Throwing random whiffing moves midscreen? ( probably not a footsie)

Sometimes I see high-level players throwing some quick-recovery moves like lp/lk/mp on a mid screen which obviously will not hit unless the opponent is dashing forward (if they have a far forward dash) or throwing a long-reaching special moves which extend their hurtbox. Therefore, I think it’s not a footsie.
Why they throw that? For what purpose? Is that a some kind of buffering?

Example: Some Ryu I’ve seen throw far LK (i think) before they throw a fireball. In a mid-far range. Why they go for that instead of cr MK?

Buffer is definitely one reason, since some moves will hold your position and allow you to buffer moves without crouching.

It’s also a bait if the opponent is looking for something like a fireball, and some moves have a deceiving range and recovery time so some opponents will attempt to move in or even jump in to punish while giving up their position.

And very fast pokes are also quite effective at shutting down dives kicks and step kicks, since those moves rely purely on speed and long active frames, they tend to get out-prioritized and stuffed by anything faster.

Besides the buffer possibility that was mentioned, it can also be a feint. Shotos do a lot to fake a fireball and say the opponent is just out of range to punish it with sweep. You toss a which baits his sweep and then punish him.

Don’t forget that in Third Strike, whiffing mp/hp/mk/hk actually builds meter.

In Super Turbo, I would do this to bait things. Quick jabs lead to people doing dumb shit.

Also i think its a way of mentality that some people have, its hard to react to a jump at point blank.
So to adress that, people throw fast recovery moves to be in the same position and get ready, feeling more secure and react in time to do the anti air or whatever is going to come.
I had this mentality with Deejay in ST, between every maxout i threw out a standing strong because it gave me perfect timing for the next maxout, and also because strong is a very nice anti air. And when i was crouching i liked to poke just to be ready to do upward kicks.

In that situation, I’m going to say this…

DJ can spam all day and beat Blanka 9/1
It trades or beats C.HK
It beats slides, hops, and balls
It beats c.lp
It beats electric
It trades/beats

and at the distance that I can c.hp, you can maxout at a range that I can’t slide under it.

If I try to jump in, you up kick and beat EVERYTHING…

I need lucky c.hp, and some haymaker gimmicks to beat DJ

Against weak players, I tend to do a lot of moves on animation reflex, since it’s easy as pie to do stuff like, say, Chun U1 through a fireball if your opponent can only realistically do a fireball at a certain distance. If someone shows that they like to whiff very fast moves to disguise their intentions, it screws over my old man reflexes.

yeah DJ is mad good!
I didnt think about c.hp i almost never use that move. It has pretty fast recovery and im not sure if its an overhead, but does some good damage.
Ryu is mad hard to beat with dj,

The only overheads in ST other than jumps are Ryu’s, Ken’s and Feis… I might be missing one, but I don’t think I am.

To be honest…most people have no idea why or how to do it. They’re just copying more advanced players. The simple answer is pressure. Say I just threw three fireballs at you from close range. This is pressure. You just lost a couple hundred health, and you wanna jump over my next fireball so badly. If I whiff a, it gives you something to react to and to watch, while keeping me safe. You might just jump the instant you see my character do anything, hoping its the startup animation of my fireball.

Also, charge characters will whiff normals in order to stand up, hold their charge, and not move backwards.

One thing you forgot to mention, that I want to add to this because it’s very important.

If I’m playing ST, and it’s my Blanka against a Gief, the Gief will hit to prevent ME from moving away from him. Blanka should win this fight 9/1, but a good Gief will know to keep me close in. If I’m trying to walk backwards, he will and I go into block. From there, the could buff his 360K attack and grab me. I may not want to risk back hopping because if I’m TOO far, he’ll be in a range where he can jump in on me, to a point where I’m not comfortable and my will not reach him.

It’s stability for a charge character, yes, but it can also be used to prevent your opponent from moving.

When I do that it’s often just in case the other person tries to use anything from spinning kick, cannon drill, scissor kicks, Blanka ball, moves you can’t punish on reaction so you have to press something that if possible may hit as they use it. Of course that always doesn’t work often tend to block more but yeah, it still hits them once in awhile. Don’t do it too often the other person will try to counter you which may be a good thing if you anticipate it.

Far is only used as a fake fireball. Specifically people do People whiff other normals for other reasons, but SFIV Ryu whiffing is a fake fireball.

Besides those that have been mentioned, here are a few other reasons for whiffing normals:

  1. Gain ground a bit of ground. Useful in situations where a moves has fast forward trajectory than holding forward (or you need to buffer a special, as mentioned before). eg. Guile’s knee, Ryu’s SPS, Gief’s In Gief’s case he can whiff or to gain a bit of ground and then do SPD when he recovers (this works also because of item number 3)

  2. As a timing tool to land a safe-jump or some other setup. eg. Ryu’s b.throw,, safe jump setup.

  3. To lock an opponent in a blocking animation. This is was widely used in older SFII games because it didn’t have proximity blocking, ie. no matter where you were on the screen, holding back would always make you go into the blocking animation if the opponent did a move. So you could use this to prevent them from walking backwards. You can still use it in newer games to make someone misjudge their spacing, eg. if, subconsciously the opponent knows that if they hold back for 20 frames they’ll be out of sweep distance, you can whiff a st.jab to make them block and “eat up” their timing, and then sweep them if they’re not paying attention (SFIV Boxer players use this often).

Actually, it does have a distance such that it will not force a block animation, but it is really long. More than half the screen. When it does not force a block animation, odds are it would be useless, anyway.

Oh… Guile “whiffing” jabs could also be charge glitching or whatever it is for rapid sonic booms.