Guidelines for choosing a main?

I’ve been wondering if my current main, Nash, would be considered an advanced character or if he’s just too complex for me to grasp. In SF4 I mained Vega and Balrog with short stints of other characters. I’m not sure how to go about choosing what character I should focus on because while I like Nash I find myself thinking way too much during a match and then missing anti-airs and throw techs. Should I tough it out or move on to a character with a more straightforward play style. If so who? What are guidelines you all go by for choosing a main?

Question answered. Play as Nash. This is a video game. Play as the character you enjoy.

Find a character you like, and play as them.
It’s like a cute skirt, you try it on and roll with it.

Agreed 100%

It’s a game and you want to have fun doing it. Playing a character that you think is cool or otherwise will have fun being good with is going to do more to motivate you to be a better player.

I’ve always picked characters that I thought were really cool aesthetically and from a gameplay perspective

I fully agree with DeadCrescendo - you won’t know if a pretty dress looks good on you until you try it!

Yeah keep at it with Nash, maybe mess around with some other characters to see if you like them.

It’s really a lot more complicated than that. Though yes, if you don’t have fun with a character it won’t make you want to play, there many be another character that can be ‘fun’, Different people also find different things ‘fun’; some find winning a lot of games fun; others just want a flaming dragon punch or some shit.

With that in mind, there are more than a couple ways to look at it.

  • You can analyze your play style. What are you good at? What are you bad at? What character plays to those strengths and minimizes those weaknesses? This is probably the path of least resistance. The hard part here is actually knowing what your strengths and weaknesses are, which is probably something a beginner (or even intermediate) level player wouldn’t know.

  • You can analyze your play style and choose a character that needs something you’re bad at to be successful? You’d pick this kind of character trying to develop something you currently suck at but believe is important for long term gain. This may or may not be efficient. It depends on your current level and how quickly you learn/how much time you have to learn.

  • You can always just pick someone that you think looks cool and/or has nice tits, but you’re making a different kind of decision than a min/maxer. Playing to win may or may not be your goal with this strategy.

An additional thing to always consider: execution requirements. Many characters in fighting games have a ‘you must be at least this tall to ride this ride’ kind of combo/move/ability/glitch, etc. If you simply can’t do it reliably, you either need to learn it or ought to consider someone else. Be good, get good, or give up and all that.

I should use this statement more often.

My guidelines are simple:

  1. Play everyone once
  2. Use whoever feels most comfortable in my hands


If a character that feels comfortable in your hands at first just doesn’t feel right later, that’s ok, go try again with someone else.

I tried Nash at first too. It just wasn’t meant to be. Now I play Necalli and Chun-Li. I’m considering Alex, Guile, Urien, and Juri (In that order of preference) when they hit, but we’ll see.

However, if there’s a character who absolutely stands out to you, and you’re willing to put in the work, go ahead and play them even if you can’t get the hang of them. I did this in Virtua Fighter with Akira. I had no experience with the game, but I had way more fun playing him than I did anyone else. I ended up being OK when I was still in practice. I could do Knee on reaction, SPOD, ect.

From my experience, I rarely stick with the character I’m really hyped about before release. I think the only time I actually did that was in Injustice, where Black Adam was stupid good.

When I started with SF5, I picked up Chun-Li and Zangief as my main characters, since I was simply not an aggressive player (unless I played against a scrub that I could counter very easily).

HOWEVER, I chose to play Cammy as a side character, since I think she’s just really cool, and playing her efficiently requires me to learn how to approach and not sit back the entire match.
It did take me about 4 months (3.5 months of USF4, 0.5 month of SF5) to understand how an aggressive play-style works, but now I am able to use Cammy as my main character.
It just clicked in my brain, it started making sense all over sudden.

My style now matches my main character’s strengths, which in Cammy’s case is offense and pressure.

My best advice is, play with the character that fits you when you want to win, but in the background try to figure out how to make the character you really like, work.
If you are not looking to win, rather to just play the game, then by all means go play the person you like the most.
Fun is the most important factor.
I wouldn’t have gone through the trouble of desperately learning a new play-style if I didn’t have fun using Cammy.

You ask yourself “Is this character Chun?”. If yes, go with that character. If not, try another one.

Play them all, the one you have the most fun with pick it as your main.


This, pretty much. You can always have a character you know fits your playstyle and a character that you really enjoy and that’s totally fine.

Character design is most important to me, even if the play-style is a bit out of my expertise. In KoF, I always play Leona (other two slots change depending on the game) due to the fact that her design is my favorite in the series, even though I kinda suck at playing charge characters. Like others have stated before, if you like the character and you have fun playing them, that’s more than enough of a reason to main them.

I always felt like I didn’t choose a character so much as I whittled away all the characters I hated and just stumbled into whatever was left.

pick any character that you like or a character that compliments your strength

First watch videos of all the characters in the game, possibly played by high level people, so you can see how the character moves. Character design is important a little bit, it sucks somewhat if you play a character whose design you hate (which is why I’m glad FANG’s story costume is less creepy-looking). But above all, watch the normals! When it comes down to it, when your opponent learns to punish all your specials, that’s what you’re really relying on. If the normals look like the kind of thing you like, pick that character. Otherwise, try someone else.

That’s how I got Dudley here, and Hinako in KoF 2000. I do like the design of both, but the normals fit well, and it stuck.

Ah an interesting topic considering I made a thread too to help me decide which character to main.
When it comes to choosing characters it’s a two-stage thing for me. I look over the entire roster and ask myself

1) Which characters appeals to me and which ones don’t?
There is no use in using a character that you dislike yourself. At least that’s how I operate.
For me characters that didn’t appeal to me at all were Rashid, FANG and Dhalsim. I have played the story mode with every character but Im not planning on ever playing these characters any more than that.
Laura, Cammy and M.Bison all instantly caught my eye though as characters whose design appealed to me.

After that comes the point number 2

2) Get more acquainted with the characters that appeal to me
Obviously trying all of my chosen characters out.
I tried out Bison first and it didn’t take me very long to see that him being a charge character means we will never be friends. I just can’t do it so he was out.
Laura was next. I actually don’t dislike her gameplay that much but her attitude, her story, the things she generally says. All of those made me kinda dislike the character and so I had to say goodbye to her too. She is a good example that first impressions can be misleading.
And then we had only Cammy left and I had no problems with her. That should have been it, right? She is the only one left so she becomes my main. It was not that easy though.
Because then I came to notice all the characters who I don’t dislike but who I also didn’t instantly love. For me that was mostly Karin and Chun-Li. If we leave the gameplay out of it I would choose Cammy every time over these two because I simply like her more as a character but since this is a game gameplay does play a role and both of them actually have enjoyable aspects about them which made it tough for me to decide which one it should be. Took me a while but I finally came to a conclusion on that.

I have to admit though that this way of operating is not 100% foolproof. Alex was released recently and to be quite honest the entire time since he was announced he didn’t interest me at all. There was nothing about him that really appealed to me from the get go and so I didn’t care that he was being released but curiosity did make me try him out after release and guess what? I actually came to like the guy and he made me warm up to an entire slew of characters that were just kinda there for me before i.e. grapplers.

So in short
TL; DR - Try out the all the characters who appeal the most to you and then work your way foward from there