Thelo's quick guide to reaction-based defense

Those are called turtles.

I lost count many years ago of the number of posts that I’ve read that glorify turtling. (Sirlin does this better than anyone else; he has actually advocated turtling as a means of inducing fatigue in the opponent, and I have seen good players apply this tactic.)

Personally, I prefer to read posts that concentrate on playing this game at some level above the base level. Does anyone really admire the play of someone who plays a predominantly reactionary game? Street Fighter owes its success and longevity to people who play a lot more creatively than this. (Who’s rushing to watch turtle Honda videos on YouTube? Who really aspires to that?) This game would have been dead a long time ago if many people saw real merit in this approach (“merit” comprising much more than just winning some rounds).

Seriously, am I the only person here who plays this game predominantly as recreation? Because, while I’ll agree that turtling can lead to winning in many cases, no one can possibly consider it fun.

Winning is fun.

The reason I don’t like fighting turtles is that the part of the game I enjoy the most (out thinking your opponent) suddenly becomes less important. Even then it depends on the match-up. Personally I think fighting Guile as Zangief is very much about anticipation despite Guile being a ‘turtle’ char.

Winning is fun and I hate losing but I still think there’s too much emphasis on winning on these forums. Learn to enjoy the game first and winning should come naturally. It’s probably why there’s so much hate mail around.

What is with this delusional idea that people seem to have that people who play to win are not enjoying themselves ?
The idea that doing everything you can to win directly means you are not having fun is something i will never understand.

I enjoy myself far more when i am playing against someone who are doing their utmost to win against me.
People who cannot or are not willing to do what is necessary to win simply bore me.

Furthermore your entire idea of what is fun and what is not is completely subjective meaning what you consider dull or boring (turtling) is to someone else the most fun they can think of.

You talk about wanting to out think your opponent but you cannot see the single most example of this in the game: Getting in on a turtle.
There is nothing to my mind that is more involving out thinking than getting in a good turtle player.

Great post Thelo. There’s so much more involved tho that a person could write volumes and volumes and still only scratch the surface. Great effort tho.

Fun is defined by the player. Some people think it’s fun not having to deal with tick throws (“honorable” players) or turtles (casual players) or ring outs (non SC or VF fans) or Supers (HF fans). I love winning but I have more fun losing to a stronger opponent than constantly beating a weaker opponent. Cuz it improves my game.

There are many valid ways to play, just as there are many different - and valid - characters in the game. Reaction is simply one tool out of many.

If that’s not your cup of tea, fine, you can play Bison or something. But I think it’s an interesting tool for many people, even offensive players. For instance, many characters can jump forward over a fireball on reaction - think of how deadly a Blanka or Bison who can do that consistently can be!

Even switching between anticipation pressure and reaction waiting modes suddenly, in the middle of a match, is a valid strategy. You rushdown the other guy, barely letting him time to breathe, then suddenly, for a few seconds, you stop and switch to using reaction because you think he’ll try a desperation reversal or something. Then you can switch back to pressure!

I enjoy playing my Deejay for hours and hours and almost exclusively turtle up. Matches against Shari, MackDaddi, good Boxers, etc. which are all about them getting in and me turtling that shit until the timer is down actually provide a ton of fun to both players afaik. As Shari said, it’s the playing to win thing that’s fun, it doesn’t matter how you play eventually as long as you have good competition going on.

Edit: Great post Thelo, that will really help a lot of people learning how to play a good defensive.

Agreed. Those who play to win generally are some of the best opponents to fight. They come up with some of the most interesting tactics you’ll ever see, and I’ve seen some incredible comeback matches where the player comes back from seemingly insurmountable odds to still become the victor, and this is due to the desire to “WIN”.

This is “Street Fighter” implying that there is a “FIGHT”, and that the plan is that one will win the fight and the other will not. It is not "Street Demonstrator’, “Street Showoff” or anything else.

To me, turtling seems boring. and usually gives the offensive player the advantage of dictating the pace and possibly baiting a reaction to beat the turtler senseless. I’d rather play offensively, create the rhythm of the match and make the turtle dance MY way. LOL

Great thread thelo, very deep, you know i’m a Ken player he’s my main character and all posted here is so true!..

SF is not only throw fireballs and spam and especific move, is more deeper than that and you let everybody knows that.

I won’t call myself a Pro, cause i’m not, but i’m an enthusiast, this info will help a lot of people(including myself) and open some closed reactions agaisnt a fighting game.

Nice thread thelo, i enjoyed every single sentence

I never said those who play to win aren’t having fun, you just made an assumption. But I think we would agree that lots of us get wound up when we lose simply because we base our ‘fun’ on winning or losing. I play to win but I’d like to enjoy to game for having a good match regardless of results.

Yeah obviously it’s my opinion. My opinion of a good fight is where both players are forced to ‘out-think’ each other not where one opponent sits back and waits for the other to do the work.

Well let me expand on what I was saying since there seems to be a misunderstanding. I use Zangief and one of my favourite match-ups (albeit a hard one) is against Guile. It requires a lot of ANTICIPATION which to me is to predict your opponents moves and out think them.

Now another match-up, let’s say Blanka vs Dee Jay. I don’t know this match-up inside out but if played right then DJ has the tools to completely shutdown Blanka and just wait for any attempt to get in and stuff it. This could also be said with Zangief vs Claw or Blanka. Of course it’s simplifying it but I hope you get the idea. In my mind, the ability to win based on average reaction times doesn’t really appeal to me.

Winning is fun and I hate losing but I still think there’s too much emphasis on winning on these forums. Learn to enjoy the game first and winning should come naturally. It’s probably why there’s so much hate mail around. <–

Your words.

This is not a retort in anyway.
All you are saying is yes it’s subjective i agree with you and therefore this is not an argument.

You equate predicting with out thinking ?
How about baiting, mixups, fakes and all the other tools that are available to get in on a turtle ?

I have no idea what you are trying to say.
Would you rather have a situation where Blanka and Claw players would need to anticipate Gief’s attacks ?

I know what you’re saying when it pertains to just enjoying the game, but we’re talking about a game in which the sole objective is to win. So naturally, winning is a very important part of Street Fighter

Well, Milo, I think that most people have bought into the whole ‘a win is a win’ thing. I, however, would think that a win obtained by taking risks is a whole lot more fun that a win obtained without taking risks. Risk causes adrenaline to be produced. I need not say more.

But, I can also agree with Thelo that the best risks are the ones that the opponent takes. Still…it would be nice to take a risk in the hopes that the opponent takes a risk and messes up. I think that’s what rushdown offense is all about…and it’s probably why I like it so much.

I think this sums up how I play. I think that everyone has a primary mode of play and a secondary mode of play and there are several different aspects to how those modes manifest in their gameplay.

But…yeah…add me to the list of people that agree that Honda is easily the most reactionary character in the game. Since I like to end matches quickly, however, I play him much like megamanpb plays him…only he’s probably much better at creating openings than I am. Don’t get hit, though! :slight_smile:

I enjoy fighting turtles due to the fact that their offense is weak compared to someone who rushes down. I actually have a lot of fun in the Guile Vs. Hawk match-up just because of this. If Hawk can crack Guile’s defense (and eventually he will), Guile loses to put it bluntly.

Anyway Thelo, there are some cases where anticipation is just the better option. Hawk vs. Honda is the perfect example. If Honda is just sitting there in down+back, what can Hawk react too? Nothing. He has to make Honda throw something out and anticipate what Honda will do, otherwise Hawk has no chance.

Yeah, I think I may have worded this badly.

Basically you can do everything in anticipation, but only a very limited subset of your moves on reaction. But on these things that you can do on reaction (like reaction buttslam through a sonic boom, or reaction jab headbutt against a jump-in), then there’s no real reason to do them on anticipation. For instance, there’s no point in doing an anticipation buttslam-through-a-sonic-boom if you can actually do the same thing on reaction.

But obviously that doesn’t mean that you should only ever do reaction moves, haha. :rofl:

So, you main Akuma, then?

If there were a character whose only moves were full screen super projectiles, you’d use him all the time, right?

When you discover ways to cheat in games, you pretty much always use them to get a leg up on the other guy, right?

Right. As nice as it is to win games, virtually NO ONE plays this game just to win matches. Winning as a goal is meaningless without entertainment value (if it weren’t, then Akuma wouldn’t be banned).

I never meant to disparage Thelo personally, but I hate turtling for what I think are very good reasons, and when I see someone touting its virtues, I feel compelled to make counterarguments.

Akuma is banned. Furthermore this is a matter of playing style and mindset not character choice.

See above. Although i would not be playing a game that had such a character.

Yes. If you are referring to anything ingame.

I’m not sure waiting without a life lead is the best tactic for casuals most of the time. It’s certainly the one that will produce the most wins as your opponent eventually moves toward you and may make mistakes. But come tournament time when things are on the line, those opponents might just sit back and then you’ll be forced into anticipatory situations you’ve rarely encountered before because you turtled too much in casuals.

So for instance, If I’m playing in casuals as claw with a life lead against Honda sitting in a corner, I’ll most likely do something just because I’m bored and to make sure I’ve explored every possible option in a traditionally deadlocked situation. Even if I lose (where the chances are higher than doing nothing against a good Honda), I at least have confirmation of how I should react in serious play. In a tourney situation, you can bet that I’ll be waiting it out and let the Honda player try to play rushdown. Hopefully, he’ll know how to deal with that situation at that time.

Plus, reaction only works when you can expect something. What if Ken dps at the start? Walks forward and then dps? c.MP? What if he air hurricanes high backward? Forward? It’s true that most players follow conventional routines but at a certain level, players use more exotic moves that are designed to keep you on your toes at all times and shake up your whole concentration. You can still try reaction (since many categories of attacks can be dealt with the same response as Thelo mentioned) but oftentimes, there are too many possibilities to react well.

This piece is a great reminder for folks on improving reaction ability (that doubles as a rational defense for turtling as Milo pointed out) but ultimately, every player (including those playing Honda against top shotos who can position well) must develop strong anticipatory abilities because reaction isn’t always a viable option. Of course, Thelo already clarified his position but I’m just reminding folks again that this isn’t an end all-be all course of ST strategy but rather one facet of skill in a sea of skills.

Why is Akuma banned? Shouldn’t you be vexed by his being banned?

“Winning is fun,” you wrote.

Akuma is clearly the strongest character in the game, the one most likely to win matches.

Is there anything else about the game that makes it fun? Besides winning, I mean.

If so, then how is “winning is fun” a sufficient retort to my observation that turtling is extremely dull, and that it significantly reduces the ability of most players (and certainly ALL spectators) to enjoy the contest?

Name me one player who is widely respected and admired for his ability to turtle well. Point me to YouTube videos with long comments sections of viewers touting the great turtle play of a seasoned gamer.

Capcom themselves clearly made some attempts to address turtling in post-Super Turbo games. (Guard crushing and universal overheads come immediately to mind.) Were they wrong to do this?

There’s so much more to this game, dude. In my opinion, propping up its drearier aspects is not something that any of us should be doing.

Why not? Think of all the winning you could do (assuming anyone would play it if that character wasn’t banned, and assuming you consistently fought people who didn’t think like you).

No, I mean outside the game, generally, i.e. things that affect it that aren’t written in code. (In my view, if it’s programmed in the game, then it’s all good.) Why not make use of enhanced controls (turbo, macro, etc.), disconnecting, hacking code, etc.?

Just trying to get you to back up that little “winning is fun” remark, in the context of my point that, while it’s fun, pursuing it at more or less any cost can ruin other things that make the game enjoyable.