Every tag team needs a Stable: Expanding your team for versatility and profit


#1

Street Fighter x Tekken might as well be called Resource x Management. It is a fighter in which the effective utilization of life, meter, and time are accepted as core aspects of high level play. Why then, do not many people discuss SFxT’s most abundant resource: characters?

No team is perfect in SFxT. Every combination of characters, in spite of their strengths, has weaknesses that can be exploited by another particular duo and/or strategy. This thread is meant to counter this inevitability by exploring the concept of Stables, or a small collection of characters you keep in reserve to switch up your main team if they are being put on blast. Possessing a main team of which you know all the ins and outs of is paramount, but by supplementing them with substitutes you can become a far more versatile, unpredictable, and therefore dangerous player in tournaments or the endless lobby. After all, team sports follow the principle of reserves and subs, why not team fighters?

In 1v1 fighters like AE, counterpicking means abandoning your usual main for a character that fares better against your opponent: you have to decide between sticking it out with your most knowledgeable or gaining an advantage in the matchup at the cost of your own experience. The 2v2 nature of SFxT, however, allows you to make a Half Counterpick, switching out a character that the opponent has on green-street while keeping your other main in, thus doing away with the concept of scrapping your best for the sake of the counter. Think of your secondary characters as a Sideboard in a collectible card game: a reserve you can draw from after you have seen your opponent’s deck to increase your chances of winning the next set.

A single substitution will alter the strengths, weaknesses, and gameplan of your team considerably. Have a look at my triumvirate for an example. Nina/King is a very aggressive team that causes huge damage through solo combos, resets, strong pokes (Nina), mixups, and Oki (both King). My goal is to secure victory before the opponent can even make their first tag and more than double their overall health bar. Such power comes at quite the price, however, as the poor defensive options (lack of reversals/tricks on wakeup, jab pressure problems, and unreliable A-Airs) of both these characters means that if I am the one being knocked down early my chances of winning decrease drastically. More often than not, this occurs because my Nina is outfootsied (her pokes are strong but she sacrifices excellent ones for high solo damage) or she gets rushed down.

My answer: Dictator. His defensive and wakeup options far surpass those of the other two, and his zoning and pokes make him more of a pure point than Nina. Dictator/Nina takes on a more defensive role, with Dictator dictating (ha…) the pace at all times, with Nina bringing her huge, consistent damage to the table to ensure I maintain the life lead or score the KO when they are in kill range. Dictator’s ability as a battery changes Nina’s style further, since she is now allowed to use meter to extend her combos, something she dared not do before as King is voracious when it comes to meter usage. Nina’s meter reserves can make this team more offensive, especially in later rounds when you start with some, as it requires less reliance on the opponent’s impatience that they may have cured after their round 1 frustration at Dic.

Again, this team is not perfect, as both characters struggle to open up turtlers with their lack of mixups. When I perceive this to be a problem I go Dictator/King. King’s multiple mixup games can break through anyone on the roster provided he is in range (not an issue with Dictator quarterbacking). Dic/King can afford to play more aggressively than Dic/Nina, since the Shadowloo leader’s sundry knockdowns, usually a method of stalling, are just as good as a reset given King’s excellent Oki game.

You need not be afraid of mastering every character in your Stable. Learning an assortment of characters can seem very daunting, and it is, but learning how to shuffle a few characters around to dramatically shake up your team strategy is more cost-effective than playing separate teams to overcome weaknesses. While one should learn all the ins and outs of their main team, it is less important to do so with the rest of the Stable. For instance, if you have Heihachi in reserve to cover your weakness of opening up guards, knowing all of his qualities at fullscreen is not as important as generating his close-range mixups since you’ll have an experienced Point to bring him in consistently and to fall back on if times get rough.

If my theory of stables is something that all of you players practice already or an impossibility given the amount of characters you have to keep in mind, I apologize for wasting your time. If you find my thoughts on teambuilding to be effective, however, or even just a good thing for beginners to read, please let me know. I have a lot more on how to construct optimal Stables, including how it differs for different styles/levels of players, but I do not plan on writing it all up unless people think that it would be a useful resource.


#2

I’ve never seen so many words that don’t really say anything.


#3

Isnt that like counter-picking?

“My x is bad against y so i swap x for z” ?


#4

Yeah let’s just shit on someone who’s actually contributing a thoughtful post. Would you have preferred another whine thread? If you can’t comprehend what he’s saying, I’ll break it down for you. “If one or both of your characters have a polarized set of matchups, have a counterpick ready to compensate.” He then goes on to give his opinion about his team’s matchup deficiencies and explains his reasoning for subbing Bison in for one character or the other. Glad I could help.


#5

It’s fine. I am fresh out of college so I am still pretty heavily influenced by the “write lots of words with mindless repetition.” I could certainly edit the heck out of the post, condensing it to what Silph extrapolated from it.

It is exactly like counterpicking. I just think that counterpicking is an even bigger deal in this game because you can do it much more safely, and due to combinations it isn’t just “characters y and z can be used to counter character x,” but “character or strategy x can be countered by using various characters that produce situations y and z.” Since characters come together to make different strategies, you can be less obvious with your counterpick, perhaps using ideas the other player does not know counters him, unlike in AE where you can just read solid matchup threads.

I’m also just trying to write situations in which lesser used characters can see use, so I am pretty biased, to tell you the truth.


#6

If it would help make it relevant, I could retool the post into a “Counterpicking in SFxT,” in which I explore why it has more depth to it than say, counterpicking in AE. That way the Stable nonsense does not have to be the centerpiece of it, merely just a way to explore how half-substitutions can drastically alter your team.


#7

I play Hugo x Juri. I find I struggle against people with exceptional zoning (Juri can usually get through this but she has low health and it’s possible I’m already behind) and people who have excellent pressure (Juri’s only good reversal takes bar, Hugo is a big dumb target against smart pressure).

I am thinking of picking up Sagat to counter these weaknesses when I come up against someone whose zone or pressure are too strong for this team. Thoughts?


#8

Yeah, that would probably make people understand it better, although all they have to do is read it.


#9

I’ll assume you are playing Juri/Hugo like it says in your sig, as opposed to Hugo/Juri. Sagat/Hugo seems like an incredibly dangerous team. I know that Sagat can deal with pressure incredibly well and turn it into high damage, so he solves your problem there (though I thought Juri was an incredibly strong zoning point myself). Sagat can do his zoning thing and when you need more damage, he can tag Hugo on top of people if they get too close to him and commence the back breaking.

As for zoners, I take it Sagat can beat the majority of them at their own game. How is his matchup against Guile though, or Jin’s projectiles? You’d have to ask a Sagat player for that. I can also see Sagat/Juri working very strongly together due to a combination of strong damage and zoning/fundamentals.
I wish I could be more definite, but I am not too knowledgeable about Juri.


#10

Not so much. She’s not bad at it by any stretch of the imagination, but she’s not godlike at it either. Juri is very much a well-rounded type in that she doesn’t do any one thing particularly well (except maybe AA’ing) in comparison to the rest of the cast. That said, she’s still a very solid character (she only really lacks a meterless reversal and a true blockstring that isn’t a chain) and can make a great partner for pretty much anyone.


#11

Liking the thread idea. This is actually something I need to think more carefully about.

Agreed - this is why I tend to run her as my point character on most of my teams, as she can generally handle many situations or at least manage them well enough.

Still deciding who I’m going to actively use in my stable, as I’m already playing a ton of characters as-is. I get a lot of mileage out of my main Juri/Cammy team, but I also feel like they don’t have any clever ways of opening up a defensive opponent that decides to db them all day outside of a CH with Juri’s overhead or jump-cancel shenanigans.

Right now I have Lili, Law, Julia and even Kuma as works-in-progress. Thinking about trying Xiaoyu as well, if only because I like having my speedy pixie character that can traverse the screen in an instant, and having that plus an abundance of high/low Tekken mixups - and a safe overhead IIRC - could only be beneficial to Juri.


#12

Sorry guys. I wanna fix my first post but I’m off to Otakon till Sunday so I won’t really have the time to. You all know what to do though: discuss counterpicking and team variations and help each other with each other’s.


#13

To add to the thread, I don’t think it is wise in the interest of competition to purposely choose characters with sporadic match-up advantages and disadvantages. However, if you find yourself in a situation of irrational character loyalty (as many do), you must ensure that your favored character’s bad matchups are covered by your other.

However, this is honestly just an attempt at clogging a leak with tissue paper. In practice, it is difficult to compensate for one character’s bad match-up with your other. You put yourself in a situation where managing your resources becomes extraordinarily more difficult. Not only must you manage your meter and health as normal, you must do so while also attempting to maintain a favorable match-up at all times. Your ability to switch between characters freely becomes marred by your hesitance to tag into a bad match-up.

In short, if between your two characters and your opponent’s there exists a match-up in their favor while you do not have that luxury, you will be fighting uphill regardless of whether your compensatory character can cope with the match-up in question.

For example, say I am playing Nina and Ibuki and my opponent chooses Guile and Hwoarang. (For those unaware, Ibuki v. Guile is a god awful match-up in Guile’s favor.) I will be spending the entire match trying to make sure I never have Ibuki in against Guile for any significant amount of time while my opponent doesn’t really mind too heavily what match-up he’s dealing with between my two characters. The advantage this grants is immense despite the fact Nina can satisfactorily deal with Guile.

As another example, say I am playing Ryu and Ibuki against Guile and Hugo. Here we have a set of polarized match-ups, although this time my opponent and I are more or less even. I want Ibuki in against Hugo and no where near Guile, he wants Hugo in against Ryu and nowhere near Ibuki. This makes for a very interesting match, but it would be in both players’ best interest to shoot for four even or favored match-ups rather than a set of polarized matchups. A single bad match means complication of your meter and health management and that is never desirable.

In theory, I should be subbing out Ibuki in matches I know she will be a liability in, but I don’t. In completely backwards fashion actually I sub out Ryu for Nina whenever I possibly can get away with it. If you hadn’t noticed I have a character loyalty issue.


#14

I like this post so i’ll contribute a tad.
In laments term team building is based on two things. The player and the character.
Dps are strong in the game consider that. No dp character should be at the anchor position because that’s your ticket out if you’re in danger and also sets up for more damage during a tag cancel.
Fireballs zone. They counter other zoners and grapplers.
Heavy rush down. Stuffs fireball characters and they are usually heavy on mix up and footsies.
Grapplers: Have tons of life and stuffs all heavy rush down characters in their tracks.
Dive kick: Some characters have dive kicks that help them get in or create pressure situations.
Some characters have a mixture of both. I play ken and lili. I’ll let you pick from the category above as to why this team works well.
The whole idea of xtekken is not to find one strong character but two characters who have synergy. Who compliment each other. If you have two characters that get molested by sim for example figure out why it doesn’t work for that team. It’s always good to have a pocket alt as well. I have juri but i’m not great with her in the game. But i have enough sf4 fundamentals to make it work. If anything guys and gals have fun. The game is simple to get into but the meta game is soo hella deep that it makes the game oh so much more fun. good luck everyone with your team building.


#15

I don’t really like counter picking tbh. Not because I think it’s cheap or whatever, and not because of character loyalty. I just don’t like taking the easy/lazy way out.

Counter picking means you are not confident enough with your main character to deal with X characters/tactics. It means you lack matchup knowledge and experience. But instead of trying to gain that MU knowledge, you basically give up/accept defeat and go for a counter pick. So even if you win a tournament thanks to counter picking, you don’t really improve as a player.

imho the best players will always be those who learn how to overcome their worst matchups.

EDIT: Well the only time I might counter pick is if one of my character has an unwinnable matchup (like 2-8). But if it’s only around 4-6 then I don’t see the point in counter picking. I like the challenge. And beating a character like Raven with Yoshimitsu is so satisfying. :slight_smile:


#16

I agree with this. I mean i have so much faith in my team that even if it looks like i’m dying i know i have the ability to come back and win.


#17

Only a few characters I counter pick against… Ryu Chun Guile and Jin :eek:

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#18

What Vulcan said. I can run either Nina, Chun, or Raven(Although he’s irrelevant because he’s good anyway)at anchor when I’m mixing it up with them because I feel like I’ve learned a lot of the match ups and my opponents tendencies to where I don’t feel like either of them are weak, so when I need to call upon them I feel very comfortable even if I’m in trouble early in the match. It’s all about that **team synergy. **I use to tag Nina out to get in Raven against Gief to zone him out until I learned that her flash kicks own that green hands ass. I use to do this with the other grapplers as well but once my mix-up game got strong with Nina, now I don’t even feel like I’m using one character to make up for the others weakness. When I put in the work with my team I checked off all of these.

Team building checklist
1.Have I put in enough time in training mode and learned which combo’s maximize this teams damage?
2.Do I have a go to AA’s for both characters to escape jump in pressure?
3.Have I learned what to do upon wake up for both characters(Besides rolling)against aggressive opponents?
4.Can I comfortably deal with characters with good zoning tactics with both my point and reserve?
5.Have I learned the power of resets to put my opponent in 50/50 situations with both characters?
6.Can I comfortably deal with Ken-Tatsu-Roflcopter?(Just kidding)
7.Have I developed tactics with my characters to deal with Grapplers?

2 ,4, and 7 can be difficult with how the game is now(On the Tekken side of the board), especially if you’re trying to cover for a characters weakness and want to remain loyal to your team. Some teams just don’t go well together so you have to explore and if you don’t then you’re gonna continue counter picking covering up for weaknesses for certain characters. Btw, I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, it just means you have to put in even more work and it’s that much harder.


#19

My 2 cents, feel free to pick it apart:

Character knowledge vs. new options of a different character
[LIST]
[]Can anyone here claim they know every matchup and option of their current characters to the maximum? Even pros would admit they can improve. So how much do you gain from adding new chars, and having to learn them up from scratch vs. not improving your original team? (assuming the team was justifiable to begin with). Case in point, SEA Player Xian stuck with Gen for SFIV and instead of counterpicking, learn the bad matchups so well he claimed he could turn them in his favour.
[/LIST]
Counter-picking in SFxT is actually less effective than in other single character games.
[LIST]
[
]In a 1v1, there is only one possible matchup. However in 2v2, there are four (A vs Y, A vs Z, B vs Y, B vs Z). By changing out a single character, you might have improved 1/4 or maybe even 2/4 of those scenarios. Unless you happen to have a brand new team which improves all four matchups, though this seems unlikely given you need to plan vs. multiple opponents/teams.
[/LIST]


#20

BU there’s one guarenteed match up: A vs Y. Even if you improve only that one, it might help.