Getting to watch lots and lots of John Choi off-stream footage.
Bonus footage- Choi interview from Spring Fighter:
Getting to watch lots and lots of John Choi off-stream footage.
Bonus footage- Choi interview from Spring Fighter:
Overall I went 3-4. 2-3 with DQs.
Beat: Spoony 7-2, Allen 7-2 (Allen got DQed from the league so I only have two wins nooo), Alex Canale 7-4
Got bopped by: Burnout 7-1, Muzztek 7-3, Tomcat 7-2, Cactus 7-3 (Cactus also got DQed)
Let me try to do a quick recap of my last three matches, Burnout, Muzztek and Alex.
BURNOUT THE KOREAN SHAMPOO SUPERSTAR
With Burnout I was fairly confident. I usually do pretty good against him in casuals. But the final score was 7-1 in his favour! He totally mopped the floor with me, and was the strongest example of someone being in my head the entire time.
After the match I sort of reflected on my failure. I was pretty unhappy with the result, mainly because of how completely Kevin (Burnout) controlled the match, read my intentions and resisted any attempt by me to reverse the momentum. Remember how I said I normally do pretty good against Kevin in casuals?
The thing is, now that I reflect upon it, I actually haven’t beaten Kevin in tournament in a long while. He definitely is the far greater tournament player, actually possessing clutch factor and a stubborn mind that refuses to bend to people’s conditioning. He beat me at SXC 2013 for example, and at quite a few other majors that I forget.
But anyway most of all I was disappointed that I didn’t manage to implement any of my lab stuff against him at all. Here are my notes:
And I had a bit of personal notes vs. Kevin’s style but I forgot to save them after the match. I practiced quite a lot against his air back dash and air dash tatsu/stomp mixups, and practice beating out his main mid screen normal with my buttons.
And guess what- I failed to employ any of it -_-
He would jump in, and despite mentally telling myself over and over not to fierce DP I would fierce DP and eat a phat punish. Despite specifically practising to fight his fHP and mentally telling myself not to press buttons after a second one he still nailed me with consecutive fierces many times. Didn’t do stand MK against his stomps, I got hit by every slash mix-up…Everything went wrong.
When all my specific match-up stuff wasn’t working I went back trying to work the fireball game, but Kevin read my weak patterns and refused to let me set a rhythm and would jump-in/fHP/focus and punish me way more than any damage I was getting from my fireballs. The 7-1 score flattered me, not him.
I think no matter how much I lab, without committing the punishes and counters against a real-life Oni player I was never properly able to embed the stuff to muscle memory. Also, Kevin mindfucked me pretty good in the set.
Weeks later we played an extensive set at another CCH and I did SO GOOD! I was so frustrated at myself afterwards because I countered the air dash well with LP DPs/normal and fireball and tatsus to punish, and spaced his normals with whiff punishes, stand LP and cMP so much better. I was telling myself why couldn’t I bloody play like this in the set?!?! Urgh. This is why I suck.
Muzztek whipping me with his Poison
This was actually the only match that I didn’t prepare for in the whole league. With apologies to James (Muzztek), I pretty much assumed that he was gonna get DQed since he had so many matches left to play and only one CCH left. I simply figured he wasn’t gonna show up :P
Instead he rocks up, plays like five matches in a row and ends up taking first place. Damn you James!!
Poison is definitely a match that I have absolutely no idea how to play. The only Poison I could have practiced with to prepare for James…is James. So yeah.
To be honest I was expecting to get slapped 7-0. To take three games probably meant that James had something on his mind! I think I played okay solid (most of my damage came from James getting bored and jumping in on me). Once I got in the corner I was done- that Poison corner pressure is no joke. And I got hit by virtually every EX flip kick.
After the match James showed me some ranges in which I can fireball safely against non-EX flip kick, and Xavier showed me how cancelling into fierce fireball often leaves gaps that I should be able to exploit. I’ve only begun to scratch the surface of this massively annoying match. Enough said.
Alex C, he who anti-aired me with a motherfucking Dive Kick
Next up was my last match vs Alex. Lose and go down into D. While historically I have struggled against Cammy, I at least was semi-prepared for Alex, having put a couple of hours every week practicing anti-airs against her dive kicks, whiff punishing her common pokes and the character specific combos like cmp cmp stand mp DP or far stand HK stand MP DP. I practiced a little bit of the old Ryu jump MK unblockables on Cammy but I mainly focussed on keeping her out. Alex’s style is rough, down and dirty so if I keep him out I should have a strong chance to win.
In the end the score was 7-4, and we both played really sloppily. There were fimbles galore, and I dropped almost every single character specific Cammy combo (much to the disgust of Kon and Rossco who said I should just do the normal combos instead) and we were both handing each other rounds that should have been closed out.
I remember distinctly that Alex did an excellent job of confusing the hell out of me. He would stand there whiffing like five normals in a row in front of me, completely whiff punishable stuff like her stand MK and I would just stand there slack-jawed not doing anything.
Because I never knew when Alex would do a random spiral arrow in my face/instant cannon strike/dash forward cLP/focus/jump- I had absolutely no idea what he was gonna do at any time. He conditioned this hesitance and confusion in me, adversely affecting my reactions and decisiveness in terms of whiff punishing and things like that.
When Alex got in he was relentless and caused me a lot of trouble- but in the end I won sort of by weathering the storm. Just staying solid and letting him kill himself trying so hard to get in. I remember Rossco/Toxy et al. crowding around and getting hype during the match.
I really hated that. I wanted them to all STFU so that I could concentrate properly. In the end I probably laughed along too much with the crowd at all the fimble things that happened and never hit 100% concentration. Such as Alex dying when he jumped in with a mixup and I anti-aired with an instant jump back MP (fimbled MP DP). Or when I jumped in with a crossup tatsu for the win and mistimed it so badly he woke up with an instant EX Cannon strike and it ANTI-AIRED ME for the win. Ah such comedy and fimbles.
It’s a good feeling to finally finish a league season. Big thanks to H (Carnage) for running the league, and GGs to all my opponents. Even though I mostly got slapped, I think I learned a lot. Hopefully I can do better again next season!
Just doing some Cammy testing in preparation for my League of Sharpies match with Alex, I came across a new Ultra 1.04 Cammy specific combo: Close Stand Hk stand MP DP. Does 318 damage and 460 stun, with a jump in it does 386 damage 620 stun.
I tested it some more and it also works on E Honda, Makoto, T hawk and Gief. Works on Dudley but doesn’t do full damage though. On Dudley you could already do close stand HK cHP EX tatsu so it doesn’t really matter for him.
Also last night at CCH, after playing some Marvel my right arm started hurting like crazy, specifically my upper arm around the triceps area. Hopefully this isn’t a sign of things to come or old age setting in…
I first started thinking about this a while back when I was labbing a way to hit both Dhalsim’s backdash and teleport on wakeup. I ended up coming up with some complicated hado motion to db option select that was way hard to do in match.
I ended up bemoaning the fact that Ryu’s stand LP whiffs on crouching opponents, unlike say Yun’s standing LP, which he can easily option select (cLK, stand LP+MP) as a meaty to get big damage on hit confirm or backdash. Ryu’s stand jab simply whiffs if they’re crouching, and you can get hit/thrown. I can always do an option select with stand LK which hits crouching opponents, but the problem then is that you cannot combo from stand LK to get a full combo.
I was thinking of ways to get Rolento (whose escape options work on my usual cLK+LP, cLP+cHK meaty because my sweep comes out too fast and whiffs), Ibuki (similarly, my sweep whiffs under her jumpy backdash), or dudes like Rolento, Vega etc with invincible backflips and how if I could option select a stand normal like far standing roundhouse or forward fierce, that would solve all my problems.
Then I watched this video by Momochi, which my good buddy Daichi helped translate:
And how he would input standing normal option selects while doing crouching lights! By inputting cLK (release stick to neutral and hit stand normal) then quickly chain to cLP.
I tested it with Ryu (while watching Capcom Cup when Ryu wasn’t on screen) and it works a treat.
Now I have cLK+LP (release stick to neutral and hit HP) cLP which gets me my full low hitting two-hit hit confirm, whilst smacking Rolento with far stand HP if he backdashes or rolls or flips for 120 juicy damage.
And I can do cLP+cLP (HK) cLP and the far standing roundhouse comes out to smack Ibuki’s backdash (yesss finally another way to control this bloody matchup) and I can use it against other long backdashes like Chun Li as well.
But the most juicy thing I found…is you can option select forward fierce on the following characters!
Ryu, Ken, Honda, Oni, Sagat, Dee Jay, rolento (does one hit to the flip), evil ryu, blanka, Rufus, Hugo (air reset so no point)
So in the mirror match if you try to backdash on me…you’re gonna get hit by minimum 260~300 plus damage muahahaha. Plus forward fierce is braindead to hit confirm, compared to stuff like cmk or stand MP meaty option selects.
This plus the new close standing roundhouse stuff to lab in Ultra 1.04…the learning never stops!
Edit: Hilariously I also learned that day that the best whiff punish of Adon stand HK is my own stand HK. I never thought to press that button, always using sweep and stand MP instead. While stand HK is much slower than sweep, the leniency of it’s range when whiff punishing Adon’s stand HK makes it so much easier. Doh.
Finally finished my OHN10 special!
In Part 2 of our OHN special our two guests discuss the history of Ozhadou and OHN, ST in Sydney, attracting new players to our scene, what keeps them in community, EVO2014 and who they would bring to a desert island.
So tired now…Finally get the hit the sack after a few days of straight editing. This weekend will be a blast at SXC though. Much needed break.
It has been quite a long time since my last one. With Dusty Cartridge shutting down I was kind of undecided on what to do with the show. In the end I decided I have fun making these things, I have the gear already, and there’s still so many awesome dudes in the FGC that people need to know about.
These two guys definitely fit the bill. One of the best things for me at EVO 2014 was getting to know Youssef and David a lot better. With Kyokugen especially, I haven’t spoken much to him prior but we once started commiserating about our common tournament organiser woes, it was like a river started flowing “bro I know exactly what you mean T-T” kind of thing.
Two really good dudes who support the Sydney FGC whether it be YSB or Tekken or KOF. You got Kyokugen and Igor teaming up to make an Australian ST circuit at majors, Youssef showing ample hospitality to interstaters. I had a blast at OHN12 and I hope it shows in the video.
Now…time to make part 2 before I fly off on Friday for SXC…why do I do this to myself!!
I had just gotten back from OHN, fresh off the high of not going 0-2 for once. It was time to fight one of my good buddies in League of Sharpies: Cactus.
Dhalsim vs Ryu…hm.
I’ve played Cactus a lot before but he’s always generally had my number. The only thing in my favour is that he doesn’t play as much as before, so he’s a little rusty, and I now have access to Manny, the great Dhalsim player from Mexico who’s living here in Melbourne this year as a student. Now Manny is pretty damn good- he’s currently undefeated in League B tearing the likes of Exis (former BAM champ) and Hoppa up.
So I tried to apply my same training regimen as against Spoony, to lab it up, but this time to combine it with actual match training against Manny.
Some of my notes from the lab (didn’t really come up with much):
I found it pretty hard to implement a lot of the stuff I was practising against Manny.
Specifically whiff punishing fierces and punishing Yoga snipers was high on my “to do list” but I never could pull it off. Also, Manny plays a lot differently from Cactus, and specifically his back short was giving me so many problems. And abusing focus attack from Cactus has worked occasionally in the past before but Manny is really good at beating it out with multiple options.
Now my LGP has been really buggy the last few weeks, failing to properly record the last CouchWarriors ranbat grand final and a ton of Sharpies matches I was recording for people, and even my match against Tomcat zzz. At least my match versus Cactus made it through.
So I watched it and took notes:
G1R1: Bad combo ender cost me the round (self cornered myself with hard tatsu)
Execution with air sniper tatsu still not 100% despite specifically practicing it for this matchup.
Bad fireballs at close footsie range which is good against other normal characters but maybe not Dhalsim.
G1R2: Another recurring bad habit of mine. Being frugal with meter at the END of rounds. Why did I not EX tatsu to end that stand RH combo?
G1R3: Getting defeated by my bane. Those back shorts. Got a good two ex fireballs to hit though, which is rare on a good Dhalsim. Then I throw it all away by getting back thrown by Sim. Again, I should have conditioned Sim to respect my meaties with some low shorts before going for bigger gap mixups. I started the mindgames circle one step higher than I should and really paid for it in the early rounds. A backthrow by Sim in the corner usually means you lose the round.
G2R1: Another one of my deficiencies. A lot of times I don’t tech when I miss a jump-in. First of all, opponents should be properly punishing my landing recovery instead of giving me a chance to tech. But I should tech regardless. Spent a LOT of meter to get that win.
G3R1: BACK THROW! Anyway in this case Cactus had a good reaction to correctly the time a use of a risky focus attack by me. He’s also reading my patterns better and better.
Damnit I could have ended the round if I went for stand RH crouch HP ex tatsu. I guess I was caught by surprise that he teleported behind me. And then…BACK THROW!!!
G3R2: Hmm. I’m getting more jump-ins at this point than I remember. My memories of that match consist of getting hit by that back knee a hundred times plus the 400 psychological damage of each back throw.
G3R3: Excellent D by Cactus in the corner. Stuffed everything I did.
G4R1: My midscreen gimmicks are working less and less. My crouch MPs, my read tatsus, everything. Cactus is also reacting well to my FA with his own. I give up a lot of life to push him into the corner where I get…BACK THROWN!!!
G4R2: To his credit, the last set we played before this I won a very unexpected 5-2. And a LOT of it was me abusing FA against Cactus. This set he was very prepared for it and defended against it extremely well. He’s also getting into rhythm and doing the Cactus teleport shimmy all over me! I get squished. The download is almost complete. I see that he gets hit by a low short low short low short which means he’s still stand teching a bit. All those rounds I lost prior…if only I did low short (plus tech) low short instead of bloody going for probably overhead or something…
G5R1: I take a bit of time to think and decide to play a bit more patient. Build some meter before pushing in my cards. It doesn’t really seem to get me anywhere and I fall back into desperate Ryu mode which gets me killed right quick. Watching it now I see a distinct lack of LP DP in the last two games. I am letting him press all sorts of buttons in close range. Instead I seem preoccupied with whiffing level 3 FAs.
G6R1: Hey as if on cue. Two LP DPs get him in the corner relatively quickly for once! Bloody Cactus’s blocked all of my EX Tatsus so far in the set though! Why didn’t you stand tech then Cactus!!! I throw the round away with an executional error though.
Also notice that I never really successfully use stand FA against his limbs. I notice that I dashed through it a few times in the first few games but why didn’t I just release it to crumple and get U1?
There it is again at the 73 second mark. Cactus is really confident now, with no fear in pressing multiple buttons against me in close range. My DP comes way too late again. A clear lack of ume-powers here.
G7: Great play by Cactus. I think the download is complete. He is pushing me back and reacting very fast to everything I do. I am slow as sludge.
G8: I’m not sure what changed in this round. Let me watch it again. Ah a successful Focus attack. So I’m probably batting 1 for 50!
G9R1: I should have lost that round with some mega fimbles in the corner. But Cactus let me jump over his ultra when I should have EX Dped instead. He could have smacked me back into the Ultra easily; maybe he was reading a Tatsu again?
G9R3: It’s really the little moments against Dhalsim. It’s like a beautiful romance. One well-timed LP DP to put him in the corner. And one throw into a DWU ambiguous crossup setup (which I can only really make ambiguous against the likes of Sim, and Manny often just slides out of my DWU framekill setups anyway) gets me the round.
G10: I see a pattern emerging with me. I’m like a slow infant, when something works I grasp onto it desperately and sort of forget that I have other tools. Sniper tatsu returns after a five game absence. -_-
I need less FA upclose which Cactus has been blowing up. Or at least FA backdash a few times, maybe he’ll whiff his so I can punish. And I need a much quicker DP trigger finger. I see that my pattern is that I block two or three normals and then DP. Cactus already reads this and punishes me. I need to DP more unpredictably and quicker.
And a panic fimble to end the set. GG Cactus.
I did okay in the first few games, utilising a lot of things I had in my head like whiff punishing stand HP, some counterpoke cmp, LP DPs, attempting to use sniper tatsu etc. I made a lot of crucial errors at the start when I should have established respect from Dhalsim to not stand tech with some meaty low shorts or walk back cmk or whatever, instead getting back thrown at very crucial moments to lose a lot of big games.
But as the set went on Cactus downloaded me and went on a monster 5 game run. I became desperate and error prone in a lot of games and gave away life, positioning and meter way too quickly. I latched on desperately onto things that worked and tried to recreate them at the cost of forgetting all my other tools and Cactus was always one step ahead of me.
At the end I finally was able to shake free of my despo-Ryu malaise and get in a few games…but I couldn’t come close to coming all the way back.
I still have a long way to go in the Dhalsim vs. Ryu matchup. This matchup in particular exposes my big weakness. Manny said that fighting Dhalsim is less about labbing it up or being methodical, but rather a big test of your ability to make reads on your opponent, and that is what I lack big time.
This is less a failure of my knowledge/preparation, but an indictment of my subpar prediction skills and temperament.
Coming into this match, I was feeling a rare surge of semi-confidence whilst remaining somewhat scared. Tom was an unknown, and I don’t know how good he is, but on the other hand I had just beaten a Yun at OHN and had been specifically researching that match (Notes below, BIG thanks to ZG for all his help). But…
But in the end I was really glad I went. The attendance was smaller than in years past but that’s okay, it was much more relaxed and intimate and I feel like I got to know everyone there a bit better and just hang out with dudes.
NSW locals like Youssef, Xavier, David (Furyblitz), Sam and Soo-han really made me welcome and took the time to take me places to eat and chill. Youssef drove Xavier and I from the airport, opened up his house to us, and took us to El-Jannah garlic chicken. David brought me to that godlike Ramen place Ippudo Ramen. (For comparison’s sake, Hakata Gensuke in Melbourne is of similar quality, but at $24 for “extras” such as egg and chasiu, Ippudo blows it outta the water by having like five pieces of chasiu and toppings at that price.) Soo-han was another dude I really enjoyed hanging out with; really enjoyed his pure love for the community and Street Fighter- listening to his OG stories from back in the day was a real treat.
I stayed with Xavier, Igor, Alex C from Melbourne, and Jason (Mr Chowda/WorstBalroginAU) from WA). We had a good time, but man.
Alex and Xavier are the ultimate combination.
Alex loves to talk conspiracy theories and Xavier loves to troll and prove people wrong. Every night I would come back to the room really late after having a bite or hanging out and they would be talking about all sorts of shit- gender salary, diet, the world is coming to end etc at 3AM! I would just groan and turn around and cover my ears with my pillow and try to sleep. But it was great fun.
I got to try the famous OHN Karaoke Night with Youssef, the Tekken boys (Tekken was hella hype at OHN this year) and the QLDers.
Baxter always makes me laugh, Falco/Hari/Tyrone and Reece are so chill, and I got to ask Yang his advice on how to snare a white woman as an Asian man…just seeing everyone again was great.
I didn’t really harbour any expectations in doing well in the tournament, but I still did extremely well by my standards. I have no illusions about my current mediocre ability in Street Fighter, so to place 9th in both Marvel and Ultra was very surprising. I brought my camera along for the trip, as I wanted to film a ton of B-roll footage for my Kyokugen and Youssef interview, so I also barely played any casuals at all.
For Ultra I think I played pretty good, especially with the likes of Xavier (Somniac) coaching me, but I was just a total fraud in Marvel.
Everyone in Melbourne knows my Magneto is utter trash. I got 3-0ed by Spikey first round, and I don’t think I even landed a hit. I think Hari and Baxter were standing behind me watching and they got so disgusted at my trash Magnus they wandered off halfway. That guy Spikey beat Tyrone after dispatching me, so he was pretty good. I eventually fought my way back to fight him again in the top 8 qualifying match, but I lost narrowly 3-2.
Ninth place! Not bad for basically a Two and a Half Men team!
I had two extremely fraudulent matches- against Nat and Tri from Queensland, two players that are undoubtedly better than me in this game.
Against Nat my Magneto was simply there to get hit and build meter for my Doom/Ammy and I got it up to 2-2. He started snapping in my Ammy, and in the last game it was down to Nova vs my Doom. He hit my Doom with a hard knockdown and I started yelling out “I’m gonna mash throw on wakeup!!!” And I did and grabbed him- he immediately facepalmed.
I was laughing so hard I dropped the Doom combo, but because he was still facepalming I just grabbed him again! For the KO. Ah, such fraudulence.
Against Tri I somehow went up 2-0 with my Magneto meatshield Doom/Ammy team, and then he started doing the usual Zero May Cry stuff and took the next two games easily. He also snapped in my Ammy and killed my two best characters, leaving me with only my trash Magneto.
Now I have never used Magneto in X-factor in my life before, and everyone knows I can’t complete a Magneto combo to save my life.
But in X-factor I don’t have to do any complex combos; to drop down air dash whiff S and land that H into Hypergrav. I just hit him and went into HHHHS GRAVITY SQUEEZE! And I did that three times and came back on all three characters with my Magneto!
I couldn’t believe it- I sat there staring at my stick for a long time. I shook his hand, and we were both shaking our heads… If only Tri knew the improbability of what just happened!
In Ultra, I played pretty good, beating In4war twice and Jaunty who was doing pretty well in casuals against me the night before. Two instances that made me realise that I was playing well on the day (for my standards); Jaunty was in the corner and jumped back to catch me moving in, and I DPed him on reaction- I almost never do that. And the other instance was when I invested a lot of life and meter to push him into the corner. He suddenly jumped over my head with a surprise crossup that I didn’t see coming until the very last second.
Now this is a typical Muttons moment when I throw it all away and eat the crossup and get put in the corner and lose my composure and the entire match.
But somehow I autocorrect DPed at the very last second and went on to take the game. When I DPed the crossup I was hella surprised at myself that I didn’t crack at that crucial moment. A lot has to be said for Xavier’s coaching, he really settled me down.
For example in my next match against Genxa (after I got completely and utterly demolished by Robsux), I won game 1, and then Genxa steamrolled me two quick rounds for game 2 in typical dominating Yun fashion. Usually I will sit there and overthink, letting my failures and mistakes haunt me for the next game. Xavier was sitting there saying “Don’t worry about it, forget about it, it’s done, move on to the next game. That’s fine.” And surprisingly enough, I did and won the next game. Thanks Xavier. Also thanks Spoony and all the guys that gave me silent support from behind. I can feel the love.
Against Genxa, before the match I was typically pessimistic. ZG was calling out before OHN that I would make it out of the pools and beat Henry but I didn’t believe it in the slightest. First off, historically I have been really bad against Yun in tournament or divekick characters for that matter. Secondly, Henry has beaten me multiple times in tournament- with ease, I might add.
Regardless, I still labbed for the Yun matchup despite my feelings. I watched Infiltration vs Fentamu and thought about how you must be mobile with Ryu to confuse his divekick angles and to show Yun no respect- you cannot allow him to establish a rhythm or to feel comfortable. You have to jump RH him out of neutral jumps, you have to make reads and DP, you cannot allow him to do whatever he wants.
So I tried that and I really played with a lot of disrespect against Henry. I DPed a lot, and did a lot of unsafe shit like jump over empty jump DP FADC Ultra, and cmk EX fireball dash up DP to chip for the win (he could have easily jabbed me out of my dash and killed me.) It made him respect me and play more on the ground, to play Street Fighter, and I can win that way. In Melbourne people know I’m ass and refuse to get conditioned by any disrespect I show. But it worked, at least for one match!
Next up I had to play Stoz and I felt more confident- after all I play Xavier’s Bison all the time. But in the end even though I was playing ok at the start, my play degenerated over time. Yuto plays more defensive in the matchup than Xavier. Xavier knows he is superior to me as a player and will walk forward to engage with me in footsies at times. Yuto simply got the lead and sat there with charge, intimidating me with EX scissors range. I tried to bait stuff out and build meter, but I lost every single test of patience, eventually throwing that stupid fireball and he would EX scissors without fail, taking me down for the count.
Later after the match I talked to Jason about it, and we both agreed I should have walked forward more. Even though that range is scary for Ryu as it is within light scissors range I can just simply walk forward block to gain position, perhaps throw closer range fireballs, maybe briefly fish for focus to catch the 2nd hit of LK scissors, anything would be better than my dogged “stay out of EX scissors range” strategy that fell apart over time. Also, I really sucked against headstomps in that match. I feel like it’s a harder matchup now in Ultra, but I’m determined to work on that matchup a bit more now, to see what I can do if the Bison just sits there when he has the lead.
GGs to all the people I played, and a big thank you to all the tournament organisers. Spencer, Genxa, Youssef, Kyokugen, Will, Ziggy, Yang and all the people I’ve forgotten- I had a great time.
Next posts: League of Sharpies with Cactus, Tomcat (Or how Yun got his comeuppance), and interviews with Youssef and Kyokugen!
Carnage (Hakan Dorter) aka the Mega Troll or King of Comedy recently proposed the idea of a Topanga-style league that the Melbourne FGC could use to train together and improve as a whole. The league would take place over several months, and closely follow the Topanga rules, so it would be made up of FT7s, have a deuce to win if it’s tied up at 6-6, with a points based system to determine who moves up a rank and who drops down.
This idea has really taken off, people have been flocking to sign up for this “League of Sharpies”, and we’ve seen an increase at attendance at CCH and Moemall just because of this. H broke us all up into groups, from rank A with the likes of Toxy, Somniac, ZG etc, B with Exis, Hoppa, all the way down to E rank.
Facebook group (enter if you’re interested): https://www.facebook.com/groups/624346671016716/
League of Sharpies groups (lots of comedy in the character allocations):
I for one was really interested in the idea. I have not been diligent in my practice at all in Ultra. I have become rusty with a lot of the matchups, and have fallen out of touch with the current tech of the day because I don’t really watch streams that much anymore. This is a good wake up call for me to get back in the lab and work on my knowledge and preparation. I think a C ranking is pretty realistic for my current mediocre level of skill, and I want to do really well in the league.
The main reason of my excitement is because I want to see what I can do, given advance notice and time to solely prepare for a single matchup. When you enter a tournament, you face a bunch of different matchups, deal with stress and long brackets, and invariably nobody plays their absolute best in tournaments.
I’m inspired by the Topanga sets or something like the Daigo vs Infiltration Ft10, where the best players sit down for two weeks and concentrate on nothing but that one matchup, developing the highest level of matchup specific technology and play. I’m pretty sure everyone enjoys watching these matches because of the abnormally high level of play. Perhaps it’s an “artificial high” that cannot be sustained once the match is over and the player goes back to a more general approach to the game, but I’ve always been interested to see how far I could go, given the opportunity to really study and prepare for a match. I know I’m not a very good Street Fighter player, but I’m still keen to see how far I can push my capabilities.
So for my first match, I chose Spoony. I’m familiar with his style, and quite familiar with the Chun Li matchup because of all the 95-6 beatdowns Jeff aka Renzuo gives me with his Chun. Despite playing against Chun a whole lot, I know there is a lot of things I don’t do well in the matchup. Specifically:
– I don’t punish Hazanshu with focus through into cmp cmp cmk tatsu etc on reaction at all despite practicing it a lot
– I get hit way too much by wakeup Hazanshu or after Chun sweeps me, stuff like empty jump into Hazanshu. Often times I crouch tech which whiffs because of the Hazanshu but I can still block, but I would much rather be punishing these Hazanshus
– Bad spacing in footsies, seldom whiff punish stand mp or counterpoke with cmp effectively
– I let Chun jump off the wall to get out of the corner way too often
– Delayed wake up completely befuddles me against Chun, because I am way too dependent on safe jump option selects to keep her backdash under control. Once she delay wake ups, often the Chun can just backdash or MOV tech (four button tech into backdash) for free
– Super destroys me. (Punishes cmk on block, can’t mash out DP when I’m going to be chipped by Super within a certain range- just inside round start range.)
So I spent a lot of hours labbing for this match. I practiced all my Chun specific combos, worked on the spacing and came up with a bunch of notes and tech:
-If you block ex SBK in the corner, punish with fHP.
-DWU setups off sweep: Sweep, jump right after to SJ on regular WU and press stand hk when you land if you see DWU. It will counterhit crouch tech and catch backdash. (She can still focus backdash out of it and avoid 2nd hit.) If she starts to EX SBK the csHK, start doing neutral jumps for big punish.
Or sweep, whiff jab, jump straight after will sj DWU ex SBK, empty jump if no DWU and block EX SBK or empty low.
(Late option select sweep seems to be more consistent than OS DP for the DWU setups. I suspect it’s because my crouch jab frame kill is often not frame perfect even though I double tap it.)
-Punish ex sbk, at point blank can do ultra or stand mp into tatsu (preferred, slightly less damage than the following but corner carry) or stand heavy punch (hits meaty) into sweep, sweep if far.
-If chun is in corner can mash stand jab to beat stand mp ala Sagat (stand outside sweep range) or cmp also works (normal hado won’t combo from that range)
-Chun li stand mp is longer range than her sweep. Stand at 2.15 training squares to make both whiff and punish with sweep (hard with stand mp)
-Remember if chun back dashes your meaty she’s likely to sweep so block low or prepare focus to punish.
-If she has super u can do cmk into lk tatsu when she attempts to super your cmk. Lk tatsu will come out and get hit but you’re in the air and only take minor damage and waste her super.
-When chun does her empty jump into hazanshu you can crouch tech and then block or focus(hard). Easy method is to do clk+clp+chp crouch tech which will hit hazanshu, but risky once Chun catches on.
-Clk+clp+chk Meaty OS sweep works on chun but has to be frame perfect meaty perfect range hard to set up without throw or corner
-Cross up ground tatsu with throw light dp. (slight delay) hk tatsu still hits dwu, just that it’s the second hit and a bit easier to block. (timing specific)
-Clp Clp Clp cmk slight walk back leaves you at perfect distance to whiff punish stand Mp. Cmp cmp cmk too (easier, don’t need walk back)
-Dwu throw cross up setup. Throw, whiff stand hk, jump over lk. (block cross up to avoid being EX SBKed)
-Chun can reversal super my SJ, so empty jump to bait it out and punish accordingly
So you see, I came up with a lot of shit. I developed some interesting DWU tech, and some short-term gimmicky stuff to stop the stuff Spoony has success with against me like cmk preemptive cancel into lk tatsu against super punish, clp+clk+chp crouch tech against empty jump Hazanshu (really risky, but I practiced doing cmp crouch tech into focus against empty jump Hazanshu and the timing is really hard)
Some stuff even surprised me like stand MP being slightly further range than her sweep! All this while I thought because whiff punishing the stand MP is so hard I have to stand at the exact range outside stand MP distance to punish it, but I was always worried about eating the sweep. Little did I know all this time that the stand MP is a tiny bit longer, so if I stand outside stand MP distance I am safe from both MP and sweep, and can whiff punish accordingly. I actually discovered that you can whiff punish stand MP from a big distance because Chun’s hurtbox moves forward during the move, it’s just that you require razor sharp reactions (stand MP is a total 18 frame move! That’s like a medium button with the recovery of a jab. So if you consider my sweep being five frames I need to react within 13 frames to whiff punish her.)
So I specifically practiced whiff punishing stand MP for a couple of hours, it was really hard at first but I started being consistent with it. In the set, I barely landed it at all so I was really disappointed with that. In fact, a big part of my gameplan was to force Chun into the corner, stand at that magic 2.1 training room square distance and punish her if she presses anything. Spoony really didn’t let me do that at all with a lot of intelligent walk forward sweeps which hit me a lot. I was too stubborn, and wanted to conduct my strategy successfully instead of realising I cannot match Chun’s forward walk with my sluggish backwards walk speed and should have blocked or focus against the sweep more.
Thanks to Kris Staltare for loaning me his LGP on the day
I also practiced focusing through Hazanshu a LOT and I didn’t succeed a single time in the match. So overall while I won, I didn’t get to apply a lot of the shit I developed (I never really landed too much mid screen hard knockdowns so didn’t get to try DWU that much), and I didn’t really succeed in all the specific things I spent significant time practicing. That’s the major weakness of my preparation- if Daigo is preparing to fight Infiltration he trains with Tokido and Bonchan, and all of my prep for Spoony was training room. Let’s see if my next match against Cactus (who usually beats me) I can combine both training room and real matches with Manuel’s Dhalsim if I can reach a higher level of play.
Because I am a hateful, spiteful human being, months before EVO I would say to everybody in Melbourne that would listen:
“Man. I hope Daigo gets his hipster Evil Ryu blown up by a Ryu player at EVO. And I hope John fucking Choi’s the man who does it.”
I would say with furious and righteous anger.
I almost never get my way. My dreams are never realised. I’ve learned to not expect much when I hope for something.
Even the sun shines on a dog’s ass some days.
I really enjoyed Patrick’s original Fighting Game Primer that he wrote on Insertcredit.com a few years ago, and it’s a very pleasant surprise to see him developing that piece (which was built around teaching SF concepts using Ryu as an example) into a full-fledged eBook.
I was suspicious- him going silent in terms of content output right before EVO made me wonder if he was working on something big. And this Primer is definitely a humongous labour of love and will prove very useful- I’m going to send this to all my neophyte SF playing friends.
Reading through it for the first time, what hit me hard was this:
“Here is the thing: Fighting games are not actually that hard to learn
how to play, and play somewhat competently. But they’re very hard to
And I wholeheartedly agree.
This year I’ve been doing a fair bit of teaching. There’s been a influx of new players at CCH and I’ve been trying to teach them as best as I can. I’ve even been sinking a good few hours into teaching intermediate players like Kris Staltare, teaching the basics of footsies and practice regimen. At Couchwarrior events at conventions and things I’ve also raised my hand to do “Learn how to play SF” sessions and one time Felix and I even went out to an New Game Plus event to teach kids how to play Street Fighter.
Teaching Street Fighter is really hard. It is frustrating, and can be annoying. People don’t want to listen, they find the basic mechanical motions really hard even before I start explaining any basic gameplay stuff, and most of the time they just want to see a flashy combo than to learn any concepts of fundamentals. It’s quite disheartening to sink half an hour of patient instruction on a kid and they simply revert back to mashing the buttons like crazy once you exit training mode.
Don’t get me wrong though. I love teaching Street Fighter. While I’ve even attempted to teach SF over the years to my friends and failed miserably with a retention rate of 0%, it is still really rewarding when you teach a crowd of kids, and perhaps 90% of them lose interest after ten minutes and leave to go play Fifa 14 over in the corner- but just one kid sticks around. You can see the gears in his head churning. He’s pressing the buttons slowly and deliberately, trying to wrap his hands and head around a quarter circle motion. A lightbulb goes off in his head when he successfully crouching fierces my jump-in.
Those little moments; that gleam of intent in his eyes, that shake of the head and squeal of joy- of learning- that’s what keeps me going.
I am going to Evolution 2014.
It’s been a longtime dream of mine to go to EVO, my only regret is that I didn’t go earlier in the previous years, perhaps during the fun early days of UMVC3 and without the inferior update that is USFIV. I’ll get to cheer on all our Oz boys in person, swap old-man NBA stories with Igor, cheer on Xavier, and hang out with the Sydney and QLD boys like Yousseff, Sailo and Nader. Maybe I’ll get to have a few words with some of my writer/content heroes like Viscant, Maj, and Patrick Miller. (Maybe I could even get John Choi to throw a couple of fireballs at me.) I’ll get to eat American fast food galore and get hype at top 32, so it should still be extremely fun, and I’ll get to put that massive tick against it on my bucket list.
What have I been up to post-BAM in the meantime?
BAM6, while it was really good and it was great to see all the new shit we (the CouchWarriors staff) put together come through like the New Challengers tournament, was really draining on me.
Being heavily involved in the organisational process of BAM took up so much of my spare time, and not to mention – I put a big workload upon myself to finish up all five Buttonsmash Community: The Australian FGC episodes before BAM plus running CCH…meant that I simply didn’t get to play much fighting games for the last few months.
I have no one to blame but myself because a lot of that workload was self-imposed, but I wouldn’t have done it differently anyway.
But yeah, I played really shit at BAM. I took some time to reflect upon my suckiness after the tourney and vowed to start training like mad after the tournament.
So I took a lot of time off after BAM. Not only finally taking some time to play some fighting games (I have been putting a lot of hours into my Magneto but it’s a slow burn) but also to unwind, and relax my mind. I’ve been playing more guitar, reading more books, finishing Dark Souls 2 (one of the sacrifices for BAM is that I forced myself to not touch DS2 until the tourney was over) and enjoying life in general.
Now EVO is 8 days away.
I still have to work on A1major’s Community episode that I filmed at BAM, and perhaps do some Dusty Cartridge related stuff like my planned scathing review of USFIV. Couchwarrior assorted events like ranbats and things have also been taking up some of my time.
It’s time to knuckle down and start working again. My “break” was nice while it lasted.
My aforementioned Magneto is slowly coming along. Learning stuff like plink dash Mag blast movements, the trijump L, the fly turnaround glitch with the mag blast motion, all feels really rewarding to me. But man, Magneto is HARD. I dunno whether it’s my old man and stupid fingers, but it feels like I am taking way longer than I expected to get good at this character.
Take this BnB I am learning for example.
I have practicing this for the last two months, and last night it took me almost two hours to complete 10 reps left and right hand side of the BnB. Two hours for ten reps! I haven’t even begun to learn the Hypergrav loops or superjump hit confirms. Man I suck.
People keep coming up to me and expressing surprise that I am practicing Marvel so much and not practicing Ultra that much. They tell me Marvel is a dead game, no one’s actively practicing the game in Melbourne and that Amaterasu sucks.
My honest answer is that I know that Marvel seems to be on the decline, but I want to “finish the job” I started last year. I want to become competent with the new team I have chosen to replace my beloved Spencer Doom Ammy. I want to become a good Marvel player.
And honestly- Ultra turns me off :P
I was heavily negative about the game before it came out, and people were bashing me and well I would love to be wrong…but look at the game!
Hitbox glitches galore. Buffing “there were times where it was too difficult to get in on the opponent” Yun and Rufus while nerfing characters like Dee Jay and Sagat. Implementing a character select screen button check menu but half-assing it with no way to select unassigned buttons. No delayed wake up in training mode.
And I hate red-focus and delayed wake up as added mechanics in the game. If you wanted a more footsie based game, why are you adding an anti-footsie tool in Red Focus? Delayed wake up is Capcom’s half-assed band-aid solution to unblockables but guess what? There’s still unblockables in the game!!! Spoony and I were talking about removing the unblockable but we both concurred that it might be too much of a inbuilt system property to change without significant cost, especially with the original development team that built SFIV now disbanded. And it looks to be true.
I can’t believe he said that.
In a game with massive reversal windows, MOV four-button tech, crazy far and invincible backdashes, meaties suck. So why would you nerf the hard knockdown on character’s oki? To remove vortex, you say. Well guess what, delayed wakeup matters shit all to divekick characters. Rufus can go lalalalala I don’t care about your delayed wakeup while merrily divekicking away…
Okay I will stop ranting like the bitter old man I am.
But there’s a reason I haven’t touched much Ultra SFIV. My character is mostly the same anyway. Meanwhile everyone else has switched to bloody hipster Ryu!
Ah well. I remain convinced that USFIV is an inferior update, but I hope that time will prove me wrong. I really do. In the meantime I will still play it because it’s Melbourne’s main game, the world’s international game, and also I still wanna become a good Ryu player someday.
Training mode non-stop, FT10s with Melbourne’s top players and weekday sessions with Jeff, let’s go.
Let me sharpen up a bit before Vegas. Here’s hoping I don’t go 0-2.
P.S. Shadowloo Showdown is coming up.
Everyone that loves fighting games, please watch Dave’s (Bosslogic) excellent SSV trailer with the voice of Ryu himself, Kyle Herbert.
You can vote for international players to come down as well by purchasing the shirts to fund their flight:
Hope to see you guys there! Don’t miss the biggest fighting game major in Australia, you might meet your fgc heroes or just have fun playing games and hanging out with your like-minded Aussie fighting game brethren.