Why is Training Mode Important?
A core aspect of any fighting game is consistent execution. Training mode is great for practicing certain executing heavy things such as:
- Combos: Practice combos important to your character including situational ones like big punish combos, high meter usage combos, low meter usage combos, etc.
- Pressure: Practice blockstrings, mixups, safe jumps, etc.
- Reactions: Practice Hitconfirms and reacting to the opponent's attacks.
Training Mode is also a great environment that lets you experiment with your character free from the pressures of a match!
- Poking and Movement: Learn when each of your attacks is a strong option and a weak option. Set the training dummy to perform attacks that trouble you and try out various options.
- New Tools: You can create a new mixup or combo that you can develop into a viable tool in your arsenal.
Key Training Mode Features
Training Mode has a lot of useful features to help make the most out using it. We will discuss some of them briefly here.
There are a lot of options in Training Mode, and there are a few settings you'll want to immediately adjust to save time.
- Information Display
- Set the game to display as much information as possible. This will include damage per hit, overall combo damage, and input history. These might be on by default, but if not make sure you fix that.
- Dummy Recovery Settings
- Set the training dummy to recover as fast as possible in the air and on the ground in the most common way possible. For example ground neutral tech for BlazBlue, air back tech for Guilty Gear, etc.
- Resource Settings
- Set this to infinite/100% for convenience's sake. Don't forget to do this for any character specific resources like Aigis' Orgia Mode, Bang's nails, or A.B.A's bloodpacks.
When you get into more advanced tactics, feel free to adjust the Dummy Recovery and Resource Settings to best fit the scenario you are trying to replicate.
Record and Playback
The Record and Playback functions are great in Arc System Works titles! Use this feature to have the dummy perform a single attack or a blockstring!
BBCSE and P4A allows you to record to multiple slots as well as having a random playback feature! Record the opponent doing two actions, then use random playback to hone your reflexes!
Set the Record and Playback buttons on the button configuration screen to use this feature.
You can manually reset the characters back to round start positions by simply pressing a button. Reset the characters as soon as you mess up a combo or setup and try again to save time!
- In BB and P4A, press Select on PS3 or Back on XBox360 to reset both characters.
- In P4A, holding left/right when resetting will place both characters in the specified corner as well!
- In GG, you can bind reset to any button you wish on the button configuration screen.
If you're just starting out in fighting games, performing things like Special attacks and Supers might seem daunting, but do not fear! You can practice in Training Mode to your heart's content. Use the input display to see what directions and buttons you're actually inputting and use it to help train yourself to stop performing sloppy inputs.
Remember, consistent execution is VERY IMPORTANT: without it, you are going to drop that game winning combo in a high pressure match. Don't let that happen!
While combos are not the most important part of playing a fighting game, it is nevertheless an incredibly good idea to practice them since they net you so much extra advantage. If this sounds overwhelming, don't worry! Most characters only have one to three "bread-and-butter," or BnB, combos that you'll have to rehearse. There are often many variants of BnBs, but they're just that: slight changes in how you start the combo, different endings, etc.
The best way to practice combos is to just do them, over and over and over again. You'll probably mess up a lot, but don't get discouraged - eventually, they'll be so ingrained into your muscle memory that you won't even have to think about them.
- Some combos are heavily spacing dependent; watch a video or another player and pay attention to the location of the two characters during the combo. How high off the ground is the opponent? How far away are they from you? Use these positioning cues to help you learn the timing and spacing of a combo.
- If you can't find a video, then experiment by changing your timing and spacing and see if that helps.
- If you're having problems with a specific section of a combo, try practicing just that one section until you're more comfortable with it before performing the entire combo.
Every character page on the Dustloop Wiki and every character section on the Dustloop Forums should have a list of introductory combos - start there and/or check out Challenge Mode if there's one available.
Recommended Dummy Settings: Guard after first hit and Air recover immediately.
Pressure strings (strings of attacks that force the opponent to keep blocking or take significant risks to stop) are like combos in that they often have some highly repetitive component from which the interesting parts of the pressure - the mix-ups - are deviations.
Practicing Pressure Strings is similar to practicing combos: learn a pressure string, and practice performing it on the dummy. However, Pressure Strings are different from combos in that they are much more freeform and both players are active participants during the exchange.
If you're not sure what a good string is, ask around in the character's subforum or take a look at videos. Make sure you also ask about how to mix up the opponent within the pressure string, because otherwise, your opponent will just learn to block the pattern.
For more on mix-ups, check out Mixup.
Recommended Dummy Settings: Guard All, and set standing/crouching/jumping state as desired.
As the player blocking a Pressure String, it's your job to react appropriately and stop the opponent's offensive push - while hopefully inflicting some damage to him in the process. This is called "punishing" your opponent, for obvious reasons.
Use the ability to record/playback multiple strings, then have them playback randomly. For example: if you're learning to react to an overhead, record two different pressure strings, one with the overhead and one without, and use the random playback feature and practice blocking.
Recommended Dummy Settings: Record the dummy doing whatever you want to practice blocking or punishing.
Hitconfirming is the act of realizing that you've successfully hit the opponent and beginning a combo from there (or conversely, recognizing that you didn't hit the opponent and acting appropriately, either by starting pressure or by backing off). It should be clear by now why hitconfirming would be a good thing to know how to do: if you want to actually combo after a mix-up (or not get punished when your mix-up fails), can you really hope to rely on pure intuition and reaction time? Probably not.
There are a couple of different ways to practice hitconfirming:
- The first is more of a rote memorization; whatever the point from which you want to hitconfirm into a combo is, record the opponent blocking incorrectly (for example, if you're trying to practice going into a combo off of an overhead, record the opponent blocking low for a number of seconds).
- The second is setting the opponent to block randomly and practicing recognizing when your opponent took the hit ("oh, now I combo!") and when they blocked ("keep pressuring!").
I find the second method useful more often, but the first one is good if you want to practice a specific mix-up.
Recommended Dummy Settings: Guard Random and Counter Hit (if appropriate)
Training Mode is great as a laboratory to experiment with your character! Use it to gain a better understanding of your character's tools during neutral as well as to create new mixups, combos, etc.
Pokes and Movement
This is actually the simplest thing you can practice in Training Mode, but it is also the one you'll use the least. Any time you pick up a character for the first time, pull them up in Training Mode and run through all of their normals and specials until you feel like you have a decent grasp on their ranges and what they do when they hit. This cannot be emphasized enough: since attacking is among the most basic actions one can perform in a fighter, it is critical to know what all of your attacks do!
But as noted above, this kind of practice is actually pretty limited: a lot of being good at poking is match-up- and player-dependent, so you'll get most of your practice poking when you're fighting real people.
If you find yourself constantly getting hit by the opponent's pokes, try to recreate that situation in training mode with record/playback and see what you can do about it:
- try different pokes
- try not attacking at all to make the attack whiff, then punish the opponent
- if all else fails, get used to blocking it and try not getting into that situation in the first place!
- go back and examine how you're getting placed into that situation and see what you can do to avoid it
Recommended Dummy Settings: Guard None, Guard All, Standing/Crouching/Jumping state, record/playback.
Fighting games are special in that there's a lot of room for experimentation and creativity. The many combo video online are a testament to that fact. Use the controlled environment of training mode and your own creativity to devise new setups, mixups, blockstrings, etc!
There's not much else to say here - get creative and play around!
Recommended Dummy Settings: None. Use whatever settings are appropriate to recreate the situation you are experimenting.