5 Tips n' Tricks For the Smash Newcomer

5 Tips n' Tricks For the Smash Newcomer

Applicable Games
Brawl, Project M, Smash 3DS, Smash Wii U
Many of you on here for the first time are here for one reason: to improve your smash game. Maybe you just can't beat your friend, or saw a pro play and want to be like them. Maybe you want to win an upcoming tournament. Regardless, you are not alone. We all started out where you are, and we all felt as overwhelmed as you do by the competitive Smash scene. Frankly, I was terrified. Everyone was SO MUCH better than me. But by hard work and practice, I was able to improve my game, and I got to a decently competitive level.

There were many things that helped get me here. However, the thing that helped my game the most though was not tons of matches or reading stuff on here or other sites. The thing that helped me most were little tricks. I picked up things from Smashboards, competitive videos, and other things, and applied them to my game, one little trick at a time. So slowly I patched my playstyle and kept gradually improving. Now, since you're in the same place I was, (why else would you be reading this guide :p) I'm going to give you 5 little tricks that really helped improve my game, and that I think will really help improve yours.

Also, before we start, when I say punishing, I mean attacking in response to a mistake made by a player. Just wanted to clear that up for you new folks.

(Inb4 "I already know this!" If you already know, then why are you here, at a guide that says it's for newcomers? Go be snooty somewhere else. :p)

[One more note, most of this stuff applies to melee and 64 as well, but some of it doesn't, so I didn't say that it was for those games.]

5: Short Hop/Fast Fall
The gateway advanced technique. A Smasher's bread-and-butter in any Smash game. Notice how if you input a jump by tapping the button lightly, you don't jump as high as when you press it normally. This is called a short hop (abbreviated SH). A short hop allows you to use air attacks, known as aerials, on most characters at ground level. This is great, especially for characters with great air game.

Notice as you fall that if you hold the stick down, you fall faster. This is called a Fast Fall (abbreviated FF). Fast Fall is also essential, as it lets you land from a short hop as fast as possible. Smash is a game about speed, and fast falling makes any character just a bit faster with their actions.

The best tip I can give anyone who's having trouble with the short hop is to practice it repeatedly. The Romans used to say, "Repetition is the mother of learning," and nowhere do I find this more applicable than in Smash. Go into training mode and try to do a short hop. Keep trying until you see yourself do it. Then, try to practice doing it over and over. When learning any advanced technique in Smash, consistency is the name of the game. You want to practice it enough to where you can depend on it, and build your playstyle around it. Again, this goes for any technique in Smash, not just short hop/fast fall. Practice techniques until you can do them pretty consistently before using them in your playstyle. If you mess up a technique, you could get punished for it, and the technique would end up hurting more than it would help.

To use this technique, try short hopping, inputting an aerial attack, and then fast falling. You'll be surprised at how fast you can make your character perform actions. This is only the beginning.

4: Edge Guarding
When your opponent is on the edge, you should take advantage of it. It's an easy way to take stocks, or at the very least get free damage. One way to edgeguard is to charge a powerful move near the edge. But whatever you do, mix up your edgeguarding. It's possible for your opponent to attack you from the edge, so be careful, and try not to do the same edgeguard every time.

3: Instant Dash Attack
Sometimes you need to dash attack instantly. Maybe somebody used a long attack on your shield and you want to hit them with a dash attack while they're open, or maybe you need it for a combo somebody told you about. Regardless, here's how you Instant Dash Attack (iDA for short)

:GCR: > :GCCD:
Dash Right > C stick down, almost at the same moment. The dash should come a little before. You should see your character dash attack on the first step of their dash animation.

There's another way to do this that only requires 1 stick. This is good if you're on 3ds, using anything without two sticks (you poor unfortunate soul),or are having trouble with the first method. This is gonna look like the opposite of a hadouken for you Street Fighter folks.


You're going to move your stick in a quarter circle downward and press a almost immediately. This works exactly the same as the first method, and only requires one stick.

2: Looking at your opponent
"Know your enemy," said Sun Tzu in the Art of War.

This is how you do that. The quickest way to know your enemy is to ALWAYS HAVE YOUR EYES ON THEM. You should always have your eyes on the opponent's character so you can see what they're doing, observe their habits, and what you can and can't punish. Watch the other player. Is there a move they just keep using over and over? Do they roll a lot? What happens when you get close? A good player observes all these things and uses them to his advantage.
This was one tip that really helped me improve.

1: Shield Grabbing
The sole most important technique for a new player to learn, in my opinion. Shield Grabbing is essential to Smash's defensive game. You can take an attack on your shield, and then grab and potentially start to punish your opponent.
Here's the scoop: The game reads grab as an input of shield and attack at the same time.

:GCRT: + :GCA: = Grab

You can delay the attack and just shield, then immediately grab by still holding shield and pressing attack.
This is useful for catching dash attack spammers, poor spacers, and even top level players at times. If somebody keeps rushing in on you, shieldgrabbing is one of the best responses.
The shield grab is what makes the shield the best defensive option, and it will improve your game immensely.

There you are! I hope this helped, and I hope you practice these and improve your game. But don't stop here. Watch competitive matches and read guides. Sometimes you pick up little tips and tricks in the most unexpected places.

If you liked this guide, then please leave a rating or a review. It really helps me out. And even if you didn't like it, please leave feedback so I know what to improve on next time. Thanks!
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A fair list of options. Another technique that isn't mentioned here, though I've studied the effectiveness of this technique and it holds true to the word; effective, is up + B out of shield. I don't believe I've ever grabbed after blocking an attack; definitely gonna do that more when I get the chance.
Thanks so much for the tips! I am relatively new to smash and I'm excited about learning these new tricks to improve my game.
Very helpful!
I think maybe giving some tips on edge guarding because it is hard for newcomers.
Of course it is basic, but that's the goal. Teaches newcomers gateway mechanics to a solid playstyle
Really like this! I ended up knowing about some of this but your perspective on it definitely helped alot
Very good Guide. Keep it up^^
Lots of a great info for a noob like me. I am really thankful that you included info that applies to the 3Ds (I got smash to play with some friends on the go).
Just for the shield grab tech. I never knew about that.
Good guide if you're just getting into smash. Didn't give 5 stars because it didn't mention wave dashing or L-cancelling. Still a great guide though (:
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