Gotenks is a jack of all trades, but he particularly excels in pressure. While he is no slouch in neutral with whiff-cancelling special moves, ways around Ki Blasts with 214X, multi Ki Blasts, and a beam, he really wants to be up close and personal. He has several plus on block moves at his disposal, with the most prominent being 236H. Once he cracks his opponent open, whether it be with meter or assists, is when the real party starts. His notorious Ghost Oki is suffocating in the corner, as his opponent is forced to deal with it no matter what they do. If done correctly, Gotenks can ignore the soft knockdown RPS while regaining assists and momentum. New to Season 3.5 are high damage rejump combos, which fixes Gotenks' only real weakness: his lack of damage. His assists and overall strength lend him to work anywhere on a team, as he is able to maintain pressure solo as well as being able to regenerate assists.
Gotenks has the mix-ups to contend with some of the best point characters. Assists help boost his damage, but he doesn't need them for pressure if he has meter. This means you can usually burn assists for more meter gain and damage in order to set up Ghost oki. Putting Gotenks point means you won't be getting much out of his amazing assists, but damage increase from assists is justification enough.
Gotenks is good with meter to burn. Because of 236H, he can take the trade of one less assist for more meter with no problem. Having more meter to play with also offsets the potential meter gain loss of not having assist extensions. This position also allows for your point character to take advantage of his assist. Being down one assist means his damage output will suffer a little, but his pressure is still among the best of any other mid.
Solo Gotenks is not recommended but is definitely still playable. He can play without assists, but his pressure gets noticeably more linear and predictable. His staggers aren't the best as his only safe normals are 5L, 2L, 5LL, and 5S. Most of his combos will not be meter positive if started from Ghost oki or Level 3, which hurts his comeback ability in the long run. Having Limit Break means his rejump combos do far more damage, but it's not a good enough reason to play him solo. Only consider this if your other characters need his assists.
Gotenks has at least one assist that helps the entire cast. Assist A works well with characters like SSJ and Base Vegeta, as well as characters that need tracking assists for combos like Vegito. It's high blockstun and tracking helps it be a rare combo and blockstring assist. Assist B is better for characters like Bardock who push opponents out of the tracking range of Galactic Doughnut midscreen. Assist C is a beam, which will help pretty much anyone in the entire cast. Gotenks himself can use almost any assist. The main places for assists in blockstrings are after moves like 5LLL and 214X/236X. In terms of combos, any assist that easily enables a sliding knockdown from j.DR is helpful for him.
Some of Gotenks' best partners are Kid Buu, Android 21, Base Goku, and Master Roshi. Any assist that lets him get a mixup in a blockstring is automatically good for Gotenks, because that is the one trait that he inherently lacks. Gotenks' level 1 super also sets up Super Spirit Bomb DHC's for Base Goku, adding another reason to play them. Gotenks also likes Roshi B as both a potential mixup assist as well as being a defensive option for a character with none. Kid Buu is a pure mixup assist, and Gotenks has -2 on command with 236L which lets him set up max frame advantage with ease. Android 21 A isn't a lockdown assist, but it is one of the best neutral assists in the game. Gotenks can also set up her level 3 left/right with his 7jc.H ghost oki setup into 236L+M, which makes them a great pair to play together.
- (5LL/2LL) > 2M > 5M > 5H > 214L/236L
Gotenks has a lot of options in his blockstrings. 5[H], 214S, 236M, and 236H are all plus on block, but 236H is the only one without a gap. Use them sparingly.
- ... > 236L
With 236L being -2, Gotenks can backdash out of pressure to safety. If your opponent presses something big, there's also a whiff punish opportunity with 2M. Take caution as 2M will not normally reach after a backdash. Combine this with an assist for easy mixups. You can also choose to frametrap with another 236L thanks to his special cancels.
- ... > 236M
236M is plus, but it carries more risks. Against standing tall characters, all the hits will connect. On anyone else, standing or crouching, some of the hits at the top of the arc will whiff, leaving you vulnerable to 2H. It's a good trick to pull out every now and then, but not something to be relied on.
- ... > 236H
236H is safely plus 1. You can use it to reset your string whenever you want to, or even hold it to vary the timing. Pressing 5L will beat other 5L's, but you have to be on it. Once you get them to respect your 5L, then you can go for other things. Gotenks is particularly vulnerable to backdash here because of how small the frame advantage is and how poor his buttons are for chasing it.
- 5LLL > 66j.L/2M
With assists, Gotenks' autocombo becomes a pressure tool. It's not the ferocious mixup machine it once was, but it's still decent when covered by Ghosts.
- ... > 214M > 214H
Unreactable left/right mixup, loses to 2H. Hold  for same side and  for crossup. Why does he have this? No one knows for sure.
Gotenks mostly uses his 5L, 2L, and 5LL for stagger pressure. He can also use 5M and 2M, but those require more conditioning as they're punishable on block by most of the cast. Be careful when using 5LL as it's highly punishable if you whiff it, most commonly after a reflected 5L. You'll have to frame trap from them more often than not in order to get away with using them. In exchange for having poor mediums, Gotenks has several ways to reset pressure. 214S, while slow, is +5 on block and exceptional in the corner. 5[H] is also slow but it can be charged halfway as a fake, and is +1 on full charge. Lastly, 236H is fast and also plus on block while only costing a half bar and being gapless.
Ghost Oki allows Gotenks to fight the knockdown system and continue pressure solo. It's easily his defining character trait, and it's also nowhere near as hard as the Negative Edge label would have you to believe. It's usable anywhere, but you'll get the best results in the corner.
Gotenks' midscreen setup needs j.H's sliding knockdown in order to work. From there, microdash 236H+S to set up the ghosts. Once the ghosts are set up, release the S ghost when you see the other character tech and superdash (this will release the H ghost). While flying towards your opponent, press and release L, then M. When you get to the opponent, the S ghost should be the first thing that connects, then the H and L ghosts, then the superdash, then the M ghost. After your superdash connects, you can either airdash high or land 2L for a mixup. It's not the most consistent setup, but it gets the job done.
|... > j.LL2H > jc.LLL > land > backdash > 236H+S||Corner||More damage, but vanishable.|
|... > j.LL2H > 7jc.H > land > 236H+S||Corner||Less damage, inescapable.|
In the corner after using 236H+S, the first ghost you want to let go is H ghost after an IAD j.H. Next, route into 5LLL and release L ghost. To cover the mixup, release M ghost after 5LLL. After the mixup is hit or blocked, you can use S ghost to either combo into air Dragon Rush or sustain pressure again while your assists come back. Alternatively, you can land after the j.H and superdash while pressing L then M for a solo Superdash 50/50. This is the easiest way to get a mixup, but it's also the least rewarding as you use all four ghosts for the setup.
You can also choose to use the ghosts meaty by using Negative Edge in which you hold down button(s) during the super and release the button(s) after you recover. The ghosts will release without you whiffing anything, allowing you to see what your opponent is doing. This method makes it a lot easier to confirm the ghosts as well as being reversal safe (as you're not whiffing any buttons). Start by holding L and S during the super. Release the S ghost to meaty with, and dash jump with 6HS (you're still holding L, so this will prevent a superdash as well as releasing the H ghost. The last step is to release L while in the air to cover the mixup. This setup leaves you with the M ghost remaining to do 5LLL pressure.
Up to date (Season 3) Ghost Oki guide by THECOOLKID93: https://youtu.be/2Y61aI4h170
Level 3 Okizeme
If you use the second Ghost Oki setup (7jc.H), you can make a level 3 super that's +34 instead of +28. This is enough time to go for a left/right mixup, which is further helped by the super pulling your opponent out of the corner. After lvl3, you can do:
- dash 214M > 214H (gives a meterless corner combo)
- dash 214M > 214H (requires an assist or meter to combo from)
- SJ IAD j.H (meterless crossup, can be 2H'd)
- SJ IAD j.M (can safejump some 2H's)
- SJ IAD j.214L (meterless same-side, needs an assist or meter to combo from)
Video demonstration by Shk0do here: https://twitter.com/Shk0do/status/1276349955137875968?s=20
Tips and Tricks
- Gotenks can stall in the air by doing j.236[S] or j.236L > j.236[S]. You're vulnerable to superdash but you can use it to go over beams and things like it.
- Gotenks has several pressure reset points besides 236H. 236M and 214S are both plus on block, while 236[S] can be airdashed after. They all have their downsides and shouldn't be relied on all the time, but they're good to have in your back pocket.
- j.6S is an amazing approach tool when within half screen. Make your opponent guess between j.S and j.6S > j.L.
- j.214L is an excellent same-side option to fake crossups with.
- Watch what he does on oki. The non-jump back j.H route is escapable with vanish every time.
- Gotenks has a beam and Ki Blasts, but his air Ki Blast doesn't quite hit fullscreen.
- All of Gotenks' plus frame options except for 214S can be backdashed out of midscreen. You don't have to let him be plus.
- If a Gotenks player has a habit of doing special moves on the ground into 236H (so like 236L into 236H) to make himself plus, you can 2H the 236H attempt because it counts as him being in the air. This is tricky, and depends a bit on timing, but is possible.