3 Line Strike Pattern: What It Means and How to Use It in Trading


Candlestick patterns are crucial tools for traders, offering valuable insights into market sentiment and potential price movements. Among these patterns, the Three Line Strike setup is particularly sought after by traders in forex, stock, commodity, and index markets. This article explores the intricacies of the Three Line Strike, explaining how to identify it on charts, highlighting its unique characteristics, and discussing how to incorporate it into trading strategies.

Three Line Strike Pattern: An Overview

The Three Line Strike is a candlestick pattern used in technical analysis to trade trend continuations. However, it often appears ahead of trend reversals. The pattern consists of four candlesticks and can be found in up- and downtrends.

Bearish Three Line Strike

The bearish 3 Line Strike candlestick pattern suggests a continuation of a downtrend. It starts with three consecutive bearish candles, each opening and closing lower than the previous one. This is followed by a large bullish candle, which opens lower and closes above the open price of the first bearish candle. This pattern reflects the strength of the downtrend. Still, it may appear at the bottom of the downtrend and signal a trend reversal.

Bullish Three Line Strike

The bullish 3 Line Strike candlestick pattern suggests the potential continuation of a solid uptrend. It starts with three consecutive bullish candles, each opening and closing higher than the last. This is followed by a large bearish candle, which opens higher and closes below the close of the first bullish candle. This pattern indicates that the solid uptrend may continue, but it may signal the market will turn down if it’s formed at the peak of the uptrend.

Analysing Three Line Strike Patterns

As the Three Line Strike pattern can provide both reversal and continuation signals, it’s vital to combine it with other analytical tools, including trend indicators like moving averages and oscillators like the Relative Strength Index. Also, traders consider the overall trend on higher timeframes.

  • Entry: To enter a trade using the Three Line Strike, traders identify the overall trend. They may wait for the pattern to be formed and the following candle to close. If the following candle is bearish, traders usually open a sell position. If it is bullish, they consider an opportunity to go long. However, traders also may enter the market at the closure of the pattern’s fourth candle.
  • Stop Loss: Risk management is crucial, and traders typically set their stop-loss levels above/below the fourth candle, considering the trend strength. Alternatively, they may place the stop-loss order below or above the nearest swing point or support/resistance level, considering market volatility and risk tolerance.
  • Take Profit: Traders aim to secure their potential profits by setting profit targets based on the risk/reward ratio. This could be at the next significant support or resistance level or based on technical indicators, including Fibonacci retracements.

A trader finds a bullish 3 Line Strike setup on the daily chart of Qualcomm stock. However, this time, it serves as a reversal signal. They enter the short position at the close of the candle, following the pattern. Their stop loss is above the setup, with the take profit at the next support level.

A bearish Three Line Strike setup is formed on the hourly chart of Brent Crude Oil. A trader takes a long position at the close of the fourth candlestick. Their stop loss is below the formation, with the take profit placed at the next resistance level.

If you want to explore the Three Line Strike pattern, head over to the FXOpen’s free TickTrader trading platform.

Psychology Behind the Three Line Strike Pattern

The effectiveness of the Three Line Strike pattern relies on understanding the underlying psychological factors influencing market participants. Greed, fear, hope, and anxiety drive buying and selling decisions.

  • Initial Sentiment: The first few candlesticks in a Three Line Strike candlestick pattern represent the prevailing sentiment in the market. Typically, this sentiment is characterised by either greed (in an upward trend) or fear (in a downward trend), depending on the market direction prior to forming the pattern.
  • Potential Reversal: Although this pattern is considered continuation, in most cases, it provides a reversal signal. A strong fourth candle that engulfs three smaller candlesticks reflects the change in the market sentiment. The reversal signal triggers market participants to reassess existing positions and strategies.
  • Reaction: Those who were previously aligned with the old trend may feel fear or anxiety, leading them to unwind their positions to avoid potential losses. Meanwhile, contrarian traders, driven by a sense of opportunity and confidence, may enter new positions in anticipation of the emerging trend reversal, fueled by their belief that market sentiment is shifting.

Application in Trading Strategies

Applying the 3 Line strike pattern in trading strategies encompasses various elements beyond just its recognition. Let's delve into how traders implement additional steps to enhance their overall trading performance.

  • Seeking Additional Confirmation: Traders often seek additional confirmation from other technical indicators such as the Relative Strength Index (RSI), Moving Average Convergence Divergence (MACD), or Bollinger Bands. These indicators offer complementary insights into market dynamics, validating the signals generated by the Three Line Strike pattern.
  • Strategic Placement and Timeframe Alignment: Traders may align the pattern with key support or resistance levels on higher timeframes to validate its significance and potential reversal points. Through multi-timeframe trading, traders may gain a more comprehensive understanding of market trends to analyse future price movements.
  • Entry and Risk Management: Traders should place their entry and exit points carefully. As the pattern may provide continuation and reversal signals, incorporating disciplined risk management techniques might help traders protect their capital and minimise their potential losses.

Caveats to the Pattern

High volatility periods can amplify the occurrence of false signals and erratic price movements, potentially leading to misguided trades. Conversely, during periods of low volatility, price action may be sluggish, and confirmations could be delayed. Therefore, it's important for traders to adapt their strategies accordingly.

Another important consideration is the possibility of false breakouts. Despite the apparent formation of a Three Line Strike pattern, there's a risk of the price briefly breaching the pattern's boundaries before reverting to its original direction. These false breakouts can deceive traders into entering premature trades, resulting in losses. To mitigate this risk, traders can exercise patience and vigilance, waiting for strong confirmation signals before committing to a trade.

Key Differences Between Three Line Strike and The Three Black Crows/Three White Soldiers

The key differences between the Three Line Strike pattern and the Three Black Crows/Three White Soldiers patterns lie in their trading formations and implications:


Three Line Strike Pattern

Three Black Crows/Three White Soldiers


Consists of four consecutive candlesticks, with the fourth candlestick completely engulfing the previous three.

Consists of three consecutive candlesticks with progressively lower (crows) or higher (soldiers) closing prices.


Indicates either a trend continuation or a reversal in market sentiment, either from bullish to bearish or vice versa.

Reflects a strong momentum in the direction of the prevailing trend, suggesting a continuation of the trend rather than a reversal.

The Bottom Line

The Three Line Strike is a complicated pattern as it may provide continuation and reversal signals. Despite its complexity, it often appears on a price chart, making it a valuable tool for traders. Mastering price action chart analysis is a gradual process. However, with skill, traders can potentially improve their trading efficiency. If you're ready to incorporate this pattern into your trading strategy, consider opening an FXOpen account to apply your analysis across hundreds of markets.


What Is the 3 Strike Rule in Trading?

The 3 strike rule in trading refers to the Three Line Strike pattern. The pattern consists of three consecutive up/down candles followed by a fourth long bearish/bullish candle that opens above/below the previous candle’s close but closes below/above the first candle's open. It’s believed to provide continuation signals, but it often appears before a trend reversal.

What Is the Three Strike Strategy?

The Three Strike Strategy refers to the 3 Line Strike candlestick pattern. It’s based on the assumption that the pattern will be followed by either a reversal or a continuation of the trend. Traders often wait for the candlestick to close above/below the pattern for an entry point, place a profit target, considering the closest resistance/support levels, and potentially limit losses by placing a stop-loss order below/above the pattern.

This article represents the opinion of the Companies operating under the FXOpen brand only. It is not to be construed as an offer, solicitation, or recommendation with respect to products and services provided by the Companies operating under the FXOpen brand, nor is it to be considered financial advice.

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