Saturday, 1 November 2014

DIY: SSBM Movement Drills (part 2/2)

DIY: SSBM Movement Drills (part 2)
AKA: Examining movement in SSBM as transitions between different action states.

Link to part 1.

SECTION B: Intermediate 
Implementing: Walk, Dash, Run

Just like before, we're gonna be numbering action states and giving a brief description. Now that we've gotten the bones out of the way, we can start getting into the fun stuff. SSBM is famous for the amount of control it gives to its players over their movement, and in this section we'll be integrating some of the staples into our drills. So turn on the stove 'cuz we're cooking with gas!

3 - Walk
Walk is the mobile version of stand; you have access to your whole kit, while moving in a direction. Walk builds momentum until it reaches its maximum (unless you artificially charge its momentum by leading into walk with something else; say, a wave-dash), which makes it somewhat awkward to use in combat (since leading in with a wave-dash or wave-land is a big cue, and it builds up slowly on its own).

The momentum you build this way carries over onto future actions -- a lot of characters' utilize this in moonwalking or certain edgehogs (most famously the "PC hog").

4 - Dash
Dash is very easily the most powerful movement form in the game because of how flexible it is: the ability to cancel itself with a turn-dash grants a player the ability to move forward with a variable distance while keeping the option to retreat. In a skilled player's hands, good control over dash becomes the ability to threaten without really committing. Extremely powerful action state.

The drawbacks are mostly that it limits one's access to their attacks (performing tilts, d-smash, f-smash, down-B, and neutral-B out of dash require extra steps) and you cannot immediately crouch out of it either. You're trading mobility for options.

5 - Run
Run is, in practical terms, like a more mobile version of walking (for anyone with a short dash). After dashing for X frames, a character enters a new state where they can cancel the running motion with crouch. An essential utility for characters who want to set up their ground tools, run is especially useful for characters with short dashes (like Sheik or Samus). 

Note: The frame where dash becomes run is determined by character -- consult the Index DRa or Index DRs at the bottom for more information.

So now we have several action states:

0 - Stand
1 - Turn
2 - Crouch
3 - Walk
4 - Dash
5 - Run

From here, we are going to convert those numbers into action sequences. Your goal is to perform each sequence below without error. You will also be allowing the control stick reset to neutral between each action (during the "0" the control stick should be centered).

Now since these action states have a bit more spice to them, some special rules:
  • When you're using Walk (3), you're going to be aiming to build up to maximum momentum (which means gradually sliding the stick from center to one side completely). And without entering dash. However, once you reach your maximum walking speed, you're gonna be stopping and moving onto the next action.
  • When you're using Dash (4), you simply tap the stick in one direction and allow your character's initial dash animation to complete. The only exception to this is if dash is followed by Run (5).
  • When you're using Run (5), it will almost always be followed by Crouch (2). To perform this transition, unlike other transitions we've done (where you release the stick) this one will be done by sliding the stick from the direction you're running in to down.

On offset, aim for accuracy (not speed; that comes later). Start slow if necessary. If you make a misstep (eg. dash instead of walk or you stumble during dash-turn-walk, etc.) then you have to do it over again.

There are admittedly a lot more sequences in this section so the same rules as last time apply:

  • Once you've created that sequence correctly, retry the drill but aim to go faster by reducing the amount of time spent on stand.
  • Don't cheat. Let the stick reset to neutral after each action you perform (with the aforementioned exception).
  • When you're satisfied with your result here, move onto the next sequence.

There are seven drills in total for this section:

[Sequence B1][0-3-0-1-0-3-0-1-0-3-0-1]

[Sequence B2][0-4-0-1-0-4-0-1-0-4-0-1]

[Sequence B3][0-4-0-3-0-1-0-4-0-3-0-1-]

[Sequence B4][0-4-0-2-0-1-0-4-0-2-0-1]

[Sequence B5][0-4-5-2-0-1-0-4-2-0-1]

[Sequence B6][0-4-5-2-0-3-0-4-5-2-0-3]

[Sequence B7][0-4-5-2-0-4-0-1-0-4-5-2-0-4-0-1]

Intermediate Drills Completed.
Congratulations! You're probably noticing there's a lot of places where you can feasibly slot options you didn't consider before: this is part of how you establish threat with your movement and create opportunities to condition your opponent. By understanding all the opportunities you have where you can feasibly put an option, and utilizing that, you can send a number of signals to your opponent to force them to react to your movement openers. And you'll look very pretty while doing it.

In Closing:
The article may stop here, but the fun doesn't. I've just covered the basics with these drills. And now that you've finished my drills, you have all the tools you need to go off and make your own. Here are some additional action states to help you get started:

6 - Wave-dash
Commits you as you move towards the opponent, so it's not generally useful for approaching someone (though it situationally can work). That said, it's great for creating space and gives you access to your entire kit after its startup (startup is character's jump startup + 10).

7 - Shield
Interesting action state, usually a last resort for most characters. In general if you can solve a situation with movement, it's better to do that. That said, shielding to draw grabs is probably one of the oldest lures in the game.

8 - Jump (off ground)
Comes in SH and FJ heights. Lots of ways to customize the amount of horizontal distance you travel.

9 - Wave-land
Commits you to 10 frames of landing lag, but it provides an interesting utility. Primarily a means of protecting your landing & repositioning from an airborne state. One of the major perks of it is that when you slip off a platform (or similar surface) with a wave-land, you go into an airborne state -- this can therefore be used to cut down on the 10 frames of lag.

10 - Double-jump
More height, usually in exchange for horizontal momentum. Useful for trickier setups. Defensively misunderstood -- it doesn't actually solve a bad position by itself.

Have fun, and enjoy!!

Index DRa / DRs (frame data by SuperDoodleMan)
Index DRa
The frame where Dash becomes Run
(sorted alphabetically)
Index DRs
The frame where Dash becomes Run
(sorted by speed, aka earliest frame)

Monday, 27 October 2014

DIY: SSBM Movement Drills (Part 1/2)

Hi guys, it's me again. I'm back from Big House 4 (which was amazing, by the way). Small update on life: Life is good. Finally got a job as an Alarm Monitor for a security company, which is awesome. Been trying to make time to practice despite this shift (they have been very generous with hours) so there's a bit of adjustment still, but in general I'm finding myself very refreshed & motivated lately. I felt so motivated, in fact, that I decided to log in here & see where I was with my numerous incomplete projects. Upon doing so, I was greeted by no less than six half-finished articles, desperately crying out for attention. So here I am, ready to resume the grind.

For those who are following me on Twitter (@kirbykaze_):

No, this is not the controversial article that I announced during the contest on twitter. Admittedly, I underestimated the scope of the topic and despite my large knowledge base there's still a lot of research that needs to be done. Namely digging into old records and compiling statistics (for those still speculating about what it's about, that's a clue). So while I continue to work on that, I decided I'd finish some of the less daunting ones in the interim.

The Origin of this Article:
The idea behind this article is directly the result of a conversation between Cactuar and myself at ROM7. While cavorting around outside the venue, Cactuar mentioned to me that he'd been working on a new movement drill. Intrigued, I asked him to share the details with me over FBchat after the tournament so I could have it in written form. Within a week he contacted me, and by the end of the conversation (as usual) I found myself both thoroughly impressed by his method and itching to explore it myself. For the past months I've been examining his original drill & constantly reviewing it from different angles. Over that period I've shared it with players in my local area, discussed it at length with a number of players, and ultimately made a few minor adjustments here and there (though the core has remained unchanged). And today, I come before you with this: my take on just one of Cactuar's many good ideas. Enjoy!

DIY: SSBM Movement Drills
AKA: Examining movement in SSBM as transitions between different action states.

Link to part 2.

Some of you may be thinking, "Action state? Huh?"

Essentially, an Action State is any state wherein a character either: (a) has access to the majority of their tools, or (b) stands to gain access to the majority of their tools (attacks, movements, and so forth). 

Or as my friend Syphi-chan put it: "[any] state where your character is ready for action."

Examples of some common Action States

Dashing / Running / Crouching / Wave-dashing / Airborne

SECTION A: Beginners

Implementing: Stand, Crouch, Turn

So to begin we're gonna start by numbering different action states, followed by a brief description:

0 - Stand

Our default position. It all begins here.

1 - Turn

One of the more innocuous action states, turn is over skimmed over because its benefits are subtle. However. this is actually an important state to be aware of because many characters' options change as a result of facing towards or away from their opponent (DK and Jigglypuff, for instance).

2 - Crouch
Arguably one of the most defining action states in the game. Most glaringly, crouch is infamous for reducing the knockback that a player receives from non-grab attacks.

So now we have our first three action states:

0 - Stand

1 - Turn
2 - Crouch

From here, we are going to convert those numbers into action sequences. Your goal is to perform each sequence below without error. You will also be allowing the control stick reset to neutral between each action (during the "0" the control stick should be centered).

On offset, aim for accuracy (not speed; that comes later). Start slow if necessary. If you make a misstep (eg. dash or walk instead of turn), you have to do it over again.

[Sequence A1][0-1-0-1-0-1-0-1]


Additional instructions:

  • Once you've completed that sequence correctly, retry the drill but aim to go faster by reducing the amount of time spent on stand.
  • Don't cheat. Let the stick reset to neutral between each turn.
  • Eventually your character should have the appearance of making a long continuous spin motion.
  • When you're satisfied with your result here, move onto the next sequence.

[Sequence A2][0-2-0-2-0-2-0-2]

Additional instructions:

  • Once you've created that sequence correctly, retry the drill but aim to go faster by reducing the amount of time spent on stand.
  • Don't cheat. Let the stick reset to neutral after you enter crouch.
  • Pay attention to the startup time & animation you enter when beginning or exiting your crouch.
  • When you're satisfied with your result here, move onto the next sequence.

[Sequence A3][0-1-0-2-0-1-0-2-0-1-0-2]

Additional instructions:
  • Once you've created that sequence correctly, retry the drill but aim to go faster by reducing the amount of time spent on stand.
  • Don't cheat. Let the stick reset to neutral after each action you perform.
  • When you're satisfied with your result here, move onto the next sequence.

[Sequence A4][0-2-0-1-0-2-0-1-0-2-0-1]
  • Once you've created that sequence correctly, retry the drill but aim to go faster by reducing the amount of time spent on stand.
  • The transition from crouch into turn must be smooth.
  • Don't cheat. Let the stick reset to neutral after each action you perform.
  • When you're satisfied with your result here, move onto the next sequence.

Beginner Level Drills Completed.
Excellent. Admittedly, the drills above are pretty easy. However, they're meant to get you into the habit of allowing the stick reset to neutral between actions. They're also meant to highlight the fact that there is always a transitional phase of "Stand" that rests between two connecting action states in a sequence (with the exceptions of dash into turn-dash, and run into crouch). It's during these moments that you have access to your entire toolkit, meaning you could realistically put any action there: f-tilt, jump, wave-dash, d-smash, illusion suicide... whatever you'd like, really.

Part 2 coming soon.

Now for some Information on Turn, courtesy of Kadano's research:

a) Turn completes in 11 frames.
b) Neutral-B is disabled during turn.
c) You cannot crouch during turn.
d) You can dash on the first frame of turn (this is essentially how dash dancing works).

- KK out

I recently posted this question to my local SSBM community's Facebook group (SSBM Ontario). It generated some fun discussion.

My Question:
I have a question for all of you.
Suffixes aside, what do Zoning, Conditioning, Threatening, Counter-Poking, Camping, and Positioning all have in common?
Some of the Answers in the Thread:
Garbage King -- Yomi
Jamrun -- Sounds like they're all types of strategies from neutral
Duds -- They all end in "ing"
KirbyKaze -- "Suffixes aside..."
Morgan -- i guess they're all things that require you to interact on a mental level with your opponent
Eden -- They all vaguely sound sexual
Toast -- they're all things that you can use to alter your opponents play style
Chesterr01 -- I don't know... to me, they are all passive strategies/elements that require you to pay attention to your enemy more than yourself. If you have all that, it seems parallel to adaptation as well.
Kay -- They're the part of the game that involves reducing your opponent's potential options while maintaining (or building) your own. They're where smash becomes 'strategic' in a way that following through on combos and punishes isn't - it's about building the opportunity for something you can commit to safely, while forcing your opponent to commit to bad options.
Riddlebox -- they're all mix ups tho for the most part or options to do so. mixups change the flow of ze battleeee. also, the way you have it layed out, they every other word is a C word
Kage -- Psychology
The Du Man -- mental game elements that are used accordingly depending on your position relative to your opponents
Fisch -- Theyre all variables of mind gaming your opponent. Doing different things to avoid patterns of movement/being predictable. Or... theyre all defensive options that can also act as offensive options.
Nate -- If you're dictating the match, you're forcing your opponent to focus on what you're going to do to them rather than them focusing on what they're going to do to you.
Kay -- "Thiings that should be talked about more in commentary"
My Answer:
We've had some excellent answers.
The answer I was looking for, as Victor suggested, was related to control. Charlie and Fisch pointed out that they transcend offense-defense. A lot of you touched upon the fact that they depend on technical execution, but also have a mental component.
Quite simply, they're all Tactics.
What's a Tactic? A Tactic is a strategy designed to help you control how an interaction occurs.
The number 1 predictor of who wins a fight is HOW the fight transpired. This means that the player who exerts more control over how the fight took place is naturally at a huge advantage.
These tactics do transcend offense and defense because they can be used as either or both simultaneously. The extremes (of offense and defense) are not really that effective when not balanced with the other. Think about it: as a Sheik, if I don't put pressure on my opponent what's their motivation to run into my attacks? Similarly, there's an inherent limitation to constantly bashing your face into your opponent as your default strategy.
Some of the most aggressive forms of fighting in this game are done with counter-poking (see: Mango dance around a defender). Some of the most defensive forms of fighting are done with threatening (see: Armada floating back with fair / looking to pull turnips). But these still offer Mango defensive outs because he can choose to retreat while he's pressuring. Armada similarly is applying pressure because his opponent DOES NOT WANT him to get that turnip.

Balance. Flexibility. You need to push AND pull. And in varying amounts.

*** This Section is more specific to my own community ***

As a community we have a tendency to be, oh, how do I put this? Very direct. Direct to the point where it looks like most of you think the best or even only course of action is to bash your face into the opponent to win. Or to do what you perceive as your strongest option in every single situation (see: Peaches d-smashing on platforms). But these all have counters. Rather than seeing that the opponent has to respect and play around these options, people just keep doing them and get wrecked for it.
This was really apparent after watching the London stream. I don't want to name names, but I have never seen so many people run directly into so many attacks in my life. And with no effort to bait, move around, threaten, control space, out-position or... anything. And, sadly, when I think back to the other streams I watch, until I'm watching 2 people from our top 11 play (or some people from Waterloo) it's almost always like this.
We are capable of better. But we have to realize that there's more to this game than bashing our faces into the other player's.
This should not be read as: y'all need to camp. Because then we wind up with the other extreme (one individual at a recent MNIC literally stood still and was baffled when I set up my zoning on him and double 4-stocked him; he paid the price for defaulting solely to camping because he didn't actively deny me my strong positions -- doing nothing is NOT the answer).

*** This is where is becomes a bit more general again ***

Now for the example of what I do.
Sheik is normally given the title of a defensive character but what use is defense if you don't apply pressure? Without a pull factor (like Armada's turnip) there's no reason for my opponent to engage my defense. This is why just swinging in place with her is really... poor play. Even if it slays noobs or people with execution too poor to beat it.
The best thing about Sheik is her range advantage over most characters and the amount of threat she exerts with her attacks. Dash attack and grab are things nobody wants to get hit by because they're frustratingly non-interactive when she gets the ball rolling with either.
This is a simple strategy that combines numerous elements of those tactics in a defensive & offensive way simultaneously.
Dash in --> WD back
Dash in begins because it threatens the opponent with my 2 most dangerous moves (boost grab / dash attack). Now, if you know anything about Sheik, you'll also know she's low priority when dashing towards someone due to her high SH, low air mobility, and how her attacks swing. Grab and dash attack are actually low priority moves.
The common ways to combat this situation are:
1) Attack Sheik
2) Jump over either option (though risky due to jump being available during dash)
3) Move away
That's why the follow through is WD back. WD back counters most forms of attacking Sheik, while drawing with or gaining minor advantage vs the other two options. This is a way I can use my threats to condition my opponent, without really committing to a course of action. I like to call it Aggressive Baiting.
There are a few opportunities for an opponent to get the upper hand on me in that strategy (don't worry, I have some mixups after Dash in for just those instances) but that's just a simple example of how you can use one action to force a reaction out of your opponent, and in turn open them up for other options.
Bullying was a good way of describing it.
The mixups to my strat (my most used ones) are mainly:
Dash in ---> run --> crouch
Dash in --> SH back (fair)

No, I'm not explaining why those are the mixups. A gal's gotta have some secrets haha. But if you think about it, it's not hard to figure out.

- KK out

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Goals in SSBM -- An Intro to the Player vs Player Elements of the Game (pt. 2 of 2)

Part 1 can be found here.

Small article I wrote on a goal-oriented approach to decision-making in SSBM. This section deals with some of the benefits to goal-oriented play that weren't explicitly addressed in part 1 and also goes into a bit more detail when we observe the interactions that occur within a combat sequence. Part 2 of 2.

So to pick up where we left off with Frog last time, we watched a short clip of M2K vs Dr. PP from APEX 2013 where PP predominantly used Falco's laser, safe aerial approaches, empty jumps, and dash dance --> grab / laser to control & condition M2K's options near the edge until M2K eventually gave up on winning from that position and rolled for the middle, resulting in PP gaining a huge combo.

Once we'd discussed that clip sufficiently, I wanted to go over one more clip in order to complete the lesson on goals. This deals with some of the benefits of goal-oriented play that weren't addressed in the first half, and the match analysis focuses a bit more on minute combat interactions rather than playing against a base gameplan (i.e. how to play against Marth's grab as Falco). So there's a bit more of a focus on situational factors (percent, which way a character is facing, etc).

I only hope you find this as helpful as Frog did. Enjoy!!

---- Cue Conversation ----

i put on an old game of me vs keasta
where i just kind of aimlessly throw out moves
and thinking about it, i should get punished for stuff like that

TBH the issue isn't always you get "punished" for it in the traditional sense of the word
Rather, the greater risk is that you don't get the advantage you could have gotten by doing something that addressed your opponent

im definitely limiting myself if im spending time in lag

in times where im throwing out senseless aerials
i could be like
repositioning myself
or just straight up using the gun


not like a dmg punish but kind of punishing myself
by limiting what i can do
raaaa this game is so complicated

Not effectively using your opportunities so you lose potential advantage is a form of self-inflicted punishment, yes.
This is probably a big shift from how you're used to playing.

you could say that again xD

I warn you. Once you begin down this path there's no real turning back.

i HAVE to try, im not afraid of failing, just afraid that one day im gonna look back at this whole smash thing and say to myself, maybe i could taken it further

On the bright side, something nice I can say about this kind of play...
When I realized you *could* play this way...
Is that I realized this is definitely the funnest way to play SSBM. 
Well, at least for me it is haha.
This is one of the first big steps on your journey to being good at this game.
Welcome :)

haha thank you
tomorrow im going to try and find that spark you were talking about
i feel like i could REALLY use that right now. Also i gotta stop with all the caffeine
i feel like thats having a huge influance on how i play as well...
hopefully tomorrow when im totally sober ill be able to just sit down play and apply some of this
but yeah i should really get some sleep, got a long subway ride tomorrow morning  
see ya there?

One more small exercise
You mentioned Peach


Watch for about 16 seconds

So, Peach
We're gonna get into a bit more detail with her because Peach is a bit more complicated than Marth
And because it helps build the context of what's happening in the clip
To start, PP is at 102%
What do you think Peach's goals are right now
In terms of what attacks she wants to hit

grab forward throw is one

Armada would u-throw combo but that's just splitting hairs
Grab, yes
That's 1

nair bair or fair would do the trick, fair i think is the best at this point tho cause its so fast
i mean

You're smart
And as always...


We must factor in d-smash

So PP lands next to Armada
Armada and PP have their backs to each other
Look what Armada does
Oh, look, it’s that nair we figured he'd be fishing for

peepee holds this shield, in anticipation of the nair


in that situation, 10/10 times i would go for the backair
peepee has no fear

Because blocking there protects him from all of the scary Peach aerials and on occasion the d-smash Armada can do to kill him

He is over 100% near the edge as Falco
Armada is mercifully shielding with his back to him
So he doesn't have to worry about grab
Armada's choice to protect himself from PP immediately attacking him has eliminated grab
And the shield also reduces the likelihood of d-smash so
All that's left are aerials
PP's shield there effectively addresses all of Peach's options
Neat, huh?
And because Armada swings first, PP gets to lock him down with some lasers
Because floating above Falco's laser height is one of Peach's goals in the matchup for position

hes protected himself against all of peach's goals by being patient in shield, knowing armada is probably hungry

So he keeps Armada from being able to jump OOS into float by aiming the laser high to catch his jump OOS
And he gets a nair for his troubles


Armada then blocks so PP pokes his shield
And gets out of the way ASAP
In doing that motion he is covering his roll in

because of that other goal peach has
the grab

He's baiting for a grab
Covering a roll
And when Armada does neither, he jumps in with an aerial and lands behind Armada and blocks again
Armada bairs OOS into PP's shield

and after armada bairs his shield he punishes

Right. PP then acquires a free bair
PP then lasers Armada out of his high float to force him down
Fails to hit a dash dance grab on Armada's landing
Then blocks again
Armada swings with a SH back nair
PP punishes this with WD back > dash JC grab
It's insane how much mileage he gets out of that stock by simply knowing that Armada wants to put him away and playing to that

that grab puts peach in an awkward spot, pp missed those high lasers after tho

Falco vs Peach is a very interesting matchup because it's such a control-heavy game
Peach is resistant to a lot of Falco's naturally strong suppression tools
In that matchup you maintain advantage by playing around your opponent's goal in a situation
Peach's ability to nair to break certain combos gives her a way out of combos, yes
Her ability to float over lasers give her a way to work around his ground control
These little extra tools she has that she can actively go for
You have the opportunity to play against
And you will be rewarded for countering those successfully

so even tho i cant rack up a 200% combo
if i just start to look for these oppertunities
i can rack up my dmg elsewhere

You can just abuse her by controlling her combo break options

by just trying to understand what the peach's goals are
based on whats happened

It's a combination of what her best moves are in a situation
Which you'll know if you understand the matchup
Or at least know the basics of the matchup
It's also partially habits, which you've noted too
Because the pilot matters

Why isn't Armada going for dash attacks?

because it won't combo or kill?

You're learning :)
I think that is enough for tonight
When you're more comfortable with this stuff tell me
Then I'll give you the next lesson
Night Trevor

Friday, 25 July 2014

Goals in SSBM -- An Intro to the Player vs Player Elements of the Game (pt. 1 of 2)

Part 2 can be found here.

This article's goal is to teach you how to make better plays in SSBM by using a conversation & match analysis to illustrate a goal-based approach to strategy in SSBM. It's mostly aimed at beginners / intermediate players who have achieved a solid level of character control but still feel they're struggling with decision-making in matches. Part 1 of 2.

The story behind this article is simple enough -- I was talking to one of my friends a while ago (a Falco player from my region whose tag is, 'Frog') about improvement in SSBM. He said that he was kind of stumped about how to actually get better at the game.

Some background about the above: Frog is a very technically-sound Falco, at least as far as I can tell. He lands his shine-grabs, JC shines, sticks his l-cancels on landing, has solid movement around the stage, and overall has very good character control. Despite all these positives, though, he managed to get eliminated by a pair of Peaches at the Arcadian tournament we had in Toronto (for those who are unfamiliar with SSBM slang, an "Arcadian" is an amateurs-only tournament where the ranked players in that region are barred from entry) and finished much lower than many people expected of him (a lot of people projected him for top 3).

Since Frog is a friend of mine, I offered to talk to him about how he could improve his decision-making in matches. And eventually, over FBchat, we started talking about how to improve in SSBM. This is how our conversation went. 

Note: The conversation has been trimmed in parts and edited to flow together a bit better, but I decided to leave our typing styles alone (i.e. not fix his capitalization on FBchat) to make it easier to distinguish between who's talking.

---- Cue Conversation ----

my mental game is so weak
things happen in front of me and i just have a hard time slowing down and just trying to spot things that could help me
i think it has a lot to do with me trying to be overly technical when i actually cant execute what i want to do
its like i know i need to slow down but my hands just take over when the panic sets in and i go into frog vs lvl 4 cpu mode
almost like an autopilot, if that makes any sense

It is time you begin learning the PVP element of this game

i totally agree
i just dont even know where to start

I generally like to begin at the beginning. Let's start there.

so what exactly is the beginning xD

1) Your opponent has goals
2) You have goals

is that character dependent or player dependent O.O

It's a combination, actually. It also sometimes can be influenced by the stage.

the plot thickens o.o

But if I explained the nuances of all that, this gets very complicated. And I don't want to confuse you. So let's simplify this: Marth vs Falco.

along with peach its my worst mu

Marth's goal, offensively, is very obviously to grab you. Sound about right?

yup. cause the grab will lead into big damage. or an off stage situation.
getting grabbed is one of those panic things for me where ill start to go into auto pilot

Your issues with nerves is likely in part derived from the lack of balance in your play; you are a much stronger player on offense.

thats where im most comfortable

By not really understanding the PVP aspects of the game, it makes it difficult for you to understand situations where you're out of control. Which generally leads to poor defense and, as you so eloquently put it, "panic mode". This is likely why you find Peach hard. Because even when you have her 'under your thumb' she's got more ways to slip past the offending digit and find safety or counterattack.

deox was nairing out of a ton of things that joey didn’t. that threw me off a lot. put me into that panic mindset, i felt like i had to change everything. which kinda put me into that panic.
its like i would combo him and then all of a sudden the situation turns against me

Okay so first and foremost this game is a game about options
The way you win this game is by eliminating the opponent's options until they can't do anything except accept the bad situation & its subsequent penalty.
Perhaps the most obvious example of this is the chain grab. It's a bit of an extreme but you can see what I'm getting at: you have been grabbed, which means you have nothing you can do about the next however many throws it goes and then I can finish the combo or extend it depending on the character-match combination.
But the chain grab is the byproduct of being grabbed, meaning there was a step that occurred before chain grabbing occurred

Most fighting games can be split into 2 phases:
(1) The first hit game (or push & pull)
(2) The punishment game (combos, edgeguarding, knockdowns, etc)

Obviously it is much easier to manipulate or deny someone options during the punishment phase.
I've played you -- for the most part I assume you know how to combo and can intuitively plan around some combo escapes. So we're gonna talk about the more voluminous topic. First hits.
Remember how we began with Marth has goals?
Marth's goal is to grab Falco.
Falco's goal is generally to shine, grab, or aerial Marth.


So it's probably safe to assume that anything Falco does that helps him create opportunities for those three options while eliminating ways Marth can grab him…those are probably good plays, yes?

haha yup id say so


its actually kind of crazy
how simple you are breaking this down
not nearly as itimidating as i thought

We're starting at the basics. My goal is to teach in a manner where you actually learn things.

Alright so now we know our opponent's goal and we know our goals. The next step is identifying what tools Marth has for making his goal happen and what tools Falco has for making his goals happen.
So Marth has his speed on the ground with his fast rushing movements (especially his dash), he has the ability to combo off aerials into grab, and he can create a knockdown with dash attack / f-smash / counter and tech chase the grab.
He also has the range of his grab, which can often be a threat all by itself.
Does all this still make sense?

yup yup

Ok then. You're the Falco player.
Tell me what Falco has to procure a shine, grab, or aerial on his opponent.
What tools does he have to help him land those hits?

lasers for sure
stuff his movement
i really dont know other than laser tbh

Let's educate you then
Watch until 7:56 m

Note: A gif of the sequence above has been generously provided by Alexander DuPrey --

watching the game now

Now I'm not gonna lie to you; there is a lot of stuff happening in that 16 seconds. Like, a hell of a lot.
That said, you should be able to notice a few things going on.
What do you notice about how PP is moving?

i see him getting into this zone
where marth is out of range
for a fair
and he just waits to m2k
to put a move out
and then goes in with a nair
hes got marth
constrained to the right side


sorry it was a grab
not a nair
watched it again

He does both, but yeah
Mew2King is in a lot of trouble in that position
Because PP has set up a position where M2K basically cannot really effectively challenge PP for better position without making an insane read on PP's timing
This is because PP is using his lasers to discourage M2K from dashing in with grab on him, among other things.
Remember how both characters have goals?

so Peepee is denying M2K's goals by keeping him constrained with lasers and good spacing

PP is therefore controlling M2K's options.

he isnt running in there for dmg
its like he knows the dmg will just come
if he keeps this control

And he's going in with safe low aerials / dash dance grabs / empty SH feints / dash dance feints --> laser to reinforce his control over M2K's dash to keep Marth from just trying to muscle his way through with a disrespect strat. 

This is because if M2K runs in with grab at the same time PP rushes him with an aerial, then M2K is liable to take a huge Falco combo near the edge and die.

Similarly, he's policing M2K's defense because if M2K defensively grabs in anticipation of PP coming in and whiffs, then PP can attack him from a lot of the actions he's moving with and either get a huge Falco combo or even kill him outright if the percent is right (or if M2K either flubs DI or has his DI read).

And all of that also applies to yolo counter… and a whole lot of options actually.

he makes it look so easy lol, watched the rest of the game and hes just so patient

He's controlled and patient, yes. But he is putting the foe under crazy amounts of pressure still.
So what can Falco do to create his openings?
He's got a lot of tools, actually.

dash dance and laser for sure

He's got his SH and numerous forms of it -- empty SH, empty SH to WL forward/back, SH aerials, lasers, u-tilt, dash dance, etc.

so just by empty short hopping
hes threatening with an aerial
and waiting to see what m2k does?


with the wavelands, is it possible to sneak in with a grab?
waveland forward->grab?
or is that too risky?
nvm dont answer that, its like, only if he chooses to shield

Right. And I'm not sure why you'd do that over empty land (in front of their shield) --> shine --> grab

oooo i like that
so if he doesnt shield he gets shined
and if he does he gets grabbed
that whole covering options thingy

If he tries to shield grab your empty jump's landing he's liable to be shined (because empty land --> shine hits on frame 5 whereas a shield grab hits frame 7)
If he holds shield, you grab him
Waveland is primarily a way to reposition at the cost of some inaction
So let's talk about your earlier suggestion of WL forward into grab; there's an issue there.
WL puts you into a state of inaction for about 10 frames, during which time you slide directly into the opponent's range.
If Marth's goal is to grab you, why is this a bad idea?

because im helping him accomplish his goal
by just giving him the grab

You're putting yourself in front of Marth
In waveland lag, with no protection.
This might feel similar to empty landing into shine
I mean, empty jump doesn't have an aerial
But here's the difference:
Your empty jump has the threat of an aerial attached to it because you could feasibly do an aerial somewhere in your SH and then grabbing becomes bad

so as im doing my empty jump, i should just be starring at marth, and if he goes in, put out a late aerial

Not only that, but most shield grabs are done AFTER an opponent lands from an aerial and NOT before (for the reasons stated above)
Yeah that's one way to do it
You could also simply watch for whether it looks like Marth is gonna move in or not
What PP does to coax M2K away from the edge is really smart
With his sparing use of SH aerial approaches, how he moves in with grabs, his lasers into dash dance, and his empty jump in > WL back
The second M2K tries to roll to the middle, PP is all over him
Why do you think M2K rolled?

out of panic? or desperation?

That's part of it, sure. But let's look at the tactical aspect of it: goals.
Everything in relation to goals.

i see peepee dash dance, right before the grab happens
i mean roll, not grab

By being at the edge, M2K is clearly incapable of protecting himself from PPMD's control tools
PPMD is basically getting free openings and damage every second and M2K's options are being constantly shut down
It is clear M2K cannot protect himself in this position
So what is he trying to do with that roll?

get himself out of the situation where his options are shut down
and eat a punish?

I don't think M2K intended to get hit
I do think he wanted to change his position onstage though

after being stuck there for so long i can see why he wanted out

There's a lot of things going on in those 16 seconds

ive watched that clip 15 or 20 times now
catching something new everytime