You’ve got your team of three setup, in a good Battery-User-Anchor order. However, a lot of times you’ll come up against teams that create a total mismatch in their favor, meaning that you’re going to sometimes need to change your order up to even things out a bit.
For instance, in my case, my team and order is N-Kyo/Maki/Hibiki. A team that I’m fighting against and am not surprised to see is A-Sakura/Sagat/M.Bison. Of course, if one player is better than the other, character matchups wouldn’t matter, but it goes without saying that some characters have an easier time taking down others.
Kyo is a good example. Since it’s hard to get in close to Sagat as it is, for a character who absolutely must be point-blank like Kyo, it’s made even harder. While I’ve taken down plenty of Sagats with Kyo, it’s a lot easier to match up my Kyo (who I ususally put first as my battery character) up against Bison (who makes a good anchor). Since Kyo can dish out a ton of damage any time Bison gets a little too happy with Scissor Kicks, it takes away a lot of that random stuff. Since a lot of teams up their R2 Bison last, I put my R1 Kyo to match, which works out in my favor.
Basically, I arrange my team in three ways, depending on the obvious situation:
1 - Kyo-Maki-Hibiki(2)
Kyo builds meter like a mofo and doesn’t really need it. Maki uses it (and quite effectively), then Hibiki cleans up the trash. My standard order.
2 - Maki-Hibiki(2)-Kyo
I use this setup when I know that Bison (or sometimes Cammy) will be last, especially in A-Groove. Kyo really gives those guys a hard time, because he’s basically got Lv2 super damage off of a crouching short…without the need for meter. Maki builds meter really fast too, so when I get to Hibiki I know I’ll have the juice.
3 - Maki-Kyo-Hibiki(2)
I put Maki first when there’s a shoto first and Bison or Cammy second. Switching the first two in line makes it easier for me to catch back up should I fall behind. Although Maki vs. Bison isn’t that much of a problem for me, I make a mistake against him with Maki more often then I should, so it’s better safe then sorry. Maki matches up with the shotos ridiculously well, so might as well get my licks in.
I never put Hibiki first, because starting your best character off with no meter is foolish in my opinion. I never put Maki last, because since deception is a risky business, I don’t want to risk a match on it, even if how I go about it is watertight.
An additional note here… I only switch to a different order if I’m really, really having trouble taking down a team on soley on the basis of character matchups. For the most part, I’m confident that any one of my characters can take out any other character there is. There’s also the possibility that the other guy is going to change his order too, so if I’m not sure about that I stick with my guns.
I’m just curious to everyone: How often and effectively do you change the order of your team to help you out? Please list your examples and basis for your thinking. Since most tournaments don’t allow character switching on the versus screen, this would mostly be a discussion about casual play.