Help me understand a quote from Daigo

I read this on Kotaku:

It’s a little confusing to me because Daigo is telling me not to do what I only do…
here’s the quote:

By “reading” an opponent (memorizing their habits, tells, and methods), you take your focus off of yourself and what you are doing. While knowing an opponent’s habits can vastly improve one’s odds in a match, to rely on this knowledge leads to very selective methods that will rarely work on multiple opponents. It also does not allow the player to grow. “True strength is achieved when you can read your opponent, but defeat them without exploiting their weaknesses.”

Basically I ONLY focus on how the opponent is reacting and make small changes to my existing game-plan to defeat the opponent… What do you think Daigo means?

I think he means by reading an opponent you take the focus off of yourself and what you are doing. While knowing an opponent’s habits can vastly improve your odds in a match, relying on this leads to pattern behavior that rarely works on others. It makes your skills stagnate. “True skill is when you beat them without herpderp tactics.”

Basically, he only focuses on how someone reacts and makes slight changes to his gameplan.

I hope that’s clear enough.

What I got out of it was to take your opponent’s gameplay into account and make it relevant to yours, not to let your gameplay become ‘not the opponent.’ Doing so neglects your own strategies, and it hampers your finding of strategies that are uniquely yours.

It means you should be playing the character, and not the player. If you learn the matchup through and through, you’ll win through sheer fundamentals and your knowledge of the matchup. If you play to your opponent’s tendencies, there’s an opportunity for an error, or a mistake, or suddenly your opponent will change their tendencies (good players are known to do this), and all of a sudden you’re lost in the weeds. If you play the matchup, there’s literally nothing your opponent can do to apply a percentage to your win rate. If you maintain a solid playstyle, without having to make more guesses and gambles than is necessary, then you’ll most likely win.

Think about it like this. No matter what a player does, their character will only execute a move as fast and as powerful as the game will let them. This is the beauty of fighting games. The Ryu that I select in a game, is the EXACT same Ryu that everyone else picks (including Valle and Daigo’s Ryu). So if my opponent is able to properly counter, bait, and punish Ryu’s moves, there’s nothing I can do to stop it.

the only time I could trust a jap is when they’re talking about whale hunting. otherwise I go straight to Jwongs articles for tips

Never stop thinking things

What about things like Ryu mirrors where you both could jump over each other’s fireball at any time since you’re both in valid disatance for a jump in, SRK FADC, Win. in this situation, if he likes to jump after the first fireball is that still playing the player, or the character?

The problem is that not everything is counterable on reaction…you will need to read your opponent at some point and the top players do it all the time. This is why I find his quote kind of contradictory…he makes great reads constantly, and typically you can see that the first matches of a set, he lets his opponents play in order to notice their tendencies. Of course, with genius players, they really aren’t going to have any tendencies/bad habits so you will have to force bad actions out of them as opposed to just waiting for them to appear.

I think what he means is if scrub tactics work on this guy that’s great, but don’t make your game plan revolve around making them work in general. Others will be able to expose you in response.

That’s my best shot at making sense out of something that makes no sense. :S

My interpretation of what Daigo is trying to say is this: When you figure out an opponent’s weakness and all you do is a singular tactic and game-plan to fully subjugate your opponent via that weakness. He’s referring to basically “outplaying” your opponent. Making adjustments based how you perceive your opponent to strike and going in for a combo instead of just repeatedly using a specific move because you noticed your opponent doesn’t seem to block it.
He’s also saying that you can play against one person and beat them all day long with a tactic that you’ve devised by learning the habits of one player but can fail against a separate opponent because they may know more about the match-up or how to counter it.
You won’t grow as a player if you continue to just use one play style against every opponent.
It’s not that the comment itself doesn’t make sense it’s just the Japanese language. It’s very round-a-bout, formal and more interpretations than really straight-forward and blunt more times than not; Comparatively to English that is. So it’s very rough to translate.

It’s a little confusing to me because Daigo is telling me not to do what I only do…

It’s more of a mental thing. It’s being aware of your opponent’s options, despite whatever tendency they might do. At that range, top level players are probably not going to throw a fireball, since they know that the other guy can just jump over it and punish. Most likely they’ll either close the gap and fight at close quarters, or back off.

What if you noticed that your opponent will always play aggressively, and throw a fireball at that range anyway? Even though your opponent might have a tendency to throw a fireball at that range, what if you jump at him, and he suddenly doesn’t? Then your gamble didn’t pay off, and then he lands a Ultra1 combo, and suddenly you’re at a disadvantage. The smarter thing would’ve been to stay your ground, commit to a more solid ground game, and outplay your opponent.

Top players do do it all the time, I’m not saying they don’t, but Daigo is referring to the fact that it’s much strong not to RELY on those observations. It all depends entirely on how the much is being played out. If you’re winning, then there’s no reason to change your gameplan by attempting to make good reads, because it’s still a calculated risk against a strong opponent. However, if you’re losing, then you’re forced to utilize those reads in order to regain the advantage, otherwise you’re going to end up losing momentum, and eventually the match.

And on the subject of genius players who don’t have tendencies or bad habits. This is exactly what Daigo is talking about. Why rely on abusing a tendency or a bad habit that top players don’t have? Or ones that they can change during the course of a match? Good players are known to be extremely adaptive in their play style, which makes them a good player. So why would you have to unnecessarily take risks during a match when you don’t have to? Playing the character is always smarter, and more reliable, than playing the player.

Of course, this is all talking about the highest level of play.

The true beef of this is really that its more beneficial to just play an awesome ground game than just trying to figure out how to get a free jump in combo or make the opponent do something un-safe. The reason being that while it works in the lower level play… you will have a extremely hard time rising up through the mid level game where other players are already starting to figure “it” out (awesome ground game). Don’t even worry about playing higher level players because they’re aware of everything you’re trying to do since they’ve been there and done that.

In a nutshell he’s saying play the character, not the player which is something similar to what Pyrolee said way back when.

The meat of it tho, ‘don’t rely on reads’ I don’t think he’s saying don’t try to figure out what the opponent is doing - I think he’s more suggesting don’t focus in on what they can’t do. At the highest level of play in theory your opp can do anything, but say at the beginner or intermediate level you meet someone who can’t tech throws. What he’s suggesting is to improve you don’t just throw them 20 times in a row til you get the W even if they were otherwise clowning your ass. Or I guess you shouldn’t build your gameplan into trying to throw them constantly. I know I do this in tekken since throws are somewhat difficult to break, so at my level if I’m way down I’ll just throw to try and get a victory.

‘he intentionally doesnt use methods, strategies, or attacks that the playing population agrees are advantageous.’

sure daigo…

Player 1 gets used to the way Player 2 plays his character and starts basing his anti-that-character tactics around the strategies of Player 2.

Player 3 comes in using the same character as Player 2 but in a different way. Player 1 get destroyed because he’s too busy playing against Player 2 to beat Player 3.

I think that’s basically it.

I like a lot of the responses I’ve read up here. But lemme just say what I got out of it when I first read it.
Sometimes when I play, I just stop thinking so much and go at my opponent with my style of play. Sometimes my style starts the match of great and my adjustments may get me to win. Sometimes it doesn’t start the match great and hopefully my adjustments can keep me around. I feel comfortable playing this way, but I also feel kinda blind. Matches get crazy!
Then sometimes I think…man… I can’t keep playing like this, I feel like I’m winning by chance. And this is where I try to read my opponent. For a while this goes well, but soon I feel like I start to lose myself in trying to read all my opponents. I can’t tell what anyone’s gonna do anymore, and so I don’t do much. I become a defensive player who keeps getting his guard broken one way or another. Maby I can’t tell what there gonna do cause I stopped putting moves out there. Before I could at least react to how they played against me.
It’s like there needs to be a balance between me just playing the damn game and doin what I do, and reading the opponent.

      That's just what I was thinking when I first read it. But I really like quite a few of the responses up here and it's makin me think more.