I got some free time the past few weeks to play sf4 on pc. I’m not very good. Got out of g3 where it was constant wake up shoryukens… And now I’m in the slightly higher league… Turtles… Everywhere there is a turtle or someone who does a little bit of running away and turtling.
I have had about 300 matches now since hitting g2. And it’s pretty sad. This how a match goes. The announcer shouts, fight… And we both back away… moving back and forth, back and forth. Maybe after a while I jump in stupidly and eat a flash kick or a head butt or something. Or maybe my opponent jumps in stupidly … But if we don’t jump in. We just stare at each other and throw projectiles trying to chip away at each other. Finally I crack and start attacking and promptly lose the round. Or vice versa. I kept seeing this more and more… And then I decided, I’ll just wait to see what my opponent does. Hell, I’ll wait the entire round if I have to. 30 seconds pass… 60 seconds pass… omg… This is a fighting game and we’re not fighting. 15 seconds left, finally fireballs fly frantically… who is going to win by time expiring.
I realize of course. I don’t know how to attack and neither does my opponent. Otherwise, we’d be doing that, right? Even the g2 players with 13,000+ gp just stand around and wait. I know this is strategy but it’s just not terribly interesting. This game mechanic bothers me because I develop games for a living. And typically a game mechanic that rewards players for doing nothing is not usually a good game mechanic.
I even watched some videos of various players on youtube. I couldn’t help but notice the Rufus Abel matchup in the sbo dvd preview… Lots of back and forth.
I also remember watching a live feed of Wong with Abel and Daigo with Ryu at evo. I know this is high level play but it’s not much to watch.
So I guess my question comes down to. Is there a trick to attacking? Or does the game really boil down to chipping away and getting the clock on your side and thus forcing your opponent to make themselves vulnerable by attacking?
i’d think you need to learn to work in close. you may need to eat some hits on the way there, but at least if you can get in close, you can start to get grab-happy which is annoying in itself
that’s what I do with my bro at least, walk up to him and throw. might work, might not - but you might as well experiment with all the turtlers you encounter to see what will work for you. eating some losses might be worth figuring out how to crack the everyday turtle
Most G2 players are dumb, and you can just walk into sweep range and Focus Attack. When their brain goes “OH SHIT! HE’S NOT IN CROUCH BLOCK! FREE SWEEP LOL!” they get hit in the face for a crumple followed by an easy punish combo. Be warned, this is a bad habit to get into, but bad players will fall for it more than once.
Now that you’ve broken their spirit, you can proceed to put pressure on them, punishing their sudden jump-ins and crossing them up on knockdown.
if they are mindlessly spamming fireballs from just outside of jumping range, focus dash through a fireball and jump over the next one, you’re in.
you don’t need to jump in either, walk towards them absorbing fireballs and neutral jumping over others. make them feel like staying back is making them look like a fool. it won’t work on everyone, but it will work on most people who do this. practice it in training.
In every matchup, every char has different ranges that net them maximum advantage. So a lot of this “back and forth” you see at high level is the players trying to gain positional advantage. They try to keep their opponent within their char’s optimum range, and keep themselves out of their opponent’s optimum range. It’s actually a quite nerve-racking thing to keep up throughout the whole match against competent opponents.
to give an example, let’s imagine balrog vs ryu. Say they start from opposite ends, and ryu starts throwing fireballs. It’d be pretty foolish for rog to start jumping forward, because he will like eat some damage. But when he reaches approx 2 chars distance, he can now react to fireballs and land a free hit after jumping. But the ryu player knows that as well, so at around 2 chars distance, he stops throwing fireballs. Now there’s a stalemate, it’s risky for rog move in further because he might eat c.mk, and ryu wants to keep rog at arm’s length so rog can’t land solid damage. The two players test the waters by slightly stepping out of their own bounds, eventually the better player is suppose to gain the position he wants.
if you don’t have a clear graps of how spacing works, then it’s true that the high level videos can be pretty boring to watch. It’s unfortunate the general result is a seemingly “turtle” behavior, but that’s just how it is when a fighting game is built around zoning/spacing, as opposed to rushdown.
Unless both players learn to zone the G2 matchups won’t improve. One of you has to make the jump-in attempts, whcih just falls into the hands of the waiting opponent. You just have to grind these matches out or improve your game to the point where you can keep within close range and force your opponent to commit.
Any which way you play it, some of the G2 kids just can’t handle being beat and usually resort to some kind of hate mail to cover up or reveal their psychological issues.
Stop jumping in on your opponent all the time, walk up to them instead. Learn the range of your normals. A lot of players forget that you don’t have to do special moves all the time.
Eventually you’ll get to know whether you need to attack or defend and vice versa. If I play against Honda or Zangief I’ll be defending the whole match and that’s fine. If I play against Sagat I’ll have to go on the offensive. If I play against a Honda that thinks he can just defend the whole game, well, it’s going to be long and boring but I’ll win.
This might not be the game for you either. I enjoy spending the first bit of a match feeling out my opponent, testing their reaction and trying to get a read on their patterns.
if you are having problems with boring games where nobody will make a move, here are some things you can do.
vs ryu; absorb a projectile, jump over the next. repeat x n. you now have an ultra or meter advantage despite all other things being equal. if he’s jumping or walking back, walk him to the corner. neutral jump, block, or FA projectiles coming your way. just push him to his side and don’t let him helicopter away. don’t worry about the chip damage you eat, but avoid it if possible.
situation now despite not hitting him once: you have meter, he’s in the corner and probably going to panic. his options are limited and you can start to pressure him, look for unsafe projectiles, keep an eagle eye out for jumpins, etc.
anyways, the point is that you can build a positional advantage without actually hitting anyone if you’re proactive about it. in my experience this is one of the better ways to deal with turtle players. once you’re in footsie range you can start throwing out pokes to see how he reacts, throw, bait throw techs, etc.
work hard to get a knockdown, and know which characters you can pressure on wakeup (eg. not ryu, sagat, or gief).
obviously this stuff is matchup specific; you don’t typically walk gief to the corner and sagat’s tiger spam is all but impossible to get around. but it’s more of a mindset thing than a character issue at lower levels of play.
in Sf4, i play nothing but chars that needs to get close, like zangief and abel. i love making people guess, who the smarter man is, and when they guess wrong, they’re in for BIG damage. turtlers and fireballers have never been my cup of tea.