Update! Somniac’s moneymatch against Naruga at Deakin Practice 1 from Stryfe’s YT channel
It’s a good time for the Melbourne community with training sessions on Friday with Chris’s Club House at Collingwood, and Deakin practice right after on Saturday! A lot of credit has to be given to Chris and Igor for organising these sessions, and hopefully this dedication will result in a good showing from the Melbourne guys at BAM.
I’ve been really busy with job applications the last two weeks so I didn’t put up a recap of the last Deakin session. We had 5 setups last time which were really good, and pretty much guaranteed nonstop play.
This time however, less people showed up, and we only had 3 setups going, which was still not bad considering the number of people there. I did some prep work by obtaining and bringing Trainspotting, Chinatown, Taxi Driver, Yojimbo, Raging Bull, Reservoir Dogs, The Evil Dead, and The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly on my hard drive to put on the screens. This was because I felt that last week people were not really feeling the (abysmal) quality of the fighting game movies we were putting on screen, namely Dead or Alive.
But as it turns out, Spoony knocked some sense into my brain by telling me there was no point in putting something too good on the screens, because people are playing at the same time. So they want something entertaining enough to not be boring, but not good enough to want to actually pause the game. So we ended up putting Mortal Kombat 1 on the screen.
This week I think I played a tiny bit better than last time. For example against Igor’s Dee Jay and Spoony’s Chun, I was having a lot more success by eschewing fireballs for a much more aggressive, ground-based pressure. I wasn’t doing it consciously, and only realised later that I was actually not throwing any fireballs.
Against Igor for instance; a lot of the time the match would boil down to mid-screen, with him holding a charge. Last week, I would often take the easy way out and reckessly throw a fireball, and every time I did that at that distance I would eat an EX Sobat to the face. This week instead, I would painfully advance ground inch by inch by walking forward and blocking constantly, until I could finally hit him with a low forward. And every time I did touch him with a low forward, I would also err on the side of caution by making damn sure the low forward hit before I would do a follow up fireball.
Once I did that, it seemed that a lot of Igor’s offense (punishing my fireballs) was gone, and by him sitting there holding charge, I had the advantage in footsies simply because I could move back and forth. Other than that, I just went for meaty low shorts on knockdown to avoid EX up kicks, and safe jumped at every opportunity, and it seemed that there wasn’t much he could do in that matchup once I played this low-risk style.
And against Spoony, whenever I relied too much on my fireball game, he would Ultra 1 me every single time. Only when I put on strong horizontal pressure, and made sure to make my attack strings tight against that 3 frame low short of Chun, did I have any success against him. I also did a good job of choosing my option selects; DP for when he has meter and the knockdown is reasonably close, and sweep for when he has no meter and when the knockdown is too far for DP to catch backdash. I still find the matchup against Chun quite hard, but at least I’m starting to improve a little bit in it.
While some big names like Toxy and Somniac didn’t show up, Naruga and Heavy Weapons did. I got to play a small set against Naruga, and he used Ryu against me. At first, I was really surprised to be taking a few games off Naruga, but he adapted so quick to my game, identifying my weaknesses and exploiting them to beat me down conclusively in a long win streak. Namely, he saw that I couldn’t anti-air for shit, and he started jumping in all day which just ripped my game into shreds. He would tell me nicely about it as he would do it too!
I find that my zoning and anti-air can be somewhat effective against players around my level, but once I play against top players, I can never seem to hit them with a fireball, and they seem to jump in on me at will. Against Naruga, Sol, Heavy Weapons etc, they somehow see right through my zoning, and just simply stop doing anything and stand at just past footsies range, KNOWING that I will throw a fireball. And I always succumb to the mind pressure, and throw one. Bang. Jump in for 300 damage.
They don’t have to worry about my footsies, or even to bother to try to predict a fireball. They simply stand there, react to my fireball and jump. Even sometimes when they jump in and I could’ve DPed, I don’t. Because they’re already inside my head. They know exactly when I would be thinking about footsies and jumped in at that exact instance and catch me with my pants down.
I still have a ways to go with my mental game. I have to get better at thinking about multiple things at once; playing footsies and eyeing the air, and suddenly switching it up to focussing on one single specific thing such as hit confirming EX fireballs in the corner into Ultra. I guess when you focus on a single specific thing such as the EX fireball in the corner, it makes certain reactions or hit confirms easier than when you were trying to watch a multitude of things at the same time. The ability to switch quickly between different “zoom levels” in your head is what I guess makes a top player, a top player. And also the reason why I muddle up my EX fireball into Ultra sometimes is because I didn’t switch my mental zoom level fast enough.
Funnily enough I think the only guy I didn’t play was Kyle/Kordibon. I wanted to play him quite a bit; but somehow I just never ended up doing so. Huh.
But the day was still a lot of fun. We watched the Daigo vs Arturo Salty Suite moneymatch from machinima with the subtitles of Tokido and Eita’s commentary. Watching high level Street Fighter matches with the full attention of like minded people like Naruga, Cactus etc is surprisingly a lot of fun. It’s akin to watching sports but instead of celebrating goals or touchdowns, we instead have our Arigataya Umeshoryus!
Of course the match itself was so great, and we were all on the edge of our seats even though some of us have watched it before. And watching that match must’ve powered up Cactus, because he went on to win the tournament, beating Naruga in losers finals and taking two straight sets from Heavyweapons in the grand finals to win it all!
My first opponent in the tournament was Miceelf/Aiden. I got in some Fuerte action earlier with rusty Tai earlier in the day so I wasn’t feeling that bad. (Rusty Tai apparently turns into infinite smackin’ godlike Fuerte Tai after two hours of vsing HeavyWeapons.)
He took Abel for the first game, which really surprised me. But I suck at the Abel matchup too, and ate way too many Wheel Kicks for my liking. It eventually came down to us both having no life left, and he had an execution error; and jumped back when at full screen and landed on an EX fireball. A incredibly lucky win for me.
He quickly switched to Fuerte, and I felt some pressure with Heavyweapons coming over to sit behind us. He beat me down pretty quick the next game, doing some intelligent baiting of my DPs to dole out some nasty infinite punishment.
The next game first round I was on the verge of death, and I landed an extremely lucky jump-in in the corner, and I quickly put out an EX fireball to Ultra to take that round. I let out an inner sigh of relief that you wouldn’t believe, and slouched down a little bit in the seat. With Heavy saying “Match Point, Muttons” behind me, I tried to concentrate harder and promptly fluffed the next round. The last round is a bit of a haze, but I believe some early round knockdowns were enough to give me enough of a lead to squeak it out.
Aiden was really gracious post-game, GG man! Of course, he decimated me in revenge casuals later, even landing two Ultra 2s in a single round on me later. Good god, Fuerte.
I was feeling it a little bit after the match; my hands were shaking a little bit. That match took a lot out of me concentration wise. But I had no time to rest because my next match was against Heavy Weapons.
Heavy went for his Greek Ryu, and we went at it. He beat me 2-0 the first game, just being more aggressive overall, and again jumping in on me a few times with no retaliation. While I was having success in some areas; such as autocorrect DPing a lot of his crossups and doing my best not to get uppercutted on his wakeup by doing a lot of crossup tatsus, he was dominating me in other areas with simply a more confident offense. He downloaded my defensive rhythm very quickly, and was counterhitting me a lot with low strong. He really punished me for it in the first game; counterhitting me with a walkup cmp, followed by a cmk EX fireball FADC Ultra, for a painful and spectacular second round KO.
The second game went better, and I was able to take a round. In the end however, it always seemed at the end of the round I would become tentative and trying not to die rather than trying to win; whereas Heavy would turn it up and clutch it out. I lost the second game 2-1 and the set 2-0. GG Heavyweapons.
He had some good advice for me afterwards; offering some encouraging words for my Ryu, and telling me that while I have some good concepts and technical knowledge in my head, I have to really make a concerted effort to not skip a step in my development and work on my foundation, my basics. He told me to work on my footsies, my zoning and most definitely my anti-air. He used his vanilla Sagat as an example, not being much of technical player back then; he used pure basics to win matches. I pretty much have to agree; every top player I’ve played has exposed my subpar zoning and anti-air so far. So thank you for that Heavy.
edit: I also just remembered that he was talking about confidence, not really about being arrogant, but feeling confident in your own ability and executing your gameplan. Don’t feel scared of your opponent and play to impose your will. Definitely something I need to work on and my biggest weakness.
My next match was against Zero! Now I lost to Zero at the last CW, and there should’ve been some saltiness/residual fire in me for the match right?
I might’ve laid down and died for all the resistance I put up in the match. Maybe it’s because after playing two top players in Heavy and Mice Elf that really pushed me to my limits, but when I sat down to play Zero, I actually felt pretty relaxed, mellow….dumb.
He played a tighter game than in CW, just zoning intelligently, and smacking away with dash straights. I think I only caught him in a focus once, but otherwise I did not do a single thing to stop his dash straights. No standing lp, no cmk into dp. I lost the first game 2-0, and kept expecting that I would step out of my funk and suddenly play better, but I never did. I basically surrendered with a white flag.
So I was out, 1-2 in a tournament yet again. I guess I can take solace in the fact that being a 12 man tourney that I made top 8 for the first time. Uhuh.
I forgot to mention that we had new faces at Deakin as well, one being Mr Gilgamesh or Wilson from Indonesia. He was very nice, and hell man, how cool it is that a guy from the Indonesian fighting game scene ends up playing SF with us in Deakin? Hopefully our scene makes a good impression on him. And I hope he didn’t get too horrified by Tian’s World Heroes videos.
The other new guy was my good buddy Joon Win, the other member of my Team Scrub/Noob/Loser’s Bracket at BAM. He’s new to SF, and I encouraged him to come to Deakin to get a taste of the competition he will face at BAM. Spoony was able to give some good Chun training and advice. To your credit Joon, Spoony says you have good spacing! He joked with me that after this training maybe our Team Scrub will last more than 10 seconds per round in BAM!
So we settled down to watch Cactus beast his way to a victory. He had some clutch techs and was being so solid that Heavy was cussing Dhalsim constantly throughout the match! Good shit Cactus. I hope you beast at BAM.
After it all, Spoony, Igor, Tian, Divine Malice, Bugs, Zero and I headed off to Hungry Jacks to have a late, late dinner and talk Street Fighter. We probably stayed for way too long and talked way too much shit, but it was hella fun! See you guys next week.