Watching Videos Pt. 2: Reading Offense

Positional Advantage

Part 1

Last time we covered the neutral position, a part of the match where the players fight for position to get into positional advantage. This time we’re going to talk more about the advantage situation, and how to take note of them when watching a match.

What is advantage position? To be brief, it’s the area your character has potential to get large damage, and apply pressure to the opponent effectively.

If you’re still scratching your head from that definition, think about what tools a character has. The advantage position is the area where a character do best. For some characters it’s easy to understand. Take Zangief for example. Zangief has throws that do a lot of damage, are very fast, but they have short range. You can logically conclude that he does the most damage at a close range. To find out what the advantage situation is, think about when the character does well, and then think what situation can they use that advantage. That is the advantage position for a character.

Once you can see where the character gets most of their damage, you should look at that situation and ask, “does the situation change or does it repeat over and over.”

If the situation repeats, then it means the defender either could not overcome the positional advantage, meaning the option used is strong [and you should take note], or they did not adapt [very good information if you’re studying a player].

If the situation changes then you should take note of how it progresses. Does the opponent jump away in defense? Do they dash backwards? Do they successfully block? You should take note of how the positional advantage is overcome in the moment.

The final piece here is seeing how the person in positional advantage changes to overcome the defense. You can quickly see that this can become complicated. Top-level players will constantly adapt and so it might be difficult to keep up with this in a match video. To practice observing this, I recommend watching lower and mid-level players to begin. They will often repeat similar situation over and over, and so its easier to practice honing this skill. Once you feel comfortable recognizing the changes in a lower level match, you should move up to more adaptive matches.

Check out the video below to test out your knowledge. Take note of what Tokido’s Akuma does when he finishes his combos with an uppercut. Note how it changes. Why do you think he chooses the options he does. Also take note of Spriggan’s set-ups when he demon flips. What happens? How does Tokido escape? Does anything change?

Anyway, thanks for sticking with us through part 1 and 2. Next week we’ll be exploring the final part of our series talking about the situations that constantly arise in similar match videos, and how you can analyze them and add them to your own game!