[Top 10] SFV Best Grappler Characters That Are OP

There's no escape against these grapplers!


There are no Tornado Throws, Moonsault Presses, or Mexican Typhoons in SFV, but don't worry, here are 10 characters with great grabs!

Grapplers in fighting games can be the subject of a lot of hate from many players. Still, for a lot of people this archetype is their favorite and if one thing is for sure, is that watching grapplers in action is one of the most exciting things for a spectator.

SFV doesn’t exactly have 10 characters which we can reduce to the main category of “grappler”, so for this list, we’re counting any character with a command grab as an eligible candidate.


10. Clawless Vega

Street Fighter V - Vega Move List

The Spanish Matador obsessed with beauty has been around ever since his debut as a sub-boss for Street Fighter II, as one the 4 Kings of Shadaloo. However, only in Street Fighter V did Capcomadd a devastating command grab to his arsenal, the Grand Inazuma Drop.

In his previous entry in the series his claw would drop if he got hit too many times, but in this game, Vega can freely remove and re-add the claw as a weapon. When he’s clawless, he can use a dynamic grab that has the advantage of allowing Vega to keep pressuring his opponent right after the move lands.

Vega can follow up this move with several meatyoptions such as sticking out normals with enough range to counter hit an attacking, waking opponent, or even micro walk right into his standing light kick. If he does the EX version of Grand Inazuma Drop he can simply dash in for a devastating combo as his oki (okizeme/wake-up game).

Overall, adding this command grab to Vega’s already dynamic armory gives room for a lot of unexpected mix-ups and new ways to exercise pressure. Playing Vega has never looked better.

What Makes Vega Great:

  • Dynamic mobility
  • Great control on the airborne game
  • Vega can remove his claw to scare his opponent for incoming mix-ups


9. Necalli

Street Fighter V - Necalli Move List

This Aztec devour-our-our-ourer of souls was teased as Street Fighter’s next big thing when the first SFV trailers first started coming out, and he did have a pretty good run when the game was first released. But as the seasons passed, Necalli got more and more nerfed, which dropped his popularity big time.

Despite all this, there are still many skilled Necalli players all over the world and even though he has some really bad match-ups (with the likes of Chun-Li, for example), he can still be a very big menace on the right hands.

Necalli’s game plan revolves around finding gaps during footsies to implement some devastating counters. One of his Special Moves is the Mask of Tlalli, a relatively quick command grab that can catch a blocking opponent by surprise when dealing with Necalli’s pressure.

The EX version of Mask of Tlalli causes a wall bounce, allowing him to follow up with his uppercut-like Special. Also, if you want to go full Super Saiyan with his V-Trigger activation, this move becomes even more troublesome. With V-Trigger 1 it will deal more damage and the EX version can be canceled into his Clouded mirror. With V-Trigger 2, he can follow up the move with his Heart of Gold as a meaty set-up. Be sure to make use of this overlooked command grab to improve your soul-devouring playing.

What Makes Necalli Great:

  • Excellent counter character
  • Some of the coolest and unique V-Triggers in the game
  • Can control mid to long-range to some extent with his V-Skills


8. Alex

Street Fighter V - Alex Move List

A failed attempt by Capcom to turn him into the new poster boy for the franchise back in the late nineties when SFIII came out really damaged Alex’s popularity, but he remains one of the funnest designed characters.

Alex is a grappler, and he is so in many senses. Alex has one of the most diverse toolkits when it comes to his Special Moves as he not only has a move for each possible scenario, most of these are command grabs. The difficulty in playing Alex relies on knowing what to use at each given moment, as he has so many options.

He not only has his signature Powerbomb which is a grounded command grab with impressive reach, but he also employs a jump-in throw that can go over projectiles and an anti-air that only hits airborne opponents and brings them down to an advantageous distance. His V-Trigger II also enables him to use his Tornado DDT, which has again tremendous reach and can hop over crouching attacks, and his Sleeper Hold, which is a command grab that can serve as a combo ender.

Against Alex, you can’t escape.

What Makes Alex Great:

  • Grabs have outstanding reach
  • Varied and useful Special Moves
  • Original and unique types of command grabs


7. G

Street Fighter V Arcade Edition - G Move List

The mysterious President of the World has still too many questions associated with him, which we will probably only see answered in Street Fighter 6.

His unique gameplay system revolves around the Presidenticality Gauge which allows him to maintain a level system that goes from 1 to 3 throughout the match, being so that by each level up, his Special Moves gain additional properties. G can charge up his levels manually and he can even cancel his Special Moves into this charge.

And if your opponent is knocking you down too many times, dropping your Presidentiality Level in the process, you can have access to his V-Trigger 1, which allows him to use all his Specials as if they are all in Level 3 and even gives him access to an additional projectile with V-Skill 1.

The best thing about G’s design is that it focuses more on building the Presidentiality Level than the actual blue meter, and when you reach that Level 3 then you basically have an endless meter until you get knocked down. Speaking in the context of G as a grappler, the main purpose of G’s command grab is to launch the opponent in the air to be followed with a signature G juggle combo. Power to the Earth!

What Makes G Great:

  • Enormous offensive threat
  • Long reach
  • Command grab is slow but can initiate devastating combos


6. E. Honda

SFV Champion Edition - E. Honda Move List

This bulky sumo wrestler has been tackling and slamming foes around his bathhouse since 1991 and it looks like he will continue to be with us for some years to come.

Edmond Honda can switch from turtling strategies straight to bullying and brawling. His normals generally have huge hitboxes, his Hundred Hands Slap is safe on block, he has tons of anti-air options, and has some of the biggest health and stun bars in the whole game.

Honda can easily close out some distance with his Sumo Headbutt, which can be used as a merciless counter move, and he is even equipped with a command grab that can devastate even the strongest of enemies if they get too close. Both his V-Triggers can act as combo enders and he has tools like his V-Skill 1 that help him handle zoning tactics like fireball spamming. 

Also, you can get ready for a lot of rage quits from your opponents, as losing to E. Honda continues to generate salty and frustrated playerson the other end of the screen, even 30 years after the character first debuted.

What Makes E. Honda Great:

  • Bulky resilience
  • Clear and consistent gameplan
  • V-Trigger 2 also gives him a command grab with corner carry


5. Birdie

Street Fighter V - Birdie Move List

Birdie’s a British punk with a bad attitude that will steamroll whoever he’s fighting against without them even knowing what hit them. A dim-witted brute alright, but a force to be reckoned with.

His normals are just too good, with his crouching jab serving as a scary poke in neutral and his crouching strong acting as a shamelessly cheap anti-air with a massive hitbox and small room for error. He has a fantastic array of different Special Moves at disposal, including an anti-air headbutt, another headbutt that can be canceled into his Critical Art, a long-range chain attack, and two outstandingly damaging command grabs, one of which even allows Birdie to use it at a distance from his opponent.

On top of all this, Birdie can also make use of miscellaneous gimmicks such as dropping a banana peel on the ground, preventing the opponent from getting close, throwing an empty can with a lot of mix-up potential, and spitting out a bubble gum balloon. His lack of speed can also be overcome with his V-Trigger 1 which makes Birdie not only faster but also increases the damage output of his attacks.

What Makes Birdie Great:

  • Big body with big hitboxes
  • Large arsenal of Special Moves
  • Gimmicks that will catch most players off guard


4. Abigail

Originally a boss for the Capcom beat ‘em up game Final Fight, Mad Gear Gang’s former member Abigail is now part of the Street Fighter roster, and he’s officially the biggest character in all the franchise, even topping Hugo at that. And with great size comes great… OP potential?

The truth is that Abigail continues to decimate players of all ranks and expertise, and the complaint remains that you don’t really need to think much to destroy opponents with this character. He’s so gigantic, and his moves have so much reach that you’ll be beating fighters up and right without having them even get near you. And while it’s true that Abigail is slow and can be handled with fast rushdown approaches, we can’t forget that he’s a grappler at the end of the day, and if you get too close, you will suffer.

He also can add multiple gimmicks to his overall gameplan of smash and destroy, like summoning truck tires and making his heavy attacks chargeable and armored. But through all of this, the most frightening thing about Abigail remains his mad damage output. Each blow from this big dude will chip out so much life it will easily demoralize any contender trying to take this monster down.

What Makes Abigail Great:

  • High damage
  • Can deal with fireballs with his Giant Flip
  • Several opportunities for juggles


3. Laura

Street Fighter V - Laura Move List

Laura Matsuda is a free-spirited Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu grappler, and one of the 4 original new characters introduced when the original version of Street Fighter V was released in 2016.

The way you should play Laura is simple: get close to your opponent and have him guess if you will hit a button or go for a command grab. After all, she is all about these mix-ups.

Laura has ways to quickly close in the gap with her Bolt Charge and thanks to the slow fireball option she has with Thunder Clap, you have plenty of room for set-ups when your opponent is knocked down. She can keep playing mind games with her opponents by knocking them down, throwing a Thunder Clap, forcing them to block on wake-up, and then having them guess if she’ll hit or throw.

What Makes Laura Great:

  • Fantastic mix-ups
  • Overpowering set-ups
  • Puzzling mind games


2. R. Mika

Street Fighter V - R. Mika Move List

Rainbow Mika is the number one fan of the first entry in this list and she debuted on Street Fighter Alpha 3. In fact, SFA3 is the only main game that features Mika besides SFV.

Mika has multiple options and is a fairly complex character. In SFV, she has her tag team partner, Nadeshiko, assist her during her EX moves, Critical Art, and V-Triggers. Mika has insanely unpredictable mix-ups and has two grounded command grabs that have slight differences from one another.

With her, you need to basically constantly manipulate where you want your opponent to be, and as such, spacing yourself and utilizing the carrying and positioning properties of her Specials are what fuel her gameplay. Mika also stands out as being relatively fast, not only in movement but in attacking, which is not a common trait among grapplers.

The most dangerous and curious ability she has, however, has to be her V-Skill 1, which has Mika cut a promo with a microphone and makes her not only able to absorb a hit and even nullify projectiles with a mic drop, but also makes her next command grab much more damaging. If she cuts a full promo, the next grab will kill even an opponent with full health.

What Makes R. Mika Great:

  • Dazzling fast for a grappler
  • Can determine opponent’s landing point purely on convenience
  • Can quickly cut distances with Flying Peach


1. Zangief

Street Fighter V - Zangief Move List

Topping off our list is of course the original grappler of them all. Debuting back in 1991, Zangief shaped the path not only for all subsequent Street Fighter grapplers but for the grappler archetype in Fighting Games in general.

Zangief’s goal is easy. To get close and grab you. This is grappling 101, and if you’re fighting the Russian wrestler you’ll need to keep him at a distance, which is not as easy as it seems despite Zangief’s slow speed.

His command grabs take out so much damage it never fails to amaze us, and in SFV, Zangief has a terrific air-to-air command grab to add to his arsenal that definitely makes up for him being missing his classic Banishing Flat. On top of this, his V-Skills allow him to gain armor while approaching the opposing fighter, making Zangief’s approach scarier than ever.

With a thrilling 720-degree motion input climaxing into the unblockable and highly damaging Bolshoi Russian Suplex, everyone should beware of the Red Cyclone!

What Makes Zangief Great:

  • Straightforward and rewarding gameplay
  • Multiple options to safely approach the opponent
  • Grabs with extremely high damage output


Love them or hate them, grapplers will always be part of fighting games, and they truly help deepen the multilayered complexity of the genre. Grapplers are fun to watch and at high level playing their matches will always be some of the ones with the most profound mind games going on.

Mastering a grappler is no easy task, so for those who are willing to main a grappler, hopefully, this list provides good insight on what makes each of these powerhouses a force to be reckoned with.


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Andre walks the path of a fighting warrior to pursue self-improvement and to break his limits. His amazing power of creative writing and his unwavering love for games are the source of his willpower.
Gamer Since: 2003
Favorite Genre: PVP
Currently Playing: Street Fighter V: Champion Edition
Top 3 Favorite Games:Street Fighter X Tekken, Grand Theft Auto V, Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood

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