How Guilty Gear Made Me A Better Competitor

How Guilty Gear Made Me A Better Competitor

Written by: King DX on March 16, 2015.
When training for esports or any form of competition it is believed that the best way to do it is dedicating time into that one area. If you want to be good at football you simply keep playing football. If you want to sing you train your vocal cords by singing. This way of training has been the status quo for a very long time. Today I want to share my story of how I became a better Marvel vs. Capcom player by not playing the game.

Currently it's mid March and around a month ago I started training incredibly hard on Guilty Gear Xrd for the upcoming Final Round 18 tournament in Atlanta, GA. While I'm always confident in my MvC3 team of misfits, I decided my focus for the time should be on GGXrd. In the long run there isn't much to train really in a game that I know the ends and outs of. Vergil, Dante, Zero, Doom and Morrigan... rinse and repeat. There really isn't much more to expect from the game at this point. My skill level has been stagnant and how well I do will be based off of my opponents experience with the weird matchup that he/she will be facing. Could I spend time in the lab making sure that I have a different variation of each of my combos just in case I face Arthur or Viewtiful Joe? I could but I don't really care to do so. My focus now is on a fresh game and that is where I have decided to put my attention.

So here I am thrust into the world of Guilty Gear. I was never really big on anime fighting games although I guess you could consider MvC to be one. Persona, Melty Blood, Under Birth in Night just don't do it for me although I do respect those games for looking amazing. So the question is why GG? Simple. The game is just too beautiful to not play. Everything about the game screamed "PLAY ME!" and so I picked the game up in December. With Xrd being my first entry into the GG universe, I knew my ass would get handed to me a ton and boy did it. I started off playing as Chipp and despite my mixups and combos the damage output just wasn't there. This was the first game I would take serious at the competitive level and there would be no room for an under performing character. Sadly the realization that my character wasn't that great took almost 3 weeks to notice. Why? Because Guilty Gear is hard as shit. Those frame links were like nothing I had seen before. I remember the struggle I went through at first just learning how to OTG with Wesker back in the day. This game was going to force me to work on something that I just never did before, precise execution and strict timing.

With Sin and Ky as my backups, I quickly abandoned Chipp and went into the lab with the Kiske family. After a couple of days I found myself completing their respective trainings. I completed them but it wasn't easy. Links were so tight and the spacing was such a huge factor that I quickly started questioning if I would be able to play this game at a high level. With nobody in my immediate vicinity playing the game I would look to the online mode to be my challenge. I battled for hours from games with 2 frame latency all the way to ranked games with up to 8... yeesh. By the time it was over I felt mentally wrecked. I felt descent but not good. Final Round was around the corner and there were some Marvel basics that I needed to check on. I wanted to jump into training mode for a day and practice my combos, make sure my converter was working and a few other minor things like button setup and some oddities.

I reached out to the ever so talented SHO 6 0 for help and I tested my skills out against a great, albeit rusty SHO. It wasn't long before you could see something had changed in my gameplay. 1 grab.. 2 grabs.. command grab combo. My brain opened up something that I never did before. I was starting to see opportunities to capitalize in areas where I normally would go for other options. My movement was for the most part clean. I instinctively changed down that bitch Ammy (not magic ammy) something that I would have never done in the past. After about an hour or so of sparring that's when it hit me, Guilty Gear had made me better. I hadn't been spending weeks on end with the game. I didn't try to create some new synergy with my team. All I had done was play with a game that was fundamentally more difficult and it made me better. Something that playing the game simply on hard could have never done. GG had pushed my fingers and my reaction time to new heights without me even knowing it. My team and strategies are still the same but my core has been altered for the better. Utilizing an overall more challenging game required me to train my muscles harder than I had before and it made some seemingly impossible things for me easier. I type this now as a better Marvel player even though I haven't trained that game in months. It just goes to show that skills can come from everywhere and maybe sometimes you need a break and sometimes maybe you just need to be broken. If you are training your ass off on a game right now take a break for a moment and learn something else. Let this new found experience roll over into other areas. Don't be afraid to use unorthodox training methods to get ahead. Hope you guys found this helpful and keep your eyes peeled for our Final Round 18 coverage.
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