You need to focus on one character to succeed in a fighting game. It’s not a rule, certainly, but that is the experience of so many players. And in the case of Guilty Gear Strive, that focus is essential.
Characters here are very different from each other. You can’t play Giovanna in the same way as you play Axl. Switching between fighters might give you a better understanding of the matchups, sure. But selecting the main and mastering their abilities on a regular basis — it’s a proper way to approach the game.
So, how do you choose your main character in Guilty Gear Strive?
There are many ways, in fact, but all of them (ok, most of them) might be categorized into one of these:
Let’s talk about each in detail.
1. Risky (but rewarding) — you take someone generally strong
However hard developers try to make their fighting game balanced, they still make some of the characters stronger than the others. Quite soon after the release (or a big update), the competitive audience inevitably distinguishes who among fighters is top-tier — and those characters become your top choice if you follow this path.
Guilty Gear Strive players quickly understood that Sol Badguy is very, very good at those fights. They shared this knowledge with everyone, and people started picking Sol from the very beginning of their in-game journey.
After a few esports tournaments (and many online matches), some other characters made their way to the top, such as May and Giovanna. At this point, the community has formed Tier Lists of Guilty Gear Strive characters — like one linked here. The risky way of choosing your main is to take anyone from the S/A Tier.
It’s actually pretty much effective as the ranking of characters adequately represents their in-game power. People win tournaments with Sol (May, [put a name here])!
What’s the risk then?
Well, there are two. First of all, it rarely works like this in fighting games. Every player has their own strengths and weaknesses, and the character should support first and cover second. Your fighting style does not always correspond to the archetypes of this specific top-tier character. And if you don’t have enough experience with fighting games, you will not be able to know who is the best for you.
It would be appropriate to also mention here the very nature of Tier Lists. They work mainly for advanced players. You need time to learn the game, and only then the top-tier choice might pay off.
The second risk is how inconsistent those Tier Lists are. New characters join the fights with fresh DLCs. Existing characters get buffed or nerfed. Things change, and you should be prepared for that. The solution is being ready to adapt and even change your main.
The reward is worth risking for many players. Especially if you know the fighting genre — check out the pro’s recommendations and take someone you think is good for you.
Beginners might consider other ways.
2. Emotional (which is not necessarily practical) — play someone you enjoy as a personality
Guilty Gear Strive has a deep and somewhat complicated lore. You can acknowledge yourself with this world and its inhabitants by watching anime in the Story Mode and reading a huge internal encyclopedia.
Actually, the story is not as important as your feelings for the characters. You might love someone’s bravery or someone’s cunning. That general impression makes you choose who to play in the fights.
You don’t even need to watch the story. The official site has short descriptions for each fighter. And the game itself contains good enough pictures on the character select screen. As humans, we kind of know who we like emotionally and who is rather unsympathetic.
The downside here includes the chance to pick someone outside of your best fighting style or to land on a low-tier character who cannot unleash your potential. Yep, this way doesn’t seem to be very practical.
On the other hand, though, it might turn out to be the best way possible. Those emotions are important for us. Feeling connected to your fighting game character is the basis to play them a lot and spend many hours in the training mode. If the character represents your personality (or its part you want to highlight in the game), that has the power to outweigh all the downsides.
Take some time to figure out who you like among the roster. It’s not necessary to hurry with this decision. The personalities of Guilty Gear Strive are very different, and eventually, you will find someone especially for you.
3. Systematic (and time-consuming) — try out all of them, choose that one, totally yours
On paper, it’s the best way. You gain experience with all characters, feel your emotional response for each of them, and understand what fighting style brings you better results.
Yeah, it is definitely time-consuming! Do you remember that part about how different fighters of Guilty Gear are? So. to realistically say you have tried this one or that one, you should invest quite a few hours in playing them.
- Learn the basics in the Training mode;
- Complete Arcade;
- Enter Online Lobby (which is great multiplayer thanks to rollback netcode);
- Bring the character at least to Level 30-50.
The problem is that you have to repeat these steps again and again. It’s a very beneficial process, though. You understand the game better, so going down to Lvl 1 feels differently. Your progress accelerates, and your skills improve.
The input patterns are general for all characters. The more you play, the better you follow the pace of fights, and the fewer execution errors you have.
Also, The fighters you learn become your opponents — and you already know what they are capable of and what to do against them. You learn the matchup and become a better player.
The time you spend is not wasted. Still, the time needed is significant.
Some additions to this way of choosing your GG Strive main are:
- You may start with top-tier characters;
- You may choose the most interesting for you (emotionally) among top-tier characters;
- You may move down through a Tier-List and stop whenever you feel like;
- You may choose your preliminary main and return to practicing them from time to time;
- You should enjoy this long process. It’s probably the key rule. The game should be fun for you to play so that you are self-motivated to train and come through difficult periods. And that depends mostly on your attitude — stay on the fun, lighthearted side.
Which way do you think is the best? But wait a moment! Did someone say you have to follow one path only? You have an infinite amount of choices and the freedom to change your decisions. You are unique, and your approach to choosing the main character in Guilty Gear Strive might be unique as well.
The article is not a step-by-step instruction (well, it only partially is). Take it more as a bunch of tips that help you to make the best decision. Follow one of the ways or mix them, it’s all up to you. Just don’t forget the most important thing — have fun playing!