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> TF Marathon, In depth Guide
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Ravendarksky
post Aug 5 2010, 10:01 PM
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Firstly this is a DETAILED fumen based Tetris friends marathon playing guide. For basics there are already good video guides, but I wanted something much more in depth, for you guys and for myself.

I aim to beat a score of 1000000 and hope to help some others do so too!

- Why bother?
Many people may ask, why bother? Well marathon playing requires you to do a lot of thinking. Playing marathon for high scores will help you master twists, Tspinning and efficient digging. It FORCES you to make mistakes on purpose thus creating setups you may not normally encounter, especially in online play.

So today lets start with a detailed look at scoring on Marathon:

****SCORING****
In marathon the object is to get the most amount of points possible in a limited number of lines. This means that you need to maximise your points to lines cleared ratio. For the sake of reading/typing all scores are referencing to marathon level 1 unless I say otherwise.

Firstly lets look at the basic moves you should all be familiar with:

IPB Image




Now on first appearance it looks like all the moves give you the same points and this is true (100 points per line each), but lets look at what we can follow up most of these moves with:

Moves which require previous states

IPB Image




This shows that to maximise our points/line ratio we want to do as many Single Combo 1s as possible. The best way to do this is to do a single line clear followed by a single combo line clear.

A tetris clears 8 lines for 800 points so a tetris + combo 1 gives 950 points
but with these nine lines we could have done 4 singles + 4 single combos for a total score of 1000 points.. and that's in only 8 lines.

This might not seem like much but it mounts up very fast at higher levels to huge score multiplier differences.

You might ask, well what about combo 2 one line clears? Unfortunately once you combo higher than one it starts counting as more than one line cleared which negates the bonus you are getting from the extra 50 points.. I didn't want to clutter up the guide with more numbers than it already has... feel free to check if you don't believe me happy.gif.

Now playing marathon isn't just all about doing singles and 1 combos.... you may have noticed that when playing marathon clearing a level will always start you with full lines on the next level. Ie when you beat level 1 you always have 10 lines to clear for level 2, when you beat level 2 you always have 15 lines to clear for level three, etc.

We can take advantage of this fact to score big. Lets say we have 1 line left on level one. You could do a Tspin triple for 1600 points and it will only count as one line clear! Or even better, if you have three lines left you can do a Tspin mini single (200 points and 2 lines cleared) followed by a B2b Tspin triple (2400 points) for a total of 2600 points for your last three lines of each level.

So for each two lines of a level we can get 250 points (*level) and for the last three lines of each level we can get 2600(*level). This is a perfect scoring mechanism for any level which has an odd number of lines (Multiples of 2 + 3 end lines). For other levels we will have one line left over. The best thing to do with this line is clear it immediately when you start a new level... thus giving you a single 1 combo 150points. More on this later.

This gives us the max scoring for each level:

Level 1: single -> combo 1 single -> t spin mini single -> b2b tspin triple

Level 2: combo 1 single -> (single -> combo 1 single) * 3 -> t spin mini single -> b2b tspin triple

Level 3: (single -> combo 1 single) * 6 -> tspin mini single -> b2b tspin triple

Level 4: combo 1 single -> (single -> combo 1 single) * 8 -> t spin mini single -> b2b tspin triple

Level 5: (single -> combo 1 single) * 11 -> tspin mini single -> b2b tspin triple

Level 6: combo 1 single -> (single -> combo 1 single) * 13 -> t spin mini single -> b2b tspin triple

Finally it is possible to gain more points by hard dropping pieces and by soft dropping pieces.

Soft drop points: 1 per line, max of 19 per piece (assuming no elevator piece usage... see: http://harddrop.com/forums/index.php?showt...mp;hl=elevators and yes it is possible to abuse this for extra points... but it would take you a LOOONNNG time and be very obvious in your replay. )

Hard drop points: 2 per line, max of 38 per piece.

In this section of the guide we will not be going into details of exploiting these extra points, lets just say simply that to get the most points you should hard drop pieces if you know where you want them to go and hold down soft drop if you don't. Only don't press anything if you need time to think.

Below are some fumen diagrams of the first few levels played 'Perfectly' (in terms of points, I've made them a little messy on purpose to give it a more natural look) to give you a better understanding of what has been discussed above.

LEVEL 1 SCORING:

LEVEL 2 SCORING:

Here is the points chart for a 'perfect' move game.
IPB Image


The following players on TF have scores higher than seem possible, but that is because of soft drop/hard drop points.
1 S0N1C 1059783
2 Atsu 1055892
3 sane788 1054796
4 phatti 1048589
5 Fara7 1047011
6 holdnext 1046829


****Starting Out****

Now it would be foolish to dive straight in and try for 1000000. We will build up to this in a series of tasks which I will break down below:

- 1 Line Combo mastery
- Tspin mini setups
- Mistakes, when to accept them and which are least costly
- Avoiding unintentional line clears
- Platforming
- Tspin triples

Lets look at 1 line combo mastery.

There are four scenarios where you will want to 1 line combo.
- Building 1 line combos
- Digging 1 line combos
- Building to Dig
- Tspin triple -> 1 line combo (for even levels). We will focus on the first three.

- Building 1 line combos
In an ideal game you will mostly be playing with the bottom four rows of the screen. This gives you maximum time to think as well as rewarding you the most for your soft and hard drops. During this stage of play you will be setting up 1 line combos by building incomplete lines and then clearing them in succession.

At a basic level the idea is to make an incomplete line with only a single notch gap and then clear a line ontop of it leaving that notch free. This is the best possible outcome because a single gap can be filled with I, Z, T, S, L or J



Of course it isn't always possible to do this, and the next best outcome is to leave a two notch gap, as you can drop an O, L, J, (S OR Z) into it, giving you four peice options for your combo clear.



Fortuntly however we can make use of the hold que to make a more general play method. What I try and do is create most of a line, then hold a peice to fill the rest of the gap, then stack ontop so that that peice can be dropped for a second line clear. Ideally you do this in a way that lets you use other peices too, if your stacking is going wrong. Playing like this generally results in a flatter stack and shoudl keep you playing at the bottom of the screen.



As you can see from these fumens, the I block is the best for covering gaps and keeping the stack above those gaps flat. This gives you the max options for piece placement and will also come in handy later when we are doing T spin Minis. The I spin is also very useful for plugging unwanted gaps which we may have created which make comboing more difficult. Having an I in hold is always a good idea. They generally lead to one combos with the most options and flatest stacking.



....Well that's all I have time for today! Next time we will look at digging 1 line combos.


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Alis
post Aug 5 2010, 11:44 PM
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wow looking good biggrin.gif
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Ravendarksky
post Aug 9 2010, 12:40 PM
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Okay lets look at digging 1 line combos and building to dig.

Generally you will be digging 1 line combos when you aren't playing optimally and also to clear up your screen after setting up tspin mini -> tspin triples. It is VERY important to get good at this as you will find it much easier to setup tspins and combos when at the bottom of the screen rather than when you are nearly topping out.



Please note that the above example has a 2 combo at the start of it, which is NOT correct.

We will come back to combo digging later, its been a month since my last post so I'm a bit out of practice.

Lets look at Tspin minis (Information compiled from Sonics post below, along with my own knowledge).

Before you can Tspin triple or double to complete a level you want to have 3 lines left (see first post) and perform a Tspin mini single. This will give you 2 line clears and a back to back bonus, so that when you get your TST or TSD it gives you far more points.

Setting up Tspin mini singles is easy once you get the hang of it, but the key is to notice where you can do them most effectively to prevent your screen building too high. Keeping your screen low is key to being able to setup tspin triples later, as you can't clear any lines between your tspin mini single and your tspin triple.

There are three ways in which to Tspin mini. Tspin Hole, Tmini flat and Tmini wall kick.

Tmini wall kick - This is when you use a wall to kick a T peice into a hole. These are the most useful kind for Marathon as they are very easy to setup and spot. They are also great for setting up Tspin triples... IF you have a flat playing field.


Tmini Flat - This is a good tspin mini setup for when you have a flat area in your playing field, but no obvious holes for a t mini wall kick. Not too much to say about this one.




Tspin Hole - This is a good tspin mini setup for when you have an uneven playing field, although it is the one I use least, as it can result in a tspin if done incorrectly and it rarely leads to an easy tspin triple setup. Still it is a useful tool to know, especially if you are good at seeing tspin double setups. Also it can be a useful building tool, as there are two possible outcomes from it. A side Tmini or a Vertical Tmini




T spin Triple Guide:

T spin triples can be broken down into four distinct sections and it is important to be aware of them.
  • The Wall
  • The C
  • The Roof
  • The Entrance


Once you are aware of these parts it becomes easier to see where to make T spin triples, and to avoid common mistakes. Generally you want to look for somewhere to create a C first. By creating a C you will naturally create the flat area above it for your entrance. This also helps you remember which side the T goes in. It's above your C. This will help you avoid most of the common mistakes made when TSTing. (See Tspin mistakes fumen).



Here are some of the commoner mistakes made when setting up Tspin Triples in this fashion:

T Spin mistakes fumen


Another way of setting up Tspin triples for the more advanced player is to set up Tspin doubles with a flat roof (needed to slide the T into) and then convert them into a Tspin triple by covering up the other side and making a roof. Eg:



At high speeds you may not feel comfortable doing EITHER of these things, and it is often better to make a TST setup and then stack up to it. The benefit of this is an easier setup but HARDER combo downstacking for the next level. You may also clear a line by mistake and ruin your score entirely... I leave it up to you if you want to do this. I suggest it for level 15 though, where Instant drop gravity can make TSTS tricky/easy to fill by mistake.



****Guide in progress********Guide in progress********Guide in progress********Guide in progress****


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crzy242
post Aug 9 2010, 01:06 PM
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nice guide!
although i dont think i have enough creativity to go beyond 1 mill points on marathon =[


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Ravendarksky
post Aug 12 2010, 12:48 PM
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In Progress:
Comboing
Digging
Stalling for time

To Do:
Mistakes, avoiding and coping
Squeezing the extra points
Training
Strategies

Sometimes you may want an extra second or two to think during your game.... Well this is possible. Here are some tips and strategies for it. ***WARNING*** Some of this may be considered cheating!

Low Levels Stalling - Infinite Piece Rotation
You can stall for time by rotating pieces in ways which result in them never touching the ground. This will only work on the first 6 or so levels due to gravity speed increasing.



Any Level Stalling - Extra Movement/Rotations.
Pieces in Marathon do not lock as soon as they land. This means that you can move a piece around on purpose to prevent it from locking. Doing so will give you a tiny bit more time to think about that to do next.
The same thing applies to piece rotation. This works best with the O block, seeing as you don't need to worry about it moving during the rotations.

Try not to do your rotations/movements too fast (defeats the purpose) or too slow (piece locks).



Another great way to stall for time is to pause the game! However this can cause confusion after you come back. Try not to pause in the middle of a combo OR just after you complete a combo. Ideally pause after you have placed one block after comboing. This prevents you accidentially doing combo 2s or wasting a combo 1 bonus.




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Noogy
post Aug 12 2010, 01:11 PM
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nice guide!

i'm not sure if i should praise TF's scoring system for bringing out such a unique strategy o.O
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ManOfMiracles
post Aug 30 2010, 11:31 PM
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I haven't noticed this thread before. Very well done.


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sonic
post Sep 8 2010, 04:51 AM
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Great guide Ravendarksky! very detailed and specific.


here are the three options for tspin mini to get the b2b started for tst at the end of the level. note that on the third spin, the T must be faced the correct direction. if the t is faced the opposite direction, it counts for a tspin single, 8 lines/800points

a note on tspin triples at high levels: i have found that the easiest way to make the tspin triple under higher gravity is to make a JT/LT core on the side(T then L on the left or J then T, LT or TJ on the right) its then fairly easy to fill and make an overhang. carefully of course, as to not accidentally clear a line and end up with a keyboard/sledge hammer interaction.


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Ravendarksky
post Sep 15 2010, 12:25 PM
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Mistakes and their costs

Unless you are going for a perfect game, mistakes will occur. It is important to understand the effects these have on your score and the best way to follow them up.

For example If you've done a double by mistake should you follow it with a combo 1 or start afresh?
Should you accept a double to do a combo or skip a combo?

First lets take another look at scoring.

To work out how many points you should be getting per line you use the following calculation: Lines x 125 x Level.

We can add this to the moves point list to see how costly it is in terms of points to do each move.
<<<DIAGRAM A GOES HERE>>>

Of course any mistake which makes you level up will also have an additional cost of 2400 x level (b2b tspin triple). This is why it is essential to do either a Tspin double or Tspin triple at the end of each level, to minimise points lost.



IN PROGRESS IN PROGRESS IN PROGRESS IN PROGRESS IN PROGRESS IN PROGRESS IN PROGRESS IN PROGRESS IN PROGRESS IN PROGRESS IN PROGRESS IN PROGRESS IN PROGRESS IN PROGRESS





Thought I'd add some fumen for general discussion interest. These are of a couple of quick marathon starts I did today, just to mess around while I thought about a few things.

I find the first few levels harder because you don't have many lines to dig with between having to setup Tspins. It gets easier after the end of lvl 4, and then more difficult at the last three levels when the speed ramps up and you don't have as much time to think.

High stack lvl 1+2 perfect points:


Good digging recovery after a terrible lvl 2 tst setup:


Another first few lvls:


First few lvls, with some more varied Tmini and Ttrip setups.


A near perfect level 10. Got lots of points for harddrops as well as some flawless digging... I'm Getting there!


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Ravendarksky
post Jan 4 2011, 02:48 AM
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Common mistake fumens: (until i incorporate them into the guide)

Accidental Tminis (avoidable)



Useful start setups:
A variation of perfect clear start is very useful for starting off a TF marathon run:

http://harddrop.com/forums/index.php?showt...=1985&st=10



Just got to be careful not to clear a double.


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Paradox
post Jan 4 2011, 03:59 AM
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I half expected this to be a joke thread about tf.

like:


TF Marathon tips: Don't play it, go Marathon on Nullpo

Grin.png

oh well.


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coolmaninsano
post Jan 4 2011, 04:01 AM
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Wow Paradox, that's a great tip.
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Ravendarksky
post Jan 4 2011, 04:03 AM
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QUOTE(Paradox @ Jan 4 2011, 03:59 AM) *

I half expected this to be a joke thread about tf.

like:
TF Marathon tips: Don't play it, go Marathon on Nullpo

Grin.png

oh well.

Tf marathon is quirky, interesting, Hard to get a high score on and relatively unaffected by the lag issues of other modes.

Too easy to cheat on nullpomino marathon anyway, and the varied scoring systems and rule bases make scores hard to compare.


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Paradox
post Jan 4 2011, 04:35 AM
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QUOTE(Ravendarksky @ Jan 4 2011, 04:03 AM) *

Too easy to cheat on nullpomino marathon anyway


And tf isn't hard to cheat on ? lol.


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dkorn725
post Jan 16 2011, 12:11 AM
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very very helpful the think i have most trouble with is a t-spin triple if someone can give me a detailed explanation of t-spin triples tha'd be great (i think im getting the consept of t-spin doubles)


QUOTE(Ravendarksky @ Jan 4 2011, 04:03 AM) *

Tf marathon is quirky, interesting, Hard to get a high score on and relatively unaffected by the lag issues of other modes.

Too easy to cheat on nullpomino marathon anyway, and the varied scoring systems and rule bases make scores hard to compare.


I aggree even though i havent played nullpomino


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