Zangief has plenty of tricks and shenanigans, but a very solid, basic Vega can keep him locked down with just normals.

Sit at mid screen and watch what he does. You have one button that kills all his air attacks, and one button that stops all his ground pressure. That’s all you need to win.

His Cyclones hit a lot of your poke normals and specials. If you see a punch Cyclone, punish with a slide. Be careful of a kick Cyclone which recovers fast into a jump in – you only want to slide if it’s in time to at least make him block after the kick version. C.HP can sometimes hit him out of it but it’s 50/50. FBA claw is also great against Cyclone, you want to press the button early to hit him on top of his head which will avoid trades. Doing nothing is a great option against Cyclone too, let him charge all day since he’s never getting in to spend that super.

Most of Zangief’s normals aren’t that great. His C.HK is the best one, it’s fast and decent range and he gets a setup after the knockdown. Stay out of its range and counter it with S.HP and S.MK. All his other normals and specials are easy to ignore at the ideal half screen distance. You can always punish green hand and bear grab with a poke.

All his jump options are destroyed by C.HP. At halfscreen you’ll hit him on the way down and at sweep range you’ll hit him on the way up.

C.LP and S.MK are the other decent normals he uses a lot, but you can outrange these with your S.HP and C.HP.


  • Good Zangiefs won’t Cyclone against FBA, they’ll use C.HP which beats your claw attack clean. If you see this, steer around him for a grab from behind. But don’t abuse it because then he can go back to Cyclones.
  • NJ.MK is good to stick out from sweep range. It beats anything he uses to get close.
  • If you’re FBA spamming him, watch out for his neutral jump headbutt which can dizzy you in an instant. The hitbox on it sucks, but if you’re trying to cross over him it can surprise you.