For a free-to-play card game based on mixed martial arts, MMA Federation is a surprisingly high-quality game. While card games are somewhat based on luck, success depends a lot on being strategic with your moves and trying to figure out what the opponent will play in response. Earning new moves through training is well worth the effort and you can get through the game without paying a dime.
Most purchases are cosmetic in nature and there are plenty of options for clothing. You can purchase more energy with in-game cash or real money if you're desperate, but you don't really need to. You will probably want to reach Level 30, though, before you fight online as the health difference between being Level 1 and Level 30 are vast. So here's a handful of tips to get your started on the right foot.
Nice try, but I caught you with your pants down.
1. Try Picking Attacks That Your Opponent Won't Defend
Winning fights in MMA Federation sometimes comes down to thinking about what the opponent thinks you'll be doing and then performing a different move altogether. If you have one particular move that deals a lot of damage for a low amount of stamina (for instance, a headkick that might deal 7 damage at the cost of 4 stamina), your opponent will likely try to block that by picking a head-based defensive move. So instead, trick your opponent and pick a body or leg shot to nullify his defensive move altogether.
In particular, your opponent might receive defensive moves that protect two body parts instead of one, like a muay thai block that resists 5 damage to the body and the legs. In all likehihood, your opponent will choose this move to cover his bases, but if you choose a head attack instead, it might sneak through.
2. Overpower Opponents For Secure Damage
Now on occasion, you might want to reconsider Tip #1 if you want to get in a hit for sure. If your attack will deal 3 or more damage no matter what the opponent chooses to defend with, it might be in your best in interest just to pick that move even if it's blocked. This is particularly important during the end of a match when your opponent has but a sliver of health left. Going with a sure hit here is far better than doing guesswork, and just ending the fight right then and there.
Ouch, this is gonna hurt no matter what I pick.
3. Of Course, Luck Needs To Be On Your Side
Even if you can read your opponent, sometimes the luck gods will throw terrible choices your way. An opponent might get an attack that deals 8 body damage and you've only got a defensive body move that can resist 2. Other times, you might not even get a well-rounded selection of moves and be stuck without a head, body, or leg defensive move altogether. Or maybe your opponent has the ability to counter every move you have.
In these cases, sometimes it's best just to swallow the hit and pass on making a move just to restore more stamina. It's frustrating for sure, and I've had my fair share of sparring sessions in training where the coach just seemed to get every high-powered card in the game. But just know that sometimes it's just not your fault. You might as well blame the moon (or the developers).
4. Remember That Stamina Regenerates, Conserve It When Necessary
Your stamina regenerates four units every turn, so this in turn gives you some breathing room. If you have full stamina, this means that you can spend up to 4 points of stamina and then regain all your stamina back to full the next turn. Ending with low stamina is certainly a risk on the defensive side. It's not as much of a problem early in the game, but once opponents start drawing high-damage attacks, not having the right defense could knock your health down to a point where using all your stamina at one time isn't a sound strategy anymore.
I have purple belts in every discipline. Woot!
5. Choose one grappling style and one stand-up style at the start
In the opening tutorial, you'll be able to select two styles for your fighter. To balance your offense and defense, it's good to start with one standing type (boxing, muay thai, or kickboxing) and one ground type (wrestling or wrestling). Don't worry about picking the wrong ones at first. You'll be able to unlock all the other disciplines once you earn an orange belt in your existing styles.
6. Here's A Fuller Breakdown of Each Fighting Discipline
The game provides a few bullet points for each fighting style but they're rather brief... so here's a more thorough breakdown!
Boxing - Boxing has plenty of moves that don't cost a lot of stamina for the amount of damage they do, but boxing hardly provides any attacks that have a lot of power and it has very weak defensive moves for legs. Many boxing attacks have KO potential and a unique combo ability where the attack can strike multiple times.
Kickboxing - This style has a lot of high damage attacks at the cost of a lot of stamina. Its defensive moves are rather average, with some moves that have the ability to evade all the damage of an attack entirely. But the percentage-based dice roll for evasion is rather low and thus unreliable. On the better side, you can stun your opponent with certain moves, which eliminates one or two attack options on his next turn.
Muay Thai - This is a fair offensive option that fits somewhere between boxing and kickboxing, though some of its starting moves are rather weak. Some moves have critical hit potential which raises the attack's power by quite a bit if the percentage dice roll is in your favor. It has the best defensive power of the three standing styles, with multiple moves that defend against two areas instead of one.
Wrestling - This discipline has lots of opportunities to knock an opponent to the ground. It doesn't have a lot of submission or strike potential, but it has the defensive repertoire to frustrate your opponent. Some moves have hold potential which saps one or two units of stamina from your opponent's next turn to restrain their attack ability.
Jujitsu - On the flip side, jujitsu has lots of submission holds and has a lot of ground control with you being able to sweep an opponent so that you have a better position to deal damage. Instead of hold potential, some defensive moves in jujitsu will give you back more stamina the next turn if the defensive move manages to block all of the incoming damage.
Tap-outs and KOs are really only good against AI opponents.
7. Don't Use Submissions or KOs on Online Opponents
If you manage to score a submission or a KO on an AI opponent without it being blocked, there is a chance that he will tap out or be knocked out. The less health he has, the better the chance. However, to escape from a submission or KO on the human side only takes tapping a circle really fast, which makes it extremely easy to do even if you have 1 health left. So it's really not in your best interest in online battles to go for the submission or KO win and just look at them as a standard attack for its stamina cost and power.
8. And Here's A Breakdown of Status Effects
Heavy Damage (All) - If you inflict 7 or more damage to the head, body, or legs, the opponent will have a vulnerability to that area. For the rest of the round, any attacks you choose that target the same area cost one less stamina to use.
KO (Boxing, Kickboxing, Muay Thai) - If a KO move goes through without being blocked, it will automatically knock down the opponent. If you get knocked out, you can tap a circle enough times to escape. Again, against online opponents, KOs don't really mean anything since they're so easily evaded.
Combo (Boxing) - If a Combo move (labeled with a "123") is selected, it has the possibility of hitting multiple times. I've seen a Combo move hit up to six times, with higher stamina moves having a higher possibility of starting a combo.
Shield (Boxing) - The defensive Shield does not dissipate unless it's put up against an attack that has more power than it. So a Shield of defense power 4 will not be destroyed by any attack that's 3 or less.
Evasion (Kickboxing) - Evading defensive moves have a chance to block all damage of an attack. But therein lies the problem. They all depend on a dice roll, and on top of that, they cost a lot of stamina. They're just not very good options.
Stun (Kickboxing) - On the better side, stunning attacks will disorient an opponent even if it's partially blocked. It will destroy one or two attacks on the opponent's next turn which gives you a better chance of blocking.
Critical Hit (Muay Thai) - Critical hit attacks have a percentage chance to gain bonus power. Different moves have different percentage chances, and sometimes it can be absolutely fantastic, like the Spinning Elbow that as a 20% chance to deal +10 damage.
Counter (Muay Thai) - Counters are solid defensive moves. If they resist an attack entirely, it will deal counter-damage. It's the only way of dealing damage to an opponent on their turn.
Submission (Wrestling, Jiujitsu) - Submission attacks work as the equivalent of KOs except for wrestling and jiujitsu disciplines. And just like KO attacks, they're rather useless against an online opponent.
Throws (Wrestling, Jiujitsu) - Throw moves, even if partially blocked, will send an opponent to the ground and force the fight to the ground game.
Standup (Wrestling) - Standup attacks, even if partially blocked, will bring the opponent back to the standup game.
Holds (Wrestling) - If a hold attack goes through even if it's partially blocked or if a hold defense fully resist an opponent's attack, it will reduce the number of stamina the opponent will recover the next turn by one or two units.
Stamina (Jiujitsu) - If a defensive stamina move completely blocks an attack, you will earn one or two additional units of stamina during your next turn.
Sweep (Jiujitsu) - Even if partially blocked, sweep moves will give you a better position in the ground game, generally giving you better move selection. But it's still random so just treat Sweep moves like a regular move regardless of the Sweep effect.
The Heavy Bag is a fantastic grind spot for XP.
9. Use Grappling and Heavy Bag for Experience Points
Out of all the training exercises available, grappling and heavy bag (they're sometimes called something else) are the easiest and only cost 1 energy per exercise. To be clear, the grappling exercise is a mini-game where you need to follow paths as drawn between nine dots in a square, and the heavy bag mini-game has you tapping on particular points on the screen with speed and accuracy. Both games are quite simple and you should be able to score three stars with ease
The other 1-star exercises are almost as easy, so these should be your main source of accumulating the required stars in order to unlock the last fight in a belt sequence and to progress to the next one.
Since sparring can be a crapshoot in terms of success, these exercises become a reliable source for experience points. In fact, you earn the same amount of experience points for doing these exercises as a sparring session for 2 or 3 stamina, so if you're looking to grind levels, this is the best place to do it (though you won't earn any coins).
10. Be Smart With The Energy Refills When Leveling
If you see that you're close to earning a level up, which rewards you with a free energy refill, it's in your best interest to enter fights and training session that cost a lot of energy to use right before your refill occurs. It's important to level as well since that will, apart from earning cosmetic items and in-game cash, increase your fighter's overall stamina and health. At Level 30, you'll have 15 maximum stamina and 40 health which is a fantastic upgrade from Level 1.