Wavu Wiki is written for experienced players as reference material and can lack direction or look daunting to beginners. This tutorial aims to address that, giving new players a starting point for their Tekken journey.
Where should I start?
The goal of the game is simple: You have to hit your opponent without getting hit back. A simple strategy to start with is:
- Don't attack if you just got hit.
- Use random moves until you figure out which ones they can't deal with. Then spam those moves.
How hard it is to win depends entirely on your opponent. You don't need to play like you're at EVO when your opponent is nowhere near that level, so finding an equal match is essential to having fun. This shouldn't be hard as the game is popular all around the world and constantly getting new players. The netcode isn't perfect, but it's good enough that you should be able to find suitable opponents in ranked.
However, getting your ass beat is a universal experience, and no matchmaking system can help you if you can't get past that. It's entirely possible for two people of roughly equal skill to play together and then one of them wins 10-0. It happens. You have to learn from your mistakes. You can do that on your own time, but it's not gonna happen on its own.
Which character should I pick?
A common mistake is to worry about starting with a “bottom tier” character, as if doing so would forever doom you to failure. This concern is unwarranted:
- It'll be years before you could possibly be at the point where pro players' tier lists are relevant to you.
- Even pro players don't have much agreement on which characters are the best, and they're often proven wrong as the meta develops.
- There aren't any characters that are fundamentally non-functional or lacking a robust game plan with serious threats.
- The closest thing to a joke character is Kuma, who's still totally viable, and if you're picking a bear you should know what you're in for anyway.
- Learning a new character is much easier once you've already mastered one.
- Most of learning Tekken is getting better at defense, a skill which transfers almost entirely between characters. Many generic moves are some of the best moves you can do, and there are a lot of archetypal moves, so if you change characters you'll still have a lot of familiar moves to play with. The combo system is fairly standardized, so experienced players can learn bread and butter combos on new characters in minutes, and these combos usually do at least 80% as much damage as the hard ones.
Given that, you should pick a character that resonates with you. You're playing the game to have fun. Playing as your character should feel good. There isn't much to it other than trying them out until you feel that spark.
Beginner friendly characters
If you still want guidance, there are some characters that are more “beginner friendly” than others. One part of this is how easy the character is to control, but another part is how complicated it is for the opponent to deal with the character's threats, how similar those threats are to other characters', and how popular the character is. (People generally have more trouble dealing with less popular characters because they have less experience with them.) Which of these is right for you is a matter of temperament.
The assessment of how easy/hard a character is to control is mostly based off their stances: how many stances, transitions, and cancels there are; how complicated it is to use them properly; and how essential they are. Motion stances are also considered. Combo difficulty is only considered if there aren't reasonable bread and butter alternatives for key launchers.
How do I learn a character?
Once you're comfortable enough with the character, you can go play right away. Learning combos and setups can be fun but they're not essential.
When you're playing, try and notice which moves work well and which ones don't. Try and figure out what it is about those moves that makes them work.
If you want to learn a character in greater depth, then it's time to seek out community resources. The character page on Wavu Wiki should be a good place to start.
How do I beat X character?
Main article: Training mode
A big part of Tekken is that every character has a huge movelist. Learning all the moves that every character can do and how to deal with them isn't just hard, it's borderline impossible—so that shouldn't be your goal.
Instead, what you want to do is use your replays to learn from. Find a few moves that were giving you trouble, and use the training mode to find their weakness:
- Figure out if it's a high, mid, or low so you know how to guard it appropriately.
- Look at the frame data and find a good response for when the move hits, whiffs, or is blocked. If it's unsafe on block, find the right punisher to use.
- Try and evade it with movement in situations where the move was being used.
- Look for moves your character has that can counter it.
- See if it's reactable by mixing it up with some other moves with similar speed.
In every case, once you've learned how to punish the move, you need to spend some time practicing it. Knowing is only half the battle. You need to punish these moves without thinking. Building muscle memory is essential.
Restricting yourself to only a few moves is important so you don't overburden yourself. Not only is practicing forever not very fun, if you try to “learn” the whole matchup all at once you'll forget everything by next week anyway.
Is everyone I play against a smurf?
Just because your opponent knows a couple combos doesn't mean they're a smurf.
Worrying about how much better your opponent is than you isn't worth it. If you're losing so hard that you feel helpless, try watching the replay to figure out what's going wrong. It's possible you're only losing because they've got better combos and setups, but it's more likely you're making obvious mistakes that you'll notice if you slow down and take a look.