If you’ve watched any competitive fighting game match, you may have heard the commentators mentioned that one of the players did a “nice tech” and wondered: “What the hell is a tech?” To those unfamiliar, a tech will easily be missed, and even once you know what to look for, it can seem relatively insignificant. However, teching is a crucial part of defensive play and recovery in fighting games; in many cases, it can be the difference between winning and losing a match.
What Is Teching?
Teching is the act of cancelling out the effects of certain attacks. In traditional fighting games, this often means escaping a throw or standing up immediately after being knocked down, and other fighting games have game-specific situations where teching applies. The official name of the effect is a technical, originating with the Street Fighter series.
Newbies to fighting games who haven’t learned how to tech proper situations will quickly find themselves overwhelmed by more experienced players: it will feel like every time you get knocked down, it takes forever to get up, allowing your opponent to get in position to overwhelm you. You’ll also feel like you can’t do anything on the defensive, as every time you block a move, your opponent will just grab your helpless character.
It’s important to understand why teching is such an important skill to learn, and which situations require awareness to execute the technique.
The Importance Of Teching
Knockdowns and throw situations in fighting games are a pain, not only because of the damage you take, but the situation you’re put in after the fact. When you’re on the ground, your opponent can put themselves in an advantageous position, meaning as soon as you get up, you’ll have to deal with the pressure they put on.
Teching cancels out the effects of these moves, allowing you to do a quick stand when you’ve been knocked down, or to escape from throws assuming you tech at the same time they try to throw you. This can not only minimizes the amount of time you’re in a vulnerable state, but help you avoid being put in a bad spot at all. Teching gets you back into a position where you can look to fight back and reset to neutral; this also puts pressure on your opponent to make decisions quickly rather than giving them time to set up their offense. Never give your opponent the time to get comfortable; make sure you tech everything.
Teching In Other Games
Teching knockdown hits and throws is fairly universal across all fighting games, but certain games have game-specific tech situations that you’ll have to learn to further your recovery repertoire.
In games such as Street Fighter X Tekken and Super Smash Bros., there are tech rolls, where instead of standing up in place, your character rolls to the side and then stands up. While this means you have mixups in terms of where you can recover to, tech rolls are often slower than just doing a quick stand tech.
As the attacker, knowing that your opponent has this option can actually work to your advantage. If you knock down the opposing character and predict or react where they will roll to, you can follow them and land another punish. This is known as a tech chase.
Specific to the Super Smash Bros. series, wall-techs are an essential part of recovering in those games. If you’re smacked against the stage while trying to recover, you can fly into the blast zone and lose a stock earlier than you’d like. Wall-teching allows you to stick into the stage and continue your recovery. It’s not uncommon for players to hit several wall-techs in a row and prolong their stock. Anything you can do to make your opponent work harder to defeat you is a good thing.
Another technique you can do out of a wall-tech is immediately jumping, which will make your character stick to the wall and then jump outwards a little bit. This can allow you to dish out an attack or put yourself at a better angle to recover. This is known as a wall-jump-tech.
Certain moves in fighting games cannot be teched, even if you time it perfectly. These are known as untechables, and these include moves such as all throws prior to Street Fighter V, supers in most fighting games, and strong attacks after a certain percent in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. It’s important to know which moves are untechable so you don’t waste time trying to tech these; rather, you should plan what you will do next.
If you’d like to learn more about fighting game terminology, head over to our glossary!