Begin with anti-airs, they are crucial
There are many different ways to attack from the air in GG. Examples include dash forward jump, IAD, double jump and various special moves. You have to know which of your anti-air options are strong versus the air-based approaches of your opponent. This differs between matchups. It is therefore a question of knowledge.
If you are good at anti-airing, you can utilize the opponent’s air-based approach in your favour. If you are bad at anti-airing, you easily get run over by offensive opponents. Consequently, being good at anti-airing is a crucial foundation from which neutral game mindgames can start to occur.
There are at least six different types of anti-air moves. Please recognize that these categories have fluid borders, as some moves can fit several categories:
moves w. tall hitbox|
– Sol 5K
– Slayer 5P
– Faust 6P
– Ky 6P
– Sol 6P
w. large upward hitboxes|
– Ky 2H
– Zato 2H
– Elphelt c.S
– Sol VV
– Ky VT
– Blitz shield
– Raven jP
– Slayer jP
– Jam jS
| Air throw|
– All characters!
– All characters!
– All characters!
In addition to specific moves, another approach is low-profiling under air-based approaches, and punishing them afterwards.
For example, many IAD attacks whiff on crouchers. Consequently, performing a crouch FD break, and then reacting to a whiffed IAD attack, can be a very effective anti-air approach. Faust’s crouch walk, and Axl’s 2K are other examples, that can be used in similar ways.
There are also moves that delay the jump-in timing in GG. You need to know how handle these moves.
For example, Sol’s Kudakero can disrupt your anti-air timing. You can punish Sol’s Kudakero consistently by waiting, reacting to its startup, jumping up and blocking it, and then throwing/hitting the opponent (depending on your character)
Each anti-air option is different, used in different ways, and have varying likelihood of success against different characters in various situations. It is up to you to learn what options of your character beat what options of your opponent’s character. Knowledge is always the first and most important step.
In conclusion, in order for a ground-based neutral to be established, you must first get good at anti-airing.
Learn grounded neutral game using “the three-structure”!
Here I introduce an organizning principle for grounded neutral game: the three-structure. The three-structure is comprised of three concepts that can help you in making active decision in the neutral game. These are:
(1) pre-emptive attack (oki-waza), (2) whiff punish (sashi-kaeshi), and (3) advancing attack (ate-waza)
(1) pre-emptive attack means that you do a move pre-emptively to cover a certain space on the screen.
This can be because this option wins against specific moves of your opponent if it comes out before theirs. It can also be because this option forces the opponent into an unadvantageous if you are able to control that space.
(2) whiff punish means that you wait for your opponent to make a move, and then utilize that situation in your favour.
This can be because the moves of your opponent having long whiff animations that allow you to punish them, sometimes on reaction, but not necessarily. It can also be a reaction to a specific movement approach of your opponent that allows you to use an otherwise risky option.
(3) advancing attack means that you do a move that will hit, or take advantage of, a passive opponent.
If your opponent is staying passive, this allows you tag them with an attack of yours, thereby putting you in an advantageous position. It can also be that a passive opponent gives you some breathing room to use an option that gives you a better situation.
What move fits in which concept depends on the character and the matchup.
Somewhat simplified you can say that:
(1) pre-emptive attack beats (3) advancing attack
For example, Ky’s f.S hit you as you tried to dash in and hit him with 2K.
(3) advancing attack beats (2) whiff punish
For example, Ky’s dash 2K hit you as you tried to dash and FD break (and then whiff punish an attack).
(2) whiff punish beats (1) pre-emptive attack
For example, your f.S whiffed because Ky did a FD break outside of its range, and then he whiff punished you.
In other words: (1) > (3) > (2) > (1) […].
The options you fill these concepts with will differ depending on matchup. For example, the pre-emptive attack of one character can beat the pre-emptive attack of others. In competitive GG, one approach is not enough to win more consistently as interactions within the three-structure will always emerge. If you understand the logic behind the three-structure, and do your homework on different matchups, you should be able to take important steps towards establishing mindgames.
Recommendatinos for long-term development: There are certainly many different ways to have fun with fighting games, but I hope to inspire ambition. Try to avoid mainly relying on risky moves in casuals just because they give you wins. While you may win matches, it can hinder your long-term development, and leave you helpless against higher level players. Think long-term about your development when you play, and you will understand what’s beautiful about GG as a fighting game with many options; making it more enjoyable of an experience for you and the one you play against!
About combining the three-structure with anti-airs!
You can combine the three-structure with anti-airing.
It can be rather difficult to react to an opponent air-based approaches. To correct a relatively common misunderstanding, sometimes you cannot do reactive anti-air attacks against certain air-based approaches. Sometimes you must rely on a pre-emptive attack as your anti-air option. Alternatively, you have to find another anti-air option that can handle said air-based approach on reaction.
One of more staples of fighting games is buffering attacks: to do a move and buffer it into another move in case the previous should hit or be blocked. Let us apply this to anti-airs:
– Sol does f.S buffered into 2S. f.S whiffed
because the opponent jumped. Sol reacts to this and anti-airs accordingly.
– Zato does 2P buffered into f.S. 2P whiffed because the opponent jumped. Zato reacts to this and anti-airs accordingly.
Under this sequence, you could advantageously both (1) react if your move hit, and (2) observe if your opponent jumped. You can use dash into crouch FD break in similar ways, since IAD attacks often whiff due to the low hurtbox of crouching state. Key is whatever option you have as the first part of this sequence needs to recover quickly.
In other words: it is good to look upwards at the same time you are doing moves (and buffering them) on the ground!
– Written by Shinjin