My meter strategy in most fights is just to blow it.
I used to get all wrapped up in saving the meter, but I realized that it’s kinda dumb to save meter, in a lot of situations.
People are big on saving meter, but the cost of saving meter is time, which equates to life. If I opt to save my custom in a situation in which I could have used it, I’ve now opted to lengthen the fight indefinitely. I’ve seen it waaaay too many times. Player 1 decides not to “waste” (lol) the meter, and fight it out. Player 2 then deals significantly more damage, or actually wins the round instead. Either that, or Player 2 manages to run away for another 15-25 seconds, while building meter.
So now, not only have you sacrificed a good deal of life (in life lost, and life not regained for the next round due to time), but you’ve given your opponent more meter, while you spent the remainder of the round gaining none (you already have it…). Where’s the tactical advantage?
If I use the meter, I’ve now cut the round off. I keep whatever life I have, I now gain more life, since I ended the round quicker, and the character (that’s still alive!) has the chance to do some more damage, and build more meter to pass on the the next guy.
I break the match down, in terms of meter management, to “openings”. The way I see it, if I have you down to 45% life, I only need to open my opponent up one time to kill him, if I plan on using custom.
If I don’t, I now have to open them up 2-3 times to do that same damage. That means it’s at least 2-3 times more difficult/risky/time-consuming for me to do that. Against great players, you have to minimize the amount of times you need to open them up.
Same if I have my opponent down to 15-20%. If I land something that guarantees my custom, why not use it? If I would have used it to kill my opponent at 40%, why not use it at 15%? It’s the same outcome. My meter is gone, my opponent’s character is dead.
Now, obviously, there’s the whole psychology of the fight, and sitting on meter plays a large role in that, but fuck it. I think I’m more scary if my opponent knows that I’ll fucking kill them, no questions asked. Some of the guys that I play with swear by sitting on meter. I just don’t get it. There are very few matches in this game that require meter to succeed. I just think people are scared to fight without meter. Obviously, there are circumstances under which I would hold my meter for a while, but for every action you take holding meter, you’ve given up an opportunity to build your next bar. If I’m able to work up 4-5 full bars in a match, and you’re only working up 3, my damage potential is much higher.
One player I play with likes to save meter only for killing situations. I think that’s the most retarded idea ever, but by his logic, if he fights the entire round with meter, it’s easier to control what his opponent will do. I agree with that to a certain extent, but he’s also effectively making his meter useless in pragmatic terms, because he doesn’t use it, and the only times he does, the shit does like 30% damage (because that’s all that’s left). Once the opponent begins to analyze what’s happening, the super becomes much less scary, because we all know it isn’t coming out. More importantly (IMO), if I KNOW you’re sitting on your meter because it makes the fight easier for you, it leads me to believe that you can’t fight without it. This now means that I’ll be 10x more reckless with you. I’ve now gone into a mode in which I completely disrespect your meter, and force you to use it, to demand that respect back. But… once you’ve used it… it’s gone, and I know you suck without meter… so… fuck it. I’ll take the hit (obviously, I’m still trying to avoid it somewhat). Against C/K, or A-Bison, obviously, this doesn’t apply at all, but in the situations that I’m (vaguely) referencing, it works well.
I guess I’m just not scared of fighting without meter. There are situations that I feel much more comfortable with if I have meter, but those are few and far between, and even for those, I’m not going to pass up a great opportunity to use my meter, so that I can have it later for a situation that may not have to even come up, if I just use the meter to begin with.
Whatever though… I’m mashing now.