How can I bring my game from average/intermediate to tournament level?


I would say I am an intermediate skill level player of fighting games (can beat all my friends pretty easily, but get destroyed by any higher level player, and I need some help/advice on where to go from here.

I have heard in the last 5 or 10 years about “frame counting”, and I still don’t quite know what that is, but with the arcade games I played for years, like Alpha 2 and Xmen vs SF, I got good enough that I could “see” (for lack of a better term) the openings after certain moves/tags/etc, and knew what moves I could do that would hit fast enough that they couldn’t block, which I think is the basic idea of counting frames. I usually played with a group of 2-5 friends, who were all into fighters, with different skill levels, but usually I was at or around the top of the group.

Fast forward to 2000 or so, and the few times I did venture to the arcades to play MvC 2, I hit players light years beyond my skill levels doing things I had never seen, all I remember is a blur of Storm, Magneto air combo juggles and Psylocke assists, and then I was dead. So I still played fighters, got back into 3rd Strike briefly with a few friends/online, but it was all single player until SF IV came out.

So I will get to the point. Things like combo videos on youtube, forums on SRK and the SRK superguide have helped immeasurably to seeing what moves/combos/strats are possible, but I am still hitting a brick wall on how to bring myself to the next level. I spent some time with SFIV and Super, but dropped it after a while, as I didn’t have anybody at my skill level to play with, and when you are still learning, playing online=getting destroyed 98% of the matches, which is just discouraging.

When MvC 3 came out, I vowed I would bring my game to the next level, and I have already put 80 hours into the game, most of that into practice/mission mode, and I have actually learned a great deal about how the engine/combo system works, from the missions, which I have been able to bring into my game. Basically, I am at the point where I understand all the game systems, can finish 9/10 missions for most characters, and can finish the Apprentice level combos pretty easily from the SRK guide. But the second I try to play online against actual opponents, I usually just get massacred. I do a little damage, then get hit with a combo-ground bounce-combo-assist, combo-super, dhc, etc, then I am dead. I understand that you need to be able to lose, but getting destroyed every time I try to learn/play with other people isn’t fun, its just discouraging.

Sorry for the length on this, but I am at my wits end on the subject. I love MvC 3 to death, but other than playing single player or practice, what can I do to bring my skill up? My dream is to get good enough to play at a big tournament like EVO, not to place or anything, just get keep getting better. I know people say to get local/on couch vs going, but I have no idea where to even start for that. How does a 30 year old guy with a wife and a kid even start to look for training partners for fighting games? God that sounded wierd.

Any input would be appreciated, this has been bothering me for years and hopefully I can get some advice/help that will set me on the right track.


Forgot to add that right now I play with Madcatz Fightpad, but I have recently purchase a Madcatz LE MvC 3 Stick, which I will be modding soon to a bat stick/circle gate. I know it will take a lot of time to relearn with that setup, but I am willing to put the time in.


It’s pretty difficult to tell you what you’re doing wrong based on that description other than your defense is probably pretty bad. Movement and defense are both really important in Marvel.

I wouldn’t bother modding your stick either. Just go practice with it.

It also sounds like your gameplay level isn’t as average as you might think it is. I’d consider starting again from the beginning if I were you.


The only way to get better at playing against other people is actually fairly obvious, play against other people. No matter how much time you spend in training mode learning a combo or a setup, it doesn’t actually teach you how to successfully land it, or how to block your opponent’s.

Marvel is hard in that a lot of the time you don’t actually understand why you are losing. Finding a training partner who you can talk to about things can really help, try the respective xbl/psn matchmatching threads, or the regional matchmaking forums. You’d be surprised about how open players are to helping people out.


There comes a time when everyone comes out of their little circle and meets players who will just absolutely ruin their shit. so unfortunately there’s a curve coming out where you have to unlearn what you thought was good and learn what is actually good and this happens again and again as you progress as new things are found and you delve even further into the system. Part of this process, unfortunately, is getting massacred. I always cite BB as an example. I started as a 3s player and really wanted to get into the NEW EASY GUILTY GEAR. Awesome, right? Everyone’s on the same page! We can all start together!

FF 60 matches, I’ve changed chars from who I thought I wanted to play and LOST every single one of them. Go figure. But I really wanted it, so [stage 1!] I played a lot. I tried to learn what I could just looking at how I got hit etc. etc. 3 weeks later I pulled it back up to a 60% win ratio. So step 1, find someone you can play with consistently. In the age of online 10x easier. Not great, but sufficient. [ENDLESS NOT RANKED, just one random match doesn’t help much in the learning process, As an addendum to that, finding flesh and blood people to play with helps you commune with the community and such. use the matchmaking sections or go to arcades or just talk to people on the forums. If there’s literally no one around you might have to travel a bit ah the days of yore. I speak as if I know but I’ve always lived in easy mode access to arcade and online so…yeah] having someone to talk to is TREMENDOUSLY helpful assuming they’re in the know. They might and probably do if they’re winning see the things that you don’t.

Next step. Learn what you’re doing wrong. At the base level: getting hit is wrong. Hitting is right. Easy, right? So stage 2, decipher where you’re getting hit, what you’re getting hit by and to the point - how you’re hitting them. Nothing in a fighting game is random. Did they cross you up? Did they mix you you? Did you get nailed by a frame trap? Did they hit you out of a moves recovery? Did they hit you at a spot where it was guarenteed? Did they outspace you? Etc. [also game specific stuff] Turn it around, it becomes offense. [Notably, being able to DO combos means nothing if you have no compelling way to connect it.] These are things that aren’t learned by single player. People think and plan and don’t want to lose whereas the computer is designed to ultimately be beatable. This is the knowledge that I find people just lack. They get hit by the same thing over and over again somehow expecting that if they do it faster next time, BETTER next time, COOLER next time it’ll work in their favor. It doesn’t work that way. An ill timed fireball can and will be ultra’d. mashing out of frame traps will get you CH combo’d. [except shoryu’s]. Misblocking…is…uh…bad? LEARN. This is where people get stuck and just call things cheap. Don’t get stuck here.

I guess this was all a bit toooooo simplistic what with stage 2 being LRN2PLYSCRUB so stage 3 is the last one. Don’t get discouraged. Keep learning to get through situations, create situations and overcome difficulties and eventually, you’ll be good. This is a long process at the beginning and ongoing til the end and as you said you’re at the stage in your life where you might not have all the time in the world to be poring over mixups and spacing and getting that sick 30 hit combo juuuuuuust right, but there are many paths to being sick, so don’t worry too much about it. There are people older than you in the community and I’ve never personally met a bad egg in it. So come on in. You might like it.


did you get that thing I sent you? :stuck_out_tongue: