Are you confused what to pick in Guilty Gears Strive? Too many options but little information? Saintcola is here to help you understand which characters are best for your playstyle.

One of the most daunting parts of starting a new fighting game has little to do with executing complex combos or getting over the lumps that come with learning – it’s the choice at the character select screen. With so much variance between each fighter’s toolkit in Guilty Gear Strive, just settling on one is an absolute chore.

Sometimes, this sends the indecisive into a spiral where they never quite commit to a single warrior, stifling their growth and spoiling the discovery phase. To circumvent the possible impending chaos, we’ve done the calculus on the cast and broke them down to basics to make your decisions easier.

Sol Badguy – Close Range Type

When you truly wanna hurt them, you won’t go wrong selecting Sol. This bruiser is the self-insert of the creator, Daisuke Ishiwatari, so of course he’s going to be a solid starting option. Sol’s all about plus frames and keeping close to his opponent, and can cover his approach with the Gunflame projectile.

All of his buttons have an obvious purpose too, making him a fantastic stand-in for just learning the game. He may lack in mixups and fancy tricks, but punching things real hard gets the job done just fine in Guilty Gear Strive.

Anji Mito – Counter Type

It’s not enough for Anji to simply pressure his opponents with his Fuujin rekka-mixups. He also enjoys countering incoming attacks with his autoguard moves to turn the tide immediately back in his favor, long walks on the beach, and dogs.

This creates a rotating offensive style of play that can loop back into defense when necessary, provided you time his counter-based Suiegtsu No Hakobi spins correctly.

And once he gets them down on the ground, he can put a Shitsu butterfly projectile to keep the rest of the cast seated. He’s a little on the slow side, but hard to stop when he’s making the right reads on what his enemies want to do.

Axl Low – Long Range Type

If you have problems letting people in, Axl won’t be of any assistance. The sickle wielder’s objective is to keep his opponents at bay with his long-range hits.

Sickle Flash, the bread and butter of his special attacks, has followups to control the pace of the match on the ground. If they do intend to approach him, he can stop time with the Overdrive move One Vision for some cheap hits.

Axl won’t be doling out devastating amounts of damage, but the death-by-a-thousand-small-cuts comes faster when he’s got Tension meter to spend.

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Chipp Zanuff – Speed Type

For those who have a need for speed, Chipp will satiate that urge. His ninja-flavored maneuverability allows him to quickly close the gap and mount a seemingly endless offense.

Blocking won’t save them forever, as he also has a Genrou Zan command grab to grip up their defense.

Low health means he’s paper thin on defense, but if they can’t hit you, will it really matter? Chipp requires more technicality than others, but is well worth an investment of time.

Faust – Unique Zoning Type

Despite his decrepit design, Faust’s gameplan actually isn’t too tough to dissect. It’s based around memorizing his What Could This Be? special move, where he unleashes something random from his pocket to assist him in battle.

Sometimes, it’s a horn that either you or your opponent can pick up to summon a cavalcade of mini-Faust dolls, and other pulls might even contain donuts that revitalize your health. If your luck is lottery ticket level, you might get a downpouring of meteors blanketing the screen. Surgically comboing off the pandemonium will ensure your opponents don’t get a chance to play.

Giovanna – Rushdown Type

Simple, straightforward, but not without sauce, Giovanna is tailor-made for those who want a more pared-down character devoid of the usual wackiness Guilty Gear fighters comes with.

That doesn’t mean simplicity is without depth, as the more Tension meter she and her dog friend have, the more she hulks out.

This powered-up form forces players to find a balance between when to spend the bar for Roman Cancels or keep it for the enhanced damage.

Giovanna’s speedy dash and frame traps make her a threatening in-fighter, so play Giovanna if you like getting up close and personal.

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I-No – Movement Type

I-No is a witch whose game plan isn’t one note. Her dash differs from others as it lets her float off the ground and easily smash an overhead on the opponents not blocking right.

If need be, she can switch it up and go low to catch their toes. To do this safely, I-No can toss out an Antidepressant Scale projectile to lock players down.

When her feet hit the earth, she can perform the special move Stroke the Big Tree to skate through the stage and duck under enemy projectiles or begin close-range combat. I-No’s focus is about making others guess high low which way did she go.

Ky Kiske – All Rounder Type

The Home Depot of Guilty Gear Strive, Ky Kiske has a tool for nearly every situation. Fireballs for zoning? Aisle 10. How about dragon punches for anti-airs? Left-hand side, beside the cabbages.

To add, a few of his moves slather the opponent in Shock State that enhances the next attack landed to continue pressure.

To further tip the scales in your favor, Ky can pop Dragon Install after losing enough health to strengthen his special moves. Need a reliable jack of all trades? Ky won’t let you down.

Nagoriyuki – One Shot Type

This sinister samurai isn’t exactly playing the same game as the rest in Guilty Gear Strive. Other characters are encouraged to be aggressive without reprieve – but for Nagoriyuki, using special attacks fills his Bloodrage Gauge.

When at max, he enters Max Bloodrage which saps his health in return for stronger normal attacks. Fortunately, he can slow the rate of the gauge by using normal attacks that use his sword or stop it for a short while by taking a bite out of his opponent.

Juggling his bloodlust and thinking about every strike makes him hard but rewarding to play – when those hits start landing, they do a ton of damage. If the rest of the Guilty Gear Strive cast isn’t unique enough, Nagoriyuki will scratch that itch.

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Leo Whitefang – Stance Type

Anyone else showing their back would be an opening, but for Leo, that’s a core component of his gameplan.

This king can turn around and truly show enemies the stance. In this form, he can run through his opponent for mixups, deflect incoming attacks with his shield, and apply deadly up-close pressure.

When Leo is full frontal, he’s got projectiles to lock you down full screen and a reversal dragon punch option.

Peasants will shiver in fear of his run-through specials that’ll have them guessing, and the damage wrought for the wrong decision is a catastrophe. If you find yourself ordering some mix with your mash, enlist in Leo’s army.

May – Pressure Type

Visited SeaWorld one too many times? You can find solace in May’s playstyle, which contains a healthy amount of dolphins to swink incoming attackers.

Both versions of her Totsugeki attacks have a lot of forward momentum to constantly push players to the corner unwillingly. If you find them blocking too much, her Overhead Kiss command grab gives her a chance to combo after.

Did I mention a lot of her hits do big damage, despite her small frame? Add in some of the best juggle combos in the business and you’ll have your friends cower in fear at the name Totsugeki.

Millia Rage – Mixup Type

The floor is lava for Millia, as some of her best moments come from being in the skies and coming down with airborne-based setups.

Her pinwheel special move can get things going, and create a hairy situation for the opponent who has to correctly block in the right direction.

Couple that with the Roman Cancel system, and it can be hard to defend against Millia’s aerial onslaught, even more so without a meterless reversal.

Millia Rage can set up this pinwheel after any knockdown, so the opposition is on constant notice to not get swept off their feet. For the players feeling froggy out there, Millia will reward you well.

Potemkin – Grappler Type

Guilty Gear Strive resident grappler, and that means finding fun by watching others reel back in pain from every command grab you land.

Potemkin is all about setting up for dangerous hugs with every Potemkin Buster or Heat Knuckle grab he’s able to land.

The giant lacks mobility and can’t dash or run, so Potemkin has to walk others down menacingly.

Thankfully, many of his normal attacks fill the screen, and special moves like Hammerfall can absorb a hit while advancing. And if projectiles are impeding your march, Potemkin can flick them with F.D.B. or use his Giganter Kai Overdrive move to stroll behind cover.

Play Potemkin if you have fun being rewarded for reading your opponents like a book.

Ramlethal Valentine – Midrange Type

Other fighting games would have you zoning with plasma fireballs, but Guilty Gear Strive is built differently.

Ramlethal slings giant swords at the midrange as not only a stand in for projectiles but also as deadly pokes.

Tossing them can throw the opposition right into the corner, though without them she can’t hit as hard.

Finding the right moments to put their backs against the wall does lead into high reward – she has some of the best pressure in the business to keep them from leaving.

Zato – Puppet Type

For those who don’t want to fight alone, the reanimated corpse Zato comes with his little buddy Eddie to help him apply pressure.

Puppet-type characters like this require more thought to work in perfect tandem, and Eddie is no different due to him needing to pull from his own resource bar to attack.

However, getting used to the 2-in-1 package character opens up a plethora of setups and hard-to-block situations that leave your opponents scratching their heads and begging for nerfs.

That’s it for our guide to all 15 Guilty Gear Strive characters.

Stay tuned to esports.gg for the latest FGC news and updates.

saintcola - FGC commentator

saintcola

FGC commentator | Twitter: @_Saintcola

Ryan "SaintCola" Collins is an FGC commentator for Street Fighter 5, Guilty Gears and Granblue Fantasy Versus. When he's not casting elite fgc combat, he can be found streaming on his Twitch channel saint_cola.