I'm not "getting the flow" of an FG match


I honestly don’t understand it sometimes. When expert players tell me to watch matches of fights on the expert scenes, it’s all so confusing. I see it, but it’s like watching a football game: even if you know the rules, without an expert knowledge of the game, you don’t know what you’re seeing. You know nothing of what to look for. Every match is so confusing and the pros tell you to watch, but they never tell you what to look for and assume you’ll figure it out.

Well, even after watching every video I could, I never ever understood what I was supposed to be learning. I look at the videos, I see the gameplay, but it’s like I can’t understand what’s going on at the core. I really can’t learn FGs from watching videos because I have no idea what’s going on. How the hell am I supposed to get better when I really don’t understand anything?

I was considering going to the store tomorrow morning and trading in all of my games (3D Dot, BBCS:EX, and DMC4) in order to get SSF4AE (it’s $30 for the PS3 version), but I’m wondering full on if I’ll ever “get” the flow of an FG match. I keep wondering if I’ll actually learn. It’s one thing to say “it’s okay to lose”- I can get that, but it’s another thing to say “watch videos of pro players” and hope that I understand whatever the hell is going on.

I mean, how do you “understand” the flow of a match? Is there some magic trick to it, or what? I’m starting to feel like even SSF4AE won’t teach me how to play FGs better. It’s like all I know are the basic controls. I don’t like “spammy bratkid [S]nieger[/S] hadouken” style strategies, but at the same time, I know that’s how I’ll have to play to learn the game. And it’s infuriating, because I don’t want to be seen as some lowlife immature little brat who whines every time he loses like the Callz of Dooteh fag he is (FYI, I’ve never played, nor will ever play, CoD - [S]I consider it a part of Romney’s War Training program for the White Christ Crusade[/S] I think it’s a crappy game overall, much like WoW and all it’s Chinese [S]Zedong[/S] Clones).

I’m lost - what should I do?


It’s best off you watch pros that play your character, that way you have a foundation as to what the pro is going to do, which combos they should be using, etc etc.

It’s all about asking the “Why?” questions. Why did this character do this, why are they doing that, why are they choosing this range to stay at, why are they playing aggressively, why conservatively, etc etc. After that, you’ll start to pick up on a few key points that will stand out to you. For example, if Ryu is throwing out fireballs at max range, but suddenly stops throwing them so recklessly at around mid-range, why is that? Usually it’s because at mid-range, a good player is usually able to react to a fireball, do a jump attack, and land a damaging combo. But then, at closer ranges, Ryu will begin to throw out fireballs. Why? Because he knows the opponent is unable to react to it quickly enough to punish. The fireball effectively acts as an extended poke, which suddenly gives Ryu better options on the ground.
Pay attention to things like when players like to go for tick throws, when they stop doing throws and start doing frame traps. Pay attention to when each player looks to be in an advantageous situation, i.e. with a strong life lead, aggressive rushdown, a solid defense, or pick and chooses points of attack. Pay attention to what they do when they’re in bad situations, such as a hard knockdown, dealing with ambiguous cross-ups, knowing when to crouch-tech and when to just block, etc etc.

Don’t just watch a match brainlessly. That won’t do jack shit for you. Use your brain, pay attention to the details, and you’ll eventually develop a sense for how to apply critical thinking and logic while watching a match.


you play more. that’s how you understand.

you lose a bunch and pay attention to how you lost.


Brainlessly? How can I be watching brainlessly when I don’t even know what the fuck’s going on?

Tick throws? Frame traps? You are speaking in a foreign language to me, man.

1)I haven’t played SSF4AE - if you had actually read the entire thing, you’d realize I don’t own the game and was planning to trade BlazBlue CS Extend, Devil May Cry 4, and 3D Dot Game Heroes in order to pick up a copy of SSF4AE (so that I can finally start LEARNING from bottom up, whereas I had picked games that were developed more for the more experienced person in the FG community).

2)I was told to pick up SSF4AE when I had first joined this community, but then several people tell me it’s not necessary. Well, given my performance at PS2 GGX2:AC+ with the CPU, I feel like I’m lacking a huge amount of understanding of the core basics of the genre (I pick up the game and play as if I were looking at it via an arcade - the stick board has a small list of special moves, the arcade machine tells you the nitty gritty controls, you pick your character and then just try to grind through all the opponents). But I’m realizing to get BETTER, I’m going to need to know more than just the “How to Play” stuff - I’m gonna need to know more about FGs as a whole.

3)I always hear people say “stick or bust”. Well, I can’t afford a stick - none of the places here sell any, and I don’t use credit/debit cards (which are the only things most merchants for arcade sticks take - prepaid isn’t accepted as far as I know). I could wait 2 months with $50 for both months and shell out for an Arcade Stick, but then it’s all this shit about parts and whatnot - it’s all so goddamn confusing, even after reading the stickies. I always see a stick as like a badge of honor - an item saying “You are one of us. [S]Now use it wisely and train to beat Daigo![/S]” It’s like I can’t be considered serious about playing FGs if I don’t have a stick.

With all these requirements to be “initiated” as one of the non-sucky brat players (AKA scrubs, which I am right now and don’t want to be), I just keep thinking that this stuff is only for the rich. It’s why I feel like I’ll never be taken seriously or be overestimated.

I don’t deny that I am a scrub, but at the same time I don’t want to be. I want to learn, to get better, and to ultimately one day show up at EVO and go in and feel like I could do SOMETHING.

I mean, how long have the players here been playing? 18 years? 19? 20? I kinda feel like I’m staring at the Tower of Babel and lose hope in trying to climb it, yet masochistically force myself to climb. It’s that huge barrier I feel I’ll never be able to cross. And I really feel like you guys don’t understand this pressure I have on me.


you can’t learn the game without playing. it’s that simple. you play, you study, and you begin to understand. you don’t flip a switch.


Why do I have to be subject to a label before I can be accepted in the FG community? Why must I be forced to suffer “being a scrub” before I can be anything less than a scrub? Why is it that always I’m grouped up with other idiots before I can gain recognition?

Am I supposed to play these games with envy of the high levels until I can somehow find a way to get closer to them - close enough to “bite their heels and drag them down to my level”? Is that how gaming works? The pros look at you with contempt and apathy while us newbs have to struggle in a dog-eat-dog environment to gain any sort of recognition?

What is it that makes a “scrub” not be a scrub? What is it that I must do to claw my way out of the hellhole of arrogant unsportsmanships, slothstudies, and Hadouken spammers? How do I hit that point where I’m better than they are? How can I reach the point where I can leave hell, and enter the world above? Only Daigo and the pros can ever sit on the Thrones of FG Heaven, but that’s not my aim right now. Right now, I’m aiming to get out of the moshpit of FG Hell - and I feel like there’s no way out.


You need to understand the context of the actions performed in the game. The “why”.

Here is a sample flow of a theoretical game.

Let’s say in game A, there’s this REALLY high-priority move (let’s call it a big punch).
It literally beats out all your character’s normals.
Every time you dash in, the opponent just big punches you away.
The opponent then just seems to spam this non-stop.

However, the big punch has bad recovery, so you can just block it and punish.
So you just start turtling and blocking.

The opponent notices though, so he just keeps walking up to you and throwing you.

So you start attacking, and… you get big punched.

So you try to bait it out, like standing just outside the big punch range and whiff short quick moves like small jabs, or just walking in and out of its range. Looking like a small dance. etc etc

To the untrained eye, it will look like someone is getting thrown, big punched, blocking big punches and retaliating, and also someone dancing around hitting air. Which is pretty boring to watch, like sitting at home watching ESPN.

But if your mind knows the priorities, recoveries, and the options, you become aware of the mind games, and it becomes much more exciting. So yeah… you need gameplay experience to know all that. And you need to keep your mind aware and receptive as to “what works, why did that work, etc.”

Which is also why playing the CPU sucks. Psychology doesn’t work, instead you have to abuse flaws or use CPU-only tricks.

“Scrubs” are the players who are not in the mindset of beating your opponent by out-thinking them. Instead, they prefer to spam special moves or other such things, and are happy with lucking out wins without really working for it. i.e. a scrub would just repeatedly get “big punched” and just go wtf, “play properly, stop spamming 1 move”, etc.


I start AE and fighting game in 2012. At first I thought it would be impossible to catch up to everyone, but it makes me learn and progress faster because a lot of information about the game is there already. I don’t understand some things in pro videos also, but when I keep playing more, I start to grasp some things like which moves can be linked or cancelled, effective combos, and punishing mistakes. Don’t lose hope!


First thing you need to do is calm down a bit lol you are making this seem like some catastrophic deal if you aren’t able to figure out what is going on.

Play, practice, lose, and learn. Really is the only way.


Now I see. Whenever I lose (or even when I win a single round or just an entire match) I have this irritation in me, like a thirst. Like that one win wasn’t enough. Like it was luck that I won. Having that feeling eradicates my label of being a “scrub”, because I was not satisfied with my victory.

And yeah, that’s how it feels when I watch videos. Like watching Monday Night Football or something. It’s boring and I feel like I want to do what they are, but then I realize I’m nowhere near the level of strength and skill that they are (FYI, I’ve played Pop Warner Football before, so I know the analogy used here). So I train - but then I see the huge gap before me. It intimidates me, it scares me. But yet I push on. I mindlessly plow towards that goal that I yearn for, but know not the proper means to reach it.

It’s intimidating, realizing the amount of time and practice I’ll have to undergo in order to level out of Scrub’s Hell. But each time I “challenge the gatekeeper”, or try to fight someone of decent skill, I get my butt handed back to me and realize there’s something missing.

That’s why I hoped that A)SSF4AE could give me the knowledge I needed to break out, and B)I wouldn’t HAVE to rely on SSF4AE to make it through.

It’s like trying to fight a class advancement boss in an Action MMORPG and realizing you came undergeared and underleveled. I really have no idea how to progress from this point forward.

Forenote: I realize the above sounds very poetic, but this is how I’ve always written on the internet. It’s a blessing and a curse, to be honest. Blessing in that people praise me for my grammar and spelling, but a curse in how people find my complex, drawn out sentences annoying.

Guess nobody’s perfect - except Daigo. And one day I’ll dethrone that god. One day…


If you’re interested in maintaining a SRK account in good status, chill out with the racial slurs/homophobia. It’s not funny. Thanks.

  • “the mods”


Dammit. Not again. It wasn’t meant to be funny. I thought being honest about how I really felt would convey how angry I felt, but I see that I’m still once again unable to communicate with the common man.

I don’t get it… probably never will.


If you’re brand new to the series, just pick it up and start playing it. Unless you’re willing to scroll through and read forum posts and memorize terminology, which most people aren’t, you’re going to have to understand it by simply playing the game. Just pick up the game and mess around with it. Try out some of the special moves, try the trial mode to get an idea of how to combo, just play the game to naturally pick up on the general mechanics of how to play FGs.

I’m not sure who told you not to pick up SF4, since it’s the most popular Capcom game in the past decade, and rejuvenated the FGC with an influx of new players. To get better as a player, you don’t have to study up on fighting games in order to start playing. Just pick up the game and play.

You don’t need an arcade stick. Is it the most popular choice for competitive players? Yes. But in no way are you REQUIRED to have one to even get your foot in the door. You can use a controller just fine, and in fact, some top-level players stick with using a controller.

This stuff ain’t even close to being “for the rich”. If anything, PC gamers have better fit the “for the rich” title than guys who play fighting games. Many guys grew up playing the classic games in arcades, where it was dirt cheap just to start playing.

I’d say the majority of new players started playing fighting games with SF4. Only a very select few individuals have stuck around to have been playing nearly 20 years. Some talented players only needed a few years in order to become tournament winners.

tl;dr. You’re over-thinking it. Try the game out for yourself, rent it if you’d like, and see if you like it.


Seriously, I really must thank you for this entertaining thread. Oh and also thank you for taking the time to communicate with the common man. lmao!


I tried to be reasonable. Have it your way.