SF4 Notebook – 6/27/2009

by casperOne 27. June 2009 16:39

Evolution Fighting Tournament 2009

Well, I’m officially registered for the Evolution 2009 Championship Series in Street Fighter 4.  My greatest hope? To not peace out.  I’ll definitely be taking pictures, tweeting and hopefully doing a little blogging during the event, so keep an eye out here, as well as my Twitter feed:

http://twitter.com/casperOne

I’ve also been fortunate to reconnect with someone from my past, Damdai.  It’s funny, because we first started playing Street Fighter II together as children, and now he’s come very far in the game (particularly in ST and HDR, and definitely making his way in IV).  It’s been especially great to reconnect with him because of our shared past and our current shared interests.

And of course, it doesn’t hurt to have a known player to spar with to help with leveling up.

Pianoing vs. Double-Tapping

A number of people that are coming from other Street Fighter games are used to the concept of pianoing (i.e. hitting multiple buttons in rapid succession in order to have a greater chance of registering the input of that button type).  However, in SF4, it’s not the best of ideas.  Because SF4 has such a large input window (the amount of time that the game will wait before registering your input), it will actually execute EX moves most of the time when you try to execute them.

Instead, use double-tapping, as Gootecks shows in this X-Play video on G4 TV (it's the second tip in the movie):

Online Play and Autofire

Well, I’ve always had my suspicions about online play, about the nature of disconnects as well as whether or not people were using macros or enhancements.  It’s refreshing, and scary to know at the same time that I was right.  There are videos, but unfortunately, they were taken down (I can’t imagine why, there are tons of other SF4 videos on YouTube).  But to give you an idea, here is the playlist:

http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=4FD00C99444D2FC1

Alex Valle

Alex Valle is on Twitter:

http://twitter.com/AlexValleSF4

And he’s dropping tips for SF4:

From http://twitter.com/AlexValleSF4/statuses/2150147172:

Another SF4 thought, while waiting in line for a comedy show, Ryu can HP Super sim's jump back HP (on hit)

And http://twitter.com/AlexValleSF4/statuses/2148062834:

Being good at Street Fighter 4 requires you to think of strats in the middle of a boring work meeting. Throw/Hit confirm vs Rog EX rushes

Remember, when approaching the next level of anything, it becomes a game of diminishing returns.  However, that slight advantage can mean all the difference in what you do.

General

During my matches with Damdai, some obvious deficiencies in my game were pointed out.

First, I need to learn to incorporate FADC into my game.  I’m not taking advantage of the opportunity to land more damage (especially with Sagat’s F+HK) when landing a first initial move (this goes hand-in-hand with the bread-n-butter combo mentioned later).  This is applicable to all players, all characters.

After my stint at Evo, I’m going to switch to using a stick so I can do moves like this (and others) much more consistently.

Related to using FADC, I need to use Focus Attacks in general much more.  I’m not utilizing the hit-absorption properties nearly as much.  On top of that, it can be quite a surprise to people, often giving you the opportunity to land a free hit (at a price, of course).  Add to that the fact that it can be used to get in on/away from an opponent and it’s obvious there’s a big piece missing in my game.

Second, on whiffed moves, I’m not resorting to using an Ultra Combo to punish often enough.  It needs to be second nature.

This and the FADC improvements will also require greater monitoring of the meters in general, since FADC requires two EX bars.  It’s not that I don’t watch it now, but my awareness has to increase.

Finally, when cornered (or not) and being crossed-up on, dashing is a technique that helps immensely.  If done right, you can avoid damage completely, and more often than not, trade a hit and disrupt what would be a much longer chain of hits.

Ken

Ken is one of the characters that Damdai plays often, and while I knew that Ken had a kara-throw, I’ve never really seen it executed consistently (although we already know Gief can do it), which didn’t give me much of a chance to learn how to counter it.  However, Damdai brought me up to speed very quickly.

It’s just pretty sick, and you can tell when it’s being done by a kind of “glitch” (notice at 0:05 and 0:10) that occurs when you see the regular move cancelled into a throw:

When doing Sagat’s LK->Tiger Knee, it’s not safe on block against Ken if he does the MP SRK.  It will hit cleanly if Ken uses any other button though.

Boxer

Saki XL tells me that Boxer can be thrown out of his EX Dash Punches (and apparently on further research, he can be thrown out of his Ultra as well).  I’ve yet to try this, but I think I might take a shot at it in practice mode today.

Sagat has a typical loop that after hitting an opponent that jumps in and hitting them with a HK, throwing a Tiger Shot Low for additional chip damage.  However, the timing and spacing is such that if Boxer has enough Revenge Meter built up, he can consistently Ultra as a reverse and Sagat will still be in recovery from the Tiger Shot Low, making it a guaranteed hit.

Just like Chun-Li, the reaction now when Boxer has Ultra is to be VERY careful with throwing out a Tiger Shot.  Again, it should only be done if there is forward movement, negating the charge.

Saki XL gets a special mention for being the first person that I’ve played to consistently use the EX cancel trick with Boxer in a match:

His execution and ability to use it effectively in a match is very consistent.

On top of that, he showed me a nifty little bait tactic that Boxer uses, where on knockdown he will do the TAP or the EX Buffalo Headbutt in order to bait a response, and since he finishes it early, will use a move with invulnerability in the beginning to punish (more often than not, an Ultra or Super combo).

Sagat’s Ultra will beat out Boxer’s Ultra if activated after Boxer activates the Ultra Combo.  Better yet, Sagat and Boxer’s frame data supports it.

When being rushed down by Boxer, blocking the Dash Punches can usually be countered by a Tiger Knee on response.  However, if Boxer follows up with a cr.LP, using Sagat’s cr.MP is usually a good response.

Zangief

Thanks to karaleung for pointing out after reading my blog entry on Zangief’s kara-throw that Gief has a short jump which can be used to cause anti-air attacks to whiff (i.e. Sagat’s HK) which set him up perfectly for a grab/Ultra:

Rose

Rose can slide under Sagat’s Tiger Shot Low with her cr.MK (I think it is the MK).  However, on block of the cr.MK (or any of her slides) one can consistently counter with cr.LP->Tiger Shot Low and get chip damage (whereas she doesn’t deliver chip damage with her slide).

Gen

If Sagat activates his Ultra Combo and then Gen activates his Ultra Combo in response, they will both trade one hit, and both Ultra combos will stop.

Sagat

I’ve been getting the cr.LP->Low Tiger Shot much more consistently (as a response to people applying pressure) and it does wonders for getting pressure off, maximizing damage a little more (you get chip damage).

I’m also using the LK->Low Tiger Shot as well, but not as much.  I find it particularly helpful in footsie matchups (Zangief in particular).

Damdai points out that I really need to get Sagat’s BNB (i.e. bread-n-butter) combo down, the cr.LK->cr.LK->cr.LK->Tiger Uppercut, and he’s right.

However, I believe that I still have great use for the cr.LP as a combo starter.  On a whiff, I definitely believe that using cr.LK is a much more effective tool (since it can lead into the BNB), however, it’s startup is too long in order to use it to keep pressure off.  So now, I use the cr.LP to keep people away (comboing into Tiger Shot Low) and will try to use cr.LK on whiffs.

One interesting thing to point out is that it appears to me that Sagat’s defensive hitbox for the cr.LK is much lower to the ground than the cr.LP, which I’ve found works particularly well in defending against Boxer’s pressure game (Dash punches and the like), since it allows Sagat to get under some of Boxer’s attacks.  It’s still risky because of the lengthier startup than the cr.LP, but there is an ample reward for that risk.

I happened across this match on YouTube between Daigo and Mago, and there are a lot of great takeaways from it for a Sagat player:

  • 0:23 - In a situation where a Tiger Shot can’t be executed quickly enough to counter an incoming projectile, use a FADC (with a backwards dash to cancel, of course) to absorb damage, but only do it in a situation where you can safely recover life.
  • 0:35 – Frame data for Sagat supports a link combo from cr.LK->cr.LK but it doesn’t support cr.LK->cr.MK.  When Mago does cr.LK->cr.LK->cr.MK->Tiger Shot Low, I wonder if he could have been punished on the cr.LK->cr.MK.  If he couldn’t have been punished (if it was a true link), the only explanation I can think of is that the two cr.LK pushed Sagat away/Ryu back far enough so that the second cr.MK was more meaty, and allowed for the extra frames required for the cr.MK.  This is definitely something to research in practice mode.
  • 0:39 – Very nice kara Tiger Uppercut FADC (moving back) to Tiger Shot Low.
  • 3:13 – I don’t see the LK used too much in a combo, but Mago manages to get out a j.HP->LK->Tiger Shot High EX and have it all connect.
  • 3:19 – Daigo (being Daigo of course) when hit out of his Ultra Combo actually capitalizes on the fact that his recovery was erased and did a Hurricane Kick to add an extra hit on top of the hits from the Ultra Combo.

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SF4 Notebook – 2/23/2009, pt. 2

by casperOne 23. February 2009 20:42

Played a few matches with gootecks last night.  And by “played” I mean I got my ass handed to me repeatedly and asked for more after each time.

This was my real first taste of the SoCal/rushdown/Balrog army style of play.  It's not the kind of match I prefer (I lean way more towards turtle), but I wasn't as intimidated by it as I thought I would be, even though I was woefully ineffective.

Some obvious weaknesses were obvious:

Corner Game

I found myself in the corner more often than not.  This usually stresses me out.  In ST I was more effective, but with all the holes in my game now, it becomes EXTREMELY claustrophobic.  I need to find a way to react to the corner better.

Zoning

Ryan was zoning me pretty hard with Balrog.

I tend to act in the opposite manner of other people when zoned.  Zoning usually involves a lot of “twitchy” movements to establish position.  This has the side-effect of drawing out whiffs or jumps from people.  I end up retracting.  Score one for turtling.

On the offensive end, I still don’t have the timing for Ryu’s fireballs down, so my zone game is weak.  My zone game with Sagat is slightly better.

Cross-Ups

I got crossed up a few times.  Learning to defend from scratch hurts.  Again, jump angles are more acute in this game, and the timing is very different.  Add to that the ability to instant-recover, and it makes learning to cross-up very hard.

FADC

There were a few projectiles that Ryan FADCed through.  I was able to counter with EX projectiles pretty effectively.  Ryan says that in a linked cabinet, there is more reaction time, so he wouldn’t FADC through the projectile.  Might have to reduce dependency on EX projectiles as a result.

Sagat

This morning, I had the sneaking suspicion that the Tiger Knee has armor breaking properties.  I’m right.  This makes the move more effective, but since Ryu’s hurricane kick has armor breaking properties as well, I’m still out on this.

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