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Zangief by kwix29

Version: 1.20 | Updated: 04/10/09

The Red Cyclone FAQ
Version 1.10
Last Updated Feb. 28, 2009

Dustin M. Kulwicki
AIM: L kwix L
PSNID: k-wix
No 360, sorry.

Version History 

 - Fixed a few Typos
 - New Strat added 'Block - And THEN throw' 
 - Added more info to the Lariat sections.
 - Major updates to Match-Ups section.
 - Abel Section Touched Up
 - Added Akuma Section
 - Added Balrog Section
 - Added Blanka Section
 - Added & Fixed Cammy Section
 - Fixed up Ken Section (why do they always Shoryuken?)
 - Added Ryu Section. 
 - Added Sagat Section.
 - Fixed up Vega Section.

 - More added on the Spinning Piledriver.
 - Found some interesting details about his Headbutt.
 - Changed Opinion on Jumping Sideways MK.
 - Added new strategy 'Doing A 360'.
 - New Combo 'Banishment' added. 
 - A Few characters better detailed in the Matchups section.

 - Faq is completed


1:  Intro
	1.1: Why Play The Red Cyclone? 
2:  Movelist
	2.1: Basic Moves
	2.2: Unique Moves
	2.3: Special Moves
	2.4: Super and Ultra
3:  Strategies
	3.1: General Strategies
	3.2: Combos
4:  Match-Ups
	4.A: vs. Abel
	4.B: vs. Akuma
	4.C: vs. Balrog
	4.D: vs. Blanka
	4.E: vs. C. Viper
	4.F: vs. Cammy
	4.G: vs. Chun Li
	4.H: vs. Dan
	4.I: vs. Dhalsim
	4.J: vs. E. Honda
	4.K: vs. El Fuerte
	4.L: vs. Fei Long
	4.M: vs. Gen
	4.N: vs. Gouken
	4.O: vs. Guile
	4.P: vs. Ken
	4.Q: vs. M. Bison
	4.R: vs. Rose
	4.S: vs. Rufus
	4.T: vs. Ryu
	4.U: vs. Sagat
	4.V: vs. Sakura
	4.X: vs. Seth
	4.Y: vs. Vega
	4.Z: vs. Zangief
5:  Credits and Legal

1:  Intro
Hey all - So im writing this faq for two purposes, the first is to educate and
help out all new and aspiring Zangief players. The second is to help myself
learn and understand how to play Zangief better. One of my favorite things
about the Street Fighter series is that its a lot like chess - easy to learn
and impossible to master, writing this FAQ helps me be one step closer to
mastering the ins and outs of The Red Cyclone.

This FAQ assumes you have a basic rudimentary understanding of how SF4 works.
I'm not going to go through and list out all the terms like QCF+P, I'm not
going to explain the focus system, EX moves and how they function. I'm 
assuming you've already played the game and want to learn how to play 
(or beat) Zangief. If you seriously find yourself at any point in this FAQ 
having a hard time understanding a specific combo or how i am explaining
things then just ask me. 

Another small note, This Faq was made entirely while playing the PS3 version.

1.2:  Why Play The Red Cyclone?
Zangief is one of the original powerhouses of the street fighter universe and
he is arguably at his best in SF4. He is primarily a throwing character and 
has an extremely strong presence in the fight.

 - Strongest throws in the game
 - Intimidating and commanding presence
 - Easy to use
 - Great anti-projectile game
 - Strong defense
 - Impressive damage output
 - Great focus attack

 - Easy to setup and counter
 - Slow and Obnoxious
 - 360 motions are a pain
 - Only strong when very close
 - Easily predicted
 - Weak combo game

2:  Movelist

2.1:  Basic Moves
I'm going to list all of Zangiefs basic moves and rate them between 1 and 5
stars. This rating is very general and just works as a basic guidline. ANY
move can be used well in proper circumstance, but still - I feel that (and
especially with Zangiefs moves) a rating system might help newcomers. This
general rating system takes combo potential, the base move, damage output, and
any other properties of the move and tries to score it based on those.

	Standing LP (***)
he throws out a quick sideways jab. This is one of Zangiefs quickest and
most efficient attacks. Easily spammable into a 4-hitter that deals about 112
damage. Another thing to note is the range - his jab has an amazing reach.
(for a jab, that is)

	Close LP (***)
another simple jab - this has a shorter range and he chops down instead of
sideways. again - also chain and spammable. Nothing much else to note. 

	Crouching LP (**)
Pretty much a mirror image of his standing LP. The biggest thing to note is
that it deals 10 less damage then his standing LP so try to use the standing
one whenever possible.

	Jumping LP (*)
Another mirror image of his standing and crouching lp - In my opinion this
move is not very good - its damage is small and its hit zone is also small. 
Since your already vulnerable once your in air, i think your better off doing
something else to try to trade hits with someone.

	Jumping Sideways LP (**)
A downwards chop that deals little damage, again - I think this suffers from
the same problem as Jumping LP - There are better moves to be done here.

	Standing LK (**)
So fast it looks odd, this move outranges his Standing LP but only by a tiny
bit. Beyond that, his lp actually deals more damage and is more combo
friendly. I'd suggest sticking to that.

	Close LK (*)
Another one of Zangiefs bad moves. This move has pathetic range and deals
very little damage. Beyond that, you can't combo it with much either. Stay
away from this one guys.

	Crouching LK (***)
Just fast enough to be spammed, his crouching LK is probably the best of his
light kicks in general. It has the reach of his Standing LP and because of 
its spammable nature, it's a safe move to execute.

	Jumping LK (**)
Not quite the damage of his Jumping LP, but solid reach and it has a slight
delay on it while it can still connect to the target. Not a bad move.

	Jumping Sideways LK (**)
Slightly better then his Jumping Sideways LP but there are still loads of
better moves to be doing with Zangief, the hit is so small that you really
can't link it to much. There are some clever throwing strategies by hitting
your opponent with a weak attack so he can act sooner so you can throw him
easier, but more on that later.

	Standing MP (****)
Zangiefs Standing MP is very solid. It has a decent reach, and comes out 
almost as fast as his LP. Whats even better is that properly timed you can
combo his standing LP into his standing MP which deals more damage then
his 4spam jab combo.

	Close MP (****)
About the same speed as his Close LP and yet connects almost as quick with
little downtime. You can combo this into either of his Lariats but it wont
connect with everyone. Ryu is short enough to where it will not combo, but
it nails Sagat everytime. Not exactly combo friendly, but nice for mixups
against aggressive opponents. They may try to attack into the lariat after
the medium punch.

	Crouching MP (***)
He shoots an anti air fist almost straight up. This move has little reach
but decent anti air properties. if your in a pinch with someone coming down
on you, this move can serve you well. 

	Jumping MP (**)
Better in every way then his Jumping LP, tactics aside. This move still
isn't very effective for Zangiefs air game. It works well if you predict
them to jump to you, but even then, you still have better options then

	Jumping Sideways MP (**)
Not bad, It's good for jumping backwords expecting them to jump after you.
But again i feel that in most situations there are better moves to use.

	Standing MK  (**)
It has a surprising range going for it, but thats about it. Has a decent
wind up and is very combo unfriendly. Still, that range is surprising.

	Close MK (****)
A strong, quick, fast attack that deals solid damage and combo's into his
Lariat for about 210 damage. Very nice.

	Crouching MK (***)
This move pulls Zangief forward a good amount and keeps him pretty low to
the ground. You can use this to advance on Sagat and dodge his high 
fireballs. That being said, Zangiefs Crouching HK does the same thing and
trips the target. His Crouching MK does pull him faster across the ground

	Jumping MK (***)
This move has a slight wind up, but hits a wide arc and does it quickly.
Its a solid air-to-air game move that zangief always has. 

	Jumping Sideways MK (****)
A great opener to many of Zangiefs combos. While not quite the damage of
his Jumping Sideways HK, it has great priority and stuffs quite a few
moves like Guiles flash kick. 
(Thanks to Robin Palm on this one) 

	Standing HP (**)
Deals respectable damage and has a rough windup, but the fact that it is
so hard to combo means that most Zangiefs will pass this up in favor of
Linking to other special moves. Pass it up.

	Close HP (**)
Quick and generally safe, It's combo unfriendly nature makes it very
difficult to recommend to anyone but newbie Zangiefs who have trouble
with combo moves.

	Crouching HP (*)
Has about the same range as his Crouching HK and has significantly more
wind-up time without the trip effect. I'd pass this up in favor of
Crouching HK every time.

	Jumping HP (***)
Short reach but a great lead in if your jumping straight up above a
target that just got up.

	Jumping Sideways HP (***)
Good reach, but has a large windup, I'd drop this in favor of his 
Jumping HK every time. 

	Standing HK (****)
This is one of Zangiefs best moves for a few reasons. #1: It has an
extremely long reach and great priority. #2: It pulls Zangief forward
very quickly, arguably quicker then his forward dash. It has a bit of
wind up, but the reach makes up for it. 

	Close HK (**)
Surprisingly similar to his Close HP in terms of how it works. It's
not a bad move, but again - most skilled Zangiefs will drop these 
big 1-hitter moves in favor of medium->special combos that deal more
damage and are exceedingly easy to perform.

	Crouching HK (****)
Pulls the Cyclone forward a bit, and is pretty standard for how trips
work. Zangief has some unique advantages to employ when a opponent is
fallen, so the trip effect is a big deal. That alone makes this move
worth using.

	Jumping HK & Jumping Sideways HK (*****)
In my opinion this is one of Zangiefs best air moves. It has some wind
up, but it has increadible reach, works well as both anti air and as a
lead in to start a big combo. You really can't ask for more. 

	Forward Throw (**)
Zangief grabs them, picks them up - and throws them forward. At any
point in the game where Zangief can connect with this throw, he could
be doing one of his Special throws, making this move almost worthless.
Theres a certain percentage of Zangief players who can do the 360
motion without jumping. If you can't do this, then you can use these 
to nail those hard-to-throw opportunities. 

	Back Throw (**)
Picks them up, and drops them backwords over his shoulder. Very cool
looking throw. This throw is just like his forward throw in terms of 
game mechanics - if your doing this you should be using his special

2.2:  Unique Moves
	Flying Body Attack (*****) ~Down+HP (During Angled Jump) 
Zangiefs FBA is one of his best air moves. The first big deal is that it deals
almost as much damage as his Jumping HK/HP attacks yes comes out FASTER then
his Jumping LK/LP moves. Thats a huge deal. The second big thing is priority.
Did you know that this move cancels a LOT of special attacks? Sagats Super
Combo can be completely nullified by a single Flying Body Attack. As if that
was not enough, the third thing is that its one of Zangiefs only air moves
that has a HUGE crossover property. you can jump right over most targets and
use this as your coming down and string it into a big combo. A wonderful move.

	Double Knee Drop (****) ~Down+LK (During Angled Jump)
Most early players and even some Zangief pro's will quickly dismiss this move 
as worthless in favor of the Flying Body Attack, However, this move has a 
unique property that makes it very tricky. It's more useful against tall 
targets, but it hits very low and stuns for a very short period of time. It's 
possible to jump in with this attack, then throw them AFTER they have 
recovered. If timed properly, you can fake out a lot of people with this move. 
The more you understand how throws work, the more you will see the advantage 
of this move.

	Headbutt (***) ~Up+MP or Up+HP (During Verticle Jump)
It is a respectable air defense and has good priority in general. The big deal
about this special move is it deals a monstrous amount of stun damage to the
target. It deals about 600 stun damage - to put that into perspective, the
move deals as much stun as three of Zangiefs SPD. That means it can stun just
about anyone in the game in 2 hits initially. That being said, its not an easy
technique to use and can lead to problems if you try to lure an enemy into
your jumps. I suggest experimenting with this only if your an advanced Zangief

(Special thanks to Damon on the headbutt stun effect. Robin was also nice 
enough to point this out - thanks!)

	Long Kick (***) ~Down+Forward+HK 
This move is a simple mirror of his Crouching HK. The difference is that it
pulls him forward much farther if your holding forward while you do it. This
is a fairly quick way for Zangief to advance while avoiding certain high 
projectiles. (Sagat)

	Focus Attack (*****) ~MP+MK (Charge)
Zangiefs Focus Attack is one of the Best Focus Attacks in the game. He charges
up and delivers an overhand choke slam. About the focus attack itself, the
move has a great range, even uncharged - it has an awesome range to it. The
real strength is that you can link ANY throw to Zangiefs focus attack. Even 
his Super Guage and Ultra Revenge combo's can be chain linked right into his
focus attack. Anytime you land one of these on a target, its an automatic SPD.

2.3 Special Moves


A Staple of Zangief since the beginning, The spinning Piledriver is the single
most damaging throw in the entire game. At any point you and your opponent are
standing within throw distance to each other, you should be doing this move. 
The first major thing to note about the SPD is that the range and power of 
each version changes quite a bit. Zangiefs Light SPD deals the smallest amount
of damage (200) but has the longest reach. His Hard SPD deals the most damage 
(about 240) but has the smallest reach of all 3. It's worth noting that all 3
of these outrange Zangiefs normal throw reach, and the normal throw reach of
any other character. Make sure you spend some time using the light and hard 
versions of this special and make special notes of the distance and power that
each one deals. There are many times when the light version is better to use
then the heavy. One last thing, This is a great defense against focus attacks. 
He can interrupt every single one of them with this throw. 

The EX Version of this move has the range of his light punch version and the
damage of the medium version. I'm still trying to figure out if using the EX 
move has different throw priorities then the other one, but one big thing to 
note is that if you miss, the downtime is much, much shorter.

(Special thanks to Jake on the advanced mechanics of the SPD.)

	ATOMIC SUPLEX ~360+K (Throw Range) 

Dealing slightly less damage then the SPD (230), the Atomic Suplex has other 
advantages going for it. the range is the same as the Heavy SPD, but the big 
thing to note is that instead of pushing the opponent far away after its 
completed, it literally leaves them right next to you. This is a very 
advantageous position for Zangief. One last thing, This is a great defense 
against focus attacks. He can interrupt every single one of them with this 

The EX version of this move actually outdamages the SPD. A very good move to


One of Zangiefs best moves, it stop projectiles if timed right and allows
Zangief to *RAPIDLY* close distance on a target. It moves him so quickly that
many Zangief tactics are made around this single move. It's also worth noting
that a common Zangief tactic is to attempt a Banishing Fist into one of his
two special throws. While this is a 'solid' tactic, there are many, many
weak spots. 

The EX version has the added advantage of coming out almost twice as fast(!!)
and hitting the target twice. The EX version also knocks a target down, once
again putting Zangief in that advantage position. 


Another one of Zangiefs great moves, the Double Lariat has a high priority
when it is initiated. It is also one of Zangiefs best combo moves. When he
begins the turn and brings that shoulder up, that hit can smoke a lot of
people out of whatever they are doing. The other great property of the DL and
one of the main reasons why Zangief has such a good anti-fireball game is 
that this move bypasses all projectiles while it is active. Another big thing
is that you can move forward or backword while your spinning. Its a great way
for Zangief to close distance against fireball spammers, and the fact that
his arms swing so high makes it a solid choice for anti-air. All that being
said, A smart opponent can trip you out of it pretty easy and if you get
spammy with it and they predict you, its an easy move to counter. You cannot 
EX this special move. One last thing to note, This move is very potent for
anti-air. If you find yourself having trouble dealing with enemies that jump
in at you, learn to crouch and throw out the double lariat JUST as they are 
about to touch you with an attack. This is also highly useful for enemies 
that like to crossover.


Very similiar to the Double Lariat, but it comes out a lot quicker. It only 
lasts about half as long and that makes it difficult to use against very slow
moving projectiles. It has all the properties of the Double Lariat but deals
slightly less damage. The real advantage is the difference in speed. You can
throw off predictions by mixing up your Lariats and coming out of them with
fast moving attacks like a EX Banishing Fist. Just like Double Lariat, you
cannot EX this move. 


Zangiefs Flying Power Bomb definitely has its uses. Once executed he raises
his arms and blindly runs towards his opponent to give him a hug. Each kick
goes a slightly different distance that he runs but he generally travels about
half the screen. If he at any point reaches his opponent and they are unable
to be thrown (like being on the floor, blocking, or jumping) he will
immediately stop his run and hug the air, as though he missed. If at any point
during his run he is attacked, he will take the damage and the move is
stopped. If he catches his opponent, its a special throw in which he picks 
them up and slams them into the floor. It deals considerably less damage then 
his other ones (200) but does put them in a good position for a followup when 
they get back up.

The EX version of this move is MUCH more useful then its normal counterpart.
It comes out a little quicker but the big deal is that Zangief can absorb one
attack (much like a focus attack) before he stops running. The move also deals
an extra 20 damage, making it just about as effective as his regular atomic
suplex. YOu can setup some insane tricks and tactics with his EX FPB. 
Initiating it so your running as they get up is a really good trick. 

2.4:  Super and Ultra Moves.

Super Combo
Final Atomic Buster ~720+P
Zangiefs Super Combo is basically an enhanced version of his SPD. It follows
all the same rules and properties for the way that throw works, learning how
to connect with it is key. It deals a massive 500 damage.

Ultra Revenge Combo
Ultimate Atomic Buster ~720+PPP
Basically the same as the one above - he's a bit more showy with this move,
but its a throw all the same and follows all those rules as such. It deals an
incredible 600 damage. 

3.  Gameplay
Here is where i explain some basic strategies for using Zangief effectively.
How to line up his throws, what not to do, how to close on targets, all that
stuff is covered here. 

By this point you should have a basic understanding of all of Zangiefs moves
and how to perform the properly and in a pinch. 

3.1:  General Strategies

 - Closing the Gap, How do you do it? 

Generally, one of the most common Zangief questions asked is 'how do you get
close' Zangief is a power thrower - so obviously his strongest power game
only gets applied when you are next to or close to a target. Getting close is
absolutely critical for the Zangief player. 

In short, there is no easy answer for this question. Every fighter is unique
and each one can emply different attacks to stop Zangief. That being said, 
however - The Cyclone has 2 'general' tactics to close the gap.

The first tactic is the jump game. Jumping avoids fireballs and a lot of 
ground-based attacks. Whats better is that if you land next to your opponent
you can *instantly* throw them. Many players initiate the throw game by
jumping to a target and getting an initial throw off and closing the gap from
there. The jump game is easily counter'd. Any general anti-air move will take
him down quick and his jump is average - its really easy to see common and 
since the tactic is so commonplace - most basic players will see it coming. 

The 2nd tactic is the Lariat/Banishing fist setup. Alternating those moves to
Nullify any projectiles your opponent has and how to get close. Popping an 
EX Banishing fist at an Ideal time can cover more then half the distance, if
you can bait your opponent into jumping forward - all the better. A lot of
times you will end up banishing fisting into them. From there you can attempt
a throw, or if you think your opponent might try a quick interrupt, try 
a focus attack or a jump, then a throw. 

 - Okay! I'm close! what do i do now?!
Throw them!!! Seriously though, this can be a tough question, especially when
your going up against someone who knows Zangief in and out. The real trick 
here is to try and predict your opponent if he's bunny-hoping all over the
place (obviously does NOT want to get thrown) then emply combo & anti-air
moves to stop him. Once he gets comfy on the ground, start throwing again. 
Another very good strategy is to attempt a focus attack, it puts up a barrier
that may get you through and if you DO manage to land the attack, its automatic
throwing time, which is great. Another popular technique is the Light Punch
Spam. It can throw someone off if you just jab at them from a decent distance
and even better - you can EX Cancel out of a LP into a Focus Attack. 

 - The Throw Game - Want to Win?
Its very important to understand when someone can be thrown in SF4 and when
someone can NOT be thrown. Especially with a character like Zangief. Trying
to blindly throw whenever you close with Z will get you punished. You must 
be sure your throws will hit. 

Anytime a character is being attacked, or blocking, they cannot be thrown.
This means you cannot do a light punch into a throw, unless they can act
again JUST before the throw. The only exception to this rule is focus
attacks. You can throw someone who is charging a focus attack. You can also
throw someone after you focus attack them as a followup with any character
in the game. 

If a character is JUST getting up, they have throw priority. That means if
your trying to throw someone right over them as they stand up, they can
interrupt with you something like a Dragon Punch. If a character is JUST 
landing from a jump, they are vulnerable to throws. Anytime a character 
jumps or does an air move and lands next to you - if you have free control 
of Z you can throw him no questions. 

 - Throws interrupt EVERYTHING.
seriously. This kinda goes hand in hand with The Throw Game, but you can
interrupt just about any move in the game with a throw. Ryu's Fireball,
Kens Hurricane Kick, Adels Roll, More then Half of Balrog's Moves? All of 
them can be interrupted by a simple SPD. Even focus attacks can be totally
100% interrupted by a throw. 

Another big thing is a lot of moves leave people vulnerable to a throw.
Rose's Soul Spiral, if blocked and she's deep enough, you can immediately
throw her after. Ken's Hurricane kick, even if it hits you, you can
immediately throw him after he touches the ground. Vega's Low slide. Any
Special move that ends with them touching you. Fei Long is another one.
Wait for those special moves and HAMMER them for using it. 

 - The wakeup game. How to fake out.
So you got your opponent on the floor, and your standing over them. This is
one of Zangiefs most advantageous positions because your already close.
follow these tips to maximize your advantage on a downed opponent: 

-If you hover over them try to throw them your going to eat it, but what if 
you block what they do (because you know they WILL do something to interrupt 
the throw) then follow it up with a combo or throw. This is really good 
against Kens or Ryus. You can wait for the Dragon Punch then punish the crap 
out of them after the block. 

-As they are getting up, attempt a vertical jump, At the peak of your jump, 
attempt a Jumping MK or Headbutt as a guard against any anti air they may
try. Timed right, they may just attempt to attack as you land. Since they
are attacking, they are now vulnerable to throws, Throw immediately as you

-Back up not quite the distance of a full back dash, but a decent amount
away, and charge a focus attack. This puts increadible pressure on them.
If timed right, and they end up eating it, go for a big throw. If they jump
no big deal, your still there. If they punch it may still go through. 

 - The Lariat Priority Game.
The initial shoulder hit has a high priority against a lot of moves. Since so
many opponents predict that you will try to throw them, they may try to do a
move instead of blocking. Using this to your advantage, time a Lariat JUST as
they are getting up so that initial shoulder hit slams them. You can spam this
and easily frustrate an opponent. If your opponent gets smart though, its very

 - Block - and THEN throw!
One of the biggest advantages of Zangief is his ability to capitalize on
opponents who don't perform full, fluid combos. If at any point in a match, an
opponent jumps in or gets close and starts a simple 1-3 hit combo that pushes 
you away, you may be able to throw them as the combo ends, before they can 
even do anything. Even better, once you get comfortable, you will come to find 
that you can even interrupt certain combo's and setups with a huge Piledriver. 

The basic idea here is to learn the distance of your Light Spinning
Piledriver, In all honesty - it has some Amazing distance for a throw that
deals as much damage as it does. After that, its simply a matter of learning
what combo's and when its a good idea to use it. One immediate example is that
many amature kens and ryus will jump in with a HK, then go for the crouching
HK sweep. If they throw the kick early enough, you can block it, and then
throw them as they attempt to sweep, even before they get through. 

Be wary though, certain combinations of attacks will simply push you too far
away or come out just too fast for you to slip in a Piledriver maneuver, its
a matter of trial an error, but its worth noting that certain characters are
MORE vulnerable to this style of play then others. For example, If you block
Cammys Cannon Spike, you can dash forward and hit her with a Light SPD if
your fast enough.

This strategy also works very well on Chun-Li and Rufus, they both have a
lot of oddball close-quarters combo's that can easily be punished - in most
cases even if you get hit by the combo. 

 - Doing A 360'
Zangiefs 360 motion can be daunting - especially to new players who aren't
very experienced with Zangief or Street Fighter in general. A lot of new
players end up doing random jumps hoping to land next to a target and throw
them instantly. This isn't precisely a terrible strategy in all cases, but
many times you can be punished for it and its such a common tactic that just
about everyone expects it. 

There are a few tricks to allow you to do a 360 on the gamepad without even
touching up. (WHAT?!) yea, here's a huge piece of advice. If you find 
yourself jumping instead of piledriving, then go into training mode and try
this trick out. 

Instead of thinking of the command as a 360' motion, instead think of it as
a 7-motion-direction-based input. What i mean by that is you don't actually
have to do a full 360 to actually trigger his throw moves. You only have to
hit 7 out of 9 directions to do it.

So, Try going from Forward, to Down-Forward, to Down, to Down-Back, to Back,
then just very quickly slide your thumb to Up-Back then hit punch super quick
to cancel your backwords jump into a throw. Practice makes perfect in this
regard, especially in laggy online matches. Just so you guys know, this trick
doesn't really work for his ultimate and super guage attacks, since they are

More to come later.... 

3.2 Combos
I'm not going to list lots of Zangief combos, as i feel he is not a very combo
friendly character but also because i like seeing others develop there own
combos and techniques. I will list the basics, and once you understand what
chains into what, you can go nuts with him and pick out what you like best.

The 4 Spam Jab Combo ~LP+LP+LP+LP 
(140 Damage) ~Difficulty: *
One of Zangiefs simplist and easiest combo's. Just spam the LP button for a
4-hitter. It deals very little damage but has solid range and is very safe.

The Chop Chop Combo ~LP+LP+MP
(152 Damage) ~Difficulty: ***
A simple variation on the Spam Jab Combo, this deals more damage but is
significantly harder to do.

The Red Lariat ~MP(or MK)+PPP
(210 Damage) ~Difficulty: *
You can link either of Zangiefs standing mediums into his lariat for some 
pretty big numbers. You can also tag a lariat onto his chop chop combo if you
want, but it may not hit as smoothly, depending on who your fighting.

Not Done Yet! ~PPP+Focus Cancel+EX Banishing Fist
(200 Damage) ~Difficulty: ****
this is a tough one, but if you hit an opponent on the shoulder of a lariat,
you can EX Cancel it with a forward dash into an EX Banishing Fist and follow
it up for some big numbers. You can even take the Chop Chop Into The Red
Lariat and finish them off with the Not Done Yet. Huge damage.

~FBA+Crouching LP+Crouching LP+Crouching LP+Standing LK+EX Banishing Fist
(322 Damage) ~Difficulty: ***
A medium difficulty combo with impressive results. As a general rule of thumb
linking any light attack to Zangiefs Banishing fist is a great damage combo.
Beyond that, it knocks them down and puts you in that good position. 
(Thanks to Robin on this one) 

Focus Throw ~Focus Attack+360+P(or K)
(362 Damage) ~Difficulty: **
This easy-to-do combo simply involves following up a focus attack with any
throw you want. The damage listed assumes you use his basic Spinning
Piledriver. If you use it with something like his Revenge Throw, it deals
about 590 damage. 

The Jumping Cyclone ~Jumping HK+MP(or MK)+PPP
(306 Damage) ~Difficulty: **
An extremely easy-to-do combo that yields devastating results. More then
either of his special grabs. 

Unexpected Driver ~Double Knee Drop+360+P(or K)
(290 Damage) ~Difficulty: ****
This is not an official combo, but it works very well. the trick is the timing
on the DKD. You must jump into the target and do this move asap. If you timed
this right, as you land they will recover and be open for a throw. 

More to come later....

4.  Matchups
I've tried to rate opponents on difficulty. 3 stars means a pretty even match
in my opinion. 5 stars mean its a hard fight and so on. Im only offering a few
tips for each character. More to come as I play.

	4.A: vs. Abel (***)
Abel is a very even match for Z in my opinion, Abel is a bit more combo
friendly and also has a devastating throw. Most Abel characters will attempt
to outmaneuver you by playing a range game and taking careful shots and using
some unique jump patterns. Remember that you can punish quite a few of Abels
Super moves and can easily throw him right out of his roll as he is going past
you. Beware his throw that catches you out of the air and don't forget your 
Banishing fist as it can really help you close the gap here. 

-You can throw Abel while he is rolling.
-You can punish his Change of Direction if you block all three hits.
-You can punish his wheel kick if you block it, and he's deep enough. This
  really depends on which one he uses, and where you are standing, so learn
  your distance.
-Beware his throw, understand how throw priority works and only engage him
  there when you have the advantage.
-Abel has a weak keepaway game that works to Zangiefs advantage. Be patient
  and take your shots when he throws them.
-If you corner him, watch for the roll and catch him out of it.
-If he plays a range game with you, tiptoing in and out of your throw
  distance, then switch to your Light SPD or EX SPD and throw off his game. 

	4.B: vs. Akuma (****)
Akuma fighters are very difficult for Zangief. He has some of the best 
keepaway game of all the fighters and has plenty of airial maneuvers to keep
even the best Zangief guessing. Generally speaking they will jump backwords
and volley you with air fireballs until they are more then half a screen away,
then they will resort to standing fireballs. A combination of clever jumping,
lariats, and banishing fists will eventually put Akuma in the corner. At this
point, Most akuma's will either try to jump over you with a crossover, or
teleport. Be ready to punish either of them. 

-Beware Akumas Dragon Punch, its one of the only moves i've seen that can
  interrupt Zangiefs ultra and super guage throws. That being said, block it
  and throw the sucker. 
-Akuma is extremely vulnerable to Zangief as far as damage and health is
  concearned, only 3 throws and He is basically out. Remember that even when
  things look bad, keep a cool head and get some hits in when you corner him.
-If he attempts to teleport out of the corner, immediately back up with a
  crouching HK. It will almost always catch him if your timing is right. If 
  your close enough to throw, you have priority here. Do it. 
-Learning to time and dodge Air fireballs is tricky, especially with Zangiefs
  odd jumping curve. Practice makes perfect.
-Beware that if you Lariat through a fireball, Akuma may close the gap and 
  trip you while you are still spinning. Even worse, he can usually jump in
  with a HK and follow it up however he wants. Because of this, try to use 
  the Double Lariat often so that you can recover fast enough to block the
  followup attack.
-If Akuma begins his Ultra or Super, and you are free to move, Simply Jump up
  or Backwords (Distance depending) and time it so you land next to him. Once
  you do this - you need to throw him. 

	4.C: vs. Balrog (Boxer) (**)
Balrog is a pretty easy win against Zangief. Time your throws proper and you
can take away just about every special move he has. you can throw him before
he reaches you and sometimes if he's deep enough, you can throw him after

-You can throw Balrog right out of his turn punch. It goes through attacks,
  but not throws.
-Many of Balrog's special punches can literally be interrupted with throws 
  if you move into them and execute either a normal throw or a SPD. Take some 
  time and learn the timing. 
-Many of Balrog's special punches are punishable by a light SPD after you
  block the initial attack. Some of them put you a bit to far out of reach, it
  really seems to depend on distance and the type of punch used. Gauge your
  distance carefully, and if he is close enough, throw him. 
-Beware his Rising shoulder, It has High priority and deals plenty of damage,
  but if you block it, He is totally punishable. Try to fake him with jumps,
  as it is his only air game. 
-Remember that Balrog is a charge character, put pressure on him with a
  Banishing fist or just advancing and he will typically come at you.
-Your Flying Powerbomb is a great move to use against his charge and turn
  punches as the moment you both touch, you instantly throw him. It's a great
  tool to throw him off his game. 
-Balrog's Ultra is very easy to combo and experienced players can nail it
  right into most combo's. Be careful when Balrog has his Ultra bar filled
  even to half and play a wait game with him - Especially if you have more
  life then he does. 

	4.D: vs. Blanka (*****)
A well played Blanka is an extremely tough opponent to deal with, his Electric
Shock destroys a LOT of your close game and since many of his charge attacks
put him in the air he's immune to throws. Beyond those simple things, Blanka
is quick and has a lot of unique attacks that are hard to judge and time. The
first thing i can tell you is that a well-timed Lariat and Banishing fist will
be your best friend here. His forward spin can be completely stopped with a 
simple Lariat if you time it right. Always remember that Blanka is a charge
character and needs a bit of time before he can come spinning at you. Putting
pressure on him is easy, simply Banishing fist as soon as you block either of
his spins and watch the distance fade almost instantly. 

-Beware Blanka's Electric Thunder, it can destory a lot of your throw game and
  Z has a hard time in general dealing with it. If you can lead him into it,
  it is punishable with a crouching MK or HK, depending on distance. Attacking
  to close will get you zapped.
-Banishing Fist is your best friend, use it to quickly close the gap and put
  pressure on Blanka, if you get close, throw him. 
-If you knock down Blanka, Advance and see what he does. If he goes into his
  Electric, You can punish him with a Trip attempt, A Crossup is also a solid
  tactic here, as it evades many of his spin attacks. Again though, watch out
  for that lightning. 
-If your quick enough with the timing, you can Blast Blanka Right out of his
  Rolling Attack with a properly timed Lariat. It puts him right on the ground
  infront of you which is perfect. 
-If lariats aren't your thing, Another sneaky manuever is to jump backwords as
  he performs his Rolling attack. Time it right and you will land together. 
  You can give him a nice big hug afterwords. 
-Watch out for his Sliding HP 'Amazon River Run'. It's a tricky move that goes
  under your lariat and it can interrupt you as your attempting a SPD. That
  being said, if your on your guard and block this attack, he is completely
-If Blanka switches to his air roll in an effort to throw you off your game,
  you can use your focus attack to punish him big time. 
-Beware the speed changes that occur when Blanka EX's his roll moves, they are
  one of the reasons he is so good against zief, they throw off your timing
  and deal a significant amount of damage and are generally very safe for him
  to perform on you. 
-His Ultra move is very tricky, but really, all you need to do is keep your
  cool and make sure you block high, after he is finished, dash forward into
  YOUR ultra, or a regular SPD. 

	4.E: vs. C. Viper (***)
I really haven't played many smart Vipers yet, but generally i've noticed that
most of her moves tend to leave her pretty open. you can EX Banishing Fist 
right up to her and get away with a throw a lot because she's busy trying to
set up a special combo. 

(I'll update this once i run into a few decent Vipers, do they exist?!)

	4.F: vs. Cammy (***)
A well played Cammy can be a big challenge, but Z has a lot of answers for
all of her moves, It's simply a matter of timing. The trick is a strong
defense and punishing answers to scare her into submission. Because you
have a strong throw, If Cammy at any point in the match uses Spiral Arrow,
block it and throw her. Repeat if necessary, eventually she will stop using
it and depend on her other moves. The hardest move to deal with is Cannon
Spike without question. It comes out super quick, has about as much
priority as a Dragon Punch and if blocked, it puts her safely out of your
throw distance. Even better then all of that, she's in the air while using
it so you can't throw her. Learning on dealing with this move will make you
very good at dealing with even the best of Cammy players. 

-If at any point during the match, she uses Spiral Arrow, block it and
  throw her afterwords.
-Her Spin Knuckle is also punishable, you can Lariat her out of it, or if
  you want, you can even throw her as she touches the ground after her
  short hop but before she throws out the punch. (This can be Risky!)
-Your Focus Attack is one of the best counters to her Cannon Spike, one of
  the hardest moves for you to deal with, the trick is to start it when you
  predict the move, and as soon as the hit absorbs it, let it fly and you
  will be right next to her when she lands.
-Your lariat can sometimes trade blows with her Cannon Spike, and will 
  interrupt a good portion of her air game if timed correctly. 
-Be aware that her Cannon spike has priority over your Banishing Fist, so
  you can be popped with it if you try to close the gap too obviously.
-The best way to deal with Cannon Spike is to block it, then dash forward,
  and execute a light SPD. You can actually punish her if you are quick
  enough and you time it right. 
-Keep a sharp eye on her Ultra bar, and expect it when it pops, Most cammys
  will play it defensively since it can be somewhat difficult to combo into
  and they will simply hope it rails you with the distance. If you block 
  it, you can punish her easily.

	4.G: vs. Chun Li (***)
Chun Li is deadly in the hands of an expert, but absolutely terrible in the
hands of an average skilled player. She has a lot of oddball and unorthodox
combo's, but even against expert chun-li players, realizing that you can
throw her out of a large portion of her combo's is critical. Stick close
and keep the pressure on her. 

	4.H: vs. Dan (**)
Dan's Air Hurricane Kick is a solid defense against Zangief's throws, but
properly blocked - you can punish it to a rediculous degree. His fireball
is terrible so that makes it all the easier for you to close in on him. 

	4.I: vs. Dhalsim (****)
I have yet to fight a solid Dhalsim, but i've learned him quite a bit and
I think he would be a very tough fight in the hands of an expert. His keep
away game is extremely good - possibly better then akumas. Smart Dhalsims
will throw ranged attacks at you and fake you out by teleporting all the
time. Try to track his jump and predict where he will land, If he tries
to do any of his special air attacks that send him a certain direction, 
just throw him when he lands.

	4.J: vs. E. Honda (****)
A Honda expert can wreck Zangief. His specials have a certain air property
to them that make it extremely hard to throw a skilled Honda player. Fight
him evenly and try to use your combo's in this instance. E-Honda is very
dangerous when you get close.

	4.K: vs. El Fuerte (*****)
I honestly believe El Fuerte is like the Anti-Zangief, he has a few setups
he can do to chain-link throws on Zangief. Since many of his throws put him
in the air, it makes it that much harder to counter him. 

	4.L: vs. Fei Long (***)
Depends on skill, smart Fei longs will stutter flame kick and bait you with
it. Dumb ones will spam the three punch combo that you can throw them out
of. Try to avoid focus attacks here, his fast attacks and guard break
attack will tear you right out of it every time.

	4.M: vs. Gen (***)
A well played Gen is hard to find, but he has some great specials and some
sick combo moves that you can't punish him out of with a throw. Try to play
a steady combo game here and only throw when your sure it will connect.

	4.N: vs. Gouken (****)
Gouken has some sick anti-air game and has quite a few moves that are hard
to punish, He can give you quite a hard time with his charging fireballs.
You have to stay close on him and maximize your throw potential.

	4.O: vs. Guile (***)
Well played Guile's can be tough to counter, they have a lot of very good
ground combo's and the Flash Kick ensures you can't throw them openly. You
gotta try to fake them out and throw them after the fact. you can lariat 
through the fireball but a smart guile can follow that up with a trip or
something you can't counter while your spinning. 

	4.P: vs. Ken (**)
Everybody loves Ken. And as far as i can tell, everybody loves beating Ken. In
my experience, Ken is one of the easier matchups for Zangief, he has a low
damage output and relys on flashy combo's and Super moves. Ken is easily one
of the most punishable characters in the game. For some reason every Ken is in
love with the Dragon Punch maneuver, as such, wait for it, and punish him for
it. The same applies with his Hurricane Kick. Once he learns he can't do
either of those moves, he has to rely on his combo's and fireballs which means
you can easily corner-trap him and play mind-games with him. 

-Lariat/Jump over his fireballs to corner him. If you get predictable or too
  close, you can get hit with a Dragon Punch or a Crouching Sweep, so be
  careful and try not to let him predict you.  
-His Hurricane kick is punishable if you block it OR if you get hit by it. as
  SOON as he starts hitting you, just start doing 360 motions and throw him as
  soon as the special move ends. 
-When Ken is on the floor, Get close and Block. When he dragon punches, wait 
  for him to come down and rail him for it. if he changes up his gameplan, and
  STOPS Dragon punching, go ahead and throw him as he gets up, or Lariat can
  do wonders here too. 
-If he starts throwing you or trying to get close, take advantage of this and
  throw him with your Light SPD, which outranges a lot of his jabs and throws.
-Try to avoid jumping, just keep getting close by bypassing his fireballs to
  put pressure on him. Once you get him in a corner, he'll have to figure out
  how to get past you. 
-If Ken Jumps in and Starts a combo, its best to block the super, which will
  probably be a Dragon Punch, then throw him as he lands. 
-Kens Ultra is pretty predictable, if you see it coming, simply block, and
  throw him when he lands - just like the Dragon Punch. His Super is more of
  the same, just remember to block the second Punch. 
-Another strategy for dealing with his fireballs is your focus attack. Many
  Zangiefs forget that you can start a focus just as the fireball touches
  you, then dash forward, like it didn't even touch you. This is a great
  strategy to put pressure on a ken that likes to fireball. That being
  said, you should be careful as if he follows it up before you regenerate,
  it can hurt. 

	4.Q: vs. M. Bison (***)
A well played Bison can give you a hard time. You can usually punish his
Scissor Kick, But his Psycho Crusher is harder to deal with. Play safe and
wait for him to make a mistake. If He abuses his specials too much then start
putting pressure on him by simply walking towards him. A lot of Bisons love
the low sweep, this is also completely punishable. 

	4.R: vs. Rose (**)
Rose is an easy fight. Her Soul Spiral can be blocked and then you can throw
her if she's deep enough, Her low sweeps are also easily punishable. You do,
however need to watch out for her Soul Throw, which can be very good against
a hoppy Zangief, but use Banishing Fist and Lariats to close and you should
be fine.

	4.S: vs. Rufus (**)
Being an extremely flambouyant combo-friendly character, Zangief has an easy
time crushing him. You can even jump into his specials and throw him out of
them. Most of his specials are punishable. 

	4.T: vs. Ryu (***)
Ryu is a classic, and still remains one of the most potent characters in SF4.
In my experience, he is much harder to deal with then his buddy Ken, This is
because Ryu has a bit more focus on simple, short, high-damage combos. 

-Lariat/Jump over his fireballs to corner him. If you get predictable or too
  close, you can get hit with a Dragon Punch or a Crouching Sweep, so be
  careful and try not to let him predict you. 
-His Hurricane kick is punishable if you block it. You can also attempt a low
  HK sweep if he sails over your crouchin guard and generally be safe. 
-When Ryu is on the floor, Get close and Block. When he dragon punches, wait 
  for him to come down and rail him for it.
-If he starts throwing you or trying to get close, take advantage of this and
  throw him with your Light SPD, which outranges a lot of his jabs and throws.
-Try to avoid jumping, he can almost always punish you with a Dragon Punch if
  he isn't throwing a fireball. If your going to lead in with an attack here,
  Jumping MK is your best bet. 
-Beware His Air Hurricane Kick and Jumping HK. They both have great priority
  and can really put the hurt on Zangief. 
-Remember that you can Lariat through his Special Guage and ultra Fireballs.
  Ryu is extremely punishable if you jump his Ultra, it takes him a very long
  time to recover from it. 
-Another strategy for dealing with his fireballs is your focus attack. Many
  Zangiefs forget that you can start a focus just as the fireball touches
  you, then dash forward, like it didn't even touch you. This is a great
  strategy to put pressure on a Ryu that likes to fireball. That being
  said, you should be careful as if he follows it up before you regenerate,
  it can hurt. 

	4.U: vs. Sagat (*****)
It's really hard to close and throw a well played Sagat player. Don't forget
about the low sweep trick to close faster while he high fireballs. Between
Tiger Uppercut, his Fireballs, and his Tiger Knee - He can bypass all of your
defenses if he's sharp and paying attention. your best bet is to try to bait
them into making mistakes here. EX Banishing Fist probably your best bet. Use
it to suprise him and get close, force him to make mistakes.

-Sagats Fireball game is fast and furious, they come out fast and are easily
  spammable, this makes it difficult to deal with. It's worth noting that you
  can crouch the high ones, you can even low HK while holding forward to inch
  closer, but generally - they come out so fast, that this is a difficult
  tactic to advance with. Once you get close to him, expect a Tiger Knee, or
  a Tiger Uppercut. Block and Punish is key here. It's also worth noting you
  can substitute MK instead of HK for an easier way to press the gap.
-Once you start closing the gap, or get him into a corner, watch and see how
  he gets away, if he uses Tiger Knee/Uppercut, Simply block it and throw him
  as he lands from either move. If he tries to jump towards you, you can
  attempt a lariat, block+throw, depending on the combo he attempts, or try a
  counter-jump and hit him with a HK or Headbutt. 
-Banishing Fist is a great way to break up his fireball pattern. Once you get
  it down, and as your landing from a jump, toss out a Banishing Fist and 
  you will close the gap even further. 
-When Sagat is on the floor, Get close and attempt a Block, most Sagats will
  rise with the classic Tiger Uppercut or Tiger Knee, you can easily punish
  either of these. If he gets smart and starts throwing or attacking, Simply
  Throw him as he's getting up with a SPD and show him why thats a bad idea.
-His Special and Ultra are extremely damaging, but easy to predict - much
  like Kens moves, and while fighting a Zangief, most Sagat Players throw it
  out in a defensive process, just like a Normal Tiger Knee, hoping you will
  be jumping and get railed with it. Remember that both of his specials are
  completely punishable if you block. 
-Sagats Standing HK is an extremely good anti-air defense against a Jumping
  Zangief. You can attempt a Jumping MK or Banishing Fist. If your close
  enough and predict it, you can typically sweep him out of it too. 
-Another strategy for dealing with his fireballs is your focus attack. Many
  Zangiefs forget that you can start a focus just as the fireball touches
  you, then dash forward, like it didn't even touch you. This is a great
  strategy to put pressure on a sagat that likes to fireball. That being
  said, you should be careful as if he follows it up before you regenerate,
  it can hurt. 
	4.V: vs. Sakura (***)
It's a close fight. Sakura has a lot of sick combo's that are hard to punish.
Conversely, a few good throws and she's going down. Her Hurricane Kick is a
real bane to Zangief because of its combo potential and guard break property.

	4.X: vs. Seth (***)
Play Safe and predict his teleports and take advantage of his oppenings. He
has a piledriver like you, but his deals significantly less damage. Don't be
afraid to get close and rail him. 

	4.Y: vs. Vega (***)
Vega vs. Zief is always a fun mashup. It's usually a close fight as tactics
get constantly changed when one player figures out how to stop the other.
The key to beating Vega lies in countering his leaping wall manuevers. The
big problem is that he has so many options that it can become difficult to 
figure out how counter each one. (Note: I don't fight very many good Vegas,
SO i will update this when i get the time) 

-Smart use of Zangiefs Focus attacks can stop a large portion of vegas wall
  leaping special moves. Its a great tactic against good vega players.
-Ziefs Headbutt move is a great way to counter some of Vegas leaping moves.
  It has great priority, its good anti air, and if you hit him with it more
  then once, you will probably stun him. 
-Most Vegas will attempt a Cross-up with the wall leap, if you block you
  can usually punish him, the trick is watching for it and blocking the
  right way. 
-Beware the backflip. If you miss a throw, try closing with EX Banishing
  Fist or even a low sweep to counter him. 
-His low sliding sweep is very, very punishable. throw him after you block. 

	4.Z: vs. Zangief (***)
-Combos are your friend here, try to mix things up and don't get predictable.
-Remember your throw priority and ensure that you have it more then he does.

5.  Credits and Legal

Thanks to Kyle, Joe, Tyler and all my opponents online who helped me discover
all these strategies and tricks. Also thanks to Gamefaqs.

This may not be reproduced under any circumstances except for personal, 
private use. It may not be placed on any web site or otherwise distributed 
publicly without advance written permission. Use of this guide on any other 
web site or as a part of any public display is strictly prohibited, and a 
violation of copyright.

Copyright 2009 Dustin M. Kulwicki

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