Thursday, January 10, 2013

There is a bar here for a title. I will call this one squishy and it shall be my squishy.

Post numero dos! Hey there again, folks!

First off, thanks to the people who want to step up their game by reading my blog. It should be a lot of fun, well, mostly fun. It will also take a lot of playing and patience. I have been out of the loop a lot recently, so I apologize. Holidays happened, things slowed down a bit with AE, and then Torchlight 2 happened. I know, I know. I should get to posting online gameplay videos here pretty soon. I will keep you all posted with that.

Something I should have addressed in my first post
I read a few comments and questions in regards to what “cheese” is on Ranked SF4. A redditor pointed out as it being (and I am trying to paraphrase here): Using a move, either normal, special, super, or ultra, that is easily punishable OFFLINE and then following it up with another move that is invincible on its start-up frames as to avoid being punished. The goal of the, let us call him/her a cheeser, is to cover their tracks of being very negative on block or completely whiffing their previous move.

A perfect example of this is Ken’s LP Shoryuken, starting up in only 3 frames and being invincible throughout its entire start up, it can be a nightmare online. After being active for 11 frames, it recovers in 18+8, and -20 for Ken IF you block it overall. So
flowchart Ken players will use this to try and assert their dominance online by whiffing this in front of you or trying to punish one of your moves, and then using MP or HP Shoryuken right after. Usually if they use HP or EX Shoryuken they mean REAL SERIOUS BUSINESS.

Normally, the LP Shoryuken is easily punished offline. As Ryu or Akuma, I would walk up and use cr. LP to start a big punish. Such as Ryu’s cr. LP, cr./st. HP xx HP Shoryuken or cr. LP, cr./st. HP xx HK Tatsumaki if I want the ground advantage while zoning. When online, this might not fly, as lag tends to get the best of us. A move such as cr. LP might not come out soon enough, or the cr. LP link to the hard hitting normal might drop, and WHAM, we have a flaming Shoryuken for lunch.

I realize that I may have thrown some weird lingo at newer players and that might cause some confusion. I recently started to enjoy and linked on the subreddit sidebar (right of the page) is a handy list for users! If my explanation is not thorough enough, or want further explanations, check out this link over at Shoryuken (linked from
So. Much. Queso.
Like real cheese, online queso (cheese in Spanish) comes in many varieties. We have the Shoryuken Cheese full of mashing and fiery taste. It leaves a bit of a burning sensation after losing to it, typically ranging from mild to severe. We have the Kara-Throw Cheese (Ken/Vega), Shenanigan Cheese (I am looking at you, Oni), Shakunetsu Cheese, and I can keep making these up forever. Point being, there are many, many tactics online that can beat new players. It is not just limited to spamming special moves with invincibility like Ken’s LP Shoryuken, although that is largely the case. So what I will most likely do is compile a list of what characters like to do, how to bait it, and how to properly punish. A small note: In all honesty, if you are losing to really, really bad play over and over again--it ends up being your fault. Although hard to admit, that really is it. Luckily, it can be beat with patience and smarts, coupled with the know-how. So, what I should do is STOP (edit: read 'start' before) calling people 'bad' or 'cheesy' and just leave it at that. If you are better than they are, awesome--no need for strutting, right? Mrm. Idk. Just something I thought of post-almost publishing this post. Really, they do not know any better or are choosing to not improve--so who is winning here? You are, because you ARE choosing to be a better player and not denying yourself improvement.
Post-fight hindsights
As I am typing this I am watching my bro play on PSN and I just finished playing 3 games back to back (what a long session, eh?). The reason I stopped after my third game was because of the first Akuma player I fought. He pulled some stuff on me that of course, you guessed it, would only work online.

DirtyLittleBird Ryu vs Akuma

Round 1 - The Runaway Game
So, this was my first fight of the day. Not so bad, probably a mid ranged skill player. He plays the air fireball game while I do the ol’ walk-’n’-block and focus through. Focusing through Akuma’s fireballs can be a little risky as the opponent may try to Demon Flip Palm you or Demon Flip anything, really. Think of it as Ryu trying to get in on a Dhalsim, sometimes you have to give a little bit of stamina up just to reach them. When you get there, go to pound town.

Akuma’s beloved HK (far standing roundhouse) whiffs on a crouching Ryu on the second blocked hit. I believe Akuma must be at a certain distance in order for the second to hit you, but it is likely that the first kick of his roundhouse would whiff you first, so there is not much to worry about here. This is your cue. Punish liberally starting with cr. LP or cr. MP into a big, big combo. This will depend on your ability to react fast enough and how comfortable you feel with punishing. If you want to keep it short and sweet, give him some crouching jabs into sweep. I should have given him a crouching jab into crouching fierce and cancel into HP Shoryuken. Show him you mean business and beatdowns just so happen to be free today.

Once you take one of Akuma’s best normals away from him, he is either forced to footsie with you using cr. LP, cr. MP (his is very nice), and cr. MK along with cr. HK or play a runaway game. Both characters have good anti-air, so you should ONLY be jumping in to punish a badly spaced fireball.

This went on for the better part of the round, until I broke him. If you take away your opponent’s cheese tactic, you will win. I denied this Akuma’s ability to run away, and I showed him that I could out footsie him (read up on the terminology link posted earlier if some of these words are still fresh). We are both fullscreen from each other at the last moments of the fight. We exchange fireballs a few times. Reminder, I main Akuma, at this point, I know his every option. What does an Akuma that is scared, has a few bars of meter, and is fighting a Ryu do?

When trying to be baited into using a special move like hadoken by Akuma, it is best to feint (fake out) your special moves. I like to use st. LP and st. LK. You can also try doing the motion of a fireball but hitting st. LK instead of the punch. This will keep your opponent guessing. So, back to the match, this Akuma player stutters a few times, as if waiting for a fireball, and (S)HE JUST DOES IT. As expected, I am already crouching and waiting to see if it is a Demon Flip Palm, Throw, or Kick. Surely no one does the Slide online, right? I figure if I anti-air it, it will not have the opportunity to become the Slide. It turns out being the kick to try to stuff my cr. HP, but alas, I give the winning blow to this Akuma’s ankle. Shattering the nimble bones of his foot into dozens of pieces. I was pretty proud of myself for that one.

TL;DR for this round

  • Push Akuma into a corner and bully him once you are close/in
  • Be wary of his Shoryuken and always consider his teleport as an option for escape
  • Punish Akuma’s far standing HK--the second hit will whiff on a crouched Ryu
  • Desperate times call for desperate measures. Is that how it goes? Punish his Demon Flip whenever possible. Either go air-to-air (Ryu’s j.HK is SO good) or be ready to counter with cr. HP or Shoryuken.

Round 2 - Shakunetsu Shenanigans
This guy/gal did not seem to learn much or try to adapt for the second round. I notice my opponent buffering (openly, tsk tsk) Ultra 1 throughout the fight. Just a note for Akuma players, do not buffer your Ultra 1 openly. It shows your opponent exactly what you are thinking, trying to infer some sort of tactic, or something along those lines. Just keep it in your back pocket, okay? Cool. It will come in handy later, trust me.

I gain ground on him quickly and do some good damage. Again, we are at the end of the match. About the time when bad players start to crack and rely on their one last hope. Surely they must be thinking, “I cannot die with this ultra meter that is ON FIRE. I must use it. I must use it. I must use it. If I lose because I used it, that is fine--I was going to lose any other way. If I win, well, that would be cool, too. It would totally tick off that Ryu.”

My opponent knows better than to Demon Flip at me now, as I demonstrated in the first round. After exchanging fireballs, he uses a Shakunetsu hadoken. You know, the red one that either has 1, 2, or 3 durability if you use LP, MP, or HP, respectively? Yep. I do not want to guess what strength he used, so instead of BLOCKING it like I should have, I neutral jump.

Bad choice, man. Bad choice.

I was not even in danger of being chipped out, so I do not know why I chose to jump over it. My opponent reacted at my neutral jump with a FULL SCREEN ULTRA 1. Who. Does. That? A little bit of me died when I landed only to be greeted by the ever so awesome, “DIE ONE THOUSAND DEATHS!” that Akuma loves to shout out. Listen to it again and it sounds like he says, “I like sau-sa-ges!” I kid you not. I hope I did not ruin that for you. That is why I play mostly with the Japanese voice overs.

TL;DR and “what if” standpoint

Almost always block Akuma’s Shakunetsu Hadoken unless you can jump over it safely to punish him. What I could have done is maybe, just maybe, have used EX Tatsumaki in the air to prevent me from landing right into his Ultra 1, but I did not think of it then. EX Tatsumaki keeps you airborne longer, thus potentially avoiding being grabbed.
My other matches of the day
I played against an A rank E. Honda and a C rank Sagat, both over the 3000PP line. They played fair, and although I beat them without much trouble, they were not the cheesing type. I did get an awesome anti-air Ultra 1 as Akuma on the Honda. At some point I will try to make a compilation video of just how useful Akuma’s Ultra 1 is.

I chose to not write about these fights because they played very straightforward, and would not offer much help here. Really it was they got out-footsied, made poor jumping attempts, and did not block my mix-ups properly.
Ranked PSN observations
I spent more time watching my brother play and trying to coach him without trying to sound so abrasive. Most of the bad play from players I see is from the folks he plays on PSN. I know there are bad players on XBL and PSN, it is just that I see less of those players on my account because of our difference in skill. Something I saw today and will blog more about in the near future is just how effective Focus Attacks are at the lower levels. They really are good, but you can beat them easily by grabbing your opponent out of the charge, using a special move that has armor breaking properties, or even using your ultra! This goes back to something I mentioned earlier, if you can break your opponent and take away their method of winning--you may as well call it a done deal, because usually 2 or 3 rounds is not enough time for them to adjust.

Other things I see a lot are constantly jumping over your opponent and landing cross-up and going into low normals. Over and over again. Using a Shoryuken or cr. HP is kind of iffy in this case, though it could work if timed properly. My advice to that sort of tactic is just to Focus Attack and dash in the opposite direction of your opponent’s jump. This will put some space between you and your opponent and will give you time to even the situation. If your opponent jumps again, it will not be a cross-up, so punish accordingly.

Do not let your opponent find a weakness in your gameplay. If they grab you once, they will keep trying it until you prove to them that you can tech their grabs or find another way out of them. The more something becomes apparent, the more and more online warriors will try to abuse you for a win. Tick throws are a big one online, but again, I hope to spend more time on this topic a little later.
Update days and days later
I had this typed up a long time ago. Probably over a week ago. I am not so sure why I did not upload it. Maybe because I felt I did not have enough material or advice to post something worthy. Either way, it is long overdue, so here it is.

I will have to opt for posting things when I feel I hit a new level, concepts, match-ups, all while still sticking to the main purpose of the blog.

I am almost always around on SF4.reddit, so feel free to ask away here or there. Thanks fellas.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Introduction: First Post! Shinnkuuuuuu...

About Me
Greetings! DirtyLittleBird here. Thanks for checking this out. I am a long time video game fan that grew up on NES, Sega, SNES, all the way to present-day consoles. A long time Street Fighter fan, playing SF2 Turbo a few years after its release, MVC2 (among many other fighters), and playing SSFIV in late 2009/early 2010. I bought my TE fight stick after being far too frustrated as a pad warrior for a few weeks and my friend beating me down with Ryu again and again.

I quickly became committed to improving.

Fast forward about three years, I am working on the post-3000PP climb and I main a B+ Akuma with a secondary B rank Ryu. On the side or for casuals, I enjoy playing Seth, Ken, Oni, Sakura, Evil Ryu and anyone who has style combos, some vortex or is a mix-up heavy character. I like flashy. Except Cammy, screw Cammy. amiright?

Since 2009 or 2010, whenever I started playing, I have played against hundreds of players, mainly online but a lot of offline as well. I have over 4,000 Ranked matches under my belt (lots of wins and lots of losses), so believe me when I say I know what online XBL cheese is.
That is going to be the main focus of this blog--how to survive the battle of trying to be more of an honest online warrior, rather than a salty online warrior. In other words, I want to help beginner to intermediate-level players step up their game against the online crowd. Unfortunately I will only be able to offer advice to shoto players. Good thing 85% of PSN and XBL plays them.

I do not want to make it seem like online is only filled with really bad players. This is mainly in the beginning stages, more like 0PP-1000PP. My brother and I have concluded that these players do not really have good resources to help them improve, so they become one-trick-ponies online because IT WORKS. How frustrating, right? Believe it or not, PSN and XBL do have some good fighters. I have been bodied (read: BEAT DOWN) by amazing players. Players like Strider801, LapChi, gozuso, etc., you name it. The big dogs around XBL, you can say. If you can beat these guys, props to you--because I sure can’t yet (I did beat gozuso once...).

I am sure this may read as way too confusing, or with unnecessary information, but I am a mixture of excited, nervous, and very ready to talk about SSF4 AE 2012! Please just deal with me for a bit if it seems rocky, once I get the hang of this the posts should start coming together more and more.

Okay, whew, that is out of the way! I promise I will not make long self-posts like this again.

My Intentions

The main reason behind this blog is an effort to aid my brother who recently picked up SSF4 AE 2012. He has been out of the loop since the days of SF2 Turbo and MVC2. I also figure I can help other new players while I am at it. I have noticed a lot of folks who probably picked up the game or received it as a gift over the holidays.

Very recently I have been watching my brother play people on PSN. Note that he just started playing SSF4 AE 2012 and I have three years of experience playing this game. It is he and my eldest brother that taught me the ways of the shoto fighters (back in the SF2 days), so this is kind of like giving thanks. A lot of the time I am biting my nails when he lands an anti-air LP shoryuken and he has ultra 1 stocked. It is rather exciting, but on the downside, I really dislike watching bad players cheese him. I dislike it a lot. Enough to want to start this for him and other newcomers.

So that really set this off. No newcomer fighter with a good fighting-game background shall be cheesed again! Hopefully. Or I hope that the advice I give is enough to make you and other folks better players.

I am going to kick things off with a very unusual Ryu vs X (where X is each individual character) match-up guide and how to deal with the ONLINE CHEESE that plagues low-level play! It will not be like your usual SRK match-up thread. Although the SRK match-up threads are helpful, it is not going to help you improve if you cannot get passed the bad players who wake-up ultra, jam shoryuken through dropped links, and who all around have no sense of what an honest match feels like.

After that, I will write a similar Akuma vs X match-up guide for every character. However, for newcomers I would recommend Ryu as a first and picking up Akuma later.
My Intentions: What I Want to Cover. Tatsuuuumaki Our Way to Victory!

As I mentioned earlier, I want to write mostly about how to deal with the majority of these bad online warriors. I have so many ideas for this blog that I am bound to run into trouble trying to categorize everything. Maybe at the header of each post I will give a description to the level of players I am trying to reach out to with a summary of the focus. So something like:

Player Level: 1 to 2, where 1 is the lowest and 5 is the highest.
Focus: How Properly Anti-Air with Ryu
Summary: Ryu has many anti-air normals (cr. HP, cr. MP, st. LK, etc.) and his shoryuken special move to get it.

I realize that all of this information already exists and can be found on websites like Shoryuken, EventHubs, or on videos from YouTube--but I think I want something that is mine. It is going to be my advice and what I have found out by applying my many battles and match-up knowledge from that.

I can understand if people do not find this information useful, whether you are too high-leveled or simply do not want to read it. I want to direct this information to those who are just starting with the game or still cannot apply what they know effectively in battle. If you like it, awesome. That is why I am doing this. If it does not apply to you, but maybe a friend or someone else you know would benefit from this? Link it! I guess what I want to say is that whole bit with the “If you don’t have anything nice to say...” You know what I mean. That aside, I do welcome constructive criticism and what not. I just do not want salt all up in my cupboard. Nawmean?

All this information aside, I will post higher-level tactics, such as my favorite--using Akuma’s Ultra 1 Wrath of the Raging Demon as an anti-air in high-pressure situations. It will be a good mix-up (har har har) to posts about low-level play on PSN and XBL. I will also be happy to reply to questions from visitors. Let us discuss your videos (link them from YouTube), chat about your Ryu vs X or Akuma vs X match-up trouble, and so on!

Lastly, a worthy mention of my good friend Tom (XBL: xXHootingtonXx)--Tom plays a very strong “poke-you-and-kara-grab-you-to-death” Vega. Tom has great knowledge of Vega and other charge characters. He also has good knowledge of XBL, most recently at 3000+PP and a B+ Vega. He has graciously offered to contribute posts for my blog. For a peek of a highlight reel of his gameplay, check out this video: Tom's Vega Clip
For a quick highlight video of my gameplay, check out this video: Me lookin' good fighting a 'Gief.

I will be uploading other fights or clips of certain situations when they become relevant to a post.

If you read all of this, I wish I could pat you on the back. Sorry for the excruciatingly long first post. After rereading this a million times, I did not see anything that I wanted take out. I am looking forward to updating this often. Check back every now and then for a good dose of how to not get salty while playing online!

WELP. I think that is all I wanted to put out there for now. Keep fighting the good fight, fellow fighters. DirtyLittleBird out.