Steps to take after picking up a new fighting game

By William Davis


Jul 28, 2021

Reading time: 4 min

You’ve probably heard about Guilty Gear Strive. Or maybe you want to pick up Virtua Fighter 5, but don’t know where to start? Don’t worry, you’ve come to the right place. We have six simple steps for you to take after picking up a new fighting game!

Step 1: Just play

No, this isn’t a joke. The first thing you should do after picking up a new fighting game is just to give it a spin, get a feel for it, and test the waters. By simply playing some matches as different characters, you can learn the flow of the game and understand how the battles transpire. 

This will also help you pick a preferred playstyle, as most of the characters will most likely be very different from one another, and each fighter will offer something different to the player. Don’t take the game online yet, just finish a couple of arcade or story mode runs.

Step 2: Pick a character

After you’ve finished your trial run, it’s time to start thinking about maining someone. This isn’t strictly necessary to enjoy the game, but if you want to get better, you need to have a character that you’re most comfortable with. 

There isn’t one “correct” way to pick a fighter to main. You can go for the looks, the style, the strengths, or anything else. However, if you aim higher than just to have fun with friends every Saturday, you should stay away from picking characters that are considered to be weaker to avoid an unnecessary disadvantage. 

Let’s take a Tekken 7 character tier list as an example. The only characters that you should try to avoid as a beginner are Gigas, Lei, and Armor King. They’re not unusable, but you won’t have any advantages going for you either. Ultimately, it all falls to your preference.

Step 3: Lab

After you’ve chosen your main character, you need to learn and understand what makes them tick. Labbing is the essential part of training on the way to becoming a better player. 

When you’re starting off, you don’t need to memorize every combo and string. Some advanced moves require momentary decision-making and knowledge that you don’t possess yet. Trying to execute them just because you memorized them will likely leave you exposed and punished by a more experienced opponent. It’s much more beneficial to simply memorize a couple of combos that you’re comfortable using. 

Drill them into your subconscious to the point where you can even use them while asleep. This step is the cornerstone of getting better at any fighting game. The only thing that will change is your goal. Even the best of the best continue to do so.

Step 4: Take it all online

Yes, you don’t need to know everything about the game to play online. Yes, you will get destroyed sometimes but you will learn and will do so rapidly. 

You will start noticing patterns that are being used, you will start shoring up your weaknesses and as your skill grows, and as you grow in ranks, your opponents get proportionally better. From this point onwards it will depend on you and whether you’re satisfied with the level you’ve reached with the time that you have invested.

Step 5: Look at internet resources

We live in fortunate times. There is an incredible number of resources available for you to get better at any fighting game. Frame data, character stats, tier lists, encyclopedias, players have everything they need to advance without having to sink a quarter every time. 

Then you can visit YouTube, and check out some of the many professional players who make great video tutorials for free.

You can find textual guides, too. Both websites and Reddit are your friend. Many games also have their dedicated Discord communities, where you can find sparring partners or get coaching from good players.

Step 6: Take a deep breath and relax

This step isn’t literal, as you might have guessed. Sometimes you will feel frustrated, burned out, even powerless. It happens to everyone and fighting games are no exception. 

You don’t have to over-exert yourself, nor should you be hard on yourself. Look back at what you have achieved, take a small break to cool down, or pick yourself up. Maintaining a healthy balance is essential on the road to success in every endeavor, and you burning out won’t do good to anyone.