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> Tetris Friends Guide to Multiplayer, From stacking to t-spins, and everything in between
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post Jun 23 2011, 11:56 PM
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Preface: It's been exactly one year since I've written this awesome thread, so I thought I'd make another for you all. I also want to thank jennr246 for helping proofread it. Enjoy.


The Tetris Friends Guide to Multiplayer is designed to help you acquire the skills, knowledge, and special abilities to become a successful Tetris player in the land of competitive multiplayer Tetris (on Tetris Friends Arena).
This guide is mainly written for those of you who are seriously addicted to Tetris. There are many of you who may have started liking Tetris because you played it with a small group of friends, and then found out how good you are (compared to them). Then you decide to find a competitive Tetris forum and see how you really rank up there, only to find out that you're not as good as you thought you were. Anyway, I hope you get a lot out of this guide, and hopefully after reading it, you'll be ready to play with the pros!

How to use this guide:

I've written this guide in a specific order that you should follow. There are some things that you just HAVE to learn now, and there are some things that you can learn at almost any time. I've also written the content into lesson 'chunks'. I recommend checking out one lesson per day, and then skimming the appendix. The appendix will contain a bunch of information that you don't exactly have to learn NOW, but you MUST learn eventually. Also, I've put everything in spoiler tags in hopes of condensing it and making it look better. I decided not to put anything in bold/italics (except titles) because it's all important stuff and you should read every word of it.
And finally, the disclaimer:

Everything written in this guide is by me, Noogy, and not all of it should be considered to be a fact. However, I am writing all of this with your interest in mind, so I recommend that you listen to all the advice in this guide. When you become more of an advanced player, you are free to abandon a few concepts if you'd like in favor of other ideas you might have yourself. So yeah, take it with a grain of salt if you want to, but this is everything I know.

Lesson 1: Proper Preparation

Tetris Friends, Nullpomino, TOJ which game should I use?

This lesson is mainly focused on getting you adequately prepared for Tetris training. This guide is meant to help you improve on TF multiplayer, so you�ll be playing all of your matches there. However, pretty much every other TF game mode (such as TF Sprint, TF Marathon) is garbage, and should be avoided.

Everyone knows that 40 lines (known as Sprint on TF) is the standard way (although it is definitely not the best way) to rank players against each other in skill, so you�ll need to practice 40L a lot. Note that there are only two skills you need to develop to become a solid player: speed and technique. This guide HEAVILY revolves around the technique aspect. I cannot �teach� you how to become faster, there is only one way to get faster: practice. This involves playing 40L many, many times and just being more familiar with piece placements and thinking quicker.

So where should you practice 40L? Nullpomino (NP). It can be downloaded here. Now NP can be a little difficult to use, since it isn�t really user friendly. You only need to worry about two things: setting your keys, and getting your tuning right. For key bindings, go to options > keyboard setting (you can actually click on the options). Go to options >game tuning. Here, you can configure your min/max DAS and DAS Delay. Note that Min/Max DAS are generally the same, so a setting of 7/1 would be min das: 7, max das: 7, and das delay 1. I believe the faster players are at 6/0, (I play on 7/2 myself) while you should start out with higher numbers for both since you are slower. Keep experimenting with your settings until you get it to work perfectly to your liking. You can test your settings out by playing 40L (Start>Line Race). Also, go to Options>Rule Select>Tetromino and choose Standard Plus as your rule. Although NP has many game modes and features, you will only focus on 40L and Dig Challenge (more on this later) for your training. All of the other game modes can be considered �for fun�.

Back to TF. You just tuned your NP to your liking, now you should tune your TF. The bad news is that TF requires rubies to purchase tuning settings, so it is a little more difficult to get the tuning you want. This guide shows how to acquire rubies from participating in their surveys. Another way to get rubies (a lot quicker too) is to buy a ticket for the TF Arena challenge. The only drawback is that you need at least 5 rubies to buy a ticket, and you can only play once a week (for a 30 ruby payout). Arena challenge starts on Thursday and ends on Sunday? So the longer you wait, the better chance you have of playing weaker players (I�d recommend playing Saturday night). Remember, you should play with the tuning settings until you get it to feel �perfect� for you. Eventually, you�ll want to max out at 5/5.

And finally, one last thing. Download skype here http://www.skype.com. I have created a skype chatroom where you can talk about all things Tetris if you�d like. Join us so that I know how many people are actually reading the guide, and so that you can give me feedback/ask questions to help make the guide better. Not only will you get extra help from the group, but it will also double up as a support group so you can find peers to play with around your level, or help them out. You may add me by my skype screenname Ubernoogy, or my email address noogymaster@gmail.com. Please include in the friend request that you wish to join the Tetris Academy!

Joining the chatroom is optional. If you do choose to join, read the Academy Rules in the appendix.

Homework: If you plan on joining the Academy on skype, then you need to learn how to use Fumen so that we can have lessons together. Learn how to use Fumen by watching this video. It will be used A LOT in future lessons. There�s no getting around this. You should be able to place 10 pieces per minute.

edit: ignore the whole skype thing above; i'm kinda retired from tetris now Frown.png there used to be a skype chatroom by a few other harddrop members but as of now it is currently dead


Lesson 2: Stacking, and Diagnosing Yourself
Stacking 101

Stacking is very important to being good at Tetris. Everyone knows how to stack, but being able to stack well is what separates the good players from the bad ones. By knowing how to stack effectively, you are able to decrease the time spent in thinking where to place pieces, and you create flexibility in your stack (this will be discussed further).

So what makes a good stacker? This can be answered easily by watching good people play 40L. Unfortunately, it can be quite daunting to actually watch good people play since it is difficult to follow their piece placements at the rate they stack. If possible, you should Fumen other people�s 40L videos so that you can study them at your own pace. For this lesson, I will teach you many concepts that you should master so that you can stack faster while thinking less.

1. Buffing your gaps � Note that in TF, you suffer a line clear delay for every line you clear. This is why the optimal way to play 40L is to have 10 Tetrises, so that you only feel the delay 10 times. While stacking, you want to avoid clearing anything less than a Tetris if possible (i.e. singles, doubles, triples). Not only do Tetrises increase your attack, but it will sometimes increase your speed too. See the following examples.

As you can see, you may have to make line clears in order to make that Tetris hole. Note that singles can be made with all pieces except I and O.

If you master this concept, you should be nailing back-to-back (b2b) Tetrises against your opponent, sending 5 lines every time after the first Tetris. However, it is not that easy. You�ll be receiving garbage too, and not all of the garbage will have gaps that are 4 blocks deep. A general rule of thumb would be to buff two/three block gaps, and just downstack the one block gaps. Of course, this is very situational and you should remember to use your best judgment.

Remember, you can�t buff every gap; after trial and error, you�ll learn when you can get away with it, and you�ll learn when you will get punished for it. The alternative to buffing a gap would be to just downstack.

Since we�re talking about stacking Tetrises, here is another tip: you generally want to build Tetris gaps in the left and rightmost column. This allows you to DAS to the wall faster by holding down the arrow key and gets your stick there faster, and it also helps you have a cleaner stack. The 2nd and 9th columns are the ones that you want to avoid making Tetris gaps whenever possible, since it requires two sticks.

2. Two-piece combinations � This is an easy concept; the idea is that you can stack faster if you learn how to group pieces together in your mind. It is a good start to learning to use your piece previews, since this idea requires you to look at your current piece + your next piece/hold piece.

Know this shape: a 3x3 block with a corner missing. It can be made in combination with many pieces, and is a good solid block to make your stack clean. Here are a few combinations:

Here�s a typical clean stack, and how you could apply the idea; you can tell your stack is clean if you are able to put any piece on it at any given time.

Although I don�t like 3 or 4 wide, making a 2 wide combo stack can be effective. If you are building a 2-wide stack and you are able to make it flat, then there is a ton of perfect clear potential if you know your piece combinations and how your stack will change with each line clear.

My favorite two-piece combo � it is an advanced technique that clears two lines and can start off a nice combo

Spins such as these are considered to be advanced techniques; for the most part, you don�t actually need to learn them (except for T-spins of course). Spins are very useful for fixing misdrops, but are not necessary to learn if you do not misdrop a lot. You can learn more about spins in the Appendix at the end of this guide.

3. Piece-specific holes � The idea here is to avoid creating gaps where you can only fit one or two pieces. Remember, you want to always have a stack so clean that you could place any piece on it.

It is undesirable to place an O here because you create an opening that only an I could fill. By wasting your I on fixing that hole, you may not get another I in time to send your Tetris. It is better to just clear two lines with the O so that you have more flexibility in stacking. On frame 5, you can see that it is now a clean stack, and that you could place any piece anywhere on it.

In this scenario, the player has made a bad choice by placing the J there right on top of the O, creating a piece specific hole for the O which was just placed.
Remember, TF works with a 7-bag randomizer, meaning that you get your pieces in groups of 7 pieces (IJLOSTZ). The pieces within each bag are shuffled, but you are guaranteed one of each piece per bag. You could get a piece sequence of OJLITZS TSLJIZO, meaning that you would have to wait up to 12 pieces before you get your next O.

Anyway, after the L is placed, there are 3 different placements for Z. Frame 5 would be the least desirable placement since you are creating a piece specific hole for T, since Z has already been used and you should assume that it would not be likely to show up again. Frame 7 is also extremely undesirable since you are leaving two single block gaps which should be filled with Z/S. Frame 6 is therefore the best choice since you create a hole that can fit L/Z/T.

Note that when you have your primary Tetris hole on the left or right wall, you could create more gaps that are not piece specific holes. In Frame 11, you are not looking at a specific L hole; there is a lot of flexibility in this stack since you can combo down this 2/3 wide hybrid. In fact, if you DID have an L, Frame 13 shows a better placement that you should take so that you can get a longer combo.

4. Throwaway pieces � The idea is that there are going to be scenarios where you DO need certain pieces (when you get into T-spins, this concept is even more relevant), such as the I for a Tetris that you want right away. When you also start learning openers later in this guide, you�ll learn that many of them require pieces to be in specific places; when you don�t get the piece you need, that�s when you start having to throw them away.

In this case, you see a clear double Tetris potential (which has a very nice spiking ability) that you want to go for to kill your opponent. This is a much exaggerated example though; if you have this many pieces in between your I�s, it is better to just Tetris with the first I right away. You should only throw away pieces if you can see the desired piece coming soon (it is only worth it if you throw away 4 pieces or fewer), so the example above is an exaggerated example.

5. Stacking neatly � Remember, the golden rule to stacking is to always have a clean stack so that you always have a room for any of the 7 pieces. Ryan Heise has written a very good page on optimal stacking for Tetrises. Read all of it here. The idea is to choose a piece placement based on what your next piece is, and making room for it.
This is also a good source on keeping your stack neat.

6. Finesse � Finesse is a giant monster on its own to tackle. Look in the appendix on finesse. In a nutshell, finesse is getting a piece to a certain spot in the least number of keypresses. By knowing where the pieces should go and what keys to push before the piece actually appears, you can significantly improve your speed. This is one concept that I cannot teach you, and you just have to learn it through practice. It goes without saying that you should learn to rotate both ways too.

7. Covering future holes � When downstacking, you should be able to see ahead what �holes� need to be plugged in, and you don�t want to make things more difficult than they have to be.

Take a look at this scenario. In 5 pieces, you have pretty much accomplished nothing. When downstacking, you want to avoid covering any future holes so that you can knock out one hole after another. If a piece doesn�t look like it goes anywhere, look for a �filled zone� to just throw it away on.

In the last two columns, you can see garbage down every row, so it�s okay to throw away a Z there and create a hole as long as you do this:

By placing the Z there and covering a future hole, you have to fill pieces in the green area just to clear that one line of garbage.

You never ever want to plug a hole with a stick over a future hole. Only a Z or an L would be acceptable in this scenario.

So just how much of a noob are you? (just kidding)

Let me just start off by clarifying that this guide is meant to help you in multiplayer Tetris, but primarily 1v1. I believe that if you are good at 1v1, then that skill will transfer over to 6p rooms, but the reverse is not true. The point is, you should do most of your playing in 1v1 rooms. (you SHOULD play with the following settings: ranked, no items, expert +).

Normally, when I still had a live academy running, I would diagnose my students for them, but now I cannot diagnose you. It is important that you evaluate yourself so that you are aware of your own mistakes; some choices you make may feel natural while you are playing, but they may be terrible ones in hindsight. It is going to be a little more difficult for you to do it yourself. There are three ways you can do this:

1. Record yourself play � now the matches that are actually worth watching are the ones that are at least 60 seconds in length, and involve you losing because you get outplayed. I.e. you did not die from a misdrop or lag, but the opponent just played better than you.
2. Your 40L record � you can rewatch replays of your 40L on NP (or even TF) and watch those.
Since I�m on the topic of 40L now, I just want to say another thing. When playing 40L, (something you should play at least 5x before you start any multiplayer session), DO NOT QUIT AND RESTART. Let me say that again. DO NOT QUIT, AND DO NOT RESTART. You are not playing 40L to �speed train� (at least not during your time here); you are playing 40L to help you get better at Arena in the long run. If you misdrop when playing against an opponent, there is no reset button! Play through every round of 40L to completion, even if you have to fix your misdrops.
3. Try to identify your mistakes without watching a replay � harder to do, but doable.

Bonus: If you prepare a fumen of a match, you may set up an appointment with me and I will look over it with you and talk to you about it! Here is an example of a fumened match:


Lesson 3: Learning to Play Passively/Aggressively

This is a very important lesson that applies to just multiplayer Tetris. Playing passively (or defensively) is crucial to survival, and playing aggressively is necessary to knockout your opponent. If you play passively too much, you will give your opponent many free chances to make comebacks, and playing aggressively too much will result in many early deaths. Basically, you need to be able to know when to switch gears so that you can be an effective player.

1. Establishing the threshold � You need to establish a �threshold,� or a level on your Tetris field that determines how passive/aggressive you should be. For example, when playing against an aggressive opponent I could set my threshold at 11 blocks high. This means that when my stack is above 11 blocks, I will start downstacking. When it is under 11 blocks, I will build Tetris and T-spins. The thing is, your threshold should be different with each player you face. When playing against a very passive player, you could afford to have a threshold at 14 blocks. It is up to you to determine your threshold after playing 1-2 rounds with your opponent. It is even ok to change your threshold against the same opponent if you have to; the important thing to take from this is to HAVE a threshold so that you have some systematic way of knowing when to switch gears, so that you can adjust it after each match.

2. Threshold and opponent�s stack size � Not only is your field height relative to your threshold important, but your field relative to your opponent�s field height is equally important. If your stack is above your threshold and your opponent�s stack, it is common sense to downstack; conversely, you should stack more if your field is below the threshold and your opponent�s stack. Now if your stack is below the threshold and higher than your opponent�s, then it gets situational. Most of the time you should just continue stacking here; think of it as if you just started the match and you are stacking faster than your opponent, and being aggressive would be the right thing to do.

3. Going for the kill � The final scenario: your stack size is above your threshold, but below your opponent�s stack. This means that your opponent�s stack is very high at about 14 or more blocks tall. On average, your opponent will be downstacking most of the time at this point, so you are very likely to not receive any serious garbage at this time. Amateur players in this case would downstack as well because they are oblivious to their opponent�s stack size. You need to go for the kill and add that one extra T-spin or Tetris. If you are doing a combo, you need to take that extra line clear.
Pretend you have LSTJO, and your opponent has a stack higher than yours in frame 1.

You have some messy garbage, so you decide to downstack instead of going for a Tetris. Notice in frame 5, you place the J there to clear that extra line, even though it makes your stack unclean. You should ALWAYS take advantage of these scenarios if they appear. The extra line or two sent from that one piece is worth it, and you have nothing to lose if it doesn�t kill your opponent. They will just be even closer to death while you have time to fix any anomalies in your stack. In summary, if you are placed in this position, you should get an adrenaline rush that makes you play very aggressively to finish off your opponent. In short, going for the kill means building that extra Tetris/T-spin on top of your large stack, or doing a downstack combo that may even leave holes in your stack.

4. Flat stacking � in my opinion, playing passively well is more important than being good at being aggressive. If you�re very good at being passive, then technically you can never get knocked out. Flat stacking is a passive approach to playing Tetris. As the name implies, the goal of flat stacking is to keep one's stack as flat as possible. This is primarily accomplished by keeping all of the pieces (except the O) in a horizontal orientation as often as possible. Here are some general guidelines:

- Try to lay all pieces in a horizontal orientation as long as the space permits you to do so.
- Only place a piece in a vertical orientation if a hole permits you to do so.
- Do not cover potential holes that will need to be filled later.
- Avoid making your stack TOO flat as seen here.

In theory, if you were extremely proficient at flat stacking, it would be very difficult for your opponent to KO you; they would have to be faster than you and be able to spike you. If you flat stack well, not only do you keep your stack low, but you also have the chance of sending messy garbage to your opponent; this is a result from clearing small combos of singles and a few doubles. You should only take a defensive position (flat stack) when you are near the top; if you flat stack near the bottom, you are simply wasting pieces.

5. Playing aggressively � there isn�t really much to say here other than this: back-to-back is your friend. Some people would argue that you shouldn�t always send your Tetris/T-spin as soon as you get it, but I think it�s a viable option. It is definitely more preferable to send them right after another to send 9 lines in two pieces. After you learn T-spins, the Tetris-TSD combo is the bread-and-butter finishing move that you will use a lot to knockout your opponents. Now that you are still just Tetrising, having an 8 gap Tetris hole with a stick in hold and a stick in play is what you want to aim for. A 4 gap Tetirs hole on top of 4 lines of enemy garbage would also suffice.

6. Field control � Having field control is knowing that you are able to reach the bottom of your field in a matter of pieces if you want to.

In this case, you appear to be close to the threshold, but you have a very clean field that can be downstacked to the bottom if you need to. It would be better to maintain b2b in this situation because you do not have to worry so much about keeping a neat stack.

Notice how many pieces it takes to get to the bottom in this scenario compared to the previous; the previous scenario also had 6 throwaway pieces. Even if your stack is below the threshold, you should still downstack in this messy situation so that you can survive getting spiked.

You should consider whether or not you have field control when deciding to either downstack or attack.

7. Downstack practice � Remember when I told you to get Nullpomino? Well other than using it for practicing 40L, it has another good mode called Dig Challenge (DC). I suggest playing this mode to practice your downstacking & flat stacking. Play DC in realtime mode and practice your flat stacking and avoid covering future holes. Start on level 1 until you can survive for at least a minute. Once you can, increase the starting level to 2. Every time you survive for a minute, increase the level. This is a more effective way to practice because your games will be shorter, which doesn�t make it as mundane as starting from level 1 every time.

8. Hurry up garbage � The hurry up garbage is a very interesting concept to TF arena. After a while, if both players are still alive, a bunch of solid garbage will start rising until one player dies. If you are playing against a player who is generally worse than you, then you do not want to make it to the hurry up garbage. Conversely, if you are playing a better player, then you do want to make it to the hurry up garbage. Many players, especially the ones who play only 6-p rooms, are so passive because they want to make it to the hurry up garbage. The only thing they do is clear a ton of singles at the end until they are the last one standing. This is NOT the way to go. When the hurry up garbage appears, you have to be even MORE aggressive than you are. This idea is even more applicable when you learn T-spins, since they only require that you have two rows available to make one. You really need to take risks to kill your opponent. If you have field control, then you should build some sort of attack rather than clear more and more singles.

Look at the following field:

DON�T do this! By being passive, you are not sending any lines at all, you are just prolonging your own death. If you can�t build a Tetris, then at least go for triples or doubles. It is better to send some sort of garbage than no garbage at all. Also, if you are playing skilled players, it is good to have a stick handy, because they will try to spike you with a single Tetris/T-spin. Also note that the threshold concept changes when you get hurry up garbage since both players are affected by this.

9. Garbage blocking � As you receive garbage, your red meter fills up, showing you how much garbage you will receive as soon as you place your next piece down. However, you can lower that meter by clearing lines. As soon as you drop the piece that doesn't clear a line, you receive the garbage.

Now the question is: should you always block incoming garbage? The answer is no. If you and your opponent both Tetris at the same time, everything cancels out. Think of this scenario instead: you both build a Tetris, but you let your opponent go first. He sends you 4 lines of garbage under your Tetris. Now you have b2b Tetris potential. You should "accept" garbage when your stack permits you to do so so that you have more attack potential waiting for you at the bottom. You should also garbage cancel when you are near the top and about to die.

One last thing � The next lesson will be nothing but T-spins. Now I know that they are the ultimate weapons to winning, but you SHOULD NOT learn them until you master the fundamentals above. I wouldn�t recommend learning T-spins until:
- You are Rank 19-20 on TF Arena
- You can clear 40L in 60 seconds or lower.


Lesson 4: The Art of T-spins Pt. I (TSD opener, and some iterations by Noogy)

Warning: For those of you who decided to skip to this chapter, this next lesson will be nothing but T-spins. Now I know that they are the ultimate weapons to winning, but you SHOULD NOT learn them until you master the fundamentals above. I wouldn�t recommend learning T-spins until:
- You are Rank 19-20 on TF Arena
- You can clear 40L in 60 seconds or lower.
- You read everything above and have a solid understanding of the concepts.

So you�ve made it this far. Go ahead and pat yourself on the back Smile.png. T-spins are beautiful because they are not as intuitive as regular stacking, and they require thinking on a deeper level. No one knows why they reward 4 lines, (the game is called Tetris) but they do, and they are your primary weapon for playing Tetris. While you�re playing, you must learn to �see� T-spins before they are created, and all of your pieces should be dedicated to creating and pumping out T-spins ASAP.

I just want to say that this lesson is probably going to be the most �incomplete� lesson compared to everything else. T-spins are somewhat new compared to regular stacking, and not many people bothered to learn advanced T-spins until they started rewarding them. The Japanese players are also waaaaaay ahead of us when it comes to learning advanced setups. Although I can�t teach you everything about T-spins, I will try to teach you all of the useful stuff you need to know.

One more thing: there is nothing on T-spin Triples in this guide because I am against them. It always leaves behind an overhang and I believe that they are not as efficient as TSDs.

1. Openers � Read this. While you play under the Academy, the only two openers you should be doing are the Tetris opener and the TSD opener. Read the appendix if you would like to know why I�m against combo starts. Basically, you should ALWAYS pump out a TSD at the start of a match, and when you can�t, you should make a Tetris. The more �bag sequences� that you memorize, the more likely you are to throw out a TSD at the beginning.

2. The TSD Opener � The T-spin Double (TSD) Opener is arguably the best opener there is in multiplayer Tetris. While it takes a minimum of 10 pieces to send a Tetris (assuming you can perfect clear), you can make a TSD in 6. The following TSD openers should be memorized so that you can have an aggressive start.

There are MANY variations to the TSD opener, but here are a few examples. These MUST be memorized! Some TSD examples.

Note that these openers are generally known as TKI 3. Also remember to learn the mirrors of each variation (for example, 2A is a mirror of 1A). They are just as applicable.

Basically, the TSD opener is GUARANTEED as long as you don�t get SZ, ZT, or ST before I. Remember, if you get the chance to make one of these three TSDs, GO FOR IT. It will make your life so much easier when you do continuation TSDs in the next lesson. When possible, go for the A & B variations, because they can be done in 6 pieces. This means that if you get L/J, it should be propped up against the wall immediately. The I is always hard dropped immediately, and S/Z is hard dropped immediately when there is already I. Also, you should avoid the 1D variation.

3. Picking the wrong side � Usually when your first piece is an L/J, you want it propped up vertically against the wall so that you are likely to get variation A/B (which is desirable because it makes continuation TSDs easier). So is this how you would play LSITJZO?

Obviously if you have gotten 4-5 pieces in then you must complete with the T so that you can salvage your TSD. However, here is how you should play LSITJZO:

Basically, you always want to make your TSD with the stick in the center and an L/J against the wall.

Starting with ST/ZT � In these scenarios, you�re going to have to throw down one of the pieces and hold the other; I suggest holding the S/Z and dropping the T. This means that you will not make your TSD in the first bag, but you should at least go for a TSD in two bags. Since you are dropping your T down, you want to make a L/T or J/T pair like this:

You pretty much have to improvise a lot here, which is fine because your opponent is most likely improvising too. It is also acceptable to go for a Tetris start if you cannot think fast enough of a TSD to make.

4. Starting with S/Z � This is a tricky situation. I currently do not do anything fancy for this piece combination. I just drop my S/Z and soft drop another piece under it and continue for a Tetris. However, there are setups where you can still make a TSD in the first bag I believe, but I do not think these methods are worth learning until you are a more advanced player. If you really are interested in learning advanced TSD setups with ST/ZT/SZ, I would recommend learning the air-TSDs, which are extremely advanced techniques. See the appendix for them. There are also a few advanced TSD techniques in this thread, but 90% of the twists in that thread are useless, so you really have to look through all of it if you want to find a few gems.

TSDs are easy to practice in Nullpomino. Just load up 40L, and restart each time you play a bag. Fun fact: After you spin your T, press hard drop to clear the lines instead of waiting for the piece to lock on its own. You can also kick your T piece if the wall is two blocks high.

Spend a day or two on TF just making the TSD opener and doing your regular thing, then check out the next lesson after you have the openers down.


Lesson 5: The Art of T-spins Pt. II Continuation TSD

For your reference (open these in a separate window)

Variations 1A-1E

Variations 1A-1E (Traces)

Remember, when it comes to making TSDs in your opener vs. midgame TSDs, you will make them faster in your opener because you don�t have to think as much. But what if you had more than just the opener memorized? That�s where continuation TSDs (CTSD) come in. By stringing many TSDs without actually having to think, you can apply a good amount of pressure to your opponent. If done quickly enough, you are always going to be sending lines to your opponent or cancelling incoming lines, so your stack is always low. The beauty of CTSD is that you can just send a bunch of lines without having to worry about your own incoming garbage as much. When playing against weak players, you can win with just CTSDs. They are also effective against taking out players who use elaborate setups, such as 4-wide, ST-stacking, or DT-cannon.

For the rest of this lesson, I will only refer to the 1A-1E variations of the TSD opener. Just remember that the mirror of these openers apply and all the same piece combinations still work; they just need to be mirrored.

So how do CTSDs work? Basically, you are just building one TSD on top of another, but using specific holes left behind from the previous setup. Remember, CTSDs only work once you nail the TKI 3 setup or a variation of it. If done correctly, you can get usually 2-4 CTSDs, and then the pieces start becoming too varied and you have to start improvising on your own.

Recall the four variations, and think about what �traces� they leave behind. Here is 1A and the trace it leaves behind in frame 8/9.

Just by a quick glance, you can see that the next T should be in column 6, as shown in frame 10.

The beauty of this variation is that you have much room for throwaway pieces. If possible, you want to go for the SZ combination on the left, while the right side can be heavily improvised. Note that the yellow area is for the SZ combo, while you can pretty much fill the remaining two spaces on the right with L/J/O. Also note that if you get the stick early, you want to throw it away in the leftmost column. Also note that having the L piece on the right is optional; if you are able to get it on the left side, then you can get another CTSD.

After the first CTSD, you want to create a second CTSD out of the 3 wide gap. There are a few two-piece combinations you can use to achieve this. Since there is so much flexibility in these first two CTSDs, you are not guaranteed the next one.

One additional note: remember that in order to make more CTSDs, you need some sort of �gap� to work with. Look at the following setup. It is stacked too �flat� so that the trace does not leave much to work with. Of course, there is perfect clear potential in this setup which you can take advantage of if you are able to see many previews ahead. Frame 8 shows how you would make a TSD out of this situation, but you usually want to make TSDs off the bottom-most row.

Finally, here is another variation of 1A that you can use when S/Z is out of sight.

I�ve gotten quite in-depth on 1A so I will just rush through the remaining variants with a few examples. 1B is nice because you have two TSD holes to work with (column 6&8).

I would give priority to the middle hole (frame 5/6) because it is easier to create another CTSD from that 3 wide gap.

Variation 1C � you always want to give TSD priority to column 7, and you always want that S overhang on the far right. What you fill in the pink area will determine whether or not you can get away with another CTSD.

Variation 1D � you should avoid this setup at all costs because it gives you no room for your second CTSD.

Variation 1E � I use this setup quite frequently because J doesn�t touch the ground (like in 1A and 1B).

You�ll always be placing an S on the left here, and the rest is up to you for improvisation. Frame 2 gives an idea of what I usually do (with an emphasis on the S/Z combo really, the rest can be filled with anything).

SZ/LJ TSD Looping � I included frame 3 because it has a unique feature. It has an L overhang on the FAR left side and a flat surface after the T. If you are an aggressive player who is faster than your opponent, you have the option to string together a bunch of TSDs using this option:

A very important note � one main difference between CTSD and your opener is that there is a chance you will be receiving garbage from your opponent (which is most likely going to be a 4 line gap of garbage). This means that you should not count on having specific spots in your setups for your stick since you will need it to downstack, just like how you shouldn�t use T�s in your setup so that you can attack faster.


Lesson 6: The Art of T-spins Pt. III Midgame (Improvised) TSD

Welcome to the final section on T-spins and definitely the hardest. This section will definitely take a couple of days to �digest,� so I recommend that you take it in slowly; after all, midgame TSDs are pretty much the only thing (besides speed) that pros are working on nowadays. Remember, creating T-spins out of nowhere (like in an opener) is easy because you know several of the setups, and you have a blank slate to work with. Making midgame TSDs is a little trickier because you are making it out of an existing field with a random assortment of blocks.

So what is the secret behind midgame TSDs? This:

In short, all you need to look for is an empty block with one block on each side. Once you fulfill that requirement, the rest should come naturally. Fill in the rest of the blocks (frame 2) and then add an overhang.
This website is a very good guide that shows how pretty much any piece can be used as an overhang.

For the rest of this lesson I will just play out a game of Tetris and walk you through the piece placements slowly and hopefully introduce some concepts along the way. This will be the �randomizer� used in this game, which should be read from left to right. Note that this is not how I would actually play; I will be T-spinning more than usual to show how one could make T-spins out of their field at any given time.

1-10 (LIZOS TJILJ) � TKI 3 is definitely doable here, so I�ll just go with that. I�m also going to exploit the middle hole (6) for my CTSD. After getting a stick on frame 8, I think I�ll hold it and save it for later. I�m placing LJ here (another two piece combo) against the wall because I like using S/Z overhangs the most. The right side would be a good spot to throwaway an O.

11-20 (TSOZJ OLTZS) � I got the T now, so it�s best to swap it out and toss the I since the TSD is not ready yet. I would�ve placed it in column 1, but I wouldn�t want to risk receiving 4 lines of garbage with a hole in column 1 (you are extremely likely to receive 4 lines as your first attack from your opponent�s TSD opener). Column 3 is a viable option since the stick would not be that much higher than the rest of your stack. Just take a look at this fumen quickly and note how placing the stick in the last column (with SOZJ to follow) would be a bad idea.

Anyways, back to the main fumen again. Working with SOZ should be easy here since we already discussed it. Throwaway the S and use O to fill and Z for overhang. J is also thrown away there, and T is used to make the TSD. Note on frame 6 that a 3x2 gap is left. Since we have an O next in queue, it is extremely convenient to throw it in there. Note that if I put it in column 7/8, I would require an I/J in column 4, which I do not have (column 6/7 provides more flexibility in terms of overhangs).

Notice how L completes nicely and Z can be used for the overhang. The 10 pieces played out is shown below.

21-30 (IZJSO TLIJI) � Look at the field we�ve left behind (frame 1), there doesn�t seem to be an easy spot for our next TSD. We could go for a TSD in the empty column 8, but you would have to fill two rows and add an overhang. Let�s try to create a TSD that is slightly lower. You have a few options here, but some of these scenarios are not that logical (like frame 6).

Our next piece is I, so let�s work with the frame 5 option which shows an I laying flat. Note that if we pursue this option, then the hole on the left is a piece specific hole (which can only accept TZI). We�ve already got I & T planned for somewhere else. Luckily, Z is next in queue so that will fill the hole. There are two S�s to be used as overhang and filler, respectively. Note that placing J over column 7/8 would be blocking a future hole, so we are not doing that. Finally, O is a throwaway so we can get to the T. Note how the next TSD setup is very obvious; all we have to do is fill the left side. Frames 7/8 show another one of my favorite two-piece combinations with L/J. Although we have a nice TSD hole ready to go, there is no T coming soon. Read on to see why there is an I placed like that.

31-40 (LZOTS ZSOIL) � Note how the T is still 4 pieces away, but the Z comes even sooner. We can take advantage of this by using a setup called a Kaidan setup. I highly recommend reading about it and learning it here. It is very useful when having a Tetris stack with a �stairs� shape at the corner. Note that after our TSD is completed in frame 4 below, we are again limited in options on where to make our next TSD. You could go for a TSD in column 7, but you would need an O piece to keep it level.

In short, after your TSD, you have SZSOI (and another I in hold) which would make either of these setups difficult. It is just better to downstack and setup a TSD over column 4, where you can get TSD+Tetris potential.

41-50 (TJZSO LJTIZ) � There is a T here already, so we just need to fill up that one block with Z in order to complete the TSD setup. In this case, you are creating a piece specific hole on the far right, but it is better than settling for a T-spin single. There isn�t much else to discuss in this section. The O and Z are both placed there (creating a major piece specific hole) only because we know there is an I coming soon. I just want to reiterate that this lesson is not to show optimal playing, but to show how you can create TSDs with every T and how to �see� places to put them. In actual playing, you may not want to use sticks like this when you have a clear shot of going for a Tetris. There are definitely situations (such as this one) where one could argue that it is better to just place the T somewhere.

51-60 (TSJIO LOJST) � Since we have no room for our first T, we have to swap it with Z. Unfortunately, there is no room for that either; our stack is too flat. We have to clear a single now (and another one in the near future), but we will get a nice TSD shape afterwards. Now instead of messing up the T shape with our second piece, S, we can use it for the overhang. Knowing that we have just used SZ and have nothing but flat pieces left (JIOLOJ), we can use those to fill in our flat field for our next TSD. Note that there are two ways to fill in for the TSD. I will use the latter because the former creates a piece specific hole of O. Note that in these ten pieces, we have already thrown down two O�s, two J�s, and one L. Also note where the S is placed in frame 9 of the second fumen. I could�ve placed it in column 6, but I did not want to ruin any future TSD potential on column 4; it is merely a throwaway piece now.

61-70 (IZLJZ SOTLI) � There is an L soon, so you don�t have to worry about that piece specific hole on the right. Now where would be a good spot for our next TSD? Right now, column 4 looks like a good spot; unfortunately, we do not have an O to keep it level with the right side. We can throw away several pieces (the first 5) until we don�t really have a spot for S. This can be remedied by a trick called the Blink S/Z prop. The way it works is that you are making a diagonal surface on one side for the T AND creating a hole, but the hole will be uncovered again when you create the TSD. Read more about it here. Afterwards, there is an I and L leftover; I decided to just use the L to make my stack neater and throwaway the I. You can pretty much spot the next TSD spot.

71-80 (ZSLOI TJZIT) � Since we are holding the T from the get-go, we need to make an overhang fast, which we can do with S on frame 2. After inspecting the field (frame 4) and our own pieces, there is no reasonable spot to make the next TSD. T comes after LOI, and even if we held the T, another T is 4 more pieces away. In this case, we should just go for a Tetris.

81-90 (SOJLZ OTSIL) � Ah, the dreaded two block gap. I have a favorite two-piece combination for that, and it is the LJ combo. The beauty of the LJ combo is that either can come first. You end up with a TSD setup at the cost of one line clear. Memorize this setup/two-piece combination. Once that�s over with, you have a very short field with your next TSD in column 5. Note that I placed the I in column 8 there because looking ahead there were a lot of J�s coming, which I could use to fill the right side with a 2x4. Also, in reality you will not be using sticks like this often, because they will be used to plug up Tetris holes from enemy garbage.

91-100 (JSOJL TIZLJ) � After the first TSD, we could�ve used the LJ combo again over the two block hole, but it would be very difficult to fill with the remaining pieces. I decided to go for the TSD in column 2. The trace that it leaves afterwards is a little messy though�

101-110 (ZOTSI SLZJI) � Not being able to find a good TSD hole, I decided to do some skimming to even out my stack. Read a bit about it here. (ignore the rat intuition one). After completing that TSD, the next available TSD spot is obvious in column 8 (frame 6).

111-120 (TOLIJ ZTSOT) � There isn�t much to discuss here. After completing the TSD in frame 1, the next hole is already determined to be column 3, and I just happened to get a perfect sequence of pieces for it. Remember, my L placement may look weird, but I am definitely looking ahead for previews (2-3 ahead), and you should too. After the next TSD in frame 7, there isn�t a place for my next T, so I decide to clear a line to get that hole I want. Note that if I had ZJ on frame 8/9, I would rather go for this:

Anyway, I now have a fairly clean stack and I am looking for I/J to put on the left (preferably J).

121-130 (ILZJS OZOSJ) � Note that we had 3 T�s in the previous 10 pieces, so we shouldn�t expect any here. Note that I could�ve placed the I on the left, but I prefer making the overhang last whenever possible so that I can bail out of a TSD if I have to. Starting on frame 5, I am dealing with SOZOS, which can make things tricky. This is why I decided to go for another S/Z prop. It is very nice in this case because I am able to save that hole for a future TSD.

131-140 (TILJL ZTIOS) � TSD on frame 1, followed by a bunch of stacking to make my next TSD in column 6. I know there is an O coming up so I will use OS for my overhang in the next 10.

141-150 (OILTS ZJTJO) � I throw away a few pieces and get to the S overhang, then I see I have SZ leftover, so I go with a second TSD setup and string two TSDs afterward. Given the clean stack, the TSD hole in the middle can be exploited for a long time if done correctly too. Anyway, I hope you have gotten the idea by now.

Supplemental practice � A good way to practice TSDs would be to practice either on 40L or King of Stackers. KoS is a neat turn-based Tetris game where you have unlimited time for piece placements, making this a good site to practice TSD setups. A good idea would be to keep Fumen open while you play this game.

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post Jun 24 2011, 02:38 AM
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Lesson 7: TSD/Tetris, 2 Wide, and Natural Combos

Welcome to the last section on TF multiplayer. Note that it is not feasible to just string together a bunch of TSDs like in the previous section (if it were, ST stacking would be more efficient). In order to be a good player, you need to be able to use your tools (downstacking, Tetris, TSD) at the right times in order to win. However, these are not the only tools you should have, so I will tell you a few more.

1. TSD/Tetris combo This should be your primary weapon against your opponent. Now Im not saying that all TSDs should be accompanied by a Tetris, but the two pack a powerful punch when combined. You rarely need to build a TSD/Tetris combo on your own. The Tetris part of it should come from enemy garbage.

Also note that if you use the enemy garbage to create a TSD, stack a little more so you have enough for a Tetris again! (unless you get lucky and your opponent sends you 5 lines).

When is the best time to use the TSD/Tetris combo? If you send it out too early, your opponent can just send it back to you, making it useless. This combo should primarily be used as a finishing move when your opponents stack is high (over 10 blocks). Before thinking about using this combo, it is a good idea to send them a lot of messy garbage first (via comboing) so that your opponents field looks like this:

See how much of a difference a tiny 5 combo could make? That is why you definitely need to incorporate combos into your style so that they buy you time while your opponent is downstacking. Note on frame 4 that many people would not even start downstacking at that point, and that they would continue building whatever attack they have for you.

2. Two-wide Remember, x-wide is a terrible opener to use, and 2-wide is the worst of them all. When making x-wide, you are not guaranteed to achieve a certain combo (i.e. a 10 combo). It would be a waste of pieces to gamble on your opener. However, 2-wide works very well midgame for a few reasons. Your opponent will not be ready for it as he/she would be during the opener. While you are building your 2-wide, you will receive garbage. Building it up to 10 blocks should suffice for a decent 2-wide, although you should build more if you can get away with it. One final thing to note is that 2-wide differs from 4-wide in the sense that you can actually Tetris while doing a 2-wide.

Consider the following scenario: you are 2 minutes into the match with your opponent, and the both of you are just sending lots of garbage back and forth. You downstack all the way to the bottom while your opponents stack is still 5 blocks high. You begin to build a 2-wide while he sends a TSD or two to you. Now you get a 5-6 combo, sending 10 lines to your opponent. You then build a TSD on top of the garbage you have, or you could even go for b2b Tetris if the situation allows for it.
Here is a 5 combo sending 11 lines to the opponent:

3. Natural Combo This is my favorite thing to use in Tetris. If you have played enough of Dig Challenge, then you know what I mean. Natural combos are pretty much combos that you can string together midgame, and they primarily are composed of enemy garbage. It only works when you have a large stack. The goal is to clear line(s) with a single piece while leaving room for another piece. Therefore, you must incorporate the ideas of flat stacking and not blocking future holes.


TF Rulebook
Extremely Advanced TSD setups (Air TSD)
Learning Spins/Twists
Learning Finesse
Why TF multiplayer? (as opposed to variants)
What control scheme should I use?
How do I get more rubies?
Blocking ads on Tetris Friends

Academy Rules/Etiquette (read if you would like to join our skype chat)
Everyone is free to use the guide, but if you would like to join the academy, there are a few extra rules/etiquette you should follow.
On TF:
1. No 4/3-widing or ST stacking Both openers dish out a ton of lines, but they have one common goal: to win within the first 40 seconds. If you keep winning within the first 40 seconds, you will never learn anything about midgame playing, downstacking, or handling enemy garbage. When so much garbage is introduced to the game in a short period of time, you will either win or you will get that garbage sent back to you so quickly that you will be helpless. Its also a real douche thing to do.
2. Before you enter a room, see who is in it. You dont want to play people that are way above your level.
3. Dont join a room and then leave after a few games.
4. Learn to network! If you find people that are an even match for you, add them to your friends list. You want your friends list to primarily have people that are better than you or at your level so you can find these rooms easily.
5. DO NOT be concerned with your rank/points People who play for points do stupid things to get them, such as 4 widing. You should strive for a legit maxed out rank 20 account, so that when you play other rank 20s you dont look like a joke. Remember, if you are a true rank 15 and you lose a rank or two, then in the long run you will get your rank 15 back. There is no reason to prey on low ranks just to get your points back.
In the academy chat:
1. Stay on topic, and ask questions whenever you need to
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post Jun 24 2011, 03:14 AM
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Great guide Grin.png . Even in earlier lessons I missed some things in my games. I will remember them good from now.
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post Jun 24 2011, 03:34 AM
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Wow. Impressive guide for tetris players of all skill levels. Grin.png

"I am dreaming less and sleeping more, but I'll sell my soul for the dream you stole." - Armor for Sleep
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post Jun 24 2011, 12:45 PM
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Very good guide indeed! - havent read all yet but have learnt some stuff already! Grin.png
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post Jun 24 2011, 02:58 PM
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Hmm nice guide i disagree with some stuff.
Well written and omg grammar nazi's are gunna sleep well tonight.
I like the last tsd example its pretty beast.

How do i join ur chatroom i like learning and stuff.

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QUOTE(Paradox @ Dec 16 2010 @ 05:52 PM)
Like many setups here, it is useful if your opponent doesn't move and you get 4 Ts in a row.
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post Jun 24 2011, 03:56 PM
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Just some notes on lesson 4 and 5: Variation 1E is mentioned several times but only the traces of it are fumed. the fumed variations showed are: 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D and 2A but no 1E.

Also on regard of the second step in this fumen:

It can be used to continue on with an ST stack. This gives an easy 2nd (and possibly a 3rd, 4th and 5th...) TSD. Im not saying that ST stacking is recomended but at least one extra TSD can easily be done for those how know how to do ST stack.

Edit: also under the first fumen in lesson 6 you have this
"This website is a very good guide that shows how pretty much any piece can be used as an overhang. "
the "This website" link does not work
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post Jun 25 2011, 01:34 AM
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fixed; thank you for the feedback, i really appreciate it
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post Jun 27 2011, 09:53 PM
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QUOTE(Noogy @ Jun 25 2011, 01:34 AM) *

fixed; thank you for the feedback, i really appreciate it

Im glad that I was to some help Smile.png

about ST stacking you made a intresting fumen about SZ/LJ stacking which I havent considered before. I was refering to something like this:

This is if you want to include ST in the guide as it might not be well suited to new players learning to play in multiplayer as it does not really learn you how to do tsd's in "real life".

Edit: Do you have more on the way? - if you do will you make a comment something about timing in multiplayer? - but maybe you mentioned it already and i forgot Smile.png
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post Jun 27 2011, 10:37 PM
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to edit for correctness: "least amount of keypresses." Lesson 2 bullet point 6 - please change to: "least number of keypresses."

For 1E, this is a quicker 2nd TSD, yielding a flat finish to make another TSD within a line clear

Lesson 6, 101-110, fumen messes up

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post Jun 28 2011, 12:09 AM
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This has completely enriched my TF experience. Thank You Noogy!

☠ ZeroT
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post Jun 28 2011, 03:58 AM
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Idk why you call this TF guide, I think its not limited to just that. Pretty useful stuff for T-spin mode on any game I guess.

Some of the concepts I don't agree with or I find funny but its pretty good.

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post Jun 28 2011, 08:44 AM
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QUOTE(Paul676 @ Jun 27 2011, 10:37 PM) *

For 1E, this is a quicker 2nd TSD, yielding a flat finish to make another TSD within a line clear

Good thinking!

Is what I would continue with, but thats just me and I love ST stacking too much for my own good Sticking Out Tongue.png
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post Jun 28 2011, 09:48 AM
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@alex (offtopic sorta) If you are going to have a flat finish may as well throw in a TST.

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post Jun 28 2011, 10:24 AM
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Pretty good guide. There are many times I would have went with a TST option over the TSD, but I suppose that's just my style of play.
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