Mixups<Execution<Landing a Hit, & Frame Advantage Basics

May 13, 2011 Leave a comment

Talon on FaceBook asks:

“Hey, I have really good execution, and I need help with the other parts of my gameplay. I can get my resets in and my mixups, but I have a lot of issues initially opening people up with my combos. I want to know how to differentiate safe and unsafe moves, on block and on hit. I know there are guides for this, but they’re difficult to find, and I need to better understand the concept of frame advantage. Any tips?”

From the comments you mention you play MVC3, but these ideas are universal and fit all games.  Taking your question one part at a time:

Execution is key to any fighting game and will lead you to consistent damage.  And mix-ups keep your opponent guessing, allowing you to continue to pile it on.  But if you can’t open up your opponent, you’re missing out on the most vital part of a fighting game.  You need to land that first hit of the combo.  This is where smart play comes in.  The majority of your game revolves around trying to land that first hit to open up your opponent for a combo.  Execution then follows, so you complete the highest damage combo you and your characters are capable of.  This is followed by mixups in order to keep the flow of offense in your favor.  It’s like climbing a ladder – one step at a time.  Skipping one is possible, but not recommended for safety.

This is one of the biggest problems with coming into the fighting game scene.  While the combo is the flashiest aspect of the game few players recognize that the read, the bait, or the punish is what leads to these moments.  Whomever your team is in MVC3 try to focus on the matchup outside of your combos.  Figure out what the ideal spacing is for your team so that you are prepared to rush in when needed, be able to react to and block/punish moves, or back away when things get rough.  What are your movement options?  If you’re Magneto or C.Viper you should have excellent control of your air dashes.  Do you have a flight mode?  A normal air dash or 8-way dash?  A teleport or other useful movement special?  Use it and stay mobile.  You don’t always have to move forward towards your opponent when you can dodge first.  This mobility is key and will help you find those openings in your opponent when need be.  Good mobility and defense can frustrate an opponent, and a frustrated opponent makes mistakes you can use.

Your focus should be on getting in and landing simple, hit-confirmable moves that will allow you to follow into your combo execution.  MVC3’s system lends itself nicely to hit-confirms with the ABC magic series combos.  You need to be able to recognize when your combo is not landing and stop it or change to a safer alternative before you put yourself in a punishable situation.  Let’s look at Dante for this example.  In practice mode, set a computer to block randomly, and try air-dashing in with jumping B, land, crouch AB.  See if you can tell if these moves are blocked or hit.  Practice continuing the combo if it does, or stopping if it doesn’t.

The other part of this question involves frame data.  This is akin to knowing exactly what a player’s stats are in any sports, only much MUCH consistent.  Rather than having an average sprint time or free throw percentage you have the speed of a move and how much block and hit stun it does, that is accurate 100% of the time.  This will be covered further in another article, but for now here’s what you need to know for safety.

Startup – The number of animation frames a move has before it gets a hitbox (and can therefore, hit the opponent)

Active – The number of frames a move’s hitbox stays on screen before dissappering

Recovery – The number of frames after the hitbox fades before the character can move again (Does not count if the move is canceled into another)

Hitstun – On hit, the number of frames that a character will reel from an attack before they recover

Blockstun – On block, The number of frames a character will still be blocking before they recover

Advantage/Disadvantage – The attacker’s recovery frames subtracted from the opponents stun frames.  Noted as a positive or negative number such as +2 (advantage) or -10 (disadvantage)

Moves are “safe” when the attacking player does a move that places him at such an advantage, that the defending player has no move fast enough to hit back after recovering.  Of course this is matchup specific.  Just because the move is safe on one character does not make it safe on another, for they may have a faster move that can punish you.  The best example (and one of the most complained about) is Wesker’s launcher.  On block, he is left at -1.  The fastest startup normal in the game is 3 frames.  By the time you try to hit Wesker he’ll have been able to block or move for 2 frames (-1 + 3 = +2).  This is, without a doubt, a “safe” move.

On the flip side, moves are “unsafe” when they leave you at such a disadvantage that your opponent can hit you.  Certain moves are obviously unsafe and should be punished such as dragon punches or whiffed command throws.  But there are normal moves that have such terrible disadvantage on block they should be punished regardless.  Dante’s launcher leaves him at -28.  Dorm’s Chaotic Flame is 8+3 frames startup, or 11 frames total.  This means that if you were to block Dante’s launcher, Dorm could punish with this super with 17 frames to spare.  This is a glaring example but there are other more subtle moves that are still punishable based on matchup.  If you think a move is punishable, check its advantage/disadvantage on block, and see if you have a move that will hit before their frames returns to 0.

In short – If you’re attacking, you want to be in the positive or as close to 0 as you can be.  If you’re defending, you’re looking for the lowest number possible.

(Credit to Tau for helping with the frame data numbers)

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Sticks, Picking a Character, and Beating Mind Block

May 12, 2011 Leave a comment

Here are a few questions asked by “Shadow Hado”.

– “Over time, a stick can wear out and start to feel loose.  When this happens, what do you recommend doing?  Should you replace the entire stick, or maybe just certain parts like the spring and actuator?”

Personally I recommend changing the entire stick.  If you change the spring only that’s quite a bit of work to add extra life to a stick that already has worn parts.  Since most sticks, both Japanese and American, are designed to be replaced as one unit fiddling with parts can be annoying.  Here’s a website that has provided good service to buyers since the release of the MadCatz line of products.

http://www.lizardlick.com/

Besides, you can always keep the more worn stick for personal projects.  You never know when the urge to start making frankensticks will kick in.

– “In SF4, I originally started playing M.Bison (dictator,) and then switched to Ryu to “learn the game.”  Since then, I have continued to play Ryu, but I’m not sure he is the perfect fit for me anymore.  How do you figure out which character you have the most potential with?”

By now you should have a good grasp of what the entire cast can do.  There are a few ways you can go about deciding who you’d like to use.

Try finding a character that fits the way you want to play the game.  Are you looking to play a fundamental, all purpose game?  To go balls deep in rushdown?  To annoy and frustrate your opponent?  Maybe knock down your opponent and force him to play the guessing game?  There are usually a few characters that fit how anyone wants to play the game, You can also pick a character to cover your own strengths and weaknesses.  This is one of the difficult parts of playing Ryu as his gameplay is based around having all-around skill.  For example, Rufus can make up for a lack of footsies, while Chun and Boxer benefit those with excellent footsies.  Higher health will cover defense, speed will cover mobility, ect.  Don’t forget the skill cap too; some characters are simply harder to use.  If you enjoy this challenge (C.Viper is a shining example of this) then you may find a very rewarding main.

-“I have a “mind block” when playing against certain characters, specifically Balrog (Boxer.)  How do I overcome this to play better against these characters?”

It’s good that you recognize this problem.  Consider the matchup with your character vs. your opponents.  Using your Ryu for an example, think about how your average match with a Balrog goes.  What is he doing (in general) that causes you to lose the most health?  Is there a range that he’s fighting at where he has control and you don’t?  Are you getting zoned, rushed down, baited, frame trapped, or turtled?  Try to figure out what these things are and work on fixing/removing them from the match, and see how it flows from there.  Make adjustments as necessary.  The hard part will be doing this during a match.  Remember what you’ve considered about the match before and use it as you play.  It’s very easy to learn everything about the match and forget it while you play.

Consider the matchup with your character too.  For example, Ryu has an amazing low forward that goes under and stuffs dash punches and turn punches, but will lose if they’re done EX.  But you could buffer in a tatsu or a dragon punch and in the case that is IS an EX, you could input the extra button to break the armor.  Your low forward can also duck under a wake up headbutt when done at the correct range.  If you have super stocked up any deep dash punch is no longer safe because you can reversal fierce super it.  Are you considering these things when you play against a character that gives you problems?  If you don’t know them take some time with a friend or an online player who can run the match with.  Nothing beats experience in terms of knowing matchups.

If you have any other questions, let us know!

New Plan

May 12, 2011 Leave a comment

Things didn’t go exactly as planned, but we’re still running strong.  We’re delaying these said plans for a bit.

In the meantime, check out the live stream of Wednesday Night Fights, to see some amazing Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 and Mortal Kombat action!

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/offcast

Categories: Uncategorized

Coming Soon…

May 11, 2011 Leave a comment

To those who have asked questions recently, please be patient.  And please tune in to the season premiere of Wednesday Night Fights tomorrow a little early.  If everything goes to plan…

Categories: Uncategorized

A Basic Guide to Anti-Air Attacks (Part 1)

A question received by an anonymous writer asked about how to deal with people  jumping in SSF4.  Jumping is the basic starter for most combos in more traditional fighting games.  It moves you forward and allows you to attack while in motion.  It also travels over any low moves that are on the ground, so why not jump?

Although game specific, most of the time a character in the air cannot block and loses all defensive options.  If you can repeatedly and consistently knock an opponent out of the air they will not only take damage but lose an approach to attack you.  The more you discourage them from jumping forward, the more annoyed your opponent may become and the more mistakes you will force them to make.  Combine this with the reduced damage and pressure you take and you’ll have a lot more breathing room to pull out wins.  There are several ways and specific situations for anti-air attacks to work, but for this guide we will divide them into 3 types.

1:  Normal attacks

2:  Special attacks

3:  Projectiles

Knowing your matchup will be very important in landing consistant anti-air attacks.  Keep in mind who you are playing.  Characters like Abel and Sagat are in a fixed arc once they jump, but others have ways of changing their jump arcs.  For example, Ken, Ryu, and Akuma can do hurricane kicks in the air to change their trajectory.  Rufus, Yang, Yun, Cammy, and Juri can dive kick, which will bring them down to the ground much quicker.  M.Bison, Rose, and Chun-Li have very floaty jumps, and will be in the air for a lot longer.  Blanka’s jump is very fast and short.  Zangief can punish you for trying to anti-air with the wrong move.

The other difficult part about stopping jumps is recognizing the distance of the jump.  Using a move that hits above your head won’t do you a lot of good when the opponent is planning on landing in front of you.  You must be prepared to use the appropriate move for the distance your opponent tries to jump from.  It’s like a fast game of rock-paper-scissors; you have to know which moves you have beat which moves your opponent is doing.

These are all things you have to consider before the match starts, so that you don’t get caught up in routine and get hit because your plan didn’t work.  This part can be worked on with practice.

-NORMAL ATTACKS

Normal attacks make up the simplest type of anti-air and are generally the easiest to react with.  Rather than input a motion all that is required is a little timing and the push of a button, while at the most holding the stick in a specific direction.  They’re not flashy by any means, and sometimes poked fun of (The Mexican Uppercut is an old nickname for crouching uppercut attacks).  But they get the job done; they knock the opponent out of the air while keeping you safe.  These moves work because their hitboxes rise far above the character’s hurtbox.  This means a character trying to jump in with an attack will get hit by your move before they can hurt you.

For many characters the common anti-air attack is crouching fierce.  If your character’s cr. fierce animation is an uppercut, you’re in business.  Akuma, Guile, and Balrog are a few prime examples.  These characters have excellent cr.fierce attacks that come out quickly and reach high, stopping anyone from jumping right on top of you.  For these moves to be most effective you want the move to connect when the punch is fully extended, to allow the hitbox to be as high over your head as possible.

Other characters have more unorthodox anti-air normals.  These are moves that don’t seem like anti-airs but work due to amazingly good hitboxes.  A few known examples of this are M.Bison’s standing roundhouse, Cody’s back+Strong, Dhalsim’s back+roundhouse, or Abel’s close standing fierce.  Again, each of these normals are great anti-airs but work at specific ranges, so practice and learn which normal works best for that situation.

There are moves that you may not even consider to use as anti-air but will fit the situation regardless.  These include standing jabs from Ryu for jump-ins that are just in front of you, or Guile’s standing forward for jump-ins that land too far in front.  Even if the move does little damage or seems awkward, remember your goal is to stop the opponent’s jump-in.  Who wouldn’t get frustrated after being jabbed out of the air several times?

Neutral jump normals with long reach or priority can also stop jump-ins, meeting the opponent before they expect to attack, or simply out-reaching the opponent’s move.  The best example for this is E-Honda’s neutral jumping fierce.  Done correctly, very few moves in the game will beat it air-to-air!

Don’t be afraid to experiment with your character to see what works.  A good way of testing this is to go into training mode and use record dummies with excellent jumping attacks (E-Honda’s jump in strong and Balrog’s jump-in fierce are two examples) to play over and over.  If a certain character’s moves jumps are giving you a hard time, record it.  Try all your normals and see which normals can beat, trade, or lose to certain moves.  Also try stopping jumps at different distances.  Once you find what works, find a way to use it in match.

Coming soon:  Part 2 – Specials and Projectiles!

Categories: Answered Questions Tags: ,

Doing Fast Seismo Hammers with C-Viper in MVC3

From our first comment, Deez asks (paraphrased)

“How does Marlin Pie do those C.Viper seismos so fast?”

Marlin Pie is super jump canceling (sjc) his seismos, which I’ll break down into its parts.

-A seismo hammer in itself has quite a bit of recovery before you’re allowed to move again.  This recovery can be canceled, by doing either a hyper combo or a jump/super jump.

-A  super jump can  be canceled by doing a  move before C.Viper actually leaves the floor.

By combining these two, you can actually do a seismo, super jumping to cancel the recovery, then doing another seismo before you jump.  This lets you do as many rapid-fire seismos as you can, provided you keep up the execution needed to do it.  You can also do her other specials instead of seismo if you’d want to, such as seismo, sjc, H thunder knuckle.

To practice this  try doing a seismo by itself, then super jumping.  The motion should be – (DP+Attack, up-towards).

Now, you’ll be adding a second seismo in-between the first seismo and the up motion.  You’ll do the second seismo command but instead of ending in a down-forward direction, continue rolling the pad or stick to up-towards before you push the attack button.  In short, you’re doing a second seismo with a tiger knee motion.  When you do it right, it will look like C.Viper does two immediate seismo with no delay between the two moves.  You can do a third, fourth, or as many more seismos as you’d like as long as you do the motion correctly.  If you’re getting different moves to come out, make sure that you reset the stick/pad to neutral between each seismo.  The motion will be – (DP+Attack, neutral, DP, toward, up-toward+Attack, neutral, repeat).

It may take some time to get used to.  If you just want to see the timing for the cancel before doing it with multiple seismos try doing seismos canceled to thunder knuckles.  Either way, this is a high execution technique that will take practice to learn and more to perfect.  Do it right though, and Viper gains a powerful new tool in her rushdown arsenal.

If you have any other questions, just let us know!

The ScrubLines are Open!

May 5, 2011 2 comments

Our site is going live!  If you have any questions, be sure to send them to us at scrubline@HotmailDOTcom, our via our Facebook page, at http://www.facebook.com/pages/ScrubLine/206719199362950

You can also follow us on Twitter, with @Scrub_Line!

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