Levelling Up – Yomi

Welcome back to Levelling Up. This week we take an in depth look at what is known as Yomi, or otherwise referred to as mind games. Yomi is an essential part of fighting games, and it is almost imperative that you at least acknowledge it to better yourself as a player.

Yomi is a Japanese term adopted by the fighting game community to gather together sick reads and mind games played with opponents during a match. It is born from being able to read your opponent and then literally play with them in a bid to get them to fall for a specific set up or move.

the three key components to a good Yomi game are: Pattern Recognition, Okizeme, and Baiting.

There is a great deal of notable instances of Yomi in the fighting game community but for me there is no greater game for Yomi than Tekken Tag Tournament 2. In Tekken you are required not only to be conscious of a never-ending high low mix up but there are also side steps, parries, mids, tag evades, high crushes, low crushes, and grabs. Each character can have multiple play-styles that break the realm of 2D fighters in terms of presence of mind. A lot of the understanding is born from not just knowing the opponent but also being able to interpret their play style at a great pace. Even if it is something as simple as regularly parrying specific moves to prevent them being used as a go to or by simply overwhelming them on wake up.

In Street Fighter 4 you can start a vortex from something as simple as a hard knockdown.

For me the three key components to a good Yomi game are: Pattern Recognition, Okizeme, and Baiting. Pattern recognition is by far the most important. As soon as you can see opponents’ habits you can start to expose them and punish. This applies to any game. Once you’ve cracked it you can capitalise and even swing the momentum in your favour. Next up is Okizeme, this roughly translates as ‘wake-up game’. It is normally set up on an opponent after a hard or soft knockdown that will leave you at an advantage or start a mix-up. The most common would be safe jumps in Super Street Fighter 4 and Tech traps in both SFxT and TTT2. Finally, there is baiting. This could be seen as a part of oki (aka okizeme) but extends beyond knockdowns and benefits greatly from spacing. Here you can bait an opponent to DP or even throw out an unsafe move by luring them with movements and spacing, or even by changing your pattern of play.

Once all of these start to form together you will find that you happen to slowly get better and really get a greater understanding of the players you come up against. The essence of Yomi is not something that comes overnight but through continuous play, so stick at it and don’t forget to level up.

These tips might help you cut your opponent down to size.






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