Towards an advanced defensive decision-making process
Having gone through both basic and advanced defensive options, let us now consider what a calculated and active defense-making process based on a risk-reward perspective would entail in GG. That is, defensive decision-making that incorporates knowledge of the options of your character in relation to the options of your opponent’s character.
Now, let’s repeat the knowledge basis for this part. Do you know what of your opponent’s offensive options lead to the highest reward in terms of damage/positioning/meter?
Q1) Under what conditions, in terms positioning/meter, are those offensive options truly available to your opponent?
Q2) Can you avoid these conditions from emerging? (If no, Q3)
Q3) Can you negate your opponent’s offensive options through a defensive option (select)? (If no, Q4)
Q4) When forced to guess, what is the risk-reward for your opponent? (See also Section 5)
Basis: Do you know what of your opponent’s offensive options lead to the highest reward in terms of damage/positioning/meter?
As suggested with basis, advanced defensive decision-making process requires knowledge of what offensive options are available to your opponent and which reap the the highest possible reward. For example, getting hit (A) by a low air dash jSPK from Baiken semi-close to the corner gives her much more damage and meter and gives her better positioning when compared to (B) really anything that could come from getting hit by 2K5S at the same range. Or, using a different example, getting (A) abare-baited by Sol (e.g. 6H CH) gives him more reward than (B) getting caught by his non-CH anti-jump options (e.g. dash 5K). This is relevant information for your defensive decision-making process: you would much rather get hit by B than A. Put differently, your opponent would much rather hit you with A than B!
Q1: Under what conditions, in terms positioning/meter, are those offensive options truly available to your opponent?
As suggested with Q1, before focusing on what to do versus your opponent’s specific offensive options, you should consider how you could have avoided the conditions that forced you to consider them in the very first place. Indeed, options being truly available implies that there are situations when offensive options actually are less applicable. I have tried to structure this process through the three sub-questions of Q2-4.
Q2: Can you avoid these conditions from emerging? (If no, Q3)
As suggested with Q2, there are instances where you can avoid the conditions that make offensive options available to your opponent from emerging. If you are Sol and normal blitz shield a meaty back-jump tatami from Baiken during her okizeme, all of a sudden Baiken has to respect the threat of a DP, thereby denying the strongest version of her mixup game. The comment on the “get-hit-and-run”-tactic is another example of the same idea: a way to avoid the very conditions that force you into a (more) disadvantageous situation when on the defense.
Q3: Can you negate your opponent’s offensive options through a defensive option (select)? (If no, Q4)
As suggested with Q3, sometimes you can negate your opponent’s offensive options through defensive option selects. The entire section about fuzzy defense made the case for this position very clear. The point here is that by negating certain options through defensive option selects (e.g. fuzzy defense), you can force your opponent to consider less rewarding offensive options. But you can only do so if you can convincingly execute these advanced decision options!
Q4: When forced to guess, what is the risk-reward for your opponent? (See also Section 5)
As suggested with Q4, there still exists conditions where you are forced to guess. I will go more in depth on mind games in the next section, but here it suffices to say that knowing what offensive options would score your opponent the highest rewards is key. Knowing what to avoid at all cost is important.
Similarly, knowing what would result in a less favorable situation for your opponent is also important. For example, if you are Venom and have no meter vs a grounded Baiken that has 75% meter, and you have just blocked a tatami YRC on the ground, you would have to guess if Baiken would do TK Youzansen RC (an instant overhead) or a low (2K5S, 2D-tatami, 2H-tatami). 2K5S heavily scales the combo afterwards. 2D and 2H do more damage but must be cancelled to tatami immediately in order for it to combo on normal hit. Tatami is disadvantageous on block, and on IB it is -7, which means that many characters can punish it on block. TK Youzansen RC on the other hand leads to a damaging combo on hit, and can be converted into a mixup or pressure string on block. Knowing this is important information for your defensive decision making process.
A comment on quick situational decisions
GG can be very fast sometimes. Sometimes you have to e.g. adlib combos that don’t give you that perfect meaty. Or maybe you just failed a timing so it came out late. Being able to separate “good meaties” from “bad meaties” is important because you can exploit this in different ways!
For example, Ky has to jump immediately after recovery from stun dipper to achieve the safejump meaty.
If he is too late and you notice it you could:
(1) airthrow, or (2) do a fast abare, before his planned deep air-attack comes out.
Here is where the situational awareness of experienced players usually stick out – a small and unusual gap can be enough for them to smell blood in the water and retaliate.