If you were at all like me when I was first learning (and still earning) to play Sim, fighting Honda left me feeling like the little tike in the picture above. I felt as if no matter how hard I fought he was just smothering me with some part of his FAT SUMO BODY! Whether it be splashing, slapping, stomping, or squishing, I found myself losing the match very quickly.
I was very flustered, conventional ST knowledge stated, over the long run, Honda beat the non-fireball characters and the fireball characters (FBCs) beat Honda. Yet, I was getting stomped by head-butting, butt-slamming, hundred hand slapping, orochi-throwing spasm boys!
(I need to interject…. Most experienced ST players know that any player given any character can beat anyone at any time. Sure there are character mismatches, but with a little patience, technical skill, and ingenuity, every character can compete. So, conventional wisdom can be bunk!)
So, I started to think about why I was losing. I played ST for years already, and I was very on par with how most of the ST fireball cast beat Honda. Very generally the key to beating Honda was as follows.
*Step 1: Create Space
*Step 2: Throw fireball
*Step 3 A &B: (A) If Honda jumps forward or butt-slams to close the space created in step one*, step forward and use appropriate anti-air. Then go to back Step 1. (B) If Honda Blocks, go to back to Step 2.
* If Honda is able to close the distance, just insert your characters Flash-Kick (FK) or Shoryuken (SRK) type move to counter his close attacks where appropriate. Try to knock Honda down and then start again at step 1.
I was attempting to do execute this pattern with Sim, but was failing miserably. Why? After a bit, I realized that Step 2 & 3A were the problems. Every other FBC in ST has 2 things Sim did not have. Fast foot speed and a FK/SRK move.
If you think about Ryu for example, he throws his fireball from a distance and either SRKs or takes a step forward and sweeps under Honda’s attack. Both of which knock Honda down and allow Ryu to take a few steps back to create some distance, and then throws a meaty fireball on Honda’s get up. This starts the whole pattern again. If Honda gets through, Ryu attempt will probably attempt a psychic SRK during Honda’s up close poking/ throwing pressure to try and score a Knock Down and start everything over again.
Sim can’t do this; he lacks the foot speed to properly make quick positional adjustments and lacks the SRK/FK type move to get out of sticky up close pressure situations. So, began to realize that position and avoiding a knock was MUCH more important in Sim V. Honda match up than any other FBC V. Honda.
I had to complete rethink how I approached the match. I had to step back and begin to look at things differently. I have thought about the best way to describe what I am about to discuss but found this image to be more helpful.
^ Where being ‘charged’ is indicative of Honda being in the ‘Down Back’ position ready to Head-Butt, Butt-Slam, Orochi-throw, or Hundred Hand Slap.
This should help you begin to organize your thoughts and strategies when approaching this match up. Every quadrant is very instructive in the sets of options you need to employ throughout the match. The axes describe Honda’s positional height and distance from Sim. Each quadrant is broken down further on whether or not Honda is charged^ or not.
I know this seem very trivial at first. And I am certainly not trying to say that everything in this match can be broken down into four clean little boxes. However, it really does help organize what attack you should consider using and when you should use it. As this blog goes on, we will really referring back to this image. It will help you know when it is safe to throw a fire ball, or zone with standing normals. Or whether to use Jump back + fierce or a crouch back + jab for a AA (or various other AAs) when Honda jumps.
The key to winning this match is to create a strategy (NKI wrote a great tib bit about this in the SRK Wiki) using the thought process above and trying to observe little details given on screen. I.E. If you see Honda standing or walking back wards (even of a fraction of a second) far away on the ground without a super, you can throw a fierce fire ball with very little threat of being damaged. He can’t butt-slam (he is not charged for it) and he can’t jump forward (He will not reach you), so he is left with jumping straight up and using the f+ fierce to move over the fireball. Which if you concider it is a worthy exchenge for the chance to hit him with a FB.
There are many little things that will give you clues on if he is charged and how he can change his position on screen. Once you learn to organize your thoughts and identify his current action and how it limit his next possible action, you can cut him off his approach and slowly corral him to where you what him to go, which is a far away from you as possible.
Thanks for reading! Keep an eye out for part 2! Every part of this write up will get more and more in-depth. ~fatboy