Zangief Strategy/Match-up Thread

** Ok, seeing as a lot of people don’t like to look through the original matchup thread, I decided to take matters into my own hands and collect the information I thought was best and put them into one thread. If there’s anything I missed, or you think I should add, please feel free to comment. Credit goes to UltraDavid, Renegade, Coopa, and The RedEye for the strats.**

LP/LK = Low Punch/Kick
MP/MK = Med Punch/Kick
HP/HK = Hard Punch/Kick
Cr. = Crouching
St. = Standing
SPD = Spinning Pile Driver
FB = Fireball
AA = Anti-Air
FADC = Focus Attack Dash Cancel
xx = Cancel
Hand = Green Hand/Banishing Flat/Green Glove

You have to think differently as Gief.
You have the grabs, sure.
Your goal is not to land the grabs.
Your goal is to PUNISH people for trying to avoid the grabs.

General Strategies:

  • using cr.LK, cr.LP, st.LP, and st.MP to keep people on the ground for a long time and then grab them when they’re sleeping.

  • For example: After SPD, LP hand then cr.LK will snag anyone holding up to jump away from SPD. Follow up with combo of choice.

  • Both spd and 360+k have 2 frames of startup and both lose to perfectly timed meaty attacks. EX spd beats meaty attacks, whereas ex 360+k absorbs the meaty attack and then throws the opponent.

  • Also, after crossup, you can do cr.LPx2, delay, cr.LK->st.LK->st.MK/EX HAND.

  • In most of gief’s matches when played by experts in this game, the time is a factor. Gief’s opponents have to play keep away to win. That premise only works if they have a life lead. Otherwise you have no reason to attack. Sooner or later, they’ll realize what you’re doing and then try to mount an offense and come to you. This effectively does your work for you.

  • Gief’s defense is actually much better than his offense. He’s got 1200 health, a high or low invincibility move at the press of 3 buttons, and a 2 frame grab that has ridiculous range. Play to your strengths.

  • St.LK, Cr.LK, St.MP, Cr.LP, St.LP, Cr.MK, and Cr.HK are your footsies.

REVERSALS: You always have to be on the lookout for reversals, but more importantly in this game, you have to know when its more likely that they will occur.

2 bars of EX Meter

Against Ryu, Sagat, Balrog especially. Their likelihood for reversal goes way up when it can be safe to do so and can lead to big damage.

PROTIP: Learn Jab SPD’s range like the back of your hand. learn how to jump into EXACTLY that range.

This is a vital key to becoming good with Zangief. The simple mixup is jumping into that range and doing j.hp or or empty jumping and doing Spd. This obviously works much better against characters without effective far range AA’s such as Ryu, Fei, Akuma, and Honda.

It also works really well against Guile, Claw, and Boxer w/o down charges.


  • Chun Li
  • Claw (Vega)
  • Dictator (M.Bison)
  • Sagat
  • Rose

Their St.HK (or in Rose’s case forward+HK) will wreck your shop.

Sagat and Rose are the worst. Chun’s LP fireball->St.HK are an annoyance at best.

  • You need to get into the range where these characters have to PREDICT when to do the St.HK, and not REACT with st.HK. This is obviously, RIGHT outside their St.HK range. Twitchy players will just start tossing it out b/c they are panicing.


  • St.LP
    This is really safe. Jabs can sometimes straight stuff these moves. Seems to work best against sagat.

  • St.MP
    Best used as a whiff punisher in footsies. Right after they hit RH, toss out St. MP, and should hit them. Works best on sagat. Against Chun, you can mash this, b/c it will trade a lot. Even though she’s doing 100 health to your 90, you have 300 more life, so you come out ahead.

  • Jump straight up, then Up+HP/MP Headbutt.
    —) works well against Bison/Vega/Chun. DON’T DO against Rose/Sagat w/ Ultra.
    —) Headbutt has a crazy hitbox, and you can tag the tip of their foot with it.
    —) Counter headbutts stun alot, and will get them thinking twice about tossing it out again, effectively doing more work that it should.
    —) HP Headbutt does more stun damage than MP Headbutt

  • Jab SPD!!!
    If you stand just outside the range of the St.HK’s (you should know them by now) doing a Jab SPD as they execute the St.HK will grab their forward moving hitbox! Watch in wonder as Gief grabs them from HALF SCREEN! Try this in training mode. Yeah, you have to basically guess, and you may eat a lot of St.HK’s as a result of this, but once you get one SPD, you’re in and the mixups begin. I think combining this tactic with jump up+HP Headbutt should be really effective (i.e. get outside HK range Jump up+HP Headbutt, buffer Jab SPD)

  • Cr. MK
    Works best against chun’s b/c her St.HK goes over your head when crouching and allows you to advance. Is terrible against Sagat and Bison b/c of the mid hit boxes.

  • Cr. HK/Down Forward+ Cr. HK
    Is super slow, but generates a knockdown and allows you to get in.

  • St. HK
    Really, you’re only tossing this out to counter hit their startup or to trade. It’s usually not that great.

  • EX/normal 360+K
    Again, a bad idea for all the reasons stating above (eating a combo of death if it misses, which is usually does), but it does instantly grab if the opponent moves their hitbox into its grab range, even during the “I’m raising my hands” startup. So, it has more active frames in which to grab them. Jab SPD accomplishes the same goal. Seems to work best on Rose’s Fwd+HK, because it seems her vulnerable hitbox extends forward way before the attack hitbox appears. You don’t even need EX to do this. Needs more testing, still a bad idea.

Character Matchups:


[INDENT]As for Fall Sky/Whirlwind, that 50/50 is just not going to be profitable in the long run for Abel. B/c you have to factor in damage options here:

WW Throw->Gief Blocks: Abel 200-220
WW Throw->Gief Jumps/Back Dash: Gief 200(SPD)-300 (jump in, MP, EX Hand)

Fall Sky->Gief backdashes/jumps: Abel 160
Fall Sky->Gief blocks: Gief- 240-250 (either HP SPD or MP->ex hand)

Abel is losing these damage exchanges every time. Keep in mind Gief has 100 more health than Abel.

  • Also, this certainly changes when Gief’s got Ultra/Super, the penalties for guessing wrong on him just got much worse.

-Abel’s meaty regular command grab beats all of your options on wakeup, including ex spd, super, and ultra. The only things you have that will escape are backdash and jump. Backdash into spd and up jump+HP headbutt->combo->ex hand can punish a meaty command grab.

-Your meaty spd beats all of Abel’s wakeup options except his backdash and jump.

A runaway Akuma is NOT like the other shotos at all. It’s a completely different match.

-Akuma has teleport. Akuma’s teleport is the best in the game b/c the positions are fixed relative to the SCREEN and not the character. He’s not like Dictator or Sim where you’ll end up back in the corner or right behind your opponent. Any knockdown= free reversal teleport away for an akuma player.
-Akuma has air fb, EX air fb, red ground fb= The air fb’s are hard to get around, and the Red Fb can’t be focused for free ultra meter.
-Akuma has dive kick- Which cleanly beats lariat at the right height.


  • Be patient. This match is going to last a long time.

  • Don’t be afraid to liberally FADC Blue air/ground fb’s. I usually FADC one, lariat the next to get health back. You may only get 1 or 2 shots up close on him, so attempting an ultra is a lot better than attempting an SPD.

  • Treasure that EX meter. Because really, EX glove is the only realistic shot you have at getting in and doing damage. Get him coming down from air fb, or going through a ground fb.

  • Use St.RH to walk forward while attacking past fierce air fbs. Your goal is to tag him as he’s jumping up, or to move UNDER the air fb and tag him on the way down. Trades are your friend. DF+Cr.HK works too sometimes.

  • Do not jump or PPP lariat when he has ultra. Trust me. Doing a KKK lariat to bait the ultra may work once or twice if he’s looking for it and not paying attention to the sound.

  • If their akuma is good at teleporting and you knock him down, gameplan for the teleport reversal. Do Ex glove on his wakeup (backwards teleport), or jump backwards splash->EX glove (forwards teleport). Depending on where he picked to teleport, he could put himself in a worse situation.

  • and the most important point:

  • Once a life lead is reached, there is little akuma can do to seriously hurt gief if gief plays smart. What little he CAN do (dive kick, stand rh pressure, ultra/super), involves taking some risks on his part. Since you have almost 50% more life than he does, him taking risks as opposed to you= good.

  • Be wary about cornering Akuma. Get too close to him in the corner and he’ll teleport out for free and start up his whole nonsense again, so don’t get that close. Be at a range where you can ex hand his fb’s or annoy him with st. HK or cr.MK, but where if he teleports out you can still backdash and punish him for it. Of course, at that range you have to worry about Akuma doing jump toward into HK hurricane right over your head, but that’s also a range where you can do a preemptive st.HK or up jump+headbutt to beat that, and where you can backdash into a green hand or two to catch most of the way up to him.


  • Blankas regular ball is focus break

  • Rainbow roll has gotta be the biggest focus bait in the game. Focus, dash, punish. Move is only good as EX to get out of the corner and also good when you’re about to die, as you can’t focus it, and have to figure out which way to block. just assume they’ll go for the crossup first, then the normal one. if you correctly block it, free spd.

  • If a blanka does a HK “deep” you can lariat it. It’s only when he does it high to hit your head that it’ll stuff lariat. This applies to nearly every jumping attack in the game that beats lariat. It must be done high. This basically means that they CANNOT continue the pressure on the ground b/c it’s not a combo and SPD/Lariat will win. So they have to jump backwards, probably using the same attack and stuffing the whiff SPD/Lariat.

Your options?
First, go into training mode and set blanka on record and do various jumping HK’s. Then as Gief, try to lariat them:

  1. Block.
    Jump in, jump out attacks aren’t going to do damage to you unless you panic and spam on lariat/SPD.

  2. focus->backdash the jumpin.
    Because no sane player is going to jump in to continue the ground game against gief and thus break the focus armor, this is a good option. It also gets them to think about jumping in deeper or continuing a ground chain to break your focus, and those are good things, b/c they can be countered. Also, free Ultra gauge is good.

  3. Block the jump in, counter the jump back.
    This is just theory fighter, but if you block the jump, you should be able to EX glove and get closer to the jump back attempt.

  4. Cr.MP
    A really underrated AA. it can even snag people crossing you up.

  • don’t do meaties or meaty crossups, up ball beats them for free

  • jumping toward/back MK beats horizontal balls for free

  • don’t throw out many lariats, Blanka can punish them with slide or horizontal ball

  • depend more on normals to push Blanka back, if you see that he’s not charging you can go for max range jumping MK

  • Blanka’s st.MP beats your st.MP and LP from a certain range, but your low moves like cr.MK/HK beat it, and obviously ex hand does too

  • when footsying with LP and LK, don’t forget to always buffer the LP/LK into ex hand

  • if you have him cornered, watch out for ex rainbow roll, which he can maneuver to get out of the corner

  • Throwing for blanka is a really bad idea, as that will ONLY beat straight block or EX SPD. Any other move by gief (SPD, Cr.LK, EX 360+k, Ultra, Super) beats blanka’s 3 frame throw.

  • gief is able to punish Blanka’s upball midscreen. Blanka has to be point blank (pretty much reversal distance), and Zangief is much better off if he stand blocks. A reversal HP Glove or EX Glove should hit blanka out of the air after you block the ball. You know it works b/c HP glove doesn’t normally knock down, but in this case it does.

  • BTW, to setup this range post SPD, it is better to do the MP glove than the LP one. Your timing has to be tighter though, it’s basically a 1 frame leeway.

  • Headbutt isn’t very practical against horiz ball. Jump back MK beats it clean though, but you have to predict it (i.e. can’t really react to it)

  • You shouldn’t be trying to jump in on electricity. It’ll trade or beat most jump ins.

Counters for electricity are:

—) Cr.HK (either DF or D)- make sure just your foot hits
—) EX glove
—) jab spd.
—) ultra/super (gotta be really close)

  • If you can block ultra on startup, gief can do anything. Only consistent way to land ultra after Blanka’s ultra is to do an immediate and buffer a 720 into that.

  • To beat Horizontal Ball, Lariat (if you see it coming) or use cr.LP xx LP hand. This puts Blanka into a flip state and he’ll land right next to you point blank.Then you get a Mixup:


  1. Block Beats Upball (which at this range you can punish w/ glove if you block standing) and Ultra.

  2. SPD/Ultra/Super/360+K works often if you catch them unaware. (the first time you do this, try to use ultra)

3.Cr.LK beats jumping, and the startup of horizontal ball. Jumping LP also beats ball.

Okay, a few things to do here is to realize what beats what.

  • Lariat loses to headbutt (after your second rotation)
  • lariat loses to ex-dash upper
  • lariat loses to Cr.HK from a distance.

The key to the Boxer match is to do PPP lariat AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE. Rog’s jump HK, Cr.HK, and headbutt beat it clean, and it stays out too long.

There are several keys to this match.

  • know when he’s charged for headbutt.

  • When he’s holding db, he’s charged. DO NOT JUMP or LARIAT. Either will lose clean and you’ll get hit by ultra.

  • know the range of his best AA, cr.HP. Jump at a “magic range” where if you do nothing or do j. D+LK, his AA will whiff, allowing you to spd. But if you do J.MK or J.HP, you will hit him. Again, only jump if he doesn’t have a down charge.

  • Do not try to PPP his jump HK. You will lose and eat his full combo. Instead, block and see what he does. If he continues the ground combo, exploit holes w/ KKK lariat or SPD. If he jumps back immediately while attacking, do EX Glove and grab him when he lands.

  • When you are both standing and jockeying for position (i.e. no headbutt charged), KKK lariat beats everything rog has. Beware the EX Rushes though, sometimes they will beat you, sometimes not. Be Especially wary of EX overhead, as it leads to the most damage. If you time your lariat right, he’ll take double damage.

  • When you land an SPD, do immediate LP glove over, then do one of three things:

  1. SPD BEATS: Block, Normals
    LOSES: Headbutt, Jump Back
  2. Block BEATS: Headbutt
    LOSES: Jump Back, Throw
  3. Ex hand BEATS: Normal, Jump Back, normal headbutt
    LOSES: Block, EX headbutt
    Note: Doing an immediate EX Green Hand will put you UNDER Balrog so you can grab him.

-And most important…if you have a decent life lead. (i.e. a fierce’s worth) STOP MOVING FORWARD. Boxer now needs to take risks in order to win. Start looking for overhead rushes and Jump HK’s and countering appropriately.

Play defensively and let her come to you. Then react as follows:

  • Spiral Arrow: Block and during block animation buffer SPD. Always works and beats out her cannon spark that comes right after. But ONLY if you buffer during block animation. Do it too late and you’ll eat leg. Also, if she does it from a range where just the tip of her foot hits you, you will not be able to punish.

  • Cannon Spark: Block then do one of the following…

—)EX Hand
—)Step forward and HP hand
—)Down Forward+HK

  • Hooligan Combo: Currently inconsistent strategy against it. Don’t try to jump attack, a good cammy will throw you. Waiting late and relying on invincibility frames of Lariat usually gets you thrown also. The most consistent strategy I’ve done against it is to just jump away when she gets near. Still experimenting with Lariat at max range and other options. Cr.MP may stuff this as well. (confirm?)


  • When Chun is crossing you up, you pretty much can’t do anything but block. When she does the cross over jump you’ll have to just block because if you mess up in punishing it, you’ll be hurting.
  • Most of the time chun won’t even want to be near gief.
  • When you knock her down, she can wake up EX Bird to stop your crossups or meaty attacks.
  • A late back jump+MK or late up jump+HP Headbutt will stuff wakeup EX bird. TIMING MUST BE PERFECT.



It’s hard to get in on Sim, but it’s doable. There’s no need to be hasty about it, and actually being hasty can get you basted. Jumping at bad times and places will get you AA’d and walking forward at bad times or places will get you St.HP’d (stretchy arms). Your goal is to push Sim into the corner.

On the ground, psychic lariats can knock Sim out of his far limbs, sometimes trading (which is fine for you because you win on damage and get a knockdown). Far Cr.LP and St.MP beat far St.HP from Dhalsim. If you block a far St.HP, you can do reversal green hand to move forward while Sim is recovering, and then you’ll get hit by something because Sim recovers sooner than you do, but as long as you don’t get hit by super that’s worth it because it gets you and Sim closer to the corner.

In the air is where you can really move forward though. It’s basically a big wheel of options where both characters have answers to the other one’s options, it’s just a question of which one do you expect your opponent to do. If you jump from 2/3 screen with early jumping MK, that beats all of Sim’s antiair options except his neutral jumping MP. If you jump from 2/3 screen with early jumping HP or jLP, that beats neutral jumping MP and St.HK but loses to slides and low punches. If you jump from there with nothing (ie empty jump), that’ll lose to all regular AA’s but beat slides and low punches.

If you jump from a range where if you attack, it’ll just barely hit Sim or Sim will just barely get back+HK/MP on you, you have a much stronger guessing game. From there, jumping LP can beat back+HK and jump MP but loses to slides and low punches. Jumping early HP, same thing. Jumping early MK usually loses to back+HK and jump MP but stuffs slides and low punches. Now, if you jump from that range with an empty jump, all of Sim’s grounded AA’s will whiff because you’re just out of range, you’ll block his slides, and you’ll block his low punches, each of which scenario results in you getting a free SPD (this still loses to Sim’s jumping MP).

Getting spd is great for damage, but also great because it moves Sim towards the corner and you get another free wakeup situation. Regardless of how you get in, once you get in, you eat him alive. Lariat beats all of his regular options except backdash and teleport, and if you have him cornered, it also beats that. It’s like a very limited guessing game that’s wildly in your favor: lariat, which beats everything but block and punish, and spd, which beats block and punish but not teleport or backdash.


  • With headstomps, mixup between:
    —)jump->up+HP Headbutt
    —)crouch lariat (trade) xx EX hand
    NOTE: This is only for normal headstomps. EX headstomps, just block.

  • On wakeup, watch out for EX stomp or teleport. HP Splash on wakeup makes stomp whiff, Lariat beats teleport.

  • With Devil’s reverse, focus and punish.

  • If he’s Devil’s reversing toward the corner, just walk forward, he’s doing your work for you.

  • Start up of Lariat beats all versions of Scissor Kick

  • Lariat beats all versions of Psycho Crusher clean


  • Lariat stops all variations of Flying Headbutt and start up of Super/Ultra
  • Lariat also beats startup of Sumo Splash

The wakeup guessing games are ok, pretty even I would say. Fuerte has the advantage each time, but since Gief does so much more damage when he guesses right and doesn’t take much damage when Fuerte guesses right, they probably come out to about even. If Fuerte pushes his luck once you have ultra/super, well, that’s pretty stupid of him.

Wakeup Guessing Game:
Fuerte does Run->splash
BEATS: Jump, low block, forward dash
LOSES: Focus, backdash, Stand block, EX hand
Fuerte does Run->grab
BEATS: Focus, block, forward dash
LOSES: backdash, jump, EX hand
Fuerte does Run->splash/grab aimed at Gief’s back
BEATS: backdash, jump
LOSES: forward dash, Ex hand
Fuerte does Run->splash/grab aimed at Gief’s front
BEATS: forward dash, EX hand, jump
LOSES: backdash

There’s a crapload of options here, so it’s nowhere near a 50/50. It’s a wheel of options like an extended rock-paper-scissors where some options lead to damage, some lead to escape with one character having the advantage, and some lead to escape and neutral advantage. But more of Fuerte’s options lead to damage than Gief’s do, so while Gief’s damaging options are more damaging when he lands them, the probably damage output tends to even out.

Thing is though, Fuerte doesn’t have to do wakeup games at all, he can get by on controlling the pace of the match. Fuerte’s really good at running from Gief and even at zoning Gief out, so it can be hard for Gief to actually deal damage. There isn’t really a good spot for Gief to stand or anything, I mean even when he gets Fuerte near the corner, Fuerte can just wall jump or fake wall jump out. The only places Gief has an advantage are when Fuerte is waking up and when he’s right up on Fuerte in the corner, but both of those situations are hard for him to force.



[INDENT]Gief has the advantage, b/c once he gets in, it’s pretty much over.

  • If he’s chucking booms from full screen, feel free to gain some Ultra meter by focusing, but pay attention for EX Booms. They’re way too fast to decently react to. Just watch the EX meter. Pay attention to the MAGIC RANGE where you can jump over a boom and jab SPD.

  • If Guile doesn’t have EX meter, nothing on the ground will sufficiently beat jumping MK. Flash kick trades or gets stuffed, and cr.HP is the same. Also, using Cr.HP is dangerous b/c of the empty jump->spd threat. Alot of Guiles will jump back mk/hk instead. That’s fine, you’re gaining position and working them to the corner.

  • Against any guile who spams Cr. HK, EX Hand or Jab SPD (if in range). That move sucks and all scrub guiles use it. You punish between the first and second sweeps. You are out of block stun between them, but he’s committed to doing the second sweep already.

So, block one sweep->EX hand.

The second sweep is safe on block, but it doesn’t matter, b/c the move is not good at all.

  • Guile has weak crossup defense. Flash Kick gets stuffed, EX flash kick commonly goes the wrong way, and ultra is way too slow. Take advantage of this by mixing up these options when he gets up. His best answer is usually to just hold up back, gameplan for that.
    —) HP Splash->whatever
    —) LK Knees-> whatever
    —) Empty Jump->Cr.LK->whatever
    —) Empty Jump->SPD/360+k

  • EX Flash Kick Will knock you clean out of lariat from a good distance away, so don’t spam it. Not like you ever should.

The real reason I think Gief wins this fight is because of the damage differential. Guile’s damage comes from Sonic Booms and EX Flash Kicks, while gief can take relatively huge risks all day without fear of much punishment. You gotta be patient, but the W will come in the end.



Zangief probably wins this fight 6-4. Rufus needs to be close to do damage, and he doesn’t want to be close to Zangief b/c of lariat/SPD. Rufus can’t really abuse dive kick b/c deep lariat will at least trade with him. Rufus will get most of his damage from EX messiah kick, throws b/c you’re afraid of EX messiah, AA’s and cr.FP. Let’s talk about them, shall we?

Rufus Cr.HP

Cr.LP is the best solution, either preemptively or on reaction if you are out of range. Buffer into LP glove ON HIT to close the gap quickly and grab Rufus with a jab spd. I’ve actually had this work against a good rufus in a tournament.

Cr.HP is -14, so if Rufus misranges, it can be punished w/ EX hand. If he only hits with his hand, you can’t really get over to him, even w/ kara glove. Try just walking forward and using cr.LP’s.

EX Messiah Kick
Always be aware of Rufus’ meter and your opponents tendency to use this move. Safe players only use it w/ 3 stocks to FADC the flip kick. Some players mash it out during poke strings. Other players will throw it out after one of Rufus’ many safe moves (dive kick, galactic tornado, Messiah kick sweep ender, etc). Baiting this move and punishing it is how you beat Rufus. Thankfully, Gief has PLENTY of options.

LK ender- flip kick
-This ender is used to end if Messiah kick hits.
-It is also used to FADC backwards if it is blocked and Rufus doesn’t want to be punished. EX Messiah->LK ender-> FADC backwards is still -7 on block, so if YOU are cornered, you can punish him with a St.MP, Cr.LK, or St.LK, since it doesn’t push you back.
-It can be delayed to not combo. This will beat lariat and focus, but will now lose to Ultra/Super/EX SPD. This is why you shouldn’t just spam lariat/focus.
-It is horribly unsafe and leaves rufus close. You can spin the stick during the flip to bust out ultra when he lands, or your choice of punishment.

MK ender- sweep
-loses to early lariat
-loses to focus attack
-loses to early grab/ultra
-safe on block.

HK ender- Overhead
-Loses to PPP lariat
-Loses to focus attack
-Is punishable by super/ultra on block (it’s -1 on block, better get that REVERSAL)

As you can see. Any of these options can lead into guaranteed ultra/super for zangief. Without 3 stocks of meter, Rufus is taking a HUGE risk.

Rufus AA’s*

Are incredibly good, especially w/ meter. The up palm normal on the ground, St.HP, j.HK into snake strike or ultra, EX Messiah, and EX Snake strike are all really good options. Don’t jump. You don’t need to, and it’s going to hurt if you do.

Dive Kick, Dive Kick/Dive Kick, EX Messiah/ Dive Kick Throw Mixup

Block the dive kicks low and try to crouch tech on reaction. EX Messiah cannot hit your Cr.LK if you are crouch teching. Eating throws are preferable than eating a divekick combo->ultra or being hit w/ EX messiah->FADC ultra.

Rufus will get his damage from AA’s, punishing stupid lariats/spds, throws, and really risky offensive setups (like w/ dive kick or random messiahs).

Zangief will get damage from normal pokes (Cr.LP, St.MP) and punishing Rufus’s attempts at doing damage.


Yeah, against Sagat, especially online, Gief will have trouble. A lot of the things you have to do are on reaction (NOT PSYCHIC), and to be honest, a lot of this match counts on ex hand at a sweet distance.

The basic strategy at the beginning matchup is simply try to walk up to the Sagat. Assuming he will turtle, he will zone you with St.HK or FB’s and eventually get on his side of the screen, okay, so now this is where I stop being obvious and tell you how to win this.

Assuming you’re on the opposite side of the screen and Sagat is FB spamming, you need to do one of two options:
1.) jump over low FB’s or KKK lariat (only at the very end of the screen).
2.) under high FB’s to get closer.

Options from about 60% of the screen are these:
1.) Creep forward slowly, blocking FB’s over and over.
2.) Forward Jump->Forward/Back HP at max range trades or beats Sagats St.HK. NOTE: Don’t abuse this too much.

  • The main pressure for Sagat here is that you’re eventually going to guess right and jump in or cr. mk enough to get close to him. If you predict that he’s going to do a low FB, and you jumped in before his FB, you’re already about at your sweet spot range. Now, let’s continue.

Take option 1 and do your best to get into your sweet spot.
The sweet spot will be defined as:
Just outside of St.HK range where you can punish it with ex hand and his FB’s. When you’re at this range, do nothing. Let him get nervous and see if he spams St.HK. If he’s doing that, then you know you’re in the right position. Remember, the idea here is for a knock down.
—) If he jumps at you in attempt to knock you down, crouch lariat or Cr.MP.
—) If he tries to St.HK, ex hand.
—) If he tries to FB you, ex hand.
NOTE: You HAVE to be looking for these options when you are at your sweet spot. This is critical.

  • The key, however, to all of this is to pressure sagat enough into going into the corner. Once he’s in the corner, you need to lay it on him and keep him grounded. Don’t jump in at him. Just watch him and wait for an opening.

  • Since you’re close, you can pressure with St.MP and keep moving in with it, letting him block each St.MP as you get closer. Do it fast, and pause sporadically to wait for any nervous attacks like a tiger uppercut.

  • Okay, so now, let’s say you got Sagat knocked down (in or out of the corner).
    Some dirty tricks you can do with Sagat are:
    —) Late crossup->HP splash beats regular uppercut and whiffs through ex uppercut
    —) Cross up deep LK knees->tick throw
    —) Cross up deep LK knees->combo (gief’s bnb’s might be difficult for most, so do crossup->cr. lk->lariat)
    —) Or jump so LK knees hits his head (this way, he can’t tiger uppercut you because of his angle), and if he blocks or if it hits him (while he’s not jumping of course), spam your 720 as you land. If it hits, assuming that he’s not jumping, (and it’s relatively easy given Sagat’s height.), by the time you land, you’ll already be ready to 720, and he will be out of hit/block stun.

  • Teach him not to jump after a knockdown by doing cross up->lariat combo. But I guess, most of all, you just need to observe the Sagat and see how he plays before you decide on whether he falls for tick setups or lariats more.

If you block a Tiger Uppercut->FADC the sagat can do 1 of three things:

1.) Focus Attack
2.) Dash Forward
3.) Dash Back

  • EX hand beats all 3, Lariat/SPD/Super/Ultra beats 1 and 2.

FADCing isn’t a “get out of jail free” card, as you cannot cancel into block. You can even use the block stun from the uppercut to buffer a 720 and bust it out during the dash forward, since most sagats dash forward instead of the safer backwards.

  • don’t do random lariats, since Sagat can punish the recovery on both lariats with both FB’s and (worse) tiger knees; only do KKK lariats on reaction to low FB’s from far away
  • FADCing through FB’s is also risky, he can mix them up well and you’ll probably take damage at some point in getting in
  • when footsying with LP and LK, don’t forget to always buffer the LP/LK into ex hand

Some of you might be confused with Zangief’s cr.HK. He has two version:

  1. Down + HK.
  2. Down forward + HK.
    The second one has the most range and you should be using that version to trip Sagat.
  • To counter Ultra, just dash toward while buffering a 720 inside the dash


ZANGIEF (Mirror Match)

  • Jumping up+HP Headbutt beats lariat from max range and at the height where your head is about at the same level as Gief’s hands (i.e. pretty close to the ground). If he wakes up with ex hand, you’ll have recovered in time to block it.

  • If you do ex hand xx fadc and it’s blocked, your opponent can get a free spd on you because you’re still in range and don’t recover as quickly as your opponent does.

  • Ex hand is always unsafe if blocked in this matchup, even if you FADC out of it.

  • Ex hand loses to PPP lariat clean. Because of this and its unsafeness on block, ex hand should only be used on reaction to super laggy things like Cr.HK

  • Ex hand can beat ultra. It loses to every other throw, from normal throws to command grabs.

  • St.HK always beats lariat from max range

  • Crossup HP splash stuffs Lariat if chest of Gief hits opponents head

  • Crossup HP splash trades with lariat if late

  • It’s better to play a zoning game, using st.HK, st.HP, cr.HK, and the like. Try not to cross him up if you get knocked down, just do jumping up+HP Headbutt at max range on his wakeup, it’s totally safe.[/INDENT]

Good work, I really like the formatting work you did.

Awesome! Thanks for doing this.

Thanks so much, this is really great info.

HP headbutt does more damage and stun, and has the bigger hit box…why aren’t people correcting this yet?

Where does it say that MP Headbutt has more stun and damage?

EDIT: I think you were talking about the Zangief section at the end right? I fixed it.

This should be stickied. Its much more concise that the mostronsity that is the Matchup thread.

You know what also works very well on blankas horizontal ball is quick react empty jump back into SPD/ULTRA. Blanka suckaz fall back into this all the time. If blanka is hanging at the other side of the screen, taunt and wait out a hori ball.

Remember your PPP Lairat also breats horiball and the EX version. Its 100% beatable if you do it last second. Its snuck by a few times if done early but its pretty safe to do if you see it comming.

Great Thread though, personally, I dont like the giant matchup threads. Wish it was more acceptable for people to post vs x character threads. Atleast have 1 for each matchup or something. REP +!!!

Please add:


Play defensively and let her come to you. Then react as follows:

Spiral Arrow : Block and during block animation buffer SPD. Always works and beats out her cannon spark that comes right after. But ONLY if you buffer during block animation. Do it too late and you’ll eat leg

Cannon Spark : Block then do the following
[]1 EX Green Hands for Free
]2 Step forward and HP green hands
[*]3 DF.RK

Hooligan Combo : Currently inconsistent strategy against it. Don’t try to jump attack, a good cammy will throw you. Waiting late and relying on invincibility frames of Lariat usually gets you thrown also. The most consistent strategy I’ve done against it is to just jump away when she gets near. Still experimenting with Lariat at max range and other options

Also, you Should change the color of the Character names and possibly tab inwards the content t view it easier.

cr.MP stuffs Hooligan combo.:china:

Cammy strat added. Thanks.

Suggestions for color?

I think I maybe would rename the thread:


I think you need to make the title as obvious as possible so peeps will realize what it is.

EDIT: Looks good!

I like it.

Good stuff saves me a lot of time referencing to the giant match up thread.

lasttime im facing often Runaway Ryus is there a way to trap they if the use hurrican kick to fly above you? i mean honestly its not a hard matchup but its just annoing like hell play “little Akuma” with ryus…

If a Ryu (or other Shoto) is hurricaning over you to run from being cornered, you should be able to tag them with a Lariat if you’re near mid-screen. Just make it a habit to pause mid-screen when they are cornered. It’s a big tell on what they are going to do. Will they jump up and jumpkick back instintually? If they duck it out, there is a higher chance of an SRK or fireball coming. If they hurricane, you can tag with Lariat.

If you’re slightly further than mind-screen, you MIGHT be able to dash back and tag them with lariat. I would just take it as a lesson that when you next approach, he will try to hurricane. You really only need to tag them with lariat once or twice to scare them from trying to hurricane away from you again.

Note when fighting akuma your super can grab him out of his ultra the timing is pretty strict but it can be done. Also a jab spd can grab him out of the ultra as well.

Honestly I don’t think that’s a very smart thing to do. It’s easier to just jump and avoid the super/ultra and save your super/ultra for a better opportunity.

yeah not smart but it is cool if or when it works found that out online the other night.