I’ve really been motivated to train hard for BAM recently after my discussions with THK and Igor after Couchwarriors Round 6. THK and Igor were actually asking me to join them on their 3 man team for the BAM SSF4 team tourney, and we were discussing getting together for regular training sessions.
Now work and the logistics of finding a venue convenient for the 3 of us has proven to be quite problematic so far, so we haven’t actually met up for a session yet. Also, I had to drop out of the team because I might be teaming up with two of my friends, Joon Win and Eugene for BAM. Both of them don’t play SSF4 competitively, so I thought we might make a “Team Scrub” or “Team Noob” or “Team Losers Bracket” or something of that sort, and have some fun.
I figured this would be one of the only chances to get my good buddies into an SSF4 tournament, and experience some of that tournament hype firsthand. We probably will lose pretty quickly, but in my opinion team tournaments are meant for you to enjoy yourself and have a ton of fun. There’s nothing better than cheering for your buddy to clutch out a round, and conversely suffering the collective pain of getting OCVed by a Zangief or something.
That being said, I still want to try my hardest to do well in the singles tournaments, so I’ve been stepping up my training regimen whenever I can. Working on Bnb cmp cmp chk, and working on ground and safe jump option selects, and that elusive fhp chp srk combo. Which I’ve switched my plink (again) to hp~mp lp.
I’m always looking to play Melbourne people on PSN, and I finally got the chance to get in a few sets with Hyphen recently. If you recall, Hyphen was the Ibuki that knocked me out of CW in spectacular fashion quite a while back. At that time, I had never seen an Ibuki like his; constantly rushing down with the kunai vortex and the target combo super jump cancel resets. I got destroyed by him then, and he’s still the best Ibuki I’ve ever seen in person.
This explains why I was so keen in playing him online, and finally getting to work on the Hyphen-Ibuki matchup. The first set pretty much went down as I expected, I got tore up by his Ibuki and Viper, and I believe the win ratio was something like 15:1 or more to Hyphen.
I did get to learn a few things though. Hyphen was the first Ibuki to do the Kunai follow-up after an EX Up kicks reversal consistently to me, foiling my Solar Plexus Strike punish attempts and such. I soon figured out that you could simply LP DP through the Kunai follow-up, and get a free Ultra juggle. I was pretty much doing that every time, but I was feeling a little unsatisfied because when I didn’t have Ultra, I would do EX Fireball juggle for a total of 170 damage. A punish with one meter for 170 damage?
But I went to rewatch the Daigo vs Momochi Godsgarden set, and I noticed Daigo would simply dash forward after blocking the EX up kicks, and punish with cmp chp special. This avoids the Kunai, and if the Ibuki didn’t throw the Kunai, you still can punish the up kicks as per normal. So I’ve got to add that to my game now.
Hyphen didn’t do that much EX neckbreakers, but he was extremely good in his rushdown, bouncing all over the place with SJC. He was hitting his SJC to Ultra consistently, and he was tearing me up with the Kunai vortex, which after each successful hit he would combo into another knockdown and another Kunai vortex attempt. I was getting dominated, but slowly adapting to some things; like cmking his attempted slides to get in, how to block that Ibuki crossup etc.
After our GGs, I asked Hyphen on the Ozhadou PSN Feedback thread how to block the Kunai vortex. He said that if he releases the Kunai at the peak of his jump it’s a crossup, and if it’s released lower it would hit normally. He also left this very helpful video:
I must’ve watched this video ten times in a row, trying to burn that jump into my brain. I went through match videos, and thought a lot about the match.
It definitely helped a bit, as the next time I played Hyphen a few days later, I lost the first game to him, but I was surprised to win the second! We actually went back and forth for a while exchanging games with me actually getting a tiny win streak of 2 or 3 games, which was definitely an improvement on the beating he gave me prior. Of course in the end he started adapting to me like all top players do, consistently Ultraing through my cmk fireballs and he went on a long run of wins of maybe 8 or 9 games in a row.
Nonetheless I felt pretty good at the improvement, which was almost a validation of the research I’d done prior to the match.
Initially I was having success because I was blocking the Kunai vortex much more consistently, which in turn cut down the number of knockdowns and damage he got on me. Hyphen like Sol, is very quick to jump over any ill-placed fireball or poke I do, and early on I was doing a relatively better jump of anti-airing his jump ins.
I started losing later on because he started mixing up the vortex with dash behinds, low kunais from the front, normal ambiguous crossups etc. This screwed with my brain a lot having to process so many things at such a fast pace that I started getting hit by the normal Kunai vortex again and losing a lot of momentum. He also wasn’t falling for the safe jumps as much, and he must have Ultraed me 8 times in a row through my cmk fireball, before I finally did a cmp cmp cmk, stopped and blocked his Ultra, and punished for the first win in a long time.
He was holding his own in Ibuki vs Ryu footsies, which is not an easy thing to do, and he didn’t miss combos. I, on the other hand, was missing some clk clp srk FADC Ultra stuff, which cost me a few wins and was a little disheartening.
This was because all week I had been practising every link combo into chk for safe jump setups over and over, and I kind of neglected my clk clp srk FADCs which I have practised thousands and thousands of times and which I thought I had down. Clearly, when I don’t practice the small things that I normally hit consistently for a few days, I start losing the consistency immediately. I’m clearly not naturally gifted at execution.
Hyphen is still clearly a much better player than me, but I know I can only improve by playing players of his calibre. GGs Hyphen!
The other solo training I’ve been doing is heading to other people’s places for some offline play. Now, I was thinking to myself, where can I find the greatest concentration of Melb Ranbat top 8 players in one place? The answer: the TEC House, where EXC355UM (Ali), Sol T, Just-S (Dave)reside and where Pyro and Exis often visit.
So I’ve been making the long train ride down there twice now, to get my ass whupped at Street Fighter.
Most of the time I end up playing Sol, who can basically play the whole cast, and beat me down with any character. What is interesting is that he basically plays everybody the same way: RUSHDOWN. Constantly in your face, never letting you get away, and he doesn’t drop combos with his execution.
Surprisingly I was able to do well against some of his characters like Fei Long and Sagat, and most surprising of all, take games of his main Abel, but he absolutely stomped me with some characters like Bison.
I believe the second time I came over; he beat me like 36-0 Bison, Ryu. I couldn’t take a single game off his Bison! This match frustrates me so much.
But at least I’m making progress. I was able to beat Just-S’s Bison for the first time in my life (I could have cried), and I even got a mini win-streak of 3 wins on him. Then he looked at the top of the screen and said “WTF! You’ve got 3 wins already! Can’t let that happen.” Then he proceeded to stomp me mercilessly
I’m getting better at dealing with Dave’s particular shenanigans; like empty headstomp into throw, fake meaty slide into crossup stomp, etc. I’ve learnt that jumping fierce can beat Bison’s anti-airs at certain distances and angles, and further learnt the situations in which I can apply standing jab to beat LK scissors. I still get hit a lot by Bison’s crossups, and my biggest weakness; anti-air, remains unrectified. Sol and Dave were making a living jumping in on me, and my most optimistic estimate would be I DPed one out of every eight jump-ins. I mean, I still block their jump-ins for the most part, but I should be DPing every single one!
My Bison option selects are a lot more consistent, (yay for practice), and I even managed to sweep Sol a few times when he tried to backdash out of my meaty cmp.
I got to play Ali as well, and we had some nice games. I think I got a little bit better at recognising the range of that far standing roundhouse and Focus attack, as well as dealing with the air fireballs. Ali’s always fun to play against, but we didn’t play that much as he moved over to playing Halo Reach’s campaign mode. And I think he was pretty close to beating the whole story mode by the time I left!
The TEC guys aren’t just SF players, they play FPS games too, and watching Ali and Sol do the stuff they do on Xbox pad was definitely an eye-opener. I’m too old and slow for that genre now though.
Hamada was over for some games as well, and it is always entertaining, to say the least, when he is around. He was making people salty by beating them a game, and refusing to rematch with the same character, abusing Honda in the worst way possible, and getting salty in the funniest ways possible.
I got to play him, and he actually gave me some trouble with his Honda, mainly because I kept eating jump-ins. It was gratifying in a way, to play him, because Sol and Dave mostly stopped trying to do reversals because of my option selects and I was trying to do the inputs every time and not getting rewarded visually.
Now Hamada has the great attribute of perseverance, and after getting smacked by my option select DP time and time again he would still go for buttslam after buttslam and headbutt after headbutt. Oh well, it made me happy seeing my option selects actually come out every time!
Playing the TEC guys always lets me know how far I have to go. I have to improve my anti-air game drastically if I ever want to place in a Ranbat, and my footsies have a way to go. I need to develop that speed of thought that Sol demonstrates, making the right decisions very quickly. I get very sluggish under rushdown, and get easily confused. So I know what I have to work on. Thanks guys!
On a last note, I couldn’t practice at all this weekend because I had to sell magazines at Manifest. I couldn’t even enter the SSF4 tournament because I was working . But I was pleasantly surprised to meet a lot of CW people there, like Berserk, SAT, InfinityEX, Kenny etc. I think I saw the whole Galactic Circus SF4 staff there as well, like Chris and David, which was nice.
I was also happy to see Ali pop by, and he actually took my spot in the tournament, which I was happy to give to him. But the screens were quite laggy, and you can see his salty, salty match (which I recorded personally via shakycam) here:
Cheers everybody, see you all at BAM!