I devoted hundreds of hours to ranked matches when KI S1 launched. With a 6 character roster, you could play for an hour and get decent matchup experience for the whole roster. If you played for ten hours you knew what to expect from most of the cast most of the time.
S2 doubled the overall content and for a lot of reasons I just didn’t spend nearly as much time playing in ranked. My matchup knowledge for S2 characters is much worse and now that S3 is launching I’m motivated to get back into the killer rank and start leveling up with my KI2 main Tusk. My experience from the last two days tells me this will be radically different than Season 1.
Just thinking mathematically, assuming all characters are equally popular, at launch you would expect to fight every character once every 6 matches. For season 3 at launch you need 22 matches to get through the whole roster (and this will get higher by the end of the year). If we want to factor in popularity, if we assume one character is only half as popular as the rest then at launch that character would show up once in 12 matches but now we will see them once every 44.
The point if this novella is that the size of the roster really impacts matchup experience. I have leveled my Tusk up to 25 playing mostly ranked matches and there are many characters I haven’t even seen yet. The flip side of this is that, now that I have some handle on the character I am facing people who are probably better than me at the game but don’t really know anything about fighting Tusk. This greatly benefits Tusk’s “bully” play style because people not knowing what buttons to hit plays into his gameplan really well, but I think that will change pretty quickly since Tusk is going to be a popular character.
Anyway, I don’t have a concrete ask or conclusion from this, but I thought it would be worth talking about how you go about building matchup experience with such an expanded roster. Not necessarily for tournament prep but just to perform in ranked matches online. Thoughts?
Good point… what I like to do is create “my own Arcade ladder”. SO when playing the AI I start against Jago (or in reverse Aria) and work my way from 1st to last character in a best of 3 series. If I loose 2 matches I either move on to the next character or I make it a best of 5 and then move on.
Once I reach the final character I’ve played each character at least 2x.
You can do this with Shadows as well but it takes much longer due to the loading process and decided who’s shadow you wish to challenge.
This is why we need a true arcade ladder with Shadow AI. It just takes too long to choose Shadows and like you said if you hope to run into all characters evenly in exhibition or ranked…the chances are not in your favor.
Right now, Shadow Lab is going to do a lot for me in this regard, though it may not be something I can do for every character if we don’t get additional Shadow slots.
I created an Arbiter shadow, and I’ve really been enjoying playing him, so I plan to make him my second main, behind Thunder. I’m going through the Challenge Shadow function and recording a bunch of fights against each character to make my Shadow as strong as possible; something I’ve never bothered to do with Thunder, meaning my Thunder is actually fairly weakly prepared to fight most of the roster, even before the new Season’s characters! It’s helping me learn Arbiter’s moves, some strings, setups etc, and how to fight as him against the different characters one at a time. I’m noticing that I’m picking up on matchup specific stuff the more I fight a character, and also learning more about how the characters work and the new Season 3 mechanics as I go.
Right now, I play exibition exclusively.
I try to play against people who I know, the longer sets the better, and keep learning about specific a MU.
By the way, I’m leveling Tusk and Arbiter. Feel free to invite me!
I didn’t know if the new characters had Shadow capability already, so that’s great. I think we could actually benefit a lot from making a shadow ladder/survival feature that let you train up against specific character shadows. I would really love to take my shadow and fight 20 Hisako’s in a row, rather than just hoping I will bump into one or painstakingly searching the database to find someone.
Only two so far, I think it’s Arbiter and Rash. The others will come in an update.
I think the assumption of “half as popular” is actually pretty optimistic. A lot of characters are very rare to see - S2 was pretty bad about that, and I see no reason to think S3 will be all that much better about it. There are just some characters that aren’t played very much, and it’s even harder if you’re looking for someone at an above-average level of skill with the character.
I’ve personally tended to just shoot friend requests to those people I see who play esoteric characters, and challenge them to the occasional FT# set. That’s where the bulk of my Aria experience comes from, for instance.
The important thing to know is that if the characters are not used with equal probability, then you don’t need to have equal matchup knowledge for them, especially if you’re just playing online and not looking to be in top tournament form.
If you see Aganos once every 100 matches, it doesn’t really do you any good to know all the crazy ins and outs of Tusk vs Aganos. Even if you know them, you won’t really be able to use that information in your 1 match per week against him.
As in most fighting games, it’s important to know your character’s matchups against the most used characters in the roster (nobody would ever play SF4 or SF5 without having some confidence in the vs. Ryu matchup, for instance). If you notice your experience vs character X is lacking because you never see them, and you want to explore it for fun, your best bet is to do what Storm said and ask for a casual set with someone around your skill level who plays that character.
SF4, a game played by the entire FGC world under intense conditions for 7 years, still has tons of underexplored matchups just because you don’t ever see them (and are unlikely to be seen in the future).
Ah, the infamous Dan vs DJ battle extraordinaire