Risks, Reads, & Reactions (My Thunder Theory)

Greetings everyone, Chula here. By no means am I a pro, but I’ve decided to post my tid-bit on the way I play Thunder, & why. I hope this helps someone!

I have an unwavering belief that positive match-up victories for Thunder come in the form of taking high risks (moderately of course). My theory is based on the idea that the opposition feels I won’t do something that I’m definitely going to do. Risks are very important, & are also a key ingredient that make up most fighting games to date; however, for this particular character I’ve found that you have to take risks more often than not, if you want to win. With that said I’ll mention a little of what some of the enthusiast in this FGC, have asked/said about my Thunder this season.

  • Why would you walk up DP?
  • Why would you fullscreen DP?
  • Why would you randomly SCOE?
  • You’re randomly pressing buttons!
  • You’re way too yolo!

Etc. The list goes on; we get the point. Why not do these things though? These are the exact things that induce his ability to be completely deceptive. In my opinion, there is nothing more scarier in this game than a Thunder that’s standing still. I say this, because this could very well be where the mind games start, & the life meter ends for your opposition. Let’s check out a high risk example…



Within 28-26 secs of the clip (which is where it counts), you can see the first few risks I made were j.HK (which is normally a very bad decision; considering Thunder has one of the floatiest jumps in the game of course (It’s religiously punishable & telegraphs a great deal btw), into cancelling the landing frames, into DP. This guy could have easily teleported, anti-aired, or just blocked on reaction. Some of you might wonder why I took the risk, because it could’ve costed me the match, right?. Here’s the break down on why I did what I did.

  • I used j.HK to make my attempt to get closer safe, not only that, but I also used the HK in particular as a deceptive way to make him feel as though he could punish me as the landing frames were drawing closer. His reaction was to jump & overhead with an attack of his own (As he had been doing the entire match) This is what opened him up to the DP. It’s a pressure tactic I use in conditioning the opposition; & because the j.HK telegraphs so much, he swore it’d be punishable which is why he didn’t think to block.

  • At 24-21 secs, I’m seen throwing out a random L.CG on his wake up where he made an attempt to unsafely teleport; which is a bit of a frame trap in itself (L.CG that is). It’s another risk I decided to take because once again, even though he could’ve waken up with a neutral safe jump to attack, I knew that he didn’t want to risk another Sammamish scenario as it had happened 5 seconds prior.

AGAIN, the initial RISK that most would deem YOLO granted me the ability to condition him while rewarding me with a hard knockdown off of L.CG, damage, & COS.

  • At 20-17 secs, I’m seen crouch jabbing on his wake up to nullify his ability to get up with an overhead as he had also been doing through the match also (I clearly didn’t have a read on him there, but thats okay because he wasn’t in the corner anyway). As it is seen, he clearly had other motives. I was open & he took advantage of it with a barrage of attacks. I later reacted to tick throw reset he tried to sneak in within that same combo, with an empty jump low LK to confirm. The rest is just a bunch of mix ups on behalf of yours truly.:smirk:

Taking these highly punishable risk in moderation granted me the win. If you want to MAIN Thunder, you cannot be afraid to take risks! but that’s just my opinion of course :no_mouth:


Thunder relies heavily on reads to dominate in a lot of his MUs; in which most of them are NOT in his favor. He cannot zone, so spacing is very important as well as having a watchful eye in order to notice what the opposition is doing consistently throughout the MU. In fact being motionless a lot of the time is a good thing (At least to me it is). I cannot stress enough how very important it is to read the movements of the opposition.


  • In this particular MU, my opposition would switch up their play style between the lame game, & the close range ambush game. All I had to do was be patient and wait for the right moment. I took some risks that could’ve gotten me killed, but it was all in the name of spacing, & to put fear in my opposition that I wasn’t afraid to lose health. It’s all a mind game. I kept a read on his teleport and I just wanted to be close enough to him when I got the visual, & audio cues of the teleport; sure enough I got my hug!

This is a prime example of reading the oppositions movements & habits. The name of this MU normally is “Fulgore wins”, however 4 to 5 reads can change all of that if you’re paying attention. Playing against characters such as Fulgore can be both very overwhelming & frustrating. If you’re a Thunder main, I know you know the feeling. All we want is a hug, right? The goal is getting close, and a zoners job is to keep us out. A zoner that can teleport does not always mean that you automatically lose the MU. Try to look at teleporting as a means to get the opposition closer to you without you having to do any work; which is exactly what we want! Don’t work hard unless you absolutely have to. Work smart & they’ll hang themselves eventually. So, be patient!


Reacting to the opposition’s ■■■■ ups is just as important as everything else. In fact, it may very well be the absolute most important thing about using Thunder. It’s imperative to react the reads that you’re making, otherwise you’ll pile up in missed opportunities and get bodied. Don’t let a ■■■■■ up go unpunished. Example…


  • This guy chose to wake up with a special out of fear that I was going to get my Oki/potential meaty after a the knock down. The truth is, I had no plans to attack him on wake up because he had instinct, so I was going to wait & see what he was going to do. With the life lead I wanted to give myself some grace and be a little patient. No need to get careless and shift the momentum of this MU in his favor. For some reason he neglected to take into consideration that I also had yet to pop instinct, & wake up with a special. Either way, I took advantage of his ■■■■ up and beat the living ■■■■ out of him. I hate Gargos. Punishing those who do wrong should be the immediate and only reaction.

I know what you mean. As an Aganos player, half the stuff I do (particularly without chunks) is unsafe. So, if I’m fighting you and barely moving, it’s because I know I have the advantage, and am just waiting for you to make your move, so I can make you suffer for it. :smiling_imp:

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Well written and i agree with you. As thunder you need to take some risks/ use unsafe moves to let your opponent know what options you have and to condition him. One of my favorite example for this is the fullscreen dropkick against players that throw out lots of projectiles or long range pokes with high recovery. If you hit one of the dropkicks they will keep that in mind and next time you are fullscreen they remember it and instead of throwing a fireball they just sit there and wait for the dropkick, that gives me the freedom to just WALK them into the corner without worrying about their pokes.

And to be fair i dont think your light command grab on his wakeup was “random” you probably conditoned him to block on wakeup by using meaties earlier in the set. So grabbing him on his wakeup is a solid option if you have the read, especially against spinal, since you grab him out of block and teleport.

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Yeah, I tend to think the idea of balancing risk, reads, and reactions is pretty much the core component of playing any grappler, even one as hybridized as Thunder (heard someone call him a shoto with a command grab instead of a fireball :yum:).

A lot of the stuff you’re talking about is definitely wildly unsafe, but I actually think stuff like that has its uses if done judiciously. If you empty jump->DP on me and I block it, yeah, you’re eating damage, but you’ve also established in the opponent’s mind that you’re the kind of player who will go for empty jump->DP. There’s definite utility in planting that seed, because the next time they let you jump in, they’ll be a lot more likely to sit still and take the command grab that you decided to toss instead.

A trap I think a lot of players, especially better ones fall into is the mindset that because something is risky, it is therefore bad. There are a lot of situations I think where doing the risky thing is also the smart thing, even if the risky bet doesn’t pay off. Whiffing a counter breaker in a baitable spot, tossing out a “gives no ■■■■■” DP in the middle of someone’s pressure, etc. Those kinds of things leave impressions on people even when they don’t work, and if you’re smart about it, you can leverage those impressions later on in the fight or set.

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Really!? Wow! That’s funny!

…and yet, so true.