Characters: Bad, until proven good?


#1

I’ve been viewing a bunch of character-specific threads for SSFIV for strategies, match-up information, and perhaps most importantly, videos demonstrating good players using the character. Specifically, Guy has been a popular click for me lately, as I’ve been playing him here and there on XBL trying to get better.

As of now, Guy’s current reputation is that he sucks. One of the most popular threads in the Guy forum is “pathway to perfection: the guy improvement thread”, followed by another one titled “profound & pointless”. Same with Makoto. The consensus seems to be that she is nowhere near as good as her 3S counterpart, and that she just doesn’t have the tools to survive competitively.

Do these characters really suck, or do they not? If they suck so much, then how is it that players are doing well with them?

Recently, Alex Valle placed very highly in a tournament using a mix of Ryu and Guy (top 3 I believe), and his team won the 3v3 tournament. There’s also a set of him playing against PIKACHUAKUMA’s Akuma (JR Rodriguez), and he beat him 21-8 using Guy. On top of JR being an amazing Akuma, isn’t that supposed to be a horrible matchup for Guy?

FlashMetroid also has tons of videos of high-level play, kicking some serious ass with Makoto, who is supposedly just terrible.

What follows this footage, of course, are comments such as “I’m so glad I main Guy/Makoto/(character) now!” or “I used to think (character) sucked, but now I’m going to pick them up because I saw this” or “Damn, this makes me believe I can win tournaments with (character) now”.

Am I missing something here? I see nothing wrong with being inspired by seeing good game play, but how can a single match completely change your opinion on whether a character is total trash, or worth playing? Guy and Makoto, in particular, seem to have the “bad, until proven good” syndrome, where everyone thinks they suck until “someone good” uses them.

I also don’t get why everyone thinks they’re such terrible characters. Yes, they have their strengths and they have their weaknesses, but so does everyone. If I wasn’t exposed to the popular opinion that Makoto was so bad, then option-select.com’s spectacular Makoto video would have convinced me that she was top tier.

I guess sometimes it takes seeing someone very skilled using an underrated character, but I just have a hard time believing that any character has to be “proven” good. You’re either successful with a character, or you are not. If you’re not, then you practice more and harder, play more opponents, and if all else fails, play as someone else who better suits your preferences or play style.

Why is it that people have to see someone succeed with a character before they pick them or play as them? “Well, he did it, so I should/can/will do it too!” It just doesn’t make sense to me. I’ve been playing fighting games for years, and I don’t think I’ve ever picked a character based off of how well someone else has done with them.


#2

This sounds like the typical “tier lists don’t matter” argument. And the answer remains the same: some characters have inherent advantages over others. This doesn’t mean they will always win, but when two players of equal skill play, it is expected they will win more often.


#3

When people describe these characters as bad or awful, its in relative terms.

At the same time, bad characters can still win if a skilled player uses them. It’s virtually never the case that a fighting game character is so bad that even the best players could never win. But certain characters are stronger than most others, and Makoto is not one of those (don’t know about guy).

In regards to people bandwaggoning characters after top players use them, most players aren’t creative enough to figure out a character until a top player uses them.


#4

I definitely understand that some characters are just better than others, thus the existence of tier list. What I don’t understand, however, is if you enjoy a character, why you have to see a “good player” use them before you get inspired or decide that you want to be good with them as well. Like Pherai said, low tier characters can still win if a skilled player uses them, but even then, that makes it sound like only the best players can use low tier characters well. I highly doubt that success with low tier is limited to the elite.


#5

Long time fighter here but new to SF4. This situation has been played out over and over and over, case in point I remember back in the early days of SF2 no one was using 'Gief because he was “too slow” and “the 360 piledriver is TEH IMPOSSIBLE!!” Hearing players laugh at someone using Blanka was also pretty common. Now whats happening?

People learned how to use these characters and they were revealed to be top tier. I don’t use Guy or Makoto but I have witnessed firsthand the destruction they can lay down. Personally I think a matchup/character can be broken down into 3 areas in no particular order:

Tier level of character
Ability (execution) level of player
Strategy.

One of the reasons I came back to the series is that these elements are all still there and still waiting to be tested by us, the players. In the end it doesn’t really matter if you can win with Dan or Ryu, only if you can win. Rather than wasting time wondering what people think about x y z characters you may be using or thinking of using, that time could be spent getting better practicing with said character.

Although, winning with a supposed low tier char or just one thats not used often adds to the satisfaction of winning imo.


#6

What iteration of SF2 are gief and blanka top tier in??

Well, success in general is only really limited to skilled players. No matter what character you pick, you have to train your ass off to be a strong player.

EDIT: one side affect of people writing off low tier characters as not worth playing is people have a tendency to not learn those matchups, so you can take advantage of that and do really well with those low tier characters.


#7

True, I just don’t get how you could think a character sucks, see someone do well with them, and then suddenly decide that they’re good. It’s happening frequently as videos surface of good people using “bad” characters. Either they suck, or they don’t; it’s not like Capcom changes the properties of the characters on a consistent basis. They only do so when a new iteration is released.


#8

It’s just hard for people to get accurate assessments of a characters strength when players understanding of the game is still developing. Tier lists are organic and can continue to change for years after the games release.


#9

Meh. I still wouldn’t ever pick a character based off of another person’s success with him/her.


#10

[quote=“pherai, post:6, topic:103705”]

What iteration of SF2 are gief and blanka top tier in??]

imo turbo/hyper fighting made both of those characters so much better, and a lot more viable. Its pretty hard to practice your 360’s or discover Blankas fast jump ins if you always play Ryu/Ken/Guile just because you don’t want to get owned for using a character you are learning the attributes of and how to play. Which was the case for a while.

Totally agree that tier lists change over time, its part of what makes this fun.


#11

It’s the person using the character. Everyone has their pros and cons against x character. Still it’s your skill that matters, just use a character that you like and practice so that you get good. Also more than likely the two aforementioned players have used those characters in their other games and have adapted their playstyle to fit the new system.

It’s kind of like an old shooting duel. One person may have the best gun they could by, extremely fast and accurate. The other person may have an old ass colt from their granpappy’s shed. However, the second guy in this scenario has more experience and training with shooting, so this compensates for his lack of quality firepower. The first guy may have a good gun (or in sf2/4 terms, sagat/akuma) but the other man actually knows how to fire his and all the tricks associated with its rather “different” style (i.e. the rare pro guy in four) and wins.

The thing that unbalances this scenario is that a shitty tactic with the better weapon is like a damn good tactic with the old, rusted one.


#12

then the other guy takes the good gun from the dead guy, because he knows that using a shitty gun only holds him back. top players use top characters, believe it.


#13

Blanka was top in HF according to scheaffer IIRC.


#14

According to me, as well. People hated me and my 3 hit combo.


#15

Watch v-ryus makoto and tell me she is bottom tier.


#16

still looks low tier to me :rolleyes:


#17

… yeah changed it up a bit. but just because someone does well with a low tier character doesn’t suddenly make that character a high-tier character. it just means that a) the game is more balanced than people give it credit for as the difference between top tier and bottom tier is really not that drastic and b) the player playing the low tier character is very good.


#18

CVS2 Blanka was top tier.

Gief - never…closest was maybe SF4.


#19

The game is balanced enough that a good player playing a statistically weaker character can beat out slightly weaker players on stronger characters, but it’s not balanced enough that Daigo could go in playing Makoto and beat another top player such as Justin consistently. If it was an unexpected pick he might get a round or two, but there’s no way he’d be taking home the match.

Honestly though, unless you’re competing in EVO or Devastation or another huge tournament, just play whatever character you enjoy. If you’re good enough you can still win smaller tournies with that character. Just make sure you have an alt that you’re decent at because there are matchups that spell people like Makoto’s doom.


#20

hahahah I agree. Are you not able to punish Makoto’s hayate’s on black or are his friends just dumb?