Universal Fighting Game Guide: Resets
Welcome back to In Third Person’s Universal Fighting Game Guide! I hope you enjoy reading these posts as I do writing them, because I have put a lot of thought and heart into this series of posts.
Today, let’s talk about one of my favourite advanced tactics in fighting games: the reset.
What is a reset?
A reset is the act of an offensive player following-up a combo with another attack immediately after the end of the initial combo. This may include following up a combo with an attack, a throw, or starting another combo.
Even though I’d been playing fighting games since Street Fighter II came out in 1991, I’d never even heard about the concept of resets until I saw the above match between Alex Valle and Sabre at EVO 2009. Sabre put Valle on blast by seamlessly transitioning from one combo to the next with Sakura. It blew my mind to see the impact of resets in action, as it looked like Valle couldn’t do anything to stop the relentless rush down from Sabre. Ever since seeing that match, I’ve tried to learn more about the art of resets and how to execute/defend against them in every fighting game I’ve played since.
Why would you want to execute a reset?
Resets are a great way to further inflict damage in a very quick manner. They’re also a great way to keep the pressure on an opponent, as you’re giving them virtually 0 time to breath between skirmishes.
More importantly, resets are usually the best way to reset the effects of damage scaling, which is a feature found in most modern fighting games. After a certain number of hits, each consecutive attack in a combo will do less and less damage until your attacks do virtually no damage. By using a successful reset, you’ll also reset the damage scaling in the process, which adds further damage to your offense.
Risk of attempting a reset
The trade-off to attempting a reset in most cases, is that your opponent usually has time to regain their character and protect themselves (or counter-attack) your reset attempt. While you can minimize their opportunity to react to a split-second, most reset setups usually have just enough room for your opponent to make a correct guess and stop your attempt in its tracks. We’ll discuss the ways you can minimize your risk in the next step.
Oftentimes, you’re also setting up resets by executing combos that don’t do as much damage in the short term in order to execute a reset and get more overall damage in the long haul. There’s a definite risk/reward factor involved whenever you go for a reset.
How to execute a reset
1. Start a combo
This is self-explanatory.
2. Get your opponent in position
The thing about resets you should know at this point, is that you must be extremely mindful of what state your opponent is in when the combo ends. In the Sakura reset tutorial video above, her opponent is usually falling from the air and landing in a standing position when Sakura goes for the reset. However, resets may also start from opponents who are recovering from an untechable knockdown, which is demonstrated in these Mortal Kombat reset videos.
The key is, your opponent needs to be in a state where you can immediately follow up your previous combo with a new combo. You also want to put yourself in a position where you have a lot of offensive options at your disposal and your opponent will only have a split-second to guess which of those options you’re going to use and how they’re going to stop it. In order to put your opponent in an ideal reset position, you may need to cut your combo short or end the combo with a weaker move. For instance, in the Sakura video above, the very first reset shows Sakura ending her first combo with a standing light punch in order to put her opponent in the perfect position for a reset attempt.
3. Follow up with an attack
Once your opponent is in a state where you can attack them again, you must follow up with an attack. Your opponent in most cases will have the ability to block or counter-attack your reset attempt. However, if you’ve set them up properly, your opponent is going to have to make a split-second judgment on what you’ll do next, and due to the amount of options you’ll have available to you, they’ll likely guess wrong. Make them guess wrong by showing your opponent that you have a lot of tricks up your sleeve when you put them in reset position. One time, you may want to attack low to start your next combo. The next time, you may want to start a new combo off of a cross-up or cross-under. The third time, you may want to simply go for a throw. The key is to always vary up your reset attempts to minimize the risk of having your reset stopped.
When to execute a reset
- When you’re willing to gamble guaranteed damage in the short-term for more damage off of a reset
- When damage scaling weakens the end of your combo to the point where it’s more trouble to keep it going than it’s worth
- When you want to keep a persistent rush down offense going
When not to execute a reset
- When you can’t afford to give your opponent the chance to escape
- When a regular combo is enough to finish a match
- When a failed reset attempt is punishable for big damage
How to defend against a reset
If you’ve never seen a specific reset before, it’s really hard to defend against it even though your fundamental defensive skills may be above par. Even if you know the reset is coming, the best reset setups put the defending opponent at an extreme disadvantage, as you’ll need to make a split-second guess in order to correctly stop the reset.
The trick to defending against a reset is to not allow yourself to be put in a position for a reset. Unless you’ve done your homework and seen what your opponent’s reset options are, you probably won’t know your opponent’s reset setup is until they’ve already caught you with it at least once. It will suck the first time it happens, but if you remember what your opponent did to put you in position for a reset, you can actively avoid getting put in that position again. If you avoid getting caught in the setup, you won’t be forced into a guessing game that’s heavily in your opponent’s favour.
- A reset is the act of an offensive player following-up a combo with another attack immediately after the end of the initial combo.
- It’s a great way of extending damage off of a combo with the trade-off being that your opponent has the ability to block the reset if they guess correctly
- Some times are better than others to take the chance on a reset. Know what those times are!