v0.5 Tekken 7 Scrub Dojo: So you want to reach Genbu? — Insights from a scrubby Genbu player

SO YOU WANT TO REACH GENBU?

TEKKEN 7 Scrub Dojo

original text by u/luda0894

document formatting and minor edits by u/queencharlene_xx

original thread link here.

last edited 04/18/2018

DISCLAIMER


This is a LONG read, so be prepared to take some breaks reading if you need to.

This isn’t an instruction manual for getting to the red ranks in TEKKEN 7. It is merely a guide that can give you some ideas on how you could improve your skills enough to take your game to the next level, and explain some concepts of the game that can improve your fundamentals and your approach to the game (especially if you have goals of getting to Genbu online).

Everyone learns differently and may have their own strategies regarding trying to get “good enough” at this game.

Whether you’re a newcomer, an intermediate player, or a high-level pro, bear in mind that the strategies, approaches and/or mentalities presented in this document are not the only ways or “the Right Way” to go about leveling up in Tekken.


The insights presented is just that: ideas from a scrub new to Tekken who worked hard and took many losses to climb up the ranks.

We hope that you find this guide useful! Please feel free to suggest to us any changes or concepts that you think should be more explained, developed, or revised.

. . . INTRO — “So You Want to Be Genbu?”



Hi there!

You may remember me as the guy who recently posted a thread on reddit showing my personal milestone of reaching Genbu (the first red rank after Overlord). In that thread, I was asked to provide some insights into what I did to climb up to this rank, especially since I'm a 17'er (the year that marked my first serious entry into Tekken). It was deemed helpful enough for new/intermediate players that I was encouraged by some folks to dedicate a thread for it!

I have added/rewritten some content so you don't need to refer to my split replies.
(EDITOR’s NOTE: with a little further editing, formatting, and organizing by Queen Charlene <3).

In this document, I want to offer you some personal insights into my journey leveling up to Genbu. My hope with this document is that I can help fellow scrubs like myself try to level up so they can reach their personal goals with this game. Doesn't matter if you want to simply escape green-rank hell or get to Genbu like I did.

I did my best to try to improve/learn in a way that would help me mitigate the frustration that comes with the pitfalls of being a newcomer scrub. As this is my first serious Tekken and I know how hard it is to get into a fighting game like this, I'm really happy at how the results turned out with my approach to improving.


If you want some more hands-on feedback, I stream once in awhile. Drop by the Scrub Dojo and feel free to ask me for advice or games!

~Average Video Game Joe (u/luda0894)

hello~

i’m just a gal who hangs out on r/Tekken inbetween sets and working on various art projects. i’m currently (as of the creation of this doc) at Vindicator and don’t really consider myself a “contender” just yet, as i’m still working on improving my game, but i absolutely love TEKKEN, and am trying to see just how far i can take my skills.

i stumbled upon the original thread that luda made, and after reading it a few times and seeing that he was considering converting his thread into a document, i decided to offer my services and do what i can to help the TEKKEN community in my own ways. clearly my skill levels at the game execution-wise aren’t the best, but i think about these kinds of things a lot, and i’m sure others do too. 

hopefully this document will help you identify some deficiencies in your play and your overall play mentality and level yourself up to the point where you can contend with the many high rank players that float around the online scene, or simply just read some good advice that can help you achieve success in your locals and tournaments. <3

~Queen Charlene? (u/queencharlene_xx)

. . . INTRO II — “What’s My Credibility?”


This is my first serious Tekken. The last Tekken game I played was TEKKEN TAG TOURNAMENT 2, and I quit it after a month because I hated the tag mechanics (to be fair, I was as trash as you could get). Getting air combo'd to death was no fun while I could only seem to get jabs in.

TEKKEN 7 was different for me though. One-on-one matches where the balance feels a lot better, combos are easier to grasp, and comeback mechanics in Rage made getting into the game a lot easier for a casual like me. On top of that, the game having reduced motion blur intensity definitely changed the game for me: I don't get nauseous with the strong blur like in the past couple of Tekken games, making it easier for me to play in longer sessions.

Plus, tutorials and guides available online were more friendly to understand compared to TTT2.

Instead of someone that can barely handle a Destroyer toying with me, I can make my own offense a viable threat against similar ranks since I have a better grasp of my main character and the mechanics behind the game.

My promotion matches never came easy either. It took a bit of wins, but A LOT of losses to get to the elusive Genbu rank.

Even if they're not going all out, I sometimes can eek out a win against a notable competitor.

Though, there are plenty of times where I still get cheesed a lot all the same. 😛

Yet, I do not feel I am anywhere near the level of a pro or even an offline competitor… all I know is I've come far enough to get to a level of play that I am PERSONALLY satisfied with.

So, if a scrub like me can get good enough to go toe to toe with 90% of players online, then you can too!

Not only will I focus on specific aspects of the game that I thought was important to factor, but I will also present to you a scrubby methodology for how you should approach the game (in terms of mindset and learning).
So, let's get to it.

Welcome to the Scrubonomics of Tekken!

. . . TOPIC I — Pre-Context, and Online Tekken


Just want to make it clear to anyone reading: These are just MY personal insights of my experiences trying to improve in this game enough to help me get to Genbu.

Feel free to disagree with what I share, but clearly, something I did must’ve worked to get me this far! 😛

As mentioned in the introduction, this post is based on a reply I gave to a fellow Tekken player in my previous thread (INTRO).

They asked:



As a fellow 17er this is very inspiring. If you don't mind, What was the most important things to practice, to progress through each rank-block? I don't have a lot of free time to play the game and I think I might've wasted my time a bit when it comes to playing to learn.

Being "stuck" in high yellows for a while with MRaven, I think I might have put way too much focus on combos, setups and "cool stuff" and neglecting fundamentals […] It'd be interesting to get some insight from a Genbu 🙂


So I thought about how I wanted to reply to this. As I don’t play locally and only online, I understand that, despite my rank, it doesn’t necessarily mean that I may be skillful at playing Tekken on an offline setting.

A lot of us know that there’s a lot of propensity for “bs” to happen online when lag/crappy netcode is factored into.

In addition, ranks can be lost just easily as it can be won. You could be great at fighting a Vanquisher Asuka player in a deathmatch setting but get trashed on by an Eliza player in the same tier block. You could probably promote off of that Asuka, but get demoted by the same Eliza just as easily.


Does it mean you suck and don't deserve to be at your rank? 

I don't think so, because anyone can be at a disadvantage if they don't understand a specific Match Up (MU).

So, when you read this post trying to absorb how you can climb up to the rank you want, just remember that ranks are a title at the end of the day; they aren’t a true a reflection of your skill, especially if you intend to compete locally…

But, if you only play this game for fun and just want to be “good enough”, you should treat ranks as a MEASURE for your POTENTIAL to GET good in Tekken at its core.

Each new rank you acquire should be treated as a measurement of your PERSONAL improvement at this game. 

Do not think that just because you got to yellows (or oranges or any other ranks), that you are FUNDAMENTALLY decent at this game.


. . . Context of my Playing Experience

Keep in mind that these notes are mentioned in order to provide information about personal flaws as a player. It’s good to be aware of these things as they can help you identify what your play is deficient in and where you can improve — even high rank players have their flaws, and some flaws are more common than you think!


  • I play on pad (wired to my PC).

  • I bind my L1/L2 | R1/R2 buttons to execute certain moves easier. I have a hard time playing this game without these bindings since pressing buttons is uncomfortable for my thumbs.

    • L1 = 1+3

    • L2= 1+2

    • R1 = 2+4

    • R2 = 3+4

  • I usually play in small session times (avg. 1-3 hours), unless I'm streaming.

  • I take breaks often (in the form of days or hours). I play other games before getting back into Tekken, or watch other players stream the game.

  • I check out how American, Asian, EU and other pro players play for ideas or inspiration (even players who don't play with my main) — even the not-so-known players/"online"-only players you can learn from. =)

  • I immerse myself often in Quick Match/Player Match. Very rarely do I hit up ranked (unless I’m trying different characters out).

  • My MU (Match Up) knowledge on most of the characters isn't good (save for a few moves/strings I can recognize in a blue moon).

  • I main Feng (and sometimes play with Leo due to their similarities) — No character crisis for me.

  • I have rarely played other characters — Picking up other chars like the pros is hard for me. 

    • (Ex: If you ask me about Bears right now, I couldn't tell you how to play them.)

  • I rarely go to Practice Mode/"lab" unless I need to. I practice with specific purposes in mind so I don’t waste time.

    • (Ex: getting killed by a specific move/string that I don't recognize \ improving my offensive schemes)

  • I rarely look up frame data unless I need to.

    • (Ex: not understanding how safe or fast a specific move is in Practice Mode, so I need technical intelligence on it).

  • I can't KBD well, or am not consistent enough to do it reliably.

  • I get hit by Snake Edge (slow stagger low sweep) a lot.

  • I suck breaking most throws consistently, except for ones commonly used in certain places like Kazumi's d/f+1+2 command grab.

  • I still get owned by low-rank/high-rank/same-rank players who have better fundamentals than me.

  • TZ (Tekken Zaibatsu) experts are my first/last line of defense if I just can't seem to figure out some things.

  • I do not attempt to rematch a second time if there’s lag occurring on ranked, even if it’s tiny lag spikes (unless it’s someone I know and it happens out the blue). That can make or break your matches.

  • I've gotten salty plenty of times and still do once in a blue moon. (just ask the Tekken Zaibatsu Discord :P)

. . . TOPIC II — “What’s It Gonna Take to Climb Up the Ranks?”


I want to stress that you don’t NEED TO BE AN EXPERT ON FRAME DATA to climb up ranks! You don’t even need to be a natural KBD master to climb up to orange/red ranks. They certainly help if you have an understanding of both concepts, though.

However, you SHOULD be good at skills that improve your fundamentals.
Here are some concepts to consider thinking about and start adapting into your play. (Examples will be referring to Feng Wei’s move set)

  • — Punishing

    • Punishing is the act of dealing damage to your opponent for using unsafe moves, whiffing moves, and general offensive responses to your opponent’s actions. 

      • Block punishing & launch punishingA move is unsafe on block if the opponent is unable to perform another action before you are able to.

        • Moves that are jab punishable are -10 or lower.
          A move that is -10 on block can be universally punished with any character’s 1 or 2 (jab).
          If you’re unsure if a move is punishable or not, try using a jab after blocking.

        • Moves that are launch punishable are -15 or lower.
          Launch punishing is the act of punishing your opponent using your character’s 15 frame launcher to deal significant damage.
          You want to maximize your launch punishing in battle because you’ll get big damage and discourage your opponent from attacking.

        • There is a more nebulous range of punishes on moves that are between -10 and -15 frames on block.
          You can optimize your punishes on these moves through practice mode labbing or through experimentation in battle.
          For example, a punish on an attack that is -12 on block can net you a stronger reward than a jab punish, but not necessarily as strong of a reward as a launch punish.

      • Whiff punishingUsing spacing (below) to make your opponent “whiff” (miss) a move and dealing damage to them accordingly.

      • “Duck” punishingMore of an extension on the concept of whiff punishing, this is the act of punishing moves that hit high by crouching (which makes them whiff), and reacting with your WS (while standing) moves.

      • Making “Reads” and fishing for counter hitsPay attention to the attack patterns of your opponent, and when you’ve made your read, go for your counter hit (CH) launchers. This is a great way to get huge damage and stop your opponent from making moves.

        • B+1 on CH allows you to combo with b+1+2 for guaranteed damage

        • QCF+1 launches on CH for a full combo, for example: QCF+1 CH > d/b+1,4 > f+3(whiff) > 4 > 2 > f+3,4

  • — Spacing

    • For me, this doesn’t mean moving like a backdashing/wavedashing maniac. Spacing is movement with purpose. This means getting appropriate space that you & your character can best operate in when playing at the neutral.

    • (Charlene inserts explanation of what ranges are, and the definition of “Range 0-2”)

      • As an example, for Feng, this is ideally at Range 0. For someone like Asuka, it would be Range 1-2, where her defensive options like b3 or her f2 whiff punisher becomes a big threat.

  • — Avoiding the “hold b to move back” walk as a habit

    • When you slowly walk backwards (either to block when your opponent is not attacking, or as your method of inching out of range of an attack), you’re essentially telling your opponent that you don’t know what they are gonna do and inviting them to start their offense, praying that you can interrupt or respond back in turn. You're better off backdashing (b,b) every couple of times than just walking back. There are uses to this movement, but AVOID THIS HABIT. Remember that you can cancel your back dash into both high/mid blocking and low blocking. DON’T GIVE YOUR OPPONENTS THIS CLUE TO START THEIR PRESSURE FOR FREE!

  • — Having ONE good or optimal wall carry combo

    • — Having ONE good or max damage air combo (for infinite stages)

      • — Having ONE good or optimal wall damage ender (for when opponents wallsplat)

        • Ex: using 3,3,4 after a wallsplat

      • — Having ONE good/optimal Rage Art/Rage Drive combo 

        • (useful for comebacks)

      • — Having at least ONE mixup blueprint 

      • — Having at least ONE offensive setup 

        • (Ex: D/F+1 on hit nets a free B+1 if an opponent tries to respond back with a jab or other high/mid moves)

      • — Being aware of any panic moves your character might have 

        • (Ex: u/f+2, which is great for escaping wall/neutral pressure due to its built-in sidestep)

      • — Poking appropriately instead of always going for big launchers

        • — Being careful when blocking 

          • (not just mashing buttons when you’re on defense, but interrupting/making good reads to press panic buttons accordingly)

        • — Knowing how to “test punish” the safeness of a blocked move by throwing your fast punisher attack after you block 

          • (i10 punisher for you technical folks, or a basic 1 jab for casual folks) — Good for if you lack MU knowledge

        • — Knowing to change your pace up when the situation calls for it. 

          • If you’re up two rounds and have a lifelead, is it necessary to keep on the offensive? Why not relax a bit and slow things down by making your opponent come to you? Some people will call this turtling… Jimmy J Tran would call it playing "Normal Tekken". Small tweaks like these can make a BIG difference in winning games with confidence.

        • — Making conscious observations of what you are getting hit by repeatedly in a match

          • Useful in Practice Mode where you can recognize the animation easily to lab up later.

        I’ve sometimes gotten away with using Feng’s shoulder (b+1+2) on block and never getting punished for it, even at oranges. It’s death on block (-19), so when you don’t punish it (or use weak punishers), you’re just losing opportunities for free damage. You’re also encouraging your opponent to continue using powerful moves despite them being unsafe!

        Still, using weak punishers is better than not punishing at all!

        THESE are the kinda details that get really important as you climb higher and higher in the ranks.

        ——— Learning as a Scrub can take time… but that's okay!

        When you’re new to fighting games, this will all take time to incorporate depending on how slow of a learner you are.

        This isn’t a comprehensive list, but they are some ideas you could incorporate to try to improve.

        These few things I listed above comes very natural for a few players. Scrubs like myself have to consciously work on these things and build them into muscle memory so it hopefully becomes natural later on.

        For me, I had to work on parts of my game slowly and one at a time.

        As a case-study, it took me weeks to figure out the basic concept of a mixup, even though I was months in the game at that point. I needed to know how to implement mixups because my opponents’ defenses would be getting solid over time.

        To clarify what I mean, I remember many times where opponents figured out in a match that I only tried to go for one QCF option from Feng anytime we were at neutral (which meant they could shut down my main way of coming in to attack).

        To solve this challenge, I went to Quick Match and just played around trying out different QCF options to see where or how I could use them. This is where I figured out the benefits of Feng’s QCF+1+2 mid headbutt to catch people who were expecting me to throw out his low QCF+1.

        Implementing this simple offense successfully is when I finally understood the concept of a “mixup”, which evolved my approach of playing the game (and leading to a definable improvement)

        . . . TOPIC III — “Other Observations Regarding Ranks”


        Fighting players of certain ranks (especially those higher than you) should not intimidate you, nor should it make you complacent.

        If you go in with an attitude that ranks don't matter or aren't necessarily a reflection of your skills as a player, you'll find that opponents of higher ranks have more to lose by losing to you than you do trying to win against them. On the flip side, many a player in yellows/oranges/reds have underestimated lower rank players (including myself).

        Look at playing against higher ranks as an opportunity to test your mettle against them. For higher rank players, look at playing against lower ranks as an opportunity to test your knowledge on the character matchup.


        . . . TOPIC III B. — “My Personal Observations with “Rank-Blocks””


        Players around greens/yellows may have figured out how to exploit their gimmicks to get themselves easy wins.

        Think about green Hwoarang players exploiting his powercrush / offensive pressure to constantly get you off your momentum. For yellows, they may have gotten better defense, while sharpening up how they get their gimmicks in.

        At some point around yellows, you should ideally have figured out your optimal combos and your best moves available for your character. You should also have started getting comfortable moving more (or at least spacing a little bit here and there).

        You should have also had a basic understanding of knowing how to whiff/block punish at this point. Even if you have 0 understanding of a MU, you should already have the ability to know how to "test" the safeness of a move you block in the middle of a game (aka using your i10 punisher or a simple jab to confirm a punish).

        At oranges, movement/spacing will start to become vital, along with good amounts of defense. Players may have figured out cool setups/tech traps to test on you. They will have known, at least on a basic level, how to use their best tools for their characters at this point. Sidestepping moves/strings becomes more common around this tier. Generally, offensive pressure will be pretty great at neutral or wall. Combos are optimized at this point.



        . . . TOPIC IV — “Additional Insight Regarding How You Should Tackle Ranked”


        Ranked matches can be stressful, especially if you don't approach it with an optimal mindset.

        Since I don't play locally or competitively, I naturally value Ranked match more like the scrub I am (even though I'm aware they are just titles).

        This applies for 90% of players online who play this game and have no competitive ambitions but have their personal goals for it.

        Thus, I have a tendency to get nervous playing on Ranked, especially if there's a promotion/demotion opportunity.

        This feeling is normal, and you shouldn't be demonized for it. I'm not like PepperBeef2Spicy who resets his rank monthly just to find matches!

        Ditto for when you run into a notable player streaming online. No one wants to look bad!

        In my case, since I've hit Genbu (the ultimate test for me), I don't need to get stressed out about it as much because I've proven to myself I could get it and completed my personal goals for this game.

        Still, one way I've dealt with Ranked is making sure I'm warmed up to play there. I play a few games of Quick Match, and if I'm doing well, I hit up Ranked to carry my momentum.

        If I do bad, I hold off on Ranked and try another time to tackle it.

        Consider that I approach Ranked as though it's like an exam:

        • Practice Mode is like a study guide

        • Quick Match is like speedrunning through multiple practice exams

        • Ranked is the real exam I want to perform well on

        A lot of casuals or newcomers I see try to hit up Ranked directly and stay there hoping to improve. But I think this is not a scrub-friendly approach!

        Think about it: if you're a student with an important exam coming up, do you just not do any studying prior to exam day?

        Nah, you study first and sometimes run some practice sessions before the big day comes up so the information is fresh in your mind.

        ——— There’s nothing wrong with deviating from the usual approaches to Ranked!

        Before I list out my specific insights, let me tell you how I personally approached Ranked when the "standard" advice of “learning by losing in order to improve” was not working for me:

        What I've done is get beat up and lose a lot in Quick Match, getting the chance to play with high ranked players numerous times, which showed me how they played compared to lower ranks. I was happy to lose here because I didn’t face risks of demotions in Ranked!

        Pretty simple, because there’s ZERO stakes involved in Quick Match!

        This allowed me to level up much better and faster than I anticipated when I was a blue/green rank. After all, fighting my fellow green rank peers after felt easier because I could deal with things I saw in Quick Match already.

        Since Quick Match is a no-stakes environment, I could also tilt safely without risking my rank performances.

        Just to give you an idea of how "bad" I would look to a good player, when I was a Fighter Feng on Quick Match, I had nearly 800-900 wins in Quick Match. When I was a blue Grand Master, I had 500-600ish wins.

        When I was a Warrior-Juggernaut, I amassed nearly 1200 wins.

        To someone decent in Quick Match looking at the loading screen, I basically looked like I was not good at this game.

        I don't even want to talk about my losses!

        But, if the same player I played in QM saw me in Ranked, they'd notice I had wins generally appropriate to my rank! So, maybe 30-40 for blues, 50-90 for greens, 120 for yellows, 170ish for orange ranks, etc.

        My win/loss count ratio would be much smaller in comparison.

        Think about this implication!

        Usually, when decent players scoff at a 1000 win Grand Master player, they usually think they suck because they look like they don't seem good enough to climb to green tier blocks.

        …But those numbers in Quick Match don't mean anything compared to your real Ranked performance starting out =D

        Here are some additional things I did to improve and deal with the warzone that is ranked:

        Know when to quit/take a break — If you’re playing Ranked and you’re losing/getting no round browned by an opponent (multiple times at that), it’s clear you’re missing something regarding the Match Up. You need to take yourself out of Ranked mode PERIOD. Take your (mental) notes of what he/she is doing to beat you up, but don’t stay around for more than 3 matches if you haven’t figured out what they’re doing right or what YOU’RE DOING WRONG! Be careful what you take away from this point: you should stick around for at least a couple of matches to see if you can learn an opponent’s pattern or their strategies, but know when to concede to the better opponent at some point.

        There is NO shame in quitting early after a set. You’re not competing in a tournament where money/reputation is on the line. If you perform badly (and you know your opponent is too tough to fight) then it means you’re not ready to tackle Ranked yet and you need to jump to Quick Match for some extra practice.

        You will have some learning to do on the character your opponent dominated you with, so take yourself to Practice Mode or play some Quick Matches and run into that character at some point before you go back to Ranked.

        As a case-study, I got owned by an Asuka Savior recently on Ranked when I was in oranges.

        While I had some wins, I got on a 3-loss streak a few times, which meant my opponent got something figured about me while I couldn’t adapt well. I went back to Quick Match and did not go back to Ranked until I found another good Asuka player to fight some sets with and be comfortable practicing against. If it took me 4 days to find an Asuka player on Quick Match, so be it.

        It’s okay to be mad or angry if something happened that you felt shouldn’t happen for a GOOD reason (like your move came out late due to some lag spike and it cost you a match). If you can’t move on though and you get bothered for the rest of a set, you will likely lose even more. Don’t rematch your opponent, and find someone else to play with that has a better connection on Ranked. This is a curse of online and you’ll just have to deal with it when it happens.

        My personal recommendation is to rematch at least one more time if a lag spike happened once out of the blue — Tekken’s netcode is trash like most fighting games, and it’s not your opponent’s fault the game decided to bork out at that moment.

        No matter how easy or hard your promo match was, if you get promoted, take yourself out of Ranked. Take a break and relish your new rank for awhile. Don’t jump back on to Ranked any time soon; go play some other game or hit up Quick Match and keep on trying to improve for the next level up.

        I didn’t go back to Ranked until I thought I made a good enough improvement to go back on Ranked match again (from weeks, to a month, or just a couple of days). You can’t imagine how far ahead I was compared to my peers when I was a blue rank/green rank player. It was easier to handle gimmicks around this tier block thrown out at me because I had to deal with them in Quick Match =D


        No matter how well you’re doing, if you get denied a promotion opportunity on a promo match, take yourself out of Ranked. You’re not ready to rank up just yet as you need to make some improvements.

        No matter how badly you’re doing, if you WIN your demotion match, take yourself out of ranked after. You’re not ready to grind in Ranked just yet as you need to make some serious improvements to your game. Take yourself to Quick Match and stay there until you can handle some higher rank players.


        If you lose your demotion match and get demoted, take yourself out of ranked. You either got bad luck or you’ve declined/performed in a way that shows you’re not quite ready to keep your prior rank. Take yourself to Quick Match until you can handle some higher rank players.

        The most fun the game can get on Ranked is when matches are down to the wire and you and your opponent are just brawling it out inch by inch, where it can be ANYONE’s game.

        THESE are the type of opponents you want to keep rematching/deathmatching with on Ranked, because it is one indicator that you and your opponent might be even in terms of skill level.


        . . . TOPIC V — “The Challenge of "Improving"


        Some folks will say work on fundamentals (your defense, your all around movement, pokes, spacing, etc.) to get better at this game, which I'm on board with.

        Others say "play to ‘learn’ in order to get good online” — if said this way, this really only helps to reduce your saltiness levels and mitigating your tilt when you’re losing badly.

        It’s very discouraging to hear if you’re a casual who is not taught by the game about many of the concepts found within it (like opponents having frame advantage).

        You can’t learn or expect players to improve if the game does not teach you WHY or HOW you could be losing. Not even Practice Mode presents these concepts clearly.

        Instead, I want to communicate more than “play to learn” that can lead to a clearer path to improvement: you should incorporate an “Observe, Hypothesize, Test & Learn” approach to playing and improving.

        You can try this method out in both Ranked and Quick Match.

        For Quick Match, you’re trying to learn how to deal with situations better or characters better for future ranked matches. You should have 0 issue losing because you are in a no-stakes environment — it’s quick match, so play around when you need to and try different things out.

        In ranked, you’re trying to adapt/adjust your game in real-time so you can get some good wins. Making adjustments/tweaks will ensure you can make yourself unpredictable and hard to read. It’s hard to do though, but that’s why you should try the “Observe, Hypothesis, Test & Learn” approach on simple things first.

        Just a bit of context before I expand upon this:

        One primary difference between good players & ok players in similar rank blocks is their ability to adapt and react to things happening in the game.

        I've come to believe that to win games more often and rank up better is how you make decisions in your matches.

        Most people "flowchart" or go autopilot, and it happens to the best of us; a good example of this is waking up… some players will just spring kick every time they wake up out of habit because an opponent fell for it all the time in lower ranks.

        Some players may try to snake edge every time they’re at a wall and waiting for their opponents to wake up. These are obvious, but simple examples to bear in mind.

        . . . TOPIC VI — “Observe, Hypothesis, Test & Learn"


        I posit to you a different take on tightening up how you play while trying to climb up the ranks: on some matches, it may be ideal to treat one or two rounds like a science experiment. Try some “labbing” in a real match! “Observe, Hypothesis, Test & Learn”

        This methodology looks like it’s overly complicated on paper, but when playing and practicing, it’s gonna come easily and pretty fast.

        Let's understand the concept of 1) "observing".

        What I mean by this, is when you're trying to reduce your opponent's life points away, it can be helpful to "observe" what they do in certain situations or how they react to your pressure, especially if you have a lifelead.

        Ask yourself a question on a situation you've noticed: “What happens if my opponent is on the ground after a knockdown and I try to chase after them?”

        You can try to come up with some 2) hypothesis in order to formulate a winning gameplan that will help you win in this situation (and hopefully the match).

        For an example, I observed in one match that my opponent likes to spring kick whenever I attempt to close in. I may or may not have gotten hit as a result.

        So, with this observation, I make a hypothesis: the NEXT time my opponent is on the ground, he will spring kick again if I try to pretend to close in on him, which should allow me to punish him.

        This is something I can 3) test out easily: I do a knockdown move that puts my opponent on the ground. Instead of running to him a 3rd time, I dash forward just enough to where it looks like I’m running in to get spring kicked but STOP my movement.

        The 3) result was that my opponent spring kicked again, and this time he whiffed! HE thought I was about to run in a 3rd time! I launch punish him for the effort.

        I go through this “experiment” again to see if I get a different result and tweak my test accordingly. If my opponent still spring kicks, 4) that means I just LEARNED my opponent’s main habit of waking up.

        Now I can better deal with the opponent with this new intelligence I acquired. I can APPLY it to future matches too since I understand this situation better.

        For another example, say I'm fighting a Warrior Lili, who has very annoying ranged tools (you know about them flip kicks I'm sure where she closes a full distance with them). After a clear observation of the Lili flipping kicking me often on neutral, I want to hypothesize that this Lili player likes to utilize those flip kick moves of hers if I keep myself at a certain distance and try to close in on neutral.

        So I test it out by backdashing as much as possible, dashing forward, but this time with a sidewalk left.

        I learned that the Lili did her flip kick move, but this time she whiffed due to my adding a sidewalk in there.

        I repeat this experiment a second time to see if the Lili attempts it again.

        If she does it again, I just learned a new habit of hers and possibly what other Lilis might do in the future.

        If she changed her approach up, I’ll have to tweak my parameters again and learn what she’s doing to counteract my efforts.

        Doing these things over time will allow you to deal with all sorts of opponents better over time.

        —–

        BUT! Bear in mind, that good players will apply the same approach against you, and can be just as subtle/obvious about their adjustments as you might be.

        That's where the game gets interesting as far as mindgames and back & forth brawls goes. It then becomes a matter of counteracting each other's adjustments, and that's when the game gets real deep!

        . . . CONCLUSION


        I'm gonna wrap it up here, but I hope these insights helped. No matter what rank you're on right now, or how new you are to fighting games, these are some things to keep in mind when you're trying to make an active effort to improve (and get measurable results doing so).

        If you read all the way to here, give yourself a pat on the back! Now you see the kinda mentality/approach to the game that higher-rank players uses to improve at this game.

        If you found these insights useful, then feel free to subscribe to my Youtube channel or follow me on Twitch!

        Last note:

        If you hate practice mode… just remember to use Practice Mode deliberately so you're not wasting hours blindly going through movelists (Example: Only focus on a string you're getting beat by in a match and experiment defending against it in practice mode. This is an efficient way of utilizing Practice Mode when you need it).

        . . . BONUS TOPIC — “Understanding Frame Data (Scrubified Cheatsheet Version)"


        Before I give you the cheatsheet, I want to convince my fellow scrubs out there not to be scared of learning about frame data.

        Frame data is not complicated to learn, but the way it can be taught/presented can be unnecessarily complicated for scrubs to grasp.

        If I'm just learning about it for the first time, I don't need to understand the theory or all the concepts related to frame data starting out. Just give me the easiest/most practical information I can use right now to up my game!

        Additionally, frame data is generally not needed to climb up to the ranks… but it can help you out from time to time around high yellows/oranges.

        When starting out, frame data should only be used as a technical reference for understanding how safe/unsafe a move is.

        Try only using it when you're in Practice Mode and you don't understand why you can't punish a move. That's how I personally use frame data (which is a rare occurrence for me anyway).

        I recommend the T7 Chicken app for mobile. The layout of information is friendly when you look up a move.

        For the purposes of this thread, if you want to learn how to read frame data, you will only read frame data important to defense.

        This means that you should only focus on frame data that refers to moves "on block".

        Before getting into frame data, I'll just clarify what moves "on block" mean:

        Moves "on block" are moves that opponents throw out on offense that you end up blocking. There are many moves "on block" that are block punishable.

        However, there are some moves "on block" that are not punishable at all. We call these safe moves.

        Where does frame data come into play?

        Frame data takes all that guesswork out of the equation.

        Frame data can show you exactly what moves you can generally block punish (at least on paper).

        Guess what? The T7Chicken app and other apps like it show frame data values for moves "on block" =D

        So, use this cheatsheet to understand those values! It can be your starting point in understanding the "technical" details surrounding Tekken and frame data in general.

        ——— Framedata Cheatsheet:

        • A move that is 0 or higher (+1, +2) "on block" means that it is SAFE on block. You can't block punish.

        • A move that is -9 or lower (-9, -8, -7, etc.) "on block" means you can't block punish it.

        • Look for moves/strings you can block punish whose values start with -10.

        • A move that is -10 "on block" means it is jab punishable (Ex: If Feng blocks a -10 move, I can punish it with his 1,2,2 or 1,3 string… basically my fast punisher strings)

        • The more negative a move is (-11, -12 -13, -14, -15, etc.), the more unsafe the move is.

        • A move that is -15 on block indicates that it is generally LAUNCH PUNISHABLE.

        • Some characters (like Kazuya) can launch punish certain moves that's less than -15 on block (his "Twin Pistons" WS1,2 can launch punish Feng's qcf+1, which is -14 on block).

        These kinds of details from frame data open up new insights that can help you better prepare against certain MU's!

        This cheatsheet should go a long way to helping you understand frame data. Only look at data for moves on block initially!

        ——— Using this Cheatsheet with Practice Mode or in General

        Remember, frame data shows you what's punishably possible on paper, but not all characters will necessarily be able to properly punish certain moves on block.

        BUT! When you're in Practice Mode, you can now quickly navigate around the technical intelligence of a specific move you're practicing against.

        …and good thing you have a scrubby frame data cheatsheet on hand to quickly understand the move you're blocking =D

        Once you have the "on block" frame data information, you can experiment with your character's moveslist and easily figure out how to optimally block punish a move.

        Now your Practice Mode is more productive, rewarding and deliberate. Watch out for a newly enlightened scrub!

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