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Strategy Improving- A Thread

CrazyFingers

IT HAS BEGUN!
Moderator
IT'S ME AGAIN GUYS

This is a thread I've been wanting to make for awhile and seeing how MK11 is just on the horizon, there will be a lot of people on that grind and wanting to become a better player. There are a plethora of ways to do this but there are also a lot of ways you probably shouldn't do it so without further ado, here's the thread.


Primer For Improving
I get asked a decent amount, how do I 'git gud'? The answer to this question is one that I personally have been searching for as long as I can remember and to make it short, this question has no straight answer. If you want to improve as a player it requires a ton of time a dedication. The following are a few bullet points to work on that I will go into in further detail as the thread goes.
  • Reviewing footage
  • Asking questions
  • Using Practice Mode effectively
  • Staying objective
  • PLAY THE GAME
Now there are obviously a lot of more nuanced and numerous methods of improving but these, in my opinion, are the most important and therefore are the ones I will be going over.


Reviewing Footage (And What to Do With It)
These methods aren't necessarily ordered in most to least important as I feel they're all equally important in their own way. However, this is one I see people do the LEAST and that is no good. In order to improve your gameplay you need to know what needs improving. This requires review and picking out what you're doing wrong. Now, how do you exactly do that? You have to note the areas in which you're getting hit. Usually you getting thrown into a disadvantageous situation is due to you making a mistake and getting hit so pay close attention to those moments. Are you jumping too much? Using a button too often in one scenario and are becoming predictable? Things like this and more are big reasons some people keep not improving. These bad habits can be corrected however through a lot of ways but these habits will not be corrected over the course of one match or even one set. This will take extensive amounts of noting your mistakes and working on them bit by bit. Two areas that people suffer with the most I find is anti-airing and jumping, funnily enough. Since these are the two biggest problems people can have I will go over those but if there are any other situations needed please to ask in the comments below.

Practicing Anti-Airs
Anti-airing consistently can be pretty hard depending on the pace of the game and the jump ins/anti-air options represented. This is also something that really can't be dealt with in training mode since an opponent can jump at any moment and simply putting the AI on jump doesn't quite prepare you for those moments. The best way I have personally found to practice anti-airing is to focus on it for awhile. When you're playing neutral you have a lot to pay attention to usually. Whiff punishing, jumping fireballs, punishing certain things and of course, anti-airing. It can be hard to anti-air consistently if you're focusing on ground game really hard or thinking about reads to get in on your opponent so try focusing on the top part of the screen more than the bottom. This doesn't mean forgo your ground game entirely but have moments where you split your focus a little more in favor of anti-airing. Eventually you will learn how to balance it all out and your anti-airs will hopefully become more consistent in general.

Stop Jumping
This is a much MUCH simpler issue to fix but can be a bit hard for you to kick if its been an issue for awhile. If you have a problem with jumping too much you simply...don't jump. At all. Go into a game with the mindset of "i'm not going to jump at all this game." this will force you to learn how to approach on the ground and will slowly improve your ground game and make you feel less inclined to jump in on your opponent. This will also make it so you know the good places to jump, making your jumps more potent overall.

In Closing
There are a TON of habits that can cause you to (EDIT: LOL MOPPED BY THE FILTER!) in a match, if there are any other habits you guys have questions on kicking, please let me know in the comments and I will try my best to help. Do note however that a lot of habits can really be put into similar categories as these two.



Asking Questions
This is HIGHLY important and there's a reason I told you to ask questions in this thread already. Be sure to always, and I mean ALWAYS, ask questions when you have them. If you leave a set confused, feel free to ask your opponent questions. Now they won't always answer and that's okay because asking yourself a question is equally important. Have questions that no one seems to be able to answer? Ask yourself the very same questions and search for those answers. Maybe you don't know how to approach a specific matchup or you don't know how to deal with certain tools. Go look for footage of people playing the matchups, note what they're doing and then proceed to try and apply similar techniques to your own gameplay. This is a fairly short section but equally important to everything else because you need answers to questions or you'll be clueless.


Using Practice Mode Effectively
This is one of the most important parts because in order to answer your asked questions, you need to do research and sometimes that research happens in the lab. This is probably the most broad bullet point on this list but it's still worth going over. In order to truly use training mode to its maximum potential you need to know what you're looking for, usually. Having issue punishing something? Set the AI to do that something and then immediately block. Then you try to punish it. The lab can be used for such a plethora of things but all of it comes down to practice making perfect. Practice mode is where you will practice your combos, where you'll practice your punishes, where you'll look into the spacing of certain moves and whatnot. Like I said this is a very broad topic that could honestly have its own thread but I wanted to touch on the importance of this, any questions please direct them below.


Staying Objective
To be perfectly honest, this is the hardest one on the list for a lot of people. We all have our own biases and excuses we load up for when we lose but if you truly want to improve, you have to leave ALL of that at the door. Understand when you fucked up, understand that blaming things like your character or the matchup will not make you better it will just make you complacent in losing and that is something that can NOT happen. Complacency and bias are the tools of destroying skillful players and will make you plateau harder than anything. Take things as they are and proceed to ask how to improve upon your flaws, how to beat that bad matchup, how to make that 'bad' character work. The answers to these questions are plethoric in nature. Stay objective and true to the situation, that's the key to the biggest lock you've got.


PLAY. THE. GAME.
This seems like a given to a lot of, if not all of you, but you would be surprised. You can do all this research, answer all these questions and spend hours or even DAYS inside the lab and it won't mean anything if you don't actually apply it. This is the meat and potatoes of improvement and if you are truly serious about being a strong competitor, you have to give most of if not all of your free time to this. Play the game as often as you can and when you're not playing the game, you're doing the rest of the bullets listed here.


Final Thoughts
Fighting games are truly, one of the hardest and most dedication soaked things you can do. If you want to be the best, you have to have the game envelop a lot of your life. Consistency is the key to survival in this town. Even if you're not looking to be super competitive and simply want to improve gradually, this thread will be helpful (hopefully) to you. If you have any questions about any points here or just want conversation about this topic, please do comment!
 

CrazyFingers

IT HAS BEGUN!
Moderator
Good thread. You might want to add a point though. Watching youtube videos of pro players playing the character you're trying to learn should also be part of the process in my opinion.
That's included in the 'asking questions" section but I will state, if you need to learn a character that's a very good way to do it aside from just learning via playing.
 

Wam-Zlay

Noob / Reptile / Grodd / Sub Zero
Well i guess the most important things are mentioned. I'd add something like appreciate criticism and don't be afraid to lose. Sometimes i just jump into the game and play as long as i win. Instantly quitting when i lost a game. that's probably really bad behavior and i have to stop that :D.

imo this is not only related to fighting games. Some things can help you in rl as well.
 
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Wam-Zlay

Noob / Reptile / Grodd / Sub Zero
yeah definitely!
wamzlay speaks from his own experience since he was defeated countless times by me in mk9 !!


:*
Haha I guess my mk9 stats would be a nice example. we (roomate+me) probably had like 1k/5k in the first year. We leveled up a lot though and had 50/50% in the end :D
 

Vslayer

I'm a gril
Moderator
Premium Supporter
I think, if anything, learning how to properly anti-air can really make you a better player overall. Especially in games like IJ2, D2s can give you good combo opportunities.

Great thread.
 

CrazyFingers

IT HAS BEGUN!
Moderator
@CrazyFingers
how about you ask several top competitors about the topics in this thread to gather information?
Might be doable, might look into doing that.

I think, if anything, learning how to properly anti-air can really make you a better player overall. Especially in games like IJ2, D2s can give you good combo opportunities.

Great thread.
AAs are absurdly important in every game since if they didnt exist, do you know how often people would jump? It would be nightmarish.
 

CrazyFingers

IT HAS BEGUN!
Moderator
Biggest thing I struggle with is blocking.
Blocking and being forced into a mixup situation can feel really bad whether it be eating plus frames or staggers, shit like that can cause you to panic and mash which can get you killed a lot of the time. A good way to practice blocking is to turn it into your default strategy and try to react to the things you can react to. Obviously there will be places where you cant react and you have to make a read but the key is to break your defense down into reaction based and read based. Dont make reads more often than you react to things (this depends on the character you're fighting in my experience but in general you probably want it to be like this.) Picking up on a player's habits also helps with blocking since you know where your opponent wants to place buttons/pressure ideas. Hope this helped.
 

Eldagrin

Add me on PS4 if you want to play some games
As someone who loves to record and rewatch matches and spends too much time in practice mode, I approve of this thread. Welcome back Crazy.
 

CrazyFingers

IT HAS BEGUN!
Moderator
As someone who loves to record and rewatch matches and spends too much time in practice mode, I approve of this thread. Welcome back Crazy.
You can almost never spend too much time in training mode as long as you're playing and applying knowledge you found in the lab. Good to be back.
 

STB Sgt Reed

Online Warrior
Premium Supporter
How do you make yourself lab? lol

That's my biggest problem, because I want to be a competent player, but I'm also playing to have fun. And sitting in the lab isn't fun. Anything I've ever learned since MK9 has been by just playing the game and finding out what works during matches.
 

Marlow

Premium
Premium Supporter
How do you make yourself lab? lol

That's my biggest problem, because I want to be a competent player, but I'm also playing to have fun. And sitting in the lab isn't fun. Anything I've ever learned since MK9 has been by just playing the game and finding out what works during matches.
Even just doing a quick 5-10 minutes when you first start playing can make a difference. Like if you plan on playing for an hour, try spending the first 5-10 minutes working on something you'd like to get better at. Executing a combo, practicing spacing, working on hit confirms, anti-airs, whatever. That's my plan, at least.
 

STB Sgt Reed

Online Warrior
Premium Supporter
Even just doing a quick 5-10 minutes when you first start playing can make a difference. Like if you plan on playing for an hour, try spending the first 5-10 minutes working on something you'd like to get better at. Executing a combo, practicing spacing, working on hit confirms, anti-airs, whatever. That's my plan, at least.
I didn't even think about that, obviously I did learn all my combos in training mode (so I haven't learned everything I know by playing matches), but I meant labbing the other things like getting out of pressure, anti-airs, what's punishable or not, etc.
 

Marlow

Premium
Premium Supporter
I'm a big fan of Gief's Gym. You can find it on Reddit, otherwise you can also purchase an E-book pretty cheap. It was obviously written as more of a Street Fighter guide, but most of the lessons can easily be adapted for any other fighting game. He has a ton of drills you can set up in practice mode to practice different game elements. I'm probably going to set up my own personal "practice mode" routine, just to try and work on some things.
 

CrazyFingers

IT HAS BEGUN!
Moderator
I didn't even think about that, obviously I did learn all my combos in training mode (so I haven't learned everything I know by playing matches), but I meant labbing the other things like getting out of pressure, anti-airs, what's punishable or not, etc.
You really just gotta do it ya know? What Marlow said is pretty good even just a little bit of time in the lab can really help but you dont want that to be too little of time. I love the lab so this hasnt really been a problem for me but essentially how I look at it is if I dont have anyone to play at that moment, why not lab?
 

phnmnl

Noob
I didn't want to create a new thread in order to get some advice and this one seemed the most appropriate as it's titled "Improving".

In the lab I can hit my BNBs 9 out of 10 times but online I seem to press extra buttons and drop combos constantly. Last night I would have played maybe 50 games and hit my BNB maybe 1 out of 10 tries. Sometimes I'll bait for a whiff punish successfully and hit the first two buttons in a combo then drop the rest.

Furthermore in the lab I can hit confirm into my launcher or safe on blocks, but can't seem to see it online at all.

I guess I'm asking for those with experience fixing these issues, what was the most beneficial strategy to get beyond the involuntary mashing and over pressing buttons when under stress?