Falco Fridays #1

11th September 2015

Today I am starting a new weekly blog series in which I watch top level Falco SSBM players compete against different matchups. I’ll be looking for things that they do right and successful strategies as well as mistakes they made and how they happened. My aim is also to compare these players to myself and think about how I would have approached the situations, to identify improvements that could be made in my play or to appreciate areas I’m already strong in.

The game I’m going to be watching today is Tempo Westballz (Falco) Vs. Liquid Hungrybox (Jigglypuff) who are competing for their tournament lives in the loser’s semifinals of Paragon LA 2015.

 Only 20 seconds into game one and Westballz does something interesting. On the floor he was in a prime position to be jab-reset and rested, but manages to SDI the jab upwards and avoid death. SDIing jab reset attempts is something I currently make no effort to do but the rewards are evident, I can see this technique really paying off against Foxes and Sheiks too.

Not today!
Not today!

There's nnot much the Jiggs can do
There’s not much the Jiggs can do
Westballz takes his first stock with some dair pressure. I like going for dairs here because you can combo from the bounce, he was able to kill from it here but even in situations where you can’t get the double dunk, you can still bair from it for percentage and stage control. The jiggs here doesn’t really want to keep their shield down for too long either for fear of the autokill shield break, so against a grounded Jiggs dair pressure seems to be a really solid option.
I love the use of downthrow here against Hungrybox’s final stock, this is something I have to try, I can definitely see the pivot uptilt being used on Yoshi’s Island to set up for a shine kill. This works really well on a platform too, the Jiggs player can either eat the uptilt and a likely follow-up aerial, or they can attempt a get-up attack/roll which the Falco should be able to react to.

Downthrow is good?
Downthrow is good?

The Yoshi's Island dream
The Yoshi’s Island dream
 Simple but beautiful, this is what Falco players want every stock to look like. Westballz sets it up with an uptilt, a move that he seems to throw out a lot in this matchup as it has a large hitbox, and even when whiffed it’s tricky for the Jiggs to punish too much. One thing to note is that Hungrybox could have avoided this by DIing away from the top platform. That platform is exactly where we want Jiggs to be, and that goes for most of the floaty matchups too. The shine kill is just too satisfying.
 During this set Westballz has really struggled in the neutral game. He clearly has some good punishes planned out but getting them started is another challenge. One thing that rarely ever works in this matchup is diving in with a dry nair, this looks to me a sign of a flustered Falco, and given that Westballz is down a game on his last stock high percent, I think I may be right. There was a lot of space and time for lasers here but a good Jiggs will abuse impatience all day long.

No Westballz, no
No Westballz, no

The marshmallow scoop
The marshmallow scoop
 I found the wavedash uptilt to be a really nice spacing tool. He didn’t quite hit it here, but also important is that he didn’t get punished for attempting it either. If it had been hit, it could have potentially been a stock for Westballz. Wavedash forward pivot uptilt is also something that could be done to  catch the Jiggs out, this is something I’d like to incorporate myself.

Overall Westballz showed us that it is possible to kill Jiggs quickly and efficiently, that Falco does have the tools to combo Jiggs but it’s just a little different to other matchups. Getting into a position to perform these combos however  looks a little harder. The commentators made  a good point on Westballz’ use of vertical space with his full hops typically seen against Peach. Many times Westballz was looking to come down from above and catch Hungrybox out with a falling dair or bair but in a battle of air mobility Jiggs is too good, it was easy for Hungrybox to pluck the Falco from the air and guide him off stage.

 If you know of any games that would be good for next week’s edition of Falco Fridays  then post them below, be they modern 20XX sets or old classics.

You'll get him next time
You’ll get him next time

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Stourport Smash 3

This Sunday I travelled to an event in Stourport at a venue called The Civic; a Smash 4, Project M and Melee tournament which was run by a TO named Sherb Stead.ss3

I was kindly offered a lift to the venue and after an hour and a half of travelling we arrived at The Civic. I decided to only enter Melee as I struggle to enjoy Project M and have not yet played Smash 4, despite it being a very pretty looking game. As this was a small event there were no pools and so I started my tournament run straight from bracket, facing a player named Ahmad.

Ahmad is a player local to me and someone I had faced several times in the past, I felt very confident that I could win my first game. It was my Falco against his Marth in the first match and I simply overpowered him with pressure and laser approaches for which he had no response, this game became a swift four stock for myself. Game two and he decided to switch to Jigglypuff and to take me to Fountain of Dreams, partly no doubt due to my strong win record against his Marth and also perhaps due to his knowledge of my struggles against Jiggs’ in the past. My plan was to wall him out using lasers but with the awkward platforms on this stage I found this difficult, instead relying on Falco’s strong out-of-shield options and his auto-cancelled bairs. I took the game but forfeited two stocks, I still feel more practise is needed against Jigglypuff, that Falco has more abusable strengths that I’m not yet utilising fully.

Moving forward in winner’s bracket and I’m to face a player known as Frenzy. I’d had a few people hint to me that this player had picked up Falco himself and had been making drastic improvements, and before bracket began I was able to play several friendly games confirming that this player was good. He took several friendly games from me and it was clear that his punish game was fantastic, though I was somewhat comforted seeing that his neutral game was less developed. My plan going into our set was to take advantage of this and to insist on having laser control before moving in and executing my also respectable punishes. I lost the first Falco ditto to Frenzy’s consistent combos, it was a close game but I struggled to find an edge and to take a stock lead. The second game was similarly close but it was I this time with the slight edge, by this point I was able to more clearly read his approaches and applied a bit of patience to take the neutral game. Game three and I was feeling good about bringing it back, which showed in my play. I was able to maintain a sense of control and finished the game with two back to back zero to deaths of which I’m still kind of proud of.

Still in winner’s I progressed into R23, the favourite to take the tournament and eventual victor. During friendlies I beat him in our first game and so I entered  this set intimidated yet with a quiet optimistic confidence. This confidence was short lived with him besting me both in neutral and in punishes. I was overpowered by the unfamiliar Sheik pressure and the painful tech chases, and my dreadful edge-guarding this set did me no favours with him recovering far too easily. This was the best Sheik I had encountered and I was outplayed, before this event I considered myself reasonably strong against Sheik and as much as I dislike a loss, I’m also very excited that there is so much room for improvement for me to make in this matchup.

In loser’s now and I’m paired with ModestMajor, a Falco that I hadn’t heard of before and knew nothing about. Because of this I thought I had an easy game ahead of me but I was wrong and lost to him 3-1. I found his style difficult to play against as he relied heavily on lasers to lock me down and to dive in with. My weakness in this set was my impatience, the one game I won I made a point of using the platforms to take away his familiar laser approach, and to down-air if he tried to attack me from below. Using this strategy I was able to stifle his lasers and replace them with my own, taking control and the game. During the games I lost I wasn’t able to do this and fell into his trap of trying to approach on the ground, my lack of discipline was abused. Something I took away for future Falco dittos is that I wish I had held my shield down for longer and tested his shield pressure, not once did I force him to perform this or go for shinegrabs as I was pre-occupied with attempting unsafe shine out of shields.

With my loss to ModestMajor and with bitterness for falling to another Falco my tournament run was over and I had placed 5th. I’m happy with how I placed considering how many of my weaknesses I had become aware of and that without having a setup I’d been unable to prepare for the event. I’m looking forward to playing as many people as possible in the future and also refining some of my movements and tech in my spare time.
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Hello World

So, this is my blog. I’m going to be blogging mostly about competitive gaming, namely Super Smash Bros and my journey and thoughts about eSports in general. I do from time to time enjoy a bit of casual gaming and philosophy so perhaps I will write about that at some point.

Next Sunday I plan to attend Matchup’s Stourport Smash 3 tournament and so you’re likely to hear about that and how I performed. This event for me marks the end of a long bout of inactivity from the Smash scene, an inactivity and lack of attendance I am becoming infamous for. I’m hoping to become a more dedicated and consistent player, to push myself to be the best player I can be and to do that many future events must be attended.

Experience with in-game matchups is needed, but I also need to develop a comfort for some of the external factors eSports presents. Playing on stream, in front of crowds and performing under pressure are all challenges I hope to acquaint myself with soon.