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> T-Spin Double Openings: A Guide to Single Bag Systems
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caffeine
post Sep 6 2012, 01:48 AM
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To the best of my knowledge, there is always a way to open with a T-Spin Double (TSD). More interestingly, there is always a way to open with a safe and noncommittal TSD. The reason I say that is because I have found that I can always do a single bag TSD from the start of the game. The purpose of this article is to show how.

Modern Tetris games use the bag randomizer. There are 7 pieces: I, T, O, S, Z, L, and J. The the first 7 pieces the game gives you will consist of one of each (in random order). This is the first bag of pieces. The next bag will consist of the same 7 pieces, but in another randomized order.

Single bag TSD openings appeal to me for the following reasons:
  • They send the same number of lines as a Tetris, but require less pieces.
  • There's minimal upstack commitment. They don't require risky overstacking, which means I can quickly access my garbage after doing them. A bag is made up of 7 pieces. A TSD clears the equivalent of 5 pieces off the field. That means there's only 2 pieces worth of "stuff" left scattered over the surface once finished.
  • They lend well to a follow-up TSD or T-Spin Triple (TST).
  • In most cases, they won't require soft dropping to get the field back to normal afterwards.
  • Using the first bag's T towards the actual T-Spinning is extremely efficient when planning to do multiple T-Spins in succession. Doing so frees up the next bag to do another TSD. Compare this with for example a DT Cannon or C-Spin opening. With those, you must use the first T piece towards the stack (and not the TSD line clear). As a result, you must use the next bag's T to complete the first TSD (or TST). The third bag's T goes to the second TSD or TST. That could mean you might need to wait upwards of 21 pieces in order to get the T you need to complete the second TSD or TST. Instead, if you open with a single bag TSD, then you'll use the freed up second bag's T towards the second TSD or TST and need only wait a maximum of 14 pieces for it.
A single bag TSD requires you to place the T last (which clears the lines). (There are actually a couple rare exceptions where the TSD can be done with one piece left over from the first bag, but let's ignore those for now.) A couple of rules result from this:
  • The T won't always come dead last. So, almost 6/7ths of the time, you will need to hold it until you've first placed the other pieces.
  • Once you hold the T, you won't be able use the hold button again until the end of the bag.
There are 5,040 possible bags. In order to always open with a single bag TSD, you must know a number of different openings. You must also makes sure to notice the opening pieces before choosing which to do. Without proper planning, you might start the wrong opening and not have the right order of pieces to finish it.

TKI T-Spin Double



The most famous and popular single bag TSD is the TKI opening. It was first outlined by the Japanese Tetris DS player TKI. Since then, it has caught on like wildfire. I always try to do this first (when the bag allows for it) due to how well it allows for multiple follow-up TSDs. The core principles behind the TKI are:
  • Recieve the I piece early
  • Place the I piece flat and dead center
  • Place the L/J with regards to its complementary Z/S (I'll elaborate on this a little later)
We cannot do the TKI when following types of bags occur:
  • S, Z, and T all come before the I piece.
  • J, L, S, Z all come before O and I
  • Z and T come before I, and L comes before O and S.
  • S and T come before I, and J comes before O and Z.
Make sure to check for these cases before committing to the TKI! With practice, it only takes a glance before knowing the opening bag won't work. Moreover, be sure to do the TKI when it is possible! If the opening bag allows for it, but you're unsure at first glance and decide to do something else instead, chances are that the TKI might've been the only possible single bag opening in the first place. It's better to be sure than to rush into something and fail.

There are a few variations of the TKI to become familiar with:
  • Castle top variation
  • Snail variation
  • Fonzie variation
  • Flat top variation
Always look ahead to see whether the S or Z comes first. Whichever comes first will determine how to place the L or J. This becomes especially important when having the T in the hold chamber (and thus preventing the use of the hold function until the end of the opening bag).

For example, let's say the opening bag is TJZILOS. Of course, first we'll hold the T. Next, we can place the J in one of two ways:
In the first case, the player neglects to look ahead and drops the J against the surface in its letter orientation. This results in a busted opening. The first squiggly piece to come is the Z. The Z is complementary to the L (as the S is complementary to the J) when building a T-Slot. For that reason, you'll instead want to use the L in its letter orientation. So, you should place the J horizontally on the other side for now. This is what happens in the second case (shown above).

The take away message from this:
  • Look ahead!
  • If the Z comes before S, plan to place it horizontally on top of the I piece.
  • Plan to place the L in its letter orientation in order to complement the Z.
  • Vice versa if S comes before Z.
Having the T in the hold chamber will sometimes force you to drop either one of the S or Z pieces before getting to the I piece. (But not both S and Z, since a TKI is not possible when S, Z, and T all come before the I.) Save this manuever as a last resort, since it requires an extra soft drop (which slows you down).

This slide variation is really only needed when:
  • Z and T come before I, and L comes after either O or S.
  • S and T come before I, and J comes after either O or Z.
  • The castle top variation results from L/J coming after O, and the flat top variation results from L/J coming after S.
  • Z and T come before I; O comes before L
  • S and T come before I; Z comes before J
Castle top continuation examples
Snail continuation examples
Fonzie continuation examples
Flat top continuation examples
Sources and further reading for the TKIPlatformed single bag T-Spin Doubles
When the opening bag doesn't allow for the TKI (e.g. if S, Z, and T all come before the I), then you can still do a single bag TSD by using one of several platform methods. The unifying idea behind these openings is that the TSD is platformed over the bottom-most row and is cleared on rows 2 and 3.

The following 13 variations are able to handle any bag that the TKI cannot. Some of them may in fact be unnecessary, but they're good to know just in case you mess up one of the more obvious choices.

Albatross Opening
  • Cradle variation
  • Cornerstone variation
Petrel Opening
  • Single gap variation
  • Double gap variation (use as a last resort)
Flamingo Opening
  • Cradle variation
  • Cornerstone variation
  • Long platform variation (use as a last resort)
  • Jagged prop variation (use as a last resort)
Pelican Opening
  • Skateboard variation
  • Corner gap variation
  • Center gap variation
  • Cradle variation (use as a last resort)
Dodo Opening (used only for rare, super evil bags)
There are three types of bags to become familiar with when deciding which platform TSD to open with:
  • Early O: open with any variation other than the Pelican skateboard, Pelican cradle, or Dodo.
  • Late O: open with either the skateboard or cradle variation of the Pelican.
  • Early T that forces a either S/Z to be played first, but unable to do any Pelican variation (e.g. TSZOILJ): open with the Dodo.
When the O comes late, and you need to place both S and Z first, this forces the skateboard or cradle variation of the Pelican. In all the other platform openings, you prop one of the S or Zs on the O. For this reason, make sure to look ahead in the bag to see where the S and Z are in relation to the O. Since the Pelican carries the burden of all the late O situations, and since the skateboard variation doesn't require an extra soft drop like the cradle does, the second most used opening after the TKI should likely be the skateboard variation.

The next two most used openings (which you use for early O situations) likely should be the Flamingo cradle and the Albatross cradle. The reason for this is that the cradle variations tend to be safer. When using, for example, a cornerstone variation of either the Flamingo or Albatross, the success of the opening becomes more sensitive to the particular order of pieces that come. With a cradle variation, there's less to look ahead for to make sure it's possible.

Choosing between the Flamingo or the Albatross
When you get an early O situation, look ahead before placing the first piece. Check to see if L comes before J or vice versa. This will tell you which opening will lead to the cradle variation.

For example, let's say we get ZOJTLSI. We can turn this into either a Flamingo or Albatross:
In this case, since the J came before the L, a cradle can't be done with the Flamingo, but can be done with the Albatross.

If instead we get OZLJTIS we can do one of either:
Here, the Flamingo leads to a cradle variation, but trying to do the Albatross leads to a busted opening.

Albatross continuation examples
Petrel continuation examples
Flamingo continuation examples
Pelican continuation examples
Dodo continuation examples
Sources and further reading for platform TSD openingsFinal notes
It took me a couple weeks of practice before I really began to understand what to look for in the opening bag. Now I can pretty much do a single bag TSD every time. Games like Tetris Friends where you don't see the next pieces until the game has already started are much more difficult to do quickly off the bat. However, with enough practice, it should only take a glance to know which opening will work.

Sometimes it just doesn't matter what you do in the beginning. With clean garbage due to the change on attack mechanic, often it just goes back and forth anyway. Despite that, using these methods correctly can result in a consistent and stable opening. Once they've been mastered, it becomes much easier to focus and improve on other tactics. You won't have to worry about figuring out how to deal with an awkward opening bag anymore for example.
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larrytetris
post Sep 6 2012, 03:13 AM
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I haven't read the entire article yet, but I wanted to say that I love the name "Snail variation." Makes perfect sense, is wittily adorable, and I'm pretty sure I'm never forgetting it lol.

Actually, all of the names are wonderful, especially the animal ones. It's pretty easy to visualize with a good imagination Laugh.png

One thing I'm curious about, though, is why you think the flat top variation of TKI should be a last resort. I generally prefer it because it sets up foundation of a 2-7 or 7-2 split very easily, and you have many options because you can keep building TSDs on both sides.



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QUOTE(DarthDuck @ Oct 19 2011, 09:14 PM) *

Larry can polymer spin and reinvent tetris itself while he plays
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myndzi
post Sep 6 2012, 03:14 AM
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Excellent work, thorough and comprehensive! I sound like a spam bot comment but really, what can I add to this?


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Blink
post Sep 6 2012, 03:31 AM
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Wow, nice guide caff. Haven't read it all yet so I'll comment later.
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ZeroT
post Sep 6 2012, 07:56 AM
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I Just learned 1st bag TSDs and its all thanks to this beastly guide Grin.png


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Alexsweden
post Sep 6 2012, 01:35 PM
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QUOTE(larrytetris @ Sep 6 2012, 05:13 AM) *

One thing I'm curious about, though, is why you think the flat top variation of TKI should be a last resort. I generally prefer it because it sets up foundation of a 2-7 or 7-2 split very easily, and you have many options because you can keep building TSDs on both sides.



Just to comment on this, a flat top also sets up well for a ST stack. I love to do this to opponents that are slower/weaker than me since I can do a TKI start and be flexible and change to a short ST and then go back to normal gameplay again. Not that plp use ST that much but there you have it Smile.png
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caffeine
post Sep 6 2012, 01:36 PM
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QUOTE(larrytetris @ Sep 5 2012, 10:13 PM) *

Actually, all of the names are wonderful, especially the animal ones. It's pretty easy to visualize with a good imagination Laugh.png


Haha, thanks! All the single bag platformed TSDs are named after birds (since they're done in the air).

QUOTE(larrytetris @ Sep 5 2012, 10:13 PM) *

One thing I'm curious about, though, is why you think the flat top variation of TKI should be a last resort. I generally prefer it because it sets up foundation of a 2-7 or 7-2 split very easily, and you have many options because you can keep building TSDs on both sides.


Hmm, that's a good question. There are times when a flat top is unavoidable. However, every other time where you can do one, you can also do a castle top. Since I've found the castle top to be a little more flexible in terms of doing B2B TSDs (3, sometimes 4 in a row), I tend to favor it.

For example, in your fumen's last TSD, you need to stack the TSD on rows 2 and 3 (opposed to 1 and 2 as seen in the castle top). That's slightly less efficient since it requires more upstack (total pieces). I think the one before that is better for this reason. However, there may be more to the flat top than I'm giving credit. I'll need to start giving it more attention, so thanks.
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larrytetris
post Sep 7 2012, 03:53 AM
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QUOTE(caffeine @ Sep 6 2012, 01:36 PM) *

For example, in your fumen's last TSD, you need to stack the TSD on rows 2 and 3 (opposed to 1 and 2 as seen in the castle top). That's slightly less efficient since it requires more upstack (total pieces). I think the one before that is better for this reason. However, there may be more to the flat top than I'm giving credit. I'll need to start giving it more attention, so thanks.


What I like about it is that there are a lot of PC opportunities that you can see really quickly because the stacking is quite flat and once you get familiar with the opening. I haven't thoroughly examined the other continuations because this has suited my needs, but it's worth looking at.



TSD continuations:

7-2 stacking (so many flexible options):


Obligatory polymer TSD option:


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~Martin Luther King Jr.

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QUOTE(DarthDuck @ Oct 19 2011, 09:14 PM) *

Larry can polymer spin and reinvent tetris itself while he plays
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vipjun
post Sep 8 2012, 01:08 AM
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I like flat top tki also, because you can mindlessly stack and still pump out continuous tspins as long as you put the S or Z piece on the side.


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Blitz
post Sep 8 2012, 01:10 PM
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Here are some tki pc openers I use. They all clear 6 lines, so they require few pieces, so these actually have a possibility of getting a pc before you start receiving any garbage. If the other player starts sending you garbage quickly, you can use the t spin to counter it before you do the pc.
These are just some variations. There are more variations of this, but these are the only ones I can remember.







I favour this one because it ends with a tetris and keeps b2b and sends 14-15 lines depending if its tf, nullpo, top etc...


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QUOTE(PolarisTR @ May 25 2013, 10:21 AM) *

Blitz is a genius. ALL HAIL OUR NEW LEADER!!

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Paul676
post Sep 24 2012, 02:25 PM
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Added to most useful threads list


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Alexandra
post Jun 1 2014, 11:31 AM
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Ive been slowing down a bit on TOP and practicing tspins these days. This is definitely helpful! I still cant get myself to stack with empty spaces though.. old habits die hard. T,.T I get a mini anxiety attack when my field is not pretty.. incorporating tspins into my field has changed my stacking patterns and im still working on getting back to my normal level fields but it is quite fun to learn!
Great thread!
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StS
post Jun 1 2014, 12:29 PM
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You will feel like that for a short while, until you start getting used to it. Nowadays, I can't stack without T-spins!


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Current 40L (Nullpo): 35.32s
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Alexandra
post Jun 1 2014, 11:53 PM
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QUOTE(StS @ Jun 1 2014, 05:29 AM) *

You will feel like that for a short while, until you start getting used to it. Nowadays, I can't stack without T-spins!


lucky you. i stack tspins okay now. i mean i can usually get a back to back every other tetris i do and keep it going for around 3times. but i usually fail in actually putting in that t.. LOL!!!!!!!!!!! pretty much i fail executing the tspins around 70% of the time. It's so bad my friend starts laughing pretty bad. T,.T and I've been doing more soft drop so my lpm is 10-15 lower than what it was when i only downstacked. (talking about TOP here)
you should come on TOP and show me the way of tspins... I'm pretty much Alexandra in every client that I play. usually cultris or TOP. I only play Nullpo dig twice a week or so. Not liking the lag so much.
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Alexandra
post Dec 30 2014, 03:33 AM
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