Captain Falcon: A Gentleman's Guide to Serving Justice (NEW UPDATE 6/7/15: FRAME ADVANTAGE DATA)

Captain Falcon: A Gentleman's Guide to Serving Justice (NEW UPDATE 6/7/15: FRAME ADVANTAGE DATA)

Applicable Games
Smash 3DS, Smash Wii U


Intro: Character Attributes

Captain Falcon has always been known as one of the fastest characters in the entire Smash series, to such a degree that he was, and often still is, considered an unpredictable and difficult to use character. In Smash 4, Captain Falcon finds himself in an odd sort of balance between his original Smash 64 appearance and his Melee self. We can all rejoice in knowing that this iteration of the Captain is far, far away from his Brawl self in most regards. Captain Falcon in Smash 4 has powerful, true-combo potential, and can reliably combo into his KO moves on almost the entire cast at much lower percents than most. He has strong aerials, a fair ground game, but a non-existant mid-range and long-range game. If you want to play a character who is fast, combo heavy, and relies on getting up close, staying up close, and baiting out opportunities to start his combo game, then Captain Falcon is going to be your man.
Moveset Essentials
[02] Approaching: Falcon's Offense
[03] Holding Back: Defense with Falcon
[04] The Fun Stuff: Combo'ing
[05] The Meat of It: Frame Data
[06] Video Resources


Moveset Essentials

Captain Falcon's moveset is a little more balanced this time around than it usually is. His ground game, while still fairly weak, is better than it usually is. The ground essentials you really need to know:

Tilts and Jab:​

D-Tilt: A modestly quick ground sweep that sends the opponent in a horizontal trajectory angled slightly downwards. This is a useful move for setting up edge guards. Difficult to recover for characters without good horizontal recovery

U-Tilt: The axe kick. It now meteors opponents if spaced right. It does good damage. Can be combo'd into circumstantially. Can also reset combos as you and your opponent land.

Jab: The first three hits ending in the knee jab is known as the Gentleman. Falcon's rapid hit isn't awful this time though. It's much like Little Macs and the last hit has a disjointed hitbox. Pick which one to use based on the situation.

Dash Attack and Smashes:​

Dash Attack: The shoulder bash. It's much more useful than it has been due to increased knockback and hitstun. This is good for setting opponents up for juggling, and can be easily used out of a dash dance or foxtrot when baiting an opponent.

F-Smash: The elbow. It's really strong. Save it for reads on rolls or people who air dodge into the ground though as it's quite punishable.

D-Smash: Rolling around is more prominent in this game, so this move is more useful as a punish for that if you can't set up a better one.

The Grab Game:​

This is where Falcon really shines in this game. His roll cancelled grab, dash cancelled grab, and especially his dash grab, are REALLY strong options. They have huge range and can set up high damage combos and even kills. You really shouldn't be using anything but Dthrow most of the time in my opinion, so I'm focusing on that.

Dthrow: Falcon slams the opponent on the ground, popping them up with good hitstun and comparably little knockback. You can literally follow up from this just about every time. Nairs, uairs: even the knee. Learn how this move works, it's one of his staples.


Falcon's aerial game is where he has always shined. Pretty much all of his aerials have a use. They all hit pretty hard to insanely hard, and can combo well. Here's a brief summary.

N-air: Falcon does a double kick. An original move. This is your bread and butter move against Falcon-sized enemies. Learn how to short-hop fast-fall this move as fast as you can. You should usually try to land both hits on standing opponents for practice. The weak first hit can combo into things though.

U-air: Falcon does a bicycle kick. He's had this move since forever and it's always been one of his best ones. This has great hitstun and low enough knockback along with great range: you can combo into tons of things with this. You'll be using this a lot.

D-air: The stomp. Another of his old and great moves. It meteors if you hit with the feet but the hitbox extends a long ways up his body to his chest. You can safely recover after using it, but you shouldn't use it on every character since their up-b can often beat it.

B-air: The backhand. This move is stronger than it looks. It does more damage right as it comes out and less as it stays out, but still does good damage and knockback the entire time. If you hit with the sweetspot, it KO's well. Great edgeguard material.

F-air: This is the Knee of Justice. Back in Melee, it was one of the most feared finishers. Brawl tarnished it's reputation since the inability to combo into it and the horrid sweetspot requirements made it nearly useless. But in Smash 4, it's back and with a vengeance. While you can't throw it out on approach or in multi-knee combos like in Melee/PM, you can pretty easily combo into it and it'll KO earlier than just about anything else. We're talking around 70-80 percent to the blastzone most of the time here. You need to master this move.


Falcon's got some pretty infamous special moves. Barring situational uses though, they're not all that great except for one. Use them well, preferrably keep them fresh.

Side-B: The Raptor Boost. What was once a combo move is now Falcon's backup kill move. This move will blastzone people off the top around 120 percent when fresh. Phenomenal for punishing rolls. Keep this move fresh, pull it out as your secret weapon if you miss your early kill windows.

Up-B: The Falcon Dive. Unfortunately it's not like it's 64 variant (no stairway's to heaven sadly). It's still a decent move though. You can "combo" into this move from uair strings sometimes for some high damage. It's an easy recovery to gimp though. Recover low.

Down-B: Falcon Kick: This move is situational at best. It leaves you vulnerable and is predictable and easy to punish. When fresh though, I've seen it KO floaty guys at the ~130 percent range. If all else fails, I suppose.

Neutral-B: Probably the most infamous move in Smash. The Falcon Punch. It doesn't really need much explanation. It's a strong move that you can reverse. Horrid startup, horrid lag at the end. If you get a read with this move you look awesome. You can punish air dodges into the ground with it sometimes. You probably shouldn't use this move much, if at all.

UPDATE: In my unworthiness, I downplayed this move quite a lot. However, now that footstooling allows you to true combo into the Falcon Punch, I have to take back some of what I said about not using this move much. If you get the chance to use it during a footstool combo: do it. Especially if it'll eat their stock. There is no more stylish way to close out a stock.

Approaching: Falcon's Offense
Captain Falcon is an offensive character. That doesn't mean you just rush in all the time, but it means you're gonna have to approach pretty much all the time. This is just a short section to give you an idea in various circumstances

In General:
Baiting out punishable things with dash-dancing and then grabbing is a staple of Falcon's gameplay in this game. His grabs usually lead into combos damaging around ~30 percent. Dash attack is also a good approach options to set them up for juggles.Try to get close to your enemy so they can't use projectiles without getting punished, and fish for those combo starters. When you see your chance, use falling u-airs or grabs to set people up for high damage combos. Mix it up, keep them guessing. Empty shorthops help with this too.

Against Falcon-Sized Enemies:
Use nair a lot. It's a fast, fairly safe move. Make sure you space it right, obviously, or you're gonna get grabbed. Your reward for hitting with this can be pretty high. If you hit with the first hit only (fast fall right after doing the move etc.) you can combo into a gentleman or a tilt or something.

Against Short Guys:
This is where it's tough for Falcon. If they're really short, like Pikachu, you're not gonna hit with your aerials and even your grabs can whiff when they really shouldn't. Focus on getting them into the air any way you can. Off-stage or above you, it doesn't matter. That means use your dtilt, grab when you can, and bait out hits into your dash attack. Once you get them in the air try to do as much as you possibly can with uair juggling.

Holding Back: Defense with Falcon
You're not going to want to be on the all-out defensive with Falcon most of the time. Falcon's standing grab has a deceptively short range. Shield-grabbing with Falcon is not a very strong option. You can often dash grab someone if they hit your shield with a Smash attack though, as Falcon's tremendous speed aids in his options after shield push.

If you have to go on the defensive with Falcon, your main priority should be to try to reset the stage to get them on defensive or at least reset to neutral. Examine your options in the situation. Are they throwing projectiles at you? Try walking and power-shielding as this will work on most projectiles. Are they rushing you down? You might be able to get a raptor boost or Falcon Kick in as a surprise move to reset things, as these moves have decent priority.

Overall, just learn how to shield effectively and try to know what your options are against certain characters.

The Fun Stuff: Combo'ing
This is where Captain Falcon really shines. Really, this is just an extension to his offensive game, but I have it in a separate section so that I can give some specific examples.

Falcon has two primary combo starters that you really wanna fish for: Dthrow and falling Uairs. Dthrow sends enemy on a favorable trajectory with plenty of hitstun for Falcon to start his true-combos on. Falling uairs (that is, performing a uair as you are landing on the ground such that the initial hitbox comes out right before you land) are tied for the lowest landing lag in the game barring Megaman's nair which is an exception. Both of these moves can lead into Falcon's strong aerials.

Below are just some examples of setups and rough percents. There will be videos in the next section with examples of their application.

From a Falling Uair
F. Uair ----> Gentleman or Rapid Jab (almost any low percent up to around 25)
F. Uair -----> Utilt (Percent greatly depends on character. Usually ~30s. Do this to ledge campers for hilarious KOs)
F. Uair -----> Uair -----> Knee (Usually around 45-50 percent. Several examples in videos)
F. Uair -----> Knee (Can do this from around ~60 percent. More reliable than dthrow into knee, though not necessarily easier)
F. Uair ----> Uair -----> Nair or Uair (From around 35 percent. Generally speaking you'd go for a knee but if you get an early falling uair such that the knee won't connect properly, its a fair replacement. Usually sets up edgeguard)

From a Dthrow
Dthrow ---> Nair (Basic low percent combo. Do this from any really low percent grab)
Dthrow ----> Uair (Usually do this from grabs starting in the 30s. Will lead into other things later on)
Dthrow -----> Nair -----> Uair (Do this to heavier types around 40 percent. You can push this even further but it's difficult to do reliably. Difficult to explain, early examples in videos)
Dthrow -----> Uair -----> Knee (Do this around the ~50-60 percent range on most. This will usually end in a stock)
Dthrow -----> Knee (You can do this around 75 percent on most. The percents for this start to become pretty darn precise per character though if you want to be able to do this regardless of DI)

Weak Nair ----> Gentleman (Do this by landing after only the first kick from the nair. Combos into a gentleman or rapid jab at almost any percent. Can do Ftilt at mid/high percents if you wanted to do that for some reason

NOTE: While the above register as true combos in the game's training mode, you can still combo without "true" comboing as some characters don't have an aerial or air dodge that can respond fast enough, or you can be in a position such that you can just wait out the airdodge and hit after (ie Frame Trapping). So don't just limit yourself to the combo meter in the training mode. Explore all of Falcon's possibilities: this is gonna vary per match up.

Advanced Technique Application
The purpose of this section is going to be to give examples of the application of various advanced techniques as they are discovered. Techniques such as Perfect Pivoting, Frame Cancels etc will fall under this section of the guide. Bringing us to-

As a lot of people are already aware, perfect pivots essentially involves starting a dash in one direction and then immediately flicking the control stick in the opposite direction to turn your character around. This causes the character to slide a small distance while turning around, opening up your options while moving.

When to Use It:
As far as Captain Falcon is concerned, this technique is primarily going to be used for movement gimmicks and occasionally avoiding attacks to put yourself in a good position for a punish. I've found that the best time to use this is just to throw people off when you're dancing around in front of them. Good to use it after landing from jumps and jumping or shielding out of the pivot to keep your opponent guessing. Otherwise, not so useful of a tech for Falcon
A very difficult to consistently perform advanced technique that essentially involves doing an aerial attack so low to the ground that your character would clip through the floor in the next frame after the attack's hitlag, causing your character to go immediately into their landing animation. In my opinion, a technique with a great deal of potential for development

When to Use It:
"Hitlag" is synonymous with "Knee" in this game. Falcon's Knee is the move with one of if not the highest amounts of hitlag in the game. A frame canceled Knee gives you lots of opportunity for early game heavy-damage combos, leading into dash attacks, nairs, tons of things. Dair is Falcon's other great frame cancel move. Frame canceling Dair opens up many conversions that otherwise are impossible, including mid percent dairs into knees or even another dair, low percent grabs or jabs.

Performing this technique requires a high amount of precision. Essentially what you have to do is fastfall during the attack such that it hits at the lowest point possible to the ground. The best way I've found to do this consistently is to do a short-hop, knee, and fast-fall almost as fast as you humanly can. You want to start the knee and fast fall at almost the exact same time: immediately at the apex of your shorthop. If done properly you should begin to see a lot of consistency in your frame cancel knees over time. Check out the video below about Frame Canceling to see this in-action and to get a reference point.

Frame canceling the dair is a LOT more forgiving (possibly due to the way Falcon sticks his feet down?) and seems to be fairly easy to do. Just basically do your short-hop, dair, and fastfall really quickly and you should begin seeing results pretty easily. Again, check the video out.

Just a Few Possible Combos That Otherwise Would Not Be:
FC Knee---> Dash attack----> Uairs (0-15%, variable on characters)
FC Knee ----> Grab ---> Any grab combo (~15% variable)
FC Dair -----> Jab (low percents)
FC Dair --------> Grab (~10% on most)
FC Dair ------> U-tilt -----> Knee or other air (~45% variable)

A footstool is simply when you input your double jump while your characters feet are roughly inside another characters "head". This causes your opponent to sink down while you jump off their head. If they are in the air, the hit on the ground is untechable. What this means is that if you footstool someone, they essentially only have 3 options available: rolling forward, rolling backwards, or getting up in place (with or without attack).

If you HIT someone after the initial bounce off the floor but before they can roll away, you initiate what is called a LOCK. If you hit them with a low knockback move, their character will be unable to do ANYTHING but a slow getup animation. This is incredibly useful for a character like Falcon.

Captain Falcon has the interesting ability to create easy situations in which he can footstool an opponent while they are in hitstun. The easiest ways to do this are after a down throw or a falling up air. If you quickly do a fast fall and a sour-spotted bair when they hit the ground, you will put your opponent into a lock, allowing you to follow up with just about ANYTHING you want. You can regrab, smash attack, even give them the Falcon Punch. And there is absolutely nothing they can do about it if you land the locking aerial properly. Learn this technique: it's very good.

Here are just a few ideas of what you can do with it

(~0-5ish percent, can lead to insane damage) Dash Grab --- > Down Throw -----> Footstool -----> Fast Fall ----> Fast Fall Dair -----> Regrab -----> Down Throw ----> Footstool -----> Fast Fall Dair ------> Pick a strong move here

(~19-25, deals great damage) Falling Up Air ----> Footstool -----> FF Dair -->SweetSpot Falcon Punch (or some other combination of stuff)

(15 or more percent, up to 50ish, great damage) Dash Grab ----> Down Throw ----> Footstool -----> Read Roll(for this assume they rolled away) -----> Lightning Falcon Kick (hit with the STUN part) -----> Knee (Or stomp if you think they'll miss the tech or something, then continue the combo with whatever)

(0-50ish percent percent, maybe more, deals good damage) Dash Grab/Down Throw OR Falling Up Air -----> Footstool -----> Fast Fall Weak Nair ----> Regrab ---> Any grab followed combo at mid percent

These are just a few minor, minor ideas. You can go crazy and try for multiple footstool resets in the same combo too, if they're at low enough percents. Experiment with it, I don't wanna ruin all the fun of discovery here! Video for visual learners in the video section too.

Frame Data
I'll try to keep this stuff updated so that you're all getting accurate information. For the major frame data on Captain Falcon, check out this awesome website

Below is the data I've compiled myself, primarily shield advantage. This data tells essentially how much time your opponent has to react to your attacks when they are shielded. Obviously there are some variances since the range that you hit them at matters tremendously in making stuff safe, as do your opponents out-of-shield (OOS) options. As a baseline though, every character can grab out of shield. This typically comes out in about 6-7 frames. So anything with more than a -6 frame disadvantage that doesn't push them far enough away will leave you vulnerable to shield grabs.

Ground Moves:

Jab 3 "Gentleman"
-20 on shield, -13 if shield dropped
-20 on shield, -13 if shield dropped
-21 on shield, -14 dropped
-11 on shield, -18 dropped
-33 on shield, -24 dropped
Dsmash(hit 1)
-24 on shield, -31 dropped
Dsmash(hit 2)
-14 on shield, -7 dropped

Aerial Moves:

Nair(weak hit)
~ -14 or so on shield, ~ -7 on drop
Note: Variance is due to how close to the ground you are when landing

Uair~ -5 on shield, +2 on drop(nice!)
Note: Variance due to landing. Also, note that it has an unusual 10 frames of hitlag, so the closer you
land the better

Dair~ -11 On shield at best, -18 on drop at best
Note: Variance due to landing

~ -8 on shield if you perform the move and land very close to the ground, -1 if they have to drop in this case
~ -7 on shield if you autocancel the move, 0 if they have to drop (NOTE: the advantage in this case varies TREMENDOUSLY based on character height, platform situation etc)
Note: Both situations for bair assume that you hit with the sweetspot

As a last note, the frame disadvantage/advantage on landing aerials depends TREMENDOUSLY on how close to the ground you were when you hit their shield. The closer to the ground, the quicker you can trigger your landing animation, the less frame advantage your opponent gets. Falling uairs are actually relatively safe if you space them out and don't start them too high. Great tool.

Video Resources

I'll be posting my own videos here, and anything else I find that is helpful. If you've got a video you want me to share here or if you know of one that would be helpful to your fellow Falcon mains, let me know and I'll include them.



Referenced Frame Cancel Video

Referenced Footstool Video
First release
Last update
4.92 star(s) 91 ratings

Latest updates

  1. On-Shield Frame Data: A Start

    Added a small section detailing the frame disadvantage of Falcon's moves. Cross reference this...

Latest reviews

Fantastic, thank you.
Great guide for Falconeers
FINALLY, a Guide that actually talks in full depth about the ONE character I main! =D
Falcon Punch confirms? Shut up and take my money.
I stopped playing falcon because I disliked how I thought he was played, but now with this info I think I will go back and start playing him again.
Love this guide! I am just starting to really get into using Captain Falcon and this has helped me. I recommend it to anyone who wants to learn about justice ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
Very helpful knowledge on the power of the Captain.
I think I won't have a FG Falcon anymore!
Now I can quickscope people with my newly acquired Falcon Knowledge.
Muy bien
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