Zangief SSF4 changes / matchup thread

I wanted to make a thread to discuss all the changes and new ultras (without any whining), so post your findings here and I will compile them, and add what still works from SF4.

I will add characters as people put up info for them.


-** Learn the [media=youtube]6CzpKOD1v1I"[/media].** these are of absolute importance if you want to be competitive. Especially o/s EX GH and cr.lp o/s EX GH. They are are a vital part of Zangief’s footsies. Wakeup knees o/s gh for Akuma’s teleport is also very important.

  • Zangief’s Hitbox has been changed so anti airs no longer whiff sometimes when gief jumps in. If people push buttons too early, you still get a free ultra 1.

  • Gief is easily swept / shoryuken’d out of lariat. Lariat has been nerfed HARD. KKK lariat will not beat low hits like it did in vanilla, it will just whiff and leave you exposed.

  • If the opponent is crouching, after crossup splash cr.lp will whiff if you do it straight away - you need to delay it ever so slightly.

  • Cr. MP beats most jump-ins clean. Learn the timing.


  • EX Banishing Flat beats Abel’s ultra 2 dependent on timing between the GH and Abel dashing in.

  • It is a good idea to stay very close to Abel when he has Ultra 2 and not to throw out any slow moves. If Abel pops ultra at random you should then be able to jump over him to escape.

  • If you jump to escape Ultra 2 and Abel is holding waiting for you to land, do not push a button in the air if you don’t jump over him. Just try to jump again.

  • Reaction EX GH beats wheel kicks.

  • Abel’s new ultra introduces lots of mind games. There is a special distance where if Abel pops his ultra and you jump in any direction, he will get you. In order for this to happen however, the Abel player must hold the ultra. This gives Zangief a window to simply walk backwards and then jump out range. If the Abel player then executes the ultra he is susceptible to eating ultra himself and so he must cancel. This introduces mind games, as if the Abel is aware of this he might just let the ultra fly straight away. More often than not, however, if the Abel activated the ultra while you were both standing he will wait for you to jump so he gets a ‘guaranteed’ ultra.


The following two points apply when Akuma has ultra 1. He can cancel his teleport into ultra 2.

  • If Gief jumps backwards when Akuma tries to teleport PAST Gief, Gief can land + Ultra 1 guaranteed. This is most useful when Akuma is cornered and you have knocked him down. Learn the spacing & timing in training mode by recording Akuma teleporting then hold up so Akuma jumps as soon as teleport is finished.

  • If the Akuma player is in the corner and knows you are looking for the teleport, they might teleport in the other direction (staying in the corner) to bait you to jump away. If you guess right and jump forward instead of back, you can still land ultra 1 guaranteed.

  • Akuma can cancel teleport into ultra 2 - I have not played with gief ultra 1 vs akuma ultra 2 in training mode so be weary of doing the above if Akuma has ultra 2 ready.

  • Wakeup knees option select green hand is important to not let Akuma escape for free.



  • Can be SPD’d/Ultra out of Blanka Ultra 2




  • All non-EX Criminal Uppers are unsafe at all distances against Gief. lp and mp are punishable on block by lp SPD and in many case Ultra 1. Hp Criminal upper pushes you out of lp SPD range at some distances but it can be punished by lk -> EX GH. NOTE: lp and mp criminal upper are safe against anything other than SPD/ultra1




  • Deejay has very good anti-airs in this matchup. He can beat splash with auto correct tatsu and anti air with sweep.


  • Whiffed PPP lariat = guaranteed ultra 2 for Dhalsim.

  • Projectile seems to have a better hitbox; definitely harder to jump over.

  • You can jump and counter dhalsim’s ultra 2 with ultra 2 if you have not pressed any buttons (and if you are not in recovery frames) before the flash.

  • If Dhalsim pops ultra when you have jumped and you are in the descending part of your jump arc, and he is above you, your ultra will not beat his.


  • Ducking upper and all versions of MGB are punishable by SPD; a well spaced ducking straight is NOT, and SSB can actually evade SPDs, the first 14 frames of Ducking Upper actually have throw invincibility.



  • Duck his dropkick and it will whiff, then you can SPD. If you block standing and he hits you he will normally be out of range afterwards. You can use standing LP against his dropkick. If you do it late it will trade/lose so you have to react quickly. You cannot focus his dropkick because it will hit twice.


  • Do not try to sweep Fei Long, if he blocks he can Rekka you into the corner.

  • Do not use PPP lariat in open play, can be punished with Rekka.

  • Fei Longs like to spam Cr.LK on wakeup. In is faster than your and will beat it clean and lead to a Rekka combo.

  • Because of the above, Fei Long will sometimes do a when you expect a throw, because if he expects you to mash throw tech and comes out, his will beat yours and you will eat a Rekka combo.

  • Punish whiffed crouching HP with standing lk option select EX GH.

In the corner

In the corner your options against Fei Long are very limited. If you backdash on wakeup to try and avoid a grab or hit then SPD, he can still combo you into Rekka. His will stop you jumping and stop your, his jump away instant overhead will beat your wakeup spd. His overhead is airborne so you can’t SPD. You can be thrown out of EX GH. So your options are basically up+kick lariat, EX hand, backdash…(to be finished later)



  • When you have meter and are close to Guile, try to keep buffering d-df so as soon as he throws a fireball you can pop EX GH.

  • Crossup splash sabotages all flash kicks and ultra 1.




  • His command jump-in loses to Cr. MP clean.

  • Can be poked out of of the beginning of wheel kick

  • His slide can be SPD’d, depending on the distance. If guy is in within green hand range when he slides, you should be able to block > SPD.


  • If Hakan does Ultra 2 when Gief is going to land on him, Gief can pop Ultra 2 and both ultras will whiff because of Gief’s invincibility.

  • Hakan’s super has three properties depending on which button is used. The MK version is throw invincible LK is hit invincible and HK is projectile invincible. Depending on which button you think he will use (likely MK) you can knock/throw him out of it if you are close when he does it. 50/50 between LK and MK, unless the player has no idea about the different properties.

  • If you have Ultra 1 and Hakan is dry, keep to a certain distance; if he tries to oil up you can whiff GH to ultra before he can escape. Needs to be confirmed for light oil, definitely works on the others.


  • If your Ibuki player knows his/her timing, you HAVE to block the wakeup kunai shenanigans.

  • The key to blocking Ibuki’s crossup Kunai is to block relative to the side SHE is on when the kunai hits, not the kunai itself. For example, if Ibuki throws a kunai on your left but is on your right when the kunai is going to hit, you need to block left. So you are always blocking against the character not the projectile.

  • Block Ibuki’s slides and punish with grabs.

  • You can kick ibuki out of the neckbreak slide with standing LK & MK but timing is strict; get it wrong and she gets counter hit.

  • Can be thrown/SPDd out of Kasumi Gake


  • Pinwheel - All punishable by SPD on block or by lk. -> EX GH. RH Pinwheel seems much easier to punish with Ultra 1.

  • EX pinwheel - Splash and knees both stuff it on wake up.

  • EX pinwheel is punishable by SPD, but it usually pushes you too far out of range to punish it easily. Can be punished by cr. jab -> EX GH or just EX GH. Beats EX GH clean.

  • Dive Kick - Punishable by SPD or Ultra 1, loses clean to headbutt.

  • Crossup kness beats wakeup EX pinwheel.



  • If Bison does Ultra 2 on wakeup, you can neutral jump headbutt and beat it clean. Psycho Crusher will go underneath you.

Cr.MP beats ALL headstomps clean.


  • If you block the first hit of Makoto’s Ultra II (Abare Tosanami) you can punish with ultra or HP SPD if you can’t do the 720 fast enough.


  • EX Banishing Flat can expel Rose’s ultra 2 balls.

  • cr.lp option select EX green hand is essential in this matchup if you want to win the poking war.

  • cr.lp beats Rose’s standing hard kick, but option select ex GH will whiff from a certain distance. If Rose is cornered, the option select will land if you are under the clock or closer. Any further and the GH will chiff leaving you in trouble.

  • Punish blocked slide with fierce SPD (or fierce atomix suplex for better positioning)

  • Punish whiffed slide with standing LK option select EX GH.


  • Crossup splash on Rufus’ wakeup causes Rufus lots of problems - he pretty much has to block or use EX Jesus Kick to escape (it will whiff). Don’t cross Rufus up when he is in the corner as you want to keep him there.

  • Use st.MP to beat his normals.


  • Ryu’s Ultra 2 loses to Gief ultra 2.


Look for opportunities to do cr.lp option select EX GH after Sagat whiffs a St. HK.


  • PPP Lairat now AA better vs Seth’s Jumping HP.

  • No more ultra 1 shenanigans while a sonic boom is on screen.


  • Condor dive and Condor spire are beaten clean by headbutt.

  • Crossup splash beats shoryuken.


  • If Gief does ultra 2 after Vega does ultra 1, both ultras will whiff. Can be used as an escape if needed.

  • Gief Ultra 2 whiffs if Vega is doing a backflip escape.


  • Spam standing MP.

  • When the other Gief has ultra 1 loaded, pay attention to the spacing of his jump-ins. If Gief jumps in around the area where if you did a lariat, the fist would hit you, he can ultra you on your wakeup and beat the lariat.

  • If your opponent is using ultra 2 and knocks you down, if he jumps in as you wake up and pops ultra 2 it will catch your backdash.


Thanks ^^

For making this thread, WGE.
I support our efforts 110% lol.

so I have a dumb question regarding the nerfed low hitbox on the lariat.

I’m a scrub player (G2-B) and for my difficult matches like chun, sim, ken, guile, kick lariat was a god send. I know this was scrubby tactic analogous to random dp but when someone is poking low up close the kick lariat would pretty much save my azz.

esp guiles scrubby c.RH. KKK all day. Sims stretchy, etc. Am I out of luck now?

Anyone have any thoughts on the Cody match up and how to deal with his zoning. Criminal upper is punished by SPD or Ultra if done at a close enough range and maybe only if it’s the HP version. That flying kick he has is tough to deal with and stops your jumping and trying to poke against that uppercut punch isn’t fun. Any thoughts?

You can’t grab Vega out of U1 because it’s invincible during active frames.

Seth - PPP Lairat now AA better vs Seth’s J.HP. Since Giefs vert isn’t as high in this you cannot headbutt on his wall jump.
I haven’t had time to confirm but it seems like Seth has more stun. I landed a CH headbutt and I didn’t get the 1 hit dizzy. I know it’s easy to figure out but could someone please confirm?

I was curious about
a) the amount of stun on headbutt now
b) the effectiveness of j.fp for ‘tagging’ projectile folks

  • :bluu:

Headbutt is the same.

Jumping f+hp is still good… Against someone with a good anti air like Cody, you can do it late and hit them clean, providing they pushed a button when you normally would.

All non-EX Criminal Uppers are unsafe at all distances against Gief. lp and mp are punishable on block by lp SPD and in many case Ultra 1. Hp Criminal upper pushes you out of lp SPD range at some distances but it can be punished by lk -> EX GH. NOTE: lp and mp criminal upper are safe against anything other than SPD/ultra1, it leaves him at -3ish frames while hp criminal upper leaves him at -5ish frames.

If a shoto does a tatsu, you can jump forwards, ultra 2 above their head, and it will catch them as you drop on the other side of them.

Edit: OH MAN, playing a Ryu using metsu shoryuken - I jumped during his descent and popped ultra 2, he landed and popped metsu, and ate my ultra, and ragequit, lovely :slight_smile:

I know the headbutt is the same but does seth have slightly more stun so that he cant get 1 hit stunned by Gief on CH?

Just been in training mode:

Seth’s stun is 750.

Clean counter headbutt will do 750 stun to Seth; Trade counter headbutt will only do 600.

Ultra 2 rocks on Vega, it is easy to empty jump and buffer U2 while looking for him to glow gold. All of Vega’s EX moves that would be used while Gief is jumping can be U2 for free.

Guess I was not being clean. Thanks! I wish I could play SSF4 at work…im fiending.

chun’s st hard kick is easily stuffed by j. FP now as well and U2 rocks her EXSBK.

U2 is gimmiky and lame. I love it.

There is no discussion even needed on U2 because the techniques are so obvious and rediculous. Bait anything vs Air…U2. I feel so gay using U2because it is so hokey. Its not even hard to do on reaction. Feel free to jump at Cammy all day.

Guile seems to be very tough for gief. Being a Guile main I can keep him out fairly easily now that the lariat has been toned down and his jump got nerfed. Lariat? I walk up and backfist or lunge kick, and if you did it close I can now sweep without fear of being hit by a ridiculous hitbox. Gief gets stuffed by a lot of guiles AA normals.

Best bet to get in on guile is to guess correctly on a sonic boom and green hand, it usually what happens to me that ends up putting the match in giefs favor. I’m very careful with booms when gief is in green hand range.

They should have given gief’s kick lariat footsie invulnerability at least for the first spin or something.

they did i was playing a rufus yesterday and he stuck his cr. hp and i knocked him the fuck out of that shit on reaction. But i think for the most part, the lariat is still beast mode but only on the first turn. Also, i don’t know
if any of you guy have noticed but it seems like his fists while his turning during the ppp lariat is better now. like vs ehonda when the would try to jump in after i was doing my lariat … i would move the lariat away from them and it knocked him the fuck back also… lariat is still god like it’s just not broken any more

Yea, his lariat feels the way lariat always was. Feels more like gief, not super gief. I like it.