Garbage Management: Digging and Counters

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If you've talked to any Puyo players, you might've noticed the recurring notion that Harassment is the most powerful technique possible in Puyo Puyo. I won't deny that that's true, but personally, I find expert Garbage Management to be an equally scary and powerful technique. So before I teach you how to fight with Harassment, I'll teach you how to survive taking a hit.


Digging refers to clearing garbage to regain access to your chain. Let's say you got hit with a 2 chain:


Since it's only 1 layer of garbage, you aren't really in a dangerous position. There are two ways you can go about dealing with this:

  1. Clear the garbage on top of the GTR, and then set off your chain
  2. Chain on top of the garbage, and then let the GTR trigger "fall through"

Option 1: ChainChain

Option 2: Chain

Obviously, Option 2 is preferred since you're adding length to your main chain.

Getting hit with more than 2 lines

If your opponent hits you with 2+ lines of garbage and sets off their main chain as a follow-up, don't panic! Once again, you have two options: (1) rapidly 1 Chain through the garbage until you can access your trigger again, or (2) build a chain on top of the garbage that digs through the garbage and connects to your main chain.

If you're under a lot of pressure from your opponent, you probably don't have time for Option 1. Even if you do manage to dig out your chain, there's no guarantee that it's going to be strong enough to overpower your opponent. So it's Option 2 then. But how do you make a single chain that can dig through multiple layers? Since you're under a time constraint, you're going to have use your ingenuity (and luck) to find a way. I can't teach you every possible case, but I can show you a few examples to help you understand the general idea.

Let's take the above example, except with two lines of garbage instead of one.


Have you been studying your Tails? One way to dig through the garbage is to make Tail-type chains on top of the trigger.

Chain Chain Chain Chain Chain

Alternatively, you can use a combination of Options 1 and 2 to dig to your chain. Clear a layer, and then chain on top of it.


Whichever way you decide to go about dealing with the garbage, make sure that none of your excess Puyo go to waste. Instead of hastily placing the pieces you don't think you can use off to the side, place the pieces in such a way that they Power Up your chain.



Instead of waiting to get hit, though, you should observe your opponent to anticipate the attack and then stack vertically to absorb the garbage. This is called making a Counter. Yeah, it's kind of confusing since "counter" also refers to offsetting garbage. Just roll with it.

Let's take the above chain again. If you see your opponent about to harass you, build vertically on your transition to absorb the damage.


It won't always be so clean and easy. Here are some other examples.

Chain Chain Chain

Most people design their counters to absorb at least 5 lines (the 3rd chainsim), because 5 lines is the max amount of garbage the game will drop on you for every placement.

For more examples, see Counter.

Holy Counter and Devil Counter

If you've been playing a lot, sometimes the RNG will give you perfect sets of monochrome pieces that result in an automatic All Clear. In Tsu, the All Clear bonus adds an extra 5 lines of garbage to your next chain. In other words, you can now fire off a 1 Chain to instantly harass your opponent. When you and/or your opponent obtains an All Clear bonus, a common strategy is to build Holy Counters and Evil Counters.

A Holy Counter is a counter that only uses the left two columns of the board (filling up the 3rd column results in death). Any arrangement of Puyo that achieves that is considered a Holy Counter. But for reference, the most popular Holy Counter is the following form:

Chain Chain

An Evil Counter is a counter that only uses the right three columns of the board. Since you have 3 columns to work with, the counter is easier to make, but it might be harder to make a Tail.

Chain Chain

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