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If you are completely new to fighting games or street fighter in general, you should get familiar with the notation and terminology sections in the main HDR page. If you read and understood everything, you should be fine. Even if you don't understand everything, you will probably still be okay.
Is Zangief for You?
Zangief is the archetypal grappler character. Much like facing a grappler in real life, getting knocked down even once can lead to a KO victory for Zangief. He is built to dominate when close to the opponent and has a variety of throws that demand respect. Since Zangief has no projectile or long range attacks, he must get close to do damage. Despite his slow walking speed, he can still be surprisingly maneuverable and catch the opponent off guard. Zangief also takes less damage than other characters and is slightly harder to dizzy than usual. He is big, slow, and hits really hard.
Zangief is for you if
- You enjoy instilling fear in your opponent during every single knockdown and blockstring
- You like using a variety of moves to slowly approach and overwhelm the opponent
- Throws are one of your favorite things to do
- You enjoy characters with a high learning curve
- Playing manly characters is a plus
- Shenanigans and gimmicks are awesome/fun
- Spinning makes everything cooler
Zangief is not for you if
- You have a need for speed
- Projectile zoning is your favorite thing to do
- Turtling, running away, and projectile zoning are too frustrating to deal with
- Spam in general really annoys you
- Patience is not a virtue
- You want the opponent to approach you
- Throwing is cheap
Character Specific Attributes
- Walk Speed- 40 forwards, 24 backwards
- Jump Startup- 5 frames
- Forward Jump Duration- 40 frames
- Neutral Jump duration- 42 frames
- Knockdown Recovery Speed- 90.5 frames
|SHORT||FORWARD||ROUNDHOUSE||HOLD KICK||O.Zangief Alternate|
(Not selectable in Remix mode)
--Colors captured by Jizzon.
--Blitzfu 02:29, 24 July 2010 (UTC)
- Close Standing LP
- Far Standing LP
- Crouching LP
- Standing MP
- Crouching MP
- Standing HP
- Crouching HP
- F+HP a.k.a. Hop
- Close Standing LK
- Far Standing LK
- Crouching LK
- Close Standing MK
- Far Standing MK
- Crouching MK
- Close Standing HK
- Far Standing HK
- Crouching HK
- Neutral Jump LP
- Diagonal Jump LP
- Neutral Jump MP
- Neutral Jump (any upward direction)+MP a.k.a. MP Headbutt
- Diagonal Jump MP
- Neutral Jump HP
- Neutral Jump (any upward direction)+HP a.k.a. HP Headbutt
- Diagonal Jump HP
- Diagonal Jump (any downward direction)+HP a.k.a. Splash
- Neutral Jump LK
- Diagonal Jump LK
- Diagonal Jump (any downward direction)+LK a.k.a. LK Knee Drop
- Neutral Jump MK
- Diagonal Jump MK
- Diagonal Jump (any downward direction)+MK a.k.a. MK Knee Drop
- Neutral Jump HK
- Diagonal Jump HK
You and your opponent need to be on the ground and close to each other in order for ground throws to work.
- Pile Driver (F+MP or B+MP)
- Iron Claw (F+HP or B+HP)
- Brain Buster (F+MK or B+MK)
- Bite (F+HK or B+HK)
- Stomach Claw (any downward direction + MP/HP)
You and your opponent need to be in the air and close to each other in order for air throws to work. There is also a minimum height requirement for air throws to work and you can't do an air throw while facing the wrong way.
- Deadly Driver (any forward or backward direction + MP/HP)
- Leg Throw (any forward or backward direction + MK/HK)
- Spinning Pile Driver a.k.a. SPD
- Atomic Suplex
- Flying Power Bomb a.k.a. Running Bear Grab
- Double Lariat a.k.a. Punch Lariat
- Quick Double Lariat a.k.a. Kick Lariat
- The Banishing Fist a.k.a. Green Hand
- Final Atomic Buster a.k.a. FAB
Changes from Super Turbo to HD Remix
- Spinning Piledriver- HCB, (any upward or forward direction)+P or HCF, (any upward or backward direction)+P. DB,D,DF,F,UF+P or DF,D,DB,B,UB+P also work. Old 360+P works too.
- Super- HCBx2, (any upward or forward direction)+P or HCFx2, (any upward or backward direction)+P
- Green Hand- QCF+P
- Running Bear Grab/Double Suplex- HCB+K or HCF+K
- Punch Lariat- MP+MK, HP+HK, or PPP
- Kick Lariat- LP+LK or KKK
- Hop- F+HP
- LP Green Hand has 4 frames less recovery
- Running Bear Grab travels faster and goes farther
- Punch Lariat's first hitbox goes all the way down to the floor (can hit sweeps)
- Kick Lariat has lower body invulnerability for the first rotation and a new sound effect to help differentiate Kick Lariats from Punch Lariats
- Crouching HP's hitbox extends upwards 2 more pixels to beat Vega's wall dive
- Jumping MP's hitbox extends farther now (matches the graphics of his hand)
- F+HP is significantly faster, hops higher, and recovers much faster than before
Attacking and Advancing with Zangief
The goal of this section is to teach you how to use Zangief's attacks assuming you are unfamiliar with how he plays.
These 2 are your main attacks and are useful against pretty much everyone.
- Far MK- This is your longest reaching poke. It does pretty good damage and has just enough range to outrange a lot of sweeps and other low pokes. This move has bad priority because it extends your hurtbox before the hitbox comes out. Do not spam this if the opponent knows how to exploit that weakness.
- Cr.HK- This is your longest reaching low attack and the best sweep in the game. It does a lot of damage, inflicts a knockdown, and has good priority. This moves extends your hurtbox during the recovery frames, so whiffing this move makes you slightly more vulnerable to low pokes. Trading with this move is almost always a good idea (for you), so if the opponent gets too comfortable spamming low pokes or half-screen normals you can make them pay with this move.
The usefulness of these attacks vary from character to character.
- Cr.LP- This is a high priority lagless poke. Spamming this can discourage the opponent from using certain attacks.
- Far LP- This poke is useful against some characters like Balrog and Bison. Spamming this can discourage the opponent from using certain attacks.
- Cr.MP- This is a good counter to Blanka's slide, Horizontal Roll, and Cr.HP at the right range. It also beats Ryu/Ken/Akuma Hurricane Kicks cleanly.
- Cr.HP- This move is useful against Honda and Dhalsim. It is also okay against Blanka. It also beats Ryu/Ken/Akuma Hurricane Kicks cleanly.
- Green Hand- This move has amazing priority which makes it useful for beating a variety of attacks clean. Unfortunately, this move is very easy to punish if it whiffs. The risk/reward is what makes this attack character specific.
These are the attacks that you use to beat jump attacks. Zangief doesn't have an all purpose anti-air attack, so you need to use a variety of moves to deal with jump attacks.
- Close LP- Zangief's best anti air. If you get close enough to use this normal, very few jump attacks will beat it and the few that do will be punishable on hit.
- Far HK- Zangief's most common anti-air attack. This attack has good priority and will beat or trade with a lot of jump attacks. Some characters have jump attacks that beat this attack.
- Cr.HP- This attack beats a surprising amount of jump attacks. It even beats some that Far HK loses to. It also loses to a lot of jump attacks Far HK would beat. You really have to get a feel for it in order to use it properly.
- Cr.HK- An unconventional anti-air attack. Sometimes you can space yourself so that the opponent's jump attack will whiff and land on a Cr.HK. This doesn't work on jump attacks that have more range than your Cr.HK or can hit you leg before landing. Of course if the opponent does a jump attack at a certain height (basically too early), crouching will make it whiff and they will land on the Cr.HK for free. That scenario is also a lot more common than you'd think.
- Green Hand- This move has amazing priority and can beat almost anything. Chances are you will probably be too close to utilize the priority though. If the opponent is jumping in the corner, neutral jumping, or jumping at you from really far away this should beat whatever they throw at you.
- Lariat- Learning how to anti-air with Punch Lariat and Kick Lariat is something that takes a lot of time and experience to do. There are 2 ways Lariat can work as an anti-air. There is the "Ducking Lariat" technique and just spacing/timing the Lariat correctly. The "Ducking Lariat" technique is basically crouching during a jump attack until right before the attack hits and then doing a Lariat to instantaneously shift your hurtbox above the attack. This technique works best against jump attacks with thin hitboxes like Honda's Sumo Splash (a.k.a. Buttslam). If you want to anti-air the opponent with a properly spaced Lariat, you try to position yourself so that you are close enough to hit the opponent yet far enough to avoid getting hit. You also need to time the Lariat so that the frontal hitbox comes out at the right time or else you will be punished. It takes experience to figure out the right range to be in and to synch the timing of the frontal hitbox with the oppponent's attack. Stick with using Kick Lariat for the ducking Lariat technique and Punch Lariat for conventional anti-air purposes.
- Neutral Jump HP- This move has great reach and priority. This move will pretty much beat any really high jump attacks. It also does well against jump attacks at around your height too. The reach of this move makes it useful against grounded opponents too.
- Neutral Jump HK- This move has great reach and priority. With the right spacing, this move will beat or trade with any jump attack in the game. It is difficult to space it correctly against characters who jump very high though. This move works best when you and the opponent are at about the same height. The reach of this move makes it useful against grounded opponents too, especially since it still hits an opponent that crouches.
- Neutral Jump Headbutt- If the opponent is really high and directly above you, this move is the best way to punish them. This move also deals the most damage and dizzy of all Zangief's normal attacks. It has limited horizontal reach, but the vertical reach and priority of this move will beat pretty much anything above you. This attack shrinks your hurtbox during the startup and active frames, so you can also use it to dodge attacks and maybe even counterattack at the same time. You will be surprised how often you can avoid, trade with, and even beat other jump attacks with this move when the opponent isn't even above you.
- Diagonal Jump MP- This move is basically a worse NJ.HP, but you can use it while jumping forwards or backwards.
- Diagonal Jump MK- This move is okay when the opponent is diagonally above you and fairly high.
- Diagonal Jump HK- This is mostly a surprise anti-air. The priority of the attack is pretty bad, but it is has good reach and is really quick.
Dealing with Projectiles
Zangief has several different ways to deal with projectiles. He can Kick lariat through them, Punch Lariat through them, Green Hand through them, jump over them, and if all else fails he can just block them. He can even use F+HP to hop over Sagat's Low Tiger Shot. Choosing the right option at the right time makes all the difference.
- Kick Lariat is the safest option when you have enough time to react and space appropriately. If you Kick Lariat too early, you won't be able to block the projectile at the end of the move. This move ends sooner than Punch Lariat and has lower body invincibility for the first half of the move. This makes it a lot harder to punish when close to the opponent and safer to whiff when far away. If you are confident in your ability to Kick Lariat through a projectile on reaction, you should do so instead of using Punch Lariat. Kick Lariat is the reactive/foostie Lariat.
- Punch Lariat is generally the easiest way to avoid projectiles and the most reliable when you are too close to react with Kick Lariat. If you Punch Lariat too early, you can still block the projectile at the end of the move. You should always be positioning yourself outside the range of their low pokes unitl you are sure it is safe to get closer. Punch Lariat is also more likely to hit the opponent than Kick Lariat due to it's larger hitbox on the 2nd and 3rd spin. The only time you should Punch Lariat through a projectile when you can Kick Lariat through it on reaction is if you can hit the opponent with its larger hitbox. You can't Punch Lariat through Sagat's Low Tiger Shot. Punch Lariat is the more preemptive/preventative Lariat.
- Green Hand is the most useful way to deal with slow or predictable projectiles at around 1/2 to 3/4 of a screen away. If you do it early enough at the right distance you can get a free Far LP, Cr.HK, Far MK, or SPD. You need to correctly predict when the opponent throws a projectile in order for you to get that kind of frame advantage though. The vulnerable startup of the move prevents it from being useful for dealing with fast projectiles on reaction. Green Hand will not go through Ryu's super or Akuma's MP/HP Red Hadouken.
- Jumping over them is usually the riskiest option, but it also has the most combo/damage potential when it works. Be careful when you use any jumping kick except for LK/MK Knee Drop because you can may lean backwards into a projectile that you just jumped over. If you want to prevent the opponent from moving backwards while you jump at them, you need to either use LK Knee Drop or Splash to keep them blocking while you advance.
- Blocking is something that shouldn't be forgotten. Instead of forcing your way in, sometimes all you need to do is bide your time until they start hesitating or mess up. You don't take that much damage, so it isn't the end of the world if you block a few projectiles. If you block like half of the projectiles thrown at you and avoid the rest, you end up taking less damage overall then getting hit by one sixth of the projectiles while avoiding the rest. Be patient and always look for out for any obvious patterns.
Choosing the Right Jump Attack
Neutral Jump Attacks
There are only three moves you should ever do from a neutral jump 95% of the time. NJ.HP, NJ.HK, and NJ.HP Headbutt have the most range, the best priority, and do the most damage/dizzy. They also push the opponent farther than their light/medium versions if blocked or if the opponent was crouching while hit. That quirk can be a bad thing if using the heavy version causes you to push them too far away to combo or tick throw. Keeping the opponent closer to you in a combo/tick throw situation is the only reason to use the light/medium versions of these moves. Usually you won't be able to combo or tick throw from a neutral jump anyway, so 95% of the time those 3 attacks are your best options.
Diagonal Jump Attacks
Each diagonal jump attack can do something useful except J.LP.
- J.LK- This is your main jumping tick. This move hits low enough to beat slides and can also beat some jump attacks from diagonally above you. Zangief leans backwards during this move, so be careful not to lean into a projectile or attack you could have jumped over. During the recovery of this move, there are a few frames where Zangief is upside-down. While he is upside-down, his hurtbox becomes very thin. If you time this move so that the opponent counterattacks during this brief period, you can make them whiff their attack and punish accordingly.
- LK Knee Drop- This move is active during the entire jump. In the SF2 series, you are unable to move backwards while the opponent is attacking unless you are far away. This means you can use it during the beginning of your jump to keep the opponent from moving backwards. This move also shrinks your hutrbox during the startup frames, so it can be used to dodge an attack. You can even use that quirk to jump over a projectile that would have hit you otherwise. That said, the window of time where that would apply is very small.
- J.MP- This is your best diagonal jumping anti-air. It also has slightly longer reach than the rest of your diagonal jump attacks.
- J.MK- This move is pretty much exactly the same as J.LK until it hits the opponent. When it hits it does more damage/dizzy, blockstun/crouching hitstun, and pushes the opponent away farther when blocked/crouched. Zangief leans backwards during this move, so be careful not to lean into a projectile or attack you could have jumped over. During the recovery of this move, there are a few frames where Zangief is upside-down. While he is upside-down, his hurtbox becomes very thin. If you time this move so that the opponent counterattacks during this brief period, you can make them whiff their attack and punish accordingly.
- MK Knee Drop- This is your lowest hitting jump attack. When you want to attack a grounded opponent as soon as possible (like punishing a sweep you jumped over) this is the attack to use. This move also shrinks your hurtbox during the startup frames, so it can be used to dodge an attack. You can even use that quirk to jump over a projectile that would have hit you otherwise. That said, the window of time where that would apply is very small.
- J.HP- This is your main air-to-ground jump attack. It has good reach and priority. Some characters can slide under this attack, so be careful when using it against them.
- Splash- This move is active during the entire jump and is also your main crossup attack. In the SF2 series, you are unable to move backwards while the opponent is attacking unless you are far away. This means you can use it during the beginning of your jump to keep the opponent from moving backwards.
- J.HK- This move has good reach and is useful for hitting the recovery of projectile moves. It is faster than J.MP/HP and hits lower, so it can hit the recovery of a projectile move sooner than they would. This move extends your hurtbox a lot during its startup animation, so it has terrible priority. Zangief leans backwards during this move, so be careful not to lean into a projectile or attack you could have jumped over. During the recovery of this move, there are a few frames where Zangief is upside-down. While he is upside-down, his hurtbox becomes very thin. If you time this move so that the opponent counterattacks during this brief period, you can make them whiff their attack and punish accordingly.
Choosing the Right Throw
There is more to Zangief than just SPD. He has 9 different ground throws and 2 different air throws!
- Piledriver (MP throw)- This throw gives you the best positioning of all his ground throws if the opponent fails to tech it. Zangief will jump towards the same direction you held for the throw. Some characters recover very quickly if they tech this throw in the corner, so you should control the jump to prevent that from happening. Any throw that gives you an opportunity to end the round with a crossup is a great throw in my book.
- Stomach Claw (Crouching MP/HP throw)- This throw is great because it can't be teched and you can do it while crouching. This means you don't need to be able to stand up to counter tick throw attempts. The amount of hits you do is random, but the faster you can mash buttons/directions the more times you will hit them. If the opponent gets lucky and mashes like crazy, they can escape without taking any damage.
- Brain Buster (MK throw)- This is the only throw you have (besides super) which will switch sides with the opponent. If you are in the corner, this throw will get you out of the corner and put the opponent in the corner at the same time. This will always throw the opponent behind you, so it should never be done when the opponent is in the corner.
- Iron Claw (HP throw)- This move is probably the least useful mashing throw. I can't think of any reason you would use this on purpose except when ticking Vega/Blanka. If Vega/Blanka Backflips/Backwards Hop out of the tick you will Hop towards them and be in a good position to punish.
- Bite (HK throw)- This throw is Zangief's fastest damaging throw. When you have 1 second left, instead of trying to SPD or giving up you should eat them. This throw can't be teched, leaves the opponent closer to you than the other mash grabs, and has the potential to be the most damaging throw in the game. The amount of hits you do is random, but the faster you can mash buttons/directions the more times you will hit them. Personally, it doesn't get more satisfying than doing 60% damage in the last 2 seconds of the match with this move against that 1 Bison that managed to evade you the whole round (true story).
- Atomic Suplex- This is Zangief's most damaging throw (besides super and lucky mash grabs). It only takes 2 HK Atomic Suplexes to go from corner to corner, so this move is also useful for getting the opponent closer to the corner. There is no reason to do the LK or MK versions since they do less damage and have much less grab range. An interesting quirk of the HK Atomic Suplex is that it's the only throw Zangief has that can grab the opponent even if you are facing the wrong way. When a Ken does that weird crossup landing with his HP Shoryuken/Super, you won't have to worry about randomly whiffing HK Atomic Suplex.
- Running Bear Grab- This is your ace in the hole against people who like to turtle. After a brief startup period, Zangief sprints faster towards the opponent and automatically grabs them when he gets close enough. The active frames on this move last a while, so you cancel Cr.MK into RBG and still be able to grab the opponent. Canceling Cr.MK into LK RBG is useful as a tick throw when somewhat close. Otherwise, only HK RBG is worth using imo.
- SPD- This is the longest reaching throw in the game. The LP and MP versions do less damage, don't move as far during the jump, and take slightly less time to deal damage. While the lower damage of the LP and MP versions makes using HP SPD the most practical 95% of the time, there are a few situations where you may want to do the other 2. When time is running out, you may want to do LP SPD in order to save a little bit of time. At the end of a long combo, LP SPD is more likely to dizzy. If Chun, Guile, or Vega are in the corner you may want to LP/MP SPD to prevent them from getting up too fast from the SPD. Don't know what version to do? When in doubt, HP SPD. Don't know what throw to do? When in doubt, HP SPD.
- Super- This is your strongest throw. It is also the throw with the shortest reach. Ticking into it is a lot harder and more risky in general because of the longer motion and small range. The best way to land this move is to either trick them with somehow or to do it as a reversal.
- Deadly Driver (MP/HP air throw)- This move is your most damaging air throw. The hitbox on the grab makes it better suited for grabbing opponents who are above you. There is a minimum height requirement for air throws. You should also be aware that you can't do an air throw if you are facing the wrong way.
- Leg Throw (MK/HK air throw)- This move gives you insane frame advantage and positioning. The hitbox on the grab makes it better suited for grabbing opponents who are below you. There is a minimum height requirement for air throws. You should also be aware that you can't do an air throw if you are facing the wrong way.
There are a lot of different combos out there, but I think it is best to separate them into practical combos and flashy combos. While it is sort of cool you can link jabs off of a close MK (a.k.a. sparta kick), I can't think of a reason you should.
BnB stands for bread and butter. These are the most important and useful combos in general. The longer the combo is, the closer to the opponent you have to be for it to work. Some characters are also more difficult to combo due to smaller hurtbox sizes and odd hitstun animation hurtboxes.
Combos without a Jump Attack
- Far LK, Cr.HK-----(This combo is extremely important and useful)
- Far LK, Far LK, Cr.HK
- Standing MP, Cr.HK
- Standing MP, Far LK, Cr.HK
- Standing MP, Cr.MK xx LP Green Hand
- Cr.MK xx Kick Lariat-----(Great way to punish something really unsafe with an easy combo)
- Cr.MK xx LP Green Hand
- Hop, Cr.HK
- Hop, Standing MP, Cr.HK
- Hop, Cr.MK xx Green Hand
Combos with a Jump Attack
- J.Attack, Cr.HK-----(Learn how to do it with all the good jumping attacks on crouching and standing opponents)
- J.MP, Far LP xx LP Green Hand/Lariat-----(Useful against other Zangiefs doing Lariats. If you are close enough you can add another Far LP. Cancel Far LP into Green Hand if it will KO. If not, cancel it into Lariat to move out of reversal SPD range)
- J.HP/HK/Splash, Far LK, Cr.HK
- J.HP/HK/Splash, Standing MP, Cr.HK
- J.HP/HK/Splash, Standing MP, HP/Cr.HP-----(Dizzy combo)
- J.HP/HK/Splash, Cr.MK xx Kick Lariat-----(Dizzy combo)
- Crossup Splash, Kick Lariat-----(It is extremely useful to be able to do this from any height on characters shorter than Guile)
- Crossup Splash, Cr.MK xx Kick Lariat-----(Dizzy combo. The Lariat will whiff on a standing Chun Li and a crouching Dee Jay)
- Crossup Splash, Standing MP, Cr.HK
- Crossup Splash, Standing MP, Far LK, Cr.HK-----(Dizzy combo)
- Crossup Splash, Standing MP, Cr.MK xx LP Green Hand
These combos are much better blockstrings than other combos since you get more attacks to tick from and more time to decide what to do. If they didn't block, you have ample time to decide you want to finish the combo for guaranteed damage instead of going for a tick throw mixup. If they did block, you have ample time to decide you want to go for a tick throw mixup instead of pushing them away from you with the rest of the combo. These are all basically chain combos in the form of ___LPx1-4 linked into stuff. All of these can be done after a crossup attack.
- Standing/Cr.LP, Cr.LP, Cr.MK xx LP Green Hand
- Standing/Cr.LP, Cr.LP, Far LK, Cr.HK
- Standing/Cr.LPx2, Cr.LP, Cr.HK
- Standing/Cr.LPx2, Cr.LK xx LP Green Hand
- Standing/Cr.LPx2, Cr. LP, Far LK, Cr.HK
- Standing/Cr.LPx3, Cr.LP, Cr.HK
Here are some of the impractical combos that also happen to be stylish.
- Standing MP, Far HK
- Standing MP, J.Kick
- Standing MK, Far LP xx LP Green Hand
- J.Attack, J.Kick
- J.Attack, Close HK
- J.Attack, Cr.LPx2, Standing LP, J.HK
- Crossup Splash, Backwards Close MK, Cr. MK xx Kick Lariat
- Crossup Splash, Backwards Close MK, Cr. MK, FAB-----(Technically not a combo but minds will be blown)
- Crossup Splash, Standing/Cr.LPx4, J.HK
- Crossup Splash, Standing MP, Standing/Cr.LP, Standing LP, J.HK
- Crossup Splash, Cr.LPx2, HP Headbutt-----(Re-dizzy combo!)
Tick throwing is basically throwing the opponent shortly after your attack hits. The opponent is unable to be thrown during hitstun or blockstun, but what makes tick throwing so powerful is that you can throw them immediately after hitstun or blockstun ends. This means the only way to escape a perfectly timed tick throw is to do certain moves exactly when hitstun/blockstun ends (reversal timing). Only moves that are invincible, airborne, or throw on the first frame can escape a perfectly timed tick throw. If you tick throw outside of their throw range, they will be unable to reversal throw you. The difficulty of achieving reversal timing and the threat of an SPD within blockstrings (or even combos) is what makes Zangief so dangerous at close range. Being able to tick throw off of any move is essential to top level Zangief play.
These are all of the standing moves that you will tick with (on purpose). The rest of his standing moves have no real reason to be used for ticks. You can still tick off them if the opportunity presents itself.
- Far LK- The most important standing tick for Zangief. It hits low, does decent damage, and can be linked into several other moves (most notably Cr.HK).
- Close/Far LP- You can chain cancel both moves to vary the number of hits before the throw. These move whiff on most crouching characters.
- Standing MP- This attack has the highest frame advantage of all his ground moves. This move whiffs on most crouching characters.
- Green Hand- Ticks into SPD from farther away than any other move since you move closer after it hits. The only tick that does damage on block.
While there is no real difference between crouching ticks and standing ticks, crouching lets you avoid certain reversal moves so it is a good idea to learn how to use both.
- Cr.LP- The most important crouching tick for Zangief. You can chain cancel it to vary the number of hits before the throw. It can also be linked into several other moves (most notably Cr.HK).
- Cr.LK- When you want to end a blockstring with a light, you either use this or Far LK. Far LK is better, but also harder to link into. The fact that all his crouching kicks look the same can be confusing and throw off someone's reversal timing.
- Cr.MK- When you want to end a blockstring with a medium attack, use this move because it hits low. If they happen to not be crouching (they might stand up to try a reversal) you get extra damage for free.
- Cr.HK- This generally only works when point blank or after a crossup, but it is usually unexpected.
Air ticks are somewhat trickier to learn because air attacks can have up to three different amounts of stun when it hits (standing hitstun, crouching hitstun, and blockstun). Attacks have the same hitstun and blockstun values in general, but for medium/heavy air attacks this is not true. Standing hitstun, crouching hitstun, and blockstun values are all the same for light air attacks only.
- Diagonal Jump LK- The most important air tick for Zangief. This move deals a constant 11 frames of hitstun/blockstun, which makes it much easier to time the SPD. It also leaves them within SPD range 99% of the time too.
- MK Knee Drop- This is the air attack that hits the lowest. It has 16 frames of blockstun, 11 frames of standing hitstun and 16 frames of crouching hitstun. It also always leaves them within SPD range, though you may need to walk up a little bit if it's blocked low to the ground. If you notice they are crouching when you hit them, it is usually better to combo into Cr.HK than to go for a throw.
- Diagonal Jump MK- This attack looks the same as the J.LK, but if it is blocked you will end up farther from the opponent. That coupled with the difference in blockstun/crouching hitstun can make it confusing to reversal against. This move has the same hitstun/blockstun values as MK Knee Drop, so the tick throw timing is the same for both.
- Splash- The best crossup attack in the game. The blockstun, standing hitstun, and crouching hitstun of this move are 20 frames, 11, frames, and 21 frames respectively. This makes it tricky to time your tick throws properly since it has 3 different stun values. If you notice them crouching when the splash hits, it is usually better to go for a combo though.
Zangief has a few moves with properties that make them useful as reversals.
- Spinning Piledriver- Your go to reversal when you need to defend against tick throws or punish unsafe moves. This move has insane reach and has 0 frames of startup. This means that you go directly from hitstun/blockstun to throwing them. If you are positive they will be on the ground and next to you when you get up from a knockdown, make them pay with a reversal SPD. If you ever get hit with a jump attack and the opponent is too high to start a combo (not too high or it will whiff since they are still in the air), you get a free reversal SPD. This is extremely useful and important because it makes jumping at you with certain attacks suicidal. If you ever block unsafe moves like Balrog's super or Zangief's Green Hand, you can punish them with a reversal SPD.
- Kick Lariat- Your go to reversal when you need a high priority attack to get someone off of you. Pretty much your entire body except for your head is invincible for the first rotation and it only has one frame of startup before a hitbox comes out. It is also useful for avoiding projectile chip damage. While it is the closest thing he has to an invincible reversal, it is still vulnerable to high attacks and won't save you from tick throws.
When an attack hits behind you it is referred to as a crossup attack. An attack being able to hit behind you is significant for several reasons.
- You can position yourself in such a way that makes it difficult to know which direction they need to block with.
- An opponent's reversal attack may fail to come out due to the inputs of left/right being swapped or it may come out backwards.
- If you block a backwards reversal attack, you will be pulled towards the opponent and probably be close enough to punish the reversal.
- When a crossup attacks hits, the opponent gets pulled towards you instead of being pushed away. A combo starting from a crossup attack can easily end the round.
- Even if the crossup attack gets blocked, you are in a great position to shatter the opponent's defense with the mixup of your choice.
- Charge characters will be unable to use their charge specials after blocking a crossup attack. On some charge characters there is no need for a mixup after they block a crossup attack because they WILL be taking damage unless you mess up.
- Zangief has the best crossup move in the game (splash). If you position it correctly, it beats almost anything clean. Learn it, love it, abuse it!
Learning how to control when your attacks crossup and learning how to block crossup attacks from other characters can only be learned through experience, so don't feel discouraged if you mess up.
A lot changes when you get close to the corner. Generally, you want your opponent to be in the corner instead of you. Here is a list of things you should know about the corner.
- You can't move backwards in the corner. This prevents the person in the corner from running away and limits his or her movement options.
- Instead of pushing the opponent away after your attack, you get pushed backwards. This is important because you may end up being pushed backwards into a projectile you just jumped over (or passed through with a Lariat).
- Projectiles become much deadlier against Zangief when he is in the corner. The opponent can combo or tick throw you after the projectile much more easily since you won't be pushed away.
- The corner does strange things to a character's gravity during knockdowns and air reels. In the corner, you fall faster and therefore spend less time in the air. This means the timing of any post-knockdown/air reel setup is different based on how close to the corner it is.
- Certain moves that are normally safe can become unsafe in the corner. All of Blanka's special attacks (except his electric attack) become unsafe in the corner.
- Certain moves like Bison's Psycho Crusher, Blanka's ball specials/super, and Honda's Headbutt/Super will end as soon as they reach the corner.
- If your back is to the corner, crossups won't work on you since the opponent can't get behind you.
- Splash can be repeated in the corner against characters with poor anti-air options at close range.
- SPD has followup potential in the corner!
An option select is basically doing something that covers several different outcomes at the same time. The best part about option selects is how the game automatically does the best option for you. Say you are knocked down and Vega does an his rolling claw attack on you so that it will hit you right when you get up (meaty timing). In this situation you can option select kick lariat/low block. By holding down back and pressing LP+LK for the kick lariat, you either successfully do a reversal kick lariat or you block the attack even though you failed to reversal kick lariat.
In general, air attacks have only 1 frame of landing lag where you can't block. This means that if you time a jump attack so that it lands 1 frame after hitting the opponent, only moves that have 1 frame of startup or less can hit you before you are able to block. When a jump attack is timed early enough to land before the opponent's reversal attack can hit you and late enough to hit them if they don't, it is referred to as a safe jump. Safe jumps are a very powerful option select because it applies a lot of pressure that is 100% safe. If they reversal, you can block it or counter attack with one of your moves depending on the move your opponent did. If it hits, you can go into a damaging combo. If it is blocked, you can still go for a mixup and charge characters lose their vertical charge.
A safe meaty is an attack that is timed so that that it either recovers before an opponent's reversal can hit you, or beats the reversal attack cleanly. Zangief is the only character that has normal attacks with 0 recovery frames (Far LK and Cr.LP). You can time such attacks so that they hit on the the last active hitting frame and be free to block (or do anything else) the very next frame. With good timing, you can only be hit by reversals with 0 startup frames. The second way to do a safe meaty is to do a meaty attack that also beats any reversal attacks clean. If the attack recovers before reversal attacks can hit you or if it beats them cleanly anyway, then the meaty is 100% safe. The concept is very similar to safe jumping, but it can be applied to reversals that have 1 or less startup frames like Blanka's Horizontal Roll and Vertical Roll.
Negative Edge Super
Zangief's super is one of the few supers in the game that can never miss. The super only activates after you successfully grab the opponent. Due to the input leniency of the super, you can do the motion for it in such a way that you won't do SPD's. Since button releases are accepted inputs for special moves and supers, you can do the motion for Zangief's super and release punch buttons instead of pressing them. When you do this correctly you either successfully super them, or nothing happens. Button releases do nothing on their own, so you are free to block or do whatever you feel like doing. While this sounds amazing, it isn't that useful since the opponent can still reversal throw you. The super's throw range is small enough to where you can't really space yourself outside of the opponent's grab range while ticking. This is most useful when used while blocking something that leaves the opponent close to you like Dhalsim's drills or Bison's Scissor Kicks when spaced poorly.
Low Block/Throw OS
During blockstrings, the most common mixup is the low/throw mixup. If you are crouching you are susceptible to throws and if you are standing you are vulnerable to low attacks. The good news is that this doesn't work against Zaangief because he is capable of throwing from a crouching position. There are two ways to throw from a crouching position. Cr.MP/HP throw is the easiest way to throw while crouching. Just hold downback and press MP or HP when they are close. The more advanced way to throw while crouching is to do an SPD motion that ends in downback. The best way to do so is to go in a circle from starting down ending in downback. You are vulnerable to lows during the motion for the SPD, so you should time the motion so that you are done before they can hit you.
Sometimes you will be put in situations where you have to guess between reversal throwing a possible tick throw attempt and blocking a possible invincible attack. You won't have to guess anymore with this option select if Kick Lariat beats the invincible attack cleanly. If you do a reversal throw with downback MP/HP, you can cancel the startup of the attack into Kick Lariat. If you grab them the Kick Lariat won't come out. If they did an invincible attack, you cancel the startup of Cr.MP/HP into Kick Lariat.
Atomic Suplex/RBG OS
Technically RBG can be considered the whiff animation of Atomic Suplex. If the opponent has a reversal like Vega's Backflips or Blanka's Backward Hop, Atomic Suplex can be used as an option select to combat such moves. If the opponent successfully does one of those reversals to escape a tick throw Atomic Suplex, you will RBG them anyway. Some reversals like Chun's Spinning Bird Kick and Fei Long's Chicken Wing can also be beaten with the Atomic Suplex option select because of their long startup times.
When you SPD, you can either jump forwards or backwards. Which way you jump can be the difference between winning and losing, so it is important to know how to control it. The ideal positioning after an SPD is to be near the corner, so you always want to SPD as close to the corner as possible. An SPD done mid-screen or out of the corner is often impossible to follow up on, so keeping them near the corner is necessary if you want to apply pressure.
- If you want to jump forwards, you need to end the SPD motion with a forward direction.
- If you want to jump backwards, you need to end the SPD motion with a backward direction.
- If you end the SPD motion with up or down, it defaults to a backwards jump.
- A good habit to pick up is to end the SPD motion in the direction of the corner.
The SPD actually has several active frames (frames that it can grab) during the move. The catch is that in order to utilize these extra active frames, you need to press or release the punch button you started the SPD with. Each button press or release activates the grab for one more frame. With perfect mashing you can have the SPD active for as long as the SPD is allowed to. This also means you can start the SPD slightly early and still grab the opponent with the extra active frames. Each strength of the SPD has a different window of active frames (tested on HSF2 in kawak's).
- LP SPD- 13 frame window to grab. Only pressing or releasing LP adds an extra active frame.
- MP SPD- 11 frame window to grab. Only pressing or releasing MP adds an extra active frame.
- HP SPD- 9 frame window to grab. Only pressing or releasing HP adds an extra active frame.
Easy Throw Range Spacing Reference
This is basically an easy way to space yourself out of the opponent's throw range, while still being in your throw range. All of this is from point blank range and also works after a crossup splash.
- Balrog/Bison/Cammy/Chun/Fei/Sagat/Vega- Medium attack = SPD or HK Atomic Suplex only
- Blanka/Dhalsim/Honda- Heavy attack = SPD only
- Hawk- Cr.LP + Cr.MK = SPD only
- Akuma/Guile/Ken/Ryu- Medium attack = All but super
- DJ- Medium attack = SPD or HK Atomic Suplex only (Any throw if DJ is crouching after a crossup splash)
- Fei- Double Cr.LP (really fast) = Any throw
Zangief has a few jump attacks that when done immediately after jumping can hit crouching characters. Jump attacks can't be blocked while crouching, so this can be very powerful when the opponent is one hit away from being dizzied/KO'ed. If the instant overhead doesn't dizzy/KO or if it is blocked, then you are open to punishment on the way down from your jump.
- Diagonal Jump LK/MK- Works on everyone except Blanka. Use MK for more damage/stun.
- Diagonal Jump HK- Works on everyone except Bison, Blanka, and Cammy.
- MK Knee Drop- Works on Balrog, Dee Jay, Dhalsim, Sagat, T. Hawk, and Zangief.
- Neutral Jump LK/MK/HK- Dee Jay only.
Corpse hopping is essentially using hop to go over a character that is knocked down. The nature of this technique makes it most useful vs charge characters who rely on horizontal charge reversals. Basically this list lets you know who it works on and how difficult it is to perform.
- Really Easy- Bison, Cammy, Chun, Vega
- Easy- Balrog, Fei, Honda, Sagat, Zangief
- Tricky/Weird Timing- Guile, Hawk
- Hard- Akuma, Ken, Ryu
- Super Hard- Sim (possible but only with a really lucky knockdown)
- Impossible- Blanka, DJ
Kara-Canceled Running Bear Grab
In the SF2 series, you are unable to move backwards while the opponent is attacking unless you are far away. However, this does not apply to Zangief's RBG. When you do RBG while the opponent is walking backwards, sometimes they end up moving outside the grab's reach and your whiff gets punished. To prevent that from happening, you can cancel a normal into RBG. Instead of moving backwards during the RBG, holding back will force the opponent to block if you canceled a normal into RBG. They can still jump away or hit you before you grab them, so you can still be punished for using RBG at the wrong time.
Jump Canceled Jabs
If you glanced over the Flashy Combos section of this guide, you probably asked yourself "How in the world does Standing/Cr.LP combo into J.HK?" The trick is quite simple really. If you hold up while chain canceling your jabs, you will cancel your jab into a jump instead of another jab. With really good timing, this lets you jump with enough frame advantage to combo into some jump attacks. Another neat thing about canceling jabs into jumps is that it also forces the opponent to block for the entire jump (just like Kara-Canceled RBG).
Corner Bite: Ambiguous Cross-Unders
When you do the HK grab on some characters in the corner, they get out of the grab in a way that gives you an opportunity to go under them and switch sides. They might not reversal or block properly with the inputs for forwards and backwards get switched at the last second, so it can be a very scary situation to be in for your opponent. This is a very rare mixup so there is a good chance your opponent might not even know it exists. This is a list of who it works on and where you need to be to make it work. Near corner is the corner you are closer to when the match starts. Far corner is the other one. Due to a glitch, there actually is a difference between them for this setup.
- Cammy/Chun- Not too close
- Honda- Really close only
- Akuma/Ken/Ryu- Any range in the near corner and not too close in the far corner
- Sim- Very specific range (2 quick cr. jabs from point blank)
- Vega- Anywhere next to the corner
Empty Jump/Attack Whiff Mind Games
Sometimes when people let their guard down, they start falling for the silliest things. These are some of the things that make people feel dumb, shake their head, laugh, and angry at the same time.
- Hop Whiff > SPD/Super
- Green Hand Whiff > SPD/Super
- Empty Jump/Jump Attack Whiff > SPD/Super
- Far HK Whiff > SPD
- Crossup Attack Whiff > SPD/Super
- Walk Up SPD/Super After a Knockdown