This topic arose (strangely enough) in a thread about playing one versus multiple characters, in a random digression asking what “fundamentals” are. @Infilament gave a list of some things that he thought fit this category, and one of them was “categorizing player types.”
I call this skill “developing the read”, and I think it’s something that all players, but particularly Hisako players, need to develop to be successful. I wrote a pretty long post about ways to work on this skill in that thread, but thought it might be worth discussing here as well, since it is an important talent to have as a Hisako player. That content follows:
I guess the way I go about patterning an opponent is just to hit them with certain things, and then use the reaction to that as a baseline for what they know/what they like to do. A few examples:
At the first flipout opportunity I have, I will always go for meaty command grab follow-up. Sitting still or trying to throw me means this person doesn’t know Hisako, and I can likely run them over with set play. Jumping means they have a basic grasp of my character, and I will need to adjust my offense to emphasize conditioning. Backdashing means they probably know what the heck they are doing, and I’ll have to resort to nonstandard punishes and setups.
On my first combo opportunity, I will almost always start with a heavy linker after opener. I don’t care if it’s broken - I just want to see if you’re mashing. If you break it, I’ll do it again at my next combo opportunity as well, just to see if you’re truly reacting to it, or just doing some form of a delayed guess. Depending on how that turns out, I will modify my combo-game accordingly. Reaction breakers get subjected to less reactable combo strings and more resets
Early in the fight, I will go for command grab resets. I can’t get combos out of them, but I want to know if you’re holding up. Whether you are or not gets rolled into the “good to know” pile, and my pressure (particularly in instinct) will be modified to respond accordingly.
Defensively, does this player go for frame-trappy things? If I block a windkick, I will try to punish. If I get DP’d for it, then the next windkick I block, I will also try to punish. I want to know if you’re trying to condition me, or if you just can’t help appending DP’s to unsafe specials. If my next punish opportunity succeeds, then I know the opponent is seeking to control my responses and condition me - he is thinking a few steps ahead in the fight. If I get DP’d in the face again, then this guy is probably just doing things, and I will never attempt to punish another unsafe special and simply let him hang himself. This is also the type of player who is more likely to wakeup with things, and my gameplan will shift to oki setups that are not DP-able.
These are really simple examples, but by layering these and other “data gathering” situations, it is possible to develop quick general profiles of the player you are fighting against. Each item stacks on the other and creates a clearer picture of exactly who you’re fighting and how to beat him. A player who always appends a DP to something unsafe is likely to also guess break, for example, while a player who backdashes my reset attempt is also likely to be trying to condition me at some point.
So that’s how I go about trying to develop the read, at least in brief. I’m curious what some of you other Hisako’s (or other players in general if you’re here) do to try and pattern your opponents. Perhaps you guys have some other ideas that I haven’t thought of, and hopefully we can get a dialogue going about this topic. It’d be pretty cool if we could get a running list of tools and options that can be useful in sussing out player tendencies.