Monday, April 25, 2016

Opportunity Cost

Opportunity Cost is a term used in economics to describe the relative yield of a choice between options made mutually exclusive by a limited resource. The primacy of resource management in starcraft lends to good examples. If I use a drone to scout then the opportunity cost of the drone is the mineral count that the drone could have gathered if used as a harvester. If the drone is used to harvest then the opportunity cost is the information that it would have gathered as a scout. Because time is a limited resource, any use of the drone carries some kind of opportunity cost. Starcraft is interesting because minerals and information are both very valuable so you have to make tough calls.

Opportunity cost exists in smash as well. In melee, the opportunity cost of any given action is the potential to perform a different action. This gets complicated rather quickly, but I think it’s an important concept to consider.

For Jigglypuff, the most common example involves her bair. Bair has a low-moderate reward and extremely low risk, even on whiff. If you use that math then committing to spaced bairs pays off over time. It is possible (common, even) to space bairs outside of a character’s range until they take a different position or get hit. This makes bair appear like a one step solution. In some matchups it effectively is. However, in others even though the risk attached to bair is low, the opportunity cost is quite high. It is active, but it is not proactive. Every bair is a commitment to the air and at least 31 frames of bair animation. Habitually using that time on a safe but low reward action will net you much worse results than a player capable of recognizing an equivalent or better option with a lower opportunity cost.

Example: If Captain Falcon dashes at puff she can jump away and bair. His options to directly punish a retreating bair are few and carry a high risk, so he’s likely to just take a bit of stage presence at most. However, by jumping away Puff is forfeiting her opportunity to react to Falcon’s potential action commitment (probably with crouch or with uptilt, options that on confirm can net a stock, not just 12%). It doesn’t matter if the Puff player reacts to Falcon’s movement if she is already committed to a lengthy animation.

Opportunity cost applies very frequently to Puff’s approaches. Remember, every bair is a 31f minimum commitment. Committing to bair now prevents you from committing to a slightly later bair, a moderately later bair, or sometimes no bair at all. Any one could situationally be the most effective. The opportunity cost of a preemptive attack is in this case both the potential to react to the opponent’s movement and the potential to keep your own intent ambiguous and difficult to react to. In this way even if a bair goes unpunished or even hits it can be a costly overcommitment in terms of what could have happened if you chose a different option or even a different timing.

When formulating strategy and making decisions, weigh the opportunity cost of an action beside its risk and reward as an additional axis.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Analysis for Moose

Moose VI vs Vic (I got their tags mixed up so moose is the puff not the falco like I say but no matter)

Game 1 BF
notation by in game timer
8:00 threaten center then move over a potential laser to take it
get clipped with a laser, could have WLed off of side plat to avoid that
7:57 second fair is oriented too high so you end up in a bad angle. The fairs themselves were good options to push him to the corner from that range
7:56 no reason to nair it just telegraphs your land
7:55 his shine whiffs so you get a grab. Looks like you were trying to grab before he could laser grab which was a good call
7:54 your DJ was a little too late. You made the right decision.
7:52 I try to sdi that dair forward so that he can’t uptilt.
7:50 that pound from the corner was high risk and predictable. You could have techchase rested again.
DJ bairs aren’t spaced to account for where he actually is.
7:44 that nair is kinda interesting. It beats all of his grounded options but loses to a preemptive bair. So that’s a good thing to think of as a specific tool in a specific mixup. Follow him with nair if he stays grounded, hang back and punish his fall/land if he is jumpy?
You didn’t space close enough to follow up but the FH after his jump away is great. However you leave it empty so you end up getting hit instead.
7:41 you get hit again introducing lag with a useless fair
7:39 this time he waits outside of the predictable pound
good bair, bad fsmash. He would have had to DI the bair badly, in which case you’d rather grab.
He misspaces a punish so you get a bair
Hmmmm, the ledgegrab was obvious, I think had you SHFF faired you would have barely caught it
interaction after is really strange
7:33 you should be taking center stage to preserve your advantage
7:31 I don’t think the upair could have hit him even if he jumped OoS
7:30 that fair is a bit too high again. Practice doing those as low to the ground as possible. That’s the second time a too-high fair turns a good situation into a bad one.
using the corner of the platform to keep your route back to stage ambiguous is good esp because he doesn’t want to challenge you directly
7:25 your movement out of shield is too slowly to take advantage of the space he’s giving you
7:22 Because puff is so short that shield grab has too small a success rate to go for.
After, I like to WD under his lasers at that range. You can tell it’s a laser when he jumps straight up, at which point you WD under it and can grab him (or double fair if you are slightly too far away still)
7:20 this time your shield grab gets shined
not the end of the world vs falco but it is a complete loss of stage
7:17 you could have gone closer to center after he committed to lasers
7:15 bad nair. From that angle it didn’t protect your land at all
7:14 another fsmash that needed to be a grab
7:08 you take center then you guess that he’ll jump. You don’t really have to guess, you can wait for him to do it and then punish the descent, esp because you are invincible
7:06 CC grab
looool that dash away pound was maybe the biggest guess I’ve ever seen
7:04 you get uptilted not respecting his range
7:01 good position set up to edgeguard but you don’t react to his sideB
you could have gotten invincible daired several times during your recovery and died under 40%. Recover vertically away from him so that that can’t happen.
6:56 good coverage
you could have easily baired his upB on reaction
6:48 you go the the ledge which is safe but gives up the whole stage. You could have hung out around the side platform outside of his range to the same effect while still maintianing a threat when his inv runs out
he gives you a bair though so it works out lol
good reaction punish on his FH
looks like you dropped the punish by missing a ledgecancel, that’s ok the idea was there.
6:44 this bair is much too late to hit him so you needed to prioritize position. This is recurring.
ok good you maneuver to center then FH over the laser
fair prevents his crossup
6:38 this time he dashed back and then lasered so that it would coincide with your descent
you didn’t recognize this so you get shot. It is subtle. You needed to bair earlier to hit the top of his SH. Had he not SHed then you would fade away and keep center stage.
6:37 if you sdi’ed the laser down then you could have shielded. That’s not really expected but good to keep in mind.
6:35 at that range you can WD in between the lasers to fix your spacing while still being able to react if he tries to approach with an aerial.
the descending nair spacing after you missed your WL was perfect. You should have gotten a great grab after you land and he whiffs a bair but you were stuck in drop shield animation.
6:30 close to the same principle. He is dashing away and lasering your jump from a distance. In this case you needed to WD after his dash and then react.
good job buying your way back to stage with bair, then catching him loitering.
6:26 falling upair after bair rarely hits spacies. It is much better to land empty and then grab.
6:24 misspaced bair necessitates techchase, you are too eager to hit so you only cover missed tech. Additionally, the landing lag from fair gives him enough time to roll away from a direct followup.
6:22 oh that’s interesting. Normally a FH there will counter if falco uptilts but moose chose to dash a little further and bair. I haven’t seen that before. In that case you need to space well outside of him with the intention to use your disjoint when jumping toward falco from about a roll’s distance.
6:19 would have hit him without the DJ
afterward you don’t fade back enough
if an aerial whiffs then puff needs to fade back a lot.
6:15 you take center then sort of but not effectively cover his retreat. However it is enough to take stage control and make him nervous and jump into a slightly delayed uptilt, which is worth it.
oh nooooo you slightly misspace the rest. That’s 2 kills dropped. Boooooo.
oh ok cool spotdodge roll. Good place for those.
the grab was super misspaced though. I would have just double WDed toward center and CC grabbed if he tried to hit me with anything on my way.
6:07 you could have grabbed before he did. You should have been mashing grab in case the nair hit, anyway. In those situations hold L and then mash Z and A.
6:05 bair is too early.
6:04 this is a neat situation to look at. You get baired for jumping at falco from what looks like a good position but if you look at it you actually didn’t have a reason to jump at all. You could have just sat there empty and reactively punished anything that he does. Not that that’s easy, but it’s more consistent and probably easier than guessing.
poor DI on his bair makes it combo
6:01 that fair won’t hit him. You needed to fair where he was going, not where he was.
5:58 that crossup was risky. You only just sneaked through.
5:56 looks like you tried to shield grab again. Puff is too short to shield grab even high ff dairs
5:53 faded way too close
5:47 no reaction to the missed tech
5:42 you were too slow to get all the way over there and poke at his feet, you needed to recognize that and delay your decision to bair
he should have FH baired you but he SHed so you get a punish
I’m pretty sure it was impossible to cover that sideB sweetspot so just prioritize stage control.
5:35 good, you stay out of his range and keep an ok position to threaten when his inv runs out
he actually gives you the whole stage, inviting you to go low.
5:32 I think that you jumped away from his jump forward thinking that it was an aerial but instead it was a laser so you got shot. Hbox will sometimes spotdodge or roll instead. It is interesting and good but not good if you spam it.
5:29 there we go. You spam grab after landing next to him, upthrow rest. Very valuable stock.
oh and a great tech. Good shit dude.
5:19 you try to shieldgrab backthrow during hitlag of the shine so you end up rolling.
If you mash L+A+Z then that won’t happen
second grab attempt was unlikely to work, you should have just angled your shield up.
after he backed away from the ledge I personally would not have left it until he either gave me a chance for a WL grab or to do damage with ledgehop dair/bair
by vertically spacing toward center you are risking death and a perfectly even game and he is risking a single hit or two. Not good odds for you.
5:06 yeah exactly that happened lol
5:03 idk what your design for your inv was.
5:00 ok nair beats grounded falco
you get jabbed out of your grab because you tried to dash away from a CC option and still grab him. You can’t have your cake and eat it too you are not playing as fox.
4:58 that grab was a little too late but he was nervous and shielded for some reason so you get the uprthow rest. GJ

Stocks Lost:
Fsmash his shield, upsmash OoS
runs into a bair at high %
fall into a bair at high %

extended edgeguard after a pound
bair, he misses sideB sweetspot
upthrow rest
upthrow rest

I’m not seeing any glaring holes in your gameplan. If you hit the rests and fix a couple things then your gameplay will look much more coherent and it will be much easier to optimize from there. I mean, you earned 4 rests but only got 2 kills from them.
1) a good number of your aerials are misplaced.
Sometimes you are guessing that he will jump when you don’t have to. You can wait and react to it, then punish his descent.
Sometimes you are attacking where he is without respecting that he can and usually will dash away from you. Unless falco is in some kind of endlag then you have to assume that he will dash back and delay or overshoot your aerial a bit to account for that.
2) This is really tricky and takes practice/focus but you need to distinguish between different types of lasers and tailor your response to them. If he dashes back and then lasers then your response needs to be different than if he lasers in place or jumps back with a laser. They are all effectively different moves that need to be punished differently or you will whiff something and then take 30+% from a bair uptilt dair or something like that.
This is made even more complicated because you punish a laser in place at close range differently than a laser in place at mid-range etc. That’s why I don’t have a list of what to do vs what. I personally don’t have it 100% figured out yet either. Right now, I think that the best way to learn it is to sit down and play friendlies for an hour or two and only focus on how best to avoid/punish lasers on reaction to how he sets them up.
3) Never shield grab falco unless you know 100% that it will work. 90% of the time it won’t.

From here I’m going to be a little less exhaustive and look for patterns and solutions.

Game 2 FoD

8:00 The DJ fair only covered a jump that he wouldn’t have done.
7:57 that fair was really good because of the range. Covered most of his options. You could have probably grabbed after the second one if you faded in.
good job not overcommitting after he dairs over you
but you’re being a little fishy. You could be reactively punishing a whiffed AC bair.
7:48 ok so the reason that WDing under that platform was good is that he can’t aerial through it very well. So if he runs forward then it’s super obvious that he’s going to do a grounded option, which for falco at this moment is almost certainly a grab.
7:43 there’s no reason to challenge that rising dair
7:39 good zoning
FH after the missed tech was good too, initiates pressure.
when you are descending over it there is a mixup between bair and empty land grab. If you always bair then bair isn’t good. If you always grab then grab isn’t good. You need to mix them up a lot for that to be a good position.
7:33 he overcommits pretty hard so you get stage
lmao woah I was not expecting that pound
yeahhhh, if you counted up all of the pounds that puffs do that hit vs all the ones that get punished I don’t think any of us would use sideB ever again.
7:25 good job going over his lasers without putting yourself in danger of getting baired
but then you FH nair into one (; _ ; ) bad risk reward.
7:20 you catch the cheeky crossup, should be an edgeguard
you start moving that way too late to cover the sweetspot jump
7:15 overextension. Now you’re in a bad position instead of a great one. You’ve done that a couple times so far this match. You need to recognize a winning situation and take advantage of it.
7:11 waveland was good idea but you got clipped anyway gross
7:10 ok that works lol
7:05 perfect position
7:04 noooo don’t double jump there, he was stuck!
7:01 nair was cool but it didn’t AC so you had to shield so it was bad
7:00 don’t shield grab that crossup. It’s a trick. They will uptilt a lot. Hbox likes to WD out then punish what they do when they land. Moose is choosing to spam AC bair, you could be punishing it.
yeah you’re just not punishing anything that he’s doing this match.
6:54 bad shieldgrab
6:51 you need to be prepared for your moves to hit him, haha
6:49 ooh, that was really good but just barely whiffed.
could have baired his dash attack
6:47 if you FH bair there then you need to fade conservatively or a whiff will be punished.
6:44 he gave you a fair but you were thinking about something else so you didn’t take it
6:36 bad bair, didn’t have a purpose
6:32 consider that those FH nairs that you fade back at the end don’t actually have a reward. You can tell if a nair is going to connect, at which point you need to fade them in instead of out in order for them to be worth it.
good reaction/option coverage vs the techs. You could have potentially reacted to the missed tech with a dash attack but I’m not certain.
6:20 moose is slow to move out of the bair so you get a grab
6:18 when you do that SH DJ bair aim for their feet.
6:17 DJ fair out of hitstun should have been a falling fair. You didn’t react to where he was.
6:15 bad shieldgrab.
6:11 good vertical spacing
FH bair afterward is badly spaced vs his options
bad pound
6:07 ooh he whiffs, money grab.
SH upair was better but you make the fair work.
mmmm, you are consistently late and suboptimal in how you get to the ledge so these edgeguards are impossible instead of hard.
6:02 gave you a free bair
6:00 there it is. Good empty land grab mixup. Bthrow was better in that position/%
5:51 perfect position again but this time the nair commitment restricts your movement and makes you land so he can pressure you. The nair has a high opportunity cost.
5:41 good spacing over his lasers and close enough to catch an advancing jump.
5:39 by now you should catch on to how he likes to AC bair when he’s not really sure how you’re going to move and be ready to either bair or grab it.
5:38 I definitely would have spammed grab after that nair
5:37 bair would have hit. Falling upair vs spacies is a bad habit. Terrible success rate.
5:24 like this AC bair here. Exactly like this. Good job lol.
aw, the DJ was unnecessary so you drop the combo
5:17 ooh that SH nair covered a lot of options

this game you were mostly too busy trying to do something that was in your head to take advantage many of the opportunities that you had but you reigned that in during the second half. A bit less going on because moose was less willing to laser on a smaller stage, so it is a good one for looking at spacing your jumps around his aerials without being in danger of a counter bair.

Stocks Lost
FH nair into a bair
rest punish

raw fsmash
techread rest
raw FH bair
bair, edgeguard

Game 3 FoD
7:57 second nair was unsafe because he was behind you. You needed to react to his position and just take center stage during his endlag with like runoff bair or something like that.
7:56 that upair never works
some wonky pressure, you get grabbed.
7:51 bad pound
7:49 bad upair burns opportunity, DJ bair is slightly misspaced so no shieldpoke
second DJ bair couldn’t have possibly hit him and puts you in a poor position
7:47 CC grab
7:44 good going over the lasers, I don’t agree with the nair, I would have just fallen empty. It’s lucky that it beat bair.
could have grabbed if you faded in.
7:42 the dash then laser catches your jump
he was cornered after so there’s not too much reason to jump anyway.
lmao that’s a funny kill.
7:30 good getting back stage with safe bairs
7:29 that nair was really good but unnecessary to fade back so it became bad.
bad shieldgrab
7:26 this nair was started high enough that it was easy to react to. You recognize that it’s not safe and back off.
7:23 good reaction to the roll and grab, should have been an upthrow.
7:21 good position (staying grounded under the platform) but bad spacing so ledgedash got you.
7:16 you force him up, which is great. Focus on punishing his land if/when he jumps.
eh, premature upair so you have to let him down.
7:13 ooooh, probably unintentional but your lightshield makes the shine whiff which = free grab. You can do the same thing with shield DI but it’s though.
7:10 you could have regrabbed or fsmashed after the upair.
the next little bit is scuffly. You could have come out on top by FHing around him.
7:00 good position to cover his SHs but you don’t FF well so you can’t.
6:55 just WD under them.
6:48 that was actually pretty interesting. The empty land crossup then shield was good but then the platform coming up freaked you out. You could have still WDed OoS to center to achieve the same design.
6:42 ah wow good spacing to take adv of his whiffed dair
6:40 you’re getting really good milage out of this SH nair edgeguard
really really good spacing to get off of the ledge after his inv
ah, but you miss the turn grab. It’s weird because you can’t jump cancel it or it won’t recognize your orientation change.
6:25 lol would have been baller if you rested him but stage control is good too.
You don’t need quite that much though.
6:23 had you sdi’ed the laser down you could have grabbed.
6:17 you could have gotten the followup after the getup attack but you were late to move.
6:12 bad nair
you take a lot of damage in the next little bit spacing too closely to him
5:55 don’t fish. Even if it’s not punished directly there is an opportunity cost.
5:52 dunno why you jumped
hit per hit you’re not doing that bad but your single hit rising nairs etc are overly difficult to follow up
this entire stock you’re playing from positions that favor falco, not puff
puff thrives on singular punishes (grabs etc) that will kill falco every time. Generally speaking, the rest of her hits are to buy enough stage and respect to get them.
5:27 no need to upair right away. Let him burn some shield and get nervous first.
5:27 fair is too high. Look at where falco is, not where you feel.
5:23 you can’t punish falco jumps on reaction on the way up. You have to wait a moment and then punish the descent.
5:22 this is a good example of an instance in which you react to a whiffed aerial with a jump bair which ends up being shielded. You need to instead recognize when you are slightly slow (because of reaction time + character state) and either keep your jump empty or grab instead.
5:15 good spacing until the end. After the lasers you stopped respecting his aerial.
5:11 I am of the opinion that if you are going to attack a shieldin opponent in the corner then you go all out and do like a low bair grab or something. If you expect them to roll then just do nothing and wait to react. (You can dash dance or something to stay ambiguous). But if you try to do both then it is very very easy to end up covering 0 options.
5:06 bad pound
5:03 predictable grab
4:51 DJ burned your opportunity
4:48 from that range just WD under the laser, he can’t jump at you before you can react
4:47 shielding covered 0 tech options
4:35 ok so you’re in a good position under that platform to avoid his SH stuff and prevent an overhead approach
4:33 lucky shieldgrab but you kind of need it. Backthrow is good. Could have FHed then reacted to what he did.
Could have rested OoS.
Could have upsmashed his predictable rising aerial.
when you’re in the corner in this position it’s up to you to sneak something while he’s specifically trying to deny it to you
meaning that it’s about tempting him to overextend, like he did with the dair earlier.
4:10 bad jump

lol gettup attack to ledgehog
bair to SH nair edgeguard
Falco SDs

Stocks Lost:
jab bair
baired at high %
naired at high %
jump into bair at high %

I stand by the numbered list after game 1. I would add though that you have a lot more dead frames than you probably think that you do. You can play in 20xx with the green overlay on to spot those more easily. I would also note that there are a number of situations (like punishing rising jumps or instances where you try to bair a land and it is shielded and resets to neutral) that you overestimate your reaction time and need to look carefully at how long the startup of your intended punish is vs the endlag of their option and come up with a more lenient punish or (more likely) take an indirect punish like stage or position to cover what he will do after. Especially in this last game you are hitting too many shields with rising bairs. It’s a symptom of a simple but consistent problem.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

ASDI down

ASDI down

Crouch Cancelling is one of the stronger techniques in SSBM. By cutting KB by 1/3rd, CCing a move can frequently allow you to counterattack from a grounded position before your opponent can follow up. With CCing, “Don’t Get Hit” is incomplete. In the right situation, getting hit can have a massive reward.
The inherent weakness of CCing is that it requires you to crouch. Crouching is conspicuous. This makes CCing somewhat telegraphed and easy to recognize and punish with a multi-hit move or grab. Crouching also severely limits your mobility. You might recognize that Dash Dance heavy characters CC with far less frequency than others. A Falcon player is less willing to surrender his capacity to dash back than a Sheik main.

But Melee offers us a compromise in the form of ASDI down.
ASDI down results in a sort of pseudo-CC. At %s that do not trigger tumble, landing will interrupt hitstun with a normal, 4f landing animation. ASDI will move your model a small amount downward. Additionally, ASDI triggers a ground collision. In game, if you are hit with a low-mid KB move at low %s and then ASDI down then your character will go straight from hitlag to 4f of landing lag, leaving you with frame advantage comparable to CCing. This will work to great effect up until the trajectory of f1 after hitlag exceeds the ASDI unit of distance at mid-high %s.

But the real beauty of ASDI lies in that it can be buffered and is not recognizable to the opponent before-hand. ASDI does not require the precision of an SDI input. You just need to be pressing a direction on either stick on the last frame of hitlag. It doesn’t matter if you pressed down before or during hitlag. This means that you can habitually press down during the startup and endlag of your moves and simply mash Z if you get hit out of them. Because you can buffer ASDI with the C stick, you can maintain your full mobility while preemptively buffering ASDI down just in case. This is very easy and non-intrusive, especially if you claw. (Theoretically you could even plug your controller in with the C stick pressed up lol).

Many players impulsively throw out a quick jab or tilt after making a lightly unsafe decision in an effort to beat out a potential whiff punish. This is highly effective but only to a point. Habitual ASDI will net you at least a grab off of these counterpokes, rendering them completely fraudulent.

Once you start looking you will see this technique with very high frequency in high-level matches. I would go so far as to say it is one of the biggest mechanical differences between top and mid-level players.