Lexi Loses 1: Vs Haotwo

Welcome to the first edition of my new series Lexi Loses, in which I’ll be looking over some of my tournament losses in the hopes of identifying any bad habits I may have in my gameplay or areas that can be improved. I’m going to be questioning my decisions, looking for optimizations and hopefully becoming a stronger player by the end of this analysis.

The set I’m going to be looking at is the loser’s semifinals of a tournament named Fragsoc 4 which I attended on Saturday 18th June. My opponent is Haotwo who is currently ranked 9th best in the UK according to smashranking.eu. You can watch the full match below!

It doesn’t take long for me to find that my punish game is lacking. I get a nice shine (Was that a shield poke!?) but get a measly 13% from it. I was trying to do something overly fancy and freeform with the upair, a simple dair would have given me an easy uptilt or in the worst case scenario a tech chase. This shine could have led to a kill if I’d have used it better!  ezgif.com-crop
 ezgif.com-gif-maker  This is something that I’ve been catching myself doing all too often, my opponent is shielding close to me and I just dair into an easy shield grab. A much better response is wavedash forward shine and if they’re still shielding after the shine I can do standard shield pressure mixups.
 As a general rule, I don’t like upair for continuing combos, there’s almost always a better option. So why on Earth do I use it so much? The first upair could have been an uptilt with an easier follow up. The second and third upairs weren’t necessary at all, I could have wavelanded onto the platform and just crouched and covered every option Haotwo had. A get-up attack would have been an easy fsmash with me being at 6% crouch cancelling and regular get up or rolls would have started up a new combo.  ezgif.com-crop(1).gif
 ezgif.com-crop(5).gif  I get rekt pretty quickly on my first stock of game 3 and I don’t want this to happen again in the future. I get a grounded shine at 0% and my favourite followup is just to waveshine underneath them and shine them again, but I don’t do that here. I get impatient to attack, trying to take Haotwo to the top platform, a calmer player could have killed here instead of being killed themselves. My poor DI on the upair allowed Haotwo to followup easily and that double jump side-b was asking to be baired. A quick shine stall could have baited a move out and allowed me to double jump back to the stage and failing that I could have sweetspotted my side-b, at least demanding some precision from my opponent.
Where are my ledge dashes? During this set my choices from the ledge have been either to double laser or to ledge hop dair, both unsafe options a lot of the time. I have practised ledge dashes but didn’t employ them here for fear of SDing. I should have more confidence in my practice and ledge dash whenever it looks like the best option. Once I’ve revealed that I have ledge dash as a tool my opponent would be forced to respect it and given enough space, double lasers become safe again.  ezgif.com-crop(6).gif
 ezgif.com-crop(7).gif  Many times in this set my approaches are fluffed out by full hops and there’s a few ways I could have gotten round this. To start I need to space my lasers a bit better, the one in this example is much too aggressive. I can then dash dance in front of him and see what he does or looking at this GIF I’m pretty sure if I reacted quickly to the full hop I can do a turnaround uptilt. This full hop in response to approaches is something I need to start keeping track of against Fox, in the same way I keep a mental log of my opponents ledge, tech and recovery options.
“This should be a kill” says Faithless on the commentary. He’s not wrong, this should have been a very simple bair or even a shine tournaround dair if I wanted a couple of style points. Bad awareness from me here, I think I was over-excited to close out a kill and develop a stock lead at 0% instead of focusing on Haotwo’s position. Haotwo actually takes a stock after this recovery changing the tide of battle massively, it’s crucial to not throw these opportunities away.  ezgif.com-crop(8).gif
 ezgif.com-crop(9).gif  Here I could have finished the game with a jump-off dair but I just wasn’t brave enough to go for it. Kamikaze dairs are something I should keep in mind though whenever my opponent is on their last stock. The fsmash wasn’t an awful choice though, the lip of Pokemon Stadium may have saved Haotwo here.
When my opponent is recovering from afar I need to make grabbing the ledge a higher priority. In this example I’d already sniped Haotwo’s double jump leaving him with the options of sweetspotting his side-b or recovering high with firefox. Grabbing the ledge with a turnaround waveshine blocks his first option and sets me up to edgeguard his second option.  ezgif.com-crop(10).gif

Final thoughts

I’m relatively happy with my general game plan against Fox but watching these games leaves me with a lot to polish and brush up on. From here I need to put time into my punish game, capitalizing more heavily from my shines and using the platforms more confidently as opposed to upairing beneath them. I need to pay much more attention to my opponent whilst they are off stage, edgeguards are very important and they seem to be my weakest area at the moment. My ledge dashes need to have more impact on the sets that I play, if not directly getting something from them then threatening the option of the ledge dash and demanding respect at the edge. I didn’t perform a single shield drop in this set, something that I am capable of doing but evidently not at an unconscious on-demand level. This is something for me to work on in friendlies, it astounds me when watching top level players like Armada, Westballz and Plup how much they actually get from something as simple as a shield drop and it’s something I’d like available to me. I’m likely to face Haotwo again this weekend at Smashzilla 4 and I’m feeling confident about it. If I take in everything I learned from our games and practice then I can only get better.

If there is anything in this set that you think I’ve missed or could benefit from or if you just want to get in touch and stay updated with my blog please reach me on Twitter!