* Intro
* Getting rid of scrub mindsets
* Key Readings
* Some observations to these effects
* For the love of all that is holy read these and think about them/PvP
* Tournament Mindset
* Practicing
* More stuff that could be useful
* Tech resources

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This is not light reading. These resources will give you hints over time depending what you're receptive to. More than anything it’s about changing how you think, not memorizing material.
Part of the usefulness of reading (and of writing/blogging) is to put words to everything, even obvious things. Simplify your language with a goal being concise and accurate understanding.

It doesn't matter how smart you are if you can't execute your strategies. The second component to every good tactic is its execution.
It is impossible to juggle nuances of the game with elementary movement. You have to be able to do what you want exactly when and where you want to do it every time. It's not easy, but that's how this game works. Practice your movement, practice your spacing, practice your timing. Practice so that your execution is natural and exactly as advanced as your thinking.
While this is 100% simply a matter of practice no one takes this seriously and it is in large part why it takes most players years to even get decent.

Everyone in the midwest knows that we have to drive two, three, or four times as far as anyone else to find a good player. Instead of complain about it you should take it for granted, get a job, travel, develop ways to get good practice on your own or with bad local players, whatever it is that you have to do.
If you want to get good at smash enough to find ways to travel then you will. If you don’t then you won’t. Either way is ok. Complaining about your situation but not actively changing it is not ok.

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Conquering your need to lose

Improved Drastic Improvement

The Inner Game of Tennis

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Always take everything with a grain of salt.
Some advice from some people at some time will be amazing for you. Other advice will be horrible. Some of it won’t be relevant to the game or character that you play. Figure that out for yourself.

The most important thing is to teach yourself how to learn. You should pick up a resource and question it. Is this useful? Does this fit my needs? Is this the best conceivable way to improve myself? If not what would be? This is a good practice in and out of smash.


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OMG Footsies

Footsies in Context plus the following vid

Moves are the punctuation grammatically demanded by movement/positioning phrases.

Moves are the punctuation grammatically demanded by movement/positioning phrases.

Moves are the punctuation grammatically demanded by movement/positioning phrases.

Moves are the punctuation grammatically demanded by movement/positioning phrases.

Moments of Opportunity

What is solving for a MU problem?

Player vs Player is dangerous ground. In order to incorporate it without shooting yourself in your long-term foot you have to be able to make a few distinctions. First, Playing to the player is NOT a part of your gameplan. None of your raw gameplan in this game should involve engaging with the other player and not their character. This keeps your foundation strong and foolproof. PvP is elaboration that comes after.
Second, there is an inherent difference between tricking and outplaying your opponent. Reads/conditioning/etc are very real and useful tactics but they do not require you to make suboptimal decisions that in the case of you being wrong would backfire. Trickery is a losing strategy, holistically outplaying them is not.
Understand that PvP interaction is debatably more viable or at least common in traditional fighters than in smash because of the plethora of mobility options available to your opponent in melee. They have more ways out and more ways to screw you over for making assumptions. That doesn’t make PvP less valuable, just less dominant until higher levels of play. You probably don’t need any more than a nominal amount of PvP in melee until say top 100 to grow as a player.

“By 'reading' an opponent (memorizing their habits, tells, and methods), you take your focus off of yourself and what you are doing. While knowing an opponent's habits can vastly improve one's odds in a match, to rely on this knowledge [can lead] to very selective methods that will rarely work on multiple opponents. It also does not allow the player to grow. Daigo writes, 'True strength is achieved when you can read your opponent, but defeat them without exploiting their weaknesses.'”

(why mango lands stupid-looking things that you can’t. Hint: he has context and you don’t.)

(keeping track of key moments)

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- - -

clowsui on using 20xx
Do Not Autopilot. Do not just mindlessly beat up a CPU. Practice your techskill with a mind for techskill, practice specific followups with a mind for specific followups or don’t practice at all.
Gravy on how to set up frame counter in 20XX

FGC players do reps, they grind combos until they can’t drop them.
Because of DI this is sometimes not possible in the same way for melee (other times it is) but you can still practice effectively. Execution is still of primary importance.

Consider inventing exercises such as the following

Always practice with in-game applications in mind and be very careful not to develop bad habits or strategies.

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MORE STUFF THAT COULD BE USEFUL (search melee vids by player/MU)

My Neverending Brainstorm (by kirbykaze, intro to teams and some other things)

Compete Complete & Eskimo Sister (writing blogs by wobbles)

search a keyword, posts by umbreon, kirbykaze, dr. peepee
much of the rest is garbage.
But make sure to review frame data and skim MUs for ideas.

Tapion had a thread about common habits but it’s apparently gone. Summary: What someone does first they will do most often, if you clearly punish something they will probably not do that thing the next time. People tech in place when they’re freaked out about being read because their brains don’t want to commit to a direction.

Everything that I write is gold.

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Various Statistics

Kadano's analog stick input output maps

Kadano on modding your controller for better backdashes/shielddrops
Additionally I have little notches at 19 degrees down from horizontal for full wavedash and I cut maybe 25% off of the springs in my triggers to lessen their resistance (cut too much and you'll ruin them. The spring won't have enough force to return to no shield and you'll perpetually lightshield.)

Debug Mode Overview

Debug Mode Commands

arc on pivots

Gravy on Movement

Gravy on techchasing


Fly on consistency with 1 frame inputs


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. After skimming through this blog post, I think I do not want to get good at competitive video games anymore. All of this stuff is too much of a headache for me.

  3. Okay, so I've had some time to reflect since my last post, and I think I might still like to try to get good at Melee or whatever other game tickles my fancy. It's just that it can be a bit dizzying & discouraging when you find out everything that you need to know to get good.

    Thank you for making this post, Alex. It's very well-written, and you know what you're talking about (which is a rarity among people that talk about things).

    1. I don't think that you /need/ to know anything specific to get good, let alone enjoy competing. Rather, some things at some times can help reduce or avoid road blocks.