Watching Videos Pt. 3: Follow the Damage


Before, we talked about how to analyze the neutral situation and the advantage situations. Let’s wrap up with the single most important question you can ask when analyzing a match: “Where does the damage come from?”

The next time you watch a video, every time a character gets hit, pause the video and ask yourself a few questions:
  • How did they get hit?
  • Is the damage the result of a small change from a previous situation?

Imagine you had a button on your controller, and every time you pressed it, your opponent took damage. I bet that by the end of the match it would be broken from how hard you would mash it. This honestly isn’t too far off from real match situations, it’s just that the button that gets damage for you changes as the match goes on, and it’s your job to figure out which one it is. When you’re analyzing match videos, record each situation where one character damages another. Was it the result of footsies? an advantage situation? While in lower level matches, it can sometimes be a bit of a scramble getting damage, with higher level players, you’ll realize that if they get damage in someway on another player, they’ll try to repeat the situation later in the match, so they can “press their free damage button” again. This is smart, because if someone isn’t equipped to handle a situation or attack, why would you stop doing it? You should take note of these kinds of situations that happen over and over again and see if applying them to your own game helps against your opponents. I can tell you upfront it’s not going to work against everyone, but you’ll realize that some people are just not capable of dealing with some tactics. They won’t adapt to the situation and you will just keep scoring damage over and over again.

What’s more interesting is the last question. If the answer to the second question is yes, you should be more intently studying the situation that came up. First study how the player scored the damage. Was it the result of an opponents error? Was the opponent conditioned to take a certain behavior? What were the changes that led up to it? Here is where you can start to transition from the video to training mode to see what you can learn about the situation. If your game has a recording function, this is where you’re going to make great use of that. After setting up the situation, see what small changes you can make to see if it’s possible to make the situation even more advantageous for you. Here I really implore you to get creative and basically try different things, no matter how stupid they might seem, until you can figure out if the situation that went down in the match video, is really the best result, or if there is some information you can glean from it yourself. That way, when the situation arises in your own matches [whether it’s neutral or advantage] you can already make an informed decision, aim for the best result possible, and when it’s all over, ultimately keep pressing the damage button!