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Counterproductive Winning

November 28th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

Let’s start with a brief history lesson. Back in the day, uninformed players would call certain tactics cheap and this would lead to unsavory behavior which got in everyone’s way. People would literally get beaten up outside of arcades for using throws in Street Fighter II. To deal with this ridiculous problem, the players who ran SRK developed and publicized a philosophy of “playing to win.” This was an important step for everyone to take in order to get past their self-imposed stumbling blocks.

Fast forward to today, and the fighting game tournament scene is the strongest it’s ever been. There’s no longer a stigma associated with infamously dominant tactics and “cheap” is no longer a dirty word. All of this is great but we might have gone a little bit too far.

We’re beginning to see a subtle misconception developing – that playing to win is the best way to become a better player. On the contrary, the original argument only held that playing to win is the best way to determine who’s the better player. Sometimes playing to win can lead to bad habits, lazy shortcuts, and poor fundamentals.

See, back in the day, we had people praising themselves for combo skill or mastery of a bottom tier character; finding subjective rationalizations to consider themselves “the better player” while losing to someone “abusing cheap tricks” or whatever. Of course this is foolish because how can you consider yourself successful for achieving a subjective goal when your opponent doesn’t even know what it is? The only definitive way to determine the winner is by playing a match and seeing who ends up with the victory symbol. That’s the only clear goal which both players unquestionably share, so it’s the only properly defended prize.

But again, there are ways to win which don’t require much work. You can pick Sagat and beat down your friend’s Dan, proving that you’re the better player. Today, that is. What about tomorrow? The problem is, if your friend spends every day working twice as hard as you do and learning twice as fast as you are, how long will you keep winning?

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This brings us to the topic of option select tricks, which are kind of a grey area in fighting game strategy. The term “option select” can be defined as any joystick and button input which simultaneously functions as multiple possible actions, automatically choosing the best possible counter to several of the opponent’s options. For example, ST Balrog’s s.MP is a quick uppercut. If an opponent attempts to jump away from Balrog’s F+MP throw attempt, the uppercut automatically smacks them out of the air. One input branches into two threats, narrowing the opponent’s viable options.

Obviously it takes creativity and skill to discover and refine option select flowcharts, but beyond that point, including them in your gameplan helps you win without helping you become a better player. Street Fighter IV is becoming increasingly reliant on option select strategies, which isn’t a knock against those players who are taking advantage of them to win tournaments. Yet you have to ask yourself, how much of that skill is going to transfer into Super Street Fighter 4?

As a player, you have total control over which skills you focus on improving whenever you sit down to practice. Option selects fall under the general category of “shenanigans” and that puts them about as far as possible from fundamentals. It’s always a good idea to have a working knowledge of whatever gimmicks are available in a game, but in my experience, you should always spend more time working on fundamentals than tricks which are too localized to one game.

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  1. November 29th, 2009 at 11:23 | #1

    I’m pretty sure I agree. I have only recently started to even hear about option selecting, but it does seem game specific and gimmicky. Different systems are going to have different versions of shenanigans, so fundamentals are indeed key over all fighting games.

    I was a bit confused when you asked, “how much of that skill is going to transfer into Super Street Fighter 4?”, but it makes sense now. If there are minor tweaks to all characters, then those who rely solely on option select shenanigans are going to fall behind those who’ve been acing fundamentals and still have the ability to quickly learn the new tricks.

    In the end, I’ve liked how you’ve separated being a better winner from being a better player.

  2. November 29th, 2009 at 12:05 | #2

    Well, the reason option selects take so long to discover is that they rely on very subtle nuances of the game engine. It takes people a long time to figure out how the game resolves stacked inputs. Eventually someone comes up with a way to perform two useful actions with one command.

    For example, pressing LP+HP in CvS1 made your character do a standing jab. However, pressing F+LP+HP within throw range resulted in a throw attempt. So this led to some incredibly brainless offense with Nakoruru because she could poke with F+LP+HP and either get a throw attempt if her opponent was throwable or a quick jab if they were still in blockstun or hitstun or jumping or out of range or whatever. You never had to pay for doing an unwanted close standing fierce.

    The reason i made the SSF4 remark is that these nuances are the most susceptible to change. That CvS1 trick doesn’t even work in CvSPro, and it definitely doesn’t work in CvS2. Even if every SF4 character stays completely unchanged in SSF4, i guarantee that over half of SF4’s option select gimmicks are gonna be gone.

    Of course you can always develop and master new option select tricks, but then you’ll have spent twice as much time on shenanigans, which could have been invested into solidifying fundamentals. If you’re always option selecting your way out of throw mixups, you’ll never learn how to predict throw attempts the old-fashioned way.

    That makes you a buff technical player with weak mindgames. Again, that’s fine as long as you’re winning, but eventually those shortcuts are going to catch up with you.

  3. otter
    November 29th, 2009 at 20:54 | #3

    I had a similar line of thought when the “plinking” craze started in SF4. It’s certainly effective, but as soon as it’s removed you will become weaker than when you started!

  4. Rufus
    December 1st, 2009 at 12:49 | #4

    It seems like many option selects are the sort of thing that can (mostly) be found easily using a systematic search since they generally involve overlapping or closely sequenced inputs. I’m not sure about stuff like ‘plinking’ though. A bit like Kara cancelling, really.

    Technically, ‘conditionally safe’ moves (which are all over all of the games) are option selects. I’m not sure if you can really draw a clear line between spacing and timing (which are pretty generic concepts) and esoteric game minutia.

  5. XxxM0M0vFETTxxX
    December 1st, 2009 at 13:58 | #5

    I want to comment on the overall point of the article, playing to win. I love Street Fighter 4 and hardly consider myself that great so forgive me if I use another game for reference.

    Gears of War and Gears of War 2. Holy shit man. Gears of War 1 multi was all about shotgunning from close range, bouncing between walls and telling people how lame they were for chainsawing. Which wasn’t that bad considering chainsawing was a flawed system and wall-bouncing was what the good players did because you got the most kills that way.

    When Gears 2 came out, everyone complained about the 2-piece and melee in general on a constant basis, and still do, which is really annoying. At this point, I’d say the melee in the game does need a good looking at (like making it do no damage or very little and be useful as a stun more than a kill move) but that’s not how it is. People scream about it all day when they get smakced in that game (especially from behind) and call cheap, but it’s really not a better player frowning upon “cheap tactics”. In gears of war 2, people use team work. If you get meleed from behind it’s because you either didn’t watch your back or because you got tricked. And people will not refuse to accept it. Melee is part of the game and as a player, anyone can escape a melee if they just stay out of melee range and watch their back. I am great at Gears 2 and haven’t been chainsawed or melee’d in a long time, because I got around the problem rather than crying about it whenever I was legitimately outsmarted or out numbered.

    How does this relate? Well tbh, alot of those players who complain about melee are in big clans and some are known, or their clan is, they are considered the best of the best in that game, but how true is it? They get killed on an average basis by people they call noobs… would a noob ever beat someone like Daigo or Andre in SF4 based just luck or “cheap tactics”? No, because noobs would not even almost win that fight.

    Basically, I think you are only right in certain situations. But that’s not to say that just because a pro or group of them say something is cheap, you should take it at face value because it’s not always true. That’s all really.

  6. December 2nd, 2009 at 00:23 | #6

    otter: Yeah “plinking” seems okay on paper because it levels the playing field, and i’m always in favor of putting the focus on mindgames. But one-frame links aren’t meant to be practical enough for use in real matches. Capcom is either going to fix that exploit or they’re going to remove most of the overpowered combos that people have adopted in SF4. Either way, the people who’ve become too reliant on combos will have pay for it.

    Rufus: You’re right, it is hard to draw that line, but you can kind of tell if you’re being honest with yourself. Just ask yourself, “Did i earn this win or did i trick the game into giftwrapping it for me?”

    XxxM0M0vFETTxxX: That was a good analogy but i think you misinterpreted the point i was trying to make. I don’t know a lot about first-person shooters but i know quite a few FPS titles have proven competitively viable. So i’m assuming there’s a difference between gimmickry and fundamentally sound strategy in good FPS games like there is in good fighting games.

    What i’m saying is it’s a bad idea let yourself get sucked into doing nothing but chainsaw bullshit, even when it’s considered the best way to win. Not because it’s “too good” or “too cheap” or whatever.

    But because if you’ve ever seen a game evolve through competition, you know that kinda stuff never lasts. Either it gets patched out, or someone finds a direct counter, or it makes the game so dumb that people move on to another title. Once any of those things happen, your time investment into chainsaw skills becomes nearly worthless. Then you realize you never took the time to learn how to aim a grenade, which is a way more universal skill.

    Mashing on the flavor of the day is a great short-term strategy but a terrible long-term approach. Does that make sense?

  7. Rufus
    December 2nd, 2009 at 15:22 | #7

    “Did i earn this win or did i trick the game into giftwrapping it for me?”

    This sounds a lot like rationalization. Game publishers definitely change the properties of moves between games in ways that will affect vanilla tactics too. (There’s a nice article about Guile’s low foward somewhere out there.) If he’s allowed, does choosing Akuma in HDR qualify as ‘tricking the game’? I’m not disputing that he’s unfair, but making correct character choices is part of the game.

  8. December 2nd, 2009 at 16:26 | #8

    If you’re looking for a reason to argue with me, then of course it sounds like a rationalization.

    Did i ever make a single excuse for losing in the whole article?

  9. necrome
    December 2nd, 2009 at 19:49 | #9

    Hey Maj, been loving the content you have on your site, and the combo video. You probably know by now there are 2 major schools of competitive players in Street Fighter, and other deliberate fighting games. The ‘Mind Gamers’, and the ‘Executionists? (Executors?)’.

    There are rare exceptions too: masters of both schools, ultimately the champions of their game. (e.g. Umerhara).

    I am a ‘Mind Gamer’ myself, and am rather bad with combo executions and 1-frame links/plinking/kara cancels/piano-ing buttons etc. I am in agreement that the current state of SF4 is in a mess because it favors the ‘Executionists’ far too much in the meta-game. It is ridiculous the amount of effort I have to whittle down the opponent blow-by-blow as a competitive Blanka player; compared to a combo/timing expert who can execute combos off a 3-frame normal move that leads to 400 damage or more.

    The punishment that can be dished out off a minor mistake (getting hit by a 3-frame jab) should not be game-ending. But I honestly don’t see Capcom fixing it anytime soon. A company that cannot be bothered with listening to the competitive crowd, netcode complaints, and insist on adding on characters with the existing one already unbalanced is just concerned with their own pockets.

  10. necrome
    December 2nd, 2009 at 19:51 | #10

    Pardon the grammar mistakes! XD

  11. N00b_Saib0t
    December 2nd, 2009 at 23:42 | #11


    do you read anything about SSF4? they’re working on balance issues as well as the new characters. why would they balance the current cast THEN add new characters just to have to rebalance the old cast? as for netcode, they cant add ggpo. go cry some more. they’re working on improving the netcode, but have said countless times that removing the current netcode and implementing ggpo would put them way behind schedule. these people have a dead line, they can only do so much. as for not listening to the competitive crowd, they’re saying they are giving characters options to deal with existing tactics rather than removing said tactics entirely. sounds like listening to me.

    anyway, what the hell is “plinking”? i’ve never heard this term until now.

  12. December 3rd, 2009 at 00:35 | #12

    necrome: Yeah i totally understand where you’re coming from but i think the middle is where you need to be. In fact one of the biggest surprises i ever had was meeting watts and Cole for the first time and seeing that both of them were on point with their execution. I always assumed those OG guys got by on outsmarting people, but no, they actually take the time to learn newfangled skills like Just Defending and Custom Combos. You have to be a little flexible. Regarding Capcom, they’re not perfect but from what i’ve seen they’re absolutely top tier as far as listening to tournament players. They have way too many classic fighting games to call them ambivalent.

    N00b_Saib0t: Actually i think everyone here has valid points and concerns. It’s just a sensetive topic so there are a lot of subtle misunderstandings going around. I don’t think he was complaining about anything, except maybe being a little too harsh on Capcom. SSF4 is very important though. It needs to be good for all these new players to stick around. Otherwise they’re all going back to Halo or Warcraft or whatever, and that would be sad.

    Plinking is kind of a big deal. You should read up on it. I only found out about it a few days ago and i haven’t used it yet but if i was playing in tournaments then i would have learned it on day one.

  13. Rufus
  14. Rufus
    December 3rd, 2009 at 08:53 | #14

    Wow, fat facepalm for me for not reading well…

    Regarding option selects – if you input multiple different move commands during hit freeze, do you know if the system use the order of entry, or the priority to determine which move comes out?

  15. Tarnish
    December 3rd, 2009 at 09:14 | #15

    I remember our matches in HDR where I was playing Cammy against you online and was abusing Cammy’s throw out of her Hooligan Combination. Eventually the folks I was playing did find out the counters to it, but from that day on, I was adamant on telling any player I ran into about what I was doing, even tried to break down every single move I knew that stuffed that tactic. My Cammy is stronger in HDR, but I understand now what you meant by saying she’s a “terrible character”, more so than when I was running gimmicks on everyone… at the same time, I love to use her even more, I even learned her in ST (where she’s even worse).

    The more and more I play, and the less and less gimmicks I’m allowed to run, the more and more I see improvement in my game. When you told me I had an okay Ryu, I thought you were crazy… I’ve picked up Ryu seriously in ST for the past 5 days, and I’ve never felt so much freedom. But a lot of things ran through my head as I came to this conclusion, asking things about my play that I didn’t even consider when I first started. Especially with Guile, the character I started SFII with.

    I’m actually thinking of dropping him.

    I’ve had constant discussions with an O.Ken playing friend of mine, and he told me that “No one ever goes crazy over ‘rushdown Guile.’ In fact, I think there are 3 types of Guile Players:

    1. Scrubby
    2. Solid
    3. Super Solid (Kurahashi, etc)”

    I felt like I was plateaued at “solid”, and I didn’t know how to improve those other skills I was lacking for the longest time. So I picked Cammy as a means of trying to counter pick matches I wasn’t comfortable fighting, using gimmicks to wreck havoc on folks. Eventually I got a “solid” Cammy, but I wasn’t a solid player.

    We’re coming up to NEC here in a few days, and I feel like I’m at a crossroads regarding my play. I never thought I’d be so close to tournament with such doubts about something like my “main character”, but I think the pointers you were giving me seem a lot clearer than they were when I first read them. This topic strikes a lot closer to home as a result.

    I’m rambling… but to get to the point:

    I took a lot of shortcuts in the games I played, but after sticking with it for a while, I feel like I’m on a better path than when I started, and fighting games seem to have even more possibilities as a result. Reflecting back on things that more skilled players have told me over the years, I really wasn’t ready to understand what they were trying to tell me until now.

  16. N00b_Saib0t
    December 3rd, 2009 at 10:19 | #16

    ah, thats plinking. i’ve heard of that, i just didnt know its name. some one posted about it on gamefaqs forever ago to help people finish trials.

    anyway, i wasnt trying to say necrome cant have his opinion of SF4, it just seemed like he doesnt understand whats going on. the home version was supposed to mirror the arcade version so people could practice, plus it had extras. SSF4 is where the balancing and more new characters are coming in. he is allowed to not like the current state of SF4, but saying capcom isnt doing anything about it isnt a valid point until AFTER SSF4 comes out and we see how thats balanced.

  17. December 3rd, 2009 at 12:16 | #17

    Rufus: That would take a lot of research. Actually i remember hearing about something similar back in SFA3 days. Cuz when you’re doing Custom Combos, you tend to do a lot of fast joystick motions and push a lot of buttons. When any attack connects, both characters freeze for like twelve frames or whatever. That’s your input window to cancel into a special move. So a lot of people were getting fireballs when they wanted uppercuts and vice versa, cuz they were going so fast.

    I think it was ChoiBoy who actually sat down and figured out that overlapping FB and DP motions caused Ryu to do Hadoken while Akuma did Shoryuken. That’s probably true of reversal situations as well. So yeah, i wouldn’t be surprised if it was completely aribtrary in SF4 as well. Everyone should just pick one character, test it out and post their findings on SRK or something.

  18. Rufus
    December 3rd, 2009 at 13:01 | #18

    I was thinking in terms of HDR. The priority chart is mostly known, thanks to T. Akiba and NKI:

    I was wondering if it was possible to have a move option select kara cancel one way on whiff, and cancel another on hit/block. For example, with Cammy, I might want to have crouching forward xx Cannon Spike on whiff, but crouching forward xx Spiral Arrow on hit/block.

    Or Zangief’s close standing jab could plausibly be option-select Kara-cancelled into SPD or into Lariat on Hit/Block.

  19. December 3rd, 2009 at 13:19 | #19

    Tarnish: Man i’m glad you brought up Guile because making that jump from “Solid” to “Super Solid” is one of the hardest things to do in Street Fighter. For some characters it’s kind of an even slope. In fact that’s what makes Ryu so cool, because he’ll teach you something new every day and it doesn’t stop even when you’re beating people down.

    On the other hand, Guile is outright cruel. You don’t even realize how much work he’s doing for you until you get demolished by someone and can’t even figure out what the hell happened. There are so many things you gotta have to make that jump to “Super Solid.”

    First of all, you need willpower like a goddamn tank because it’s so incredibly tempting to push buttons on autopilot, lose tons of battles, and still win the war. Either you gotta have the Watson/Osaki/Kurahashi mindset of “Fuck you, i’m not letting you hit me” and maintain that focus for the entire three-hour training session every single day. Or you gotta have the Ohira/Muteki mindset of “I’m gonna try something new every match” and then incorporate it into your gameplan in a productive way. Cuz it’s really easy to end up with 50 new dumb tricks at the end of the night and come out with a noticeably weaker gameplan. Especially when Guile is giving you zero hints about what to hold onto and what to forget.

    Second, you need competition who are down to figure out Guile and beat you at your own game. Cuz not a lot of people are willing to do that. In fact, damn near nobody. Most people pick some dumb counter character like Vega or rely on dumb 50/50 tactics thinking they’re rushing shit down. But if you’ve ever played against CaliPower, you know that fool isn’t flipping coins. He doesn’t do Hurricane Kicks over Sonic Booms because “sometimes they work.” He knows Guile better than you do.

    That’s a lot to ask of your competition, and that’s a big reason why most Guile players never make it to the next level. You need to practice against someone like this! Otherwise you’re going to lose every single time you get to the last couple rounds of any major tournament, to the one guy you need to be practicing against.

    See, there are two ways to solve the problem described in this article. Either you can pick a top tier character and put effort into every match by sheer will power. Or you can pick a character that forces you to work every match. In my experience, most people have a much easier time with the latter. Especially since your friends will tend to get angry at you if you’re playing poker face Sagat for three hours straight. Every night. All the time.

    Luckly there are some ways around this dilemma. First of all, pick Ryu (and O.Ken) – they’ll make you work even when they’re top tier. Second, adopting a rushdown style with any character makes you work hard even when you have an advantage. Plus people tend to tolerate it more than turtling. But you gotta be really careful not to cross the line into “reckless rushdown” because then you’re right back in “losing battles, winning wars” territory.

    The whole point of practice is to learn how to win every battle. Because in tournament play you’re going to face people who know how to pick their battles and they’re damn good at figuring out which battles you don’t know how to win.

  20. Inphinite
    December 3rd, 2009 at 15:26 | #20

    This was a great read. I’m no tournament player or anything like that. I play mostly for fun. Recently I’ve been getting more serious about learning the game and the system. However I’m thinking I may want to hold off on getting TOO deep into it because, as you were saying, what works in one game may hurt you in another.

    I’ve been doing a lot mroe of the combo trials now and learning more about input timing. I didn’t know what Plinking was until just now. I’ve been doing the links one button at a time. Some are hard but once I find out what the timing is on a certain combo (e.g. Rose’s c.LP x 3, Soul Spiral). It’s not really a problem anymore. Anyway, my question is that do you think I should invest time into learning to Plink? It seems to me that there’s a possibility that it’ll change in Super.

    Also, I have a very rushdown playstyle and it really does make you work. I love that because I have to be a couple of moves ahead of myself and ahead of my opponent. I main Gen and Bison and the rushdown is really fun. I’ve just started learning Akuma and thinking about learning Rose too. I can play the balanced game and that’s what I’m trying to develop a bit more. I feel like I could eventually be a “Super Solid” player, but I’m just sitting between scrubby and solid (depending on what character I’m playing).

  21. December 3rd, 2009 at 15:54 | #21

    Rufus: That’s a good question. I can’t think of anything off the top of my head. You’d have to create some kind of timing discrepancy but i don’t see how that’d be possible.

    In SFA2 there’s a technique called “Choiversals” which means poking with low forward or low roundhouse or whatever, then canceling into DP very late. If it connects or it’s blocked, then the DP never comes out. But if your poke is blocked and Alpha Countered, then your character freezes for a long time so your late DP input happens right after the freeze, automatically beating their Alpha Counter.

    The new Daigo Ryu vs Rufus option select is based on the same principle in reverse, but you still need to create some kind of a timing desync.

    The only thing i can think of is using Choiversals against Focus Attack armor, since there’s a bit of a freeze when that happens. But that’s assuming that the armor absorbtion freeze is longer or shorter than hitstop/blockstop. Even if it is, i bet it’s a very small difference so your timing would have to be very precise. I don’t know if it’s worth it.

    But getting back to what you were asking, i think that would only work if you had two specials/supers with different cancel windows. So maybe with Akuma you can do c.MK xx Hadoken and then buffer ultra Demon so that if the c.MK connects you get a fireball but if it whiffs then you get ultra. Maybe it would be worthwhile against someone who backdashes a lot or uses slow ultras on wakeup?

    I dunno, seems like a lot of work for relatively little payoff. If it was me, i’d focus on practicing someting more practical, but i’m sure that’s no surprise.

  22. December 3rd, 2009 at 18:03 | #22

    Inphinite: I don’t know, i think it depends on your character. If you need to use a lot of one-frame links then plinking is a must. Otherwise you should just keep working on your timing and focus on other things.

    You can break down fighting game mastery into two tasks:

    1) Controlling your character flawlessly.
    2) Outsmarting your human opponent.

    If you’re practicing in Training Mode, there’s tons of stuff you can learn. Combos are a good place to start but it’s all about ranges. If you’re playing a rushdown style then you gotta pay attention during matches and remember what it is you’re having trouble hitting. Then go into Training Mode and have the dummy play back that action until you can punish it every time.

    You picked two of the most combo intensive characters which means you have to spend a lot of time on combos, but you should spend just as much time working on your air fireball aim, for example. They should go exactly where you want them to go and you should land exactly where you want to land. Beyond that you should practice some go-to followup attack patterns.

    There’s just things you need to know about your character. Like if your best poke is c.MK, then you need to know exactly which attack strings put you in c.MK range. Furthermore you need to figure out every other character’s best poke against your character, and find attack strings that put you a few pixels outside their range. Knowing how to find things like this helps build fundamental skills that you can always rely on.

    Knowing when to throw is also incredibly important. Whenever you go for a throw, the next time you have time to think, ask yourself why it did or didn’t work. Anything you can figure out about the psychology of players will always help you down the line.

  23. Inphinite
    December 4th, 2009 at 11:48 | #23

    Gotcha sir. Thanks a lot! Since finals are over now I’ll have a good bit of time to work on that stuff and do some research on my characters. I’ve been going off visual cues and haven’t really looked at any frame data or anything. I’m good at judging about where I need to be and how much time I have to do this or that. I appreciate it! Thanks again!

  24. kirbilot
    February 18th, 2010 at 23:37 | #24

    I have been randomly working my way through the older articles on your site ever since I found the Footsies Guides you are doing. All solid gold, thanks a lot for doing all of this! I hope everybody from SRK is finding this stuff.

  25. justice.gray
    September 6th, 2010 at 21:31 | #25

    Maj :
    The reason i made the SSF4 remark is that these nuances are the most susceptible to change. That CvS1 trick doesn’t even work in CvSPro, and it definitely doesn’t work in CvS2. Even if every SF4 character stays completely unchanged in SSF4, i guarantee that over half of SF4′s option select gimmicks are gonna be gone.

    I’m legitimately asking this as I’m curious – so was this correct? Did they all go away? I don’t know enough about OS to really know myself, but I figure you would.

  26. September 6th, 2010 at 23:15 | #26

    Actually a surprising number of them stayed, but i guess Capcom’s design philosophy with the SF4 series is somewhat different from what we’ve gotten used to. Ono takes a much different approach than the people who built Street Fighter (SF2/SF3/SFA).

    Although the focus on which option selects were important did change from SF4 to SSF4. That’s always bound to happen, at the very least. Anyway this goes to show you that you never know what to expect.

    If you want an example, throws in SF3: 2nd Impact were performed by pressing F+HP like oldschool Street Fighter. They were changed to LP+LK in SF3: 3rd Strike. Of course that dramatically shifted the entire option select flowchart at close range.

    Little changes like that can change everything, so you just never know. If the next guy after Ono decides to make Street Fighter more offensive and makes it impossible to tech throws while crouching, the whole option select flowchart will change instantly.

    So it’s up to you how you want to spend your practice time. If you only care about being good at one game, then learning option selects is a good use of your time. If you want to play three games at once (SSF4/MvC3/ST), then you’re better off learning how to avoid throws the fundamental way – by focusing on out how to predict them.

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