We had a good Fight Night this past Thursday with Rayblade, Jetay, Ratgoat, and myself playing VF5. We also had Anthony playing Tekken 5 DR (with Ray and Jetay–Kent couldn’t make it out early enough) and Thomas and Andrew Tran on Smash.
VF5 Battles Overview
I had a great time with the VF battles. While I took the edge against Ratgoat, each match was a lot of fun and whenever he could muster up courage, confidence, and focus–well, he would either put up one helluva fight and we would have creative battles, or he would take me down. Very fun and it’s a very different kind of match than the ones I have against almost anyone else in Portland. He had a lot more courage and strength under pressure this week than last week–and he gave everyone else a good run for their money.
Ratgoat vs. Rayblade matches were very, very fun matches to watch! I don’t often sit and watch matches, but I was really enjoying watching the two fight with their styles of play matching up nicely.
Ray’s Wolf from Hell
Ray didn’t peak until around 9pm, but at that time, his Wolf tore me a new one for a good long streak of games. I think the count during those matches we played straight was like 7-2 for Ray (I won a ton of matches the rest of the night and before, but when Ray was in the zone with Wolf, it felt almost impossible to fight but I think we produced some of the best matches between us during those bouts).
It’s really hard fighting against Wolf for me because of Wolf’s damage if you guess wrong. If I force the 50/50 game too much in an aggressive gambling game, it’s hard because it’s like giving Wolf the advantage in a way because he has more high damage options and will do greater damage for each guess. But being aggressive against Ray’s Wolf is what made our matches so interesting when I was losing, it was just a lot of fun to pretty much go All In constantly.
Later in the night, I was able to deal with his Wolf better when I played less aggressive and would poke a lot until he might be convinced I won’t rush so much, and then rush him. But that plan is hard and sometimes he can feel when I’ll break out of the poking game because of his experience fighting against me. The thing I am having trouble dealing with is the way Ray will use Wolf’s DM (dodging attack). It’s a dodging catch throw and it is very annoying for me because it can get me out of certain attacks but I will often be a deer in the headlights standing and blocking when it’s coming because I was expecting an attack for some reason. I used to not have trouble with Wolf’s DM, but with the way I’ve been playing VF5 in 2008 (more 50/50, more aggressive), I am getting nailed by it a lot more than I used to.
Ratgoat’s Shun: advanced, but will get much stronger with more battles
Can’t criticize Ratgoat’s game much at all because it’s so well grounded and fundamentally correct on so many levels. The guy plays Shun right and proper as far as I can tell.
When his confidence is high, the same thing doesn’t work on him twice. But if you break that confidence, then he can freeze up, but I feel that when he freezes up, he does fine against others–just not against me because I will attack him like a pitbull if I smell fear (when people get a bit afraid or lose confidence, they tend to block too much, I tend to poke and throw like nobody’s business if I sense them blocking too much).
My experiences against LA Akira (a Shun player) last year is why I give Ratgoat so much of a hard time. I played marathon series of matches in Southern California with LA Akira and it taught me a ridiculous amount about fighting against Shun and why Lion has so many anti-Shun options. Some of the things that work for me in fighting against Shun:
-Since VF3, neutral throw and df+P+G are the only throws you really have to worry against Shun outside of heavy drinking and ring outs.
-If Shun is playing machi at mid-range in VF5, be wary of him going into Back-Turned Sou Stance where he can use that vicious windmill sabaki. The weakness against this sabaki is that you can do ranged low attacks if you can sense when he might do this. I can partially see it and I have a good instinct on when Shun players use this. I tend to punish even Japanese Shun players online for using BT Sou at mid-long range. Lion’s b,df+P is a gift here.
-Evading when fighting up-close against Shun can be dangerous because he has some nice half-circulars and side-throw setups. Ray’s love of evading is probably the bane of his existence when he fights against strong Shun players including Ratgoat.
-Footsying around at mid-long range isn’t exclusive to Shun. Most characters have whiff punishers and ways to bait their opponents. While Shun excels at zoning opponents… with some experience against Shun, zoning Shun isn’t a bad idea. Because I am a zoning type of player, this is one of the ways I level the playing field against Shun, I’ll try to beat him at his own game and if he commits to something and doesn’t connect in any way, he is often left wide open.
Anyways, I’m not trying to discourage Ratgoat from playing at all. The guy plays so solid and his damage maximizing is pretty darn good. I think his stance game could improve (it is already good though) and I never feel threatened near the edge of the ring or near a wall (he does do wall-combos though)–but I’ve always had a mentality of enjoying the fight on the edge.
Chanchai’s Idea of Shun Tips (for better or worse)
Something we worked on and something that can turn the tides if I start rushing him with pokes and throws is Shun’s u+K+G when well timed. If the opponent is going for a throw, this attack will beat the throw, even in clash situations. It’s unclashable and I am going to say this is one of those times that Shun can gamble if he senses the opponent likes to throw. It would definitely reduce how much I throw.
Another thing that will make Ratgoat’s Shun more powerful: stepping. A really good machi step is backdash --> evade --> backdash (b,b,d,b,b -or- b,b,u,b,b). I think Ratgoat should start mixing this into his opening option (b,b,d is a good opener, though it can get abused–Ray uses it well but I think he uses it too much at the start of the round).
Again… [bk] [bk] [d] [bk] [bk] is your friend. Your evade will cancel the backdash and he second backdash will cancel the evade. If your opponent does a linear attack against you during the backdash, you will evade it. For Shun, this makes him a bit stronger. You can also mix in crouchdashes and Shun’s special maneuvers.
Mastering [bk] [bk] --> [d] [df] [f] [P] will strengthen your Shun. Let’s call this “Modified Chouwan” (chouwan is the name of Shun’s uppercut using the QCF+P command). Here are the reasons I think this will strengthen your Shun:
This will reduce your chance of getting a crouch while doing chouwan–the problem is that Shun cannot do a chouwan from crouch.
If you block a very deep sweep (one that will be in a very bad disadvantage on block, especially Pai’s sweep or Lion’s sweep), then there’s a good chance you will hit your opponent for free if you can do this move as fast as possible. Buffering this attack properly (for example, doing it while you are recovering from an attack) should only add 1 frame to the execution of this attack. This should be fast enough to punish a deep sweep. With enough drinks, this might be stronger than using [up] [K] + [G].
Eventually you can get comfortable using the Chouwan as a whiff punisher. A great setup is [d] [P] --> [bk] [bk] [d] [df] [f] [P]. If you are poking from mid-range, the low kick might also work as a setup poke.
Anyways, those are just my thoughts on your Shun. Despite my advice giving and all of that, I am really glad that the Northwest has someone that’s very strong with Shun.
Jetay, Rising from the Ashes
Jetay was fun to play VF with as always. He hasn’t played VF5 since the last time we met which was a few months ago, but it’s always great playing when he’s able to join us. More experience more often with up-close poke wars will make Jetay’s Pai much stronger. It’ll be a hard road though, but with experience he’ll develop a sharper ability up-close in VF. However, his mid-range play can be very tricky and damaging. I always gotta be a bit more careful in those situations.
Thomas and Andrew Might Get to Play at Versis for FREE!
Awesome news for Thomas and Andrew: they are almost certainly going to be Versis’ June MVPs because they are in position to win our Monthly Challenge for May which is to get the highest score doing Endless Smash (aka Survival Mode) in Smash Bros with 2 players. They beat the best score at the time, 518, with a shattering 599.
Anyways, if they become June’s MVPs, they will get 2000 points (enough for 2 free hours -or- 4 free medium sodas -or- free food, etc… each). But the best part about becoming the MVP is that because they will have the highest Versis Points for the Challenges in May (we also have weekly challenges), THEY GET TO PLAY AT VERSIS FOR FREE ALL JUNE.
It was a very fun night. I hope people don’t mind it when I post details on gameplay. I don’t think I gave away anything damaging about Ray’s game, but that would be hard to say because he’s so good and even across many characters he carries his strengths.
Looking forward to next week!