How can I improve my Zangief?

Here is a gameplay I’ve had with some Sagat 1600 pp, I’m around 900 pp total this was probably one of the hardest time I’ve ever had in this game to date, playing as Zangief. I’ve just started SF4 AE. I usually played Ryu in SF2 Turbo, in hard mode, but it seems like the hero is too popular and bores gamers online. So, to get to the point, although I usually win agaisn’t every unranged chars, projectiles and low-high kicks bother me when I try to get close to a character with decent range (Ryu, Sagat, Dhalsim, etc…). I’m still a relatively new Zangief player and I’m playing with a joystick.

#1. General Principles:

  • Never be predictable with your jump in. The opponent has 30+ frames to answer you.
  • Reduce frequency of jumping as an approach, it is a liability
  • Know and practice general answers to projectiles: neutral jump, FA back dash, FA forward dash, block
  • Improve execution of moves, setups - as some of your stuff seemed unintentional.
  • Reduce situations where you unfavorably guess, like LPGH after the jump in.
  • Learn to block projectiles - you lost easy damage when you shouldn’t.

#2 Zangief Knowledge:

  • Vastly improve ground game. Know and use far,, cr.lp. far far, and far
  • Know proper ranges for LPGH. Your approaches are way to close and thus you were too open. You want to LPGH into within 3/4 of Sagat’s far range. Any closer and Sagat can react with any of his fast 4 frame pokes, and his 5 frame
  • Any FA back dash that leads into a focus crumple, should be followed up with a delayed HPGH.

#3 Sagat Knowledge:

  • Know proper spacing of jumping attacks. You were jumping inside optimum range.
  • Use mostly jumping attacks: mk, hp, knee drop
  • If you do jump in, make it just outside Sagat’s far range, and use mk at the apex of the jump to beat out or trade with Sagat’s far On hit, you can ONLY go into 4 frame starting normals: far mp, cr.lp for pressure, or far lk xx EXGH.
  • from full screen to about quarter screen, approach slowly by walking, never jumping, evade high tiger with crouch block or, low tiger with KKK Lariat (allowing for a 3 frame projectile startup). When in doubt, simply block.
  • At quarter screen, stay crouched often due to Sagat’s far Use cr.lp, far, far, far, far, KKK Lariat and always move backwards unless confirmed trade or hit. Option selects of cr.lp,, far lk into EXGH or LPGH are recommended. LPGH is mostly unsafe on hit.
  • Stop using PPP Lariat too often, even from full screen. As Sagat can punish you with a follow up EX or HP Tiger Shot.
  • If getting pressured by meaty Low or High Tiger Shot, wake up with crouch block or FA backdash.
  • In my opinion, Reaction EXGH, especially in the crouch position (DF, DB, DF + 2P, or DF, D, DF + 2P), just inside and under Sagat’s far, is the best use of EX bar, as it controls up close spacing, and deters Tiger Shot. well timed far mp and far hk can do that also.
  • Punish all blocked Tiger Uppercuts with forward dash AS. This punish allows for a 3 frame margin of error.
  • Punish all blocked Tiger Uppercut FADC forward dash with reversal Ultra 1.
  • If you think they will throw you after Tiger Uppercut forward dash or when you get up, throw tech, or PPP throw tech, or back dash into SPD or Ultra 1. Wake up Ultra 1 or SPD will always be dangerous, as the opponent would look for it often.

Watch your video as if it was someone else playing.

Then watch this video

Then ask yourself: “What did Aquasilk do (and why) that I didn’t do (and why)?”

Wow, that was an interesting video. I took away three obvious things from watching that:

1.Stop jumping!!!
2.Stop mashing!!!
3.Play better players cause playing trash like that will get you nowhere

Good luck and thx for posting.

To be fair, the second match is more representative of the match-up. But many Zangief’s always die with so much time on the clock. Basically they become impatient, and try to recklessly jump or LPGH in.

For better reference, youtube up this matchup. “SSF4AE2012 - MeanSaltine (Zangief) vs Madwak (Sagat) - Winners Finals”

You should be working your way in very slowly from full screen. NEVER jumping forward. Walking and crouch blocking tiger shots as you approach. And when you get better, confirming high or low tiger, based on Sagat’s standing or crouching position, you respond with crouching or under high tiger, or KKK lariat to go through low tiger. Keeping in mind, these techniques only work on the fast HP/HK tiger shots.

Once you get to quarter screen, within Sagat’s far range. It’s best to duck or stand and spam to pre-empt his far At this range, is where you can jump on reaction to tiger shot, must hear the audio cue “tiger” as many Sagat’s like to feint with st.lp. At which point jump and use MK early at the apex, and combo into a xx EXGH. If you can duck inside his far range, then you can use far as an option to floor him.

EX bar should be used soley for reaction EXGH, once you get into range where you control space and deter far and tiger shots. Learn the crouching reaction EXGH of DF, D, DF, D, DF x infinity + 2P on reaction. Otherwise use the standing and forward moving command DF x infinity.
Else you can use EX SPD, during Sagat’s hit confirms into Tiger Uppercut, or after a or LPGH approach, which usually gets countered by Sagat’s far You could also use EX SPD to punish blocked tiger uppercuts if you can’t get dash AS out in time.

I’m currently formulating what I think is the match-up. And some of the questions I’m asking are:

  • What Ultra should I use?
  • Should I approach Sagat with HALF ultra? Because from full screen, Sagat will let you build ultra all day.
  • Should I have 1, 2, or 3 EX bars stocked before my approach. For Zangief making the approach, EX bars benefit him more than Sagat.

I think Ultra 2 is the way to go, with its 50/50 setup off of a LP SPD. Just have to be frame perfect.

Just remember, you can block 77 tiger shots, before you die. So take your time.

I disagree with never jumping forward, or in fact deciding to never do anything. Make your opponent take your options away, if you do it yourself you deserve to lose.

I think Ultra 1 is better against Sagat because it’s a bigger gamble but it pays off and I’m better with it, I think it’s all preference for that mu though.

Yeah the key to beating most average to pretty good sagat’s is being on point with EXGH more than usual imo. If you never let them bait it and you always do it when it’s applicable it’s actually kind of rough to be Sagat.

Ultra 2 limits Sagat’s options for when you finally get in, Ultra 1 doesn’t.

I don’t think it’s a hard choice.