Garou: Mark of the Wolves
- 1 Introduction
- 2 The Characters
- 3 Notation
- 4 Game Mechanics
- 4.1 Throws
- 4.2 Short Jump / Small Jump / Hop
- 4.3 Normal Jump
- 4.4 Super Jump (SJ)
- 4.5 Dash/Run
- 4.6 Back dash
- 4.7 T.O.P Mode
- 4.8 T.O.P. Attack
- 4.9 Super Meter
- 4.10 Super Moves
- 4.11 Feints
- 4.12 Break Moves
- 4.13 Just Defend (JD)
- 4.14 Guard Cancel (GC)
- 4.15 Evasion Moves
- 4.16 Kara Cancels
- 4.17 Counter Hits
- 4.18 Guard Crush (GCH)
- 4.19 Ground Recovery (Rolling)
- 4.20 Motion Storing Technique
- 4.21 Neogeo MVS/Arcade Boss Codes
- 4.22 Easier DP Breaks
- 4.23 Neogeo MVS/Arcade Survival Mode
- 5 Tiers
- 6 Advanced Techniques
- 7 Miscellaneous
Released in 1999, Garou: Mark of the Wolves is the most recent game in SNK's Fatal Fury series. Considered by many to be SNK's answer to Capcom's Street Fighter 3 series, not entirely because of the game's sudden dramatic change in roster (Only Terry Bogard was carried through from previous titles). Ports of Garou are available for the Sega Dreamcast, Playstation 2, XBOX 360 as well as the Neo-geo AES home console and MVS arcade hardware. As of 2017, the game was ported to the PS4 with online support.
The overall feel of Garou is far more in line with Capcom's fighters than any of SNK's other fighting games. The game is frequently recommended to Capcom fans looking for an SNK game to try. If you've had difficulty adjusting to the King of Fighters series, Garou may be much more to your liking.
There exist several versions of the game:
- Arcade Neogeo MVS
- Neo-Geo AES Home Console
- Playstation 2
- Xbox 360 - Xbox Live Arcade
- Dreamcast (Titled Fatal Fury: MOTW in the US)
- PS4 - PSN Online
- Most Neo-Geo emulators support a Prototype version of Garou:MOTW that should be avoided at all costs. This version has many bugs and changes from the released versions that make unsuitable for real play.
- The Neo-Geo AES (home console) and Neo-Geo MVS (arcade) versions are considered the only pure versions, and they are identical. Support for Garou is available on all worthwhile Neo-Geo emulators.
- The Japanese Playstation 2 and Xbox 360 versions are the best home console versions. The controls are very tight and the game play is perfect. On the PS2 version during play the words 'Guard Cancel' do not flash on the screen like the other versions do. On the 360 version it fixes that problem. The training mode for PS2/360 are superior to all other versions, they allow for recording and playback of the training dummy's actions. So for practicing setups and other single player training, the PS2/360 versions are the best, even better than the pure Neo-Geo versions. Another thing to take notice is that both the PS2 and 360 versions run at a faster framerate than the original arcade MVS/AES versions. Only takes a bit to adjust to the speed difference and shouldn't cause any problems when running tournaments. The online play over Xbox Live is better than previous SNK releases, but is still bad nonetheless. FightCade/GGPO/Supercade/Arclive are your better options for online play. The PS2 version also contains the arranged soundtrack, while the 360 version does not (as it is based directly on the original Arcade version).
- The Dreamcast version is the worst of all possible versions. It offers nothing over the Neo-Geo versions other than the unlockable image gallery and the arranged soundtrack mode. Inputs are delayed, Terry's stage lags the game and some versions show problems with sound effects delaying as much as 2 seconds from when they should play. Some of Terry's voice samples are also not the ones from the game, but from as early as Real Bout Fatal Fury Special. If possible, select the original soundtrack option instead of the arranged soundtrack, and play on the original GD-ROM to lessen these effects. Even with these adjustments, this is the worst option for play; even playing on an emulator will be more satisfying.
- FightCade : https://www.fightcade.com An online plateform for arcade gaming, where people gather to play online and chat about the game.
- Discord Garou Group : https://discord.gg/EmKGA4U A discord group for people to share information about the game and help each other improve.
- Discord Fightcade Group : https://discord.gg/q9ys2Wp A discord group useful for finding people to play Fightcade games with.
20% = Hotaru, Butt, Hokutomaru, Freeman, Tizoc, Jenet, Gato, Kim Jae Hoon, Kain, Grant
40% = Kevin
60% = Rock, Kim Dong Hwan
80% = Terry
Numpad notation :
- - Forward - Tilt stick forward/towards the opponent.
- - Backward/Back - Tilt stick backward/away from the opponent.
- - Up - Tilt stick upwards.
- - Down - Tilt stick downwards.
- - Quarter circle forward/Hadouken/Fireball - Tilt stick d, df, f.
- - Quarter circle backward - Tilt stick d, db, b.
- - Half circle forward - Tilt stick b, db, d, df, f.
- - Half circle backward - Tilt stick f, df, d, db, b.
- - Dragon punch - Tilt stick f, d, df.
- - Reverse Dragon Punch Motion - Tilt stick b, d, db.
- - 360 - Complete a 360 (1 full circle) rotation of the stick.
- , -720 - Complete a 720 (2 full circles) rotation of the stick.
- SJ - Super Jump
- TK - Tiger Knee
- JD - Just Defend
- FC - Feint Cancel
- GC - Guard Cancel
Press either / + / up close (Gato and Tizoc/The Griffon are the only two with ) throws) or in the air with (Jenet, Hoku, Hotaru and Dong only have air throws in the game with jump/hop ).
You can tech out of throws by pressing the / button. You can air grab when you small jump, regular jump or even super jump as well. You cannot tech out of command grabs or air grabs. There is also a bug in MOTW that allows you to escape any ground normal/command throw. Whenever you input a TOP attack/Super during the recovery of a move, you won't be able to get thrown. It's a strange bug but it works pretty easy. This video shows it in application: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4gRoJcRI-Jc&p=6B41D61AD830D624
It is possible to option-select the throw-tech, for example will come out as crouch if you whiff it (faster animation).
Throws have priority over meaty attacks on wake-up : if someone use a meaty attack while in throw range and the opponent presses throw, the throw will win.
Short Jump / Small Jump / Hop
Tap //. Your character jumps about half the amount of a normal jump which can help you when you want to throw an opponent off. Since small jumps tend to be a bit more difficult to counter from the amount of jump height. Use small jumps to throw off opponents that think you'll attack low as you jump in, to land a overhead attack opening. Also remember that you cannot JD when you small jump so make sure you use it wisely. The landing recovery is a bit longer than of a regular jump, however it can be special canceled.
Press and hold //.
You can't air block in Garou MOTW but you can JD while you are in a normal jump state. You simply press / just as you are about to get hit so you can JD their attack.
You can JD as soon as you leave the ground, also called instant-air JD with the motion :
On wake-up : waking-up with jump will dodge meaty low attacks.
Super Jump (SJ)
Here is a list of character that run:
Rock, Hoku, Dong, Terry, Gato and Hotaru.
These characters dash:
Grant, Kain, Jae, Freeman, Kevin, Jenet, Butt/Marco and Tizoc/The Griffon.
Unlike in street fighter, dashes can be cancelled anytime like a run, with the exception of Griffon (he can only special cancel his dash).
Notes : Freeman can hold his dash to cover more distance. Jenet and Tizoc have airborne frames during their dashes.
Tap , . Everyone can back dash in Garou. It has invincibility during the back dash so you can go through normal, special or super attacks. It does have a small period of recovery at the end of it. So use it wisely and don't do it at the wrong times cause you might get hit as you finish the back dash animation. Certain characters can cancel out of their backdash animations as well. Here is a list of which characters can cancel their backdashes:
- Jenet - During the backdash animation cancel into
- Hoku - During backdash animation cancel into either or
- Kain - During backdash you can cancel into his charge , TOP attack (), all supers. His backdash cancels require real fast strict timing. As soon as you backdash with him you have to cancel within two frames of the backdash start up animation.
Tactical Offense Position: When selecting your character, you can designate a 1/3 portion of your life bar for T.O.P. When your character's health is within this portion you will notice that your character will begin flashing. The following benefits become available to you once you are in T.O.P:
- Enhanced damage to all of your attacks
- Faster meter build up
- Slow regeneration of your health bar (however, it doesn't regenerate past the T.O.P section)
- T.O.P special move becomes available
In competitive play it is usually placed at the start, allowing the players to benefit from it as soon as the round start and try their best to remain in this state.
Placing it middle can be a way to mess with an inexperienced opponent's combos, as the TOP activation's flash causes a short freeze.
T.O.P Attack pressed during the recovery of a move prevent from being thrown (throw bug).
T.O.P sizes other than 1/3 of a life bar are available in home console versions of Garou and are usually ignored in competitive play. The shorter the T.O.P is, the more damage can be dealt (max. of 1.75x), conversely the longer your T.O.P is, the less damage can be dealt (Min. of 1.25x = standard arcade setting).
All characters in Garou have an extra move that becomes available to them only when they are in T.O.P. (the orange region of the health bar). T.O.P. moves tend to do a decent amount of damage and almost always deal substantial guard crush damage.
The super meter can hold up to 2 stocks. Meter can be filled by doing one of the following: attacking the opponent with anything, whiffing a special move, throwing an opponent, Just Defending an attack, or getting hit by the opponent. Whiffing normal and command attacks will not build any meter. In some cases, a super move connecting on an opponent will also give you a little meter.
S Power Supers - Level 1 Supers (, + /) - Available with 1 Super Stock
P Power Supers - Level 2 Supers (, + /) - Available with 2 Super Stocks
Hidden Supers - Level 2 Only Super - Available with 2 Super Stock, only 5 characters have them:
- Rock Howard - , +
- Kim Dong Hwan - , , +
- Khushnood Butt - , , +
- B. Jenet - Press , and quickly as you are JDing.
- Gato - , + , , + , , + . You have to keep doing it like a reka type special to land it fully.
Feints are partial attack animations that can be done in either of 2 ways:
Feints show the first few frames of animation and sound of a special or super attack, but do not follow through with the actual attack. While they can be used for mindgames to make your opponent think you're going to go for a special move, they truly show their power when used in combos, since you can cancel out cancellable normal attacks with feints (like a special move). This is called a feint cancel (FC). Since the feints are very short and can be cancelled by anything, this will often allow you to recover from a move faster, and even give opportunites for linking more normals than would otherwise be possible.
For example with Terry you can do stand , then hit (since the feint cancels the stand from its recovery animation and also moves Terry foward as well), stand again, , etc.
Certain Feints have particular properties :
- Griffon : forward feint has immediate upper body invincibility
- Freeman : down feint has upper body invincibility halfway into the animation (when his body is lowered)
- Jenet : down feint has full body invincibility halfway into the animation (when she spins around)
- Terry : forward feint moves him forward
Every character has one designated special move/super move that can be broken (only Tizoc and Kain have 2 different break specials moves and Hokutomaru can break his super move. At the appropriate point(s) in the special move, inputting the break command ( + ) will tend to allow the character to recover faster, making the move far safer if blocked, and allowing more extenstive combos (mostly juggles) if hit. Garou only lets you perform 1 break move during a combo, unless you land a counter hit which lets you do another free break cancel. Break moves are some of the easiest methods of hit-confirming a combo to super in the game. All characters can break on hit and a few can whiff their breaks to build meter.
Hit Break - a hit or grab is registered before the move is broken (Tizoc is an exception to this because his break moves will cause him to backstep, but he still only has one timing for each of these).
Whiff Break - no hit or grab is registered before the move is broken.
|Rock Howard||Evac Toss||+|
|Kim Dong Hwan||Kuusa-jin||+|
Chou Hissatsu Shuriken
| + |
|Kevin Rian||Hell Trap||+|
|Tizoc|| Poseidon Wave
| + |
|B. Jenet||The Hind||+|
|Kim Jae Hoon||Hien-zan||ch. , +|
|Terry Bogard||Power Dunk||+|
|Kain R. Heinlein|| Schwarze Lanze
| ch. , + |
ch. , +
Just Defend (JD)
While Standing - tap .
While Crouching - tap .
While Jumping - tap //.
By defending an attack just before it connects, you can "just defend" it. JDs can be done in succession on multi-hit attacks or combos. JD windows are normally 7 frames wide, and give you the following benefits:
- Air Defense: There is no air blocking in Garou, but you can JD in the air. An instant air JD can be performed with (Note: you can not JD during any short or super jump.)
- Gain Life: Regain a small amount of health for a successful JD, even against moves that would do chip damage when blocked (the more damaging the move, the more life gained).
- Shorter Block Stun: If an attack is JD'd, the block stun is reduced by 2 frames, allowing you to recover faster.
- Guard Cancel (GC): Completing a special move (including T.O.P. Moves) or supers during a JD will cause a GCL, immediately ending the block stun and going into the attack's animation. The motions of the command can be buffered before the JD occurs, or done entirely during the JD if you are fast enough.
- No Guard Meter Loss: JD'n a move will not bring you closer to a guard crush (GCH) like blocking will.
Guard Cancel (GC)
An essential counter attacking system in Garou (there are similar counter attacking systems in other fighting games, but without the added stipulation of JD). GCs can only be performed during JD frames (while you flash blue). During a JD, a counter attack of your choosing will cancel frames in the JD animation, allowing you to counter attack. Only 3 kinds of attacks will let you guard cancel out of a JD animation:
- Special Moves
- Super Moves
- T.O.P. Attack
Note that the large buffer allows you to perform the motion before JDing, for example 623 > 4 > JD > press A : will GC with a DP.
Universal Anti-Low (UAL/AB) - Press + (Any character). When you do an attack your character gains lower body invincibilty, so if an opponent tries to perform a low attack it wont hit you. These attacks hit overhead and can counter-hit. Gato and Rock are the only characters who dont come off the ground with their move. As a general rule, this attack has more blockstun than hitstun (in some matchups they are punishable on hit but not on guard).
Universal Anti-Air (UAA/2AB/dAB) - Press + + (Any character). When you do a attack, your character gains upper body invincibility. A great tool to use as an anti-air attack against aerial moves that don't hit too deep. It also beat most standing attack (lowprofile). These attacks can counter-hit and have to property to be cancellable only on hit (except Tizoc and Grant), making them a great tool for hitconfirms.
Kara Cancel - Press + / + + then do a special move to cancel out of its starting animation. A lot like Kara Cancels in Street Fighter 3: 3rd Strike you can cancel certain high/low dodge attacks with every character. Some are more useful than others and some are easier to cancel out than other characters. Great tool to benefit from the upper/lower invincibility when performing special moves.
- Tizoc - +
- Hotaru - +
- Jenet - +
- Grant - +
- Hokutomaru - + or +
- Rock - any of his specials/supers - Rock (His doesn't come off the ground but he uses it the most effectively. Mainly because it opens up so many options for him during wake up situations.)
Japanese term that means "empty cancel". In other words when you can cancel out of normal attack into a special move, before seeing the normal attack animation fully finish. Mainly used to gain some extra range on certain special/super attacks. Each normal attack for each character has different timings for the kara cancels. Use them again to throw off opponents in mind game situations.
In Garou, Counter Hits differ from most games, as they grant huge amount of frame advantage and juggle properties, somewhat similar to SFV's crush counter mechanism.
All attacks (UAA/UAL included) and Supers can cause a Counter Hit. A Counter Hit can be obtained from hitting an opponent out of a start-up animation, as well as certain specials during their recovery.
A Counter Hit on the ground will cause the opponent to spin around, allowing for a ground combo follow-up in most situations.
A Counter Hit in the air will send the opponent flying, putting them in an airborne situation, allowing for an air combo follow-up in most situations. Air combo can be performed with light normal cancelled into a fast enough special/super, a strong normal will air reset before a special can hit. If the opponent hit the ground, they will land facing the ground, allowing for an extra OTG hit (Off The Ground). However they can techroll with any button to prevent this. If a super's freeze animation happens at the same time the opponent hit the ground, they won't be able to tech, allowing unescapable OTG combos.
Guard Crush (GCH)
Blocking, but not JD'n, a move reduces a hidden guard meter for your character. When the guard meter is close to empty, your character will flash red, more strongly the closer you are to being guard crushed. When this meter empties, you are 'guard crushed', and your character reels back, completely vulnerable for a short time. Your guard meter instantly refills to full when this happen.
Guard Crush state lasts for 64 frames, but the 64th frame is invincible. Crush state lasts longer for both Dong (7f) and Marco/Butt (5f).
Guard Durability ranges from 50-60. Here is a list of guard durability for the characters:
Hokutomaru, Hotaru, Jenet - 50
Rock, Dong, Jae, Marco, Freeman, Gato, Terry - 55
Kain, Kevin, Tizoc, Grant - 60
Ground Recovery (Rolling)
Roll Recovery - When you land on the ground on your back/stomach press , , or . Depending on which button you press executes the direction you will roll towards. Use them to recover quicker than just the normal get up recovery. Helps you out by preventing possible crossups or jump in attacks from the opponent as you get up. Though be careful which ones you use as it's possible for an opponent to use the roll recovery to his advantage as well. Here is a list of what each button does, as you hit the ground press:
- - for a forward small roll recovery
- - for a backward small roll recovery
- - for a forward big roll recovery
- - for a backward big roll recovery
Motion Storing Technique
In MOTW when multiple button press occur, the weaker button will come out, following this priority : > > >
This also applies to special, therefore if you do + + , a normal stand will come out, not a fireball or whatever special was qcfA or qcfD.
This allows you to "store" motions to make combos easier.
For example cancelling light attacks into supers : xx requieres very fast execution, you can instead do (stand A) xx (Super comes out, thanks to the first qcf previously stored)
Neogeo MVS/Arcade Boss Codes
Here are the codes to pick Grant and Kain in the arcade MVS version of Garou MOTW, you can do them fast or slow but there is a timer:
Easier DP Breaks
(applies to Dong, Marco, Gato, Terry, Grant)
There is a simple input trick that for some reason, allows shoryuken-type breaks to be performed much easier. All you must do is hold down input 3 (down forward) during the whole break. So, to break it down, (pun intended) with Marco, input 623, then hold down 3 as you input punch > A+B
Neogeo MVS/Arcade Survival Mode
This list has changed over the years due to new techniques and bugs discovered. The majority of the players do agree with this current list.
|A||Kevin, B. Jenet, Gato, Kain, Grant|
|B||Dong Hwan, Jae Hoon|
|C||Butt, Hokutomaru, Hotaru, Terry|
|D||Tizoc, Rock, Freeman|
BNB list with damage comparison for typical situations (damage reduce taken on Terry) :
|close light||close strong||hop||far||low||hop crossup|
|Jae 40/33 (A 2C 236D)||Kevin 54/44 (C rotor C feint A 236B 214A)||Marco 41/35 (hop D dp break fb)||Jae 36/31 (2C 236D)||Jae 42/35 (2B 2C 236D)||Kevin 54/41 (hop A rotor A rotor C feint A 236B 214A)|
|Kevin 38/31 (A A 236B rotor A)||Hokuto 43/36 (D feint B D 214 A)||Grant 36/31 (hop D dp break dengai)||Kevin 34/29 (far A 236B rotor A)||Marco 38/32 (2B dp break fb)||Hokuto 51/40 (hop D D feint B>D 214A)|
|Terry 38/30 (A A rekkas A)||Jae 42/35 (D feint 2D 236D)||Kain 35/30 (hop D lanze panzer)||Kain 28/26 (2AB panzer)||Gato 34/24 (2B 2A dp D)||Freeman 46/35 (hop C B B rekkas)|
|Marco 37/31 (A dp break fb)||Marco 42/36 (D dp break fb)||Jenet 36/28 (hop C dive)||Freeman 26/23 (2C rekkas)||Terry 32/27 (2B dp break dp)||Marco 38/32 (hop B dp break fb)|
|Freeman 36/28 (B rekkas)||Terry 41/35 (C feint C feint 2C fb)||Terry 32/27 (hop B dp break dp)||Hotaru 25/23 (2C fb)||Kain 31/26 (2B lanze panzer)||Dong 38/28 (hop B dp D)|
|Hotaru 35/29 (A reflect break fb)||Hotaru 40/34 (D reflect fb)||Dong 32/25 (hop D dp A)||Terry 23/21 (2C fb)||Freeman 30/25 (2B rekkas)||Gato 38/28 (hop D dp break dp D)|
|Hokutomaru 33/28 (B D 214A)||Freeman 40/32 (C feint dash D rekkas C)||Jae 29/24 (hop B dp break dp D)||Kevin 29/27 (helltrap rotor)||Kevin 29/27 (helltrap rotor)||Rock 32/27 (hop D stA dbl reppuken)|
|Grant 30/25 (A dp break dengai)||Dong 40/30 (D feint dash D 63214 C)||Gato 15/14 (hop D dp)||Jennet 22/21 (C>C)||Rock 25/22 (2B dbl reppuken)||Grant 36/31 (hop D dragon dengai)|
|Kain 29/24 (A B Panzer)||Kain 38/33 (2AB C feint panzer)||Jennet 23/21 (2B 214A)||Terry 36/31 (hop D dp break dp)|
|Gato 29/24 (A A rekkas)||Jennet 36/31 (C feint dash C 214 A)||Hokuto 17/14 (2B 2B 2D)||Jenet 36/28 (hop C dive)|
|Jennet 27/22 (A 2B 214 A)||Gato 35/31 (C demonflip A)||Dong 16/15 (2B 2C)||Kain 35/30 (hop C lanze panzer)|
|Dong 24/21 (A 2C feint 2D)||Grant 30/25 (A dp dengai)||
Jae 29/24 (hop B dp break dp D)
|Rock 23/20 (A 236C)||Rock 29/26 (C dbl reppuken)|
0F (zero frame) unblockable supers
Here is a list of all the characters that have 0F unblockable supers: Rock, Dong, Hotaru, Marco, Hokutomaru, Kevin, Jenet, Gato, Jae, Grant.
This videos showcases setups, option selects and escape options:
The trick lies in the freeze animation of supers, they don't allow any directionnal input (however you can buffer buttons), which prevent blocking on the first landing frame.
There are a few escape options.
- Reversal BackDash
- Buffer an invincible move before the freeze, then press B+D so it doesn't come out. If you see a freeze, press your button for the invincible special to come out. (showcase : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YGg-PWL7gwc)
Throw Reverse Guard
http://www14.ocn.ne.jp/~yosimizu/mowmekuri.htm (It's all in Japanese)
Setup : throw in the corner > jump above cornered opponent > if they hold back, their character will be turned around therefore they will block in the wrong direct.
Escape : JustDefend, or block in the opposite direction.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4gRoJcRI-Jc Pressing TOP attack or a super during the recovery of a move will make it unthrowable.
A few characters are able to perform infinites on hit or guard (leading to guardcrush) in the corner. This is performed by doing a strong attack (close C or close D) cancelled into a feint (2AC or 6AC) followed by a dash/run to compensate the pushback, into another strong attack. Ex : C xx 2AC > dash > C xx 2AC > dash...
Note that this takes very strict execution and is barely used in competitive play due to the risk of failure.
Note : Forward and Down Feint have different duration depending on character.
Here is a list of character that can perform this :
- Jenet : C 2AC dash or D 2AC dash (the D version requieres faster execution and does less damage/guardcrush)
- Dong : D 2AC run (D being a 2hit move, it does lower damage/guardcrush)
- Jae : D 6AC dash (D being a 2hit move, it does lower damage/guardcrush, however the forward feint makes execution much easier)
- Hokuto : D 2AC run
- Freeman : D 2AC dash (D being a 2hit move, it does lower damage/guardcrush)
Execution tip : The forward feint loop can be performed via a shortcut : Use the forward input used for the feint as the first forward input for a dash. Execution becomes : D xx 6AC (wait) 6 (becomes a dash) > D ...
- On the P2 side, your combos have a little less pushback, giving a little advantage to P2. In japanese tournaments, players usually play janken game before the match, the winner gets to pick the side he wants to play.
- If you cancel Jenet's dash before the little stars animation come out, your next light attack will activate them.
How to setup training mode (Fightcade / ROM emulation)
ROM download link : www.mediafire.com/download/i3ctpcibuaajdzb/GGPO.rar
1) In Fightcade, challenge yourself to launch the game.
2) Press Cntrl+F5 (or go to menu "Game" > "Set dipswitches...").
3) Change the region from "MVS System" to "AES System”.
4) Press "F3”.
5) After the game starts, search for "Training Mode" in the menu.
6) Keep pressing F11 till you reach "Save State 8”.
7) Press F10 in order to save your Training state.
8) Change the region back to the default "MVS System”.
9) Close the game and restart FightCade.
Now, every time you want to go to Training Mode, you challenge yourself, go to Save State 8 and press F9 in order to do a state load. The reason why you are using save states to do this, is so that you don't have to change the region of the game every time you want to practice -- and since it's really easy for you to forget changing the region back after you're done practicing, you can get yourself in situations of de-synch if you challenge someone and their region isn't matching yours.