Move List

Straight Chop
Axe Bash
Low Back Hand
Palm Strike
Rising Axe
Double Axe Slam
Rising Doom
Lin Kuei Kick
Shin Shatter
Quick Kick
Chilled Sweep
Brutal Kick
Swing Kick
Heavy Fist
Straight Punch
Cold Boot
Frigid Strike
Cold Front
Axe Swipe
Chilled Heel
Axe Swipe
Chilled Heel
Toward Throw
Back Throw
Forward Getup Roll
Backward Getup Roll
(Air) Breakaway

Version 1.28
Last Updated: January 27, 2021


Sub-Zero is a rushdown character with great movement and offensive mix-ups. Sub-Zero has some of the strongest mix-ups in the game, having both an overhead and low combo starter as well as the option to keep himself safe. He also has very fast dash speed and amazing counterzoning tools making it hard to keep him out.

Strengths Weaknesses
  • Strong mix-ups
  • Quick movement
  • Great Krushing Blows
  • Unbreakable damage
  • Unsafe
  • Weak neutral

Key Moves

Name Input Description
Cold Encounter 1,2,4 High, hit confirmable, -4 on block, triggers a Krushing Blow in a Kombo of 8 or more hits
Icy Grave Back+1,4 Mid, hit confirmable, great range, -4 on block
Final Draw Forward+2,4 19 frame overhead, used for mix-ups, triggers a Krushing Blow if it is a Kounter or Punish
Frosty Back+3,2,1 13 frame low, hit confirmable, staggerable, used for mix-ups
Brutal Kick Forward+4 Slow 25 frame advancing mid, +4 on block, Armor Break, triggers a Krushing Blow if it hits 2 times in a row or breaks armor
Ice Ball DownForward1 High projectile, combo starter
Slide BackForward3 Fast 11 frame advancing low, triggers a Krushing Blow on the third Amplified Slide to hit

Combo Starters

  • Ice Ball
  • Rising Ice

All of Sub-Zero’s combos are started by using any move and linking it into Ice Ball (DownForward1). Sub-Zero’s Ice Ball is incredibly strong because it does not require meter to combo. Once the opponent is frozen, Sub-Zero will have a lengthy amount of time to hit them for a combo. By equipping the Deep Freeze ability, Sub-Zero is able to Amplify his Ice Ball and combo off of his overhead Forward+2. The Rising Ice (DownBack3) ability grants Sub-Zero even higher damaging combos.

Combo Enders

  • Slide
  • Cold Shoulder

Sub-Zero’s combos are usually ended in Slide (BackForward3) for a hard knockdown. To switch positions with the opponent, Slide can be Amplified. Amplifying Slide will also allow Sub-Zero to fullfill its Krushing Blow requirement, as it will trigger a Krushing Blow on the 3rd Amplified Slide to hit. Equipping the Cold Shoulder (BackForward3) ability will yield less damage, but can be Amplified for higher damage without having to switch positions.

Icy Grave

Sub-Zero’s best move to use in footsies is his Icy Grave (Back+1,4) string. Back+1,4 can be hit confirmed into Ice Ball for a combo. The downside to using Back+1,4 is that it starts with a high attack so it will lose to ducking opponents. If the opponent is ducking however, they will be prone to being hit by Sub-Zero’s Back+3,2 or Forward+2. If blocked, Back+1,4 will leave Sub-Zero at only -4. Since Sub-Zero has a 6 frame poke, using a Down+1 afterwards will beat out any move that is slower than 10 frames. Sub-Zero may also use Back+1,4,3 which will leave him at -7 on block, but can stop opponents from attacking after Back+1,4. It’s a good idea to mix up both Back+1,4 and Back+1,4,3 to keep opponents guessing on when to counterattack.


A core part of Sub-Zero’s gameplan is to use Back+3,2 and Forward+2 for offensive mix-ups. Back+3,2 is a low attack that can be hit confirmed into a combo. If blocked, Sub-Zero will be at -6. Sub-Zero’s Forward+2 is an overhead attack, but does not combo into Ice Ball unless Amplified. After Forward+2 Sub-Zero can use a Special Move such as Slide (BackForward3) or complete the string by using Forward+2,4. Both of these however will leave Sub-Zero extremely punishable if blocked. By equipping the Creeping Ice (DownForward4) ability, Sub-Zero can remain safe after Forward+2. Creeping Ice will leave Sub-Zero at -8 on block if Amplified but is completely safe due to pushback. Equipping the Deep Freeze ability allows Sub-Zero to combo off of his Forward+2 by Amplifying the Ice Ball, but is extremely risky if blocked.

It’s important to note that due to Back+3 having a start-up of 13 frames and Forward+2 having a start-up of 19 frames, the low will hit before the overhead. This means that opponents can fuzzy guard this mix-up by blocking low then high. To counter opponents attempting to fuzzy guard, slightly delay Sub-Zero’s Back+3 so that it hits at the same time as Forward+2.


Subzero’s Frosty (Back+3,2,1) string is safe on block and can be stopped at each hit. Since Sub-Zero has a 6 frame Down+1, he can poke after each hit of Back+3,2,1 to stop enemy attacks. It’s best to mix up each hit to keep opponents guessing on when Sub-Zero will finish the string.

1. Back+3
Sub-Zero can stagger Back+3 as it is only -4 on block. Using a Down+1 afterwards will beat out any move that is slower than 10 frames. If the opponent is expecting Back+3,2, Sub-Zero can opt to throw the opponent after Back+3. The downside to using Back+3 is that Sub-Zero loses the ability to hit confirm.

2. Back+3,2
Sub-Zero’s Back+3,2 is -6 on block. Using a Down+1 afterwards will beat out any move that is slower than 12 frames. Since opponents will be expecting Back+3,2,1, it can be difficult for them to react after Back+3,2.

3. Back+3,2,1
If Sub-Zero completes the string, Back+3,2,1 will leave him at -5 on block. Using a Down+1 afterwards will beat out any move that is slower than 11 frames.


Another tactic to use up-close is to backdash after a move with low disadvantage is blocked, then whiff punish the opponent for attempting to poke. Sub-Zero’s strong movement allows him to completely avoid certain attacks by backdashing after attacks such as Down+1 and Back+3,2. The opponent must react quickly or use an advancing attack to prevent Sub-Zero from backdashing. Sub-Zero can then mix this up by using a Down+1 instead of backdashing to stop the opponent’s attack.

Cold Encounter

Sub-Zero’s Cold Encounter (1,2,4) string is a quick multi-hitting attack. This is a safe string Sub-Zero can use up-close as it has no gaps and will leave Sub-Zero at -4 on block. Additionally, it has a decent amount of pushback if blocked. When mixed with throws, this string is very strong because it can be difficult for opponents to defend against both 1,2,4 and being thrown. During combos, 1,2,4 triggers a Krushing Blow if the combo includes 8 or more hits.

Rising Axe

Sub-Zero’s Rising Axe (Back+2) attack has a large hitbox which can be used to hit airborne opponents. Since Back+2 has a start-up of 14 frames, it is quite slow for an anti-air. However because it is a weapon attack, Sub-Zero can throw out Back+2 from a distance without putting himself at risk. Back+2 is also -2 on block, but can be made -1 depending on the distance. This is very strong as Sub-Zero can freely poke after Back+2 with his 6 frame Down+1.

Brutal Kick

Sub-Zero’s Brutal Kick (Forward+4) is an advancing kick that is best used from far range. Forward+4 is +4 on block, but can be up to +6 when used at farther ranges. This is a great way to approach opponents and start Sub-Zero’s offense. Once Forward+4 is blocked, Sub-Zero will be able to guarantee a Down+1. Once the opponent respects the Down+1, Sub-Zero can then throw the opponent or apply his 50/50 mix-up between Back+3,2 and Forward+2. If Forward+4 is +6 on block, using a Back+3,2 afterwards becomes a much stronger option because it will beat out any attack that is slower than 7 frames. Forward+4 will also trigger a Krushing Blow if it hits 2 times in a row. Be wary when using Forward+4 as it has a start-up of 25 frames, which can be punished via Flawless Block on reaction.

Final Draw

In addition to Sub-Zero’s Forward+2 being an overhead, completing the string by using Final Draw (Forward+2,4) can trigger a Krushing Blow when used as a Kounter or Punish. The best situation to use this string is after knocking the opponent down. Opponents attempting to use a Delayed Getup to whiff punish Sub-Zero’s Forward+2 will be hit by the 2nd hit of Forward+2,4 and trigger its Krushing Blow. While the opponent is knocked down, it’s a good idea to mix up Sub-Zero’s Forward+2,4 with Forward+2 into Ice Ball or Slide. This way, opponents must guess on whether to block the Forward+2,4 and punish or whiff punish the Forward+2.


Sub-Zero’s Slide (BackForward3) is an quick, advancing low attack that moves him across the screen. Slide triggers a Krushing Blow on the 3rd Amplified Slide, so it’s best to Amplify it whenever possible. Once the Krushing Blow requirements have been met, Sub-Zero can then save the Krushing Blow for when he needs to deal big damage. When Amplifying Slide, pay close attention to where both characters are on the screen since it will reverse positions with the opponent.

In the neutral, Slide can be thrown out to prevent opponents from moving. While risky, this can be a useful way to keep the opponent’s movement in check. Opponents must always be ready to block low due to the threat of Slide, especially if Sub-Zero has met its Krushing Blow requirements. Once the opponent starts to block low, Sub-Zero can then move in and attack.

Additionally, Slide can be used to punish unsafe moves at a distance. By doing Slide as a Reversal, it will come out instantly after blocking an attack and punish the opponent. This is very useful against projectiles that are punishable on block. In some cases, Sub-Zero may need to Flawless Block in order to punish since Flawless Blocking will cause the move to be more disadvantageous. Certain projectiles can also be completely avoided by using Slide to go underneath them. This works because Slide lowers Sub-Zero’s hurtbox, allowing him to slide underneath projectiles for a punish.


When throwing the opponent, it’s best to use Sub-Zero’s Toward Throw as it will leave the opponent close. Sub-Zero will then be able to attack the opponent on knockdown. If the opponent fails to Throw Escape, then Back Throw should be used instead. Sub-Zero’s Back Throw triggers a Krushing Blow if the opponent the opponent failed Throw Escape during the previous throw.


After freezing an opponent with Ice Ball, Sub-Zero can opt to keep the opponent standing. This is done by doing Up + Forward2 into Sub-Zero’s 2 after freezing the opponent. Sub-Zero’s 2 is +22 on hit, which gives a free 50/50 mix-up between Back+3,2 and Forward+2. While this gives up guaranteed damage, it can be useful if the opponent has a huge lifelead and Sub-Zero needs to make a comeback.

Unbreakable Damage

Sub-Zero has the ability to prevent opponents from using a Breakaway to escape his combos. This is done by doing Up + Forward2Back+1,4,3 or Up + Forward24 into a Special Move after freezing the opponent. If Sub-Zero has a Fatal Blow, then doing Up + Forward24FB will yield at least 40% unbreakable damage. Another way Sub-Zero can achieve unbreakable damage is when the opponent is frozen and Sub-Zero has met the Krushing Blow requirements for his Back Throw. After freezing a grounded opponent with Ice Ball, Sub-Zero’s throw cannot be teched via Throw Escape since it will count as part of the combo.


Creeping Ice
Adds Creeping Ice Special Move. Cause ice spikes to rise from the ground.
Ground Ice
Adds Ground Ice Special Move. Create a hazardous zone that can freeze.
Cold Shoulder
Replaces Slide. Shoulder charge the opponent.
Rising Ice
Adds Rising Ice Special Move. Leap upward with rising ice spikes.
Frigid Storm
Adds Frigid Storm Special Move. Create a large ice construct that is pushed towards the opponent.
Death-Cicle Barrage
Adds Death-Cicle Barrage Special Move. Launch a barrage of deadly ice shards at the opponent.
(Air) Polar Axe
Adds (Air) Polar Axe Special Move. Throw Ice Axes downward at the opponent.
Arctic Trap
Adds Arctic Trap Special Move. Create an orb of ice that will freeze the opponent.
Deep Freeze
Modifies Ice Ball. Can amplify Ice Ball Special Move. Absorbs other projectiles.

Cold Shoulder

The Cold Shoulder (BackForward3) ability is a forward-advancing charge attack. While unsafe, Cold Shoulder can be Amplified at any point to counter opponents trying to punish. Make sure to mix up regular Cold Shoulder and Amplified Cold Shoulder, as well as the timing on when to Amplify the Cold Shoulder, to keep opponents guessing on how to punish it. Cold Shoulder can be used after Forward+2 for a semi-safe overhead option as well but will deal less damage. In the neutral, Cold Shoulder can be used as a quick advancing attack to keep opponents’ movement in check. Cold Shoulder also triggers a Krushing Blow when used as a Kounter or Punish. This can be done by using Cold Shoulder as a Reversal to punish unsafe moves, or to whiff punish Getup Attacks.


By equipping the Frigid Storm (DownForward2) and (Air) Polar Axe (DownBack2) abilities, Sub-Zero acquires many new zoning tools to keep opponents out. Frigid Storm is a slow projectile that is best used from 3/4th to fullscreen. (Air) Polar Axe (DownBack2) is an aerial projectile that is best used while jumping back to stop advancing opponents. At closer ranges, (Air) Polar Axe can also be used when jumping at the opponent. This will counter opponents trying to anti-air Sub-Zero’s jump. Once the opponent respects the (Air) Polar Axe, Sub-Zero can then freely jump at the opponent without being anti-aired.


Ice Ball is a great counterzoning tool as it can trade with many projectiles and will freeze the opponent for a combo. If the Deep Freeze ability is equipped, his counterzoning becomes even stronger because Ice Ball can be Amplified. When Amplified, the Ice Ball will absorb incoming projectiles as well as travel at a faster speed, making zoning Sub-Zero very risky.

Death-Cicle Barrage

The Death-cicle Barrage (DownBack2) ability is best used for chipping the opponent out. This can be done after blockstrings such as Back+1,4,3. Death-cicle Barrage deals a hefty 4% chip damage which can be very useful to close out the round when the opponent is low on health. It is however unsafe at -22 on block, so it should only be used when you know it will kill.

Arctic Trap Setup

The Arctic Trap (DownBack4) ability allows Sub-Zero to create an icicle orb in front of him. This is a trap that can be set on the screen and if the opponent makes contact with it, they will become frozen. If midscreen, the Arctic Trap can be set up after a combo ending with Slide. This will be safe against many characters as their Getup Attacks will whiff. In the corner, Sub-Zero can set up the Arctic Trap by ending combos with Back+3,2,1 then walking back before placing the trap. Once the Arctic Trap is set up, Sub-Zero can then apply his 50/50 mix-up between Back+3,2 and Forward+2. When spaced properly, Sub-Zero can combo from Forward+2 by using Creeping Ice after it. The Creeping Ice will hit the opponent into the Arctic Trap for a combo.

Note: This setup works best if the opponent uses a Delayed Getup or Roll Escape. If the opponent gets up and attacks immediately though, then Sub-Zero will be punished. To stop opponents from punishing Sub-Zero, do not set up the Arctic Trap and instead attack the opponent on knockdown.



Sub-Zero - Dead of Winter - Beginner Combos

Sub-Zero – Dead of Winter – Beginner Combos

Deep Freeze
Cold Shoulder

Sub-Zero - Thin Ice - Beginner Combos

Sub-Zero – Thin Ice – Beginner Combos

Frigid Storm
Death-Cicle Barrage
(Air) Polar Axe

Sub-Zero - Avalanche - Beginner Combos

Sub-Zero – Avalanche – Beginner Combos

Arctic Trap
Creeping Ice

Sub-Zero - Kustom Variation 1 - Beginner Combos

Sub-Zero – Kustom Variation 1 – Beginner Combos

Creeping Ice
Rising Ice
(Air) Polar Axe


Sub-Zero - Dead of Winter - Advanced Combos

Sub-Zero – Dead of Winter – Advanced Combos

Deep Freeze
Cold Shoulder

Sub-Zero - Thin Ice - Advanced Combos

Sub-Zero – Thin Ice – Advanced Combos

Frigid Storm
Death-Cicle Barrage
(Air) Polar Axe

Sub-Zero - Avalanche - Advanced Combos

Sub-Zero – Avalanche – Advanced Combos

Arctic Trap
Creeping Ice

Sub-Zero - Kustom Variation 1 - Advanced Combos

Sub-Zero – Kustom Variation 1 – Advanced Combos

Creeping Ice
Rising Ice
(Air) Polar Axe

Extra Guides

Anti-Delayed Getup Option Select

Anti-Delayed Getup Option Select

When going for an attack on knockdown with Sub-Zero, it can be risky because of Delayed Getup. Sub-Zero relies on hitting the opponent with his 50/50 mixup, however if the opponent does a Delayed Getup then both and will whiff leaving Sub-Zero vulnerable. In order to prevent from being punished by Delayed Getup, you must complete the entire string. When meatying with , react to whether the opponent did a Delayed Getup or not. ...
Fighting Sub-Zero

Fighting Sub-Zero

Punishing Axe Bash Sub-Zero’s Axe Bash () is a forward-advancing high. Throwing out low pokes in the neutral will allow you to attack Sub-Zero while avoiding this string because the 1st hit is a high. On a read, it is also possible to duck underneath the 1st hit and punish with a jab. This can however be a bit difficult and will leave you vulnerable to being hit by Sub-Zero’s and . Pokes Sub-Zero has one of ...
Meaty Double Axe Slam

Meaty Double Axe Slam

After knocking the opponent down, Sub-Zero can combo off of his Double Axe Slam, or , without having to spend a bar of Offensive meter. In order to do this, you must do into Ice Ball as a meaty so that it hits during its latest active frames. In other words, you must attack with as the opponent is getting up off the ground, making sure that only the end of the ...
Conserving Meter with Ice Ball

Conserving Meter with Ice Ball

In Sub-Zero’s Dead of Winter variation, he can Amplify Ice Ball, or , to combo off of his overhead . Amplifying costs 1 bar of Offensive Meter, so it can be a waste if the is blocked. To conserve your Offensive Meter, you must hit confirm the Amplified Ice Ball and only Amplify it if the hits. The reason this works is because Amplified Ice Ball requires 2 inputs: . This allows enough time ...
Arctic Trap Setup

Arctic Trap Setup

When knocked down by Sub-Zero, your opponent must defend against his overhead and low mixups. However, these mixups can be avoided using Delayed Getup or Roll Escape, which can leave Sub-Zero very punishable on whiff. If you think that your opponent will use a Delayed Getup or Roll Escape, you can then set up Sub-Zero’s Arctic Trap. This is done by ending combos with and walking backwards. If your opponent does a Roll Escape, they will ...