Shaking off the rust

Quick intro (scroll down to ‘Help’ to avoid wall of text): I grew up playing fighting games with my best friend C. We grew up in the arcades after school playing Mortal Kombat and at home after dark playing everything SFII all the way up to Capcom Vs SNK MF2000 across over a decade. I was always Ryu, and he was always Ken. We then grew up, dicovered beer and work and girls and all that grown up stuff, grew apart and stopped fighting. It’s now 10 years later and C has sadly passed away.

I’ve spent the past few months reliving our childhood by playing through the classics, and have decided there’d be no better gesture to him, from me than to compete at a tournament level, hopefully as Ken in his honour. Better still, I’d like to WIN and donate some prize money to a charity of C’s sisters choice (she doesn’t know anything about this yet) but that’s a pie-in-the-sky goal at the moment. Just getting into tourneys and representing for him is what I want to do right now.

I’ve been playing through SFIII and SFIV lately and getting better and better. Currently winning 40-50% of my online player match-ups (my W/L is still at around 25%, due to the mountain of defeats I had to climb to learn the game haha). I plan on entering a local Third Strike tournament this summer, plus whatever casual SF tournaments are at Eurogamer this year and any other tourneys I can get to. Time and money aren’t an issue; I’m currently banging in 3-4 hours a day across the 2 games and willing to travel and join clubs to improve.

I’m hoping to use this thread to track my progress, open myself up to advice, criticism, improvement, and if successful, provide a diary for others on the road to tournament gaming.

I don’t know the community at all, so I don’t know what to expect; I don’t know if this is over-ambitious, I don’t know how hard it is to get into the scene, I don’t know if I’m wasting my time, but I’m going to put in as much time and effort as possible to see how far I can take it.

Where I am now: I’m doing ok at the game, winning nearly half of my player matchups and starting to explore ranked matches. My inputting isn’t consistent, but I’m slowly ticking through the trials to get used to combos etc. Most of my wins come from exploiting opponents bad habits, which is keeping me from winning against the GOOD fighters out there, since I have no set tactics against solid fighters.

Firstly what game should I be playing to get most of the benefit out of tournament gaming? Is SFIII too old? Is SFIV too saturated? Do I need to get something more recent/popular like SFxT?

Should I main a single character? Or is it important to get the feel of all the characters to compete against them?

The big change to SFIV is the focus mechanic replacing the parry. Should I be using it as a parry? Or just get over it and forget parrys altogether in SFIV?

Is there anything I need to know about getting started in tourneys? Or do I just rock up with my controller and start playing?

I have a tonne more questions, after 10 years out, I basically feel new haha

Feel free to add me on Xboxlive, tag: TooFarSouth
Would really appreciate the help :slight_smile:

Day 2 up!
*Got my W/L up to 31% from 25%
*Learning to slow my game down a bit and work on punishes
*Trying to DP on wake-up less and generally stay on the ground more

A couple more SFIV questions:
*What are your options if somebody is charging a focus attack above you on wake-up? Finding it really tough to escape from.
*Is Abel’s tornado throw tech-able? Every attempt I’ve made has failed…
*Anyone know any links/vids for a good Blanka defense? Got perfected by a Blanka fighter today. I just couldn’t work out where he was going!

To actually answer a couple of questions for you:

SF3 isn’t “too old” but the turnout for it tends to be small. If you’re really looking to get up and “represent” someone, SF4 is a better choice. I’m not sure what you mean by “Saturated” but SF4 has reliably strong numbers in its tournaments and strong competition, and it’s guaranteed to be up on stream.

You should absolutely MAIN a single character. No question. But that doesn’t preclude you messing around with others to get a feel for them. That said, the roster in SF4 is quite large, and messing around with the whole cast could take a lot of time that could be devoted to improving with your main. I’d suggest picking a main for whatever reason you like, and then either switching if it doesn’t work out (relatively unlikely) or messing around only with characters that you feel you don’t understand through playing AGAINST them.

I am unprepared to talk to you about the uses for focus attacks, really, but the most important thing about them probably ISN’T the ability to use them “raw” to absorb attacks, but rather, the ability to cancel special moves INTO them (costs 2 bars of EX meter) and then cancel THAT with a dash. (FADC - Focus Attack Dash Cancel) This is key to both keeping special moves safe and to some really big combos.

Getting started in tourneys: Register (ideally in advance). Shower that morning. Be there on time. Listen for when you are supposed to play and where. Bring your controller. Play your match. Report your results. Be attentive. Don’t be the guy where everyone is like “Where’s Bob, he’s supposed to be playing Stan on stream. Right now. Has anyone seen Bob?”

Avoiding a focus attack on wakeup: If you have a fast move with armor breaking properties, you could hit it. You might also be able to jump out, backdash, or just mash jab, because if you can hit them twice (once to absorb the ‘focus’ and once to hit them) you’re golden. Or you could just reversal them out of their attack.

Abel’s Tornado throw is a command throw, and therefore cannot be teched.

Blanka is a character that is all about shenanigans, so it’s mostly a matter of having seen what he can do. =/

Thanks for that. Sorry if my terminology etc is a bit rough; I’m here to learn though :slight_smile:

By saturated I mean am I too late to join in? Are there enough people across all difficulty levels on SFIV for a beginner to catch up? Online it seems pretty diverse, but offline I’m yet to see what the standard is like. Found a couple of clubs nearby, so hopefully I’ll find out in the next week or so.
Thanks again!

SF4’s community is still pretty broad in terms of skill level, but in general, the older the game, the more likely it is that it will only be played by people who are good at it. So SF4 is more “saturated” as you put in than, er, Injustice and SFxT, but probably actually LESS so than say, SF3, because for the most part, the only people still playing SF3 are the people who really enjoy it and have been playing it since forever (and thus, generally, gotten good.)

Would I be too late to the party for SFIV then? I’ll find out soon enough I’m sure; I just want to get the most out of whatever game I settle on.

Any advice for a shoto player taking on people with command throws? Abel, Zangief etc? I do my best to keep them at a distance, but I’m finding if they get close, the non-tech-able throw is a PITA to go up against…

And just what game would you -not- be too late to the party for then? It’s not as if the ‘party’ stops. :stuck_out_tongue:

Command grabs can’t grab you while you are airborne, so jumping or backdashing may cause them to whiff, but mostly, you need to get better at keeping them out, or be prepared to commit to a DP to get out. That sort of question is better off being asked in a character specific forum, however.

Thanks, I do my best to keep them away. But the odd one slips through. I find Zangeifs ability to advance by lariating (often mashed) and Abels roll, for example, are really tough to zone, so they often manage to creep forward. Getting better though! Got my 3 ranked in a row acheivement last night and stepped up my W/L to 35% :slight_smile:

Edit: also finding huge improvements by exploring the middle of my arcade stick more. The medium dp and medium crouch kick are proving far superior to their heavy counterparts, and much less punishable when they miiss. It’s tough getting out of the habit of relying on my sweep under pressure, but already feeling the benefit.

Crouching Medium kick is a strong normal for a lot of characters, Shotos in particular.

Abel’s roll can be thrown.

Zangief’s Lariat has two versions (not sure if they look different. I’m pretty ignorant of 'Gief); One can be hit by lows, one can be hit high.

This has made my day haha thanks!

Day 10: got my 100th online win! W/L is still floating around the mid 30s, it’s going into ranked lobbies that’s keeping it down; think I need to learn to counter stronger, since ranked players come out alot more aggressive.

Still have no defense against Blankas, despite the matchup guides, just can’t get a read on them…might have to alt as Blanka for a while to understand him better.

Next target: 500 online matches, 40% W/L, 5 ranked wins in a row. If I get these I’ll be stepping up to AE.

Are there any differences between buying AE as a physical disc and buying Super and then installing the AE DLC? The AE discs are really hard to come by round here.

I come across a lot of 2000-3000 BP players, who will typically kick my ass quite swiftly, I feel like they’re too advanced for me to learn anything from so I typically bow out if they ask for a rematch, which deep down feels like a waste. Might sound weird, but is there anything I COULD be doing to learn from a dizzyingly good player who I’m fighting against? I often find myself turtling up and getting all my advances stuffed and it’s over before I realize it…what should I be looking for to atleast learn something from them?

How does Championship mode work? there’s never a lobby open when I look…are they scheduled or something?

No, they’re the same. Don’t play Super, nobody plays it anymore. There’s a new free download for AE called 2012 edition too.

Don’t be like that. Play good players al lyou can. They’re the only ones who can really help you improve.

Turtling is exactly what you should do. Use these players to learn to play conservatively and react to what they do.

You should try to pick up the things you want yourself to be good at. For example, if you want to learn to rush down, notice how the opponent rushes you down, and try to counter it (often by blocking, backdashing, or teching throws). See if they adapt.

Don’t worry about the win, worry about learning and improving.

Yeah, it’s a way to run a tournament. You can make your own, but most people would rather just play games. You know, because online is for training and fun anyway.

Cripes; I didn’t even realize you were still playing “vanilla super”; Don’t do that. Get yourself updated to AE2012 ASAP.

Nope. Worse. I’m playing vanilla-vanilla lol

That is so not good. Please remedy, ASAP.

Backdash has invincibility frames. Reversals always armor break through the armor. If they aren’t timing it well, you can neutral jump for a combo or jump back to be safer.

No command grab in this game is techable. Just like in every Capcom fighter…

Blanka loves to do River Run, which is the low-hitting fast move that goes far. It’s df.hp. It’s really unsafe on block, or can be focused for a combo (don’t release focus too early, you’ll whiff over him). Besides that, Blanka’s jumping attacks are really good, but can be anti-aired if he jumps at you at neutral. If you’re playing Ken, mp Shoryuken is an amazing anti-air. You can just jab Blanka out of Blanka Ball. His crossup ( is really good, but he doesn’t have pressure besides just doing stuff like -> crossup again. Just jump back and hit a button to stop that.

Focus attacks are higher risk than parries, but higher reward. Think of them as a “mini-jump.” If you spam it you’re going to get blown up. They’re slow enough to react to, and some characters just coincidentally make it so you can’t focus attack because their moves hit more than once or armor break or recover too quickly.

On it. Terribly sorry :stuck_out_tongue:

A couple of things I learned today:

The more you look for it the more you’ll find it, but a lot of ok-ish players will play using specials only. Once you find one, they’re really easy to pick apart with normal combos, and are reluctant to learn to fight back without their specials.

In the spirit of what Kikuichimonji said, I’ve started messaging higher tier players and asking for rematches, and have been met with positive stuff. One guy quite happily sat in an endless lobby and we went through fight after fight (I lost all of them) and it really helped me slow down and try to pick up on how to open up a better fighter. Even got messages at one point asking what the combos were I was using, so I’m guessing at least I was doing something right :slight_smile:

One question today.
Is there a fast way to open up a 1v1 lobby? It was pretty embarrassing asking people for a rematch and then taking forever to add a person, then set up a custom lobby, then invite…surely there’s something quicker?

So AE arrived! Still haven’t done 500 fights on Vanilla, before starting AE proper but WOW! It’s such a sharper game! Having a lot of difficulty playing at AE’s speed haha vanilla was a lot clunkier and laid back. May as well be back at square 1 cos this is a different animal altogether.
Anyone thinking of starting off with cheap and cheerful SFIV with the intention of working up to AE; it’s a false economy. Wish I’d banked all those hours on the real thing now…

Any advice on where to start? It looks like Player Matches collect points aswell now, so what’s the difference between the 2?

Starting to get it together. Judging by my performand in Vanilla, I reckon I’m approaching the end of my wall of defeats haha . A couple of questions about endless:

Is there any etiquette with Endless? ie an acceptable amount of fights to sit through before finding someone else to fight against?

When I’m hosting a 2+ endless and I’m watching a matchup, what does the globe icon mean?

If I leave a match I’m hosting, but not fighting in, does that end the match for the 2 guys fighting?