What does it take?

Just want some advice from someone whose been in the scene for atleast a couple of years and knows what they’re talking about.

What does it take?

I have the dedication,execution, and resources to get up there, but i just feel like im still getting no where. some people are telling me im being hard on myself but with all the time and effort im putting to get better at this game, i dont see enough coming out.

One of the biggest problems i see is that somethings slip my mind in a match that i should keep in mind while im playing. ie. I should AA zangief with cr.strong instead of st.rh because it trades at close range.

I feel like im just not being smart enough, or theres something my mind isnt doing that the better player’s mind is doing. idk.

But me playing 6-7 hrs a day everyday, and not getting the results i want are starting to frustrate me.

Just tired of losing and ready to win. Why am i still not winning as much as i want to?

In the early stages of playing SF, you just throw out attacks, and whoever happens to lose their lifebar first is the loser.

As you get better, you learn to defend - which includes blocking, and even not attacking so much. But you don’t really have a gameplan - just do some moves, block the opponent’s, and try to punish if you get a nice opportunity.

Progressing some more, you start to learn specifics - what anti air works against what jump-in, how to punish certain things your opponent will do, even small tricks to get past their defenses. This style of play is mostly reactionary - you throw some pokes, your opponent throws some pokes, you launch an offense and your opponent tries to defend against it, and vice versa.

If you get beyond this point, then you start not just attacking, but really giving thought to the fight. You don’t make stupid mistakes or give the enemy chances to blatantly hit you (say, jumping at a shoto when they are at neutral and have no reason not to DP you). You realize that offense is something you have to earn - you can’t just attack randomly, you have to look for openings and then be able to take advantage of them. And you can’t expose too many openings yourself and expect to win matches. You work out more tricks for mix-up and think of ways to bait your enemy into doing something that you can take advantage of.

If you get to that level, you can be pretty good. High-level players, however, take this to another level. We talk down on “Flowchart Ken” - we know that if he gets knocked down, all we need to do is hover over him and out will come the flaming uppercut. So all we need to do is block it, and we get to punish freely. High level players do this as well, but on a much more intricate level. A Ryu player hits you with a block string which puts you at perfect sweep distance. Without even thinking about it, you go for sweep - if Ryu tries a poke or something your sweep will win, if he blocks, at least you pushed him out of that space. But Ryu knew you were going to sweep there - he used that block string specifically to get you to sweep. So he FA dashes through it and hits you with his most powerful combo. Or he takes one step backwards, makes your sweep miss, then takes one step forward and sweeps you while you are still in recovery. This is like baiting the DP out of the Flowchart Ken - but you realize that instead of just taking advantage of an anticipated response, your opponent did certain things to make you respond a certain way. And it didn’t just start with the block string, Ryu had to find a way to get inside close enough to hit the block string in the first place.

If you want to be top level, you have to not only realize when someone is baiting you out like this…you have to be able to do the same to your opponent. It requires a pretty good grip on not only spacing and the properties of normals/specials/the game engine, but the ability to read your opponent and their character specifically. You can’t just throw out attacks and hope they hit, or try and react to what your opponent does - you have to create situations where there are only certain likely ways that they will respond - anticipate that response - and punish/act accordingly. And you have to know when this is being done to you as well.

I feel like these are the major areas where people get tripped up in trying to become better.

Hunger to be the best is a good portion of what it takes. You already have that part down. If you’re not taking it to the next level every time you play, at least every tournament or event you go to…then that’s the problem.

You have to be a good analyzer and solve problems on your own. It’s good to get help here and there, but the best ones are those who can adapt (of course). To do that, you need to know your character inside out. While adapting, you also need to identify the problem that is before you. Sometimes this may be difficult, because someone that is new won’t really know what is going on or how things work. That’s when experience comes in…which is another part of “what it takes.”

When asking for help, knowing what to ask is important. If a question is too wide for an answer, IE : “How do I beat Rufus?” Then, that is being lazy and no one would want to help. Definitely not saying you are or anything, just using it as an example. Whenever you do obtain the answer, think about it and the way it works. You may be able to apply it in other situations as well. Whereas if you didn’t take that step…it’s back to the drawing board again.

I think that should start you off good and give you something to think about. Hit me up more often fool, I’ll make sure you don’t lose to dumb shit. lol

How long have you been playing fighters competitively? Is SFIV your first “serious” fighter?

great post. I agree with everything that Azrael said.

I’m in the same boat, I’ve been playing for two months. First fighting game ever, first stick ever. Coming from playing FPS tournaments and winning, it’s a rude awakening and a hard pill to swallow since I’m not used to losing.

Thanks Az, and Mags. Just the two people i was hoping would reply.

Well I’ve played about every capcom fighter so far, but sfIV is the first one I entered a tournament for. So its the first one that requires excessive thinking from me. which is what i need to get in the habit of. Thinking beyond whats going on.

i suggest that you make friends on xbl with people who regularly kick your ass or people who match up with you evenly.

I make friends and get friend requests from people of all levels though. I think it’s important to have 3 types of players on your list, the ones that are worse than you/goes even with you/someone who destroys you. Make sure your list has diverse characters and playstyles. This especially helpped me learn viper, and some shotos. That method is also a great way to make new strats and tricks, like the window to breathe or even attack vs someone who destroys you is very small right? you also can’t test out tricks on him because he’s smart too. well that’s why you have the guy who matches up evenly with you, and the guy who’s just up and comming. you can find ways to setup your strats through them. i don’t have the best execution in the world though i’m consistent, it helped me know which moves to commit to in certain situations and it helped me know which moves i don’t have to commit to in certain situations, and the subtle counters in various matchups.

That method definitely helped me get to where i am now.

also, i think recording all your matches is good too. know where you missed damage opportunities (a lot of people online go for the throw instead of a combo as a punisher for example. not good!) and you can see what your opponent is fishing and baiting for. you can see how you’re conditioning people to act and how people are conditioning you to act.

and i can’t even emphasize on how important magman’s post is. critical thinking is required to be great in this game, both in breaking down the game and the players.

if you are playing 6-7 hours a day, and you’ve hit a wall, switch your game up a bit. don’t be afraid to experiment. this is the best part of online play. no quarters are being wasted, and you aren’t waiting 5-10 min for your next game if you lose. Are you playing to win in those hours or are you playing to learn?

me personally it all comes down to the basics… iow just how good are you?? do you have really good reactions??? is your execution on point??? do you punish HARD when you made/ were given the opprtunity? or did you just do a weak ass throw?? how often are you getting jumped at as chun??? all day??? how much of a percentage of your opponents jumpins do you aa versus block versus mistime your counter attack and get combo’d???

do you land alot of jumpins/ hasan shus???
can you ultra/super your opponents laggy moves on block???
can you hitconfirm your jumpins that dont get blocked into MAJOR DAMAGE??? if not thats a definite weakness… (one that i atleast most certainly have) think about all of the damage that you miss out on by not being able to hitconfirm something like jumpin hk? if you cant hitconfirm it well then your forced to do a crouching lk on landing to give you time to confirm which means that you no longer have the opportunity to do cr.fp xx mk sbk… you will instead be forced into using an ex legs combo for MORE METER AND LESS DAMAGE!

all of this plays a HUGE ROLE in how good you are, i personally have been in training mode practicing my jumpin hit confirms… it really helps…

once you start doing hardcore damage to your opponent via combos and wiff punishing you will notice the fear… they will have to take a step back and reavaluate there defense cause the combos are coming too frequently and hurt too much.

so basically work on your execution and reactive abilities to when your opponet leaves themselves open so that you can punish hard…
and oh yeah… as az said: you are going to have to figure out how to train your opponent to leave themselves open, if they are good.
once you have your basic hard hitting combos down, you need to figure out and do whatever it takes to train your opponent to give you some easy damage.


6-7 hrs a day everyday?

Wowzers. Sorry to hijack this thread but how much does everyone else here play?

I get maybe an hour in at night after my gf hits the hay. Couple hours a day on the weekend if I turn my phone off.

I guess I might as well post here since iNerd is one of my new SF boys that lives 3 minutes up the road from me.Yeah I only play like a couple hours a day at most and some days I don’t play period. Real life gets in the way of me wanting to play more.

From being in the same area and everything the main reason why it’s tough for you to level up is you don’t get enough time to play people that really push you. Like if you could play with the people that regularly place within top 5 (at least a couple to 4 or 5 days a week) you’d be up there pretty quick. You already have a good idea of what to do but it’s hard to put it into practice consistently when the only time you’re going to be working against people that think that fast is when time comes to play at the tourney. On Xbox Live you always have delay so tight links and punishes for jumps you can’t do or do at the same level of consistency even against good players.

You would need time to really sit down with the players that place that high to really do anything other than lose convincingly or get close to winning and then lose. Not like once a month at a gathering cuz you’ll be out of practice and the top placers will have new stuff for you by then especially if they are still above your play level overall. If Eric Kim could really sit down and play Sagat mirrors with Steve I bet you he’d be more prepared for a tourney. Especially if he could do it once every day at an arcade they’d be a lot closer. Steve would actually learn how to play SFIV at a higher level because of that as well since he still forgets to use quite a few of the SFIV fundamentals when he’s playing.

All I could really say to you is do what you can to get at least online practice in against the players that beat you in tournament just so you can have some kind of mindset. If you really want to push yourself I would suggest doing what I did and actually find some time out to go meet with Eric Kim or when UMBC starts up try to play as much as you can vs. Steve and Skisonic and all of the other strong contenders to keep you in shape.

This. If your regular source of competition isn’t really forcing you to step it up then you’ll likely have a hard time when it’s time to play at a higher level against the type of comp you aren’t used to. Discussion about high level play helps but experience is much greater imo.

Sigh… I need to get a car so I can travel and play more.:xeye:

I pretty much average 30-45 minutes a day if you count the days that I don’t play.

I have no scene in my city, closest is about 45 minutes away. On weekends I head up sometimes, but can’t so often. But that’s just how it is in MD/VA, everyone is spread out.

Most of my training is actually just watching better players and thinking about things. To me, personally, playing the game isn’t everything. Playing is good if you can analyze and find a solution to what happened. But you can do that from match videos, and with a better player controlling the character. I know they serve two different purposes most of the time, but my main point is that it isn’t necessary to be stuck to the TV to be competing.

I was cracked out on marvel the first few days it came out, so I did play more often (marvel) for that time period :razzy:.

Oh and I’m not saying there’s a right way of learning, I’m just sharing the one that works with me with others.

It takes a lot of time and patience. Every post before has stated good points to get better. Playing better competition is key. I have a Ryu on my friend’s list that is ranked in the top 100 in Championship points, and we get an all Green connection when we play. He is a beast, and I have won less than 10% of our matches, but every time we play I learn something new. I would play about 20 games against him, be lucky if I win 2, then go back and work on where I messed up. He also helps me with giving me pointers on what I need to do against him in certain situations. He’s very good at adapting because once I figured that one thing out, he switches and now it’s something brand new to learn. Each time we play I see that I am getting better. I’m winning more rounds and matches, and making him have to work for his wins as well. It’s great competition.

My point is, the only way to get better is to PLAY better players. And I say PLAY because I’ve watched youtube videos of top players, and it doesn’t translate to me. I see the spacing and the combos, but you need to actually try it out yourself to know what works and how it works. I go into Championship mode and try to Focus Attack all attacks the opp throws at me. It’s just a different way to practice. Overall, it’s still just a game and I don’t care if I lose a lot. I just want to have fun and get better. I have real life issues to deal with. SF4 helps take those things off my mind.

Yeah deviljin has a point. I need to go out there and meet people who are better then me. Playing people at or below my level for 3 hours doesn’t get me anywhere. But if i were to play someone like moose or something at least 30 or so matches i would level up way more then 6-7 hours of playing non-tournament placers.

From my expierence so far, it seems as though the best way i learn is through battle scars. watching japanese vids help for some strats, and tactics ( such as meter and stun building) but I seem to learn alot more from just learning my lesson. My St.Rh got stuffed atleast 5 times in a match against geif, and now that ive lost the health and the round, I was able to adjust and switched my AA option to cr.strong and won.

Adjusting feels really good and its something i need to work on A Lot. Im not really sure how to work on adjusting but im sure playing top tournament placers would help.

Well I just got a car and haven’t been able to go to far since most of the scene is at least an hour away. But within the next month im just going to make it my job to play high-level players and learn match-ups and what to do and what not to do against them. Im hoping to get casuals against some people better then me at a local tourney this weekend. ( looking at you deviljin and MM. LOL)

(This is a long post, so grab a drink…) :smiley:

I definitely know where you’re coming from. Coming from NY, known to be one of the most popular tournament scenes in the country really helped to open my eyes to the competitive world of Street Fighter. It allowed me to put my personal skill level in perspective, which until I became a longtime regular of Chinatown Fair (and B’way Arcade before that), led me to believe I was an extremely solid player.

If you were to ask some of the experienced players like Justin, Valle, Sabin (Arturo), Sanford, Choi, etc. – they would convey all the areas you’ve just outlined. Dedication is the most important quality of all, because your gradual performance is totally affected by the amount of time you’re willing to put into developing into a solid, respected player. Some players are under the impression that an extensive amount of time is required, but I know for a fact there are people such as Real Decoy, a family man who manages a full time job and still finds the time to compete in the occasional tournaments. Others like Justin, who all intents and purposes can be considered a professional gamer, supports his education and livelihood based off his tournament success and corporate sponsors. He wouldn’t have got that way if it wasn’t for being consistent with his goal to become a better player.

Execution and resources (i.e. local competition, YouTube, SRK, online comp) all help serve as building blocks. Based on our past experience, I could immediately recognize that execution isn’t a problem for you, and clearly by your continued presence on SRK (as well as your local scene) reinforces that.

So then what’s left you ask? At this point, it appears you’ve hit a slump – many players have gone through this. I experienced it way back during the Alpha 3 era, a game which I extensively played to death. My performance at CF was exceptional, but at times, I’d end up losing and felt “gee, maybe I am just not as good as I thought”. That’s where the mental focus comes into play. At times, we come across players who aren’t combo experts, yet can methodically break down what we perceive as solid strategies with very simple tactics. Ever seen the threads where people complain about turtles? These players are often perceived as players who have very little skill because they’re not being offensive enough – but in a tournament, or even a casual match — anything goes; you’re not playing for honor.

Perhaps you’re just playing the game a bit too much and should consider taking a break. Either look into other fighting games, or just an entirely different genre altogether. You’ll be surprised how refreshing this can be for one’s fighting spirit, especially for a player like yourself who I perceive to be quite competitive.

I played SFIV at least year’s E3 and knew that a lot of people were going to love this game (even had one of my [media=youtube]HCcV0jjbxMk[/media]). However, when the game hit the consoles, I wasn’t very confident with her at all. I often lost to the “flowchart” players and I almost gave up altogether. Fortunately I came back to SRK as a regular poster, analyzed the insights collectively shared by Madden, Dime, and several solid players – then I continued to devote hours into playing. You can probably count the amount of questions I posted on here (very, very few actually because I am the type of person who believes in solving his own problems and discovering what works/doesn’t work respectively). Of course, at times, I came across something that I wanted to get the opinion of a third-party (and that’s where SRK or even your local/online friends comes into play).

If you are just beating up “noobs” or players who are light years behind you in skill level, this can potentially impair your ability to develop.

Fast forward to the present and I can see a tremendous improvement over my gameplay compared to my performance in February. A lot of it is due to the fact I didn’t give up, but also because I often played with good competition. Now the rust is gone and I am back in the groove, I am doing my part to help others level up here in the Fellowship (as well as non-Chun players).

I actually need to make some time to get back into the tournaments just so I can see how I hold up. Though even if I didn’t place in the top 10, I’d still remain vigilant and focused. Our very own EvilRyu actually did quite well for what I believe was his first major tournament and came out in 25th place. Not too shabby at all, and it was because for one, he believed in himself and others believed in him. Do you find yourself at times, having doubt about your ability, in spite of subsequent success? I have, and that’s normal – you are human after all.

As you play more regularly, keep your techniques simple. Like if you know that low RH would be a much safer option than using st. mk as an AA – run with that. If you trade, big deal – the next time you’re in that same scenario, experiment with st. mk until you achieve the results you want w/o getting flustered with all the options she can dish out. Also, like Az stated - as you get better, you’ll learn what to defend against and tactics or moves that you may have often abused against players who you’ve began to surpass may be utilized less frequent against high level players… thus requiring you to find out new techniques or moves to use in tight situations. We’ve already been focusing heavily on new option select moves, counter hits and expert combos which have been regularly used by our Japanese counterparts Nemo and Nuki. These are things that you’ll start to focus on which will then figuratively puts you in the state where the men are separated from the boys. :slight_smile:

One thing I wanted to address, and this has taken me years to grasp is: don’t focus on your percentage rate of wins, rather focus on:

a. Are you executing moves correctly? (as I once stated before, you’d be surprised how many confuse ‘mashing’ as proper execution)
b. Are you able to consistently execute your BnBs when necessary?
c. How quickly can you adapt to a player’s strategy when the match doesn’t work in your favor due to a highly defensive or aggro player?
d. Do you get frustrated, or are you capable of staying calm and collected through the match?
e. Are you able to read your opponent and keep your techniques diverse to avoid becoming predictable?

If you’re able to answer all of these questions with an affirmative “yes”, then it’s really just a matter of time before you begin to see the results you seek: winning more. Every dedicated player aspires to become smarter and more resourceful with their techniques, but you should embrace every loss you take, because this shows there’s still room for improvement. My friend Jeron put it best when he said to run it back until you become better at the matchup. Even if you don’t end up achieving a victory that day, your persistence will pay off.

The most important thing of all: just have fun. It’s so easy for us to get so wrapped up with winning all the time that we forget we’re playing a video game. Even in big events like EVO, it’s all about meeting new faces, catching up with old friends and enjoying each other’s company.

I hope that helps you.

Great post bahn! Definitely worth taking the time to read.

I agree with everything that has been said throughout the thread, great posts guys! A lot of this stuff can be applied to other fighting games, too.

I can’t stress enough the importance of having good competition, whether it be online or offline. As with Madden, I try to have players of different levels to play. The lesser skilled and same skilled players are good for testing and implementing new strategies. Play the higher skilled players (the ones that dominate you) when you want to test your progress. Don’t worry about losing, instead focus on why you lost and what you need to improve upon. This is where the ability to record your matches comes in handy. If you play BlazBlue, its replay system is good for this.

As someone else said, you might be going through a slump. When that happens to me I’ll either take a break for a few days or just focus my time on a different game. Over the last 10 years this method has always worked to get me out of a slump.

I spend about 6-8 hours a week (the days vary) on BlazBlue. I don’t play SF4 much anymore but I’m still (and always will be) a loyal member of the Fellowship. :lovin:

Monstrously good post.