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Setsuki Openers

Hey, I thought it might be fun to look at some random opening hands from Setsuki and discuss the “correct” opening play with a focus on most effectively dumping your hand and getting to SotF (my preferred playstyle).

I’ll weigh in on each, but I welcome thoughts from others. Every Setsuki hand is a puzzle!

Opener #1

Opponent: :menelker:

Hand: 3 9 T J Q K !

What would you do with this hand? Feel free to go into as much or as little detail as you want!


I’d be tempted by 9-throw > J > K++ (3, T), keeping the Q with SotF, to punish typical turn 1 block plays. Against :menelker: in particular, though, I’d worry about being counter-thrown early, and might opt to lead with the Q instead.

The exclamation point is shorthand for joker. You begin with 7 cards for your first turn.

Oops! I clearly wasn’t counting (a deadly sin as a Setsuki player). That also explains why it was suspiciously easy to dump off a throw, which seemed odd, since I usually can’t do that on turn 1 when it hits.

Well, I’ll leave my mistake for posterity, and contemplate other, more plausible answers (although, Q opener still dumps, since you can pump it as well as the K).

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Have a hard read on T1 7 Throw. 9 Block and dump my hand with 10.


What am I missing… 9 Block + facedown eats 2, 10 plus 2 discards eats 3, you’re still left w/ 2 cards in hand at the end of the turn, right?

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Menelker has black j/k followup, thats also part of the hard read.


This is a tough one. I think Menelker’s standard opening mixup against Setsuki is going to be block/Q, so the only way to dump our hand (Q) loses badly to that mixup.

I think I dodge with 3 here and follow-up with a 9 throw if he Qs, hoping to draw a normal to play some mixup games on the next turn (if I don’t draw a normal, I’m going to be hurting). If I get thrown with a 7, it’s not the end of the world. Smoke bomb that shit and hope he lets you out of the hand by playing a black face card.

There are not very many characters where dodging T1 is a good option for Sets, but Menelker is one.


Opener #2

Opponent: :onimaru:

Hand: 5 6 8 9 9 K K


Realistic Oni opener is always 10, Ace, or block. I probably throw into a T1 10 here.


Would you spend smoke-bomb on the 7, as opposed to the 10 on a potential Joker or Queen?


Yeah, definitely. Mene is for sure going to dump your Joker if you don’t Smoke Bomb the 7, and you can’t protect against Mene Ts forever. You want to at least get some value out of that Joker if possible because you just have to accept that you’re probably only going to get one this game.


8 throw/6K+(5), power up the 9s for nothing, have K for SOTF turn. If you lose combat to something that can combo, bluff a 5 and then power up 9s and Ks for nothing, have 6 for SOTF turn.

This is the right answer as far as I’m concerned, though I would keep the 5 because I’d rather have the guarantee of a dodge than the extra hit point.

First thing you should consider when you get a new Setsuki hand: can I dump off a throw? If yes, then you should probably throw. Interestingly, Onimaru is another of the few characters where a T1 dodge is often not bad/pretty good because Oni’s mixup is A or big normal/block. Oni really doesn’t want to throw T1, so a dodge is basically 100% safe.

When something is 100% safe, you should strongly consider doing it. I lean toward throw in this case, though, because I get 11 damage off a dodge (and I can still dump), and I get 23 damage off a throw. If I’m playing an opponent who has shown a tendency to be very “get off me” in the early game, I probably dodge. Otherwise, accept the possibility that you will be duffed or A’d and go for the damage maximizing option.

Dodge and throw are actually probably pretty close in terms of value because you’re going to take 20 damage a fair amount of time when you throw, but you’re Setsuki. Quit pussyfooting around and get your damage in.

Opener #3

Opponent: :jaina:

Hand: 2 5 6 8 T A !

Blech. A single A and a Joker in hand to start? Both of those are stumbling blocks to dumping your hand. Good thing you’re playing Jaina! Throw with the 8 and combo into 5 6. Hope that they block with a T so that you can dodge and get out of that hand for free next turn by playing Smoke Bomb!

Throw is an especially enticing option here because you have a garbage hand with a Joker. If you get duffed, no biggie. Draw two cards and try again. Maybe you’ll be able to power something up for another A and now you’re cookin’.

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Opener #4

Opponent: :onimaru:

Hand: 3 3 5 5 6 K A