Street Fighter Footsies Handbook, Epilogue
What should you do when a veteran player is outguessing you at every turn? It’s happened to everyone, where every last thing you do gets hit. Your every medium-range poke gets swept, your every long-range move gets stuffed, and doing nothing opens you up to pressure.
The answer is obvious: block. Sometimes when they’ve got your number, just block. They’re totally playing by your rhythm, so don’t make any moves for a second until they don’t know how to read you anymore.
When you block, don’t do it out of fear. Do it to wait them out. Do it to take away their momentum. Do it to figure out their methods. Do it to plan your next move.
The key here is that there are only two ways to beat someone who’s good at footsies:
1) Outthink them and do everything they’re doing, except better.
2) Work out some alternative strategies to avoid that dangerous zone entirely.
Otherwise you have no chance of winning. Playing footsies to survive is simply delaying an inevitable loss. Skilled opponents can sense indecisive reluctance and press the advantage. Give 100% effort to footsies or don’t play footsies at all.
The easiest person to play footsies against is that intermediate player who hasn’t quite given up on footsies, but doesn’t play footsies to win. He doesn’t move around much, he doesn’t keep track of long-term patterns, and he plays almost exclusively on a reactionary level. He’s not trying to get you to do anything specific; he’s simply reacting to where you’re standing. He doesn’t think his footsies are good enough to help him win whole matches. He’s being lazy.
Playing footsies with that casual mindset is the mental equivalent of being backed into a permanent corner. If you’re hesitant and uncertain, then your wins will come from luck and your losses will be inexorably fitting.
Do not, under any circumstances, allow your opponent to get inside your head and dictate your gameplan. If your best poke gets beaten by a fluke counter, get over it. Don’t let it startle you. Sure, losing 10% life sucks, but you’ll survive it. What you won’t survive is allowing one exchange to convince you to stop using your best button for the rest of the round. Giving up on moves only does one thing – it reduces your options.
If you get swept, that means you were outsmarted. It doesn’t necessarily mean your opponent is smarter than you and it doesn’t have to mean that you’ll get outsmarted again. Remember: Sweep is 10% damage. You will get back up.
Rule #5: Forget about winning or losing. Go all out or don’t even bother.