Observation: The Key to Higher Level Smash Play

MookieRah

Kinda Sorta OK at Smash
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#1
------------Preface------------

I've recently made my reappearance back to these boards after a somewhat lengthy smash hiatus to find that A LOT of people have been making some seriously awesome articles/threads recently. To say nothing else, I am very excited, because seemingly out of nowhere a lot of people are coming to some of the same conclusions about high level play that I discovered a little while back. I don't think many people remember my old thread: Simple Effective Melee Advice, and sadly towards the end it devolved into an ideological battle between Forward and I over what was better for improvement, Playing to Learn or Playing to Win, but no matter, A LOT was said that is strikingly similar to these newer threads (albeit they worded them better and went far deeper than I did with it) which only further proves what I already thought to be true.

Mad props go to Wobbles and King for their current threads.

For those interested my old thread is here: http://www.smashboards.com/showthread.php?t=85827

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A lot of people, a lot of smashers here, aren't even aware of one of the most basic functions of high level play. You will ALWAYS see people discussing tech skill and mindgames. Mindgames, the term at least, has become a joke throwaway word for the most part, because so few people actually realize what mingaming is and it is often misunderstood. Still, all you see are topics about those 2 things, but never do you come across a thread talking about observation.

EVERYTHING in smash comes down to observation. EVERYTHING. Did I say that enough? I don't think I did. Once again, EVERYTHING branches from your ability to process as much data as possible visually. Most players play the game half blind, to be blunt and honest. They look only at their character, and focus on trying to get those hot, stinky, wet, nasty combos. Everybody loves dem combos!!! All they see is the most basic set of information going on in the match, which is their character's placement in conjunction to their opponent. The thing is, there is so much more out there to look for. For starters, why do most players focus on their own character in the first place? What information do you get by focusing on your character? You are making your own inputs, so you *should* know what you are doing most of the time without needing to look at your character. The focus should CLEARLY be on your opponent. This is a small tip that goes A LONG way, but you never ever hear it discussed. Of course, from time to time you might stumble a wavedash or not do that dash when you hit the ground like you wanted to or what not, but even if the focus is on your opponent you can still see your character. Keep in mind you can see the whole screen and focus your attention on one spot. You don't have to predict your own moves, or look for your mistakes as much as your opponent. The ability to be able to see through your opponents strategies and take advantage of their mistakes is a lot harder to determine than your own.

I first began to notice the power of observation by ****ing around. My marth was crap, total and utter crap about a year ago. I didn't have jack **** tech skill with him, didn't really know any combos or setups and what not. Complete garbage. One day though, I got bored. So instead of trying to beat my friends in a match, I was just trying to make them look stupid. I didn't realize this, but it was the first time I gave my entire attention to my opponent. All the sudden, I'm winning by spamming well spaced smashes at oppertune times. All the sudden, I'm seeing and responding to missed techs with smashes. My opponents, while not as good as I were, were not horrible players. There was no reason in my mind why this was happening, I was not just winning, I was ******, by spamming no more than 6 attacks. I later dubbed this strategy the "Make you feel stupid Marth."

So how did that work? How was I able to see more all of the sudden? Simple really. I changed my goals. My focus was only to get in tippers and smashes. I limited myself to just one thing, and when I did that, I could see ALL of the openings for that one thing. Normally I would look at the big picture, and I wouldn't notice all of the small things going on. I was clouded by thinking I should have to do some combo, or some lead in, when the most obvious and most effective answer was right in front of my face. Once I realized this, I knew what I could do to improve my observation.

It's easy to improve your observational skills, but it does take some time. The trick is try looking for one new thing at a time. Keep doing it until it becomes second nature. Eventually you are used to doing it, and it requires little thought and effort to do. Some examples of things to look for in matches are as follows:

Missed Techs
Habits in your opponents techs (IE: if your opponent is prone to teching to stand, or rolling left or right predominately)
Opponents using their Second Jumps
Habits in your opponents recovery and ledge game
Discovering your own habits
Discovering your opponents strategy
Determining the morale of your opponent

There are loads more things than that, but that should be a good grounding. Keep in mind, that being able to notice just one of these things will improve one QUITE a bit. Also, the more and more you observe, the easier and easier it becomes to learn to observe other things in the match. It builds on itself until it gets to the point that you see just about all their is to see in the match. The more you see, the more you begin to realize that what you do and how very much affects your opponent. All of the sudden mindgames develop on their own from your understanding of what is going on around you. Instead of waiting for your opponent to fall into things on his own, you can actively pursue to MAKE your opponent fall into them. In effect, mindgames, or just smart playing, is a direct result of good observational skills and nothing more. It's sad how simple all this is, but because it has been so vaguely described and mysterious, most people don't know about it.

There is one last important thing I will take about, and that is the flow of the match. Remember my "Make you feel stupid Marth" example from earlier? There was more to it than me being able to see tips I didn't notice before and abusing it, a lot more. My opponent felt dumb, stupid, humiliated, and helpless to what was going on. How did this happen? What the hell is going on?

Establishing fear, or the feeling of helplessness, is something that even fewer people realize. All of us have felt it before, all of us has caused it before; however, few people understand truly how they did it or how they fell into it. It's also amazingly simple.

My best example is once again Marth, whom has become my champion in terms of establishing fear. Marth is already a character MANY players hate to play against, and a lot of players go into the fight already afraid of tippers and early ledgeguard kills. KNOW THIS. People are nervous at tournaments, even high level players are a bit nervous. You can USE this, as long as you stay calm. All it takes for me to scare an opponent is to make a few smart moves in the beginning. Focus on getting a few of those tippers off. All it takes is a few tips. While I don't advocate it, smack talking amplifies things. Catch your opponent in a few stupid tippers, and remind them that they were careless or just downright stupid to be caught in it in the first place. All you are doing right now, is working on their morale.

Once you have landed a few (or if you have landed a few) your opponent will already start to feel a lot of pressure. Especially in the case of Marth. They will start to fear your tips, and this places doubt in their mind. They begin to second guess themselves and are easily frustrated. At this point they make a lot more mistakes which leads to a lot more tips. It's a snowball effect that leaves most players on their knees, unable to realize what is really going on namely because most players aren't fully aware of what is going on. It gets worse and worse, and by the end of the first match, they have already lost the set. You have completely and totally destroyed their morale. Not only that, they will probably even play worse in their next matches. Ever wondered exactly why you were having a bad smash day? A lot of times it wasn't so much you were playing bad, it's because your morale has gone so low that you are afraid of everything your opponent throws at you.

Hopefully by now you are beginning to understand why I'm passionate AND frustrated over the subject of observation and the role it plays. All to often I hear dudes rambling on about their favorite mindgame and I wish I could punch people through the internet. Hopefully this cleared a lot of things up.
 

Toomai

Smash Ace
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#2
It's true that you can't win without observing. But it's also true that you can't win by observing alone. You have to act on your observations.

Because you have to act on what you see, you first have to know how to act. So that begs the question...Do you learn how to act, and then look for places to use your knowledge? Or do you first look for weaknesses, and then practice your exploitation skills? Not knowing how to respond to an observation can be as bad as not making the observation in the first place.
 

Cra$hman

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#3
Another benefit of watching the opponent i think you failed to mention is you actually react a lot faster if your attention is directly on the opponent than if you just see them peripherally(sp). like if they tech roll or miss a smash, if you're looking directly at them almost anyone should be able to react in time to punish those things but a lot of people miss, not because their reactions are too slow but because they wern't paying attention when it happened.
 

MookieRah

Kinda Sorta OK at Smash
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#4
It's true that you can't win without observing. But it's also true that you can't win by observing alone. You have to act on your observations.
Most players hit the point to where observation would take them way farther than playing by instinct, but they never cross over into that level. This post was mainly for people in that category. As far as what you are saying I know what you mean, but all of that comes with experience and it stems from your ability to observe. Building up tech skill and basic gameplay is a lot easier and definitely more intuitive than this, so if you are having problems with the basics, stick to working on that. One of the big things I'm trying to stress is to tackle one thing at a time and not trying to overextend yourself.

lot of people miss, not because their reactions are too slow but because they wern't paying attention when it happened.
Yeah, that is very true. I really didn't go into all the details of why you should focus on your important, just that it's REALLY a good thing to do that. Actually I did mention more about reaction times and how to improve them in Wobbles thread, here is what I posted:
One's reaction time (which you have reffered to as Pure, Art, and Dirt very appropriate acronyms considering, props XD) all will speed up with experience, primarily experience in observing. The more and more you can pinpoint things like your opponents mistakes, your mistakes, your availiable options at a given point, your opponents options at a given point, and etc the easier and easier it all becomes. At first it's a HUGE amount of information that one will see, but the more you observe, the more you can chunk this information into groups. So instead of seeing 50 things, you see 5 sets of 10 things in a chunk a piece. The more you can "chunk" the more you can read at a given time, and the faster you react upon a situation because the information is organized in your mind and what not.

Honestly, my reaction time hasn't changed much at all. You can test this by having someone drop a ruler and catching it. Don't make a habbit of that, cause if you do it all the time it no longer judges reaction time, just how well you can catch falling rulers. Anyways, I can see and react to things MUCH faster now than I used to, and it's all because I can see more clearly than I used to, and I know what to expect most of the time. This never really sped up much, UNTIL I started focusing on observing more in my matches.
Another thing I meant to mention is how stuff from Wes's videos are possible. I know a lot of people wonder how he could get away with the most stupid retarded ****, like walking through enemies and smashing, and still ****. The thing is, once fear has been deeply established, and your opponent has pretty much lost all his morale, you can just treat the match as a joke like that. A lot of people think that if they just randomly started that **** up in the match that it would magically work, and they are very mistaken, so they are left in awe when they see it happen, and it almost looks as if the player is psychic, magical, or David Blaine.

The thing is, none of this stuff is magical, none of this stuff is actually very hard either. It's just understanding a few things about the game, and understanding how people react to things.
 

Umbreon

Moonlight Pokémon
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#5
I remember that convo about making the opponent look stupid.

I think smash is more about practicing with the right people now for the most part.
 

MookieRah

Kinda Sorta OK at Smash
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#6
Yeah, that is sadly true as well :-(. Where you are and who you can play are just as important as any of the learning strategies you employ. Hopefully Brawl will help fix that a little. Nobody knows for sure about how good (or bad) online play will be, but if it at least decent, then that will help out a bit. Here is hoping anyways.
 

St. Viers

Smash Champion
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#7
this reminds again of Musashi (Book of the 5 Rings)

the looking eye is weak, the seeing eye is strong

and the whole point of crushing the spirit of the enemy, and then being able to completely crush them...>:}

anyways, I would have to say that while observing is something that people really need to work on (I'm amazed at how much I've been saying this to people before reading you thread) you need to be able to act on your observations. IMO the strategy of limiting yourself to the f-smash and consciously looking for openings is a flawed way to practice. Although it slowly helps you realize you need to see your opponent, knowing the limitations of your character and their bounds, and then working on using this knowledge in conjunction with observation is what really helps.

I find that it is better to not "focus" on anything while playing (I've noticed this in pool and table tennis too...) but to try and see everything. This takes more practice/mental control than your idea of looking, as it is so easy to try and concentrate on the ball, the opponent, or the table, but by keeping your mind focused on all aspects is far better. Because if you focus on the ball, you lose trak of where the table is, if you focus on "your shot" you loe track of what to do next (thinking ahead is what many people don't do in pool--they know how to hit the shots, but that blinds them to the ful game). Likewise if you solely focus on the opponent, you lose track of what damage you are at, where you are on the stage, and whether you missed something.
 

flintstone

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#8
on a totally unrelated subject to what St.Viers said, i think im gonna find this veeeery useful in improving my game.

as shown in this video(which hasnt been uploaded yet cause foulplay is lazy ¬_¬)

i was beat pretty badly by his link against my yoshi and gannondorf, because as u were describing earlier, my morale had sort of...fallen out the window and died...
i had beaten his link several times with gannondorf several times before this, but the more i thought about how badly he could beat me, the more i lost...

plus i was actually very surprised when i started beating him with gannondorf, considering the huge list of disadvantages he has compared to link (speed of attacks, projectiles, attack range, etc) but i beat him having no idea what i was doing...

and ive realised ive trailed of the topic slightly...

if foulplay ever gets the video up ill post it up here...

and thanks to anyone who has taken the time to read this :)
 

MookieRah

Kinda Sorta OK at Smash
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#9
you need to be able to act on your observations.
This was already said, and I kinda addressed it in general. The thing is the ability to act off your observation just comes on it's own. I focussed this thread on observation, because it needed to be championed. Seriously, how many observation threads have you seen?

Another thing, I have a hard time to relating to learning how to act on the observations, cause by the time I realized how important it was, it was a no brainer as to what I should do. Honestly, even if you aren't super technical, if you are aware of mistakes there are a lot of options to take advantage of it without tech skill and what not. Hell if you are completely clueless, even a dash attack can punish a missed tech (not that a dash attack is a bad option for this all the time, but it should be a very easy conclusion that someone who didn't know what l-canceling was to do). Learning what to do when comes on it's on and is intuitive, a lot of time observation isn't. The thing is for the people who observation came intuitively, they are heralded as exceedingly talented players, when really they just realized how important it was from the get go. Thusly the point of this thread.

Likewise if you solely focus on the opponent, you lose track of what damage you are at, where you are on the stage, and whether you missed something.
find that it is better to not "focus" on anything while playing (I've noticed this in pool and table tennis too...) but to try and see everything.
I wasn't saying being completely oblivious to everything else but the one thing. I was saying learn to tackle one thing at a time. I think your advice to try to look at everything all at once would be a bad thing for someone starting out, cause it IS overwhelming. It doesn't take long to incorporate a single element into your game, and move onto another, but trying to tackle them all at once... you could go for a long time with very little improvement. In essence, you need to learn to walk before you run.

IMO the strategy of limiting yourself to the f-smash and consciously looking for openings is a flawed way to practice. Although it slowly helps you realize you need to see your opponent, knowing the limitations of your character and their bounds, and then working on using this knowledge in conjunction with observation is what really helps.
I'm gonna tackle this quote in two parts. For the first part:
Have you tried this? Seriously, have you? It "doesn't" sound like it works, and when I was doing it I was simply amazed. Did you read the entirety of my first post? The thing is that once you get a few stupid things off, your opponent gets more and more frustrated, and they feel more and more helpless. It's amazing how well it works, and if you haven't tried it you, probably won't believe it. Again, this isn't intutive, and for the most part you just have to trust it and try it. Be sure not to take it too seriously though, just **** around like I did. I recently got recording equipment, and I want to make some videos to be used as examples of what I'm saying, but the semester is up and I'm back in Tupelo, where nobody plays smash anymore. I might make a special trip out just to get this done, cause I know a lot of this stuff sounds too good to be true.

Now to go onto the second part:
Yes, when you have been doing a lot of observation and everything it's generally best to use all the skills in your arsenal and that isn't really the point of my example of "Make you feel stupid Marth". However, I still use the Make you feel stupid strategy, for a **** good reason. The stupider you can play while ****** your opponent, the faster it will crush your opponent's morale. If I get a few awesome things off in the beginning I tend to make the switch to the "Make you feel stupid" because at that point my opponent is afraid and tends to make a lot of mistakes which fuels the fire.

plus i was actually very surprised when i started beating him with gannondorf, considering the huge list of disadvantages he has compared to link (speed of attacks, projectiles, attack range, etc) but i beat him having no idea what i was doing...
Actually, ganon vs link isn't that bad of a matchup at all. So don't worry so much, there are far worse matchups out there, and if you are worried about this one, how will you react to the others? It seems to me that you went into matches expecting to lose, and whenever you didn't care about it you did much better. While this isn't the point of the thread, morale has a lot to do with smash. If you have a hard time with a matchup, try to grab someone of that character and get in some matches. Try to understand your options and learn what to do against them. Once you know what you can do, you won't worry as much, and if you don't worry as much, your morale won't be destroyed from the get go.
 

v for vhs

Smash Rookie
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#10
this is my first post in the first thread i've read since registering, and i must say... this made my day! haha i've always been rather technical in my style of play but i more often than not lose out of frustration to much less *advanced* players. until reading this, i could only imagine why.

i've never thought much of it but as i think back on it, it's amazing just how much my morale during a match has been key to victory or loss. sure, it's easy to *acknowledge* it's importance but its admittedly hard to apply. i'm sure there's a lot of players out there like me who notice their own tendency to either play really well and **** or play ridiculously horrible and flop--to the same people. i've been wondering why this is so for a while now and you know what? mookierah, my friend, you've enlightened me.

all in all, i've realized that while it is important that you're able to adapt and adjust to the ups and downs of a match, it is just as crucial to adapt and adjust to whats going on in your head.
 

Nick Nasty

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#11
Wow.......I never really thought about this kind of stuff when I was playing. Everyday I just pratice and try to improve my tech skills as much as possible, but whenever I would play against my friends, it would always seem like that I was "having a bad day" or actually playing worse than when I was trying to play better. My friends would be like " Stop trying so hard" or " Have fun with the game". I was thinking to myself that in order to have fun with the game, I need to get better at the game:mad: . Then they suggested that I develop mindgames, but of course, that requires experience:( . This is my first time reading a thread on Melee Discussion, and let me tell you, after reading this thread it feels as though I actually understand the game a little bit better. Now that I think about it, IMO Azen is probably the epitome of this playstle that you are talking about. This will definitely be a great asset to my playstyle ( I main Marth). THANK U SO MUCH ROOKIEMAH, I APPRECIATE THIS IMENSLY:chuckle:
 
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#12
What would you say about the problem of having awful tech skill in real matches? When i'm just practicing in training mode (or vs, infinite time when i want the cstick), I don't miss lcancels and always shorthop when I want to. But then when it comes to a real match, i mess up on basics left and right. My brother thinks it's that i care too much about winning so i observe too much, get excited, **** up, and because i ****ed up, whatever I planned didn't work.... Does this make sense?

Also, I tend to play worse if I've already suicided in a match. Could that be related to the morale thing?
 

KevinM

Doin Me so Hard I Got Pregnant
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#13
Yea Rapid, i think the fact that if you make a brief mistake you tend to get worse because you beat yourself up over it.. the only way i got good with all my tech skills was by playing tons of matches until matches meant nothing anyway ya know?
 

MookieRah

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#14
But then when it comes to a real match, i mess up on basics left and right.
Sounds like you are just getting nervous. There is no easy way to answer that because people deal with it different ways. Try playing a lot of friendlies before real matches start, that always helps me.
 
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#15
Ah, so this is why F-smash spammy Marths can do so well! It isn't just that they use such limited moves and thusly they know the spacing of the moves insanely well; it is that they do not need to watch themselves. They know exactly what they are going to do right when the opponent is in range, so why watch themselves?

I've noticed as well that I do much better when I focus more upon the enemy and just sort of paying attention to my own movements enough that I don't flub everything. Still though it is always great to see this kind of stuff carefully formed out into words so that one can think about it in a more precise and knowledgable manner.

Thanks for making this thread MookieRah, it is ultra spiffy.
 

SCOTU

Smash Hero
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#16
Great thread mookierah! I was known for "frame vision", or the ability to see what happens every frame of the game (this gets annoying for fluorescent lights). But I really need to work on broadening my view and seeing patterns that my opponents fall into, rather than just what my opponents are doing. And how my opponents react to what i do as opposed to what they are just doing at the time.
 

Marthpaladin

Smash Rookie
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Dec 31, 2006
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#18
Nicely written post mookierah. It has encouraged me to somehow not let my morale control how I play. I've noticed whenever I say in my mind, "I might lose this match", I have done so. I especially break down when I feel like I'm doing well at first, but then my opponent adapts to what I'm doing, and I usually lose due to my lack of variation. My not being able to control my emotions when I play is one of the biggest reasons why I'm pretty bad.

As for watching my opponents, I'm not too bad unless I get in a chain of messing up techs. Being consistant with tech while being nervous is crucial to controling morale so you can watch your oppoents more.
 

TrageÐy ®

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#19
Establishing fear, or the feeling of helplessness, is something that even fewer people realize. All of us have felt it before, all of us has caused it before; however, few people understand truly how they did it or how they fell into it. It's also amazingly simple.
True. Found this out playing v my sister.

You also said that High Level players are afraid at tournaments. I found that much to be obvious, because everyone's afraid they might meet a player who pwns them easily. Like ledgeguard kills in the first 1 minute. Or dying of a stupid mistake, like Luigi's side B move, and stuff.
 

SCOTU

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#20
True. Found this out playing v my sister.

You also said that High Level players are afraid at tournaments. I found that much to be obvious, because everyone's afraid they might meet a player who pwns them easily. Like ledgeguard kills in the first 1 minute. Or dying of a stupid mistake, like Luigi's side B move, and stuff.
did your sister beat you that hard?
 

Zane Fleia

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#21
I just played Smash today against a bunch of my friends. All of whom are generally better than me. I must say, this worked amazingly well for me. I didn't read this until after I got back home, but I was using it, albiet not realizing I was using it, the second half of the session.

One of my friends plays a mean Peach. Or, at least mean by my standards. Turnips flying everywhere, stitch-faces, beamswords, bob-ombs. Crazy luck. Two beamswords and two stitch-faces in one match. One of the stitch-faces was for an easy stock, and it got me thinking. What if I caught that stitch-face? What would that lead to? Not only an extra stock for me, for a while, but also a threat to the Peach player. Our next match, I focused on when he pulled the turnips and when he threw them. In a sense, almost all my focus was on him. And I almost won. I didn't win, but it was very close. Normally, he 2-stocks me minimum. 3-stocks me often.

I didn't realize it then, but I just read this thread and now I relate to it. I got so close to winning because I was focusing on him, not me. If he threw a turnip, I used to shield or dodge. The shield often ended in him catching it again, or him keeping me there and it falling on me. This time, the turnips helped me bring the fight to him. Granted, I'm not good at catching things in the air. I've never put any focus on it until today. But those two or three times it worked were worth it. Almost winning was great for me against this person.

Someone said it before on Smashboards, and I will repeat it. I believe nothing is more intimidating to a Peach than someone who catches their stitch-face. Even if you throw it down into the ground, you just caught their stitch-face. I agree completely.
 

SpruceTengu

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#22
I've got to say this thread brings out quite a few concepts most players don't really end up thinking about, and they're certainly ones that deserve careful consideration. The idea of inducing fear in the opponent seems too often associated with mindgames, though its something a bit more complicated, I'd have to say, and while higher level players can simply use their reputation and hence have no need for active induction of fear, or simply don't notice what they're doing. My thanks to Mookie for bringing out an idea that truly doesn't receive enough attention in the gaming world.. and one that certainly brings about results. In my own experience i've been thoroughly intimidated by other players and completely blown a match for that reason.
Also, the concept of watching your opponent, and the direction of your intention during gameplay is--to me at least--an awesome combination of novel and extremely useful. No doubt its something that's passed through everyone's head from one time or another, but few have put the amount of thought into that you have, nor have they shared such thoughts in such an open manner, allowing others to openly reflect and analyze it on a regular basis. I think this could lead to alot of progress for quite a few players; if not a greater refinement of these "techniques" or playing methods in the future.
 

Laijin

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#23
I have always played Smash while only watching my opponent's moves. I have also noticed that people whom I know who don't watch their opponent and only focus on themselves progress slowly when it comes to improving.

Awesome thread MookieRah. :o
 

MookieRah

Kinda Sorta OK at Smash
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#24
None of the stuff I have mentioned is really new, and I'm not that great for sharing it. Actually, most people who figure this out don't post much to begin with, and I don't think they would hold it back out of fear or to maintain their status or any other conspiracy theory ideas, as much as it would be simply out of lazyness.

Honestly, I'm bored as hell and I haven't played smash in a few weeks cause the semester is over, so this thread as well as the boards keep me a small bit entertained.
 

Sargent_Peach

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#26
I know so many players that only practice stupid combos, especially falco and c.falcon players. They end up playing them like drones and spam the same moves over and over agian.

They have much more tech skills than I do, but I can beat them just cause I play smart. If they really read and used your thread then they would surely be able to beat me. I know players that can't l-cancel, that can beat players that can waveshine.

Its amazing how smart play can make such a difference. And your right, mindgames do come naturally when you do this. Some people just cant get past the only tech skills phase.

I think their problem is that they started smash, and advanced techniques at the same time. I started the game, and had the concept of it way before I knew about wavedashing and l-canceling. What do you think?
 

MookieRah

Kinda Sorta OK at Smash
Joined
Mar 7, 2004
Messages
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#27
I think their problem is that they started smash, and advanced techniques at the same time. I started the game, and had the concept of it way before I knew about wavedashing and l-canceling. What do you think?
It really depends, I think that definitely didn't help their situation with overdoing tech skill and nothing else, but that's definitely not the only reason. I had been playing the game since release up untill summer of 04 and then started learning the tech stuff (lol, back when wavedashing was a new discovery!! wow... I feel old now...) but I didn't truly grasp all of this stuff until the end of last year. The reason why I discovered it then was cause I started up a new group in Starkville, and I was by far the best player there at the time. I could leisurely play matches while I was trying to help my new crew there, which forced me to pay close attention to what they were doing.

Another thing, for some, observation comes intuitively (those lucky *******s), and while that is great and all, it shouldn't be the wall that most players hit when they could simply learn to observe with just a little practice.
 
Joined
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#30
lol *helps mookierah's amazing thread*

And yes,I seen how the polls put down alot of the other threads..and I made a thread commending mods for all their hardwork!...but mic fox modded it..O.o..

On-topic: I agree with you on many many high level players knowing all this but being too lazy to post..like cactuar, he knows quite alot, but his lazyness reigns supreme over his actions.
 

MookieRah

Kinda Sorta OK at Smash
Joined
Mar 7, 2004
Messages
5,381
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Umeå, Sweden
#31
Actually I would say cactaur is less lazy then a lot of people when it comes to posting, at least he posts outside of his regional area occasionally with some nuggets of goodness knowledge. Most top players either don't post or only post in their regional section though.

I still haven't played since I made this. I'm trying to set something up either in Starkville or the Memphis area soon. I actually have plans about making a video where I talk about observation and show some footage of me putting it into action. I think it will help out a lot, because a lot of people have a hard time learning without something visual, and this will be easy, quick, and fun to make to boot. I'll have more on that later.
 

slikvik

Smash Master
Joined
Dec 21, 2006
Messages
4,180
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**** MD/VA. I have no region. no really...
#32
I just started playing competitive tournaments recently. My tech skill is below average. Because of that, I based my entire game around observing the opponent. I've done ok at a few tournaments. I find playing this way to be second nature(i.e i always look at my opponents char instead of my own. It just seemed logical). I feel that everyone does this at some level, especially at tournaments. You'll just see people playing much better in tournament matches because now they are completely focused on their opponent and getting the win
 

3GOD

Smash Ace
Joined
Jul 23, 2006
Messages
745
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Athens, GA
#33
For starters, why do most players focus on their own character in the first place? What information do you get by focusing on your character? You are making your own inputs, so you *should* know what you are doing most of the time without needing to look at your character. The focus should CLEARLY be on your opponent.
This little nugget here I feel is brilliant (though should be obvious at the same time). I'm really trying to have a paradigm shift in smash.
 

NES n00b

Smash Master
Joined
May 19, 2007
Messages
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Oxford, Mississippi. . . . permanent n00b
#34
Posting here because I <3 Mookie. Great thread. :D

This is one of the most awesome threads I have ever read. I am trying really hard to get my observation skills up and to not focus on my own character. That's definitely why I beat my scrubby friends back when I did not have my techs down.

Edit: Forgot to say that the morale thing is definitely true. Unfortunately, if you get morally destroyed, it's subconscious so you cannot prevent morale damage if destroyed in the beginning (or something like that). Also,making the opponent to feel defeat before the end match is probably the best way to win.

/End of Mookie praise
 
Joined
Mar 24, 2006
Messages
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Puerto Rico
#36
Pretty awesome stuff indeed. Excellent post. Just wanted to say that I have played like that before, playing without like any effort, just observing my opponent and "making feel them stupid" and hellz it works! Looking forward to the tutorial video.
 

sigma

Smash Cadet
Joined
Jan 21, 2006
Messages
60
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Anchorage, Alaska
#37
Usually I just play by instinct and stare blankly at the tv, but I tried observing my opponent in a few matches after reading this and there was a noticably awsome increase in my ablility to react and respond to there moves. But a few times it did get me thinking a little too much about what to do next and sometimes i just drew a blank and would phail. I dunno why that is..... but anyways nice thread, it was indeed helpfull.
 

Eaode

Smash Champion
Joined
Jun 4, 2006
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2,918
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Glen Cove/RIT, New York.
#38
The part about Morale is definitely true. On July 11th I had a bunch of friends over for my Birthday and we played smash all day. I even had my friend bring a camera, so it was all good. For some reason, I play differently under pressure, and whenever we would record a match, I would play differently (and worse).

This made morale start to drop. I sarted feeling like I was having a bad day. But I was remembering this, and pushed myself to go further. In your mind, you just have to keep telling yourself ""im the same person everyday, If I can play well sometimes, I can all the time". That REALLY motivates you. And while you might still have doubts in yoru head, if you keep saying that you yourself, all it takes is one good combo or one surprising KO or even a successful techchase to get your morale back up and keep playing at the top of your game.

After that, I started doing a lot better again. Although the recorded matches still sucked (one where I got 2 stocked by My friend's DK and another where I also got 2 stocked and spammed the heel out of by his Ylink -.-) But my other matches were great.
 

Binx

Smash Master
Joined
Jul 19, 2006
Messages
4,040
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Portland, Oregon
#39
Observing your opponents character and actions for sure makes it easier to predict what they are going to do. I have found that this is very hard to do until you have a very good feel for how your own character is going to move, newer players have a lot of trouble controlling their own characters and that really has to come before you can fully observe the match. Certain characters are easier to do this with, Mario, Marth, Shiek, and Ganon are some examples of easy to control characters, then you get characters like Fox, Captain Falcon and especially Ice Climbers who are very different and take more time to learn the movements, especially if you do things like wavelands. For Ice climbers you actually have to watch your opponents your popo and your nana, if you get hit you have to try and notice if it might have desynched you to take full advantage of your character. Good article though.
 

ecstatic

Smash Journeyman
Joined
Sep 3, 2005
Messages
276
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Within 8,000 miles of you, unless you're in space.
#40
Awesome advice. I recently got totally owned by a Fox who had far worse tech skill and combo skill than I (all he did was dash attack, fsmash, and roll) and I wondered what went wrong. Now I know. Thinking back, he was only in my perpheral (sp?) vision most of the game. I'm now going to try to ingrain in my head, "Make your opponent look stupid".

Also, I've noticed that sometimes me and my friends will play smash and have a conversation about something totally different at the same time, and when we do, all of us play way better. We all thought we were just weird like that, but after reading this thread I understand that by not focusing on anything in particular, we took in the whole screen at once... and you all know the rest.
 
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