Arcade Edition Match Up: Zangief

[LEFT]So, What do we know about Zangief?[/LEFT]

The Russian Cyclone completely dominates at close range, utilizing frame traps, normal and special throws to erase your life bar. Most of the cast are unable to defend themselves when Zangief is towering over them. Guy is not exempt from this.

[LEFT]What can I learn about Zangief?[/LEFT]

All of Zangief frame data can be found on the SRK Wiki.
[INDENT=1]Here are Capcom’s final documented changes for Zangief in AE 2012:[/INDENT]

[INDENT=1]For undocumented changes and discussion, please check out this thread in the Zangief forums:[/INDENT]

What should I be doing?

How does Guy compete against a character that he can’t even get close to? He doesn’t. And Zangief players have no problem sitting back on a lead, waiting for you to move toward him. Fortunately, there is a mechanism in fighting games that Guy can succeed even against the lamest of characters and players. It is called a time limit, and you can use this to your advantage especially against a slow character like Zangief. Footsie and counter poke your way into a life lead, and watch even the most stoic of Zangief players crumble before you and resort to the most desperate strategies in attempts to take the lead back. st.HK, st.MP, st.MK, cr.MP and st.HP should be your go to pokes. You should never really jump to Zangief because Lariat shuts that option down, but should he jump toward you, cr.MP, st.HK or EX BSK will check him. Wall jump out of the corner if you need to but be aware of Zangief looking for that. Never, EVER cr.HK, as it is punishable on block and hit.

Check outGuy Tutorial for beginners/intermediates threadfor more information on whiff punishing.

[LEFT]What should I be aware of?[/LEFT]


A fast, good damaging normal. Zangief players have no problem spamming this at mid range. Just stay outside of it’s range.


A semi fast, low poke that inches Zangief closer to the opponent. Players usually whiff this on purpose to set up for an SPD. You can whiff punish this with cr.MP.


It’s fairly active and it whiffs on crouching opponents. Can be used to set up for an SPD. This can also be whiff punished with cr.MP.


This move has great range. Beware of this move. It’s slow but still hard to react to if you’re not already blocking low.

It looks identical to cr.HK, but it has more range as well as Start up. It is completely negative on block. Punish with reckless abandon.

[LEFT]-Banishing Flat[/LEFT]

Also known as Green Hand, Zangief overextends himself with this move. Completely negative on block and very punishable on whiff. BC or TC works great here.


Take advantage of Zangief’s lack of speed and become tactful in acquiring a lead. As long as yor life bar is greater than his you will be alright. Dance in between mid ranges, waiting for Zangief to make a move. Nothing he does other than EX Banishing Flat which is highly punishable on whiff, will be able to reach you. Put time on your side. These are the key factors in becoming successful in this match up.
You all are more than welcome to add or update information about this match up. If anything
I mentioned is incorrect, feel free to let me know.


No mention of jump ins? I think it’s pretty crucial in this match. Cr.Mp works well as AA - still risky if Gief is right above Guy and uses that jumping down MK I think it is.

Also no mention of St.MK as a poke, which doesn’t do much damage against Gief but still okay to keep your space.

Safejumping is frowned upon when Gief has meter, His EX SPD will grab you, but if he does EX Green hand, MK tatsu will beat it. To beat EX SPD, you can either empty jump backdash, or risk the option of lk tatsu or EX Bushin Flip.

Here are Capcom’s final documented changes for Zangief in AE 2012:

For undocumented changes and discussion, please check out this thread in the Zangief forums:

I actually forgot to mention how to anti-air Zangief. Going to add it now.

(space’d)MK tatsu vs Lariat guy wins or trade after start up/block’d/timed test this out post a vid lets go >=| btw if ur too close would be better after block’d lariat don’t waste meter on gief or get knock’d down if ur not that good plan:B is get life lead before he has U2 n run jump wall jump n.jump til time is up (don’t do this outside rank has u maybe kick’d 4 lameness)sorry 4 my spelling GL.

Throw Set-ups: Forward Throw then; a.) Forward Dash Twice, Forward Jump into Crouch Tech (can beat wake up Lariat). b.) Forward Dash Twice, Forward Jump, then instant Jump Away Mp (can beat wake up Command Grab). c.) Forward Dash Twice, Forward Jump, then instant Back Dash (Safe from wake up Command Grab and Lariat). d.) Forward Dash Twice, Forward Jump, then take about one step Forward then Forward Jump into Cross-up Mk. e.) Corner; Forward Grab, Back Dash Twice quickly, Forward Jump with Mk or Hk (can beat instant wake up Lariat, Ex Command Grab and Safe from Green Hand). Mix this up with Bushin Flip.

I gave up mixing up Zangief long ago except for maybe neutral jump ex flip after run slide.

Back dashing twice after a forward jump is not a safe jump, Gief can easily do PPP lariat.

I here you af0 Gief is a cheap character IMO. But we have to deal with him. I think you slightly misunderstood my set-up. Corner Only; Forward Throw; then quickly Back Dash Twice, immediate Forward Jump with Mk or Hk. This is not a safe jump. This is made to stuff Gief’s wake up Lariat and will stuff Ex Command Grab and should be ‘safe from Green Hand’. The timing is abit strict and Gief can delay Lariat. You can use the same set-up to stuff Sagat’s Normal Upprcuts and stuff Fei Long’s Normal Flame Kicks (works really well against Fei because it does not create a juggle state, so you can continue your combo).

Normals you can punish on Block: 1. Far stMk; punish with Ex Hozanto, Run Slide, Medium Tatsu, stMp. 2. crMk; punish with crLk, Ex Tatsu. 3. crHk; punish with Ex Tatsu, crLk, crLp, stMp. 4. Close stHp; punish with Ex Tatsu, crLk, crLp. 5. Close stHk; punish with Ex Tatsu, crLk, crLp.

Run Slide Cross-Over: This is the ability where Guy can slide to the other side of his opponent if he’s close enough. Because of the spacing, Guy’s Neutral Jump set-up is safe on Gief’s wake. 1. Run Slide Cross-Over starters; a) Forward Jump Hk or Neutral Jump Hp, stMk, stMp into RS. b) Close stMp into RS which is good against a blocked meaty Green Hand. c) Jump Cross-Over Mk, close stMk into RS. 2. Neutral Jump Combos; a) NJ with Mk, stMp into RS or Ex Hozanto. b) NJ with Mk, crMp into RS or Ex Hozanto (only works if Gief is standing). c) NJ with Mk, Target Combo into RS or Ex Hozanto or use stMp into Medium Tatsu (only works if Gief is crouching). d) Empty NJ then crHk or RS. 3. Other Mix-ups include, RS Cross-Over, take one step back then Forward Jump then; a) Cross-Over Mk. b) Elbow Drop. c) Low Bushin Flip. d) Empty Jump.

Forward Throw, Forward Jump, Ex Bushin Flip mid-screen is an uncrouchable and caches Gief wake-up Lariat. In the corner, cross-up Mk, Bushin Chain into Back Throw, stHp into Ex Bushin Flip will cache an instant Lariat (he can delay).

While all these setups are good finds, some of which I have used myself before, it’s not really how this matchup should be played! I agree with af0 when he said he gave up on mixing up Gief a long time ago. His EX grabs and even just the threat of his ultras when stocked should be enough to put any Guy player off wanting to rush him down. Sure the occasional mixup might catch even the best of Gief players off guard, but in general this is a matchup based on footsie pokes and running the hell away when you get the life lead. Take absolutely minimum risk at all times, which means no random flips, no elbow drops, no crossups, no jumping in general (especially vs U2), no run overhead, no sweeps, no neutral jump OS… you get the idea. A single HP SPD can undo a whole 90 seconds of good footsies, so never blow it on something risky and punishable.

Well I use alot of set-ups that work against Gief and they will always cache him by surprise, especially the first time I do them. The thing is, I know how to play that ‘careful’ style of play. But sooner or later we have to find a better method of playing this match. Better set-ups and such. For example: Forward Throw, Forward Jump, Ex Bushin Flip (uncrouchable and beats wake-up lariat), then immediately follow with Forward Dash, Forward Jump into Cross-Up Mk to also beat wake-up lariat (mix-up with low bushin flip or empty jump after dash into crLk). I know this can be a tuff match but, ‘there are ways to get more damage’. But overall we should play cautious. If were given the opportunity, we should seek to get more damage through mix-ups and such.

The more information we can find will enable us to find more effective ways to approach match ups. Nothing is really set in stone, especially with the player variable. However, I believe that there is a base foundation that we should all utilize to progress from. I agree with both of you guys perspectives!

Yeah… I see Gief or Hawk… my reactions and normals need to be on point. Keep away is the name of the game there.

Forward dash after you do an ex flip grab? You sure? Because after that grab you only get a split second to do a safe jump, if you dash forward they’re already getting up and if you do jump cross-up MK, all they have to do is just delay the lariat which good Giefs will do to make use of invisibility.

EX Hozanto will punish Kick Lariat upon recovery. EX Bushin Flip Grab will Punish Punch Lariat anywhere on the screen; provides plenty of time to react.

@ af0 your right but the point of that post was to just get you thinking outside the box a little. Remember Guy is an ‘High Risk, High Reward’ character, so trying something to throw your opponent off isn’t always bad. Something else I use is, whiff punish Green Hand with Target Combo into Run Slide. Then quickly follow up with Back Dash, Forward Jump cross-up Mk, Target Combo into Run Slide. Technically Zangief can walk in the other direction or delay lariat. But Zangief cannot Crouch, Walk Back or do an early Lariat. Most Gief’s will either walk back or do an early lariat. It works the same way as Bushin Flip, Forward Dash, Forward Jump Mk. ‘95% Gief’s I do this on will land’. Its something you don’t want to spam, but its something to try maybe if your down on life. Or something you can try early in the match when you have plenty of life to spare.

If you block Zangief’s Punch Lariat and he pulls away from you, you can punish him with Jump-in Hk to start your combo.