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How To Become Better Competitively: Beginners

Applicable Games
Smash 64, Melee, Brawl, Project M, Smash 3DS, Smash Wii U
Getting better is a never-ending quest. However, that's not to say it is easy too, as the road can be difficult at times, especially in the beginning. However, for those of you new to the competitive environment, here are some key things you need to know about becoming the best.
1. Knowledge/Practice
Practice, of course, is something very important. To put it simply, the more you practice something, the better you will do at that certain thing. Knowledge is also important, as, without it, you may struggle against others in the future. worse. Knowledge is very important just like practice, as it can help you with both playing as a character, learning the matchup, how to do a technique, etc. However, what is very important is how you apply it to different situations, like determine what to use, when to use, and where to use a technique. That is when practice comes to play. When beginning to play competitively, make sure you first focus on the character you enjoy playing the most (aka you're main) to make learning the game much easier. Learning the fundamentals of the game with your main can help make learning the basic mechanics and other advance techs not feel like a boring class. After learning the basics (and some practicing), it is time to go against other players. Going against some of your friends, or going online can help, as going against all sorts of people can help you learn how to play against certain characters, matchups, playstyles, and more. However, find players at least the same or better than your skill level, as it can help you learn many other things. Overall, practicing and learning what fits your playstyle will not only help you in the beginning, but it can help you in the long run.

2. Adapting
Now, some beginners wonder how to win matches. Well, in order to fully understand, you need to do some digging yourself. I don't mean stop watching videos and whatnot, but remember that it is better to discover things yourself than watching others play. However, what we really want to talk about right now is to focus on improving your mental game. What I mean is that you have to always improve the way you play during matches, even if you are "the champion." After all, the quest for the best is a never-ending quest. Today, I will be talking about only the character goals, neutral game, punish game, disadvantage state, and edgeguarding, as these are all very important. Every character has a set of goals in the game, and it has grown very large since the recent installment in the franchise (smash ultimate). Knowing your character main’s goals can help you get a clear and better understanding of how, or even when to use the character. For example, let’s use Cloud in Smash Ultimate as an example. His goal is to get the “limit gauge” filled up at the perfect time to rack up as much damage as possible, and trying your best to finish it off with an epic move. Now, how can he find a way to charge up limit? Well, he can use many things to get the opportunity like
Using an attack to get your opponent off you
Use blade beam to pressure opponent away from you
Grab to counter shield
Fake an approach in the air by fast falling, and then grabbing
These are just some ways to get your opponent off of you just to charge limit. However, while we discussed on how to do it, what about when to do it? Well, it all depends on where, when what, and how to counter what your opponent is doing. And that is when we move on to the neutral game. The neutral game is when both you and your opponent have an equal chance against each other. This is when you start to find an opening to punish your opponent. However, using the kit of moves you have, you can attempt to trick your opponent into doing something wrong. You see, during the neutral game, it is like a mental puzzle game. Using your knowledge on the game, you use your brain to try to predict what your opponent will do, and punish them. However, note that it’s “a puzzle game,” which is why the neutral game is so complex. In fact, creating your own neutral game is the only way to do it right. By using what you know, and how you use it, you can apply it to any situation, and counter it. This is also the reason why approaching without fear can become your demise in a game. Since it makes you more predictable by approaching without concern, it can turn the tide in the game at any time. Now that you know what you're doing in the neutral game, it’s time to ask “what should I do after I punish someone? Should I play safe, or keep on attacking? This is when the punish game comes to shine.
PART 2 IN PROGRESS
Likes: mullet
Author
SkyDrag0n152
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4.00 star(s) 1 ratings

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Most people know that getting better involves practice, but I feel like pointing out the need to attain knowledge is a useful insight that not everyone thinks about and makes this guide worth a quick read. This is however a self declared work in progress, and I feel that there is much more to be said about getting better in smash. Maybe going over the basic universally applicable techniques (such as perfect shielding and the like) would be a good next step.
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