Tips On Becoming A Better Player Pt. 1: Learning to Lose

Notorious J.I.Z.

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Guide put together by OJuggernautO on TYM:

Since there's a lot of new players to the MK community, and undoubtedly for some players, MK9 may be their first fighter, I would like to offer some advice. This advice applies to every type of player, regardless if you're new or not. This is PT 1 - How losing helps you get better, and it will cover: "Learning to lose" - "Controlling your emotions" - "Don't label things as cheap" - "Playing better players"

Learn to lose:
On my journey to evolving into a high level player, one of the most essential lessons I learned was learning how to lose. Sounds simple right? The most basic things that seem simple, are actually pretty tough when emotions come into play.

"Losing is part of the game. If you never lose, you're never truly tested, and never forced to grow. A loss is an opportunity to learn" - Sirlin

You have to remember, not one single person can win every round, every match. It's just unreasonable to expect that from anyone, even from the #1 player in their respective game. No one is perfect, we're all humans, and humans make mistakes. However, losing is probably the best learning tool that you can have in a fighting game. Analyze how or why you lost! I can't stress enough how important this is. Instead of getting angry or frustrated when you lose, take a step back and ask yourself why it was that you lost. Ask yourself, "What did your opponent do? How were you losing? What could you have done differently? Why were you doing the things you were doing?", etc. Once you train yourself to do this, you will slowly stop getting upset after you lose, and start learning from your loss.

Controlling your emotions:
It's completely understandable if you get upset right after you lose a match. I get that, I've been there. It's better to not get upset, but if you just can't avoid it, it's understandable. What you would do then is try and let it go. The first step would be to not put too much emotion into a single match. Your judgement will be severely crowded if you're too emotional while you're playing. Try not to think about the opponents emotions either. Don't say "Oh, he's just messing with me", or "Wow, he's turtling just to piss me off!". Your opponent may very well be trying to do these things, but it only works if you think that's what he's doing. Instead, say to yourself, "What's his next move going to be", or "What is my next move going to be, and why". Now, these questions are kinda hard to process for a newer player. But you have to start somewhere. Just replace the negative thoughts into productive thoughts.

The players who excel the quickest and the furthest are the one's who can move past a loss after analyzing why it was that they lost. After a loss don't say, "Man, I'm so bad", or "Wow, I'm a scrub", "He's too good", etc. As I said before, just ask yourself the why/how/what, work on those things, then forget about the loss.

Don't label things you can't beat as "cheap":
When your opponent does something that is working, and you haven't found a way to beat it yet, DO NOT label it as a cheap tactic. What that does is shift the responsibility away from yourself, so you don't have to find a way to beat it. It's counterproductive, and makes you sound like a scrub. Your opponent is going to do everything he can to win, and you should be doing the same. If there's indeed a tactic your opponent is using that you can't beat, go to training mode! I realize MK9's training mode isn't great, but you definitely can figure tons of things out if you just put in the effort. There's rarely, if ever, a tactic that is unbeatable. So, try everything you can to get around it, defend it, or beat it.

I've also heard players label certain tactics as "boring" or certain gameplay styles as boring. For instance, I know a very common style that gets a lot of complaints is the "keep away". Not necessarily someone who is turtling, but a player who is basically running away the whole match, being very safe. It could also be a player who is zoning. You have to realize, your opponent main goal is to win, as should yours be. So, he's going to do everything he can to win. If he's winning by using a certain tactic, why WOULDN'T he use it? It may be the most boring, cheapest tactic in your eyes, but if he's winning, what would stop him from using this tactic? The only tactics that are "cheap" are the one's that are banned in tournaments. And as I stated earlier, there's very, VERY rarely a move or tactic that is so good that it's banned in a tournament. So basically, anything that's tournament legal, you shouldn't be complaining about.

I've told this to players before, and a lot of the time they say "Well I just won't play that player who is using that tactic". If you're not trying to get better and just playing to play, I guess I would understand that. However, if you want to get better, that's the worst statement you can utter. What the problem is, is that you want to win. And when a player is doing something you can't win against, you want to give it a label to justify losing to it, or losing to that player in general. Instead of actually putting in the effort of finding ways to beat the tactic, it's far easier to just say that the player was playing "cheap" and refuse to play people who play like that. If you actually do want to win, earn it! Don't just play players you can easily beat, what's the point of that? You can just play the AI if you want easy matches. This brings me to my next point, play players better than you!

Playing better players:
By far the thing that I've done to improve my game the quickest was playing players far better than myself. Of course, I had to learn all of the aforementioned things before I could actually learn from losing to these players.

Playing players worse than you is never a good thing. In fact, in most cases, you'll start performing worse if you play bad players consistently. When you play easy opponents, you start falling into patterns. Patterns that work fine against these players, for any number of reasons, but don't work against better players. You don't play at your best, because you don't have to. You can just go through the motions, abusing things that aren't normally abusable.

Playing better players forces you to play better. It will force you to start punishing your opponents mistakes, because your opponent will make few of them. You also won't be as reckless against good opponents, because good players actually punish you for your mistakes as well. Where as a bad player would let you off free a lot of the time. You will also learn a lot from playing good players. From their playstyle, to what they do in certain situations, to even the combos they use. And as I said earlier, you learn from losing. If you're just beating up on noobs all day, what will you learn from that to better your game?

You will learn so much more from losing, than you ever will from winning. You just have to understand that if you want to improve. Learn from your mistakes, and try not to make them next time.


New member
Man you dont have to learn to loose, you have to learn to have your revenge!

Vengeance will be mine! - Scorpion


ADD: great post. :)


New member
After skimming this. This is a must read for everyone. People like to look at losing as a failure. However, losing is a wonderful thing because you actually learn from it. Not so much jus losing the match but seeing how your opponent counters your attacks and reads you due to you being too repetitive with tactics etc. You won't improve alot if you dont lose and never learn from your losses~

Dan Cowan

New member
I hear what your saying, but sometimes this is hard. Today, I was in a match against a guy who spammed Raiden's teleport and grab over and over and over and over and over. After I lost, he sent me a message saying "I'm the best player ever! Don't feel bad that you lost, you just suck soooooo much!"



New member
He clearly is way too darn ****y. Don't stress it. Learn how to counter it as well as trying different things to find ways to counter it. There's a counter to EVERYTHING in fighters~

The Skesh

New member
I love the don't call things you can't beat cheap. Not alot of people don't know that anymore. Really missing that umk3 because of all of the babies crying over losing...


New member
Me... I accept my losses. I still complain, but Im trying to cut back on that. This is a must read, even for Street Fighter players like me. I remember one online match on SSF4. I was Vega and I was going up against a T. Hawk. After the match, he sent me a message saying that I grabbed too much. So what? I grabbed him because I was punishing his empty moves and I was saving my meter. People need to accept their losses.


New member
I hear what your saying, but sometimes this is hard. Today, I was in a match against a guy who spammed Raiden's teleport and grab over and over and over and over and over. After I lost, he sent me a message saying "I'm the best player ever! Don't feel bad that you lost, you just suck soooooo much!"


There's always somebody who thinks pulling the same move over and over is actually an effective method of fighting. Teach 'em otherwise lol. Learning the counters for all the major "spam" tactics is one way to go about it. For that guy, duck (without blocking) to avoid the grabs and sweep his legs or uppercut him. Make him pay for being so predictable. That example was just a simple method, but you get the picture. Next time someone wants to prove they're the best, make 'em work for it. =P

Matt Wilson

New member
Nice thread. But, one thing people forget to take into account is lag. I've lost a lot of matches just off of everything going slow-mo, and the online multi-player for xbox seems to have its fair share. I would normally d/c if I thought a match was too laggy from the get-go, but the problem I see with that is that it shows up as a disconnection on your profile, which makes you look like a rage quitter. Sometimes I sware the other guy has an advantage over me because he/she is used to their suck connection, but that could be my inner noob talking too.


New member
It's true, you don't have room to grow if you're not losing.

It's also true that you don't need to grow if you never lose, however.

Now, I say this because some people come from games where they do well all the time (e.g., CoD) and expect to be pro here as well. The key is to remember that if you stick with it, it's like anything else. Bite the bullet.


New member
I will definetly take this advice. It's also important to remember that your W/L ratio truly doesn't matter, it's what you do moment to moment during the fight that matters. Feeling bad about your ratio? Keep improving and let them underestimate you. It will be all the more sweeter when you get your ratio back up or if you take down a 1200-300 w/l player with your below .500 ratio. At first my hands would sweat so much that my controller would start slipping out of my hands because I was so afraid to lose or mess up. I now look at my Joker poster and ask myself "Why so serious?".