Hello folks! We’re back again to give you some advices about how to improve even more in SSBU. By the way, don’t forget to visit our previous article, which introduces you to competitive play, right here. I promise you’ll definitely find neat information in it, as we cover basic mechanics for the neutral game that every player needs. But it only shows a portion of what you need to know, now we’re going to bring you more information, especially for advanced players that already apply basics to the neutral.

Now that you have wider knowledge of your character and other aspects, we will focus on your opponent and additional, highly important data. In other words: Knowing your matchup, how to improve your decision making and what’s the best stage for you depending on which characters are going into battle & more.

Knowing Your Matchup

The more you play against “x” fighter, the more you get used to its playstyle and the options it has when at certain situations. Additionally, you have to spot your opponent’s habits to take the lead and control of the match but we’ll get into that later, for now, we will focus only on characters. I’ll give you an example: Ness. This character is a real pain because his hitbox is small, so it’s harder to hit. Also he has a projectile that can start a combo, weird mobility in the air, aerials with pretty nice priority and his B-Throw has insane knockback, among other things.

Let’s say you are using Chrom, which is a good counter versus Ness. So, you manage to grab Ness, you do a D-Throw followed by a short hop Uair (true combo) and then you fast-fall. Now consider about Ness’s options while he is in the air: he can either jump, perform an air-dodge, attack with Fair or Dair or use his Down B to stop a bit his falling momentum and then attack or jump.

What should you do?

At the same moment you have in mind all of this, you need to be preparing the best course of action possible, and there you have two options. You can wait for him and try to connect an Up-Tilt, but Up-Tilt has some end-lag, so if you fail, you can get punished and/or lose control of the neutral. Your other option is to do a short hop, Uair and then fast-fall, which is better because either you land the hit or not, Chrom will recover mobility faster than with the Up-Tilt, giving you the chance to not lose control of the neutral game and keep the pressure going.

But there is still one more option: just do an empty short hop and/or start running around to see how your opponent will react. Simply by chasing down you’ll keep pressure and will force your opponent into taking, maybe, a bad decision. This way you could cut your opponent’s options while you hunt him down, waiting for the right moment to attack. The previous option was also good but more aggressive, while the last one is passive as you’ll react depending on what your opponent chooses to do.

Improving Your Results With Good Decision Making

For doing this, you have to pay attention to every move or decision your opponent makes, that way you will more likely understand how he/she thinks and/or reacts to every option you take, making you go one or two steps ahead. This is really hard to accomplish and is frustrating not reading your opponent at all, or read your opponent but making a bad execution of what you want to do. You need to practice aim and timing on your attacks and also play a lot and with different people to improve this kind of skill.

This section is similar to the previous one, the difference is that now we’ll combine the character’s options with your opponent’s habits, like spamming a move, the timing of the special move for recovering, how he responds mid-distance, etc.

If you recognize that your opponent jumps to attack every time he is against the ropes, then punish those jumps. When he starts shielding a lot, use your grab. When you know a step dodge or roll is coming, then wait for it. Studying this kind of information from your opponent will extend your options and at the same time reduce the risk of losing the neutral game. Every good player adapts to a situation, so be careful when your opponent starts adapting to your answers. Changing a bit your strategy is mandatory for each encounter.

This time we’ll study a player that uses Link. This fighter is nice at harassing from distance and has a good disjointed range thanks to his Master Sword. How do Link players fight? Well, they spam his projectiles while at long-mid distance, but at close range they tend to take defensive position, using moves like Nair, which is fast and it’s hitbox lasts longer, Up-Tilt as an anti-air, Fair when the notice you’re jumping a lot (and is a strong attack too), Up B as an out of shield option when getting shield pressured because is fast and covers both sides around Link, and Smash Attacks when they see the opportunity. This sounds very simple for start thinking in a strategy to respond against but in reality is not that easy, especially versus a good Link player that knows how to mix his attacks.

When you manage to get close to Link, he starts throwing random moves, which means that he is marking the distance and that he is kinda scared that you might get even closer. Calculate the range of his attacks and respect them even more if you’re playing a fighter with a shorter range, like Mario. Put extra attention to the end-lag of each attack, as it will be the opening you are waiting to make your move. There will be times when an opponent knows if an attack is safe on a shield or fast enough to recover before you can hit him and he will use that to bait you. Change it into your favor, making your opponent think you’re taking that bait but in reality, he’s falling in your trap!

Another thing I want to point out regarding good players is that they also know about players’ habits and how to manipulate the opponent. Let’s say you’re using Simon/Richter and you use the same attack pattern 2 or 3 times: Side B (Cross), Neutral B (Axe) and Down B (Holy Water). By that time your opponent figured out a couple of strategies to get closer and punish, maybe he thinks “I will jump or roll through that Cross, run and attack even before the Holy Water comes out”, and that’s because Richter’s animation when throwing the Axe has a long cooldown. You have to be prepared for that. Changing the attack pattern will catch your opponent off guard or at least maintain the distance between you and him/her.

A really good method to improve your decision making is watching your replays. By doing this, you will recognize any habit you might have, that your opponent could utilize in his favor. You need to pay special attention to every decision you make, take some time to think why you made this decision and take into serious consideration about what you did right or wrong. Then you have to try out different strategies and see how they work, this way you can assemble a unique playstyle of your own with nice rewarding results.

Stages You Should Pick/Ban

First of all, not all stages are available to play in tournaments, in fact, they vary depending on which tournament you are. The reason behind this is to not benefit certain fighters, so always check stage availability before starting a match. I’m going to list playable stages A.K.A. Legal Stages that you will often see in tournaments and their category:

Neutral/Starter Stages

  • Battlefield
  • Final Destination
  • Pokemon Stadium 2
  • Smashville
  • Town and City

Counter Pick Stages

  • Yoshi’s story
  • Yoshi’s Island (Brawl)
  • Lylat Cruise (Can be a Neutral Stage)
  • Unova Pokemon League
  • Kalos Pokemon League (Can be a Neutral Stage)

Mixed (Stages Rarely Seen in Tournaments):

  • Castle Siege
  • Rainbow Cruise
  • Warioware, Inc.
  • Skyloft
  • Mementos
  • Halberd
  • Frigate Orpheon
  • Wily Castle

Note: In every tournament, stage hazards are off and stage morph is disabled to prevent any RNG (Random Number Generator) that could benefit or prejudice any player.

How to Choose a Stage

In tournaments, stages are picked after a coinflip or rock, paper or scissors. The player who loses will strike 2 Neutral Stages and the winner will select one of the remaining Neutral Stages from the list. For the rest of the match, the player who wins a fight will strike 2 stages between starters and counter-picks, and the player who lost will pick a stage to play.

Which stage to Choose

Depending on the character you are using, and how comfortable you feel in the stage you picked, as well as the advantage you can have against your opponent, are the main factors to follow when choosing a stage. If you pick Fox then you should choose a stage with a lower Top Blastzone like Final Destination, Lylat Cruise or Pokemon Stadium 2, as Fox’s best killing attack is Up Smash which sends you upward.

Besides how early you will end stocks when picking a stage, also think about how good you are using platforms or if they will help you gain control of the Neutral, as well as if you can use wall-jumps for mixing your recovery. As an example, if you’re fighting Snake, then you should pick a stage where the C-4 is easier to spot.

Now, about striking a stage: if you struggle to take a stock because your killing options are not that good in that stage, and you see your opponent feels so comfortable in it, like a case of Cloud VS Megaman, you should strike bigger stages so he wouldn’t have much space to run or escape from you. Also, your opponent’s killing options might benefit him in certain stages, so strike them to reduce your chances of losing.

Special Mention

In the past September 5th, Terry Bogard was announced as the next DLC fighter and in such a stylish way! You’ll simply love it, especially if you’re a fan of SNK classic games! He will be available to play in November, but we don’t know the specific date yet. They also announced that aside from Terry, more DLC fighters are in development! I’ll leave the Nintendo Direct link just below in case you want to watch it. and I really recommend you to do so.

 

Thank you so much for making it to the end of this guide! Hope this helped you out to analyze stuff that can make the difference between winning or losing in a match and grow as a better player. If you like this guide and want to see more stuff like this, please share this with your friends and in social media, it will be a tremendous help for us!

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Lover of card games, RPGs, tactical (like FE), 2D (Castlevania, Megaman, etc.) And many more, but specially fighting games. Only playing Duel links and a little of Smash Ultimate atm because don't have much time to spend.

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