Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Random Select Winter Showdown

I've been meaning to write up a post about the Random Select Winter Showdown (Pacific Northwest Regionals), after Pablo wrote a post about the experience. I wanted to wait until videos were up, so that I could look at them, and analyze how I could do better.

First of all, I want to congratulate Pablo and Alex for doing an amazing job. Pablo went undefeated through the winners bracket until the finals. Alex beat RayBladeX, an excellent Boxer, and previous top 8er at Evo, not just once, but twice -- in the winners bracket and in the losers bracket. In fact, I think I owe the tournament to Alex. I played Ray Boxer v Boxer in the 5 on 5 exhibition match afterwards, and he trounced me. Alex's Guile has improved dramatically in the last 6 months. Congratulations.

Here is my winners finals match with Pablo (I am playing Dictator)

Here is the grand finals, with Alex (I am playing Dictator/Chun Li)

Reviewing these matches, one thing I notice immediately about my play is that I'm missing a lot of combo opportunities. There are several points where Alex whiffs a flash kick, where I should be able to do standing short, low forward, scissor kick. Even just low forward into scissor kick would be simple and damaging. Yet I find myself not doing this basic combo properly -- a combo I can do in my sleep in casual matches.

One way I can improve then, is to simply get better at execution. It's easy to fall into the trap of only practicing high end, difficult combos. But failing bread and butter combos like the ones I mention above can cost the match. I think my problem is that since I "know" that I can do them already, I don't bother practicing. But then when it's tournament time, I miss the opportunities I am given.

When I played in Japan, I remmeber playing against Kurahashi and getting *one* chance like that a game, if I was lucky. High end play requires maximizing these chances every time, and I need to do better there.