Super Smash Bros./Advanced techniques
These can be used with all characters.
The mastery of teching, also known as “Z-recovering”, is often what separates the master from the talented amateur. Essentially, this technique cuts out the recovery time necessary when your character hits the ground. After being knocked into the air (or out of it), your character flops to the ground, and you must get up as described in the “Getting Back Up” section of this guide. However, what teching does is allow you to remove all of that tedious recovery time and get right back up out of your fall instantaneously. To do this, just tap the Z button at the exact moment that you hit the ground, and your character will immediately snap back to their feet, with a recovery time measured in milliseconds. And, as an added bonus, tapping Z and left or right on the stick will cause your character to immediately roll in that direction upon landing. Adding this to the tactics mentioned above will make you very difficult to camp upon landing, and will also allow you to escape previously inevitable combos. Master this first, then move on.
When you perform an aerial and hit the ground before completing it, there is a cool-down time as you stand back up (this is most noticeable with Link’s dair). This time is of varying length between attacks, but it is always there to some extent. Try it with Link. Do his dair, and at the precise moment that you land, tap Z. He should stand right up, no shield flash or long cool-down time. This is applicable with all characters, on all aerial A attacks, so you should tap Z just when, or just before you hit the ground. You can’t roll out of this, but the instant standing up revitalizes attacks that were just too slow before, allowing for swift execution and recovery. This will be rather awkward at first, but once you get used to it, you won’t be able to imagine playing without it. Right here is where you will see the massive speed boost in your play, and players who haven’t mastered this simply won’t be able to keep up with you. You'll be able to jump into a dangerous spot, attack, and get out before your opponent can do diddly squat. You will move like ninja. That is, once you get it right.
NOTE: for certain attacks, like Pikachu’s and Kirby’s fair drills, if you land next to them after doing this attack while they’re on the ground, you can tap the R-button instead of the Z button, which will cancel and grab them immediately. This is called "R-Cancelling" or perhaps "Fair-grabbing", although it can be done after dair drills as well.
Contrary to popular belief, Z-cancelling was programmed into the game, it's not an unintentional technique.
If you have been reading this guide from top to bottom, you will remember that pressing the R button has the same effect as simultaneously pressing the Z and A buttons. This knowledge can be transferred to a blocking situation. While you have your block up, and your opponent is up next to you and attacking, there is normally no way to get him/her off of you. However, if you hit the A-button while holding Z, your character will reach out and grab, dropping the shield just for the moment it takes to do so. If your character misses, the shield will pop back up. However, if you grab them, the tables are turned, and you can throw them and get them the heck off of your back. This is another balancing technique that can keep your opponent from getting up close to you and spamming you until your shield breaks. Remember, though, that while grabbing, you can be hit by incoming attacks, so be careful.
A short hop is something that can only be done by jumping with the C-button. The easiest way to visualize this is to stand under a platform (I learned under the platforms on Dreamland, but nearly any level will work) and press the C-button. Observe how you jump up and either land on the platform or fly high above it. Well, by tapping the C-button gently, see if you can make your character barely peek through the platform. Practice this, as it is a short-hop. You're simply jumping faster. Granted, this gives you less time to perform aerial attacks, but if you've learned Z-cancelling as you should have, this shouldn't be a problem. What short-hopping does for you is give you a nice quick jump that allows you to use your aerial attacks on opponents standing on the ground, and to be in the air in case they try to grab you. It also gives you a preferable option when jumping over projectiles/attacks. You have to time your jump a lot more accurately, but you are back on the ground and mobile again quite a bit sooner than if you had full-jumped. Once you get good at short-hopping, you can bounce across the stage, very hard to hit because of your low trajectory and near-constant attacking. Paired with Z-cancelling, the short hop is a deadly combo starter, allowing you to rain attacks down on your opponent while they are on the ground.
If you're comboing your opponent and want to finish them, you'll want to do it with a power attack. With many characters, their best killing moves are on the ground. So, you'll combo them to the ground, and hit them with your smash, right? Well, since smashes are rather slow, and the other guy usually doesn't like getting hit with them, you're going to have to hold them in place for a moment so that they can't tech-roll away from you. The way to do this is with your jab. Most characters' jab is quick to start and quick to end, and has very little knock back. These are the keys to a jab reset. Say you're Fox, and your opponent's at around 100% damage. That's prime usmash territory there. You're in the middle of a combo. So, you dair (down-drill) them to the ground, Z-cancel (you have to cancel), and tap them with your jab as they bounce up off of the ground. Jabbing someone while they're in their tumbling animation (i.e., they've been hit and are spinning through the air) "resets" them to the normal aerial animation, and stuns them for a short amount of time. So, they're hanging in the air in front of you. You don't think they're high enough up yet, so you tap them again. Now, you upsmash, and they are helpless to prevent their death.
Jabs are also useful for interrupting the ground portion of a combo (usually the beginning). If you know your opponent is going to try grabbing you or tilting you, and you are just now recovering from something, do your best to get a jab out there in their face. If you are Fox, Falcon, Link, Pikachu, or Kirby, avoid doing the repeating jab, as it holds you in one place and makes you a big fat target. Tap the jab button twice and either follow it up or get out of there. Play with this, as it's very hard to combo someone who keeps punching you in the nose every time you get close to them.
Although I treated these attacks just like other attacks earlier, I think that it's important to add a section on them to emphasize their use. Many smashers simply use smashes on the ground, completely forgoing their tilts or maybe using one. However, it is important to learn and use all of your attacks, including your tilts. They are fast attacks that are good for continuing a combo or stopping an opponent's advance when a smash won't connect in time. They are for those situations when you just don't have enough time to hit your opponent as hard as you want to, so you tilt them to get them stunned, and THEN smack the crap out of them. Remember that you have tilts, and they are meant to be used - they are not just that annoying attack that only comes out when you mess up your smash. Master them, and they will be very good to you. Thus ends my tirade.
These are techniques unique to certain characters.
Double Jump Cancelling (DJC)Edit
This move can be done only by Ness and Yoshi. It is done by jumping twice and cancelling the second jump with an attack. If a player quickly slides his fingers down the Cpad (i.e. from right C to down C) and then attacks he can attack just millimeters off the ground giving him a very fast recovery.
This is a move that can only be done by Yoshi. If Yoshi brushes the Z-button (not pushes, not taps, but brushes, as the frame constraint for the move is so tight) just at the right time when being attack he can "parry" the attack as in receive no damage and not be knocked back. When he does this, he raises his head as if he's about to drop into his shield, but he doesn't, and puts his head back into normal position because the button was not pressed long enough. This is similar to parrying in the Street Fighter series. Yoshi can then attack back with any move.
Fox's b-down reflector (better known as the 'shine') ends as soon as Fox touches the ground, with no lag whatsoever. So, by starting the shine at the end of a short-hop guarantees that your shine will only last the fraction of a second necessary to hit your opponent or to reflect a projectile.
Dashing back one step then forward one step to dodge an attack. To dash in the game, you just tap the stick left or right and your character will start running. But before he runs, he dashes out a step with a trail of dust behind him. There is a distinct difference between this dash and a full run. Try this. Select Fox or Falcon on the Great Fox (they have the best dash-dances). Run in a direction so that your character's running animation is unchanging. Now, release the stick to stop running. Your character will slide to a stop, taking precious time to do so. Now, simply tap the stick in a direction to dash. You'll note that tapping and releasing creates a dash that stops as soon as it starts, giving you freedom to do anything at the end of it, for example, dashing back in the other direction. If you can master this, you can do over and over, but doing so is only useful to confuse and/or annoy your opponent. What you want to do is wait for an attack, and as it comes out, you dash out of range of the attack, then dash back in with an attack of your own. You can do smashes out of the dash, if you release the stick and then smash, you will actually slide a small distance while smashing, giving you a bit more range.
Everyone is familiar with dying through the KO ceiling or one of the walls. These are good, clean deaths, full of honor and all that. However, spiking is a tactic used to kill your opponent at relatively low damage. Certain characters' moves have a downward component, or simply launch the opponent straight down. These moves include:
- Ness: Dair
- Samus: Dair
- Yoshi: Fair
- Kirby: Dair, B+up (downward slash)
- DK: Dair, Fair
- Captain Falcon: Dair
- Jigglypuff: Dair
Other characters have weaker moves that can move the opponent downward, usually dairs as well, but these listed above are the true spikes. If you have your opponent at about 50%-60% damage, get your opponent off of the edge and then use your spike to send them into oblivion. However, make sure you have enough jumps/recovery time to get back to the edge, or you will follow them down, which is simply unacceptable.
Edgeguarding is a tactic which is used to keep your opponent off of the edge. If they can't return to the stage, they are destined to die, so you edgeguard them to make sure that they don't make it back. Though it is rather simple concept, the edgeguarding game can make or break a player at a competitive level, so it's something to learn well. Best edgeguarding moves for each character include (assume these are all done on the very edge and facing it, unless otherwise noted):
- Mario/Luigi:  Dsmash  Downward-tilted fsmash  Fireballs as they're coming back (careful not to interrupt their B-up with them, though, as they will get another chance)
- Fox:  Dsmash  Downward-tilted ftilt  Laser to mess up recovery
- Captain Falcon:  Downward-tilted fsmash
- Pikachu:  Fsmash (this hangs in the air for a while, and will hit them even below the edge, so start it a bit early rather then late)  Lightning ball (will stun them for a moment coming back)
- DK:  Dtilt  DK Punch (only second because it has to be charged)
- Ness:  Dsmash (don't forget that the yo-yo goes behind him first)  Short-hop to PK fire (this may need to be followed up by a dsmash or fsmash)
- Jigglypuff:  Dsmash  Downward tilted fsmash
- Samus:  Downward-tilted fsmash  Charged shot (don't miss)
- Kirby:  Downward-tilted fsmash  Dtilt (this one is brutal)  Dsmash
- Yoshi:  Downward-tilted fsmash (who called that one?)  Dtilt  Dsmash  Eggs (don't forget, these have shrapnel)
- Link:  Fsmash (no need to tilt this bad boy)  Dsmash (try to connect with the very tip to send them horizontally)  Boomerang and bomb (bounce em around out there)
NOTE: All characters with a spike can use that as an edgeguard if their spike is executed directly onto the top of the edge itself just before the opponent grabs it.
ALSO NOTE: The downward tilts on the smashes are not always necessary, but increase the chance of a hit.
This technique plays on the fact that only one character may be grabbing the edge at any given time. It involves nothing more then grabbing the edge just before your opponent tries to. The best way to do this is to shorthop backwards off of the edge and catch said edge. Just as your opponent is coming up to grab, tap Z to roll back up onto the stage, denying your opponent the edge while using the invincibility of your roll to avoid damage from their recovery. Devious, eh? Only use this when you really want to win, because it has been known to tick people off in friendly games.
The difference between this and comboing is blurred in the minds of some, but I will do my best to set the record straight. Juggling is the practice of using one move to bounce your opponent into the air or against a wall so that they cannot recover. This usually takes nothing more than basic timing, so the low-skill necessary component makes these juggles slightly cheap (although with higher damage on the opponent, they get harder to pull off), especially because players who juggle invariably repeat it over and over again. Juggles rarely kill, but they can get you up to some fantastic damage if done right. Some juggles are harder than others, and therefore more acceptable, but if you must juggle in competitive play, do it and win instead of abstaining and losing.
Some often-seen juggles include:
- Ness: Repeated utilt, Spike Bounce (a difficult maneuver in which you use your powerful dair to alternately spike your opponent to the ground and bounce them back into the air. Gratuitous use of the double-jump cancel is necessary for proper execution).
- Fox: Repeated uair (this juggle is great on heavier characters, as they don't fly as far, allowing you to reach them with another attack before they can recover).
- Falcon: Repeated uair (see Fox's uair juggle), Spike Bounce (much harder to do than with Ness, but it is possible to do partially, and can link into other attacks)
- Pikachu: Repeated utilt
- DK: Repeated throws (when up against a wall, as on Hyrule or on Saffron, DK can grab an opponent, bounce them off of a wall with his throw, then grab them as they fly off of it - he can repeat this until the opponent clears the wall), DK grab repeat (I don't know if this even classifies as a juggle, but it IS cheap - Isai pulled this off in one of his videos, grabbing the opponent and putting them on his back to carry them, so that when they wriggle free, you can dash forward and grab them again and repeat)
- Link: Repeated utilt (you'll have to move slightly in your opponent's direction between utilts)
This technique (usually frowned upon) consists of getting your opponent backed up against a wall and then using either an A-move flurry (with Kirby, Fox, Pikachu, Falcon, and Link) to keep them trapped there and do massive damage. The fire flower is also very powerful in this situation, allowing the user to do massive damage to their opponent before the flower runs out.
Really the only counter to this is to DI upwards in order to escape the hits. You'll move slightly upwards between hits, eventually allowing you to jump out and wreak your vengeance upon your cheap opponent.
You'll notice that most platforms that are not the main stage are selectively non-existent (you can come up through the bottom of them and stand on them). Well, you probably know that by tapping down on your control stick, you can drop through said platform and fall down to the level below. There are a few combat applications for this.
First of all, after the B-up move of most characters (excluding Link and Kirby at the moment), there will be a time where your character cannot do anything but DI about with the control stick. During this time, most characters can hold down to fall straight through a platform. Try it with Samus, for example. Go to Peach's Castle and do your B-up, and then hold down on the control stick. You should fall right through the upper platform and onto the bottom. This is good if you miss your attack (like Luigi's Fire Punch, for example) and want to get to cover quickly so that you can regain control. Simply drop through a platform or two and land, then go attack your opponent again.
Secondly, dropping through provides an opportunity for a quick dodge and return of attack. For example, you're on Mushroom Kingdom, fighting Link. You're standing on the platform to the right of the tube on the left side of the screen. Link, from above, tries to dair you. What do you do? Well, I would wait until the last second, and then drop below the level (thus making his attack miss), then pop back up and attack while he's in his lag. Play with it, as it gives you another level of mind games to play with your poor opponent.