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Is aggressive Puff play practical?

Discussion in 'Jigglypuff' started by Ezmar, Apr 9, 2015.

  1. Ezmar

    Ezmar
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    In Mah0ne's guide, he states that you can either play the Mango way, and only beat people you're much better than, or play the safe way and play defensively and camp and space aerials. People generally seem to agree that the Hbox style of spacing Bairs is the best way to play Puff, but I sometimes wonder if Hbox is just dominating Puff play so much that alternative strategies don't often see the light of day.

    I will say that I'm pretty new to competitive Melee, but what I'm wondering is this: While a defensive playstyle is pretty much inarguably the best strategy for a Puff player, taking advantage of aerial mobility to mitigate the downsides of her weight, can Jigglypuff be played more aggressively without being totally outclassed? I'm talking in general, here, obviously top level Foxes would be able to handily take care of an aggressive Puff, but in general, is playing aggressively a liability? Could an aggressive option ever be considered a good option, or are the "safe" options always optimal?

    Again, apologies if I'm coming across as a little naive, I'm just rather curious about this. I've started practicing Melee competitively on my own for a few weeks, getting familiar with all the techskill I never learned as a kid, and I've been wondering if Jigglypuff has any capacity to pressure and approach against top characters. Obviously it's hard to contest shine, but Jigglypuff doesn't seem like she lacks the tools. Could someone offer some insight into this matter? Hopefully I've made myself mostly clear. It seems to me like defensive play is easier, since she has really good defensive tools, but is she capable of laying on pressure and offense, or is she practically restricted to poking and punishing?
     
  2. Zappdos

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    In my experience with Jiggs, the only benefit of going primarily aggro with jiggs is to 'throw off' the flow of the match.

    The issue is Jiggs doesn't have the speed and pressure to really create that affect for long; she's slow enough you can respond to a shift like that fairly easily.

    If there is a future for aggressive Jiggs, it's in a player having the reaction time to make player's approach the match thinking "if I let him in I'm getting rested no questions asked."
     
  3. Massive

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    Puff is set up to be an offensive character, but she is pretty slow by comparison to the rest of the cast. You can't catch a fleeing fox or falcon, but you can intercept them. A lot of puff's aerials can be made basically safe on shield owing to her unmatched aerial mobility. Using this you can actually zone out your opponent and take advantage of puff's autocancels, reasonably quick jab/tilts/usmash, and decent grab range. Puff actually has very few defensive options, and most of what we consider to be defensive play could be easily used as offensive play with a few tweaks.

    Furthermore, high level Foxes can't afford to play aggressively against a puff, they have to be defensive. Why? They will lose the match otherwise. Jigglypuff preys on aggression, so Foxes have to run away and laser or puff can convert a misstep into a possible stock. This shift in the fox matchup was attributable almost entirely to Hbox, who would eat foxes alive if they approached too much.

    Resulting from that, against Fox, Jigglyuff has to play aggressively (but safely) and has to approach, at least in neutral, because Fox is so good at camping and hit and run that puff can't win if the only time Fox approaches is for a KO trade.

    As far as being a liability, it is possible to play both aggressively and safely, you just need to have good spacing and the ability to predict/train your opponent.
    Starting out, autocancelled nairs should be your bread and butter. Focus on shield pressure and eliminating options and see where it takes you.
     
  4. Crossie

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    It's definitely possible to play Puff aggressively. King almost always played aggressively. If you want an example of an aggro puff dominating a high level player, look up Hungrybox vs The Moon at Shuffle V. Anyways, saying that Puff should be played entirely defensively or that Hungrybox plays entirely defensively are both highly inaccurate.

    I see Puff as being split between two styles, each characterized by certain moves: offensive play, characterized by nairs, and defensive play, characterized by bairs. Her offensive nairs are good for pressuring, getting in, and starting combos, while her defensive bairs are amazing for zoning, punishing, and poking. Both should be mixed into your gameplay and the amount of offensive play you can get away with depends on the character and person you're playing. Marth, for example, is a matchup where Puff is supposed to play defensively and cautiously, but whenever I notice that a Marth doesn't know the matchup well I know I can get aggressive and he won't know how to punish it.

    The misconception that Puff has to play defensively against fast fallers (spacies in particular) is based on the fact that fast fallers tend to control the pace of the matchup. This does not mean that Puff can't get aggressive, but it does mean that if a Fox wants to sit back and laser camp you, you can't just dive in there and get really aggressive. You have do a bit of crouching, a bit of shielding, and a bit of platform movement so the Fox doesn't get a free 20% in lasers while you're trying to get to the other side of the stage. If, on the other hand, the fox wants to go in and try to pressure your shield and whatnot, you need to be ready to aggressively punish his mistakes. This is just an example of how a fast faller can control the pace, it's not the only case.
     
    #4 Crossie, Apr 10, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2015
    wizards64 likes this.
  5. Ezmar

    Ezmar
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    Thanks for all the feedback.

    I'm sure I could find this elsewhere, but what's the best way to autocancel nair? I'm still pretty new to L cancelling, and although I can usually tell with a lot of aerials, especially Puff's Fair and Dair, I'm not always sure about moves like nair, since the landing lag for that move is pretty subtle and short anyway. I don't really know a whole lot about using autocancels, aside from knowing how to autocancel some of Pikachu's moves in Smash 4, but I don't think a SH immediate Nair will work on Puff. People talk about autocancelling Nair a lot, so what's the best way to go about doing that?

    Secondly, this is a pretty quick question, but it it true that Jigglypuff moves faster with an aerial out than without? What's the best way to use this?

    Lastly, I've been using CPUs for training (not an active scene nearby, nobody around to play against), and I've been mostly drilling movement, L cancelling, and rest setups. I've been using 20XX, and the random DI is somewhat helpful, but I feel like I get things like Up throw rest and Down throw rest far more often than I can rely on. Is there any CPU on Vanilla Melee that has more realistic DI for those throws so I don't get into the habit of always fishing for the rest followup and can try more to confirm with an up air? I wish I could get more actual practice against players, but I don't really have many options, so I've been trying to drill my movement, experimenting with L cancel timings (Dair to grab is so close, yet so far), and make sure my rest followups are on point. I'm at the point where, so long as my 20XX is working properly and the CPUs are jumping out of hitstun, I can hit a rest on improper DI about 90% of the time. Anything else people could suggest I work on? There's not a lot I can do without playing actual opponents, but hopefully when it comes time to play in tournament, I can rely on being comfortable with my movement enough to handle myself, and snag those rest punishes reliably.

    Again, thanks for the responses. I've played this game for so long, I wouldn't have thought a couple months ago that I'd actually be working on Wavedashing and L-cancelling, but here I am. I have a tournament in a week or so which will be my first real chance to see if my fundamentals are up to snuff (probably not), so I'm getting pretty stoked about that.
     
  6. Crossie

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    1. If you have 20XX, learning the timing for autocancelled nairs is pretty easy. Make sure you have it set to flash red when you miss L-cancels and then just start throwing out short hop and full hop nairs with different timings. If you don't flash red, either you autocancelled it or you did it so high that the animation ended entirely before you hit the ground. You're aiming for the former, so just try to get used to the timing so that you don't flash red, but you don't go into your normal falling animation either. One way to do this is to practice autocancelled nair into grab, rest, or up smash. If you mess up the autocancel then either it'll be obvious that they weren't in hitstun and had plenty of time to sheild/spotdodge or you'll flash red.
    2. I've certainly never heard that nor observed anything that would lead me to believe it's true. Doesn't look like it's true and doesn't sound consistent with the game's mechanics, so I'm going to say no.
    3. If computers are all you have available, movement, basic tech skill, and rest setups are probably the most important things you can practice. Along with L-cancels and wavedashes, make sure you can consistently do rising pound without accidentally singing. This is crucial for Puff's recovery, which you'll need both for surviving and for going deep for edgeguards. If you're using Dolphin for 20XX, you should try playing online some, but you probably just have it on a Wii. Playing with anyone you can is really important for a lot of reasons. One of the reasons that will most quickly become apparent, though, is that computers don't know how to recover at all and people do. You can't learn to edgeguard without playing people a lot and learning when to go out for it, when to stay on stage, which options to cover, when to hold ledge, etc. In terms of Vanilla CPU DI vs 20XX CPU DI, I'd say 20XX is pretty good, but since variety is always a good thing, try practicing with some level 3's and 4's in Vanilla Melee. They're supposed to have the most human-like DI.
    Good luck at your first tournament and welcome to the competitive smash community! Make sure to get as many friendlies in as you can; the best way to improve is to play lots of different people, each of whom will show you different problems in your gameplay which you need to work on as well as which of your strategies are working effectively.
     
  7. Ezmar

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    Yeah, I'm trying to find some events in my area, hopefully I can hit up Big House this year, the 12 hour drive would totally be worth it. Luckily there's a monthly starting near me this summer, so I'll have that to go to, other than that, I've thought about Netplay, but I've been having trouble getting it to work. I've tried a few times to work through it with folks on Anther's, but I haven't had success. I'm finished with School in 3 weeks, and my home internet is, in a word, awful, so it doesn't seem like it would be too worth it. I'm hoping I can meet some folks at the monthly that I can organize to play with every once in a while, but aside from that, I'm hoping to just pull some Axe stuff and just spend a lot of time in the lab working on consistency.

    If things go well, I might pick up a secondary, but for now, it's exciting enough to finally even think about playing Melee in a competitive context.
     
  8. Sprankles

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    Hey Massive you seem to be a well of knowledge about puff! When you say train you mean conditioning right? How do I begin consciously and safely conditioning my opponents? I mean what's the goal of conditioning? What should I be looking for by doing it and can you give me some examples?

    It's just that I hear all the time how great puff is at conditioning, but never see anyone give examples of it. If anyone would have a better understanding of it, it's probably you or Hbox. Thanks in advance if you know!
     
  9. Massive

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    It's a very minor increase in horizontal distance traveled, since starting a hitbox reduces your vertical movement slightly. This effect is more pronounced on kirby (people always use fairs to recover with kirby because he gets more horizontal distance that way). I'm not sure if it actually makes you move faster though.

    Yeah I'm using "to train" as "to condition" in this case.

    Conditioning in smash is a short-term application of the idea of operant conditioning. Your goal is to play tricks on your opponent's pattern recognition skills to make them react in a way that you're planning for. It is a slightly more complicated "bait and punish" scenario.

    To condition your opponent you have to do two things:
    1. Perform an action repeatedly that seems relatively safe, but can be countered if your opponent predicts it. You want them to think they have a counter for this and for them to try it.
    2. When your opponent thinks you're going to do the same maneuver again, you do something different that puts them at a disadvantage.
    To further clarify, I'll use an example:

    Bait: You frequently cross your opponent's shield up with autcancel nair > utilt.
    • You want the opponent to expect you to utilt after your nair, so they keep their shield up a bit longer.
    Punish: After you do this a few times in the match, the opponent just leaves their shield up when you nair, they got out scott free before. However, instead of nair > utilt, this time you nair > grab instead of utilt.
    • You have just tricked your opponent into doing something that was in their favor before, but now was exactly what you wanted them to do.
    That's a really basic example, and you can see more instances of this in higher level play. If you ever hear a commentator mention a "tomahawk grab" they are describing someone approaching, not using an aerial and instead just grabbing their enemy (usually from behind). The "tomahawk grab" is a very basic type of conditioning.

    Puff has a lot of aerial mobility, so it's really easy for her to convince someone she's going to land somewhere she isn't, making her really good at training/conditioning people.
     
    #9 Massive, Apr 10, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2015
    -LzR- likes this.
  10. squible2

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    If you are rising, you cannot quickly change dirrection in the air unless you are doing an aerial. For example, if you jump while holding left, then hold right, your air speed wont be as fast as if you jumped left, did an aerial, then started holding right.

    This doesn't matter when falling.
     
  11. the wizard howl

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    I hate the distinction between "aggressive" and "defensive" "playstyles," or at least I don't think they're useful to the player.
    You're either making sounds decisions in response to specific situations or you aren't.
     
  12. Ezmar

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    I think the main distinction is kind of related to how players get their results. There's always being "active" vs. being "reactive", but some players tend to try to apply pressure to the opponent, preventing them from doing the things they want to do. Other players play more patiently, manipulating their opponent and predicting their actions and responding accordingly. Both styles have aspects of proactive and reactive play, but "aggressive" play seems to be more about shutting down the opponent's options with your own offense, and "defensive" play is centered around keeping your own options as open as possible. Different styles work differently against various players, and anyone who has only one "style" is doomed to eventual failure.

    I'm not an expert, though, so my understanding my be a bit limited. But that's what I think people are talking about with those terms.
     
  13. Massive

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    I strongly feel that you should reconsider this stance.

    You can very easily play both aggressively and defensively in the same match and most people do to some extent, but to say that this distinction isn't valuable is silly.

    There is a distinct difference in what skills are useful or valuable for offensive play vs defensive play play, so it's actually pretty important to realize that the skill sets are different and often require separate, specific practice routines.

    It may be a blurry line between the two, but there is definitely a line there.
     
    Crossie likes this.
  14. Sprankles

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    Thanks for explaining conditioning Massive. And while the concepts of aggressive and defensive are useful for describing some behaviors, I think wizard was annoyed when people choose to play ONLY defensively or offensively. Since they would limit their own options.
     
  15. the wizard howl

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    right, I don't like how easy it is to oversimplify and ignore specifics with that terminology.
    Those are good points though, massive. Would you mind expanding on what you mean by practice routines etc?
     
  16. Ezmar

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    I imagine it's like what Zhu and Cactus talked about in the first episode of SmashPractice, where you don't learn effectively when you practice everything mixed together. Defense and offense are different things, and so you need to spend time practicing each one separately.

    I can't really say much about specifically what those routines look like, though.
     
  17. Sprankles

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    What? I'm not sure why you would practice techniques arbitrarily separated into 'defense' or 'offense' -.- I mean the terms are useful for describing the nature of various behavior sometimes or play styles, but that's not what they meant. Zhu and Cactuar meant you should pick specific techniques to practice (like landing aerials into l-cancels on shield, or shine grabs) as opposed to spamming tech skill or jumping about randomly. They didn't mean to separate your practice based on vague concepts like defense or offense. Just separate which technique you're practicing.
     
    #17 Sprankles, Apr 11, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2015
  18. Massive

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    Offensive practice routines usually involve gimps or shield pressure. They are situations where you may zone out your opponent or work on maintaining aerial mobility as long as possible.

    Things like ledge cancel jump refreshes, nair/dair shield pressure, offstage gimps, aerial trades, grab mixups, and chases can all be considered offensive practice.
    Offensive techniques are usually things that you have a lead-in move or tecnique for. The offensive strategy will hinge around a move connecting, e.g. you always have to connect at least one aerial to start the wall of pain, uthrow leads to rest if your opponent is a spacie and doesn't DI correctly, your opponent needs to be grounded before you can jab-reset rest, etc. You are in control when you are doing offense, and your adaptability and execution are very important.

    Defensive techniques need to be things you can do without any lead in. They need to be hard-wired, almost reflex-like actions. Things like wavedash OoS, shield dropping, ledge teching, and SDIing fox uairs are all defensive techniques. While these all may have things that set them up, you need to recognize and be able to perform the required defensive routine with little warning and in numerous situations. Your opponent is in control when you are performing defensive maneuvers, and you are attempting to minimize the risk/damage to yourself. You may have only one or two options in these situations and there is very little room to improvise.

    tl;dr: Defensive practice is for things you can't control, offensive/aggressive practice is for things you can.
     
    #18 Massive, Apr 12, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2015
    the wizard howl and -LzR- like this.
  19. Sprankles

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    We'll when you put it that way. The concepts sound a little more useful now. I think when they hear the terms, most people consider 'defense' the act of not approaching and waiting for action from your opponent, and 'offense' the act of taking initiative. The way you use them to define specific techniques, I agree with. Not vague any longer.
     
    #19 Sprankles, Apr 12, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2015

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