Some VF Notes (Posted Here because this is what I am doing lots of at the event nights):
The past many Thursday Night VF sessions, I’ve focused on a very simple but strong tactic for training the Portland players.
Namely, Punch --> Throw (including Low Punch --> Throw)
Sounds simple right? Well, it is, but it’s important to know why I’ve been stressing this tactic and what it can do for your VF game. And I will keep using this very often until more players punish me for doing it. Punch --> Throw is stronger in VF5 than it was in previous VF games.
#1 If the Punch Interrupts, You Cannot Duck Throws
Not every player does his or her research, nor is every player is expected to. But it might clear a lot of confusion in players if I tell them the following:
Why high/low punch? They’re the easiest attacks to interrupt opponents with.
If you get interrupted (yellow-flash) by a high punch or low punch and you are standing, YOU CANNOT DUCK A THROW ATTEMPT. Low blocking won’t work to avoid a throw.
Because of this, your defensive options against throws are limited to throw escaping–which isn’t desirable. Your other option is to gamble on an attack that will beat a throw in this situation.
#2 When Offensive Options Play Bigger Roles In Defensive Situations
I mentioned in #1 that your defensive options are greatly reduced if the opponent interrupts you with a high or low punch (and you are standing). Which is all the more reason why an offensive option becomes a potentially smarter (or at least easier) play here.
Conventionally, you should play Defensive Options in Defensive Situations (like when you’ve been hit, interrupted, or your attack was blocked or whiffed). But in this particular case, your Defensive Options have been reduced–you can no longer low block a high throw.
Therefore, attacking becomes an option. But not an easy option in this case. VF5 added throw clashes. Most attacks against throws in this situation will clash. So what attacks won’t clash?
- Low Attacks don’t clash.
- Turn-Around attacks don’t clash.
- If your character is in the air a decent amount early in the attack, it usually won’t clash (some animations are deceptive about this, for example, Brad’s jumping knee attack will clash…).
Anyways, the point here… Attacks that don’t clash become the easiest way to stop someone from throwing you after a punch or low punch has interrupted you (and you are standing).
#3 Sometimes You Gotta (or at least should) Gamble On Attacking
Yosuke described many players (including many of the best in the US) in the following way:
“he is very good, but he cannot beat someone that is better than him.”
My interpretation: some players don’t make the efforts to gamble on turning the tables on their opponents in the right situations. A weaker player’s best chance to beat a stronger player is to go all-in at the right moments (let’s stress “right moments”).
This was not limited to Punch-Throw situations, of course. But I believe that forced 50/50 situations and gambles were a part of what Yosuke was saying. Not just mashing offense gambles or reckless gambles though–we are talking about calculated gambles. A stronger player is likely to beat you on the “safety” game–playing the game frame-safe and committing to options that reduce the odds and potential damage put upon you. You still have to play frame-safe, but in VF, there are situations you can setup where you can force a gamble between the two opponents–if I win, I do big damage; if he wins, he does big damage. Punch (MC) and Low Punch (MC) are common situations for this.
So what are the gambles here and why should I gamble?
A forced 50/50 guessing game is already a wager between two players. But now you have to weight the risk/reward of the options you use against the person who interrupted you with a punch and wants to throw you.
If you do a low attack, let’s say a low punch (easiest option and most spammable), you stand to gain very little damage but decent potential (now you’ve interrupted your opponent with a low punch). But you risk some mid attack launcher comboing you for 1/3 of your life or more (mileage varies depending on your opponent).
When you look at it that way, picking low punch doesn’t really reward you for stopping the throw with an attack, at least not enough to justify that a bad guess will lose you at least 3 times as much health as that low punch.
If you’re going to gamble on an offense in this situation, you should gamble big (but with an option that will work if you guess right). Figure out your character’s non-clashable combo starter or at least something that does decent damage and doesn’t clash.
For Lion, his first go to option should be b,b+K because it doesn’t clash, it combos, and if he gets interrupted–it’s not that bad of a situation compared to others.
If you’re Jeffry, you have that huge freaking knee that can turn the match around if successful.
The list goes on, but you should go for something with high reward (and doesn’t clash) if you are using an attack to beat out what you are confident will be a throw after an interrupting punch.
#4 What About A Stronger Defense?
The strongest defensive option is to use an Evade Throw-Escape (ETE). Buffer an evade and plug-in a throw escape. It’s very passive and the reward isn’t that high, but its chances for success are very high.
However, the gamble is that your opponent won’t do a delayed attack, which can combo you if they are good at it. A delayed attack wastes all the advantage frames the opponent got from interrupting you with a punch, so that you will have a bad evade when you do ETE. If you get the bad evade, for a few frames, you are open to being hit by attacks, including combo launchers.
In the Northwest, very few people are good at delayed attacks (at least on purpose, many do them on accident). Therefore, we’re still at the stage where ETE is very strong. But ETE will also lose to circular and half-circular attacks.
#5 Going Beyond the Punch Throw (Carrying the Lessons Learned)
The situation described here is actually a -8 ~ -11 frame disadvantage situation. If you are ever stuck with -8 disadvantage or worse, you cannot duck throw attempts if they are done right away.
So what other situations are like this?
-Being interrupted by certain attacks
-Being hit by certain attacks
-Having some of your bigger attacks blocked
Why -8 ~ -11? Well, against lightweights, technically it’s -8 ~ -10. But that aside, at -12, every character has an option that is guaranteed to hit you and throws are also guaranteed (so you can only throw escape, you can’t even attack to beat a throw).
#6 What Do You Suggest I Do?
If you are interrupted by a Punch, I suggest you practice (in your matches):
*Attack with an unclashable attack if you are confident your opponent will Throw.
*Block high if you are confident your opponent will attack. Use this option most because most people continue to attack after using a high or low punch, but it’s important to gain the ability to attack properly when you are interrupted.
And on the flipside you should:
*Use Punch --> Throw more often. It only works if the high or low punch interrupts, so only do this when you see a yellow flash. It’ll punish your opponents who aren’t used to it (and eventually train them to get used to it). Because of the clash system, the odds are in your favor (if a clash situation happens, it’s neutralized, but you didn’t eat the damage).
*If your punch only does a normal hit, then you should use a safe poke and not go for the throw.
*If your high punch is blocked, you can use a low punch or elbow.
*If your low punch is blocked, you should definitely defend.
*Train yourself to followup your attacks the right way, based on how they hit or get blocked!
Hope these notes and my forcing Punch–>Throw down people’s throats helps a lot of VFers out
Final Note on VF
Things like all that is described above, is what many Virtua Fighter fans love about VF. VF is a game where there are many offensive and defensive options to think about at all times. And these options are regulated by a flow in offense and defense.
BUT THE GEL THAT MAKES ALL OF THIS INTERESTING IS: GUESSING GAMES STILL EXIST DESPITE IT ALL.
But it’s not flat-out Paper-Rock-Scissor. You’re dealing with overlapping options as your papers, rocks, and scissors. They cover more than one ground each, but in different ways.
The player with the strongest reaction speed, input control, and fighting game talent has a huge edge–but VF is still open enough that a less-talented player can still find a way to win if they can make their intelligent play match or better the talented player’s game. You sometimes have guessing games that require a setup, but will give you that option to go almost all-in.
Without being a mashery Paper-Rock-Scissors, weaker players have a chance to fight intelligently and overturn stronger opponents in Virtua Fighter.