Hi. I’m Shiningbolt. I like Puyo Puyo. You have problems playing? K, I have/had those problems too. Here are my suggestions for stuff. Take it or leave it.
1. You’re not building chains as cleanly as you want to. 2. You’re losing to harassment. 3. You’re losing to a main chain after using harassment. 4. You feel like the piece you got doesn’t fit with the rest of your chain. 5. Your chain cuts often near the transition. 6. I keep throwing pieces against the wall. 7. How do I deal with rushes?
Oh, I’m actually a Beginner. What about me? 1. I can’t build anything very big (only 2-5 chains). I don’t know what I’m doing. 2. What are Patterns? 3. How do I build stairs? 4. How do I build sandwich? 5. Okay, I’m good enough at stairs and/or sandwich. Now what?
Personal recommendation for practice.
GTR Build Examples
1. If you’re not building chains as cleanly as you want to
Build setups that require more pieces to complete. For example, try to extend your chain by 3 links instead of just 1.
(When practicing) Slow down and pay attention to where you place your pieces. Don’t be afraid to split if necessary to extend properly.
At the start of a game, add bloat to your links on the first floor or tail if you are getting a high amount of certain colors (not recommended for stairs or sandwich links).
There’s also a chance that you don’t know how to make a good first floor consistently. The first floor is your chain’s foundation. Mess this up, and the rest of your chain suffers. Ever built a sandwich or stairs chain that was uniform and went from column 1 to column 6? That’s what a good first floor looks like. It needs to work from front to back.
2. If you’re losing to harassment
Watch your opponent. Try to get better at building chains so it becomes easy enough for you to focus on other things.
Learn how to build your own harassment. It doubles as defense.
Play defensively. It’s important to always have something small to use at any time. A good sign that you aren’t playing defensively is you use your main chain whenever your opponent does anything. Another good sign is you have no response and lose to a second wave of harassment.
3. If you’re losing to a main chain after using harassment
Watch your opponent.
The harassment you used was too weak (no real effect on opponent’s building so they keep building) or used too many pieces (so you couldn’t surpass their damage).
Your chain wasn’t easy enough to extend after using harassment or you don’t know how to extend a chain quickly.
You may be noticeably slower than your opponent. Speed comes with proper building, experience, and, when you have both, an actual effort to increase your speed in order to get used to it.
4. If you feel like the piece you got doesn’t fit with your chain
You aren’t using the next window to make placement decisions.
You are trying too hard to make a specific setup when a better one works for the situation.
You committed too quickly to an extension or setup. Try to give yourself more stuff to build. For example, try to extend your chain by 3 links instead of just 1.
If the piece actually just doesn’t work with the chain, it will later. I’d put it somewhere where it can be turned into an extension.
5. If your chain cuts often near the transition
You are using GTR into sandwich, which is susceptible to cuts.
To be more specific, a chain is safer from cuts if there is no group of two pieces of the same color sticking out in column 2 and sometimes 3 on the first floor. Three pieces is even worse. Sandwich after GTR makes two of a color stick out in column 3.
If you want to keep using GTR, learn to use GTR into L shape and GTR into Y stack.
Pure 2-1-1 sandwich and stairs also don’t have this problem.
6. If you’re throwing pieces against the wall
You built a tail that doesn’t end at a height that lines up with the other side. If the tail is too low, you need to extend it. If the tail is too high, you have two options. Either raise the front end of your chain so both sides line up properly or create a U-shaped chain by building really high on both the front and tailing sides. Either way, you will have to learn how to extend upwards.
You are subconsciously throwing pieces against the wall in order to place another piece you get somewhere else. Happens pretty often when players are under pressure. Also happens when you focus too hard on building the front of your chain. Eventually, you have to work on the tail. If the pieces you get are bad and you can’t place them anywhere else, you get a bad wall and also have to catch up to the extreme height of the front end.
7. How to deal with rushes (opening a game with a power chain or main chain early in a round) Same as any other type of harassment, you need to watch your opponent. If you can tell that your opponent is about to use harassment, make sure you can use your chain immediately and extend on the tailing side. If they attack, your chain should beat theirs. If it didn’t, you couldn’t efficiently extend your chain or you were playing much more slowly than your opponent. Another option is to build high on reaction so you can tank the damage and immediately counter.
Oh, I’m actually a Beginner. What about me?
1. I can’t build anything very big (usually a 2-4 chain). I don’t know what I’m doing. 2. What are patterns? 3. How do I build stairs? 4. How do I build sandwich? 5. Okay, I’m good enough at stairs/sandwich. Now what?
1. If you can’t build anything better than a 2-4 chain.
You need to spend more time getting used to the game itself. One of the most important things a beginner should learn is how to extend a chain. Another would be recognizing that you did, in fact, build a 2 or 3 chain before you use it. One way to do that is by using the blocking method.
Your goal is to find as many ways to build this as possible. Play around with placing pieces horizontally and vertically. If you aren’t getting good pieces, you can throw them to the side.
If you feel stuck or unconfident, ask people for help.
Once you feel confident, you can move on to patterns.
The next step after learning how to extend chains is to find something consistent to use. We call these consistent building methods patterns. For beginners, the best two patterns to learn are stairs (on the left) and sandwich (on the right). Both teach important concepts for the game.
Why should I learn a pattern? I can just make stuff up.
For consistency. It’s hard to learn how to play the game if you are constantly thinking to yourself what you need to do next. It will also be much harder to identify your problems or get help from others. Making things up can be helpful in the long run though. If you like doing that, it can be done on the side.
I hope you followed the advice about learning how to build a chain and recognizing when you extend one in the previous section. Otherwise, you have to learn it here now.
My in depth explanation for this is way too long to fit into this post, so it has its own.
1. Learn how to build 3 columns in the middle of the board.
2. Learn how to make a 3 chain out of the columns.
3. Learn how to build 4 columns on the right side and how to make a chain out of them.
4. Learn how to build 4 columns on the left side.
5. Learn how to build the transition.
6. Remember to build the stairs chain properly while making the transition.
You need to learn multiple ways to create columns, and two ways to build a transition.
I hope you’re ready for this one. Stairs is one of the easiest chains to imagine. Sandwich on the other hand will take some time to memorize.
Again, in depth explanation is too long, so it has its own post. Also, it's only for 2-1-1 sandwich, which is the safest one to learn.
1. Build a 3 chain in the middle several times until you can remember the shape.
2. Slowly branch out to making a 4 and 5 chain.
3. Learn multiple different ways to setup sandwich to increase your options.
4. Build a 6 chain.
5. Learn the transition.
5. Okay, I’m good enough at stairs/sandwich. Now what?
Are you sure you’re good enough? There’s no need to rush into a different type of form after you made your first 5 chain. There’s the second floor and all of the fun stuff that comes with it. What do you mean it loses to harassment? Are you implying your GTR chain wouldn’t? Sorry, but harassment will cause problems regardless of what you use.
Well, let’s say you actually kept using stairs and sandwich and are actually quite good at them. Great, you can play around with other stuff. If you like GTR, I have a list of GTR extensions to learn. All in gif form so you can see them being built.
Don’t be afraid to go back to sandwich or stairs every now and then. You can still learn from building them even when you become a much better player. You can always get better at any form and learn valuable lessons in the process.
Personal recommendation for practice:
Learn the blocking method.
Get familiar with stairs. Up to the end of section 5 in my post.
Get familiar with sandwich. Up to the end of section 8.
Learn how to build a transition. That would be sections 6 and 7 for my stairs post or section 9 in my sandwich post.
Learn to use the next window to build chains so you become more proficient.
Up to you. At this point, you're ready to try other forms or the popular and powerful transition known as GTR.