Strategic Taunting

CleverMiss

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#1
Hey!

Recently I’ve been thinking about how taunts can be used as more than just a funny thing to do with friends every once in a while. I’ve been thinking about how taunting can be used to change a person’s mental state, causing them to make more aggressive and reckless decisions.

I’ve been wondering because, yesterday, I was playing in arenas with random people and I had an interesting match. My opponent was a :ultfalcon:, while I was using my new main, :ultzelda:. He was a pretty good player and the first stock was close with us both being at around 120%, but I managed to take it first with an up smash leading to a star KO. During this time, I used Zelda’s down taunt (the one where she laughs and waves) 3 times. I didn’t mean to annoy him or anything, but I just thought it was a cute taunt. Then, once he came back, I noticed his playstyle was completely different. He started running recklessly into my moves more often and kept fishing for smash attacks. It was suddenly a lot easier to play around him. I thought that he was probably playing like this because he was irritated by Zelda’s cute giggling and wanted to kill her ASAP.

I ended up taunting a few more times during that match and it was a 3 stock in my favor. He immediately left the arena after that game. It’s crazy how taunting your opponent can lead to them tilting and playing so much worse. It seems like a good strategy against weaker minded opponents. I’ve seen others use this strategy as well to infuriate their opponents so that their gameplay starts to crack. While it may not be the nicest of strategies, you’re playing to win in tournament.

What do you guys think of using taunts as a mindgame? After all, they are called taunts - things that are designed to anger and upset people. Have you ever used taunts like this yourself? Let me know ^^
 

Predatoria

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#2
I'm not really sure the above presented evidence is necessarily caused by the taunt.

I know that sometimes when I get down a stock and my opponent is at a high percent, sometimes I start getting reckless and trying to just hit them with a smash (or other risky, punishable moves) and even the score before I rack too high on percent on my second stock. It's a bad mentality, but sometimes I do tend to get aggressive and lose my patience trying to get that one hit off to even it up.

Perhaps they were just doing this because of the circumstances of the match, rather than because of a taunt.
 
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TheDuke54

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#3
I know that I won a battle because I taunted online. Well more that I teabagged, but I only did it cause the person before was teabagging every time they got a cheap kill. Charizard blitz everywhere, ect. I can't remember who they were using, but their tactics were underhanded and then they'd teabag. It was also teambattle equivalent to 4glory without items. Ending up having them KO out of the game and then teabagged a few times to mess with them. They got so salty that they stole their teammates stock who was on 150%. Had they not done that, they would had won.

I normally don't taunt or teabag. I only did that cause the guy was being super annoying and underhanded. Didn't actually expect him to throw the match. Weaker minded people lol. Bro taunting and teabagging can get annoying cause most times people aren't using it to be cute or friendly and just using it as a way to say you suck. I tend to avoid those kinds of people in fights, much like I won't play or invite people to play sports if they're going to be butts to others. There's a fine line between being competitive and being an butt.
 

CleverMiss

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#4
I'm not really sure the above presented evidence is necessarily caused by the taunt.

I know that sometimes when I get down a stock and my opponent is at a high percent, sometimes I start getting reckless and trying to just hit them with a smash (or other risky, punishable moves) and even the score before I rack too high on percent on my second stock. It's a bad mentality, but sometimes I do tend to get aggressive and lose my patience trying to get that one hit off to even it up.

Perhaps they were just doing this because of the circumstances of the match, rather than because of a taunt.
I guess it’s possible that he would’ve gotten angsty for the kill even without the taunts, but if he got angry at the taunting as well, that would make him play even riskier since he’s even more aggravated.

I tried it on a few other people afterwards too. Even when I was down in percentage, some of them seemed to get agitated when I taunted and I ended up winning the games in the end.
 

Xelrog

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#5
I don't like it. The point of games is to have fun; ergo, a strategy that is explicitly dependent on ensuring that your opponent is feeling the opposite of fun just strikes me as petty and selfish. Even when I'm playing in a tournament I can still enjoy the challenge of a good sporting match, even if I'm on the losing end.

Not to say it's against the game's rules or should be a bannable offense or anything. I just think it's against the spirit of the game, like making distracting noises with your mouth while playing against someone sitting next to you or something.
 

Orlando BCN

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#6
I’m surprised he didn’t ragequit after the first taunt. I suppose Smash players aren’t as fragile as SFV players in that regard.

Taunts could be useful to make your opponent crack, but sometimes they turn the tide completely, in which you become too overconfident while your opponent doesn’t seem fazed at all, or when the taunter did it at a bad time and held the L instead. I’ve seen it happen and it’s crazy. If only there were respectful taunts like in Guilty Gear, lol.
 

CleverMiss

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#7
I know that I won a battle because I taunted online. Well more that I teabagged, but I only did it cause the person before was teabagging every time they got a cheap kill. Charizard blitz everywhere, ect. I can't remember who they were using, but their tactics were underhanded and then they'd teabag. It was also teambattle equivalent to 4glory without items. Ending up having them KO out of the game and then teabagged a few times to mess with them. They got so salty that they stole their teammates stock who was on 150%. Had they not done that, they would had won.
Haha! Sounds like it backfired that time and they couldn’t take what they were dishing out. It’s funny how enraged people can get over someone pressing down a few times. I’m sure their teammate wasn’t too happy either ;)

Bro taunting and teabagging can get annoying cause most times people aren't using it to be cute or friendly and just using it as a way to say you suck.
That’s why it works. Once the taunting gets under your skin, the taunts have done their job. It might lead to you making foolish or reckless mistakes out of anger. It’s like psychological warfare in a way.
 

TheDuke54

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#8
Not saying that it's not a good way to win a match, but at the same time I want to have fun and want others to as well. It's like those friendly baseball matches where someone is just screaming like a lunatic whenever it's someone's turn to bat. I used to have a 'friend' who was so determined to win in games like smash that he'd belch in my face. Does that seem like a good way to win? I guess, but it was also a good way to lose a friend (considering how he is, he didn't deserve any tbh lol)
 
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#9
Teabagging/taunting to get someone to start playing recklessly is a cheap way to win in my opinion. Not only does it make you look like *******, but it shouldn't even feel like a win. You want to fight your opponent at their best, just like your opponent wants to fight you at your best, that's how people improve at the game and have fun. If you get someone pissed by taunting and they start playing recklessly, they aren't playing at their best and have basically handicapped themselves. So I don't see how it would be satisfying to win this way. Obviously Smash is all about mind games when you're going up against a human opponent, but there are other ways to get into someone's head without intentionally trying to piss them off. Read their moves, bait them, make them play the way you want them to play so you can go in for a punish. That shows skill. Taunting to make someone angry and throw them off does not show skill because literally anyone can do that.
 

Predatoria

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#10
A couple days ago I ran into a Ganondorf. I got fancy off stage and died by overextending. He tbagged while I failed to grab the edge, and I ultimately lost the match.

We rematched a bunch of times and went back and forth a bit, but then one glorious match I three stocked him! Two gimp kills offstage as Ridley too, which felt awesome.

I gave him the best possible taunt ever at the end. Not once did I tbag, but after that glorious match all I said was “Well Played!” On the victory screen.
 
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Zachmac

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#12
I feel conflicted about it.

Taunting is harmless. The only reason it means anything is because we make it mean something. We get super angry over it because...reasons. It shouldn't be more annoying then zoning or getting juggled, but for a lot of players it just is. At the same time taunting is a legitimate tool at your disposal. It's in the game for anyone to use. As someone who loves superheavies like Bowser and Charizard baiting and psychological warfare are really important to my play style. I feel like by not using it I'm holding myself back.

At the same time though I'm probably never going to actually use it in tourny because I don't want that tarnish on my reputation. I'm not a heel, I just use the tools I have to try to win. If it means camping or playing lame then so be it, but while those are frowned upon in the community it feels like taunting might be the only thing really taboo in this game.

I wish this community would chill out about taunting, at least a little bit. A little bit of irritation is fine and natural, but completely flipping out over a cute little animation just seems silly to me.
 

CleverMiss

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#14
I’m surprised he didn’t ragequit after the first taunt. I suppose Smash players aren’t as fragile as SFV players in that regard.

Taunts could be useful to make your opponent crack, but sometimes they turn the tide completely, in which you become too overconfident while your opponent doesn’t seem fazed at all, or when the taunter did it at a bad time and held the L instead. I’ve seen it happen and it’s crazy. If only there were respectful taunts like in Guilty Gear, lol.
That’s true, sometimes the taunter will feel more pressured to win and get nervous. It’s kind of a risk in that way for those people.

It's not nice to manipulate people's emotions.
That’s true, but you have to remember that Smash is a competitive game. Purposely frustrating your opponent to make them crack might be what it takes to win.
 
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#15
At the end of the day I think it really comes down to 'don't hate the player, hate the game.' If it's in the game, it's in the game. If you have problems with being taunted just think to yourself that while they are choosing to taunt, that's one less short hop, rar, wavebounce etc they have chosen not to do when they have the time to practice it and every time you choose to practice a skill instead of taunt, you are always improving while they are not.
 

Xelrog

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#16
By the logic of "it's in the game and therefore it's okay," items, all stages, stage hazards, and Meta Knight in Brawl are all now legal.
 

Crystanium

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#17
That’s true, sometimes the taunter will feel more pressured to win and get nervous. It’s kind of a risk in that way for those people.


That’s true, but you have to remember that Smash is a competitive game. Purposely frustrating your opponent to make them crack might be what it takes to win.
There are better ways than simply pressing a single button. I've dealt with people on tri-plats who take advantage of the platforms in a very evasive manner, which has been effective. It has caused me to try chasing them. Noticing this pattern, I began implementing the same method. Not only that, I'm becoming cognizant at the fact that if someone wants to be evasive on platforms, I won't approach. It turns the game of cat-and-mouse around. Simply put, get your opponent to crack under pressure a different, more methodical way.

My brain is weird. I played against Charliedaking (CDK) recently in Elite Smash. He began to tea bag. I didn't take this personally. It'd be nice if my brain wasn't bothered by others doing so. I played Rival yesterday in Elite Smash. He was evasive, but I managed to get the upper-hand. I wonder what the reason is, at least for me, for my apathetic attitude toward those who tea bag or taunt at me when I know them or of them from VoDs, but get bothered by those I've never met or contacted.
 

JiggyNinja

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#18
Teabagging/taunting to get someone to start playing recklessly is a cheap way to win in my opinion. Not only does it make you look like *******, but it shouldn't even feel like a win. You want to fight your opponent at their best, just like your opponent wants to fight you at your best, that's how people improve at the game and have fun. If you get someone pissed by taunting and they start playing recklessly, they aren't playing at their best and have basically handicapped themselves. So I don't see how it would be satisfying to win this way. Obviously Smash is all about mind games when you're going up against a human opponent, but there are other ways to get into someone's head without intentionally trying to piss them off. Read their moves, bait them, make them play the way you want them to play so you can go in for a punish. That shows skill. Taunting to make someone angry and throw them off does not show skill because literally anyone can do that.
Anyone that gets tilted by a taunt deserves everything they get. Taunting might not prove your superiority, but if the opponent loses their cool over it it sure as hell proves their inferiority.
By the logic of "it's in the game and therefore it's okay," items, all stages, stage hazards, and Meta Knight in Brawl are all now legal.
Major difference between taunting and those things. Taunting provides no material advantage in the game. In fact it is nothing but pure vulnerability.
 

Xelrog

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#19
Anyone that gets tilted by a taunt deserves everything they get. Taunting might not prove your superiority, but if the opponent loses their cool over it it sure as hell proves their inferiority.
The skill being measured in a competitive Smash environment should not be how thick-skinned you are.
 

Zachmac

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#20
The skill being measured in a competitive Smash environment should not be how thick-skinned you are.
Mental game will always be a part of Smash Brothers, with or without taunts. If you're at the ledge and Ganondorf or Dedede start charging their F-Smash, a player with good composure is more likely to find away around it then a player who panics and air dodges right into it.

Zoning, shield pressure and ledge pressure are all elements of the game that test a player's patience. Even at high levels of play a player might occasionally panic and make a silly mistake in any of those scenarios. That's just how it is.
 
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#22
And they're a whole hell of a lot more stressful to deal with than taunting. Tainting or t-bagging is cute and adorable in comparison.
The thing is a lot of people assume that there is an intent behind the taunting and I can understand why. Imagine you're at a tournament in the grand finals and your opponent is completely destroying you and taunting every change they get. It wouldn't be cute and adorable then. You might say "that's the player's fault for reading into the taunt" but the thing is, everyone is different. For the vast majority of people, they are investing a lot of time into improving at the game and if they're reading a taunt as "look at me I'm better than you" then it's completely understandable why they get mad because all of their hardwork is being turned into a joke by the taunter.

I'm not saying people shouldn't be allowed to taunt because quite frankly people are free to do as they please. But all I'm saying is (and this isn't target towards you) don't taunt and expect to have a good reputation if you ever get to pro level. For like 90% of players at the end of the day, taunting just makes you look like you're full of yourself and nobody wants to play against those types of opponents.
 

Team Orchid

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#23
Based on my experience with playing against streamers, taunting is not the way to mess with your opponent's head and get them to play dumb. If you want them to play dumb, play super defensively. People hate it when you do something that breaks their stupid combo or stuff their approach. Zelda's mid/low tier and yet every streamer I've run into hates her because Nayru's is a godly get off me tool and Phantom just makes neutral an entire thing.

Gotta be honest, I really wish it would stop pissing them off. Like, all I want to do is play a defensive character in Smash like I do in every other game I play.
 
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#24
Based on my experience with playing against streamers, taunting is not the way to mess with your opponent's head and get them to play dumb. If you want them to play dumb, play super defensively. People hate it when you do something that breaks their stupid combo or stuff their approach. Zelda's mid/low tier and yet every streamer I've run into hates her because Nayru's is a godly get off me tool and Phantom just makes neutral an entire thing.

Gotta be honest, I really wish it would stop pissing them off. Like, all I want to do is play a defensive character in Smash like I do in every other game I play.
Trust me, I know exactly what you mean as a Lucas main. A lot of people either don't understand him, or just flat out hate him. Lucas can play super offensively and super defensively, and that can piss/throw a lot of people off. Especially when people's strategies are aggressive and they have to get into your face, it can be hard to do so with Lucas because he has so many tools that push people away.
 

TheDuke54

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#25
Smash started off as a family friendly and kid game. So teabagging and taunting really puts a different perspective to the game when online comes into play. Most people who do it aren't doing it for the sake of it or to have fun, they're doing it to get a rise out of people. Everyone is free to do as they please, but we shouldn't gaslight people about their opinion on it.
 

JiggyNinja

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#27
The thing is a lot of people assume that there is an intent behind the taunting and I can understand why.
Of course there's intent behind it, that's the whole point!
Imagine you're at a tournament in the grand finals and your opponent is completely destroying you...
I'd be pretty worked up just from this. And I say this as a low level player that still gets wrecked online quite frequently. They get a hard read KO and T-bag, I'm already pissed off from being so easily read that the taunting is more likely to snap me out of my frustration instead of riling me up more.

You might say "that's the player's fault for reading into the taunt"...
That's exactly what I'm saying.
For the vast majority of people, they are investing a lot of time into improving at the game and if they're reading a taunt as "look at me I'm better than you" then it's completely understandable why they get mad because all of their hardwork is being turned into a joke by the taunter.
Here's the thing...

If you're bad, and it pisses you off so much when a more skilled opponent reminds you that you're bad, you really don't have the maturity to be playing anything competitively. It's not your opponent's responsibility to sooth your fragile ego.

And just to reiterate, nothing I say should give the impression that I'm good. I'm bad, and I know I am. I know and accept that I still have a long way to go and many things to learn about playing against people instead of CPUs. So many other parts of the match are so much more stressful and frustrating right now that taunting means nothing.
 
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Zachmac

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#28
My first tournament was at a small convention. I made it to grand finals, where I ended up being completely outclassed by my opponent.

The second round he switched to DK and started grabbing me a bunch. Here's the thing though - whenever he got a grab he didn't throw me. He'd just keep turning around with Cargo Throw. I completely cracked and threw the match.

I was really embarrassed, but I wasn't angry. It was a game and he was having fun at me. He was actually really friendly person to. At the end of the day he was a better player then me and he won the match, even if he did it in the single most tilting was possible.
 

Coolboy

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#29
i recently tea bagged against a annoying Wolf in a 4 players match as Zelda... he just kept going after me and also spammed alot..so when he was on his last stock he went all desperate spamming...once i finally got close to him i would hit him..he made a mistake with his recovery and died making him 4th place..yup i teabagged to celebrate it! but at the end i did win this match haha

sometimes tea bagging/taunting feels so satisfying, in this case i did it cause that Wolf thought with spamming and always going after me he could defeat me first well he wasn't able to take a single stock from me..well to bad for him and i just had to rub it in xD
 
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CleverMiss

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#30
i recently tea bagged against a annoying Wolf in a 4 players match as Zelda... he just kept going after me and also spammed alot..so when he was on his last stock he went all desperate spamming...once i finally got close to him i would hit him..he made a mistake with his recovery and died making him 4th place..yup i teabagged to celebrate it! but at the end i did win this match haha

sometimes tea bagging/taunting feels so satisfying, in this case i did it cause that Wolf thought with spamming and always going after me he could defeat me first well he wasn't able to take a single stock from me..well to bad for him and i just had to rub it in xD
It’s a shame we can’t use :ultzelda:‘s down taunt in situations like these on quick play. Imagine how much rage she could induce, waving and giggling tauntingly at angry kids as they mess up and SD ;)
 

Crescentium

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#33
Based on my experience with playing against streamers, taunting is not the way to mess with your opponent's head and get them to play dumb. If you want them to play dumb, play super defensively. People hate it when you do something that breaks their stupid combo or stuff their approach. Zelda's mid/low tier and yet every streamer I've run into hates her because Nayru's is a godly get off me tool and Phantom just makes neutral an entire thing.

Gotta be honest, I really wish it would stop pissing them off. Like, all I want to do is play a defensive character in Smash like I do in every other game I play.
This. My Villager can be quite infuriating as it is, and I usually lean more towards being an aggressive, "advancing wall of doom" lol. Let's be real, I'd be pissed too if a few small pebbles from a kid's slingshot completely stuffed out my run/jump-in's to murder said child. In any case, on the rare occasion I do play super defensively, the salt definitely intensifies to the ninth degree. I don't even need to taunt and I probably wouldn't want to either. While I care about winning, I care more about my opponent and I having a good time, but it can be difficult when your opponent starts getting tilted and frustrated with everything you do.
 

Xelrog

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#34
I have no problem standing in one place and waiting for the opponent to come to me if I have the stock advantage. You bet I'll wait out the timer. It gets real easy to weed out the players who only know how to play defensively.
 

Qualk

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#35
The best way to 'taunt' is to press both shield buttons and then rotate your shield in a circle a few times. It's more savage the more times you rotate your shield and the smaller it gets. It's like you're telling your opponent, "You're so bad I don't even need this shield".

That being said I've never done it outside of silly matches with my friends xD
 

TheDuke54

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#36
What you mentioned reminds me of this one boxing match (real boxing), where this one guy was clearly the better fighter and just taunting/insulting his opponent through the whole match. He made one fatal mistake where he pretended one of the dude's punches got him so disoriented. Like think old school Looney Tunes. What followed was that he actually did get knocked out.

I wish I could find the link. I just saw it randomly while flipping channels one night.
 

Xelrog

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#37
So what does the argument turn into if it's both mean-spirited and ineffective? I mean, in theory, if that were the case, everyone would just stop doing it.
 

JiggyNinja

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#38
So what does the argument turn into if it's both mean-spirited and ineffective? I mean, in theory, if that were the case, everyone would just stop doing it.
It's a statement, just like unnecessary spiking an opponent when it's already impossible for them to recover. It's up to you how you're affected by those statements.
 
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