Airdodging is heavily abused in smash 4. It seems that everyone's first instinct is to airdodge. But, did you know, airdodging is kinda, I don't know, bad? Airdodges, while useful for avoiding attacks, can be read and punished hard. In top level play you can see airdodges punished with anything from a smash attack to a spike offstage. All they have to do is anticipate your airdodge, wait for it, and then hit you when the animation ends. So what you may be asking is what to do instead of airdodge? Well you have some options. If your character has a fast aerial you can throw it out to intercept an opponent attempting to continue a combo. Or you can simply jump to avoid getting hit but be careful, without your second jump your landing becomes more predictable so be able to land quickly on say a platform or fast fall to the ground. When offstage and recovering a fast recovery can also be an alternative to airdodging. If you're in range of the ledge and your recovery comes out fast, use it! Better than airdodging and getting spiked to Hades. Dont get me wrong, I'm not saying never airdodge, I'm just saying only do it when your other options aren't ideal for the situation. For example if you are being edgeguarded by an Ike and you are too far from the stage for your recovery to reach the ledge and jumping would put you in a position where you can get punished, then airdodging is your best option.
2. Not reading airdodges
This is a big reason why alot of people airdodge. People tend to keep doing something if they don't get punished for it. In my small group of smash playing friends we used to airdodge alot until one of us learned to punish them. Eventually we all just stopped airdodging all the time and mixed up how we avoided aerial attacks. As said in the section above to punish an airdodge all you have to do is anticipate it, wait for it, and strike when the animation has ended. Example: Your opponent is above you and wanting to land. Short hop towards them while they're in the air. They are likely to expect an attack so they will airdodge. So after you short hop quickly fast fall and charge a smash attack. Release it when the animation ends or if they land during the animation since landing during an airdodge animation has alot of lag.
3. Not teching
Teching is pressing the shield button when you hit a wall, floor, or ceiling. Teching requires timing and can be the difference between living and losing your stock. Lets say you're recovering low and your opponent runs offstage and back airs you into the stage wall. If you don't tech and you're at a high enough percentage you will bounce off and be sent flying diagonally downward. If you do tech you will bounce off slightly but you wont be sent flying. Also resets are reliant on the person missing a tech. A reset is when a player missses their tech and the opponent hits them with a low knockback move like a jab usually 2 to 3 times forcing the player to do a normal get up and leaving them open to whatever the opponent has in store for them. And if those dont make you see how important it is to tech, then this will. Certain characters have kill set ups that rely on missed techs. Fox for example can forward throw into running up smash at kill percentages if the opponent doesn't tech. So, people, for the love of stocks, TECH!
4. Zoning out/Playing off instinct
Smash is a complex game that requires a vast amount of knowledge, good decision making, and focus to be good at it. But alot of players tend to not even be able to use these skills because they zone out and play off of pure first reaction instinct rather than actually paying attention and making conscious decisions. This is a big mistake. By zoning out you lose all opportunity to read your opponent, be unpredictable, and basically everything you need to win the match. So you should practice consciously paying attention during a match rather than "getting in the zone." If you do, you'll start to realize that guy who you thought was unbeatable actually has some flaws and bad habits you can exploit.
5. Acting hastily when down a stock or when struggling to take a stock
So you're in a match and you're down a stock. You need to even it up before you start taking on alot of damage. This is good thinking. But thinking that throwing out desperate smash attacks is the way to even it up isn't good thinking. The opponent knows you wanna even it up so they are gonna play extra careful. Too many times I see people get down a stock and start playing desperately, hoping that any kill move lands. Instead of doing this, you shod collect yourself. Yes you need to take their stock but be smart about it. If last stock you dash grabbed alot and they spot dodged to avoid it, start using some pivot grabs to throw them off. Instead of being anxious to take their stock make them anxious to keep theirs. They will eventually make a mistake you can capitalize on. Players also tend to get desperate when they have their opponent at like 165% and just cant seem to take the stock. So they throw out desperate smash attacks and end up getting punished by an opponent who is not only more than happy to get free damage to hopefully even it up, but who also has rage making their punishes all the more deadly. Instead of trying to rush and take their stock just calm down and apply pressure. Use a projectile if you have one or use spaced aerials on shield to do so. Make them go pure defensive. Constantly mixup your approach. They've noticed you like to dash grab so they're spot dodging? Then run at them and doing a running up smash and time it to hit right as their spot dodge animation ends. Never panic, always keep a clear and calm head. Easier said than done but the lion king said it best...hakuna matata.
6. Jumping immediately after being launched
This is a habit I myself had to really work to get rid of cause it was so instinctive. But its such a bad thing to do. Jumping immediately after being launched eliminates one of your few options to land or get back to the stage. You jumped immediately after being thrown up in the air? Well now your landing is so much more predictable. The only options you have left are fast falling, airdodging, and drifting slighlty, all of which can be dealt with by a competent player. Now some characters like sheik, Diddy, and zero suit have specials they can use to help them with landing but these can still be read and punished if the person knows what they're doing. In the event you are thrown off stage, please, do not jump immediately. Only if you are hit with the semi spike should you even consider jumping as soon as you are sent offstage. Jumping immediately after being launched off stage makes your recovery much more predictable. Now you only have your recovery to get back to the stage and only airdodging and fast aerials to oppose being edgeguarded. All your opponent has to do is wait for you to use your recovery and if it doesn't have a hitbox at the top of it they can spike you out of it killing you or if it does they can run off and stage spike you. So, moral of the story is dont jump when launched. Thank you
7. Not DI' ing throws and attacks
DI'ing isn't only a way to avoid getting killed, it can also throw off your opponent's combos and followups. If you are playing a Ness then you should expect down throw into multiple forward airs. But if you DI toward him when he down throws you, he won't be able to connect a forward air as easily and will likely miss. Also you should DI attacks to avoid certain follow ups, like a fox trying to down tilt into an aerial. DI'ing is an important and easy thing to do. But remember to mix up your DI or they will catch on and adjust their combos.
8. Not ledge trumping
This is something I still need to work on. Ledge trumping can be done by moving off stage then quickly moving the analog stick back towards the stage to take the ledge from an opponent holding it. This can take some practice to be able to do it consistently but trust me, its worth it. Ledge trumping can lead into multiple followups. You can ledge trump and then jump and back air your opponent or you can ledge trump and jump off and spike your opponent. Heck you could even ledge trump them and then get back onstage and force them to either choose trying to go for the stage with their midair jump and risk getting hit with a smash attack due to them no longer having their midair jump or choose to go for the ledge and get punished for no longer having invincibility frames. Practice ledge trumping, this one thing can really improve your ability to take stocks and apply pressure.
9. Not stage spiking
Throughout the guide I have mentioned stage spiking. That's because it needs the publicity. Alot of casual or rookie players dont really utilize stage spiking. It's an effective way to end a stock as early as like 40% and can actually help you evaluate your opponent. Alot of people will miss the tech and die so its a reliable kill option to go for but if they do tech it, then you know that they have some decent timing and aren't that bad at least. So remember, if your opponent is recovering low, dont be afraid to run off and back air them into the stage. Let them and the stage meet face to wall.
Rolling is, in a word, bad. It's easily punished and can get you into some serious trouble. But yet so many people abuse rolling. They usually do it to get away from pressure or if someone is running at them. In both cases, rolling is bad. Example: Opponent is dashing at you. What do you do? You roll backwards. You're safe. NOT! They just keep dashing forward and grab you when your roll ends. You're probably wondering, what should I have done? Well you had some options. You could've spot dodged which would've beaten a dash grab and dash attack and also kept you in range to punish. Or you could have short hopped and used an aerial. Or even met them half way with a dash grab or dash attack. Now rolling is still an option. But compared to all your other options it just doesn't compare. The other options give you a more advantageous position while rolling gives up stage control. Your other options are also less expected and therefore harder to punish. Rolls can be punished by down smashes, grabs, and some characters have powerful moves that hit all around them that can punish rolls like Ike's up smash. Also instead of using rolls to move use quick dashes which can be done by quickly flicking the analog stick and leaves with more options than rolling. To break the habit of rolling try playing against computers and limit yourself to lets say 5 rolls a match. When that becomes easy lower it to 3, then 1, and then play matches without rolling at all.
Disclaimer: While these habits are bad when abused, so is anything when abused. So I don't mean never airdodge, never roll, or to always tech. These things can also be punished so always mix it up
Well that's the end of my list of bad habits in smash. I hope this helps you improve and eliminate any hindering habits you have. Have fun playing smash guys, good luck!
- Applicable Games
- Smash 3DS, Smash Wii U