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Tips for Improving in MK11

Juggs

Lose without excuses
Lead Moderator
I’ve made articles in the past for improving as a player. Namely two that got pretty good feedback. I made them a very long time ago but the advice still holds true today. You can check them out in the Fighting Philosophy sub forum. Here’s a link to one of them: https://testyourmight.com/threads/tips-on-becoming-a-better-player-part-1-how-losing-helps-you-get-better.3674/

Now onto MK11. MK11 has been out around a month or so now and I’ve already spent more time on it than any other NRS game. I absolutely love it, and cannot wait for the DLC. Anyway, I’ve noticed a lot of people struggling to improve or aren’t sure how to. So I’d figure I’d make this thread in hopes that it can help those who need it. In this thread I will offer my advice, but feel free to contribute as well. I’m not claiming to be a godlike player, just wanting to help.

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Practicing Execution:

Practicing your execution is very crucial in MK11, and in fighting games in general. It doesn’t matter how easy a combo is, in real matches it’s easy to drop your combos if you don’t have tight execution. Personally, I spend at least an hour everyday in training mode working on my combos for my 3 characters. This means my BnB’s, corner combos, and converting random hits into as much damage as possible. This also means practicing Krushing Blow combos and Fatal Blow combos. I realize practicing the same combos for hours on end everyday will get boring, but the payoff is invaluable.

Having consistent execution is something that separates good players from great players. You need to be able to punish your opponent for their mistakes with the max possible damage for any given hit. I realize online play can be inconsistent and hard to land every single combo. But if you put a lot of time into your execution, you’ll be able to consistently perform your combos even online.

So what I normally do is do the same combo on one side until I get it 10/10 times. Then I switch sides and again keep doing it until I get it 10/10 times. This can take some time depending on the combo. But it’s important that you practice on BOTH sides. I continue this process for all my combos, then I’m done with my execution practice for the day.

Learning to Tech Throws:

Throws are ridiculously good in MK11. They have a 10f startup, and it becomes a 50/50 after the grab connects. You must press 2 or 4 to tech a forward throw, and 1 or 3 to tech a backwards throw. There is a pseudo option select for this, but the timing is VERY strict that it’s almost not worth doing. What you’re supposed to do is press 1, 2 in succession. The timing is very strict as I said, I haven’t been able to consistently pull it off. If anyone has any advice on the option select, please share.

So how I practice teching throws is again in training mode. I’ll have the AI do a block string into a throw. Of course it’s a 50/50, but you need to be able to react to the throw even if you end up teching wrong. Also, in a match it’s not too hard to predict what throw the opponent will do. Mid screen it’s kinda hard, but if you’re near the corner even a little bit, that’s generally the direction you will be thrown. Again, this is generally, some players will give up the corner just to land the throw.

There’s no way, other than the option select, to tech throws 100% of the time since they are a 50/50. But you should always be ready to tech a throw.

Another option is if you read a throw, to duck it then full combo punish. You can do a D2 KB, or do just a regular combo. One interesting thing to note is the throw doesn’t have a lot of active frames, meaning you can duck very quickly and it will avoid the throw. Here’s an example:

Throws are definitely the most powerful tool in MK11. And even if you practice teching them 24/7, that doesn’t mean you will be able to tech them all the time. The goal is being able to react to a throw and attempt a tech. Or to be able to read a throw and full combo punish!

Learning the Fundamentals:

Know your fundamentals of your character. First thing I learn is all my anti air options. For instance, for Searing Rage Scorpion. Full screen jump in can be punished with a spear or teleport when timed correctly. Furthest jump in away that actually can connect to me, I can anti air with s4, Death Spin, Spear, Teleport, or I can whiff punish/trip guard the jump landing recovery for a full combo. For a closer jump in, I can do s3, uppercut, s1, etc. You get the idea. You have to know your characters anti airs, the ranges where they work the best, and WHEN to press the anti air. If you mistime your anti air, it can easily be stuffed or whiff completely. This is something that you again need to practice a lot. In training mode and in real matches. Jump ins are very strong in MK11, so having your anti airs down is absolutely essential. Once you consistently punish someone’s jump in attempts, you’ll notice they will jump way more rarely because of it, which is the goal.

Learn spacing and footsies:

Spacing and footsies are a crucial part of the meta in MK11. You must know your characters max ranges, and your opponents. For instance vs Baraka’s lunging command grab variation. I know the max range of the lunging overhead and the lunging command grab. I will walk in and out of that range to bait it out from my opponent. And once they do it I whiff punish. This is something that is MU dependent but you also need to know your characters ranges perfectly. You also must learn how to punish pokes as well. This is definitely harder to do since most pokes are really quick and have long range. With Searing Rage Scorpion, I can punish pokes with Death Spin. The good thing about Death Spin is not every character can punish it on block if spaced correctly.

Knowing what can and cannot be punished.

Knowing frame data is beneficial in a lot of ways. The most important aspect is knowing what is safe, punishable, and plus on block. It’s also important to know hit advantage. Hit advantage is how many frames you have on hit where the opponent cannot do anything.

One common thing I see people get abused by is D1’s. They will block a D1 and continue to block. Once you block a D1 it’s your turn. If they D1 on block into another D1, you have several options, also depends on your character. You can D1, D3, D4 etc as a counter poke. You can walk back and whiff punish. For certain characters like Jacqui, you can f3 into a full combo, etc.

Even if they D1 and then block, it’s still your turn. You can either still counterpoke, or start your pressure.

Here’s a quick example:

BUT, if their D1 hits, you have to block the follow up. This is a big mistake I see people making all the time. They will get hit by a D1 or even a D3, and not block the follow up. Most D1’s have at least a +10 hit advantage, some have even higher. You cannot avoid the followup unless the opponent somehow mistimes it. So just block the followup then go from there!

This is all I have for now. I have more stuff I’ll add later on. Also as I said, please feel free to contribute! Any contribution will be added to this OP with a credit.
 

Eddy Wang

Skarlet scientist
Analyse every single match you lose, see what was giving you trouble, replicate in the practice mode to find a weakness, look a the frame data of that particular instance. If you find a dead end, get on TYM and find help.
 

Juggs

Lose without excuses
Lead Moderator
Just keep playing the game as well. Your going to make a ton of mistakes and you learn best by playing people who are on the same skill or above you.
Yeah practice makes perfect.

There’s a lot of general advice I could give, but I wanted this to be more specific to MK11.
 

CO-KANO

psn: UNFUCxWITABLE_1
Premium Supporter
I need help with footsies, most of the time im rushdown but if my opponent starts backing up or dashing forward or step back it fucks me up, i
 

Juggs

Lose without excuses
Lead Moderator
I need help with footsies, most of the time im rushdown but if my opponent starts backing up or dashing forward or step back it fucks me up, i
Well the issue is that in a bad connection, footsies are nearly impossible. So basically anything above 80 ping, footsies are very hard to pull off.

But in order to practice them, go into games with primarily playing footsies in mind. Do not worry about winning or losing, just worry about improving your footsies.
 

Juggs

Lose without excuses
Lead Moderator
You can also jump after a blocked D1, but it isn’t a punish. But if they D1, D1 they will most likely have to block the jump in.
 

ZeroSymbolic

Human Thumb
Play with a live human. You can learn a little bit against the CPU and through online play, but being able to lab with another live human being will make you better faster than anything else you can do.
 
Analyse every single match you lose, see what was giving you trouble, replicate in the practice mode to find a weakness, look a the frame data of that particular instance. If you find a dead end, get on TYM and find help.
A lot of people are unaware that you can watch your last 10-15 matches via "Match Replays" on your Kombat Kard too. You'll spot a lot of your own mistakes watching your own matches after.
 

OzzFoxx

Hardcore gaming poser.
Premium Supporter
Jump-ins are strong but they are a red line in the sand between low and intermediate players. The skill required to get in is something that takes a long time to develop. Using jump-ins is a bad habit that will significantly stunt your growth in this area. Focus on spacing and safe/mid strings to close the gap. Even try entire matches without jumping. When you get good at closing the gap on the ground, throws become a monster tool in your arsenal.
 

xenogorgeous

How could you tell?
Premium Supporter
to train, to train more, to train harder ... just like any competitive thing in life, hehe :p
 

kcd117

Noob
Resource management is very important in this game as well.

I had several tournament matches where I stole rounds I had no business winning just bc people let me live with 2 or 3% instead of spending that KB or FB to seal the deal. I also had instances where people spent FBs and KBs to make a comeback on my Kotal when they knew the moment they lost their turn I’d praise the sun and melt their magic pixel.

Meter awareness falls in the same category imo. The amount of people that wake up neutral jump 3 bc they didn’t notice they were out of resources is alarming, almost as many as the people that respect stuff like Noob’s slide after the first hit when I have no bar to amplify it.

Things like that come with time but I still see some top players spending their launcher KBs when the opponent has breakaway ready, breaking away from 15% combos and giving free oki, etc.
 

Marlow

Premium
Premium Supporter
Something I've always found helpful is a series on youtube called "Think, Don't Mash" which talks about coming up with a gameplan using "five-ish" moves. It's done in the context of SFV, but the same concepts can be applied to pretty much any fighting game.

Basically, when you're starting out try and come up with a very simplified gameplan, and limit yourself to using about 5-6 moves or things to do. Once you can start doing those things well, or once you start hitting situations where your 5-6 moves aren't working anymore, then you can start adding more specific moves for those specific situations.

 

HiddenSelectCounterPick

Kaiōken
Premium Supporter
Mk Tom Brady had some videos up before he deleted them about getting better.

It was during INJ2 timeframe.

The basis was to use what works and dont throw unsafe stuff out because your staggers and mixes aren't working. If its not working play neutral.

I wish he didn't delete them.
 

Kindred

Let Be Be Finale Of Seem
My BIGGEST issue is throw techs. I can't tech for shit it's borderline embarrassing.

I will however tech almost every back throw because my right thumb's default position is to hover over the S1 button so as soon as I get grabbed, my reflex is to press down on S1. That also means I fail escapes quite easily.

To properly tech throws, I see it as a 2 step process as soon as you get grabbed:
  1. Decide which direction you will be thrown based on distance from the corner & previous patterns of the opponent
  2. Press S1 or S2 accordingly
My problem is that when I get grabbed, I don't have time to do Step 1 because my reflex to press S1 kicks in immediately. I dont feel I have enough time to think of step 1 because the window to tech feels sooo small.

Maybe someone knows how long the window actually is or how I can improve. I definitely need to break this reflex which is very hard because it's so ingrained at this point
 

Zviko

Noob
Just like the poster above, teching throws is sci fi for me. I don't think I've intentionally teched a single one since release and I pretty much play every day lol. But I got a lot better at reading them so ducking is the way to go for me. I think the problem is I always forget to release the block button when I try to tech. And I just can't fix that.
 

M2Dave

Zoning Master
Royal Contributor
Maybe someone knows how long the window actually is or how I can improve. I definitely need to break this reflex which is very hard because it's so ingrained at this point
I had the same problem at the beginning of the game's lifespan.

As you stated correctly, you can escape throws on reaction, but the escape remains a 50/50 mix up. Certain auto-shimmy jab strings resemble the start up of a throw so distinguishing between the throw and the jab string is very difficult, which is why players keep getting hit by Baraka's 1,1,2, Cassie's and Nightwolf's 1,1,1, Shang Tsung's 1,1,4, etc.

In order to practice throw escapes, I suggest going into practice mode and recording one type of throw, forward or back, and a mid attack, beginning with a slower mid attack (i.e., 13 frames or slower). Set playback to random and try escaping the throw on reaction. Then add both throw types, forward and back, and train your brain to react to the escape with a specific button press (i.e., 1 or 2).
 

Kindred

Let Be Be Finale Of Seem
I had the same problem at the beginning of the game's lifespan.

As you stated correctly, you can escape throws on reaction, but the escape remains a 50/50 mix up. Certain auto-shimmy jab strings resemble the start up of a throw so distinguishing between the throw and the jab string is very difficult, which is why players keep getting hit by Baraka's 1,1,2, Cassie's and Nightwolf's 1,1,1, Shang Tsung's 1,1,4, etc.

In order to practice throw escapes, I suggest going into practice mode and recording one type of throw, forward or back, and a mid attack, beginning with a slower mid attack (i.e., 13 frames or slower). Set playback to random and try escaping the throw on reaction. Then add both throw types, forward and back, and train your brain to react to the escape with a specific button press (i.e., 1 or 2).
kk will do but now I have another question.
Since its a 50/50, setting the AI in this way will result in me getting it right 50% of the time over the long term.
But when you play against a human, there is an element of strategy (for example throwing towards the corner) that wont be present with the AI. So really Ill just be teching and hoping the AI's randomness generator threw me in that direction. How does that help me improve my teching? At best it will help me press the buttons on time but that isnt really my issue
 

Arqwart

Lean, mean, and +14
I've gotten a lot better at throw teaching since release, but that just resets neutral which isnt anywhere near as good as the micro ducking pros have been doing recently. I NEED to learn that timing of ducking without blocking for a bit to then punish whiffed throws.

Also, there's a couple Noob Saibot and Jax players on PC that have forcibly taught me to stop jumping so much so that's nice.
 

NaCl man

Welcome to Akihabara
kk will do but now I have another question.
Since its a 50/50, setting the AI in this way will result in me getting it right 50% of the time over the long term.
But when you play against a human, there is an element of strategy (for example throwing towards the corner) that wont be present with the AI. So really Ill just be teching and hoping the AI's randomness generator threw me in that direction. How does that help me improve my teching? At best it will help me press the buttons on time but that isnt really my issue
It's a guess. In the corner all you can do is make a read.
It's dumb if you ask me and that it leads to a KB is dumb.
There should be a difference in the animation for the forward and back throw imo
 

ryublaze

Noob
Premium Supporter
You can practice by setting ai to do two recordings 1. throw and 2. mid. Try to defend against both options. Once you can do that then I suggest trying in a real match and focus only on trying to tech throws. The more you practice it and can apply it in real matches the easier it'll be. And obv its a guess but you just have to be more aware of where you are on the screen and in your head you should always be thinking which button you need to press to tech
 

GLoRToR

You're my fan if you can't stop shitposting me.
I had the same problem at the beginning of the game's lifespan.

As you stated correctly, you can escape throws on reaction, but the escape remains a 50/50 mix up. Certain auto-shimmy jab strings resemble the start up of a throw so distinguishing between the throw and the jab string is very difficult, which is why players keep getting hit by Baraka's 1,1,2, Cassie's and Nightwolf's 1,1,1, Shang Tsung's 1,1,4, etc.

In order to practice throw escapes, I suggest going into practice mode and recording one type of throw, forward or back, and a mid attack, beginning with a slower mid attack (i.e., 13 frames or slower). Set playback to random and try escaping the throw on reaction. Then add both throw types, forward and back, and train your brain to react to the escape with a specific button press (i.e., 1 or 2).
Wasn't there an OS with inputting 21 on the right frame to tech both?