I need to get better at this game but I don't know what to do


I’ve been super active here, spent hundreds of dollars on the game, talked everyone I know into buying it, have been posting on the Steam forums trying to help people out and I’m just realizing I’m kind of a scrub. I mostly play single player and even at that the “medium” Shadow Lords AI ■■■■■ me up. Feels kinda weird being so into this game and technically sucking at it, been trying for MONTHS to break into killer and get that achievement but I’m lucky to get 1/4 the way up gold before being stomped back down.

Its like the basics I struggle with, I can’t manual combo to save my life. I just don’t have the timing. I absolutely can’t combo break on reaction, I have tried and tried, I don’t know, I just can’t react that fast or memorize that many animations. I’ve been stuck on the final dojo lesson for 4 years now and I just can’t do it. Its infuriating!

I’m at weird point in my KI career if you can even call it that. I feel like I’m just getting old or something, my reactions aren’t fast, I can’t memorize all the setups, I seize up and kind of panic when I’m trying to do some complex tech and struggle to manage all the basic stuff like resets, frame traps, all of that stuff no matter how much I study just doesn’t click with me. I just play on instinct, no pun intended.

I’m really not sure where to go from here, i want to be better at KI but I feel like its not something I’m good at. I see lots of folks on here making stuff I struggle with look easy like SL mode, “just do this and that!” and while its surely good advice I still struggle. Hell I tried challenging mode last night and was feeling confident the first fight on day one was an “easy” Jago and he nearly killed me! Tonight I hit up exhibition for the first time in months and a Steam newbie was giving me a run for my money with Thunder, I mean I had to switch to my mains and go tryhard to beat him and we had a good set but I was sweating it!

Not trying to be a downer, I just want to be better and frankly I’m starting to think its something wrong with me and my ability to retain information and react quickly to stimulus on the fly like everyone else does. I mean what should I do? Last fighting game I was legit good at was Soul Calibur II playing Asteroth, but he was so slow I’d have plenty of time to think my tech through. : P

I’m certainly casual if there ever was such a thing, I don’t play daily anymore… but I’d like to at least be able to beat the game and nab all of my achievements without struggling to beat medium mode. :\


Would you remind me which are your mains?


Glacius, Shago, Eyedol in that order.

Have a decent grasp on Omen, Killgore and Rash but I know enough about the entire cast to play them to some degree.


i’d like to play with you. lets make some time for us to play dude.


Don’t play single player if you want to improve online, it makes bad habits.


Being a somewhat low-skilled player you really don’t have an option there but I get where you’re coming from. I’d like to improve in general really, kind of makes you jealous to see someone body boss Shadow Jago or Godlike Gargos when I can’t even kill his Omens. : P


Beating human opponents and drinking their tears feels better.


Being able to get all the achievements feels good too. lol


If you feel you can’t improve in certain areas then try to improve in others to compensate. I maintain a 70%+ win ratio and I never manual nor am I great at breaking. My reaction skills are terrible, if I try to purely react then raw standing overheads and tail flips and divekicks and shatters will open me up 99% of the time.

Despite that I have success because I focused on creating my playstyle around avoiding those weaknesses. If I don’t manual then I needed to get better at the counter breaker mind game or find ways to get consistent damage outside the combo system. If I suck at breaking then I needed to avoid getting opened up as much as possible by taking less risks in neutral and finding counters and escapes to the popular pressure options. If I can’t react to “reactable” moves then I needed to get better at predicting my opponent so that I could anticipate those moves.

There are multiple aspects of the game you can get good at and be successful with besides combos and breaking.


I would never tell you to stop playing single player if you find it enjoyable, but I would definitely caution you against measuring your success as a player by how well you can beat the AI. Fighting game AI is cheap, unfair, and it cheats at the game by playing with different rules than you. The only way people actually beat the AI on godlike is not by being good at the game (maybe apart from some reactionary breaking)… they simply find and exploit some AI weakness that would never translate to playing against real people.

So I suppose the first thing you should think about is when you say you want to be good, do you want to just beat the AI or do you want to be good against human players? I ask that question without judgment on what option you choose. It’s just that they’re two entirely different skills and you’ll need to practice different things depending on what you want. I think the first mistake is thinking that the skills needed for beating the AI and beating a human player are easy to translate back and forth.


Fun fact - I’m actually quite terrible at fighting the AI. I lose to anything above normal with startling regularity, and generally resort to AI exploits to accomplish required tasks like beating Shadow Lords on Godlike.

As Infil says, you probably need to decide what you mean by “good” before proceeding further. If you want to show those Steam newbies the business or make Killer, then you’ll need to learn how to fight humans. If you want to beat up on Shadow Lords or normal Survival, then you’ll want to work on different things (typically recognition of which things the computer refuses to punish or respond properly to).

If your goal is to be good at playing against and beating humans, then I recommend no longer playing standard Player vs AI or Shadow Lords at all. The AI in those modes fights nothing like a human at any level, and it will give you bad habits while also teaching you nothing worthwhile about how other people play. If you don’t want to go online, then train against Shadow AI’s. They’re still kind of dumb and don’t quite adapt like a person would, but they behave much more similarly to a real opponent than anything you’ll find in another single player mode. If you’re good going online, then I suggest going online - the influx of Steam players means that there are actually a decent number of new players to get matched with now. Don’t sweat not bein able to effortlessly beat them; just use each match to learn more about the game, yourself, and your opponents.

And the “Replay and Analysis Thread” can be a great place to get feedback on your play. I highly recommend posted a match or two there and letting others dissect your play a bit :+1:t5:


As others pointed, beating the AI and beating human players are as different as swimming and walking. Both have the same goal (go from A to B/winning a match against your opponent), but the way to do it is totally different.

If you want to win against humans, you will not improve playing against the AI. I would recommend you to fight exibition against someone who can identify your mistakes and help you to correct them. I would gladly help you, but I’m moving to a new place and I don’t have internet at home yet.

About the skills you say you lack (manuals, breaking…), either you can, with different success degree, work around them, or learn them.

Manuals, for example, are a hard lesson, and it takes time to make them work consistently, but once it clicks, you will suddenly be able to perform them more easily. Some chars get more benefits from them than others, and some chars have more situations to use manuals than others. Try to start using easy manuals first. I started using manuals more often when Aganos was launched. I practiced a lot all his p manuals after heavy and shadow pulverize. With Eyedol, try mp manuals after warrior shadow qcf P. Once you master it, try other sthrengts. Once you can do any manual after this shadow move, try with regular heavy version. Then m version. Go step by step, slowly but steady.

Speaking about breaking, my advice is to use auto imposed rules while you learn:

-Play often with the chars you struggle to break. It will help you to identify their animations

-Never guess, just break what you clearly identify. At first you may only break some heavies, but that is better in the long term than guess break habitually.

-Don’t get nervous if you get oponed. Most opponents will use hard to break-low damage combos. Dont break them on the first chance. Take your time, be calmed. Limit yourself to 4-5 break attempts per fight. Doing so will make you focus in your limited attempts rather than lose your temper.

There is more, but I would prefer to fight you to try to help you more accurately.


@SithLordEDP That’s a good point, I just wish I was better at breaking. Its so frustrating to get locked out and ripped a new one when you know your opponent isn’t that much better than you, simply because you failed to recognize an animation and got spanked because of it.

If I had to choose one of my biggest faults, I’d say it is going yolo with to much unsafe stuff. I kind of go hogwild sometimes with what I think are mixups and a good portion of the time I do manage to get a combo started (against humans) but then there are those times that a balls out Shago slide doesn’t catch them off guard and they punish you hard. Also I don’t do great under pressure, when my significant other and I used to play I’d do great up until I was caught in the corner. I guess I’m better at managing space, playing Glacius, I USED TO try to play Kan-Ra but eh, I got bodied one to many times and gave up on him, then he started getting nerfed…

@Infilament That’s a fair point too, I guess its just frustrating seeing the successful players on here who are good at both and make it look easy to beat the AI. As if everyone should be able to do it because they can, its incredibly aggravating to read posts saying they beat Godlike Gargos with all the buffs while blindfolded and playing with their toes, then proceeding to tell everyone how easy it was when like… I can’t even kill his Omens on Godlike. lol

I’d like to be better at both, but I see how picking one would be easier than struggling with both. AI are predictable and need to be anticipated, humans are more unpredictable but also are prone to making mistakes leaving you opportunities to exploit them.

@STORM179 Its tough, deciding where to focus first, I guess I need to figure that out before I can do anything.

@Dayv0 I’m going to assume I have to work around them because almost four years of effort have netted me no results, even after spending time in training trying to figure out the timings. That’s not to say I should give up but I have had little success thus far and its frustrating.


How have you tried to practice manuals? There are certain ways to practice that will improve your success rate. For example, you should take Glacius to training and practice heavy Cold Shoulder linker into crouch jab manual (this is the easiest one he has). If you get auto-double, you’re doing it too early. If the opponent blocks or the combo counter drops, you’re doing it too late. The important thing is that you aren’t practicing “any” manual, you’re practicing specifically the easiest one for a character, and one that “feels natural” (by my definition).

Spend 3 or 4 minutes doing opener -> heavy cold shoulder linker -> crouch jab until you can get it a few times. Then try doing them back to back (opener -> heavy cold shoulder -> crouch jab -> heavy cold shoulder -> crouch jab). Then see if you can max the KV doing it repeatedly. Take as long as you need to practice this. Note certain things like the timing feel, the rhythm of the hits (sound helps a lot), what Glacius looks like when the crouch jab works (ie, what is his animation doing), etc. Make sure you aren’t just randomly pressing jab into a void… start with a certain timing, and then if you get auto-double, slow it down, if he blocks speed it up, and try to duplicate the timing on your next attempt.

This is a relatively easy link (compared to others in the game) and it has consistent timing that translates to other linkers in the game, so I feel like this is a good starting point. After you’re able to do this, however long it takes you, I’ll give you the next step.


Out of all your characters who do you enjoy the most? Id focus on one first for awhile. Getting better with one character can make things easier in the long run.


Mostly just in training, watching youtube videos and trying to figure out the timing. I’ll take your advice though and try that manual specifically. I think a lot of my problems is technical jargon starts going right over my head and I get overwhelmed easily. I think that’s why I get discouraged as well, because half the stuff you good players talk about on here makes no sense to me and I just have to kind of nod and pretend like I get it. lol

Thanks for the tips, I’ll get on it tonight after the Seahawks game. :stuck_out_tongue:


Just ground my thumb raw playing with a low level Steam player I had a few beers in me after the game so I didn’t care though, usually I don’t have time to stick around for sets of 10+ games so it was nice. He was pretty decent, at first I was wrecking him with Glacius but he started to catch on more and wound up beating me with Tusk while I was on Killgore.

I took some of the advice from this thread and started to focus on stuff I think I suck at, which admittedly is my defense. Blocking more instead of going yolo 24-7 like a crazy monkey on bath salts was my goal and for the most part it worked out, I didn’t get opened up as much and I tried to wait for opportunities to repay the favor. That didn’t really work out so well but I was more aware of what I was doing at least instead of focusing on how to get in constantly.

Was still guess breaking though and it cost me a few times. :\


Defense is 100% the main thing that beginners are bad at. But defense is hard… it requires a lot of game awareness and knowledge to apply punishes, to block correctly, and to know when it’s okay to press buttons. It’s a lot easier to play balls to the wall offense and try to make your opponent deal with that before you have to. Unfortunately, once you run into someone with good defense, you’ll understand just how important it is. They get damage without having to take risks.


Probably shouldn’t have but I had some more beers and got up the courage to play a ranked match, I got setup with a shin hisako in qualifiers on Xbox. She almost beat my ■■■, it was down to a pixel. XD

Admittedly I don’t know Shinsako very well.


Most people don’t (including me). The post-S3 characters are among the least played characters in the game.

Regarding panic breaking, I recommend making friends with a Mira player. When I wanted to learn the ability to not break I ran a long set against a Mira, and after a few instances of losing whole lifebars to mash breaks, finally got the message. When a character can literally kill you for a single missed break, you tend to get better about when and where you decide to guess.