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Forums - Hard Drop - Tetris Community _ Strategy/Help _ A Guide on Openings

Posted by: Noogy Jul 28 2010, 03:47 AM

I. Introduction
II. What is an opener?
III. Why are openers important?
IV. What makes an opener good?
V. Categories of openers
VI. How to properly use openers
VII. Interpreting other people's openers

I. Introduction
I wanted to write this guide because after watching many people play tetris, I see them playing incorrectly with openers, and some people do not use openers. I hope many of you find this helpful to improve your early game.

II. What is an opener?
An opener would be your initial approach to the initial bag(s) of pieces you get. Openers can vary in length, from quick t-spin double approaches to long combo starts. Many people who do not use openers will most likely use a tetris opener by default (stacking for a single tetris or a b2b tetris)

III. Why are openers important?
Openers are unique to the rest of the match because:
a.) your field is blank
b.) you know that your first 7 pieces will be unique, and
c.) you can get a head start on stacking before being attacked
d.) it can put you ahead of your opponent, putting you on the offensive

IV. What makes an opener good?
a.) the time it takes to execute an opener - the shorter an opener takes, the better, but there are cases when longer openers are better because they pay off better when completed. it is up to you to analyze which openers are best for you.
b.) the reward for completing an opener - an opener is good when you are able to deliver an optimal amount of lines for a certain number of pieces. a tetris opener would be inferior to a t-spin double opener because a tetris opener requires twice as many pieces yet sends the same number of lines as a t-spin double.
c.) flexibility/specificity - openers that can be executed with many different initial bag combinations would be considered to be flexible. you want to go for the openers that are not so specific on piece order (i.e. relying on getting a certain piece early) You should be able to complete an opener 90% of the time. (This is different from me saying you should use the opener 90% of the time, I simply mean your probability of completing it should be 90%)

V. Categories of openers

Quick Openers
The TSD start (also note that the cousins of the TSD start would be the LSD, JSD, ZSD, and SSD, and they are all rated equally)

Speed: 5/5
Reward: 2/5
Flexibility: 5/5

- This is the opener used to dish out your first 4 lines of garbage as soon as possible.
- It works wonders for punishing openers that take too long such as the combo starts and few b2b tspin setups.
- You want to send 4 early garbage lines to an opponent that you know will not send them back to you right away. This opener also works very well on people who generally misdrop on their first bag.
- Fast players use the opener a lot and are aware that slower opponents will send the garbage back to them, but because fast players downstack better, it is generally not an issue for them. For fast players, however, using a TSD opener is never a wrong answer, but it is certainly not the best answer. Players who are faster than their opponent should go for openers that have better rewards; this will lead to quicker kills as well as putting you on the offensive.
- Slow players should almost always use quick openers because of their speed disadvantage. It allows you to punish a combo starter or cancel out a quicker opponent's opener for an easy downstack.
- The downfall to this opener is that it does not put you ahead of your opponent because he/she will be able to catch up quickly; leading to an even game (which is like playing without an opener).

The Tetris start

Speed: 4.5/5
Reward: 1/5
Flexibility: 5/5

The Back to back Tetris Start
Speed: 3/5
Reward: 3/5
Flexibility: 5/5

- The generic/default opener used by many
- It is actually practical to open with this on your first match against opponent(s) you don't know. This setup is extremely flexible and gives you two options of either 1. Bailing (by completing the tetris) or 2. Stacking higher
- This opener is good if you want to maintain consistent speed throughout the game (when other openers would make you pause/hesitate)
- Improves your speed in the long run
- The downfall to this opener is that it will never put you on the offensive, and there are always better alternatives to this one.

Medium Openers
Back-to-back Tspin starts
This would include setups such as,, &

Speed: 3/5
Reward: 4/5
Flexibility: 4/5

The Perfect Clear

Speed: 4/5
Reward: 3.5/5
Flexibility: 1.5/5

- Allows you to send around 10 or more lines when completed, filling at least half of the opponent's screen
- These openers have high kill potential when executed properly against:
1. players who are about even with you on speed and stack high(this means that their stack will be high when you are finishing the setup)
2. slow players
3. fast players who misdropped (this will punish them)
- If you are able to complete the setup, you will almost ALWAYS be put on the offensive, unless your spins are spaced far apart time-wise (i.e. there is a 10 second delay in between the first two t spins and a 8 second delay between the 2nd and 3rd spin). With that said, you generally want the attacks to be as close as possible, meaning that holding a T and stacking until you get the second one would be ideal as long as you dont get punished.
- Perfect clear openers also give you a blank field to either prepare yourself for a quick downstack or start a new opener
- The downfall to this opener is that you are prone to getting punished. Some people may feel "committed" to stack upwards until they get the right pieces to finish the opener. This will always lead to them topping out.
- One way to prevent topping out would be to use your t-spins to cancel instead of send lines.

Combo Openers

The Two Wide
Speed: 1/5
Reward: 3/5
Flexibility: 5/5

The Three Wide
Speed: 1/5
Reward: 4/5
Flexibility: 4/5

The Hybrid
Speed: 1/5
Reward: 4/5
Flexibility: 5/5

The Four Wide
Speed: 1/5
Reward: 5/5
Flexibility: 3/5 for middle, 3.5/5 for side

- Heavy garbage dealers that will certainly raise your opponent's stack
- Will cancel any garbage opponent sends your way when setup is complete, and then send extra garbage to opponent
- Very high killing potential around the 9 combo and up
- Once setup is complete, can only be stopped by another combo setup of equal or better reward
- Two wide is very basic for people starting to get into combos, and it is just as average as a tetris start. when compared to other combo starts, you are essentially taking more time to add more blocks and getting a smaller combo in return.
- Three wide has more killing potential but can be difficult to clear lines consecutively. This is because the amount of blocks remaining after each piece will vary (as opposed to a 4 wide where 3 blocks will always remain)
- The four wide sends a large amount of lines, and a 17 combo 4 wide against a 14 combo will still send 15 lines to your opponent, making this setup extremely potent when completed.
- These setups severely punish any opponent that misdrops on their opening.
- All setups very easy to bail on, and your stacking can actually continue if you bail partially.
- The downfall is that these setups take a long time to setup, and quick openers can easily reduce your combo potential (i.e. if someone sends you 4 lines, that will mean that you miss out on 20 lines you could have sent to your opponent). Another thing is that if opponents use quick openers and continue to send steady garbage at a low stack, they will always be ready to accept whatever you send and send it back to you. These openers are also hard to open with game after game, because opponents quickly adapt to these openers when they realize you are using them. When used in moderation, these openers can definitely put you on the offensive.

VI. How to properly use openers
Let me just start off by showing an example of someone improperly using an opener:

You are watching person A's screen who is opening with a 2-wide, while person B uses a TSD opener. As you can see the number of pieces A is able to get before the TSD comes, A is faster than B. The attack from B has only served to complete A's setup even faster. A can then opt to stack further so that B gets his stack up again, and A will then start sending lines and punishing B by sending back the initial TSD garbage.

In order to get the full benefit of openers, you must know the purpose of each opener.
- When using quick openers such as TSD/tetris, you must be able to follow through. The number one error with many people using the TSD opener is that they take too long to send the next attack after the TSD opener. By doing this, you are essentially giving your opponent 4 lines of garbage to send back to you at a later time, after he's completed his own opener. When opening with a TSD, you must continue sending lines at a steady rate in order to put pressure on your opponent.
- When using medium openers, sometimes you might have to cancel garbage instead of sending garbage in order to complete the setup. Don't get greedy or committed to finishing the opener if there is a high chance you may top out. With that being said, know when and how to bail out of these openers when playing against players who send quick garbage and stack low. An opener is more practical when it has an escape plan to it. By escaping you sacrifice garbage that could've been sent to your opponent for a lower stack to increase your survival rate.
- combo openers need to be used moderately. a good rule of thumb would be to continue abusing a combo opener only if you know your opponent will lose to it every time (i.e. you 4 wide and your opponent loses, and 4 wide again and he loses) alternatively, you can also choose to not use the 4 wide after your first success, so that your opponent won't even know it was a 4 wide, and then save it for later. if you are caught using a combo opener twice in a row or more, this will put your opponent in somewhat of a paranoia as they will try to send you early lines for the next few games.

VII. Interpreting other people's openers
Noticing what other people open with is very important because it allows you to adjust your play and exploit the weaknesses of their opener. If they use openers that are executed quickly (i.e. tetris or tsd openers), then it would be a bad idea to use an opener that takes a long time to setup (i.e. 4-wide). You must watch what your opponent is doing so that you can out-do them in opening. When facing an opponent with a medium opening or better, one of your main objectives should be to force your opponent to bail out of their opener as soon as possible.
Opponent speed is also another thing to watch out for. You can categorize people as 1. Very fast, 2. Slightly fast/about even, and 3. Slower. For very fast people, you have to open with a quick opener, no matter what, because all other openers will be punished and bailed openers will be weaker than quick openers. For people in category #2, this is where you will mix up between all 3 openers. mixing things up is good so that your opponents won't know what to open with against your opener. remember to watch what opener they are using! for the slowest people, you should definitely go for the combo openers to end these games quickly. The only way slow people can beat you is if they down-stack a lot of your garbage, so a combo opener would definitely put a lot of pressure on them early game and would work for quick easy kills.

Posted by: SuperMeowMix Jul 28 2010, 04:05 AM

my tetris still poops on everyone

Posted by: Blink Jul 28 2010, 04:06 AM

Interesting read, good stuff noogy.

Posted by: chopin Jul 28 2010, 04:14 AM

Woah, that's a lot of words.

Posted by: crzy242 Jul 28 2010, 07:12 AM


great guide though ;D

Posted by: meow Jul 28 2010, 08:43 AM

i have to disagree with some ratings. this is what i think:

The TSD start
reward: i'll give it a 4 on nullpo/toj. 2-3 for tf.

Tetris/B2B Tetris
reward: 1...

Perfect clear
reward: 0.5... i don't think it's possible to pull this off unless your opponent is very bad or wants the garbage to counter back.

the speed of combo openers should be higher especially for hybrid, which is almost the same as a b2b tetris.

overall, this was very insightful. smile.gif

Posted by: Noogy Jul 28 2010, 08:58 AM

wow i totally forgot to take into consideration TF's soft drop, i had nullpomino in mind when writing this.

also, perfect clear setups are quite doable, but rarely practical. sending 10 lines at once is pretty powerful esp. if your opponent is stacking high

Posted by: Ravendarksky Jul 28 2010, 10:22 AM

I don't see why people don't feel perfect clearing isn't practical. I can setup a pc as fast as I can setup a tetris, if not faster because I know where all the peices are going.

There are so many variations that it is always possible to end up with a PC or worst case a tsd.

Obviously pcing doesn't work consistently against the same opponent or against fast tsders, but that doesn't mean it should never be used. I open with it maybe 1/5 games on tf.

Currently I'm mostly opening with quick tsds or a impy cross

Posted by: chopin Jul 28 2010, 12:39 PM

Hmm, I never die from a Perfect Clear so I think it's fairly useless. I just say thanks for stacking for me.

Posted by: caffeine Jul 28 2010, 02:26 PM

Great post. I plan to do an opening strat type thread, too. You did a great job explaining each option. Only one thing: I'd argue that the "medium opener" rewards actually are the same as the the quick opener rewards, cost-effective-wise.

Posted by: themysticalninja Jul 28 2010, 03:09 PM

nice guide
personally i dont like perfect clears they are very easy to counter, but if your in a group room they may work

Posted by: jujube Jul 29 2010, 02:41 AM

great guide Noogy. this must have taken some time. i wouldn't agree with every single thing but that's what happens when you give so much information smile.gif i've never like the b2b TST opener and i think it's flexibility rating should be lower because 1) to make the notches you need exact pieces, and you may need those pieces in the rest of your stack (which you already mentioned in more words or less but that didn't have much effect on the flexibility rating), and 2) there's a bit of a mess to clean up at the end. with all the other openers i thought you were very accurate or not far off.

Posted by: RoyalLance Jul 30 2010, 04:03 AM

Damn good guide. Why isn't this thing stickied yet? tongue.gif

Posted by: blazen_azn Jul 30 2010, 05:19 AM

i dont see how an OSJ setup has a flexibility of 4/5....

Posted by: Noogy Jul 30 2010, 06:03 AM

its not just OSJ, its medium openers;
why don't you try practicing them for a while?

Posted by: Someone2knoe Jul 31 2010, 07:54 AM

chopin you don't die from pc because hardly anybody uses it.

Posted by: crzy242 Jul 31 2010, 07:57 AM

QUOTE(Someone2knoe @ Jul 31 2010, 07:54 AM) *

chopin you don't die from pc because hardly anybody uses it.

i have been pc'ed on nullpmino several times with s-double finisher and i havent died once. i end up sending all the garbage back and winning instead.

Posted by: chopin Jul 31 2010, 11:01 AM

QUOTE(Someone2knoe @ Jul 31 2010, 02:54 AM) *

chopin you don't die from pc because hardly anybody uses it.

Someone apparently doesn't play on TF, lol.

Posted by: mippo Jul 31 2010, 11:55 AM

QUOTE(Noogy @ Jul 30 2010, 06:03 AM) *

its not just OSJ, its medium openers;
why don't you try practicing them for a while?

I think blazen means and I agree, that they are not flexible in a tactical
sense that if your T's don't come or if you need to abort
most of the time you can't recover and are screwed
(like misdropping a piece in a 4 gap)
while with a tetris a misdrop wouldn't be such a big deal

Maybe you need to add another rating for abortability haha

Posted by: Noogy Jul 31 2010, 12:45 PM

here are some ways to bail on medium openers:

when we are talking about bailing on medium openers, this is mainly bailing because you risk topping out (i.e. your opponent is faster/outplaying you).
bailing because you misdropped is a whole different story...

Posted by: chopin Jul 31 2010, 01:01 PM

Noooogy, fix your first J-Spin please. X_X

Posted by: Hypofreakk Jul 31 2010, 02:13 PM

QUOTE(chopin @ Jul 31 2010, 11:01 PM) *

Noooogy, fix your first J-Spin please. X_X

HAHA LOOL hehe.gif

I should use that t-spin opening. But I always take so long set it up. D: So I just open with B2B Tetrises c:

Posted by: crzy242 Jul 31 2010, 02:17 PM

QUOTE(Hypofreakk @ Jul 31 2010, 02:13 PM) *

So I just open with B2B Tetrises c:

thats why you die LOL. do tspin setups really fast, and youll own ;D

Posted by: Hypofreakk Jul 31 2010, 02:27 PM

QUOTE(crzy242 @ Aug 1 2010, 12:17 AM) *

thats why you die LOL. do tspin setups really fast, and youll own ;D

But I do it fast so I usually don't die biggrin.gif

Posted by: Noogy Aug 1 2010, 03:32 AM

does that J spin not work? i've never tried it LOL sad.gif

Posted by: chopin Aug 2 2010, 01:55 AM

Noogy, your last alternative for DT Cannon is crazy though. It still clears the same amount, a double and a triple. 180 spins are godly.

Posted by: jermain2009 Oct 12 2010, 10:28 PM

some spins that you showed aint working on tf
but its a good guide for peopz that have problems whit openings
good job icon13.gif

Posted by: Agamemnon Oct 12 2010, 10:44 PM

I think PC gets a reputation way beyond what they deserve. Almost all the players I know who are good at that setup try not to do it unless they know the opponent isn't good at countering. Somebody said it's good in ffa, but ffa on tf has revenge target, which means you get beaten like a ginger kid quite often, if you poke the wrong angry bears....

A setup I like quite a lot is the typical super tsd, as it is ridiculously fast to build, and you get two Ts in the time it takes to construct the lines, giving 10 lines added (combo/tf) from 4 lines, just like a PC, while giving two holes of garbage instead of one.. Down side; you can take a garbage hole in the bad spot and need to repair...

Posted by: Maii04 Oct 12 2010, 10:45 PM

First off really good guide noogy
doesn't there half to be a wall thing around some of the pieces? Even with or without the wall I screw up and the whole thing goes awry. D:
also what would be the beat strategy to vs a player a little better than you? Do more complicated set ups or just stick with t spins?

Posted by: coolmaninsano Oct 12 2010, 11:13 PM

QUOTE(Agamemnon @ Oct 12 2010, 03:44 PM) *

Down side; you can take a garbage hole in the bad spot and need to repair...

Posted by: Agamemnon Oct 13 2010, 01:22 AM

Correct, but then you are down to 5 lines from 4 instead of twice that count. And you need to get a J where as you probably looked for 2 Ts. It's something I mention to people when I teach them that opening.. Love it but it's not perfect..

Posted by: larrytetris Oct 13 2010, 06:17 AM

QUOTE(Agamemnon @ Oct 13 2010, 01:22 AM) *

Correct, but then you are down to 5 lines from 4 instead of twice that count. And you need to get a J where as you probably looked for 2 Ts. It's something I mention to people when I teach them that opening.. Love it but it's not perfect..

Obviously, you can leave however large a gap on the bottom. If anything, this increases the flexibility of STSD because it doesn't matter whether or not you stack like crap on the bottom line. A good way to deal with S-Z initial piece sequences?

Posted by: coolmaninsano Oct 13 2010, 07:36 AM

QUOTE(larrytetris @ Oct 12 2010, 11:17 PM) *

icon11.gif Never noticed these

Posted by: Agamemnon Oct 13 2010, 05:00 PM

But see, I love getting S/Z starts.. Just check which you get first of J/L (I works too, just pick a side at that point. J/L is a matter of not having to softdrop and slide) and stack on the right side for this...

Posted by: NoManual Oct 15 2010, 04:57 AM

when I play on BB I doesnt start with the 7 pieces, it can be the 7 in a row, then random. But most times its something like 4 different og 5 then the first or something like that. eks: J,L,S,Z,L,O,I,S etc etc.

On Tetris Party Deluxe it is as u said, 7 pieces and I know when I see the first 4 which the 3 last will be etc.

Nice guide tho, I will take more time to read and practice when I get home/have time smile.gif

Posted by: meow Oct 15 2010, 05:41 AM

guideline tetris games use a bag randomizer. blockbox uses a history randomizer from the tgm games. the history randomizer remembers the last 4 pieces it gives and has a low chance of dealing any piece in the history.

Posted by: XaeL Oct 15 2010, 09:17 AM

at aga u stole my opening.
another SZ is fiddlesworth.

Posted by: DTM_Derrick Oct 15 2010, 06:28 PM

I Like This Post i agree there may need abortability rates , and on tf battle 2p or 6p the garbage isn't counter-able , um jus sayin pc's can't be reused again'st u as well as quick tsd opens

Posted by: berko Nov 21 2010, 04:33 PM

I like this opening with the imperial.

Posted by: Magnanimous Dec 27 2010, 06:44 AM

That TSD opening is actually really good, since nine times out of ten you're all ready for another five lines:

Posted by: CaptainPaul Aug 9 2011, 06:59 AM

Anyone have some good advice for beating middle 4w'ers who are a lot faster than you?

Posted by: ManOfMiracles Aug 9 2011, 07:02 AM

QUOTE(CaptainPaul @ Aug 9 2011, 06:59 AM) *

Anyone have some good advice for beating middle 4w'ers who are a lot faster than you?

tki opening is probably the best chance you have

Posted by: vyborg May 13 2012, 06:20 PM

i think you are looking down on 3w, it is very powerful and not to be trifled with
good guide
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