Passing gets a bad rap.
You’ve probably heard it a lot. “This guy is a mush!” “Everything they do is mush!” “They don’t even think! Just a pass!”
If you didn’t know better, you’d assume that passing is an inherently bad thing.
Well, I’m here to dispel some myths about passing that might change your mind about it.
The first point is probably one of the biggest: the mix is just as valid for a defensive option as any other. Let’s say your opponent is pressing you, but slowly. Some wobbles and strains. A lot is happening and you don’t know what to do. If you’ve been told all along that passing is bad, you probably won’t get out of that pressure without a dangerous option like DP. This is where intervention comes in. Breaking down here is a very good way to challenge someone who takes their strain slowly. It basically puts up a big sign that says “Hey! Find another way to pressure me!” I’m very guilty of being pressured because I tend to structure my pressure just like that.
Furthermore, if you’re losing to someone who keeps crushing, you have a weakness in your game plan. It doesn’t matter if your opponent keeps doing it. You keep getting hold of him. If you are playing chess and your opponent keeps making the same opening every game and they keep getting checkmate the same way, why would you no keep doing it? The same applies here. Regardless of what your overall vision is, you must be prepared to deal with it.
Building on the previous point, there is a delicate balance when it comes to knowing when to mash or do something else. It is important to understand that even if you use it as an option, it will not always work. Try not to rely too much on passing as an option all the time, as you may lose out on a number of key pressing options. However, if you want to add a layer to your mashing, there’s a nice little thing called puffed up mashing.
Fuzzy can have multiple meanings in fighting games, but we’ll keep it relevant for this topic. Fuzzy is an action you usually do when you expect a hit. Let’s use a common example in Guilty Gear Strive: Nagoriyuki’s Rekka (f.SSS). When Nago has meter, very often the thing he needs to do is the full rekka string in RC. Nago can cancel the second part of the rekka in whatever he wants, but it leaves a small gap. If you blur this gap, it creates a choice of option; an action that produces two different things, but always gives the best of both in a given situation if done correctly.
Keeping with this example, if Nago doesn’t third hit his rekka and leaves a gap, if you decide to shuffle you’ll get the button you decided to shuffle with if it matches the gap. If he decides to finish the string and you decide to, you’ll just block as blockstun doesn’t allow the button to exit. It is no a flawless plan, as any delay or other action that catches your button will result in a counterattack; but fighting games have layers and this only scratches the surface.
The last point on this topic: It’s okay to crush offensively too! Some characters can also benefit from the matchup on the offensive end. Striker in a DNF Duel can take advantage of this quite well with her reverse beat. You can make a string with it, cancel the gust to fast normal, then go right back there by pressing another button to reset a string, even if it’s a risk. It’s not a one-size-fits-all thing, so it’s important to consider how you can apply it, but it’s important to understand where you can use tools in all sorts of ways, even ways your opponent might not agree with.
Fighting games are hard and it can take a long time to find your footing. There are many options that are considered “bad” or “sloppy” by others, but never let that affect your development as a player! Your character has a toolbox and it’s important not to use up all your tools, including passing!