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'After landing LP Typhoon, nobody can stand up to T. Hawk' - Daigo talks how to breakdown match ups, details how he approached the Ryu-Akuma matchup

Posted by Nicholas 'MajinTenshinhan' Taylor • November 5, 2013 at 5:43 a.m. PST • Comments: 72
'After landing LP Typhoon, nobody can stand up to T. Hawk' - Daigo talks how to breakdown match ups, details how he approached the Ryu-Akuma matchup In a recent video interview tied to the release of Daigo Umehara's new book, Match Theory, The Beast himself details how he approached the Akuma matchup in preparation for his exhibition against Infiltration.


He also explains the psychology behind matchups, and how you should approach them to find new tricks, or simply learn how to deal with them. A rough translation from EventHubs' own MajinTenshinhan (writing in third person is weird) has been included, which you can find after the jump.

You can also check out the video interview itself after the jump.
First off, below, you can find the video, which unfortunately is in Japanese and features no subtitles. For all of our Japanese-speaking readers, though, this is the perfect opportunity to learn some good stuff, thanks to gaku07, who originally got the video from NicoNico.

Since the video clocks in at more than 20 minutes, there's a lot of things being discussed. What follows is not an exact translation, but rather a summary of the conclusions MCZ|Daigo has managed to reach.

Daigo begins by explaining that he started by analyzing the footsie game between Ryu and Akuma. Due to Akuma's limbs reaching farther, and him having better walk speed, he concluded that Ryu was at a disadvantage in the footsie game.

He then noted that if Ryu can't win in footsies, then the next step would have to be to analyze the fireball game. While Ryu's fireball is more powerful, fireballs still trade evenly, which means you need to consider the other options for dealing with fireballs.

Daigo explains that the regular counter to a fireball is to jump forward, and that Ryu can't necessarily deal with fireballs using his focus attack (though not stated, I assume this is because Akuma can fire his Shakunetsu Hadouken which is multiple-hit). However, Akuma can both focus and jump forward, therefore making Akuma have an advantage in the fireball game as well.

So if Ryu is at a disadvantage both in the fireball game and the footsie game, then what exactly is left? Daigo explains that the next stage is to examine the character's power. While Akuma may have more damage fundamentally, Ryu has a lot more health, and also has easy ways to combo into his Ultra, which Akuma does not. With that in mind, it's safe to say that Ryu is at an advantage in pure power.

With this in mind, Daigo realized that maybe, there is a way for Ryu to actually win the footsie game. He notes that he realized that with one bar of meter, Ryu is actually the one winning the footsie game. This is because, the best thing Akuma can muster during the footsie game is his crouching heavy kick. But if Ryu connects with his crouching medium kick, he can lead it into an EX Hadouken, which does stronger damage. Daigo notes that, what he found to make Ryu surpass Akuma, was the EX Hadouken.

But to utilize the EX Hadouken, you need meter. So how do you build this meter? The best way for Ryu is, obviously, firing fireballs. He notes that it's important to master the fireball game by firing them carefully, because you can't forget the inherent risk with options to counter fireballs (as earlier mentioned, jumpins and focus attacks).

It's important to remind your opponent of the risk of these jumpins and focus attacks, by air-to-airing jumpins, or causing a combo from their focus attempts, since Ryu does have more life to work with, trades are in general unfavourable for Akuma. With this, it's possible to make your opponent more careful at countering fireballs since there's an inherent risk involved with jumping and focus attacking.

This allows you to start firing fireballs, which leads to building meter. After making his opponent more cautious with their options in fireball wars, and learning that Ryu has the advantage in footsies if he can just build meter, Daigo concluded that "This just might work".

The remaining factors, he explains, are how much of a beast Akuma becomes if he has you cornered, as well as his vortex on your wakeup. As such, he explains that it's important to walk forward a lot. While that does open you to risks like getting focus attacked, it's worth it to simply not be cornered. Playing to not get landed in the corner against Akuma is key.

As for Ryu's corner pressure, the issue is that Akuma has good tools to escape the corner. Therefore, it's important to punish things like his teleport, to get out as much as you can from it, for example with a fireball, or possibly even an Ultra if you have it available. After trying these tactics out against several different Akuma players, who all played differently, Daigo felt confident that this line of thinking would work.

Dealing with Akuma's vortex seems to simply be testing things out, and seeing how to block them as best possible. If you manage to block his mixups, then he can't get any more damage out from his crouching heavy kick, which means his footsie game isn't as strong.

Daigo also commented on general psychology while playing, for which I have translated some quotes directly. Below, you'll find a few quotes on matchups in general from The Beast himself. First off, he notes how to approach matchups you find hard in your basic thoughts.

If you think that 'Oh no, this opponent is way stronger than me', or 'Man, this matchup is just too bad for my character', you're already losing in your thoughts.

To put it simply, it becomes boring.

The interviewer notes that with all the detail Daigo is explaining behind his thought process, is it really okay to expose it all like this? Daigo replies that he doesn't feel like it's being exposed, but rather explained.

I don't necessarily feel like we've exposed it all, because I haven't told you everything. But also, I feel like if I didn't go this far into detail, maybe it would be hard to understand it all.

I also think that by going into this level of detail, it's possible to grab more people to be interested in playing or watching fighting games, by realizing 'Oh, so that's what was going on', and becoming more interested because of it.

On the subject of matchups in general, Daigo also gives a bit of insight into how he believes that you should approach them, and find your own answers for every situation.

Not only to win, but also to have fun, you need to approach every matchup differently, and build up a certain mindset you approach it with.

For example, T. Hawk - If you just act recklessly, you're probably not going to be able to win. But, after landing a light Typhoon, T. Hawk is amazing. In that moment, he becomes a character that nobody can stand up to.

Therefore, one could say that landing the light Typhoon is everything with this character. So basically, for every matchup, you have to consider "How can I land the light Typhoon?", and you'll reeach different answers against different characters. And that'll make it easier to win, and it's also fun to search for the answer for yourself, and find your own, personal answer.

Different players might find different answers. So instead of simply listening and thinking that "Okay, so Ryu's shakunetsu and metsu are strong", instead, look at all of the ingredients to the characters, and see for yourself, 'Maybe this is Ryu's strong point?', try it out, and maybe you'll end up going 'Oh, no, it isn't', because most of it will be wrong, because different players apply different things, and eventually you'll likely be able to find an answer that nobody else has discovered yet.

Thank you for reading this piece, and if you find any errors or misjudgments in my translation work, please let me know right away and I'll do my best to correct it.
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