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"Match Up Strategy Development" by Lord Knight


Kuuhaku
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    Lord Knight posted a Twitlonger outlining a general guide to approaching match up strategies for beginner to intermediate players. It also gives advice on what to do when having difficulties against unfamiliar characters.

Original Document

Re-posted Transcript

On match up strategy development - (this is more for intermediate level players, but I would also recommend this for beginners):

If you've been playing/paying attention to fighting games for any amount of time, you know that match up knowledge is critical to any sort of success. That being said, you can't go to a tournament without hearing people talk about lack of match up knowledge. First off, you have to understand the difference between:


"I don't know the match up"


and


"We don't have a (insert character) player, so I don't know the match up".


To be frank, at a tournament level, neither statement is acceptable. However, at a personal level (as in, your personal growth as a player), the first statement is far preferable to the second. 


Saying "I don't know the match up" suggests that you don't know it now, but you'll learn it eventually. Not knowing a match up is a pretty valid excuse for a loss - not having answers for an opponent's tools against your own almost guarantees defeat.


Saying "We don't have a (insert character) player in our area, so I don't know the match up" suggests to me that you not only haven't looked into the character, but you don't plan to because someone who doesn't play the character isn't readily available to you.


As your learning a fighting game, I think it's quite important to have at least a baseline knowledge of the entire cast. I go out of my way to play the "weird" characters in a game (think Fuerte, Bed Man, or Arakune) so I don't get caught off guard early in a game's life.


This is my personal process for learning a match up. You don't have to follow it to the letter, but if you don't have some sort of structure, this might help you.


1) Playing - this is obvious. You play against the character and write down/keep in mind what you are having trouble with in between games. It doesn't matter whether the matches take place IRL or online, because the whole point is to get comfortable with your tools against your opponents. Winning doesn't matter at this point. Usually, whatever I have at top of mind after matches are the things I review first.


2) Analyzing matches - Since I get a good amount of practice online, sometimes I save replays and look over a couple of matches. If you play online, I highly recommend saving replays. If not, recording a set works as well. Usually, my memory of a match doesn't really align with what happens, and there couple be points that I need to cover that I could've missed. 


3) Watching videos - This kind of depends on the game and the character, but if possible, try to watch strong players of your character play the match up. I especially look for whatever things I was having problems with in step 1. If the character is new or no one really plays them for some reason, then this step might not be available. It's also important to note that just "watching" videos isn't enough - you want to analyze matches carefully for the points you're looking for.


4) Reflection - Try to put everything together all the information you've gathered for the next set of games. 


5) Play again - Try out your answers and thoughts in matches. Here, you're just trying to apply what I learned. Again, winning isn't totally the goal, but you should hope to notice some sort of return on results.


6) Reflect again - The more you cycle through these steps, the more tiny details and nuance you'll begin to understand on the match. You can slowly work towards refining your strategy to perfection as long as you keep thinking about how the character interacts.


Usually I break matches down into:


Neutral - Full Screen/Mid Range/Close Range
Anti-Air 
Air vs Air
Offense (my pressure) - special things that work on this specific character
Defense (their pressure) - how to deal with their offensive tools
Setplay - special things I can do to them on knockdown - dealing with their reversals, any special things I can do to them, etc
Their Setplay - the same as above, but how to defend against it


If I have some sort of character specific tool (for example, Millia's Pin), I'll have a section on how to use that against the character as well.


Anyway, I hope this helps.


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