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About Fino

  • Rank
    Forum Contributor
  • Birthday 09/24/1990

Profile Information

  • Full Name
    Collin Finocchiaro
  • Gender
  • Location
    Overland Park, Kansas
  • Alias
  • Favorite Games
    Super Smash Brothers Brawl
  • Interests
    There's few things I don't like. Love living life and finding different ways to enjoy it.

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  1. So last weekend was a tournament in my KsIaMo Circuit called "Smells Like A Smash Tournament 2" or SLASTv2 for short. I had just recently gotten back into the vibe of my game, but I decided that I would put some hardcore effort into my ICs so I could dual main them in the tournament. I maybe trained 1hr a day two weeks prior to SLAST and felt ready to go. Unfortunately it didn't end so well for me. At the Tournament I arrived at the venue in Wichita Ks ready to play. I pulled out my controller, popped it into a wii where friendlies were being played and got myself in the tournament mindset. When my turn came up, I picked olimar and we started the game... and the day went downhill from there. Lesson learned: Always keep your main in practice. I noticed very quickly how my neglecting practice on olimar cramped my game. I should know this already, since I make fun of Ally for having the same mentality (don't practice but still think I can win). The Bracket I didn't enter doubles, for lack of a good partner to team with, so I stuck with singles. I made a brush through a couple pot-fill players and then came upon a diddy main named 4rce from kansas. I've never lost to 4rce before, but there's a first time for everything I guess. I was messing up simple inputs and getting hit by the most basic strings and just got frustrated over it. Not frustrated at the game or at 4rce, but at just how poorly I was playing. I knew everything I was supposed to be doing but it just wasn't happening. haha. So now in losers bracket, it was the same story. Beat some pot-fills, and then play a good player (this time Zeton, a fox main from ks) whom I've never lost to in tournament. And I lose. I had a judgment call of using ICs against him, but I was set on trying to win with my non-practiced olimar instead of playing to win. Training for Excellence I ended up placing 13th I believe, but it's been awhile since I've been in tournament so this placing re-opened me back up to what it takes. Since then I've hit hard on the practice. Dropped ICs (for now) and focusing mostly on Olimar. I came up with a few training exercises that seem to be giving my vast improvements as well as recognizing what I'm doing wrong / my holes in play-style. Tournament Training Exercise 1: (1) Standard tournament rules (2) Level 9 on random (3) Handicap on and set self to 200% (4) Only stages where I'm either ('A') not comfortable on ('B') not well practiced on or ('C') where I can practice technical play selected for random This strategy focuses on the words of the legendary Isai "Don't get hit". Basically what this does is put you at 200% every stock, and your goal is to beat the level 9 who is at 0 on all 3 of their stocks. At 200%, most moves in the game will kill you, so you have to CONSTANTLY think to play safe and now get hit. It also shows you where all the holes are in your game or where you take unnecessary damage. It just shouts it out in a way you can't miss. Like I noticed a bad habit of mine was SH pikmin tossing mid/close range to my opponent. Well, every time I did this in my training exercise, I would die. You quickly realize / stop doing those types of things. It also works on basics like movement, spacing, consciously thinking of your opponents options, and every fine tuning to your game that you can work on. Everyone wants a picture perfect play-style... and this crops a lot of stuff out. Tournament Training Exercise 2: (1) Training mode (2) CPU set to run This is something my rival Rich Brown let me on to. Basically the goal of this is to just practice your spacing. Tournament Training Exercise 3: (1) Training mode (2) Routine practice of technical, situational or "worthless" things (3) Be absurd I got this idea from watching great players practice. For instance, at Supercon 2k10 vVv MikeHaze was at a tv in training mode vs mk, and I watched him just do grab releases over and over again. My favorite being grab release, tipper fair, tipper uair, dair spike. Though, it seemed impractical to pull off against someone (I figure mk can most likely get out after the uair, if not the fair) it was a combination of timing, spacing and movement that was just done over and over again. If he nailed it a few times in a row, I would notice he would mix it up. From playing music, I now that it's a way to deviate from just muscle memory repetition and move towards technical accuracy/skill. What good is learning something if you can only do it when you have the rhythm down? So after getting the aforementioned combo down, he would do a couple grab-release to dair spikes, and then go back to doing the first combo. So I figured, why not try it myself? The goal of this exercise is to practice something you're not 110% comfortable with, and just practice it over and over and over again until you don't even have to think about it any more. Don't get content with nailing it a few times in a row - set goals. Can I do it 15 times in a row? Once you get there ask yourself what else can you do to make it harder. The goal is to become absurd. For instance, I wanted to learn all I could about bananas. One thing I wanted to work on was instant throwing so I went to training mode, got a banana, and threw it up in the air and tried to instant throw it back up. Once I got the hang of it I tried to see how many times in a row I could do it. After that I decided that I would start the juggle by practicing jump-cancelled throws, so I would grab the banana, JC-throw the banana up, and then instant throw juggle again. After I got that down I decided I would add some instant returns in the mix. Instant return is where olimar cancels his tether onto the stage (from the ledge). So I would start by dashing towards the ledge, JC throw the banana upwards, grab the edge, instant return, and quickly try to jump and instant throw the banana back up, grab the ledge, instant return, and so on. And then I tried to see how many times I could do that in a row. I think you get the point though. The more absurd you become, the easier and quicker you learn what you wanted to learn. It's one thing to know how to instant throw a banana, but it's another to do it under pressure or be clutch with it. Will I actually use my absurd training in tournament? Most likely not; however, if I need to I know how. The important thing is I became comfortable with instant throwing while doing a variety of other things. So that's all I have for now. We'll see how the training pays off next week at a tournament in St Louis. Hope you enjoyed
  2. Fino

    I'm back

    Yo, been gone awhile I know. It's not just here, but smash in general I kinda dropped a bit. After Apex I realized a whole bunch of stuff. It was incredible - pretty much being shut down and motivated at the same time. A good thing has happened though; the circuit that I started is already starting to show improvement in my community. There are SO MANY tournaments coming up, so expect me to be out there and reppin'. I feel after my Apex experience and downtime/break from the competitive scene that I'm more confident than ever that I'm going to go out and do work. This weekend I got SLAST, a regional circuit event. Two weeks from then is another event (HD2 - another regional circuit event) in which the competition will be fairly good. The week after that I'm running my own tournament (TAS) which will just be a local event. After that, as we all know, is MLG:DC which I plan to be at as of right now. So wish me luck guys! I'll be frequenting back here more often and blogging about the tournaments coming up. It's gunna feel good gettin back into the scene
  3. Playing games competitively is like entering and entirely different world. I know and talk to a lot of smashers and they mention that when they're at tournaments or doing something smash related that it's like a whole separate person or life that they're living. Without going into a lengthy dicussion I'll skip right to the initiation of this and tell you to watch this preview of a documentary being made on the subject. Getting that out of the way, as I said before I've been talking with other people about this subject and I came across something rather interesting. Humor me in the dissociation of a gamer life and a life in reality being within one person, cause we all know we separate it (for the most part). Unless you're like me, mike haze, or lee martin you probably have a "gamer tag" or alias of some game-name that you go by. This is where I want to talk about word association and using it to your advantage. With a game-name and an actual name, you have probably subconsciously associated and dissociated each name from each other. With your gamer tag you associate all the times you've practiced with others, competed in tournaments, gaming accomplishments, posted on forums, debated match-ups/tactics/strategies and so on. This name is what you are used to being called by in all things game related. Then you have your actual name. The name you have grown up with, gone to school with, participated in family reunions with where you meet your hot cousin you never knew you had and feel awkward for thinking about her that way but decide to play it cool anyways... err, well you get what I mean. You naturally associate everything else with your name. The closest thing to gaming you get with your actual name is most likely with your peers or crew in which you play friendlies or practice against. The psychology of word association is your subconscious string of attachments from a word to a relation of ideas. For example, I say the word soft and your mind makes a jump to a relation of soft things such as a blanket or a memory of feeling something soft. You get the idea right? Now, I've said all these things but I haven't gotten to the applicability yet. Say you're at a tournament, you know where your tough competition is but do you know who they are? As the saying goes "keep your friends close and you enemies closer." Not that you're making enemies, but it doesn't hurt to go make a new friend right? So go over and see what they're all about, they're probably good people who just play the game like you. Introduce yourself and get to know them. Specifically get to know them on a first name basis. Knowing their game name and their actual name is where the word association game begins. As your talking to your competition, every time you talk about the game be sure to be using their gamer tag. As conversation moves to non-game related subjects start using their actual name, it's not like they're going to notice as you've already introduced yourselves to each other. Going into the tournament, you're just about to play the person you've been staking out throughout the day. For reference sake I'll talk about Dekar (aka Casey) - a diddy main from New Mexico. The set begins and it's a really close match. He takes my first stock but I quickly take his before he gains any type of momentum from his lead. Out of spawn he pulls off a really sick banana combo to which I reply "damn Casey, there's the real stuff I've been waiting for" - or something along those lines. The key word is to use not his gamer tag, but his actual name. As I use his name complimenting or friendly trash talking him during the set he is slowly being pulled out of his full competitive mindset. Like I mentioned before, the closest thing he associates that name to with gaming it playing friendlies or practicing and we all know that those are completely different mentalities than the one needed for competition. So there is some food for thought. We are all looking for an edge on our competition, and getting inside their head is definitely a way to do it. Perhaps try it out at your next event and tell me the results, I'm interested to see how this aspect of psychology is applicable to competitive gaming.
  4. Fino

    Joker's Monthly #19

    Joker's Monthly is a tournament over in Des Moines, Iowa that I try to make when I get the chance. About a week beforehand my boy MJG and I were psyched as we saw the event as a good chance to score some free money as our skill was beyond everyone confirmed to go; however, the overplayed "Life is like a box of chocolates" rang throughout this tournament. Crazy things happened, but lemme throw down what all happened - overall I thought it was a great tournament! At smaller tournaments like these MJG and I usually go in, meet in winners finals, forfeit the best suited person winning losers finals, meet back in grand finals and split the first and second place winnings. We're (generally) that much better than people in our region =/ So the first surprise was vVv Atomsk showing up to the tournament. For those who don't know, Atomsk lives in Jersey, so it was a shocker to hear the night before that he was going to be at the tournament. Apparently he was in the area, so that threw a wrench into the plans of just going there to sweep money. Can't let another good player get you down though, we were both eagerly looking forward to meeting him in brackets. vVv Fino playing a set in teams Then comes teams, which was a hilarious disaster. Lesson learned: don't get cocky, cause that's exactly what we did. We were playing through teams, things were going pretty easily, and then we come across a peach metaknight team. I don't remember exactly what happened but I remember that it seemed like we were just playing friendlies. Whatever it was, we definitely weren't in a competitive mindset at the time. Now, vVv Atomsk on the other hand decided to team with the first person that asked him, so he ended up teaming with a casual gamer. At first I thought this was a stroke of luck for us, but our arrogance came to bite us as we got into losers bracket. Here's what happened though: Atomsk and MRM (the guy he teamed with) were playing their set versus Joker and Razor (the top team in iowa). MRM kinda flailed around the stage losing stocks while Atomsk did work taking the team down. Towards the end of the first game Joker had stuck a C4 on Razor (a common metaknight/snake tactic) who then passed it on to the other team. Eventually Joker had lost his life, but Atomsk and MRM kept passing around the C4 and until it ended up killing both of them when it timed out. Talking with Atomsk later he said he didn't realize the C4 was still stuck on people which is rather unfortunate. I missed seeing the last two games as I was being called to play, but Atomsk and MRM ended up losing the set - and that's where things got ugly. vVv Atomsk playing his set versus Joker and Razor After taking his loss in teams, Atomsk told MRM to stand back and let him take care of things. In short, MRM was to avoid all conflict and hold stocks for Atomsk to use. Eventually MJG and I met with Atomsk in losers bracket and we saw the plan unfold. I don't really have a whole lot to say about this set though, I honestly forgot how it went down - haha. After losing the set in teams the rest of teams was kind of a blur. Singles is where I shine though - I'm proud to say two vVv gamers went to the tournament and took the two top spots in singles. I definitely was able to take a lot from this tournament, my bracket was stacked (comparatively for the region). Round 1 I played a G&W main named skizm, which is weird because he's one of iowa's better players and generally that's not how seeding works. I don't have a big problem with G&W, so I was kind of glad to see that. Round 2 was one of the prouder moments I've had in Brawl as I played a falco main named MetalMusicMan. As I'll say over and over again, Falco gives me trouble. I have little experience in the match-up and MMM plays an Olimar quite a bit, so I thought I would be going to losers. After focusing on all the tips I've gotten on the match-up I feel quite a bit more confident playing against Falco. I saw strategies come to light, and it just doesn't seem as bad anymore. Both games were incredibly close against MMM though, he played the MU pretty well, and I honestly see for the first time a gap in player mentality between me and other people. By that I mean just being patient, waiting for my kills, not getting frustrated, etc. I think this match I really shined in that area. Round 3 was Joker. Joker is a Snake main and easily Iowa's best player. He's taken out quite a few names in tournaments, including me. Until just recently, I had problems with Snake... but I really put effort into learning the match-up before MLG Columbus, and man has it paid off. Joker has beaten me 3 times in previous tournaments; however, this is the first time I have taken a set off him. It wasn't a close game at all, but I had a feeling he gave up game 2 when I had a 2 stock lead. Then comes round 4, vVv Fino vs vVv Atomsk. Olimar versus Ice climbers. I gotta hand it to Atomsk, he plays very smart and efficient. He doesn't play flashy, use special tricks, no smoke or mirriors, just straight playing the match-up. It's always nice to get a good ass kicking once in awhile to set your ego straight. Atomsk took the set 2-0 fairly easily. I can honestly say I was out classed and unprepared for those Ice Climbers. Onto losers bracket I played MMM again with the same result, and that goes for Joker as well. At this point I'm playing my boy MJG in losers finals, and that's always a bummer but we know it's gotta happen. Before the set starts I pull him aside and ask if we should just take our best shot on who could beat Atomsk, but we decided fairly quick that we should just play the set out. MJG and I don't get to play serious a whole lot, but it was actually better than I thought (minus the mass camping). Something just clicked during that set where I was just in my game, seeing everything going on and knowing what I had to do. Taking the set 3-0 against MJG I felt prepared as ever to go up against Atomsk again. This time I put my ego aside, cut the crap, and did my best to figure Atomsk out. If there's anything I'm good at doing it's reading people and situations. During the set I tried just about everything, including non-sequitur jokes to get Atomsk to drop chain grabs. I ended up winning game one on battlefield and he re counter picked battlefield on me and won. I made a risky move and counter picked smashville and tried the Ice Climber ditto, unfortunately both Atomsk and I picked up Ice Climbers for the sole reason of being able to play the ditto. His Ice Climbers ended up out classing mine. So burning a counterpick I go for my personal best stage Delfino Island in which I pull a two stock. I think at this point Atomsk knows his Ice Climbers are gone, his metaknight isn't too solid on the match-up and his other main (DDD) get's countered pretty hard by Olimar (though I know Atomsk plays a lot of characters this was just the thought process going off in my mind). The next game being game 5, he had to win. Since I came from losers bracket if I won the next match we would have to play another set, but he's already lost his best character for the match-up. He goes straight for metaknight on rainbow cruise and takes the set fast with a 2-stock. Rainbow Cruise is probably Olimar's worse stage versus Metaknight, but it's completely doable with reads on the Metaknight. Going in fresh was a brilliant plan by Atomsk. After that was Brawl minus doubles, but this has already turned into a lengthy blog so Imma cut it short by saying it was really fun, I learned a lot, and it was nice to meet a fellow vVv player.
  5. When I first started competitive Brawl I remember it seemed as if no matter how hard I tried, getting good wasn