Frames and Numbers

I've talked about Advantage in the past, but I know a lot of players look at frame data and just go "huh, numbers, wha?". And even if they somewhat understand what a + or - in a chart means, they really don't do the math on it or care about specifics. Now, I can relate to this because math hurts my head, I hate mathematics outside of geometry (which is the only form of math that I love) for the most part. Be that as it may, I want to look at some numbers and talk about how they effect the game.

Alice 6B with overlayed hitboxes

First, we're going to look at Alice's 6B or 66B, as seen above, both moves actually have the same data. And here are the stats:

Startup: 9F
Active: 3F
Block Advantage: +1F

First, what this means is that if the opponent blocks this attack (which we call the Boot), Alice will recover one frame before the opponent. So if both the opponent and Alice jump after that move is blocked, Alice leaves the ground first, by one frame. It also means if Alice were to immediately do it again after the first one, an opponent would need a move with 8F startup just to trade with it, and 7F startup in order to beat it. And this is assuming they both did it as soon as possible.

In my opinion, data isn't really hard to look at when looking at neutrality (rather than advantage/disadvantage). For example, If a move is +0 on block and the next move has 9F startup, then the opponent needs at least 9F to trade -- since that's frame for frame -- and 8F to beat it.

Now I know people sometimes wonder what any of that has to do with actual playing. And really, not many people (or possibly no one) actually thinks of those numbers while they are hitting buttons and playing. But it is something to think about before and after a game.

Here's why. If we look at Suika's move list, we can see the fastest move she has is an 8F startup move, and that's her 2B kick. That means the best Suika can do against Alice 66B followed immediately by Alice 6B is to trade with it, since Suika has no faster moves it's impossible to beat it. However, the Boot isn't even Alice's fastest move, Alice also has 2B which is 8F startup and 5B which is 7F startup, meaning they're faster than the Boot. So, what that means is Suika really has no hope of beating Alice's 5B or 2B after blocking a 66B. Suika's only real options are to jump away, or risk using either a 236B Firepunch or Bomb. In the case of both the Firepunch and Bomb, these moves have recovery time so they are baitable and therefor can be punished on block/whiff if Suika guesses wrong.

Suika hate books

And that's pretty much all there is to it. People sometimes get confused by this sort of thing because of random variables like execution and lag/latency. Occasionally a Suika player might just stick out a 2B there and it might actually work because the Alice screwed up, but this is why knowing the data is important to some people. When we "look at the facts" by reading the data, the fact is, Suika can't stop Alice's 5B or 2B after blocking Alice's 66B, and can only hope to trade with a well timed 6B after a 66B. Knowing that all this is fact, and not fiction or theory, can help both players. It can help the Alice player understand that, while a character like Hong can certainly stop this situation using a 5F move (Hong's 5A), a Suika player simply can not, and if Suika gets away with it, it means the Alice player's execution isn't as it could/should be. Likewise, it also lets Suika players know not to mindlessly attempt things that shouldn't/don't work.

Analyzing frames also let's us discover things like the correct way to escape Boot Rush in general. It also helps unravel the mysteries of why Youmu can escape tech traps when the rest of the cast can't, and why Yukari can escape aerial blockstrings when the rest of the cast can't -- it all comes down to frames and hitboxes.

But, So What;

Well, I will say that you don't actually need to look at frames, memorize them, or even understand how any of it works to be a good player. In fact, all of that information can be learned through trial and error experience. You don't need to know that none of Suika's moves are fast enough or not from looking at the data, not when you can experiment with each move in-game and discover that through gaming experience.

But as I pointed out before, there are random variables that effects us. Execution issues, and netplay lag/latency can sometimes create chaotic results. And rather than grinding until you have "proven" it through manual means, you could just look at the raw data, do a little math, and prove it at a glance. And there are some people who are stubborn or perhaps not so observant as to even notice this situation.

To quote Buktooth: "Match experience can replace knowing data, but knowing data can often let you come to conclusions that would otherwise require match experience.

In plainer English, being up on your knowledge helps you adapt to unknown situations faster

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