Traits of top players/ Best way to improve?

This isn’t a “what would it take to become a top player in insert game here thread. I’m just wondering what others think the traits and qualities are that top players have that make them the best, and how do you gain such traits. I felt like making this thread after reading the “What Makes the Best Player?” section of David Sirlins “Playing to Win” book. NOTE: This entire thread is basically theory fighter, so if that kind of thing bothers you then you may want to avoid posting. Also, no hate in here either.

Part 1: Traits/Qualities of top players

When trying to become a top player, the first thing you must do is identify what makes top players good in the first place. Here are six different traits common within all top players:

  1. Knowledge- Knowing the game’s systems and character match-ups.

  2. Execution- Being able to perform actions and maneuvers.

  3. Planning- Having a general strategy based on previous situations.

  4. Adapting- Changing your plan based on new situations that arise during a match.

  5. Predicting- Taking a logical guess as to what the opponent is going to do based on the current situation.

  6. Experience- No matter how skilled/talented someone is, tournaments and other forms of high level play can be very taxing on a player. Having experience from previous tournaments can help you deal with the mental strain you will be put under.

Knowledge and execution are merely two sides of the same coin. Knowledge is knowing what to do, and execution is being able to do it, one is worthless without the other.These are the two most fundamental things you need to start off, but they are not the most important things.

The most important thing you need is decision making, which encompasses planning/adapting/predicting, this allows you to apply your knowledge/execution into a match. First you have a plan based on previous situations, then you adapt and change your plan according to any new situations, then you predict what your opponent is going to do based on the current situation.

Even if you have all of the aforementioned skills it will still be hard to compete at high level play. Most players don’t realize just how taxing a major tournament is until they participate in one. The entire atmosphere and environment is different then what it was like playing against local players. So you need experience to have the mental toughness to compete.

Part 2: How to improve

Now that we’ve identified the traits of top players, we must find a way to gain these traits and improve our game. The most simple way to improve is to continually play the game. Meet local players, participate in tourneys, attend gatherings, etc. By doing this you’ll steadily improve over time, but there is a trick to all of this. After every match you play you should do a quick evaluation, and determine why you won/lost. If you won then strengthen the skills that helped you win. If you lost then improve upon your lacking areas.

Part 3: Defining a good/bad player:

It’s actually important to be able to identify a good player from a bad player. Being able to do this will teach you the kind of mind-set you need to have when playing competitively. Identifying the difference between the two is not hard, all you have to do is see how they evaluate their matches. Good players will do what I described earlier. They determine why they lost/won and improve from there. A bad player will make excuses for his loses, and only focus on his wins. Common excuses will be things like “you were cheap”, “this game is dumb/random/boring”, etc. But none of those excuses matter since they’re just shifting the blame away from themselves instead of improving.

Good post :tup:. Pretty much covered everything.

Hey man, you having fun in Florida?

Been too busy, Gonna look for a car tomorrow and find a job in a few weeks. No arcades up here, so I’m not sure what to do. Hopefully I can drive to Pkola and get some shit started :cool:

Well FFF seems to be getting a little bit better. I’m starting to see a few more regular players there, and we just got A3 the other week.

Good, iI’ll have to visit when I get a chance, any new Oro players?:wonder:

damn… you kinda nailed it bro.

btw Jonney Brovos the man

No, not really. Only person who seems to touch that character is me, and I only mess around with him on a mediocre level.

~We’re getting a bit off topic now, but thats my fault~

Yea, another good thing to know is what common strategies are used with different characters. For example, you should expect an Oro player to turtle :wink:. Another top tier thing to do is…block.

I’m suppose to turtle with Oro? Damn I’ve been playing him totally opposite, I’ve been trying to rush down with him and focus on landing his close s.strong that I can lead into chicken kick shenanigans. I use his supers(either SAII or SAIII) for pressure in the corner, I’m still trying to get his SAIII combo down pact.

~This really isn’t helping us get back on topic~ :looney:

Yea, he’s perfect for turtling, he has a great backdash and good pokes. I don’t really use mixups. Landing his close strong is difficult especially if your opponent knows it. Try tick throwing them on a knockdown, then mix it up with Standing strong every once in a while. Just go to the Oro thread to learn more (If you want) there are much better players than me that post there :rofl:.

Isn’t there anyone here who would actually like to comment on the topic?


Sure. I think execution is the single most important part of becoming a successful player. Even at high levels in Japan players mess up, so being able to nail everything 99% of the time is a huge advantage, because very few people are at that level with execution. If you have a competent level of experience (or any of the other things you listed), stellar execution will make up for it. I don’t think people value it as much, so most players are content with nailing combos 80-90% of the time depending on the difficulty of the combo. That’s missing a lot when you think about it.

I’ve never honestly thought of it that way. Sirlin thinks that execution is one of the lesser qualities, because none of the previous top players have ever been execution guru’s(until now with Yipes taking MvC2).

Which top players are those? ALL of them have premiere execution. It’s just that they know how to use their normals in the right situations and control space excellently. It all really depends on the given situation. Why always aim for a big combo when your normals are what all you’ll ever need in a match?

Just look at how Daigo plays Ryu in ST. That’s a Ryu I would never want to play. He controls the space in front of Ryu beautifully and he can psychic DP you in an instant. Or his A-Guy(A3), for that matter. He can proxy cancel AND hit confirm lvl3 kick super off s.strong. And on top of that, he can nail all of Guy’s regular combos.

Perfect player balance is when they can do both well in any given situation.

Love of the game seems like the least important factor IMO. Many top players go to random tournies and win in games that they don’t necessarily love just because of their talent alone.

Well thats Sirlin’s school of thought. I actually think execution is important(thats why I listed it as one of the traits), I just don’t think it’s the #1 thing you need.


Yeah you are right, it is probably the least important. But if you become a top player at a game but you really don’t love playing it, then you won’t be holding that top spot for too long. Because a more dedicated player who’s more devoted to the game will take your place sooner or later.

everyone falls off at some point, even if they love the game

carry around a purse