Report by Shadowloo: http://www.shadowloo.com/?p=1656
Naruga sir was kind enough to open up his house for a fundraiser for Toxy to go to Evolution. As expected, a large number of the Melbourne scene came out to support Toxy! I have had many a chance to talk to Toxy at tournaments, but I have always been a little intimidated to talk to him. I figured this was my chance.
So I took the train down to Icecastle, expecting to get there early before 130 pm, and hopefully get in some games. Unfortunately the bus service from the station has around an hour of waiting time if you just miss the bus, which I promptly did. (To clarify, I was only there for Saturday.)
No matter, I get there at maybe 230 pm. I can hear the chatter of buttons as I walk up the driveway, and a lot of shoes at the door, a clear sign of male SF invasion. Naruga is again one of the players that I haven’t had the chance to talk to personally, but he was very nice letting me in the house. People were already playing in the living room; somebody was playing Viper on PAD, and I noticed Somniac and Pyro were already there.
I make a little conversation, before I scurry like a scared rat to the back of the house, where I find Jaykuy, Spoony, and Bugs setting up their consoles. I notice that Naruga was inventive enough to put up signs for each of the areas in his house. I believe the living room was labelled Bounty Bay or Beautiful Bay or something like that, with a picture of the boat stage from SF4 under the entrance. Nice.
Since the back of the house was labelled “Training Area” with a picture of the SF4 training room, I figured it was only appropriate a scrub like me play there. So I whip out my stick with the pink pig, and get down to playing.
I played Jaykuy’s Juri a few sets, and I was doing very well initially. He must have not been warmed up, because he went on to decisively take the last few sets. I identified a weakness in my game from playing him; being mostly an online player, I don’t react fast enough to visual and audio cues from my opponent. For instance, a lot of times I could clearly hear Jaykuy mashing ex pinwheel. That should’ve been my cue to stop attacking and punish, but somehow every time I pressed on and got smacked. Hm.
Spoony was a pleasure to play as usual. We had our usual back and forth games, before I somehow ended up playing his Ken. He proceeded to Ultra II through my fireballs three times, and a light went off in his head. When he next picked Chun, he took Ultra 1 instead of Ultra 2, and that was it for me. I didn’t manage to beat him after that. I tried really hard to play footsies with him, but I still find it so hard against Chun. He didn’t get hit by a lot of my FAs as well. But it’s good to play someone who is around my level, and be able to leisurely play the matchup. Rather than having it forcefed to me by means of double perfect.
I met a lot of people that I have seen the face of, but have not talked to before. I played Geese’s Rog, who I believe perfected me first round with repeated crouch jab jab on block to overhead shenanigans. I adapted and did better the next few rounds, but he beat me handily. I wanted to play him a few more games, but I didn’t get the chance to.
The other guy I played, who I’m sorry for not remembering your name, was a Dhalsim player. I really want to learn this matchup. He played very differently from Cactus, a lot more Yoga snipes and teleports. I got my ass handed to me. How do I get in on Dhalsim? I know I have to be a bit random in this match, but I think being random is not my strength. I also forgot to use safe jump hurricane kick option selects to catch his teleport.
On the hand, I got to play Ali, who believe it or not, I have never played before. I lost to him 2-1, and it was definitely nice to finally get to play him. He was a lot more aggressive than your typical Akuma, constantly rushing down, and counterhitting a lot with crouching strong. I ate a lot of stuff I shouldn’t have; like random far standing roundhouses. I didn’t pressure him enough, but I wish I had a few more games to try and figure him out. I kept expecting him to do dive kick grabs, but he kept hitting me with the smash.
Definitely a unique Akuma, and a wakeup call for me. I might’ve thought I knew the matchup, but I think the Akumas I’ve played, were typical online runaway Akumas. His execution was good, as expected of the TEC brothers, still not as good as Sol’s in my personal opinion, but I mean every time I watch Sol play a random character, his execution always impresses the hell out of me.
I also learned that the Fuerte I played at CW, Aiden, was actually Miceelf. Didn’t get a chance to play him though. I got to play Hoppa, and we had some nice solid games. Again, I feel a little overwhelmed in the footsies department against Guile; he kept hitting me with the backfist after a boom. I also think I need to play good Guiles more. I don’t even punish the sweep properly. Perhaps more ex fireball would help?
After playing a ton in the back, I went to the living room to play a few more casuals. I amazingly was able to beat Just-S’s (Dave) Juri with HAKAN!!! I guess I was feeling kind of loose, so that helped. This time, I also knew that Dave knows all about the meaty DDT setups, so I was able to use the threat of them to land some other stuff like more typical Hakan SPD setups. It’s still a very tough match for Hakan, but Juri’s lack of stamina helps. After a few mixups from Hakan, and she’s probably near death.
Immediately after that I got to play Sol for the first time, and I quickly switched over to Ryu. He pretty much smashed me, but I at least got one round off him. The whole time I was trying to remember to backdash out of forward medium kick setups etc, but I forgot some other stuff like punishing ex wheel kick with standing jab to sweep. His rushdown was pretty fierce, and I needed to use more option select jump in throw. Still, it was a good experience, and I think he used Ultra 2?
After that, I had a pretty nice experience: one on one Ryu lessons from Toxy! I could go on for quite a bit about what I learned, but I’ll try and keep it reasonably short.
The first thing that Toxy tried to teach me was delayed crouch tech, and how to attack people who use it. I guess my previous mindset was kind of wrong, in that basically frame traps would be the only level of mindgames to think about. Toxy tried to explain to me there is basically a triangle of mindgame when it comes to beating/executing crouch tech.
The first level that he showed me was simply beating people who mash on crouch tech. Simple strings with holes in them would already do the trick, like perhaps clp cmk, or cmp cmp. That was the first level. No need to bother with advanced delayed counterhits with them.
The second level was doing delayed crouch tech with perfect timing every single time. That way, you don’t have to worry about eating srks after things like a DP fadc or a Ken ex tatsu. A proper delayed crouch tech would avoid the srk, and the throw. Toxy explained with this technique his defence is good enough to beat 90% of people in Australia. Until he meets people who delay their attacks, to beat his delayed crouch tech.
That’s the third level. Jumping in, and doing your tick setup, and delaying your DP just enough to catch the tech attempt. Cmp, walk forward cmp, counterhit, sweep. Things like that. However, when you try to do delayed stuff on people who mash, for e.g. clp, walk forward clp, you probably will get crouching shorted walking up. So that’s the triangle, you have to do normal attack strings on mashers, delayed attacks on delayed crouch techers, and go back to simple throws and attack strings if they change up their defence, or if they start mashing.
He gave me this idea of the tech game in SF4 of being far more fluid and ever changing than I expected. It’s not enough to constantly do the same frame traps. Eventually your opponent stops hitting stuff. Then you just throw him. Then he starts teching. Then you frame trap. Constant adapting between two players.
He showed me some stuff that I already knew, but hadn’t implemented in my game. For example using crouch mp+lp+lk to tech. I already used that a little before, but Toxy showed me how he used it in everything. For example, when he does crossup empty jump to low short shenanigans, he uses lp+lk for the crouch short.
Every single chance that something might be useful must be used. If you could put an extra input and get a tech out of it when necessary, you have to do it.
He also showed me ground option selects, which I have been thinking about for ages, but haven’t implemented. He showed how he would pressure with a block string, and hit roundhouse in between the lights. If the opponent tries to backdash, the sweep will then come out automatically and hit him. I can see how this would be hella useful against Chun.
It’s funny, I got a sense of what kind of player Toxy really is, after being taught by him. He’s not the most technical guy, for example I asked him a question I’ve been thinking about recently: if the first active frames of a throw and the first active frame of a normal coincide on the same frame, which wins? He couldn’t give me an answer. He doesn’t really go that much into frame data, and certain stuff when I asked him how he did it, he replied that he just sees it, and does it!
Obviously I’ve seen intuitive players like him before, but it’s definitely interesting to see that you can play by feel and intuition, and make it all the way to the highest level. It just shows there’s a place for any playstyle in the Street Fighter world.
We played some mirror matches too, and I felt like I was playing Daigo all over again. If Daigo could speak English, that is. Basically I could NOT get a knockdown on Toxy. We would walk back and forth, throw fireballs, and because Ryu can’t really attack another Ryu without a knockdown, I would lose every time because Toxy would knock me down and put some offensive pressure down, and I simply couldn’t. Toxy explained to me, and I definitely agree, that the Ryu mirrormatch simply boils down to who has better footsies.
He went to show me little nuances in the footsie game, like walking forward into range of your opponent and dancing back out. Opponent whiffs normal, bang! Sweep.
A lot of what we talked about was about footsies, and I realise that Toxy can’t really teach me that, it just comes down to me not being good enough at Street Fighter, or not having played enough. I just need time, to play more. Ryu needs godlike footsies to reach the highest level, and it’s not something I can pick up in training mode.
I also asked him about fireball fadc combos, because I noticed even though he doesn’t main Ryu, he was still hit confirming cmk fireball fadc combos left and right. He showed me right then and there that it was possible. He also showed me that it was possible to hit confirm off a single jab off a jump in, making some nasty combos on some of the skinnier hitboxes possible. Like jumping mk crossup, clp, chp, srk on Ryu. Crazy sharp hit confirm reaction time. Again, all of this just comes with experience. Andy, who was sitting beside us, definitely made it clear.
So much to work on. I have so far to go.
All in all, it was a very fruitful experience, and Toxy gave me a lot to think about. Thanks man, and hope you beast at EVO!
Before I knew it, it was tourney matches time. Apparently there was a mistake, and I wasn’t even in the brackets. Eventually I got paired up with Bugsimus, who was sick, and not really feeling it.
Before I go on, I have to give a shoutout to Andy. Beastliest Gief I have ever played. He was doing buffered single crouching shorts to ex green hand in footsies to me. And one round, I thought I finally had him, dping quite a few of his jumps and wondering why he kept jumping. I had him in the corner. And he inexplicably jumped right at me. I had two bars and an Ultra. I thought yay, I have him, and did DP.
Then, as my rising fist went up to meet him, Ultra II came out, grabbed me out of my dp, and smacked me for 50% for the KO. I didn’t even notice he took Ultra II! But that ultra is so godlike, and basically made me scared to anti-air in the ensuing rounds. I also managed to play Naruga somewhere around this time and got smashed by his Ibuki. Sick player. But back to Bugs.
Bugs took his normal Juri, and we went at it. As I mentioned earlier, Bugs was sick, but still performing admirably despite that. I was still feeling kind of sharp after vsing Toxy so much, so my execution was pretty good. I hit things like fake crossup jumping hp, cmp, chp, tatsu and crossup tatsu super on Bugs. People were going oohh now and then(perhaps sarcastically) and it felt kind of weird.
Because in Couchwarriors, when I play its just two people playing. Nobody is watching or making comments. But at Icecastle, I was playing in the living room packed with people. People were cheering, jeering, making smack talk, and having fun. But I thought to myself, this must be what top 8 at CW really feels like, with everyone looking at you and talking. It felt kind of strange, and I wanted to hide.
Another thing that my friends probably know about me is that I get embarrassed really easily. I don’t take compliments well. So when people made oohh sounds when I shook my opponent’s hands before the match, or landed a combo, I kinda didn’t know what to do and kept making awkward smiles. But don’t get me wrong, I may be new to all this and feel the jitters, but I can definitely see this is where the fun is in tournament with your friends all around.
So I beat Bugs, and shook his hand, and quickly got out of there! GG Bugs. Your Juri has really improved.
My next opponent was somebody I didn’t know, but there was something strange going on between him and the crowd. Either he’s new to the game or something else. Because at the character select screen he was flickering between quite a few characters before he settled on Blanka, and people were actually giving him advice. When I saw that, I mentally prepared myself to switch to “anti-Blanka” Ryu. He came out fast and unpredictable though. I ate a lot of hop throws, close range slides and shenanigans. People were cheering for him after round one, but I played better 2nd and 3rd round. I basically walked forward and hit buttons, cmping him out of balls and hops.
I remember him telling Naruga “it’s not working!” Frantically hitting buttons, trying to hop at me, and getting hit and people were laughing it up quite a lot.
He switched to DeeJay afterwards, and I beat him 2-0. Again, there was a lot of strange stuff. He did unpredictable things that got the crowd laughing, and I was a little out of place in my mental composure, and not playing very well. We both kept missing stuff. I remember I botched two consecutive DP fadcs and the guy had no life at all, and somehow he didn’t kill me back twice, and I finally chipped him to death with a third DP. Dave was asking me about how many times I needed to dp to do it! Kind of a sloppy match and I really don’t know what was going on. But GG dude.
My next match was Tai, and he was very friendly to me. I talked to him a little bit about the matchup, and he told me some stuff about Miceelf. After the match I pretty much have to agree with him that they both play totally different. I think Tai beat me down pretty quick.
He did an awful lot of srk baiting with run stops, and somehow I stupidly kept doing pointless lp dps, which he would punish. I tried mixing up my defence with FAs, back and forward dashes, and even jump back roundhouse, but he was too quick and savvy for me. I couldn’t lock him down at all. GG Tai, your fuerte is a beast.
The next guy I was to play was surprise! Jaykuy. Who’s Juri I had been playing all day. But it turned out to be a continuation of the last few sets we played, and I lost to him. I remember some things that he did, like he dive kicked almost three or four rounds in a row to start the round, and I got hit every time trying to do a fireball or something else. Finally, I just did a fireball feint the fifth time, blocked his dive kick, and gave him chp srk. He had a lot of tendencies like that which did damage to me, and if only I had adapted to his habits a little faster, the match would’ve been more even. He would always do reversals in certain situations, and I never capitalised. But GG Jaykuy, I probably will say that you have the best Juri I’ve played, at least in my limited experience.
It was getting kind of late at that point, so Bugsimus was kind enough to give me and Spoony a ride to the train station. It turned out to be quite a ways away, so thank you very much Bugs!
I did manage to have a nice long conversation with Spoony on the train ride home. Turns out, he’s very technical, and perhaps like me, spends more time on shoryuken.com than actually playing. We were able to have some nice frame data discussions, discuss matchups, anti-airs etc. It was very nice. Spoony gave me a lot of insight into the Chun match, especially about her +3 on block crouching jab! Can’t wait to play you again man.
What a night, we had left early and the tournament was probably still going strong past midnight. Hopefully we did a good job showing the solidarity and support in the Melbourne scene, and good luck to everybody going to EVO!