Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Path to Power: Fighting Game Characters

As a fighting game player I have found possibly the most important thing, to me, is finding the character that is right for you. This also means picking a strategy that is right for you. Over time, I have found I have more of a defensive, predictive and passive-aggressive style.

My favorite thing to do is either lock my opponent down or be rewarded for consistently good reads on what my opponent is going to do. I enjoy limiting my opponent's options and when I fail I must be prepared to block because many of the characters I like do not have great options for dealing with rushdown, even though they are considered defensive. This leads me to believe that I also have an affinity for spacing oriented characters who want to hit from a distance.

Anyway, in the Path to Power series I will be detailing current events in my activities toward improvement in fighting games.

So let's get to it! First up is character selection and how I go about it.

I take a great deal of time to decide on a character if my initial choice does not work out. I want to choose a character that fits my style more than I want to pick a character who is considered top tier, or powerful. However, I am delighted if the two overlap. Who wouldn't want their chosen character to also be top tier?

I utilize strategy guide research and also online sources such as fighting game related forums, posts and videos I find on YouTube. In fact, my personal playlists are full of videos for my preferred characters as well as videos for characters I don't play. I use these playlists to share information with others as well as make information easy to find for myself.

It makes sense to point out some of the games I would consider "main games" for my local community, and also games that I would like to improve at. In order of popularity and relative player base:

  1. Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3
  2. Vampire Savior
  3. Guilty Gear Accent Core +
  4. Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition: 2012
  5. Injustice: Gods Among Us
  6. Tekken Tag Tournament 2

And here are a list of games that may not be very popular locally, but I would still like to learn them and improve at playing them. In order of my preference to play:

  1. Mortal Kombat 9
  2. Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3
  3. Soulcalibur V
  4. The King of Fighters XIII
  5. Skullgirls
  6. Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown
  7. JoJo's All Star Battle (unreleased)
  8. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U (unreleased)
There are only two games in which I know 100% which character I want to play. I consider myself a character loyalist and prefer not to counterpick in the instance of a bad matchup. Unless one day I have advanced enough in a game to commit time to learning a secondary character, I will stick with one per game.

In Vampire Savior I play Anakaris, and in Injustice I play Nightwing. In official tier lists Anakaris is at the bottom of the VS roster, and Nightwing is considered either low S tier or high A tier.

Common rankings indicators are letters: F- / F / F+ / D- / D / D+ . . . . . S- / S / S+

My pitfall is where I spend too much time choosing my character and not enough time playing to see if they actually fit my style. Of course, when I do, and if I find them wanting, then I am again at a loss. It takes time to select a character (or a team!) and much, much longer to become skilled at using that character.

Here is a little more meat to the bones that I will leave off on. These are my current character selections and Path to Power will be updated as I discover if they fit the bill.
  • GGAC+: Potemkin
  • TTT2: Ganryu / Miguel
  • SSFIV: E. Honda
  • UMvC3: Nova / Spencer / Sentinel
  • MK9: Kenshi
  • KOFXIII: Leona / Saiki / Ash
  • UMK3: Robot Smoke
  • SCV: undecided
  • SSBW: undecided
  • VF5:FS: undecided
  • JJASB: undecided
  • SG: undecided
Some really cool resources that I have used to research my decisions include:
Nathan Shields PowerUp Founder

Fighting game enthusiast, martial artist, and teacher. Nathan Shields ran three regional events, two of which were part of the Road to EVO Championships in 2011 and 2012. He continues to run local FGC events and supervise the growth of his scene and the PowerUp brand.

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