[Top 5] SFV Best Zoners That Are OP

SFV Best Zoners That Are OP
Don’t let anyone get anywhere near your space!

Who are the best SFV characters to use when you don't want the opponent to get near you?

Street Fighter V, when compared to the previous entries of the series, definitely has a much easier combo mechanic. Gone are the days of the intricate techniques of Focus Attack Dash Cancels into Ultra Combos or 1-frame links.

As such, being approached by an opponent, especially a rushdown character, has never been more dangerous. And for this reason, zoning, the act of keeping your opponent at a distance, is incredibly important in the game, and even though zoning is significantly harder in SFV than in SFIV or SFII, there are still many characters who apply this principle quite effectively.


5. Sagat

SFV Sagat Guide to Zoning - Beginner and Intermediate (サガット)

Kicking off this list, we have Thailand’s own, Sagat. Former martial arts champion and the original boss in Street Fighter (1987), turned into one of the 4 Kings of Shadaloo under M. Bison, turned respectful and honorable fighter in search of self-improvement, this character has gone through one of the most impactful character developments in the whole series.

Sagat has been a zoner since day one, and although he is not as powerful as his Street Fighter II iteration, he is definitely still relevant at his game. Tiger Shot is a fireball that can be thrown high or low, and with recovery so fast that with good execution that Sagat can keep shooting these fireballs like an automatic rifle. And if the opponent tries to jump in, Sagat can throw his Tiger Uppercut, which is an excellent anti-air, capable of scaring his opponents into not jumping at all.

If his Tiger Uppercut is enhanced with his V-Skill 1, Angry Charge, it will deal more damage and stun, increase his V-Meter, add juggling properties to the move that allow him to follow up with new combos, and best of all, it will knock the opponent far away, at a perfect range for Sagat to keep doing what he does best, and that is zoning.

What Makes Sagat Great:

  • Terrifying DP in Tiger Uppercut
  • Has a total of 7 different types of fireballs, counting speed, size, and height
  • Has extremely long limbs that make his normals great at poking, although slow


4. Menat

Menat Basic Overview and Movelist Walkthrough - Street Fighter V Guide

Menat is the Egyptian student of Rose, and she debuted in season 2 of SFV. She uses a spiritual orb as her main weapon and so far she is one of the most complex characters in Street Fighter history.

Her punch normals all revolve around throwing the orb at the opponent from her 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 with your buttons, your opponent will not get anywhere near you.

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
  • Her Critical Art also hits from long range


3. Guile

SFV Guile - How to keep out everyone - Tutorial

Sonic Boom! Guile is undoubtedly one of the main characters in the Street Fighter universe. This American Air Force major first appeared in Street Fighter II, seeking revenge for the death of his friend, Charlie Nash.

Guile stands out for having one of the most straightforward game plans in the game. He only possesses 2 Special Moves: the iconic Sonic Boom and the Flash Kick, which serve the purposes of zoning and anti-airing, respectively. 

Because both these moves require the player to essentially be defending for 1.5 seconds before usage, Guile is perfect for those who prefer playing a more defensive style, keeping the opponents away with Sonic Booms and stopping their jump-in attempts with the Flash Kick to stay in control of the match.

What makes the Sonic Boom so terrifying is that it has amazingly fast recovery so even if you manage to jump over it you’ll probably just get blocked, if not anti-aired. With his V-Triggers Guile adds even more projectiles to his arsenal and particularly his V-Trigger 1 allows Guile to shoot multiple Sonic Booms in a row for the first time since his debut, allowing for crazy extended combos that are awfully dangerous when the opponent is in the corner.

Plus, a Sonic Boom infused with his V-Skill 1 can serve as a wall that not only protects Guile while he walks forward but also will catch any jump-in attempt right on the spot. At the end of the day, it’s mad difficult to get past the wall that is Guile.

What Makes Guile Great:

  • Simple and straightforward gameplay
  • Great defense
  • Excellent zoning game with Sonic Boom and its variants


2. Poison

Poisonous Zoning

Poison is an original Final Fight character that first appeared in Street Fighter III: 2nd Impact as Hugo’s valet, and became playable for the first time on Street Fighter X Tekken and then in Ultra Street Fighter IV. In SFV, she surprised us again by coming back with a completely new and refreshing playstyle.

Poison is great in footsies, largely due to her long-range. After all, she uses a whip, of all things, which also means that Poison is a great zoning character, even without a fireball.

Her whip provides her with both normals and special moves specifically designed to hit from a distance and punish the opponent for their whiffed moves and walk and jump in attempts.

To finalize, Poison’s heavy and EX Heart Raids are of course some of the best long-range anti-airs in Street Fighter history, capable of intercepting any opponent trying to get in, and her V-Trigger II gives her a long-range command grab, leaving Poison’s zoning game on a whole new level.

What Makes Poison Great:

  • Great range with the whip, not requiring fireballs
  • Can control spacing and positioning extremely well
  • Arguably the best anti-air character in the game


1. Dhalsim

[SFV | Dhalsim] Traditional Zoning - Matches

Dhalsim is a Yoga master from India and one of the original 8 World Warriors from the influential Street Fighter II. He has had many representations in Street Fighter games, but in SFV he’s as fluid, stretchy, and weird as he has ever been.

Dhalsim’s zoning is very traditional in the sense that he uses his stretching long limbs and fireballs to keep the opponent at bay, but he does so in a very unorthodox way. His Yoga Fire travels in a weird arc across the screen instead of moving horizontally (excluding the EX version), and can even move out of sight and come back if his V-Skill 2 is in use. He can also use his V-Trigger 2 to create more fireballs that will move in the trajectory decided by the player.

And if the opponent gets too close there is nothing to worry about, as he is now pretty strong in close range if you know the right combos against the majority of the cast, and if your foe is causing you trouble, Dhalsim can simply teleport away from them.

Dhalsim in SFV is definitely one of the strongest characters in the entire game and he can utilize his unconventional movement, long limbs, and weird-angled fireballs to keep everyone and everything away. Dhalsim will keep meditating and winning, his opponents will remain distressed and lose over and over again.

What Makes Dhalsim Great:

  • The angle of his attacks and movement is difficult for the opponent to track
  • Has a teleport with multiple uses both offensively and defensively 
  • In spite of being a perfect zoner, Dhalsim can also be used in close-range effectively with great mix-ups and pressure


One can say that zoning will always be a necessary evil of all fighting games, as without zoning fighting games would only be about getting in and throwing combos around. And regardless of whether you love or hate zoning characters, they add an incredible level of depth to the fighting game genre and can create some of the most intricate decision-making rounds in matches.

A match between a zoner and a rushdown or a grappler is truly a thing of beauty for an enthusiastic spectator, as the chess game that unfollows has so many layers it is hard not to love it. Keep them out before they get to you!


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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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