#58 | agt01 – Basic mindgames: reads and conditioning

Nope, the acronym still doesn’t mean “America’s got talent”. Today I will talk about reads and conditioning.


Reading an opponent

Sometimes, you won’t have time to react to a certain action, and you either could play safe, or try to predict what your opponent is going to do and by trying riskier things to punish something you know will happen. It is the basic principle of a read, you have to learn to analyze your opponent to be able to see what he is going to do next and try to hit before he moves to that location. Reads could be applied to a variety of things, not only games obviously.

The problem with reading the opponent is that you have to be familiar enough with the game or the field you are in, to be able to analyze the opponent you are playing without doing stupid mistakes. Having an external eye, able to see exactly what your opponent is doing, taking and understanding that human algorithm to find its flaw or finding a good risk/reward balance is an art.



That’s when conditioning comes into play. Generally in games, everything has a weakness and a strength. In Smash, shield beats attack, while grab beats shield and attack beats grab. If you see someone is doing something that can be taken advantage of if you reacted earlier, there’s enough space to do a read. Conditioning is the art of making an opponent comfortable with what you are doing to punish him with something big with a read when he think he analyzed you enough.

Imagine launching the same attack every time the opponent comes near you, sometimes it will hit and sometimes it won’t. Doing that every time will force the opponent to take the habit to do the same action every time, that’s when you’ll be able to punish him with a read.


Applying that to various domains or games


  • The most important thing would be how safe the read is
  • Try to read a get-up option from the ledge
  • Try to read a recovery option
  • Reading an option after a run could be difficult
  • If you have a pressure option (such as little mac neutral b, Cloud’s Limit or Wario Waft), you can try to see how the enemy reacts face to the pressure.


League of Legends:

  • Try to read a jungle movement, if somebody likes to go particularly to a lane and you don’t always have the vision, you could wait in a bush to countergank
  • Try to bait if somebody really wants to last hit a creep on the laning phase
  • Reading a movement before doing a skillshot should be mandatory


What did I learn today?

  • Trying to learn how to apply reads and conditioning to different games

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