Strategies for picking a main?

I’ve read some other posts and followed their advise, but I still can’t find a main in SFIV, anyone know a good way to pick one?

1: try a bunch of characters that seem like fun. learn a bit of their stuff, goof around with them online or with a friend.

2: pick the one that’s most fun.

When in doubt, play Ryu.

LIke they said, find a character thats the most fun for you. If your comepetitive then you might use tier lists to make sure your not wasting your time learning a bottom tier character.


Just play boxer…

come on, learning a character is never a waste of time

I think a lot of players struggle with making that decision of who to choose as their main character(s). I know I do. The easy answer–as we’re often charitably given–is to “find one that you enjoy,” but this can be of very little help when, on many occasions, the specific reasons that you may at first enjoy a given character become gradually/increasingly or suddenly/completely insignificant as you progress into more advanced levels of play. It’s also particularly unhelpful if you deeply enjoy a large number of characters in a game.

The people who dispense this advice always mean well, but they just don’t necessarily understand. Some people immediately know who they most want to play: they choose Jimjim because of his cool attitude and outfit, they choose Kimberline because her super looks really awesome, they choose Raffi because they read a tier list and he’s ranked high but not top, they choose Bimmiman because they’ve played Bimmiman in every single Snorkel Fighter game since they were eight years old. There is simply no question and no doubt in their minds. A lot of us aren’t that lucky; I’ve never been 100% resolved on any one character that I’ve ever played in any game ever.

Selecting that one character for yourself can be an extremely time-consuming endeavour when, left without the insight or guidance of players who know much more than yourself, you can find yourself working your way through every single face on that grid of portraits and investing a significant amount of time into each one, just to try and find out of you like them or not. Learning about the whole roster is undoubtedly beneficial to making you a better player, but it really does very little to you in the beginning if you do not yet have a character for yourself, a viewpoint and a focus through which to channel the knowledge you acquire about the rest of the cast.

If you’re interested in listening to a podcast, here is a recent Alpha-ISM Radio show that discussed this.

It’s SF4-centric (I assume this is what you’re interested in playing anyway) and a really great listen with a lot of deep insights about what should matter to you if you’re going to take a fighting game at all seriously in the competitive sense. Essentially what they encourage is to pick a character whose strengths match your strengths, a character that lets you do what you’re best at doing, a character that fully allows your best skills to shine, shine, shine. As a direct answer to your thread title, “STRATEGIES for picking a main,” this show is everything you want, everything you could ask for.

The difficult and maybe even ironic part, though, is that they are talking from the perspective of VERY experienced players; they know themselves extremely well, and they know 2D fighting games extremely well. The toughest, trickest thing about picking a character their way is that, after being able to (correctly) identify your own most powerful traits and abilities, you also need to have a rough understanding of how every character in the game works in competitive play. This is a lot to ask of a new player, and it’s really hard to reach that level of understanding without becoming relatively skilled, which is more or less impossible for a new player to do without having first selected a main character. Uhhf.

I’ve yet to see a complete, consolidated list for SF4 that states for each character, even with just a few words, what sort of player with what sort of aptitudes will find the most success with them. It would also be helpful to briefly see their most common matchup objectives, the ways they would prefer to operate, their weakest elements, and the areas in which they excel. A list such as this, a trustworthy one, would have to be composed by someone with a great familiarity with the game as a whole, but it would be an extremely valuable resource for serious new players approaching the game. The only lists I’ve ever seen amounted to little more than fluffy descriptions. If anyone already knows of such a list, please link to it in this thread. The closest thing I’ve found to what I have in mind is on I Play Winner, where each character’s page begins with a brief Overview section.

If all else fails, I think the best thing that anyone can suggest is simply to hop on YouTube and watch high level match videos, and look for a character who makes you say “Wow, THAT looks fun.” Even if it doesn’t give you the rock-solid answer you wish it did, it will unarguably give you a starting point, and that’s probably the best that guys like us can hope for.

I do this in every game and totally recommend it.

Alright, thanks guys! I’ll look into some of those suggestions.

to get the best handle on what character they should choose as a main, they need to get a hang of the game. i think that’s why people say “pick a character you think is fun to play.” it’s not really advocating fun above competition or higher thought processes or whatever, it’s just that the initial selection is going to be somewhat arbitrary and initial enjoyment with a character is easier to judge than simultaneously determining a character’s ability to zone or rush down as well as whether or not that is what you’re looking for in your main. (if they’re asking, they probably don’t know what kind of playstyle suits them best so even with a list of characters that explains their strengths and weaknesses, the player would still have to try a bunch of them at random in order to figure out what they’re looking for.)

the way they see the game will change with their experience, and if the player becomes less than satisfied with the character they originally picked, they should be in able to use their new found understanding of the game to pick a more suitable character.

although taking this all into account, i guess it would be best to suggest a few all-around characters to start with that cover as many different play styles and control styles (charge/shoto-style) as possible. find out what you do/don’t like out of that and then that list of strengths and weaknesses across the roster would be very useful.