Zangief appears to be broken and overpowered - how can I possibly counter him?

This is my first time playing a game of the Street Fighter series, so please forgive me if I’m missing anything.

I always have trouble against characters with those special throws. Every other character, I mop up on twice the difficulty. Zangief and Abel are the annoying characters, for example. Even in the middle of me hitting them or about to with a thunder knuckle they just start their grab and my attack is COMPLETELY disregarded. Viper just stops whatever she’s doing, stands up and does nothing for half a second while Zangief slowly lumbers his animation towards her and control is ripped away from me. WHY?

I made a video.
Note that I **never **cut to him grabbing me. I always show a few seconds prior.
For example, right at the start he jumps behind me and then somehow grabs me from the front. It’s not two separate clips.

He backs me into a corner and knocks me to the ground. What can I do?
Jump up? No. Often be grabs too fast, or does that spinning attack which hits ALL around him.
Jump forward? No, his spin hits EVERYWHERE.
Standing attack? No. Light? His spin overpowers it. Med/Heavy? Too slow!
Standing block? No. He just grabs me. If he spins, then I’ll be busy blocking and he’ll follow with a grab soon after.
Crouching attack? No. While spinning he’s invincible. If I try a heavy attack, he’ll simply grab me.
Crouching block? No. He’ll simply grab me.

Help me, please!

to be honest the way you were playing you should pick up ryu or someone until you get the basics of this game down. if you don’t combo with your hits you’ll get thrown if you are still close enough

ya, viper might not be the best character to start with to learning fundamentals and game mechanics
but basically your’e getting grabbed because your block strings aren’t tight enough so he’ll just reversal grab a limb

This video was hilarious. I can see where you’re messing up: you’re assuming you can’t be thrown while you’re in the middle of doing a move. In fact, some people’s ultra’s you can throw them to avoid getting hit (like Ryu’s Metsu Hadoken).

Also, when you get a little better, you’ll realize that those weak jumps you can burning kick to bait out the throw animation. Looking like you are open for a throw is one of the only ways I’ve found to actually beat Zangief. Lots of well timed burning kicks, but you can’t do them at random since his lariat will punish you easily.

First, Gief has been nerfed to a shadow of his former Vanilla self. Your thread title is over the top.

Playing against a grappler in most fighting games is like playing a different game. Most new FG players have trouble getting used to this. So, fighting grapplers 101: Zone !

Learning Viper with not much Street Fighter experience is a really difficult road, but I won’t stop you from it.

You really, really want to zone Zangief in this matchup. If he gets close on you, you can super jump -> burn kick all the way to the other side of the screen to get away from him. Once he’s not too close on you, you can just use seismo pressure to keep him on his toes. Use thunder knuckles sparingly (unless it’s a fierce TK for antiair), because if he blocks a jab or strong TK, he can reversal super or ultra it. Also, never burn kick, because if he blocks it, he can do a reversal SPD. Likewise, I found it to be way too risky to land a Seismo and super jump into burn kick, because if you misjudge the seismo hitting, then you’ll be flying at him, in which case he can either lariat and beat you clean, or he’ll block whatever you’ll do and reversal SPD.

Though, if you’re playing vanilla SF4, your burn kicks have a little more frame advantage than they do now, so burn kicks might be a little more safe vs Zangief, but it’s generally a poor idea to be in Zangief’s face anyway, so don’t do it regardless.

For the times he grabbed you out of your moves: yeah, it’s possible. Viper’s normal moves have a very long startup compared to most of the cast, and since normal moves change/extend your hurtbox, sometimes doing a move will give Zangief a chance to SPD you when he normally could not if you were just standing still.

Don’t bother with him if he’s doing lariats. You might be able to hit his feet towards the end of it, but I think vanilla Zangief has invincibility on both of his lariats (I could be wrong about this). But I know in AE, Zangief has no invincibility on his punch lariats (for his feet, anyway), but he has total foot invincibility for his kick lariats.

Once Zangief knocks you down, Viper is in a world of trouble. You pretty much have to guess right and get out. You’ll probably suffer some damage, but if you get out by jumping out and eating his standing roundhouse in the process, that’s definitely worth it. But if you’re also going against a computer (which I think you are?), then they tend to magically know what you’re going to do on the exact frame you’re doing it, so that might be a problem, haha.

Also, make sure you can do cr. forward/cr. strong into strong thunder knuckle. That’s actually something kind of risky to do in this match, but make sure you can do that in general. That’s a pretty simple and important combo that Viper can use often.

This is me playing a Zangief at a tournament about two months ago. I didn’t play too well in this (and this is also when I didn’t really know the matchup too well either), but you can get a decent idea from this:

Viper has no business going up close and personal against Gief. Everything she tries to do up close against him, be it frametraps, thunder knuckles or burnkicks- a.k.a her regular offense can and will be SPD’d or Lariat’d one way or another. Players know that when Viper gets in, it’s over so they start to get frantic with their stuff to try to get you off of them. The only option you have is your go-to option and that’s the Seismic Hammer.

My suggestion? Learn how to utilize Seismic Hammer to zone Gief. If you want to learn a practical way of applying Seismo’s and practice your execution in a real match, then this match is the one you need. You can practice canceling into another seismo, canceling into Thunder Knuckle, canceling into Feint and meterless FADC as well as meterless FADC Ultra. It also helped me understand the way the screen is divided in things like personal spaces and whatnot and the knowledge of this matchup can be applied in other matchups where Viper has to zone.

Thanks for the very helpful posts, everyone :slight_smile:
From what I gather, I need to keep my distance from Zangief.

If he knocks me to the ground, however, I’m pretty much screwed because a computer opponent knows exactly what I’ll do the second I input a command.

Could reversals help? From what I know, there’s no vulnerability delay between being knocked down to a super attack except for the move’s usual beginning animation. Am I correct in this?
What would be best to hit a Zangief standing right above me? A fierce TK? They seem to be executed fairly instantly.
I’m certain SFIV is balanced enough to prevent a character spamming attacks above a knocked down opponent, knocking them down again and again. :wink:

You sound like you aren’t getting this game at all.
“I’m certain SFIV is balanced enough to prevent a character spamming attacks above a knocked down opponent, knocking them down again and again”

There is absolutely no such thing as spamming.
First, read this:

Then, analyze this video:

This is just the start. Viper relies on heavy-execution tricks to keep up pressure. If you can’t do every single advanced technique in training mode with at least 90% consistency (At least 95% for seismo cancels and meterless FADC, maybe 90 for FFF) you shouldn’t be practicing match-ups. I am dead serious. With Viper you should practice 2 months before playing an actual game, because if you just jump into one, you aren’t going to learn shit and end up wasting your time.

And that’s why I said I’m sure that it’s impossible for a character to spam attacks above you, knocking you down continuously…

Also, computer opponents? This really isn’t the right forum for this.

I guess this would be a better fit for the Newbie Saiko Dojo.
Anyway, the frustrating part for a beginner to play against the CPU and especially against a character with good mixup-potential is, as you said, the CPU reading your inputs and acting accordingly. And when you finally figure out what to do you can basically “spam” (as you said) that tactic because it’s the only one that consistently works against the CPU. So you don’t really learn much.

But, creating a thread that calls a character “broken” and “overpowered” as a newbie who has obviously no clue about the game mechanics is not a wise choice. It makes people take you less seriously that they normally would, maybe even preventing them from helping you.

Use sagat …he is very strong and has few bad matchups… I think like 6
Or use t hawk,ken,or blanka

Why are you playing Vanilla?
Why are you playing the computer?

Just use Sagat.