Isn't it frustrating?



Hello fellow gief players,

I’ll come right to the topic:

Is it only me or is it normal to get really frustrated with gief (at least once in a while)
I had this online session yesterday where I’ve only met Akumas, with a few Ryus and Sagats in between.

Before yesterday, i thought of myself as pretty patient, slowly approaching the enemy, claiming each pixel of screen like it belonged to me anyway and walking the enemy into the corner.

Yet, yesterday was devestating. I couldnt do anything, jumpback fireballs mixed with slow and fast regular fireballs, rarely red fireballs and even random ex demon flip dives / palms.

It wasnt only one akuma, but almost all of them, who pressured me from fullscreen. At some point I was scared enough to not even lariat his fireballs because of his ex demon flips.
That divekick seems to beat lariat clean, best case scenario is a trade. Couldnt hope to beat it clean even once.
Obviously, the “walk them into the corner” still does work, BUT as soon as i got them there they would anticipate an approach commitment and just teleport out.

I feel like I need at least 60% of my life as chip dmg to even get them into one corner. If they escape it’s basically over…

Why is it so frustrating? Is there some kind of trick to play people / characters like that?

Right now, I really feel like laying the stick down and just let all these akuma/sagat/dhalsim players finish it quickly, since it feels like trying to win a 10-0, waste of time.

Should I rely on a second character for those matchups?


I started playing Zangief this week and I pretty much ran into the same type of players. Chuns, akumas, sagats, ryus, sims, etc. It was extremely frustrating to say the least. I’m not sure how high level players like Snake Eyes does it. This character has horrible matchups. If you really want to main this character, I’d say don’t rely on a secondary. Play him and take those losses and learn from it. Zangief is all about patience and spacing.


Well, i’m also really new with zangief. before that, i was trying to main ken but i always felt that something was missing… so can you imagine the surprise when i realized how fun is to play with zangief.
Playing with zangief its a whole different level and as such, it needs a whole different strategy(playing and learning).
I believe that with zangief, we are destined to lose(so dramatic… lol), seriously, i’ve been in you’re situation(i think this can be related to all the players that tries to learn a new character) but i have accepted that we need to lose in order to get better. i didn’t realize that while losing, i was learning the spacing of each other characters, the timing in each different action they will take and learn how to handle my own spacing. Zangief is a great character to become a real pro at any fighting game and you should not get discouraged by losing. you will see that sooner or later you will start realizing the patterns to each character(because playing with zangief is knowing the other characters… that’s the only way you can actually react and fight them). now something that really helps me a lot is to play at a distance, try to keep your opponent at least at the distance of green hand EX. so that if you’re at the corner and they try to fly away with tatsu, you will be nearer to where they’re going to land, it also helps that at the green hand EX. distance, you can just evade all their projectiles and when you see they’re comfortable doing that you surprise them with EXGH. if you get near them at least 30-40% of their health will fly by. try evading projectiles and keep your distance is my beginner and humble advice.


Try learning Dhalsim.
Then go back to Zangief.


Against Akuma, don’t lariat fireballs, just neutral jump. If you can’t, then block. He can react to lariat and punish you. If he throws them too close, you can focus through and SPD. It’s not a punish, though, and you’ll only catch a good Akuma once or twice. Still, it’s fairly easy damage and that’s what counts against Akuma.

You need to get the life lead, and then don’t do ANYTHING. In fact, in that MU, you shouldn’t be doing much anyway. Just play reactionary. Punish bad sweeps with SPD or st.LK xx EX GH; react to demon flips with st.LP, jump back FP or headbutt. Don’t lariat demon flips. Unless Akuma spaces it wrong (good ones won’t) every attack from DF beats it. Divekick, palm and throw all beat lariat.

DO NOT jump. At closer range, you’ll get SRK’d. At far ranges, you’ll get st.FP or cr.MP. If you try U2, you’ll get EX SRK’d. Don’t do it unless you feel comfortable taking the risk and have the life to do so (which is rarely ever).

There’s not much you can do in this match. It’s a lot of walking and a lot of blocking. I actually don’t think Zangief can win this MU; Akuma has to lose. So you have to have a mastery of the matchup and THEN download the player. There’s no real winning flowchart against Akuma or most chars with Gief.


Im actually playing Dhalsim / Zangief almost the same amount of time.
At first, i picked up Zangief as a grappler because i wanted to train for Hugo in Ultra.
But his matchups can be quite horrible. So i picked up Dhalsim and had a lot of fun with him.

My Gief is probably better, yet their bad matchups cancel each other.
Yun vs Sim is horrible for sim, but good for gief.
sagat vs gief is horrible for gief, but quite good for sim.

I dont prefer someone over the other.
Sooo… i AM learning dhalsim, is it helping me , without me realizing it? :smiley:


I think for a beginner Zangief, the difficult matchups would be very hard! If you experience online lag, then the match is impossible!!!

If they pressure you from full screen, you can manage this easy, because there is so much time for you to answer. NEVER EVER use PPP Lariat against fireballs from full screen away!
You are in so much recovery, that they can punish you.

Your counter to fireball depends on:

  • The speed of the fireball: Fast or slow
  • And your location: full screen, half screen, quarter screen

At quarter screen, you will need to reaction EXGH to pass through their projectile. So you need EX meter. If you can do kara EXGH: F, D, F + HK~PP (HK is pressed a frame or so before the PP), you get more range, possibly half screen! When you get into this range, they will fear the EXGH. Even though it doesn’t knock down, it gives you momentum and the opportunity to guess their follow up. Clue: LP SPD after EXGH usually doesn’t work.

Also learn how to use L1 Focus Attack to hit fireballers within range. Charge and release IMMEDIATELY on fireball absorb and back dash after hitting the opponent. If you crumple and have already back dashed, wait and follow up with HPGH. If you can confirm a crumple, dash forward and go into your throws. Be wary of EX fireballs, Ultras and armor breakers.

A fast fireball is easier to counter. Use jump straight up, FA absorb back dash to build Ultra meter, KKK Lariat you will have to move forward.
When at full screen to half screen, you can also use FA absorb forward dash without being punished. Use this to close the gap, and be patient to recover the gray health.

A slow fireball is harder, because by the time it reaches you, the offender will have positional advantage, and can move behind the fireball to pressure you.
Take advantage of the slow fireball, by walking forward as much as you can, to cover lost ground, before it comes close. Then you have to guess what their follow up pressure is and counter that pressure as well as the projectile. PPP Lariat is good to counter slow fireball + standing attacks. EXGH is good to counter slow fireballs + any attack except throw. Sometimes you can block the fireball and counter the follow up attack with a LP SPD or EX SPD or EXGH. If in doubt just block.

To get around the projectiles of Dhalsim, Akuma and Sagat. You need to know the match-up.


  • I recommend not jumping forward, as Sagat can use standing HK, Step Kick: F+HK, Tiger Uppercut, or kara Tiger Uppercut that has a range of 80% of the screen! or Ultra 1 at the top of your jump.
  • If they use standing HK, Zangief’s early jumping MK before the top of this jump, can beat or trade against it. Similarly, early jumping HP from far away can beat or trade also.
  • It is also difficult to jump Sagat’s tigers on reaction, due to the height of high tiger and that your jump is slow to startup. So best to avoid. You can jump the low tiger, but its just luck.
  • Stayed crouching, and use KKK Lariat against low tiger and to go under high tiger. Make sure to confirm the tiger shots. If unsure, just block. Walk forward slowly when you can and then resume crouch blocking.
  • Don’t forget to FA absorb to build Ultra and EX meter. As you slowly work your way in. You need at least ONE EXGH within range to deter tiger shot.
  • You need to get within Sagat’s far standing HK range for the match to change into something different.


  • From full screen, avoid fireballs using the tactic above. You can jump forward on akuma’s ground fireballs, but watch out for standing HP if jumping from full screen. Vary jumps by using the knee drop (D+LK)
  • You can on reaction, use early jumping MK at the apex into or cr.lp combos, if in range when Akuma throws a fireball.
  • Against air fireballs, block or jump over them after you study their trajectory. If akuma throws many jump back air fireballs, he ends up in the corner faster. Use PPP Lariat to counter any jump forward air fireballs.


  • Not exactly sure how to play this. I see it as, you have to gamble a knockdown using either a lucky KKK or PPP.
  • I think you will lose the most life trying to get in here.
  • I think jumping with early MK is probably OK here, and will beat all of dhalsim’s anti-air except air to air jumping MP, and Yoga Flame or Yoga Blast or Super.

Recommended Trainer:

  • Dummy set to record: Input projectile, then hold crouch block. Wait, and PLAYBACK.
  1. Learn KKK Lariat timing to pass through. There is a slight delay before you can dodge projectiles. You also need to move forward to help you clear it.
  2. Learn instant FA absorb dash. MP+MK, F, F or BB at the point of fireball impact.
  3. Get close and Learn L1 FA to hit and back dash on impact.
  4. Learn reaction EXGH and kara EXGH. Buffer D, F, D, F, D, F, D, F, D, F and press PP on confirm of projectile.

Closing thoughts:

  • If you lose 60% of your health to chip, your on your way to playing solid. There are so many times, when Zangief risks a jump in against Sagat, you see it in all the matches. Your 60% chip that you lose in 45 seconds, they lose about that much (50%) in 5 seconds. There is no easier way for Sagat to win the match then a confirmable guaranteed Tiger Uppercut xx FADC - Step Kick - Ultra. I know how I would like to lose most of my health. :slight_smile:

  • Ultimately to be good with Zangief, you need fundamental knowledge in pokes, and the ability to predict what your opponent will do, more so than any other character. And be ready to punish them for it. For example, if they jump or if they back dash.

You tube some high level giefs for the answers to how to conduct yourself properly. See: Cantona, Snake Eyez, Yajirobe, Zangitan, Super Uriajjo, Rukupuru, Itabashi/Itazan, Hagejin/Gogo Baby Chan, Vangief, Aquasilk

  • It’s frustrating as you need to be patient and have match-up knowledge. Gain a summary of match-up strategy by watching the pros.
  • No tricks. Tricks will get you killed.
  • Playing good to great players with a weaker Zangief is a waste of time. They are beating you because of superior knowledge and fundamentals. Find opponents of your skill level or level up by studying.
  • Depends, a second character will allow you to counter pick, but they too have the right to counter pick. You also have to devote twice as much time in execution practice and match-up knowledge.


You guys sometimes complicate things way too much. First off, online is a whole different ballgame in general. When I play good players I play totally different then when I play the typical online scrub. I’d say that 90% of online is trash so footsies, fundamentals, spacing, etc go out the window when dealing with these freaks. They do so many random, stupid things so the best thing is to just wait for them to kill themselves. Akumas will just spam air fireballs cause they don’t know what they’re doing. Ryus and Kens will of course mash dp, do random tatsus, etc.

I won’t lie, these are the types of players that give me problems too cause they’re so bad. When I lose to a random scrub I get salty as fuck but I know they won cause they just were so bad they were good. As far as Gief goes, yeah I think he’s a pretty weak character overall with many bad mu’s. If you don’t have patience then I wouldn’t recommend playing him cause it WILL be frustrating. I think it takes a certain type of player to main a grappler cause a lot of times it’s just not fun losing 70% of your life before you get a chance to touch your opponent and certain mu’s can feel almost un-winnable at times. The bottom line is try to play good players and learn from your loses and get better. Also don’t get too frustrated when losing to bad players. I know it’s hard but playing Gief will make you super salty at times.


Ahh, the Gief Gamble. I have a single move where if I’m close enough, I deal 250. The problem is, I can’t even get close enough to even use it!

As Gief, you’re really going to have to out-think your opponent. Even on Gief’s supposedly easy matches, you’re still going to have to get into your opponent’s head first and foremost. This is the only way you’re going to win against Akuma, Seth, Sagat, etc. You already know what those characters can do, so it’s up to you to possibly force those options to happen.

Snake Eyez is arguably the best Gief out there right now, so I’d pay special attention to the way he moves Gief on the screen. You’ll notice he goes mostly for pokes until he gets the opponent to stay still long enough to land LP SPD. Snake has just a magical way of getting into people’s heads with that movement. Learn from that.

There are a few things that will make Gief’s problem matches a bit easier in Ultra. First, his LP GH will be safe on hit. FINALLY Gief has a true footsie tool to keep up with the rest of the cast in the SF4 series. What I mean by this is that Gief finally has a ranged tool that doesn’t rely on meter. Poke > EXGH currently is still a WAY more effective tool than LP SPD. Basically, Gief gets this, but with no meter spent. So now that meter can be potentially saved, I can see that meter being better suited to getting through projectiles, and not just a one-off in order to get into the opponent’s comfort zone.


Just got destroyed by a ridiculous ryu player -.- from the first round on (endless matches) he seemed to know what i was gonna do… all the time…
If im in the corner and wakeup with exgh (because i think he’ll he jumps back roundhouse,, tatsu… boom, back to corner…
If i try to throw, neutraljump roundhouse, cr. fierce, tatsu …

that guy stunned me almost every round… if i wasnt in corner, he would stay just outside of lp spd range and would randomly throw either flat hado or cr. mk hado… couldnt react at all.
jumps, all have been stuffed… if i tried to backoff and build meter with lariat through his fireballs, he would simply follow me again to the “sweet spot” and continue his poke game.

When i tried to focus through his cr. mk, nope, no hit at all, thus i couldnt backdash out of it …

I really dont understand it. How is this called balance? ryu that literally has every single tool in the game (maybe except superjump cancels) and gief, whose BnB is punishable on hit for certain characters or with certain supers… lp gh seems to slow to go through fireballs reliable, you need to predict them, instead of react… nice anti fireball tool … and even so, most fireballs are so slow, people just walk behind them and punch me out of the greenhand because it has such a ridiculous recovery…
And lariat as an anti air… ahh… i dont even want to start there… ryus roundhouse and fierce jumps stay active for decades and i need to time my anti air perfectly?
Seriously? I get rushed down as a gief player because of the lack of a RELIABLE anti air. I thought people should be afraid of the big russian, not just hailmary their way in cause he cant do much against it.

My salt-level is so high right now… oh man… just needed to get rid of that.

PS: after ex gh, both neutral jump. Do i need to delay the headbutt? It whiffed several times… The headbutt would come out, yet hit nothing, even though ryu basically syncs me on my jump. I just headbutt the thin air between ryu (or who ever) and me. Is this a timing thing or is the hitbox really that weird that i cant hit someone neutraljumping before me?


Some of your complaints are sort of valid, but lariat is one of, if not the best AA in the game. If people are jumping at you then you need to sharpen your reactions. Also, I dunno if you’re aware, but when you AA with lariat, you’re supposed to do it from crouching; that way you get a bit more invincibility. It should be nearly impossible to jump at Gief.


Blocking is a good idea when you’re on your back.

Why didn’t you play footsies with cr.LK OS EX GH and cr.LP OS EX GH in that range? you need to make him stop pressing buttons, he won’t stop doing it if you don’t force him to.

A punishable on hit bnb? our bnb ends on EX GH in order to not be punished.

Focus/block/kick lariat/neutral jump fireballs, doing green hand to banish them is either a crazy reaction or an even crayzier read.

Lariat is a godly anti-air, crouch before using it, don’t just use it raw.

It sounds like you get rushed down because you’re predictable, which is understandable considering that you sound fairly new, but Gief’s wakeup doesn’t really allow him to be rushed down in the way that many characters have to deal with, outside of some matchups.


maybe i need some practice hours in the trainingsroom and get the timing down… i either hit it too early and get beaten clean or i do it too late and get trades…

I know, yet when im cornered, i tend to try to escape it. You know, like caged animals go extraberserk. Another bad habit i need to get rid of. But that is something I cant “train”, i have to keep it in mind in matches.

I couldnt, because, as I said, I had no chance to build meter. I would just be sitting there, taking his chipdamage, when I backed off to build a little bit of meter with kick lariat, he would follow me right away and sweep or simply wait in that area and throw more fireballs, I had no chance to approach or to back off, it was scary…

I know, yet EX GH is -2 on hit. Which means it can be grabbed by command throws and a fair amount of supers in the game, rendering the BnB useless against Hakan, THawk and Gief as grapplers as well as Akuma, Ryu and Chun once they have super (probabaly more chars, dont know who else got a 1-2 frame super).
So, what should i do instead in these matches? Fight without BnB? Or force them to spend meter… somehow? :frowning:

focus and kick lariat are no options at that range, as I said, he stayed right outside of lp spd range. The spacing alone was art … im still shocked…

I just dont feel like Lariat is as “godlike” as it was in vanilla, I only played occasionally gief there, but Lariat would beat aerial attacks clean.
Cant see how Lariat is a “good” anti air, compared to moves like srk, tiger knees, most st. HKs in the game…

Yes i AM fairly new to gief, but how can you not get predictable with him?
Either im throwing or im comboing the opponent, i feel like the optimal answer to both is backdash, once i punish that 1-2 with greenhand, people switch gears to either neutral / backjumping or even throwing me …

Are there some keypoints I should check out before going into berserk mode?
Like, after a sweep, should i attempt a crossup or just walk up and wait for their reaction?

I feel like i need to take advantage of the hard knockdown, while just walking up and see what they do seems like a wasted opportunity if they jump back (still havent figured out how to punish backjumps properly except a prediction forward jump fierce or early far st. rh)

Especially against characters like sagat / akuma / sim.
How should i make the correct “reads” or guesses if im close only once in the entire match? If I follow dhalsim for 70 seconds of the round and finally get i knockdown, i just cant know if he’ll backdash/wakeup teleport/throw or whatever.

I just want to get better :frowning:


if you want to get better then watch better players and do what they do


Obviously they do something right.

But i dont gain anything from copying, i need to understand why and when to do stuff…


EX GH is not -2 on hit, it’s +1.

Just relax, you can’t get predictable as Gief. Just be patient as all hells because that’s pretty much the only real way in we have, waiting and punishing people for their habits.


It has advantage on hit…?
So how exactly was that thawk player able to grab me all the time after bnb…
Shouldnt my piledrive comeout earlier than his?
Piledrive has 2f startup, so once the opponent recovers, there is only 1f time where he can react, since i have 1f advantage and 2f startup, even a command throw should lose, or am i missing something? Are the first 2 frames of command throw throwinvincible?


IIRC all reversals are grab invincible, so his SPD was effectively beating yours all the time.

You still should have done neutral jump headbutt after he showed he was going to SPD after every single EX GH.


The way EX green hand hits is extremely weird, I’ve never found it to be consistent in matches. Yes it’s supposed to be +1 and yes SPD should grab on the 2nd frame thus your SPD on the first frame after an EX green hand should catch someone doing something non-throw invincible (which SPD’s aren’t, they’re just fast).

But sometimes they reel back for longer or further than you expect, and the SPD which has massive range and should add together nicely with the frame advantage simply doesn’t grab them.

I think it’s something to do with when the EX green hand actually hits. It has 2 active frames so there’s chance it depending on spacing that it could hit only on the second (?) and leave you at +2, making your SPD whiff because they’re still in hitstun. Or the game is retarded. Genuine possibility.


General question (yet again, sry if it’s annoying)

Could it help to actually focus on NOT trying to get the spd? And on the same page, not to jump at all (except back/neutral jumping).
Not to “win”, but to get rid of those habits?
Basically playing entire matches without or maximum 1 or 2 of each, depending on situation of course.

Could that help my game improve or would it cripple me too much?