"Main-ing" vs. "Match-ing"

I am relatively new to the “scene” but not new to fighting games and I have a philosophical question:

Do most of the top players out there “main” a character or do they “match” an opponents character?

What are the accepted advantages/disadvantages of both in your collective opinions?

Is “match-ing” considered “cheap” and “main-ing” considered “pro/noble” or do people care anymore?

Back when arcades were still more than a memory, I would “match” the hell out of people in SF2 (vanilla, I’m THAT old) and AoF/FF… and as the scene got bigger, I started to “main” because I felt it was a bit more enjoyable. But now with the tag-based fighters and huge rosters, I feel like “main-ing” is quite literally only experiencing a tiny portion of what the game has to offer, so I kind of want to start “match-ing” again, but feel like I won’t ever get the level of depth that I used to have with the characters back in the day of 8-10 character rosters.


You have to main. Matching only works if you have a lot of experience of the game and know all the characters as its a (counter) gamble that you know how to play the counter character better than their main.

A good amount of players do both - they have a few characters they specialize in, and pick the best one in accordance to who they’re playing against.

Playing more characters gives you more counterpick options - and is vital to success in Marvel imo (since characters in that game are easy to learn, and bad matchups can essentially make a character dead weight on your team). But learning too many characters can result in you spreading yourself too thin… A character specialist tends to have a greater mastery of their character than someone who plays multiple characters.

Top players tend to be character specialists, though there are a few exceptions. Filipino Champ is a Dhalsim specialist, but also knows how to play Fei Long, Seth, and Balrog. He learned to play Fei Long because Dhalsim’s matchups against Yun and Yang were terrible.

People do hate being counterpicked, but they usually don’t realize they’re being counterpicked and assume the other guy just happens to main that character. In tournaments you generally accept the fact that you’re going to get counterpicked and try to deal with it. This is especially true online since all character selection is blind pick online.

Counter picking, not matching. :stuck_out_tongue: I had no idea what this thread is about. Counter picking is a perfectly valid part of tournament life.

You really should avoid the mindset of things being cheap or noble. It’s a fighting game. We play to win, not live up to an imaginary code of honor.

Also, read this:

New players really need to get this whole concept of cheap is bad out of their heads

Most players have one-two characters. One as a “character specialist”, and one for horrible match-ups, however some characters (such as Yun) do not need a second character.