I hear new fighting game players often claim that they don’t have the execution to do higher level combos easily. I also felt this when I first started. The reality is that no one starts out being able to just do sick Dante combos in Umvc3 or hit 1-2 frame links in Street Fighter every time. They had to work for it.
The term “lab monster” is thrown around a lot but let’s dig into what it actually refers to. I assume everyone can conclude that it is referring to someone who sits in training mode for hours to practice optimal or flashy combos. What does that actually say though? I might state that those players have high execution but in reality they don’t “have” high execution, in reality they “acquired” high execution.
How did they do it? By being a lab monster they were able to have high execution and not the other way around. It might be more accurate to just simply say that they are more driven to gain the skills necessary to do some crazy tech that stops a TAC from switching your character. (See link at bottom) It took practice and once you are able to realize that they did not become a lab monster because they had “high execution” but they gained this execution through becoming a training mode aficionado first. Anyone can do this, all that varies is how much time it takes until it clicks for you.
Let me use my own experiences as an example here:
I started out and could not imagine doing the shortest of combos. To put this in perspective, doing a combo that was Light attack->Medium attack->Heavy Attack->Fireball motion would absolutely overwhelm me. I couldn’t imagine doing it because at this point I was just pressing buttons. As time when on I continued to play and started to be able to do these simple little strings more naturally by just playing with people a lot. I did not spend any time really practicing so bigger and crazier combos than this seemed impossible for me. As I began to learn about how to practice combos and mix-ups in training mode I started to do it a bit more but I did not get very far because I gave up on everything I tried after a few attempts. I continued to not really get anywhere for about two years and since prior to that I had never really touched a fighting game I just really did not get it but I knew I liked this stuff and wanted to improve. I have been playing fighting games for about four years now and my second two years are where I started to really make any progress towards the level I am comfortable at now. I began by getting super into Skullgirls and I played about 10-12 hours a week just in training mode. I did this for about four months. The way I managed this is by setting out to do a combo that I thought of:
The first step was to conclude if the combo even works within the game’s limitations. The next step was to set out to “just do it.” If I didn’t get it first try (which I never once did on any combo I tried, simple or hard) I would try again, and again, and again, until I was making progress on that one combo. Then I would continue to try until I did it which for me at the time was often hundreds of attempts. If I did not get it on Monday and ran out of time, I would try again on Tuesday. If I didn’t have time until the following week, I would try then. The main point is to just keep trying. By doing this you are training yourself to be better at combos and these practice skills will transfer to future practice sessions. Finally one important thing I learned that when I try things over and over it can get pretty lame and exhausting but that’s ok because you can always take a break. As long as you get back to it later then a break could even be a great thing and help you learn even faster, sometimes after a break, that thing that was not working will just click and start working all of the sudden.
After that serious execution training period in my fighting game journey I continued to at least try to play something once a week and get lots of games with people. At the end of the day experience is one of the most important elements in improving because training mode teaches you how to do things but experience teaches you when and where to do things. I refer to this as Neutral v. Execution and it is important to balance the two. I learned this balance and work on my Execution because my Neutral is of a way higher level even to this day. Finally to today, I now can do any combo I set my mind to. It may take me a ton of attempts but I can do it. I thought I would never be able to do Trish double S combos but I just finished doing them and making a fancy little combo a short while ago and I was really proud of myself. There are some things that I find to difficult but I don’t get overwhelmed by long combo notations or really weird combo timings anymore because I know that I can do it. I also know that I can’t do it if I do not try it.
A couple final notes: Using online resources for help can be amazing. Reddit and youtube are pretty much there to help, even if some people are jerks. If you can’t think of your own combos just copy ones people made online. Eventually it will click, as you do more different combos and improve, you will have a way stronger understanding of how to make your own combos.
And remember, just keep on improving.
Thanks for reading and I hope you can gain more confidence in your own execution one day.
Cloud805 Combo referred to above. Don’t try this at home.