Buried deep within the SRK servers are lost strategy articles written by the likes of Valle, Choi and many other fighting game greats. We’ll be republishing these must-read gems as we find them.
Street Fighter Pros Share Their Secrets to Winning – Day 2: Vangief
Originally published October 22, 2010.
Hailing from San Francisco Bay Area, Vance “Vangief” Wu is another new player that made quite a splash in the scene by defeating Justin Wong and placing top 8 at his very first EVO competition. Opting to use a PlayStation control pad over a fight stick, he is best known for his smart and aggressive Zangief play in which he bulldogs the competition with his fearsome vortex patterns. Many players have fallen victim to his now infamous walking 720 Zangief ultra.
- Mind games play a huge part in SSF4. The risk and reward factor come into play during mix-up situations, in both offense and defense. Always pay close attention to both you and your opponent’s options (health/ultra/super meter) so that you may make decisions accordingly. If you take a risk and go for a dangerous mix-up, make sure it is going to pay off. Go to training mode and learn the most damaging combo/move for a variety of situations/matchups so that you may best capitalize on your opponent’s mistakes.
- Record and watch your own matches to look for bad habits that you may have in general or during certain situations. You may not actually notice them until you watch yourself play.
- Practice hit confirm combos in training mode, ie: Zangief’s crouching short kick x2 –> EX banishing fist, Ryu’s crouching jab x 2-3 –> uppercut, by setting the CPU to Random Block. Begin to execute your combo and if your first attack hits, finish the uppercut motion and complete the combo. If the CPU blocks your first attack, throw/SPD. This will help you react appropriately in matches than just throwing things out there and hoping it hits.
Zangief specific tips:
- Combo execution is a must as Zangief to force your opponent to stay grounded so that you can start your mix-up game. Spend plenty of time learning your bread and butter combos in training mode.
- As Zangief, refrain from jumping forward over too many fireballs. Be patient when closing in on your opponent and mix up your ways of getting around them so you don’t become too predictable. Focus-forward/back-dash, neutral jump, and KKK lariat is generally safe from 3/4 screen away. React to fireballs and other openings with EX banishing fist 1/4 to 1/2 screen away. Remember that when in doubt, blocking is a great idea. Don’t be afraid to block 1 or even 5 fireballs in a row at close range when looking for openings in your opponent’s defense.
- When knocking your opponent down in the corner, mixing in a normal throw is sometimes better than an SPD on their wake up. If they jump, Zangief will recover from the throw and have time to lariat on their way down. If they tech the throw, Zangief will still be in jab SPD range. Mix-up your attacks and bait your opponents to limit their options in the corner.
- Hot Tip * Walking 720 * To do a walking 720 ultra, you will need to do the first 360 motion then take a step forward and then complete the 2nd 360 motion. To keep you from jumping during the 1st 360, you’ll need to do something to keep you grounded. This first 360 motion can be buffered in from a variety of moves such as after a deep jump in attack or a short kick. The best way to practice is by using low short kick on an opponent to keep you grounded. So doing this from the left side of the screen, do a low short then buffer in the 360 motion using up, left, down, and right position during the short kick. Then keep holding right and take a step forward then finish the 360 motion by going from right to down, left, up + PPP. The key thing to remember is to do the initial up position as late as possible to get the maximum walk time.
Choi’s Key Takeaway:
Many people go to training mode and practice combos on a stationary dummy. But during match play, this will never be the case. Be sure to train a variety of situations by putting the dummy to jump, random block, etc.
Most grappler (Zangief, Hawk, etc) players place too much emphasis on landing the command throw and forget about the normal throw. As Vance mentions, adding in a normal throw to your arsenal gives you additional attack options.
This post is a part of the 7-day Street Fighter Pros Share their Secrets to Winning series.