Ok, so online play in sf4 is balls. No, this isn’t the typical online rage thread where I tell you a few stories about rage quits, or lag, or PPs, or talk about how much I would win if I were playing offline. I’m specifically reffering to the terrible habits that the majority of the online player base has developed. I play online with the intention of leveling my game and getting better, but maybe 70% of the matches are a complete waste of time. So, i thought to myself, “why do people play like this?” After giving it some thought, it hit me. Maybe the guys I’m fighting don’t know that they are doing things that immediately identify them as terrible players.
So with this thread, with as little trolling as possible, I’d like for us to be able to talk about some things that you see that jump out in the opening moments of a fight to tell you that the guy you’re up against dosen’t know what he is doing.I’m not the best player, but as someone who aspires to get better while using online as an aide, I’d like to do my part to help everyone get better as a whole.
I’ll cover a few general things myself that are dead giveaways. The first thing i pick up on, and what I’m going to focus on, is what the other player does if they get knocked down.
I usually walk right over to them and apply some meaty low short pressure. If the low short connects, i go into a combo, rinse and repeat. If it connects the second time, it tells me I’m more than likely fighting a bad player. Why you ask?
I Hate Throws
I didn’t know myself at first, but after consulting some replays, I found out the other guy is usually doing one of two things. He is either-
A) waking up with a neutral jump, or
B) waking up with a throw.
What’s so bad about that? Wake up neutral jump doesn’t involve blocking. In. Any. Way. It doesn’t actually beat anything either. It may escape a meaty throw for a moment, but just about every character can respond to the neutral jump with an anti air. And that’s after they finish with the throw whiff animation. Unless you are fighting a command grab character, plus a read, it is a terrible option.
Wake up throw is slightly less risky, but it still sacrifices that low block, and throws have 20 frames of recovery on whiff. It usually only beats poorly timed meaties and that’s if the other character is within range. It’s a relatively high risk option that most good players will pick up on and exploit.
On top of those two points, both of those options scream fear of pressure. You are basically telling the other player that you have a severe problem with throws, and you are willing to do anything to escape them.
The next thing I pick up on when I get a KD is a repeat of an unsafe tactic
I’m not talking about DPs. But anyway, about those DPs…
I’m sure we have all had our experiences with mashing, but we have to face facts. Mashing exists at every level of the game. You can go on youtube right now and find replays of just about every tournament winner in the lifespan of SF4 mashing if their character has something they can mash. Meter, no meter, whatever. Fuck it.
So what can you find out about mashing if everyone does it? You have to look at when they mash, and then what they do after that DP hits or is blocked. There’s actually a lot of thought about risk reward behind most good players waking up with something. However, there is one rule of thumb that is the difference between a terrible player and a decent player. Players that have a clue won’t do high risk shit every time.
This applies to more than just DP type characters as well, but since we are already talking DPs, we’ll stay with those since those characters don’t usually have multiple options to cover. When I get that KD, and i go up for meaty pressure and i get SRKed, you know what I do on my next KD. That’s right, more meaty pressure. You have to really convince me by doing it twice. The third time I usually go for a delay meaty. If that third meterless DP flies out, I know two things. First in our hypothetical fight, you’re really easy to knock down. Second, you give no fucks. Depending on what else has gone down with your offensive approach, you just told me you DP at any given moment, and will more than likely wake up with an ultra as soon as its available.
So if you find yourself doing something stupidly easy to punish like DPs, or something thats -1 billion on block, like a Gouken EX tatsu, or attacks with huge recovery times, it may be time to reevaluate that defensive game plan and involve some blocking. The risky business may win you a few fights against people that have no idea how to actually apply pressure, but its just not possible to be consistent with that style of play. That brings me to my next point.
- jump/safe on block special
- jab, jab, attempt throw/poke cancelled into special
- lazy cross up
- repeat step 1
The way that my opponent applies pressure also says a lot about their game. In and of itself, the above game plan isn’t the worst. But what happens when the other player anti airs, and has an idea about throw teching. Now I’m not gonna say you have to develop a world class ground game, but some variation would be helpful. Anyway I’ll stick to my current theme of what happens on KDs.
For me, the biggest tell when I’m defending is if the other player never applies grounded meaty pressure should they manage a KD. To me, it says that you’re afraid of reversals if you don’t. If you are afraid of reversals then I know you aren’t to confident in your offense. I’ll just sit on down back and crouch tech like a fucking champ. I know you’re not going to risk a frame trap for fear of what could happen. At that point, i’m defensively confident. I understand, some characters can do some nasty stuff in the air with left right mix ups and provide natural avoidance to DPs, but if your character cant do all of that, you need to find out if the other guy has any holes in his game, and check him with meaties form time to time.
Also, when you take to the air on a knockdown, you let me know for 35+ frames whats about to happen. I know all i need to do is watch left/right, and eyeball safe jumps vs non safe jumps. Thats fairly simple to defend compared to if you are standing right next to me. Will you block, throw, counter hit set up, meaty, delay meaty, overhead, whiff punish a crouch tech, back dash? I dunno, it’s a lot to think about if you’re laying on your back.
The lazy ass cross up is also shockingly easy to avoid. Many characters can just dash out from under it if it isnt meaty, and if it is meaty, the better players will know how to auto correct, and tag you anyway. So mix in a safe jump here and there.
TL;DR-stop playing like ass and try to get better
Outside of the few general bases that I have attempted to cover, there are several character specific red flags that I’m certain many of you have. (sliding bison, wheel kick roll in abel etc.) Let’s get them out there so i can maybe get 1/2 my matches to not be a game of guess my bad habit.