sustainable st-stacking

Thread in 'Strategy' started by zarvok, 15 Feb 2009.

  1. zarvok

    zarvok Unregistered

    I've been trying to learn how to ST-stack effectively. I've read the articles on the wiki, but still have a number of problems - I'd love to get some advice from the experts (sorry if there exist similar threads; a quick search didn't turn up anything). There are three things I'm wondering about in particular:

    • I have a lot of trouble keeping my stacking on the right side of the screen error-free while ST stacking. I feel like I just don't have enough room to work with, and often find myself in a spot where there isn't any good place to put the next piece. Am I just incompetent, or is this actually tricky?
    • When I make an error, I find it harder to recover than if I were just going for tetrises. When I am forced to clear lines other than the t-spin doubles and the tetrises they set up, I find it difficult to get my columns back to the ST-stacking pattern with notches at the right levels. Any tips on this? (Or, do you just not screw up).
    • On the occasions when I am actually able to not make mistakes and successfully ST-stack for a while, I find the right columns begin to grow too quickly - I'm not getting the ST-doubles rapidly enough and I end up stuck with right-most columns all the way at the top of the playing field. Is this because I'm not getting enough t-spin doubles (and tetrises from the holes they leave), or will I need to clear some lines in other ways in order to keep things balanced?
    Any advice on how to advance with this technique is appreciated. I suspect maybe the answer is just "practice more", but specific tactical information would be great too. Also, I've seen short videos of people ST-stacking, but do there exist any longer videos showing people doing it sustainably over many lines? I'd love to see one. It should be noted that while I consider myself a pretty good tetris player, I'm not nearly so good as many of the advanced players on these forums, so maybe I just need to go back to work on my basics...
  2. So far the best I've been able to do with no mistakes is about 100 lines in T Party starting from level 1 or 50 lines in 20G on TDS. As far as I can tell, it seems like it takes more foresight in looking at your next pieces to not screw up the stacking; otherwise, it's going to require a lot of luck to do a perfect run if you're not always thinking about how you're going to place your next 3 pieces or so. I'd like to know from the people that can do perfect runs just how many next pieces they look at, because I usually only look at the next 1 unless I'm looking for a particular piece, because we only ever had 1 next piece back in the original Tetris games, but I find my ST stacking goes better if I have time to think about my upcoming pieces more.

    If you do get yourself in a bind, I find I have more luck keeping the stacking going if I skip making a nook and do 2 S's or clear things down the ST side rather than making holes in the stack. Sometimes you can make a hole in the stack if it will be uncovered by your next T-spin, but I try to avoid holes in the stack, because they seem to just accumulate until you run out of stacking space. Also, I try to do the JL fill when I can or put the I against the wall as soon as I have 3 cells left from T-spinning S's away so that I have the option to put something else in the ST well without creating a deep hole against the wall.

    You should get 1 T and I S for every 2.8 lines you have to clear, and you only need to use a T every 3 lines in ST stacking, so you should have enough T's as long as you're not wasting more than the odd one in your stack. Avoid making your stack such that it requires an S; otherwise, you'll end up wasting S's in your stack or wasting a T to switch around the orientation to Z.
  3. It is tricky to do. I certainly can't do the entirety of Tetris DS marathon without making a few mistakes.

    Only real advice I could give you would be to abuse lock delay like hell. Consider every single move you make properly, working out where you're going to go after you've placed it with the next four or five pieces in your previews. If you make a hole or some other mistake, take a long time on working out the best way to solve it.
    I'm not quite sure yet on what the best strategy is for making the notches on the main stack, but usually I just stack Z and O pieces on top of each other. That leaves me with J, L and I to do most of the work on the right, which if I keep things consistent can go quite well.

    You also have to be extremely careful with how you use hold. Try to keep your stack as low as possible by making sure you use as many T and S pieces as you can. Don't put them in your stack if you can hold them, and if you can use them down the left then you should certainly do so.
  4. zarvok

    zarvok Unregistered

    Thanks for the advice iphys and Rosti, it's very helpful. It's reassuring just to hear other people describe their approaches.
  5. If I had more time to type I would, But I gotta go to work in a few. Here is my video of ZT stacking in Tetris Evolution. I abuse the hell out of infinate rotation, but ehh it is what it is:

    Here is my game from Tetris Splash with ZT stacking with much less abuse: I complete all 15 levels ZT stacking in 4:20. Enjoy.

    In my Splash game I actually use Z and T pieces in the stack on more than one occasion. When I get home from work, I'll try to list some advice if I can think of any. I've been on a bit of a Tetris hiatus for a bit now, but am playing a little bit here and there...
  6. zarvok

    zarvok Unregistered

    Thanks Dumbledors! These are just what I was looking for on the video front. Already I see a couple ways I can improve my stacking. I'd love to hear any advice you have, if you find you have time.
  7. Just one quick question first. What game are you playing? Just curious.

    Hmmm, additional tips I can give other than practice....

    Well, first off I second the notion of abusing the hell out of infinate lockdown if you have the option. It's how I learned how to do it. I never knew ST/ZT stacking untill I got Tetris Evolution and in less than a year I've gotten to the point that I am at. I can now pick up Splash and about 80% of the time I have no problem ZT stacking the entire game.

    Get good at improvising your stack. Don't fall into using the same setup for the notch. While I do use the L and S for the notch quite a bit, I do switch up. I guess if you are doing ST and not ZT that would be the J and Z....

    Know how to spin pieces in other than the T is very helpfull. There are times when I drop a S on the left side of the stack and leave a gap to rotate a J when there are no other options. Check out the Splash vid at 2:14 to see what I mean even though I don't think I really had to do it there. Very helpfull to know how to do this regardless.

    If you mess up your spacing on your notch you might get lucky (or make sure you do it) at the perfect time. Check out this Tetris Evolution vid between 6:15-7:00. I was lucky enough to have this screw-up happen at the perfect time. I didn't even realize I was screwing myself at first. It took me a few, but I figured out I could use a J and keep everything going. I just couldn't drop an I down the opening in the 8th column before I had one in the 10th.

    Play lockjaw, setup to mimic whatever version you are playing and then watch your replays. You have no idea how many times I watched replays of my own games. Very helpfull. You can study how you play without the pressure of actually playing. See what works and what doesn't.

    I've been wanting to capture more of my games and analyze them for a while to see if I can find a good stacking method. Just haven't gotten around to it and I have no idea when I'll find the time to do it! It would be interesting though.

    In the next couple of days I will try to get a vid up of some of the more unconventional ways I do the notch, although I think a lot of it is covered in the wiki. Still, it's nice to see actual video of it in action.

    Couple of other side notes: You can really see an improvement in my playing when I have more previews to work with. I also seemed to really stack a lot quicker, but that is most likely due to the amount that I practiced. Plus, Splash is so much smoother to play than Evo... I like my preview pieces on the side near the bottom since that is where my attention is focused.

    Any other questions, feel free.
  8. Personally, due to high gravity and the fact that pieces spawn left-middle in SRS, I advise ST in lieu of ZT.
  9. Lmao. Yeah, I remember we had that conversation before. While I haven't practiced ST as much as I should have, it STILL seems very foreign for me to play that way...
  10. Just a question about the piece previews: do you actually think out in advance where you are going to put all your preview pieces as they come into view and then place your pieces by memory of what you decided, or do you just look at all your piece previews and decide where to place your current piece based more on a general sense of what you see coming without playing out in your mind exactly how you are going to place each piece? I always played by deciding where to put my piece when it is the next piece and then modifying my choice when I actually play the piece only if it's a bad choice based on the next piece, which seems to be sufficient for stacking for Tetrises but not ST stacking. If you do play out in your mind where you are going to put all your piece previews in advance and you see yourself getting into trouble, do you then look back one piece to try to change things or all the way back to the piece you are currently playing?

    BTW, I usually prefer ZT stacking too, I think because I usually put my Tetris column to the right when stacking for Tetrises, so it just seems more intuitive to stack to the left and score lines to the right. I originally tried learning ST, but as soon as I switched to ZT it felt less backwards and I started doing better, so I usually only do ST for occasional practice or if I have to restart in the middle of a game and I see a starting point to go into ST instead of ZT.
  11. Truthfully, I don't consciously look at the next pieces, especially when I play fast. For ST, I definitely do plan ahead by looking at the next pieces, though.
  12. zarvok

    zarvok Unregistered

    At the moment I'm playing Tetris Party (wii). I'm not particularly attached to any one tetris game, though - I also play DS a fair bit.

    I've been meaning to check out some of the fan made games recommended on these forums (and also TGM and sequels, though getting mame to work on linux is a bitch, and as I understand it ST stacking is irrelevant there anyway), but I haven't had time yet. I'll check out lockjaw - looks like linux is supported - thanks for the recommendation.
  13. zarvok

    zarvok Unregistered

    Cool, that's still a lot more than I can do - my best is 50-60 and I average a lot lower. Out of curiosity, in your tetris party tournament high scores are you falling back on going for tetrises after you screw up around 100 lines, or are you trying to repair and continue ST-stacking.
  14. I never go for Tetrises other than the ones I take between T-spins in ST stacking. Usually I try to repair the ST stack to keep it going. If it ends up in a total mess half way through the game, I clean up most of the screen (depending on how many lines are left) trying to at least take as many combos as I can on the way down and then I restart ST stacking. If I'm very close to the end of the game before I end up with a mess, it's not worth cleaning it up, so I switch to taking as many freestyle T-spins as I can get at the top of the screen and only as many regular line clears as it takes to avoid topping out.

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