Hello everyone, today I am going to share with you the tetris openings I use to play against combo openings. This may sound a little bit unfriendly to combo players, right? But as a back-to-back player there is a reason why I have to think more about openings, that is, I lose really a lot of games to combo players, including 4w players, c4w players, and puyo puyo players. I have been playing puyo puyo tetris PC version for about half a year and got a lot of trouble playing with combo openings. The common result of combo opening, played by either side, is a short game, very very short game. I may win unexpectedly, or lose miserably. The videos I make are basically an attempt for survival or even some lucky quick wins.
By the way, as you can read, I am not a native English speaker, but since I am going to work with foreigners in the near future, some English language practice might be good to me. So... please bear with me.
Now let me start with my personal rule of thumb playing against combo openings: I have to be fast and precise. That sounds useless huh? Yeah totally useless. Okay let me put it another way: 2 tsd or tst in my opening. I have to do two tsd or tst, fast and precisely, in my every opening. Why t-spins? Because tetris is slow, taking roughly two times longer than t-spin. And Why better with tsd or tst? Because that's is the best I can do so I simply have to try to avoid tspin-single. Let's review how frighteningly strong combo openings can be. As for 4w and c4w, the first combo, or say the second line clear, produces zero garbage line. Then, the second combo can produce one garbage line. Not very impressive huh. But if the opponent manage to make 9 combos, what I got now are 20 garbage lines, occupying the entire 20x10 region. But I may still survive, because I could defend by t-spins or other line clear techniques. Basically the game is even when the 4w player makes 9 combos, suppose our operation speed is really close. But if he or she makes 10 combos or 11 combos, there would be 24 and 29 garbage lines sent to me respectively, then the situation is really bad to me. Therefore I need to play fast and precisely with 2 tsd or tst from the beginning, and better with a flat surface for easier defense later.
And what about puyo puyo? Almost all puyo players can play very very strong opening. Basically puyo players play combo through the game, but their opening combo is obviously the strongest. For extreme cases, some puyo players are so strong in the opening that you will find the playing very much relaxing, after you are out of the opening. Games with them are like opening, relaxing, opening, relaxing, ... . The calculation depth of puyo players is really amazing that I have a hard time coming out with 4 or 5 puyo clears in a row. The best strategy for tetris player may be continual harrassment, that is simply to break the perfect chain of puyo. So it's critical to send them many cute little stones from the beginning, otherwise just overwhelmed by massive garbage lines, that's all.
It's important to know that this video is definitely not a tutorial or introduction, but just an experience sharing or sorting out, from a tetris lover. The openings mentioned will be relatively easy and doable, therefore I am still playing them.
Tetris openings for playing against combo (2)
<<< TKI >>>
TKI is by far the most common b2b opening. It's:
. Straightforward, so you can do it fast
. The conditions are easy to meet. TKI opening succeeds if (not only-if) I-block comes as the first or second block.
. Lots of variations
. A flat surface after 2 t-spins.
Below I list the variations I often use. The classification is based on the placement of L-block.
[ L-block on top ]
It looks natural and it might be the fastest opening as for the first tspin. There are at least 3 sub-variations for the second one.
If you are good enough with tspin, this variation basically takes you into the mid-game immediately. You can happily try to tspin all the way at the left side until you are out of ideas.
I strongly suggest TKI perfect clears, because there is hardly any penalty with this attempt, you have tspins plus perfect clear, or you have tspins alone. When I say "no penalty" I mean you can play it without slowing down at all. Perfect clear might be the only way you could anti-attack against combo openings, normally all you do is just defend. When you play b2b opening with another b2b player, you simply play for some humble advantage over each other. However, combo openings are aimed for finishing the game before entering mid-game, not just for advantage. As for 4w and c4w, one of the weakness they share is they have to downstack line by line, that takes time before combos start to take effects. To an experienced combo opening player, perfect clear that acompanies with tspins is the only real threat to that weakness.
This one is strong, but it needs the second L-block to come early, and the hole at the left side to be filled.
[ L-block at the right side -1 ]
If Z-block is not there, L-block can be placed there. A no-brainer.
A very simple opening, providing 2 solid tsds.
[ L-block at the ride side - 2 ]
This might be one of the best opening. After you place the L-block at the right side, you may quickly go for tspin setup because it's apparently just the kind of surface for it. Or, you may go for perfect clear and tspin at the same time as shown in above two fumens. Other placements towards perfect clears are also possible.
[ L-block against the wall ]
This can be used when O-block comes earlier than L-block.
This one is also quite strong, the surface is not very flat though. It might not seem so but the small pool at the right side is really good material for tspin, you place an L-block for a tsd, or place L-block and J-block for 2 tsd, or Z-block for a tsd and a tst afterward.
I am not very into long variations, two reasons:
1. They don't work always. Of course when it works the number of garbage lines would be the optimal, but I can't count on that. Fun stuff though.
2. There are too many possible combinations, sometimes the long variation actually works, but it takes time to find the ordering of placements. Need to pursuing the ultimate speed in the opening.
<<< The Effectiveness of TKI Against Combo > >>
4w: Effectively stop the stack up. Because TKI normally sends 2 tsds, that's 9 lines, 4w opening stops at height 11, that's 10 combos, 24 lines.
c4w: same as 4w, effectively stop the stack up.
puyo puyo: it's just like playing mid-game against puyo puyo when TKI is chosen. Just try my best to send them garbage lines constantly. The side who is faster at setups will win.
<<< DT Cannon >>>
To me DT cannon is all about LZ pair and JS pair.
When LZ pair is placed or JS pair is placed before other blocks, DT cannon works. Actually, solely L or J block as the first or second block could guarantee that DT cannon is doable (as shown in second fumen). Personally I don't like to "mirror" the opening, that is, I always make tspins at one specific side. So I don't have to get used to do it at the other side.
The first T-block is not used for tspin so it could be a little bit slow if the second or third T-block come late. DT cannon is amazing:
1. One tsd plus one tst, 11 garbage lines! When it's done very fast, basically combo opening doesn't succeed, that is, the problem the title claims is fixed.
2. Though it looks a little messed up at the left side, it's always possible to stack up in a short time, if you are skillful.
3. It is not so difficult to meet the LZ/JS condition.
4. Strong following-up variations, which are all based the the 3 squares of the 4 columns at the right side. Trying to analyze a bit, what could we do now:
a) 4w. But what are facing is ongoing combo attack, so this may be not a good idea.
b) Make a tetris. Slow and weak but this is easiest.
c) Sometimes I do another one set of a tst and a tsd (or two tsts), the key is S/Z placement:
d) tspins plus tetris or tspins plus perfect clear
c) and d) need a lot of practice. The problem with DT cannon and all openings that use T-block for stacking up is the complexity of the accumulated pieces. TKI generally has the first tspin upon the first bag, and the second tspin upon the second bag, quite timely. DT cannon can have at most 13 pieces not cleared that when you have such amount of pieces to be dealt with you think there got to be something big and strong ahead to compensate the serious result the tspin delay causes, but after the first 2 bags actually it's kinda out of control, the ideally prepared setup may not come true that there is a possibility you always have 13 pieces stacked up.
Normally variation d) is not so bad, because:
1. There have been 2 tspins anyway.
2. Perfect clear is surely big and strong.
3. Its hit possibility is high enough to take a shot: 1. SZ placements of the second bag 2. then one of I-block and L-block doesn't come early (they depends on J-block and S-block respectively).
4. tspin is another choice if L-block of the third bag comes earlier than S-block.
5. Even the setup fails at last, you can still go for a tetris, just back to what can be done in (b).
6. The surface is quite flat at left side. Prepare the tspin setup before I-block comes.
But if the opponent plays combo, at the third bag of tetriminos, garbage lines may start coming, So perfect clear is out of question at late stage. Better do it at the second bag of tetriminoes. There are also second DT-cannon variations and other perfect clear variations.
<<< The Effectiveness of DT Cannon Against Combo > >>
4w: DT cannon is the main reason 4w players stop stacking up at height 9~10.
c4w: Effective sometimes. c4w players actually have a good time with DT cannon, when it's not done fast enough. The worst case is the end of 3 bags of tetrominos. Of course sometimes it can be done at the beginning of the third bag, of that 4w can't take the risk, but c4w can.
puyo puyo: Effective, but I doubt it can do better than TKI. Intuitively tst might do the harassment job better than tsd, due to the weakness of puyo puyo, the unexpected massive blocking of the chain. When the blocking is being cleared on the way, the positional irregularness also accumulates. But actually it's not exactly like that. puyo puyo players are good at holding a chain and release with perfect timing. When the chain is potentially being blocked, there are techniques to avoid or clear the blocking. The chain is still there even being blocked. The best strategy playing against puyo puyo is constant harrassment, becuase the length of chain is the resource of the power. The long chain is forcibly given up while the speed of tetris kicks in. No accumulation, no power. The keyword here is "constantly", so it's quite important to make the first tspin and second tspin timely. First tspin of DT cannon is available when L-block and J-block of second bag have come. And once there is a T-block in hand it's better to use it to clear lines immediately (always try to decide variation or other stuff during line clear). No bad feelings, puyo players, this is just an effort for better games, and I could be all wrong.
<<< TD Cannon >>>
It's safe to say TKI and DT cannon together have solved 70-80 percent of problems. Here is yet another opening that may increase the percentage to 90%. You will find it quite useful for some impossible tetrimino combinations. TD cannon is complementary to DT cannon, in the sense that it goes with LS/JZ pair instead of LZ/JS pair, as follows:
It starts with a tst, that is rare among various openings. And as you can see the second tspin can be a tsd or tst. If it's a tst, there could be 13 garbage lines sent. But its drawbacks are also obvious. There is a lot of empty space at the left side that takes time and technique to fill. I don't know any regular placement for the second bag. The only rule of thumb I follow is to place the I-block at the bottom and it will be fine. As a result, the first tspin of TD cannon is quite slow. As far as the second tspin, I only do tst when it's going to be a quick one, that is, pieces are handy to build tst setup (e.g. O-block plus S-block or L-block plus J-block or many other combinations). It's even better when there are two S-blocks coming so I can have 2 tsds that send garbage lines fast and steadily.
TD cannon can be played at only one side you like, but I find it's very easy and useful if played mirrorred. Maybe this is because I have never learnt any variations of TD cannon.
What so good about TD cannon is its ability handling early Z-block and S-block, though this may be not good enough. When an early Z/S-block appears, it's natural to search for the corresponding L/J block ahead. If L/J is then placed before the hold space is used up, TD cannon setup works. TD cannon fits the mindset for Z/S block that TKI and DT cannon can't provide, because in general Z/S-block are not placed at the bottom while TKI or DT cannon are the chosen openings. Let's take a look at how powerful TD cannon can be, if the first blocks are Z->S->T, the direction of TD cannon will be decided by the ordering of L-block and J-block. Just place ZST stack with the right direction then wait for other pieces in the first bag. Another example is T->S->I->L, though you have "good" pieces I and L in the sight, you simply can't use TKI and DT cannon for this permutation. Even you can use TKI and DT cannon for some special permutations, that may not be executed intuitively. The good thing about opening is you don't need to calculate too much.
Finally, is there any combination we can't handle so far with TKI/DT/TD? Yes, it's the T-block and O-block as the first two blocks. T-block depends on S/Z block and O-block depends on I-block (actually you can directly place the O-block at the bottom in some cases if you are capable of deeper calculation). There are 3 openings I find useful for T-O combination.
<<< The Effectiveness of TD Cannon Against Combo > >>
4w: TD cannon is a nightmare to 4w players.
c4w: Due to its essential slowness I suggest tsd as the second tspin but not tst. Easy math: you send extra 2 lines, but each of extra c4w stackup lines send 4 or 5 lines while it's more than 7 combos.
puyo: Puyo could have accumulated a long chain before the first tspin setup of TD cannon. So maybe it's also good to have another tst instead of simply tsd, the idea is to aggresively block the chain and let the chain and the garbages occupy the space and limit the development. Kinda risky play. Need a flat surface to continue the attack otherwise it's meaningless.
<<< Perfect Clear >>>
Perfect clear is very much fun to play. There are two kinds of playing in modern tetris, one is spatial pattern recognization, the other is direct calculation. Perfect clear belongs to the latter (just take it as I don't know what I am talking about). I think practicing perfect clear helps develop tetris sense. Generally perfect clear opening is like this:
If T-block comes before Z or S, the first bag of perfect clear can be well placed (just place the I/L/J blocks at the corner in a low-energy state). Then the first 4 pieces of second bag will decide if the 10 lines of perfect clear can be sent out or not. Perfect clear opening might be the most efficient opening that it sends 10-12 lines with only 10 pieces. Moreover, this amount of garbage stops all kinds of combo setup most of the time. And combo opening from the other side won't disturb you because it's done within 2 bags of tetriminoes. And I bet you the remaining surface is by far the flattest one in the world. The only problem with perfect clear opening is: it doesn't always work. For very strong perfect clear players, the success rate can be 70-80%. But for other players it can be like 50-60% or even lower. Perfect clear has its own system, that can be played independently of all other openings. BT cannon is another great system there to be explored.
When perfect clear opening doesn't work, what is the player supposed to do? The best strategy is to build up a spike. Soft-drop a L block or J block to fill the underlying hole then try a tspin setup at the central column. But it will take time because the surfaces of the left side and right side of the spike are not at the same row. Now here is the situation: the first back-to-back is delayed (you may have softdrop at least twice and I-block is late), and the second one is delayed too. There are merely tetris and tsd, thus 9 garbage lines at length. If you are playing with a b2b player, that's not so bad, just try to come back in the mid-game; but as for combo, that's a dead or alive thing, your comeback chance is nowhere to find. I mean, this is unacceptable because the player can only rely on possibilities but can't do a thing about it. Please note that to perfect clear experts the benefits may outweigh the risks. And, it's fun and exciting. So, I am just saying perfect clear opening might not be for everyone. Above simply explains why I prefer other openings than perfect clear opening (over the T-O combination): because I am a lousy perfect clear opening player. Thus I need to find something to replace it with.
<<< The Effectiveness of TD Cannon Against Combo > >>
When perfect clear opening succeeds, of course it's very effective. The second perfect clear that clears two lines only is deadly.
Below listed is our solution 1 to play against combo:
TKI opening +
DT cannon opening +
TD cannon opening +
perfect clear opening
<<< Hanging Openings(?) >>>
The two openings that needs only O-block as the first block and send 9 and 11 garbage lines, respectively.
The name of A is "albatross". Don't know the name of B. There are 3 ways to play them:
a) use A only, mirror it if necessary
b) use B only, mirror it if necessary
c) use A and B, always place O-block at the same position
I use c). Firstly let'scheck A, it might be the most efficient b2b opening. It's not hard to fill the flat left side. If I-block of the second bag comes early, the tst won't be completed til the third bag. I think there are some variatons that follows but I never learn them. When I-block and T-block of second bag both comes earlier I just try to make a flat surface.
And opening B looks weird but actually it's good. After the tst, you can have another tst or just a tsd, very easy to setup. The tss is a little bit weak but the later tst and tsd(tst) will compensate.
No matter which one of a) & b) & c) is chosen, you need to know that if L-block comes earlier or J-block comes early. If you can't foresee either of them, then just place S-block and Z-block as you like, it will work.
Like said both openings need only early O-block for its setup thus meets the requirement of our T-O combination problem. Now here comes another question: is there an opening that needs only T-block? Yes, there is.
<<< The Effectiveness of Hanging Opening Against Combo > >>
Maybe not the best openings used to play against combo, comared with TKI and DT cannon, but, they still work. I still play them. A can be really fast and strong when I-block comes late, and B is also great when there is no soft-drop at all. For instance, when it's L-O or J-O combination, I play A and B immediately.
Below listed is our solution 2 to play against combo:
TKI opening +
DT cannon opening +
TD cannon opening +
<<< Pyramid Opening(?) >>>
I admit it's a stupid name, but I don't know if there is a name for it:
This T-block supports other three blocks like a boss. Simply hard-drop the T-block and the opening can be done. I can't find a regular placement of the second bag, but in practice it's quite easy.
If I-block comes as the first block of second bag, it needs to be held but T-block may come early too, thus regularness of placement is gone. Anyway, it's not difficult at all to place the pieces of second bag.
This opening can fix the drawback of hanging opening: you don't have to look far away for the L-block or J-block.
<<< The Effectiveness of Pyramid Opening Against Combo > >>
Similiar to DT cannon. Note that it can have an early tsd too, as long as L-block and J-block of the second bag are placed.
Below listed is our solution 3 to play against combo:
TKI opening +
DT cannon opening +
TD cannon opening +
In next section, another approach is taken to find an even simpler/stupier opening solution.
What if we could instantly come up with which opening to play at the first sight of foreseen pieces in the beginning of a game? If it's possible, how many pieces do we need to foresee?
Let's try one piece at the first place:
[ 1-piece ]
I-block: TKI always works, hard-drop it
L/J-block: DT cannon always works, hard-drop it
O-block: hanging openings, hard-drop it
T-block: pyramid opening, hard-drop it
S/Z-block: unknown to me, maybe such kind of opening does exist. In some cases DT cannon just doesn't work, in some other cases pyramid just doesn't work.
It's a open question to me if one piece is possible. But two pieces and three pieces is possible, as shown below. We will just list the combinations and doable opening to each of them.
[ 2-piece ]
Most of the time it might work, because we can just hold S/Z block and hard-drop the next block for its corresponding doable opening. But we can choose openings that are more intuitive for the combinations since there are 2 pieces foreseen now.
LJ: DT cannon
LZ: DT cannon
LS: TD cannon
LO: hanging openings
JZ: TD cannon
JS: DT cannon
JO: hanging openings
ZO: hanging openings -> ?
SO: hanging openings -> ?
1. SZ is pretty tough. Still have no idea what openings to use without the knowledge of later pieces.
2. The solution for ZO and SO is not good enough, though I know hanging openings are feasible, I still have to know which of L-block and J-block comes first otherwise I don't know how to place Z/S. The so-called legendary "far far away LJ" problem. Here is a solution for it:
This is called STD (tss+tst+tsd) as I know. I really love this opening, it's ingenious. It always works while OS or OZ are the first two pieces (I and L/J block depend on them). Moreover, when you play this opening with a b2b player, sometimes the hole of the received garbage line may ruin the opening by appearing below the I-block of second bag. Combo player can't ruin it.
Now come to the stage of 3-piece... maybe all openings have their good and bad, what is more important is if it's possible to fit in a system. If it can find a complementary opening there, if it can fix a specific combination all others can't, then we may say it's good, for the system.
[ 3-piece ]
There are 35 combinations, each of that has 6 permutations. I just put the most intuitive opening for each. I have to say it's pretty up to choice of player.
< I >
ILJ: DT cannon
ILS: TKI, but for the permutation S->L->I if you play only one-sided TKI and this is not your preferred side, TD cannon is better.
IJZ: TKI, but for the permutation Z->J->I if you play only one-sided TKI and this is not your preferred side, TD cannon is better.
IZT: TKI, but for the permutation T->Z->I if you play only one-sided TKI and this is not your preferred side, TD cannon is better.
IST: TKI, but for the permutation T->S->I if you play only one-sided TKI and this is not your preferred side, TD cannon is better.
< L >
LJZ: DT cannon
LJS: DT cannon
LJO: DT cannon
LJT: DT cannon
LZS: DT cannon, but for the permutation S->Z->L if you play only one-sided DT cannon and this is not your preferred side, TD cannon is better.
LZO: DT cannon
LZT: DT cannon, but for the permutation T->Z->L, both pyramid and reversed DT cannon has to be played. I prefer pyramid.
LSO: TD cannon
LST: TD cannon
LOT: hanging opening
< J >
JZS: DT cannon
JZO: TD cannon
JZT: TD cannon
JSO: DT cannon
JST: DT cannon
JOT: hanging opening
< ZSOT >
The possibility of the occurrence is only 11.4%, but combinations with these 4 blocks are the most difficult to deal with. Fortunately there is already a toolbox for them.
Below listed is our solution 4 to play against combo:
TKI opening +
DT cannon opening +
TD cannon opening +
hanging opening(s) +
Pyramid opening +
When a player is getting better, he/she can foresee and calcute with more pieces, thus will adjust the usage rate of these openings according to his/her personal preferrence.
An opener I have found effective against 4 widers of both kinds is what I call the DC-Spin. (Double C-Spin). The DC-Spin is not effective against puyo, as triples send only a bit more than doubles, so you'd be better off just doing doubles.
I've made a full write-up of this opener in the attached file. Just unzip and open the html file in a browser.
DC_Spin.zip ( 136.8k ) Number of downloads: 58
This sends 25 (6 + 7 + 5 + 7) lines if fully done. If this version is not possible, you can almost always get a triple and two doubles with other variations. Those send 23 (6 + 5 + 7 + 5) lines.
You don't have to be too fast with this opener to top out a 4 wider. They need a 4 combo to have any chance of surviving, and if you get the PC finish, they need a 7 combo. With slow line clear delay, decently fast placement, and your opponent not being MicroBlizz, it is very possible to finish the opener before they offset enough.
The nice thing about this opener is that it is always possible in the first and second bags, and a very high chance in the third and fourth.
Tbh, this is almost the only opener I use in TvT matches.
I know you said you were not into long openers, and I can respect that. However, the DC-Spin seems to have a consistency most other long openers don't have, and being slow at picking a variation mid setup can be solved by lots of practice.
Another opener I've made is the 6 rows C-Spin PC. A C-Spin is the same as what you call a TD Cannon.
A big downside is the first bag is not very likely.
A variation on this is the 8 rows C-Spin PC.
This is much more likely than the previous, both in PC chance and setup chance, but it takes approximately a bag longer. Here's a write up for the opener and how to PC. PC_Spin.zip ( 37.1k ) Number of downloads: 53
I use the first when I just want a C-Spin with a chance for PC, and I use the second when I want C-Spin PC.
The first sends 19 or 16 garbage rows (assuming PC) and depending on whether there is a TSS.
The second sends between 24 and 16 garbage rows, depending on combos, and TSS or TSD or neither.
I'd say the second is much better vs c4w than the first and the DC-Spin as it can top out the opponent within three bags 95% of the time, as long as you finish before the opponent's combo goes above 4.
It is also decent against puyo due to the PC, but there would be better options.
In retrospect this sounds kinda self-promotional. Sorry bout that.
Thanks for the great input. I agree that if there is a relatively complicated opening like BT cannon that can send tsts and also certain chance for PC, it would be a great weapon against c4w.
In the first post, we have basically all the standard openers. Problem is 4-wide performs a little better at the top level (in clients like Puyo Puyo Tetris, Tetris Friends or Tetris Online Poland). It's a matter of luck: The non-combo player has to send garbage quickly which results in clean garbage that the combo player often can use to enhance his/her combo. For the same reason, I like to start with a T-Spin Single (Mr. T-Spin's STD; Hachispin works, too) - to not give the combo player a free Tetris.
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