Vids have been up for a while, but in case you missed them:
Team Tournament 1
Team Tournament 2
Recently stumbled across these tweets from @version_zero3 (VER from the Vegas arcade in Japan)
He tweeted an updated tier list for A3 as of 2016. It mostly resembles the one from a few years ago with a few changes.
I tend to agree with the first version for the lower-tier characters, in that I feel like the new “D” and “E” characters are all fairly close to one another. And while a lot of those problems might have issues with tournament viability, I’m not sure any of them are truly “E”. V-ISM sort of raises the floor of the game, because even Birdie has an infinite and Mika can do big damage, for example. Honda is not necessarily suited to this game because he can’t use his naturally defensive character design as well. But he builds meter at an usually high rate while holding both charge options (whiff down/back throw), and does at least have decent VC ability (anti-air & midscreen & corner), even if the combo damage is relatively low.
In general, I’m on board with the character tiers here (by row, not individual character order), but the grades throw me off a little bit.
Was surprised to see Rose move up, but I think it probably makes sense. I assume it was largely do to Tsugu/Tugu, one of the Japanese players. His V-ISM Rose is very impressive, in particular because he seems to be pretty comfortable linking VC activation after a crouching light attack (no counter hit needed; a V-Rose-only feature), and seems to have a few other optimizations down as well.
His A-Rose is also very strong and he makes great use of the Soul Illusion (shadows) super and the related unblockable knockdown loops. Sidebar: Note that he chooses A-Rose vs a Charlie player, because he’s less able to deal with it than some other characters; the unblockable can be safe vs wakeups (other than 0-startup command grabs like Zangief’s, or invulnerable throw supers if she’s in range). Charlie can do a wakeup Somersault Shell (flash kick), but if Rose times the unblockable correctly, she will be able to punish. If he were playing a shoto, he might be able to wakeup hurricane kick would get him in to the air immediately (some moves have 0 ground frames on startup, so they are immediately in the air on reversal), and either take the hit and float away if it were a light punch, or maybe escape over it, if it were a light kick.
I’m making a video about the 0f airborne reversals thing, but it won’t be out for a while at this rate.
Seeing Sagat go down a spot, I wonder if it was because people were getting better at escaping the infinite? Air recovery has 3 directions in A3 (forward, back and neutral), and a late neutral air recovery will get you out of certain V-ISM setups that the usual ones won’t. Or maybe it’s just that players like Nekonohi at a-cho made the character look better than he is? Or was it just Ryu moving up? Overall I tend to think that Ryu is a stronger character, he just happens to be more solid, even if he’s not as scary.
Gen moving down I guess I understand. All of the other characters in new tier are also quite strong, so it’s not exactly a major demotion. Never played much Rolento so I can’t say, though I’m curious about Adon. I don’t think of him as a bad character, but I don’t think of being as good as the rest of the chars in his tier.
These are overall tiers, by the way. It’s assumed whatever ISM the character is best in is the one they’re talking about, which means V-ISM for most of the cast. A-ISM tiers without V would be different. These don’t include X-ISM, but I would assume A & X is similar to just A.
Ryu is really strong. I think when most people think of A3 and Ryu they might imagine V-Ryu, but A-Ryu is really solid. I think he is probably a viable tournament character.
But in terms of moving up the tier list, the biggest story is probably Balrog (boxer). Rog has good buttons, and he likes to hit buttons. But his lack of defense vs V-ISM characters hurts him and keeps him from applying pressure as easily as he’d like. Rolento is similar, because the odds that he loses 50% of his health bar for mashing jabs or jumping in drops dramatically, and he gets to abuse his priority. Gief may have been a similar story, if he weren’t also so overly strong in V.
Blanka I like quite a bit, but I can’t help thinking that he’s ranked so high here because Kayaman is such a strong player. I also want to say Chun should move up a tier, if for no other reason that she beats Gen pretty solidly. Maybe I’m jaundiced by playing online too much, but I’ve always found her tricky to deal with, in general.
In terms of moving downward, Cody and Sagat do not fare well. I want to say Sagat isn’t that bad, but at the same time, I can’t really argue with his placement.
On the one hand, if these tiers are accurate you have a huge tournament-viable group of characters- but I remember A3 being a lot of shotos + Chun + Gief + Sim, with the odd Charlie thrown in, before people really got the hang of V-ISM (I’d heard Rolento was very good, just didn’t see much of him). I’m not sure how much variety we’d really see if everyone stopped playing V for a few years. These characters are all fairly easy to play, and high-priority characters have a built in option select because they do damage on hit and on block. So people might decide that it’s not worth learning Gen when they could just pick up Ryu instead; why play Sodom when you could just play Zangief, why play Adon when you can learn Chun so quickly, etc.
Not a legit video, but I don’t know when/if I’ll get around to making a more comprehensive one.
Some characters have problems with Akuma’s divekick in A3 because of its speed and angle, and the fact that having to block it puts you in a bad situation, because guard damage is an added concern.
It can be hard for characters without invulnerable special moves to beat it, but there are 3 basic ways:
-An attack which beats it (dependent on distance/height, varies wildly), which you may be able to cancel into a special move;
-A jumping attack, which you may be able to combo into something else;
-VC activation, including a tripguard exception, if your character has a good midscreen combo.
These can all be more easily understood than actually done, especially once you account for any online gaming lag, and/or input/display lag if applicable. A difference of 4 frames (1/15 seconds) is largely imperceptible but still affects game play, as the average human reaction time is 12 frames. The former is a very small period of time, but can make the difference between being able to react to a jump or not.
Sorta working on a list with counters for individual characters and timings/ranges (Cammy s.SP xx KBA from video only works from far away, early standing Roundhouse works from a step closer, standing Jab xx special works from medium range but timed slightly late, etc).
Gen’s crouching HK (crane stance) can beat Akuma’s divekick with the right timing/distance, however it is somewhat fickle (often the case with non-invincible attacks that can challenge the divekick).
However, the move is more likely to work, for some reason, if you are holding down/back or down on the joystick- I think d/b even moreso than d. When holding d/f it was far less successful.
I’m not exactly sure what the reason for this is- something to do with charging, or maybe canceling the beginning of blockstun?
(the red flash, to be brief, suggests that the move would normally lose or trade but in this case will win because of an experimental subsystem that Alpha 3 (and I think all of the SF3 games) use to rank attack priority)
Evolution, the largest fighting game tournament in the world, has concluded. Being an old man, none of my favorite games were featured as part of the official tournament, because they’re all well over a decade old, but I was more entertained by the final 8 of the Super SF4 (AE 2012) tournament than I had expected to be. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to make it in person this year, but I watched it online, along with tens of thousands of others across the world- which, while still wildly inferior, was still pretty great. Click here to watch archived video footage, SF4 starting at (10:35:30).
In particular, I took note of Haitani’s Makoto, and the reads he was making on his opponents there and earlier in the tournament, and the way he was both poking and counterpoking. The latter in particular struck me as being very interesting, because while it’s uncommon in SF4, there were a couple of players in the top 8 doing it- Sakonoko’s Ibuki, PR Balrog’s Balrog, Infiltration’s Hakan (in a particularly exciting set of matches, starting at 12:01:30 in the link above), etc. It made me wish there were more of that aspect to the game, other than jumping attacks vs anti-air.
It’s less common in the SF4 games for a couple reasons- the least of which, oddly enough, is the Focus Attack. They don’t change that aspect nearly as much as the parry did in the SF3 games, because there is a risk in using it, even though it can be cancelled out of and used as a feint. With the parry, things were fairly straightforward- it’s less important to know what-beats-what, because parry beats essentially all non-throw attacks. There are still attacks used as pokes, but the reasons are based less on priority, but either risk vs reward (Chun poke to super for huge damage), or difficulty to parry (speed, danger of cancel after parry, etc).
In short, the context is different- it’s no longer attack vs attack, it’s attack vs throw, or attack vs movement. Focus attacks in the SF4 games have a greater risk of the attacker canceling into another move, and extra damage is temporarily taken if hit after performing one, etc.
The simpler reason why there’s less counterpoking in SF4 is less present as a feature of the game is because the focus of the game is on mixup options, because it can be much easier to get close to someone, and into throw range. Throw range then leads to throws and throw mixups, which can lead to crossups etc. And because throws are stronger in the SF4 games than some others, attacks no longer beat throws the way they used to, either because they have faster startup (compared to Alpha 3, CvS2, SF3:3S, etc), have better range, or both.
Some characters still rely on pokes, but this is mostly do to a change of risk/reward in their favor; if shotos can poke with c.MK into fireball, they can cancel it into a dash if it connects and do big damage and stun. It becomes like challenging SF3:3S Chun-Li’s c.MK if she has super meter. Additionally, some SF4 characters like Sakura when they are in attack range are also in throw range and also in frame trap range (something like a counter-poke, but based on punshing option select throw escapes), and also have the option of doing a random EX attack which is safe if blocked, but will blow through any defensive pokes during their pressure.
Barring any changes to the newly-announced Ultra SF4, this is simply a matter of the game engine. Objectively, I don’t find the system of the SF4s to be any dumber than most of my favorite games, though I will say I would probably play the game a little more often if things were weighted a little differently. SFxTekken has a similar characteristic of pokes leading to big (or at least important) damage, but after watching a lot of high-level tournament play of the game, I’m heartened to see pokes and counterpokes being used (ie. the usually unsafe tag attack as a counterpoke), and people challenging each other air-to-air.
(Keep in mind that this entire blog post has a deep Alpha 3 bias.)
Certain attacks cancel tripguard- mentioned in some earlier posts, video example here:
Was working on a list, which is incomplete, but it’s coming together pretty well, so far- I’d say it’s about 90% done.
Here’s another video which demonstrates another use, vs non-jumping moves which have airborne frames.
Note that the interactions were tested using the Saturn version of the game, which tends to be fairly accurate to the arcade versions. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if the hitboxes for the console-only characters in particular (Guile etc) vary slightly from version to version.
|–||Jumping||Neutral Jump||Command Move||Special Move|
|Akuma||(LK, MK, HK)||d+MK divekick||command roll (zenpou tenshin)|
|Balrog (console ver)|
|Birdie||LK||d+HP air splash|
|Bison (Dic)||HK||head stomp & follow up; whiff or skull dive|
|Bison (Final Bison)||untested, see Bison|
|Blanka||HK||rainbow roll (backstep rolling), 3K forward hop|
|Cammy||divekick, drill, DP, spin knuckle, hooligan; whiff or throw attempt|
|Charlie||(LK, MK, HK)||(MK, HK)||knee bazooka|
|Chun-Li||MK||d/f+HK knee drop, d+MK air stomp||hcb+k (sen en shu)|
|Dan||(LK, MK, HK)||taunt rolls|
|Dhalsim||(LP, HP)||(LP, HP)||d+MK and d+HK air drills|
|E. Honda||headbutt (recovery time), sumo drop|
|Evil Ryu||(untested, see Ryu)|
|Fei Long||(LK, MK)||(MP, HP)||f+HK||chicken wing (rekku kyaku)|
|Gen (both stances)||(LK, MK, HK)||???||center ceiling dive (Ouga)|
|Guile||(LP, MP, HP) (LK, MK, HK)||(LP, MP, HP) (LK, MK, HK)||knee bazooka|
|Guy||(LK, MK, HK)||d/f+HK flip kick|
|Juni||(see Cammy)||+air drill|
|Karin||LK||dp+K, tiger knee rainbow overhead (ressen ha)|
|Ken||(MP, HP) (LK, MK, HK)||command roll (zenpou tenshin)|
|R. Mika||(HP) (LK, HK)||(HP) (HK)||crouch MP and HP, d+LK air knee drop, d+HP air splash||kick peach, 360+P (paradise hold)|
|Rolento||(MP, HP) (MK, HK)||standing f+MK staff|
|Ryu||(LK, MK, HK)|
|Sagat||? (LK, MK, HK)|
|Sakura||(LK, MK, HK)||(MK, HK)|
|Shin Akuma||untested, see Akuma|
|Sodom||(LK, MK)||(LK, MK)||360+P, 360+K (Butstumetsu Buster Daikyou Burning)|
|T. Hawk||(HP) (LK)||LK||command overhead|
|Vega (Claw)||standing HK, f+HK||claw roll, kick dive (flying barcelona attack); slash or whiff|