Mastery of a Character

I’ve been here a while, and I learned just as much as a could here, but I have a few quick questions about mastery.

  1. When do you know if you mastered a character?

  2. Why are some characters harder to master than others?

  3. Dhalsim, Blanka, Honda, El Fuerte. Organize these in the order of hardest to master to easiest. Also give tips to help me master them.

Thanks for your input.

  1. When nobody in the world can defeat you.

  2. Because they play differently. Naturally some are going to require more difficult executions, more strict timing, etc.

  1. order of hardest to easiest to master

el fuerte

For the use of the word master, thats a great response.

Its my experience that you can never truly master any character when it comes to fighting games. Simply because the word master means you have transcended past any flaws you might have in that character.

I am rather new to competitive play so this is merely my take on things, but I personally find there is no way to really tell if you have become amazingly good at a character. Its merely how you feel on the subject. Every player will have some flaw in their game, and if you are playing to get as close as you can to that master you will try and turn that weakness into a strength. Interestingly enough I believe having an understanding of your enemy (the more detailed the better), then the better you will know your own character. So with that in mind the only way to “master a character” will be to have “mastered all characters.” But by now we have reached a full circle on the question.

cant help ya on the which characters are more difficult question. I am only decent with Ken and Zangief.

No it doesn’t mean you’re unbeatable. I think it just means that you can go even with the top players (in japan) with a character. If you can do that, you’ve probably figured out everything you need to know.

I agree with this part. Personally, I think mastery means that you can make your character do what you want it to do, when you want it do it, consistently. Winning or losing ends up coming down to skill at the game, but I think character mastery is more about understanding and consistency then anything else.

Winning and losing can also come down to guessing because of the rock-paper-scissors nature of the game.

When you have complete understanding of your character’s in game mechanics and how they intersect and interact with the mechanics of every other character in the game and can bring that knowledge to bear in any avenue of play, be it a casual, online match, or tourney.

You can NEVER truly master a character because everyone can always improve there is no such a think as true perfection i am well-versed in both ancient and modern philosophy blah blah balh blha ablh

Just a figure of speech, I think that someone can be said to have “mastered” a character when they seem to consistently have multiple* good answers for every possible situation**.

** The answers are unique from each other in the sense that they differ in their vulnerabilities. Eg. I have two good answers but you can’t beat both of them with the same thing. Effectively, if you know about my answers you’re going to have to guess which one I’m using.*

*** By “situation,” I mean game-state elements from top to bottom (matchup, meters, timer, round counts, positions, any frame advantage) as well as all layers of metagame consideration (your opponent’s reactive and predictive and executive abilities, his psychology, mindstate, gameplan, style, strengths, weaknesses, tendencies, what they know about you, what they know about how to deal with what you know etc. etc. etc., your past history of playing against them, what has happened in the game/s against them thus far in the particular set or event in question… as well as the competitive format to some extent).*

Having answers to all of this requires a deep understanding of all of the character’s tools, which involves a thorough experiential knowledge of how they all interact with those of all the other characters. Cognitively, this is comprised of an extremely huge and organic database of networked informations, vast and detailed to the point of what might seem like completion.

Some answers are powerful and can cover many situations, some are minute and/or nuanced and will only apply to a scant few; regardless, they are answers.

However, since there are an infinite number of possible “situations,” of course a player cannot actually have good answers for every single situation pre-created and stored for use when/where specifically applicable: many yes, but never all or even most. We are not robots.

But that’s kind of the point. The depth of understanding of his character that this player possesses is such that creating good answers with his character on-the-fly is natural for him; this is the reason that so many top players showcase such impressive adaptability.

In this sense, degrees of mastery would reflect having more and better answers (or rather, being able to come up with them).

Hey, YOU asked. :rolleyes:

so basically what he said

I’d like to say that the order of hardest to easiest goes like this, My opinion and based on difficulty of execution, match ups on the other hand may change how they are placed,

el fuerte, blanka, dhalsim, honda in that order,

The Japanese have a “Mastery” (0-100) scale for some games. It’s just based on popular opinion and general consensus though.

Here’s an ST list from a few years ago:
Ryu: ShootingD (94), Daigo (92), Gotoh (89), Tencho (86)
Ken: Aniken (93), Mattsun (90)
Honda: Kusumondo (88), Otohonda (85)
O.Honda: Shougatsu (90)
Chun-Li: Otochun (93), Tojo (87)
O.Chun: Inro~ (84)
Blanka: Komoda (94), Nakamu~ (83), ASTEKA (80)
Zangief: Pony (91), Gunze (87), Kakki (80)
Guile: Muteki (94), Kurahashi (88), Shiki (88), Tsunoppi (85)
Dhalsim: Hakase (93), Gian (90), Yoshimura (85), KKY (80)
T.Hawk: Mayakon (90), Inomata (87)
O.Hawk: Toutanki (90), K (88)
Fei-Long: Noguchi (94), Yuubou (87), K (83)
Cammy: Oota (94), Nakamura (85), Tasaka (84), Ikebukuro Cammy (84)
DeeJay: YuuVega (89), yaya (84)
Boxer: Tsuji (91), Anioah (90), Tamashima (90), The SuperStar (87)
Claw: Noguchi (92), ARG (89)
Sagat: yaya (92), Akeome (80)
Dictator: YuuVega (93), Taira (91), MoreVega (87)

how come no one has mentioned the fact that even if you “master” a character, or the game itself…you’ll still have to contend with the match-up factor?

even if you master a character like, let’s say for example…Guile…you might still lose to a better than average Ryu or Ken player that hasn’t really mastered Ken/Ryu.

You realize that every character in every fighting game always has a “nemesis” in that playable character roster that is particularly strong or difficult to beat for your character.

which is why I switched to Ryu, and dropped Guile as my fav character.

i’m not saying that Ryu/Ken/Akuma don’t have their own nemesis, its just that too many people play as Ryu/Ken at arcades…

and you get tired of losing buckets of quarters for playing as Guile because of it.

Closer to this

I’m going to have to disagree here. What you just discribed is being mid tier. Getting your character to do what you want them to do all of the time is like step 10 out of 100 on the way to mastery. Knowledge of the game comes into play as well as the system for the game. Mastery of a character in any fighting game is going to require far more knowledge about the game than just that character. You can’t be a master with any CVS2 character without understanding roll cancels even if you don’t use a roll groove, because you’re still going to have to fight it and beat it all regularly. It also involves knowing how to fight ALL of the other characters in the game, even your bad matchups. I pretty much dropped Ken for the last month I’ve been playing Gief and it taught me alot about the way I play Ken, that improvement with my character didn’t even involve me using my character. If you don’t know which moves of mine you can punish with your character or where the holes in my character’s game are that your character can exploit than you’re nowhere near mastering your character. Most players that i’ve played that where anywhere near close to me thinking they had mastered their character usually also know my character better than i do.

Read my post.

When one has mastered a character, it means that they know pretty much all of the basic strategies for their character, which include matchups against certain characters (shotos, grapplers, turtlers), and when they know how to execute their characters gameplan.

I’ve played a lot of fighters growing up, and usually had a main character in all of the games I played. Since SFA2, it’s been Sakura for me. However, when I started playing SF4, the first character that I “mastered” was Dictator. When I played as Sakura in the early stages of the game, I didn’t always feel confident against who I was fighting, simply because I hadn’t quite figured out how to use Sakura in this game. I started wth Dictator, and his gameplay and strategy came to me really quick. Now, after sharpening my Sakura skills, she is my best character on SF4.

Funny thing tho. I played against PMon3y regularly a while back. He’s a very good M.Bison player on these boards. When I used Sakura, he probably beat me 7/10 times, though when I use M.Bison, I may win a little more often than him, but for the most part its pretty even.

The best advice I can give is to pick 2 characters and stick with them, no matter how much you continue to lose with them. For a while, I kept getting so frustrated at the fact that I would lose so often with Sakura online, that I would just use Dictator. I had to take my lumps with Sak, but I eventually “mastered” Sakura. It’s gonna take a lot of practice, alot of reading, alot of video analysis, and unfortunately at first…a lot of losing.

OR more than enough to beat people. Every character has more potential than we see at first, because no one has found it. We define a level of skill, by comparing to others. For example, you can beat everyone in town, and everyone sees you as the top player ever, but then an outsider comes in and he/she whoops your ass. All of a sudden you don’t look like a top palyer, because someone else manages to beat you.

Just think Dragon Ball Z: The good guys keeps facing more and more stronger enemies. The beat Frieza who was some supposedly some strong ass alien, wooo the gang beat him, they must be the strongest thing in this world! Oh look out here comes Cell, who’s even stronger than Frieza and the gang. 50 episodes later, they beat Cell, and now they keep virtually leveling up and getting more stronger as if they were playing maplestory or something.

There is no limit when it comes to fighting… thus no actually “mastering” of any character.

Lets be realistic here though, if you are able to hang with top level Japanese players you are going to be able to hang with anyone. Its not like out of nowhere is going to come players who are so much more skilled that they make the top Japanese players look like chumps.

I’d say mastering a character basically requires complete knowledge of a games mechanics, knowing every match up like the back of your hand, knowing what to do in any given situation and the best ways to punish any mistakes. And being able to execute it all against a high level opponent of course.

  1. I dont think you can truly “master” a character. Instead I prefer to think of it in terms of improving my game more than my competition. You know you’re getting better when the characters that usually give you trouble are doing worse against you. This means you must be doing something right!

  2. Theres plenty of reasons:some characters have easier links than others, less moves to remember, or less stamina to work with. More than that, but this is just a few. :slight_smile:

You took that a bit too literally…there could someone in the world who is REALLLLLY good, but has never been playing in public.