Tunnel Vision

Focusing (or concentrating) in advance is something I like to call "Mental Tunnel Vision". But in fact there's many different names for it, which is why I believe there is some confusing over the definition of it. A lot of people like to refer to it as anticipation, but there are actually two types of anticipation, which can lead to confusion when using that word in conversation. Anticipation:

- Educated Guessing
- Reaction-based anticipation

Educated Guessing has nothing to do with reaction and is something I also like to call Assuming. It refers to a situation where you know the opponent is likely to do some sort of action that you're able to counter, but you don't wait for the action to take place to try and counter it. In other words, there is no reaction involved with this, you simply perform your counter-action while assuming the opponent's action is going to take place, regardless of what the opponent actually does. This is technically an "educated guess" because you aren't doing this entirely randomly, you know the opponent is likely to do something and the odds of them doing a particular action are high, so you know the odds of success are in your favor. A good example is when Ryu makes you block a crouching low-kick/short, then walks forward and does another crouching low-kick/short or throws you. You don't know if Ryu is going to attempt a throw or is going to attempt that kick, but you're assuming he is going to do one of the two and not block, so you throw out a DP or some other attack that beats both actions (but doesn't beat blocking). This was an educated guess because technically Ryu could have blocked, but you were assuming that he wasn't going to. Getting good with this might get you accused of being psychic.

Anticipation combined with Reaction has many different names as well, and I believe it to be entirely different than educated guessing. As said before, I like to call it "Mental Tunnel Vision", although you could also call it concentration or focus just as easily. I talked a little bit about this technique when I talked about Baiting, though I was more referring to the counter-action of this technique/concept. It is simply looking for something specific to react to. In other words, if you were to sit in the corner and low block all round long while waiting for your opponent to do an overhead or throw in order to counter it with an action, you'd be focusing/concentrating specifically for that that action. You could say that the Japanese player Kuroda (who is renowned for his Q at SBO) is a master of this. The idea is that you know your opponent will eventually try and break you guard, so you specifically look for the options that your opponent has to break your guard by ignoring everything else but those options, in order to counter them on reaction instead of entirely on anticipation/guess. The problem is that players who rely on this tactic tend to not see things they aren't specifically looking for. For example, if you're blocking low and specifically looking for your opponent to leave the ground, it will be hard to see quick actions that don't involve your opponent leaving the ground, such as a walk-in throw. Basically, you're focused on that one thing and therefor have tunnel vision, so you only see the area you're looking directly at and don't see anything around it -- lack of peripheral vision.

These concepts are something a lot of SF3:3S players should be very familiar with due to the parry system. The act of performing them and the act of countering them combined with parries are what makes 3S so "random", due to the need for guessing and reacting. In 3S, nothing is really guaranteed except the second hit of a combo. To quote Viscant "[in 3S] You don't have to choose options from a tree of all failure since there's always an option that will bring you success.". What he means is that; in other games once your opponent traps you, you are literally forced to choose from options that all lead in failure/damage -- but with the parry function you do not, you always have a way to avoid anything that does not combo. It's true that some things are impossible to react to, but that isn't the point, the point is that there is only potential damage due to your opponent guessing wrong, not guaranteed damage. Therefor there are a lot of random occurrences happen due to people trying to offset their attacks by enough frames to avoid a potential parry, or doing a high attack instead of a low and visa versa "randomly" in order to mix things up.

Guessing and Focusing definitely both apply to Monster due to overheads and "short jumps" (which are really instant double jumps). Though, I suppose that they pretty much apply to all fighting games at least on some level. It may be rather unbelievable -- though I assure you that there are some Othello players who can back me up -- but I tend to block Othello's quick 662a and m-shifted a+b attacks on reaction instead of guessing far more frequently than Othello's very telegraphed 66c. Sounds retarded, but I happen to be very tunnel visioned. Monster also applies a lot of Guessing due to the auto-guard system in Tranquility mode. Fortunately it's not as wide-spread as parrying in 3S, but you can also see players utilizing it with Ryougen or Katze quite a bit (and which good 3S players have naturally learned to counter).

So once again, I feel the cast of characters and game mechanics allow you to pick your character based on what playstyle you're use to. To follow up on my previous post; as I said in regards to Siely and Rail, I believe players who are use to CvS2 and 3S might find Ryougen and Katze more to their liking. Even though Ryougen's catch and counter moves both contain "active whiff" frames on failure, they still apply the same logic of use as outlined above (guessing and focusing). You could also apply a little "Psychic DP" logic to both Ryougen and Katze as well.

Ryougen has a "counter" move that is performed by inputting 4b. During the start-up frames of this move he raises his hand. If anything connects with any part of Ryougen's body during the start-up frames of this move he will auto-guard it and retaliate with an elbow thrust (which is cancelable into a shift or super). That means that the move disregards high/low and left/right and also melee/projectile, it simply will "counter" anything that is not a throw. This move isn't unbeatable though as it has some recovery frames when it whiffs, and therefor you can bait it. The elbow itself also has some start-up frames so you can intentionally watch for it and counter the elbow with an attack that beats it. Still, this is almost a 3S player's wet dream as it practically serves the same function of a parry and yet ignores high/low differences.

Ryougen also has a "catch" move that is performed with 623a and will catch anything that connects with Ryougen's body above his knees, including throws. This move also has instant start-up and will beat meaty attacks. However it will always perform an upward thrust even when it whiffs. It is not like CvS2 Geese's catch moves as it disregards which way you're meant to block any particular move, but it's more like Hibiki's catch move in the sense that it will catch anything in the hit-area -- except that it has instant start-up unlike Hibiki's. This move also has combo potential as the upward thrust that he performs after the catch leaves the opponent at the right range and height to perform a bread and butter combo leading to a fair amount of damage. Again, this move isn't unbeatable as you're able to bait it and punish it on whiff, but unlike the counter move you are not able to punish the catch on reaction to the grab -- if you connect with Ryougen during the catch you will be instantly put in hitstun. Thus, Ryougen should appeal to a lot of 3S players (and perhaps P-Groove CvS2 players).

Katze has the interesting property of a persisting dragon-punch type move. His DP move will create a "wing" that persists regardless of weather or not Katze is hit. While Tranquility shifted, Katze has a lot of auto-guard frames on his 236a and 236b punch moves as well as invulnerability on his 623a uppercut/DP move. Additionally, Katze's normals have very good speed and hitbox sizes, making him a very solid keep-away character. He can affectively zone, anti-air, and poke his opponent to keep the opponent off him, which allows him to build meter freely. The autoguard on his Tranquility-shifted attacks also allows him to guess-beat a lot of attacks by relying on the autoguard frames, either on wake-up or anticipation between rushdown attacks. Thus, Katze should appeal to a lot of CvS2 players. Although that's somewhat of a generalization -- Katze is very good at both turtling due to 'high priority' attacks, rushing down due to frame advantage on his attacks, and has attacks that trade with or beat on first-frame due to persistance and/or auto-guard, which are features that CvS2 players should be accustomed to.

Once again I'm not saying this is a bad thing. All I'm saying is that it gives you the ability to select a character based what you're use to, or perhaps based on your overall playstyle. Much like what I was saying in my previous post in regards to Siely and Rail being the type of characters that GuiltyGear or MeltyBlood players would naturally gravitate to.

- Copyright © Xenozip.


Footsies are a rather integral part of some games, while other games seem to lack them quite a bit. The interesting thing about Monster is that due to the way the game is designed it seems that there are characters who can really utilize footsies, while other characters don't necessarily need to rely on them. Thus, you're able to select your character based on what style of play you prefer, which is probably why a lot of GuiltyGear and MeltyBlood players naturally gravitate to Rail and Siely.

In order to understand why, let's take a look at what defines footsies. Footsies isn't easy to define in a single sentence because it's more of a concept than a single action. In fact, footsies combines several gaming techniques in to one, and when players refer to footsies they are generally referring to the act of affectively using multiple techniques.

Footsies implies the application of: Zoning, spacing, poking, feinting, "psychic DP", and baiting.

Zoning is the act of controlling space with one or more moves that can't be "beat" very easily by the opponent. For example, throwing a fireball controls the space that the fireball inhabits because the fireball itself does not have a hittable box, it only has a hitbox. Thus, the fireball can hit, but it can not be hit in return. Ryu's fireball controls the space directly in front of him and for a long as the fireball is active as it travels across the screen.

Spacing is the act of putting your character in an advantageous position on the screen, which is generally just outside of the opponents poke range. If you were to take Cammy and perform all of her normal moves on the ground and also all of her vertical jumping moves you would be able to visually see the space that she can zone/control. Now if you were to step just outside the maximum range on all her pokes then you are properly spaced. Cammy can not directly hit you unless you act, but if Cammy acts you can then hit her outstretched limbs as they recover. Spacing generally involves keeping yourself as close to your opponent's attacks as possible without actually getting hit by them. The purpose of this is to pressure your opponent and also to capitalize on whiffed moves. If you can imagine standing next to Urien and he jumps vertically, you then move backwards on reaction until you are standing just outside his jumping roundhouse range, Urien then comes down with a jumping roundhouse and it whiffs -- you've just spaced yourself on reaction. Although there was a chance to hit Urien out of the air for an advantage, there was also a chance for Urien to hit you or force you to block leading to a disadvantage, by spacing yourself just outside his range you've actively removed the risk. The other point of doing this is to limit your opponents options so that you can actively look for and react to your opponents valid options. If you space yourself by standing just outside of all of Ryu's attacks other than his crouching roundhouse, you know that he therefor can not hit you with anything except a fireball or a crouching roundhouse. Thus, any time you see him flinch you know to watch out for one of the two.

Poking is similar to zoning, but the key difference is the move that you poke with is not necessarily a "high priority" attack, but rather a move that has very fast recovery and is therefor "safe" to stick out. The intention of a poke is not necessarily to zone, but rather to bait and pressure. For example, Ryu's crouching medium kick is an affective poke despite it not being a very good zoning move. It only controls a short amount of space directly in front of him and very low to the ground and can be "beat" by a lot of attacks, however it has a long hit duration and very short recovery so it's not likely to be punished on whiff -- at least not on reaction but more likely on anticipation.

Feinting is the act of performing the beginning of an action but quickly changing it to another action. Which is a way of exploiting anticipation and reaction based techniques. This makes your opponent believe that you are doing one action in the attempt to trick them into countering your action, when in reality you are going to do a different action. If you can imagine some one raising their fist, pulling it back, and swinging it halfway toward you but then kicking you in the shin instead; this is a feint. Ryu had this sort of technique in Street Fighter Alpha 3 -- he was able to perform a "fake" fireball, which looked exactly like his regular hadouken except no fireball actually left his hands. You might see how this is affective if you can imagine Ryu pressuring you into the corner and spacing himself perfectly for a fireball, and then performing what looks like a fireball so you jump on reaction to it, but then no fireball leaves his hands. Games like Garou: Mark of the Wolves attempted to implement actual feint moves for all characters, but sadly due to the way the game worked the feints ended up being more useful in combos than for actual feints. Bust Basara in Samurai Shodown had a feint move where-in he would create an image projection of himself that would move in a particular way, while the original Basara would remain temporarily invisible -- this let Basara trick the opponent into thinking he jumped, for example, when in reality he was still on the ground. Anji in Guilty Gear has somewhat of a feint with the ability to perform his taunt which looks very similar to one of his overheads, but then he can quickly cancel it into a low attack. However, almost every game has some kind of a feint that can be used on a fallen opponent. After knocking the opponent down it's possible to whiff a very fast attack over the persons body to make them believe you're attempting a meaty, when in fact you are not. Again, the intention of this is to trick your opponent into believing you're doing one thing when you are in fact doing another.

"Psychic DP" refers to the concept of anticipation. Being able to anticipate your opponents actions by limiting their options and pressuring them into making a predictable move if a huge part of footsies. When you're able to trap your opponent and make them believe that they simply must attack in order to not get hit, that's when you've won. A psychic DP is literally what happens when you walk forward and pressure you opponent, and then DP on anticipation to your opponents retaliation. It's only really risky if you're not sure your opponent would try and attack, but in by limiting and isolating your opponents options and pressuring them into sticking something out you have removed the risk. Often a lesser form of anticipation that everyone might be familiar with is sitting and waiting for an opponent to jump or short jump, then immediately anti-air with something like a DP -- this wasn't necessarily done entirely on reaction but some part of it was anticipation.

Baiting is essentially countering the "Psychic DP" or exploiting a weak "Psychic DP" in the sense that your intention is to make your opponent look for something and then do another. The act of baiting is simply the application of countering/abusing poor anticipation. For example, if you make them afraid of an overhead by doing multiple overheads in a row and make them start looking for that overhead so that they can block high on reaction, then that's when you walk up and throw them because they were too busy looking for that overhead. Likewise if you know they are sitting there waiting for you to short jump so they can anti-air you they won't be looking for dash-ins and visa versa. If you constantly do short jumps at your opponent and your opponent begins to start doing DP's on reaction you've gotten into their head, you now know that when you successfully put yourself in the position for a short jump they will be looking for it and are too busy looking for that one thing, so then they don't see another. I call this "mental tunnel vision". If you're too busy concentrating on looking for one particular action from your opponent, then your vision is too narrow to see anything other than that particular action.

Pretty much everyone should be familiar with the Bait at least on a receiving end because pretty much all games utilize the idea of forcing you to look for one particular thing so that you can react to it, and thus players will naturally tend to abuse that by making you look for that one thing and then hit you with another. This exists very prominently in games like SF3:3rd, Guilty Gear, and Capcom vs SNK 2 and perhaps exists in all games at least on some level.

As said, footsies is the application of learning to use each of these techniques against your opponent and learning how your opponent uses footsies against you. Your goal is to either gain momentum or force your opponent into the corner -- To quote John Choi "walking forward is the most important part of footsies.". Once you gain momentum or corner your opponent you have gained an advantage by putting your opponent at a direct disadvantage.

Monster seems to have some level of footsies between characters. The reason why I singled out Siely and Rail is because those characters are able to avoid most of these techniques by mindlessly rushing down or "rushing away", respectively. Meaning, these characters are all about randomly mixing high/low and left/right games which are more of a gamble, or running away and attacking completely safely. When you play these two characters there's very little application of any of the aforementioned techniques.

Siely's whole objective is to connect just about any move so that she can continually attack you high/low while leaving very very little frame disadvantage between attacks. This is because she is able to continue attacking high/low without any sort of retaliation until she eventually hits you, and once she hits you she is able to just randomly pick what direction to hit you from on wakeup (left/right and/or high/low). Naturally there is at least a little bit of application of the aforementioned techniques because she does at least need to connection something to begin rushing down, but with the point and shift systems in place she does not even need to offensively try to hit you -- she can simply wait and block her way to a point advantage and utilize powerbreaks to gain momentum. In a way, her playstyle is very similar to what's seen in Vampire Savior or MeltyBlood -- Her dash allows her playstyle to be similar to Morrigan (Vampire) and I-No (GuiltyGear).

Rail on the other hand is quite the opposite. His objective is to avoid everything and keep himself as safe as possible while still attacking. This means he utilizes safe moves, backdashes, and frame advantage as much as possible. Rail does apply zoning at least, but apart from that his whole game is to avoid everything else until his opponent makes a mistake. Rail's playstyle is rather similar to what's seen in MeltyBlood and some characters in Guilty Gear.

I'm not saying that this is a bad thing, though. What this really means is that there is a variety of viable play-styles within a single game, which I personally find interesting. The good news is I've personally experienced all of the aforementioned techniques in Monster at least on some level, which makes me believe that it is a true fighting game. Hopefully as the author, ShoK, continues to work on the game the characters will get more fleshed out and more dynamic and depth will be added to the game. I'm personally hoping that things are added to this game, and not taken away.

- Copyright © Xenozip.

Patch 1.01, Yay

ShoK has released the next patch for the game, labeled 1.01. We are all really happy to have a new patch, and we've started to try and find all the changes made. It appears that in this patch most of the changes were balance tweaks and move property changes, with the exception of Maya who got some really significant changes.

So far we've noticed the following changes:

  • Backdashes are slower
  • 5A attacks don't quick-cancel into themselves, so they are less spammable
  • Air shift/burst will "float" near the ground so attacks always come out
  • Absurd graphic changed
  • Training mode F1 will increase points rapidly, a second press will PB the opponent
  • Training mode F2 will increment the super stocks by 1 instead of max
  • Training mode F2 will reset post-absurd status
  • Pausing during training mode may cause random glitches
  • Damage has been reduced
  • F6 in Training now toggles the display of attack and directional inputs (off by default)
  • Many players have been experiencing new issues with the network
  • If you double jump straight up and *immediately* attack, you will drop straight down as you perform your air move. Does not work with up/forward or up/back.*
  • *Thanks to Josh-TheFunkDOC for info about the new double jumps

  • 236a forward portals now move instantly to a set distance (tip of 2C range) and "float" there
  • 236a forward portals can be done in the air (air 236a)
  • has a new j.2C move that ground slams opponent, can be blocked low, can be canceled and whiff-canceled into air 236a at any time
  • 214a shadow palm no longer persists
  • forward dash moves further and faster

  • freedom 214a shadow no longer persists

  • monster 236a no longer causes extended hit-pause/stun, range decreased

  • tranq 214a disappears when Maya is hit

  • Siely:
  • 66c has been reverted to her old one which allows her better rushdown and mixup options
  • New air backdash and can now stay in the air indefinitely using dashes and double jumps

  • tranq 41236a was given a new tajectory and can now combo/loop more
  • tranq 214b tracks slower preventing dive loops

  • Othello
  • Can no longer OTG with A+B while unshifted

  • M-Othello is mostly unchanged

  • freedom can no longer OTG with A+B either
  • freedom A+B can be canceled very very quickly, allowing him to do extended ground combos

  • tranq ground pound can OTG once, no follow up possible

  • Delga
  • Only tranq command grab is invincible now, unshifted/monster/freedom is not
  • Command throw range decreased while unshifted
  • Minor hitbox tweaks
  • Bash Combo (41236c) super command grab no longer OTG's
  • He can no longer OTG with his super command grab after a guard cancel or burst
  • New 6c throw, he now tosses his opponent over his shoulder
  • Freedom damage reduced a lot, axe whiff custom combo damage nerfed

  • Aleksander, Rail, Ryougen, Katze, and Orju
  • These characters are mostly unchanged

  • Aleksander is mostly unchanged

  • Rail is unchanged

  • Ryougen is unchanged

  • Katze's moves got tweaked a bit so now his combos are consistant
  • Katze's absurd now lasts a ridiculously long time

  • Orju's 3rd part of [bash]x3 launches higher
  • Orju's 3rd part of [bash]x3 on crossup does less hits and damage now

  • Overall I think this patch is going in the right direction in regards to balancing the cast. I'm assuming the patch wasn't a complete patch and that more changes to the other characters will be made in the future. The biggest shock was that Ryougen is mostly unchanged and is definitely still in the top tier all on his own (S Tier).

    I was asked again today what it is specifically that I'd change to Ryougen to make him less broken and my response was as follows:
    - Reduce the catch area of 4b counter move so that it auto-guards less attacks
    - Reduce the frame advantage on the elbow portion of the 4b counter
    - Add more recovery frames to a whiffed 4b
    - Reduce the height at which the 623a catch move launches the opponent so that the follow ups are more limited

    Other than that I wouldn't change Ryougen at all. It's really his catch and counter moves and his huge damage output that put Ryougen at the head of the pack. Some people point out that he has excellent jump attacks, but that isn't really as much of an issue as people make it out to be. Fact is, his instant overheads don't lead to large combos, where-as Othello's do. Almost everyone else has a good overhead that is confirmable into a combo, but Ryougen's instant air overheads don't lead into anything other than a knockdown at the most. So, the main issue with the overheads is just damage output really.

    Personally, I feel Maya's changes were a bit extreme, and so were her nerfs. The primary two reasons I liked playing her got nerfed/changed. Not having persisting 214a shadows makes a huge difference, and her forward portals don't act like projectiles anymore which also makes a huge difference. Personally, I feel she has no real defense now other than her 236b shadow and tranq-shifted 236a shield, both of which require time and space to set up properly. Maya is still very strong, but she's practically all offense now and has very little defense.

    But see, this is why I prefer balance tweaks, and why I don't like drastic changes. The two primary reasons I enjoyed playing her got changed and nerfed, so I don't really even enjoy playing her anymore, which is sad. I pray that Orju does not receive any huge changes in the future like Maya did.

    Now, I totally understand the concept of adapting to new things and I've done it plenty in the past, but that isn't really the case here. It would be like saying the only reason to play Chun-Li in SF3:3rd Strike is for her low forward->super/kara-throw mixup and her fierce/back+fierce moves, and if those were completely changed and/or nerfed all to hell then it's understandable that Chun-Li wouldn't be enjoyable to play anymore because you effectively removed the two reasons to play her. Likewise, the fact that Maya's 214a shadow disappears when she's hit (doesn't persist anymore) makes all the difference in the world to me.

    Of course, that's probably just me. I'm sure the changes to Maya are for the best, but I definitely don't like them. Fortunately I still really enjoy playing as T/F-Orju.

    I'm extremely happy with the changes to Delga. It's now enjoyable to play against Delga again, now that his really stupid stuff has been toned down.

    - Copyright © Xenozip.

    Hiatus Ended

    I've taken a brief hiatus from Monster, but I'm back now, and there have been a lot of new developments since then.

    Thanks to L3land and Spooty, Delga has become even more ridiculous than before. Because of three new discoveries by these players I've had to re-asses my tiering of Delga. Interestingly, our current adjusted tier list now looks a lot more like the Japanese tier list, with the exception of Orju. Now that I've seen all of what Delga can do, I agree with the JP tier list for all characters (except Orju). I would definitely rank Orju either in D or C class (not E).

    As Orju, players started getting wise to my green ring PB gimmicks lately, so I've started to "abuse" T-Orju's green dot in new ways. I've started taking full advantage of lv.2/3 dot in combination with T-green dot in the corner, which leads to unavoidable damage. I've also started abusing lv.1 MB super's freeze affect in new ways for more unavoidable damage (via T-green dot). I've also seen some really interesting F-Orju and M-Orju combos from AyaImmortal/ShinTouyokouzan, Xiii, and Celestial_Okami.

    So, my current tier list might look like:
    S: Ryougen
    A: Maya
    B: Delga, Othello
    C: Orju, Rail
    D: Katze, Siely
    E: Aleksandr

    Personally I'm tempted to place Delga even higher, but I don't because he still technically has a few bad match-ups. Of course, this is subject to change as we learn more and also with future patches.

    The EC players have also done another ranking battle (their second).

    Results (thanks to Xiii for this list):

  • 1st: GimmeThemShoes (M-Othello) 10 points
  • 2nd: L3land (M-Delga) 12 points
  • 3rd: fooligar (T-Maya) 5 points
  • 4th: Xiii (M-Aleksandr) 8 points
  • Tied for 5th: RogueYoshi (M-Othello, F-Siely) 10 points, Spootz (F-Delga) 3 points
  • Tied for 7th: Shardz (T-Siely) 1 point, XAQshinor (F-Rail) 1 point
  • Tied for 9th: Harem (T-Katze) 2 points, rashreflection (M-Delga) 1 point, zkdfsyufa (M-Rail) 2 points, MURPHAGATOR (M-Rail) 1 point
  • Tied for 11th: Sticky (F-Rail) 1 point, KOH (T-Katze) 1 point, Rusheddown (T-Siely) 2 points, Khris (M-Katze) 2 points

  • Brackets can be found here.

    I'm was surprised that fooligar only placed 3rd with T-Maya, props to L3land for beating him twice (in winners and in losers finals). Then again, I feel fooligar's much better with other characters, I guess he was taking it easy. The brackets look like they were set up much better in this one than the previous one and the test run. Still couldn't get a full turnout though, hopefully the no-shows will be able to attend the next one, myself included.

    Fortunately replays were taken as usual and I've been asked to do another highlights reel, so I probably will get to work on that after I'm done viewing all the footage from the ranbat.

    AyaImmortal/ShinTouyokouzan has also released a collaboration combo video featuring combos from fooligar, Xiii, Spooty, and himself. The video seemed rather short to me though, but this is probably because the production was cut short when he heard information concerning the next patch. Still it's a pretty good start, it'll be interesting to see future productions. Props for the vid, guys.

    The video made me realize that we're really only scratching the surface and future videos have the potential to be extremely large. In the IRC channel (#8105Monster on Efnet) we've been discussing combos that can be done with varying circumstances and conditions, such as; shift-cancel+0/1/2/3 supers, no-shift-cancel+0/1/2/3 supers, and already-shifted+0/1/2/3 supers. The interesting thing is that the combos are often very different depending on the conditions, and then you throw other conditions into the mix like; midscreen, corner, make it burst-safe, start from 2a, start from a throw, start air-to-air, etc. And then take all that and add the different Shifts into the mix. Personally, I find it really interesting that the combos are often very very different depending on the conditions. That means means combo videos can reach epic proportions with all the different variations of meter, position, shift, burst/no-burst, etc. It also means that actual gameplay has the potential to grow less linear (more deep), because you may choose learn and use several different variants in order to compensate for practicality. Meaning, live matches won't necessarily revolve around landing the same combo every time, mostly because you can land hits which lead into combos at any time and under many different circumstances. The primary reason for modifying combos is really damage output, but also increased gravity comes into play after a certain number of hits.

    I'm getting pretty hype just thinking about all the potentiality.

    - Copyright © Xenozip.

    Wake-up Monkeys

    "Wake-up Monkey" is a term that I coined from a very good East Coast SF3:3S player that goes by the alias KOFiend (who plays Yang, by the way). It basically refers to players who try to do too many offensive options when getting up off the ground, rather than using their defensive options.

    If you know absolutely nothing about game theory or strategy or mathematics, just know this: It's almost always in your best interest to try and defend on wake-up. This is because the opponent has the advantage in this situation.

    SF3:3S has inadvertently taught a lot of players bad habits. Too often will you see players trying to parry or perform a wake-up reversal when getting up off the ground, and they very frequently get punished for it in the long run.

    Fortunately it seems that Monster has a mechanic that may help to teach good habits. It would seem that a lot of attacks are back-dash cancelable during their startup frames, which is basically a whiff cancel (also known as kara-cancel). The niffty thing about this is that it's easy to do on reaction to the screen-freeze from a shift or super. Thus, you are able to stick out a meaty 2A attack in the opponent, and if the screen flashes due to them performing a wake-up super, you're able to backdash cancel the 2A on reaction to avoid the super.

    I can see this teaching some people to stop doing stupid things on wake-up. Hopefully people start blocking on wake-up a lot more often once they get use to this game.

    Speaking of teaching good habits, I love the fact that this game can be played online. I've met quite a few "Training Mode Knuckleheads" (which is a spin off Wake-up Monkey), who are basically players who spend entirely too much time playing single player or practicing combos in training mode. These players have a lot of knowledge about the technical side of the game, but lack experience against human opponents. This is something that is really prevalent with the Melty Blood community in America. There's some very small pockets of players in specific areas that play Melty Blood quite a bit with some human opponents. This let's them get competition and increase their skill and understanding of the game. But unfortunately not many players have access to human competition in this game because there aren't many arcades that carry it. America is really big and spread out, so in order for many players to compete they have to travel really long and impractical distances in order to play -- not something they can do frequently. Thus, players spend a lot of time in training mode because they don't get any competition, and these players have learned to execute advanced combos on the fly. Thus, the training mode knucklehead is born. They may be very experienced with combos, but they don't actually know how to play the game properly against other humans.

    Fortunately, Monster's network mode gives people the ability to play with people from other states or even other countries, which is absolutely wonderful.

    Of course, X-Box Live does the same, but the netcode on X-Box Live is terrible and sucks. In fact, you can actually get worse from playing on X-Box Live too much, hahaha!

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