What is ETE and ETEG? Why can it be so useful? How do the mechanics behind it work? And should you really be learning all that?
All this and more can be read about in this article – your personal roadmap through a jungle of oftentimes difficult and confusing ETEG explanations and tutorials.
Evading Throw Escape (Guard), or just ETE(G), is one of the most fundamental techniques for every VFer who is at the transition stage from a casual to a more advanced player and above.
This guide covers the basics of this technique looking at it from a more practicable viewpoint. I really hope I can provide you with everything you really need to know so that your ETEG odyssey will end right here right now! Helpful examples, explanations, figures and pictures as well as in-depth information, provided in the extra paragraphs, are meant to guarantee you a painless journey through the world of more advanced techniques of Virtua Fighter 5. Time to read on!
Note: In-depth explanations are always given separately in extra paragraphs, as it is the case with this info bit. These bits and pieces are only side-notes. This allows you to keep track of the essential information provided in the main text.
You are, of course, always invited to print out the whole article and use it for your own private studies.
First of all: every technique needs a purpose, otherwise it’d simply be non-sense spending loads of time on studying and training it. What is the purpose of ETEG then?
ETEG is part of the defense system in Virtua Fighter. As you probably have already discovered, defending in Virtua Fighter isn’t quite a passive role. We have Fuzzy Guarding, Stepping, Throw Escaping, Evading, counter-attacking, Yomi, etc. – all that plus ETEGing. In VF to defend doesn’t just mean to hold back or guard as in other fighting games. In Virtua Fighter 5 it rather plays an active role and isn’t too different from the offense if we look at the numerous inputs that you have to enter when defending.
ETEG simply combines a dodge (evasion) with a throw escape. Why is it great to be able to do that? Imagine you are in a disadvantageous situation because a move of yours with heavy recovery has been blocked. Now, ordinary tier players would simply initiate an evade or throw escape. But, with ETEG you can do both at the same time: evade and escape throws. How great is that?
It is advantageous to apply ETE(G) to situations where you are at -6 or more frames recovery. [Though it is still possible to Fuzzy Guard at -6 frames by buffering a forward crouch-dash plus holding Guard.]
To be honest: ETEG comes at a price. First of all, performing one or multiple ETEGs is by far not easy. Regarding timing there is a whole lot to learn. Secondly, you don’t solve the disadvantageous situation entirely. You only take away the two most rewarding options your opponent can choose from: quickly attacking with a fast, linear move or grab-throwing you. But as you know, there is no technique in Virtua Fighter that shields you from everything. There is always a counter to a counter in Virtua Fighter. In this case, ETEG can be countered with catch throws, delayed or circular attacks.
Roundhouse Kicks are usually a common method to counter ETEG and evasions/dodges, as full circular attacks that cannot be evaded. Every character (but Akira) possesses such a move, which is usually executed with .
As well, ETEG doesn’t protect you against delayed attacks, and catch throws. But nonetheless, it helps you to deal with two of the most rewarding options your opponent could select.
Thus, ETEG still remains the best common option for the more advanced player in disadvantageous situations (that is if you mess things up). This way, you can make your disadvantage a whole lot easier to deal with. Simply imagine the damage you can avoid by ETEGing if you sum up all the situations that went wrong when you tried to escape a throw but instead an attack was being launched at you – or vice versa. In the end, the usefulness of ETEG compensates for the huge amount of time you have to put into mastering this technique.
Let’s get right into the matter. I think it is safe to assume that one cannot start out with the hardest first. As you can see from the figure on the right, I have developed an ETEG training plan. This shall help you to achieve your aim step by step in an efficient way: from ETE(G)ing normal throws to multiple throws. Having different phases of training is important due to the difficulty of the technique. The four phases would be:
- ETEing Neutral Throw
- ETEing Top Throw
- ETEGing Top Throw + Neutral Throw
- ETEGing Multiple Throws
In case you wonder about ETE and ETEG and its terminological difference: if you evade, and quickly perform only one throw escape (or max. two), it is not necessary to hold Guard at the end due to the short time frame that you manage to enter the throw escape in, hence Evading Throw Escape (ETE). If you input more than two throw escapes in the time frame after your evade, then the character will perform a throw attempt (with animation). Holding Guard at the end will avoid the animation, therefore Evading Throw Escape Guard (ETEG).
Please note that a quite numerous amount of top players consider escaping only the foe’s top throw and his neutral throw to be sufficient for safe higher-tier playing. Of course, our ultimate goal should always be to escape multiple throws (your foe’s top throw and a command throw). But let’s begin simple to get a feeling for the timing needed for evading and initiating a throw escape.
Feel free to skip certain parts of this guide if you find that you can already do the one or other thing!
The best place to start practicing a new technique is (how could it be any different) the Dojo Mode that I want you to enter now. It’s always best to do a little do-it-yourself training in order to see how theory translates into practice. Take an opponent that you know of all his throws (and how they look like) so that you can recognize which throw you missed to escape later on. That’s best to be done if you start working out with your mirror-self.
The Neutral Throw
Every character possesses a standard throw (), which I often refer to as neutral throw as the directional input is neutral. For this exercise we will stay with this easy input when escaping it. Virtua Fighter is still a very much input-oriented fighting game, which makes it really necessary to start out simple, at first with easy inputs. Later on, it will get much more complicated, and challenging – but let’s stick to the basics first.
For this section, The Neutral Throw, please adjust the CPU in Dojo Mode in the following way:
|Reaction:||Guard and Counterattack 5|
|Throw direction:||– (neutral throw)|
In order to practice the timing of the evade and throw escape let’s start with escaping the neutral throw only. For ETE(G)ing it goes one general rule: the higher the disadvantage the easier it is to ETE(G). With the CPU’s reaction set to the setting mentioned above you will be able to practice exactly this situation. The CPU will block high and throw or mid-attack you in return. Now let’s choose a move that leaves you in a really disadvantageous situation on block, such as (for Goh) the Shoulder Ram (), in order to practice this situation.
The Shoulder Ram is -9 frames of recovery on block – perfect for ETEGing. Throws are guaranteed as of -12 frames on, as they take this long to activate.
Let’s come to the input and what really happens. As you can see from the picture above, after your Shoulder Ram gets blocked, you perform an evasion to either direction (up or down) – but don’t forget to return the stick to the neutral position again (otherwise you won’t evade) and enter the neutral throw escape (). And that’s really it. You will notice that you will have to delay the evasion quite a bit for this to work (against mid attacks). Otherwise, you won’t evade when the CPU counters with an attack. You have done an Evading Throw Escape just now! Congratulations!
If you keep missing evading when the foe swings an attack at you, then go a step back to practicing with the setting Guard and Counterattack 3 which makes the CPU to only respond with a mid-attack. The whole input procedure remains the same. If your evasion come out correctly switch back to Counterattack 5 and keep on practicing with the timing you gained in Counterattack 3. It is also important to go on practicing the procedure after other moves as well. You can consult my Command List for Goh (with frames) that holds the information on how stark the disadvantage is after certain moves on block. You may also want to practice that after the Basara, the Knee, and so forth. It is essential that ETE(G)ing becomes a natural habit in disadvantageous situations. This is the point where real sparring training and a well-acquired skill of hit verification is of advantage. Practice is the only answer to it all, and if you can’t fight a human sparring partner, the AI in Free Training set to Expert Level does a good job too. But let’s go on with this guide as you have only mastered the first phase yet.
Just a little side-note: versus Shun is the top throw escape. Mind how many drunken points for his super meter he gains with this throw.
The Top Throw
Every character has a top throw, a throw that does the most damage in the end. Usually it is your highest priority to escape this throw first. Have a quick look at my table of Escaping Throws (with Quick Reference). The first column shows each character’s best throw or throw set-up which we will need for this lesson.
The top throw doesn’t have to deal the most damage on its own. For example, for Shun we have already learnt that his best throw, the neutral one, gains him a considerable amount of drunken points making him stronger and stronger. Lei-Fei’s "top-throw" on the other hand doesn’t deal much damage itself but allows for a guaranteed combo follow-up.
As you are sparring with your mirror-self, it is no bad idea to escape the forward direction (for Goh: mind his 70 damage points 270° throw that ends on the forward input). Thus, your ETE input should look just like that:
Not much difference, eh? True, true – but try it against a character whose top throw is a diagonal one, down-forward, such as Brad or Jeffry. Proper input becomes so much more important now, doesn’t it?
Most players tend to stop training bringing the widening of their ETEG spectrum to a halt here. If you dare to go on, though, you might discover a totally new aspect of the game that had been deeply hidden in the shadows before.
Top Throw + Neutral Throw
We have actually come to the first point where you will do a real ETEG. Before, you were only performing ETEs without holding Guard because it was simply not necessary (due to the fast input). Why holding Guard so important is, and how the mechanics work out can be read here.
As you can see from the picture above, your input has become much longer and much more complicated: the dodge, the top-throw and then the neutral throw. Two throw escapes at the very same time can be challenging. But, as you end on it’s still fairly doable.
Timing-wise, throw escapes form an own input group as indicated by the dark blue color in the diagram.
You might notice that after performing this procedure when the CPU responds with an attack your character will successfully evade (and because of having executed multiple throw escapes) will perform a grab animation. In order to avoid this real throw attempt, you got to hold Guard at the very end of your input sequence (hence ETEG) as indicated in red in the picture above. This prevents your character from actually throwing out a missed-throw animation.
I think the theory is fairly clear now? Then congratulations to your first Evading Throw Escape Guard! Let’s move on to the final piece of information that you should know about. After this last bit, there is nothing more that you will be plagued with, I swear.
From here on the input gets tighter and tighter. You know the time frame for inputting the throw escapes doesn’t get larger. Thus, you got to train in order to attune your TE input for the glorious multiple throw escapes when ETEGing. Precision, and execution speed is demanded here. Versus Goh (and various other more throw-emphasized characters) your ETEG input could look like that:
You evade, input the top, the second top and, if wished so, the neutral throw escape. Of course, you can substitute the neutral one with a third command throw (e.g. down-forward). It’s really up to you. I would make this depended on whom you fight and how he behaves throw-wise. Please be aware of the important fact to always hold Guard at the very end of your input sequence. Otherwise much harm can be done without doing so.
Putting the neutral TE at the very end of a throw escape sequence is just one common method. You can, of course, also squeeze the neutral throw in between two command throw escapes. But beware: it’s good to throw escape from the highest to the lowest priority because the input time frame is limit. Being on the safer side by already having executed the top TEs is never a bad idea. Whatever suits you best should become your primary choice, though.
As you might know there aren’t too many throw escape combinations. Most character have a similar one or even the same TEs. Please have a look at the picture below. It shows a throw escape sequence that can be used against Akira, Jeffry, Lau, Lei-Fei, Shun, and Vanessa (Offensive Stance).
But let’s come back to the input movement as shown above: if you’re creative (and if you have played enough Street Fighter) then you can even perform a quarter-circle movement from forward to downwards while pressing at each direction plus a neutral P+G (Hold Guard) as finisher. It’s always a good idea to be creative about the inputs when ETEGing. You don’t have much time for thinking about the input and keeping them as smooth as possible can only help with the performance of it.
Apropos performance: if you want to keep a consistent ETEG success rate, then not more than three throw escapes are recommended.
Let’s sum it up: evading and escaping throws at the same time is a great thing to have. It’s nothing for VF5 beginners, though. They should really focus on the moves and other more basic game mechanics first. But for more competitive playing ETEG is a fine tool. Like a safety in snooker it requires tons of practice. In many ways it can be seen as somewhat difficult combo that you ought to perform after every move that leaves you in a disadvantageous situation.
Of course, as always you got to attune your tactics to your opponent’s. If you don’t adapt, you will go down. If the opponent counters your ETEGs with circular attacks, then you have to respond to that. Virtua Fighter has never been a static fighting game just like Ping-Pong where there’s only one possible answer to a situation. If you, for example, watch your opponent frequently trying to throw you after a certain move of yours while you’re recovering (although it’s no throw-guaranteed recovery), then you might want to stop ETEGing in order to inflict direct damage with direct attacks. Seize your chances with a greatly damaging launcher then.
Another advantage of being able to ETEG is that you can integrate this technique into your stepping. Back-stepping with evading and ETEGing will protect you from throws, close-range starters, and so forth. This should not be underestimated.
Anyway, let’s face it: training ETEG can be quite complex and time-consuming. Making ETEG a habit is the only way to achieve a constant success rate. Mind that diagonals and counter-diagonals are harder than straight inputs. All that needs practice, practice, and practice, that is better to be done in Dojo mode versus a CPU of your choice on Expert level or against a real-life opponent.
Don’t miss up on my follow-up article on throw-escaping: Throw Escaping the Quick Way. It explains a model where you only need like 4 throw escape sequences against every character there is in Virtua Fighter 5. This will certainly help you to classify characters accordingly (throw-averse or throw-emphasized) and to have throw escapes always at hand without the need of remembering every character’s special top throws.
My final words: keep on practicing ETEGing, my friend.