Zanfief Tactics: Strategic or Cheap?



So, I’ve known the basics of our beloved Russian grappler for a while, however, it wasn’t until about a week ago that I took him up as one of my key interests. I’m still in the stages of learning the distance of his command grabs, glowing hand, and so forth. Though, I can’t help but let a few messages I received calling me ‘cheap’ bother me a bit.

The basic tactic that I use (and I assume everyone else does) is get in close and hit the SPD. Truth be told, I do it whenever I am presented the chance. Somebody tries to catch me on wake up? I answer with a SPD, Super, or Ultra. Glowing hand to get in and then hit with SPD, why not?

Lariat plays the role of anti-air, and I always make it a point to command grapple out of any failed cross-up/links that my opponent wiffs.

I just want some opinions, and to be told if I am over-using that. I’d be a bit surprised if so since he doesn’t have a ton of other options (after all, the lack thing I expect to see with Gief is a combo.)


Sounds to me like you’re just mashing 360 all over the place. Kind of like typical online play I see with Gief. Your friend doesn’t know how to deal with it so he calls it cheap. It’s a legitimate strategy, but a terrible one. Once you play someone that knows how to play the game, you’re going to see the holes in your strategy real quick. I suggest you spend some time reading the wealth of information we have here. Stop mashing SPD and trying your obvious green hand to SPD setups. Get the bad habits out of your system. And what you said about the last thing you expect gief is a combo is absolutely wrong. Go to the combo section and learn his bnbs. Watch some videos of the high level giefs and see how they play.


Perfectly said crapface,

I have made a list of zangiefs that you can learn shit from.

Japanese Zangiefs

Maho Shojo Zangitan :
This guy knows every match up in the book. He has great spd set ups, mind games, the clutch factor, great execution and great offensive and defensive strats. He has it all . Learn your overall general play from him
i.e what you should or should not be doing.

God like reaction and great execution. People are scared to chuck a fireball at this guy, because his reaction time is so fucking god like it doesn’t make sense. He focuses on punishes his oppoents for their mistakes and he teachs you how to walk someone in the corner. Great defense but he lacks some match up knowledge and offensive strats.

Koji Kog
Well, god like rush down, he puts the meaning in , " don’t let gief get close to you " idea. Nasty fush down not so great footsies but he makes it up with execution and reaction. Learn offense from him .

Aloha same as zangitan well, balanced in both offense and defense. I use to think they were the same person lol, because they play so much alike.

American Giefs
Vangief ( god like footsies and as nice walking 720 set ups and mind games and great lock down. Learn offense and defense from him but mainly footsies ) also he rarly jumps learn your ground game from him.

Jan ( great rush down and locked very solid gief, he makes his opponents make mistakes. Great lockdown ability and reaction and match up knowledge. Amazing ground game

Ifc zangief aka Vegita X ( Fucking god like rush down and offensive and has alot of tricks and great execution and combo ability. He likes to go all, learn your confidence from him and he goes in to do work. He plays the same rather he has one pixel of health or none, learn what it means to be clutch with zangief from him .

i hope this helps


so basically u wanna mash 360/720’s during block strings(like all scrub online giefs/t.hawks) and do wake up ultras and spd’s as ur stragedy for playing geif? that’s great if u wanna be a terrible player but if u wanna be somewhat decent then ignore pretty much all that you’ve been doing and read some of the useful info on the forums. plus, listen to final_round and watch some high level giefs in action.


Yeah, I don’t think I’d like to fall into that criteria and gain a negative reputation. (Gief is something of a new game to me, like I said, better to learn what I’m doing wrong early)

I bust my ass in training mode daily for more than a few hours with Ibuki, Adon, and Hakan so I understand that I need to offer Gief the same. I will read the info upon the first chance offered, but tips are welcome here.


training mode is good but you want to put yourself out there. I mean go to local place play good competition and have goals for yourself. you need to fight good competition


Duly note the high lvl videos.

Practice your strats in matches vs real players rather than spending so much time in training. If you don’t have a big local scene or really aren’t that serious about being in tourneys you should find some good players online ( not to be confused with someone that can just beat you ) and train with them. You will be losing while learning to use your newly learned tactics in combat but its all part of the game.

Part of my training for normals was learning to play with Gief and not use SPD. It seems kinda dumb but it will quickly get you out of the mash spd mode. Nothing wrong with mashing the buffer though, just gotta know when to say when Lar.

Always think 3 steps ahead as “If I do X, they will do X to avoid, where will they be?” so you can put your opp in crappy situations.

Learn your friend that nothing is cheap.


This tactic will work maybe once on someone at a higher level, and then they will bait and punish heavily. If it shuts down their footsie game then they are not really playing footsies. SPD’s are better served in tick setups and in unexpected whiff situations; as far as reversals go EX-SPD or EX-RBG can be fine, but if overused will be baited and punished hard. TBH, I don’t even know what you mean by point blank special moves against Gief; sounds like suicide.

EX-SPD has its uses, but it is slower than all other SPDs. If the opponent isn’t at least getting a knockdown (at bare minimum) on a whiff EX-SPD you need to up your level of competition IMO.


IMO, try playing Gief without jumping or specials for a while and see how you develop…you HAVE to learn his footsies and timing and hitbox. The pro of Gief, his execution isn’t as tedious as say - CV - but your mind game, footsy game, etc have to be ahead of the competition.

  • :bluu:


Learn the option selects too - they are rarely mentioned but 100% vital.


Once you know all the matchups you will beat the majority of people. To beat the next level of players you really have to have your footsies and option selects down. To beat elite players its just a matter of mindgames. You will still probably lose to people who counterpick even at this level. You should have an alternate character. Even a godlike Zangief will eventually run into someone equal in skill who will counterpick and get the edge (See EVO Ricky). I guess it doesn’t matter if you make top 8 at EVO though :smokin:

  1. Watch Zangitan/IFC Zangief videos and model your Zangief after them. Remember the saying “good artist borrow, but great artist steal” ?

  2. Go to trails mode, they have genuine and valid combos that you can use in real matches and it’ll improve your execution a lot. Can you go into Zangief’s trial mode and complete every one consistently? You can deal big time damage in a match if you know those combos, and you can shut down the escapes many people would otherwise have against you by not dropping them in the first place. Then go into training mode and execution some techniques you want to utilize against opponents. You want to know your techniques before you call them out in a live match, unless you like getting punished. I very, VERY rarely see any online players that use the majority of more technical combos for Gief.

  3. Don’t be aggressive all the time, advance, and learn to break down zoning games (especially when dealing with Dhalsim, Guile, Ryu, Akuma, etc.)

  4. Don’t be predictable, no matter who you play. You’ll eat a combo and die, seriously. SPD/EX 360 KKK are both great grabs, and they are one of the keys to being good with Zangief (the official match-up thread here certainly agrees). However, they are tools to be used in a specific situation. Once your opponent is reading you like a book, relying on it will get you beat. I’d also like to mention that the match-up thread states getting good with Zangief is not about getting the grabs, it’s about punishing them for trying to avoid it in the first place. This clearly means mind games, another useful tool.

I’m not pro or anything, but this is what I try to incorporate in my game. Also, don’t rely on Lariat too much. Dive kicks from certain characters will kill it, best to save it against spams of fireballs and to beat certain moves.