What are some rookie mistakes that every new player should avoid?

PikachuPrincess

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Hey everyone! I was wondering - what are the biggest and most common mistakes that every new player should avoid when beginning to compete in Super Smash Bros.? I'm not exactly a rookie player, but I am very new to the competitive scene and I was wondering if there might be some things I still need to avoid doing to be a better player.

Some examples I can think of off the top of my head are aimless move spamming (like I used to do when I was little) and useless combos which are good in theory and against low-level CPU and newbie players, but that are actually hopeless against people who know what they're doing (for example the combo of up throw and thunder by Pikachu - it could work, but most people know to get out of the way and/or efficiently aerial dodge to avoid the thunder. Unfortunately I still try this combo by instinct sometimes and it almost never works).

What examples can you think of?
 

TheGoldMan

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One tip I have, don't roll too much. >___>

I verse alot people who do that way too much.
 

PikachuPrincess

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Oh! I actually do that a lot haha. Is it bad in a competitive sense, or just annoying? :p My favorite thing is to roll right behind them and hit them in the butt with Pika's side smash or catch them in a down smash. It usually works for me but maybe I just haven't been playing enough pros?
 

DeLux

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Hey there, I'm CT DeLux. I'd like to welcome you to this agonizingly wonderful journey that is competitive Super Smash Bros.

I don't want to get into the game mechanics and theory too much, since I trust you're smart enough to figure that out on your own. What I'd like for you to consider is your mentality when getting involved.

The first rookie mistake that I see new players make is the very common idea of thinking, "I'm good at this game and what I do is good." This is what happens when a person is generally better than everyone in their friend group, so they go on to seek stronger competition to challenge themselves. Since they are only accustomed to winning against friends, they expect to win against stronger competition as well. So many players beat themselves upfront by expecting to win and blaming everything but their inexperience when they lose. Inexperience will be fixed given enough time and opportunity. But if you cut off your opportunities for growth by holding onto preconceived notions of the game, you will only be your own biggest obstacle.

The second mistake I see new players make is the very common idea of thinking, "I'm no good at this game and what I do is bad." This is what happens when a person is stomped their first time out playing with strong competition causing them to give up on their journey before it even starts. Given enough time, you will learn to do what is good if you have some pride and hold yourself to a standard of not expecting perfection, but improvement of yourself.

To succeed, you must find a balance of, "I'm good" and "I'm bad". You must never lose your modest arrogance. You must never lose your ignorant curiosity.

But most importantly, you must never give up.
True defeat comes to those who give up, and I don't want anyone to take that lesson from the game.

Instead of learning to give up, I hope the game teaches you to give it all you've got.

That's all any of us can hope for at the end of the day.
 
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pidgezero_one

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Change your followups around.

Example: everyone expects kirby to uair out of fthrow, so I jump and fair out of fthrow instead sometimes. Know your options and mix em up.
 

BlueXenon

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When I was a new player, I heard very often that rolling and spot dodging were bad habits to have and there are always better options. I never had a rolling or spotdodge habit to begin with, but I completely stopped rolling and spot dodging for a while as a result. A few months later, I realized I made a huge mistake. Rolls and spot dodges are extremely useful tools in this game, and even the best players use these tools often. To make good use of these tools, you must be aware of when you use them. If you roll or spotdoge out of habit in a certain situation, that can be a huge problem.

To improve your execution, you should practice vs cpu's (level 3 snake is best, try to get him offstage and constantly edge guard him) and in training mode. You should know you character's moveset perfectly, from the best moves to the worst moves. You should memorize the optimal spacing for each move. The optimal spacing of a move is where it hits most favorably, and remember, the tip of a move is not always the best. Learn all of your character's combos and possible follow ups, and watch a lot of videos (Esam or Shimitake).

When you play good players, one strategy that they will definitely use to beat you will be conditioning. Conditioning is when your opponent makes you think he's going to do something in a certain situation, and then he does something else. Imagine you're playing an opponent who likes to roll towards the center of the stage when he's trapped by the end of the stage. You will learn to expect your opponent's habit of rolling in that situation and will attempt to punish it. Your opponent might actually have a rolling habit, or, he could be conditioning you. The next time your opponent is trapped by the end of the stage, you charge a smash attack anticipating him to roll into it, but he simply waits for you and then he proceeds to punish your smash attack. This is not the most realistic example, but it's what I can think of currently. Conditioning is a major part in the mental side of brawl that you will need to learn.
At top level play, players can sometimes tell when their opponents are trying to condition them, and it becomes very confusing, lol.
 

popsofctown

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Rolling is bad. The best players use the option sparingly. Most characters have rolls with not enough repositioning or invincibility frames to be worthwhile. Pikachu is one of those characters. The good rolls are like, Sonic, Lucario, Rob, maybe someone else I'm not thinking of.

Spotdodging should not be in the same breath as rolls, every character has great invincibility frames on their spotdodge. It's possible to spotdodge too much, but it's tougher. There are lots of situations where you can spotdodge to avoid an attack and then use the frame advantage to punish.
 

PikachuPrincess

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@ DeLux DeLux

Thanks!! That's some really great advice! I have to admit when I first came to college and went to some of the competitions I was definitely overconfident about my ability on the basis of being able to beat my friends from high school who hardly ever played to begin with. I should keep in mind not to repeat this overconfidence just because I may be able to beat some of the college people who used to beat me now. There will always be a higher level I guess (maybe one day there won't be... but we'll see ;P)

@ pidgezero_one pidgezero_one

Good idea! I tend to repeat a lot of the same combos a lot so I'll try to mix it up a little more from now on. Great advice!

@ BlueXenon BlueXenon

Thanks for this really specific advice!! I'm definitely going to keep what you said in mind while practicing. My goal is to not only know Pikachu inside and out from the technical standpoint, but also be equipped to deal with players' unique playing styles. What you told me about conditioning should really help out with that. Thanks again!

@ popsofctown popsofctown

Thanks for letting me know!! I should get used to replacing my rolls with spotdodges and figuring out the best way to evade. I'm always happy to learn new things and improve my playing style. Thanks again!

Thanks everyone your advice is really great! Keep it coming, and hopefully a lot of people will see this so it can help them out ^__^
 
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CURRY

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I personally wished this was on every forum for every character. But it's not.
These are Marth-based posts, but they can give you some pressty good tips on general things as well; since that's pretty much how you play Marth anyway, you have to be strict with the general basic things.
http://smashboards.com/threads/making-the-most-of-training-mode-text-vids.242138/
http://smashboards.com/threads/brickwalls-and-traps-the-keys-to-victory.183816/
http://smashboards.com/threads/understanding-your-options-an-article-on-playing-smart.206225/
 

BlueXenon

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Rolling is bad. The best players use the option sparingly. Most characters have rolls with not enough repositioning or invincibility frames to be worthwhile. Pikachu is one of those characters. The good rolls are like, Sonic, Lucario, Rob, maybe someone else I'm not thinking of.

Spotdodging should not be in the same breath as rolls, every character has great invincibility frames on their spotdodge. It's possible to spotdodge too much, but it's tougher. There are lots of situations where you can spotdodge to avoid an attack and then use the frame advantage to punish.
I think it's wrong to just say "Rolling is bad." It has many uses at all levels of play and it's definitely not something you should forget about.

@ PikachuPrincess PikachuPrincess I forgot to mention something really important, out of shield options. When your opponent hits your shield, lands behind you, or does another kind of mix up, you can usually punish them with an out of shield option. You should learn all your out of shield options by watching videos of top pikachus and from experience. Also, remember that actions as simple as walking can work sometimes. Most moves in brawl are unsafe on shield, and you can punish with an attack out of shield, however, some moves are completely safe when spaced correctly. Peach's fair is completely safe on shield for example so it's unsafe to challenge her after blocking.
 
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popsofctown

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If I recall correctly, Pikachu is one of the weaker characters in the game with respect to out of shield options. That doesn't mean he doesn't have them, but for that particular main it might not be a good place to start the focus.

Perfect shielding pays off heavily for pikachu if you can pull it off. Since perfect shielding negates pushback in addition to negating the shieldstun, Pikachu is more likely to remain in range for one of his short range moves. One of which is grab, which has great payoffs if you know your chaingrabs and followups well.


I randomly watched the first Anther video I could find to double check this, and Anther only used an out of shield option one time during the game, and it was after he successfully perfect shielded. So, yeah, Pikachu is a pretty different fellow from Rob or Marth in that respect.
 

PikachuPrincess

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@ CURRY CURRY

Thank you so much!!! Those links seem extremely useful, especially the training mode one, since I'm never exactly sure how to practice on my own. I'll put these resources to good use! Thank you again!

@ BlueXenon BlueXenon

I don't know much about out-of-shield stuff so I'll work on getting familiar with it! Thanks again!

@ popsofctown popsofctown

Thanks for recognizing my exclusive need for Pikachu knowledge, haha. I'll definitely keep what you said in mind and watch a lot of Anther videos because his Pikachu is so fantastic I'm sure I have a lot to learn from him. Shielding and dodging are two of my weaker areas since I've always ended up being a kind of reckless, overly offensive player (probably the result of always playing timed at home instead of stock) which isn't really practical for Pikachu so I'm glad that this topic has came up. Hopefully I can take what I've learned her and apply it to a more effective defensive strategy!

Thanks again everyone you're really great!

:pikachu:
 

infiniteV115

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Pikachu's out of shield options are pretty good, you just have to know them well. One of the best spotdodges in the game, uair OoS and nair OoS are both very safe and quick, his broll is decent, etc.

Anyway, things that a lot of new players tend to do
- Not use tilts enough. Instead relying on smashes/b-moves when on the ground (tilts are generally faster and safer, though not always. They also serve different purposes than smashes/b-moves usually do, so using all of them rather than excluding tilts will allow you to cover a wider variety of options)
- Falling into the flowchart of *attack opponent with a strong move like a smash attack/b-move* --> *roll/spotdodge immediately if the move hit their shield/missed, because now I can be punished* --> repeat (this makes you predictable, and anyone who picks up on this habit will thwart you with the simple strategy of shield --> wait for dodge --> punish --> repeat. A huge part of succeeding in competitive Brawl is being unpredictable, and a huge part of that is preventing yourself from developing exploitable habits)
- Instinctively airdodging immediately after getting popped up into the air (opponent can just wait for the airdodge and then hit you again)
- Instinctively airdodging immediately after getting hit by a strong move at kill percents (you should instead be momentum cancelling) <-- 2 vids, not 1

Also for the record, I co-sign with everything in Delux's post. Really vital information.

For a new player, I would suggest that you first take some time to make sure you know 1-2 characters really really well. How you do this is up to you, but it's something that comes with experience, so the more you get to play, the better. Also watching videos of pros that play the same character, and going to the subforum (on this website) for your character and reading guides/asking questions/etc will speed up this process. Study and practice are the keys to success.

Once you feel you understand a character well enough (ie in what situations to use which moves, what each move is good for, general strategy, how to recover, out of shield options, etc) then you can start to tackle your own decision making processes. The reason I suggest that you do things in this order is because if you don't understand a character's options, then it's harder to understand your own decision making processes because you don't really have a deep understanding of why you're choosing your options. A good way to tackle your own decision making processes (which will help you identify any exploitable habits/flaws in your gameplay) is to watch videos of yourself playing and seeing what you're doing wrong. It's really almost as simple as watching and asking "Why am I getting hit? What can I do to avoid getting hit? What can I do to hit the opponent more/harder?" etc etc. Identify your mistakes and correct them in your gameplay, but remember; don't just replace one habit with other habit (eg Oh rolling every time didn't work? Okay, I'll spotdodge every time). Instead, eliminate your habits in general, and get to the point where every decision you make is a consciously-made one. This also includes analyzing your opponents' gameplay, picking up on their habits/general tendencies and responding accordingly. To sum up this entire paragraph; thinking about everything both you and your opponent are doing.
 

popsofctown

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@ CURRY CURRY
Those links seem extremely useful, especially the training mode one, since I'm never exactly sure how to practice on my own. I'll put these resources to good use! Thank you again!
In training mode you definitely want to be practicing quick-attack cancel, it's very useful and also fun. When I picked up Pikachu as a secondary I would play Classic mode on normal or easy and clear the stages with almost nothing but quick attack cancel aerials so I could practice the timing. I found it a little less boring than training mode.

You want to practice your chaingrabs in training mode for sure. Some people don't find them that hard but I had to stay on top of the timings.
 

CURRY

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In training mode you definitely want to be practicing quick-attack cancel, it's very useful and also fun. When I picked up Pikachu as a secondary I would play Classic mode on normal or easy and clear the stages with almost nothing but quick attack cancel aerials so I could practice the timing. I found it a little less boring than training mode.

You want to practice your chaingrabs in training mode for sure. Some people don't find them that hard but I had to stay on top of the timings.
Mehhhhhh the Training Mode thing should actually be one of the last things ever.
Like, teching isn't very useful in Brawl, and the Shell powershielding can only help so much.
 

popsofctown

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Uh.. do you have a single player alternative, or at least a rebuttal that pertains better to the post you quoted?
 

CURRY

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Uh.. do you have a single player alternative, or at least a rebuttal that pertains better to the post you quoted?
asdfasdfsadf. Yeah. So I was really just criticising my own post of that video, since the video with teching practice isn't very helpful, nor essential. I just reread my post and realized it didn't seem very clear, sorry. >.>
So yep. Go with whatever pops says.
 

Thor

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Stuff posted by others is useful. If it wasn't mentioned, Pikachu has the best spot-dodge in the game (tied with Falco and I think Yoshi/Link/Toon Link, not positive on those last 3) so that's usually preferable to the slow roll, although Pikachu's roll can still have uses.

Also, look into your respective main's specific forums (in this case I'd guess Pikachu, same main here). There's tons of specific threads for advice for dealing with various characters, and tips and tricks characters have to deal with other characters and for general use.

As a Pikachu, based on your description of rolling, down-smash less. If you play a good player, they will escape it easily, and while it's very rare you will actually be punished for hitting them with it, it will not KO them and if they get used to it they simply shield it and hit you with often very strong attacks. Down-smash has uses (some of which are in Pikachu forums) but as a general purpose move it's somewhat lacking.

Also, don't fight level 9s much [or AI in general]. Some people have AI levels that are okay for sparing with (I think some people really like level 7 Snake or level 3 Meta Knight) but level 9s are way too predictable. For kicks and to prove this point to someone, I three-stocked an AI MK level 9 and took less than 60% - as Ike. They have obvious habits that you can exploit but when other people act differently you'll miss punishes and eat damage.

More general advice for competition:

It's early to do so now, but in like 6 months or whatever (maybe way less, maybe more) you should either start considering a backup or really practice (for Pikachu) Ice Climbers, Olimar, Marth, and Lucario. It goes without saying that every character should practice Meta Knight, but those are harder (in Olimar's case very tricky) matchups and you either need to be prepared for a rough fight in tournament or else have a secondary character (in this case Zero Suit Samus and Marth improve every one of those MUs for Pikachu by at least +1) to deal with those characters (and also in that case practice the backup vs MK matchup too because people have backups to deal with someone else's backups). Some people have 3 characters, but that's a stretch and I wouldn't think about it unless you fall in love with Pikachu and Falco or Pikachu and King Dedede so that one character (for this example, ICs) still gives you issues.

For practicing chaingrabs (Pikachu has them and learning them is worth your time), DON'T USE TRAINING MODE - stuff doesn't stale in there properly (I assume you know what I mean, if not find out what "Stale-move negation" is) so CGs on Snake and co. don't work right. Whoever it was above that posted to practice them in there might be right about Melee, but I've seen and read and tried and moves don't seem to stale in there. Instead, go to multiplayer, turn all items off, and turn on another player by just leaving a controller plugged in/on and make it an endless KO fest (time mode, time set to none). You can CG them to however high (and KO if it's a zero-death), then jab them a bazillion times (or dtilt or whatever) to refreshen all your moves and start again.

---------

Short story: others are right, character-specific forums are useful, dsmash less, AI aren't that good for training, practice hard matchups or get a backup(s), don't use training mode for practicing CGs.

EDIT: Also the best advice to date was given by Isai [brackets are my addition]: "Don't get hit [or SD]." Because if you don't, then at the end of 8 minutes, you won or tied, but either way, you can't lose. Really then, the rest of the game is just execution of that idea, and trying to make your opponent fail to execute that same concept.
 
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popsofctown

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I posted out of ignorance. I think the downthrow chaingrabs aren't stale dependent (or very stale dependent), but I know the fthrow chaingrab on Dedede does. I usually practice in versus mode with an inactive controller anyway, but I know a lot of people like training mode for some reason.

Whether a pikachu main needs a secondary is pretty meta dependent. In some regions a secondary is going to be totally unnecessary since Pikachu has good matchups on MK, MK-softcounter-snake, MK-softcounter-Falco, and MK-softcounter Diddy. There may be few enough Marths and Lucarios to make a secondary worthwhile.
 

popsofctown

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Haha, funny you should mention Dedede's poor matchup coverage, I trimained D3/Pika/Rob for a while.
 

Thor

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Dthrow CG is stale dependent, at least somewhat. I think Pikachu could start a Falco CG at like 50% but then it ends at like 75%. To get the full damage you need staling. Maybe someone has numbers on CGs at various percents but that data is kind of silly (it has uses but it's far less than just the general start % for the CG on Falco/Snake/etc.).

Also that MU coverage still leaves you countered by Olimar for every character... like, replace the Dedede with a Falco and your coverage is much better...

Back on topic, hopefully this stuff helps out. Probably the biggest thing I forgot is to play other humans a LOT, You can learn quickly stuff that does and doesn't work just by playing lots and getting used to how matches go. Playing people a lot worse than you can be a good time to practice things like QAC or try to specifically quash bad habits you have. Just be warned, some of them may do things you punish so predictably you create a new, bad habit. If you can though, play the people better than you/as good as you as often as possible.
 

CURRY

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... I'm actually pretty new too, only Brawling for like, half a year.
My region never really seemed to have cared much for playing Brawl seriously anyway; and there's no one better than me that I know of here (and I'm pretty bad)
AND my WiFi connection is near unusable.
 

popsofctown

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Also that MU coverage still leaves you countered by Olimar for every character... like, replace the Dedede with a Falco and your coverage is much better...
.
Once again, regional meta is pretty important. I didn't have any Olimars in my region, the best Oli had retired
 

PikachuPrincess

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WOW thanks everyone for all of this great advice! It's almost too much information for me to take in all at once haha.

@ infiniteV115 infiniteV115 thanks for mentioning instinctively air dodging when being thrown up bc I definitely do that, so that's definitely the kind of thing I made this thread to catch. I'll work on stopping that!

@ Thor Thor thanks for suggesting less down-smash (I sort of already knew I was overusing it, but I'll really try focus more on not doing it now) and for explaining about not battling AIs. Figuring out how to train by myself is one of the more frustrating things I've faced so that will help a bit. Thanks again.

And sorry to anyone I didn't specifically reply to but I really appreciate all of your advice and discussion so thank you so much and I really hope to improve thanks to this discussion! Have a great weekend everybody!
 

infiniteV115

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You live in NJ and the world's 2 strongest regions atm are Japan and NJ/NY, so you definitely have a lot of competition around you. Keep an eye out for tournaments in your area
 

Cassio

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Try hanging around the pikachu boards. Theres a lot of similar up and comers that post there as well as knowledgeable players you can ask for more pika specific stuff (though a lot of stuff said here is definitely a good too).
 

Mister_T_Bag

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a great way to gain experience besides going to tourneys is to attend local smashfests where a group of competitive players get together for friendlies/training. I've been on the competitive scene for less than a year and these fests help me out a ton. Going to tournaments though is definitely a way to progress. Take what pple posted here and bring that mentality with you to these smashfests and you'll eventually notice a significant increase in your ability as a competitive player
 

PikachuPrincess

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@ infiniteV115 infiniteV115 & @ Cassio Cassio - will do!

@ krazyzyko krazyzyko - alrighty! I don't tend to do that anyway, but I'll remember not to in the future.

@ Mister_T_Bag Mister_T_Bag - oooh that sounds really great! Right now I only really play with some people at school who are of varying skill levels, and I've definitely gotten better but only a couple people here really play at a competitive level. It would be super cool to get some experience with competitive players without actually having to enter a tournament. I just don't know how I would go about finding these smashfests since I only have a couple people I know well who are competitive players so I typically get all my info about local tournaments and stuff from them.
 

Mister_T_Bag

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@[USER=222521 said:
Mister_T_Bag[/USER] - oooh that sounds really great! Right now I only really play with some people at school who are of varying skill levels, and I've definitely gotten better but only a couple people here really play at a competitive level. It would be super cool to get some experience with competitive players without actually having to enter a tournament. I just don't know how I would go about finding these smashfests since I only have a couple people I know well who are competitive players so I typically get all my info about local tournaments and stuff from them.
Try posting on a thread somewhere on this website regarding smashfests and a facebook group dedicated to your local competitive players. I began my journey in Tampa and then moved to upstate NY. Before I went to NY I posted a question on this website in the Atlantic North, saying where I am, and asking about any local competitive players. Eventually I got a response and I came across our local smash page (Schenectady Smash) - I'm also part of Syracuse Smash.

So my point is that you shouldn't have a problem finding a smash bros facebook page in your local area, especially because you live in NJ. And btw, go to tournaments and do a ton of friendlies. You don't have to go just to play 2 guaranteed sets in tournaments (get knocked out of winners and then losers) even then you still get that experience. Show up right when the doors open, bring a small tv & brawl set up if you have one, and just start asking around if anyone wants to play friendlies. It's like a smashfest except you get to play pple from other parts of the area.

Good luck on your journey!
 
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