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BadIntent's Game Corner

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Welcome to BadIntent's game corner, a collection of all my tech and some insights on the game. My main guide is Pokkén Basics, so these posts will be more scattershot information I find very useful. Complete table of contents once I post all my stuff here.


-10 Must Punish Attacks in Pokkén

-Losing games? Improve your Focus

-Option Selects

-How to Beat Zoners

-What Character Should I play?

-Solo main or play multiple characters?

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10 Must Punish Attacks



1. Decidueye Fury Attack 6A (-16 on block, -4 if canceled into soaring stance)




After blocking the initial hits of 6A, Decidueye can cancel into 6AY/X, 6AA, or soaring stance with R. Out of Soaring Stance it can even do Acrobatics or fly over you. The safest way to defend against all these options is to use a defensive option select. In this case, press CA then 8Y right as the Fury Attack is ending. This will give you a CA if the opponent goes for 6AY/X or 6AA, and an 8Y if they do nothing or go into soaring stance and knock them out of anything they can do from it. This works because Fury Attack's followups (excluding Soaring Stance), cause the move to do slightly less block stun before the cancel.


2. Decidueye Sucker Punch jA (-8)




Sucker Punch can only be done from a raw jump or after a flip (not while actually in Soaring Stance). This attack can be grabbed on reaction but it may be difficult if you're trying to react to all the other moves Decidueye can do as well. For assistance, you an use Rotom whenever it does a high Soaring Stance Cancel. High cancels are done from 2YY, 5XX, and 8Y. You can immediately press Rotom after you see them Soaring Stance from these. Their only escape is to do R in mid-air and then Sucker Punch. So do Rotom and immediately grab to punish all options.


3. Aegislash 8Y (-20, counter armor recovery)




Aegislash recovers in Shield form which has blue armor so you must grab this move on block to punish it. However, it is safe when done with Sacred Sword mist, and retaliation attempts will get beat out.


4. Aegislash Iron Head 6A (-4 uncharged +4 charged)




Iron Head has a mid-low meaning it can be jumped over. Jumps take 5 frames to become immune to mid-lows so you should never have to get hit by 6[A] in neutral and can punish it with jYs with good hitboxes. Just make sure to do the attack late because any move you do in the air counts as an air stall and cancels out your mid-low invincibility.


5. Blaziken Blaze Kicks 6A




Sceptile, Suicune, Garchomp, Chandelure, Gengar, and Pikachu get guaranteed punishes against all variants. Sceptile and Suicune can mash 8A after blocking the first kick. Garchomp can RL X after blocking the first kick. Chandelure and Gengar must duck slightly then 8Y. Pikachu must duck longer after blocking the first kick and RL Y. Pikachu Libre, Weavile, can escape all followups with 2X because of frame 1 air invincibility and their evasive animations.


Other characters must choose between contesting two of the three options since they can't cover all 3 at the same time. Ducking after the first hit, delaying and pressing 8Y beats both versions of Blaze Kicks and EX Flare Blitz but loses to non-EX Flare Blitz since it comes out too fast. Blocking the first kick and waiting for Flare Blitz transition and 8Ying it on reaction beats both Flare Blitz versions but leaves both versions of Blaze Kicks uncontested. Be careful about pressing 8Y too early or non-EX Blitz will armor your anti air and win. Blaze Kicks is 0 on block and it takes several reps to break your shield, so I suggest starting off with blocking the first hit, letting go of the controller and then pressing 8Y. This method will auto block Blaze Kicks and always punish both versions of Flare Blitz. You'll be at 0 on block worst case scenario. Also remember that non-EX Blitz is a single hit and -16 on block so punish with moves 15 frames or faster. EX Blitz does three hits is -8 on block. Practice differentiating between these in training mode.


In field phase, the move is more of a guess to punish, but frame 1 air invincible moves can avoid Blaze Kicks and both versions of Flare Blitz. Gengar can using Homing, Chandelure bY, and Garchomp RL X. Pikachu can do immediate RL Y after blocking the first kick but this is more likely to trade or avoid the move than punish. 


6. Scizor U-Turn 4A (-20)




A seemingly easy punish, U-Turn can sometimes go unchecked because of the Swords Dance follow-up that causes extra block stun. However, the followup is a true block string after the first hit, so just mash your punish after blocking the initial hit and you will always punish. 


7. Scizor Bullet Punch 3A, 2A, 1A (-20 far, -16 medium, -12 close range) 




From a distance, this move is safe because of pushback but not from close up. Mash your 11f or faster move to punish Bullet Punch outright and beat or at worst trade with all of its followups.


8. Lucario Bone Rush 6A (0 slam, -12 upper, -16 no followup)




Punishing Bone Rush follows the same principle as punishing Fury Attack. Block the first hit, then press counter attack 3 times quickly. This will make the move come out against the gap in between Slam and Upper. No followup causes more block stun than the followups, so your CA won't come out at all and you can punish with any move faster than 16 frames as long as you're close enough.


9. Darkrai Nightmare (Drill) (-12)




Close up or mid-range use 8Y or another fast, high move to punish this. This move is safe vs most characters from max range if Darkrai does the teleportation followup.


10. Counter Attacks




Certain CAs can be avoided because of their height properties. Mewtwo's is a low so you can jump over it, Blaziken's and Machamp's are highs so they can be ducked or low profiled. However, universally, you can grab all Counter attacks while they are charging. The slower ones can be grabbed on reaction even if they don't charge at all.


Those are 10 moves you should always punish when playing Pokkén Tournament DX!

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Losing Games? Improve your Focus.





There are three building blocks to becoming a better player. I put them in a pyramid because the bottom is the most important and the top is the least important but you need all three. After I explain all three I'm going to break down which one you should focus on to improve.




The first building block is fundamentals. This is your foundation. The most important aspects of any fighting game are things like spacing, your anti airs, your ability to avoid mixups. Things that you get from playing a lot of games. That's how you build fundamentals, playing lots and lots of games.


The second building block is knowledge. Now you can also get some this from playing a lot of games, but this is where you actually need to do research. Read the frame data, memorize the height and armor properties of the different moves, go in training mode and test how different attacks interact with each other. Knowledge you get from studying, watching videos, reading, testing. If you watch Pokkén Basics or most of my guides, you're getting knowledge.


The last building block is tech. Tech is short for technology, I don't even know how the fighting game community came up with that term. Tech is basically just a situational tactic or technique. Something that you can you can do in a specific instance, like a character specific combo, or a meaty setup, or an option select. Tech is not something that you base your entire gameplan around like something fundamental like spacing, but you can pull out this tactic in a position where other players might not know how to to gain an advantage against them. So if I knock you down with Shadow Mewtwo and I do a setup you've never seen before that is safe from most or all your reversal options, I can capitalize by getting damage in a way where other players who don't have that tech would not be able to do.


So those are the three building blocks: fundamentals from playing games, knowledge, and tech. If you're losing games, it's very easy to see which of these you need to focus on more if you analyze what kind of a player you are. Generally, the better you are, the higher up pyramid you should go.


For example, let's say you're new at the game. Only had it for two weeks. You're getting bodied as expected, but you just have to play more games. When I first started I would play about 100+ ranked games a day. That's like 8 hours. You don't have to do all that. But before frame data was fully known, and before everyone had developed tech, that was by far the best way to improve and that's how I got as good as I was in the early tournaments for Pokkén. You're not even going to be able to apply all the knowledge you gain, react to situations, or come up with tech in the first place if you don't have the animations in your head, the repetitions of being in the same situation over and over, and the awareness to react to what's happening on screen.


This also goes for people who have been playing say two years off and on but are still getting bodied. You've been going to locals since Pokkén for the Wii U and you still get dunked. You know who you are. You need more games. You can watch all the guides and setup videos on the planet, know every optimal combo and setup, but you're still going to have trouble landing that initial hit. You need to play a bunch of games and figure out how you're landing hits consistently and how you're getting hit. And from there you can develop a gameplan to create situations where you can replicate the scenario that you land the hit. So again if you're new -or if you're a vet and you are getting just completely destroyed- focus on playing more games to build up your fundamentals.


Now let's say you're more of an intermediate player. Maybe you're getting second or third at your locals. Or online you can beat most players but when you fight a top player like a Shadowcat or slippingbug or you get absolutely destroyed and you're like wait I've been putting in all this work and playing all these games why can't I touch these players?


You're working hard. Now you have to work smart. After you've improved your fundamentals as much as you can by playing games, now you need to expand your knowledge. I'll use shadowcat as an example here. He is very familiar with not just frame data, but he's the one who created the projectile priority spreadsheet. He knows when he's at frame advantage, disadvantage, how to punish moves you might not even know where punishable and how different projectiles and other attacks interact with each other.  Once a top player realizes you don't know how to defend against certain moves because you don't know their properties, it's like a shark smelling blood in the water. The best players have a good collection of knowledge checks that they throw out like Decidueye's soaring stance mixups, Shadow Mewtwo's nY, Darkrai drill, just things that if you don't know what's going on they can destroy you without having to pull out half of their arsenal. Once you know what's going on you can close the gap super fast, but you need to build that knowledge by reading frame data, checking out the projectile priority sheet, and using training mode to test different attacks.


The last building block is tech and this is where the more advanced players should usually be focusing on. The players who can get into top 8 but fizzle out after that. Or say there's one or two players you just can't beat and you just need that extra edge to get past them. Coming up with setups, you're opponent won't be ready for or learning how to perfect block, or mastering some new escape option can be the technique you need to beat them in a 2/3 or 3/5 set. Now I'm not saying only top players should focus on these because the techniques are hard. Some tech is not that hard. But if you're not following this template in order, it can cause some serious problems because you'll have an unstable pyramid. I'll use myself as an example.


I just played at NorCal Regionals 2018, and I placed 5th. I have a ton of tech. Option selects, perfect blocks, meaty setups, the works. I have the tech. Knowledge, I live in the frame data document. I have a guide on how to read the frame data. I make Pokkén basics, I have the general knowledge about the game. But what I didn't have leading up to NCR was the reps. I wasn't playing enough games. Let's look at the players who placed higher than me.




Photo from @burnsideBH https://twitter.com/BurnsideBH/status/980564058591121410



-ThankSwalot doesn't even know frame data

-slippingbug can't do option selects yet and he just learned to perfect block last week

-Cooljake constantly presses buttons when he's minus, I don't even know if he knows when he's minus

-The Muscle doesn't even have a Switch


However, all these players did better than me because, they all followed the template. They all worked harder than me first. The top three play an obscene amount of games online, always grinding, building their fundamentals. And while The Muscle can't play as much, he's always going to his locals and consumes a lot of Pokkén content, always learning about the game as much as he can. I made a video last year about practicality vs tech and this is why I emphasize these building blocks to improvement. Play games first, then get the knowledge, ideally you're writing stuff down in the games you play and you learn all the interactions once you're done playing. Then you find a problem that you need to solve in the game, maybe a setup you want to avoid or a mixup you want to create and then you develop some tech to solve that problem.



(unstable pyramid)

Many Pokkén players fall into the trap of mastering tech before building a foundation of fundamentals.


Take another scenario, if you start with learning tech first without playing enough games or getting enough knowledge. You might have some super sick combos that lead into a nice reset but it's gonna be really difficult for you land that initial hit in the first place since you don't have that foundation of fundamentals and how to space yourself or the knowledge of when it's even your turn to attack.


The better you are, the more you can focus on the higher building blocks of the pyramid. First work harder, then work smarter so we can stop losing so many games.

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Option Selects




An option select is an advanced fighting game technique that is almost never explained well and rarely used casual conversation properly. I'm going to break down exactly what they are and how and why you should utilize them in matches. There are five parts:


Table of Contents (use Ctrl+F to skip to the desired section)

A1. What is an option select?

A2. Why use an OS?

A3. How to create an OS

A4. How to test and OS

A5. How to spot an OS


A1. What is an option select?

An option select is an input or series of inputs where you get a different action depending on the situation. There are defensive option selects and offensive option selects. On defense, there's the anti Bone-Rush option select for instance. Where you Block Bone Rush, and then you press counter attack three times quickly. On Bone Rush Upper and Bone Rush Slam, you counter will hit them, and on no follow-up, your counter won't come out at all and you can punish the move since it is -16.


This guide is mostly going to focus mostly on offensive option selects, however, because I feel they're much more difficult to grasp. (The second post in this thread shows off some defensive option selects). An example would be the Option select Burst Attack or Super, where Blaziken does 2Y into Blaze Kicks, and then inputs Burst Attack. On block or hit this just goes into Burst Kicks, but on armor, it goes into Burst Attack.


So how does the game decide what action comes out? Is it magic? In my experience of exploring option selects in several fighting games, the overwhelming majority of option selects are created through the use of hitstop. Or lack of hitstop. Hitstop is when both characters, or a single character freezes when they make contact with an opponent or an attack like a projectile. This is also called impact freeze. Hitstop does not change the frame data on hit or block, however, it does create a real world pause where the characters slow down. This is done to not only create a nice visual effect but it also lets players react to what is happening on the screen. Like "oh wow I'm making contact, so I can continue my block string". Armor leaves you in significantly more impact freeze than when you just make contact on hit or block. Whiffing a move leaves you in no hitstop at all. There is an important side effect to this impact freeze.


While you're frozen in this animation, you can still input buttons. But they won't come out until the animation is over. So for instance, if you were to do 2Y into Blaze Kicks, even if you buffer the Blaze Kicks, Blaze Kicks can't come out until the 2Y animation is finished with its hitstop. And again while you're frozen you can still input other moves. So let's say you did 2Y into Blaze Kicks, but then, you pressed 8A or Sky Uppercut right after. On hit or block, you only get 2Y into Blaze Kicks. Because now, when you input the Sky Uppercut you're already doing Blaze Kicks so the game can't do anything with your last input since Blaze Kicks can't be canceled into Sky Uppercut. But on armor, the 2Y was stuck in hitstop so long, that the game accepts you Blaze Kicks input saves it until the hitstop is over, but then it also accepts your Sky Uppercut input since you did it before the 2Y was finished. The game uses the last input you buffered once your character is free. And in this case Sky Uppercut will come out every time you make contact with armor instead of Blaze Kicks because you input it last. That principle is vital to creating option selects. There is also a priority system of what types of inputs overwrite each other that I'm going to get to near the end.


All kinds of option selects, in Street fighter, Pokkén, Guilty Gear, work because you get one action on contact and a different action on whiff because of the difference in hitstop. OR because you get one action on contact and a different action on increased hitstop such as armored moves. So why would you want to go through all this work?


A2. Why use an option select?

The simple answer is to be able to cover multiple options without having to guess. Pokkén has a TON of armored moves. Actually one of the reasons I didn't really like this game when I first picked it up is because I felt like your opponent could always reversal whenever they wanted because every character in this game has frame 1 armor on their counter attack and most characters have a command counter or a frame 1 red armor move. I find that quite obnoxious. Fortunately, however, there are usually ways a character can attack into command counters or standard counter attacks and not get hit themselves because they have a move whos animation recovers in time or outlasts the opponents counter attack frames. But in certain cases, your character cannot cover all the different armored reversals.


For example, Suicune has a counter attack and a command counter followup. Shadow Mewtwo can do 6X canceled into Psywave which beat counter attack, full charged counter, and even CADC. But, if Suicune immediately goes for the command counter followup, 6X is no longer safe against it. Now if you did a different meaty like 5Y immediately into Psystrike, then you beat the counter and command counter, but if the opponent blocks this, you're -24 which is super bad. So we need a way to cover all these different options: counter, command counter and Block. We don't to leave this up to guessing every time, so we need some sort of technique that automatically selects the best option for us. Hence option select.


A3. How to create an option select?

Here is a playlist example of option selects but instead of just going over a bunch of them individually, I'm going to give you the formula I use to make option selects in Pokkén. First of all, most of the option selects I use are specifically designed to beat armor. You can use them to beat other things, but I find that to be the most effective use of them.


First off, what armored attack are you having problems with? And what move do you have that can go through armor. From my previous example I was having problems with Suicune's counter attack and command counter. Secondly, find a move that either outlasts or avoids the armored move. In Shadow Mewtwo's case, the hitstop from 5Y into Psystrike armors through and outlasts the counter frames of Suicune's counter attack and and command counter. So we want our option select to give us 5Y into Psystrike only on counter. So here is the formula we need to use to make that happen.


1. Input a cancelable normal. (Normals cancelable into both specials and other normals like 5Ys are ideal but not always necessary)

2. Input the move you want that normal to cancel into on hit or block.

3. Pause

4. Input the move that beats or avoids armor.


For Shadow Mewtwo, I would input 5Y, Y, pause, then 8A which is Psystrike. When 5Y makes contact it will quickly cancel into 5YY. But only on armor, the 5Y will cancel into Psystrike instead. The is because again, the game cannot do anything with the second Y input until the armor histop is over and since you input both 5Y and 8A the game takes the last input and uses that. The reason you pause is so you don't get the 5Y into Psystrike on hit or block. You're abusing the fact that that armor animation takes significant time to finish.


I love this option select, but there are two problems with it if we leave it how it is. Specifically, 5YY is actually -12 on block so it's not even safe AND, on hit or block that Psystrike input is still going to come out after both of the Ys anyway so we need to clean up the end of it.


Making your Option Selects Safe

Right now we have 5Y, Y, Pause, 8A. So we need to make that last Y safe and make sure we don't get Psystrike. There are two options. First is the best option- once you get really good you can just react to the fact that both Ys actually came out and manually cancel into something else like Miracle Eye. That makes you -8 so you're safe and problem solved. But when you're first learning it's kind of hard to react. So the second option is to extend the option select.


We have an 8A at the end. And we don't want that on hit or block and we know the game is going to take the last thing we input, so we can pause again after the 8A input another special. So say you want Miracle Eye. You can do 5Y, Y, pause, 8A, pause, 4A. You will still get your 8A on armor because you paused after Psystrike would already be out. But on hit or block where there's no armor, you get 5YY and the game and the game is ready to use your 8A, but you overwrote with a more safe attack which is 4A which also lets you extend your combo on hit and is safe on block.


But we can make this even better. Say you want 5YY into Psywave on hit or block, that way you can do frame trap and have more flexibility on block and do more damaging combos on hit. Based on this formula, you would do 5Y, Y, pause, 8A, pause 5A, but we have a problem. In this case Psystrike will still come out. And that brings us to input priority.


Input Priority

The game usually uses the last button you input, but not always. Some inputs always have priority over others regardless of order. Specials with directional input always have priority over specials done with a neutral input like 5A. So in our example, if I end the option select with 8A, I cannot then pause and do 5A because the game thinks I want the 8A and I'm just mashing the A input. However, Poke-combo strings. Such as 5YYY have the same priority as specials with directional inputs. In Shadow Mewtwo's case the third Y happens to actually be 5A or Psywave anyway so we can use that property to overwrite Psystrike. So now our input is 5Y, Y, pause, 8A, pause, Y. which will give us 5Y into Psystrike on armor, but 5YY into Psywave on hit or block allowing us to do whatever follow-up we want. (There are exceptions to this, but generally any Poke-combo string where the Pokemon move is the third Y can utilize this. If the third Y is some character specific animation, it's a case by case basis what the priority is).


Whether you want to do an extended Option Select or just react and Miracle Eye is up to you. Just know that the last Special you input is always still going to come out eventually unless you overwrite it so try to end you option select string with something that is safe if your opponent blocks. There are of course tons of other option selects. Option selects into burst attacks, Option selects that utilize safe jumps to only get throw when your opponent armors. (I actually haven't mastered that one yet). And some of them the formula varies a little but as long as you stick to the idea that you input the safe move first, then input the move that beats or avoids armor second, the rest is only limited by your imagination. Now you know the formula and maybe you have ideas for your option selects. So how do you test them?


A4. Testing Option Selects

Set the CPU to do three actions. One is block. The other is stand still. And lastly, the armored move of choice and set the play back to random. Then set the CPU to stand still and react with command input replay. While the opponent is standing still, knock them down, or send them into an air reset, just put them in whatever state you'd normally use the OS. And input the exact same inputs of your option select every single time. Since the CPU will cycle through them randomly, you'll know if you're doing it right because on block or hit you'll get the safe option and on armor, you'll go through it or avoid it. Don't give up immediately if you can't get your ideas to work exactly as they should. These can be quite difficult to perform and even I mess them up in real matches. Sometimes you just need to adjust the timing you actually hit the opponent after a knockdown or air reset to get it to work. This will help you iron out that timing as well. A second way to test which I also suggest doing is setting the CPU to do your option select against you. So have them knock you down and then do the inputs. And you cycle through different reversal options.


Using these methods, you can test if your option selects even work, you can improve your input timing, and inevitably you'll realize option selects are easiest when you have a specific knockdown or air reset setup and you'll develop those as well. Also, you'll learn if you option select works on armored attacks with both fast and slow startups. For instance, Blaziken's 2Y into Burst Attack is easiest to perform against armored moves with slow startup since you can input the Burst late and not get hit out of the animation.


A5. How to spot an option select

So maybe your opponent is using an option select against you and it looks like they're guessing right every single time when you get up and going through your armor every time like some sort of psychic. Or you might be watching a match and you want to know if someone's using an option select or not.


The thing with option selects is if you do them properly, you'll always get the action you want, you'll always get the safe option on block, you'll always go through the armor, or you'll always avoid the different follow ups of a move if you do it on defense. Meaning you can't technically ever know if someone did an OS or not. But in reality you still be pretty certain if you consider how the mechanic works. The whole reason you do an option select is because you can't react to all the opponent's different options, so you have the game basically react for you. So for offensive option selects, if somebody does, Blaziken 5Y immediately into 8A against a Chandelure as soon as armor comes out, they probably did the option select. Because if Blaziken already committed to a 5Y string, they can't then react to Overheat or Smog, by the time they see it, it will be too late. They have to already have input the OS to go through it. So basically if you see someone do a single quick normal canceled into an unsafe move that goes through armor, that's probably an option select.


However, if the normal they used has a really long animation was like Lucario 6[X], they can just react to armor and 8A once they see it. Shadow Mewtwo 6X is similar, you can just react to armor. But like jabs like 5Ys and 2Ys going into moves that beat armor where the offensive player looks psychic, probably and OS. On defense you can't really tell, but if someone is really on point with punishing Decidueye's Fury Attack, or punishing every followup of Bone Rush consistently, things like that, they are likely using OS'es as well.



Congratulations, you made it to the end and now you understand one of the most advanced concepts in Pokkén. You know what an option select is, why they are useful, how to make them, how to test them, and how to spot them in matches. 

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How to Beat Zoners




One of the most common complaints and frustrations new players have is how to beat projectile spam or zoning. Here is a simple strategy new players can use beat any zoner with any character.


#1. Move sideways. In Field Phase, the overwhelming majority of the projectiles do not have good tracking. Meaning, they do not follow your character's position if you are moving. This allows you to side walk and side step away from them. Attacks like Chandelure's nY and laser, Braixen sY, Decidueye's RL Y, and Darkrai's Dark Pulse and fY can be side walked or side stepped. Characters with particularly slow walk speeds may need to CADC some projectiles at certain ranges, but for the most part side stepping and side walking should solve most problems from far away to mid range.




#2. Walk and block. After you've closed the distance in field phase with side stepping, walking, dashing, and blocking is the next step. Of course in duel phase, you'll start with this step. Almost all projectiles are either negative on block, have long startups compared to normal attacks, or both. Therefore, you can block a projectile and have time to walk or dash forward in time to block another one without getting hit. This is not always the case, but with enough patience you'll learn when you have a big enough gap to move forward. Occasionally, you may have no option but to duck, jump or slide such as against Mewtwo's Psycho Cut. Know the heights of the different projectiles you're dealing with so you can properly exploit them. But default to just slowly moving forward and blocking. Since these projectiles are negative on block, once you're close enough you can attack the opponent before they can throw another one out. This is a very simple but extremely effective approach.





#3. Deny the corner escape. This is the element that most players miss. I have a video explaining how to keep opponents in the corner, but I'll explain briefly. If you pressure an opponent too closely, they have an opportunity to jump out. This is because you are no longer spaced at a range where your anti air can be effective on reaction. Before committing too heavily to attacking, it's a good idea to back off slightly first. Don't worry, the opponent isn't going anywhere- that's the point. If they jump out, anti air them. If they whiff a preemptive throw crush 8X, whiff punish it. You don't have to rush your corner pressure; the opponent is going to crack way before you do just from the stress of being cornered. If you have poor anti airs or whiff punish options against a particular character, you can preemptively use a move that stuffs jumping attempts like Blaziken's 8X or 6Y.




That's how you beat zoners and projectile "spam". Move sideways, walk and block, and deny the corner escape. Share this with a new player who is having trouble with projectiles to keep them from getting so frustrated.

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What character should I play?



This is the single most common question I get from new players, so I've decided to make a post I can refer them to with my answer. I'm going to talk about how to choose what character you want, address tiers, and talk about character complexity.


Character Choice. Play whatever character appeals to you. No joke, that's my answer. Do you like zoning? Pick a zoner. Do you like footsies, play a character with long limbs and fast buttons. Do you like Pokkén's armor system? Play a character that abuses that mechanic. Pokkén's roster is very diverse, but at the same time most of the basics tools are distributed amongst the entire cast. There are some players that do not think the entire cast is viable and will instead encourage you to pick a "top tier" instead. 


Tiers. Tiers are just opinions. Stop asking "what's tier list?". There is no official tier list, nor will there ever be; there are just individual players' opinions and then polls that are just collections of individuals opinions. Think critically and form your own. Opinions on a character's tier also fluctuates heavily based on recent tournament results. Meaning, if you start dominating with a character considered weak, people will start to bandwagon and call them strong. Your character's strength never changed, just people's perception of it. 


Character Complexity. Some characters are straight up harder to play than others. Gengar is the most egregious example, but other characters like Garchomp have a tall barrier to entry when you start trying to do some of their stronger combos and movement options. When just learning the game's mechanics, I suggest straying away from Gengar- at least for the first couple months. I started playing with Gengar initially and it was very frustrating just trying to move and do combos- forget actually winning games. When you're comfortable with how the game works, pick them back up but chill on them when you're just learning.


That's it, now picking a character should be easy. Choose your favorite, don't concern yourself with other people's tier lists, and be wary of complex characters early on. Check back next week as I talk more about character choice when it comes to tournament play.

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Solo main or play multiple characters?


Which is better? It was easy enough to choose a main, but what should you do when you run into a bad matchup? Push through it or pick up a secondary? My simple answer is to play multiple characters. There is no strategic benefit to only playing one character. These are the two main reasons everyone should at least try multiple characters: matchups and nerfs.


Starting with matchups, Pokkén, like almost every fighting game has asymmetrical design. There are several different character archetypes, and no two characters play quite the same. This is done to make each character feel fresh and unique, but it has a major consequence which is balance. Pokkén is considered by many players to be a balanced game, but that statement is true and very false at the same time. As I stated in my previous post, every character can do well in a tournament, but there are also very lopsided matchups in Pokkén. When characters have such different tools, it's an inevitability that some characters can mostly invalidate the arsenal of certain other characters. 


My personal example is Blaziken vs Sceptile. After the first month of trying out different characters, I stuck with Blaziken solo for the next few months. I ended up getting 2nd at my first major (Seattle Regionals 2016), only losing to a Sceptile. But it was bad - I did well against Sheer's Weavile online but Sceptile was a hard counter. Even after losing 0-3 in both winners finals and grand finals to the same player, I chose to stick out the matchup. I played lots of games against top Sceptiles at the time like TeeJay. I played more FT5s and FT10s than I can count- a few of which are on my YouTube, some still unlisted. Evo came and I ended up playing Tonosama's Sceptile and lost 0-2 without even taking a single round. After that I decided the 8-9 hours a day of training was good but it was unfortunately misguided. Instead of putting that much effort into a matchup against a character that invalidates my own, how about just concentrating that same amount of effort into a character that is more equipped to deal with Sceptile's tools. That's how I ended up playing Shadow Mewtwo in the first place. Now, with three characters in my arsenal, I never have to worry about having to stick out an extremely lopsided matchup since I can always switch to a different character.


The second reason to play multiple characters is balance updates, which really means when your character gets nerfed. This is the primary reason I picked up Darkrai and started playing Blaziken more after DX dropped. It was to mitigate the nerfs to Shadow Mewtwo. This is really a case of just not putting all your eggs in one basket. Playing on character and one character only leaves you at the mercy of the developers of the game. If they decide to break your character's knee caps, you can either roll over and accept it, or play another character to compensate for the matchups that have become more difficult. It's absolutely fine to keep playing the character, but you also can't complain when you start losing matchups that were previously in your favor.


Quick and easy answer: yes, play multiple characters so you have insurance against bad matchups and nerfs. See you in the next Evil Thoughts!



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Agreed with the added recommendation I always have to new players is stick with someone for a while before jumping around (after they've explored the roster).

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