Intermediate Tips and Strategies

Now that you have learned more of the baseline mechanics and terminology of TGM in the beginner section, you are ready to learn some of the more intermediate strategies. I've outlined a lot of these strategies in the sections below, many of which I have learned through my own experience with the game.


Intermediate Mechanics

Moving Pieces Left and Right (DAS)

Moving pieces may seem simple enough. Press right, move a piece to the right. Press left, move a piece to the left. It is a bit more complicated than that however.

There is a mechanic in TGM (and almost every other Tetris game) called DAS. DAS is short for delayed auto shift and is a mechanic designed to help the user with moving pieces to the left and right. DAS will become charged after left or right is held for 16 frames. When DAS is charged, if left or right is held continuously, the piece will automatically continue to move to the left or to the right at a speed of one column per frame. This is always faster than repeatedly pressing left or right to move a piece unless you are superhuman and can press a direction at a speed of 60 times per second.

Note that DAS can be charged at any time, even during line clear delay and ARE. Use this to your advantage to start moving pieces immediately when they spawn.


Intermediate Strategies

Stack for Tetrises

You probably already know this, but it is important to stack for Tetrises. A Tetris is a quadruple line clear and can only be achieved with the I piece. The best way to stack for Tetrises is by keeping the rightmost column, column 10, empty while placing pieces in every other column. When you eventually get an I piece, you can place it in column 10 to score a Tetris.

Take Note of the Next Piece

Taking note of what the next piece is goig to be is critical to your success in TGM. When you have made the decision of where you are going to place your active piece, look up and see what the next piece is going to be. Try to figure out where the best place to put this next piece is going to be ahead of time. This will help you avoid last-second panicing and will be a massive boon, if not a necessity, at higher gravities.

Keep it Flat

When trying to determine where the best place to put a piece is, use the "how flat will it make my stack?" question as a rule of thumb. In general, a flat stack is an accomaditng stack. You want to keep your stack as accomadting as possible for whatever piece may be coming next.

The Pyrmaid

I know I just said to keep it flat. that is in general a good rule to follow. However, at highger gravities, you will want to keep a pyramid-like stack

A pyramid-like stack means that column 5 is the highest column and that the stack slopes downward and away from column 5. This allows for the greatest range of movement because when pieces spawn, most of them spawn in column 5.

Avoid dependencies

A dependency exists in your stack when you have built it in such a way that only a small number of the 7 total pieces will be able to fit it. For example, if you have a hole that is 3 blocks deep in column 2, only an I piece will be able to fit there. If you get unlucky and not many I pieces spawn, then you will be left not being able to fill this dependency and your stack will quickly go into disarray.

In general, it is best to stack in order to accomadate as many pieces as possible, so that no matter what piece comes up next, you will have a spot to place it.

Avoid Castles

Now what is a castle? This is a term I use to describe a stack that is not level and has lots of columns sticking out higher than their neighbouring columns. Castle stacks make it difficult to move pieces around effectively and should be avoided.

Watch Other Players

By far, the most important strategy to playing TGM well is to stack efficeintly. What exactly does it mean to stack efficiently though?

This is not a concept that I think can be directly taught, but must be learned by each individual player. Watching the games of great players is a good way to get some intuition into what moves are good and what moves are not. When watching expert players, think in your mind "where would I put the this piece?". If the player you are watching does not make the same move that you thought of, try to explain to yourself why that is. Why was this player's move better, or, why was it worse than what you would have done?

Stay Calm

It's easy to become overwhelmed when the game starts to speed up and you reach the higher gravity levels. This ain't your grandpa's Tetris, it gets crazy fast. However, it is important to stay calm and keep yourself composed. If you let panic overtake you, you will start putting pieces in bad positions, cause yourself to panic more, and ultimately cause yourself to top out. Conquer your fear and try to remain in a zen and focused state.

Never Give Up

There will be times when you inevitably "misdrop" a piece (lock a piece into a position that you did not intend). It is important to not give up when this happens. Fixing your mistakes will not only allow you to continue on with the game, but will boost your overall confidence about how to deal with unfavourable situations. You will be surprised at how quickly and efficiently you can recover when it seems that all hope is lost.

Take Breaks

It is easy to become frustrated if you feel that you are just stuck behind a wall and cannot advance past a certain grade. The grades of S1, S4 and S6 are well known to be difficult walls to push past.

It is important to take a step back and look at all that you have accomplished so far. You are always improving and sometimes, that improvement can even occur by taking some time away from the game. When you come back, you just might find that you see the game in a way different way and will be able to get overcome the roadblocks that had stopped you in the past

Practice, Practice, Practice and Practice Some More!

This game may seem impossible at first. It's cliché, but its true. Practice is really the best way to move forward. The more you play the game, the better you will get, I guarantee it.