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Mogwai's Falco Thread: Mogwai plays League of Legends and Doesn't Write Stuff!

Discussion in 'Falco' started by Mogwai, Nov 6, 2008.

  1. Mogwai

    Mogwai
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    Smash Gizmo

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2006
    Messages:
    10,449
    Location:
    I want to expect better of you, but I know not to

    Introduction
    Since Shiz's thread has died down (and he wasn't really still posting there anyway), I've decided to make one up myself as a place for Falco users to ask questions and discuss theory about our beloved blue bird.

    For those of you who don't know me, I'm Mogwai, formerly Wesley, and I've been a Falco main since Fall of 2005. I'm not a fantastic player by any means, and if you're under the impression that I'm even in the same league as any of the true Falco greats (PC, Forward, Shiz, Zhu, Eggm, Chops, etc...), just know now that that's not the case. However, I like to think I know a good deal about Falco and the theory behind playing him, and as the Falco boards have been more or less dead since Brawl's release, I think it's time there was a new general advice/help thread and I hope I can prove adequate at maintaining such a thread.

    [​IMG]

    Lesson 1: Counterpicking

    [​IMG]
    For Lesson 1, I'm going to talk about counterpicking and banning stages as Falco. I'll start by talking about my general theories behind how to counterpick and then move on to how I think you should be counterpicking mid-top tier characters.

    Section 1: A Little Story about Counterpicking
    Around the time Scar was starting to get good at Melee, myself and a couple other Pittsburghers drove across PA to attend a Smashpocalypse tournament that Scar was holding. After scoring a win vs. Swiftbass (my last win vs. him for the record) I was knocked out of losers by Pakman and spent the rest of the day watching Scar play. It was pretty impressive to me that he had transformed from a scrubby Falcon that spammed knee and lost matches to myself to a legitimate contender for the places below M2K and Cactuar at NJ/PA tournies so quickly. Anyway, after Scar won game 1 vs. Ryoko (a very impressive peach player, for those of you who don't know), I stopped watching and went off to play some friendlies. 10 minutes later Scar came up to me.

    Scar: I lost to Ryoko...
    Me: Really? You looked really good game 1, what happened?
    Scar: Well, he gayed me on his counterpick game 2, then I lost game 3.
    Me: Well, where did you take him?
    Scar: Yoshi's Story.
    Me: Why would you do that?
    Scar: I dunno, it has short sides, so I figured he'd die earlier...

    From here, I explained to Scar that he was looking at counterpicks in very much the wrong way. See, he won game 1 the way a Falcon should win vs. Peach: run around, don't get hit, wait for an opening and combo **** them. He lost game 2 on Final Destination because he had trouble moving away from turnips and got chaingrab *****. The key here is that while one frequently worries about killing Peach, that wasn't his problem. His problem was that he needed space to move to take advantage of Falcon's considerable speed edge. Who cares if Peach dies from a knee at 60% on YS rather than 80%? If you can't move in a way to create the opportunities for said knees, that fact is meaningless.

    What I'm trying to get at with this story is that the true art of counterpicking is about analyzing why you lost the last match, and picking a stage that will limit that. If you won a game earlier in the match too, that's gives you the extra information of knowing why you won that match. Using these pieces of information is much more important than any theorizing you can do about matchups in the abstract. Don't think, "Peach is floaty, gotta take em to a small stage," think about why you won/lost previous games.

    To this day, Scar still tells me that our talk that afternoon completely changed the way he looked at counterpicking.

    Section 2: How Stage Affects Falco vs. the Mid-Top Tiers
    Part 1: Fox
    Fox vs. Falco is not terribly stage dependent except for a couple exceptions. First is FD. When I first saw Bombsoldier matches, I remember thinking to myself "DAMN! Falco combos can just go off on Fox on FD!" This of course made me always try FD vs. Foxes early in my smash career and though I was frequently successful on FD, it really had nothing to do with the stage. FD actually opens up serious chaingrabbing and utilt/usmash/uair combo opportunities for Fox that would otherwise get stifled by platforms, while Falco can frequently use platforms to his advantage while comboing. Long story short: FD is not your friend vs. Fox. The other thing to take note of is that while most non-neutrals are pretty equal in the Fox vs. Falco matchup, Pokefloats is not one of them. Fox can out camp and easily shine spike you on that stage. Since most players don't pick PF, I rarely ban it vs. Fox, but if someone is known for pulling PF out as Fox, it's worth considering (Spam, I'm looking at you). Most of where you want to counterpick Foxes to is based on whether you need to limit their movement or need to be able to stay away from the edges. If the Fox is running circles around you and you just need to cramp the little bastard, take him to Yoshi's Story or Fountain. If he's all over you and keeps getting you off stage and ****** on the edgeguard, take him somewhere big like DL64, Pokémon Stadium or KJ64. In general, I find that the latter is more frequently the case and DL64 is mostly where I go, but I have had success vs. Taki and other very quick Foxes by taking them to small stages.

    Part 2: Sheik
    FD is the weapon of choice vs. Sheik. She really gains nothing from FD in the matchup and loses all the powerful platform needle camping that gives Falco fits when trying to approach. You lose some combo ability from not having platforms there, but with platforms out of the picture, Lasers are so far and away more powerful at controlling space than needles that it's well worth it. Again, this stage usually gets banned by Sheiks vs. Falco, but if they somehow miss on that one, take advantage of it. Neutrals are mostly good for you and when it comes to bans, you should just ban the neutral you feel least comfortable on unless you're worried about counterpicks. I've seen a lot of Sheiks take Falcos to Brinstar with pretty good success, so it's probably my most common ban vs. Sheik players, but sometimes I'll ban Story/FoD/Battlefield if I'm not in the mood to play on that particular stage. If FD isn't an option, I'll usually just take Sheiks to DL64 or PS depending on my mood, but you can also consider moving stages or Corneria if you're feeling particularly obnoxious. They're not great vs. Sheik, but they're slightly better for Falco than Sheik and if your opponent doesn't know how to play on the stage and you do, then it's worth considering.

    Part 3: Marth
    DL64 is your best friend in this matchup. No tipper nonsense on the platforms, no chaingrab nonsense because of the platforms, and plenty of space to run around and shoot lasers while he's trying to get his grubby little hands on you. However, most Marths these days have the good sense to ban DL64 which means you should be hoping for Pokémon Stadium on the random. When it comes to bans, you have to decide whether you're more afraid of the 0-death chaingrabs or the utilt/tipper nonsense on Yoshi's Story. I like what I can do combo-wise on Story and have played M2K enough to be terrified of the 0-death cgs on FD, so FD usually gets the ban from me. When it comes time to counterpick, KJ64 and the moving stages (Poke Floats and Rainbow Cruise) are worth the most consideration out of the non-neutrals. KJ 64 is a serious bitch to Marth's recovery and has most of the same advantages that DL64 has. It also has the added benefit of the high side platforms which are even more difficult for Marth to punish recovering to when he's standing during edgeguarding. Moving stages are great just for camping Marth and taking advantage of his limited aerial mobility, plus he's a sitting duck on PF when recovering without edges.

    Part 4: Falco
    It's a ditto, so no stage will technically give either character an advantage. Rule of thumb: when you feel you can gain nothing in the matchup with the stage, pick where you feel most comfortable or where you think your opponent will feel least comfortable.

    Part 5: Jigglypuff
    Dreamland is really bad news on the randomizer. You can run away and shoot lasers for awhile, but your most reliable and safe kill move in the matchup (bair) doesn't kill until obscene %s (with good DI somewhere in the 160-170% range from the middle of the stage). She gains so much from the extra space off stage and you gain nothing since Jiggs will kill you with edgeguards most of the time anyway. In general, I'd recommend banning Dreamland 64 vs. Jiggs because losing match 1 is basically a death sentence since she has 2 exceptional counterpick options in Brinstar and Mute City. I think Yoshi's Story is less than ideal in the matchup since you can't really run away and laser a lot on that stage, even though killing is much less of a problem there. Stadium is the ideal stage in the abstract with the low ceiling and enough space to run away and laser. The rest of the neutrals are mostly up to preference if you ask me. Since Jiggs is going to screw you over on her counterpicks, I think it's very important to do the same to her. Moving stages are an option, but PF is a bit risky IMO. A little mistake on that stage can lead to a very very quick death since Jiggs has so much mobility in the air. Cruise is a little better since a lot of the stage movement is vertical and Jiggs' aerial strength is in moving side to side, not up and down. Corneria and Green Greens also work in the Stadium sense (low ceiling and short sides with space to camp lasers), though I find GG to be a bit too random for my liking and can be a bit cramping if the blocks build up. So in general, I recommend Stadium, Corneria and Cruise as the go to stages vs. Puff but there are plentiful options, just be sure to think it out.

    Part 6: Captain Falcon
    The less space he has to run around and space aerials, the better. In general, I find FD and DL64 to be the dangerous stages vs. Falcon and am happy to get FoD or YS since you can keep pressure up more easily on small stages. This dynamic can be reversed if the Falcon doesn't know how to move around lasers, since they can be absurdly powerful if the Falcon can't running powershield or space full hop nair into your SHL/double jump high-low lasers. Almost every Falcon on the planet immediately bans FoD vs. everyone without thinking, so typically I'm hoping for YS on the random and banning DL64. On the counterpick, watch out for Brinstar as Lava/Acid -> knee is something that smarter Falcons love. Other than that, Falcon is pretty restricted to only being good on neutrals. Pokefloats is my pick of choice vs. Falcon since you can limit his approach options and camp his balls off. Cruise isn't very good vs. him since it doesn't provide nearly the same sort of cover than Floats does, so in cases of Floats being banned, I'd say try to cramp him on Story, FoD, or Green Greens and keep pressure on him all match.

    Part 7: Peach
    Pretty much the same general theory as Puff. You have the added danger of Peach's chaingrab on FD, but she has noticeably worse mobility on Floats so it gains a lot more sway in this matchup than vs. Puff. Platform stages are great vs. Peach, just don't be stupid about approaching her on the platforms since Peaches LOVE to dsmash on platforms. For neutrals vs. Peach, I'm all about Stadium and BF (Battlefield gains a lot of value vs. Peach over Puff since Peaches hate how floating and grabbing the edges works). On the Counterpick, Corneria and Floats are my primary options. I ban dreamland vs. Peaches because in case of a Mute City or Brinstar counterpick, I have a Jigglypuff and I'd rather not get screwed on a game 1 Dreamland (always think about your secondaries when banning, since you can react to stage choices for counterpick games).

    Part 8: Ice Climbers
    After talking with PockyD about this matchup for a few posts, I've decided to change the entry as I had forgotten some key dynamics in the matchup. While having some extra space to stay away from climbers is useful and worthy of consideration, ICs gain too much from FD to really consider banning YS or FoD. On FD, your laser games gets seriously hindered by the fact that you will only ever be hitting one climber and the other can effectively harass you with ice blocks. When platforms come into the equation, you can retreat from these ice block situations without having to get over the IC players in one jump, which can result in an up air from the IC player which can spell some trouble. The ICs are also very limited in their ability to punish recovery to platforms compared to their ability to punish recovery on FD. On FD, if you get knocked far enough offstage that forward B or up B is required to get back on, you're generally looking at a free dsmash/fsmash. If you land on a platform instead, they either need to try to awkwardly combo dair/uair into a smash/bair or just a straight bair. Either way, it both increases the difficulty of the edgeguard and generally results in a less devastating end result. When it comes to platform stages, PS is probably the best since it has a low enough ceiling for low % shine kills and enough room to utilize your lasers. After that, BF is probably next best followed by YS (early kills) and DL (room to move and laser). FoD is probably the worst after FD. When counterpicking comes along, take em to a moving stage, where the climbers are useless. Floats is way worse for them than cruise, so if they didn't ban floats, go there. Cruise is still a beating on the ICs and I typically expect the IC player to helplessly try a secondary character on either of those stages.

    Part 9: Ganondorf
    Ban Yoshi's and camp him. Seriously, if you want to win, don't feel guilty about it and force yourself to approach, just sit back and force him to come to you and then take advantage of openings. I lose friendlies to Ganons A LOT because I don't camp in friendlies and they'll just space a backward short hop -> fair against all my approaches and then just kill me once I'm off stage. If you take the defensive role though, there's just about nothing Ganon can do. It sucks and is really lame, but it's what you need to do as the jerk with the laser. For counterpicks, I stay away from DL64 since it takes so long to kill the King of All Evil, and though the space is really good for you, it's just tedious. Stadium, FD and Battlefield are all sufficiently in your favor that I mostly keep it simple and take him to one of them. FoD isn't good news, but it's not bad either, just camp behind low platforms and don't get hit.

    Part 10: Doctor Mario and Mario
    As many differences as there are between Doc and Mario, they don't really manifest themselves in how you should be counterpicking vs. them. FD is a must ban. Full hopped Pills/Fireballs are a huge pain in the ass to try to fight through as Falco on FD and they somehow force me to approach in the matchup which is no good. That on top of the chaingrab ridiculousness that they can pull on you there makes it by far the worst stage for the matchup. Battlefield is a good stage vs. them since they cannot ride up the wall with their up B while recovering, which limits their options. Pokefloats probably qualifies as cruel and unusual punishment to Doc and Mario since their aerial movement is not great and they rely so much on sweetspotting to recover. Cruise presents many of the same problems to them and seems safer, so I'd be inclined to recommend cruise a bit more than floats despite the presence of edges on the boat. As far as non BF, FD neutrals go, Stadium seems like it should be good vs. them but frequently creates the same pill/fireball problems that FD does, so it's actually my least favorite of the remainder. YS and FoD are both pretty average vs. the Marios, and DL gives you enough space to make your lasers noticeably better than their projectiles, so after BF it's my favorite vs. them.

    Part 11: Samus
    The whole game plan as Falco vs. Samus is to shoot lasers up until 150%ish and then space bairs for the kill. Sounds like vs. Peach and Jiggs, right? So same sorta theory, DL64 makes it unnecessarily tedious, so ban it. Samus isn't nearly as good on counterpick stages so the Brinstar/Mute City picks aren't nearly as dangerous and you're just best off banning Dreamland and try to play her on BF/FD/PF. Samus doesn't do well on most counterpicks so Corneria, Floats, Cruise, and Green Greens are all good options when you have the choice.

    Part 12: Luigi
    Luigi scares me most on FD even though I have a good deal of laser control, so it's my most common ban vs. them. They can just do so much off of uthrow there, I'd rather have platforms on my side. Battlefield is good since it limits their recovery options, Yoshi's story allows low % shine off the top kills and so does PS. On the counterpick, Floats is a true monster and Luigi just looks totally helpless trying to move on that stage. If Floats isn't an option, I'd go for one of the favorable neutrals or Cruise. Don't go Corneria, since he has a good fin camping game. Luigis mostly just like neutral stages anyway, so I think moving stage is the way to go on the counterpick.

    Part 13: DK
    I ban story since it gives you less options with lasers and DK has good up B through platform games on that stage. Lasers give you enough control on FD to prevent yourself from getting grabbed, though it's still probably the worst neutral after story. Another aerial mobility challenged character, another one I'd recommend taking to a moving stage. Neutrals are mostly fine in the matchup too, but if you really need an edge, I'd say go Cruise or Floats.




    Lesson 2: Lasers
    [​IMG]
    Section 1: Why We Jump Before Shooting
    Part 1: Standing Lasers
    Let's talk about the standing laser.

    [​IMG]

    Standing lasers are terrible. You should already know that. Here's the frame data on shooting a standing laser, shamelessly stolen from Super Doodle Man's totally awesome site (http://www.angelfire.com/games5/superdoodleman/frames.html):

    Standing Lasers
    # of Frames until first laser after pressing B: 23
    # of Frames until each subsequent laser after the first: 24
    # of Frames for Falco to put away his **** gun: 34

    That's right, to shoot one laser, it takes a whopping 57 frames (~1 second). If you're shooting many in a row, you get to fire at a slightly more respectable rate of 2.5 lasers/second, but you still know that when you stop mashing your little B button that you have to wait more than half a second to regain control of your character. Melee's a really fast game. Half a second is far too long to wait...

    [​IMG]

    Part 2: Aerial Lasers
    So now that we know that a standing laser blows, let's talk about how to still get some use out of that gun. As we all know, Falco prefers the air ("personally, I prefer the air!"), so why don’t we take a look at how the frames are different when Falco is in the air:

    Aerial Lasers
    # of Frames until first laser after pressing B: 13
    # of Frames until each subsequent laser after the first: 16
    # of Frames for Falco to put away his **** gun (still in the air): 29
    # of Frames for Falco to put away his **** gun (after hitting the ground): 0 (!)

    Not only is everything else about aerial lasers faster than standing lasers, but by landing mid laser, we can completely cut that infuriating half second "putting away our gun" animation. Everybody still with me? Good, cause all of you should already have known that by now. If you still don't understand yet, read Section 1 again, it's really important to understand why you don't ever want to shoot lasers if your feet are still on the ground.

    Section 2: Laser Techniques
    Part 1: Short Hop Laser (SHL) Variants
    1.1: Stationary SHL:
    The fastest way to shoot lasers at ground level, and still have control of your character when you decide to stop shooting lasers, is to short hop, quickly laser, and then quickly fast fall. This minimizes the amount of time we spend in the air to maximize the benefit we gain out of canceling the "putting away the gun" lag. The end result is the most fundamental component of Falco’s advanced laser game: the SHL:

    [​IMG]

    Nothing fancy, but if you can't do this all day, don't even think of moving on to more advanced laser techs. By varying the timing of the fast fall and/or pressing B, you should be able to control whether your laser is going high, medium or low. You should be able to hit a crouching Jiggs, shield stab a DK, and hit everywhere in between. Having control over where your lasers are going is extremely useful, so play around with the following homework:

    NOTE: For all homework assignments, I suggest setting damage ratio on .5 and handicap on (put yourself at 1 and opponents at 9) to minimize the distance they move from getting hit by a laser.

    HW 1.1: SHL Height Control:

    [​IMG]

    Plug in one extra controller while holding up (so that the stick being at neutral will be like holding down) and two other extra controllers with no stick tricks. Select Kirby or Jigglypuff for the controller that is holding down, and Mario (or any other medium height character) and Ganon (or any other tall character) for the other 2 controllers. Go to FD and position the 3 dummy characters on one side of you ordered from shortest to tallest (crouching Kirby, then Mario, then Ganon). Practice alternating which of them you are trying to hit until you are comfortable with your ability to hit any of them on command.


    1.2: Reverse SHL (RSHL):
    Another essential element of Falco's Laser game is the ability to turn around midair with a Laser. By pressing the opposite direction of your facing mid-air and then letting your control stick reset to normal, you can switch the direction in which your next laser will fire. Doing this from a (more or less) stationary position will result in the following:

    [​IMG]

    Again, this is really, really important. Make sure you have your fundamentals down before trying to advance. Turning around midair can be used on any aerial laser technique, so just keep that in mind when reading on. If you're phantasming more than 1% of the time when doing this, keep practicing.

    HW 1.2: SHL Direction Control:

    COMING SOON

    1.3: Approaching SHL:
    Now it’s time to exploit the other fantastic advantage of firing lasers from the air. By jumping first, we can effectively move Falco around the stage while still pestering our opponents with lasers. There are two essential techniques for moving with SHLs, the first of which involves just dashing and then performing a SHL. It should look something like this:

    [​IMG]

    1.4: Retreating SHL:
    Same as above, just do a RSHL instead of a SHL. The result:

    [​IMG]

    Master these two as well. These techniques are your bread and butter as a Falco player, so it's important to not screw these up. Phantasms while practicing these are not acceptable. Don't shrug it off and move on, keep practicing until you don't do that anymore.

    HW 1.3: Mobile SHLing

    COMING SOON

    Part 2: Full Hop and Double Jump Lasers
    2.1: Full Hop Triple Laser:
    In all honesty, this technique is just about completely obsolete. I still use it sometimes and it’s not completely terrible, but you are almost always better off with any of the other techniques in this section. The result is typically 2 lasers of almost exactly the same height at the peak of your jump and a low laser at about SHL height. There is some variation though and if you have quick timing on hitting B, you can get some variation in the result:

    [​IMG]

    The nicest part about this technique is that you don’t use your 2nd jump in situations where you may get hit out of it. It’s also very easy to learn where your lasers will go depending on when you start hitting b since there is no fast falling involved.

    2.2: Full Hop Double Laser (Fast Fallen):
    This technique really doesn’t get talked about enough. Everyone talks about the Immediate Double Jumped Double Laser recently, and for good reason, but they seem to forget that this is even an option, especially vs. Peach. You perform this tech by just full hopping with lasers ASAP and fast falling at the peak of your jump.

    [​IMG]

    As you can see, the result is a high laser followed by either another high height laser or a medium height laser. This medium height laser is a real life saver vs. Peach’s who know how to float between the 2 lasers in an Immediate Double Jumped Double Laser. This technique is also very useful when jumping to a low platform, as you can get both lasers out and still land on the low platform. It also has the benefit of not using your double jump.

    2.3: Immediate Double Jumped Double Laser:
    I first saw this technique used by Eggm in Falco dittos and he used it to completely outclass my Full Hop Triple Laser and keep laser control for the entire match. This tech is basically everything good about Full Hop Triple Laser in fast forward. You start with a single jump, then immediately double jump with a laser and fast fall from the peak of your jump. The result is a nice crisp high laser followed by a SHL height laser:

    [​IMG]

    This technique is very fast and puts the lasers at 2 of the most useful heights and, as such, is the most popular and useful of the high laser techniques. You must be careful about its usage however. Since you are double jumping, if you ever leave yourself open to getting hit out of this, it frequently results in a lost stock.

    HW 2: Controlling Your High Lasers

    COMING SOON

    Part 3: Ledge and Platform Lasers
    3.1: Ledge Hop Double Laser (LHDL):
    LHDL is a vital component to many Falcos' "recovering from the ledge" game. While holding the ledge, drop and fast fall to as low as you can while still being able to double jump onto the stage. Once you're at that point, IMEDIATELY double jump AND start firing your first laser. I do this by hitting the left-most part of the Y button with the tip of my thumb and B with the center of my thumb, but the finger technique is up to you, do what feels comfortable. After that, quickly start holding towards the stage and then tap B again to shoot your second laser. You can vary the point at which you double jump to change the height of the lasers, but it's good to know the lowest point and use that as your default as it will minimize your vulnerability and air time.

    [​IMG]

    While this technique is powerful, it's also very easy to overuse. Don't forget that you have other options from the ledge and that you aren't fully covered by invulnerability in this maneuver or you'll soon find yourself victim to well spaced and timed smashes and tilts taking your stock.

    HW 3.1: Low LHDLing

    COMING SOON

    3.2: Drop Double Jump Double Laser:
    This is basically a way to look really cool and change up the height and rhythm of low height lasers that you could otherwise be shooting by just SHLing. You can do this technique near a ledge or through a platform. The first part is to either run off a ledge or drop through a platform and start fast falling. Then you quickly double jump and double laser the same way you would with a LHDL.

    [​IMG]

    When running off a ledge, you are typically going to want to turn around with your lasers, but sometimes you will be using it to shoot off stage. Either way, make sure your lasers are going the way that you want them to go.

    HW 3.2.1: Ledge Drop Height Control

    COMING SOON

    HW 3.2.2: Platform Drop Height Control

    COMING SOON

    3.3: Short Hop Double Laser Platform Dismount:
    When moving down from a low platform to the stage, you can SHL without fast falling to shoot a laser at platform height and another laser at stage height. You can also do this when moving down from a high platform to a low platform.

    [​IMG]

    3.4: Platform Laser Drop:
    Another technique for moving from a platform to the stage. With this one, instead of jumping, you just drop through the platform and fire immediately from a side platform and fast fall and fire from a high platform. This is a very useful technique for platform laser games and I highly suggest playing around with this one a lot to get a good feel for it.

    [​IMG]

    At this point, you have all the techniques you need to have some ballin’ lasers. From here, you just need to keep the techs sharp and use them in game to produce your collective laser game.

    Section 3: Advanced Laser Theory
    Part 1: Laser Spacing
    Late one night after an SPOC, I was hanging out with Scar and Cactuar. This was shortly after Cactuar’s impressive performance at Evo East where he took out Forward, among others. Scar, being completely beat after running a sizable tourney, quickly fell asleep and I got to talking to Cactus about his help thread. One thing led to another and I started asking him about how he moves around lasers so well and seems to be able to completely stifle even the best Falcos’ laser games with his movement. His theories and the complexity with which he views the game are a bit too much to try to explain in a forum like this, but the part I found particularly interesting is how he sees his spacing vs. Falco.

    Consider the distance covered by an approaching SHL as a unit of measurement.

    [​IMG]

    Let’s call that 1 SHL in distance.

    At a distance of 1 SHL, you are in good shape as Falco. An approaching SHL will put you right on top of your opponent, so if they’re sitting in shield you can just Lasergrab them. A stationary SHL is safe, as the opponent cannot adequately follow up a powershield at this distance. A retreating SHL is also safe, as not even CF can get on top of you in the time it takes to complete a SHL to get a running powershield grab. 1SHL is where Falco wants to be. So where does that leave the shmuck without the gun? As a character playing against Falco, you want to be around 0.5SHL away from Falco, as suddenly stationary and approaching SHLs become terrible options. Even without the threat of a powershield, one can typically space an aerial against a stationary SHL at 0.5 SHL, and an approaching SHL won’t come out in time to protect against any fast move your opponent can use to disrupt the SHL. This leaves only retreating SHLs as a safe option, and there's only so long you can retreat before such a move will put you off stage.

    So through dashes and waveshielding, Cactuar’s Marth slowly plays distance games with your Falco until you find yourself at the dreaded 0.5 SHL distance. The trick is to be aware of this distance and when your lasers are no longer a safe option, to approach and shield pressure, play defensively, or run away and attempt to re-play the distance game. It’s not easy, and it’s not necessarily intuitive, but if you start trying to see spacing like this and pay attention to when your lasers are no longer good, you may find that you’re not getting wrecked as hard for shooting so many lasers.

    Part 2: The Running Powershield
    This is becoming a more and more popular tactic from Marths, Sheiks, Foxes, and CFs to counter laser games. While they still have mobility, the character will dash towards you as you fire your first laser. They powershield the laser back at you at very short range and do some sort of follow up, typically a grab. When this happens, it really throws Falcos that rely on lasers for board control off their game. Recognizing when your opponent has a chance to get you with this comes only from experience, but hopefully you’ll learn fast. In these situations, what you need is to keep your opponent guessing. As soon as he’s 100% sure you’re going to shoot the laser, you’re in trouble. I like to mix up empty shorthop -> waveland -> shine/grab against running powershielders. Doing this keeps your opponent guessing as to what your next move is going to be and is very important if you want to throw them off their game.

    Part 3: A Suggestion
    This may sound hard to believe, but I am a firm believer that taking a break from firing lasers in a friendly setting will vastly improve any laser-happy Falco’s game. Having arguably the most powerful projectile in the game can really become a crutch that Falcos will lean on. By taking a break, you will gain some perspective on when and why lasers are so good and when and why they aren’t. I could write 100 pages on this topic, but ultimately, experience is the best teacher. Put the gun away for a smashfest. Make a conscious effort to not shoot lasers in friendlies for a week/month. You’ll be surprised how much you learn.

    Lesson 3: Approaching With Falco
    [​IMG]
    Section 1: Introduction
    Learning to approach correctly is something that one learns mostly from experience. There is so much feel to it that trying to explain all the ins and outs of what’s going through one’s head when they decide to close the distance as Falco is hopeless. What I’m hoping to do with this lesson is set you on the right track about how to think about your approach and learn to solve your own problems with approaching as they come up. For this lesson I’m going to try a different approach (har har, I made a funny) than with my laser lessons, and start with the higher level theory and work down.

    Section 2: Musings on Approach
    Part 1: Risk vs. Reward
    So let’s start by discussing general risk vs. reward theory with regards to making decisions. In straight math terms, if risk and reward can be measured quantitatively, a decision is worth making if the value of success times the probability of success is greater than the value lost by failure times the probability of failure. Now I’m sure many of you are just reading gibberish in that last sentence, so let me give you an example of what I’m trying to get at with regards to Falco’s approach game.

    Let’s say you think that you can combo Samus from 0-35% on a successful approach, but if you fail she will screw attack you out of shield for ~ 5% (cause you’re good and will probably crouch cancel). In this case, mathematically speaking, you only need 1/6 chance of success for this approach to be worth it (35% x 1/6 > 5% x 5/6). In other words, approaching a shielding Samus is a low risk, high reward situation, meaning that, in the long run, you’ll end up ahead even with fairly poor chances of success.

    If however, we replace Samus with Marth and consider the risk being getting grabbed and comboed from 0-60% (since it’s likely between 30% and death), the situation suddenly becomes high risk, low reward, so you damn well better have a good chance of hitting to risk getting grabbed.

    Of course, this is all oversimplifying what %s mean and how momentum can affect the way you play a game, but it’s certainly worth thinking about when considering whether approaching is worth it or not. Just think about what you’re risking and what happens if you succeed before approaching and you’ll get a lot smarter about deciding when to attack and when to lay off.

    Part 2: Information is Valuable
    Seriously, taking note to how your opponent reacts to your forms of pressure is what separates decent Falcos from good Falcos. Many Falcos have very predictable approach games and very predictable follow ups to all of them. As such, most players’ anti-Falco strategies are very predictable as well. When facing the same approach twice, most players will react exactly the same and as such, you should keep mental notes on what they do and react appropriately. That Falcon keeps short hopping over your shine and stomping you? Then start going dair -> dair, rather than dair -> shine. That Sheik keeps full hop nairing your pillar? Then start full hop dairing after the shine. Don’t underestimate the value of knowing what your opponent does when faced with a given situation. If you can learn to keep track of this and adapt, you can learn to turn your opponent’s knee-jerk reaction into a win on every approach.

    Part 3: Shffling is NOT the Only Way!
    Don’t sell yourself short by always shffling an aerial into your opponent or their shield. There are many other options and the more you learn to use them and stop relying on shffls for everything, the more effective your approach game will become. Some things that aren’t shffling that I like to do to create offense:
    empty short hop -> waveland -> grab/shine->grab
    short hop -> double jump -> waveland on platform -> drop -> fast fall dair
    when they are just sitting in shield: run up -> wavedash -> walk -> shine -> grab
    run up -> wavedash -> DD -> shffl
    SHL -> shine/grab
    There are obviously many more ways to do things, but the point is that there are a lot of mix ups that you can put into your approach game which should throw your opponent off. Changing tempo will frequently leave your opponent flustered, confused, or caught in their shield which makes your eventual approach much more likely to succeed.

    Section 3: Questions About Approaching
    Should I be Using Dair or Nair to Approach?
    This is probably the most frequently asked question on Falco boards that can’t just be answered by giving a definition ("How do I pillar?" "How do I multishine?" and "How I mine for Fish?" all seem to come up more frequently…). The simple answer I always give to people is that if you’re worried about actually being able to hit them, use nair, otherwise, use dair. Basically, nair = lower risk, dair = higher reward. This isn’t always the case, but it’s the foundation of the nair vs. dair dilemma.

    Against dash dancing opponents who I fear will powershield my laser, I will nair for the extra range. Against crouch canceling opponents I will dair for the hitstun and then follow up with dtilt. Against shields, nair is typically better because it does more %, which means it will generate more shield stun and l cancels 2 frames quicker. This is oversimplified though, since dair typically combos better and certainly shield stabs better, so again, it’s not clear cut. Essentially, be smart about it. Use the information you’ve gathered in the match about how your opponent will react and make an educated decision about whether to nair or dair.

    Any Questions on Approaching?
    If you have questions, please ask them and I will add them to the lesson if I deem them worthwhile. Sorry for the shortness and fragmentation of this lesson, I just sorta rambled about stuff and found that I didn’t have as much to say as I thought I did, lol. I hope it’s helpful.


    Lesson 4: Falco in Teams
    Section 1: The History of Mogwai in Teams
    For the vast majority of time I spent maining Falco in Melee, I have been hopelessly unable to use him in teams. Going into my first teams tournament with PockyD, we both decided that our mains (Falco and ICs) were not very well suited for teams play and settled on him playing Ganon and myself playing Jigglypuff. For the first few years of my competitive smash career, Pocky and I would always team and I would rarely play anyone other than Jiggs in teams because the little ***** is unbelievably good in teams. Every once in awhile, I'd pick Falco in team friendlies and inevitably die 5 times in 2 minutes, get pissed and switch back to Jiggs.

    Once Pocky moved out West, I started to play smash less and less and ended up more or less freelancing in teams. Winning in teams had become unattainable due to the increase in skill around Pittsburgh and my failure to find another steady teammate, mostly due to my inactivity. This subsequently led to me desiring fun more than victory in teams which pushed me towards more aggressive characters like Fox and Captain Falcon. I continued using those two in teams during the next year or so of sparse Melee activity and while they were always fun, I never had terribly much success with them.

    As I started taking the game seriously again, I quickly found that any skill I may have had with characters had evaporated and that only Falco and Mewtwo (lol) had any residual skill left. As such, when team friendlies came up, I would just stay Falco and all the bad memories of him in teams came back to me. It just seemed so hopeless. In all the chaos that is a Melee teams match, it seemed almost unavoidable that you'd end up off stage, and once you're there, there are now two jerk offs just looking to tap you once for a free stock. I got frustrated and starting playing Jiggs again in teams, but quickly got frustrated by how much worse I was with her compared to back in the day. After a mostly poor showing at SPOC with Pakman, I decided to quit Jiggs in tournament for good. Finally, I had decided it was time for me to buckle down and figure Falco out in teams.

    The only Falco I had seen be successful in teams up until this point was Reik, so I decided to think back on what made NY Conexion (Eggm + Reik) so good. The first thing that came to mind was their incredible combo chemistry. It seemed whenever they had a 2 on 1 opportunity, you were lucky to get out of it only taking 80%. They also had well thought out team strategies, such as an FD camping strat where Reik would do Full Hop High-Medium Lasers (Fast Fall at the peak of Full Hop) behind Eggm doing SHDL with Fox. If you tried to jump over the SHDL, you'd get hit by Reik's lasers, which would then drop you into more Fox Lasers. It was really annoying. Then it suddenly hit me what was wrong with my whole approach to Falco in teams. 75% of the time, Reik was the one with more stocks. Whenever their team was on one side of the map, and the other team was on the other side of the map, the Fox was in front. All this time, I had been just acting like it was singles and playing a pressure based Falco, when in reality, Falco's best uses in teams are in a supporting role. With this newfound insight, I started playing Falco in teams again and have found myself playing teams at a much higher level than I ever was with any other character.

    Section 2: Why Falco Sucks in Teams
    First I want to talk about all the reasons that I stayed away from Falco in teams for so long.
    1. Extended combos are much less likely to happen in teams. One of the biggest up sides to Falco in singles is that you can hit someone once, then spend the next 20 seconds comboing them for 759812743932874%. In teams, it's rare that your opponent's teammate will let them get comboed for more than a couple seconds. Sure, it does come up when your team mate has them tied down, but the fact that not every shine will lead to a nice extended combo really hinders most Falcos' games.
    2. He gets gimped really easily. Every time you're off stage, there's a high chance that you're going to lose a stock. Since your combos get interrupted frequently, you also find yourself off stage quite a bit more in teams. You also can get hit out of a double jump you used to try to combo, which is even more bad news. There are also two people out for your stock, again, bad bad news. This is a big hurdle to overcome. You're going to have trouble getting a decent teammate if you have to steal one of their stocks every game.
    3. He doesn't have many reliable gimps. Compared to the top tier characters in teams (Fox, Peach, Jiggs, Marth, Sheik), Falco is absolutely abysmal at getting low % kills. Gimps are such a hugely powerful weapon in teams. With combos and grab games limited by the mere definition of teams, being able to just go off stage and make sure your opponent doesn't follow you back is an irreplaceably valuable tool to have.
    4. He has slow horizontal speed. Have you seen Falco run? The speed at which you can make it from one side of the map to the other is very important for creating and disrupting 2 on 1 situations. The fact that Falco can't just knock 1 opponent away and then quickly come up to assist his partner is a big downside compared to Falcon, Fox, Marth and Sheik.
    5. Compared to the top tiers, he doesn't have nearly the same abilities to punish a grab in a 2 on 1. Fox has usmash, Peach has the properly spaced dsmash for 5798572389473%, Jiggs has rest, Marth has tipper, Falcon has knee. Falco's best option is either fsmash, dtilt, dair -> shine, or charged usmash, but none of these really carry the OOMF of the moves I said in the last sentence. His fsmash is good, but in order to strong hit your opponent, you will frequently also hit your partner with at least the weak follow through. Ultimately, usmash -> team combos is probably the best choice, but it can be frustrating to not have a move to just get a free kill when your partner has a grab with an opponent at 80% in 2 on 1s.
    6. He gets comboed very very easily in 2 on 1 situations. Being a fast faller is bad enough when 1 guy is juggling you... once there are 2 dudes doing it, it gets seriously stupid.

    Section 3: Why Falco is Actually Very Good in Teams
    And here's why Falco is actually amazing in teams:
    1. Lasers. Holy **** are lasers amazing in teams. They cover item 4 up there and then some. The fact that Falco can't run fast ends up being completely moot when he has the best disruptive projectile in the game. Ok, so Sheik's chaingrabbing your teammate on the other side of the map? 1 laser fixes this, regardless of who it hits. Peach got a grab on your teammate at 150%? Shoot a high laser to stop the knockback from the fthrow. On top of that, lasers are amazing at controlling space, assisting your partner's recovery, keeping an opponent tied up and extending your partner's combos. In fact, there's so much to say about Lasers that the whole next section is going to be able laser in teams.
    2. Despite the lack of extended combo, Falco's quick combos are still obscenely good and easy to link into your teammate's combos. While you can't spend all of a teams match going off and making combo vid material out of one of your opponents, simple combinations of dair, bair, shine, and utilt can build up a lot of damage very very quickly and leave your opponent in hitstun in a convenient location for your teammate to pick up where you left off.
    3. While not great at gimping, dair kills are fantastic at mid % when your opponent is left hanging in the air off the stage. It leaves little room for DI and guarantees a lot of kills, so throw that bad boy out there whenever you get the opportunity.
    4. Falco is a good 1 v 2er thanks to all his low lag moves and shine leaving very little in the way of punishable frames. While you never hope to be in this situation, it still helps having a character who can last while his partner respawns or pull out a 1 v 2 on 2 opponents with high %.

    Section 4: Lasers in Teams
    In all honesty, using lasers intelligently in teams is the fastest way to boost your teams Falco game to the next level. In this section, I'm going to go through the general uses of lasers in teams. Above, I described some generic laser uses that don't really require a lot of coordination with your teammate. Helping them out of a jam that they have no control over is just the tip of the iceberg though, and many of the uses require that you talk to your teammate beforehand and make sure that they have an understanding of your thought process behind your lasers.

    Part 1: Helping Your Partner Out of Jam
    This situation is the one I described above. Your teammate is getting combo-*****, edgeguarded, techchased, or grabbed. They have little control of their fate and are just looking for anything to allow them to reset to a neutral position. In cases like this, any laser will likely disrupt what was going on enough to buy your teammate a second lease on life, though I will note that when a powerful throw or attack is coming quickly towards my teammate, I usually shoot high to try to hit my teammate (since hitting the opponent after said powerful attack has already connected does no good). In edgeguarding situations, you want to wait until right before your opponent would start a movement to hit your partner before shooting them with a laser. In a case like a Marth trying to fsmash or a Sheik going for ftilt to fair, this is just right before they would do their attack, but if it's a situation where a sheik will jump off fair, Peach would float nair/bair, C. Falcon jump off and weak knee, etc, you must shoot much earlier to just throw them off what they're doing. I've found that most opponents get really confused and thrown off by a laser before they try to do something complex like that and just fail at any simple grounded edgeguard attempt afterward, but if you can, you want to keep shooting that way until your teammate is safe.

    Part 2: Assisting Your Partner’s Recovery
    This is the most basic situation that you need to mentally prepare your partner for. The situation is pretty straight forward... you partner is off stage and cannot make it back on stage due to either being edgehogged or simply not having a long enough recovery. What you need to tell your partner about before hand is that they MUST recover as high as possible in situations like this to give you a chance to give them another up B via a laser. This isn't a terribly complicated thing and it may seem like common sense to you, but you really want to make sure that your partner gets this, because it sucks when they give up and you're in a perfect situation to just laser them back to the stage.

    Part 3: Keeping Your Opponents Grounded
    This one is really important to explain to your partner and make sure that they are comfortable with, but if used effectively is very very potent. This is a generic 2 v 2 situation where you and your partner are on one side of the stage and your opponents are on the other side. In other words, each team has a front man and a back man. As Falco, you are the back man for your team, and what you do is fire high SHLs while your partner stays low to keep your opponents from using any aerial approaches. Once you get a hit, you stop firing the SHLs to let your partner take advantage of the opening and progress to High/ Medium IDJDL to limit the opposing teammate's assist options. This typically works best with a dash dancing Fox/Marth/CF as your teammate and the idea is to give your partner a grab so that they can send the first opponent back your way for a tech chase and move on to the other opponent. The important thing to talk to your partner about here is keeping low and staying in the dash dance (can also work with a crouching Jiggs or Sheik or simply dashing Sheik) without attempting to aerial while you're lasering. As long as they keep lower than your leading opponent and you have good laser control, you can easily manufacture openings. The nice thing is that even if you don't hit with your laser, you can force a shield and generate enough shield stun to get a free grab for your partner.

    Part 4: Keeping Your Partner’s Combos Going
    This situation is simply when your partner finishes a combo and you can't get there for a hit. By simply lasering your opponent you can frequently buy enough time for your partner to follow up with another move. Nothing you really have to discuss with the partner here, but it's worth considering throw combos where your partner would appreciate a laser (such as Falcon uthrowing Marth under 30%ish when Marth can still fair out, but a laser would guarantee your partner an unmolested aerial.)

    Part 5: Creating Openings For Your Partner
    When the teams have roughly split off into 2 1 v 1s and the 1 v1s are both at roughly neutral positions, if you have a clear shot on the opponent that your partner is pair up with, it can be huge for obvious reasons. The low lag on lasers makes the really hard for the opponent you’re paired up with to punish and really gives your team a big edge in the 2 1 v 1s style of team play since you can effectively create a 1.5 v 1 for your partner without really losing anything in your 1 v 1.

    As you may have noticed for 1 and 3, high SHLs are crucial in teams, make sure you have them down pat.

    Section 5: Things You Should Keep in Mind
    1. Don't use your double jump to combo unless you are 100% certain you won't get hit out of it. I can't say this enough. Getting hit when you have no double jump is the worst thing that a Falco can do in teams. If you have a choice between full hop bair or full hop shine-> bair, for the love of god, don't waste your double jump for the shine if there's a snowball's chance in hell that your other opponent could hit you.

    2. Pay A LOT of attention to your teammate. Even with good communication, you can't expect your teammate to keep you clued in on everything, so it's your job to make sure that when you can laser to his benefit or help extend any of his combos that you make the most out of it. It's difficult to split your attention like this, but it's certainly worth it, so practice practice practice keeping one eye on your teammate.

    3. Don't do risky edge guards. If you have a mostly guaranteed kill by doing a simple edgeguard, go for it, but otherwise, you'd rather not take the chance of a reversal. Instead, use these opportunities when you knock one opponent way off to double team his teammate.

    4. Laser grab is really good in teams. The limiting factor in comboing your lasers into grabs in singles is that Falco's throws suck, but as long as your teammate has good options vs. a stationary opponent, this technique proves very powerful.

    5. Learn to split tech chase options with your teammate. You and your partner need to have a good feel for each other's reactions to tech chasing scenarios and keep all options covered. It's honestly not terribly difficult but I see tech chase situations blown way too much in teams to not mention it.

    6. If your partner has a good aerial finisher, teach them that you will end combos with utilt/usmash/shine and that they should try to finish. If you're teaming with a CF, teach them that they should run up and knee the balls off of someone after you shine them while you keep the other opponent off. Pulling these types of cross ups are fairly difficult, but hugely powerful in teams. It requires that you, too, know when your partner is in a situation to finish for you and to lay off in these cases, but as I said in 2, you should be paying attention anyway.

    7. Find a teammate you have good chemistry and stick with them. I miss having a regular teammate because building from your teams experience with someone is such a huge bonus. If you find a good teammate, don't ditch them for better singles players, as you ultimately will want to keep a consistent teammate rather than freelancing.


    Lesson 5: Recovering with Falco
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    Section 1: Introduction
    For as long as I have lurked the Falco boards, people have been complaining about Falco's recovery. “Falco’s recovery sucks balls!” they would post angrily as they finished regaling us all with another tale of a heartbreaking comeback loss to a Marth. Marth was at 250% with 1 stock left to their 0% with 2 stocks left. Bthrow -> jab -> forward B and chaingrab -> fsmash -> fair -> dair later, another Falco player is left crumbled up on the floor in the fetal position, weeping over how unfair this stupid game is.

    And to be perfectly honest, there is some truth behind the overwhelming wave of johns that come with every bad beat we have to hear about Falco’s recovery. It’s not very good and one wrong decision while off stage is practically guaranteed to be the difference between keeping a stock and losing one. But the real problem is that many Falco players don’t analyze when they have made a wrong mistake and instead choose to pin every gimp and brutal edgeguard on their character’s terrible recovery.

    Thankfully for all you reading this, Uncle Mogwai’s here to take you to Tough Guy Camp to teach you to stop *****ing and start figuring out how to live on your own.

    Section 2: The Issues with Falco’s Recovery
    Ok so let’s start off by addressing the serious issues with Falco’s recovery game.

    Part 1: It's Too Short (THAT'S WHAT SHE SAID, MIRITE?)
    First off, we have the marginal distance covered by his up B and forward B moves. They could be worse, but when you stack the distance covered by these moves up next to Fox’s equivalent moves, it’s easy to see that Falco doesn’t cover a whole lot of distance on his way back to the stage.

    Implications:
    What this means (aside from the obvious fact that if Falco is hit super far out, he can’t make it back), is that at the same distance from the ledge as a Fox, you have fewer options. In situations where Fox could either go to the edge, onto the stage or all the way up to a platform, Falco is frequently limited to either just the edge, or just the edge or the stage.

    How to get around it:
    This is an entirely legitimate issue in many situations, but any time you feel limited in your recovery options to the point where it cost you a stock, ask yourself if you could’ve DIed the hit different such that you were close enough to have enough freedom to live. Also evaluate how you DIed the prior hits if it was the final blow in a combo. Frequently we Falco players freak out when we’re getting comboed and foolishly DI up and in to try to stay alive, only to eat extra hits in a combo. DON’T DO THAT. Learn to DI correctly, you can set your DI away to avoid being comboed and then react to most finishing hits as they are typically telegraphed. DI away from Falcon when you’re popped up and if he sets himself up at your level, the knee is coming and then you switch to survival DI, but you wouldn’t be able to set DI to up and in and have time to react to a SH uair. Think about these sorts of things when you are playing friendlies and when you’re watching videos of yourself play.

    Part 2: Up B Sucks Pretty Hard
    Next we have the considerable startup time associated with Falco’s up B and its vulnerability. Since Falco doesn’t have the fire like Fox, the first hitbox from his up B comes out on frame 43 when he starts moving.

    Implications:
    That’s a little more than 2/3 of a second, which is brutal and gives anyone who expected you to up B free reign to come out and kill you however they please.

    How to get around it:
    Only Firebird when you have to or have successfully tricked your opponent into committing to an on-stage edgeguard. This issue is mostly solved by learning to recognize the situations I’ll talk about in Section 4.

    Part 3: He Falls Pretty Fast
    The last serious issue that people have with Falco’s recovery is that Falco is one of the fastest fallers in the game. He has the fastest top falling speed and fastest average falling speed according to M2K’s old research (http://m2k.galaxy64.com/ssbm.html).

    Implications:
    Aside from the on stage implications, Falco’s falling speed means that when he gets hit with a weak attack off stage, he has much less time to react before he drops beneath the ledge height. Couple this with the aforementioned vulnerable up B, and we have the formula for every Falco’s worst nightmare.

    How to get around it:
    React quickly and properly. Learn to react to getting shot with a laser/needle by forward Bing since the intent of the edgeguarder is to knock you below stage level to force you into your up B. Learn to not get hit by Marth’s jab and wiggle -> air dodge immediately after getting hit.

    Also save your second jump until the point where your opponent can no longer hit you out of it. I’ll talk more about this in Section 4, but the gist of it is that Falco’s recovery is fine so long as you can accurately perceive and react to the situations.

    OK, great, that’s it. Those three things are all there is to ***** about Falco’s recovery, that wasn’t so painful, was it? Sure, he’s got limitations and isn’t nearly as good at recovering as many characters, but it could be worse. For a reference on how it could be worse, play Ness or Zelda or Kirby or Doc or Captain Falcon or Roy for a little while, it’ll give you some perspective.

    Section 3: Things about Falco’s Recovery to be Thankful For
    So we’ve talked enough about the John-worthy aspects of Falco’s recovery, let’s get into talking about the good facets of it.

    Part 1: Non-Linear Recovery
    The most important thing here is that Falco has A LOT of recovery options. As we talked about in the previous section, they might not be the best options, but the fact remains that in most recovery situations, Falco has numerous ways to get his feet back on the ground:

    Up B with full 360 degrees of freedom and auto sweetspots for downward angles.
    Forward B with 4 alternative shortened lengths.
    Air Dodging

    He also has a few nice tools and characteristics that assist his recovery in:

    A high double jump
    A shine to stop his horizontal momentum, turn him around and mix up timings
    A high wall jump

    Compare this to most characters with more limited motion with their up Bs and only marginally useful forward Bs and you’ll notice that Falco’s recovery is relatively far from linear.

    Part 2: Low Landing Lag
    The next thing I want to note is that almost all of Falco’s recovery moves are unrealistically low on landing lag. Forward B and up B each only generate 3 frames of landing lag if they complete before you hit the ground, and up B only generates 6 frames if you hit the ground with it. Forward B generates 20 frames of landing lag if you hit the ground with it, but this is practically never the case, as the move is mostly going to the edge or slightly above the ground. Due to Falco’s fast falling speed, all this together means that it’s very difficult to try to punish Falco after he has completed his recovery move.

    Part 3: Short Duration
    Hand in hand with this aspect comes the fact that Falco’s recovery is extremely quick. If your opponent has to move a lot to get in position, they will frequently be out of position due to the fact that Falco’s total time between going off stage and attempting to recover rarely exceeds 2-3 seconds.

    Section 4: Situation Recognition
    Now that we’ve sorta laid out the bare-bones facts about Falco’s recovery, it’s time to talk about what actually determines if you live or die off stage.

    Part 1: What is Situation Recognition
    Off stage game is all about what I call situation recognition, the ability to recognize your opponent’s options and realize when one of your recovery options is relatively safe. If you double jump quickly because you thought your opponent wasn't going to jab you out of it, but then he does and you die because of it, it was a failure of Situation Recognition. Learning how to recognize a situation correctly, takes quite a bit of time, but it's important to tell people that this is something they should be doing instead of just trying to get back to the stage without paying attention to the opponent.

    There are simply too many characters and play styles for me to go through every different way your opponent can be edgeguarding you and tell you what their options are and what you should be looking for while recovering, but I’m going to try to go through an example and hopefully you’ll get an idea of how you should be thinking when you’re piloting Falco back to the stage.

    Part 2: An Example of How to Break Things Down
    The example:
    I’m going to go through the situation that is most frequently asked about. Marth grabs you near the ledge and dthrows you off stage. To start off, you must DI this away. If you DI in, you allow the Marth to turn around and dtilt you for free, which makes the situation that much worse. Ok, so let’s talk about his options and how you need to be reading his motions to best select your option.

    Marth’s Options:
    The most common thing for Marth’s to do in this situation is to stand on stage facing outward. The idea here is to attempt to jab/dtilt/fsmash you out of your double jump or your forward B if you DI away and double jump outward to forward B through them.
    [​IMG]
    If instead you go below stage and try to up B, the Marth will either move closer to the edge and counter, move back and fsmash/neutral b or jump out and fair you, depending on their style and reaction time.
    [​IMG]
    The reason Marth players love this style of edgeguarding is that it doesn’t force them to commit to an option and lets them react to everything that you’re doing with a quick move.

    The next option a Marth has is to immediately dash off stage and fair, the idea being to catch Falco in his double jump.
    [​IMG]

    The last thing that they can really do is WD backwards and take the edge and try to drop down and aerial you if you attempt to recover low or ledge hop aerial you if you try to recover high.
    [​IMG]

    OK, so now the most important thing for you to do when you’re off stage in this situation is to try to recognize what your opponent’s plan in as quickly and calmly as possible. Double jumping immediately is rarely, if ever, your best option, so for the love of god, don’t just panic and hit jump only to have your jump jacked by a jab. Saving your double jump is absolutely paramount, as once you lose your double jump, your plethora of options that we talked about in Section 3 gets reduced to just up Bing, which means that you’re dead. EVERY SINGLE CHARACTER’S OPTIMAL EDGEGUARD ON FALCO INVOLVES KNOCKING HIM OUT OF HIS DOUBLE JUMP BECAUSE ONCE HE’S BELOW THE STAGE, HE’S DEAD.

    Once you notice your opponent’s choice of how to edgeguard you, think of what it’s trying to exploit and come up with a plan to avoid getting hit out of your double jump. The reactions and counters to your opponent’s game plan are not set in stone, but to give you a sort of outline and starting point, these are roughly how I try to react to each of his options above.

    How Mogwai Typically Tries to React:
    He dthrows me, I see him standing on the stage facing outward. His plan is clearly to dtilt/jab me out of my double jump. I let myself fall to around the point where I could double jump and sweetspot the edge. Marf’s hitboxes are retarded and hit below the stage though, so just double jump sweetspotting doesn’t work with Falco’s sweetspot vs. a properly timed jab/dtilt. I’ve noticed over time that Marths jab/dtilt when then hear your double jump sound so my reaction is to double jump and before I’m at the point of that he can hit me, I airdodge up through his attack and back onto the stage. If I can, I’ll airdodge high and try to DI back towards the edge to avoid the re-grab, but here it’s pretty much a guessing game. If you have a wall to ride up on, also consider wall jumping into the airdodge to give yourself the extra invulnerability frames immediately after the walljump

    He dthrows me, I see him dash towards the edge immediately after the throw. His plan is to run off and aerial me. If I have a wall to jump off of, I will let myself drop low and then wall jump into an aerial, forward B to the ledge or airdodge onto the stage. If there’s no wall, I’ll fall to the point of a double jump sweet spot, and either just immediately double jump sweetspot or shine for a spit second to mix the timing up and then double jump sweetspot, depending on the situation. If you have godly reactions or didn’t follow my advice above to not just double jump immediately, you can also just immediately double jump to get above the Marth and throw a quick Dair out there and hope for the best. This is not a smart option though, as every fast reactions aren’t close to fast enough to do this on reaction so if you guess wrong about what the Marth is doing and he decides to just stand there and jab or WD back into an fsmash, you’re probably dead.

    He dthrows me, I see him WD backwards. His plan is to take the ledge and attempt to aerial me on recovery. By putting himself on the ledge, he has taken away his ability to hit me if I go high so that’s usually what I do. Also, most of the time a player takes the edge to edgeguard, they don’t plan on actually holding onto it so it’s frequently a good idea to jump up and up B at the level where your up B charging will grab the ledge so that when he ledgehops, you just grab the ledge and get invulnerability frames.

    Section 5: Random Other Stuff
    Learn to shorten your illusion and understand its sweetspots. If you crash into the stage with it, that’s not a sweet spot. If it ends a little ways away from the ledge, that’s a sweet spot.

    Learn where your up B can grab the ledge while charging. Practice some firestalling and while doing so, pay attention to how far away you can be in order to grab it.

    Learn to angle your up B against walls for sweetspots from below. Especially against lazy Marth players who just go for counters when you have to up B, this is hugely useful as a sweet spotted up B triggers their counter without actually getting hit.

    Wall jumps give you invulnerability frames, so does grabbing the ledge. Pay attention and get a feel for how long each of these invulnerability windows lasts.

    LEARN TO TECH. Training mode, proxy mines on walls, just practice practice practice until you get the timing. You have a decent window to start holding R in order to tech, just learn it and you’ll live a hell of a lot longer.

    So that’s sorta it. Most of learning how to react to different situations will come with experience, but the gist that I’m trying to get you to get here is that it’s important to think and appropriately identify what your opponent’s strategy is. In friendlies, when someone hits you with something new, think about it later that night and what you could’ve done to avoid dying from it. Recovering is 50% Situation Recognition and 50% beating strong strategies for how to react into your head.



    After reading all this, if you still have questions about Falco, I'm here to answer them so ask away!
    [​IMG]

    Stuff past here is not Mogwai material

    [​IMG]

    Random useful stuff goes here

    Pillaring Frame Data from Scotu:
    This is indeed the kind of **** one should quote in the first post.

    Moral of the story, pillaring ain't safe vs. good play OOS.
     
  2. soap

    soap
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    Smash Hero

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    very nice opening with the scar story, will read later (so hungry)
     
  3. Umbreon

    Umbreon
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    Moonlight Pokémon

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    falco: go to onett or yoshi pipes.
     
  4. Mogwai

    Mogwai
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    Smash Gizmo

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    I want to expect better of you, but I know not to

    Sorry Mow, I'm talking about legal stages :p... I like temple over both of those for the record. Nothing like ending an 8 minute match with both players at 4 stocks and them at 30% and you at 0%.
     
  5. DtJ Jungle

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    awesome post mog. huge help
     
  6. Cactuar

    Cactuar
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    El Fuego

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    Why do we get bans... I don't need those...

    Good read. I've never really thought about stage bans or counterpicks that (or in any) way.
     
  7. Scar

    Scar
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    #HarveyDent

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    TRUE STORY. Seriously call him Dr. Mogwai, champion of smash knowledge.
     
  8. DtJ Jungle

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    It's actually abou time you had your own thread, your the most helpful person on these boards
     
  9. pockyD

    pockyD
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    shine->shine->maybe up-b vs nana on story, stadium, fountain, battlefield i think

    also i'm about 90% sure that scar lost to ryoko on FD because of chaingrabs, not mute city
     
  10. DtJ Jungle

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    btw i just realized you made this thread on my request :)

    too cool man
     
  11. Scar

    Scar
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    #HarveyDent

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    **** good memory.
     
    leekslap likes this.
  12. RyokoYaksa

    RyokoYaksa
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    BRoomer

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    Indeed, as Scar bans Mute on me.
     
  13. Mogwai

    Mogwai
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    Smash Gizmo

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    I want to expect better of you, but I know not to

    I thought he still auto-banned FoD at that point... oh well, as I said, I wasn't watching for game 2, so I'll trust that yall are correct.
     
  14. noodles

    noodles
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    good thread
     
  15. Mogwai

    Mogwai
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    Smash Gizmo

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    I want to expect better of you, but I know not to

    I know, I just think having some more room to not auto-die to dsmash at 50% is more important than that. It's not like gimping Nana is hard...

    I dunno, my theory on ICs might be a little stunted since after you moved to the west coast, I haven't really played any IC players. I still think room to shoot lasers and stay on stage is generally more important than Shine -> ___ off the top kills.
     
  16. DtJ Jungle

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    off the top kills arent really worth it as Falco imo... its easier to be a gay and camp or to be innovative with your combos....
     
  17. Mogwai

    Mogwai
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    Smash Gizmo

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    I want to expect better of you, but I know not to

    I dunno what you mean by worth it... kills are kills and off the top kills don't cost you anything, so a kill for nothing is always worth it...
     
  18. DtJ Jungle

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    i dunno i ugess whati meant was is that there are more effective ways for killing peopl ehtne off the top with falco
     
  19. Mogwai

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    Smash Gizmo

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    well, against floaties on low-mid ceiling height stages, shine -> shine with possibly -> upB in there is probably the most efficient way to kill them at low %s. It's not the safest or easiest way to kill them, but if you can land it, it's a huge help in some matchups on some stages.
     
  20. prog

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    Interesting topic.
     
  21. DtJ Jungle

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    HAHAHAHA prog your avatar made me laugh
     
  22. pockyD

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    well imo falco should clearly be banning FD against ice climbers

    laser spam isn't super effective because it will only hit one climber; if you're stationary spamming, you will be losing to ice blocks, whereas if you weave around, you're liable to get punished because one climber absorbs the laser while the other bumps you

    plus, without platforms, you aren't comboing them as well as you should, and your recovery REALLY suffers when you can't effectively go over their heads
     
  23. Mogwai

    Mogwai
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    Smash Gizmo

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    right, I had forgotten how poor they are at punishing platforms and the ice block vs. laser dynamic. Move back east so that I don't sound like a scrub talking about this matchup :(.

    Also, I approve prog's sig. Arrested Development chicken dances are too good.
     
  24. pockyD

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    greatest tv show of all time

    also, playing me wouldn't do you any good, certifiably awful now

    full jump dair all day
     
  25. Mogwai

    Mogwai
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    Smash Gizmo

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    :( oh wells. Updated first post to say FD instead of Mute City for Scar vs. Ryoko and redid the IC section since it sucked.

    EDIT: And yes, definitely one of the greatest TV shows of all time. <3 30 rock right now though.
     
  26. MikeHaggarTHAKJB

    MikeHaggarTHAKJB
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    **** this was a good read. I love reading stuff like this, it's so interesting. :) Keep it up!
     
  27. Omni_Smash

    Omni_Smash
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    Good thread, I like threads like these, they give me something to referance.
     
  28. Falcinho

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    Nice thread =D

    I am planning to write a little "Laser-guide" in our german-speaking forum.
    I didn't intend to translate it into English but lets talk in aim, maybe i can contribute to this thread a bit =D
     
  29. Mogwai

    Mogwai
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    Smash Gizmo

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    I want to expect better of you, but I know not to

    Once I get my new recording equipment i was gonna make some gifs of laser stuff, but yea, feel free to IM me whenever I'm on and I'll most likely be willing to talk smash if I'm not doing anything that requires my full attention.
     
  30. prog

    prog
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    Yeah Mog, I don't think we got to play singles at Alukard's a month or so ago. Definitely want to pick up what I can from you.
     
  31. MikeHaggarTHAKJB

    MikeHaggarTHAKJB
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    I see that falco mains have yet to discover the amazingness of the dtilt
    it's almost as amazing as fox's utilt
     
  32. DtJ Jungle

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    i was talking like....shine shine firefox like they were...dtilt is awesome for falco
     
  33. soap

    soap
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    they were actually talking just dair shine on top plat shine shine, that kills on story.
     
  34. Mogwai

    Mogwai
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    Smash Gizmo

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    I want to expect better of you, but I know not to

    it's not awesome, it's pretty much just decent.

    it's a very situational kill move that has fairly poor range and is easily punished. It has its places, but it's pretty low on the list of awesome Falco moves.

    anyone have requests for what they would like lesson 2 to be written on?
     
  35. DtJ Jungle

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    uhm...how about lasers? or basic combos?
     
  36. soap

    soap
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    Smash Hero

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    LASERS should have been #1
     
  37. DtJ Jungle

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    yeah i think lasers are the first thing you should learn as a falco...dunno prolly gonna get fried for that comment :(
     
  38. Da Shuffla

    Da Shuffla
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    Smash Lord

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    It's all about the lasers.
     
  39. Mogwai

    Mogwai
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    Smash Gizmo

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    I want to expect better of you, but I know not to

    I'm going to make a visually aided guide on lasers once my new recording equipment arrives. Hopefully by the end of the week.
     
  40. DtJ Jungle

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    wow sounds intense cant wait.
     

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