When it comes to fighting games, it’s easy to pour all of our energy and thoughts on our competition. We put so much thought on ways of overcoming the challenge they oppose, but rarely take a step back to think about the person in the mirror. In reality, the journey towards fighting game enlightenment has nothing to do with whomever is controlling the opposing character, but everything to do with the person in the mirror.
In this post, I go through the self-indulgent process of creating a scouting report for myself as a fighting game player. It might just be a platform to brag about my past exploits, but I’m really hoping to dig up some truth bombs about my weaknesses in order to address them in the future. Without further ado, let’s go!
Experience: Have been playing fighting games seriously since 2009
Claims to Fame:
- 1st in Street Fighter V at the WorldGaming Regional Finals in Kingston
- 17th in Street Fighter V at the WorldGaming National Championships
- T-7th in ARMS at Fan Expo 2017
- T-25th in Marvel vs. Capcom 3 at T12
- Was at, or near the top of numerous character-specific learderboards in Street Fighter IV
- Was once in the top 500 of the Injustice leaderboards
- Was once in the top 200 of the Street Fighter X Tekken leaderboards
- Rank 20 (highest ranking level) in ARMS
- Formerly ranked #1 in the world with June in Pocket Rumble and in the top 10 overall
- Fan Expo – 2010 – Super Street Fighter IV
- T12 – 2011 – Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition and Marvel vs. Capcom 3
- Toryuken – 2012 – Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, and Skullgirls
- Canadian East Championship – 2016 – Street Fighter V
- WorldGaming Regional Finals – 2016 – Street Fighter V
- WorldGaming National Championships – 2016 – Street Fighter V
- Red Bull Fight for the 6ix – 2016 – Street Fighter V
- Red Bull Fight for the 6ix Second Impact – 2016 – Street Fighter V
- Nintendo Tournament at Fan Expo – 2017 – ARMS
I was a big fan of Street Fighter II in the arcades as a kid, but the competitive scene wasn’t something I even knew existed until 2009. After watching Devastation 2009, I was inspired to improve my skills in hopes of someday being as good as the likes of Justin Wong, Gootecks, and Mike Ross.
Since then, I’ve put in a ton of time training to get proficient in the Street Fighter series of games. Beyond those, I try to play as many different games as possible with varying degrees of success.
Fast, aggressive, and a little cerebral. I love to hit buttons and control the pace of the fight. Movement is a critical part of my success, so I prioritize having good movement over big damage. While I prefer to fight from a position of strength, I have developed the ability to read situations and counter my opponent’s tactics.
Strong understanding of fighting game concepts, strategies, and tactics – Over time, I’ve developed a strong sense of how fighting games work and how to be successful at them. When I’m approaching a game for the first time, I know exactly what I want in terms of success and can build a roadmap for how I get there. Whether it’s frame data, combos, special moves, tick throws, or other in-game aspects that can determine the victor, I have a good grasp on what I need to do in order to win.
Ability to read and react – I think this aspect of my game is my strongest attribute. Through years of play and practice across multiple games, I have the ability to figure out strategically and tactically what my opponent is trying to do while being able to come up with the appropriate counters on the fly. This ability has allowed me to punch above my weight against players who have better combos or more experience with the games I play while covering for my myriad of weaknesses.
Ability to perform well at multiple games – Having played many different games over the years, I’ve come up with a system in my head that allows me to retain and recall my knowledge and skills across them. Street Fighter is my main hustle, but I’ve performed well in a number of other fighting games as well.
Ability to learn and grow (when I want to) – Learning how to be proficient at fighting games is one of the hardest things to achieve in any genre due to the amount of textbook and practical knowledge you have to retain and recall. I may not grow fast, but I do know how to make incremental improvements to my skills that ladder up to a greater whole at the end.
Ability to overcome a deficit – In a jam, I’m able to look past the the steep health disadvantage and think about the task at hand in terms of conversions, as in, the number of combos I need to connect with. When I think about the number of conversions I need to come back or overtake control, that number is a lot easier for me to process. From there, I play to meet my quota, which I think I can do at an above average rate.
Experience on a big stage – Playing in a tournament is a very different beast than playing online. Besides the lack of input lag, there’s a whole different energy that comes with facing off against an opponent sitting beside you, with a crowd behind you, and with your gameplay being streamed to thousands at home. At this point, I think I’ve played just enough to shake off any tournament jitters.
Have overcome my tournament execution issues – This is a weird one that won’t make sense unless you’ve played at a tournament. Modern televisions have variable lag. This hurt me for years in tournament, as the events I would participate in would have less lag than my TV at home, causing me to drop combos like crazy. A while back, I picked up an ASUS VP247 gaming monitor in order to match tournament lag and it’s been great. If you do plan on taking tournament play seriously, I heavily recommend grabbing a gaming monitor.
Trigger happy – Fighting games are about fighting, so I have a tendency to press buttons more than I should. Not just when I’m attacking from a position of strength, but also as a means of hitting my way out of a jam during times when simply blocking or evading would have been the better option. As such, I am one that is prone to racking up counter hits at a high rate.
Suboptimal damage output – Compared to most fighting game players, I think I’m pretty good with hitting my combos or converting in scramble situations. However, when it comes to squeezing out every last bit of HP on every conversion, that’s not my forte at all. Whether it’s due to narrow timing windows, combos that require more inputs than I can remember, or imprecise inputs, I rarely get the most bang for my buck. I try my best to compensate with resets or pressure, but in games where my opponents can finish me off with fewer conversions, I can struggle to keep up.
Damage over everything – In a world where almost every fighting game has damage scaling, it can oftentimes be more important to perform a less damaging combo in exchange for better positioning to set up the next attack. Whether it’s through resets or set-ups on a downed opponent, there’s oftentimes a short-term sacrifice you can make for an ultimately better gain of even more damage from a second combo. Because my damage is generally subpar, I tend to play it safe by squeezing out as much damage as I can to compensate for my subpar combo output, even if that means sacrificing the opportunity for great positioning for a follow-up. I need to be better at weighing my options.
Prone to getting lamed out – As someone that loves to fight in close, ranged combat is not my forte. Against zoning-based characters like Dhalsim in the Street Fighter series, I struggle to close the gap while maintaining my cool. Eventually, I will crack and get reckless, costing me the match. Overcoming this requires a level of game knowledge and patience that I generally lack, but it’s something I need to work on to reach the next level.
Short on advanced tech – I understand all of the core concepts of a fighting game. However, when it comes to implementing the hot new triple-option-select-unblockable-fuzzy-trip-guard set ups in my game, I generally don’t bother. Yes, I do have some things in my bag of tricks, but I rarely take the time to implement the latest and more advanced tech out of mostly laziness. For most people, they won’t need to know the particulars of a game’s most advanced tactics. But with where I’m at, I really do need to make the effort to use the knowledge available to me to improve my skills.
Unable to play 3D fighters – With the loose exception of ARMS, 3D fighting games are completely alien to me. Despite having some experience with the likes of Tekken, SoulCalibur, Virtua Fighter, and Dead or Alive, I can’t play them with any sort of competency. It’s not necessarily 3D movement that gets me. Instead, it’s the types of inputs required in order to excel. Most characters in these games have over 100 unique button combinations to perform different moves and I simply don’t have the mental capacity to remember all of that.
Somewhat limited tournament experience – While I do show out at major tournaments, most of my experience is through online play. There are more majors I could participate in near me, plus there’s a scene that plays every week. I think where the experience of going to the weeklies would really help is in getting time to play against my city’s best, while being able to learn from them directly how I could get better. I’ve made loose friendships with a few of the top local players here, but not close enough to train with them on a routine basis. This is mostly a matter of me getting out of the house more if I really want to get to the next level.
Whew! That was cathartic. I’m sure with more thought, I could put some more points into both categories.
What do I do now? I don’t know. I guess I think this over when I play and try to use it as motivation to make myself better today than I was yesterday.
What would your scouting report look like?