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Brawl Playstyles & Skills pt.3

One very effective way to showcase differences in playstyles is to watch a ditto/mirror match where two players use the same character. We did that in part 2. Likewise, another great way to showcase differences in playstyles is to observe how multiple people playing the same character fight against a single player. Just like the master animator Hayao Miyazaki said referring to his film My Neighbor Totoro, animating Satsuki and Mei exploring the house is a great way to show all the little ways that they're different.

For part 3 of this investigation, we'll look at 3 Ike players of varying skill levels. Keep in mind that because we're playing Balanced Brawl that everyone is a bit off of their normal game. All 3 Ikes will be shown playing against my Pit. To recap here's my data from the Questionair.


  • Name: KirbyKid
  • Characters: Pit, Kirby, Sheik/Zelda, Pokemon Trainer
  • Best Skill: Timing (spacing)
  • Most Wanted Skill: Adaptation (changing one's strategy)
  • The Skill You Press Over Opponents: Adaptation (changing one's strategy)
  • Most Prominent Playstyle: All the above styles


And here are the Ike player's data in the order that they'll appear in the video.

  • Name: Rave
  • Characters: Ike, lucario
  • Best Skill: Reflex (quick response)
  • Most Wanted Skill: Dexterity (inputting into the controller)
  • The Skill You Press Over Opponents: Knowledge (data)
  • Most Prominent Playstyle: Aggressive / Offensive
  • Name: Slaps
  • Characters: Ike
  • Best Skill: Adaptation (changing one's strategy)
  • Most Wanted Skill: Timing (spacing)
  • The Skill You Press Over Opponents: Knowledge (data)
  • Most Prominent Playstyle: The Learner/ R&D style


  • Name: Teh Brettster
  • Characters: Ike
  • Best Skill: Timing (spacing)
  • Most Wanted Skill: Adaptation (changing one's strategy)
  • The Skill You Press Over Opponents: Adaptation (changing one's strategy)
  • Most Prominent Playstyle: Aggressive / Offensive



Watching these matches has brought a few critical-questions to mind. What good is it to have a best skill if your opponent has that same best skill or has more of it? This is a question similar to one that I brought up in my series on playstyles that deals with the interplay of playstyles. To put it simply, if your best skill is timing and knowledge and your opponent knows more about your character's attacks and advantageous positions than you do, your best skill can be your greatest weakness. As you can see in the videos, there are times when I could play a simple defensive style that was able to react to Ike's airs with perfect shield counters.

A player who can adapt would do well to find a weakness in the opponent's character or playstyle to gain an advantage and ride it to victory. This is what I did against Rave, less so against Slaps, and even less so against Teh Brettster. Another advantage of playing this way is that you reduce the amount of data you have to actively consider. Freeing up all that brain power will help you play more calmly and accurately.

It would help all of these Ikes to use some offensive strategies that are mixups instead of tests of pure knowledge/timing. One important step in incorporating mixups into your playstyles is to understand a concept I call folding moves together or folded moves.

The idea is simple. When two or more moves are strung together in a sequence that increases the effectiveness of the later move(s), then these moves are considered to be folded. I coined the term "folding" because of how I visualize the effectiveness of moves in Smash Brothers which includes their range (where they hit) and their holes, short comings, or f(x) blind spots. By picking moves that layer together to cover up a weakness, what appears to be a hole can in fact be a trap. In other words, you fold the goods of moves to cover up the bads for a given situation.

Naturally, folding moves is a very versatile concept that applies to all genres of video games. Focusing on fighting games and Brawl, you can successfully fold moves that hit, are blocked, dodged, or stopped by other attacks. For example, after I down throw with Pit I can follow it up with an up air. If the opponent dodges the up air the way I have it timed (depending on the % damage of the opponent) I can follow it up with more attacks almost guaranteed. If the attack hits, I can react and follow it up with attacks that have a much higher chance of success than if I used them individually.

The possibilities are emergent and limitless. Being able to come up with folded move combinations is a test of one's knowledge. Being able to adjust a combination on the fly is a test of one's adaptation. In this way, you can use skills from two categories to help you create a stronger playstyle. So even if your opponent has you beat in one particular type of skill, it's up to you to use your other skills to stress and test the range of your opponent's abilities.  

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