How to select a main in Guilty Gear Strive

Guilty Gear Strive: A guide to selecting your main character (Image via Arc System Works)
Guilty Gear Strive: A guide to selecting your main character (Image via Arc System Works)

Guilty Gear Strive is the most newcomer-friendly game and, as evidenced by the past week, the installment with the highest number of newcomers.

This guide will give tips and suggestions on how to go about picking a main character to play. It is first important to understand why a main character is needed. To put it shortly, it’s to not suck at the game.

Picking a main character helps establish a clear set of goals and milestones that can be reached during the player’s time in the game. It is impossible to make progress when there are no parameters set in place to either measure or fuel said progress.

Put in the simplest words, playing a single character helps learn the game easily and improve faster at the game.

Guilty Gear Strive: A guide to selecting your main character

If new to fighters, avoid picking characters like I-No or Zato.

This has to be the first major point of the list because many make the mistake of thinking that learning any character comes hand to hand with learning fundamentals of Guilty Gear Strive. Zato-One and I-No mainly, have a huge number of gimmicks and unique game plans.

Executing said game plans are just an unnecessary and inefficient additional step to learning Guilty Gear Strive. It’s far more important to learn things like Faultless Defense, Bursting, Tension management and general footsies before learning the unique kits of these characters.

Fundamentals of Guilty Gear Strive come easily with easy to execute characters.

Assess strengths, weaknesses and play style preferences while playing the game.

There are a huge number of factors at play in any fighter game, and sometimes it’s hard to pin-point exactly what parameters are letting performance down. For reference, consider these two:

Is a certain degree of recklessness and an offensive play style a preference?

If yes, then picking a character like Sol or Giovanna where the primary game plan is to go in, mix-up and apply pressure is the best choice.

Is there comfort in keeping enemies away and making it hard for them to get in?

If yes, then characters like Ramlethal, Nagoryuki, Faust & Ky are good choices. The primary game plan with characters like these is poke and punish.

There's not much need to get close enough to deal damage, but, at the same time there won't be nearly as much ease coping under pressure.

These aren't all the questions that can be asked in Guilty Gear Strive but it's a start.

Learn the different fighting game archetypes.

The point before this becomes easier to explore if the primary game plans of the characters are known. Characters these days tend to be more unique and can't really be classified strictly, but labeling them can help dumb things down to some extent.

There are four main archetypes in fighting games: Grapplers, Zoners, Shotos & Rushdowns. There are obviously more detailed ways to classify them than this, but this is the simplest system of classification there is.

For more information on archetypes, watch the video below:

Make sure to play every character at least once.

This is a fairly obvious point. Don't jump to conclusions, check out every character in Guilty Gear Strive and understand how it feels to play them.

The easiest way is to mash buttons in training mode to see if the character strings some random combos together.

Watch high level gameplay or combo tutorials for every character.

Maybe if the character doesn't feel right or there's a lingering doubt if the character is even being utilized properly, watching experienced people play them in Guilty Gear Strive can help grant perspective.

If the combos look cool or there's a strategy that looks helpful for difficult matchups, then it could help reach a decision. Below is a combo-exhibition from characters of Guilty Gear Strive.

Or just wing it. These are guidelines more than hard and fast rules.

There are many great players in Guilty Gear Strive who just play a character because they like how they look and want to prove something. There are players who pick characters based on their role in the story of Guilty Gear Strive.

Having fun is important. While it is still recommended to get used to the game before committing to some of the harder characters of Guilty Gear Strive, it's fine if just the act of playing and not necessarily winning is fun.

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Edited by Gautham Balaji
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