With the upcoming release of Tekken Tag Tournament 2, we wanted to showcase each of our tournament-proven guide authors. Each of the carefully selected members of the team have claimed several of their best characters and painstakenly broken them down to provide you the deepest high-level strategy. First on the arcade stick is Reepal aka “Rip.”
Rip has been playing in the Tekken tournament scene since 2004 and has competed around the world, representing the United States in Korea’s Tekken Crash and Japan’s SBO. Placing in the top three at Evolution three years in a row for Tekken 6, he has shown to be a consistent tournament finisher. When Major League Gaming had Tekken 6 on their roster you may have heard him as a full-time commentator. He also runs levelupyourgame.com where they have been putting out content for all things Tekken the past three years.
Q: How long have you been playing Tekken?
Reepal Parbhoo: I’ve been playing Tekken since it hit the arcades with Tekken 1. I didn’t get competitive with the game until Tekken 5. So I’ve been playing Tekken competitively for about eight years, but it was only three years ago that I started getting good at it.
Q: What do you like most about the Tekken series?
RP: One of the things that I like is that the games are generally balanced. Even though the character rosters are very large, you can pretty much pick any character you want to learn and be able to competitive in the game.
Q: Describe your fighting style and explain why you use it.
RP: I’m a turtle. That means I play more defensively. I like to let my opponents make mistakes and capitalize on them. Lately I’ve been trying to add more offense to my game, because it’s hard to be correct on your defense 100 percent of the time. Generally, I play the game defense first.
I started playing this way because of the players brought up around me. I got to play with a lot of legends in the Southern California Tekken scene. The character that I was using, Marshall Law, had a lot of good tools to utilize as a turtle. That’s what my gameplay style developed around.
Q: So you started with Marshall Law, but what characters do you prefer to play as today and why?
RP: It’s still Marshall Law for me. I’ve stuck with him since Tekken 1. I’ve also been playing with Paul Phoenix on and off over the years. With Tekken Tag Tournament 2, there are at least six characters that I’m looking to use: Marshall Law, Forest Law, Paul Phoenix, Alisa Bosconovitch, Kunimitsu, and Jinpachi Mishima.
Q: Which characters do you like facing off against?
RP: I think there are more characters that I don’t like facing off against than characters that I like facing off against. Like I mentioned earlier, Tekken is a very balanced game. Generally, there aren’t a lot of matchups where feel confident like, “Okay, this character is going to be weak against me. I can’t wait to play this matchup!”
Q: How about the ones you don’t like playing against?
RP: The characters I have issues with are capoeira characters — Eddy Gordo, Christie Monteiro, and Tiger Jackson. I also have some problems against Craig Marduk. This is primarily because not a lot of people use these characters in the regions I play in competitively, so I don’t have a lot of experience against those characters. I just need to do my homework and study those characters more, and then I won’t feel as badly fighting against them.
Q: What was your biggest accomplishment as a competitive Tekken player?
RP: I’m very proud of placing top three every year in Tekken 6 at Evolution. That’s the tournament for fighting games. To be able to place consistently at the tournament every year that they’ve had Tekken 6 is what I see as my greatest accomplishment.
Other than that, being asked to go to Korea and represent the U.S.A. on Tekken Crash — a televised competition over there — was pretty big. Also, when my team won the Super Battle Opera qualifiers and we got to play in Japan. Now, I didn’t do well in Japan or Korea. But it was just cool to represent the country like that.
Q: What are some of the common mistakes you see made by newcomers to the Tekken series?
RP: One of the most common mistakes is back-dashing incorrectly. Pretty much in all fighting games, you can make your character dash backwards by hitting back-back. This is unsafe in most games. It’s also unsafe in Tekken, but there is a way to do it safely which is super-easy to do. All you have to do is hit back and then hold back, and you’ll be able to back-dash without being able to be hit for that entire animation.
Another common mistake I see a lot is people back-rolling when their character is getting up off of the ground. That’s a big no-no. You should always try to tech roll first.
Q: How about two tips for players with an average amount of Tekken experience?
RP: Definitely work on your back-dash canceling. Once you’re good at back-dash canceling, you’ll be able to create space easier and you’ll be able create more opportunities to punish your opponent.
A second thing to work on would be general punishment. Every character has a 10-to-15 frame punisher — 10 to 14 is generally a knockdown, while 15 or higher is generally a launcher. Learning what moves are punishable by what and how your character can maximize punishment is one of the best things you can work on.
Q: What are your three favorite moves in Tekken?
RP: There are a few Marshall Law moves that I’m known for. His down 2+3 is a low punch that crushes high tags into a launcher and does a ton of damage. Most people get really upset when I hit them with it because it’s very bad on block. They feel like they should have killed me, but instead I’m killing them.
Another move I like to use is his stomp. Again, it’s a move that’s super punishable on block, but it just looks really awesome.
Lastly, I’ll go with Marshall’s “Dragon Legend Kick.” It looks like a Bruce Lee running-jumping kick. It just looks awesome, so I like it.
Q: Are there any competitive players you admire and why?
RP: Most of the players that I admire are players from the past. They are players from the Southern California region that helped me train and become the player that I am now. Guys like Tom Hilfiger and Chet Chetty. These are guys that I grew up learning the game from and were well known in the tournament scene.
Q: Do you have any recommendations for Tekken-related Twitter feeds?
RP: Well, I run LevelUpYourGame.com and our Twitter feed is @LevelUpYourGame. We have all the latest Tekken news. There’s also @TekkenTweet, which is the Twitter feed for Tekken Zaibatsu. @SDTEKKEN and @AvoidThePuddle are also good ones