Ways of thinking, read if you a noobie


Alot of people seem to strive to get good at street fighter I noticed on ggpo, some people played SF longer than me (competitively, I been playing since WW, but was like 6 lol). Some people try and don’t know what they or doing wrong or just don’t “get it”. I wasn’t the greatest at any SF game really until a SRK member (eddiew, you might know him form the 3S forums) whooped my ass and gave me a reality check. Everyone “knows” that they are the shit at SF until they play someone who plays in tournaments for the most part.

Well around the time of CvS2 first getting to the states is when I met him, wrecking everyone with Rog and Eagle in A-groove, both ratio 2’s. I was like “Damn, I been playing SF forever, I don’t get it how is he so good?”. I later find out he played in several tournaments and was constantly playing (and winning) , at the time, Hsien Chang, Mopreme, Fubarduck, and alot of the austin crew during casuals at the now defunct Einstien’s Arcade. Not saying he owned them, but on their lvl.

So the beatdowns begin and I start learning shit. Anti-airs, combos, what character style I like etc. I think the problem is most people stop at that point and the mentality when playing doesnt change. It was like that for a while with me, yeah, I could just defend/parry full supers, combo you to hell. I still lost. Alot.

It wasn’t long after I met other people and was introduced to 3S and ST. I think ST is the perfect game to get your basic set of skills for any SF game. Just my opinion. So I got beat down in that. With the same mentality, I saw him throw fireballs and dp. Yet I tried and get kicked in the face etc. I don’t think alot of beginners realize at first that thought goes into everything, or at least should. I realized he isn’t just throwing a hadouken, he is reacting to what the player does and watching before he throws one. So I start to see more things and pick up what other players do. First time we played Sirlin and Choi, Sirlin just destroyed most of us. How? Just walk up mk and RH with Bison mainly. Didn’t do anything else. Then I watched him play better players and saw he did the same shit UNTIL they countered him, then he switched it up. Then I realized, damn he wasn’t gonna stop until we countered it lol. And why not? Cause if you are doing something the opponent cant figure how to counter why stop. So I put that mentality in my head.

Most other games I would watch other top players (other than Jwong, such a turtle lol) and saw the match was usually calm until someone got a knockdown and I figured that was a huge advantage. I would blindly rush and just die alot, I then added the knock down to my repetoire. Now how to get the knockdown. I watched Jumpsuit Jesse in ST as well as Choi in ST and CvS2. They would bait normals. They did this by a series of attacks as simple as 3.clks, anything to JUST put them out of the characters range. I it worked good vs most non-top players and even top ones. Choi would c.lk x3 with Ryu, pause, if they swept or c.mk he immeadiately countered with a sweep for the knockdown and bam he was really in control now. Same thing I noticed JSJ would do in ST also.

So I would watch other matches, I really noticed it in one match, I think it was Texas Showdown. Jwong vs Combofiend in CvS2. Combo is known for rushing and Jwong turtles of course. I noticed that when Combo was ahead on life he turtled. I never thought of that, so I learned something else, he who has more life has the right to turtle. Added that shit to my game also. It was also in CvS2 I learned to counter hit well from watching top player use frame advantage well. I use that shit in A2 alot and its such a older game, still works.

Whenever you watch a match really WATCH and try to think what the player is doing, not everything is just set ups. Watch how they bait, counter, etc. SF is pretty much like chess. Gotta make the right move to out do/out think your opponent. I see alot of players try, try, try the same shit and it doesnt work. You need to learn the adapt also. If you are Gief and you get DP’D every SPD attempt, next time wait then SPD their recovery.

Experience. This one is big and also why ggpo is so great. Not everyone plays the same characters the same. DGV doesnt play Ryu like Choi and AfroLegends doesn’t play Rog like Graham. You wont get the proper knowledge of how to fully play vs a character until you play multiple people. And with that goes this, play people better than you. I’m not gonna get any better at A2/ST/SF4 by playing people I beat down. They won’t get better either. Play better people, but ask questions and watch what they are doing.

Last thing, training mode. Don’t just use it to combo. Use it to practice set-ups, meaties etc. Best use of training mode in my opinion is to learn how to counter something. replicate what just whooped your ass and find the counter. I see too many Chun-Li’s and Bison’s in ST get splash on in the corner in ST “They can’t do nothing!”. Well if you went into training you would know you can s.mk with Chun and psycho crusher with Bison, vs things like t.hawks loop you can take both hits then uppercut with charge characters (if he isn’t neg edging it).

I don’t know I hope this helped someone somewhere.

Here is a must read for new guys, there are 8 chapters so far. http://sonichurricane.com/?p=691


you have no idea how much i needed a read like this, TY SO MUCH


Official G.F.P. (good fuckin’ post)


Thanx dude and great article


have to agree with everyone, great article AND a good read

anyway, almost anything of that do i know and realize but when it comes to actually playing i throw out fireballs exactly and ONLY when the opponent can jump over it (i hate myself for that…)

i watch matches and try to analyize why “the pros” do certain moves and behave in a “strange” way, but all the time i just think: "you cant do that online(PSN), you eat shoryuken all the time… "

to be honest: I consider myself a scrub who trys hard but just doesnt get it no matter what… ._.


Nice article. Only thing I disagree with:

You need to play people just slightly to significantly above you skill to really improve - but regularly playing against players so much better than you, you have no chance in hell of winning will also get you progressing very fast (as long as this isn’t all you play).


I know that how I got better, but I took alot of beatdowns. But now I got more than 11 years exp if you count when I played MvC2. about 10 otherwise.


This is a really great thread. Thanks, Ragingstorm!


When T5 was just out, I use to practice practice practice the same stuff that King had(with higher game play people). Months later,I play my friend who plays it casual ( doesn’t know the terms like 1+2) etc etc. Though being cocky at the time, He whooped my ass. But you need get a grasp why something works in the game not just use it because its there. ( its probably why that playing at an arcade ( or offline) is better than online) Though regularly playing with someone like our notorious XBL Training thread helps.


Good article. I’ve been playing sf4 for a year and am just recently beginning to somewhat understand what’s going on in a high level match. Understanding how baiting and conditioning works. Even though I’d read a lot of articles similar to this one, I couldn’t really put it into context until I’d moved on from the basics. For a lot of higher level stuff to work, you have to know what your opponent is likely to do in a given situation. Tough to know that stuff until you’ve played all the matchups quite a bit.


You can only progress quickly if you understand why you keep losing to better players and apply that knowledge. If the difference between the skill level of players is so great the loser does even know why he lost, then the match was worthless to him. Case in point: Sometimes I run into players online that have no clue about how to block cross-ups. So I do it all the time against them hoping they’re going to learn, but they don’t. So last time it happened, I messaged the dude telling him how to block it. He was like “Wow! I thought it was totally unblockable!”. If I didn’t give him that small piece of info, he would have kept losing to that simple tactic for much longer. Until he either found out accidentally, or asked someone, or researched it himself.


I think once beginners start to move away from autonomous thinking, is when they really start to see themselves developing more dynamic tools, like their own style, their own mentality, or maybe their own setups/mindgames. I feel like the initial hurdle I had to go through as a player was to realize, “Alright, I’ve been playing this character for a while now, I know his combos…but I’m not going anywhere with him. Why?”. I think when you really start to be honest and question the validity of how strong you are as a player, you will start to see the other side of your game; the lacking side that is always brushed off because of your pride/ego/whatever.

That being said, you don’t want to completely abandon all autonomous thinking; there are things you will want to do every time a situation arises, whether it be doing the most damaging move that punishes your opponent’s whiff, or just realizing your best option for a specific scenario. Quoting Sanchez quoting Ryu from 3s,

A defeat learned from is more important than a hollow victory.


So playing with you taught him to block crossups much sooner than if he was only playing people slightly above his skill level and only seeing a crossup once in every blue moon.

Of course if you introduce a completely new concept to someone they’re not going to get it straight away, you can’t play a much better player and in a couple of matches suddenly become enlightened - but 100 matches with an incredibly solid player far in advance of your own skill is worth a lot more than 100 matches with someone only just above your skill.


Cross-ups aren’t really an advanced tactic. I was just trying to explain that you can’t get better if you don’t understand why you lose. He still wouldn’t have benefitted from those matches if I didn’t explain to him how to defend against them. That had nothing to do with either of our skill level. I just felt like helping him out.

Understanding and application of knowledge matters more than how far ahead in terms of skill your opponent is.


I realise that but I’m responding to your example. I doubt you played that many matches with him, right? As I said before, playing against someone who crosses you up all the time (using your example) you will learn to block crossups much faster than you would when you get crossed up once every 10 games say. You will also realise this is a good tactic and start using it in your own game when you play less skilled people. Also part of playing with better players is you do get feedback from them sometimes.

Aside from this though, you’re really talking about someone who obviously doesn’t understand the game yet, that’s slightly different to someone who has some understanding of at least the fundamentals, which is more what I’m talking about.


IMO, you’re underestimating the gulf between pro (for a lack of a better word) and casual players. But this discussion is only tangential to the topic so I’ll just agree to disagree.


How does that make any sense? If you play people that are better than you and beat you down to get better. How will someone you beat down not get better? What?


Haha, I might as well have written that shit myself! Exact same situation.

Only now am I moving away from solely reactionary play (and the resultant “hollow wins”) to seeing the game in terms of my opponents options, their tendencies in using those options, and ways that I can capitalize using MY character’s options.

Winning aside, the game is just more fun now.


It’s the basics behind the mental aspects of the games, but it’s something that is very often overlooked. Thanks for putting into a fairly coherent and thought-out post - and for giving very good examples as well, because I think it will help a lot of people relate to the “name brand” players.

Good stuff all around, RSX.


It was already stated, but if the gap between the two players is too large the player losing won’t even understand what they lost to. Meaning they will not have come any closer to winning the next time. If you are at least of close enough skill to correctly indentify what beat you then you can take steps to counter it the next time. Everyone who loses knows they lost because of something, but unless you know the correct something its not much help.

If you reread the first post you’ll see that Sirlin was destroying people with two buttons and the understanding of what was actually going on didn’t occur until the OP watched him play someone who was on a closer level. Beating sirlin would have taken him longer if he hadn’t seen the match between people of closer skill because before that point he didn’t even understand the logic to Sirlin’s basic attack.

This is really important for experienced players IMO. I understand playing to win, but if you’re playing someone who has no chance of beating you, at least try sometimes to beat them in a way that they learn something. Even if its just exploiting one flaw in their game repeatedly until they fix it.