Friday, May 21, 2010

Just when things are looking up

I could not resist jumping into the PA ranbat last night even though I knew it would take all night and leave nothing for a second attempt at that evil Lost Planet 2 level. Things were actually go very well for me at first. I took five out of six matches in the prelims, my one loss coming from a Dictator, which is not unusual. I played a few casuals while everyone else was finishing up and the other person in the lobby warned me about a really good Dhalsim that had given him the business. I missed who it was, played for a while, then started my round one match up. Of course, it was the Dhalsim, and what is already a difficult match for Blanka became much, much worse as this guy made me look foolish at every opportunity. In the middle of the second match I confessed that I really had no idea what to do, and to my surprise he countered that Blanka's are usually difficult for him. That made me feel great, and it got even better when the person who won the tournament ended up being a Blanka player who I had beaten in a mirror match last week. This really proves that knowing your own character will only get you so far. I was clueless about the Dhalsim match up and it showed. Pick a shoto or Zangief or Ibuki and I know most of what you can bring to the table.

Just as I was about to pout myself right off of the internet an ex-Abel player asked to play a few games with his new main: T Hawk. This guy's Abel was terrifying, so I was nervous but curious about the giant native american. It was not a runaway; I actually took a match or two from him, but I could listen to him talking out new tactics and figuring out what worked and what didn't. For example, a hawk dive is easily countered by Blanka's ducking fierce, standing medium or vertical ball, but only if the dive hits in front or above him. If the dive comes in just past the vertical midpoint or behind none of the moves work and it is best to block and punish, and it's really hard to tell the dive apart. One my one he went through all of my tricks, learning what to do to counter them. By the time we were done I was reduced to pokes and punishing safe jump ins with ex-vertical balls. I'd like to think I rose to the occasion and played to the level of my opponent. If only I could keep this from happening when I play people who are terrible.

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