All the training has been done, the venue has been set up, and interstate players are already here beasting in the local arcades as I type this. All that’s left is to show up at BAM tomorrow in a good state of mind, and to see whether all the work was worth it.
Links into untechable knockdowns polished? Check. Option selects freshly memorised and tested? Check. Hit confirms practiced, and corner FADC combos ready to go? Check. Time to get beasted? Check.
While I believe the past few weeks of training and meetups has probably improved me as a player, it has also served as a big reality check. I used to dream a little sad dream of placing in a tournament, and perhaps improve enough over the months to do so at BAM. But the meetups at Deakin, CCH, etc have pretty much made it clear that I’m just not good enough, and have a long way to go.
The fact is, while I’ve been making it a point to improve my game, everybody else in the scene has been doing so in preparation for BAM as well. So my competition has been levelling up as I have been; and the reality is that I will probably will not in move up in the rankings and maintain my normal low-tier tournament placing.
I don’t want to be so dour before the event, there is so much else to do there. I look forward to fully enjoying myself as a spectator, talking to people, as well as entering in the team tournament with my two good buddies Joon Win and Eugene. Even though they may play even less Street Fighter than me, the point is to have fun together. Failing and succeeding as team, with full bromance powers. No point dwelling too much on my shortcomings.
I also realise more and more the sheer scope of this game. Just when I thought I was beginning to show improvement in some matchups; Chun Li, Dhalsim, Guile, Dee Jay etc, a whole new bunch of matchups suddenly appear to smack some humble pie in my face. Matchups like Honda and Adon tear me up, while I still can’t figure out some old matchups like Bison.
There seems to be no end to this game. But that’s also what I love about it! I never seem to stop learning for one second. The meetups have been so useful in this regard, and they’re been so much fun as well. Hopefully they will continue to be arranged in some frequency after BAM.
I know I’m not a natural at this game, and I’ve been thinking about the dark reality that no one seems to want to talk about; that not everybody can be a top player. Maybe some of us are simply not cut out for it. Spoony and I have discussed at some length about our own individual mental frailties, and the level of footsies and zoning that the top players display still seem light years away for me. Maybe I’ll be a scrub for the rest of my life, never getting to taste the big stage or top 3.
But that’s fine with me. I believe either Dogface or Derek Daniels once said “the entire community is made up/run by people who aren’t top players!” I totally understand where they are coming from, and I believe going more into the community side of the scene would be just as fulfilling for me as being a top player.
That’s not to say that I won’t stop trying to improve. I’ll still try my best. But sometimes being a bit more of a realist can’t hurt.
Brief checklist of some of the things I worked on:
-Did specific air tatsu drills to make sure I can touch the opponent consistently from full screen. The timing is not instant like the corner escape tatsu, but you do it a little bit before you would reach the apex of your jump. This will be very helpful in some matchups, like Dhalsim. Previously I would not do it right, land and whiff it right in front of Cactus, and eat foot to face. The fact that you can get super, ultra, ex fireball, tick throws etc off it is just gravy.
-A few months ago I wrote that I need to make FADC combos part of my game. I think I’ve pretty much done that, implementing cmk fireball FADC into sweeps and cmk tatsu and corner fireball FADCs much more into my game, whilst trying not to fall into the bad habits that I see other Ryu players do, FADCing a cmk fireball without making sure to hit confirm first and wasting meter. This means that I tend to err on the side of caution when it comes to fireball FADC, and I still cannot do consistent pure hit confirm cmk EX fireball FADC Ultra.
-Untechable knockdown combos. It’s pretty much all I do now, which is probably not a very good thing. Generally tightening my offense up around the successful chk combo. Getting my crossup tatsus and walk forward counterhit seekin’ cmps going. Working on my ground option select sweep clk clp+chk chain combos.
-Starting adding more maximum damage, difficult hit confim combos to my game. Such as jumping mk, clp, chp, srk on the skinny shotos. Still don’t use it enough, and not 100% in execution yet. Also worked on character specific combos such as cmp cmp chp tatsu on Sagat, and cmp cmp cmk tatsu on Chun.
-Added a lot of matchup specific counters to my game. Such as low forward to go under Viper burn kicks and DP for big damage. Still need to add a lot more stuff such as standing roundhouse anti-air against Honda.
-Changed my plinks around for some things, specifically hp~mp+lp for forward fierce down fierce shoryu, which I’m finally starting to hit a little bit more consistently now.
Things I need to work on:
-I previously had this mindset when dealing with shoto crossups; that strictly speaking, if you could time it right no matter how difficult it was, you could auto-correct DP any shoto crossup. After playing Pen and his crazy Ken’s ambiguous jumping lk crossups, I’m not sure I can say that anymore. I specifically went into training mode and tried to practice autocorrect DPing that crossup jlk. What I found was interesting. There was one instance that I recorded the dummy doing a crossup jlk that I couldn’t DP no matter how many times I tried. And when I tried to even block it, I couldn’t even do that! It seemed that when I blocked back, the dummy would hit me with the jump short from the front. And when I tried to block to the front, I would get hit in the back of the head! Truly weird shit. I assume that it’s possible to do such an ambiguous crossup that the game itself gets confused. And thus I learned that you can’t just DP every shoto crossup.
-My defensive footsies are getting better; doing the walk forward and block game on a Dee Jay/Guile for instance, but my offensive footsies are still way too tentative. I lack the testicular fortitude to walk forward into the dead range of my opponent’s best poke, dance out and sweep. I even lack the testicular fortitude to walk up into my cmk range against opponents like Rog or Chun, and tend to whiff a lot of cmks outside my range and get swept. Doh. More footsies required.
-Still have a big deficiency in my anti-air game. I’m going to be eyeballing all the good Sydney Ryus at BAM, like Humanbomb and Wizbore.
-Still have problems against Rog clp spammers and the like. As Juicebox Abel would say; that simply means my offense sucks.
In any case, I really look forward to meeting all the guys at BAM, and cheering Melbourne on. Big thanks to everyone who has taken the time out to take me aside and talk to me about understanding the game. Guys like Pen, Ali, Dave, Sol, Heavy Weapons, Spoony, Igor, THK, Patrick, Kazzee, Tai, Toxy and so many more. See you all at BAM, and if you can’t make it, be sure to watch the stream!