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  1. Knock them down.
  2. Shoot a note.
  3. Dash at them and run a high/low mixup while they're in blockstun.
  4. Confirm a combo and end in knockdown.
  5. Repeat steps 2-5 (recursively, forever).

Public Service Announcement: Doing hover dash > j.H DOES NOT cause you to fall any faster than if you had simply stopped dashing, or pressed any other button. The fastest I-No can land after committing to a hover dash is 20 frames. What is important about the j.H feint is that it can be ambiguous as to whether you're going to hit them with j.H or not. It might also be easier for your execution to push a button to stop dashing than to let go of the dash, so really there's no wrong way to do this. It just looks like she lands faster, and people said she did for years, so we need to clear things up here.

Mix-Up (The Concept, and how it applies to I-No)

When breaking down I-No, she has the same mixup everyone in the game has: high/low/throw (and some cross-ups). What makes her better at this than most characters (save Millia) is her hover dash, that lets her access near-instant overheads vs the entire cast. Even so, when fighting players familiar with her, her mix-up becomes very stale unless you adjust it. A good basic example for instance, is her hover dash->j.k. After getting hit by this a few times, players will start to react to the hover dash and block. To stop this, you can do hover dash->land->2k. This will catch players still stand guarding, but is still reactable. A great way to hide the fall j.k is to hoverdash->while still at a fairly low height->j.hs. The j.hs has a slow startup so it wont actually start up all the way. Feint that you're going to hit them overhead, then 2k. The same technique lets you land into walk forward throw.

Another general note about mixups is that many of the tools you attempt to use will be beaten by different tools that your opponent can use. Beaten doesn't have to mean "contested" or "challenged" either; your opponent can beat a dash-in j.S || land 2K string by blocking high, then low, with the right timing. You can use an empty dash to change the timing (no hitstop) and hit low about 13 frames faster than if you used a j.S, which will beat autopilot block switching.

Even if you can safely attack while your opponent is stuck blocking a note, you only get that one safe mixup. Your opponent won by blocking it, and now you have to take a risk to mix them up again, or try to frametrap them to enforce respect so they'll be more willing to try to block a second mixup instead of counter-mashing when they sniff an opening.

Also, consider that very few mixups into throw can truly be considered "safe," because you have to leave a gap of at least 5 frames between when your opponent exits blockstun and when you can throw them. Also, throw attempts are either going to use your H button normal on whiff (typically long recovery), or if you use the option select of pressing 6+H+X, where X is another button not including dust (unless you've already used your burst), you'll get that other button. However, you're looking at 6P (good anti-airs, but not necessarily against a rising opponent who jumped out of the throw setup), 5K or c.S. Or, some characters have a 6K or 6S. Sometimes those are good buttons to use with a character's throw, but everything has a weakness.

In I-No's case, 6H is actually a pretty good button to let rip when you attempt a throw because it has that second hitbox that catches people who jump, and also starts low to the ground and can potentially catch a backdash. However, it is a committed move that can still be air FD'd if not outright dodged, and you also have to factor that I-No cannot microdash to set up her throws due to how her hoverdash works. Because you have to walk to throw, and because the first hit on 6H isn't super fast, expect to get hit if your opponent guesses that you'll throw and counter-mashes correctly.

Setting up

The different setups

As your opponent wakes up, you're either going to use f.S or the music note to force your opponent to block, so you can either safely run a mix-up while they're still blocking, or so that you can do something else with frame advantage. In case you're really new, "frame advantage" means you got to start moving before they did (usually measured in animation frames). In this context that means that even though they can still move even though you tried to lock them down in blockstun, you had more time to move before them, and enough so that your opponent cannot safely use some of their wakeup options. Here's what everything looks like broken down:

  • FB Note (3+hits): Ideal if you have enough time post KD to guarantee contact and meter in your pocket to burn. Your opponent will be locked down long enough for you to run a mixup, and since FB Note builds guard bar, you're going to do more damage if your mixup is successful.
    • The multi-hits make it harder for Jam to parry into stuff, and make it hard for Baiken to counter since only Baku has startup invul (and it's not on frame 1, so she can still get hit).
    • Do not run a j.S > dj.K fuzzy overhead mixup as the extra hits will allow your opponent's hitbox to switch when they block switch. That will cause you to whiff a j.K and die.
    • Most opponents will FD against FB Note to avoid the chip damage and guard bar crank, so consider the pushback affecting your mixup attempt (which also applies to the above "fuzzy overhead" mixup).
    • If you use FB Note, your opponent is also likely to burst the combo to avoid the massive damage, assuming your mixup is successful, so be prepared for that. Or they may try to Dead Angle to get out of your pressure.
    • It's best to use FB note is when you have at least 50% tension, so that after you spend 25% on the oki tool you'll still have 25% to use an unprorated conversion from high and low options via HCL 6FRC6 for maximum damage.

  • Note (2+ hits): This is the ideal meterless setup, as the extra hits on note actually have hitstop and are a higher attack level than the first hit. You'll need to learn to judge distance to figure out if you're going to get at least a 2-hit note or not, and if you know you wont, do f.S instead as it'll have more blockstun than a single-hit note when timed correctly.
    • No really, the difference between 1-hit and 2-hit (or more) on note is huge. 1-hit is just 9f of blockstun with no blockstop. Every extra hit adds 11f of blockstun and 6f of blockstop, so you're going from 9f to 26f. Additional hits make this even better for you.
    • A three hit note allows you to visually confirm blocking before you go in to run your mixup, and should not have a gap between the note's blockstun and your overhead making contact. Three or more hits is actually ideal, but note oki ceases to be worth it when you don't get at least 2 hits, unless you want to run frametraps or gimmicks.
    • A two hit note is highly likely to leave a gap either before you go in, or if you visually confirm blocking, between note blockstun and your hoverdash overhead / safe-jump making contact.
      • If you dash in prematurely they might reversal straight through the note and hit you. Your timing will have to vary depending on the reversal available to your opponent (Robo Ky's 3f DP, Sol's 5f DP, I-No's 7+2 Reversal Super, etc.)
      • If you're too late you'll leave a gap between the second hit of note and your aerial (should you chose to go for j.K, which is your fastest option to avoid leaving a gap).
        • It's possible to time this such that they can IB the second hit of note and 6P through your overhead even if your timing is good enough that the note > overhead would normally be a true blockstring.
    • If you empty hoverdash to low you're leaving a gap they can exploit.
    • Don't forget you have the option to visually confirm blocking and then just do a low instead of starting your overhead after hoverdash's 9f startup.

  • 3-Hit Note Setups: The most difficult note setups, which will have to vary between characters. Will almost always require a P-Dive or S-Dive(j.236P or j.236S) knockdown, which can be rather difficult. You will have to learn specific combo routes for different characters, but this is consistently the best oki you can get so it will be worthwhile.

  • Late f.S on oki > stuff: f.S's hitbox travels forward and then hovers in place for a few frames. If you catch your opponent's wakeup with those later frames, you'll have significantly more +frames than normal (potentially up to +15). Remember that I-No's f.S doesn't have blockstop.
    • This means you actually can dash in while they're in blockstun if they didn't IB, assuming the meaty timing was perfect. However, you do not have time to visually confirm that your opponent blocked. This also means that you have to commit to the forward dash into j.K if you want to leave as little room to counter-mash as possible.
      • If they did IB things are more complicated because it is no longer gapless even if you were frame perfect (and you wont be), but you're still very "plus on block". Keep this in mind as you test your opponents, and if you see that they can IB reliably, create other opportunities from a blocked oki f.S, such as baiting DP attempts. Once your opponent respects you, you might even be able to sneak in a note after a blocked f.S and force them to block 2-hits or more so you can run a mixup anyway.
    • If they've blocked, you can wait and push a button to beat a counter poke, or you can push a button and intentionally whiff during block stun to bait something.
    • You'll recover right after the point where they should have been blocking, so if they used a reversal attack you can block it. If they backdashed, you can visually confirm it and punish with something (like 5H HCL 6FRC6).
    • If you screw up and the f.S doesn't make contact, you're in a neutral position. This is less than ideal, but it's not necessarily a disadvantage to you (would vary per matchup).
    • Be aware that you cannot cover enemies who are super low to the ground like you can with a note. This might also fail against enemies who can go high into the air on frame 1 (Pot's Megafist and Faust's FB Slapchop come to mind as possibilities).

  • Note (1-hit): Only 9f of blockstun and no blockstop to work with. Properly timing a far slash actually gives you more frame advantage.
    • If you shoot a note at a range where you're unsure, or possibly where you know you're only getting 1-hit, wait/block and go for a frametrap, cause you can't get anything else without taking a huge risk.

  • Unprotected hoverdash j.K or j.S: Sometimes you'll screw up your chance to shoot a note or use f.S... and then decide to just go in anyway. You're taking a risk with a safejump (hoverdash) whether people will admit it or not. If you're going to do this you need to time j.K so that you make contact with your opponent closer to the ground. IMO you should always force your opponent to block a Note or f.S on oki unless there's some circumstance that forces your hand. Going for an unprotected mixup can work, but you take on so much additional risk in a situation where you should have the initiative, and it'll really only work if you've really conditioned your opponent to respect your offense... and a strong opponent should realize that they have no reason to respect oki without a note or f.S to force them to block. Remember kids - if you play I-No, use protection as you dominate your foes.
    • I-No takes so long to land when acting on the first frame following a hoverdash that if you j.K on the first possible frame, an opponent can IB her j.K and throw her before she gets to act. No really, as I-No you can hoverdash j.K and hold up so that you'll jump on the first possible frame, and still get thrown.
    • If your opponent has a good 6P or fast anti-air tool they can potentially poke right through it if you're too high and/or your meaty timing isn't good.
    • If your opponent has a fast enough DP, you have to start the hoverdash earlier than you may think and make sure your j.K makes contact lower to the ground than normal, or you're getting hit by their reversal attempt.
    • I-No's j.S has to be used higher in the air than j.K to be able to go active before landing, and so it takes longer to land from that position. This means that you have a much smaller window to bait a DP, and in some cases actually can't unless you use j.K instead. This is character specific, but anyone with a fast DP takes away your margin of safety when going for safe jumps.

  • Fastfall VCL: My opinion is that this oki isn't very good and is a relic of a bygone era where it was stronger (when VCL was a lvl5 move, leading to even more blockstun and blockstop). Unfortunately, I-No will be on the ground in recovery frames right in front of your opponent if you go for this oki, so you have to spend meter on an FRC to make it safe against throws. And to do that you'll have to commit to jumping or backdashing or something immediately following the setup... if you're going to spend 25% on your oki, spend it on Force Break note. It's a significantly stronger oki tool.
    • A common setup in combo videos is to use a j.K after this to try to "fuzzy overhead" your opponent, but the problem is that a fuzzy setup like that only works if they blocked high to begin with, and then switched to low block as you land. Due to the timing required, this forward jump wont actually start early enough to bait a throw, and if your opponent went for throw they would be standing anyway, so the mixup would fail.
    • You may get away with it sometimes, but it carries totally unnecessary risk. My win rate shot up when I stopped using it, so I suggest you do the same. If you have the time to set up an airdash into FFVCL for your oki, you have time to shoot a note and get 2 or more hits out of it, so just do that instead.
    • If you do use this, it's rather plus on block and you're right in front of your opponent. You get to run a high/low.

Choosing which set-up to use

You should pretty much always go for Note oki, unless you realize that you don't have the proper spacing to get at least 2 hits, which frequently comes from getting knockdown too deep into the corner and not having enough time to backdash into place. That mostly occurs when you get a Kdive knockdown instead of going for a setup using VCL. In those cases, you will probably have time to backdash and use f.S, though you can consider using FB Note here too if you have enough time to safely shoot it and block. I would only do that if you have at least 50%. You want to have 25% left over for the threat of j.S / 2S doing massive unprorated damage to take advantage of the cranked guard bar.

This should cover topics such as: Identifying when you can do an oki route, what you get out of an oki route, how do the resources you and the enemy have change your choice of oki route, and when do you go for damage/mixup/safe pressure.

If your opponent is committing to trying to block because they can't poke out here, they become more vulnerable to j.D in your mixups, which is easier and safer to use without meter than the j.S > dj.K fuzzy mixup.

Listing Mixups and their Purpose

  • Note > Hoverdash overhead > low: This is like the basic starting point for I-No's offense on oki. You hoverdash into a near instant overhead, and if it's blocked you go into a low. If your opponent has little experience fighting I-No they'll either just get hit by the overhead (too used to blocking low by default), or they'll screw up at switching their block low afterward.
  • Note > Empty Hoverdash > low: This throws off people who know to block overheads and forces them to watch more closely. If you come in late behind a note to make sure they don't disrespect you and reversal through it with a DP or super, you may leave too much of a gap between the note and your low that your opponent can exploit.
  • Note > Hoverdash Overhead > j.D second overhead: When your opponent is looking to block lows after your hoverdash overhead, go for another overhead.

Getting Fancy

  • j.S > dj.K (fuzzy double overhead): You connect with j.S and go into immediate dj.K, meaning you hit with another overhead 5f after that hitstop ends. The objective is to catch an opponent switching to low block after your overhead (like in the first example above). Your opponent can switch blocking, but their character will have the standing block hurtbox instead of the crouch-blocking hurtbox until blockstun ends, allowing you to connect with the rising dj.K. Most characters have difficulty converting from this kind of situation, but I-No can combo with Sdive > c.S against everyone, mid screen or in the corner.
    • The alternative is you connect with j.S, land 1~2f later and start 2K, and then hit low 6~7f after the hitstop from j.S ends.
    • The difference between hitting high and low here is so tight that you're forced to guess, or try to use a fuzzy block technique (similar to how you would block Eddie unblockables) to cover both options. Doing so would open your opponent up against other mixup types (such as throw setups).
    • Confirms into a full meterless combo in the corner for good damage. At mid screen you can typically get a short combo, or spend some meter for solid (albeit slightly prorated) damage.
    • This setup is blown up by using Faultless Defense against the j.S. You'll be pushed out too far for j.K to make contact and you'll whiff, allowing your opponent an opportunity to whiff punish you.
  • j.S > dj.D FDC > j.K second overhead:

Costs Meter for Maximum Effectiveness

  • 66956 j.K > j.S > j.K > j.P > either j.D or land 2K: You're doing a string of 4 overheads (building guard bar) before finally going for a 5th (while leaving a gap) or landing into a low or throw.
    • You can actually do j.K > j.S > j.H to land earlier if you want, just to keep them watching during more of the blockstring.
      • You can slightly delay the j.H to intentionally whiff and go low or throw.
    • If you have at least 50%, you can attempt a scummy mixup once they're conditioned to expect 3-4 overheads:
  • 66956 j.K > j.236[D]-P > 2S: You start up the airdash pressure sequence, but use the cancel on j.236D to stop after one overhead and drop into a low (unprorated), which you then confirm with HCL 6FRC6 into massive damage.
    • If your opponent catches on and starts reacting to the Force Break flash by switching to crouch block, you can j.236[D]5P6 to cancel into another airdash and do j.S (another overhead) into massive damage.
    • If your opponent starts trying to counter-mash, you can j.K > delay j.S > Fortissimo for massive damage. Or j.K > j.236[D]-P > j.K > HCL 6FRC6 if they react to the flash itself with the counter-mash and block the airdash string otherwise.
    • If your opponent is autopilot block switching, you can catch them with their pants down by doing 66956 j.K > j.S > j.236[D]-P > airdash overhead or 2S. Nothing says you have to do it at the j.K.
      • On that note, you can also do this again if you go for a second airdash string and they block that. Or just let the usual multiple overheads into high/low at the end rock. It's up to you and your meter management.

Video Examples

Either embed individual videos, or link off to playlists of videos which cover oki.