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|Wakeup Speed compared to Ryu|
Zangief, nicknamed The Red Cyclone, is a massive man and a Russian hero. In the days of Street Fighter: Alpha, Zangief was the hero of the Soviet Union. The President of Russia and leader of the Soviet Union offered him full financial support to travel the world, beating opponents and boasting of Soviet might. Zangief does this flawlessly, getting into fights with legends like Ken and winning. Once his mission is over, The President sends him to fight Shadaloo forces, who are slowly making their way into Russia. Along the way, Zangief finds two new friends in E. Honda and R. Mika. While it is unknown if they destroyed the Psycho Power Driver or not, Zangief still fights for his Soviet Russian pride to this day.
Zangief is the classic grappler. The character that the whole archetype is modeled after. Big body, huge damage, slow movement, and big buttons make Zangief what he is. While CvS2 is home to a few grapplers, Zangief stays the most true to the archetype. He hits hard with big normals and fast grabs, and can get hit plenty of times before it starts to hurt. Opponents have to be scared of a good Zangief, as he has amazing ability to punish just about anything, and he can control neutral shockingly well with big buttons and Lariats.
Zangief hurts in a lot of places however. Likely the biggest one is his lacking mobility. While SNK Grooves give him runs and hops to aid this, he has a very slow run still, and he doesn't get to lose his slow walkspeed. His lack of movement hurts a lot, as his best mixups and damage potential only exist when he's very close. To hurt this more, his main command grab sends them flying away, basically resetting to neutral. So the move you want to land most requires you to struggle with Zangief's biggest problem, and when you do land it, it resets you into that same situation.
In all, Zangief is on the lower half of the mid tier characters. While he has great damage and great ability to punish, he has to constantly fight against the top tier CvS2 characters, who are all beastly in neutral. Zangief has to outplay opponents at a lot of turns, but if he does, he is a monster.
Best - K: Zangief's best Groove is definitely K-Groove. It gives you everything you need for a successful grappler playstyle in this game: a good defensive option in JD which often leads into a sweep or even SPD, Rage which juices his already high damage to new levels, and the threat of a level 3 360 in Rage. Zangief's high health also allows him to take a lot more hits and have Rage even more often than other K-Groove characters. K-Zangief pokes add up, SPDs do great damage even if they do reset to neutral, and his strike/throw mix becomes very threatening.
Useful - A/N/P: A-Groove and N-Groove are a little behind K-Groove. A-Zangief gives up any mobility buffs, and has a pretty bad dash. In exchange, he gets access to a solid Custom Combo in the corner, and the powerful mechanic of activation makes his throws stronger by mere threat alone. He also has rolls and Alpha Counters to aid his weaker neutral and defense. N-Groove is the opposite. N-Zangief has a great mix of tools for many situations, having the higher mobility of K-Groove and the rolls of A-Groove. He also gets access to roll, which once again gets him out of some tight spots. He sacrifices this by not having the threat of a level 3 720 without a Max Mode activation, and less overall meter altogether. P-Zangief is a very difficult P-Groove character, but parries can be very rewarding for Zangief who can usually get a sweep or SPD, similar to JD. He also can get parries into 720, which is hard to do, especially since P-Groove rarely has meter. It is very rewarding however. P-Zangief lives and dies by how well you parry, just like most P-Groove characters.
Worst - C/S: C-Zangief sacrifices a lot in comparison, and gets very little in return. Since both of his supers are grabs, he can't really do any level 2 combos, making the main attraction of C-Groove worthless for him. The main attraction of C-Zangief is air blocking and more consistent meter, he makes an alright point. S-Zangief is hard to consider worthwhile, since even though his health does let him have infinite level 1's more safely than other characters, this really doesn't benefit him much. Having to charge for meter really hurts Zangief as well, in general S-Zangief has very little in the way of strengths.
Zangief is a scary grappler who punishes the opponent with high damage and fast grabs, and controls neutral with big and damaging buttons. He pays for this with low combo potential and very slow movement. Zangief is best in K-Groove.
Zangief has no close normal versions, so there are only far, crouching, and jumping listed.
Flying Body Attack
Double Knee Drop
Quick Double Lariat
Spinning Pile Driver
Flying Power Bomb
Final Atomic Buster
Aerial Russian Slam
Master 360 motion buffering and standing 360's. Tick grabs are good, but running LP Spinning Pile Drivers are better! (Obviously in SNK groove. I prefer K.)
If you have trouble with standing 360's, you can do the Hooligan Combination motion (hcf,u/f + P). Also, hcf,u + P or hcf,u/b + P tends to work more consistently for me.
The up motion has to be done VERY quickly, though I think it's easier to execute with the small-jumping grooves (P S N K) since the startup frames for jumping in these grooves are about 2 frames greater. Basically, you have more time to do a 360 special before the computer registers it as a jump.
--Zenfire 13:03, 26 March 2007 (UTC)
Dealing with keep-away tactics
Zangief can have more trouble against long range keep-away tactics than rushdown.
Against pokes that outrange C.HP you can attempt to preemptively stick C.HP out and it can beat the startup frames of the attack because of the large number of hitting/active frames. The down side of this is that it's a very laggy move and is vulnerable to rolls and jumps.
Another option is to beat their attack with kick lariat, which has lower body invincibility on startup. The down side of this is that you need to time it just right because only the startup is invincible and doing it too early will result in it getting beat or trading. Worst case scenario: it misses completely and you get punished with super.
This move has a lot of horizontal range and if you space it right it becomes not only hard to beat with normals, it also becomes a guessing game where their AA can whiff entirely if you don't stick anything out. The down sides to this are that it's a jumping attack which is a commitment, so it's AA'able. It's important to figure out at what range for this (both forward jump and neutral jump).
Groove specific: RC's
RC Lariat gives the advantage of more invincibility than the regular version. A significant addition to the arsenal is RC Running Grab. It will go through everything and throw for a nice bit of damage, the benefit of this in the long run is that once they're scared/aware of it they won't stick out moves as much at the risk of getting grabbed, and as a result they'll block more, run away more and jump more.
Groove specific: Parry/JD
Parries and JD's are obviously different, but the one thing they have in common is they allow you to decrease the number of frames of blockstun. Parry guarantees more, like a sweep for the knockdown. But since SPD has so much range you can grab people using either of these from pretty far away. Both of them allow you to jump over long range pokes and allow for a backup plan in case you didn't jump over something laggy. Besides being a backup, it's also just an alternative way to get in. Down side is pretty obvious, it's hard to do/time right, and if you don't succeed you get hit (parry) or lose guard bar (JD) and you need to walk up again.
Defending against rushdown
The SPD is instant which means that it can beat things when there are 0 frames or more in between the attacks. By this I mean that, since throws beat attacks, anywhere in a blocked string of attacks if the next hit does not connect WITHIN the blockstun of the previous attack, the SPD can interrupt and grab the opponent. JD's help immensly in this. The down side of this is that if something you defended leaves the opponent at 0 or more frames of advantage, they can jump (instantly OTG) out of the SPD and punish on the way down.
The kick version of the lariat as discussed before beats ground moves. This can be used in situations where you're unsure whether the opponent will jump or attack again. It will beat or trade with attacks and still manage to hit people that try to jump away expecting an SPD. The down side of this is still the same: if you miss or it's blocked, it's easily punishable.
Once you corner someone trying to get away from you, either because you're raged, because they're ahead or because they're building meter, then you can slowly walk them into the corner while still keeping an eye out for sneak attacks. At this point to avoid risking you getting close they'll jump over you or try to knock you down before trying to get out. Here follow some options that if you guessed right will keep them cornered or punish them for trying to get out. The complement of these is actual ground based moves, which become viable again when they stop trying to run away.
Neutral jump U+HP
This headbutt does a lot of stun damage. Getting hit by it twice means being dizzy for everyone in the game. You can stop them jumping over you to the other side using this move as an air-to-air attack. You'll have to time it well obviously, but there's a double reward for landing it: damage/stun + they're still cornered. If you guess wrong jumping straight up still avoids things such as RC Psycho Crusher and even allows to you punish certain RC's that don't go far.
Though this is partly basic strategy, jumping toward your opponent with an early attack can setup a command throw on landing, in this scenario you have the additional benefit of stopping people that jump at/over you. And again, since it's a jump it has some evasive properties. The down-side is the same as with all jumping attacks.
Though people will automatically jump less when they know you have a lv3 super, they might still flinch once cornered, so it is worth buffering the motion when you expect a jump. The first downside of this is that since you're buffering the motion your on the ground and not blocking leaving you vulnerable. The range for this depends on your opponent's jump arc, which is something else you need to think about.