GGACR/I-No/Structuring Useful Practice 2

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< GGACR‎ | I-No

"Help! What's my gameplan?"

The joke is: "Hit your opponent, then do a combo that knocks down, then shoot a note, then do it again." In practice this is much harder than it sounds.

The plan is going to change with every matchup. No matter how strong your offense becomes in training mode, which is really a void, you wont be able to properly figure out how to "dance" in "the neutral game" without experience. You wont be able to properly build up your defense unless you have to block an opponent using their offense against you. You can get good at "doing stuff at your opponent", and you can build the required execution to IB a hit you're expecting and jump out of a throw setup, but you wont have the recognition of when your opponent will use that throw setup.

This section is more about giving you a starting point to start learning how to dance, so you can optimize your learning experiences and focus on the right things. If you're in a phase where you need to just be able to "do stuff at a moving opponent," you can get that experience vs the CPU, in order to get to the "learning how to dance" phase a little faster.

Figuring out a game plan

The first step is simply playing the game. It's possible that you picked I-No because she looks cool, or because you saw someone else playing her really well and thought "I wanna do that." Or maybe you've been playing the game for a little while and decided you like how it feels when you play I-No. Part 1 of this guide actually has you start with some basic execution drills because they're easy to do and will lead to more immediate results than if you started with this section. However, this is how you get started at playing the "real" game. Breakdowns of those things I mentioned in Part 1 like "learn neutral" and "learn how to control your character" will be included here.

An outline will probably look like this:

  • Learn to control your character
    1. Practice movement patterns such as IAD both ways, super jumps, double jumps, etc.
      • Specific to I-No, learn to work with her hoverdash, j.D FDC, j.236D cancel options, note 6FRC6, 66956 (hoverdash to low airdash) and whatever else you can think of.
    2. Practice execution for combos, blockstrings, traps, escape options, etc.
    3. Most of this is covered in the drills section, specifically for this reason. It's important!
  • Learn Neutral
    1. Figure out what each one of I-No's moves is good for.
    2. Figure out how to actually use each move for that purpose, but live in a match against a moving and counterattacking opponent.
      • Learn this against every character, because context changes how this all works.
  • Learn what every character generally does
    1. Learn each of their moves so you have an idea of what they're trying to do to you.
      • You need to learn the properties of the moves so you have a better idea of why they're being used.
      • You need to become familiar with the animations of the moves so that you'll recognize them.
        • This will help you to block mixups on reaction.
        • This will help with your punish game. Most unsafe moves go unpunished due to a lack of timing, which can be due to a lack of recognition, or mental pressure during the match.
        • This will help you to escape combos/setups that involve stagger, as you can start to waggle when you know you're getting hit, before seeing the UI element for it.
    2. Learn what their gameplan is. This is basically "learning the matchup". Again, you can "do things at your opponent," but it's not the same thing as being prepared. The starting point in learning how to use I-No's moves effectively against an opponent means knowing what your opponent would do if they were "doing things at you" without knowing what you would do, and what timing they would have. I-No's matchup section can be found here.

Learn to control your character

Going through the other starter drills should help you get better at this. The way you want to move is character specific though, and will be covered in more detail in the matchup pages. Remember that being able to do these things in training mode is only one component of actually doing them in a match, so get lots of matchup experience. You need to repeat things enough that your neural pathways develop and your inputs become automatic, on top of being clean and free from errors. You also will learn to recognize when you don't have time to actually input the more complex commands, and can then work on either recognizing the situation earlier (to get more time) or to look for other solutions. And as always, practice things facing both directions.

  • Practice movement patterns such as IAD, super jumps, double jumps, etc.
    • Basic, but important. Should require the least "training mode time" relative to other movement patterns (that are more difficult to do), especially since you'll get constant practice during actual matches.
  • Practice execution for combos, blockstrings, traps, escape options, etc. The previous writeup on "Structuring Useful Practice" which includes beginner drills goes over all of this stuff.
    • Learning how to block string is actually really important. Stronger players will recognize when you only use the same blockstring and will punish you for it. Your blockstrings should be opportunities for you to open your opponent up, not the other way around.
    • Practicing combo execution is a trap for most new players. They'll spend 6 months in training mode learning a few BnBs and then a few highly situational combos that they don't realize are situational, and then lose because they have no sense of how to avoid getting hit. You're going to telegraph that you want to hit them with X because that's the move you know how to combo from. Stick to basics early on. Simple combos into knockdown, and blockstrings, are more important than advanced combos.
    • Figure out combos from your most common starters and the most common situations. Some of the key lessons would be (in order of importance):
      • Basic combos from 2S. You'll use 2S to check your opponent's movement in neutral from outside of their range (and knock them down to set up note).
      • Combos from STBT. You'll use this to go under attacks.
      • Combos from Sdive or Kdive. You'll use this to jump over an attack and then punish it, or to do damage from a mixup situation since they're overheads
      • A mid screen combo starting from 5P or 6P, so you can do damage from your anti-airs.
        • A corner variant to get better damage.
      • Mid screen meterless combos starting with j.K/j.S or 2K that end in knockdown, as they are mixup (high/low) starters.
        • And learn slightly better corner combos starting from the same moves.
      • Learn something you can combo from f.S, which you'll use to control space.
  • Specific to I-No, learn to work with her hoverdash, j.D FDC, j.236D cancel options, note 6FRC6, 66956 (hoverdash to low airdash) and whatever else you can think of.
    • Just doing hoverdash > normal requires practice. Also make sure you work with hoverdash > FD so you don't screw that up when you need to do it.
    • I-No's advanced techniques take a lot of practice. If I were to prioritize them...
      • Medium Effort, common use: FRCs, 66956
      • Medium Effort, uncommon use: HCL:E, Fuzzy Overhead conversions (j.S > dj.K > Sdive)
      • High Effort, common use: HCL 6FRC6
      • High Effort, uncommon use: j.236[D]-button-6 or j.236[D]-4-button-4, VCL FRC > negative-edge j.236S, fastfall j.D, j.D FDC, Machine Gun HCL (repeated HCL > FRC > HCL)

Learning Neutral

I like to break things down into 4 ranges: Touch distance, round-start distance, long range, and full-screen distance. You could break it down more than that if you wish, but I feel like this is sufficient as a minimum for understanding spacing.
You should try to figure out which range is favorable to I-No for each matchup, because that changes, and then try to play at those distances as much as possible. A greater breakdown will be present in individual matchup pages. However, the general gist of things is:

Touch Distance

At this range you can run frametraps and mixups effectively. Some characters are scary when you're this close (like Potemkin), but if you have the initiative, this range makes I-No really dangerous. If your opponent cannot be opened up by scoring hits in neutral, you would essentially be forced to get close enough to run your strong mixup tools. I define this as being within range to make contact with 2K and combo 6P from it, or closer. You can be further away and still make contact with 2S following a 2K, but your options are so much more limited since you probably can't reach with 2D to knockdown an opponent you hit crouching. If you're at a range where you can't at least score a knockdown through some method, you may not be in as favorable a position as you think.

From 5P, 5K, and c.S, the mixup of TK Sdive or 2S is on the table. To really take advantage of 2S as a low you need HCL 6FRC6 on deck, but if you have it, you can convert off of either option into 35+% damage for only 25% tension, which is pretty dangerous.

Don't be afraid to frametrap and be patient to see if your opponent will hang themselves, and/or to enforce respect so you can risk a mixup later (since your opponent can beat the TK Sdive by counter-mashing). Getting pushed out a little bit isn't terrible since I-No typically does well enough from round-start distances or at long range against a lot of characters. Don't "overextend" or take unnecessary risks just to stay close unless it's a matchup where you really need to be in their face... but even then a smart opponent will know that's what you're trying to do, and will let you hang yourself.

Round Start Distance

Make sure you read the section on Starting the round. Generally speaking, any time you get to this range, these concepts will apply. You can then expand in complexity by learning about move interactions at close range (Touch Distance) and Long Range. However, you also have to factor both players potentially having meter, so there are new options on the table (like forcebreaks) and the risk/reward changes.

This is about the range where most characters try to poke with f.S to force their opponent to jump in, or to get their opponent to try to pre-empt with something that can blow through the f.S. Then you would wait to whiff punish that hit, or if you knew what was coming and had a good move to beat it clean, you could fish for a counterhit. If your opponent jumped in you would anti air with 6P or throw.

However, I-No's f.S is better suited to a longer range due to the long startup. Instead you'll use 2S to check opponents who try to bully you with their own f.S or other strong normals, though you'll want to take advantage of just how long range I-No's 2S is. Generally, if they're trying to microdash into range, they're not blocking low. If they try to push their buttons at the wrong time, you can stuff them with 2S and make them feel oppressed.

Standing hits near max 2S range can probably combo into HCL to score knockdowns and get oki, but this doesn't always work due to how HCL's hitbox expands forward over time, and due to some hitstun animations moving the opponent's hurtbox away from you. If you score a crouching hit you either have to be happy with the small amount of damage you dealt, or take a big risk on trying to trap them with STBT-S or P note or something. You may feel like "If I was a tad closer I could at least combo into 2D for knockdown", but then you might not be at a range where 2S was as effective for scoring the hit. Use 2S in a way that it works safely, and if the reward is small, so be it. Sometimes you just have to encourage your opponent to not do something else that's more annoying. Also, counterhits deal double stun damage, so if you get the uncommon crouching counterhit with 2S, at least you're getting your opponent closer to being stunned.

Long Range

I-No's long range game is kind of unique due to her f.S and HCL projectiles. If you're at the ideal range for f.S, opponents usually have to choose to jump over it or go underneath it somehow. If they try to jump over it you're in position to anti-air with 5P, 6P, j.P, or maybe 6H. If they try to go underneath it you can crush them with 5H. If they choose to sit back and punish you a different way, you can try to snipe them with HCL to score a knockdown, or they may allow you to shoot a note at them.

I'm hesitant to say this because I don't want to encourage a bunch of newbies to overuse f.S, but it's a very strong tool for knowledge checking opponents. If they don't know how to deal with it you can completely shut down some players, since it can be difficult to get around in neutral, and it's deceptive on oki (lingers for longer than it looks, becomes even more plus when it hits late, etc.).

Full Screen

Typically if you're full screen, most characters don't have a way to punish the note projectile on reaction. You should be able to summon it and try to get your opponent to block it so you can close distance. Most of the time you should try to advance safely behind a note, because there is little reason not to. You may not have time to fully close the distance, and in those cases you can opt to get close enough to tag a grounded opponent with HCL to cause knockdown, or just to get to a more favorable position while retaining initiative.

If Full Screen is safer than Long Range, you can dance back and forth without overextending until you have meter to make something happen via Force Break Note, or to tip the scales in your favor due to greater reward for the risk, by using stronger confirms that require meter. That said, I-No wont really win wars of attrition where both players sit at full screen throwing and blocking each other's projectiles, because she is not designed to deal tons of chip damage. When your opponent blocks a note you typically want to get in range to run a mixup. That said, sometimes you only have enough time to get close, but not enough to safely run the mixup. In situations like that, if you have better knowledge of hitbox interactions for the matchup than your opponent, you can try to play patiently to get them to swing at you, and then out-slug them and convert from the counterhits. Doesn't always work, but don't be afraid to try it.

Learn what every character generally does

Again, greater breakdowns in each matchup page, and if you wanted to dive deeper you could look at the character's own wiki page.


Systems Pages