Step Your Game Up with EG|Justin Wong

Step Up Your Game: Chapter 2 - Hitting your targets

Written by Justin Wong
October 2, 2011 at 4:09 p.m. PDT
What is a Training Mode Monster? A Training Mode Monster is someone who has great execution in terms of combos in the Training Room. Most common problems are that majority of the players are Training Mode Monsters which means that in an actual match, their execution goes down by a lot.

Not being able to land your combos against a moving target (Computer/Human opponent) is what a lot of players suffer from.

There are ways to increase your percentage of being able to land your combos against moving targets or in high pressure situations. When I was growing up, I played against the computer every day. Even though the computer isn’t really challenging, it still gives you an opportunity to land combos in many types of situations and not just a non-movable dummy. The computer will stand, crouch, jump, spam an unsafe move and more, but this is beneficial for the player because you will be able to change up the type of combos due to the situation.

You can set the dummy to do all of this in training mode, but you are missing one thing. You’re missing the reaction aspect of it.

What I mean is that while you set this up in training mode, you’re already expecting what the dummy will do. Playing arcade mode against the computer, you must react to the situation and land your combo right at the moment.

For example: If I am playing Rufus and I am fighting against a CPU Ryu. Let’s say I approach Ryu and I jump and cancel my jump into a dive kick. At the same time, Ryu did a crouching medium kick. Since I am in the air, his crouching medium kick will whiff and I will proceed to hit Ryu with a divekick. Here comes the follow up.

For experienced players who are able to hit the combo, they will notice that Ryu is crouching and will not go for Rufus target combo into ultra, since the heavy kick part will whiff against Ryu. For the training mode monsters, they will usually go for the target combo not knowing that Ryu was crouching.

Let’s say with the same situation, but the Ryu is a human opponent. Once the target combo fails on the crouching Ryu, they are able to punish you for your mistake and that might cost you the match. This is one of the ways to increase your ability to not choke in a match or make a situational mistake.

Some of the other good things that come with playing against the computer are that there will be times that the CPU can teach you new things that could add to your arsenal. In Marvel vs. Capcom 2, the CPU picked a team with Storm in it and the CPU did the craziest rush down with tri-dashes I have ever seen at the time. After that moment, it opened up a lot of new techniques to my gameplay and also for everyone else.

Another good way of training on hitting your targets is playing online. The purpose of online fights is to give you the match up experience that you cannot get if your area does not accommodate a scene.

Even though, online play may embed bad habits to your gameplay, you can still train your execution, strategy, knowledge and reaction online. One of the best players in America was an online warrior; WolfKrone. One of the ways he got better was because he was a grinder. He kept practicing online and learned every match up that online play can offer.

Obviously, the best type of training is playing against a human opponent because they are more strategic and skillful than the current CPU AI in fighting games, but there is a downfall to it too. If you play against a human opponent that is clearly out of your league, you will NOT learn anything.

The only thing you would learn is to know that your free and that might be quite discouraging. For an inspiring up and coming player, you should find someone that is on your skill level or near it and go from there. Doing this helps a lot, because you get more opportunities to think, strategize, and land your combos.

For example: My sparring partner is EG|Floe. He has great fundamentals and can adapt quickly to many situations. While sparring with EG|Floe, he helped me increase my offense, my defense and of course match up knowledge.

Finding your sparring partner or group is very important because you guys can trade techniques and even thoughts on what do you think on this particular match up or strategy. This also sparks a little bit of a rivalry and due to human instincts, who doesn’t want to be the better player?

Justin Wong is a member of Evil Geniuses, you can find more information about this organization at


Niebeer said on October 2, 2011 at 5:04 p.m.

Great articles! Keep it up, these are very helpful!

cryios said on October 2, 2011 at 5:25 p.m.

ty justin

gearofages said on October 2, 2011 at 5:30 p.m.

"If you play against a human opponent that is clearly out of your league, you will NOT learn anything."

I disagree with this. At the worst, you can learn what you shouldn't do. You can dispose of the tactics that, when you play inferior players, are apparently useful.

Apart from this, you can come to an understanding of the speed and flow of higher level play.

swagneto said on October 2, 2011 at 5:44 p.m.

@ 3 I think he means WAY out. Like if your fairly new to SSF4 and don't have a decent understanding of the mechanics and basic strategies, getting absolutely trounced on by some of the world's best isn't gonna help you much. It's not so much as learning the WHAT, it's learning WHY. Being some top players training mode dummy doesn't help and can be very discouraging to new/upcoming players.

TehTy said on October 2, 2011 at 5:54 p.m.

I was just wondering when we'd see a second article. It's a good read, Justin. I look forward to your next column, but I do disagree with one thing you said. You mentioned that when you play someone out of your league, you don't learn anything. I almost primarily learn my new tactics whenever I'm at my local arcade playing super, or when I go into that endless lobby when I'm playing against someone who can completely destroy me. Surely, It's probably discouraging to some of the very new players, but as soon as you get that grasp to a point in which you can absorb knowledge used against you, it really becomes a great source to improve oneself on.

Jammy said on October 2, 2011 at 5:58 p.m.

I do kind of wonder where the line for "too far out of your league" is? win/loss of 1/10, 1/30, 1/50?

Since I've played against players who manage to do all three of those and I do feel like I learn a whole bunch and not that slowly either when playing against the 1/10s. I feel like I learn against the 1/50s too, but it really does take like 30 matches for me to come to a break through on something...

I'd be interested in other peoples opinions.

Chryo said on October 2, 2011 at 5:59 p.m.

Good stuff.

Are these articles going to be linked somewhere in the main page? Because the first one got totally forgotten in like one day after it left the front page, and that's a shame, they're a must read for all beginners and most intermediate players.

swagneto said on October 2, 2011 at 6:09 p.m.

@ 6
Yeah I think that's where the confusion comes from, bot knowing what he means by out of your league. Of course we learn from being beaten by players better, but we also know this game. You gotta take it from the perspective of beginners. Like I remember when SSF4 came out, a lot of my casual gaming friends picked it up, ones who never played a fighter seriously and had skipped vanilla SF4. When we would play, I would destroy them. Like it was discouraging probably because they felt getting that god would take to much practice. Eventually they quit. If we had been on the same level and grew together, they may have had more fun and kept playing, but oh well lol

swagneto said on October 2, 2011 at 6:10 p.m.

Man Eventhubs needs an edit button sorry for the typos.

Kijui said on October 2, 2011 at 7:13 p.m.

Learning from others IS a great way to step your game up. I cannot even remember how I used to play Spencer after fighting a guy who used his swing wire to overhead me. I am a lot more used to certain situations now, it always feels good to see how to use a character.

A_dub said on October 2, 2011 at 8:20 p.m.

I think Justin means by "out of your league" meaning so good that you are left doing nothing but mashing reversals, and are even too scared to try to execute combos.

A_dub said on October 2, 2011 at 8:21 p.m.


ppl are not factoring the emotional component. in the heat of the moment, you'd rather mash out a win than actually try to learn.

Crysalim said on October 2, 2011 at 8:59 p.m.

Playing the computer really does help. I remember in the SF2 turbo days I played the cpu on hardest with Ken so friggin much that in a real match I could just pretend they were the cpu and almost every combo I attempted came out flawlessly.

SF4 arcade request mode is excellent! Even if it is a bit annoying to have request after request before your first fight even starts...

Freyzii said on October 2, 2011 at 9:40 p.m.

I'm a training mode monster in MvC3, I can spend half an hour doing the same combo perfectly without a problem, throw me into a match and I won't be able to get trough half the combo.
I got 2 friends around my level tough and we play a lot online.

mcknight8279109 said on October 2, 2011 at 10:24 p.m.

Put it this way if I was a complete beginner at sf4 got it at release and played it but sat it down for months...So technically at this point im still a beginner. I come back to play and run into 17k sagat and got bodied to the point i wanted to jump head first off the oak tree in my front yard. I didn't learn ANYTHING i didn't know what else to do other than block and that only got me thrown and made me wanna jump in and attack so he didn't perfect me. Getting bodied by a 15k+ person and you're just a beginner won't teach you anything. And training against the cpu helps alot lol he ain't lyin about that one

BlackNoob said on October 3, 2011 at 1:19 a.m.

Whats with the Sako pic? Is he not great with catching people with Rose or something?

DR_Jam said on October 3, 2011 at 5:08 a.m.

nice article, should post this on IGN, GS, and GT.

U4iA27 said on October 3, 2011 at 10:29 a.m.

by "out of your league" he means a beginner playing some1 like him or latif. which I agree with.finding a sparring partner on or at least near ur level is absolutely essential to improving steadily as a player.but its also equally essential to discuss and share information with said sparring partner so that ur strats and tactics evolve enough to open up doors to new discoveries.

dragonsfistiv said on October 3, 2011 at 12:35 p.m.

id have to disagree with the part about not learning from the pros even when your a beginer. I agree that it can be easy to get discouraged, but.
tbh, learning how to survive the brutal assault of a pro, long enough to learn to counter, taught me more than anything else. not only that, seing their strats taught me just as much.

Raven said on October 3, 2011 at 4:21 p.m.

Online play is great for "playing people on your level." You will sometimes get a really skilled opponent, but I see those as tests because they are few and far between. Most others can be managed, and as you level up you will see that. I'd say want you get to a mid level, you can start thinking about arcades and such. At least then you have a clue on some of the fundamentals.

shoryuken78 said on November 2, 2013 at 7:56 p.m.

I didnt read this yet.
I caught something "playing someone out of your league is useles".

I completely disagree.
I would rather play someone who can perfect me 50 times in a row.
than someone I have a 30 percent chance at winning against.

Its that micro windows of oppertunity that im looking for, after getting stuffed 50 times.

I have damn decent fundamentals. my excecution is fail.
Im simple too lazy to practice and the 1-2 frammers annoy me too much.

Nhaztaljik said on November 14, 2013 at 9:56 a.m.

Agree. As someone who has been into competitive gaming for a long time, I'm sad to see this statement come from Wong.

The only way you don't learn anything is if your one of those players who doesn't know how to play at a basic level in the first place, and simply gets frustrated.

If an opponent is clearly outclassing all of your thinking and attempts to do stuff, you can still learn a lot by just by observing and blocking. Lame, but works.

ProfessorLester said on January 25, 2014 at 5:39 a.m.

still a great read

angelrebirth said on February 13, 2014 at 7:52 p.m.

Il a toujours une tête de cul celui-là

Trixdee said on March 24, 2014 at 11:44 p.m.

This is just the article I needed!! :))))

sergio_reyes_ said on August 20, 2014 at 4:57 p.m.

justing wong this is pure improve more pure training pure practice people need play more improve more no easy be the best invensible player need much time practice much concentration .


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