Welcome back to levelling up, your one stop shop for all things fighting games. This week we take a look at that thing my girlfriend has asked for a lot recently, space.

Unfortunately in the example above I think it might be a negative use of the term but in fighting games giving yourself space can prove vital in those clutch moments. Through being able to use effective spacing you will be able to improve both your pokes and whiff punishes in game.

Spacing seems like it’s a simple thing to understand, avoid getting hit and stand back, I mean how hard is it to understand that? Well it’s harder than you think for some. There are always various methods of creating space be it through fireball games, plink dashing or Korean back dashing, every game has its own way of spacing.

Death to the capos
Death to the capos

Creating space is vital in the poking game, by knowing your farthest reaching poke and the space that you leave between you and your opponent to make it safe as well as catching what ever limb they try to throw out. A great example of character spacing is Dhalsim in Street Fighter, those stretchy limbs are the essence of spacing. Many professional Dhalsim players play him as an almost pure keep away character with his jumping punches they snipe crouching opponents with and the long low crouching punches to mix things up.

Knowing travel distance for moves is also a key point in spacing too. By knowing what moves have a predetermined dash in Tekken allow you to stay at a little more than arms length where most character’s string will whiff and still allow for a quick and damaging response to those hitting buttons. A personal favourite of mine is to stand millimetres away from an opponent’s wake up kicks in Tekken and punish with Bruce’s massive knee launcher when I suspect a wake up. This spacing proves to be devastating and shows the opposition not only to respect the character but to pay attention to spacing at all times and they never know when they will be caught.

Don’t go dashing in head first without thinking.

Spacing can also be caused by projectiles. In Street Fighter IV there are many characters that have all different types of speed and angled projectiles. These can be used to stop the advance of others or by perfectly placing them to force your opponent to try and jump over them out of frustration and eat a massive Shoryuken. Or if you are fighting a Gouken you also have to remember his fireballs can be fired diagonally up forcing a forward advance as well as Akuma having air fireballs as a converse being utilised to run away.

The same applies to Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 although it looks a bit more mental. Projectiles are a key part of spacing, especially if they can track. For instance while Doom’s missiles are present a vast majority of the screen is almost rendered unusable if you want to continue an aggressive advance. You have to pay attention to where they are and the set up that might follow if you are forced to block them. Couple this with a plink dashing opponent and you will lose space rapidly and on occasion be forced to deal with a mix up.

One common method of spacing that is common is most assuredly dashing. Every game has its own form of dashing. Dashing is a quick way to get out of range or rush down an opponent. It’s even a viable option on wake up in some games as the back dash can be airborne or have partial invincibility/move you out of harms way. There are many instances in which dashing can leave you out of the reach of others or allow you to gain space while a player is locked down by a fireball. It’s all dependant on the situation you are in but be sure that you don’t go dashing in head first without thinking.

Always make sure you are out of H range
Always make sure you are out of H range

So whether you’re playing Tekken, Blazblue, Street Fighter or any one of the many fighting games at your disposal be sure to keep some space between you and those nasty hard hitting moves. Oh and don’t forget to level up!