Monday, June 20, 2011

NCR - NorCal Regionals

NCR was another hard event. Lots of strong players to fight against.

In teams we did okay. We ended up losing to John Choi's team consisting of himself, Hsien Chang, and Buktooth(Campbell). Then we lost to Air's team. My buddy Javier beat Marn then played Air. It was down-hill from there. Air played well and OCV'ed us. Yang is very strong and we didn't prepare much against him.

Singles started and I had to fight Laugh around my 5th match. I attempted to throw fireballs to help myself get better with them. It wasn't a good idea to test a different style during a tournament match. I ended up jumping too many times and trying to tech a grab when he had 2 meters. I lost 0-2 without putting up a good fight. I saw a sense of relief from Laugh when he beat me. I felt we both knew it should have been a much better fight. He told me that he knew when I was looking for a fireball and when I was going to throw a fireball. With that being said, my fireballs were very weak.

Right after that match, I had to play Crackfiend. I knew he was a strong player, but I did not care. I was really upset how I lost to Laugh. I didn't attempt to footsies or play fundamentally well, and because of that I played that way against Crackfiend. I beat his Dudley convincingly the first set. He then chose Balrog. It was as if he was getting better and better each round. I ended up beating him 2-1 but it came down to the last set. I was able to footsies his sweep and take whatever mistakes I had made against Keno/Laugh and take him down.

After that, I had to play Filipino Champ. Before I had worked on hitting his limbs, but forgot to fireball when he stopped throwing limbs. I hit his limbs, he would stop, then I would fireball. I got him to the corner, but I forgot to DP his limbs to make him stop pressing buttons in the corner. I had forgotten something so crucial and lost 0-2. I was out of the tournament. It was frustrating for me to forget something so important. I had felt I played worse than I had played against him at ReveLAtions. It was as if I was taking two steps back and that didn't feel good at all.

Later, Anthony(Crackfiend) came up to me and said, "Man those matches were amazing. I had a blast. No one has ever pushed me to play as I did. The only players that have done that to me are John Choi, Filipino Champ, Ricky, ect. Those players are fundamentally sound and I feel you are trying to do that as well." I thanked him and told him that I appreciated his compliment. I began to tell him that I'm not trying to be an egoist and that these events aren't all about me. Since my buddies and I travel as a group it is always nice for us to all do well. But watching them do well while I struggle is something I don't want happening. I wanted us to all do well. I also began telling him that fundamentals are what I've been working on this whole time playing the Street Fighter 4 series competitively. Now that AE has come out I feel as if that has no meaning anymore. However, from what Anthony said to me, I feel I am following the right path to becoming better.

Working on fireballs, footsies, and fundamentals with Ryu is very hard. Especially against players who are already fundamentally sound from the many years of playing older fighting games. I just hope I am going on the right path to fight the best. With my progress so far I can only hope to see from here on out. Next up, Evolution 2011! :)


P.S. My buddy Javier tied for 9th place at NCR. Good job to him! My other buddy Mike Chow did okay, but I'm not sure what he placed. I did the worse out of all of us. Javier did very well in fighting his matches. He lost to Vangief(Vance) before making top 8.

P.S.S. Shoutouts to Johnson(Ryu), Paul(P.Viper), and Disable(E.Honda). They did well in the team tournaments almost beating team Korean Wolf(Laugh, Infiltration, Wolfkrone). Watching them play was amazing. They are still very strong players. Johnson and Paul are from Fresno as well. It was nice seeing them! :)

P.S.S.S. I didn't get to money match Daigo's Yun, but I got to money match him in Marvel. He used Wolverine, Dante, and Akuma while I used Storm, Sentinel, and Magneto. I thought about putting Magneto up on point but I figured if I lose him I would have much more trouble. I ended up beating him 3-2. Magneto as my anchor in level 3 ex factor carried me against his team. Since he used level 1 ex-factor to instant kill my first character and do a mix up on the second, I knew that if I can block the mix-up with Magneto and block safely I can win.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Matches against Laugh, Mago, and Sako

Playing against Laugh was interesting. I'm so used to playing John Choi's Ryu. It was a good change of pace. He played very strong and in the end it was even. At the end of the last day, I got to talk to him. Laugh said he liked my Ryu which meant a lot. He also wanted to mention something that he noticed in my game play. He told me that I rely on reactions. He also said that it was okay to play like that, but in the cases where you get punished with a focus it may be hard at times. He also compared good reactions to Ricky's. If you don't have Ricky-like reactions you have to be careful at times, he told me. I agreed with him. I remember hearing Alex Valle commentate on Perfect Legend and Kineda(Terry's) first to five sets. Valle said that ground game players look for mistakes. That may also be a double-edged sword since a player may occasionally not make mistakes. I thought it was very interesting of Laugh to tell me this as I thought this as well.

After I played Laugh I money matched Mago. The first set was first to 3 for $20. It was amazing playing him. His block strings, footsies, and spacing were off the charts. I struggled very much. I lost 0-3 very quickly. I asked Mago and his translator Nekohashi how I did in the sets. Mago said I did well but that I needed to stand my ground and fight back. The next time I fought him for another first to 3 for $20. I was able to keep up barely. I blocked his mix-ups in the corner after a forward throw. The mix-up is a jumping strong and a close fierce into ex rekka to make it safe. The jumping strong never crosses up in the corner. Occasionally, he would do forward throw, crouching short or jab, jumping strong, and he would land in front of you instead of behind. I had seen that setup before since I had studied Mago's videos. However, after blocking those setups he changed it up. He did the same setups but used jumping medium kick to cross me up. I got killed from that alone in one round eating big damage. His footsies were remarkable. I still attempted to challenge him. His reactions were very fast. He focus crumpled and even ex chicken winged through the fireballs I threw in his face. I also attempted to low forward his 50/50 setups on wake-up after throw. He told me not to do that but instead to use saving attack(focus attack). Finally I played him a first to 5 for $20. I asked him if we could do first to 5 and he said it was okay. Before we started Nekohashi told me he noticed my changes. Nekohashi said, "Everything that Mago and I have told you to do... you are doing it. That is great! Go for it!" With that I took every round as if it was my last. Most rounds were really close and I felt I was keeping up with Mago himself. I ended up losing 1-5(1-11 overall). I was impressed in taking a game from him and I felt Mago was impressed as well.

Afterward, Mago told me to not throw fireballs in certain situations, but you must throw fireballs. My buddies and I laughed but it made sense. Before leaving Nekohashi gave me some words of wisdom. I believe it was mainly from Nekohashi but a bit from Mago. He said, "I like the way you play for I play Ryu too. I think it is like Super Turbo." He then said, "You are missing something. Your heart is weak." He then pointed to the wall while giving it a loud thump saying "Daigo..." and then lightly tapped the wall and said "You..." He was having trouble getting to his point but I believe he meant that I need to be solid in very specific situations. The rounds where I kept up with Mago came down to very specific solid situations. I failed to come through and lost the round.

The next day I played Sako in a money match. I fought his Cammy and his Rose. I tried to remember how he played against me in SCR where I lost to him 0-2. I was able to take advantage of his movements by using low forward into fireball or ex fireball. I beat his Cammy and he switched to Rose. He couldn't get anything going and I beat his Rose beating him 2-0. It felt good since the last time I had played him. I later played him again and lost to his Ibuki 0-4. I tried to play it the way Daigo fought against Acqua in Gods Garden. However, I should of played it the way Daigo played Momochi in the first Gods Garden. Nekohashi helped me translate into what Sako was telling me. He said, "You must move forward. You play too defensively. You must throw fireball."

After Sako left Mago came over. I immediately hopped on to fight him. It was amazing how much I was able to keep up with him. I ended up barely losing 1-2 in casuals. The last round came down to a pixel. I was very satisfied and I believe Mago was as well. Air(Kenny) was there and told me good job, but that I need to have super meter to make the match easier. Meter management is really important against Fei Long.

Playing these players gave me an idea of what is the next level for playing Ryu. That is the master level: Fireballs. :)


P.S. My buddy Alex recorded some of my matches against Mago. I'll let you guys know when they are up on YouTube. Thanks again for reading. Hope to hear from you guys soon! :)

P.S.S. My buddy Mike Chow(Abel) fought Mago and lost 1-2. Mago said he was impressed with his style. My other buddy Javier lost to Mago(0-4) and Sako(0-4). Mago told Javier he knew he had studied Tokido's videos. We all laughed. He needed to use more jumping dive kicks instead of demon flip kicks. Sako told Javier to knock him down more and vortex on his wake-up.


At ReveLAtions we went 0-2 in teams losing to our buddies Team Utah(Renzo, Andy, Gustavo) and then lost to another strong team(Ibuki, Ryu, Dhalsim). We didn't play up to our expectations and there's not much to say about our performance(or lack thereof). In Marvel teams I teamed up with Martin and LPN(aka Long). We ended up going 0-2. :(

ReveLAtions was a very hard tournament. Lots of strong players in the bracket itself. They decided to do a whole bracket instead of pools for singles AE. As soon as you won your first match you would have to play a strong player. I had to play John Choi after my first win. Choi's spacing was on point. He out footsied, out fire balled, and out spaced me the whole two sets. I tried to challenge him. Maybe it was a mistake to do so, but it was a great way to see how I was doing compared to his experience. I ended up losing 0-2.

After playing a couple of matches I had to play Filipino Champ(Ryan). When we got to the setup he was saying to himself that he's going to play 100% and he knows that I'm going to as well. From there we played a very intense set. I noticed something after I had played the sets. I was out poking his limbs at first, but when he stopped throwing out limbs carelessly I struggled. This is where I should be throwing fireballs in mid screen to challenge his spacing. Otherwise, I'd be stuck in the corner and it's hard to punish limbs in the corner. In the end I lost 0-2, but put up a good challenge(not good enough for me as I didn't win). I was out of the tournament.

In Marvel singles I went 0-2 as well. Nothing worth mentioning since I am not good at that game at all. I money matched Fanatic for $20 first to 4. I lost 1-4 and it was really bad. He used the same team as me(MSS) but his order was mag/storm/sent. My order was storm/sent/mag. As soon as I lost storm I struggled.

Overall it was a tough tournament. I placed 33rd overall. My buddy Mike Chow placed just below top 16 and my other buddy Javier placed just outside of top 64 I believe. It was great meeting everyone again. You know who you are. :)


Wednesday Session at John Choi's

We ended up training at John Choi's place on Wednesday before ReveLAtions. I got to play Terry, John Choi, Ricky, and Rom(Yang).

I played Terry to see how he was doing. He has got much better since we last played. I still trolled him most of the time but it was fun to see his improvements. :)

I played John Choi's Ken for a bit. I was able to keep up. I couldn't throw out low forward since his would beat mine. I stayed outside of step kick range to fireball, ex fireball, or sweep it. Occasionally, I was able to buffer crouch strong into fireball or ex fireball. I was successful for most of the part until I got to the corner. From there I had to block a barrage of mix-ups and block strings. It was quite tough to deal with it. However, as soon as I got out of the corner I felt much at ease. I noticed John's block strings intended to push me in the corner. I tried to stand my ground but I would let him in and eat a step kick. I also got to play his Sagat. I attempted to use standing strong into fireball or ex fireball to beat his standing short. I'd beat it sometimes since my low forward loses to his standing short. Other times I would get punished with a fireball or a tiger knee. John was telling me that it is better to use standing jab to fight Sagat in that situation. I agreed with him since using strong leaves me to be punished much easier than jab. Also, the recovery frames are significantly different.

After playing John, I got to play Ricky. It was amazing to play him. His movements with dive kicks, block strings, and frame traps changed in mere seconds. I worked on blocking and teching most of his mix-ups and I did pretty well. Offensively speaking he shut me down. His reactions were very fast. I had done jump back fierce to bait his dive kick. The next time he saw it he baited my jump back fierce and did jumping round house. His pressure was very strong as well. In this match-up I attempted to work on defense and I believe I did well.

Finally, I played Rom. I had studied his match against Tokido in a 3rd strike finals. He played it similarly. I was able to keep up. Yang's tools to deal with fireballs was hard to deal with. Ryu can't do much about the corner pressure as well. I am still learning the match-up though so I'll let you guys know if I notice anything notable. Aside from the standing short I used to beat his dive kicks there was nothing I had noticed at the time.


Monday, June 6, 2011

New Layout

I'll be changing the layout on the blog. I know it's really ugly and simple, but I'm more focused on the content than the layout for now. Let me know if you guys have an suggestions. :)


This Week - Arcade Edition and Revelations

I can't wait to touch Arcade Edition again. It will be released on console tomorrow. I will be testing some things out. Also, like I mentioned in my last post, Revelations will be this week. I'll keep you guys posted on how we do and what happens throughout our trip there. Keep an eye out on us! :)


Round 1 - SSF4 Arcade Edition

My buddy Javier and his brother Luis took me to Los Angeles this weekend. We enjoyed Pink's hotdogs and checked out Hollywood. It was much fun! We also got to go to Round 1 where they had Japanese Vewlix cabinets with Arcade Edition. The whole night I stuck with Ryu testing everything out. He is much more work. My main focus was his low forward. I never knew it was so strong until now. With Ryu's nerfed low forward I now understand how dynamic low forward into fireball was in SF4 and SSF4. I must have confidence in doing just that move. My spacing and fundamentals must be on point as well in order to properly use low forward into fireball effectively in Arcade Edition.

I really enjoyed the matches I played against Combo Jack(Fei Long) and KillerKai aka Eliver(Ryu). They had come by after playing a Marvel tournament. Eliver told me they had placed second. When I first played Jack he killed me 7 straight games. It was frustrating and I was getting really drained from playing him. He was playing very well and outplayed me most of the sets. I was getting exhausted since it was late at night and the day was taking its toll on me. I had almost switched into auto-pilot. I got up and took a break and talked to Eliver. We discussed how Ryu's tools were weaker and how each of us auto-pilot low forward at times since it was such a great tool. I explained to him that now that it's weaker we must be smarter and play much better than before with this tool. He agreed with me.

As we walked back to the cabinets I hopped on. Before I was playing Jack I had focused on zoning him out with just fireballs. I had jumped a lot too and got impatient at times thinking he would not punish me. Now, I thought to myself, I have to use Ryu's bread and butter: low forward into fireball. I was not confident enough to use it in the other sets I had lost, but as soon as I started to do so I began to shut down some of his options. I was able to stay out of the corner much longer than before, build meter for most of the round, and even push him to the corner while applying pressure with footsies and fundamentals. It felt like I put a stand against him by simply doing low forward into fireball. It felt great to know that bread and butter still had it's effects mentally and fundamentally.

In the end I was able to keep up with Jack and it was a great experience. He told me that I adapt very fast. I took the comment lightly since I have been working on adaptation for most of the time I've been playing competitively. It may sound a bit ridiculous but I want to be able to adapt the next round. Of course this may take much longer than I anticipate it to. Thanks again for the games to all at Round 1. See you guys soon! :)