Muscle Power Monthly: November 2016

Fighting games aren’t easy. Granted, every competitive game has a certain level of meta that requires you to practice quite a bit in order to master, but fighting games force you to take it to that theoretical next level pretty fast. In other words, it takes a lot of effort to even be “not bad”. To further complicate things, after you’ve become comfortable with a character or two, you’ll still always have a tough go of it in various matchups because of how the characters are designed. In this month’s MPM, we’ll take a look at some of the difficulties and differences in the Nash match-up as Guile and Ken. We’ll also look at the Capcom Pro Tour qualifying events and how weird (and perhaps unfair) they seem to be.

For those of you who don’t know, I’m a Guile main. The whole “get a life lead and spam Sonic Boom” stigma, while obviously flawed, certainly doesn’t hold up against Nash with full resources. As a low leaguer, this situation is one of the more stressful ones in the game. Basically, you need to be kind of perfect here because anything you do can be punished rather drastically. So if you go into cruise control for even a second, one poorly timed Sonic Boom or V-Skill can lead to losing the round as Nash can CA or V-Trigger into a nasty combo (Noob tip: Nash’s CA can’t hit you at full screen).

Recently, I touched base with Street Fighter guru Eric Beck (@TheBrassManBeck) regarding this matchup.

His thoughts on this scenario validated my own difficulties a little, so I didn’t feel so bad about my most recent losses to Nash. He said:

“What’s really  tricky about that is you can only really throw a boom when you know he’s thinking of doing something other than reacting on boom, like dashing or attacking. If he’s free to react super or V-Trigger, it’s super easy for him to do. I try to keep trading fireballs with him since he can’t super then, and wait for him to approach since he’s not reacting to potential booms while approaching. It’s tough, though.”

This is some really good advice that I hadn’t considered. I go into massive turtle mode when facing a Nash with resources, and I know that’s a crutch that’s likely to break more often than not. So going forward, I’m going to try being a little more clean with my reactions and watch for “safe” movements that I’d otherwise have ignored in favor of holding down-back until the round ends or I died to teleport.

I also spoke to Gamer Pantheon contributor Coit Hay (High Gold/Platinum) on the Nash matchup as Ken.

07-uppercut
Ken with the wake-up DP! Just kidding. I think.

 

No jokes here. Ken is a REALLY good character, but there’s still a lot to be aware of:

“It’s a tough matchup…his pressure can be overwhelming. Especially with his frame traps and teleport mix ups. It’s a battle of execution with Ken. If you can be on point and find an opening, you have to shift momentum because Ken is amazing at (the) rush down and pressure game. If the Nash doesn’t make a mistake, then I usually have to rely on V-Trigger and grab setups to get a 50/50.”

So as you can see, Nash can be very pesky to every character. He has the tools to get in your head at the very least, and 1-hit-kill you at the very worst. Don’t feel bad if you’re having problems in this matchup!  Watch your own replays and some pro replays to develop your understanding of Nash. Being careful and safe will go a long way here, so patience is key. This matchup really showcases the importance of being aware of your opponent’s resources as well as your own, which I know is something my fellow low-leaguers have issues with sometimes.  I encourage everyone to watch the video below, which shows off the Guile vs. Nash matchup very well (what gets punished, what mix ups work, etc). ISDD and Bonchan are two of my favorites, and I hope you find this match as educational as I did (it’s amazing what you can pull out of a match when you’re trying hard to learn).

To close out this section, I’d just like to harp a little bit on the importance of community. The Fighting Game Community (FGC) is very grassroots at its core. It went from a fairly insular group to the sponsored esport that it’s becoming today. I encourage you to tap into that local-level wealth of information that’s at your fingertips if you’re having trouble. Even with the online structure that most people operate in today, you can use social media to find people to play with and help you improve. That’s what development in the FGC has always been about.


 

cpt

Capcom Cup is this weekend, marking the end of the 2016 Capcom Pro Tour. It’s been an exciting road, no doubt, but the process of winning a coveted seat at the Cup has come under scrutiny by some in the FGC.  To oversimplify it (and also because I find the whole thing to be very confusing), you can get in by winning a qualifying event or by winning enough global CPT points throughout the year. That qualifying players are able to enter future qualifying events means that if they continue to take tournaments, those qualifying seats essentially go to waste, forcing players to qualify by points, which means those who can travel can get more points. Whew! Hector Omar Ocampo, an aspiring pro gamer, had this to say:

“If someone like me went to a qualifier and lost to a well-known player in the Grand Finals, what could have been my one shot at qualifying for Capcom Cup could be gone, and no one new shows up to the Cup.”

The problem here is twofold. On one hand, the odds are very much against newcomers, and even other pros who don’t have a seat at Capcom Cup. On the other hand, one could argue that this format yields the highest quality esports experience for spectators, which is kind of what Capcom is going for, though the powers that be have recently said that they’re aiming at attracting new talent to make the CPT grow. I think if they simply barred qualified players from future qualifying events, the issue would be solved. Easier said than done, to be sure, but I’ll be surprised if we don’t see a new format next year.

Happy gaming, everyone! Have a great holiday season, and check back just before the new year for another edition of Muscle Power Monthly here at Gamer Pantheon!

MPM banner by Kris Arechiga. @kemikster on Instagram

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