Junior Series: -2 to 2 A guide on the Power of Advantage

 

The following tutorial is part of our “Junior Series” tutorials in order to help people learn and deepen their knowledge of the game after they have a grasp on the basic mechanics of the game.  Using knowledge, this guide will help players to conceptualize difficult and generally unpredictable situations to that they can come to understand the reason behind choices other players might make.

Each section covers a different topic under the umbrella  of frame advantage and disadvantage based on the most prevalent varying factors. At the end of each section, you’ll be given some thought exercises to complete. The purpose of these trails are to help you understand and explain what is happening and more importantly why it is happening.

As a pre-requisite, this guide requires that you know and understand frame data.

 

3 Frame Normals

In Street Fighter, generally, the fastest moves you can do start in 3 frames, yet there exists a nebulous area in which some moves are at a -2 frame advantage or a -1 frame advantage if they are blocked. What are the purposes of frame advantage or disadvantage, when there is no guarantee of damage? What does this range of being -2 or -1 mean for you as a player during a match.

Imagine a situation in which Player A does a move which has a frame advantage of -2. He wants to continue attacking and so does his fastest move, a 3-frame jab. The opponent, Player B also wants to start attacking, so he also does a 3-frame jab. Because of Player A’s disadvantage of -2, he gets hit by his opponents jab on the first frame[The start-up] of his own, resulting in a counter-hit. Player A, even with his fastest move, after the frame disadvantage, he will get hit. What does this mean? It tells us that negative frame advantage of -2 or -1 represents the turning tide of the character’s roles from offense to defense or defense to offense.

It is a shift in momentum.

It establishes norms in the flow of gameplay. A kind of prescribed rule. Doing a move with -2 frame advantage says to your opponent, “My offense is over, now it’s your turn.” Imagine a game of poker. Good players know to play a hand with good potential and to fold a hand with bad or no potential.  Think of the frame advantage as your potential. In the last scenario, Player A was at -2 frame advantage- This is bad potential, and so he shouldn’t have continued attacking. He shouldn’t have risked his health by pressing jab when he was at a -2 frame advantage. Player B on the other hand, was not in such a situation, but knew that his opponent had bad potential, and could use it to attack. Good players constantly internalize and think about this when they play.

3vs3chart

So now that you know the honest way to play the scenario, what happens when you don’t want to shift the momentum? Is there a way that you can keep attacking even when you’re at a frame disadvantage? What do you do if you don’t want to give up your turn? The answer, as you might have guessed, is an invincible reversal. A move that blows through all others.

So let’s look at the situation again. Player A is at -2 disadvantage and he doesn’t want to shift the momentum; he wants to keep attacking. So instead of jabbing, he does an invincible reversal. Player B on the other hand though that because his opponent was at -2 frame advantage, he , himself could start attack, so he did a jab, and was hit by his opponent’s invincible reversal. He will remember this. The invincible reversal allows you a way to keep momentum and keep attacking. It affords you a way to break, the general rule of thumb- -2 means that you give up the offensive position. This breach of the mutual contract between players does not come with some penalty however. Let’s look.

Player A and B, eternally locked in battle, meet again. Player A, again does an attack and is at -2 advantage, but again, wants to keep attacking. Player B also wants to attack, but he remembers the invincible reversal Player A did last time, and this time Player B blocks. The invincible reversal hits nothing and with it’s huge frame disadvantage compounded with its counter-hit state during the recovery, Player A has to pay in spades. Player B will punish him, and likely end with a knockdown that will afford Player B another advantage situation. Player A played a hand with bad potential, but lied and bet big to make Player B think he had a good hand. Player B smelled the lie and called Player A out on it.

This situation can have many different outcomes. Think to yourself about each of the player’s following options. Selecting any pair is a likely outcome in this kind of -2 position. Think about why and in what situation each player is likely to choose a certain option.

AvsBoptions

Thought Exercises

Set a computer player Karin to do a reversal c.LP as a guard recovery action. Set the Karin’s guard to “Guard All.”  At point-blank range, do Rashid’s s.HK and immediately do a s.LK afterward.

What happens? Check the frame data for the game here. Can you explain to yourself why it happens?

Set a computer player Laura to do a reversal s.LP as a guard recovery action. Set the Laura’s guard to “Guard All.” At point-blank range, do Ryu’s c.MP and immediately do a s.LP afterward.

What happens? Check the frame data for the game. Can you explain to yourself why it happens?

The Case of 3 vs. 4

Up until this point, Player A and B have been operating under the premise that both have a 3-frame jab as their fastest attack, however, in Street Fighter V not every character’s fastest move starts in 3 frames- some start in 4. This small difference might seem unimportant, but it hsa large implications. Let’s assume Player A does a move that leaves him at -1 frame advantage. This time, no funny business, both player A and player B do their fastest attack. A has a 3-frame jab and B has a 4-frame jab. In this case they will trade.

The reason here is obvious. Player A has to wait 1 additional frame plus his 3 frame jab means that the jab will come out on frame 4, the same frame as Player B’s 4 frame jab.

Untitled-1

This means that even advantage [0 frame advantage] is actually advantage for player A, who has a 3 frame jab. The take away here is that in this spectrum, player B has less chances to take momentum, and will likely play a more defensive role in the match. When player B has a +1 advantage, it actually means he will trade with player A’s 3-frame jab. if you are a character with this 4-frame attack, you are not at advantage unless you are at +2 or your opponent is at -2 frame advantage. 2 is your magical number, and so you should always be vigilant in matches to arrive at that number.

4vs3chart

Thought Exercises

Set a computer player Ken to do a reversal s.LK as a guard recovery action. Set the Ken’s guard to “Guard All.”  At point-blank range, do Chun-Li’s f.HK and immediately do a c.LP afterward.

What happens? Check the frame data for the game here. Can you explain to yourself why it happens?

Set a computer player Chun-Li to do a reversal c.LP as a guard recovery action. Set the Chun-Li’s guard to “Guard All.” At point-blank range, do Ken’s c.MP and immediately do s.LK afterward.

What happens? Check the frame data for the game. Can you explain to yourself why it happens?

BONUS

Set a computer player Chun-Li to do a reversal c.LP as a guard recovery action. Set the Chun-Li’s guard to “Guard All.” At point-blank range, do Ken’s c.MP and immediately do b.MP afterward.

What happens? Check the frame data for the game. Can you explain to yourself why it happens? If not, ask on-line or to friends and see if you can figure out why this happens.

TIP
Think about the strength of the button.

Speed vs. Length

Again, all the examples below have played on the assumption that after an attack, both player A and player B are next to each other, where in matches, it is possible that the enemy will be far away from you when they are at -2 frame advantage. The will likely do a block string, and then not do a move that is -2 until they are far away. If you were to jab to get the momentum of the match, you wouldn’t hit anything.

In the earlier pats of this guide, we studied the nature of only the frame data. Here we will look at the implications of distance and what it means, when speed is also taken into account. This concept is probably one of the most widely misunderstood areas when talking about analyzing frame data. Before we start, we need to establish 2 more pieces of information. The first is the recovery time of 3- and 4-frame attacks. While these moves are fast to begin, they have an average of 7 frames of recovery.

The basic 3-frame normal frame data reads like this:

Start-Up: 3 Frames
Active: 2 Frames
Recovery: 7 Frames
Total: 11 Frames

*Note: It is 11 and not 12 frames total, because the last start-up frame and the first active frame are the same frame.

The second piece of information is that every character has some kind of move that stretches a limb very far and is generally used to poke rom a distance. The start-up of these moves typically range from 6 to 8 frames. For our examples today, we’ll use an overage of 7 frames to make our calculations. As a side note, these moves leave the user at -2 or-3 on block.

With the prerequisite information out of the way, let’s look at some more examples scenarios. For these situations, assume that the jab done will not hit the opponent.

Player A and player B take the field again. Player A does a blockstring that ultimately leaves him at a distance outside of player B’s 3-frame jab. Player B thinks of this situation, like all the others, and decides to jab to gain momentum. Because of the distance, his jab whiffs. Player A is wise to this situation, and so appropriately responds by doing a “poke” moves at the same time as Player B’s jab. So what happens? Who is the victor in this bout?

Player A. Let’s look at why.

FrameVsDistance

Player B’s whiffed jab gets hit during the recovery of his move. In this case, where distance plays a factor, assuming both players press a button at the soonest possible point, the slower attack will win. If you can set up a situation like this, the player who tries to jab, will always lose to the poke. The poke will always lose to a slower attack. This seems very strong for Player A. So what is the solution to this situation for player B? Likely to wait. Waiting, allows Player B the chance to whiff punish “A’s” stronger and slower attacks, however mindgames quickly evolve and spiral into an endless tree of possibilities, because the players have returned to a neutral position, and move back into the footsies stage of the match. Frame data plays a smaller role here and distance rules out.

Thought Exercises

Set a computer player Necalli to do a reversal c.LP as a guard recovery action. Set the Necalli’s guard to “Guard All.”  At 1/2 a large square’s range [On the training mode floor], do Cammy’s s.MK and immediately do a c.MK afterward.

What happens? Check the frame data for the game here. Can you explain to yourself why it happens?

Set a computer player Necalli to do a reversal s.HP as a guard recovery action. Set the Necalli’s guard to “Guard All.” At 1/2 a large square’s range [On the training mode floor] do Cammy’s s.MK and immediately do c.MK afterward.

What happens? Check the frame data for the game. Can you explain to yourself why it happens?

 

The examples used here are merely the averages of all the data from characters in the game SFV, and it’s recommended that you go into training mode and find ways to exploit the magical range of -2 to 2. By doing so, you’ll not only see yourself taking advantage in more situations when you play, but as a result, start winning more.

If you’d like to keep a copy of this note for your personal collection, you can download the Evernote version below, which comes equipped with check-boxes on the challenges so you can easily remember where you left off.

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If you don’t have Evernote, and you’re serious about learning fighting games,  I wholeheartedly recommend you get it to make notes for match-ups, combos, set-ups, etc. It’s an incredibly handy tool to have on your computer, your phone, or tablet. If you’re feeling kind, when you sign up for Evernote, please use the referral link below. It helps me get more storage so I can make more of these guides and distribute them to the public without paying for Evernote’s fees. By referring me, you will also get a free month of Evernote Premium. Talk about a win-win!

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