East’s Corner 05: The Problem of Homogenized Talent

I’ll be honest, I was very hesitant to write about this topic, because it can easily be painted in a light so dark, that vantablack would seems bright by comparison. I want to start by saying, people who are talented should be paid for their talents. Plain and simple. If you are a good commentator, dammit, hustle hard and get gigs to do it, and make a career out of it. I think Mike Ross once said something that holds very true in my mind: Do what you’re going to do, but never take food out of someone’s mouth.

Over the past year tried to start doing more commentary work. I recognize I’m a small and crappy fish in a much bigger pond, but dammit you have to start somewhere. It’s something that I’m trying to improve and am taking more seriously, especially going into next year. As I’ve become more and more indoctrinated into the inner-workings of how commentary jobs are set and how talent is chosen, there has been something that really seems strange to me, and I’ll pose it to you in the form of a question: When you have regional talent that knows the stories, rivalries, players, and what’s really at stake in a region, why not have them tell those stories instead of someone who can’t?

Take for example, last year’s Dragonball FighterZ World Tour Finals. Half of the Saga Event winners and all 4 of the last chance qualifiers were Japanese. 75% of the World Tour Finals Top 8 were from Japan, and 0% of the commentary talent was from Japan. 0% of the people who interact with those 6 players on a weekly basis were on commentary. 0% of the people who understand the inner-workings of the Japanese scene were on commentary. Saying that, the commentary talent that was there was great. All in attendance killed it. We got some awesome storylines in the finals, but consider all the stories that were missed.

  • Did Dogura being GO1’s training partner have anything to do with him winning a last chance qualifier?
  • How did Kindevu even hang with these other top 8 when we rarely see him in tournament?
  • Who even was BNBBN and where did he come from?
  • What is Fenritti’s background and history with GO1?

Find out never, because the people who know the stories were nowhere to be found.

When you have regional talent that knows the stories, rivalries, players, and what’s really at stake in a region, why not have them tell those stories instead of someone who can’t?

I know that this whole thing could be easily taken as “Quit being jealous and just work harder,” and that makes the platform I stand on just a little bit murkier. That’s fine, I’ll take that and keep it in my back pocket for motivation, but to be honest, this isn’t even about me. If you want an example of what happens when things are done right and regional talent gets to shine, take a look at MajinObama at Guilty Gear XrdR Finals at EVO Japan 2018. As a spectator, don’t you want to see more of this?

https://www.twitch.tv/videos/223210099

As always, thanks for coming by and taking a read. Whether you liked it or not, please share this with somebody as it’s a problem that is often not talked about, but should be given some more light. You can also agree with me or yell at me in the comments below.

101 Series: Kage

The 101 series is meant to help new players quickly get acclimated to a character and to give them the knowledge and tools to play effectively with a character as fast as possible. This series won’t be covering the complex aspects of each character, rather we will talk about the basic points of the character and what makes them strong. It is our hope that this series serves as a jumping-off point for you to more deeply explore the character.

What is he good at?

Kage is a “Shoryu-archetype” character which means he shares many of the similar tools of Ryu, Ken and/or Sagat. What really separates this character from the others is how strong he is right in the opponents face. SFV is an inherently offensive game and Kage plays to those strengths. His tools far away are rather lack luster, but his tool set up close, can really make the opponent pay for just trying to block

Footsies

Kage’s footsies are somewhat lackluster compared to rest of the cast. Though he can fight from a far range, your goal during footsies should be to get into your opponents space by knocking them down or by using Kage’s stomps.

s.MK

Kage’s s.MK might be his best footsie tool as far as range is concerned, but does very little to help put kage in his opponents face. It’s relatively quick, but is not cancelable, so it’s a good idea to use this if you’re testing which range your opponent gets antsy.

f.HP

Kage’s scariest footsie tool, because it does everything you want to advance your game plan. It moves Kage forward, it has about the same range as s.MK, It’s range can be made relatively safe, and it crush-counters to boot. This is a move you’re going to want to be sure to understand and pull out of your arsenal often.

c.MK

Kage’s c.MK has less range than his s.MK or f.HP, but it can be canceled into one of his special moves. You can do things like c.MK cancelled into qcf.P or hcf.HK. I say hcf.HK although it doesn’t actually combo, but it does put you into your opponents face at an advantage. Your game plan should be to lure them into a lull using qcf.P and then when you can take a risk, slip the hcf.HK in.

hcb.LP

Kage’s fireball. You cannot use his qcf.P, because it has wee-wee dagger range. That being said, you’ll be forced to use the hcb.LP which has considerably more start-up. If I could throw some advice at you here, I would say to only use this when an opponent is out of jump range. Because if they jump when you do this, you’re going to walk away with crutches. You can sue the MP or HP version, but I would only recommend if you’re entering into a fireball war.

Anti-Air

dp.MP

Kage’s standard uppercut. This move has good air invincibility, great range, and will 99% of the time, never miss. This should be your go to anti-air.

j.MP

I only listed this in here in addition to the dp.MP because if you manage to air-to-air Kage’s j.MP, you can then combo into j.qcf.P, or dp.HP. For the best result, learn to hold off on doing the dp.HP as late as possible, so you get all the hits of the Shoryuken for maximum damage.

Combos

No-Resource Combos
c.LK, s.LP xx qcb.LK, dp.LP

Your basic combo starter from a light attack. Really practice the link between qcb.LK, dp.LP as it will seem impossible at first and the timing will seem strange. If you are trying to confirm with c.LK, s.LP and you recognize that your opponent is blocking, you can follow up with a qcf.P to stay safe.

c.MP, s.MP xx qcb.MK, dp.LP

This is the lazy version of your basic BNB. I say that because whether the opponent is blocking or getting hit, c.MP, s.MP works. If you’re really going for maximum damage, and you can confirm the c.MP, instead of going for s.MP, you should aim for a s.HP. The combo will then change to c.MP, s.HP xx qcb.HK, dp.HP.

c.HP xx hcf.HK,c.MP xx qcb.MK, dp.LP

Your heavy punish without any resources. Just a quick tip, only c.HP will combo into the hcf.HK. You might think that you can do the same with s.HP, but it’s sadly not possible.

Resource Combos
c.MP, s.HP xx qcf.PP, qcb.HK, dp.HP

Your one bar signature punish. This also has the added boon of doing 1/2 stage carry, so if you’re anywhere near the center of the stage when you start, by the end of the combo your opponent will be in the corner.

Offense

Frame Traps
c.LP, s.LP, c.MP

Your basic block string, which features an uninterruptable beginning in the c.LP, s.LP, and then a small gap between s.LP and c.MP. If you want to tack on one more small frame trap, you can cancel the c.MP into hcb.MK. This string is normally uninterruptable by moves that do not have invincible. If by somehow the c.MP counter-hits your opponent, the hcb.MK will actually combo. If you want to put some more distance between yourself and the opponent, you can also go for qcf.P to end the string.

c.MP, c.MP

This is a great blockstring, just because the advantage if your opponent blocks c.MP is very large. You can follow up with c.MP or s.MP

*PRO-TIP*

Your opponent will very likely not try to challenge you after they blocked c.MP. You can take advantage of this respect they give you and do c.HP xx hcf.HK. c.MP, c.HP does not normally act as a frame trap but because they won’t challenge, you can so to speak “Steal” a longer turn on offense from your opponent.

After hcf.HK you can continue pressure by doing c.MP again. What’s great here is that hcf.HK, c.MP is a frame trap. Really take a moment and wrap your head around this as being able to exploit  your opponent’s respect, will allow you to really extend your offense while also forcing your opponent to take risks to stop you, allowing Kage to really maximize damage in the process. 

Okizeme [Knockdown Pressure]

Kage’s pressure after knocking an opponent down is a bit more complex than other characters. In order to force your opponent into truly scary situations, you’ll need to sacrifice some damage. Even then the best you’re doing is guessing your opponent’s wake-up choice, which is inherently risky. 

dp.LP

After your dp.LP ender, usually after your qcb.LK [ See the combo section ] you’re oki options if your opponent quick rises, is very good. After the knockdown immediately dash forward once time and then force your opponent to guess between your c.MP or throw. Throw will beat any button they throw out, as well as blocking. c.MP will additionally allow you to create pressure if your opponent doesn’t press a button, otherwise you can go right into a combo. If your opponent back rises, your options are a bit more limited. You can really only forward dash once and then immediately f.HP. If it hits, you can continue into the f.HP > s.HK target combo. 

qcb.MK

By using qcb.MK and foregoing your dp.LP ender, you gain the ability to make your opponent guess on back rise. If for whatever reason, your opponent does quick rise, you have the option of forward dashing twice and then follow up with a c.MP or throw like the dp.LP ender. If the opponent decides to back-rise, do a single forward dash and then do hcf.HK. This will beat any non-invincible button they throw out and will put you in their face at advantage, where you can do either c.MP or throw. 

Defense

Kage is one of the rare characters who have the ability to make their Shoryuken’s safe under the right conditions. Of course to break through pressure or steal back turns you’ll be using your EX Shoryuken. Additionally, if you have V-Trigger 1 active, you can cancel any blocked Shoryuken into b.HP+HK. this will have Kage teleport backward. While it is technically still punishable, it’s very difficult to do because of the distance it puts Kage at. 

Keep in mind that you cannot cancel Kage’s DP into V-Trigger 1 activation. You will have to already be in V-Trigger to get the effect of the teleport. 

V-System

Kage’s V-Skill is a single hit super-armor forward moving attack. Great for blowing thru fireballs or slow long-range single hit normals in footsies. Keep in mind that Kage will take the white-damage if the super-armor takes a hit. The V-Skill can be charged, and by all accounts you’ll want to charge it because, if you simply tap it, and the opponent blocks, Kage is left in the opponent’s face and is punishable. If charged, Kage cannot continue pressure, but his opponent cannot normally punish him. 

Recommended V-Trigger 1 Combo:
c.MP, s.HP xVT1x s.HP xx hcb.MP xx HP+HK, dp.HP

V-Trigger 1 is probably going to be your go to V-Trigger for a few reasons. First, Kage is a character with very low health. This means you may actually die before you get to use VT2, just because it is 3 bars. V-Trigger 1 being 2 bars really helps to make sure you get to activate it at least once every round. Additionally VT1 allows you to gamble shoryuken’s and back peddle if they don’t hit to get out of pressure. Finally it allows you to set up a little more damage on hits by using simple combos like hcb.LP xx HP+HK, dp.HP. You also gain access to V-Skill after Kage’s f.HP > s.HK for hefty extra damage. 

If you’re going to use V-Trigger 2, it’ll likely be for fireball heavy match-ups. Once in V-trigger 2, Kage has the ability to bypass the entire screen and slams down on his opponent simply by pressing HP+HK. This helps to finish off combos getting a hard knockdown. The extra cherry on top is that Kage can perform his special raging demon critical art while V-Trigger 2 is active. Unlike Akuma, this one can be combo’d into.

101 Series: Sagat

The 101 series is meant to help new players quickly get acclimated to a character and to give them the knowledge and tools to play effectively with a character as fast as possible. This series won’t be covering the complex aspects of each character, rather we will talk about the basic points of the character and what makes them strong. It is our hope that this series serves as a jumping-off point for you to more deeply explore the character.

What is he good at?

Sagat, is a very classic type of fighter, in that his game plan has always been very simple: throw a lot of fireballs from far away to frustrate the opponent and then uppercut them when they decide to jump. In SFV, this gameplan is virtually unchanged. Sagat has a great fireball game, lots of anti-airs and the ability to cancel the beginning of his f.MK and f.HK attacks into his specials. A technique known as “kara-ing.” If you are the type of player who enjoys playing a basic fireball uppercut game and dishing out hard damage when the opponent makes mistakes, Sagat is definitely the character for you.

 

Footsies

Sagat’s footsies will mostly revolve around his fireball game, alternating between low and high Tiger Shots [qcf.LK and qcf.LP, respectively]. Although he does have a great set of normal attacks that help keep the enemy at bay.

s.MK

Sagat’s s.MK is one of his longest-reaching normals that doesn’t cause him to move forward. This attack has him reach his leg out almost horizontally, which allows it to go over low attacks almost entirely. He cannot cancel it into any special attacks, but it is great for keeping enemies at by at about half a screen length away. It’s also less risky than throwing a fireball, if you’re worried about your opponent jumping.

qcf.P

Sagat’s high Tiger Shot special attack. The speed it moves depends on what button you press, with LP being the slowest, and HP being the fastest. This attack will not hit opponents who are crouching. For that reason it’s useful for keeping opponents in place. An opponent who is crouching cannot move and so this serves as a way to make opponents impatient and want to jump. It should also be noted that the punch version of tiger shot animation ends more quickly than the kick version.

qcf.K

Sagat’s low Tiger Shot or “Grand Tiger Shot” special attack. Like the punch version, the button you press depends on how quickly it moves. LK being the slowest and HK being the fastest. This attack, although the animation is longer, will hit opponents who are crouching.

Anti-Air

 

*PRO-TIP*

You Must Learn to Kara
Sagat has a myriad of anti-air options for nearly every range and situation. It should be noted that in situations where you believe a normal Tiger Uppercut [dp.P] will not hit, you should consider using a kara tiger uppercut by cancelling the beginning of f.HK or f.MK into a tier uppercut. To perform this, simple do the forward moving normal attack and quickly input the dragon punch motion. It is easier to do with the f.MK attack, however, to truly master the character you should eventually master doing it with the f.HK into dragon punch.

dp.LP / dp.MP

Sagat’s main anti-air. If you want to be successful with the character, you must learn to punish jump attacks with tiger uppercut. The dp.LP has very little forward range, but will never lose to a jumping attack. Meanwhile, dp.MP will sometimes trade with jump in attacks from your opponent but does have a bit more forward range.

f.HK

If your opponent performs a jump from very far away, you can do a heavy punish with f.HK. If this hits, it will put the opponent in a juggle state that will allow you to follow-up with a tiger uppercut for more damage.

j.MP

In some rare cases, you may opt to take to the sky with your opponent to beat their air attack. If you decide to do this, j.MP should be your go to button. Like other basic, fireball/uppercut characters, this move will also put the opponent in a juggle state should it hit them. You can usually follow up on the ground with a tiger uppercut to finish them off.

Combos

No-Resource Combos

c.LK, c.LP xx dp.HP / dp.MK

Your basic combo starter from a light attack. If you’re aiming to get more damage, go with the HP Tiger Uppercut [dp.HP]. Use the Tiger Knee [dp.MK] instead if you’re looking to push your opponent further into the corner, get yourself out of the corner, or put your opponent in a lock-down fireball situation when they recover from the knockdown. Considering this begins from a light attack, you’re likely not going to be doing a heavy punish and should opt to most often finish with the tiger knee

s.MP, c.MP xx dp.HP / dp.HK

This is your combo starter that also acts as a frame trap. Keep in mind that doing the HK version of the tiger knee really moves you far forward, allowing you to make up a lot of ground, however your ability to set the opponent up with they recover is weakened a bit. If you’re really trying to set the opponent up here, you’ll likely want to finish with the MK version of tiger knee. It will net you less damage, but the trade-off is more potential damage when they get up.

s.HK, c.MP xx dp.HP

Your heavy punish using no resources.

Resource Combos

s.HK, c.MP xx dp.LK, dp.PP [CORNER]

This combo requires the opponent be in the corner when follow-up. The dp.PP hits the opponent very very low to the ground, and your first inclination is that they will not be able to be hit, but definitely practice this so you can see for yourself and make better informed decisions in a real match. It’s possible, just doesn’t look so at first glance.

s.HK, c.MP xx qcf.PP, f.HK[dp.PP] or [dp.P [scar]]

Sagat’s strongest combo option using one bar. This combo is a bit tricky because it requires a f.HK kara Tiger Uppercut. My recommendation is to use this whenever you have a scar stocked [V-Skill]. Having to use EX Tiger Uppercut is really a lot of resources to be used on a simple punish, and honestly isn’t worth the meter usage.

Offense

Frame Traps

s.LP, s.MP, c.MP

Sagat’s frame traps are really simple, but there is absolutely a lot to unpack here with the ability to throw fireballs and perform tiger knees. The s.LP, s.MP, c.MP frame trap has a lot that it allows. If the opponent tries to attack between the s.LP, s.MP they will be counter-hit and you can follow up with the c.MP into Tiger Knee or Tiger Uppercut. On the chance that you have Critical Art stock, after the counter-hit s.MP, you can do s.HK, qcf.qcf.K. This is not a cancel and will require you to link the super. Please practice this before attempting in a real match as the timing feels a little strange.

If the opponent blocks the entire string, you can perform either a LP Tiger Shot [qcf.LP] or LK Grand Tiger Shot [qcf.LK]. If you do the LP Tiger shot, the opponent must duck and you can follow up with a LK Tiger Knee [dp.LK]. If you do LK Tiger Shot, you can do a HK Tiger Knee. If the opponent blocks this, you can follow up with a s.LK and will almost always beat an opponent’s attack.

Okizeme [Knockdown Pressure]

Sagat’s knockdown pressure is very straight forward and actually probably among the safest in the entire game. He doesn’t need to commit to running up and guessing the opponents wake up, whether it’s quick or back recovery. He can simply throw fireballs and set up traps if the opponent wakes up.

dp.LK

After the LK Tiger Knee, you should immediately throw a LP Tiger Shot. The opponent must guard this regardless if they quick or back recover. From there, you should immediately throw a HK Grand Tiger Shot. If the opponent jumps over the fireball, you will always be in position to anti-air them. If they are far away, do a f.HK followed by a dp.HP. If they are close, simply dp.LP. If the opponent blocks they will be back to full screen and Sagat and continue the fireball / anti-air game.

dp.MK / dp.HK

This is the same as above except the fire Tiger Shot you throw should be MP Tiger Shot, instead of the LP Tiger Shot. The set-ups work the same.

b.Throw

If Sagat back throws the opponent, you can immediately spend 1 meter by doing EX Tiger Knee [dp.KK]. After the Tiger knee, you will have advantage and will be able to follow up with s.MP

Defense

Like any other basic shoto-style character’s, Sagat’s defense rests on his EX Tiger Uppercut, with it’s invincibility. In addition, his V-Reversal [f.KKK] will knock the opponent down and put some space between the two characters so Sagat can start up his fireball game again. Be careful however as, if it is blocked, he is at a disadvantage.

V-System

Sagat’s V-Skill is fairly straight forward. By pressing MP + MK, he performs Angry Charge, a power-up move that charges up energy and if successful, his next Tiger Uppercut will have some additional properties. It will juggle in some combos that it previously did not juggle in before [Check the combo section for more information here]. It also has improve damage and stun [+ 30 DMG / + 50 STUN]. You cannot stack this effect multiple times, by doing multiple. The animation for Angry Charge is quite long, so really be careful when you use it. Sagat gains V-gauge if he hits an opponent with a powered up Tiger Uppercut.

Recommended V-Trigger 2 Combo:
s.HK, s.MP xVTx, s.HP xx f.HP+HK xx HP + HK [Level 2 Charge] f.HK[dp.HP]

Sagat’s V-Trigger 2 will be your V-Trigger of choice. It affords him two new attacks that work in tandem to force the opponent away from Sagat, while also giving him greater combo opportunity up close. His first move, Tiger Spike, is a chargeable kick attack that can be charged to 3 levels. The first level is a basic hit and can be achieved by simply tapping HP + HK. The second level, if you hold HP + HK, will have Sagat perform the kick attack, however if it hits, will cause the opponent to spin in mid-air and in some situations will allow you to follow-up with a f.HK kara HP Tiger Uppercut. Finally, the level 3 version if the attack is held to it’s maximum length will guard-break a blocking opponent, allowing you again to follow up with a f.HK kara HP Tiger Uppercut. What makes this attack even better is that it has a single hit of super armor, allowing it absorb some attacks and then retaliate. To get the maximum potential from this move, you need to make your opponent afraid of the level 3 and then hit them with the level 2 when they try to get away from the charging animation.

The second attack Sagat gains in V-Trigger 2 is Tiger Rush. This is a two step forward moving attack that you can cancel the ending of into Tiger Spike. Be careful as this attack can usually be punished if blocked by an opponent.

Sagat’s V-Trigger 1, will be your V-trigger in certain match-ups where both Sagat and the enemy fight from far away. Characters like Guile who can compete with Sagat’s fireball game from far away, might be good candidates for V-Trigger 1. Sagat’s V-Trigger 1, gives him access to a 5-hit fireball that travels very quickly, and cannot be ducked under. This can help turn the tide in some situations where you’re having trouble competing in the fireball war. You can use this to quickly gain the advantage. In addition, these fireballs can be canceled into from Sagat’s s.HP or c.HP allowing him some hard hitting combo opportunities if you’re close and need to dish out some more damage.

East’s Corner 04: Fuudo is Great

So for those of you who don’t know, I live in Tokyo, Japan and I count myself very lucky that the fighting game scene here in Tokyo is well supported and very active. On a given week, I see top players at events and locals. I also have been fortunate enough to be able to help out with some events that happen here. If you’re familiar with Dragon Ball Fighter Z, I help out with the Tuesday event, that’s broadcast on www.twitch.tv/animeilluminati called Fighting Tuesday. As a side note, if you haven’t seen it and you’re interested in top level Dragon Ball Fighter Z play in Japan, I wholeheartedly recommend you check out some of the archives there.

I digress, sometimes I also have a chance to help out with the Thursday BeastTV stream where Fuudo teaches newer players, primarily a guy named “Handsome Orikasa,” about SFV. Again, if you haven’t seen it, I really recommend you watch the archives. Now Fuudo is an EVO chamion in Street Fighter and so it’s really interesting to watch him teach a new player about SFV, especially because you have a chance to really see the game through his lens and how he thinks about situations. Sometimes I’m just absolutely floored at how knowledgeable, smart, and to a degree, how crafty he is in just thinking about how the game should be played.

Let me give you an example. So on August 23rd, I helped with the stream, and half the stream was dedicated to teaching Handsome Orikasa how to fight against Necalli and some of the common tactics of Necalli players. The second half was dedicated to teaching much newer players how to play the game. We did this really fun drawing of people who were at the Red Bull Gaming Sphere for the regular Thursday SFV session. A guy named “James” from Australia won the drawing, so he had a chance to have Fuudo watch him play, critique his game and give him some tips. James sits down and they immediately put him into a lobby, where he fights one game online using his main character, Nash. Just from the way he plays, you can tell that James is a little nervous, but he gives it his best but unfortunately loses the match.

During the match, I took the mental notes of what I would say, and I thought to myself, “If this guy just finished his combos and got knockdowns more consistently, he’d be doing fine. Maybe a few more anti-airs.”

When it came time for Fuudo to give him advice after the match, they immediately went into training mode and Fuudo went into teaching mode. Rather than harp on the combo drops or sub-optimal combos James did during the match, he said the following [I’m paraphrasing here because James had pretty good Japanese but sometimes was a bit lost so I did some VERY ROUGH translating.]

“Nash is a character whose backdash and forward dash are really good. His backdash is pretty quick, and his forward dash is really quick and moves really far. You should use this to your advantage. When you’re in neutral, backdash, to get space and then throw a fireball. Once you’ve thrown a fireball you’re pretty much free to move because your opponent has to worry about it. Once you’ve established your space with the backdash, you can then start to chip away at your opponent. You have other options, like forward dashing and throwing, using the mk version of scythe, etc.

Also don’t worry about getting cornered. This plan is going to have you moving back a lot, but once you get cornered and get beat up a little, You can just V-Reversal. Nash is one of the few character’s whose V-Reversal allows him to move to the other side of the opponent. Once you V-Reversal, just backdash again and keep running the same game plan. There really isn’t much reason to spend V-Trigger defensively, because V-Reversal is so good.”

I’ll be honest, hearing this I was pretty floored. I just kept thinking to myself, “Damn that’s smart as hell.” Rather than focus on what the guy did wrong in the match, he just gave him a really simple game plan he could apply to almost anything and find success. And surely enough, right after the training session, James hopped back online and played another match. He immediately found success following Fuudo’s gameplan. I kept thinking to myself, “His advice was so simple, but so effective. This is how a champion sees the game and how people play.” Rather than focusing on individual moments, he first takes a step back and focuses on what the person’s plan is. I think this is a skill that a lot of people are missing; Being able to diagnose and breakdown a plan.

Fuudo is by all accounts a fighting game champion, and every time I have a chance to hear him speak and talk about the game, I immediately understand why. He taught an 8 year old to play online and at least have a close match with others. If you haven’t had a chance to see him speak on the BeastTV stream, see for yourself and I think you’ll easily understand why-

Fuudo is great.

101 Series: Juri

101: Juri Image

The 101 series is meant to help new players quickly get acclimated to a character and to give them the knowledge and tools to play effectively with a character as fast as possible. This series won’t be covering the complex aspects of each character, rather we will talk about the basic points of the character and what makes them strong. It is our hope that this series serves as a jumping-off point for you to more deeply explore the character.

What is she good at?

Juri is a defensive type of hit and run character in SFV. She uses long range attacks and a myriad of tools to hit the opponent from afar, do some damage up-close and then get away as soon as possible. She has a somewhat complex tool-set with lots of intricate properties on many of her attacks that may not seem readily apparent. She has great individual buttons, but requires good resource management of not only meter but stocked attacks. If you are the kind of player who can mentally juggle these resources during a match, you’ll definitely excel at Juri’s style of play.

Footsies

Juri’s footsies at mid and long range are simple, but highly effective. She has moves that allow you to get over low attacks and just outrange most opponents outrange. Not to mention her low fireball which helps her control the floor and walking space on the level.

s.MK

A great 2-hitting attack, that has great range and goes over a large amount of the cast’s low attacks. The first hit is cancelable, and can be buffered if you throw it out in footsies and catch an opponent overextending themselves. The second hit is not cancelable but does set you up in a great place to attack with s.HK afterward.

s.HK

One of Juri’s crush counter attacks. This move hops over low moves altogether and has incredibly far range. If you manage to land a crush counter with this attacks you can dash forward and follow-up for a bigger reward than you would normally get in footsies.

c.MK

a standard low poking attack. It is cancelable, but does not actually combo from many special moves. It is recommended that you only cancel into the qcf.HK released version or dp.LP. Standard tool for any character with good footsies in a Street Fighter game.

qcf.LK [Release]

This is Juri’s low fireball which travels about half of the screen and then dissipates. This will go under normal Hadouken-like fireballs and clip the opponents feet. In V-Trigger 1, this has more range and becomes 2 hits. Note that before you can unleash this attach, you have to first stock the fireball by doing an initial qcf.LK. It also has significant recovery, so make sure there is some distance between yourself and your opponent before first using it. After it’s been fired, you can walk behind it to pressure the opponent to make a move or retreat.

Anti-Air

c.HP

Pretty good anti-air attack and will also crush counter which allows you to follow up with dp.MP or dp.PP. Be careful as it does have considerable start-up and is not recommended if your opponent is close to you before you can react.

dp.MP

Juri’s go-to anti-air attack. This is like a normal dragon punch but has enormous range. It also has upper-body invincibility, which means it will never lose to a jumping attack. In addition, you can leverage the upper-body invincibility to punish attacks the go over your head like Ryu’s grounded Tatsu.

Combos

No-Resource Combos

c.LK, c.LP xx dp.HP

Juri’s quick, low-damage, hit-confirm from a light attack. if the opponent is blocking, you can end the move with a s.LK to stay safe, but if you confirm that you hit your opponent, you can do the dp.HP to get good damage and a chance to stock an attack of level up your v-skill.

s.MP, s.MK [1 Hit] xx dp.HP

Your go to combo if you confirm a combo off of s.MP, or during a frame trap. Be sure not to let the s.MK hit two-times as the second hit is not cancelable. It might require some practice to get it down consistently. Like before, you can you the knockdown to stock an attack with qcf.LK/MK/HK or hold v-skill and backdash to level-up.

s.MP > f.HP xx  dp.MP

Good meterless and stock-less punish that grants a knockdown using the target combo from s.MP.

Resource Combos

s.MP, s.MK [1 Hit] xx qcf.MK [Release], c.MP xx qcb. MK

Here you extend the s.MP, s.MK above with a stocked qcf.MK attack and get a knockdown. Great damage and only requires one stocked move to execute. This attack also moves Juri very far across the level, which allows her to occupy ground and quickly push her opponent to the corner.

c.HP, qcf.MK [Release], c.MP xx qcf.HK [Release], dp.MP [CORNER ONLY]

Very damaging and hard htiting combo, but requires two stocks (MK & HK). Also the qcf.HK must end in the corner for you to get the follow-up dp.MP. It’s not recommended that you use dp.PP becuase the damage added is negligible compared to all of the resources that you have to spend.

Offense

Frame Traps

c.LP, s.MP, c.MP
c.LP, s.MP, s.MK

Please keep in mind that Juri is not a character meant to be played upclose. She is meant to pressure from mid-range with long buttons. For this reason, you’ll see that her tight frame-traps are scarce and the reward she reaps from them are also small. The first frame trap has a small gap between the c.LP and s.MP, if the s.MP counter-hits the opponent, will allow you to follow up with c.MP. Do be advised, that the gap between s.MP and c.MP, while small, can be interrupted by the fastest light attacks. The second frame trap is much the same. The difference here is that because the s.MK has a little bit of sway back it can sometimes cause the fastest attacks to miss and then you can hit the recovery. It is a situation that works more because of the interaction of the attacks on the screen rather than the speed of attacks. Again, from the c.MP and s.MK of either combo, you can cancel them both into qcb.MK

If opponents are adamant on blocking all of your frame traps, it might be useful to take advantage of the s.MP, take a few steps back and then when your opponent thinks it’s okay to press a button, nail them with Juri’s b.HK, which is two hits and is cancelable on both of them. Remember, that Juri does not excel at close range, and that your optimal area on the screen is about 1 to 2 character lengths away from your opponent. There you can use buttons like b.HK, s.HK, and s.MK to pressure the opponent.

*PRO-TIP*

Prioritize stocking qcf.HK as soon as possible. 
At mid-range, you can cancel c.MK into qcf.HK. This is great if you can can quickly confirm the single hit. qcf.HK knocks the opponent down for a long time which allows you to stock another qcf.HK [Or LK / MK, you’re choice, but I always recommend having HK]. If the opponent jumps, after waking up, you have time after stocking your attack to punish with a dp.MP or j.MP > j.HK target combo, or j.LP+LK throw. Always have a qcf.HK stocked!

Okizeme [Knockdown Pressure]

Juri’s knockdown pressure is not where she excel, and while she does have some set-ups, the do require some level of risk, and so for the majority of situations, you should prioritize defense when you get knockdowns. Ask yourself if you have stocked all of your moves, or if you have leveled up V-Skill  to the faster and safer version. Once you’ve confirmed your resources, then it’s recommended that you follow-up on offense.

qcf.HK [Release]

After the HK tatsu Ken can use his regular forward dash and work with a fairly straightforward mix-up as follows:

Quick Recovery:

f.dash, f.dash, s.MP, s.HP [s.HP will combo, if the s.MP was a counter-hit. From here you can combo qcb.MK

Back Recovery:

qcf.LK/MK/HK [Stock]. Not much you can get offense-so take the time to re-stock something and react. You’ll be able to react to and punish jump attacks even if you stock. dp.MP should punish the jumps.

qcb.LK/MK/HK

All three attacks, grant the same knockdown timings and unlike other options, grant you some decent follow-ups to continue pressuring the opponent:

Quick Recovery:

f.dash, s.MK,[CH], s.MK [1 Hit] xx qcb.MK. After the forward dash,t he first s.MK will hit on the second hit, but will grant you enough time to hit s.MK again. Here you can cancel the first hit of the second s.MK for another knockdown to rinse and repeat the same set-up if the opponent does not change their behavior. 

Back Recovery:

f.dash, s.HK [CH], f.dash, s.LP, s.LK xx dp.HP. Have your reactions on-point for this. After the counter-hit from s.HK, you can either dash forward and follow-up with the s.LP, and s.LK to confirm into the dp.HP or, you can take a small step forward and try to follow-up with a s.HP xx qcb.MK. Definitely practice this set-up to see which one feels more comfortable for you to perform in a real match. 

dp.MP/HP

Juri’s rising kick specials, much like the qcf.HK release, grant Juri an enormous amount of time before the opponent gets back on their feet, and so again, you should prioritize your resources before going in here.

Defense

As a defensive-oriented character, Juri has more tools than most to deal with an opponent’s offense. With meter, she has access to her EX Tensinrin [DP] to shut down offense. In addition to this, her V-Skill, allows her to move through her opponent and attack from the other side, and goes through fireball attacks. Once charged, it also gains throw invincibility and becomes incredibly fast. Once leveled up, it allows Juri to shut-down a lot of the cast’s options. Finally, she also has her V-reversal which attempts to put a great deal of distance between her and her opponent if it hits.

V-System

Juri’s V-Skill comes in two versions, Level 1 and Level 2. By holding the buttons you can charge the move up. Once you release, Juri will short forward, go past the opponent and hit them on the other side. Please keep in mind if they block, you can be punished. The level 2 is harder to punish because of the distance, but it’s still possible. During the release of the V-Skill, you can tap the buttons again, to make Juri cancel out of the V-Skill and stop short before moving past the opponent. You can use them when the opponent is expecting to block, to end early next to them and just throw. The level 2 version goes through fireballs and can be used to follow-up after some special attacks like qcf.HK, though the damage is negligible.

*PRO-TIP*
Level up V-Skill and abuse it’s speed!

If you hold Juri’s V-Skill, you notice after about 1 second a puff of smoke appears around her feet. This is an indication that the next time her V-Skill is used, it will be the leveled up version. The V-Skill is cancelable into forward or backdash, so you can save it for later. Once leveled, you can stop or deal with lots of attacks that most of the cast cannot. Below is a short list of attacks that you can shut down with charged up V-Skill.

Every Fireball [Ryu, Ken, Nash, Sakura, Rashid, Cody, Falke, Akuma, Juri, Guile, Laura, Urien, Chun-Li Dhalsim]
Orb Set [Menat]
Can V-Skill [Birdie]
Whip V-Skill [Ed]
Blanka Ball Punish on Block [Blanka]
EX Tackle > 2nd Aegis Reflector [Urien]
V-Trigger 2 Pressure [Urien]
Run Shenanigans [Abigail]

Recommended V-Trigger I Combo:
s.MP, s.MK [1 Hit] xx qcf.HK [Release] [1 Hit]  xVTx, s.MP > f.HP xx dp.MP

Juri’s V-Trigger 1, Feng-Shui Engine Alpha is incredibly deep and grants her lots of intricate properties on her moves. As for the basics, it allows her to cancel her normal buttons into the next strength button, but simply mashing the buttons. She also can use the Release version of the qcf.LK/MK/HK attacks without needing the appropriate stock [using V-gauge instead]. In addition, it allows Juri to jump cancel her s.MP > j.HP target combo. After the jump combo, you can cancel the air normals into the next strength attack like you would the ground attacks.

V-Gauge Uses:

Footsies

c.MK > s.HK xx qcf.HK
s.MK > s.HK > s.HP xx qcf.HK

From far range, you want to cancel your c.MK or s.MK into s.HK on hit and follow-up with more damage. Basically any hit you land will net you around 200 points of damage.

Confirms
c.LP, s.LP, s.LK > s.MK > s.HK xx qcf.HK

Your simple confirms, can be confirmed into strong button cancels. Be careful as this will take a significant amount of V-gauge to perform.

Punishes
s.HP xx qcf.MK, s.MK xx dp.HP

You can certainly make longer and higher damaging combos in V-Trigger, however, the damage they add for the V-gauge they require is not optimal, and so this combo is recommended for general use.

 

East’s Corner 03: Commentators, The Story-Tellers

About a year and a half ago, for work, I needed to learn about golf. Granted, back then, and even now I didn’t give a damn about the sport of golf, or it’s players, but for the sake of becoming better at my job, I needed to learn about the pro tour, the different championships, and the players in it. So to get up to speed I would watch commentary clips of the different games and the highlights. In a matter of a months I was caught up to speed and for work, whenever I needed to talk about golf, I could probably fool you into thinking that I had been an avid fan for years. I’ll be honest, learning about the pros playing the game actually became pretty interesting.

So what the hell does this have to do with fighting games at all? Well as of late, the topic of conversation with my fighting game friends has been, “Who are the best commentators” in the FGC. It’s actually been a pretty heated discussion, mainly because we’ve had a hard time nailing down exactly what makes a good commentator. A lot of the favorites names have been thrown out, “Tasty Steve, Sajam, James Chen, Yipes, Ultradavid etc.” and frankly when I think about it, I think they all do something pretty well, but as far as having all-round best commentary, I’m having a hard time being convinced.

I think a commentator’s job is to make whatever you’re watching more interesting. Now that sounds simple, but there’s actually a lot of moving parts here. It’s only now that I appreciate my time spent trying to learn about golf, because I know what it feels like to be hear commentary for something I don’t really know or care about. I feel doing that really gave me a deeper understanding of the whole topic. When I watched and learned about golf, I felt the best commentators were the ones, who would bring you in and make you want to learn more about the scene itself. They were entertainers, but you could tell they were passionate about their sport. They were able to decipher why players would make certain decisions, and do it in a way without explaining exactly what you were seeing [Pokemon VGC commentators are notorious for this].

Taking that past experience into account, I think the person who really embodies this in the fighting game scene is MajinObama [@2djazz on twitter]. Whenever he commentates Guilty Gear, I can see that he loves the game, is knowledgeable about it, and knows the lore and stories behind what’s going on in the match. He can tell you stories, about the players, rivalries you may have never heard of, while also keeping current focus on the game at hand. He’s got the gift of gab, which may or may not get him in trouble from time to time, but he’s who I would say is the current best commentator. He’s the kind of guy who can take a person who doesn’t really care about Guilty Gear, and pull you in. He makes people want to become a part of the scene, to learn the game, and to learn about the players. I feel like that is the true mission of a great commentator; To take the uninitiated and initiate them. Everyone is always talking about growing the scene and honestly I think commentators carry the biggest burden when it comes to this.

Who do you think is the best commentator? What do you think makes a good commentator? Let me know on twitter or in the comments below.  

East’s Corner 02: Dragonball & Under-Night

So it’s been about two weeks now since Dragonball FighterZ came out and let me tell you, between that, Monster Hunter, SFV, etc. I’m struggling to find time for real life. I was hyped about Dragonball’s release after actually getting my hands on it, but at this point I think I can objectively look at it without the Rose-tinted glasses. Gameplay is fun and it’s been set up in a way that no matter how strong or good you are at fighting games, every character makes you feel powerful. That’s great for people coming into the scene and getting interested in fighting games in general I think. It seems that the player always has a plethora of options like vanish, super dashing, tagging, etc. I can admit though I’m still feeling a little overwhelmed and as a result I still don’t feel confident in the neutral game. My brain is still trying to find the pros and cons of different options and when is the “right” time to do something with the least amount of risk involved.

That being said, I’ve spent most of my time in training mode and in arcade mode just practicing different scenarios, instead of fighting against other people. Perhaps the biggest reason for this is also currently my biggest gripe with the game:

The matchmaking system feels like it was pulled straight outta Yajirobe’s jock-strap.

In Tokyo, where at least the first 10 rooms are always full, I get about 1 ranked math every 30 minutes. This in addition to the Vegas dice-roll that is trying to set up a room with friends, are really my two big turn-offs. Because of that, I’ll be honest, my excitement for the game has gone down quite a bit. If this gets patched for the better, I think I would genuinely enjoy this game. Here’s to hoping my and other player’s pleas are heard.

If you can believe it, there is actually a silver-lining to Dragonball’s matchmaking being a Buu-sized turd. I’ve been playing less Dragonball and started to learn Under-Night In-Birth. To give you a little insight to my fighting game upcoming, when I was in high school, I dabbled in a ton of un-popular anime games: I had a friend who was super into-them, and so I just learned them while I was over at their place [See me in Vanguard Princess]. That friend is actually visiting in Tokyo this week and staying at my place so we’ve been playing the game together and it is a ton of fun. I picked up Byakuya, the spider-themed character with feet 3-times too small for his body and have really been enjoying him. For me, someone who has grown up loving 1-on-1 fighting games, this is right up my alley. In addition, the tutorial for the game is at least 3 times better than any other tutorial you will find in any fighting game out currently or has ever been made. I’m really excited to find the local scene here in Tokyo and put my character’s size 4’s in someone’s ass.

I guess if there was a theme for this post it would have to be this: If you are playing a game and it’s not fun, try something else. You might end up having the time of your life with it.

Quick notes before I get outta here:

I’ve been learning Ken just for fun in SFV Season 3. If you’re interested in the character at all, check out my quick guide to using him here

I just saw the patch notes for Guilty Gear Xrd Rev2 update coming. Someone please tell ArcSys to undelete Ky.

101 Series: Ken

101: Ken Image

The 101 series is meant to help new players quickly get acclimated to a character and to give them the knowledge and tools to play effectively with a character as fast as possible. This series won’t be covering the complex aspects of each character, rather we will talk about the basic points of the character and what makes them strong. It is our hope that this series serves as a jumping-off point for you to more deeply explore the character.

What is he good at?

Ken is one of the basic, well-rounded archetype characters in SFV. While Ryu is geared a bit more toward the defensive side, Ken is the opposite, skewed toward pressure and mixing the opponent up. He’s got every tool someone needs to be an effective character; a fireball for play away, an uppercut to interrupt offense and a a myriad of other moves to keep him in your opponents face. While his length of his attacks isn’t stellar, if one of them lands the reward is heavily skewed in his favor. If you want to be a jack of all trades, but favor offense a bit more, Ken is the character for you.

Footsies

Ken’s footsies and attacks at mid-range aren’t great, but his heavy attacks have massive reward if they crush counter an opponent. Though slow and punishable, you’ll want to pepper them into your arsenal to reap the rewards from time to time.

s.MP

One of Ken’s faster and farther reaching attacks that is completely cancellable. While doing c.MK xx qcf.HP can be interrupted, Ken’s s.MP xx qcf.HP cannot, making it safer to use. Be careful as you must be standing to use this move and most characters often low hitting attacks at mid-range. There’s a good chance your legs could get hit. This also has some interesting uses with Ken’s V-Skill.

s.HK

One of Ken’s big reward moves. Albeit slow to start and slow to finish, if Ken crush counter’s an opponent with this move, he can use his V-Skill attack or V-Skill run and follow up with a Shoryuken. Again, because of the time it takes to recover and the time for this move to start-up, it’s recommended you overuse this move, but rather carefully pick your spots.

 

qcf.HP

As a basic “shoto” character Ken comes equipped with three things: A dragon punch, a hurricane kick, and a FIREBALL. While Ken’s isn’t as good as Ryu’s, he still has the option to use Hadouken’s when far away from his opponent. When the opponent cannot reach you is probably the best time to use this as the move is slow to recover, and if the opponent jumps in one time, you’re gonna be in for a world of hurt.

Anti-Air

c.HP

Good Anti-air and has the ability to crush counter opponents, although very unlikely. Works well if the opponent jumps and will land right in front of Ken or they are jumping over Ken. The forward range of this attack is pretty limited, so best not used if the opponent jumps from far away.

dp.MP

Ken’s tried and true, signature move, the Shoryuken. Has upper body invincibility and will not lose to air attacks. If you need to hit someone jumping in and can input the dragon punch motion fast enough, this should be your go to move, without exception.

dp.HP

While c.HP and dp.MP are good if the opponent is close to Ken, there are some cases where the character will jump and attack from far away. In such circumstances, the heavy version of Shoryuken is the way to go. It’s got some good invincibility but most importantly the forward range on this move is massive.

Combos

c.LK, c.LP, s.LK xx dp.HP

Ken’s quick, low damage, hit-confirm from a light attack. If the opponent is blocking, you can end the move at s.LK to stay safe, but if you’ve confirmed that you hit them, cash out with the heavy shoryuken for good damage.

c.MP, s.LK xx dp.HP

Always good to keep this in mind if during pressure you connect a c.MP. The s.LK will connect if you’re close.

c.MP, b.MP > s.HP xx qcb.HK

Great combo in terms of damage, stun output and moves the opponent toward the corner really really far, and leaves you the opportunity to mix up the opponent. Be careful if the c.MP is a counter hit as it will sometimes mess up the combo and your b.MP may not connect at all.

f.HK, qcb.LK, dp.PP

Ken’s overhead step combo. do the EX Shoryuken as quickly as possible, as the timing can be a little tight. This takes nearly a third of an opponents life from a single overhead, so always keep this in your back pocket, if the opponent keeps crouch blocking. If your opponent is in the corner when you land the f.HK, you can use dp.HP to save resources, but note that it will do less damage than using the EX meter.

Offense

Frame Traps

c.MP, b.MP
c.MP, s.LP, s.MP
c.LP xx s.LP, s.HP

Ken’s medium punches are all great tools to pressure your opponent with. His first frame trap, c.MP, b.MP is a fairly tight frame trap which will catch any non-invincible attacks that opponents try to sneak in between your attacks. This does require a fair bit of concentration as you have to check whether the b.MP hit. If it hits, you can cancel into his target combo with HP afterward and follow up with a shoryuken [dp.HP] or tatsu [qcb.HK]. Be careful as if you accidentally perform the b.MP > HP target combo when the opponent is blocking, you can be hit afterward. You can make the string safe if you have some EX meter, by cancelling into EX fireball as a last resort.

c.MP, s.LP, s.MP is for opponents who try to attack back once there is some distance between Ken and themselves. On hit, you can follow up with MK version of tatsu [qcb.MK]. If you have really practiced it and can confirm the hit, I recommend learning to follow up with HK tatsu [qcb.HK]. Regardless of your skill level, You always have the option of doing EX tatsu [qcb.KK]; this does great damage and moves the opponent relatively far to the corner. If the opponent blocks the whole string, the final s.MP will miss.

Remember when I said you should pepper Ken’s high reward moves into your gameplay? The last frame trap is a great example of that. When doing c.LP xx s.LP, s.HP, if you do this move directly you can be interrupted before the s.HP, however if you hold back when you do s.LP and move back just a smidgen after the opponent blocks the attack before doing s.HP most quick attacks your opponent can do will whiff and miss you completely, and the s.HP will smack them.

*PRO-TIP*

Buffering
For the frame trap above, if the opponent blocks the first two hits, the last hit won’t actually connect. It will miss completely. Because of this unique situation you can immediately press V-Skill afterward and if the opponent presses a button and gets hit by s.HP, Ken will immediately run forward. You can hold the V-Skill and actually combo into the V-Skill kick if done correctly. If the opponent blocks and the s.HP misses, the V-Skill run will not come out. This is an advanced technique known as an empty buffer. Talk about the best of both worlds!

If you’ve done it correctly, you can do s.HP xx V-Skill, qcb.LK, dp.HP

Okizeme [Knockdown Pressure]

Ken’s Knockdown pressure can be a bit tricky. He basically gets a great reward if he guess right and hits the opponent but if he guesses wrong or the opponent blocks, he has a hard time safely continuing pressure. Because he has a run [V-Skill] and a normal forward dash the set-ups for attacks can be a bit complicated. We’ve tried to simply as best we could using the flowchart’s below.

qcb.HK

After the HK tatsu Ken can use his regular forward dash and work with a fairly straightforward mix-up as follows:

Quick Recovery:

f.dash, c.MP or Throw [c.MP follows up into s.MP xx qcb.MK, dp.PP]

Back Recovery:

f.dash, s.HP [s.HP will be a crush counter if it counter hits, and you can follow up with V-Skill, qcb.LK, dp.HP]

dp.HP

After Shoryuken, Ken’s options are a bit trickier to remember. You can either follow up with:

Quick Recovery:

V-Skill [MP+MK], c.MP or Throw [Like before, you can follow up c.M pwith s.Mp xx qcb.MK, dp.PP]

Back Recovery:

V-Skill [MP + MK], s.HP [Like before will be crush counter if it counter hits and you can follow up.]

Defense

As one of the more well-rounded characters Ken gets decent defense options for SFV. With meter he has access to his EX shoryuken which will pretty much blow through anything without fail. In addition to this, his V-Skill is fairly straight forward and leaves him with a bit of breathing room afterward.

V-System

Ken’s V-Skill is pretty useful as it allows him to close the gap between he and his opponent fairly quickly in order to continue offense or to continue combos. By continuing to hold the V-skill buttons down he can cancel the end of the run into a kick as a combo extender as well. The regular run is great to use if the opponent is hesitant to press buttons and attack at mid-range. It’s your chance to sneak in a throw here. Ken’s normal attacks can all be canceled into a run, with the safest attack into run being s.MP. Be careful as you can still be hit during this time. It’s best to use these kinds of tactics when the opponent is being overly defensive.

Recommended V-Skill Combos
s.HP xx V.Skill, qcb.LK, dp.HP
s.HP [Counter] xx V.Skill, b.MP > HP xx qcb.HK

Ken’s V-Trigger’s and their uses are easy to understand. You should ask yourself the following question when choosing V-Trigger: “Is my opponent Rashid or Guile?” If the the answer is yes, pick V-Trigger II, else V-Trigger I.

V-Trigger I is a basic power up on all of Ken’s kick attacks, adds new properties to his special attacks and allows him one combo extender from many of his moves upon activation when he automatically runs forward. The difficult part here is that it takes longer to fill than V-Trigger II. You may have to give up the option to use V-Reversal to use V-Trigger I in a match.

Recommended V-Trigger I Combo:
s.HP xx V-Trigger, s.HP xx V-Skill, qcb.LK,  dp.HP

V-Trigger II isn’t very impressive if you’re using it for the damage. At best it adds about 50 damage to his regular combos which all things considered is bad resource management. That being said, it is a great way to interrupt characters with relatively tricky or safe fireballs. In Rashid’s case, if Ken has V-Trigger II, and Rashid tries to do an attack canceled into his fireball, the Ken player just needs to mash HP+HK and it will eat through the attack and deal a good bit of damage. It also has a unique vacuum effect which pulls in enemies who are just outside of Ken’s range. Unfortunately using this does not grant Ken much knockdown pressure. While you can mash buttons to extend it and do more damage, it’s recommended you don’t, and instead conserve the remaining V-gauge to shut down your opponents options.

East’s Corner 01: Become FGC Super Saiyan

Goku Image

So I actually don’t really play too many games, but last weekend was the absolute triple threat. For those of you who don’t know me, I live in Tokyo, and if you follow the fighting game scene at all, then you knew that last weekend was the first EVO Japan tournament. Sort of like the sister tournament of EVO world that’s held in Las Vegas every year in late summer. In addition to that, Monster Hunter World was released. I’ve been a big fan of “hunting dragons wit ya boys” since the days of the Monster Hunter 3 on the DS. And the perfect combination to absolutely ruin my sleeping schedule was the release of the new Dragon Ball Fighters Z game. Although it’s not out here in Japan yet, I still got that handy American bank account that lets me buy from both regions, so I picked it up as soon as I could.

EVO was good. I was initially pretty down about the fact that I couldn’t enter because of work I had to do this week. I’ve acknowledged that I haven’t been doing much in the FGC as of late and I really want to get back into the swing of things in a big way, so I want to start going to more events and overall just interacting with the Tokyo scene more. Anywho, I did go there to support my friends, so Friday night after working, I headed over to the EVO venue and it was a bit smaller than I thought. Still the air was thick with competition and that familiar fighting game funk. It was great to see so many games in one place, like at an American tournament, but the crowds were too much. The venue was actually too small to move easily. My buddy, a Birdie player managed to get to Loser’s Finals of his pool, but unfortunately that’s where his journey ended there. Saturday, I went for all of about 1 hour, to cheer on a friend in Tekken. He also got to loser’s finals in his pool, but that’s because 3 out of the 8 people in the pool showed up. After that we hung out, had steak and then I headed back home.

I then cracked out to Monster Hunter World for somewhere in the ballpark of 10 hours (not straight). If you trying to “hunt dragons wit ya boys” please let me know. That game is wonderful with friends. I passed out around 5:30AM on Sunday morning.

I then woke up around the crack of noon and turned on EVO finals [Finals day tickets sold out in 5 minutes. RIIIIIIIIPPPPP]. I had that going in the background and was playing DBFZ. I was really impressed at this new fighter. I typically don’t like team-based fighting games, but that game is soooooo good. It’s deceptively simple. The mechanics are fairly straight forward, but once you start figuring stuff out like you get a jump cancel after c.M > s.M you can start putting together and diving deeper into the mechanics of the game. I played for the entire day watching the EVO Japan finals and beyond. I’ve been running Goku Black/Kid Buu/Vegeta. All of whom I picked because they each had a pink costume, but they all seem to be fairly good and have great assists. I really can’t praise it highly enough. If you’re on the fence, please let me recommendation persuade you. I’m having the time of my life with it and I’m a turbo-scrub at it.

Fighting games are great and I want to do more with them this year.

Last minute shout outs:

Shout outs to majinObama for his Guilty Gear Commentary at EVO. Definitely one of the hardest working dudes this year [And it’s only January], and if I can be half of what he is in the FGC, I would be satisfied.

Shout outs to my buddy David who volunteered at EVO Japan and became the English/Japanese workhorse. If you’re ever in Tokyo and you’re looking for a place to play fighting games, he also has a website www.fugutabetai.com that lists all of the places and events you can play. He did a ton of updating for EVO Japan so please check it out and spread the word!

Junior Series: Mid Match Style Switch

The following tutorial is part of our “Junior Series” tutorials in order to help people learn to practice and understand some of the higher concepts of Fighting games outside of simple execution  and fundamentals. These guides will often focus more on strategy and planning in a match. In this guide, we’ll explore how to shift your playstyle during a match and to be cognizant of your playstyle in a match, rather than after or before the match. The emphasis here is switching from offensive to defensive. This has the added benefit, of throwing off your opponents rhythm and forcing them to adapt to your switch, giving you momentum in the match.

If your current playstyle isn’t working, switch it up immediately and play in the opposite manner.

Many lower-level players feel that they always need to be moving forward and attacking. Against a more skilled opponent, this plan often fails and the lower-level player’s response is to double down on their bet and try to go in even harder. How many times has this happened to you? Consider this kind of reckless play the expressway to the loser’s bracket. Remember that Street Fighter and fighting games in general, are games of knowledge; doing what your opponent expects gives them the upper hand in the fight.

If you can instead, completely 180 on your playstyle in the match, it might give you just the edge you need to throw them off balance. Imagine a scenario where the first match, you attack attack attack and lose, then the second round, you hit your opponent and then immediately back off. This kind of plan is a great power play because it tells your opponent “If you don’t do something. I’ll win with this life lead.” and it forces them to become the attacker. And immediately you’ve reversed the roles. Now you know what your opponent has to do and you can start to better predict how they will try to attack. You’ve also forced them to interrupt their gameplan and create a completely new one on the spot.

The master level of this is to continuously switch during a match. Going from offense to defense, and back again to throw your opponent off and make your movements or strategy unreadable. An opponent who can’t predict you forces them to “play scared” relying on base reactions which can be taken advantage of. Give it a shot. Imagine how frustrated a Dhalsim player would be trying to actually go in on their opponent, or how hard it must be fighting a defensive Zangief. Attack when they expect you to defend and defend when they expect you to attack.