Episode I: The Phantom Extra-Tap

Thread in 'Strategy' started by Josh Tolles, 19 May 2014.

  1. I wanted to mention my findings on the phenomenon known as the "extra-tap"--a method which shifts the piece over one extra spot when DAS is too low to get it there. I recall several different people (including me) asking about this at one time or another, with the answer always pointing towards "don't try it unless you have to" and "it only works some of the time." Particularly, I want to de-bunk the myth of the latter part of the answer: the idea that "it only works some of the time."

    Saying that "it only works some of the time" is like saying a T-spin only works "some of the time," or a manual tuck only works "some of the time." If you do not time a spin or a tuck properly, it won't work. For spins and tucks to work, you must wait for the piece to fall into the appropriate row, and then press the correct button to rotate it or shift it into place before it locks down. The difference between doing a spin or tuck and doing an extra-tap is this: with the extra-tap, you are timing the tetrimino's movement horizontally rather than vertically.

    Yes: the extra-tap is the same as a manual tuck. It is a horizontal version of an established vertical maneuvering technique. Chew on that for a minute.

    Of course, actually doing one isn't as easy as it sounds. But then again, nothing is easy if you do not practice it, work on it, and develop the skill. If you are like me, you are "skilled" enough to successfully perform a T-spin 100% of the time on Level 9, about 90% of the time on Level 18, and 50-66% of the time on Level 19. Just like training your eyes to spot possible spins, you must "train your eye" to recognize whether or not an extra-tap is possible, and even when they are possible, they are easier to execute on lower levels (yes, you can use them on Level 18, which is really what this article is all about!). Spins and tucks are pretty much a given on slower levels, and we don't fear them. Extra-taps are no different.

    The biggest difference between physically performing a tuck and an extra-tap is that, for a tuck, you merely need to press your thumb down, while a tap requires you lift your thumb up off the d-pad and press it back down with very little, if any, extra time.

    The practical difference between a tuck and an extra-tap is that a tuck will always work if timed correctly, while the extra-tap will only work when your playing field is stacked low enough, or your DAS-charge is charged high enough, to actually get your piece moved over to the second-to-last column with two or more frames to spare.

    So let me break it down by using Level 18 as an example: If you are depending on auto-shift to get a longbar all the way to the left side of the playing field, you want the leading edge of your stack to be no higher than 10 rows tall (I think twelve is the max?). Level 18 requires 3/60 of a second to make a piece drop one row. Auto-shift requires 6/60 of a seconds to move a piece over one column. So, to get your piece moved all the way over to the far left column using auto-shift, you need enough DAS charge to get to the second-to-last column with at least 6/60 of a second remaining. If you reach the second-to-last column with more 6/60 of a second or more, auto-shift will move the piece over to the last column.

    If you have less than 6/60 of a second, you will need an extra-tap to move the piece into the last column.

    1/60 of a second is one frame of picture displayed by the game. So, less than 6/60 means 5 frames or less remaining. If you have 5 whole frames to work with, the extra-tap will be easy. 3 frames to work with will make the tap challenging but do-able. 2 frames is pretty tricky. 1 frame is possible, but unlikely.

    Okay, so I hope that explains a bit of what is possible and what is not possible, and how you should go about thinking of the "extra-tap."
  2. Agreed. I think I was actually one of those quotes you referenced, and despite me agreeing with you I stand by it insomuch as it best to avoid in the first place. But assuming you need it, it is doable!

    I learned this because john byram who is still significantly worse than me (no offence john, and it might not last forever) is better at it than me. Also Terry was as well. So I started trying for it and used the typical higher B-modes to train at it as they naturally afford many opportunities to attempt it and found that it could be controlled!

    It was difficult of course, still is. Any of the harder moves are. but it is a weapon that can be perfected, or at least practiced to a certain point, and used to save a player when needed.

    Which brings me to my original quote: "don't try it unless you have to": Try it in training as much as you can, but use it in a competition only if you have to :)
  3. Actually, because the input must be "unheld" for one frame so you can get in another tap, the bare minimum time after the last DAS shift and before lockdown would be two frames: held for DAS up to the limit, open for one frame, and then pressed down again in the second frame -- just in time to shift before locking.
  4. i think you guys both hit it on the head- don't do it unless you have to.

    there myriad ways to avoid being in a situation where you think this is a good idea.

    that said, i love this write up josh! it make me quite happy!
  5. Nice well written article Josh!

    I've actually been practicing this a lot lately.

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