I-No’s goal is to get you into a hard knockdown and then use her unique hover dash to put you in constant high/low mix-ups, and whittle away at your health. Her biggest weakness is getting in a position to do so safely. In order to advance in neutral, she can’t avoid taking some risk, which can be very life-threatening.
- Hover Dash
I-No’s ground dash is unique in that it does not behave like a normal run. Instead, it’s a hoverdash that puts her airborne. If she manages to get in on you, her dash allows her to become airborne while staying low to the ground and perform high/low mixups without having to actually jump. This is referred to as an I-No Hop.
The nature of I-No's dash affects every part of her gameplay. In neutral, it makes advancing tougher for her than characters with regular runs, especially with Strive's universal dash blocking. While it does give her access to quick overheads from any neutral state, it makes pressure resets and throws more difficult. On defense, it prevents her from simply running under certain jump-ins. Even in punishes, being unable to dash for only a couple frames can make them tricky for her. Playing around hoverdash’s strengths and weaknesses is key to beating I-No.
I-No’s round start is weak. None of her buttons except f.S and 2S reach. These normals have 13 and 10 frames of start up respectively. Much of the cast can get their pressure going on her round start. Those that can’t/don’t wanna contest her round start can simply walk back to negate both buttons. That leaves her with her special moves Chemical LoveGuardAllStartup11Recovery22Advantage-9 and Stroke the Big Tree to look for advantages.
Chemical Love is a projectile with decent range. However, it can be ducked or air dashed over. Some characters have dashes that can low profile the move. It will even straightforwardly lose to midrange pokes that slightly shrink the users' hurtboxes such as Ramlethal's or Ky's 5H. Outside of round start, if you’re close enough, you can even 6P it.
If you get hit by S-Stroke, I-No gets a free high/low mixup. You’ll need to go for a Gold Stagger recovery to get the chance to even attempt to block it.
At round start, rotate between walking back and crouch blocking, backdashing. This will deny her the ability to steamroll you at round start.
While I-No’s dash grants her access to strong offense, it oftentimes makes it harder for her to approach her opponent. Her special moves can help with this weakness as well as keep the opponent away from her, but they’re not especially strong in neutral, and are more so meant to help her offense. She also lacks especially strong zoning and anti-zoning tools. The overall objective is to force I-No to play neutral, where she struggles. Memorize and understand her neutral options/special moves and how they work. Then, punish or navigate your way past them, get in on her, and run your offense. She has no true defense outside of Burst, YRC and her reversal Overdrive which is also super punishable.
Try to favor normals with as little recovery as possible even if they would whiff like Nago's 5KGuardAllStartup7Recovery14Advantage-2 or normals that cover many different options like Ky's 6HGuardAllStartup15Recovery20Advantage-7, but be aware that she can beat them with her disjoints as well.
Preventing Her Approach
Her dash forces her to be more airborne over time, making her approach vulnerable to 6P from a distance. You need to be careful when timing your 6P, as she can whiff punish it with Sultry Performance. There are three variations: KGuardAllStartup10 RecoveryUntil Landing + 15Advantage-2 ~ -4 [+4 ~ +1], SGuardAllStartup10 RecoveryUntil Landing + 15Advantage-3 ~ -4 [+2 ~ 0], and HGuardAllStartup8 RecoveryUntil Landing + 6Advantage-7 [-2], all of which hit at various angles. With proper timing, you can use 5P or 6P to hit her out of this move at any angle. If blocked, she can’t take a free turn, so toss out a 5P after blocking to make sure she doesn’t try and take one. If you block H Sultry Performance, try to punish with air throw instead of using a grounded normal. She can use the follow-up to keep it safe. Otherwise, you should NEVER let her get away with tossing out this move. The only time she can really do it is if she has Tension to Roman Cancel it.
If she tries to fish with Chemical Love during her dash, run forward and punish it. Chemical Love has 30 frames of recovery, and she’s in counter hit state the entire time. Like Chipp, the more ambiguous I-No is being while she’s in the air, the more time you have to respond. Chemical Love is less effective as a zoning tool and more effective as a punishing tool. She can use this to interrupt things like Faust’s Item Toss or Zato’s Summon/Unsummon. It’s also useful for opponents trying to set up slow projectiles in neutral like Anji’s Butterfly, Leo’s 214H, Ky’s Charged Stun Edge, Testament’s Arbiter Sign, etc.
If I-No uses Antidepressant Scale (aka Note)GuardAllStartup29RecoveryTotal 51Advantage-16 from a distance, she can use the hit/block stun to lock you down and give her enough time to get in your face. It gains hits as it travels so if you block it from full screen, she gains access to her win condition. Once the move is out though, I-No can’t move for more than half a second. Use your movement options and advance either via the air or the ground. I-No has to make a read on which option you pick, and she can’t cover both options at once. If you’re right, you can score a counter hit on her.
Keeping Stroke the Big Tree in Check
If all else fails, I-No might attempt to use Stroke the Big Tree to get in on you. H Stroke is -2 on block but pushes you too far for her to threaten a strike/throw mix. If she wants to continue her turn, the only thing she can do after this is 2KGuardLowStartup6Recovery12Advantage-2 > 2DGuardLowStartup12Recovery18Advantage-7, she can also try to follow up 2D with S Stroke. Whenever I-No goes for either Stroke during a blockstring, do a delay/fuzzy throw upon seeing the animation for it, timing it such that you would block if it was S Stroke and throw if it was H Stroke.
If I-No does 2K > 6HGuardAllStartup7Recovery19Advantage-8 > H Stroke, this is NOT a real blockstring. Again, you can fuzzy throw her out of H Stroke every time. You can also jump backwards out of the way during the 2K > 6H blockstring as well. If the I-No notices you jump backwards, out of H Stroke, she’ll resort to using S Stroke instead. If 2K > 6H is followed up with S Stroke it’ll be hard to punish because it spaces you out, unless you have a button that can reach her and is faster than 7 frames. You can IB the 2nd hit of 6H in a blockstring to punish it, but beware that she can always cancel into 236S. Do NOT Burst during this string. There are two hits to 6H, and I-No can cancel either of them into H Stroke to bait your Burst. When you’re looking to punish Stroke, be careful not to get too conditioned to punishing it that you forget I-No’s other options to approach as well.
I-No's fastest buttons are her 5 frame 5PGuardAllStartup5Recovery9Advantage-3 and 2PGuardAllStartup5Recovery10Advantage-2. She has no meterless invincible reversal. Her invincible reversal Overdrive is Ultimate FortissimoGuardAll (Guard Crush)Startup7+2Recovery13Advantage+26. This Overdrive has two hits to it, with the second hit causing a Guard Crush state. There's a sizeable gap between the first and second hits where you can punish her with just about anything. Make sure you punish it during this gap, otherwise, I-No will be free to start running her offense.
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, Reversal Supers, Meterless Reversals and Burst, and beat her in neutral where she's usually disadvantaged. Be aware of what your opponent likes to do as her offense is very interactable.
Defending Against I-No Hops
If I-No manages to win neutral and get in on you, this is a dangerous spot to be in. I-No’s hoverdash allows her to perform aerial attacks while being close to the ground. These are instant overheads. She can also jump cancel all of her aerials except for j.PGuardHighStartup5Recovery12Advantage0 (IHD), or cancel them into j.DGuardHighStartup16Recovery20Advantage-4 (IHD) which is also jump cancellable. These traits allow her to perform strong blockstrings that constantly force you to guess whether or not she’ll go high or low and switch your guard accordingly. Some sample blockstring on wakeup are:
- j.S > 2K - High low block
- j.S > j.D - High high block
- j.S > j.S - High high block and reset
- j.S > grab - High block into grab
Because all these moves after j.S have different timing for when they hit, fuzzy guarding here can really help you when she gets her mix ups going. On your wake up, going from high block > low block > high block will defeat the j.S > 2K/j.S/j.D mixup.After the inital fuzzy block, you could add an aditional fuzzy mash of 6P/5P afterwards to stop the j.S reset and the grab. This means, as opposed to immediately pressing it during a blockstring, you wait, and press it during blockstun. This isn’t a matter of reacting. This is preemptively sending out an attack to beat out I-No if she goes for a second aerial.
If I-No knocks you down with a 2D she can use Note to put you into blockstun on wake up using, which will get her one guaranteed high-low mix up upon blocking it. However, you can still fuzzy guard in this situation. If she goes from an overhead to a low, however, this will not work. If she tries to fake you out with a whiffed j.H and goes for a low, or if she just goes for a low without any prior follow up, you can mash throw to beat it.
If you guess wrong during her blockstrings, she can land a 2D and put you in a hard knockdown again. On your wake up, you’ll have to guess if she’ll hit you with an aerial or if she’ll do an empty hop into a low. There are a multitude of high and low options that she can do, and it’s not really possible to react to any of them. The hoverdash is so low to the ground, almost any option she goes for happens pretty much instantly. She’s able to loop these mixups and push you towards the corner until you either guess right or use Burst/YRC, she breaks the wall and resets to neutral, or she kills you. Multiple hops are not real. If she ever tries to go from an aerial, lands, and tries a second hop, you can 6P/5P her out of this at any time.
I-No does have a way to counter fuzzy mashing, however. If I-No goes from an empty hop to 2K, she can gatling into 6H to counter you if you try to punish her here. One thing to keep in mind is that once I-No has opted to go for a low option, she’s committed to low/mid options for the rest of the blockstring. She can’t go from a low into another instant overhead, she can only go from lows to mids. Knowing this can really help mitigate the guessing game. Her pressure should be over after she special cancels, especially after pushing her out with Faultless Defense. Remember the previously mentioned methods for dealing with her special cancels. She’ll likely cancel into one of the two Strokes. Chemical Love whiffs on crouching opponents so she can be counter hit out of it, and she can also be counter hit out of the start of Note as well.
Dealing with Megalomania
I-No's Overdrive MegalomaniaGuardGround Throw (All)Startup11+0(41)RecoveryAdvantageN/A (-18) is a command grab Overdrive where I-No locks you in place and then fires heart shaped projectiles at you. It happens instantly after the superflash. If the command grab doesn’t land, I-No still shoots the projectiles that will home in on you. Jumping and air dashing over her is generally the only punish to Megalomania. The projectiles will still home in on you, but they’re not fast or active enough to force you to block. Megalomania is punishable in the corner, so 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.
Dealing with Wallslump Loops
After wall-splatting with a combo that ends with you grounded, you will be forced into a unique, untechable wallslump state instead of the usual wallsplat state. As long as I-No doesn’t hit you during this state, the wall will not break, and you will be completely inactionable long enough for her to run a mixup. This is a wallslump loop. These loop setups do little damage, but can easily be repeated indefinitely until it kills, or I-No chooses to break the wall, which she likely won’t do until she has the Tension to break the wall with an Overdrive. That way, when she does break the wall, she’ll retain okizeme. I-No has two primary ways of setting up a mixup from this state.
The first is a framekill setup with j.H. While you’re stuck to the wall, I-No will hop forward and whiff j.H a certain number of times. Once you fall from the wall, she can hit you with a few different mix ups. The reason she whiffs j.H is to help her time these setups.
The second wallslump loop setup I-No could do utilizes Antidepressant Scale and has two alternate methods of setting it up:
-IAD back/backdash > Antidepressant Scale > Mixup
-Backdash > (delay) Antidepressant Scale > Mixup
This setup is much easier to perform, forces you to guess with no way to mitigate what option she goes for, and cranks RISC, but is vulnerable to DPs/Invincible Reversal Overdrives.
The best way to get out of this situation altogether is through bursting during her follow up combo during a wallslump if you guess wrong or back dashing on wakeup forcing the I-No player to break the wall. Again, the point of these wallslump loops is to either finish you off if you’re at low health, or build up Tension so that she can break the wall with an Overdrive and keep Okizeme. The longer she loops these, the more chances she’s giving you to either guess right, or build up your Burst to get out of this situation.
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.