AI Arena Guide: How to Master Air Combat

A comprehensive AI Arena guide covering all you need to know to master air combat.

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AI Arena Pro Player

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Following up on our advanced AI Arena guides with All-Star Invitational winner and G3 representative, Ixtlanian,  we have reached one of the most interesting aspects of the game. In this guide, we will go through how to master air combat to make sure no one beats you in the air.

Unlike returning to the platform, where the winning strategy often involves ignoring the enemy's location, air combat requires constant attention to the enemy's position and actions. This is where you can implement your vision—deciding when to attack, defend, or take evasive maneuvers.

Safe Zone

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The Safe Zone is the part of the airspace above the large and small platforms. Here, you must consider the enemy's location and the distances between your fighter and the enemy. There are three distances to consider: close, middle, and far. You can adjust these distances in the pop-up menu at the bottom of the screen.

Let's explore specific scenarios and how to train your fighter for optimal performance.

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The Enemy from Above

To train your fighter to respond correctly when the opponent is above, place the enemy in an elevated position during training. Then, while in the air, perform the necessary actions at the appropriate distance.

Tips from Ixtlanian

  1. Use Data Collection Mode vs. DUMMY: This mode is most effective because the dummy performs no random actions and does exactly what is needed, allowing you to show your fighter what to do as accurately as possible.
  2. Adjust Distance Laps: Set the distance laps as you like during the training phase and then change them when you are ready.
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To teach your fighter to attack an enemy up close with an uppercut or flipkick, place the dummy on a small platform above you. Then, jump from the ground while beneath the dummy and perform the necessary techniques. If you want your fighter to jump up or perform another action when the enemy is far away, place the enemy on the end of a vertical platform above you, and then execute the required actions while jumping up.

How to Master Air Combat like Ixtlanian

  1. Use “Angle to Opponent” Focus: This focus ensures your fighter realizes the enemy is above. If you want to account for the distance to the enemy, use “Discrete Distance” as well.
  2. Consider Directions: If it is important to know where your fighter's gaze is directed (left or right) or the enemy's gaze (most often not used in the air), add “Your Direction” and “Opponent Direction.”
  3. React to Enemy Actions: If you need to react to specific enemy actions, such as the enemy attacking you or being idle, show both instances during training and choose “Opponent Actions.”

For this kind of training, it is best to use no data balancing or the “oversampling” mode—experiment to see what works best for your fighter. As usual, use “Remove Sparsity” to make the training more effective. A high value of appropriate directions and actions will indicate the effectiveness of the training.

Enemy on the Side

When facing your opponent, the best strategy is to attack with a combination of side + special. If you are facing away, use side + attack. Experiment to determine if you want different actions at long and short range, and then perform the appropriate actions at the desired distance from your opponent while in the air.

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Tips from Ixtlanian

  1. Use Angled Directions: Besides upward and sideways directions, there is also a 45-degree angle direction if the enemy is above and slightly to the side of you. Once you are comfortable with straight directions, train your fighter for these angled scenarios.
  2. Focus on Key Directions: In this training, use the "Angle to Opponent" and "Your Direction" focuses. Adjust other settings based on what you want to teach your fighter.

Enemy from Below

When the enemy is below, the most effective move is a punch down, with your fighter falling from the sky like a meteorite.

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Tips from Ixtlanian

  1. Maximize Probability: Ensure the direction and action probabilities are close to 100% as long as the buttons are pressed.
  2. Consider Distance: The distance to the enemy matters only if you want different actions at long or short range depending on the enemy's actions.

General Air Training

To effectively train for air combat, demonstrate all possible actions in various situations during the initial training session at maximum intensity. Refer to article #1 for detailed training settings. After laying down the general foundations, revisit unsatisfactory situations and fine-tune the actions. Reduce training aggressiveness in the settings and increase the “Direction and Action Lambda” to maintain achieved progress. For additional training, the “Multi-stream” data balancing mode is recommended.

Tips from Ixtlanian

  1. Review and Improve: In additional workouts, carefully check all progress. Aim for “2 gains for 1 loss” in each session to ensure positive changes outweigh negatives.
  2. Reinforce Achieved Actions: If an additional session negatively impacts an already achieved action, don't save it. Return to training and reinforce that action.
  3. Eliminate Unnecessary Actions: Focus on removing unnecessary actions. Like learning any skill, distractions can hinder progress.
  4. Master Combos: Once you have mastered the basics, consider applying the “Your Actions” trick to build effective combos.

Achieving High-Level Air Combat

Following this guidance will elevate your air combat skills. Successfully implementing the techniques from this and previous articles will make it difficult for opponents to knock you off the map and improve your air combat effectiveness. With practice and simulation against enemies, you'll achieve significant improvements, making you a formidable opponent in the air. In the next article, we will explore strategies for when you are standing on the platform.


June 24th 2024


June 24th 2024

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