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Justin Wong Explains “How to Get Better at Fighting Games” – Part 1: Execution

You’re here because you want to get better at Street Fighter 6 or fighting games in general, right?

Then this video is a must watch!

In order to improve you’ll need a foundation… You’ll need to understand the fundamentals. The fundamentals will lay the groundwork for improving in every single match you play.

And, who better to teach you those fundamentals than 9 times EVO champion and multi-fighting game champion, Justin Wong.

Want to Be Better? Improve Your Fundamentals

Justin Wong willingly admits there are players who are better than him at certain fighting games.

Of course there are… but, he also says when it comes to tournament set play…they can’t beat him.

How does that even make sense? They’re better than him, but can’t beat him in set play?

And, he’s proven it time and time again across fighting games he hasn’t played as much as others.

You can even see the moment he takes his opponent’s soul at a tournament after a victory.

What’s the secret sauce? Fundamentals… And, Justin’s sharing.

Breaking It All Down

This is a long video. We’re talking 30 minutes plus.

Here’s the thing… Highly encourage you to watch this video in its entirety. But, if you read my Training Mode series you’ll know that there’s one fatal flaw most commit…

Just watching the video isn’t going to make you better. Intentional practice makes you better.

Imagine this was a “How-To” book separated into chapters. The best way to get the most out of any guide is to read a chapter and then take action based on what you read.

For that reason, I’m breaking Justin Wong’s video into separate posts. You can obviously just watch the entire video and that’s why it’s linked here for you…

For those that want the deeper dive (or are maybe a bit newer and need the extra details), I’m going to extract extra guidance on each chapter for intentional practice. Plus, with Street Fighter 6 adding Modern Controls – there are some additional ideas to consider.

Chapters from Justin Wong’s Video, “How to Get Better at Fighting Games”:

  • Execution ← We’re here…
  • Neutral
  • Mind Games
  • Pressure
  • Patience
  • Nerves

Execution: Let Me Hit Some Buttons

Execution in Street Fighter means hitting the right inputs / buttons at the right time.

This is the longest chapter of the video and for good reason…

Justin Wong breaks down good execution as the first fundamental for playing better and performing combos.

The opposite of good execution would be button mashing. If it’s not self-explanatory, button mashing means pressing buttons multiple times in hope of getting the input right or more offense…

However, “more buttons” does not necessarily mean more attacks (well…except maybe with Dynamic Controls in Street Fighter 6, but that’s another story).

Imagine, pulling off a fireball motion with Classic Controls in Street Fighter 6. The inputs are down, down-forward, forward + punch.

If you hit the punch button at the end of the input three times, that doesn’t mean three fireballs are coming out. So, why do people do that?

Simply put, they’re trying to increase the likelihood that they input the motion correctly. But, these extra inputs are truly unnecessary and decrease the timing and speed of good execution in the long run.

Justin’s example mini-combo of crouching medium kick into fireball demonstrates this clearly. You can perform each of these moves separately and you’ll see your character performing them.

However, in order to truly take advantage of it being a combo, you’ll want to perform the crouching medium kick, and as you’re hitting the medium kick button, continue with the down-forward, forward motion of the fireball then hit punch.

This will allow you to combo one input into the other in what’s called a “special cancel” in this case. Special Cancel is canceling the recovery frames or animation of one attack into a special move.

Basically, cleaner inputs means your gameplay is more precise and will be a factor in longer, optimal combos down the road.

What If You’re Using Modern Controls?

One interesting idea in all of this talk about execution is considering Street Fighter 6’s take on Modern Controls. Does good execution or cleaner inputs even matter with Modern Controls?

Yes and no…

No, because Modern Controls will allow you to hit just a couple buttons or use the “assist” button down while pressing light, medium, or heavy attack to execute a target combo.

So, in and of itself…executing a combo will be easier, although limited based on what the developers have programmed in for target combos with Modern Controls.

Don’t be fooled though… Good execution will still play into all of your fundamentals Justin Wong breaks down.

If you’re just firing target combo after target combo without thinking, then ultimately a good player will punish you for it and you’ll find yourself more often on the end of losing rounds.

Playing into the strategy of good execution, proper timing, and situational awareness will still be a huge key with Modern Controls.

The great benefit of Modern Controls is you won’t have to memorize a lot of inputs to start pulling off more advanced ideas and strategies. So as a newer player, you can potentially learn some of the other fundamentals faster.

Get Your Combos Right

JWong recognizes the trap that newer players may be able to perform combos perfectly in Training Mode, but can’t pull them off in a match.

He explains muscle memory is king. So, obviously being able to perform the combos in training mode is one thing but, getting them to land in matches is something else.

What Justin Wong suggests to practice this is… “Do not play to win.”

“If you’re playing to win, you’re going to use your general strategy to win your match,” Justin proceeds.

The goal isn’t to prioritize winning the match, but to get the combo working in your gameplay.

Justin further explains, “Let’s say you lost your match… but, you landed the combo two times during that match. That’s a huge win!”

Justin teaches that your execution will improve because you’re able to land these combos, where just winning a match won’t necessarily help boost your fundamentals for future games.

Don’t Overthink It

The term “Mental Stack” is often associated with learning fighting games. Your “Mental Stack” is all the things that you’re focusing on at any given point in a match.

The more you have to focus and think about the harder it is to execute any one action or game plan.

Simplify your gameplay by just improving one part of your execution such as landing a combo, hitting anti-airs, or reacting to overhead attacks.

Even if you’re using Modern Controls in Street Fighter 6, knowing when and where to hit those buttons or bust out those target combos will go a long way to improving yourself in Street Fighter.

Tournament Life

Justin ends this chapter of the video by highlighting the idea of having a “tournament combo”.

He wants you to have two combos to start… a combo that’s your basic optimal combo and one that is a tournament combo…

A tournament combo will be a combination that maybe isn’t as optimal (doesn’t do as much damage), but is easier to perform. So when your mental stack or nerves are overloaded, you’re more likely to pull off this easier tournament combo.

Next time, we’ll break down the “Neutral” chapter of Justin Wong’s video, “How to Get Better at Fighting Games”.

Of course, if you can’t wait… go watch the whole thing right now!

But, for your best growth, it is absolutely imperative you take this first idea of practicing execution and intentionally work on improving it in training mode and in real matches.

Did you enjoy Justin Wong’s video? Have other resources I should check out?

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