/+5

8/12/11 x/x/x
1000 -1/-1

11/12/15 x/x/x
1400 -2/-2

4?/5?/15 x/o/o
400 -5/-5
(another section of the scans that’s not clear)

8/12/14 x/x/x
1000 -4/-4

9/10/24 x/x/x
1300 DN/-8

4/22 700

6/4 1100

j.HP (u)
10/8 1600

j.HP (ub/uf)
10/6 1400

6/22 600

j.MK (u)
8/12 1000

j.MK (ub/uf)
8/10 1000

8/6 1400


3/1/13 2100
52 pixels

3/1/13 2100
52 pixels

5/1/13 1000+200x(2~17)
52 pixels

Command Normals

5/4/17 x/o/o
1100 -1/-1

7/4/19 x/x/o
1500 DN/+1

In air, u+MP
4/12 1200

In air, u+HP
4/6 1500

In air, d+HP
5/22 1300

In air, d+LK
7/22 600

In air, d+MK
7/22 1000



1300,1500~1000 DN/?
Inv - 4:full?
Inv - 67:upper body?
(I don’t know any Japanese, I’m just making educated guesses about invincibility, I’ll need somebody else to confirm this for me)


1200,1300~1100 DN/-24
Inv - 4:full?
Inv - 34:upper?


1400 -3/-3
Note - 15~23 (maybe this are the frames where the move nullifies fireballs? Somebody please confirm this)

1500 -4/-4
Note - 16~26

1600 -7/-7
Note - 17~29


2000 107 pixels

2300 96 pixels

2700 86 pixels

360+K (far)

1900 86 pixels

2000 86 pixels

2100 86 pixels

360+K (close)

2200 98

2500 98

2900 98

(there are some notes regarding this move, but again, I don’t know any Japanese)



Lvl 1
3500 116 pixels
Inv - 8:full

Lvl 2
5000 116 pixels
Inv - 14:full

Lvl 3
7000 116 pixels
Inv - 22:full

(apparently there’s no start-up frames after the super flash, 1 active frame and 48 frames of recovery, which means if the opponent wasn’t holding up before the super flash the super will grab him)


Lvl 1
2200 82 pixels (horizontal) 66~80 pixels (vertical)
Airborne from frames 9~54
Inv - 8:full

Lvl 2
3600 82 pixels (horizontal) 66~80 pixels (vertical)
Airborne from frames 9~54
Inv - 14:full

Lvl 3
5200 82 pixels (horizontal) 66~80 pixels (vertical)
Airborne from frames 9~54
Inv - 22:full

Again, I don’t have the actual book, just the scans and some sections aren’t very clear. If there’s any mistake please let me know.

I mentioned the tidbits about lariat invulnerability in my previous post. Also, a lv3 doesn’t need to be instant for it to be unblockable/unjumpable post-freeze, because of the extra time inputs are ignored.

CVS2 guidebook says SPD’s are instant and 360+k has 1 frame startup (the close version aka suplex). The difference being that the SPD should grab ppl the first frame after the input is finished and the suplex needs one frame before grabbing.

Zangief likes biting when he grabs you.

I always try to match him up against Sagat if possible. It’s close to even for RC Gief. Honda is ok. Most mid-tiers are easy. Only matchups I try to avoid are Eagle (not enough practice yet - faced first Eagle in months, yesterday), Cammy (doable with patience and perfect execution, 2 things I don’t have), and Chang (although, the best C-Gief in Tokyo does exceptionally well against Chang). Guile and Blanka can be a pain, but I’d rather face them than any of the three I mentioned.

can you explain why you feel those match ups are good? in my experience, they are horrible, but i’m not a gief player and have yet to play a gief worth remembering.

Hah, since I WAS the one who suggested this, it’d be really bad if I didn’t contribute eh?

Quote below is from Buktooth’s, “Whos’ really the worst character” thread from a while back. Pick and choose stuff to pull out for discussion. Small correction, double suplex goes active on frame 2. So you can’t use it for reversals against true meaties, but otherwise, the extra frame makes no real difference.

For the people who want to read the below summed up in 3 lines:

  1. Gief’s SPD makes normal poke strings unsafe. Abuse. If the other guy has any slop in their game, missing links or landing jumpins too high, make’em pay. RC lariats can serve as a ghetto DP, and with the walkback and minor invincibility, aren’t a complete loss if they whiff.
  2. Be careful about using the command throws. If the opponent jumps to escape and you whiff, your recovery is long enough for them to land a full jump in combo. Ouch. So on the flipside, if you’re fighting against Zangief, you can actually kinda dare him to use the SPD and then guess a jump. If you go even on the guesses, you’ll win. Gotta convince Gief not to spam on SPD if you want to properly pressure him.
  3. Gief’s normals have range, but are slow. You’re not gonna win if you press your buttons at the same time as the opponent. You need to be pressing your button while they’re still walking, not attacking. Goods news is since you outrange most other characters, there’s plenty of opportunities to pick off people “on their way in.” Take’em. Gief needs to scrap together damage whether he can get it. Whiffing cr. HP and st. HP isn’t that dangerous. It can be punished, but it’s not easy. So you don’t have to be as careful throwing them out, as say Geese’s cr. RH.

My own personal thoughts: Note, most of this is fairly obvious to anyone moderately experienced in fighting games, but I’m thinking the wiki should also be targeted towards helping the casual gamers. At some point, if I ever get unlazy, I might try my hand at writing an article on the topic of “earning or forcing your opponent to take damage.” Basic stuff like a careful explanation of counterhit/throw mixups, basic high/low(last minute jumpin attack or skip it and go low), jumping for all the right reasons, and game plan optimization. But that probably won’t happen :P. At any rate, for some footsie advice.

Gief’s fierce and low roundhouse go out farther than most, and to get to Gief, the opponent has to go through that little zone where their longest ranged move will not hit, but they could potentially run into a fierce or be swept as they walk forward. Definitely, picking people off as they try to move in is a great way to pick up some free damage with Gief. As noted in the below post, cr. HP sticks out for years, so it’s not easy to advance along the ground against it. St. HP can stuff a jump on startup, and if they’re jumping outside st. HP range, it’s pretty far away. Again, if you can get them to commit to a jump and you ended up not throwing the fierce, free damage. Yes you will guess wrong sometimes, but the odds are in Gief’s favour, simply because you actually have something that hits at that range, they don’t. So you actually have a small window of time to vary the timing of the fierce, which makes it easier to see the jump/evade coming. Also sometimes you’ll end up in a situation where you’re either just outside or inside Gief’s cr. RH range, with the opponent blocking low. Keep your finger over RH, and the moment they stand up and you guess they’re walking forwards or back, you bust them. They can’t do anything from that range, so they have to move. And while they move, you can catch them not blocking. Yes, they will occasionally jump instead of walking forwards, and you will eat it. But if you’ve been doing a good job with antiair and been training them not to jump, it’ll go.

On the defensive side of things:
Attacking Gief is never easy. Leaving holes can invite an SPD, accidentally uncomboing gets you SPD’d, if you have RC, lariats can be used as a DP, so they can’t run a simple pattern based offense. Having basically “instant” attacks, allows him to break out of counterhit throw style mixups easier than some other characters. (Like, say for example, Geese. Outside of guessing a counter, Geese doesnt’ have any reversal options that are specific to him. Random super, trying to jab back, etc. Everyone can do that. So against walking/running jabs, Geese can’t really bust out if the opponent doesn’t give him the opportunity to. Even if the pattern doesn’t “combo”, you still can’t fight your way out of it.) If you’re opponent is sloppy and doing jumpins that are too high, or using CH/throw mixups without using something that’s throw invincible, you can pretty much mash out the 360 and bust them every time. If you think about it, if they don’t bait the SPD, and simply try to beat you by hoping you screw up on your SPD attempt, you can probably do a safe SPD motion that ends at downback (try starting from back, rotate clockwise past down, to downback, then press punch). If you were late on the SPD, you block. If the SPD comes out, they get grabbed. Against someone who hasn’t thought ou their offense, they’ll pretty much commit suicide attacking you.

In terms of overall gameplan:
My personal impression of Gief is that since he can’t really hurt you with strikes in one shot. Like if you get FAB’d, it’s 7000 life. But if you chose to backdash or something, the worst that can happen is you get fierced or swept. So you can always cheat towards stuff that avoids throws, since he won’t hurt you too bad for guessing wrong. Same deal for avoiding 360’s. Sure, sometimes you guess wrong, you get SPD’d, you take a chunk of damage, 2100-2700. But on the other hand, a lot of people can actually hit Gief for more damage with a jumpin combo than the SPD deals, around 3000+. So even if you trade 50:50, it doesn’t favour Gief. Anyways, that being said, I think it’s difficult for Gief to truly force a super opportunity, especially if you’re K-gief. You have to make some right guesses, and you’re opponent some wrong ones, just to get in range to setup the 720. So you’re definitely not going to hit the super every match, so try to force the pace of the match towards single hits poke stuff. Gief still hits hard, you can RC lariat to pick off some pokes for damage, and even on whiff you can retreat + the lariats have some natural invincibility to help cover. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t be aggressive with Gief and try to threaten them with the 50/50. It’s just that your entire gameplan with Gief shouldn’t be based around it. You should feel capable of winning or at least scoring enough damage so that Gief “did his job,” without the super.

Hey, this is cool. I like this discussion. It’s the way the discussion forum should be, as well as the wiki being targeted towards and informational for novice players (like the strategy section in the back of the CvS2 guidebook).

I just wanted to comment that backdashing away from Gief isn’t a good idea when you need to escape a 50/50 guess situation. Kyo, Chun-li, and many other characters can be air grab supered right out of their backdash animation.

If you must take a guess that avoids the 720 super, it’s more rewarding to low jump forward with a deep low jump attack so you can do a combo. Not only do you avoid the 720, but you get to do a combo you wouldn’t have been able to do had you mearly backdashed.

I think K-Zangief is the best Zangief. As for Zangief not being able to duck Sagat’s far s.HP and Sakura’s roundhouse Hurricane kick, K-groove is the answer. Just Defend is what lets him compete with the top tier characters.

Gief can sweep Sagat back after JDing the far standing fierce, and he can do a free SPD after JDing the Sakura roundhouse Hurricane kick, as well as Chun’s Spinning Bird Kick.

Nobody wants to be close to a raged K-Gief. If you’re timid in your gameplan however, the opponent won’t care and won’t respect you. The way to make him scared is to be as random as possible in burning your supers. Making them think you’re crazy will get them to hesitate and play timid themselves.

The air grab super is deceptively hard to punish. If you guess wrong and whiff, and the opponent tries to punish you with a ground combo, you have invincibilty frames when you land and can SPD them for free. So don’t be shy about burning it as a random guess. The only characters that can really hurt you for whiff it are A-Bison with his CC, Kyo with his launching kicks, or Sagat with his High Tiger Cannon. At worst, you’ll eat a jumping hard kick from everybody else (which is good because it starts raging you up again).

down-back MK xx Glowing Hand combo does the same amount of damage as doing a fierce SPD, but it also has the advantage of setting up a 50/50 guess situation whenever you have super meter (and was unable to punish your opponent’s mistake with the super in the first place). The fierce glowing hand leaves you at -7 and open to fast d.MK retaliation even on the hit, but the strong glowing hand is safe and lets you do a random 720 or air super guess.

[Edit: Apparently Gief can’t sweep back st. HP. At least not guaranteed, only if they didn’t block.]

[Edit 2: Retested the dash scenario, I was doing the FAB too late. Thanks kcxj. Yes I saw that video where the vice got ARS’d for dashing in, but I thought that was exceptional. Heh.]

Short version of the retest:
Point blank range: C-Blanka (player in corner) vs. K-Zangief (dummy).
FAB will grab: late forward/backdash (early frames of backdash are apparently grounded, that’s surprising to me.), KKK forward hop.
ARS will grab: early forward/backdash. Both KKK hops. Blanka balls, etc.

Some general backdash notes:
So backdashes do have a couple frames of startup, where they are grounded, before they go airborne. Which explains why a late dash can be grabbed by FAB/SPD, and why the ARS whiffs (they’re not off the ground, they can’t be grabbed.) Even the dashes that totally look on the ground can be grabbed. (Ryu, Sagat forward dashes), just the dashes do have to make it to their airborne phase.

Apparently you can’t reversal backdash (Actually, maybe you can, but since the first few frames of the backdash are grounded, it doesn’t make a difference.) I was testing to see if I could a get a character to flip like they got hit in the air on a meaty setup, no luck. Backdashes result in block, forward results in just getting hit.

Thinking up ways to run away from Gief, is strangely enough, a fairly enjoyable activity for me. I always enjoyed watching good runaway, and taking advantage of sloppy play. Does anyone remember reading Popoblo’s blog on Evo, the year that Daigo got knocked out by I think, Ratio1Beatdown? And before hand, he said he was gonna runaway from Daigo and play it like chess? That’s the kind of thing that impresses me.

As an example, against raged K-Zangief, with Blanka, you want to basically stall for time, and trade distance for safety. Definitely, you want to give ground as slowly as possible, but it’s better to give ground than risk getting grabbed, or rather, letting Gief get into range to grab. If Zangief jumps, you almost always have the option of balling away to freedom under him, which basically means he has to work his way in all over again. You could also try to straight up beat him, up ball, jump fierce, jumping into him with an attack, late RC ball, etc. All these have different JD timings, and even if they do get the JD, the worst that can happen is they hit you once and you flip to your feet. Definitely, you want to try and minimize the amount of damage you take from jump / JD my way in type Gief’s. At any rate, once they give up on normal jump/JD, I try to keep Zangief out at around cr. HP or so range, if they try to low jump from there, you can back hop, keeps Gief in front of you, and you can harass him as he lands. Occasionally you want to go on short spurts of offense, if the Gief tries to gain ground by walking forward and blocking to cover ground.

Now this may not be true, but I personally feel that if you weren’t in the corner and you got supered, you probably could’ve avoided it, simply because you shouldn’t have been there in the first place. Definitely not always true, but that’s pretty much how I see the fight. Gief doesn’t magically gain ground, poking, with his fierce and stuff won’t knock you over, he can’t set a super attempt off that. You lose a lot of ground if you get swept, but if you have quick recovery, you’re still out of reach. His run isn’t particularly fast, his dash doesn’t go very far, he’s not gonna break your range like say Cammy can. Eventually you will run out of space, but hopefully by then, you’ve burned off a huge chunk of time, he won’t have much to work with. If they panic trying to land the super, usually the attempts become really obvious, or you can simply stick to options that trade but can’t get you supered in the end (at least not usually).

Against Sagat, RC Lariats will take out any poke he has, basically. Plus, it’s a knockdown. Against C-Sagat, you can roll in for better positioning. Cover his wake up with RC Punch Lariat. It hits him even if he’s crouching, you can do it out of his throw range, and it will go through and hit almost anything he has (EVEN Level 2 Hotfoot). Against most Sagats (i.e. those without experience fighting RC Gief), that’s all you need. If they are familiar with the match, you add c.forward poke to the match to keep him out with a (fairly) quick poke, and c.strongs if he jumps (the range for the c.forward has him at a far ranged jump - for closer jumps, RC Lariat). You want to be looking for low tigers the whole time, and be at the sweet range for a roll, Jab SPD. RC Running Grab mixed in every now and then is good, because “some” Sagats like to do c.fierce. Also, when you knock him down with a Lariat and roll in, you push him to the corner, which allows for a jump in, drop through CC.

Against Honda, you want to stay full screen with random Lariats. The Honda has three options: He can jump in, Headbutt, or HHS. For a jump in, c.strong or RC Lariat. a Headbutt will be beaten by a Lariat, so mess up his timing by alternating KKK and PPP. HHS is his safest bet, but it sometimes trades, and even on a hit, it doesn’t do much damage. Plus, when you have him conditioned into going for that, you can do roll behind SPD.

Blanka, you want to stay on the ground with your standard pokes - c.fierce, c.fierce, s.forward, c.roundhouse (yes, c.fierce deserves two mentions). Most Blankas cannot jump at you because of RC Lariat. Low jumps are a bit harder to see, but if you’re really looking for them, you can take them out. A-Blanka is of course harder, but he’s hard for everyone. You also want to stay at the sweet range where RC Lariat is safe - it will take out his regular c.fierce but is out of range for his slide. When Blanka is looking for slides, look to block a slide that is closer than max range, so you can c.fierce it back. Remember to block all Blanka Balls high, so you can s.fierce it back. Also remember that you can grab electricity, even Running Grabs.

Guile, you want to spend the first part of the match full screen. Cancel Sonic Booms with Green Hands to build meter. In fact, jump back roundhouse, whiff Green Hand is the best way to build meter. Guile will usually follow Sonic Booms with a walk up backfist, which you can RC Lariat; a walk up c.forward, which you can s.short; or a step-forward roundhouse, which you can either hit or make whiff with an RC Punch Lariat (since you can also take out the backfists), or I believe you can hit it with an RC Kick Lariat. 90% of the Guiles in the world will be walking back more than they are walking forward, which helps you get them in the corner for a drop through CC.

Incidentally, although Chang and Cammy are 2 of the hardest for me, I know WHAT to do in the matches. Aganst Chang, you want to sweep Choi out of the way when he comes in by ground (db.forward or roundhouse - if you use db.forward, cancel it into a Green Hand to gain ground). RC Running Grab also does wonders. Other than that, it’s your standard footsie match. Cammy, the key move is RC Kick Lariat. You want to build meter the whole match and hope to hit random drills and walk up roundhouses with the Lariats. When you have meter, you can drop through CC, but midscreen it’s not really worth it. Try to make the match last as long as possible.

i guess i’ll have to see it to believe it. it sounds doable but if the opponent catches on, i see gief in trouble. good strategy though.