A Player's Gamesense

So ive been doing some thinking and have sort of a two pronged question for all level of players.

  1. When facing a character, is your concern more on what that character is capable of doing to you or what your character is capable of doing to them?

  2. When facing an opponent that you either know or have been playing against for awhile, do you plan and play against the character or the player?

For me, im always trying to better my game and being cerebral was some advice i was given. If i was on a ranked grind, i did not pay much attention to what my character could get away with. I was more focused on what the other character was up to. I certainly think thats a result of the character i main, but i wondered if it wasn’t necessarily the right path. Ive found more fun and more openness (if thats a word) in utilizing Kim Wu more as primarily a mixup character than a burst damage/whiff punish character.

With the second question, for me i kinda feel like my answer lies in saying ‘both.’ But the ratio is kinda up in the air. I have felt like at higher levels of players, i think more on the character than the fighter. When people can ‘master’ a character, its fairly obvious that they’re just putting their thoughts to buttons and dancing around the stage. At a lower lever of player, i find myself more concerned about xyz string, or this/that move than on what the player does. But in drawn out matches, like ft5, ft10, even ft3, it always shifts one way or the other as the games go on.

But im curious on othrrs’ thoughts with those questions.

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  1. My focus is on the opponent’s character and what they can do. For example preparing to steel myself against Fulgore’s teleport - based on that, I then decide what my character will do in that scenario.

  2. The player - after an extended play session, I learn their personal habits and attempt to use that against them.

  1. I think idealy you should do both. While you can reach reach a point where you know all the tools that you have, you’ll always be able to find new uses to them. Learning MUs can take a while but a little less if you know what both involved character can do.

  2. Simple: you don’t know the MU, mainly play the character while also learning the player. You know the MU, solely play the player.

  1. I focus on the other character while trying to keep in mind how that pairs with my characters biggest weakness.

  2. I try to focus on the other player. When I play random matches I try to make an educated guess as to what the other player’s skill level is.

If they have a low player level/character level I assume I can pick on them.

If they have a high player level, but low character level, I assume they know the game well, but maybe don’t know the matchup. I’ll try to keep a trick or two in the bag, in case things get hairy

If they have high level character and player level, I assume they know what they are doing, and play conservatively, while trying to use all of my characters tools to keep them off balance

I think this depends quite a bit on the nature of your own character, taken alongside the nature of the opponent’s . Some characters just get to kind of do what they want, and can more or less stick to their desired gameplan almost irrespective of who their opponent is. At the same time, sometimes the opponent’s character is like that, or sometimes they just perhaps hard counter your character’s standard game such that you are forced to adapt your style.

Sadira is a good example of a character who mostly gets to run her special brand of nonsense at her pleasure, without really having to take too much thought into how she’s managing her neutral or oki. But slap her up against Gargos and all of a sudden that dynamic changes dramatically. So this can be a very MU-specific question really.

You play against both, but player tendencies certainly begin to have an outsized effect as player familiarity grows, particularly if there is an asymmetry in skill between the two players. Very good players pick up on ingrained habits rather quickly, so if the opponent isn’t capable of adapting at that same speed you tend to find the more skilled player beginning to just run over the other guy. At that point he isn’t really mauling the character, but rather picking apart the player based on exploitable flaws in his particular game.

I play guitar and this is a little like music. Knowing what your character does and what the opponents character does is like knowing the chords. You can’t make music without it. But if you want to be good you have to get to a place where you just play without thinking about what your fingers are doing. In fighting games you have to get where you automatically know what the characters can do and you’re actually paying attention to what your opponent is playing like.

(And no, I am certainly not at this point in KI)

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Your concern should always be what your opponent is doing and what is your best option to avoid or counter what they do. Simple

As far as player vs player or
player vs character goes.

That’s very matchup dependent. Matchups that are considered 5-5(Even matchup) it’s strictly a player vs player thing

But if it’s not a even matchup let’s say 6-4(Character A has a advantage over character B) it depends on how beneficial the advantage is and how much options the opponent has while being at a disadvantage.