Understanding Tekken 7’s neutral game is a major key to winning more and losing less
Understanding the neutral game can make you an unstoppable force.
So, you want to play like the pros? You know how to backdash and wavedash like a champ, whiff punish, frame trap and more, but have you ever heard of the “neutral game”? It is quite possibly the most important concept within fighting games, and especially within Tekken.
What is the neutral game? According to Aris over at Avoiding the Puddle, “the neutral basically is, you make decisions in movement, and then you reap the rewards of the decisions in movement by paying attention to what happens. The reward doesn’t necessarily have to be a whiff punish. The reward can be information.”
Calculated movement and decision making, coupled with learning information are key proponents of the neutral game. It may hard to grasp at first, but once you do, your game will excel tremendously.
Pro USA Tekken player for Panda Global, Stephen “Speedkicks” Stafford, is a huge proponent of the neutral game. Earlier today I had a brief discussion with him on Twitter about his approach to the game, and it unfolded into some insight about this very subject. He offered this great nugget, “You can learn about baiting whiffs with sidesteps and backdashes but your opponent isn’t going to do a single defensive attack if they don’t feel like they’ll lose to your offense.”
To gain more understanding on this fundamental concept, watch this fairly thorough explanation by Aris above.