Developing the Read

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. :slight_smile:


Oh man, I love this. Going to link it in the main Hisako Tech Thread because I believe it to be extremely relevant.

I’ll post more on this topic once I’ve been awake for more than 30 mins :slight_smile:

1 Like

I can do it with Fulgore but this is a Hisako thread:(

Doesn’t matter. I think this concept applies to everyone. And since the Fulgore subforum isn’t quite as hopping as this one, I say go for it.

OK - so in the video below, because I’d already hit this opponent twice in the last match with Flip-Out > Influence, I was certain that they would jump the next time I attempted it; so I followed the flip-out with Cr.HP, initiated another flip-out, and then landed the grab anyhow.

The only reason why the second flip-out into grab worked is because I was 100% sure that the opponents mental stack ended at the Cr.HP - they didn’t expect it, and I was sure that they had no idea what to do next.

What made me sure of that? It took him getting hit twice with the setup before he thought to jump. Jump was his trump card.

Such a good sequence - that’s a LOT of upfront damage to tack on for someone just making two mistakes. The best part is, the second mistake isn’t even really much of a “mistake” - just a result of making a bad defensive guess against Hisako :slight_smile:

Your comments also highlight a generalized rule I like to use. My rule of thumb is that it takes two instances of a thing happening for a person to adapt or be conditioned to that thing. Use two punishes for a certain action in quick succession, and on the third instance instead punish the counter to that action.

For instance, off a soft mid-range knockdown (think air-to-air jump+HP):
meaty sweep->meaty sweep->dash-up command grab.

Teach them not to do something, and then punish them for not doing that thing. Hisako in a nutshell :smile:


May as well go for it - doesn’t seem we have too many takers so far :sweat_smile:

Do you think that this method of play leaves room for improvement among players?

How do you mean?

1 Like

If players began to use trial and error situations, such as you stated above. Do you think their ability to condition their opponent will sway a better outcome for their match?

Hmm - there are a lot of factors involved. You could say “yes” in a general way, but your opponent/the match-up/your own mindset at the moment etc. can all affect that outcome of a single match.

Really I think that it’s a good habit to get into regardless - making a correct read almost always nets you damage, and conditioning your opponent to do certain things is a great way to precipitate a correct read.

1 Like

But there’s no TRUE WAY to know for sure. I do feel that when being condition. It can affect player moral and force them to do things they normally wouldn’t do. At that point, they are either mixing you up or they are playing your game. I can’t believe this thread didn’t blow up like others. This is such an interesting thing to talk about.

Of course not, but that’s the game yeah?

That’s when you begin to hear the term “yomi” tossed around. The game within the game - that’s what you’re now playing when you become proficient at conditioning and making reads - it becomes a matter of “I know he knows, so I’m going to do the thing they don’t expect right here”. My video in post #5 of this thread shows that type of decisioning in practice.

Layers and layers, right? See - people that are really good at fighting VS Hisako can make those types of calls - “She’s conditioning me not to do X, so that she can beat me with Y, so I’m gonna do X anyway because f*ck her” and it works about 80% of the time… unless I know you’re going to be belligerent :wink:

I TOTALLY AGREE. This topic deserves SO MUCH MORE attention than it’s getting.

1 Like

I concur. Being familiar with your character and azsessing their tools helps you formulate a strategy around your conditioning. I usually look for patterns when I play someone, however if they change their tendencies to adjust to my reactions I feel confused and discouraged. This topic also goes into player psychy.

That’s what I think too! :sob:

But I think I have a bit of a better idea what you’re asking now. In short, I think this topic leaves a tremendous amount of room for improvement among players. The idea behind “developing a read” isn’t that you can predict every action your opponent will take (you can’t), but rather what can you do to (quickly) learn about how he might react to various stimuli.

Being at least moderately systematic about how you go about patterning your opponent I find allows you to more quickly categorize the type of player you are up against, and knowing someone’s general tendencies is always a point in your favor during a match. It doesn’t mean you will win, necessarily, but it sure as heck gives you a better shot at it. And to a certain extent, this process is a lot more haphazard than I may have made it seem above - these were things I was intuitively doing, without really thinking about them systematically until I wrote them down.

The interesting thing about this idea is that you’d actually be surprised how little opportunity there is for the opponent to “mix you up” on some of these patterning/conditioning things once you’ve put some thought into them. We’ve played a lot at this point, which means you’ve seen my knockdown setup of meaty(ish) cross-up TK ORZ->influence a bunch of times. I originally “made” that setup to beat Riptor’s runback+tail reversal, simply because I felt like I didn’t have enough control over the character in knockdown. What I found though is that is also beats most DP’s, along with backdashes and jumpouts.

The thing that makes that setup great is that it allows me to do something that covers several options, and regardless of how it turns out I’m able to learn something important: how do you respond when Sako is standing right next to you on knockdown? I get to see if you’re the type of person who does reversals under pressure (which means you just got punished for using a reversal, a potent conditioning tool), or if you favor backdashes (meaning you also got punished, and therefore conditioned against backdashing), or if you jump out (tells me you’re afraid of command grabs). Even if you just block it out you’re giving me data, and since I probably got the tick grab afterwards I get to run the whole experiment again afterwards.

Each of those things the opponent does is a salient data point as well as a conditioning tool in its own right. If I’ve stuffed your backdashes and jump-outs, then now I’m free to go for meaty command grabs. If I’ve avoided and punished your reversals, now I’ve shown you that isn’t a valid option against me and you’re liable to try something else that I can punish. Each of these interactions is a weight in the balance for what you think is a “good” decision, and if I know what your “good” options are (because I’ve been narrowing them further and further down), then I can punish them. Hisako excels at making someone feel like every choice is a bad one, but most of the cast has a similar capacity I think.


Holy crap I’m so happy that this discussion is happening again.

I have more to add to it, working at the moment but I will post again soon (was watching some stuff today that totally applies to the discussion about player profiling).

1 Like

Do you think that’s more of a fundamental tool in fighting games as oppose to certain play styles. A grappler could fit this playstyle quite nicely because their idea is to make you afraid on hard knockdown and up close.

Oh, there are definitely archetypes that use and rely on this skill to differing degrees. Spinal doesn’t necessarily care about getting a “read” once he’s in instinct, after all; he’s just trying to hit you with some nearly unblockable combination of skulls and teleports. Ditto heavy vortex or mixup characters like Sadira or Wulf. Grapplers tend to lean more heavily on conditioning and reads, while zoners and vortex characters tend to rely on it less.

That said, having a read is useful for all of these characters. Sadira is heavily mixup based, but one of her more potent mixups is the throw/jump/low mixup after a medium kunai. By conditioning you to block or not or throw tech or not, she opens up other avenues of her more “standard” pressure options, the ones that don’t require as much of a commitment from her. Knowing what your opponent will or is likely to do is always useful. Your character may not “need” this to run an effective version of his gameplan, but there’s never a downside to having a good read on your opponent. So I think the skill is pretty fundamental to actually getting better at a fighting game. Good neutral play and optimized oki is fantastic, but I think “the read” can oftentimes be that secret sauce that takes it to the next level.


OK; in the video below, Juicebox (one of my very favorite FGC contributors) explains to a player he just ran a set with how he believes they can go about improving their game. But in the context of this discussion, he touches on him having done things specifically to the opponent to see if it would illicit a specific response (or, in this context, any response). Juice appears to have taken exception to the playstyle of his opponent in this particular set because not only were they not making the read, but weren’t really making the reaction either. Juice was able to deduce that the opponent was playing in a flow-chart kind of way (which the opponent admitted in Juice’s chat) based solely on him picking specific actions to fish for specific responses.

It’s not necessarily related to STORM’s epic OP, but it’s definitely in the hemisphere of this conversation, and if you’re spending time thinking about this stuff it’s a good 13.5 minutes to spend.

Juice knows his ■■■■.


I need a Kreygasm emote to properly describe how I feel about that video :persevere:

While it might not delve too deeply into how to develop a read or precisely how to bait and respond to certain tendencies, it’s a great video on talking about what it means to get better - which is really why I made this thread in the first place (as getting a read/conditioning someone is so central to being successful with Hisako). That idea of how to take your game to that next level is something that has been really interesting to me lately. There’s actually a post around that idea that I’ve been mulling for a few weeks.

More self-centeredly, I like the video because I think I feel myself approaching that same kind of wall to be honest. I think I’m sitting near a 95% win rate this month in Ranked with 85 or 95 games played, and at a certain level I’m finding myself flow-charting a lot of things instead of analyzing it as hard as I should be. I’m taking in data and altering options and approaches, but there’s a definite element of set play to my game that wasn’t there before. Set play isn’t bad per se (again, 95% win rate), but it is unthinking, and being unthinking (I think) is the greatest wall you can ever hit. I definitely think I’m hitting that point where I just really need to run sets with the people who are capable of beating the brakes off of me. Playing at CEO against Bass and Liger and some of the other guys, I never got the chance to be unthinking - I was forced to put everything I had into each match, because against that caliber of player you don’t get to run flow-chart anything.