by Cary "Vro" Zhang

1. Learn about the game

You really need to make sure you understand what you’re getting yourself into. If you’d like to start at the very beginning, start with Wak’s Advanced How to Play. You must be comfortable with watching the game and understanding how the high level players are doing what they are doing. It’s okay if you can’t do everything you see, but try to at least be able to say what they are doing or imagine their inputs. Watch a couple videos on youtube or twitch to see what the game is really like.


2. Get a CRT

Go to your mom’s house or Craigslist and get a CRT that has at least a yellow and white plugin. Try not to get something too heavy, because you may want to carry it around.


3. Get a setup

Either dig up your old gamecube or buy a used wii for under $50. Look up how to download 20xx or prepare to pay $80 for a melee disc.


4. Get a good controller

You can clean out your old controller by opening it up with a triwing screwdriver - look it up on amazon for under $10. Or buy a sm4sh controller for $20


5. Practice some tech

Get right in the action and try some of the techniques you’ve read about or watched. Go to a stream, look up frame data, or old threads on smash boards and incorporate what you learn. It takes time for theory to become reality. Practice takes diligence and discipline.


6. Enter a tournament

Whether you have strong friends to practice with or not, go to a tournament. If you don’t know anyone to play with, you’ll find a dozen other people at a tournament who also love this game. The only way to get better at the game is to play other real humans, so don’t be shy! Everyone loses at their first tournament and everyone has tough moments of realization that this game is super tough. If you don’t know where your local tournaments are, try looking up your local smash group on Facebook, go to or


7. Stay connected

Find out which tournaments happen regularly, whether it’s every week or month. Play at home with friends you’ve met or practice by yourself in between tournaments. From my experience, it takes at least one tournament a week to sustain growth and at least two tournaments a week to foster significant growth. Go on your local Facebook group and chat with friends or watch streams and other matches to stay up to date.