Kata #32 v1.0
Difficulty Advanced Kata
Focus Awareness Of Ranges And Footsies
The intention of this kata is to help train the same skills of sequential thinking and adaptable planning from Kata 31 but in situations that are less under the player's control. The character for this Kata is Rainbow Mika, the understanding you gain from it will need to be adapted for each character individually depending on their dash lengths, dash speeds, and normal attacks. Whether or not you use V-Trigger I or II for Mika will also play a role in this, and you should choose based on your needs once you understand the Kata fully.
MikaBot is very good at making sure players are never in full control of their spacing relative to her, due to the fact that nearly all of her moves move her forward, therefore changing the spacing. You must respect your opponent's spacing moving forward because this bot punishes you for forward movement 'auto-piloting'. Additionally MikaBot is good at relentlessly pressuring players in the ground game while maintaining a decent amount of random air approaches making the anti-air a more relevant thing to take into account in your sequential thinking in Kata 32.
This Kata uses MikaBot 1.0 with all actions turned on, though you may want to learn the focus for certain parts without them all active, at first. Inputs can be either Perfect or Acceptable, please reference the MikaBot 1.0 page.
Some of the options on backdash will vary by character. Such variations will be noted in one of the situation descriptions below.
Settings for 1P side, Health - "Auto-Recover" (when not in 'Full Focus Test' mode), V-Gauge - "Auto Recover", CA Gauge - "Auto-Recover".
Settings for 2P side, Health - "Auto-Recover" (when not in 'Full Focus Test' mode), V-Gauge - "Normal", CA Gauge - "Normal".
Katas do not specifically have a point system, as they are intended to be a test of focus and endurance. Instead, this section will explain the why and how of the kata. Aims are still given below in a similar way to Bots and will be referred to as Aim A, Aim B, and so on when explaining.
- A - Backdash on wakeup after being knocked down by Mika and be ready to anti-air or whiff punish at the end of your backdash (or after an air recovery if your character's backdash makes them airborne and she lands a lighter hit)
- B - If Mika does not approach you after your wakeup backdash, move toward her and look for an opening to hit a cancelable low or crouching attack
- C - Extend it so that your attempts from Aim B are supposed to hit at max range for that attack
- D - Learn to hit confirm that attack from Aim C while still using the same sort of spacing, particularly trying to make sure your cancels actually reach
Situation One - Keeping it Neutral
This Situation only requires Actions #1 and #3 to be active. Turning on Action #2 increases knockdowns and time you have available to get used to it. Other actions have no negative effects so all can be turned on if you prefer. Move yourself so that you are generally in the middle of the stage, but let Mika knock you down with her moves so you can do the wake up Backdash mentioned in Aim A. Keep track of MikaBot's rhythm after her knockdowns and play the neutral game while reacting to her forward or jumping movements. This will help you keep aware of what types of situations tend to overwhelm you as well as help you get used to MikaBot's flow. Your initial focus should be on trying to maintain the neutral spacing. Once you are knocked down, use any 'rise' option you prefer, but use the brief time on the ground to observe what MikaBot is doing and what spacing she is likely to be at when you rise. Once you are up backdash as quickly as possible regardless of the situation (except when cornered, in this case just attempt to jump forward over her head) and be ready to anti-air or whiff punish. Take a bit of time to make sure you are using the anti-air and whiff punish best for the situation as R.Mika is good at keeping you in less optimal spacings. The difficulty of this stage of the Kata is in keeping your autopilot in check while maintaining your focus in anticipation of either a jump or grounded advancement from MikaBot.
Like Kata 31, you want to be careful of any autopiloting and be mindful of what the best option is relative to what your opponent is doing. Due to it being a bot MikaBot will not always be completely predictable in her rhythm, but she has various patterns that can come up interchangably depending what actions play into each other. Learning to keep your mind watchful and your response flexible is the first step to mastering this kata and the key to practicing this situation.
Situation Two - Moving Towards Opportunities
For this situation, focus on Aim B primarily but Aim A can be temporarily dropped if need be. You should continue to do the backdash, but can ignore the whiff punish/antiair for a bit while getting used to the new challenge. Actions #1, #2, #3 and #4 should all be active, but either #2 or #4 can be turned off if you want, just not both at the same time. Now that you understand MikaBot's rhythm and have understanding of where your backdash puts you at various stages, after your backdash, keep an eye on MikaBot relative to your own position, but add 'watching for your openings when she does not move' to your mental stack. If she does not attempt to move forward or jump, take the opportunity to gain forward positioning and attack MikaBot with a crouching or cancelable low (2MK for most characters, 2MP for nearly all others.) A forward dash is not always necessary or optimal depending on the spacing for some characters. Use whatever movement option is most common in 'footsies' for your own character, including just walking forward.
Being able to take advantage of whatever MikaBot does next is the main goal of this situation. Some of the more common moments you can attack MikaBot are during her V-Skill mic, which has armor so you will need either a throw or a multiple striking move/quickly canceled move to punish.
Situation Three - Learning the Extent of Your Reach
For this situation, Aim C can be done by itself for a bit, and Action #3 alone used for this, just to get an idea of positioning oneself for max range spacing. Once you are clear on that and the movements required, all actions other than #5 should be on, and #5 can be on if you desire it or if your character's defensive options are not strikes. Resume attempting the Aims, first Aim B, then restoring Aim A again to your mental stack. Once you feel comfortable with when to move forward and how to punish after your backdash on rise, begin to refine your understanding of spacing. Continue doing all of the steps from the previous situation. The main added step to this stage of the kata is to start to optimize how far you move forward and understand and begin using the farthest range you can still succesfully do the attack. It should show you when you should prioritize getting to a more advantageous position. Secondly this should produce extra strain on any auto-piloting that may occur from you going through the motions of attempting to move and strike. This is the stage you want to finalize all of your understanding about what your ranges mean. Additionally this is the stage you want to finalize your understanding of Mika's rhythm and how to plan your response. Keeping your mind on the next thing and your eyes on Mika is the key to success here.
Situation Four - Confirming Your Position
The main focuses of this kata are complete. Situation Four is all about stress testing and building up your endurance. Now do all steps from Situation Three, but now try hit confirming the cancelable crouching normal and whiff punishes. The goal is to work on your hit confirms, or in some characters' cases command throws, while maintaining your focus on MikaBot's rhythm. Plan based on your spacing and MikaBot's possible reactions. Pay attention to places where you find yourself dropping your planning, or incorrectly dashing in, or performing the wrong whiff punish. Part of the purpose of this situation is to make sure your other pieces from previous steps are second nature such that you can hold all of them in mind at once while still having mental room to perform other steps. Mental stamina is just as important in playing the Two Player Game as any other.
Full Focus Test Mode
When you feel as if you have a good handle on each situation and all the ways you could deal with the opponent, change 1P V-Gauge to "Normal". Both Health Gauges would then also be set to "Normal", but make sure that you go to the regular 'dummy' version of the Training Mode options and set Stun to 'Off' (this setting carries over to bots and CPU). The goal is now to defeat Mika using the Kata as normal, but instead of waiting for her to knock you down, space yourself defensively in 'neutral' on purpose and don't follow up your attacks, go back to neutral after each successful whiff punish or antiair. If you manage this before she defeats you, consisently, pay attention to how it is happening, and consider if you could recreate most of the situations in other matchups, against opponents that use attacks on your wakeup that you can backdash away from, or who whiff attacks in neutral to change their spacing without giving you as much chance to respond. If so, then your focus is probably enough to handle this sort of situation in real matches. Repeat with familiar characters until you are satisfied with your performance.
This bot uses an unaltered MikaBot 1.0, found here. Since no variations are needed, and the Acceptable version inputs for the bot are also sufficient, you can use that bot as is. See the sections above to decide which of the inputs to prioritize, and don't worry about it too much if it does not seem to be exactly as intended, as long as it serves the purposes described.
Still in progress.