This post might seem random but I’m mainly trying to figure out where to go with my practice.
It seems to me that Balrog is meant to be an almost entirely reactionary character. Meaning that he really doesn’t have the tools to force the action under most circumstances. He can can try, but by design it doesn’t seem like the best strategy. This doesn’t mean he’s a turtle, because he’s usually pushing closer to his opponent, but he’s reactionary.
Take this video for example: [media=youtube]5dW90AyV38k[/media]
In that match and nearly all the others I’ve seen with Maeda Taison, he strictly waits for the other player to do something, and then reacts in the most optimal way he can. PR Rog plays in a similar way but slightly more aggressive.
When I watch videos of highly aggressive players such as R, it doesn’t seem like an aggressive strategy is consistently effective. It looks like they are trying to force a strategy that simply doesn’t fit the design of the character. Because Balrog’s specials require a back charge, they end up doing J. HK or tick throws repeatedly which are fairly predictable.
With all of that said, it seems to me that the most critically important thing about playing Balrog is reaction time. When I watch videos of high level players, I really don’t see a whole lot of tricks they are using that I’m not already using. The difference is that they’re able to pull off ultras or dash ultras on reaction incredibly fast. They’re able to auto correct headbutts and ultras in seemingly every circumstance. They can counter hit with an ex special on reaction to any poke, and they can cancel normals and specials on reaction on block or in response to jumps or focus attacks.
So, the conclusion I’m reaching about Balrog is that he’s an extremely simple character, but one where you have to put in countless hours in matches in order to get his reactionary moves completely ingrained in your memory, so that you can do them instantaneously.
How does all of this sound? Am I right about Balrog optimally being a reactionary character, and about putting in time in matches being his most important form of practice?