It was bloody cold and overcast on Sunday. My noisy neighbours had kept me up until 3-4 AM with their raucous noise on their balcony the night before. No matter, I dragged myself out of my bed because I have to GRIND.
I got there around 2PM, and immediately got to sit down with Dave (Bosslogic) for a long set. I made an extra effort to record everything this time, so I recorded AE sets with Dave, Burnout, and Sol in AE, and Marvel sets with Rob and Ali.
Eventually I played Rossco and Kevin in Marvel after dinner too, but I wasn’t sure how much space I had left in my SD card, so I didn’t record it.
24 gig! For a good 5, 6 hours of playing. That’s not bad. I now have a lot of stuff to review, it will give me something to do with I wait for my fingers to heal. (I split my fingertips apart badly while playing Marvel last night. I smack the buttons quite hard when I play- a fact that is disguised by my silent buttons.)
I noticed a lot of things in my play yesterday. I noticed that it took me a long, long time to get comfortable and to get my anti-airs warmed up.
For example, take my set against Dave. Sure he’s a better player than me and beats me normally anyway, but there were so many instances that he just jumped straight at me and I had a brainfart and didn’t do anything. A lot of times the jumps occurred at very crucial moments- DP that jump and I put him back into the corner, and I can mount a serious run of momentum. Or get jumped in and lose the round.
So I did pretty badly against Dave. And we played for what? Almost an hour and a half?
Next I took on Kevin aka Burnout, and it also took me a good hour before I got into the “zone.” A very good way to tell that I am in the zone is when I am very consistently DPing people off attempted jump ins over my whiffed cmk.
It was in the last half an hour of play against Kevin’s Oni when I felt it all come together. When he jumped, my DPs were coming out without me actively having to think about it.
When I was playing Dave I was using a lot of brain power thinking about spacing, footsies, devil’s reverse, and I couldn’t switch between footsies mode and anti-air mode consistently. But in that last half an hour I finally was able to relax my mind and play with a good efficiency of focus and brain power. When he whiffed normals, I whiff punished without thinking too much about it. I pushed him into the corner and pressured him with low forwards and when he inevitably jumped point blank over my low forward I would DP him right in the balls right away without having to think about it.
That kind of DP at that point of the match is very deflating- he flies right back into the corner and all that “I must get away pressure” that was building up- to the point that he must jump over my pressure led to this crucial point in the match, and a successful DP deflates all that tension and reinforces that feeling of being caged into a corner into my opponent.
I might sound like I am overstating things, but my style is a walk forward, fireball and cmk you into the corner kind of style. I often throw risky, footsies range fireballs and I often audaciously walk forward to poke you with low forward. In doing that I put a lot of pressure on my opponents and they feel the pressure to jump. If I don’t DP them I get jumped in for free for a big combo and all my hard work and pressure is for naught. Hence being able to DP consistently off my walk forward pressure every single time they jump at me makes my Ryu that much stronger and my ground game that much more scary because they feel scared to jump and they have to sit there and to eat more fireball pokes and ground pressure.
So towards the end I was feeling quite good, and it almost didn’t matter what else I did. I like to play a strong ground game with Ryu, not trying to boast but I would say that is my strong suit, or at least what I am trying to make the main focus of my game. And when wedded (rarely) with a dominant anti-air presence, my ground game gets that much stronger. Without the two working together, my ground game obviously becomes much more weaker in isolation.
What was so discouraging was how long it took me to get into the groove. As a tournament player, that simply won’t cut it. I have to get better at getting right in the zone, and adapting quickly to my opponent in a 2 out of 3 set. I have to be aggressive and solid with my anti-air from the very first round of my first match.
Afterwards Kevin picked Gouken and I felt a bit discombobulated. I lost my momentum and my groove because I’m not that familiar with Gouken- I don’t know what I should do. Should I try to fight him in the fireball war and make intelligent jumps? Or push him into the corner irregardless of damage received like the Guile matchup? I’m not sure.
Also that demon flip parry move creates a lot of hesitance in me- if I DP he absorbs it and I whiff badly, so I become much less assertive with my anti-airs. I need to play that match more and get used to doing specific anti-airs against Gouken. You can see me being very confused- a lot of times he would wake up EX demon flip kick, and I stand there unsure of how to punish and he hits me crossup into a big combo.
And of course, after that Sol proceed to tear me a new asshole with his Evil Ryu and Cammy.
I guess that’s expected to happen- Sol is arguably the best AE player in Melbourne. And his complete destruction of me highlighted very starkly a few of my weaknesses.
1) I’m very very weak to empty jump lows. Maybe it’s just a Cammy thing, but over and over Sol would jump and I would hold up back preparing for the inevitable cannon strike…and he drops to the ground and clks me into a full combo.
2) I am too predictable with my frame traps. They worked ok on Kevin but Sol adapts very fast and was consistently jabbing me out of my attempted walk up cmps, and I would eat a full combo into spiral arrow which in turn leads into more cannon strike pressure.
3) I’m too predictable at the start of the round and at certain ranges. I think Sol hit me with a focus attack at the start of half the matches because there’s a certain range that he knows if I back up to, I’m going to fireball, and he picked up on it so fast. I punished him once or twice with things like cmk super, but overall I kept falling for it way too many times!!! Urgh.
4) Ah Cammy. #igotbackthrownSFIV
So despite my destruction it was still a very good set, playing Sol always illuminates my weaknesses so that I can work on them.
After that I played Rob in Marvel…man I suck against Hulk. It feels like I have no choice but to take that throw at the start of the round too. In tournament I most probably will start Doom over Spencer in the Hulk matchup, but I feel I am making a lot of mistakes on a basic level. From the last time I played him I remembered to try not to push block so that I can punish his H, but he would just cancel into S anyway and smack me into death. Perhaps armour piercer after throw tech at the start of the round will be quick enough to smack him out of his H? Does he have armour that quickly into the move? I have to check frame data and test it out.
Against Ali…I have to come up with better mixups for my Doom/Ammy. People are starting to block my regular mixups, even the cross up foot dives. Things like fake cross up foot dive- jump above them and deliberately hang in the air just a tick before air dashing back down for a low, instant fly overheads, tri jump overhead Ls, I need to do them more in match rather than relying on mixups that hit most people but not the guys that are actually pretty good at blocking. Rossco was blocking my Follow my Lead mixups quite well too.
Oh well, since I can’t play until my finger partially heals I have time to slowly watch through my matches and watch the mistakes I’m making. Thanks guys for sitting down with me for all these sets! And good luck to everybody travelling to SG for SEA, (ToXy, Somniac, Genki, Sol, Ali, Stef, Edi, Weng, Colin, Baxter hope you guys kick ass over there. (And I’m sure Cameraman will take care of them too.)
P.S. Thank you ZG for the ride home. It was bitingly cold that night.
More videos after the jump: