Here's one reason why some people get beaten by those they are convinced are worse players


tldr is in bold.

A thinking player can enhance his reactions against a thinking player, but not against an unthinking one who also shows no consistent pattern (i.e. ‘random’).

Let me explain:

There is your general reaction speed, i.e. raw reaction speed to non-specific stimulae (which you are born with, and is rather limited in how much you can enhance it), and then there is the selective reaction speed you get when you narrow your focus on a smaller selection of things to respond to, or narrow the time-frame in which you know they will occur. I call this ‘focus-enhanced reaction speed’, or selective reaction speed, and unlike general reaction speed it is quite trainable (and exploitable).

Any human’s mind can only cover so many options at one time, and by dilating or contracting one’s awareness around various options on a grade of likelyhood, you enhance your response time to those reactions. And if you feel certain that only one or two are the likely options because you’re REALLY good at reading, you can focus exclusively on those and you’re almost guarranteed not to miss anything.

(Also this is where a lot of the ‘game’ of fighting games opens up: around the very fact that humans can only track so many options at once).

For example, if I told you that that within the next five seconds i’m going to raise my right or left hand for one second and you have to respond by saying ‘right hand’ or ‘left hand’ accordingly, you could probably do it. Maybe not if you’ve not had enough sleep/not had your coffee yet…

If I told you that I was going to raise one of my hands in the next five hours for two seconds, chances are you’d be too disarmed to respond in a timely fashion. Your focus would be broken apart too much.

(off-topic: this is also related to why a smaller time span between links makes links easier. A one frame link with 7 frames between button presses is probably easier for most than a three frame link with 80 frames between button presses–or a 20 frame link with an hour between button presses. You get the idea).

If I tried to do the same test with any one of twenty fingers, likewise your response time would go down as you have to track more options. But if I gave away a ‘tell’ like unconsciously glancing at the area of one of the fingers I was going to raise, this might give you the ‘reaction speed’ you need to respond.

Now with that explained, let’s address the topic.

One thing that defines a non-thinking or ‘random’ player is either a lack of respect for the concept of safety and risk (disrespectful/DGAF/bored/let’s-see-if-I-can-get-away-with-it type) or lack of knowledge of safety and risk (scrub, beginner). By that I mean not understanding or not caring about the implications of startup or recovery time.

If you’re smart enough to always know which area of options to focus on when reacting to something (or worse, aren’t smart enough but have convinced yourself you are), but yet have horrible general reaction speed, you’ll likely continually miss opportunities against a random player, because a random player doesn’t play at a level of sophistication that gives off tells which help you assist your reaction speed with selective focus.

(Keep in mind that this is less applicable if you DO have a good natural reaction speed to non-specific stimulae. It only applies to certain people.)

This is also not to be confused with a mere weak player, who has the opportunity to develop habits that are common to many players of that character, which makes him easy to read.

I’m talking about someone who is completely off the walls, fighting with euphoria: their mixing it up is a lottery rather than a premeditated play of hand. This is a human attribute, not a fighting game player one. It’s something you can summon based on who you are, not the ‘level’ you are at. You could have it at day 1 or day 1000.

Because of their lack of respect for safety, they deploy moves (in sf4 at least) that are unsafe on block but also have the trade-off of great travel distance and good enough start-up time that most humans, when not selectively looking for it, cannot react well to it. The moves also often bear well-guarded hurtboxes that shut down pre-emptively stuffing the move, or where this can only be done if the timing is perfect.

Because the opponent is unpredictable which prevents the player from focus-enhancing his reactions, and his non-specific reactions (reactions to things you cannot predict) are inadequate, he cannot shut down the options that other players can and that he knows he ought to, and the opponent ends up having free reign of the stage which he ought not to have.

These opportunities to react could be jump-ins, or worse, punishes on block. The player always get caught looking for something else because their opponent always mixes up their timing and move selection without any consistent pattern, (*EDIT this part is also the definition of a top player–how about that) and by the time he has brought his mind to bear on what the opponent just did and instinctively reacts, they’re mashing out a reversal.

Basically, he doesn’t know what to look out for, and his reaction-speed when looking for everything at once or nothing at all is sub-standard.

As a result, battered and beaten, we have players who hold this conviction that they were the better player, or at least the smarter player, and there is this huge dissonance between the conviction of their worth and the humiliating results they keep getting. And I’m not going to say that their conviction is wrong, given that I’ve been there myself.

I call this The Ghandi effect.

There’s no real answer I can give to these players, other than to choose a different hobby, or else be prepared to put in a lot more time and effort than others have to who don’t seem to have this problem. In a genre of game that already is time-consuming, that might be too tall of an order, but proud people will struggle to admit defeat and often the players who have these complaints are the proudest.


here’s a simpler answer. they’re not as good as they thought they were. no fundamentals, no anti-airs (especially this), etc.


Random is one of the most misused words in this community. People need to stop acting like scrubs or nonthinking players are “random”. Ghandi is the perfect example. He’s one of the least random players of all time. He will dp out of everything, then he will hadoken and then jump around. He has very, very obvious patterns. The entire concept of bad players doing weird and unsafe things, or things in a strange order to throw off people’s expectations or reactions and working well is complete nonsense. If they really had a true way to throw off good players that worked, then other good players would adopt these strategies or techniques as well. In actually reactable situations(like someone jumping in or whiffing a DP), you react to that action and the speed of that action is the same regardless of how “random” that person is. If you are going off of what they do before hand, then that is called anticipation. If you are poorly anticipating the actions of bad players, that’s not some magical effect that you can’t see coming, you just have bad reads and don’t know how to play a certain player archetype. SSblanka is exactly right. If you’re losing to someone worse and dumber than you then what’s really happening is you probably aren’t as good as you think you are.


See, I covered my ass with the legalese in the title (UltraDavid would understand): Here’s one reason why people blah blah blah. I understand that there are other explanations that will ring truer for them than the essay that I wrote. Feel free to write your own.


Oh and the ‘they’re just not good’ explanation is absolutely correct. I put myself forward as an example in the OP: I’ve never once pretended not to be helplessly bad at this game, being funny or attracting the opposite sex, but my spirit says that’s not the real me and one day you’ll kiss my ass.


A well known player gave me once this super valuable piece of advice: “Always assume your opponent is a retard until he/she proves otherwise”.


When you lose to a player you see as worse than yourself, it’s usually sign of bad fundamentals and illiteracy.


Then how do you explain Alex Valle?


I got this game a few days ago and I’ve accepted that I’m terrible at this game and that I have bad fundamentals. I’ve put in a lot of hours but I don’t seem to be improving at all. Anyone any advice on how to improve my fundamentals?


You don’t have ‘bad’ fundamentals if you’ve only been playing a couple of days. You don’t have fundamentals.

You have to practice and study. That’s about the best advice I can give you. You’ve been playing for a few days, I’ve been playing for a few years, and player X might have been playing for a few decades. How can you expect to measure up to that after a couple of days? You can’t. You need to work hard, study, and get better the same way we all have.


Fair enough I suppose its just I’ve played Mortal Kombat and Injustice before and was quite good at them but with street fighter I feel completely lost. Nothing is coming naturally at all compared to other games. Guess I just need to keep practicing.


Mortal Kombat and Injustice don’t really have traditional footsies, which are a huge part of Capcom games:

You won’t need to know the more advanced concepts yet, but for now going over the first couple of articles to get the general concept isn’t a bad idea. You need to get very familiar with your character’s normals and neutral game. As much as I don’t like them, eventhubs has good basic character guides for each character in AE:

Also, don’t pick Bison. It may seem like a good idea at the time, but a couple years down the road you’ll be regretting your decision. :frowning:


Okay cool thanks. I want to learn El Fuerte but he’s pretty tough and doesn’t teach much fundamentals so I’m gonna learn Fei Long till I get competent at the game


I’m not sure what you mean. Are you referring to a specific example, or just Valle in general?

Personally, I believe that given a decent skillset, playing solid and keeping your head in the game will guarantee you the win against a much inferior opponent a large majority of the time.
Obviously, you’re not going to be 100% on point all the time and frustration is a factor, where it can be difficult to turn your mind around after encountering “random” play from your opponent.

Always feel a new opponent out before taking (big) risks.


If you like Elf, go for it. But like you said, you won’t be getting much out of him besides learning how to play Elf.


It’s only bad if you lose to these players multiple games in a row. Sometimes I lose to randoms but rarely do they beat me twice, it just means for certain players it takes a longer time to adapt, sometimes a single match isn’t enough.

If you get beaten repetitively by these players and not just one match, then you can’t say they’re worse than you.


playing Fg taught me humility real quick. Accepting your faults and mistake is the first part of battles.


How the fuck do you not know what I mean? As the alpha-illiterate and your uncle, how did you miss my point? I’m fucking joking btw, unless Valle says something disrespectful about me.

Let me give a synopsis of the original post as it’s obviously way over all of your heads:

  1. Intellect is not the least important skill in a fighting game, but it is the last to matter.

  2. Fighting games test all the more ‘vulgar’ faculties first: the ones that today make you the least money (unless you’re a footballer), but 50,000 yrs bg (before god) lacking them would have gotten you eaten by cannibals.

  3. Some people are not stupid but they are witless. Intellect and swiftness of mind are not the same thing. One is mental vision, the other is your on-the-spot ability to cope and process and recall information.

  4. Some very smart people are sitting ducks in fighting games and are made to look like complete bitches.

  5. This thread and the whole fgc is full of social climbers eager to sit on someone’s face, so they’d be the first to say something like
    "“Always assume your opponent is a retard until he/she proves otherwise”. "


watch the match again, towards the end he stopped DPing everything and a few times just blocked on wake up. Ghandi is just a new player who had the guts to go to a tournament. How many great players just lurk here and never compete.


Totally agree. I just checked my OP and where I meant it, I put random in quotes. I’m not sure there really is such a thing as a random human being. It’s a way of regarding things, where your mind cannot make sense of something in due time–as with luck, it’s a perceptual phenomenon and not a factual one.

Even if Ghandi hadn’t done a mix-up at the end (which is exactly what it was), it wouldn’t earn him the title of random. Whenever you call something random it’s an inadequacy on your part (even if noone on earth could have done any better than you in the same situation, in which case it’s an inadequacy of you and all human beings).

What it can be considered is thoughtless. And thinking is always slower than not doing so.