Five hundred wins later…

So I’ve reached another one of my milestone – my 500th online ranking match win! It took me a while to get because I had good days and some really bad ones… more bad ones. Not to say it was bad luck, just the pool of people I played seemed to be stronger than me (some times me challenging people because of their experience is greater than mine). Time for some stats!

The statistics

Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown - 500 winsMain Character: Jean Kujo
Battle Points: 2,762pts (+1,303pts)
Grade: Raider
Games: 961
– Wins: 500
– Loses: 461
– Ratio: 52.029% (-1.571%)

The journey…

Well, it was a very long one indeed – I played 461 games to get my 500th win. kSo I’ve decided to do a quick summary and then have a different section for every subject I wanted to cover. Firstly, I would like to point out that both my win percentage and rank has dropped. Whenever I get the opportunity, I always play people with very high ranks (and they always seem to want to play me…). They’re usually more challenging and use a larger repertoire of attacks. I usually lose the first two bouts and through this, I pick up habits used by my opponent which results in a (hopefully) more challenging third round for them. I noticed that the more experienced a person is, the more mind games will be in play. Whereas someone with less experienced will just blindly launch attacks which is also challenging in a different way.

My 500th win was a very easy win for me. My opponent used the same pattern of attacks which made him easy to predict. At close range he would just do a complete P, P, P, K string, at medium range he’d backdash and at long range, he’ll do a run attack. Not knowing how to change your game plan when playing at different distances could be where the winner is decided. Luckily the answer I came up with always beat his.

Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown - 500 wins screen

The ranking system…

After you go past the rank of “Hunter”, you can be demoted if you lose too many times – even if you’re playing people stronger than you. I did get the rank of Berserker but I went on a high ranking player spree and lost many times. I was demoted to Raider, then down to Hunter then was promoted back up to Raider. To be honest, these rank doesn’t matter that much. It’ll give you an indication of how experienced someone is, but Virtua Fighter is about the player and how you adapt to your opponents play style. So as long as you do that well, you’ll win regardless of their experience. Virtua Fighter really is based on the raw skill of the player.

My training menu…

During my journey to my 500th win, I tried to change my training menu by learning other characters moves. It helps to know what other characters are capable of or just know whether something can be evaded by going left or right. The less surprised you are about an attack, the higher your chances are of being able to deal with it right? So when I go through Jean Kujo’s command training once, I go through another random character’s and I don’t blitz through them, I try to see what properties the attacks are and what conditions need to be met, etc… and then do another round of Jean Kujo’s command training. This didn’t last very long as I found that my basics are really lacking (both in terms of skill level and attention).

So as before, I would do a round of Jean Kujo’s command training, but upon finishing, I fire up the basic tutorial and then finally free training. This is when I just play around with different scenarios with different weight classes and moves. It’s also where I’m trying to make fuzzy guarding and easy throw escape more integrated into my normal play.

I also found some really good training videos. They’re made by SEGA of America and cover a range of topics often starting with something simple then looking at topics a fighting game fan will surely appreciate. Like how I learnt about the advantage a player has when an attack has been guarded against.

VF5 FS -  Nichirin Kyoushitsu (Shichiyou Tenrengeki) win

What I learnt…

After playing so many matches I’m bound to learn a thing or two right? Well, here’s my personal account from my own experiences.

One of the most important thing to learn in Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown is evading. Tapping the joystick up or down is easy, but it’s knowing when to do it or when not to do it is the key. For example, a good time to use it is when the opponent doesn’t seem to be aware of what’s happening. I’ve also learnt which way to evade for certain half circle attacks, but generally, you want to be travelling the same direction as the attack is going. This is where knowing your opponents moveset will come in useful. But it’s only useful if the player uses it in the match. This also means you should know which way to evade for your own character!

I’ve learnt that some throws cannot be escaped. Generally, attacks which lead to a throw will be inescapable (there are exceptions). But what I noticed is that I really should use the easy throw escape option when guarding. Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown has made throw escaping easier to make the game more accessible to a wider community. They’ve done this by making all standing throws end with a direction (back, towards and neutral joystick position). Thus making it a 33% chance of throw escaping even if you’re just holding down P+G. So this is a very useful technique to use and has allowed me to make (seemingly) impossible comebacks. But after a short break from the game, I’ve lost this habit, so I need to put it back into my game!

Against certain types of opponents, playing an offensive style and space control are very important. These are generally the types of players who have a sneaky play style. They’ll generally use attacks which are deceptive (in range or opportunity to attack) to lure you in. But against these players it’s important to control the space between you and play offensively when you have the momentum. It’s actually quite easy to spot these attacks after being hit by it a couple of times, so just make sure you come up with a way of punishing them for being predictable.

Stances are something to be aware of as they do unlock new attacks and sometimes have special properties. Sometimes stances can seem overwhelming at first, especially ones that will automatically reverse/sabaki most attacks. But everything has a weakness in Virtua Fighter, nothing is overpowered. So you need to find the weakness and when your opponent likes to do this, generally I find a lot of people do this when they have done a move which has put them at a slightly disadvantage. Be careful though, as once you’ve broken through that barrier, they’ll rely on something else (it could be as mad as mashing P, P, P, K).

Special matches…

For some reason, whenever I’m playing a game online, I’ll nearly always get a call from someone. Leaving me to play one handed… But I actually won a match with one hand whilst I was on the phone! Yes my opponent didn’t spot this and I was literally pressing different button combinations and guarding their attacks.

There was one match I played where my opponent had pretty much full health and got me down to very low health – where even a jab would’ve been enough. However, with the help of easy throw escape and my opponent’s lack of quick recovery, I dealt a lot of damage in a short space of time and even came out on top (uploaded this – Jean Kujo vs Vanessa)!

The most damaging throw Jean Kujo has does 60pts of damage (70pts with a wall). His guard breaking attack – Nichirin Kyoushitsu (Shichiyou Tenrengeki), will do 62pts(?) of damage. So it’s more damaging than a throw but will require good execution to achieve the full damage. So I thought I’d throw it in the mix from time to time. I actually won a match with it too! My opponent always guarded after his attacks have been guarded so I decided to win the round with a flashy move – it has a really good finish to it. Amazing feeling.

VF5 FS -  Nichirin Kyoushitsu (Shichiyou Tenrengeki) win

What next…

It’s obvious that I need to keep going on with my basics. I need to be able to do fuzzy guarding and easy throw escapes without even thinking about it. I still need to be more aggressive with Jean Kujo. So more time in basic training and free training. I also need to find out what attacks I’m generally hitting people with and see if I can get a bigger combo from it. Next update is 1,000th game… which won’t be long hopefully.