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October 18, 2014 / Jett

Excellence of Execution


Decapre cr.MK into HandsClick click clack! Click click clack! Click click clack!

This is the sound that my fightstick makes as I practice Decapre’s crouching medium kick into heavy Rapid Slash combo. It’s only two moves long, and one of those moves can be triggered by simply mashing a single button, yet I’m weeks into my practice and can only land it about 50% of the time against a stationary dummy. What makes this two move combo so difficult?

The fundamental challenge this combo presents is that you have to trigger the Rapid Slash very quickly after hitting medium kick. If you were to rely on button-mashing, your likelihood of success is probably next to nil. Instead, the pros use a technique called the piano roll to execute the move consistently.

While there are a number of different variations to how one would actually trigger the Rapid Slash with a piano roll, the concept of piano rolling is the same throughout. Basically, the piano roll technique requires players to quickly tap out the buttons with a rolling motion. The reason why this works is that three fingers can hit three buttons five times faster than one finger can hit one button five times.

http___makeagif.com__media_10-09-2014_UItYxS(my hands are so fast, the GIF actually doesn’t show me tapping LP+LK twice)

Understanding that concept is the first major hurdle to mastering this technique. The next is building up the muscle memory to land it every time. I’ve never really played a character that required the piano roll technique before, so this concept is completely alien to me. Worse yet, there’s basically zero room for error. If you’re too slow, it won’t come out. If you’re too fast, you’ll likely mess up your inputs and it won’t work. If you hit too quickly and your inputs are clean, it still won’t come out. You either connect the two moves perfectly and it works, or you simply throw out a kick and that’s the end of the sequence.

Recently, I discovered yet another roadblock. After landing the combo many times in a row, I noticed a soreness in my right forearm developing. The pain wasn’t serious, but enough so that I couldn’t do the combo again for the rest of the night. Analyzing my ergonomic situation, I tended to position my hands differently when I tried to do the combo versus when I’m just naturally playing the game. This makes it easier for me to execute the move, but makes me tire out much quicker. Trying to pull the combo off from my default hand position forces my thumb to bend awkwardly, so that’s not an easy fix, either.

Decapre Hands Slow Motion(slow motion)

I could just carry on without it. I’ve yet to face a Decapre player online who makes good use of the combo. Heck, my Decapre recently reached 5000 BP while only done the combo less than 10 times in an actual match. However, having watched the pros use her, the Rapid Slash combo is one that is crucial to their success. Maybe I’ll reach a point where I’ll simply settle with what I have, but I really like the character and want to give her an honest try. In my head, that honest try requires me to master this technique first.

Until I finally get it, I’ll continue to grind it out in training mode.

Click click clack! Click click clack! Click click clack…

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