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:
Chun Li notes
-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.