Fighting Games Explained - Character Archetypes -

Fighting Games Explained – Character Archetypes

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A video explaining and defining the character archetypes of 2D fighting games.


0:00 – Introduction
2:14 – Archetype 1 – All-Rounder
4:13 – Archetype 2 – Grappler
6:33 – Archetype 3 – Rushdown
8:37 – Archetype 4 – Zoner
11:12 – There are only 4 Archetypes, right?
12:39 – Archetype 5 – Footsie
15:38 – Introduction to Traits
15:55 – Trait 1 – Big Body
17:16 – Trait 2 – Puppet
19:44 – Trait 3 – Glass Cannon
21:33 – Trait 4 – Shoto
23:11 – Trait 5 – Rekka
24:02 – Trait 6 – Stance
24:56 – Trait 7 – Unorthodox
25:53 – Conclusion

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Thanks to AWP for advice on characters & archetypes in NRS games.

Footage Sources:

– “Where ya curly mustache at?”:
– Eddventure – “Character Archetypes in Fighting Games”:
– Fantasy Strike Character Overviews:
– UMVC3 Health Icons:
– Daigo VS Justin Wong:
– Ice Climbers de-sync combo:
– D’Bo combo:
– Team Spooky:
– Capcom Fighters:
– VGBootCamp:
– NetherRealm:
– Various tournaments that don’t have a definitive source (Frosty Faustings, Combo Breaker, EVO)
– Max Presents: UMVC3 LIVES:
– That Blasted Salami (go watch their videos):
– Dustloop Wiki:
– Mizuumi Wiki:

Music Used (in order of appearance):

– Street Fighter 3: 2nd Impact – Dudley’s Theme
– No More Heroes – Time to Scream (Archetype Transition music)
– Street Fighter 3: Third Strike – Kobu (Ryu’s Theme)
– Guilty Gear Xrd – Engage (Potemkin’s Theme)
– Marvel VS Capcom 3 – Wolverine’s Theme
– Dragonball FighterZ – Frieza’s Theme
– Tekken 4 – Authentic Sky
– Skullgirls – Royal Canopy Waltz
– Street Fighter 3: Third Strike – Just Before The Battle (Trait Transition music)
– GranBlue Fantasy Versus – Grynoth (VS Vaseraga)
– Super Mario World – Ending Theme
– BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger – Marionette Purple (Carl Clover’s Theme)
– Street Fighter 3: Third Strike – Killing Moon (Akuma’s Theme)
– Marvel VS Capcom 3 – Phoenix’s Theme
– Super Smash Bros. Ultimate – Ryu Stage
– Super Street Fighter 2 – Fei Long Theme
– Guilty Gear Xrd – Stolz (Leo’s Theme)
– Street Fighter 5 – F.A.N.G. Theme
– Skullgirls – The Lives We Left Behind


  1. this video is exactly what i was looking for thank you. If only i had seen this video 2 years ago when i was trying to figure out why Karin was so different

  2. I am once again telling a talented fighting game tuber to check out hisoutensoku

  3. I have to say the game that its all stance characters is Bloody Roar. When they transform they not only change form, they chance their poses, hitboxes and even range, not including an extended move set.
    And I can say that, as a Stun (the grappler) player, even when the plan is the same with the tranformation things become different.

  4. And then you've got Virtua Fighter, which defies most of the conventions discussed here. Zoners don't exist, for one thing, because there are no projectiles, weapons, or limb stretching to enable such a thing.

    In fact, classifying VF characters by how they approach mobility and reach doesn't really work, because almost everyone can be classified as an all-arounder. Instead it's more useful to talk about gameplans in terms of how they like to force nitaku. Things like attack cancels, charged attacks, grapples, guard breaks, counters, circulars, or low mix-ups, as well as a few hybrids. Grappler is this the only truly familiar archetype… but VF just has to make it weird, by having grapplers in basically every weight class, and by having the ninja be a grappler moreso than a rushdown.

    The only two standard traits VF really leans into are the big body and the stance character. And like a third of the cast is stance characters, each having a unique spin on the concept.

    But the end result is a game with 361 competitively viable match-ups, in a genre where getting more than about ten is infamously difficult.

  5. I loved this video! Always fun to hear breakdowns of the somewhat obtuse fighting game genre. I will say, I think basing some of the traits in the inputs characters use feels a bit too strict of a criteria.
    In particular, I think of Iori and Geese from KOF XV who are both characters who have Rekkas but do not use a qcf input to do them.

    A small nitpick but I liked the video so much and noticed no KOF reps so just wanted to point it out

  6. I feel like a good stance character would be Diego Brando from ASBR. (Or any Stand character lol)

  7. Huh, always referred to footsie fighters as fencers. Seems like a lot of em are, well- fencers?

  8. As a Charlotte main for decades, I feel like I'm just now starting to understand.


  10. I knew Phoenix had low health but I had no idea it was that low

  11. This is an AMAZING video, very well thought-out and entertaining in addition to being informative. Well done! I do have a somewhat minor gripe though…At the beginning of the video you specifically bring up "composite characters" as a an example of a character trait that's not inherent to an archetype, but then later in the traits section you neglect to bring it up again. I think it would have been great to talk about composites again as a way of rounding out the video, just discussing what sort of archetypes composite characters can fill with their movesets and showing that a trait can play into an archetype, but not be beholden to it, and vice versa.

  12. I'm surprised King from Tekken3 wasn't mentioned as a grappler.

  13. Whoa yeah man really cool video dude I freakin play fighting games past 2 1/2 years but started with Street Fighter II Mortal Kombat way back and was never 👎 very good really but now I want to get good right 😊what I wanted to say was Karin she is a technical fighter like Kim Kaphwan and Shingo Yabuki from King of Fighters

  14. Excellent video! …… what do we classify Yoshimitsu as?

  15. It is very difficult to fully box a character into an archetype. I have trouple pinpointing Squigly from Skullgirls, as she doesn't do rushdown, she doesn't grapple, she doesn't zone, and her movement speed is too slow to really call a footsies. I am tempted to call her footsie-zoner, but it doesn't sit right

  16. TH13.5 Touhou Shinkirou ~ Hopeless Masquerade has a four-stance system that's influenced by how you equip the characters' skills and supers, the game has a simple control system where you have light, heavy, and projectile buttons, using it and a direction (including neutral) allows you to unleash different moves, you also get eight slots to put either items (which are simple specials anyone can use), skills (specials that are unique to the character), spellcards (Character specific like skills, but are basically supers, complete with a bar you need to charge before you can use it), depending on what you equip, your faith changes towards either Shinto, Taoism, or Buddhism.

    Neutral setup are the basic form of each character, being obviously the balanced option

    Shinto setup character get their projectile changed to include homing properties and range that can sometimes span the whole stage depending on the character but with the drawback of the projectiles becoming fragile, unable to counter the enemy projectile, the homing property allows them to take unorthodox shots that Buddhists would get zoned by

    Tao setup character gets increased projectile speed that ha better durability than most, with the drawback being that it can be dodged easier due to the limited spread, the fast and durable shot lets them shoot through a Shintoist's projectile, opening them to close range fighting

    Buddhist setup character gets their projectile power, durability and stun maximized, with the drawback being that its range is so short it's almost melee-ranged, this high stun and high power lets them use projectile as combo starter that leaves Taoists in trouble as they have to get close

    Notable characters in this game that I'd like to point out are Mononobe no Futo whose gimmick revolves around using projectiles to set up plates around the field and then using specials to break them, which adds to her own special gimmick bar that powers up her attacks with more broken plates, Koishi Komeiji whose fighting style revolves around setting up a memorized move, whch are then suddenly unleashed when the situation is right (Usually by being in certain location and/or distance from the opponent), and Hata no Kokoro, whose specials lets her switch between three emotions or remove it, which allows her to switch between the four stance type by using the specials, one of her special is actually dedicated to changing her stance on command, and one of her spell cards is to randomly change the opponent's stance

  17. What combination would King Dedede in SSBU be?

  18. I prefer the term "Whiff Punisher" for Footsie archetypes

  19. So, is Phoenix Wirght a stance character or an unorthodox character?

  20. Out of curiosity, wtf does Faust in ggst count as? And is there any1 similar to him in Street fighter?

  21. you forgot composites, characters who has moves pulled from other characters movesets

  22. What archetype is vergil from marvel vs capcom 3

  23. Killer Instinct should have a wrestler character, and no, General RAAM does not count, and neither does TJ Combo, nor Thunder, nor Tusk, nor Aganos

  24. 6:17 I wouldn’t use Midori here. Grappling is something he’s good at, not his main thing. Rook, also from FT, is a perfect example of a grappler, and should have been used instead.

  25. I feel like there needs to be a separate scene for weapon fighting games compared to hand-to-hand. I loved the few references to SoulCalibur and Samurai Spirits but there's a lot more down that rabbithole than most people realize.

  26. Foudre arc? Wouldnt that make ky a shoto given its 214

  27. The quintessential footsies character in Smash would have to be Marth. He has long normals but no projectiles. His counter can nullify projectiles and his tipper makes his normals ineffective at close range, requiring him to play a mid-range game to be most effective.

  28. Gotta love that MacOS Text-To-Speech, am I right?

  29. This video is so cool and explains everything very well. It helped me understand how to design characters and know what best suits me when playing fighting games.

    One thing i was confused about is how stance is their own archetype as i seen in this video:

    But this video cleared up that it is not a set archetype so much as it is a trait.

    I think that both these videos show that while there is some debate as to how fighting gams archetypes work, there are a few things we all agree on in terms of what they are. It also shows that the way you play a character can depend on how you look at what archetype they are

  30. thank you for respecting the characters in fighterZ. instead of going like that other ignorant guy that said everybody is a rushdown character

  31. Guiie fireball cant be spammed , i dont get why everyone call him a zoner… it's because his normals have more range?

  32. Hit from FighterZ would be what type of character? A footsie maybe?

  33. This video helped a lot. It's so messy that a guide like this is always welcome

  34. Thanks for the amazing video, I watched the video you mentioned first, and then stumbled upon this video after rewatching that video for like the 5th time, this clears things up a little more. I'm trying to design a fighting game for my game series and am just trying to make an outline for what I want each character (and the game in general) to look like.

  35. One of my favorite characters is Rise Kujikawa in p4 ultimax because you can turn the game into Friday night funkin

  36. I love how Karin is just a Tekken Character. Like that's the beginner Tekken character. Command attack grabs. Works in footsie range. Annoys you with pokes and can't zone given that Tekken doesn't operate at all at long range even with 2d characters

    After saying all of that, I was like that's a Tekken character lol

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