My Beef With Parries

I know this subject has been done to death, but whatever. Here's my problem with 3S style parries. If you can find an answer to all of these problems then I'm OK with parry. Good luck.

  1. Option selects. Tapping a direction invalidates some mixups like crossup j.MK.
  2. Risk/Reward. In a lot of situations the most you risk is getting thrown while the most you gain is a hitconfirm combo into super.
  3. Reaction/Anticipation. Parries can not be punished on reaction since there's nothing to react to, they can only be beaten on anticipation (meaning the aggressor has to guess right).
  4. Startup. There is no startup for a parry so that lets you invalidate a lot of would-be setups.
  5. Guarantees. If I throw or sweep you successfully I can't guarantee any kind of additional reward because there are no guarantees in a game with parries.
  6. Throwing. Because throws beat high/low parries it puts a much greater value on throws. Even in top level play; some times a player will eat a meaty throw five times in a row simply because they are fishing for parries and scared of c.MK xx super.
  7. Hitconfirm. The biggest problem is sometimes you can't hitconfirm a super off a light or mid attack because stun duration is too short to visually confirm the hit, but with parries it's easy, now you're confirming off the parry (visual/audible/long duration) rather than only the c.LK.
  8. Jumping. Some characters have no business mindlessly jumping at the opponent without momentum/advantage. With parries, it's okay, because air parries can compensate for stupidly retarded mindless aggression. If you option-parry correctly the worst that happens is you land in their face. It promotes totally scrub-like behavior.
  9. Position. Footsies are diluted to whiffing attacks and hoping your opponent walks right into them, there is no forcing your opponent into a bad position in a game with parries.
  10. Guessing. (explained below)

Guessing: A lot of players seem to say that the one parrying is the one guessing, and this isn't entirely correct. What parries actually do is force the one attacking to guess, not the one parrying. In fact, at least there's something to react to for the one parrying, whereas there is nothing to react to for the one attacking.

Take for example a game without parries, without invulnerable DPs, but with invulnerable backdashes. The aggressor in such a game doesn't have to guess every time he wants to attack in fear of getting parried or DP'ed, and if the opponent backdashes to get out of these options then no harm comes to the aggressor or backdasher. But with parries and invulnerable DPs he can't land a meaty attack without guessing what the opponent will do, he can't tick with staggered jabs without guessing if the opponent will parry or not, and worst of all he can't bait out a parry and punish it on reaction like you can with a DP. Assuming you know the opponent will take an aggressive option like reversal DP you can bait that out, see it come out, and punish it during it's recovery. But with parries if the aggressor blocks expecting an offensive action to occur there is nothing to punish. You have to beat it by countering. In other words in order to inflict damage to the parryer, you have to attack either high or low or throw and if you guess wrong you get parried. THAT is the guessing game parries cause. Every time you attack YOU have to guess, not the one parrying.

I've said it before but I can't stress it enough, parrying is not a defensive option, it's an offensive option.

Now before people say that I don't know what I'm talking about, what I'm saying isn't even unique, most of the best 3S players have said the exact same things about 3S parries many times. Pretty much all of the best 3S players were eager to drop 3S as soon as SF4 was released, yet they still play older Capcom games like MvC2 and CvS2, they simply needed an excuse to ditch 3S. Also keep in mind that this doesn't come from inexperience either, I actually played 3S against some of the best players in the US, and I also play MeltyBlood, Akatsuki Blitzkampf, and VanguardPrincess (which have parry-whiffs fortunately), so it's not like I'm theory fighting over here.

- Copyright © Xenozip.

Good Bye Street Fighter 4

So now that Capcom has officially announced Super Street Fighter 4, I think it's safe to say that regular SF4 is now dead in the water. People will probably continue to play it up until SSF4 is finally released some time in 2010, but it's more than likely that once they get their hands on it then SF4 will die.

But here's the real kicker, it's being said that there won't be an arcade release for SSF4. No arcade release means no SBO spot, and no SBO spot means Japan isn't going to care (plus they pay very little attention to console-only games anyway). So this will be the true test to see how much the Western world has it's head up Japan's ass. I for one am very interested in seeing if America/EVO will go with SF4 or SSF4, or both, and what Japan will do (if anything).

Anyawy, I've been keeping quiet about SF4 for a long time now, and there's a reason, I knew something like this would happen. Why? Take a look at Capcom's history. They never get a game right on the first try.

1991 Street Fighter 2 (Super Turbo)
1994 Dark Stalkers/Vampire (Vampire Savior)
1994 X-Men/Marvel series (MvC2)
1995 Street Fighter Alpha (A2 and A3)
1996 Street Fighter EX (EX3)
1997 Street Fighter 3 (3S)
1998 Jojo's Bizarre Adventure (HftF)
2000 Capcom vs SNK (CvS2)

They may get it "right" eventually, but no one really plays the first version of any of those series titles any more. So I wasn't personally expecting the first version of SF4 to be the one that sticks anyway (I was waiting for part 2). Now we're in 2009 with SF4 and SSF4 is slated to be released 2010. With 8 new characters being promised (10 total is rumored) there's good incentive to want to play it. Presumably the game will at least be as good as the prequel -- if not better. But not having an arcade release may be significant enough reason to downgrade back to SF4, and if that's the case then the series itself is as good as dead, since obviously the community will split and eventually dwindle.

I hate to be a cynic and bring anti-hype to something still alive, but people have been asking me if I've been playing SF4 and if I'll ever do any combo videos for it. The answer to both is no and no. I recently installed it for the PC, and will probably soon uninstall it. So mainly I've been keeping quiet because I never had any intention of playing SF4, and frankly I look at SSF4 as the nail in the coffin for SF4.


- Copyright © Xenozip.

Jojo's Ghettoness

I think I've posted this information before, but I'm going to try and make a more concise post.

- You can not do reversals in Jojo's, period.
- That makes meaty unblockables inescapable/unavoidable.
- Example: Hol Horse sweeps you, his time-slow bullet is unblockable and unavoidable on wakeup due to no reversals (guaranteed super off sweep).
- You can be thrown during jump startup and backdashes.
- There's 3F throw inv on wakeup or off blockstun, but 0F coming out of hitstun
- The two factors listed above make certain throw traps inescapable.
- Example: Old Joseph does his tandem (custom combo like Genei Jin) and ends with slide into 360, the grab ender is unavoidable/inescapable because there's no throw inv off slide hitstun and no reversals.
- There is ground crouch-cancelling. Example: normally Mariah can't link 5A to 5B, but if you do 5A [2] 5B it combos easily.
- But it's not a universal rule, some characters have no useful crouch cancels while others have many.
- Pushblocking is done by inputting three attacks during blockstun, while holding any direction, and can be done any time during blockstun.
- There's no limit to pushblocking. In games like MvC2 you can only push once per blockstun, the stun will have to end before you can push again. This is not the case in Jojo's, you can push every hit during blockstun at any time.
- Characters that can tandem (custom combo) have a jump-install, where activating the stand in the air will flip a switch (glitch) in the way the stand behaves during tandem.
- Example: Jotaro's Stand's 5C won't combo into itself during tandem, but if he activates his stand in the air the 5C will chain into itself during tandem allowing him to do [5C]xN.
- Petshop has a 9:1 matchup against the entire cast, he is normally banned in tournaments.
- Young Joseph's block animation will cancel his normal moves if an opponent's attack is active.
- With Young Joseph you can literally hold down-back and mash and the first frame of each attack attempt will be canceled into block (as evident when you c.A3 and hear his attack sound) while there's an attack like Mariah's Stand on the screen near him.
- There's 5F throw invulnerability when landing from a jump.
- So empty-jump into throw is pretty valid since the opponent can't throw you.
- And a number of other things I can't think of right now.

- Copyright © Xenozip.

Stuff Fu

When the Smash community complained about the Ice Climbers having ridiculous rewards off a throw, the SRK community responded with "Don't get grabbed". This upset the Smash community who argued that the technique should simply be banned altogether. The response from SRK was a concise one-liner that doesn't actually explain anything, but the message isn't really false either. You could say it's sort of like a Confucius-style anecdote intending to convey a message. A message that was meant to guide people who were willing to open their minds and question things.

However, this message can't be conveyed with just words alone. No, some things can only be learned through experience. Perhaps most would only understand such a concept by example and experience. Like explaining how to paint a portrait, or to play a musical instrument, or to score points in a sport: You can't simply learn it on paper or with words, you have to practice and learn through self-discovery.

The real trick to a lot of these -- let's call them overwhelming situations -- is mindgames and footsies. In other words, not allowing yourself or your opponent to create the situation where you are put in this bad situation in the first place. In laymen's terms; "Don't get grabbed.", means: "Don't let yourself be put in a position where you're going to get grabbed.".

To put it another way, the best way to avoid getting grabbed is to avoid being in grab-range in the first place. If you're never in a spot where you can be grabbed, you'll never get grabbed.

So, how to accomplish this is like I said before: footsies and mind games. If your opponent jumped in at you then you failed at basic anti-airs, and if your opponent dashed in and grabbed you then you failed at footsies, and if your opponent made you block a projectile and then grabbed you for the win then you definitely failed at mind games.

The best answer is to be in a position where you can't get grabbed. That means you have to not only control yourself into a position where you won't get grabbed, but also prevent your opponent from getting himself into a situation where he can grab you. That latter is about one half of the hard part: stopping your opponent from doing what he wants to do (which is to grab you). You must understand that once you are in that situation where you can be grabbed you are essentially fucked anyway.

And thus is the actual definition of a mindgame (versus a mixup). A mind game is being put in a position where you are forced to choose between a tree of all failure -- so after blocking an attack you are forced to choose between options, all of which lead to you getting hit -- learning that means to avoid that position that put you there to begin with by using superior footsies (spacing, baiting, etc). When the opponent throws a fireball and you block it, then the opponent can press toward and punch which will result in either an attack that will anti-air you if you jump, or throw you if you don't jump, this is called an option select. The mind game here was the whole situation of the defender blocking the fireball and that being the trigger that lead to this inevitable damage of melee/throw.

A mixup is where the attacker puts the defender in a situation where the attacker can succeed or fail depending on different options that can not be reacted to. Such as, getting hit on either the left or the right, or getting hit either high or low, or getting hit by a punch versus getting grabbed. The defender does not know which option will be chosen and can't react to it, and the attacker also does not know which option the defender will choose to try and prevent damage.

Things like high/low, left/right, blockable-melee/unblockable-throw, and parry/no-parry are all mixups that neither player can actually react to, they can only anticipate, which means they can only guess.

But to define a mind game, it is the act of avoiding the mixups.

For example one, a grappler character can not simply throw you at any time or any where, the character must be within throw range. The trick of footsies is to prevent the character from getting within throw range.

For example two, if a grappler can do more damage with a throw than they can with any of their melee attacks, you should choose a defensive option that will result in you getting hit by the grappler's melee rather than you being grabbed.

The mindgame therein is understanding and applying both example one and example two. Without these elements there is no mindgame, there is only blind guessing. To use an analogy, when there is no mindgame and only guessing it is like Rock-Paper-Scissors game (not something you can react to, just options you can guess from), but with a mindgame it is like chess where you can react to your opponents skill and experience (and can defeat them with better decisions).

- Copyright © Xenozip.