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LONG BLOG

An Ode to the Domination 101 Series

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Seth Killian.

You’ve heard about him (or his name) several times before. Everyone knows that he commentates for EVO, formerly worked for Capcom as a community manager and Sony’s Santa Monica Studios, and most recently he worked on Rising Thunder with the Cannon Bros. (Side Note: I’ve seen the game before, and in my honest opinion: it looks pretty decent. I need a better computer…)


Not many people knew that S-Kill used to be a competitive player during the early-to-mids 2000s when it came to Street Fighter. Before he made a name for himself in the gaming industry, he wrote a lot of articles for a segment in Shoryuken called Domination 101.

What is Domination 101? It is a series of articles where Seth uses his philosophy on the fighting game scene, whether it’s the tournament player, the status of the community, or the game itself. He uses Street Fighter in a lot of his examples, but he does other games as well. Case in point: the 2D vs. 3D debate, which I will get to in a moment.

The first entry that he did was called On Cheapness which was posted on August 30, 2000. In that article, he talks about the “cheapness” being used in fighting games by other players in terms of how they win, why it defiles the sanctity of blocking, and the amount of effort that is used. Mind you, the topic behind this article is based on what scrubs see as “cheap” and how they encourage players to play with “honor”.

I’ll be honest, whenever I hear scrubs say they want an “honorable fight”, I don’t even know what that means most of the time. It’s just silly to me, especially when they say blocking is also cheap. I mean, LordWilliam1234 of SRK actually made a video about what happens if true fighting game fans actually did get what they wanted. But, I don’t want to dwell too much on that topic. Seriously, watch this video.

Anyway, let’s get back on topic. One thing that I admire about reading the Domination 101 articles is because Seth was not afraid to talk about controversial topics. He touched on a lot of topics such as the idea of balance in fighting games (Prelude to a Diss), different type of tournament players (Tournament Player Archetypes), and a two-part debate on 2D Fighters vs. 3D Fighters (2D vs. 3D and 2D vs. 3D: Seth Responds! Round 2, Fight!).

In most of his articles, the scrub is the mostly used topic. One of the first articles that I read by him was You Can Lead a Scrub to Water, But You Can’t Make Him Think. In this article, he talks about what to do when it comes to analyzing tournament videos and the differences between tournament and casual play. It’s very common that when a scrub watches a tournament video, they don’t watch the video to understand what’s going on in the match. Instead, they watch the video to praise their high-level skill and imagine what they could have done while playing as a way to make them feel good about themselves.

When I read that, it pretty much became a true statement by the time I went to my first major tournament 4 years later. Yes, playing fighters competitively is far more different than just playing fighters casually. I’ve talked about being tournament ready in the previous blog.

Mental Toughness is something that every player (including myself) has been through during a tournament, and that is tournament fatigue. If you are planning on entering a tournament, it will happen to you. But there are several ways to survive it, and one of them is developing a basic technique to win. One thing that I learned while playing fighters is that I would finish the match in a flashy manner. For every time I do that, I end up losing the match because I tried to be a show-off. If you do that while you’re fatigued, you would be even more saltier than before.

Other ways to survive it, according to Killian, is to stop getting stuck in the past and stop worrying about the future. By that, he means people need to stop worrying about the traumatic moment that happened in a tournament and also not to worry about who’s in your bracket. Honestly, I actually want to do a blog about that in the future.

If you are curious about the Domination 101 articles, Seth has written a lot of them on Shoryuken.com. Sure you may have your own opinion about his philosophies (or about him in general), but they are quite the read. If you want to become a dominator in the tournament scene, read So You Want to Become a Dominator Parts 1, 2.7, and 3.

Domination 101 is basically one of the main influences for my blogs (the other two being the FGC knowledge I want to share and Sirlin’s Playing to Win articles). Anyway, enjoy SoCal Regionals 2015. This tournament is going on all this weekend.

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About Virtua Kazamaone of us since 12:55 PM on 07.05.2014

DOA Player and Fighting Game Researcher. I play games: mostly fighters, platformers, beat em' ups, Japanese, Retro, and Modern. I do videos. That's all.