How to get better at fighting games

If you’re an esports aspirant, you might be looking for ways to get better at fighting games. Considering that these are some of the most technical and demanding games you can play, you can’t blame anyone for wanting to improve, even casually.

Related: The best fighting games you can play on the Switch

Fortunately, fighting games have had a thriving community for decades, and they’re often quick to share tips with new wannabes. The good news is that many of the tips are simple, the hardest wheat is your own dedication and execution of a training plan. With enough work, anyone can become a force to be reckoned with in their favorite fighting game.



10 put in a lot of hours

the super smash bros melee list
via nintendo

This advice may sound like a no-brainer, but almost any major player will tell you the same thing. If you want to improve and be the best, you will have to spend a lot of time mastering a game.

Even when you think you’ve gotten as good as you can through practice, there will be maxed out computers to play with. After that you can play online or even play in person. At each level of play, there will be new opportunities to be humble.

9 Choose a series to excel at

Goku in Dragon Ball FighterZ

While there are some brave players who manage to be solid across multiple fighting games, it will be easier to improve if you focus on just one series. Typically, a single series will have a similar feel and mechanics across all entries, so even if things differ slightly with new games, you’ll adjust quickly.

It’s important to make sure the series you choose is one you’ll have a lot of fun with, or getting better will just be a chore. For example, if you love Dragonball and fast-paced action, Dragonball FighterZ is probably a great game to learn and improve on.

8 Study framework data

Ryu and Cyclops shaking hands in X-Men vs Street Fighter

If you want to really get into your love of fighting games, you can get a lot better just by studying the frame data of the characters in your favorite game. You’ll understand how characters move, how long it takes to execute attacks, and when attacks can land if you do this.

Related: Fighting Game Tropes That Make No Sense

Most high-end fighting game players probably have an encyclopedic knowledge of the frame data for every character in their game, so there’s no shame in just enjoying all the information. If you enjoy a bit of research, this is a great strategy for improvement.

7 Understand each mechanic in depth

Starfox's Fox McCloud lunges forward in Super Smash Bros. leaving a blue streak behind him.

Obviously, you’ll want to know how the mechanics of your favorite fighter work. If you suddenly decide that you want to become the next contender in Super Smash Bros Ultimate, you’ll want to know how to properly protect yourself.

Even the mechanics that weren’t fully thought of by the developers are a must because expert level players will use unique techniques in almost every fighting game out there. Learn what people are doing in their matches and try to replicate it when you can.

6 Learn advanced technology

King II, returning in Tekken 8

All fighting games have very advanced technology that you will have to learn if you want to be competitive. If you like playing Tekken but online players keep knocking you out, learning a Korean backdash will probably help you at least a little.

This advice also applies to advanced combos, the types of combos that are created by players rather than those created by developers. Players often create incredible combos that surprise even developers, and they need to be learned.

5 Meet the Character Matches

super smash bros fight in hyrule

If you want to improve, you have to know exactly how to gain an advantage over your opponent. Knowing which characters are the best is key, but knowing which main characters you excel against and tend to fall down against is just as important.

For some games, you’ll be able to counter-pick characters if things don’t go your way, so knowing which characters are likely to get played will mean you can plan to learn those characters’ weaknesses. At the end of the day, half the battle is knowledge.

4 Use training mode

Ten colliding with Nappa in Dragon Ball FighterZ.

A surprising number of people who get into fighting games completely ignore the training mode. Some of the best training modes are great ways for beginners to get started with advanced mechanics and combos.

On the other hand, using a free training mode will allow you to practice new techniques or even perfect that tricky combination that you struggle to achieve in action. Many of these modes also display inputs, frame data, and stats, so it’s key to at least check it out.

3 practice with people

Chun-Li's Spinning performing Bird Kick in Street Fighter

It’s been touched up a bit, but you can only be so good when playing on computers. At some point, you need to meet others of your skill or better, or find them online. Playing against a person will always be the best learning opportunity.

Related: The best fighting games on Android and iOS

Even if you find yourself losing to everyone, you’ll be able to ask yourself why you’re losing and make adjustments from there. Other people will implement other advanced techniques, so you might see something you never thought of before just playing the game.

Super Smash Bros Ultimate Byleth

This tip relates to knowing character pairings. Knowing the current meta of a competitive game will save you a lot of headaches and a lot of time. If you gravitate towards a character that isn’t viable in competitive play, you’ll only be able to improve a little on your own.

Fighting game communities are bigger than ever, so understanding which characters are considered top tier with each game update is an absolute must. If there are other game changing aspects, it’s crucial to keep an eye on those as well.

1 Know when to try something different

Ghost Rider, Nova, and Wolverine face off against Vergil, Strider Hiryu, and Ryu in Ultimate Marvel vs.  Capcom 3

As you start to improve, you will start to fall into a lot of intermediate level traps. You will be predictable to the best players because they were in your exact position at one point. You need to know when to throw everything out the window and do something different.

Being able to choose to do something unique at a key moment will likely throw off your opponent (as long as they’re a real person) and prevent you from being easy to read. At the same time, if your character or strategy just doesn’t pan out, it might be time to try a new plan.

Next: The Toughest Final Bosses In Fighting Games