Strengths & Weaknesses


While the tier lists in Tekken aren't as significant compared to a game such as Street Fighter, there are certain match-ups where characters are naturally weak or strong against certain other characters. This can be due to a number of reasons, such as character specific moves that trump a different characters stance(s) or a move that can not be properly punished on block due to a deficiency of the other character. Dragunov is no different as there's certain properties that really can kick his ass, but others where overall the fight is in his advantage.


First things first, Dragunov's major weakness should be quite obvious to players with moderate Sergei experience; namely poor tracking, especially against characters with a strong SS. Though there are a couple other weaknesses that are not immediately obvious and will bite you in the ass eventually, or you can learn about them here and hopefully know what to look out for.

FC/WS high crush attacks:

Now d+1 is a great move and all, safe, sets up 1,2,1 CH hit confirm, but unfortunately it's susceptible to FC/WS high crush attacks. What's so great about them is that sometimes your opponent won't even realize that their attack high crushes and they'll assume that they simply beat you out, but you should realize that you lost to properties and not frames.

Culprits: Leo, Heihachi, Raven, Wang, and Julia.

Please realize that there are more characters than that with FC attacks, but that above list will absolutely destroy you if you're unprepared for them as they either KND to oki, launch, or do really good damage.

High crush and/or jab crush:

Similar to FC/WS high crushing attacks, high crushing attacks (specifically ones that launch) can and will beat you to a pulp. They completely tone down Dragunov's jab/confirm pressure game and force you to resort to different, usually unsafer strings. Where as FC/WS high crushing attacks are very hard to predict, luckily standing high crushes are much easier to see coming and adjust your strategy to. The only time you can really bull dog a high crush launching character is with a good amount of frames on your side, if you don't have them, assume you'll get launched every time you jab and play it safe.

Culprits: Paul, Law, Lars, and Baek

Low stance characters:

The bane of Dragunov's existence, any character that can drop into a very low stance is immediately a problem for Dragunov as nearly all of his attacks will completely whiff against them. Once again, you'll have to think out every attack fully before attempting to apply pressure or risk getting juggled.

Culprits: Ling, Zafina, and Christie/Eddy

Now Zafina and Ling are a little easier to deal with since qcf+1+2 can often deal with AOP and TNT, while Ling has some more tricks up her sleeve that gives her an edge over Zafina. Overall Zafina's drop stances aren't that much of a problem but she also has some mid crushing properties that may leave you scratching your head if you've never seen them. Christie/Eddy on the other hand require a little more perseverance to beat as qcf+1+2 will not hit their RLX stances, though I'm not sure why. Instead you'll have to opt for iWS 4 to interrupt their stances constantly, assuming you don't accidentally use qcf+4 and then get launched. Otherwise d+2 and d+3 are your magic attacks to deal with low stances.


Okay, now that I got the weaknesses out of the way, let's talk about what Dragunov has that makes him so special.

Anti-low spam:

Every once in a while you'll find an opponent that loves to poke you to death by using invisible lows, I don't blame them as they usually have decent properties on hit and will most likely eventually break their opponent down by sheer annoyance. What are you going to do against them? WS 4 for mediocre damage and frames? Merely a set back, not to mention you're often risking launch by anticipating and ducking the invisible low. Dragunov on the other hand gets something a little stronger to deal with invisible lows, namely WS 1,3 and WS 1+2. Both options KND/W! and take a good chunk of life off, they will make your opponent think twice before spamming that low again.

Just be weary, while many lows are -12 or worse on block, there are enough that are inexplicably only -11 (e.g. Alisa d/b+3).

Anti-mid evasive launch spam:

By a similar token, many characters have launchers (usually with evasive properties) that are often safe against retaliation due to ridiculous push back, Lee d,d/b+4 immediately comes to mind. Well if they're -17 or worse on block, you get a free f+1+2 launch which leads to ridiculous carry which then in turn grants ridiculous damage. Often you'll just need to punish it once for them to not use that move again in your match, otherwise teach them the lesson again.

f+1+2 is actually very strong as a whiff punisher as well, due to it's long reach you can punish some attacks or movements that wouldn't normally be punishable, or even thought of as dangerous.

Ground mobility:

Living dead (FCD 1+2) is the type of move that's only given to bigs to help them get off the ground if the opponent gets a little too risky with their oki. Luckily Dragunov was given a move that not only allows him to escape certain ground mix ups, but can be extended by FDFA 1+2~1+2 into a ground tackle. Living Dead is extremely strong as its effect is similar to using a back roll without the whole negative side of back rolling, e.g. getting picked up/combo reset. Of course your opponent may be anticipating the crawl, so it's in your best interest to not spam it every time you're on the ground.

Tackle system:

Dragunov is also unique in the fact that his command tackle has nearly 0 risk involved, this mounted attacks are not reversable and must be escaped, similarly to Marduk. While the original tackle can still be reversed, Dragunov has plenty of options to make your opponent not want to attack you if this happens. A 1,1,2 mounted punch parry and arm bar reversal makes attacking Dragunov very risky even though one may think they're at an advantage. If you ever get the honor to watch high level play and the opponent successfully reverses Dragunov's tackle, you'll see what I mean, they don't attempt any attacks.