Anticipation and Reaction

There’s always been a debate about 3rd strike – that it is largely a guessing game. I thought I made some decent posts a while back in the Computer and Handheld Matchmaking thread, so I’d like to expand on that a bit more.

Exodus’ original ‘guess strike’ thread here.

In response to a post of Harmonaz:

The debate for me is the question, How fast can a person react or make the right choice?

The other day I was playing against Urien. You can’t link standing strong into standing short with Yang like most one could against other characters – unless he’s hit while crouching. The urien player tried to low parry while I hit meaty standing strong, and I saw him crouching and I hit confirmed standing short into ex-slashes. I’m convinced that it really was hit confirm, but maybe it wasn’t so much that I have GDLK reactions but that I was looking much earlier on the wake-up game, giving myself more time to identify what happened on the screen.

That same mentality can be applied to almost any situation in 3rd strike. Now there are some scenarios that I would argue that you have to guess (makoto directly on top of you on knock-down comes to mind), but even those scenarios have a process to which they build up to. Even the Makoto scenario can be reacted to by process of elimination.

I guess a good way to start would be the question “Can you break throws on reaction?”. Given a certain scenario, I would say a definite yes.

I really don’t know how to properly start a thread for debate so…


Saying 3s is a guessing game is analogous to calling ST a fireball spamming game. It’s a derogatory way to describe the game. The game stresses reading your opponents’ tendencies, but that’s a fundamental part of any SF game, just as zoning is. Any good 3s player is reading their opponent. It’s not just a constant streak of luck. Of course you can never know for sure if your option is safe, but thats part of the game. I never hear Daigos psychic DP’s derided as mere guesses.

Lastly, I don’t really have a problem with people not liking that aspect of SF, or thinking that 3s stresses it too much, but reading someone is reading someone, whether its dping dhalsims limbs from full screen, or a wake up parry.

Can you tech throws on reaction? Most definitely you can, but if on wakeup if the opponent decides to just sit next to you and play rock,paper,scissors I think it’s a lot harder to know on reaction what he’s gonna do. Although you could get a better answer from what the opponents been doing throughout the course of the matches.

Can you parry on reaction? Yes no doubt about it. BUT the only setup I think that’s VERY hard to parry even with the quickest reflexes/skills is the corner Urien Aeges setups. Even the top pros get caught with this just because it’s damn hard to completely parry correctly since there’s so much room for error.

Other than that I think it’s a game of not putting yourself in these kinds of compromising situations that leads to victory. The best defense is a strong offensive right?

And Jibbo what’s the story behind the “yes,yes woman” in your avatar?

guessing arises only in certain scenarios that you can create or avoid depending on your zoning and your reaction time. sometimes people are able to force guessing games onto you if your reaction time is slow or it is a scenario they have built to. but you either got controlled into it or chose to play it , either way you don’t have to guess well to play 3s. you don’t ever have to guess parry to win.
and i also have thought about reaction time allot jibbo, you have it totally right i believe. when your subconscious and your conscious are working together and you know that something is going to happen it slows down for you , your brain is looking at a small piece of information but your seeing more and seeing it slower because you don’t have to spread your focus.
i think 3s really does let you play it any way you want. and that includes no guessing that wasn’t forced onto you. but if you let them force the guess then you didn’t play your game earlier of stopping them from forcing the guess.

You’re right about it being described in a derogatory sense. I think people who don’t know the game tend to overlook what’s really happening and don’t think about why certain choices are made in a given situation. But I believe there’s more to it than simply reading your opponent. Knowledge of a characters capabilities against your characters capabilites and anticipation, based on various reasonings, of the option you feel like your opponent will choose is an important skill to have in high level play – but I feel there is even more to it.

To give some insight on where I’m coming from, here’s my story of how I’ve got to where I’m at right now. In my old scrub days, there was an arcade at the mall yada yada I played there and I got my ass whooped. I played on xbox live a long time ago. Learned some basic things there. Started playing in tournaments in NC. I did… ok. I believe the best I got was 3rd at a small tournament in charlotte. My game didn’t get to the next level until I played a reactionary player. Playing him made me more of a reactionary player and that aspect stepped up my game quite a bit. So Briefly, I was beating the best in NC like never before (until now, where we’re all really good). Fast forward a couple years and my 1st tournament #1, I move to go to college and I start playing a makoto player (Cajunstrike) who is great at being able to read people. So I learned both skills from these players and when I combined reaction and anticipation, I could make my decisions in game much much faster. I’m also a jazz pianist, so execution comes quick and easy to me.

Any way… when I think of the definition of a guess, I feel like it comes with other baggage other than making a sound decision. To me it’s like if somebody is guessing it involves not knowing why you make a certain decision, you simply chose one option with no reasoning behind it. That shouldn’t be how a good player plays 3rd strike. In any given situation, there should always be a reason for each button that you press. Reasoning which is backed by your knowledge, anticipation and reactions.

It’s from Gran Torino. I thought her face looked mad goofy/cartoony in that scene, so I wanted an avatar of it. It’s a great movie. :lovin:

It’s like when we first start playing the game and we learn how the parry functions. Somebody throws a fireball from full screen and you’re like OMG I CAN PARRY THAT. In your brain you identify it and while the fireball is travelling towards you, you react and you time when to input the parry motion. The same process is involved in high level play, except on a much more faster scale that considers more than one option.

i think you can react vs some shit like OUH, yun/yang 's t.forward…etc (i think you can’t react vs throws) but the key of the game is the footsie/guess …becuase good players do moves when you are not ready…when you are waiting other shit or you are paralyzed or you are frustrated.
for example …when they use comand grabs? when they parry after a dive kick?. when they weak up dp you ? or other shit like …why they do s.jab in aegis reflector mix ups? …is because they throw sand in your eyes

xperience is evrything

not true

Knowledge and adaptation is everything.

I’ve beat tons of players who has infinite times more experience than me (exodus,kofiend,jwong etc.) and I still beated them.

Guessing is in every game. It’s just that 3s has more options for them.

ah, i was in ggpo when you decided to make this thread

anyways, i think there are physical barriers to teching a throw on reaction, but when you tech, you are looking at things other than the throw animation itself, which is what you’re talking about in the first place.

you anticipate a throw, and you look at other cues rather than the throw animation start up itself.

im just some scrub player but i think that the reaction is towards the other cues rather than the throw itself

I think you can anticipate a throw in certain cases; if it’s a game of footsies and zoning vs your opponent. If your opponent suddenly dashes into throw distance, I’ll usually see it if I’m on point. Same with tick throws (which are a bit harder to react to I think)

thats kinda what I mean, Xperience covers evrything. You cant get knowledge about the game without playing that game againts alot of kind of difrent players, wich is experience.

You cant quickly adapt to a certain style of oponent witoout having fought this style of player alot of times before * experience*

you cant be more comftable on wakeup or in guessing like you say without experience in the game.

yes you can beat people who played more often then you, that might mean you are better then them, or it might mean they have not had much experience fighting someone who plays like you.

There are alot of good players that I can beat, but sometimes I get wooped by a certain player while that player isnt even better then all those other people ive beaten in the past…its just that i havent fought people like that before no xperience therefore i get beat by that person even tought hes or she is just as good as all those other ones i beat.

Just like that one time when I was getting owned by a makoto just because i never fought an aggresive makoto who dashed alot. next time i fought that person, he still beat me but very much less then the last times…because i gained xperience fighting that person


The debate for me is the question, How fast can a person react or make the right choice?

airforce pilots and astronauts on record are as fast as .2 of a second so on a game running 60 fps like sf4 thats like 12 frames, while games at 30fps its about 6 frames but im fairly certain those tests are done to see how fast you can be when you dont know its coming. like shoot the target as soon as it pops up type deal as opposed to having anticipated it because you’ve been in that very situation many times, with this you should be able to be faster. i think human top(where we stand today) is around .1 second.

A while ago I wanted to make a post about how everyone who seems to gripe about 3S all have something in common.

  1. They are comparing it to ST, which is about as fucking stupid as someone can get. Comparing SF3, NOTICE THE FUCKING 3, MEANING ITS A DIFFERENT GAME ENTIRELY, as opposed to ST, which it seems like a lot of people forget is derived from SF2.
  2. A lot of people are bitching about parries, and giving it way more thought than it is worth. I read Viscants mini essay a while ago, and although I understood everything he said, I’m going to go ahead and call it out on bullshit. Yes it’s 2009, I realize that, but the thread was closed so I didn’t have the chance to say what I wanted. What I wanted to post was that, in theory, yes, everything he said was correct. Unfortunately, in reality, if what he said was true, high level third strike would be non existant. Because according to him, it would be against logic to attack someone, meaning every single high level match would be 3 rounds of time over and the winner would always be decided by judgment. However, that has never happened in any SBO, EVO, or any other tournament I could think of.
  3. In case someone didn’t understand #2, I’m saying that way too many people are playing theory fighter rather than street fighter.

Whether or not anyone agree’s with me is none of my concern, this is just something I’ve been wanting to say for a long time, and I’m probably already too late. 99.9% of SRK hates 3S with a passion, and I might as well be talking to a wall. But for those of you who see some light in what I’m saying, and agree, you have my blessing, and I hope one day we can play some time.

3rd Strike (or street fighter in general) is only a guessing game if you make it/let it turn into one. If it were just rock paper scissors with nice graphics, there would be no consistent winners. The best players in this game are the ones who can make you guess without guessing themselves.

I think exo was referring to GGPO 3s in his thread, not offline 3s

With that said, online 3s is almost 95% guess, as you cant truly react when your inputs are delayed 4+ frames. (see Shinakuma and spamming tatsus)

When I play Q at my local arcade, I can gauge distance and stand a quarter screen away from my opponent, without blocking, and not worry about getting hit, because i can react perfectly if i see any movement on his part.

Online, I have to stay a bit further away( screen+), AND block, since i have to react to things he did 4 frames ago. I fix this by guessing my ass off and taking stupid risks.

Online 3s is only good to improve execution, if anything at all.

online its best not to worry about winning, just getting stuff integrated into your game you want to be there offline. thats my view imo. like if you want to start using a certain new way to beat crossups or something like that, just do it online so you get used to it. or trying new pokes in different matchups, things like that.

but i mainly wanted to add that i really really like mariodoods quote: “the best players are the ones that can make you guess without guessing themselves” awesome!!!

It’s an educated guessing game. There are people few and far between who can parry almost exclusively on reaction. There are moves out there that I listen for to parry, but it’s limited to about 2 per character (such as Urien’s “EeeYAHS” when he uses fierce or headbutt). Reaction by sight I think comes through a lot of experience and knowing what to expect when you see a character start a move up.

You also have to think about bait-parrying. Fishing is one thing, but I swear I read somewhere on SRK about being able to predict low parries based on moves that you do and the position of the other player. I love me some Theory 3s.

I don’t think anyone should attempt to argue with your explanation:tup:. I get sick of people simplifying the game because they either don’t like it or just can’t advance any further in it. Although I’m not a huge fan of ST, I can’t deny that it’s a deep game worthy of it’s long run. Yea, it’s heavy on projectiles but that doesn’t mean it should be simplified as a fireball spam fest because it’s not.

Anyone who generalizes 3rd strike as simply guessing well knows very little or cares little about the game. Yea, those Japanese players over at SBO and Gamers Vision sure are good guessers:looney:. We just can’t seem to guess as well as them, that’s it! It’s only a guessing game if you are a mediocre player.

I keep theory out of 3S, I just play.
And that’s exactly why I love it so much.
When people start taking games apart and analyzing every possible aspect, it’s no wonder as to why some games become a lot more hated than they should be.

From my knowledge, and the way I strive to play, is that it’s the combination of reaction, anticipation, and guessing. Guessing in the sense that you’re aware of it, and over time, you can improve on it by what Chi-Rithy said: knowledge and adaptation. I know people have different definitions on guessing, but I think there’s no way to fully read the mind of your opponent. I think it’s how good you are able to adapt to them, and making educated guesses based on that.

On guessing, when someone knows so much about what the person can do at a certain point, how good the player is, what you’ve seen him do (or not do) while playing other players, it make your guesses more educated initially. During the match is where you read and evaluate/adapt to what your opponent can, might, and has done. I find that paying strong attention during the whole match, and analyzing quickly helps with this.

Reaction and anticipation can be from a lot of things, stemming from Yun’s dive kick at a certain range, to normals at close range. If both players are playing the with their mind and know whats going on, then guessing is included. For an example: if you’re on the defensive during your wakeup and ken is putting pressure on you, you can react to ken’s low short at close range, his st. strong, or as a tick, etc. What you react with, is from planning a guess. Whether it’s educated from what most Ken’s do, what he’s done before, what your habit is, from dug up intuition, or w/e. OK, my initial guess is that he’s going to throw after a tick, so sj-> parry reverse dive kick out. I anticipated the tick, reacted to it when I got it, and guessed correctly. Then you have to think about what to do and how he reacted to the future steps of that situation, and make a decision form there. There are too many variations that goes with the combination of anticipation / guessing / reaction.

IN my experience, it is VERY hard to do this consistently. From visualizing the outcomes in a flash, to analyzing when the event has happened and memorizing it for the future.