Taking stock

Last Thursday’s Box Hill Ranbat has been my first arcade tournament in a while. Work commitments and some extra responsibilities on the weekend has kind of forced to me to choose between the events I go to. And I will almost always choose the event that allows me to get the most practice time and casuals in, which generally means going to the console events over the Thursday arcade events.

But it was still fun. Sitting there playing the “Spot the differences” puzzle games with Zero and chilling with everybody kind of revitalised me a little. I miss coming out to arcade tournaments. I was really tired after work, but the atmosphere actually really re-energised me and cleared my head nicely.

But I still went 0 and 2.

It looks like my recent long streak of going out 0 and 2 in tournaments is not in any danger of stopping. I lost to Nickerz and Rocky the Yun player this time, and to Somniac and Ali at Couchwarriors.  And I think I got only two wins in the last three weeks of Marvel tournaments.

I suck big, hairy donkey balls.

In light of all this, I conclude that despite my attempts to up my personal practice regimen, I’m still really shit at Marvel, and most definitely still shit at SF4.

I’ve been bleeding money at the arcades, and to be honest, don’t really feel that I am improving all that much despite playing every day.

Jeff will always come up to me and cheerfully tell me that I’ve improved; but I tend not to believe him since he normally sits down right after and smashes me. The fact that all the good players like Akira, Jeff and Kilok have been giving me mercy rounds at Bluehouse is really nice of them, but reinforces the fact that I suck at this game.

Quite often I would lose eight or ten games straight at lunchtime, and glumly walk back to the office going through all my mistakes and fimbles in my head.

Oh well. I will keep on grinding. I may be a pessimistic bastard, but I know at least I have persistence.

In the meantime, I have been trying to work hard on my Marvel game in training mode when at home.

I have been getting bodied in every single Marvel tournament I’ve entered so far. I’ve lost to three straight Zero players as well. Derrace totally bodied me at Deakin, followed by a Zero player I don’t recognise at CW, and Burnout.

I find myself lost on defence against Zero. In SF4 I don’t like to take chances, and prefer to ride out my opponent’s offence rather than mash DP. I try that in this game and basically end up blocking the whole match. Eventually I guess wrong and get hit and eat a beastly combo. That’s what happened to me with Derrace; I didn’t even get touch him with a single combo in both games.

Maybe because in SF4 the pace is slower and the mixups are more basic, even if you haven’t played a certain character before; for example a Gen. You still might be able to block some of his offense even if you haven’t seen it before.

But I find in Marvel, you really have to play a ton against lot of different characters in order to have a chance to block their offense. I find myself having this all too familiar “WTF just happened” feeling all the time in Marvel. Part of it is because I’m still new to Marvel. But a bigger part of it is because I don’t actually play people in Marvel that much and don’t get to experience different characters.

Probably the only match I might know is the She-Hulk mirror from playing Spoony so much.

The other thing that really, really bodies me is people jumping back constantly.

When I watch Justin Wong play my team, his movement really impresses me. Constantly moving forward, wavedashing, super-jumping. He doesn’t fret it against those zoning Dormammu/Deadpool teams and keeps moving in on them. When they get away from him it seems like mere seconds before he gets in and locks them down again.

Whereas for me, I get so frustrated against people jumping back, shooting projectiles, jumping back, jumping back, random super. Super jumping over your head when you corner them. Then I have to chase them again.

I simply don’t know how to catch them. I chase after them and slide under their projectiles and they land on me with a fierce and go into a big combo. I super jump up and they wavedash under me to the other side or do a random beam super to push me away. Then I successfully jump over something and I land on that goddamn Dormammu flame carpet. I find myself thinking; why am I trying so hard?

I guess learning to move gracefully like Justin Wong, to flow through the all the crap on the screen in a Marvel match is not gonna come easy.

I knew coming in that it wouldn’t be the combo system that would hinder me learning Marvel, but learning how to move like I’m actually playing Marvel, to conquer the space on screen with the tools that Marvel gives you? Now that has proven to be extremely difficult.

Marvel makes me saltier than any other game. A lot of times when I lose, I put my face in my hands ala Mike Ross in Marvellous Adventures and am rendered speechless for a long time. Meanwhile deep flaming rage boil through my insides.

I don’t like games that you can jump and block. I like ST. I like SF4. Games where you can uppercut that fool from jumping up and down like an idiot.

But it seems in Marvel, jumping up and down like a hyperactive grasshopper benefits you. You can block in the air, and you even have the added benefit of not having to guess the high/low mixup anymore.

It enrages me.

But I know that’s just my conservative Street Fighter half talking. Marvel is a different game, and people who jump back and block are simply being smart and using the game mechanics to their advantage.

It is my fault for being slow to adapt and not playing the game like I should. If I feel that something is lame and broken in Marvel, I should just suck it up and just realise that I should be doing it too.

But I think I still have a lot of salty rage to burn through before I finally get used to this game.

Okay. Enough of my complaining. Here are some things I’ve been working on.

 She Hulk:

–          Learning some anti- jump back tactics. Such as Kara cH into anti-air super grab. …That’s pretty much all I could come up with.

–          Finally working the Combofiend relaunch off a OTG torpedo into my game. Right now I’m practicing doing the OTG torpedo cancel into run stance cancel into launcher off; air throws, and the level 3 grab. As Spoony has taught me; those are the easiest circumstances to do it, but I’ve also tried working it into my BnBs but it is MUCH harder.

–          Using dash up cM, CH after Tron assist rather than just doing CH, S which is so punishable.

–          Working in post-KO or snapback Tron assist/command grab setups

–          Polishing all my post OTG torpedo setups with air grabs or QCF M command grab

–          Working out which characters can counter the TAC combo 100%: so far it’s Ammie, Arthur, Sentinel, Tron, and I think Hulk.

–          Actually practising X-factor combos (use X-factor to relaunch after OTG torpedo rather than just super) and snapback combos.

–          Actually using her assist to set up unblockables.

All in all, I think I’m the most happy with my She-Hulk. I’m the most comfortable with her BnBs, and she’s generally the barometer of my match. If I do well with her, I generally have a good chance to win my match. I would say she’s my best character. And all in all, I’m pretty happy with my decision to drop Wolverine, even though I feel sometimes I might have a better chance against some of harder matchups and zoning characters with Wolverine.

Amaterasu

–          Decided to work on some universal BnBs. So far my current Keep It Simple Stupid BnBs are:

Midscreen Disc: L M H F+H, cancel into sword, M dH qcfL, L M H qcfL, M S, sj M M S, dfH, qcf S, Shuffle.  About 560k.

Corner Disc: L M H F+H, cancel into sword, M H dH, qcf L, M H dH, qcfL, M S, sj M M S, dfH, qcf S, Shuffle. Around 599k. (Update: Does not work on Storm.)

Corner starting with Sword: M H dH qcfL, M H dH qcfL, M S, sj M M S, dfH, qcfS, Shuffle. 660k.

The reason why I decided to use these combos was because I wanted to keep some of the easy hit confirms of Disc stance, while keeping the damage and consistent air juggles of Sword.

I find that post patch, doing the stance switch after the full fHHHHH sequence is more difficult, so I have decided to stick to doing L M H fH as my Disc starter. All these combos also have the added benefit of being able to combo into additional supers using a second series of dfH qcf S in the corner if I want to burn the extra meter.

I also find with Disc, doing the air juggles MMHHHS can be relatively inconsistent. Sometimes I fly over the opponent, sometimes I can’t get all the hits. So I just said fuck it, I’m just gonna use sword stance for my air juggles which is a lot easier and always works. And sometimes it is also hard to get into range for a post Disc air MMHHHS land switch to sword stance dfH qcfS mid-screen. Hence my new set of “universal” BnBs.

Right now the damage isn’t stellar, especially when you compare it to She-Hulk and especially my Tron stuff below, but what I want now is to have a basic set of stuff that I can consistently execute.

In the future I want to work on more advanced, character specific stuff.

–          Also using advice from SAT, I have started using sword stance a lot more. While I miss having the easy air dash crossup H from disc, I find that sword definitely has its advantages.

The main reason being; I feel that my Ammie has been getting really stagnant offensively. Oh, jump up air dash H. On the ground, M H f+ HHHHH. Ho hum. Yawn. Opponents just push block my f+HHH and super my dog into my oblivion.

People were having no trouble at all dealing with my basic Ammie. It was getting to the point where Ammie was becoming a weak point of my team rather than a strength, often coming out, not landing anything and dying to a single combo.

With sword I feel that my ground offense is a lot more staccato, and I get a lot more random hits. In fact I can push a lot of buttons with the qcf L and standing M and keep applying horizontal pressure and hit the opponent pressing buttons.

–          I started applying new techniques like in this video Stark from the SRK ammie thread put up:

I had already been practising some triangle jump shenanigans with df air dash with Disc H and Sword M.

But this stuff was really interesting, and I have immediately started working it into my game.

Basically with sword if you jump up and air dash forward and hit H, you will whiff your jump H. And then you can land and do a low L M H series. Basically a makeshift triangle jump empty jump low.

But if you jump up and do air dash up forward instead and hit H, you’ll actually hit the H and get a full combo.

So it’s a great mixup with sword that hopefully will prove match effective in the future.

–          With Ammie that are so many things to work on. Combos off the counter, comboing into super with Whip stance, and using sword specials to move around in the air. I want to improve my Ammie to the point where I feel that she’s on the same level as my She-Hulk.

Tron

 –          Tron has been a weird ride. But I first started picking her up, sure her assist immediately proved effective. But it felt like she was a really weak anchor. (Maybe I just miss X-factor lvl 3 Sentinel.)

 When I was left with Tron, it felt that characters like She-Hulk could shut her offense (Jump H) down completely with AA grab super. And characters like Magneto could zone the crap out of her and she couldn’t do squat.

So I had a couple of weeks of really struggling with Tron. Weirdly enough, despite me really getting bodied in my recent tournaments, it has been Tron coming in as last character and doing some major damage for me. I guess I am finally becoming comfortable with her as a character and not feeling completely lost when she is out.

I still feel her offense is really limited however; how far can Jump H and blockstun X-factor cancel into level 3 grab take you?

–          Tron’s BnBs have taken me a long ass time to get down. The good thing is that learning her has taught me how to use assists in combos. And now she has developed into the highest damaging member of my team.

Here are my BnBs:

Go to BnB when assists are alive:

Jump H, L M H dpbH, M f+M, jM M H, land H S, sj M M H S, land, dH fH+Ammie Cold Star assist, qcf H, j H S, qcf L, King Kobun, H, Lunchtime. 900k. Builds 2.4 plus meters! So I actually end up with more meter than I burn.

Pretty much based on this combo from MoFro

  I know my combo could be optimised a bit more for damage, such as swapping out standing M for crouching M, but I like the easy hit-confirms in my combo. Also, working in drills into my combos makes it a lot easier to take them into the corner from midscreen to land that double super.

Alternate BnB when I need a bit more damage:

Jump H, L M H dpbBH, M f+M, jM M H, land H S, sj M M H S, land, dH fH+Ammie Cold Star assist, qcf H, King Kobun, H, King Kobun, H, Lunchtime. 1,000,000 plus damage.

I chop off some of the last part of the combo to squeeze in 3 supers. Probably use this when I have Tron as last character and have meter to burn.

Solo character BnB with no assists:

Jump H, L M H, dpbH, M f+M, jM H S, King Kobun, H, King Kobun, H, Lunchtime. 890k

If midscreen I can do dpbH into Lunchtime after the first Kobun.

I actually have very seldom landed my full combos on anybody because many times Tron comes in as last character and with X-factor up I simply don’t get to finish my combo 😦

–          Practicing doing jump S after my blockstring of M f+M. The flame is jump cancellable, so the jump S works as an instant overhead on bigger characters and the ground bounce allows for easy hit confirmation.

–          Practicing Instant Air Drills. This has proven so hard. Initially I tried to do it as B, D, DB, UF, H. And I could only do it one in twenty tries! It was so frustrating.

I can do Cammy instant air cannon strikes in SF4 so I was getting quite frustrated with Tron’s reverse DP motion.

But then I tried doing B, D, DB, UB, H. And my success rate shot through the roof. I just do the reverse DP motion and ride the gate from DB up to UB and hit H. Now I can do it much more consistently!

Because Tron’s drills are negative on block, she actually has no safe horizontal advancing offense on the ground. But if you do the instant air drill correctly, you get a drill that’s +1 on block. Which then leads to you being able to get back in their face safely, as well as a lot of command grab and lvl3 grab opportunities!

I always knew getting the instant air drill would be a key part of learning Tron, so I can’t wait to work it into my actual matches.

–          Using super jump air dash H rather than simply jumping up air dash H. I know, I’m a noob.

Overall, I’m pleased with the progress of my Tron. It’s not as free as before, but I want to make it even stronger.

So yeah. That’s what I’ve been working on in Marvel.

In Super I’ve really just been playing matches every day. About the only thing I’m doing in training mode is trying to get standing strong into Super down because standing strong is actually really good against Bison’ s standing forward and so I can do this to a Bison someday:

Okay now time for some Mortal Kombat story mode!

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5 Responses to Taking stock

  1. Syntax says:

    I can so totally relate to (nearly) all of this…I think regional competition is just incredibly fierce. Nationals will be a different story! (I hope)

    • muttonhead says:

      Hey Syntax, you’re already improving at a rate far faster than I ever did. Hope it continues for you man. Hmm hey at the nationals (I’m attending) I can go out 0-2 to two Japanese players instead!

  2. Kyle says:

    Marvels a different beast altogether to Street Fighter, they may both be 2D fighters, but your mentality and attitude need to be different. You need to be thinking in one hit KO combos and defense that is impossible to break. This game is a matter of not letting them get a clean hit on you, no matter what. Frustration and getting salty is actually quite a serious part of this game, and I think its because unlike Street Fighter, its very difficult to work out what is beating you when you lose.

    I remember playing a long set with Somniac and him beating me most of the time, and I could literally not work out why this was happening. When people say this game is easy, I can only assume they mean the mechanical functions of the game, because winning on a consistent level against another person is very difficult.

    I lost to a Zero as well at CW, it really annoyed me, because I should have won. Oh well, you live and learn. I’m going to hit the lab and work that little fucker out, I don’t think he’s that amazing, I’m pretty sure its just trickery and priority.

    • muttonhead says:

      Yep, I know that my mentality and attitude is still not right for Marvel. I like to attack while being safe. I like to be solid and not take chances. But in this game, the risk/reward ratios for just standing there trying to block and waiting to see what happens is not worth it.

      You have to either get that clean hit first by applying a cheaper and more broken tactic than your opponent, (and I mean cheap and broken in a good way), or totally prevent your opponent from occupying the space where he can get a clean hit. Basically, RTSD or RTFA.

      Toxy said to me once that thinking too much during Marvel can sometimes get you killed. And I definitely agree. Sometimes I find myself still thinking about what the hell just hit me, and I already lost 70% of my life.

      It just requires such a different way of thinking that it drives me crazy. Another thing that scares me is the breadth of the game. Every character has something really nasty to hit you with that you probably have no chance of blocking unless you’ve seen it before. And with such an open ended game I despair at ever learning it all. In SF4 I’m nowhere close to learning the matchups, what about Marvel?

      I think one way to circumvent this is to simply do gay shit to your opponent before he can do his gay shit to you.

      Marvel really makes me want to throw up in my mouth at times. I just wonder if I try hard enough, will I ever get “it” someday?

  3. Pingback: Match breakdown: Muttons vs. Rocky | Being a Scrub

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