Tekken Blog: 28 Aug 2017 — Game plan

This is dedicated to cataloging my learning in Tekken. Although I am excited to learn, it has been rather a daunting task to catch up to the scene. With no prior Tekken or other 3-D fighting games to use as a reference, I’m looking to go over what I’ve learned as I grow as a Tekken player.

If something is difficult to understand or you are curious as to what I am saying, you can find some help on the Tekken Jargon page on tekkenzaibatsu.com, which I use frequently to learn Tekken lingo, or you can ask me on Twitter for clarification!

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I think for any new competitive game, it is important to formulate a general game plan to inform your initial approach. For me, I decided to learn the game with Leo, partly because she has a tetsuzanko (a shoulder-check maneuver) but largely because she is categorized as a good, neutral-based character that excels in wake-up pressure. (Sound like anyone else I play?) Thus the game plan goes as follows:

1) Open them up

2) Take them to the wall

3) Okizeme them to death

Simple enough right? So let’s break this down step by step and approach each bit on its own.

Leo’s look quickly grew on me

1) Open them up

With it being so flexible, movement is a key tool to opening people up in Tekken. Famously, JDCR said “don’t block, you should move in this game,” and that’s very true. Blocking a move might simply put you at advantage, but a button whiffed is always punishable and that’s the idea we’re going to work with.

I need to get people to whiff buttons, so I also need to give them a reason to press buttons. We will accomplish this by working around one attack for Leo, D+4. The three key things to note about D+4 is that it’s a low, it has great range, and it’s -1~0 on hit, making it a fantastic poking tool in neutral.

The game plan is this — hit a D+4 and see what happens. Sounds basic, but in Tekken, there is so much that can go into and out of this simple strategy. Since at best you are 0 on hit, the opponent and I are basically in neutral once again, but I have taken a bit of health from them. This will eventually elicit a response, as if the opponent never blocks low or gets out of the way, I will just kick their shins until they fall over. So here are a few things you can do after a successful D+4.

Good name, good range.

1) Move. Attempt to get a button to whiff by sidestepping or backdashing. Since Tekken 7 allows the player to block during backdash this is a really safe option and keeps all of your tools. Sidestepping has the potential you give you their back depending on their response, possibly rewarding a grip of damage.

2) Press a button in range. If you’re close enough for D/F+1, that’s a great idea, as a mid can give you good information on his response to D+4 or D/F+1. A person who presses a quick jab might be testing waters, while a person who goes for a big mid might be antsy and want to take pressure back from you. Whatever the response is, once elicited, think about why someone would respond in that way.

3) Block. This is similar to above, as it will elicit the same sort of response, but it’s safer. Potentially this will give up pressure where you might have been able to take some, but there is the possibility of an opponent going for a hail mary like a hopkick or backswing blow.

2) Carry them to the corner

Leo’s corner carry is some of the best in the game. Most of her combos will carry to the wall on most stages, or at least get you very close to it. In that sense, many times you might not want to stretch for mid-screen okizeme, as it’s rather hard to get off and it’s sometimes better to just get the damage and the corner carry. Moves like F,F+2 and F+1+2 both have great corner carry and work great as enders, but send the opponent flying away. Thus, we should try to formulate our combos so that the screw is later, thereby getting the most of the damage we can while still juggling for maximum distance.

An example combo for this is one I did for Execution Woes, and works great for this scenario.

3) Okizeme them to death

Leo’s mixup game is very scary and combined with her wall carry can create a very precarious situation for opponents whose back gets put against a stage wall. Her options can actually be looped into one another, making the wall a great win condition for her as a character. Three of her moves are key to this mixup game, and learning when to employ them will help you get the most out of the wall situation.

U or U/F+3+4 — An Orbital Heel-style move that hits mid and is extremely safe on block. This is where the mixup generally comes from; therefore, you want to establish this as your go-to oki option first to make sure both your lows hit more often while keeping you safe as you establish a mixup. This is a jumping attack , so it will crush lows often, including get-up low attack. This move can also be done out of full crouch, so crouching in front of someone while they are on the ground could get them to expect a FC D/F+3 (which I will explain later). Getting this counter hit can also all but guarantee a D+3+4 or a D/F+2+3 for extra damage, making get-up low attack very scary versus her.

U or U/F+3+4 — Sky Vibration. Glad she has one move name I can pronounce

D/F+2+3 — A low that looks similar to her 2+3, which is a safe-on-block mid. This is for when people do linear get ups, like stand up or back roll. If they don’t tech in time, which is often, using it again can net a reset on the situation, thus just giving you free damage. This has significantly smaller range than FC D/F+3, so make sure you’re right next to the opponent when using this.

FC D/F+3 — Akin to a sweep in other fighting games, this is a sweeping low that trips the opponent on hit. Great for checking people who are trying to side roll left or right when trying to get up. This is her most unsafe option, however, and at -26 it can be punished by almost all the launchers in the game. While being a good tool, it must be used once the opponent has recognized that your other two options are linear.

There we go! We have a formulated plan for Leo! Obviously, this game plan will undoubtedly expand, later including throws and working around buttons that are more plus or more negative, but I believe that this is a good baseline for beginners. I hope this helped you in your efforts in learning Tekken.

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