Memorandum Magi #1 (The Warlock's Memo)

Vermanubis - May 10, 2017

My name is Vermanubis and I'm considered (for some reason) one of the top 3 (worst) Ganons in the cosmos.

Truth be told, I've never really been a "student" of Smash. At least, not until very recently. I've never been of the mind to make whatever frame data knowledge I have actionable. That is, for a very long time, my MO was predicated largely on fundamentals and situational awareness so that I could more easily manipulate people's reactions. I was, and still am, you could say, a conceptual player, in that I took the greatest common denominator from each facet of the game and fabricated my philosophy around that. More concretely, I tried to excel in areas common to all MUs, i.e. fundamentals, spacing and the like. I occasionally looked up static frame data and character properties, but rarely did I see enough virtue in doing so to justify spending any meaningful amount of time studying.

That's changed recently, though. With the sheer volume of excellent Ganon players, if I want to stay ahead, I've come to see, plainly, that relying on the talents I've developed over the years won't suffice, and that I have to take very seriously any competitive edge I can get and wring the stone clean of blood.

In these little "diaries" I'm going to be walking through my own, personal improvement process. I'll be updating the series on my Twitter:

The thing that's recently caught my attention with regard to frames: shield pressuring

Shielding Pressuring and Safety

I can't stand operating on intuition alone. Intuition is the enemy of rigor, and rigor the friend of consistency. Acting intuitively feels messy. Which is why I'm surprised I've let myself go this long with a merely intuitive notion of shielding. Specifically, shielding with respect to a frame advantage/disadvantage.

Say I throw out a FAir on Link's shield. FAir has 22 frames of lag and puts you in shieldstun for 11 frames. That means I'm -11. Now, what does that mean? It means that not only is Link's grab 1 frame too slow to catch me (12 + 0 [no shielddrop frames]), but his fastest move (jab) comes out on frame 7 with 7 frames of shielddrop. I have 3 whole frames to myself to go to the bathroom, bake a cake, read a book; anything. But we'll begin modestly and say that this is plenty of time to perfect shield his jab.

Now, why is this important? For me, at least, this is important because this explicit knowledge makes it much easier to execute this in confidence. Consider this: what do a lot of people do when they whiff or do something unsafe (or so they think) on shield? They pick horribly inappropriate options like spotdodging (not to say spotdodging isn't sometimes optimal so long as you're doing it for the right reasons and not as a conditioned panic response). Why? Because they panic. Typically, you don't panic when you know things ahead of time.

Look at 5:08 of this vid: shieldbreak vs. Villager

knew ahead of time that I was safe and was betting on a grab. Had I not known I was safe, I would've probably just spotdodged then rolled away, missing out on a tasty shieldbreak.

Having invested some time into actually learning some of this data, I can feel myself progressively picking better and better options and seizing finer and finer opportunities with greater payoff. What would otherwise be knowledge that merely precludes being taken advantage of, I submit that as a Ganon, this knowledge not only serves to keep me safe, but presents me with a niche opportunity to be the one who takes advantage.

If this post didn't give you diarrhea, heartburn or reduce your IQ upon reading, and you maybe even learned something and/or enjoyed it, I'll be keeping it (and other things) updated here:

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