Zato fills the role of Guilty Gear's puppet character archetype. Paired with his shadow, Eddie, he dominates in neutral and even possesses arguably the most overwhelming offense in the game. He manipulates the power of Eddie in many of his attacks, such as having him fight directly along side him to attack at the same time. When Eddie is summoned, you must utilize negative edge to coordinate them in such a way that they defend each other's recovery. In other words, Zato performs attacks with a press of a button while Eddie only attacks while the button is released. This alone can leave dealing with them on the other end of their offense to be frustrating, as there gapless pressure leave plenty of room for them to enforce mixups, although Zato's unique Eddie gauge that depletes during the shadows use forces him to eventually stop. The ability to control two characters is a nightmare for your opponents as Zato's pokes, drill specials, and flight paired with Eddie's pressure tools, anti-airs, and underground movement options are difficult to deal with when they are used as a team. Eddie also takes a hit for Zato, which while beneficial, means that you lose control over Eddie, meaning that you will be left weakened with your only hope being flying and using drill summons to kill time for Eddie's recovery. Zato is a difficult character to get the hang of, but is a monster when you get used to controlling two characters as a coordinated team.
Zato's goal at the beginning of each match is to get the shadow out. He can achieve this goal by using his many ways to get a knockdown, his great pokes like f.S and 2S, and even summoning raw in neutral. His drill special leaves shadow puddles on the ground, which he can summon out of as well. Once the shadow is out, the next goal is to get the opponent blocking. After this Zato can create pressure and enforce mixups while the shadow keeps the opponent in blockstun, and can also acts as combo filler.
- Overwhelming offense when paired with Eddie. This includes, high/low/fuzzy guard mix-ups, command grabs, unblockables, and never-ending block stings limited only by his shadow gauge.
- Has many reliable unblockable setups that do large amounts of damage. Each one can take out about 50% health meterlessly. They also lead you to end with full Eddie gauge.
- Superior ground and air game with Eddie. Both Zato and Eddie can cover each other's recovery points and easily frustrate the opponent.
- No real reversal options. Best option is to block if knocked down.
- Has below average defense. Can die very quickly.
- Without Eddie, Zato is very limited.