A Grappler is a character archetype in the Street Fighter series.

Description[edit | edit source]

Zangief is Street Fighter's original grappler

Grapplers are characters who excel in throwing. While every character is capable of a standard grab, Grapplers have access to some of the best Command Grabs in the game, with wide range, high damage, good okizeme, or a combination of the three. Grapplers also often have above-average vitality, in exchange for less mobility, though various exceptions and options mitigate this flaw.

In Street Fighter[edit | edit source]

Grapplers in Street Fighter are highly aggressive characters that specialize almost entirely at close range, with tools to assist them close the gap between them and their opponents. In some games, a grappler's command grab can have as little as one frame of startup, making certain safe attacks punishable and changing the momentum of the entire fight. Grapplers also have tools designed to mix up their opponent, such as Zangief's Borscht Dynamite punishing opponents trying to jump away from his Spinning Piledriver. The main goal of a grappler is to force the opponent into guessing which option will be used, maintaining the offensive momentum instead of returning to neutral.

In exchange for their close range prowess, grapplers are at a disadvantage against characters with safe pokes or projectiles. At fullscreen to midscreen, they will often be forced to make "hard reads", or highly committal options in anticipation of their opponent's moves in order to get closer. Should they be successful, grapplers can assault their opponents with their superior knockdown pressure and powerful mixups.

Grapplers often have useful pokes of their own. Though they do not lead to pressure, they are considerably safer options used to whittle down opponents throughout the match, making the threat of a command grab more prominent.

Mobile Grapplers[edit | edit source]

Makoto is the original "Mobile Grappler", described as a "Mini Zangief"

Mobile grapplers have more mobility options and offensive tools than the standard grappler, but often sacrifice their primary command grab's strength to compensate, along with having less health. While their overall gameplan remains fairly similar, mobile grapplers focus less on landing a command grab and more broadly maintaining an offense through combos and resets. An example of this is Makoto, who uses her slower, less-damaging Karakusa to deal significant damage against opponents that attempt to parry or throw her.

Non-Grapplers with Command Grabs[edit | edit source]

There are multiple characters who have command grabs that are not grapplers, who often use it as an option to surprise their opponent rather than making it a major component of their offense. Examples include Yun and Yang, who use Zenpou Tenshin to surprise opponents and start combos, or E. Honda, who uses Oicho Throw following his Hundred Hand Slap pressure.

Certain Super Combos are command grabs but have enough startup to be dodged by a jump on reaction, such as Ibuki's Yoroitoshi or Balrog's Dirty Bull. Rather than being used for mixups, these command grabs are designed to be punish tools against attacks that would normally be considered safe, in a similar manner to how a "true grappler" uses their one-frame command grab.

In the corner, some characters have throw loops where they threaten the opponent with consecutive normal throws in a similar manner of pressure to a command grab, though this is often not considered a main form of playstyle as the throw can be teched and is often reduced through revisions and patches.

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