Finding Top Tier Tactics From The Community: A Primer

Hit The Ground Running is an article series by Jay “Viscant’ Snyder.

This week we’re going to talk about finding tech videos and how to prioritize using them in order to make the most of our practice time.  Our community has improved so much in this regard, people put a lot of effort into making the videos and production quality and quality of information has improved by leaps and bounds over the past few years.  It’s easy to take them for granted until you realize that during the beginning of the MvC2/CvS2/3s era, they didn’t even exist!

In the old days your only way of getting new tech was having access to top players.  In the old days we also had to walk 10 miles to the arcade.  Up hill.  In the snow.  Both ways.  But seriously one of the main reasons I was good at games then was because I grew up in Southern California and was driving distance away from multiple top arcades including Southern Hills Golfland, probably the best fighting game arcade in the whole US.  The process of getting tech in those days was just being able to play against guys like Alex Valle, Mike Watson and James Chen and leeching off of them.  There really was no shortcut to improving your game in those days; if you didn’t have access to good arcades and good players, improving on your own was near impossible.  Even if you were creative enough and resourceful enough to come up with ideas on your own, you couldn’t come up with ideas for every character or get matchup practice by yourself.

In the modern era though, access to good tech is much more equal.  If anything we have the opposite problem now.  Instead of the average person having no access to good tech, now the problem is having tech everywhere.  How do we find the most important tech?  How do we prioritize what to work on first?  How do we make sure we don’t miss out on anything important?

Sources and Priority

Luckily we have a lot of excellent resources out there that aggregate content.  My main sources for finding tech are,, reddit and Twitter.  The most important things will probably filter through one of these.  I make a point of checking the front page of SRK and Eventhubs once a day and browsing the front page of /r/streetfighter and /r/kappa fairly often also.  If it’s really noteworthy, it’ll probably show up there.  I also try to check the character forums on SRK for characters I’m particularly interested in.

Twitter is also particularly useful for FGC related content.  Almost all of the content providers are active on twitter and by following the right people you get a chance to listen in on a lot of conversations between high level people.  The blowups are entertaining too!  Also as a general rule you should subscribe to people who routinely provide good content on youtube.

That’s the easy part.  If you’re reading this, you probably browse these sources already or are at least aware they exist.  The harder part is categorizing the flood of information.  Everyone has their own method of categorizing.  I use Excel because I work in accounting and I live on Excel anyways so I figure I might as well use it for my hobbies.  Top sheet is for general tech, stuff that applies to all characters.  I think this is the most important thing to stay current on, universal tech about the general engine.  Second sheet is for character specific tech regarding the characters I’m most interested in.  Third sheet is for characters I don’t play and don’t have a lot of interest in.  This is lowest priority.  If I have time I’ll take a look, but other videos are more important, especially at the beginning of the game.

Due to the nature of the tech that comes out, I generally spend the bulk of my time on second sheet videos.  First sheet videos are things that get internalized quickly.  When it comes to the general engine of the game, once I have it down I’ve got it and I don’t need to keep going over it.  Character specific tech usually takes a lot more time.  I’m much more critical about videos for characters I actually play; if I’m going to use this stuff in real matches I need to understand the videos from every angle.  Understanding the concept isn’t enough, I need to know everything.  Third sheet videos I either don’t have time to explore in depth or just don’t care enough.  Time for examples.  Every video I’ll show to you I found from either the front page of reddit /r/streetfighter, the front page of SRK or the front page of Eventhubs over the past couple weeks.

General videos

This video by Smash and Grab details how v-trigger affects damage scaling.  To summarize, a cancel into v-trigger will advance the damage scaling by 10%.  This is first sheet material because it’s universal.  But it raises interesting questions about the max damage combos that I’ve been doing so after watching this, I spent some time in training mode just messing around to make sure I’m not costing myself damage.  A couple of examples.

For Karin the max meter combo I’ve been using was jump in roundhouse, standing roundhouse, v-trigger cancel, standing fierce, just frame tenko, 4 hit rekka into critical art for 531 damage.  After watching this I decided to take a look at simpler combos and compare the damage.  For example, jump in roundhouse, standing fierce, strong ressenha into critical art is a much simpler combo and it does 489 damage.  The difference is 43 points, about as much as 1 standing short.  In the first combo damage from the critical art is at the minimum 50% and in the second one the critical art scales at 70%.  Usually max meter punishes are done to end a round or a match so I should still be doing the first combo, but it’s close enough that this makes me evaluate my damage in non-lethal situations.  The ability to cancel normals into v-trigger later in the match is worth more than the 43 damage to me, especially given context.  If I blew my full super meter and had access to v-trigger and they’re still alive, I’ve probably got a big comeback to make and I’d rather have access to v-trigger than 43 damage.

The difference is even less with other characters.  Max damage punish with claw on Vega off a jumpin with no v-trigger would be jump fierce, standing fierce, jab aurora spin edge into critical art for 480 damage.  The max punish using v-trigger is jump in fierce, standing fierce, de-claw, low strong, v-trigger, into critical art for 484 damage.  In this case the v-trigger isn’t worth it at all; even the chip from a blocked v-trigger later in the match will do more than 4 damage.

So this video taught me to consider how I best use my resources and reminded me to check damage more closely.  Useful to know and I’m glad I came across this video.

Character specific

Even though it’s early in the game, I’ve had to narrow my character selection down a bit in order to make the flood of tech coming in more manageable.  For now I’m concentrating on Karin, Vega, Bison and Chun-Li.  I love Zangief and have fun with him every time I play and I’ve already put a huge amount of time into Birdie but I can’t “main” half the cast.  Keeping my character selection down to a reasonable amount will allow me to spend more time on the tech that comes in.  Here are a few examples of character specific tech videos along with ways I plan to get more than just face value out of them.

This video is from Daily Dot Esports and Danke.  It shows a few of the things that Vega can v-reversal through, things generally safe on block like Nash EX moonsault slash or Chun-Li EX lightning legs.  On the surface this seems to be pretty straight forward.  The video provides examples.  Memorize them.  Done!  Not quite.

That’s just the beginning.  This video serves both as instruction at face value and proof of concept and it’s a concept that I haven’t really been using in the matches I’ve played so far with Vega.  I’ve been using my v-meter almost exclusively as a combo extender and a damage dealer.  As seen with the first video we looked at there are times when I should hang onto my meter and use it for v-reversals instead.  So on top of just memorizing the situations that Danke gave, I should test out other moves and strings that are safe on block and see what I can find.  This is important.  This changes matchups.

This video comes from ScDrPain who’s been busy so far making tech videos, he also had a really good one for Ken and one for Nash as well.  This one is about Bison okizeme using the EX psycho spark after finishing a combo with the psycho inferno.  This is important to get down because it’s one of the few setups where Bison can create strike vs. throw pressure and as an added benefit the most common strike is going to be the standing roundhouse which creates a crush counter and max damage.

Since this is for a character I play, I need to maximize this.  ScDrPain outlined all the common wakeup options, staying down, quick get up and back roll.  Since the options for back roll and quick rise are best for the defender I need to spend most of my time on these options in training mode, testing the most common things that opponents are doing to me online and seeing how I can best deal with them.

One thing I did notice is that in all the secondary setups that use psycho axe, it’s roughly at the right distance to cancel into v-trigger and get a mixup on straight dash or crossup dash.  Most of the time Bison v-trigger dash is only technically a “mixup” since he’ll always go in front or always go behind.  Like roundhouse scissors canceled to v-trigger into a dash.  That’s not really a mixup, he always goes behind and eventually people will catch on.  Finding pre-canned setups that are ambiguous is really important to me if I’m going to make progress with this character.  That wasn’t even the point of the video but just playing around with it a bit put another tool in my arsenal.  That’s an example of how a good tech video can be the beginning of the learning process, not the end.

Since this video is out there and common knowledge, if I’m going to use it I want to spend time on it creating a second level to the mixup.  This is one of the downsides of really good tech videos; since they spread you can be sure after some point that your opponent knows exactly what you’re doing.  This one already has 30,000 hits and I notice in the past few days opponents have been dealing with this setup well.  I need to be ready to counter their counter if I’m going to get the most out of this setup.

This video is from Floe, a frame trap with Karin off her bread and butter combo.  The theory behind this is that on standard wakeup or quick wakeup, she’s +1 on block allowing her to counter hit the opponent mashing jab or mashing throw.  This is especially good because held v-skill is usually negative on block so this is the kind of setup that will almost always work on someone the first time they see it.

Okizeme setups like this take a lot of time to truly internalize and this one is especially hard because of the nature of the setup.  Karin’s bread and butter combo has different heights, meaning that if you mistime the chicken kick ender on the juggle that the opponent will wake up at a different time.  Since the advantage we’re looking for is 1 frame, even a slight mistiming will ruin the setup.  Also while playing around with it, apparently back rolls will get out of the way of her held v-skill and allow the opponent to escape the mixup.

For characters that I don’t really care about, that’s about as far as I would go.  Back rolls beat the setup, on to the next.  But since Karin is a character that I care about and want to maximize I want to go deeper.  Most of the other setups discovered so far off the same starter (tenko into chicken kick ender) are dependent on how the opponent chooses to wake up so there is definite value in training an opponent to predictably back roll.  Also not to be ignored is that this setup builds v-trigger meter, meaning that if I’m close to getting the meter, a setup like this is something that I’d really like to have.

So even though it has a counter, this is still useful to my overall game so I’m glad I came across it.  It’s not a one stop solution to okizeme, but it’s another tool to go in the kit.

And speaking of time to internalize, this is a really important Chun-Li video by Kararesu. It’s only 3 minutes long but it’s very information dense.  There’s SF4 style safe jump setups off her crush counter sweep that even safe jump a shoto uppercut, a crossup/fake crossup setup involving the v-skill and a few neat v-trigger juggles.

This video is a good example of why it’s hard to stay current with the whole cast.  There’s almost too much information in here and I’ll probably spend a few hours just going over the concepts in this video.  For example the headstomp setups in the video are spacing dependent.  It’s not enough just to watch and parrot the setup exactly, I need to know what range I can adjust the setup to be an effective crossup.  I need to practice both the normal safe jump and the empty jump low.  I need to see what I can add to make it more effective.  These setups Kararesu showed are great but like with the other videos, a good tech video is a starting point, not an ending point.  All of this takes time, but it’s worth it in the long run.

Third sheet

Now we’re starting to get to things that are less important to me to fully understand.  This video comes from akaRLBS and it’s about setups that Nash gets in the corner after a throw.  Last week when talking about the throw mechanic in general we talked about how sometimes when you get thrown, that’s not the beginning of the mixup, that’s the end.  In corners that’s not really the case and as this video shows, against Nash in corners, you really need to respect him.  The low fierce is +3 in a neutral situation so even if the low fierce is mistimed and it’s not meaty, he STILL has big time advantage on his next move.

Since the characters I’m playing in this game at this point don’t really have reversals that don’t cost meter, basically the lesson I can learn from this is to respect the throw and to highly prioritize blocking multiple buttons after getting thrown.  This setup definitely has use for me and I’ve learned something from watching it but breaking it down even further is something I can only do if I have the time.  I COULD break down all my options after the low fierce.  Like if he goes for low fierce, stand strong on block, then I have room for jabs since he’s neutral after the strong.  But if he does low fierce, step forward low jab, I still have to block.  This is all useful information to know and knowing it will make me better but I can only get to this AFTER I’ve cleared all the things above on the spreadsheet.  Instead of learning one setup that will help me improve in one match, it’s a better use of my time to learn other things first.

And finally we get to the lowest priority.  This is a video by Bebopaloobop, a Ken option select against Dhalsim.  It’s a well made video and I imagine it would be really useful in the matchup but it’s specific to a character I don’t play against another character I don’t play.  I’d like to sit down and figure out exactly how it works and maybe if the other side could bait it but it’s the lowest priority on my list.  Videos like this involving characters and matchups that aren’t essential to me have to be put on the back burner while I’m trying to improve quickly.

That’s all for this week, next week we’re going to talk about online play and learning from losses.  See you then!


Evolution 2011 Marvel Vs Capcom 3 champion, lover of all things pure and innocent.