Round Start Options
From round start distance, I-No can either play it safe, or use her varied tools to enforce an RPS with high reward if she guesses correctly. Depending on the matchup, 2H, f.S, 6H, microwalk back 5H, 2S, 236S/H, hoverdash j.S/H, j.236K/S or TK j.236H can all find usage to call out her opponents' round start options. Generally, though, it's best to play it safe by walking back and observing what your opponent does first. Even from a little further out, I-No's disjoints and movement are great at controlling the pace of the round from the very beginning. It generally helps to know your opponent's round start options and how to beat them, however, so take care to learn these by matchup.
Though I-No has some of the most fantastic meter dumps in the game with two amazing supers and plenty of great uses for PRC and RRC, it's offset by her weaker-than-average meter gain. Using the tension you do get is key to playing her well.
Generally used to extend pressure or to force your way in. With 50 meter Sultry Performance goes from a low-reward divekick which is safe on block, to a neutral-skipping tool that allows I-No to go straight into her offense without an explicit mistake from her opponent. Extremely hard to anti-air, the counterplay to I-No's dives is usually to try to make them whiff altogether, and it doesn't work if it's PRC/RRC'd.
The same applies to 236S; where its fast startup and low profile is usually balanced out by it being fairly punishable on block and its low reward on normal hit. With 50 meter it allows I-No to start or continue pressure on block, or convert fully on hit.
PRC can also be used in conjunction with Chemical Love in matchups where it's generally useful, allowing I-No to cover space and threaten multiple angles at once, while substantially improving its reward on hit compared to using it meterlessly.
Generally, I-No doesn't want to use RRC or PRC for combos as her metered combo extensions are generally low-damage. However, using them to extend combos from starters that would normally not lead to good knockdowns isn't bad. Similarly, as I-No's meterless mixup is already extremely potent, using BRC or PRC for a stronger mixup isn't a very common tactic, though such mixups do exist.
Universal guard cancel that leaves you +10. The number is a little too low for I-No to safely run her mixups or get a proper gapless blockstring from farther ranges. Still important as I-No's defense is generally quite weak.
Grounded, 632146S is an invulnerable metered reversal boasting good speed and damage, and it can be used to pull I-No out of a jam on defense. It's main use, however, is as a finisher in corner combos, as in that context it allows I-No to continue her offense even after a wallbreak.
Airborne, j.632146S has no invulnerability but is much more versatile overall. A projectile that hits in a huge radius around I-No with good damage and incredible advantage on block, it can be used to trade with anti-airs, to force your way in with an absurd amount of plus frames, or to force a safe mixup from any air normal. That last point is especially important when it comes to j.D mixups as using Ultimate Fortissimo after j.D will both grant good reward for hitting the mixup and a second chance at opening your opponent up if they block it. No confirm needed!
It's a command throw that does a lot of damage. Generally better if it can wallbreak but it wallbreaks from really far out anyway. Silly move, just press it.
Mid Range / Footsies
The range where I-No is generally most comfortable. At mid-range, she can threaten almost every one of her moves effectively. 236S/H have obvious use in low profiling useful pokes, and hoverdash complements those normals by high profiling buttons that catch them. However, I-No doesn't need to use those moves to get in, as the threat of them is enough to shake up their opponents' playstyle, and she has some of the best mid-range buttons in the game. Her S buttons are both excellent in their own right. f.S is almost completely disjointed and hits extremely far, while 2S, though it sports less range and is not disjointed, is much quicker to start up and recover than its standing counterpart while still having good range.
On hit, you'll usually want to buffer 5H behind these normals if you're close enough, as on hit it will lead to a combo and knockdown with 236H, and on block it will frame trap for high reward. The normal is also significantly safer on block than either of her midrange S buttons.
I-No's H buttons are a little unusual compared to the rest of the cast's. 2H is a rare example of a disjoint with a hitbox along the ground, and boasts more range than most in that category. This, in addition to its low recovery and high reward on CH with 236H, makes it a prime button for bonking preemptive pokes from opponents looking to stuff I-No's approaches before they come. 5H's hitbox looks similar to 2H's on first blush but serves a much different purpose. As it launches on normal hit, it's more used for preemptive whiff punishes, and it will combo into 236H so long as there have been less than two hits in the combo prior to it.
6H is quick to start up at first, but the first hitbox rarely has much use in neutral, most useful to snuff out moves such as Ky's Stun Dipper for a high-reward counter hit. The second hit, however, is a disjointed hitbox that swings in a near-180 degree arc in front of I-No. It can be used as a pre-emptive anti-air or poke and has extremely high reward on CH, but beware of its long whiff recovery making it easy to punish.
These normals, accompanied by I-No's excellent movement with Stroke the Big Tree, her airdashes, and Sultry Performance, allow I-No to play a very calculated and safe midrange that she can abandon at any time to transition into a fast-paced, oppressive approach. Playing neutral against I-No can be one of the most demanding tasks in the game for a lot of characters.
- IMPORTANT NOTE: Early in the game's lifespan, especially before her buffs, it was very common to use I-No's high and low profile moves to constantly coin-flip her way into winning neutral exchanges. THIS IS NOT AN ADVISABLE PLAYSTYLE. I-No has lower-than-average health and often the punish for guessing wrong on your approach is much more brutal than what you'd get if you successfully gamble your way in. Hoverdash and Stroke the Big Tree approaches are still valuable and should be used, but only if you have a good understanding of your opponents' habits, and must still be used sparingly.
Close Range / Brawling
I-No is pretty good in close range scrambles, as her 2K/5K both sport good range for their speed, and also combo into 2D consistently for a knockdown into note okizeme. 236S and 6P are also good in scrambles, 236S as a quick, longer low with low profile, and 6P as another quicker low profile move with higher reward.
I-No can also, of course, go for a short hoverdash into an overhead in these situations. However this is ill-advised as almost any normal will catch hoverdash in its startup. It should only be used if you have the initiative, and your opponent has demonstrated they'll somewhat respect your other options.
Long Range / Zoning
I-No has two specials that seem prime for her long-range game: Chemical Love, which no longer needs to be qualified as Horizontal, and Antidepressant Scale. Both are projectiles but they serve very different functions from matchup to matchup.
Chemical Love serves as a low-reward poke that is nevertheless almost completely disjointed, and reaches near-fullscreen. Its main weakness is how easy it is to low profile - any character with a run can avoid it completely simply by holding the dash macro. Don't be fooled, however - 214K is essential to I-No's kit. Though it's universally avoidable thru a run, committing to a long-range run up button against I-No is extremely dangerous due to her disjointed pokes, and must be done on a read rather than reaction. This makes Chemical Love especially potent against characters such as Anji or Goldlewis, who have options they'd want to use at Chemical Love's max range that would be stuffed by the quick projectile.
Antidepressant Scale seems almost the opposite. It's slow to come out and slow to travel, but no matter whether your opponent blocks or gets hit, you're in a great position. The ability to control its vertical position can also allow I-No to lock off strips of the stage and make her opponents' movement more linear. However, its extremely slow startup and recovery can allow opponents to punish from many ranges, and it's near-useless against high-mobility characters such as Millia or Chipp. Antidepressant Scale is best used in matchups against characters with poor movement or poor fullscreen options.
The effectiveness of I-No's projectiles varies greatly from matchup to matchup, just like most of her other tools. Generally, though, it's more effective to try and get into the midrange than to play far out.
I-No's 6P stands out as one of the best in the game, with great range, reward, startup, and recovery. Most air approaches can be taken care off simply by varying its timing. However, in situations where you might not feel confident in 6P's speed, 5P also functions well if they're close enough. As a hard callout, 6H, despite being very slow, is also a disjoint that hits directly above I-No's head, and has great reward on counter hit. To mess with people trying to be cheeky with air options that alter their momentum, air throwing or j.P make for great air-to-airs. j.H can also function as an air-to-air, but has to be done preemptively due to how slow it is.
To catch characters like May, Ramlethal or Ky who like to jump back and use their air normals to stuff people running up on them, using 236H to low profile the normal and get in with plus frames can be effective, if well timed.
I-No is one of few characters to have Guilty Gear's "traditional" projectile okizeme in Strive, and hers is notable for being by far the most versatile. Though Antidepressant Scale may look slow at first glance, its range and speed are outstanding when compared to other okizeme projectiles, and it allows I-No to set up her infamous note oki from almost any hard knockdown.
I-No's hard knockdowns come from her throws, landing either version of Ultimate Fortissimo, ending a combo with a grounded hit of 2D, or with an air hit of 236H. Her air throws do not grant her note oki and some spacings of 236H don't either, but she can set it up from any of the other knockdowns. On 2D knockdown, she needs to cancel into note slightly late in most situations, but for any of the other knockdowns I-No can simply buffer the projectile right as the move's recovery ends for the setup.
However, not every knockdown is a hard knockdown...
Meaties and Safejumps
With Strive's knockdown system, I-No often won't have enough advantage to set up a note. However, she can still continue her offense from a knockdown by chasing the opponent's recovery with a j.H, stuffing attempted jump outs, normals, or even throws. If she's close enough to her opponent, I-No can even time her hoverdash well to safejump. With how hoverdash works it's difficult to put setups into text, so try to lab things out a bit for yourself. However, know that I-No can convert almost any combo into a safejump, with the exceptions being combos that end high in the air with j.H or j.236K/S, or combos that end with Chemical Love. Learning to cut off combos for oki and time the subsequent safejumps is a huge boon to your offense!
From a hard knockdown, instead of setting up note oki, I-No can instead hoverdash over her opponent's head and perform a high/low with airdash back j.K or land 2K. It's not as threatening as her usual okizeme, but it's useful for stealing the corner if you happen to hit a combo while cornered.
Corner Wallslump setup
As I-No often wants to keep corner, setups have been developed to stick your opponent into the corner as long as you hit your mixups and don't let them up. After wall-splatting with a combo that ends with your opponent grounded, they will be forced into a unique untechable 'wallslump' state instead of the usual wallsplat state. As long as you don't hit them during this state, the wall will not break and they will be completely inactionable for long enough for you to run a mixup.
I-No has two primary ways of setting up a mixup from this state. The first is a framekill setup:
- 66 j.H whiff > 66 j.H whiff > ...
- .. > 6 j.S (slightly longer hoverdash)
- .. > 66 j.H whiff > 2K/632146H
The second utilises Antidepressant Scale and has two alternate methods of setting it up:
- IAD back/backdash > 214P > Mixup
- Backdash > (delay) 214P > Mixup
There are pros and cons to both setups. The j.H framekills are harder to set up, but are less vulnerable to DPs and less distance-dependent than the note setup. The note setup is much easier and cranks RISC, but requires the user to manually gauge their distance from the wall/their opponent, as backdash to immediate note at closer distances will cause the note to simply hit, and break the wall unintentionally.
Both these setups do little damage, but can easily be repeated indefinitely until it kills, or have meter to break the wall while retaining okizeme. Keep in mind that launchless routes are fairly limited by design and these setups can only be performed once the wall has already suffered significant damage before you open your opponent up.
You can incorporate any of these moves into your non-launch combo:
Wallslump guides and helpful examples
I-No's hoverdash grants her the most potent high/low mixups in the game, and is the genesis of her overwhelming offense.
Your "default" pressure starter. You can cancel this into j.D for a second overhead that leaves a 3f gap, or land and hit 2K for a low. This forms I-No's most basic and safe high/low. Alternatively, you can forgo your high/low, and walk up to throw your opponent after they block this normal.
I-No can also perform F-Shiki by jump cancelling this normal and going straight into j.S or j.K. However, if they do not block the first j.S, it will whiff, and the combo you get afterward is generally low reward.
A more dangerous option due to its lower blockstun, but j.K's lower pushback can also make it useful against opponents holding FD on wakeup. You can also take advantage of the lower blockstun and set up faster tick throws than you'd be able to with j.S
Raw j.D is slow, but that can be used to your advantage to break the fuzzy guard technique, or to catch opponents mashing fuzzy backdash during your safejump, or during note's blockstun.
I-No can whiff j.P/j.H, or FD immediately after a hoverdash to land faster and go into a low or a throw. As most people will be blocking high on default this can catch opponents anticipating the j.D/2K mixup off guard.
I-No can also forgo the hoverdash altogether and go for 236S on her note okizeme instead of a high. People are unlikely to anticipate it, but it's very low reward, so it's best used as a round ender or if you have meter to spare.
Walk up 2K
Instead of another option for a low without hoverdashing. 2K is safer and more rewarding than 236S on hit, but it doesn't work from as far out.
An option to use when your opponent is blocking high by default. j.P is technically I-No's fastest hoverdash overhead, but whiffs on crouchers. However, it also has a unique self-gatling, allowing you to chain up to three overheads into a blockstring. Its low blockstun also makes it good for tick throws, meaning that if they block the first j.P, you can chain it twice and land into a low or a throw, don't chain any at all, or chain it three times for three overheads. This mixup is vulnerable to fuzzy throws, but I-No can bait it by airdash cancelling one of the j.Ps.
I-No's pressure works a little differently from other characters in Strive. As she lacks a normal run and her walk is very slow, she can't go for throws nearly as easily as other characters. However, many of the general concepts still apply.
After a hoverdash, frame trapping with 2K, c.S or 6H is the go-to option to establish respect. If they don't get hit you can continue frame trapping, either with 2D from 2K or 2S > 5H from c.S. If you've exhausted all your gatlings and they're still blocking, you can try to catch jumps or mashing with 236S, delaying it as necessary to account for blockstun or your opponent's habits. However, if they block 236S your turn should be up, so don't go for it everytime.
If you're willing to disrespect your opponent, you can try to jump back airdash to high profile their attempted punish after 236S and get a combo of your own. If they start anticipating this, you can low profile their attempted anti-air instead.
If you've noticed your opponent's respecting your frame traps, it's time for you to force them open. After landing from a hoverdash, quickly hoverdash again into j.S for another quick overhead. You can also do this from a low-recovery normal like 2K or c.S. These resets are extremely difficult to react to and a lot of people will have to guess or mash if they don't want to get opened up. Another option is to use 236H where you would use 236S, as it's plus on block and forces the opponent to guess by mashing if they don't want to eat constant pressure.
I-No is supposed to win when she gets close, and she forces you to guess. Make liberal use of defensive options such as YRC and Burst, and beat her in neutral where she's usually disadvantaged. Be aware of what your opponent likes to do. Stuff STBT with lows, stuff airdashes with 6P. Try to favour normals with as little recovery as possible even if they would whiff, but be aware that she can eat them with her disjoints as well. Try to make dives whiff rather than challenging them directly or blocking.
You can mash 6P after j.S to beat j.D gatling, or your fastest normal that hits mid to beat hoverdash resets. You can also fuzzy throw upon seeing the animation for Stroke the Big Tree, timing it such that you would block if it was S-STBT and throw if it was H-STBT. Fuzzy guard can also help in the matchup, going from high > low > high on your wakeup to defeat the j.S > 2K/j.S mixup.
Don't get gimmicked:
- Generally mash after blocking an uncharged dive grounded. The hops are minus.
- The slow STBT is +2, and the fast one is -7. See if you have a normal you can punish it with, and interrupt slow STBT if you think it's coming.
- Her reversal super (Ultimate Fortissimo) has a significant gap between the two hits, allowing you to interrupt the plus projectile with a combo.
- If you block j.236H, try to punish with air throw instead of using a grounded normal.
- Megalomania is punishable if you block the projectiles in the corner! If your character doesn't have the means to jump over her and punish, try to see if you can get a sideswap combo instead.
The answers to I-No's toolkit are highly character-specific. It might be helpful to consult your character's page or discord to find answers.
Click [★] for character's full frame data