I’ve been playing a lot of Tekken 7 lately in the midst of the recent lockdown and I would say that I’ve gotten pretty good at it. I’m now slowly climbing the purple ranks (Divine Ruler) and hoping to reach TGP soon.
It’s funny because I was only in the green ranks less than 2 months ago. My brother, who is currently in the green ranks, was surprised at how much I was able to improve. Because I regularly kick his ass at the game so much, he wanted me to teach him how to improve his Tekken game as well.
So I thought I would put this little guide together on how to play Tekken 7 like a pro. Now, I’m not saying I’m as good as a professional Tekken player. In fact, it’s fair to say I would get my ass kicked pretty quickly if I came across a pro-Tekken player online. But, I do often watch pro players on youtube and in local tournaments (before the whole Covid-19 situation). And having implemented their techniques, I’m now able to share how you too can dramatically improve your gameplay online and, maybe, who knows, get to TGP.
So without further delay here is my ultimate guide to playing Tekken 7 online like a pro.
Be prepared to lose.. a lot
I’m not saying go into a game to purposefully lose. No, instead go into a game accepting that you will lose and then learning from that loss.
In a genre as competitive as fighting games, no one likes to lose. But what happens is some people carry on losing without ever learning why. This, in turn, discourages them from playing and they eventually quit.
Tekken 7 is hard. You’ll most likely lose, a lot. But don’t be discouraged. Ask yourself, after every game, why you lost.
This is where Tekken 7’s My Replays and Tips feature helps greatly. This is a really useful tool you can use to replay your last 30 games. It also displays tips on when you should have punished and what punishes to use.
I think it’s great and you should use this a lot to analyse the games you lost. Make sure to look out for where you went wrong and how you can improve and then implement this into your next game.
Proper movement is key
It’s simple – learn how to wave dash. If you have a fightstick it should be relatively simple to do. If you have a controller it’ll be harder but, with practice, you should eventually get it.
Agility is key in Tekken, particularly for whiff punishing. Most of the time you’ll be launching combos when the opponent misses their attack. Wave dashing makes it easy to step back quickly when you need to, perhaps, to bait out an attack.
Nearly all pro players know how to wave dash because it’s so versatile. You can use it to get away from an aggressive opponent and give yourself some breathing space. It’ll also elevate your game that much higher.
Another key movement technique is sidestepping. Now, this isn’t as difficult to execute as wave dashing but knowing when to sidestep can be a bit tricky. Personally, these are the times I like to sidestep:
- At the start of a round – A Lot of people like to start off the round with an attack. Sidestepping at the start of the round, most of the time, will avoid their attack and give you an opportunity to whiff punish. Just don’t do this all the time as homing moves will track sidestepping and still be able to hit you.
- After your offense – Just do a block string and then sidestep. Most people after blocking a string of attacks will try to hit you with a jab or something. Sidestepping after you’ve done your offense will avoid those attacks. I personally use this a lot.
- Against certain characters – Mishima characters like Kazuya, Heihachi and Devil Jin have a lot of moves that can be sidestepped to the left.
There are, of course, more use cases for sidestepping but the ones above have been the most effective for me.
Learn how to punish properly
What I mean is use the optimal punisher with the max damage and convenience possible. What do I mean by convenience? Basically, choose punishers that are easy to use in certain situations but provide a good amount of damage.
For example, when whiff-punishing always try to go for a launcher or counter hit setups. That way, you can set up a combo which provides a good chunk of damage.
When blocking moves, go for the quick and easy punishers. These don’t necessarily have to be launchers but normal moves that you are familiar with.
Practice mode provides a unique punishment training option which allows you to practice blocking moves and then use the best punishers for a select situation. You can use this mode to play against different characters, especially those that you are unfamiliar with, to learn how to play against their best and most used moves.
It should be noted that whilst punishment training is great it doesn’t always recommend the best punisher to use, so feel free to experiment a bit and use a move that suits you.
I have this horrible habit of punishing lows with only rising 3 – A universal punisher which, nearly, every character has. Don’t fall into this trap. Try and think outside the box and use a range of different punishment techniques against low attacks.
Use practice mode to your advantage
Practice mode in Tekken 7 is great because it gives you a lot of tools to become a great player. I’ve already discussed punishment training which won’t go into again. I’ll also assume you’re already familiar with how practice mode works and how to use sample combos, command history, move data, etc.
Instead, I’ll go into some of the things I like to use in practice mode that help me out a ton:
- Picking your opponent – Don’t just pick someone random to practice with. Pick someone who you have trouble with so you can practice against them.
- Pick the appropriate stage – This may be obvious but if you want work on your wall combos then pick a stage with walls. Same with floor break stages. Picking an infinite stage for wave dashing practice is particularly useful.
- Random Counter Hit – Counter hitting in Tekken is one of the main ways to launch a combo. Having it done randomly in practice mode will keep you guessing and allow you to effectively imitate when a counter hit in a real match will be
- Random moves – This is as simple as recording the dummy doing random moves and then reacting to those moves. Make sure to record the most common moves or moves that you have trouble with
- Guard all – Setting the dummy to guard all means you’ll know which strings are true combos
- Throw breaking – Not commonly practiced but it should be. You’ll find, at a high level, throwing can be highly effective. So practising throw breaks is a good way to work on your defence
There are, of course, other things that you would normally practice e.g. combos, wake-up options etc, but these can also be done in the pre-game lobby. Just remember to use practice mode to its full potential and you’ll be unstoppable!
Use simple yet highly effective combos
What I mean is not to go too fancy with the combos. Some of the sample combos that the game gives aren’t practical. And whilst, they may have high damage potential, they’re sometimes difficult to pull off in a match.
Choose simple, practical, but highly damaging combos. These are combos, in most cases, that push the opponent to the wall. That is what your aim should be. Not only will pushing your opponent to the wall give you the advantage offensively but you’re also able to pull off highly damaging wall combos that could potentially win you the round.
I suggest that you google or youtube in this instance and look for practical combos for your character. You can also look at pro players in tournaments. These players have honed their skills for years and found the best combos to use in any given situation. Study them and incorporate these combos into your own game.
Don’t keep switching characters unless you have to
Switching characters can be fun and it’s something that I often did when I got bored or frustrated with my main character. I thought to myself: if I can learn this character that annoys me so much so I’ll be able to defend against them more easily when I play my main.
The problem with this approach is that you have to invest a lot of time with the new character to even get decent enough to have fun. Not only can this be time-consuming but it’ll also takes precious time away from honing your main character which is what you should be focused on.
Now, there are certain players that have solid fundamentals, like Knee, and can literally play any character. For us mere mortals, however, learning one character is hard enough.
Try and become a character specialist. Know every trick, secret, setup, etc, with your character. Now you may say: learning other characters helps me learn their weaknesses so I can play against them better. Whilst this is true to some extent, not everyone has to learn defence this way.
Training mode provides an effective way to face off against a variety of different characters. You can set the dummy to do any move you have trouble with and practice your defence effectively. This is a technique I use often and defence is one of my top stats with a rank of S.
Defence isn’t always about holding back
Defence in Tekken is much more than holding back. Tekken is a difficult game to be defensive in. You can’t just hold back the entire game and hope to win. Low attacks, throws, frame traps will eat up your defense and leave you in a vulnerable position.
Fortunately, Tekken gives a whole host of defensive options in order to gain the upper hand. Here are some key defensive tactics I use:
- Low parrying – Low parrys can effectively turn the tide of the game. Obviously, low parries only work with low attacks. You should use these in conjunction with blocking low as well. Otherwise, you may become predictable and the opponent will know you’re looking for the low parry.
- Ducking highs – What I mean is crouching to avoid high attacks and then punishing effectively. This can beat people who like to jab poke a lot. It can also beat throws. It’s difficult to always know when to duck as stand-alone high attacks are fast. Block strings, however, if you know the string, and if it has a low attack, can easily be ducked under.
- Not pressing buttons when blocking – A common beginner mistake. A Lot of pros can be guilty of this as well, so don’t feel too bad if you do this. Just simply, pressing buttons whilst blocking is a sure-fire way for an opponent to get a counter hit against you and punish you with a combo. So try and keep a cool head and just let the opponent finish his offense without pressing anything – and then go in for the attack.
- Sidestepping – I’ve already kind of covered sidestepping so I won’t go into much detail here. But sidestepping is an effective way to avoid an opponent’s attack altogether. It’s also a good way to avoid the wall and frame traps.
Confidence can go a long way
You know what they say: fake it till you make it. This kind of applies to Tekken as well. Sometimes, when I come across a person who is several ranks above me I tend to get nervous and play badly. I’m sure this has happened to you as well.
It’s the same in ranked matches, especially when you’re up for a promotion. It can throw you off your game.
However, you need to have the mental attitude that the game you’re playing right now is just that – A game. Unless you’re competing in the Final of EVO, you’ve got nothing to worry about.
The person that you’re playing against may be higher ranked than you or they may have played a couple thousand more games than you. But don’t think about that. Think as though the person is the same or lower ranked than you. I know it’s weird but it’s kind of worked for me. That way, you’ll have the confidence to go all out and, hopefully, won’t get nervous.
Just try to have fun. After all, this is why you play games, right? I know you want to get better and Tekken is quite a competitive game, as are all fighting games, but remember to take each loss as a learning opportunity.
I’ll kind of reiterate what I said at the beginning. Losing is a part of the game. Even the best players in the world, like Knee and Arslan Ash lose. Just accept the loss and move on to the next game. That’s it.