The Blocking Method
The Blocking Method is one of the simplest methods of chaining and one of the easiest to understand. Essentially, the idea is to build your chain sequentially such that the first link you build will be the last one to pop. You don't need to know any fancy patterns or have any real notion of how a chain will progress. You don't need to build efficiently or utilise every Puyo you're dealt. All you have to do – somewhat counter-intuitively – is not pop groups of four Puyo at the first opportunity.
There are a few concepts that you have to understand before you begin but once you get it, you'll be chaining like a noob in no time.
How to Build a Chain
Building a chain is the bread and butter of Puyo Puyo. Whether you are playing competitively or just messing around in endless mode, your ultimate aim is to construct as large a chain as you possibly can. The basis of chaining is to pop a group of Puyo and, in doing so, cause another group of Puyo to pop. Sounds simple right? That's because it is! (At first anyway.)
Above are a few examples of how a chain might look. Click on them to view the chainsims and watch what happens. Notice how, once the first group of four has cleared, the unconnected Puyo fall to form a second group of four. This can happen either by having them fall from on top or to the side of the other Puyo. The second group will now clear. This process will continue until no other groups are formed. At this point, your chain will be considered resolved.
The more groups you form before your chain resolves, the more garbage you will send and the more likely you are to fill your opponent's board.
The question here is, how do you build a chain? There are many different ways which vary in degrees of efficiency, simplicity and versatility, however for the purposes of this article, we will only be looking at the easiest method and the one which most beginners find it simplest to conceptualise: sequential chaining. Since a chain is composed of a series of links which react directly with one another, sequential chaining aims to build the links in the order that they will pop.
To start, you will create a group of three Puyo of one colour which are connected, then you will introduce a group of a second colour which will block the first group, either from above or to the side. You then place a Puyo of the first colour on top of the group of the second colour such that when you pop the second group, the single Puyo will complete the first group. Once you have become good at this, you can introduce a third group, a fourth group, a fifth group and so on. This by no means the best way to build a chain, but it works fine and lets you keep track of exactly where each group sits within your overall chain.
With this method, you will essentially be building your chain backwards (ie. the first link you build will be the last link to pop).
You will hear a lot of Puyo Puyo players talking about their trigger – usually after a defeat in which the evil RNG or a single garbage Puyo has stopped them from reaching it (more on that later). A trigger is a point in your chain where completing a group will start the process of resolution. A trigger can appear at any point in your chain and your chain could potentially have more than one trigger.
The concept of triggers is hugely important to building using the Blocking Method. What you will be doing is repeatedly blocking your trigger by building another trigger. Therefore, being able to identify your trigger is the most important part of building with the Blocking Method. So pay attention to which group of Puyo you want to pop first when beginning your chain.
In the first chain below, the trigger would be the green group. As you can see, if you pop the green group, the red Puyo will fall down and complete the red group. In the second chain, the trigger has now become the blue group, although the green group is a potential second trigger for a shorter chain if you need it. In the third chain, the trigger is now the yellow group.
Your build order in this style is pretty inflexible. You should disregard the pieces that you get and how useful they are to your overall chain and focus on trying to build the next link in your chain. The chains in the previous section perfectly illustrate the build order. Notice how the groups are built backwards from the red group, with the trigger being covered over each time with a new link. Another progression is shown below.
If you're a super beginner, videos are always better, I think. Click here to see a video by the creator of Puyo Puyo VS, the one and only Hernan (all hail). After that, you can practise a little and then move on to the next article.
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