Kata #33 v1.0
Difficulty Advanced Kata
Focus Defensive Mental State And Hit Confirms
The intention of this kata is to help train the same skills of sequential thinking and adaptable planning from Kata 31 and 32 but in situations against more aggressive players. The character for this Kata is Laura, 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 Laura is not too important, and you should choose based on your needs and which version of the bot you have once you understand the Kata fully.
LauraBot is very good at both making sure players are never in full control of their spacing relative to her, and that the player remains in a pressuring high twitch situation. You must respect your opponent's spacing moving forward because this bot punishes you for forward movement 'auto-piloting'. Additionally LauraBot is good at relentlessly pressuring players in the ground game and unlike Katas 31 and 32 where there are some pauses in the combat to give you time to think, LauraBot will tend to follow you as you backdash requiring you to use your sequential thinking and awareness skills built up from the previous two katas while in a situation intended to make you twitchy.
This Kata uses LauraBot 1.X (you can install LauraBot 1.4 when it is released, without worrying about this, or make certain other modifications, without affecting this Kata, see end of this page for details) 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 LauraBot 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. Additionally this kata involves understanding your character's frame data relative to some of Laura's own moves. We recommend reading up on your character's frame data if you are unfamiliar with it on one of the frame data apps for SFV.
Settings for 1P side, Health - "Auto-Recover" (when not in 'Full Focus Test' mode), V-Gauge - "Normal", CA Gauge - "Normal".
Settings for 2P side, Health - "Auto-Recover" (when not in 'Full Focus Test' mode), V-Gauge - "Auto-Recover", CA Gauge - "Auto-Recover".
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 - Block correctly then attempt to punish Laura's LP Bolt and V-Skill Overhead, with a normal that has 5 frames of startup (preferred, use a 4 frame startup move if your character has no 5f ones)
- B - If Laura blocks your punish from Aim A, backdash out. If she does not block, hit confirm a basic, meter dependent, damaging combo.
- C - Prepare to whiff punish after the backdash WHILE expecting Laura to potentially come straight at you again. Use a combo to whiff punish whenever possible, and using your anti-airs.
- D - Learn to do counter-hit dependent confirms off of the punishes from Aim A while still using the same sort of spacing, particularly trying to make sure your cancels actually reach (see the Situation sections for clarification on this)
Situation One - High Speed Recognition
This Situation can be approached with just Aim A, or Aim A and Aim D if you are familiar with your character's close range counter-hit confirm combo from their 5f move. Most characters with 5f attacks use a standing or crouching MP for it and can link it into a stronger than normal follow-up attack. This situation requires Actions #1-4 to be active and does not suffer too much from having Action #5 active as well, for most characters. If you use a charge character, turn off Action #5 or use a variant of it (given in the end section of this Kata and on the upcoming LauraBot 1.4 page). The actual requirement is simply to block correctly, and learn to identify if your punish landed as a normal hit, a counter hit, or was blocked.
At this point of the Kata, there is no need to respond at all, just get used to blocking, spacing, and identifying the situation, while moving around. Since Laura's range changes the level of disadvantage her V-Skill Overhead attack has, at some ranges it is fully punishable without even the possibility of a counter hit (if your timing was right), and at others it will be like her LP Bolt, and whether or not your attack hits will depend on whether or not LauraBot happens to block. This situation is almost entirely about defense and timing, and it is helpful if Laura's Action #1 contains at least a crouching MK or LK to create a high/low mixup situation with her V-Skill Overhead. Watch your tendencies in terms of how you block, and your expectations for how you can punish. If you chose to integrate Aim D, note that you should be able to go for the Counter Hit combo all the time, and just watch when it does not actually combo properly due to the first attack not landing a counter hit.
Situation Two - The First Distraction
For this situation, focus on Aim B primarily, as the obvious extension of Aim A. If you were working on Aim D during Situation One, it may be best to drop that temporarily, depending on your character. Your aim is to move past just recognizing the situation, to responding properly and training muscle memory as well as mental methods. Each situation is likely to be different, for many characters, because they should be able to use EX Moves to deplete their CA Gauge here, and therefore need to watch how much meter is available to decide which combo to do. Always attempt to use your maximum damage combo or setup when your strike is not blocked. Similarly, you should always try to backdash on those occasions where it is blocked. Laura generally will get hit more often than she blocks, allowing you to build more meter, and making it more obvious when you follow through on a combo that you should not have tried for. Ignore any consequences of backdash.
When cornered, you can attempt to jump over Laura instead of backdashing, but you should still keep your focus on what you may need to do when you land. Do not jump over Laura to reposition out of the corner until after you have blocked LP Bolt and tried for a punish that was then blocked by Laura. If you want to get a head start on Situation Three, you can attempt to anti-air Laura's jumps when she jumps soon after your combo has knocked her down/away from you. Do not pressure Laura when you knock her down. It is optimal if you don't even move closer to her. At this stage, you should also not attempt to do anything after your backdash, but watch what Laura does to get an idea of her potential actions and monitor your emotions and reactions. We suggest making sure that Action #5 is active at this stage, no matter what version of it you are using.
Situation Three - The Second Distraction
For this situation, Aim C can be your main focus, and will probably be familiar if you have done Katas 31 and 32. If you find that you need to work up to it, you can just backdash after every punish attempt, here, and focus on the whiff punishing and continued defense aspects. It is this Situation where the exact contents of LauraBot's Action #5 and the V-Trigger you chose, matter the most, and you can change Action #5 to help you get different forms of practice against different styles of play, not just for Laura. Laura can pursue the player in multiple ways, and often, each method requires a different concept of defense or whiff punish. For most characters she can even use a reversal MP Bolt to catch their backdash if she blocks the attack (for some, they would have to delay or mistime the backdash). Above all, learn your opportunities for using combos or EX command grabs to whiff punish her forward movement, and be ready to anti-air.
As your skill in this situation increases, start integrating Aim B again. Choose which of them should be your main focus based on your playstyle and character, at this point. Some players/characters will want to spend more time focusing on confirming into damage, and others will want to spend more time making sure they get some distance away from Laura. If your better anti-air options require EX moves, try to use these too. Note that since this is a backdash -> Whiff punish situation, some characters with charge moves won't have all their options available, and this complicates things even more. You should be aiming to keep your focus on Laura, and seeing how often you end up confirming your hits when she blocks, because of being distracted by other things. Or, backdashing and then failing to anti-air because you did not manage to 'let go' of the combo you were focused on getting ready to do.
Situation Four - Come At Me With All You Got!
Unlike most of our katas, the maximum benefit of this one is achieved here, and the 'stress testing' part would have been happening all along. Now one must try to distinguish between the counter hit (most common on the standard LauraBot), normal punish hit (fairly common) and Laura blocking (generally least common) and aim to do completely different things in these three situations. Even though your regular combo or link should automatically work in the situations where you land the counter hit, you should specifically use a different one. Even if your character does not have a beneficial counter-hit combo that is separate from the main one, you should undertake Aim D by specifically just choosing a different combo for the two situations. We suggest combos that only confirm (or become necessary) at certain ranges, even though Laura is unlikely to be out of range (the most common of these is to simply hit crouching HK after the attack counter-hits). Adding this final step maximizes the number of things the player needs to think about while in defensive 'stance', to a number close to the maximum required in Street Fighter V.
Hit confirming your close range whiff punishes is also obviously important to this part of the Kata. Do as much damage as you can over time to maximize the returns you get from good defense, and build up the ability to discourage actual pressure players from playing out that particular gameplan. LauraBot is much harder to plan against, but since having an offense plan against her is not necessary, you can focus on defense. Make sure not to assume that this Kata is the most important of the three just because it can be the most difficult on most characters. Understanding when to switch to offense is highly important too, but Kata 31 and 32 already cover that. As always, 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 both Health Gauges to "Normal". The goal is now to defeat Laura using the Kata as normal, but with one handicap. Whenever you finish a combo that Laura blocks, or backdash out of a valid hit, stop moving and give Laura some free damage, to simulate the probable loss in situation that would occur against a real opponent. Don't follow up your attacks, go back to neutral after each successful whiff punish, combo 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 pressure strings that end in disadvantaged but safe moves (-2). 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 can use any version of LauraBot before 2.0 (at this time only LauraBot 1.0 is available, 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. However unlike most of our kata-related bots we have some very slight notes. Just reference the LauraBot 1.0 page with these things in mind:
- For Action #1, crouching LK+MK is now preferred as the first hidden input to increase the mixup game
- Action #1 can alternately be: 236LP, hidden [1LK+MK, HP+HK, 1LP], 1LK, 1LP, 236 end instantly (this is the proto for LauraBot 1.4 and can be done without the HP+HK)
- The Acceptable version of Action #2 is superior for this kata. The Variant is not as effective.
- Action #3 is slightly better using just HP+LP instead of PPP for all button inputs
- The leniency on Action #4 can be higher for this Kata, if you were not confident that it was working well for the bot version or have never input it before
- Action #5 can alternately be: (activate V-Trigger first, separately, not as part of this recording) 5MK, hidden [5/6HP+HK], 6MP+MK (canceled from the 5MK), hidden [5MK], end recording instantly (this is the proto for LauraBot 1.4 and is lenient for the kata, it is strict for the upcoming bot)
While it is somewhat difficult to explain what these should exactly look like in practice playback (since many flows are acceptable) we hope that players who have experience with the bots or general gameplay can make their own decisions about which inputs are failing to achieve the difficulty required for their training, and do those with less leniency for themselves.
Still in progress.