[Top 5] SFV Best Defensive Characters That Are Great

street fighter v best defensive characters
These fighters pose a massive wall for those trying to breach their defense.

Who are the best defensive characters in Street Fighter V?

Street Fighter V is a far more offensive game than other entries in the series. Still, since SFV is a footsies, ground-based game, blocking is one of the most important aspects of the game, and since many characters tend to go toward the offensive route, having good defense can be a key aspect to winning.

Bear in mind that a good defense is much more than it may seem. Having good defense means having good health and stun to make sure you can take a hit. It means having a playstyle that benefits from blocking and fast normals to punish your opponent accordingly. Having great defense includes having good reversal options, as well as counter-attacks.

For this list, we are counting down the characters that most benefit from using a defensive playstyle, and how each of them does it in their own, unique way.


5. F.A.N.G

Vegapatch (Fang) amazing! Street Fighter V Champion Edition SFV CE

When F.A.N.G first debuted he did not have a great following. In fact, to this day F.A.N.G remains one of the least used characters in the entire game. This is in part due to his status as one of the 4 Kings of Shadaloo, replacing the fan-favorite Sagat, but also due to his unorthodox playstyle.

Usually, having an unique gameplay is very beneficial and something to look for in any fighting game, but there is something about F.A.N.G and his poison abilities that is an instant turn-off for the majority of people. His whole game plan revolves around trying to poison the opponent with specific moves. After the opponent is poisoned, their health bar will be continuously drained until they get a hit back on F.A.N.G, and once they do, they escape the poisoned state.

This means that after F.A.N.G successfully poisons his opponents, whether with his special moves or V-System, he must play a game of cat-and-mouse with them, using all his available zoning skills to keep them at bay. He also has a ton of evasion tactics implement in his gameplay design, such as his V-Reversal, his pseudo-flight or his Nikankyaku, making him a tough character to get to after he poisons you at the slightest chance.

What Makes F.A.N.G Great:

  • Unique poisoning system
  • Spectacular evasiveness 
  • All his specials and V-System are intertwined and serve different aspects of the same purpose


4. Balrog

Brian_F (Balrog) best NA boxer Street Fighter V Champion Edition SFV CE

Balrog is an absolute terror for any character he fights against. Being mostly a counter-attack character, Balrog relies on good reads on the opponent and attacks launched at perfect openings. As Balrog can deal a lot of damage, dealing with him can be pretty overwhelming.

His Dash Straight is mildly safe on block and a surprisingly great poke, that causes big damage and is fast enough to catch an opponent off guard. He can deal with fireballs and the like with the help of his V-Skill 1 and his Turnaround Punch, and he has multiple ways to anti-air. This, together with a fast 3-frame normal that can start a Target Combo, grant him an amazing defense.

What also makes Balrog great is the number of options he has to combine his moves together, which means that even though he’s a very grounded character, he can be extremely hard to read. When Balrog approaches, he can safely strike from a standing position, sneakily attack low, launch the opponent into the air or even go to a throw. That’s why it’s so tough to play against him, as he can create tension in any situation, regardless if he’s attacking or defending.

What Makes Balrog Great:

  • 3-frame normal gives him big punish potential
  • High-damage output
  • His counter-attack design allows him to create great combo conversions out of a multitude of scenarios


3. Menat

Rikemansbarnet (Menat) is amazing! Street Fighter V Champion Edition SFV CE

Menat is one of the most complex characters in Street Fighter history. Her punch normals all revolve around throwing her orb at the opponent from a distance, making her a full zoning character, and her special moves revolve around shooting her orb against and behind the opponent and then bringing it back for complete fullscreen coverage. If the opponent tries to go from above with a jump-in, Menat has her crouching fierce and crouching roundhouse which both serve as excellent anti-airs, as well as the EX version of Guardian of the Sun.

She is not only great at dealing with characters trying to get in, such as rushdowns or grapplers, but also great at dealing with other zoners, as she can reflect fireballs with her V-Skill 1 and advance below them with her unique attack Judgment of Anubis. If you can get past the insane complexity of her combos and especially her V-Trigger 1, which allows you to control 6 different orbs individually with your buttons, your opponent will not get anywhere near you.

Menat can very easily slow down the pace of a match to her advantage, and she has all the tools necessary to succeed at that. Her zoning is in fact so great that can burn down every second of a round just defending and not letting the opponent approach her, without ever needing to go on the offensive. This means that really mastering Menat requires a lot of time invested in learning the complexity of her playability, as well as the overflowing patience that is required to play her at the highest level.

What Makes Menat Great:

  • Insane range for anti-airs
  • Set-ups by placing the orb behind the opponent, ready to explode or cross the screen at any time
  • Can play entire sets at a distance, defending, zoning, and reflecting projectiles


2. Guile

Daigo Umehara (Guile) master Street Fighter V Champion Edition SFV CE

Guile is not only one of the best defensive characters, he is actually one of the best characters in the entire game. His two special moves, the Sonic Boom and the Flash Kick, are more than enough to make him a top contender.

Sonic Boom is arguably the best projectile in the game, in terms of range covered, control, and recovery time, and Flash Kick is an extremely effective anti-air, as well as a combo ender a great reversal in its EX version.

What makes Guile stand out even further are his amazing normal moves. Satisfying to hit, with great range and great damage, he has it all. This is particularly true in regard to his upside-down kick, back fierce crush counter, and iconic backfist.

Guile is also a charge character, meaning that he is prone to be blocking most of the time, in order to build charge. Both his V-Triggers are among the very best and he is even the only character who can walk while crouching, making it easier for him to approach a zoner. This American is a menace for any player, and it can be painfully hard to get past the wall that they call Guile.

What Makes Guile Great:

  • One of the best zoners in the game
  • Brilliant normals in neutral
  • One of the best anti-air characters in the game


1. E. Honda

GustC (E.Honda) is amazing! Street Fighter V Champion Edition SFV CE

Edmond Honda is an original Street Fighter II character and he has gathered as much hatred as love from the Street Fighter fanbase throughout the years. This polarizing character can be ridiculously tough to deal with and many call him a BS character.

The fact of the matter is that Honda’s game plan is simple: to turtle or to die turtling. Always keeping charge, setting up his Sumo Headbutt or his Butt Slam attacks, blocking, and waiting for an oppening to break through and hit the opponent hard. His specials are mostly super safe on block too, making it even more frustrating to deal with Honda.

He can even deal with fireballs with his Neko Damashi, catch his opponents with the Oicho Throw command grab when at close-range, and confuse his opponents with his Hundred Hands Slap, which may or may not be punishable on block, depending on the version used.

As if this was not enough, Honda even has well above average health and stun, making it even harder to capitalize on any time you get past his defense. The fact is that Honda can be an authentic nightmare to deal with, especially in the hands of a player with good reads and reactions, and he has been a high-profile cause of frustration for many players for many years. 

What Makes E.Honda Great:

  • Bulky character with a lot of health and stun
  • Has arguably the best defense in the entire game
  • Charged special moves are mostly safe and cover the entire screen, on the ground or in the air


Having a great defense is key to winning in Street Fighter, and this is true even for the most offense-based players playing rushdown characters. Street Fighter can be very unforgiving and if you start getting pressured, especially in the corner, the fear of getting stunned can stop even the most skilled players right in their tracks.

Hopefully, this list helped you get a better notion of who are the best characters in Street Fighter when it comes to defense, and truth be told, even the more aggressive Akuma players or mix-up specialists using Ibuki could benefit from trying one of these characters once for a change. It would surely boost your overall defense in Street Fighter V.


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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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