Developing the Read

That’s part of why I love playing games with you and @TheNinjaOstrich - you don’t let me get away with Hisako setplay - and I am beginning to feel like every time I can get away with it in other matches, it’s working to my detriment. You guys force me to think about your tendencies on a moment to moment basis. Mind you we’ve become quite familiar with one another so there’s some of that history carried in when we play - but playing against you and Birdman™ really pulls me out of my comfort zone and into actually making decisions.

If you dig that video, I highly suggest checking out more of his content (if you haven’t already) - I find that no matter what game he’s discussing, I can almost always learn something that I can carry back into KI. He thinks about 2D FGs in a very granular fashion, and spends a lot of time on FG theory. He’s really making me question what makes me good when I’m good and what makes me bad when I’m bad.

Also a pretty swell dude, drop into his stream and say Hi if you get the chance.

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When Are we going to play KI LMAO?

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@STORM179’s words echo in my head Everytime he tries to do something in a flowchart manner, only for me to escape and make a read. XD

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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 :sweat_smile:


EDIT: Previous post was too long, so snipped out a section and slightly modified it for clarity

Another example we can apply this process to is Jago wind kick->frame trap DP. This is a completely unreactable, shenanigansy guess on the part of the Jago, right? Well, yes, it kind of is - but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn from it. Why do people get hit by it? People get tagged by wind kick->DP because they think it’s now their turn, because there’s a switch inside us that says “I blocked your special, now I get to push buttons”, or perhaps “you did something unsafe and I will punish you for it.” Understanding that allows us to approach the equation from the Jago perspective; to ask what opportunities does understanding these fundamental “why” questions present?

The most basic thing is to recognize that the Jago player has a teachable moment in his hands. If I understand that you think it’s “your turn” after a pressure string, then it then follows that I am now presented with options. I can disabuse you of that notion with my wind kick->DP, but “I blocked your special, now I get to push buttons” has applications all over the map. I can probably also hit you with laser sword (blocked)->buttons, because hey, you erroneously think it’s your turn after you block something. Following from that, I now have the opportunity to attempt to beat the lesson “not your turn yet dummy” into your head throughout the course of the match. And after that lesson has sunk in, then I get to do wind kick->throw, or wind kick->forward roundhouse, or any other number of nonsense pressure strings that simply do not work if your mindset is “I blocked your special, now I get to push buttons.” So the key thing to think about as the defender in this little thought experiment is “what are the options served by wind kick->DP?” Or stated another way, “which of my options does Jago seek to limit?”

And the best thing about thinking of offense and defense this way is that these are all questions that can actually be answered without necessarily having to go all-in on the DP after blocked wind kick. If I have a wind kick blocked and simply hold back afterwards, I can still get a sense for where the opponent’s head is at by the way they respond. If they press a button that tells me one thing, and if they wait, throw, or backdash, it tells me another.


Good stuff. :slight_smile:

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Lol. I’m glad you think so - I think most people don’t bother reading anything in this thread… :sweat_smile:


To quote Rukizzel from the Textual Stream

I also find it funny that a thread about Developing a Read is also developing into a bit of a read :sweat_smile:
Its a good read. I feel like I’m not actually delving into these finer details because by simply going for the Ranked achievements, I’m just running through the matches trying to learn my character before I can get to that. Its only when I play a character like Rash or Wulf or Shago (ones I’ve spent more time on) that I’m looking for how they’re getting hit. Still got 6 characters left to complete in S3, I’m kinda itching to get to RAAM because he’s got this dark horse appeal right now. I will try to keep some things you guys have said in mind too, its easy to just do something and move on when it works/doesn’t work but its something else to learn a tendency and adapt.

Lol. I’ll take most of the hit for that. I like to think that I have a reasonable array of talents, but unfortunately, brevity is not chief among them :joy:


So I will join in now that I have some experience with Hisako now. I usually test there neutral first. I find a way to get them to block the first hit of my rekkas. Then I continue with heavies. If they block it,I go for the shadow influence frame trap. If they get hit by the rekkas because of trying to do something,I know they are scared now and will stop pressing buttons. This is when I do the mix up rekkas. Now if I did the shadow influence,I usually try again to see if they catch on too it. Helps a lot to tell. Then after the second,I assume they will stop. Now I just wait to see if they jump. Then if so,Cr.Hp into flip out it is. Then when I get instinct,I cancel right after the first hit of a heavy auto double with instinct and taunt them. Then I continue with some fancy hard to break instinct combos into huge damage. This makes the opponent rethink their life as they think they can’t do anything and Hisako is op. Then incoming hatemail XD @STORM179 @Marbledecker Here you go. From a Fulgore player using Hisako,this allowed me to do lots of stuff with Fulgore using reads.

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Do tell. I think this topic has applications across the entirety of the cast, and I’d love to hear your take on it with another character. :thumbsup:

Ok. I will try. Most of you all know about my Fulgore vortex correct? The hard knockdown into fireball into mixup? The mix up really depends on what the opponent does. First time,I usually do overhead. If they block,I try a low next time. If they shadow counter either,I do something different. Instead of a normal,I do medium laser as a mixup if they have meter. This beats out their shadow counter as it does two hits. Now every know and then off a fireball ender,I do the fireball extra early so it whiffs and I land a grab. Then come block strings. With the laser getting nerfed,I usually do medium laser which is even. Then I do light kick to see what happens. If they block it,great I continue the string for a bit. They respect it. So next time,I do light laser into throw when they are expecting a medium. If they try to hit me out of it,light kick is pretty fast so I win or trade. Now I do it a few times to get them to make sure they block. Then I can go for a high low mix up when they do. Of course,I am still working on this and my rust with the robot isn’t helping. Everytime I try out a new character,I always try to find a way to develop the read. I got a simple one for Arbiter but don’t want to derail this Hisako thread with other stufff XD


This thread has arguably transcended Hisako specifics… but hey, let’s keep it here because it’s awesome and Hisako players will get rewarded for lurking here :smiling_imp:

You know what? I am out. I need to revive the Fulgore section. I will do so one laser at a time.

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what a fantastic thread, and informative. so, as a hisako player my objective (as is with all others) is to make you afraid to do things and make you confused. i want to get the player into a panic, then demoralize them immediately so i can start running all over them with grab resets. usually i start off with some tests in first match to see where they stand:

-cr.MK pokes often after a knockdown. if they wake up and block it, i know they have some defense skills behind them, or at least patience. they’re likely gonna be open to TK ORZ variants. if opponent has a wake up DP, theyre gonna go for it after a couple times.

-flip out > possession. if they mash out an attack, or DP, the next flip out ill throw a counter

-purposefully start hitting them with normals while they have meter to see if they got a shadow counter game on point. ill eat the damage, and the full combo to feign confusion (ill even lock out on purpose so they do the same combo again for me to break it).

-ill drop a combo all together to see if they’re mashing. sometimes they’ll pop instinct entirely by accident, sometimes they grab attempt lol

-wallsplat reset ill go for a cr.FP > flip out the first time to see what they do. if they’re hit, i know they’re savvy to the deadly influence command grab reset. i now understand ill need to get blocking for that key moment. if they grab me, well i can either influence them, or j.FK cross up into combo

-dash > shadow influence is a great way to check them if they start to turtle everything hunting for that shadow counter.

these are just somethings i do. i cant recall everything, as i am very reaction based as a player. i have a game plan more or less, but then sometimes i have no plan whatsoever. i just wanna get in there and flat out kill you as fast as possible and using as little of my tech as possible. some fights ill hang back and see what your offense is like. other times i will go in and be extremely aggressive to get that player to start pressing buttons so i can counter the hell out of him.

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Wow, you do all that just to know?

Good tactic and conditioning.

When I think about reads I just have it or not. When I get the download is really hard for the other person to get away if they are playing flowchart. But when they adjust and fight back ( because it makes me do the same ) . That’s when I improve and enjoy matches.

Some of my loses consisted in thinking they were playing my game and adapting. The thruth is they never did. It wasn’t “conditioning” to make blockstring and dp with Jago or cross up jump grab , it was the only way they tried to beat me. So not taking the rights decisions by then thinking “oh, they are looking for something” was my mistake. They just weren’t o___o

Mashing is really something too. Guessbreaking is annoying as well, so that’s when I have to make some important decisions.
I can see pretty fast when I’m playing someone that will take a second to see my combos, not breaking the very first chance they have but watching what I’m doing. I know some interesting fight is comming.

PS: Didn’t realise the thread was old O_0

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Lol. Yeah, it’s been around for a while. I like it a lot even if it never did blow up or anything. I think it provides a good framework for discussion on how to think about the various offensive and defensive interactions in the game. :slight_smile:

And yes, it is important to understand when your opponent is “just doing stuff.” Like any other strategy it has holes that exist to be exploited, but you have to actually notice the strategy (such as it is) in order to capitalize on those holes.


Try things out. I know when I have a suspicion, I’ll try something. If that works, I’ll try it again. And again. Until, that person proves to me that they know how to stop it, I’ll keep doing it.

Like DP on Wakeup or CounterBreakers.

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What about in the case of Player Knowledge?

Like if you have played with a particular person a lot. They know your frame traps, setups, Oki and such. But you know theirs as well. How does “Developing the read” factor then? This person has probably seen everything you can possibly dish out in every situation. Does it just come down to Player knowledge and knowing what buttons to push at what time? Or is it something deeper?


I don’t think of “the read” as some theoretical endpoint of godlike play. It’s instead something that develops continually as a match or set progresses, and each moment-to-moment interaction that occurs fuels your subsequent responses. It’s about breaking down macro tendencies to inform decision-making in the moment.

Against players with whom you’re very familiar, I guess I’d suggest breaking it down once again to the fundamental question of “what options do I seek to limit?” If the player likes to break a lot, perhaps your goal should be to limit/penalize his breaking capacity. If the player refuses to be conditioned (say, he refuses to jump on wakeup to avoid command grabs), then abuse his stubbornness. The goal of developing “the read” is simply to understand what your opponent wants so that you can deny it. It’s not about surprising anyone - it’s about knowing what your opponent wants so that you can hurt him for it.

At many levels fighting games are basic. You don’t necessarily have to go “deeper” to deal with someone who knows your playstyle; you can adapt to and beat them by returning to the fundamental question of “why” people get hit when they get hit. If what you try doesn’t work, then that’s just a new datapoint that you roll into the next moment. Your solutions evolve as more data comes in, but the underlying framework (what options do I wish to limit, what is my opponent trying to punish me for) remains the same.