Zangrief vs. Tony Hawk. How does this work?



I’m a relatively new Gief and SF4 player altogether (Started SF4 a year ago, playing Gief for about 6 months.) And this is one of the most infuriating match-ups that I’ve encountered that isn’t all about Gief trying to get in on fireballs or st.HKs. How does Gief get in on T. Hawk? How does he maintain pressure safely? What kind of anti-airs does he have in the match-up? Is it worth it to pick U2 to catch CD, Tomahawks and predicted CSpire, or use U1 for the maximum damage punishes? What kind of footsie normals beat out T. Hawks? Is it worth it to EXGH on reaction to normals?

I’m almost to the point of crying on this match up, so please. Offer some advice if you can.



You try to whiffpunish Hawk s.rh with easy if you know the range)
If he jumps, you neutraljump. Headbut beats all j.attacks and divekick.
Use U2, You can catch him alot on reaction if he likes to control space with neutraljump HP.


I would imagine you have to play the matchup using any anti-grappler strategies. Eg, the strategy you use in mirror matches. This match is all about footsies, that’s your safest tactic - low risk, but low reward for a more consistent and less random outcome. Empty jump SPD and Empty jump U1, from both sides, carry their big rewards and big risks. If you both have U1, and your knocked down, and Hawk empty jumps. You could lose over half your life if he goes for U1, and you guess wrong. He could lose half his life, if he goes for U1, and he guesses wrong - since you reply with neutral jump U1 of your own!

You have to keep your spacing, and watch up for his notable pokes.

  • Far standing HK
  • Far standing MP
  • Crouching MK
  • Far crouching HK (1 hit) for the knockdown.
  • Forward dash LP Mexican Typhoon, pretty sneaky
    You can counter poke them with standing far MP or snuff their startup with crouching LP, or an option-selected crouching LP xx EXGH
    For the high pokes, you can go under them with the DF HK long crouching HK trip, but you’ll have to guess to preempt those pokes.
    If you keep your spacing, I don’t think Hawk could punish you, maybe crouching MK.
    If he spaces well his far crouching HK for 1 hit, i don’t think you can punish him, else if you see the 2 hit version, its an easy SPD between hits.
    Some pokes, you might be able to bait out with backdash or FADC backdash into LP SPD.
    If timed well you can fish for an FA, but L1 or L2 cancelled into backdash is safer, which if you crumple, can follow up with DF HK or delayed HPGH for the knockdown. But don’t get greedy, a L1 FA non-crumple is good damage.

Jumping him, will see rising condor. But I think its a must to jump sparingly in answer to his laggy pokes.
If you manage to jump him with far jumping HP or jumping MK its best to go into crouching LK into an EXGH combo.
Probably best to finish the EXGH combo with backdash for safety, or neutral jump headbutt if you think he’ll mexican typhoon or U1.
If the jumping attack is blocked, you can go for an immediate LP SPD if far, or Atomic Suplex or HP SPD if closer, else go for a crouching LP pressure string.
Enough crouching LP to safety or leave a gap and neutral jump to punish his Mexican Typhoon, at the risk of eating a Rising Condor.
Best to avoid these up close guessing games, once he’s got U1 or U2.

You can build meter safely from afar with 3P and 3K lariat.

You can answer condor dive with neutral jump headbutt or block and kara EXGH or dash LP SPD. I think this is spacing dependent. You could also backdash at the last possible moment and punish with SPD or better once he lands.

Empty jump SPD becomes more viable, but so too does neutral jump to avoid them.
Watch for his neutral jumps, which may or may not be condor dives.
Keep your spacing, and tag him with EXGH on his way down from his neutral jump.
Once he has U2, you can only jump if you too have U2, since your U2 beats his at your jump peak, or you can activate and pass safely through.
For this matchup I think U1 is the Ultra of choice, cause of its empty and neutral jump threat.

After an SPD, you might have to reconsider the usual LPGH, or use it occasionally followed by backdash or neutral jump.
Then punish his whiff Mexican Typhoons.

I could be wrong, but you would rarely see condor spire, his air traveling move. You could stuff that out with far standing MP, and I think you
can SPD it on block or hit. So its up to Hawk to space it well. So you might have to punish with far standing LK xx EXGH instead. Keep in mind, he could cross you up with that move on your wake up, by alternating between the LP and MP versions.

On your knockdown, Hawk might cross you up and mixup between EX or normal Rising Condor, empty Mexican Typhoon or a combo.
Don’t know if he can hit confirm into Rising Condor. But basically, you have to guess between backdash or forward dash if its a cross up, neutral jump or block.

I’d say, its a hard matchup for Zangief. You have to be patient and kind of lame it out. Best of luck.


Most Hawks I encounter like to use condor spire as a nifty spacing trick to get into LP Mexican Typhoon. It has an ambiguous finish and can also beat out most of Gief’s reliable normal pokes. You can SPD them to beat their Mexican Typhoon, but you have to have the timing down perfectly, throwing it out right as Hawk’s feet hit the ground (spire has a REALLY fast finish). If it’s too tricky cr.LP will stuff all Condor Spires but EX and puts you within LP SPD range.

NEVER LARIAT against Hawk. Just about everything he does will beat both lariats.

Honestly the best way to approach Hawk is to out footsie him. If he’s Condor Dive happy and you block it, you can hit him with a st.HK every time (except against EX).