Capcom vs SNK 2/Grooves

From SuperCombo Wiki
   If you choose the wrong groove, you may just ~~looooooose~~ - The CvS2 Announcer

The Grooves in CvS2 are selectable meter systems for your team of characters that determine what default system abilities, special system techniques, and levels of super attacks are available to you in a match, among other attributes. Understanding how players use a groove, how characters synergize with a groove, and how they matchup against opposing groove/character/player style combinations is the heart of CvS2 gameplay.

This page gives a general overview of the CvS2 groove system. For more specific information on each groove see their detailed wiki pages, linked below.

The Basics

A groove is a combination of meter style, the primary "gimmick" of the groove, and its collection of Groove Subsystems that determine which of the default base mechanics in CvS2 is available to the player; e.g., forward dash or running, but not both. Every groove has strengths and weaknesses and generally force you to give up something to other grooves in order to reap the primary benefit your groove, though there are definitely some grooves that are better than others.

Players select a groove before choosing their characters. The groove is a part of your overall team makeup, so once selected you are locked into it for the versus match, training mode session, other single player mode, or duration of your winning streak in Arcade Mode. If you want to change grooves, you must reselect your entire team.

Each of the six grooves are inspired by the fighting systems of Capcom and SNK games from the 1990s. Three of grooves are taken from classic CAPcom games (C-Groove, A-Groove, and P-Groove) with the other three coming from SNK games of the era (S-Groove, N-Groove, and K-Groove).

The grooves are casually identified by and referred to by their letter, making "N" and "N-Groove" interchangeable terms in the context of CvS2. Each groove also has a distinct color, as seen in its meter during gameplay. After character selection, the artwork style for the character portraits displayed during gameplay will change depending on the groove selected; picking a Capcom groove (C/A/P) will show the Capcom-style artwork by Kinu Nishimura; SNK groove (S/N/K) users will have the more realistic Shinkiro-style SNK artwork.

Knowledge of a groove's game of origin, or how that style of game functioned in it, is not particularly useful in CvS2. The grooves are distinctly "CvS2" in gameplay above all else, and the systems from other games have been changed to fit within CvS2 mechanics. For example, although P-Groove features parrying like in Street Fighter III: Third Strike, parries in CvS2 are very different than parries in 3S, and 3S players should not expect their technical knowledge or timings of 3S parrying to apply in CvS2.

The Grooves

See Groove Subsystems for more detailed information on specific subsystems. Bolded sub-system elements are exclusive to that groove.


Origin Game: Street Fighter Alpha Series (primarily, A-ism from Alpha 3)

Groove/Meter Color: Green

Meter Type: Three-Level Super Combo System

Main Feature: Level 2 supers cancel into Level 1 supers or special moves to extend super combos and add damage

Groove Sub-systems:


  • Meter efficiency for offensive and defensive uses
  • Always-available big damage and stun potential off Level 2 super cancels
  • Small damage bonuses (up to 5%) just for filling up your meter


  • Requires high proficiency in footsies/fundementals to get most out of the groove


Origin Game: Street Fighter Alpha Series (primarily, V-ism from Alpha 3)

Groove/Meter Color: Light Blue

Meter Type: Custom Combo System

Main Feature: After activation (which is invincible!), custom combos allow all normals and specials to cancel into each other, ending the combo with a Level 1 super

Groove Sub-systems:


  • Constant threat of activation with full meter
  • Optimized custom combos are incredibly meter-efficient
  • Some high/top-tier characters are EXTREMELY dangerous in A-Groove


  • Can be vulnerable without meter
  • Some high/top-tier characters are not at their best in A-Groove


Origin Game: Street Fighter III series (most commonly, Third Strike)

Groove/Meter Color: Turquoise

Meter Type: Parrying & Super Combo System

Main Feature: Parrying

Groove Sub-systems:


  • Well-timed parries can result in free jump-in attempts and combos against the opponent


  • No other defensive options; success is completely reliant on how well you can parry
  • Single Level 3 meter bar limits meter flexibility and efficency
  • Weakest guard crush meter in the game


Origin Game: The King of Fighters '94

Groove/Meter Color: Purple

Meter Type: Extra Gauge & Special Move System

Main Features: Dodge, Manual Meter Charging, and Unlimited Level 1 supers when under 25% health

Groove Sub-systems:


  • Dodge attacks allow for instant knockdowns or combos off a successful dodge
  • Characters with safe/abusable Level 1 supers have high comeback potential


  • Must give up oki advantage to charge up meter
  • Dodge nowhere near as useful as roll cancels in rolling grooves
  • Any mistake made with low health will kill you and neuter S-Groove advantages


Origin Game: The King of Fighters '98 (specifically, its Advanced Mode meter)

Groove/Meter Color: Yellow

Meter Type: Advanced Gauge & Special Move System

Main Features: Meter stocks and 20% damage boost when activated

Groove Sub-systems:


  • Variety of movement options make rushdown tactics very effective
  • Stocks can be activated on-demand to keep momentum with the damage boost or defuse momentum to threaten a Level 3 super, as needed


  • Difficult to reliably cash in meter for big level 3 damage
  • A "Jack of All Trades, Master of None" groove; does many things well but excels at nothing


Origin Games: Samurai Shodown and Garou: Mark of the Wolves

Groove/Meter Color: Red

Meter Type: Just Defend & Rage Gauge System

Main Feature: Rage meter fills as you take damage and Just Defend, resulting in a massive offensive and defensive bonus when filled

Groove Sub-systems:


  • Just Defending adds health and greatly reduces recovery time, making many "safe" moves by the opponent suddenly unsafe
  • When raged, characters receives MASSIVE offensive (up to +35% damage dealt) and defensive (-12.5% damage received) bonuses
  • Meter is short enough to reliably expect 2-3 Rage periods/boosted Level 3 super chances per round


  • Meter builds only when taking damage, which can leave you dead in the water with low health and no meter
  • Meter does not carry over between characters, and opponents can tactically empty your meter between rounds
  • Slightly weaker guard crush meter than normal

Groove Tier List

The grooves in CvS2 are generally divided into four tiers. These tiers consider optimized groove-team combinations and generic potential taken together, and in this breakdown are universally agreed upon by CvS2 experts. They include a brief explanation to explain their position on the tier list.

Top Tier:

  • A-Groove
    • With invincible activations, a variety of damage conversion options, and the highest damage potential for top A-Groove characters, it is very easy to cash out its short meter for big damage.
    • There are many ways to set up CC activations, making characters with full meter extremely threatening.
  • K-Groove
    • The damage bonuses REALLY add up, even if you don't land a super, and as a result makes players extremely threatening when raged, possibly requiring the most respect of any situation.
    • Its short meter allows for multiple rage activations per round, making landing a super almost a foregone conclusion for top-tier characters.
  • C-Groove
    • Virtually any bread-and-butter combo can turn into a damaging super combo, since the full power of the meter is always available to players.
    • Level 2 cancels allow for most supers to dish out Level 3 (or more!) damage for only two bars of meter, meaning the potential for another big damage combo is as near as filling one very short meter level.

Mid Tier:

  • N-Groove
    • Has a least one clear matchup advantage over every other groove (for example, being able to guard cancel/counter roll out of blocked A-Groove custom combo strings) and a few unique tricks of its own, like Level 3 super "pop tricks."
    • Has much less potential than the top-tier grooves at their best (for example, only has a 20% attack bonus versus K-Groove's ~35%) and no true "gimmick," requiring extreme meter efficiency to make up the difference.

Low Tier:

  • P-Groove
    • 100% relies on the parrying skill of the player to be effective. With the weakest guard crush meter in CvS2, too much blocking (instead of parrying) will result in you dying very, very quickly.
    • Parrying itself is not as robust in CvS2 as it is in 3S: Parry stop is not as pronounced and there are no red parries, so you will be locked in blockstun or eat the attack if you miss a sequence of parries.

Trash Tier:

  • S-Groove
    • Rolling cancelling renders Dodge virtually obsolete: Why dodge then attack in S, when you can dodge and attack simultaneously with a roll cancel in C, A, and N?
    • Meter charging is much too slow, sacrifices oki after knockdowns, and only gives you Level 3 super potential after you are near death. Great for comebacks, but not for taking the lead and keeping it.
    • But seriously: Even the best S-Groove players in the world have pocket teams in other grooves that they need to use in later rounds of tournaments. Yeah, it's that bad.

A more exact tier list for the grooves is as follows:

CvS2 Groove Graded Tier List
A+ Tier A-Groove, K-Groove
A Tier C-Groove
B/C Tier N-Groove
D Tier P-Groove
F Tier S-Groove

CvS2EO Groove Tier List

Due to balance changes, the Groove tier list in CvS2EO is slightly different. The most significant changes include the elimination of roll cancelling, which knocks down the rolling grooves a peg, and the overall buffing of P-Groove to include super cancels off of special moves and a buffed guard crush meter. Because no one in the competitive scene takes CvS2EO seriously, there isn't much discussion about its tiers. However, it is agreed upon that P-Groove fares much better in EO, with some saying it maybe got a little too much of a buff.

For the complete list of changes made in EO, see the CvS2EO section of the CvS2 Game Versions page.

CvS2EO Grooves Tier List
A+ Tier K-Groove
A Tier C-Groove, A-Groove
B/C Tier P-Groove
C Tier N-Groove
F Tier S-Groove

EX-Groove and Groove Edit Mode

Groove Edit Mode is an unlockable feature in the console versions of CvS2 that allows players to customize grooves with one of the six groove meter systems (or none at all!) and any desired combination of Groove Sub-systems. For example, it is possible to create a custom groove with the Rage gauge from K, Parrying from P, and Air Guard from C, among other things.

These grooves are saved as one of two EX-Grooves, which after enabled in game options, will become selectable among the other six regular grooves on the Groove Select screen. During gameplay, the meter at the bottom will show the groove's selected meter option, but with EX-1 Groove or EX-2 Groove in white text, instead of the primary color of the selected groove meter. Like regular grooves, the same EX-Groove can be selected by both players.

EX-Groove is mentioned on this page because it is, technically, a groove in CvS2. However, they are banned from tournaments. Besides not being available in the arcade version, it would be logistically impossible to create/load/keep track of custom grooves in an event setting.

Still, casual players should feel free to go ham with EX-Grooves. You can do a lot of cool things with them, including abilities that are not available in any of the normal grooves!

CvS2 Wiki Navigation

Roll Cancel
CvS2 Versions
Netplay/ Training
Groove Overview
Groove Subsystems
Capcom Characters
Akuma (Gouki)
Balrog (Boxer)
M. Bison (Dictator)
Vega (Claw)
SNK Characters
Boss Characters
Shin Akuma
Ultimate Rugal
Evil Ryu
Orochi Iori