So played a friend of mine in a long set with my Hisako, and at one point near the end he asked “so what am I doing wrong?” Somewhat to my chagrin, I didn’t have a good answer for him, as he was more or less losing exclusively to oki. Hisako forces the opponent to guess on wakeup, and he was mostly just eating damage from guessing wrong. After having some time to think about it, I think I have half an answer now.
Something that I’ve been talking about a lot lately is trying to understand why people get hit when they get hit. I’ve been saying it in a bunch of different threads, but I think for the most part people don’t really know what I mean. What I mean by that is asking “what is it about x sequence that made it hit?” Not just was it because there was a frame trap embedded in it, or was it unreactable, or was it ambiguous, but what tendencies was it designed to exploit, what options was it trying to lock down, etc. I think the question is about trying to get at the fundamental aspect of why certain attacks work when they do.
My oki with Hisako is not random. My chosen setup at any given moment is largely about asking “what options do I seek to punish/limit?” If you see me do meaty cross-up air-ORZ->light influence, what do you think I’m trying to do? That setup beats backdash, DP, jump out, normal block, and crouch block all at the same time, and if you block the cross up then you have to deal with the unreactable tick grab into hard knockdown, and then we get to play the game all over again. I don’t actually care which of the options you choose though - mostly I just want to embed in your skull that whatever you just did, it was the wrong decision. If you backdashed, stop it. If you DP’d, that’s adorable. If you jumped, sucks to be you. Whatever option you chose, I have now cut it off from being a viable option, and courtesy of the availability heuristic, I can largely trust that the message will sink in. Now that you know backdashing just gets you hit, jumping got you sat down, and your DP missed, now you’re just sitting still trying to block and instead get snatched by raw meaty influence.
The important thing is to understand why the opponent is choosing a particular pressure option at a given time. By understanding what options your opponent is trying to limit or beat, you gain an understanding of what he really wants to go for. For most good players, particular pressure strings and okizeme sequences are chosen for specific reasons even in scrambly situations like flipouts. Understanding what those reasons are and the “why” behind them makes you much more able to defend against them.
This was a longer and more convoluted post than I wanted, but hopefully that makes sense