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I'm a hardcore gamer, I can dominate casual gamers in pretty much every game to the point that they'll become frustrated. Not that I'd do that, I don't want them to dislike playing games with me.

But I can't get the fighting games like Tekken/Dead or Alive/Street fighter! I've played them with few people and they adapted a button mashing strategy, blindly pushing every action button. I've been beaten all the time. Is there a general strategy to help against this? Or should I study combos and special moves to trick them and get the better of them?

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I remember once I was playing Soul Calibur 2 (this was a while ago) and someone came up to me and said "that game's just for mashing buttons; I'll beat you right now". I perfected him twice and changed the way he thinks. Just keep practicing :) –  StrixVaria Oct 7 '10 at 11:15

5 Answers 5

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Ranged attacks are always a good way to begin. That forces the opponent to either sit there blocking and slowly weaken, or to come at you which can't be done whilst mashing buttons, and thereby creates an opening for you to exploit.

The rest, really, is just timing. I remember back when I used to play Soul Caliber in the arcades as Taki, who is agile as all hell but has extremely short range. At first I'd get whipped by button-mashers playing as Kilik or someone else equally long-ranged like Siegfried. BUT once I got a good feel for the reach of their weapons, and the timing of their attacks, it was easy to dart in and out and generally cut them to pieces.

To be blunt (but not to be rude), if you're losing to button-mashers in fighting games you just aren't very good at fighting games yet. Pick a character you like in a game you like and learn their full move set and a few elementary combos. Once you're comfortable with what you have, you can begin addressing how to defeat what you're against.

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I admit that I'm not good at fighting games, yet :-) So studying the game is the way to go, thanks. –  Axarydax Oct 7 '10 at 10:27
    
Thank you for my first accepted answer! :-) –  Shaderach Oct 7 '10 at 10:49

Slightly tangential to Shaderach's answer, most if not all fighting games have several defensive mechanisms put into place. Blocks, parries, counters, rolls, strafing, air dodging, etc.: all flavors and colors come into play depending on the game you're playing.

Button mashers tend to focus on long periods of offensive attack strings until you can land a hit against them, at which point their instinct is to go into defensive mode and try to block everything you throw at them until you leave yourself open. Use this mentality to your advantage. Let them attack you with their button mashing, and follow up with your own strong offense. If you know the game, it's likely that your attacks will be better placed and more likely to penetrate their defenses. If you let up, expect them to immediately start their mashing again.

Learn the defensive mechanisms of a game as much as you learn the offensive. Going on my most practiced experience as an example here, in Soul Calibur, a parry (most noticeably a "Just" parry) can be a completely devastating counter to someone's chain of attacks. You can easily turn the tide of a fight with one properly timed parry, allowing you to push the offensive and make the opponent think twice about using the same predictable move set(s). Against a button masher, this can be incredibly potent as they typically don't know the more intricate moves requiring sequences / directional input, leaving their repertoire of moves very limited.

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As far as Tekken goes, I've figured out a pretty good strategy against button mashers. There are two very simple tactics that work pretty much amazingly. First strategy, against pure mashers who never let up from mashing, just duck punch repeatedly. Seriously. All highs will go right over your head and you'll have a big enough frame advantage on the first hit that they will never actually get to attack again until they successfully block one of your hits, which if they are a pure masher they pretty much will never do.

The second strategy is primarily for the slightly higher caliber masher who attacks in controlled chaotic bursts. This particular variety of masher differs from your garden variety in that they often understand (vaguely) how to do low/mid mixups, or at least spam mids to hit crouched opponents. You have pretty much two options, depending on how fast your thumbs are, but both center around the same principle. You need to understand the strike range of their attacks and fake them out. that means stand a little ways out of strike distance and quickly dash into strike distance then backdash out again, or immediately sidestep toward their back (which is usually the safest direction, stage walls notwithstanding). They will whiff at least 75% of the time if you do this, and a pure whiff sets you up with a huge frame advantage so you can float them and do an absurdely long juggle, or you can hit them and stagger then just peck with straight jabs and crouch jabs until you kill them, because mashers never think to block and regroup. I have pages upon pages of xbox live hate mail from mashers who have fallen (repeatedly) to this exact same tactic, the same way, every single time. They literally never learn. If they start defaulting to throws, which is pretty much the panic state of a masher who doesn't have a winning strategy, just spam jabs. You'll break 50% of throws and beat their frame rate whenever they try to attack immediately after being hit (basically, again they have to block to recover, and they won't).

For low spammers use low parries, which all characters can do. If you are playing online with a laggy connection this will not be effective. Use hop kicks followed by liberal sidestepping when they fall (if you sidestep to their side, most rising kicks will whiff because they don't track well, and spammers rarely get up without a kick). Respond to whiffed kicks with a throw and you will usually get a side or back throw. Rinse and repeat.

The real problem in fighting spammers is to stop trying to strategize and just react. They are not going to be predictable, so trying to anticipate their actions is a waste of time. You will actually lose a lot if you approach the battle like you would against any other sort of player, even if you are normally very good. Just take advantage of hitbox, range, and frame advantage, don't try to do anything incredibly fancy (at least until they panic), and you'll do fine.

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Learn what is punishable (very risky) to do against certain opponents. For example you don't want to jump too close to a Ken, since more often than not they will Shoryuken you back. Button mashers fall on this tactic too much...they may know what is okay to work for the whole match, but have no idea what is best for specific situations. Your goal would be to make overly used tactic not very safe anymore.

Also, do not obsess over combos too much until you learn how to effectively catch certain opponents off guard and leave them open for attacks. Combos must not be performed blindly- they are useful mostly as a follow-up to an open opponent that is either stunned or more likely, has few opportunities to parry/counter your moves. Before the combos, your opponent must be easily "comboable", or in other words be forced into a defensive disadvantage.

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Being a hardcore gamer is not being hardcore at tekken at all, practice a certain character of your choice that suits you game style, make familliar of frame datas, sidesteps, Highs, mids, lows; safe and unsafe attacks, juggles, OKIzeme, wall carry, and other basic stuff that may help you win. you need to study tekken and not just playing it.

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