- Oct 29, 2009
Learning Luigi Lessons
Learning Luigi Lessons
WARNING : WALL OF TEXT
These are just words so don’t take them too literally. I don’t like to theory craft or argue and I pretty much write whatever comes to mind whenever I feel like it. So if something offends you or you think it’s silly, point it out or let me know, if you don’t mind. I’m open to comments and take everything under consideration.
This won’t take me long to write but I’ll be updating it in sections at a time as there is a lot I want to say.
These indicate minor changes in topics and will have markings beside them, indicating if something has been added or changed in the section.
1) - Information
This has general info to help understand this post, how it's organized, a little about me and why I made this and what it was made for, anything else needed.
2) - LLL1 - Do The Best You Can
This covers topics like being comfortable, confident, focussed and aware when playing smash and improving at the game to the best of your ability.
3) - LLL2 - Part 1 : Tech Chasing
This covers decision making and reading your opponents. Certain ways to punish and paying attention to your opponents decisions to predict well and effectively.
4) - LLL2 - Part 2 : Falcon Match Up
This covers the match up against Falcon. Reading his options and how to pressure him and not get punished during your approach and close range battles.
5) - LLL3 - Part 1 : Stage Control
This covers ways to establish your game and create a precense around yourself. How to keep control of the space around you and control your opponent.
3 - (minor changes : March 11)
This isn't a Question and Answer thread, though if anyone wants to ask a Question, I’ll gladly Answer.
This isn't a Video Critique thread, though I will Critique a Video thoroughly if asked or if I find necissary.
This isn’t an Advice and Tips thread, though you may take it that way, ask for some or give some.
This is just something I’d like to share. As I think it could help someone in the community understand or improve or SOMETHING at this game. I just feel that some people could use and would appreciate something like this.
I’m essentially just going to try and teach someone how to play this game. From nothing, as if that someone has never played this game before. Until I don't know how anything I share with them could possibly help them more. I've done things similar to this before, but over long periods of time and in person. Here I plan to do my best to put it in one post.
- Be entertained, be offended, be whatever. This is what I have to say.
Now where to start...
1) - Luigi is Awesome.
1) - I'm glad all Luigi players play Luigi and grateful for the miniture sub-community we do have, more people should join us. He's obviously difficult and very odd to use, therefore rightfully very underrated for what he is capable of.
2) - I won’t get into Luigi specific things very much at all. There’s much more to this game that every Luigi player, good or bad, could easily get better at besides linking moves together and tactical decision making.
2) - A Bit About Me
- This is just some information about me that you may want to know before reading so much. Though I hope this doesn’t change the way you take what I have to say, as it really shouldn't.
1) - I like to roam the boards, posting when appropriate with the means of helping people with match ups or getting them out of performance slumps, clearing things up for people in discussions, pointing out and detailing specifics in methods or habits in videos or ideas, all sorts of things while using several different accounts, and plenty with each of them too.
2) - I live HOURS away from the nearest high level player so this is how I keep up with the smash world. You’ve probably never heard of me or seen me, seen me mentioned or even seen me play a match. I don’t go to tournaments very often, the major ones I go to I usually don't enter the events, and I haven’t been playing for more than a couple years.
It’s going to be a lot to read
- I’ll try and make it worth every bit of your time. Hopefully it helps someone as much as it has helped those I've previously shared this with. They're part of the reason I'm doing this after all, anyone else who gets what they did out of this is the other part of that reason.
Note : I'll of course try to make this as easy to read as possible, though I tend to prefer writing 'properly' so sorry! LOL
Now something simple...to start.
Learning Luigi : Lesson 1
Do The Best You Can
"That’s all anyone will ever ask of you and that’s all you can ask of yourself. Just do the best you can, that’s all you can do. You can’t do any better than your best, so do the best you can."
Do The Best You Can
"That’s all anyone will ever ask of you and that’s all you can ask of yourself. Just do the best you can, that’s all you can do. You can’t do any better than your best, so do the best you can."
- It’s really so simple, yet it’s a major problem for almost everyone in some way. People not doing their best or concerned with some conditions that may make them not perform their best. These are commonly know as ‘Johns’
In almost every crew battle I’ve witnessed or been involved in, there are players that are hesitant to play, saying they’re not ready for some outside reason or unsure if they can take their set opponent. Usually this is the uncertainty that they won’t play their best, and letting others know that they’re not up to their own standards would make them feel more comfortable with performing poorly. Despite the fact that they might not be at their best, there is no reason not to try their best.
Great players do this just like anyone, but no matter how poorly you may be playing, you still have to play the match. Why not try your best? The best in the world, in nearly every aspect of life, including smash, do the best they can under any circumstance. They may John about something, but they won’t stop doing what they possibly can to the best of their ability at the time. That's all they can do.
Some players make incredible Coaches with their understanding of the simple things like this, when these same things can make other great players faulter. Chances are, everyone has seen it before somewhere. A great player faultering while another is steady. Just keep going and do your best, that's all there is to it.
Example : Hugs Coaching Mango in Grand Finals against Armada at Genesis.
- With just simple things like telling him to keep going with what he was doing, not forcing things and playing his best, the game slowly turned around when he got that stuck in his head. Being pushed forward by encouraging words can make all the difference mentally and the mental part of the game is the biggest part. His Coaching helped Mango more than he gets credit for. This is just one example and it happens more often than most people see.
"Just do your best, that's all we ask of you and that's all you should ask from yourself."
If everyone had someone put a hand on their shoulder and tell them that or something along those lines, everyone would no doubt play better going into their match. Strange how it shouldn't need to be said, but it would help almost everyone. Try it, you might help someone in your crew one day.
Note : Confidence from outside sources can be game changing.
Cliche Try and Try Again
- At every level of play, there come times where you won’t be playing your best. Perhaps it will be from getting beat badly and repeatedly, perhaps it will be from taking too long of a break between playing matches. Either way, you can only do your best, nothing more, so why not do it?
There are no true negative results from trying your best, whether you succeed beyond your hopes of fail hard. Often, doing the best you can and failing can discourage people from trying to do their best because of pride, discomfort, many other sources. All of which are mental things that can be overcome. Truly, if you don't try your best, you're doing something even worse for yourself. Whether it's more comfortable or not.
If you succeed, try your best in a different way. Try new things or try to do even better the next time, as you can always get better. At every level of play, players can hit slumps where they feel discouraged or annoyed that they can't improve anymore or don't feel that they are. If that's the case, challenge yourself in some other way. It's worth it to try finding another way to do your best than simply rinsing and repeating what you can accomplish even when you perform subparly anyway.
Example : Helping someone become more of a challenge for you can be the challenge itself.
If you don’t accomplish what you tried or are trying, keep trying. There is no reason not to. Even if you’re barely touching your opponent, do your best to find a way how, as that’s all you can do. If you get destroyed or barely lose and are up to it, hopefully disregarding any pride or discomfort you may have doing it, ask your opponent what they think of something in your performance. If they can help you and you want to improve, why not accept that help?
Note : There are always ways to improve and you always can, you just have to let yourself do it. At every level.
Of course, there are times when it’s not worth it to keep playing. If you’re too tired or simply need a break, stop for a while. It’s fine to take breaks or stop playing if you’re not up to it, but if you’re going to keep playing, you know what to do, your best.
- When you know the people you're playing fairly well or are just generally comfortable with losing to who you're playing, play as much as you can handle. As long as you're enjoying it, that's the purpose whether you're winning or losing, have fun.
Not many people feel comfortable being picked apart by a stranger or losing to people they don't know, but by someone you trust and know fairly well, it's usually much more comfortable. Feeling comfortable with your losses may help you see why you lost more clearly. Getting better isn't as difficult or frustrating if you accept where you are and try to understand how. It's more fun to try to get better when you're comfortable with the idea that you can and need to get better.
If you have the luxury of playing with several other people, doing things aside from your main goal, smash in this case, to grow as a group with other leisure activities is more effective than it may seem. Not only will you enjoy playing each other more, but you won’t mind losing to each other as much, and you’ll be more open to helping each other.
Example : There’s a new group of players that have been getting together in my area, which hasn’t happened in a long time, and they’re smart at how to play this game. They aren’t great players yet, but have come a very long way in a very short time. It's directly related to how they approach this game in a way that more people should.
A couple of them play for a while, and when one starts losing too often to be comfortable, whether they feel they’re not playing well or the other player starts playing better, they take a break. Then the next player steps in and plays for a while. The others might play each other or simply do other activities. This comfortable and friendly type of set up to play is a great way to improve rapidly and enjoy it, as well as enjoy doing the best you can and freely do it.
- Comfort is a huge priority in anything, you’ll hear that from almost everyone that enjoys and is good at what they do, smash is no exception.
Which brings the next major point.
Questions and Answers
- When given advice or searching for advice, or just information in general, too often people will hear something and not actually understand, but won’t ask again. Or perhaps they’ll just shrug it off and not bother with it. This doesn't usually help anyone.
Ask questions until you understand the answer, it may benefit you to recieve the correct and full message. It's always worth asking. Words aren’t usually said just for the sake of speaking or writing, there is reason behind it. If you’re at all interested in keeping what you’ve learned in memory, it’s not a bad idea to understand it as best you can.
"If you befriend another person but lack the mercy to correct them, you are in fact their enemy."
- That’s a quote that comes to play in the smash community too often.
1) - Ask to give suggestions to someone if you have something they might benefit from hearing.
2) - Ask for suggestions if you think they might have something worth saying that could benefit you.
If you can do something better, you can learn how to do it. A great way to do this is ask someone who may know or be able to help you with it. There is no harm in asking and everyone would gladly help another person when asked for something. It’s a game that’s played primarily for fun, nobody starts playing regularly for any other reason. So in turn, we’re all in this together, not enemies. The bond we share through smash isn’t seen this way as often as it should be.
If you ask for help, you’ll get it, and if you think you can help, ask if they want your input.
- You’d be surprised at the result. Even if you don’t think they want to hear it, or even care about what you have to say, share it. More often than not, they will appreciate it long term, even if they respond negatively to you to begin with.
The best ways to improve at the games deeper levels are to be taught, and teach. This is overlooked dramatically. If there wasn’t a community, we would have a much more difficult time getting good at this game. If we had a community that didn’t communicate, that community wouldn’t serve much of it’s purpose.
End Note : Do the best you can at all times. Whether it's to get better yourself or help someone else. The more comfortable you are, the easier it'll be for you to do your best. Both in getting better and performing well in your matches. Get to feel comfortable with asking for help and don't be discouraged by your losses. Use all that you can to get better, successes and failures both play their role in becoming the best you can be. Don't let them go to waste. You can always get better and you can always do your best. No johns.
Learning Luigi : Lesson 2
Tech Chasing + Captain Falcon
(Part 1 : Reading Your Opponent)
Tech Chasing + Captain Falcon
(Part 1 : Reading Your Opponent)
Luigi is an exception to general ‘rules of thumb’ in melee. The use of aerials, moving with dash dancing, things that are essential and consistent throughout the cast simply do not apply to him. He is the most odd and awkward character for typical smashers. There are however parallels between the way Luigi and other characters play their roles.
Though the tools they have aren’t even comparable in use or application, Captain Falcon is more related to Luigi than any other character. The one main difference in how they approach a match is the difference between punishment and pressure.
Captain Falcon : Prediction + Punishment + Pursuit
Luigi : Prediction + Pressure + Pursuit
- A huge trait that each of them possess is their speed over great distances. Their in and out speed is their greatest advantage over any opponent. Though very different in how they use their speed and its source, it’s used for the same purpose.
Tech chasing plays a huge factor in any match with Falcon. The defensive decisions the opponent makes. With a few good reads on the defending players choices, Falcon can take a quick lead. The reason this is such a strong focus is because of his great punishment game.
With a good prediction, Falcon can punish better than almost anyone in every scenario.
Not only is his punish when properly predicted so devastating, the best punishment options he has are completely safe. When punishing accordingly or simply missing a prediction, the punishing moves are fast enough, along with his movement speed, to pursue the opponent before their safe again.
Luigi is great when played this way, punishment being the main goal. With things like his smashes leading to decent aerials, simply the aerials themselves or good tilts, his punishment game is up there and he’s often quick enough to keep pursuing after a hit or missed read. Just like Falcon.
Though when this is done to the best of Luigi’s ability, he’s not Captain Falcon and this doesn’t give him an automatic stock lead after one good read. He simply doesn’t have that finishing power that’s needed for a completely punishment focussed game.
This is however, the way most Luigi’s play the game. It works too, as he’s fast and can punish fairly well.
- Due to this being so common and easy to understand, it’s easy to defend this position in Luigi’s game.
1) - This means every combo is finished so you don’t lose potentially what you should be able to easily get, which is very important.
2) - As well, with good predictions, Luigi can get many of these chances and guaranteed combos.
3) - It also provides support to the fact that his edge game is best set up as frequently as possible.
At the same time, this has indirectly closed off the options of players towards doing other things with Luigi aside from this effective punishment game. It’s easy to read a decision, tech or movement, and follow with a punishing hit, but it’s not necessarily the most beneficial long term.
- Reacting effectively to a decision is easy to do with Falcon and Luigi because of their speed. Though punishing a read is lethal with Falcon, not Luigi.
- It’s something Luigi’s get stuck doing because it’s great to do. This is where the development of a character at a high level can go stale.
Luigi can follow up to punish as easily and often as Falcon, but Luigi can’t follow up with punishment as effective or efficient as Falcon. Such has been the case for a long time. Hence the better the Luigi is at predicting the opponent, the better the Luigi does. Rarely does anything else factor in amongst high level Luigi players. Of course the way Luigi’s punish and pursue varies, but it’s not nearly as significant as their differences in ability to predict.
Ka Master And Predicting Decisions
There is one name every Luigi should know.
When I came into the smash community, I didn’t look at technical aspects or fancy things of that nature. I looked strictly at the mental part of the game. Where people went in what situations and the general decision making aspect of the game as well as what people thought their opponent would do in those situations. Once I understood this game to some degree, I looked into what I wanted from it and who I wanted to follow to get a good idea on intelligent players in this game.
To this day, Ka Master is one of the smartest at picking up on others decisions I’ve ever seen. I’ve yet to see someone predict people’s offensive and defensive decisions as well as Ka Master. It’s why he does so well. He’s overall a really smart player and person.
He also, without question, plays Luigi with a version of a Captain Falcon state of mind. It works, he predicts, punishes, and pursues. Since he’s so good at reading and predicting people, he’s able to punish plenty. Pursuing is easy enough with Luigi's speed afterwards. This is what makes him good. There isn’t much more to it.
- With Luigi’s speed, Luigi can punish anything he predicts properly. Ka Master in turn, predicts properly more often than not. The other aspects of his game are also amazing too, obviously, but this is the main factor.
Note : This is why he was great with Luigi long ago, and this is why he’s great with Luigi today.
This, from what I’ve observed, is something that has slowed the development of Luigi as a character, rather than advanced it. Not from him, from all who actually use Luigi competitively. The prediction is key, and Luigi players as players are becoming better from it. The part of the game for Luigi regarding punishing these predictions isn’t what’s changed over the last year.
“This is why he was great with Luigi long ago, and this is why he’s great with Luigi today.”
1) - A couple years ago, Ka was good because of his ability to predict peoples choices. He could punish often because of his ability to predict and his punishment game was good.
2) - Today, he’s good because of his ability to predict peoples choices. Still. With the new tools that are currently used among today’s players, it doesn’t effect his prediction game.
- The way he punishes them has altered, but this hasn’t effected how good he is as significantly as the fact that with all of the new tools in this game, it doesn’t effect being a smart player.
I've seen enough of Darkrain to know he's great at reading people. It’s also often said that if he gets a grab on a Shiek, he gets the stock. This, without a doubt, is due to his ability to predict. As seen in the great Falcon ditto sets with him winning, his smart play and predicting is what makes him good. Not being able to punish the predictions better than other Falcons, simply predicting correctly more often.
When two of the best players at prediction play each other, the Falcon should beat the Luigi when they simply punish predictions often to win, and that’s what happened both times these two played.
Applying Only Part Of The GameLuigi doesn’t have punishment game to match Falcon, but he has the pursuit game and can capitalize on predictions as easily, as often and as effectively as Falcon.
The other way that he can capitalize on predictions is something that goes highly overlooked when in this predict and pursue state of mind, which is a very important state of mind to be in as Luigi. This trait is the close range pressure game that Luigi possesses and Falcon doesn’t have.
Luigi can create an area around him of rapid burst power moves, range in all directions with speed and diversity behind it. Much like many characters in this game, he can create havoc around him. This is something Falcon doesn’t have and something other players have difficulty with when fighting Luigi.
When tech chasing, predicting and using that speed to get in and out of your opponent, there would seemingly be no reason to not hit your opponent away then pursue with that speed and chasing ability even more. It’s simple, easy and if you’re smart enough, happens plenty because you can predict enough. Just play like a Falcon would because he can. The only problem is that Luigi needs to have more of these than a Falcon would.
- Yet other times, when that wall of attacks that link together effortlessly and hard hitting rapid moves come into play when playing defensive or edge guarding, that speed in and out isn’t necessarily the end all of Luigi.
Luigi can create that area around him like many high pressure close range based characters, yet he has the speed to pressure in and out like those close range characters lack.
The modern Luigi doesn't fully incorporate both into their game as one, only ever consecutively. What I’d like to promote, hopefully to reawaken the Luigi metagame and bring it away from pure reliance on prediction, punishment and pursuit, is the concept of using both of these qualities at once. Something I’ve yet to see from average Luigi's, ever. Probably because it is the most illogical and bizarre thing for a veteran smasher to do as it's not something any character can actually do. Yet it would work in bringing Luigi in competitive play more in the right direction, away from punish, more into pressure.
^ (minor changes : March 11)
Punishing Over Pressure- Something that's discussed often about other characters is how to punish things. Jab resets or other situations like that. If someone has a free hit, it would be inefficient to punish with a move that hits hard when it won't finish off the opponent. Especially when there are ways of setting up for that move fairly easily.
That being said, it's not uncommon to see a Luigi chase with something that hits someone away then straight grabs or utilts. No other characters best, quick punishing move is a move that directly kills an opponent or sets up a killing move in a single hit. Just as well, Luigi's best punishing moves are not the ones that hit his opponents away from him.
This can be seen with the way Luigi's ftilt is so commonly useful as a tech chasing move or approach. Specifically when it has enough knockback to send the opponent tumbling. For the most part, this is a quick punishing move used with his in and out speed and range to capitalize on either a prediction or a missed attack, and it's safe for pursuit as well. Yet often, if this move were to be replaced with something like a grab or utilt, it would continue the applied pressure and potentially lead to that finishing move, only at a more ideal time.
- If you correctly predict anyway, doing something that doesn't end the pressure would be more beneficial.
It often feels natural to hit so you can chase more instead of applying pressure the way you normally would in that situation had you not been in the process of chasing to get there. There is no use in hitting your opponent away more when you could keep applying pressure and set up the edgeguard after dealing more damage in control all the same.
There is nothing wrong with having a set up for an attack and not using the attack so you can pressure more. Often this is even more beneficial. Luigi has the close range pressure game to stay spaced and attacking without knocking his opponent away. Even though hitting with that big attack to set up chases seems so obvious as it's easy and works with good reads and his speed.
- The precision punishment game is something that takes a long time to develop and it hasn't developed for Luigi almost at all over the last year with the lack of players working on it. Without an excessive abundance of Luigi's, this is reasonable, but that doesn't mean Luigi can't keep excelling in the metagame.
It's essentially just the precision game of how to punish an opponent. Using the ideal move for that situation at the ideal time. When an opponent isn't going to lose a stock or even be in a horrible position after an aerial, and you set one up, it doesn't mean you have to do it. Punishing an opponent with the most punishing move isn't always ideal. Keeping the pressure on is often more beneficial.
Now to put it all together!
With his speed allowing him to react and punish so well, and with good predicting that goes along with it, the abililty to chase and punish isn't a problem. So sacrificing a garaunteed hit to add more pressure and damage shouldn't be a problem.
The only reason this isn't done is because it's more difficult to chase with pressure with weaker hits rather than chase to punish with heavier hits. Especially with Luigi's awkwardness, though that's no reason not to. The only reason it isn't seen more among Luigi's is because they've become good enough at reading to make up for it.
Add this and Luigi will be on the right track once again
^ (minor changes : March 11)
End Note : No matter how good you get at predicting, reading and reacting with Luigi's chasing and approaching game, utilizing the right moves at the right time is half the punishment game. Today's Luigi's use the first part to the best of their ability, but much of what Luigi can do is rejected for the easier, garaunteed hits that don't benefit him as much. Don't save the great pressure, spacing, close range aggressive game Luigi has for when you need it. Use it when you want to, it's worth chasing with it. This part of the Luigi game has much room to grow.
I hope that’s clear for now, as I find it difficult to explain.
It will be clearer by the end of this.
Luigi VS Captain Falcon
(Part 2 : The Match Up)
(Part 2 : The Match Up)
There are always a few key things to each match up. Things to take note of are :
1) - What they can do to you : Aerial Superiority
2) - What you can do to stop them : Staying Grounded
3) - What you can do to them : Close Pressuring
4) - What they can do to stop you : Hard Punishment
As far as fighting a Falcon goes, these are the things tend to be the difference makers.
Falcon has devastating aerials so Luigi needs to avoid them as much as possible. To do this, he has to stay on the ground where he can move to avoid and shield them when needed. Up close, Falcon doesn't have many options but to get away, and that's where Luigi likes to be. So Luigi needs to get up close often and safely, but if his pressure ever faulters, Falcon can punish him incredibly well.
How It All Plays Out
Falcon's Knee is really good against Luigi, it's good against everyone really. So are his other aerials for similar reasons. It’s quite safe for him to use the Knee directly on Luigi’s shield since he can’t be punish for it as Luigi slides away. But whatever you do, don’t get hit by it. You will have to shield plenty since it will come your way inevitably.
One of the main priorities is avoiding direct hits by shielding his aerials as much as you can or moving out of the way. If you get grabbed or hit by anything, the main priority for a Falcon will be to somehow lead a string of attacks together to get you airborne and land a knee to finish or set up an edgeguard. Falcon can do this out of any other aerial as well as grabs. Avoid them as much as possible.
Falcon will be using his speed to keep his distance and try to puncture your defences with his aerials when he sees fit. Keep moving and use your own speed to keep up. He doesn’t have many options up close so that’s where you want to be. Nullify his dashing with your own speed and range so he’s forced to go in the air or be on the defensive. He can move in and out more rapidly at a medium distance, but you can stay with him and up close if you chase him.
Be patient and smart when chasing him. Don’t aimlessly attack or stand still attacking from far away, you will get kneed or something similar. His punish game is too good to be unnecessarily risky. You’re safe if you’re not being attacked, so if you might get hit, get out and get back in on the offensive.
Luigi should have an easier time getting in and out than Falcon. When Falcon approaches or chases, he needs to use the attack and get out or rish another aerial or grab attempt, where Luigi can approach and apply some pressure accordingly and safely before getting back out.
- Falcon’s counterattack against Luigi’s pressure and approach is much of what this comes down to.
When Falcon gets just out of range and has that moment to dash or jump into grabs and aerials, that’s when the momentum shifts. This is a fast match up of speed and movement so keep moving when you’re not attacking. Stay offensive or get out of there, Falcon will be doing the same.
There is no reason to get hit if it’s even slightly avoidable, so either be on the offensive or far away. It’s not hard to stay offensive up close but if he gets away from your pressure, even the tiniest bit, move a great distance away from where you were or towards him to keep the pressure. There is a risk of being hit if he is at that middle distance from you during your aggressiveness, so back away and avoid the counterattack.
Don’t go in the air, pretty much ever. Just like using an attack far away while standing still or unsafely approaching, he’s fast enough to knee you out of the air whenever you jump with his far superior aerial mobility. Your speed is all on the ground and you need that. He’ll be in the air plenty with aerials so be ready with your shield and moving out of the way.
Bait his aerials with your shield or to see how he reacts to you approaching, shielding is generally safe as you can get out quickly if things look bad. Because of your need to shield against him so much, he may grab if you over shield. If you’re ever in a position where you might get grabbed while you’re in your shield and he doesn’t counter your approach with an aerial, wave dash away and start again.
- That’s where prediction game comes in for these two characters. He’ll be doing the same.
The exceptions to going in the air are certain platform situations and comboing him. Stay mobile as a moving target as it's much more difficult for him to hit, counterattack and grab. With your superior range and close range game, and with his great mobility, you’ll need to be fast to get into position to pressure him like you need. Only when pressuring him are aerials worth trying directly on him.
Don’t be afraid to grab him when you can get him to play defensively or in a defensive position. Jabbing his shield and using that valuable close range pressure game with tilts and mixups will force him into his shield if he can’t run away quickly enough. Aerials may be fine when you’re pressuring him, but use them sparingly as it can leave openings for him to escape. Still, the risk of using your great aerials is often worth a try.
- Again, it comes down to predicting your opponent. That’s the general motion and the ideals of the characters in a match.
The Mental Play Against Falcon- This essentially just goes back to predicting each others approaches and what move you’ll use on each other in the process. Though it goes beyond that and it’s not easily explained, I will try to clarify the common basics of it.
When pressuring a Falcon or being pressured by one, or just being up close, the aerials are the main concern. Spot dodging expecting a grab and the Falcon short hopping a knee instead is never a good thing. In general, spot dodging in this match up isn’t a good idea. Though it can save you from grabs, you can do a decent job evading grabs with your speed and shielding when about to be hit by aerials.
When you approach, Falcon has a few options. It’s very dependant on what situation you’re in regarding the stage, damage and current motions, but these are the simple triggers.
1) - Shield
In this case, you’ve established yourself as offensive when approaching. The player is assuming that you’ll make a good aggressive initial approach and is immediately on the defensive, either ready to jump away or counter with a quick aerial.
This is where you could either grab, jump and try to predict their movements to aerial punish them, jab or tilt to pressure more or simply go around or behind them and wait for them to react, which is actually quite good as they don’t have many safe options from this position. Try to predict what they’ll do, whether it’s dodge, wave dash, jump, roll or stay in their shield and punish accordingly. Meanwhile, applying pressure as you see fit to get them to react the way you want.
2) - Jump
Usually this will be a full jump to avoid any high attacks as well. In this case, the player is expecting and predicting that approach to be an immediate attack and plans to counter it with their own or get away. Be ready to shield or get away yourself.
With this, your best options will be to get out quickly, stay in your shield if the aerial will hit you before you can move, or try to challenge it, which isn’t usually a good options but has its moments. If you have enough speed or time, often you’ll be able to counter the Falcon for jumping. It can be tricky but very potentially good. The best choice would be to move out again, as Falcon creates that medium space where his aerials are safe and you’re not comfortably close.
3) - Attack
Whether it’s a quick aerial like a Knee or Nair, or a tilt, smash or grab. They’re trying to punish your approach, predicting you to come in attacking and trade or beat your approach with their own. This is often when you can’t take many more hits or you’re playing too aggressive.
With more damage, playing safer with shield approaches and fake approaches are a much better choice. Trading with something like a smash or Knee is never favourable, especially if you could be in a bad position afterwards. Try to predict when they’re going to counter you this way and be ready to shield or move away before it. It’s risky by them but if you don’t avoid it, it’s worth their trying.
When Falcon is approaching you, there are only two things to be concerned about.
1) - Aerials
2) - Grab.
Seldom will a Falcon attack with anything else.
If Falcon jumps to approach, shield if he’s coming towards you. Chances are he’ll be planning to aerial you after baiting something like a tilt from you to counter his approach. Don’t get hit with aerials, main priority. The best way to beat his aerials is to shield.
- Knee may be safe on your shield for him, but it’s safe for you if you shield it too.
If Falcon jumps again after not using an aerial as he sees you shield or predicts a counter with a utilt or something, move out of the way. If you have the chance, back away and try to counter him out of his double jump. Falcon without his jump is an easy target but you have to be quick and have enough time to do it, so be ready for it. If you don’t have time to move, shield the aerial, then move.
If Falcon has a chance to dash in front of you and he doesn’t use an aerial right away, there are a few good options both of you have. Either wave dash away to get away from that medium space and approach him again instead, or wave dash towards him and attack with what you see fit.
Falcon is most likely going to go for a grab or see how you react. Usually they’re trying to bait something like a spot dodge, roll, aerial, standing attack or hoping for you to hold your shield and wait there. All so they can punish with an aerial or grab depending what you do.
Often, the best choice is to put up your shield to bait him and wave dash immediately into something one way or the other. If they’re actually waiting for your reaction and they do try to punish it, you’ll either hit them first or be long gone and can approach them or wait for them to react and try to predict their reaction to missing you.
The other approach option Falcon will frequently use is approaching with his Shield. It has the same purpose as you would for that approach, to bait something out. If he does this and you counter with an attack, you could get punish badly for it. That's why the best counter to his approach is moving away or shielding yourself if he doesn't jump. Hopefully if he's approaching this way, you're moving through him with an attack to the other side or backing away.
- Again, always move great distances to be close or far, not this dangerous middle distance from him.
If he ends up in front of you with his shield and you don't fall for the bait, he still might try to use an aerial or something out of it. Counter that accordingly. If he's safe and smart and wave dashes out and runs, be ready to chase him. Often, if he's in his shield and you're a fair distance away, it's best to get to him as fast as possible and start applying pressure.
- Counter his approach with an approach if he fakes an approach or uses a defensive approach.
Common Choices- Be aware of what the Falcon usually does after he approaches you, after he escapes your pressure, after you escape his pressure and after you approach him.
Take note of his next choices. If he runs away after escaping your approach and pressure the first time, he may do it again. This is quite common as it's Falcon's best choice when being pressured up close. In which case, if you think he’ll run the next time he's evading pressure, wave dash in his direction and continue attacking or your way with the continuous pressure. If he sees you do that once, pay attention to if he does it again or if he tries to fake the run and counterattack and so on.
Always be aware of the choices a Falcon makes in terms of movement after the close range battles. That goes for every character but with Falcon, the close range battles are usually brief as he tries to run, and he can run easily against most of the cast. If you predict his running, you're able to keep up and pressure unlike anyone else because of your speed.
1) - If they’re being aggressive, be ready to punish them for it if they miss an attack, or be ready to shield.
2) - If they’re being evasive, try to predict their evasion and chase to keep the pressure on.
3) - If they’re being defensive, try to pressure and get that damage up, as that’s your chance to control the match.
Pay attention to their choices. Prediction game is the biggest part of this match up. Both in movements and in moves. If they run once, take note of that and see if they do again, then play accordingly. If they counterattack once, do the same and play accordingly.
- The better player will win this match up if they both play it correctly.
End Note : Avoid getting hit when at all possible. Use your shield whenever you’re in danger of being hit and keep moving so you’re a difficult target to hit. Approach cautiously and when you get close, stay aggressive and spaced. When Falcon gets some room, don’t stand still as he’ll start moving again immediately. Either follow all the way through or back away completely. Bait and avoid his counterattacks, stay grounded and use your speed to stay with him and away from him at will. Watch the way he moves between close range battles and try to predict his choices on how he deals with your approach and how he approaches you. Play offensive, when ou can't, shield and get away.
*Side Note : Playing as Falcon would dramatically help any player in this game due to the prediction and punishment game that comes with him. Though Falcon has much more of a punishment based game with no close range options, he still teaches to capitalize on predictions with his speed the way Luigi does. This could alter the way you play Luigi into trying to punish every chase with those stock ending hits that Luigi doesn’t quite have. As long as you can transfer the punishment into utilizing your close range pressure game instead, Falcon makes an ideal secondary for playing Luigi.
As well, using Falcon’s actual moves aren’t at all comparable to the way you would use Luigi’s. They share many things and playing Falcon would make you a better player, but it’s best to get good at the game technically before picking up Falcon to understand his use towards practising in benefit of playing Luigi. Their application and use of moves are almost direct oposites otherwise.
Learning Luigi : Lesson 3
Stage Control + Samus
(Part 1 : Establishing Your Game)
Stage Control + Samus
(Part 1 : Establishing Your Game)
Controlling the middle of the stage is a huge part of the game. When on the ledge or near it, you want to get to the middle, when they’re in the middle, you want to get them out and off the stage.
Often, the edge of the stage is the safest place to be. When someone comes back from a stock, using the temporary safety of the ledge is the easiest and most effective way to evade them when you can’t fight back. Though when you get a chance, getting stage control back is the main priority. Getting away from the edge and getting on stage to safety.
Then begins the process of getting the opponent off the stage once again.
- There are extremes to this stage presence. One form of stage control is the mobile and outside type. Containing and zoning almost.
On one end, it’s the characters like Falcon, who have little for close range a love to move. The more they can move, the better off they are. To do this, Falcon will always cover a lot of area, moving out of that centre stage area. Though he can contain an opponent in an area or limit their options with his speed.
Characters like Fox love their mobility with platforms and they can force opponents to come to them. Sitting on the side of a stage isn’t a bad place to be if they’re only there for a moment and it forces their opponent to move out of the middle to get to them. Fox also can’t take many hits before he’s in danger and lacks the range to stay in a small area and compete with most other characters for too long.
Things like this also give an edge to Luigi. He has that mobility to grab the ledge and get half way across the stage during invincibility frames and then his shield. Being on the edge isn’t even a concern as he can get anywhere as quick as anyone in the game. That being said, it’s easier to be hit off the stage when near the edge, and being off the stage can be devastating to Luigi.
That’s where understanding how to control the stage comes into play significantly.
- Not only does Luigi have that mobility to always be in a safe area on the stage, he has range, speed and power no matter where his opponent is on the stage as well.
Creating A Barrier
- The other form of stage control is barricading a fortress and using that to control the most important space on the stage for that match.
It would be silly to wavedash towards a Peach and ftilt as a first move in a match. Either the Peach will crouch and hit you back harder, or she’ll float out of the way and counter punish Luigi for it. Her moves are exceptionally fast in all areas and she has power and diversity behind them. The things she lacks are long range speed and mobility. However, she doesn’t need that with short distance burst speed and rapid moves. She can zone well and has control of an area around her no matter where she is.
This gives her that impenetrable barrier around her at all times, using that is the only way she can control where her opponent is.
Opposite to a Falcon or Fox, it's another aspect that gives her a form of stage control. Other characters have the same features in both of these categories and to different extents in different ways. Some have mixtures of the two.
Falco has a decent barrier close range, but it’s limited, and he has minor control over the entire stage with lasers and decent speed. Though his mobility is lacking, he can get in and out just fine and makes the opponent move to make up for it. His stage control comes from all areas.
- This has a lot to do with positioning and will be covered later.
One of the best stage controlling characters is Samus. That’s literally all she has, nothing else. She lacks approach, her best offence is getting people away from her and her best defence is used when others are attacking. So going into the middle of the stage and creating a barrier, then moving close to the opponent so their within range of her barrier, is the best possible procedure to her play.
- With a good shield and options from shielding, wave dashing, quick ranged attacks and being heavy, she can't be moved easily. Much like many other characters in the way they gain stage control, but Samus is the best at it as it's all she can do.
To do this, Samus can use her range and short range burst speed to actually cover great areas without moving much. Forcing the opponent to always move greater distances. She’s difficult to attack directly because of her ability to back away and hit from out of range so quickly and often or simply punish anything that misses or is misplaced. She is one of few characters who can simply walk towards the middle of the stage and be safe the whole way with her defensive options all available.
Before a Samus can do this casually, it’s important to create the barrier, and even more important to make the barrier known. Faking openings and punishing the opponent is a great way of doing this. Another way is to be safely aggressive in short bursts. Keeping the needed distance and putting pressure on then backing up essentially establishes that in close quarters, your opponent will get hit.
When it is established that you can deal damage to your opponent whenever they be offensive, your opponent will stay out of your barrier. Then, from there, you can have the stage presence and control the space you want.
Hugs And Patient Establishment
Needless to say, Hugs as a great Samus player creates incredible stage control. Through defensive options and using burst speed to gain the needed distance for using his range in close combat, most opponents convert to playing from the outside, trying to get in. This is the main objective when looking for stage control.
You have to establish control of yourself and your area.
To handle pressure and counter offense with your own in return is a patient process and takes experience, but it’s the most effective way to establish yourself. At every level, the opponent will hesitate to attempt a similar tactic or decision if they're uncertain if it will back fire. This is usually an actual decision made by a player in game, but often this can be a subconscious decision from discomfort.
If your opponent is uncomfortable facing you on a move for move basis, they will keep their distance from you and try to get in and out as frequently and briefly as possible. Though in doing this, they’re simultaneously giving you freedom and control of your space, which is what you want. In turn, you can move this controlled space wherever you want it to be. Usually the best place to be is on stage, near the middle, getting closer to them.
A lot of patience is needed to fully establish yourself every match. As some opponents may find ways through the barrier and it often takes a lot of safe and adaptive defending to get the control needed. Being consistent with this is potentially the most difficult part.
Hugs demonstrates consistently that patience and adapting defensively is an effective way to establish yourself in every match up against every player. An effective way to get quick control of a stage is to play aggressively in bursts to begin a match. Before stage control, habits or anything regarding the thought processes of a match come into play, getting quick control through attacking and backing away repeatedly can make your opponent give you stage control before they understand why you have it.
When a player is in danger of getting hit, they play with a certain purpose. When a player is in danger of getting hit by something that could finish their stock, they play with another purpose. This is consistent throughout the game. and it applies at every level, not just among weaker players or the best players. When in danger and knowing that you will hit them accordingly if they come into your controlled space, you can have complete control over that space. By being patient and not panicking to get that hit, you won’t lose your presence on the stage.
This is the most important part of establishing yourself. With proper application of spacing and speed with defensive and pressuring options, you can have control of your opponent, even if you don’t move at all for moments at a time. This can be seen throughout this game, whether it’s Mango dashing near a shielding opponent or Cactuar standing near the edge when the opponent grabs it.
Note : Control yourself and you control the stage. Control the stage and you control your opponent.
How It Applies To Luigi
- Very similar to Samus, Luigi has range and speed up close. Their actual moves can be used for similar purposes and they can control the stage in a similar way. There are a couple major difference between their stage control
1) - Luigi can use great distances to his advantage.
2) - Samus can punish a larger variety of approaches.
Lacking options out of Luigi's shield and sliding away when getting hit is something that's overlooked and is literally a great and bizarre advantage. Though he can't UpB from his shield casually against an overly aggressive opponent at any point or position and still be effective like Samus can, he can't be punished for shielding with anything more than sliding away. Taking into account that being at a distance doesn't do Luigi any harm, this is quite beneficial more often than not. He wouldn't be punishing significantly if he didn't slide anyway.
A lot of Samus's movements are used to trigger the opponents reaction. Dashing or wave dashing into and out of shields while throwing out the necissary ranged and quick attacks for intermidiate pressure is what makes people unsafe near her and attempt attacking her. As desired, this can result in them attacking her shield or simply missing, being hit for their attempt either way.
As Luigi moves from across the stage towards an opponent, it's essentially the same effect. When you can establish yourself in close areas as a danger using your range and speed, combined with the way you can be beside them at any moment, you can control the space between you and your opponent. Controlling this controls the stage.
When approaching or backing away in general, the reactions will vary. Shielding will be common if you're using tilts and jabs when moving into their space, or rather, moving them into your space. In which case, just like the way Hugs, when establishing himself offensively, will set up grab opportunities, among other things.
- Your opponent has to react as your approach, or they will be in your space, and they know you control your space.
Upon this reaction, if you're established, they will be defensive. What comes with this is the fact that you'll be approaching, which means they will attempt to counterattack. Just like a Samus will back away or punish their counter because her approach is completely used for bait, pressure and nothing more than stage control, Luigi can do the same. It's all part of controlling the stage and is often the changing factor in a game.
- Approaching to control the space is just as effective as approaching to take their controlled space away.
Using Luigi's speed to establish yourself is a great way to accomplish control of your opponent. He can move across the stage and stop at any point into a lethal aerial, or cover the entire floor with a tilt to push the opponent off the stage or combo into something else. With everything at his disposal as if he was standing in front of the opponent, but at the safe distance across the stage, you can make your precense on the stage felt at all times.
This is just like the way a Falcon controls the stage, always a threat from any distance. With Luigi being a close range threat as well, Luigi is literally always a threat.
Due to this type of control, your opponent will attempt counterattacking you, as that's their best option. Whether it's throwing out a ranged and strong attack or moving plenty to avoid your approach. This is where your defensive pressure and controlled space in close combat comes into play.
Luigi can approach with shield without any negative effects. The only possible downside is that you might miss an opportunity to attack them if they shield as you approach that way. Most characters can't do much of anything out of grabs on Luigi and it's difficult to grab a target that's moving fast.
- As well, it would be risky and not worth the attempt by anyone to try grabbing Luigi out of his approach with such a barrier of ranged and quick options with power behind them, given that Luigi can use this in his approach at any time.
To get the full potential out of Luigi's control game, both the approach and barrier have to be established. One takes patience and precision, the other takes prediction and pressuring. When approaching, being aggressive is priority, then following this initial approach with the solidified range and speed in close combat gives the opponent few options. These are to conterattack or get away. Both of which are easily negated with a simple shield.
Luigi can take a hit and slide away, or take a hit and wave dash away. This also enables him to chase with pressure if they decide simply to evade instead of counter. When evading, they may expect the chase and counter then, shield is safe once again. Never forget, you can shield simply to be safe, and if they don't attack, you can still follow easily.
^ (minor changes : March 11)
End Note : Use your range and speed up close to control the area around you. Be patient and defensive as you can be safe and force your opponent to react as you cover great amounts of the stage with little movement. At the same time, you can move great distances easily to control the space on stage at any moment. Applying pressure with speed establishes you being a threat at all times. Applying pressure close up establishes your space and makes you a threat when near.
The application of both enables absolute stage control.
Be patient and safe, there is no reason to force things as you can have control over your opponent simply by making it known that you have the options. Always keep in mind, Luigi can move quickly while still being completely protected by his shield. You're nearly unpunishable in your shield and approaching with it is safe. Your opponent will be expecting pressure as you approach and will be attempting to counterattack so it can save you. Also, your opponent seeing you approach this way after pressure may tempt them into other, riskier decisions as they know they can't counterattack you as easily.
Luigi VS Samus
Part 2 : The Match Up
Part 2 : The Match Up