Scumreading is one of the most important parts of any good Town. The numbers game is equally important, but more useful to roles like the Vigilante, Jailor, and Mayor to catch evils by surprise who do not have a fake claim ready.
What is scumreading? Edit
Scumreading is the ability to analyse someone's actions and claims, as well as the way they write and talk, to determine whether or not they are evil. For example:
The Death Note that the Mafia have been writing is written in perfect prose. Apart from the Vigilante, one person talks in terrible prose and one person talks in perfect prose. The Vigilante shoots the person with perfect prose, and they are the Mafioso.
You may also want to check the note’s grammar. Is perfect grammar used in the Death Note? If so, the evildoer is most likely using perfect grammar as well.
Why is it important? Edit
Scumreading is valuable to the Town because it provides an alternate avenue to figuring out evil roles. It also requires skill, which means that some people are better at it than others. Without scumreading, all investigation is purely down to chance. With scumreading, it is easier and more fun to narrow down roles that are harmful to the Town.
How can I use it? Edit
Scumreading can be learnt simply by taking note of the way evil roles talked before death. Most evil roles talk similarly, usually trying their best to be a help to the town so as to throw off suspicion, often redirecting interest to other evil roles apart from themself, or simply staying silent so no one cares about them. After using scumreading for a few matches you'll probably figure out how to use it properly, and to full effect.
The third/fourth vote in Ranked is usually an important Town role, such as the Jailor or a Town Protective role. Numbers 10 - 12 are typically the most likely to die Night 1 in a Ranked game. Telling the difference between a real Veteran baiting and a fake one trying to look like a Veteran is scumreading.
Let's say that the Mafioso was killed and you see someone who either hasn't claimed or hasn't spoken all game say something along the lines of: "YAY!". Then you can assume that they are proabably trying to act like they are town. You can also check the chat log and see who didn't vote on the mafioso, if it's early game then it can be helpful, but if it's late game with town majority it will be harder to tell the remaining evils.
Following voting patterns is a fundamental part of scum reading, you can use it to your advantage. If you ask a person with voting history that isn't favoring town a role and they give you something bizzare like sheriff and hasn't caught someone then they are most likely not who they say they are. You can also tell by how people react when you whisper them for a role or will, if they refuse to claim to you and you are a known vigilante or a confirmed town role then they are proabably evil, but if they give you a straight will that has a lot of information then they are most likely town.
Now lets talk about voting patterns. Voting patterns can be viewed in many ways, but in the eyes of town it is only viewed one way. If a neutral killing was just hung this is the best time to find a mafia, especially early game in modes like Ranked because talented players know that voting up a fellow evil early game is not beneficial to them yet. so if you catch somebody who didn't vote on this person or even whispered or defended said Neutral Killing then they may be part of the Mafia. But, if all of a sudden they change their attitude, then this can be very revealing of their actual role. If the same person who defended a Neutral Killing guilties this can be a sign that it's a mafia trying to cover their tracks. When you notice that person's behavior check the chat log and check previous days where someone like the Jailor pushed on a evil and this person didn't vote or voted at the end to cast suspicion off of them. Remember: if you are playing a mode like Classic or Custom, this may not apply becuase many of those players don't have a set plan for what they are doing.
Scum reading is a fundamental part of high and even low ELO matches, Ranked is a competitive mode with many skilled players, and if you want to match their skill you must learn the basics of scum reading.
If you are a somewhat confirmed role or a powerfull role like an Investigator and whisper someone for their role most of the time a town member will just shoot you their role if they trust you, but Mafia on the other hand will hesitate. If you get a late whisper back take note of that in later game because that can fluxiate your's and others votes onto that person if they are suspicous. If you get a weak claim that is suspicous tell the Jailor to check it out and let him decide, but if you get a response saying something rude or telling you to stop bothering them then that should be taken into account and that person will most likely be evil. A helpful tip to assure your suspicion is to say that they are evil in a whisper and see how they react, if they try to persuade you with information that is valid and hasn't been brought up then they may be innocent, but if they try to persuade you somehow without giving you their will or even spamming it to you then that is a huge indicator. Make sure to always send your suspicion of them to the town in chat or a confirmed role, even write it in your will if you need to.
Branching off of whispersEdit
Adding on about the example of the suspicous player. If they are lynched and found guilty then you should check their whisper logs and check if they defended anybody or if they brought up false information to protect someone then those people might be evil as well. If they are a witch, first thing you must do it check who they whispered to at the beggining to at the beggining of each day and if that witch was frequently witching every night see who had claimed witched and who hadn't after being whispered to. These small things can lead you to the rest of that persons team and can change the course of the game. But, regardless make sure you see who that person defended and if they confirmed somebody's information that had suspicion on them. In Ranked these small catches can win games, but the higher ELO you are the harder it will be to catch on, so that's why you should practice every game.
Benefits of practicingEdit
Use the results of practicing are very beneficial even if you lose. Use the information you gained from that game to further understand scum reading. If you mislynched someone use how that guy talked and acted before he was lynched as a way to know if someone is truly a town member. But, if you got a proper lynch on someone, use how that guy spoke and interacted with the town or even how he/she voted. As you gather this information your mind will adjust to it and the more you pactice the quicker and better you will get at catching the small things.
How they act in jailEdit
If they take a long time to tell you their role or will and/or you have to bug them for it, then they're probably evil. Be careful though, since at lower ELOs they might just be inexperienced townies. If they claim a role that they could've CCed with earlier, then they're probably evil. Ex: they claim doctor but yesterday someone was accused of being BG/GF/Arso but they didn't CC the BG claim.
Saying things like: Hello, wassssssup, or huh. This is a sign of them trying to by time to think of a role or they are trying to act natural so they dont get executed.
To know if they are trustable:
If they start feeding you valuable information that doesn't involve them accusing people who are confirmed like a Retributonist or a Veteran then they may be Town or NK trying to sell out Mafia. If their information is correct in some way or it makes sense and doesn't seem faked (go by the information you already have) then keep them alive.
If they claim something like Doctor or Vigilante and they tell you to shoot them a whisper or give a signla you want someone shot (such as a code word) this is also a sign that their role isn't fake because they can easily prove themselves.
This is the hardest part of scum reading, seeing differences in a will. If you think someone is suspicous, based off what they are doing (learn from the top), then check the Chat Log to check if they post their will on a daily basis. Then ask them for their will, if it is changed from what it previously was then you can assume it's someone trying to guess information and trying to fill in their will.
So called sheriff gets pushed up on stand and says that 9(who is actually mafia) is NS is their will and they get innoed, but if that person dies and comes up as Janitor when they die and their will is now different, that means they may be Mafia or NK trying to hide.
Somethings to note:
Changing your will can be a Jester play.
Changing your will can be a fake Jester play as well.
Changing your will is to make sure your information is correct, so if they change their will in small ways that may not seem major. they are most likely evil. Unless they actually left it out ect.
The Numbers Game Edit
What is the numbers game? Edit
The numbers game is when there are fewer Town roles than evil roles, and so the Vigilante or Jailor will randomly shoot on the basis that they are more likely to hit a non-Townie than an actual Townie. Mayor should use the numbers game to know when to reveal to keep Town in the majority.
Why is it important? Edit
Although less important than scumreading, the numbers game is still a very valuable tool to a Town short on Townies. Even though the only person who can actually use it is the Vigilante and Jailor, often times games hinge on whether or not the Vigilante or Jailor chose to randomly shoot late game or not.
How can I use it? Edit
Using the numbers game is easy. Simply match the roles dead in the graveyard to the spots they would fill in the role list. If there are more spots for evils or Neutrals left open than there are for Town, then playing the numbers game is a valid strategy.
For example, you're in a Ranked game, there are 5 dead Townies, 1 dead member of the Mafia and 1 dead Neutral Evil at the end of a game. There are 4 Townies, 3 members of the Mafia, and 1 Neutral Killing left, so it's 4 v 3 v 1. The Town will lose the majority the next night, so the Vigilante should try and scumread for the Mafioso or Random Mafia role, depending who is left, the Jailor should try and get an evil role jailed and executed, and the Mayor should reveal the next day.