- Sonic's Pros and Cons
- Various Statistics
- The Gameplan
- Moveset Analysis
- Grounded Moves
- Grabs and Throws
- Aerial Moves
- Aspects of Sonic
- Conclusion and Thanks
Hey everyone, I'm Star. For those who don't know me, I'm a Smash Player from Sydney, Australia and I have been playing Project M (And by extension, Sonic) since mid 2013 and have been attending tournaments ever since. Ever since the 3.5 Patch came out for Project M many players have dropped Sonic, finding his new style too different now than in patches prior and even those who still play Sonic in 3.5 (and now 3.6) may not have a full grasp over his potential now in this update.
I wrote this guide with the intention of spreading his potential and showing all players that wish to use Sonic what is possible and what they can do to achieve. You may notice that the Moveset Analyis part of the guide is by far the largest and this is primarily because I feel Sonic can be played so flexibly due to the multipurpose functions all of his moves. As such, please try and experiment with everything Sonic can do and don't take my advice as the absolute concrete way to play this character but form your own playstyle. This guide was the culmination of two months of hard work and I hope all current Sonic players and/or players that are interested in Sonic can benefit from the information in this document. Please leave a review and send feedback if you can, I plan to update this guide in the future with more detailed matchup information as things become more apparent.
- Fastest run speed in the game, coupled with his dash dance this allows for ridiculously fast movement
- Amazing punish game through his grabs and aerials
- Very high jumps and fast movement speed through the air out of a run
- Has very good options in all directions whilst in the air due to his versatile aerials
- Fantastic edge guarding potential through his specials, aerials and other movement options
- Semi-floaty and is quite light, meaning improper DI can lead to getting KOed very early
- Somewhat low killing power in the neutral outside of his Bair/Nair and forward smash, meaning he has a hard time killing the opponent when they are at very high percents because he can't combo them
- Recovering without a double jump is very risky due to the way that spring interacts with the ledge
- Somewhat low damage output, meaning you have to land reads very often in order to rack up a large amount of damage with Sonic
- A general lack of disjoint, causing Sonic to trade quite frequently with the opponent
Thank you 1MachGo for these Stats!
Weight - 82 (31st-32nd Heaviest)
Walk Speed - 1.4 (3rd-6th Fastest)
Run Speed - 4.0 (1st Fastest)
Full Hop Height - 35.991 (11th Highest)
Short Hop Height - 13.6935 (20th Highest)
Running Jump Air Speed - 2.0 (3rd-4th Carried Momentum)
Fall Speed - 1.9 (21st-25th Floatiest)
Wavedash Length - 27.31 (26th Longest)
Has a Walljump
Sonic is a very bait heavy character, his movement and deceptive specials are some of your greatest tools in the neutral to weed out poorly spaced attacks that the opponent throws out and punish them effectively, usually with a grab. Sonic also has great poking tools that are effective against more subtle/fast characters that can effectively lead into damage building setups or a kill offstage. Ultimately, a Sonic player will be aiming for high damage combos out of throws that lead into strong aerial kill options offstage or slow gimps through the use of his specials. The flexibility of these options is what makes Sonic the character that he is and smart use of all his different tools in each and every matchup is key to winning as the character.
Before I describe the aspects of Sonic's character I will go over each and every single one of his attacks and explain them in detail in order to gain a proper understanding of how each of Sonic's moves work in conjunction to each other. Special thanks to Sartron for the hitbox gifs and frame data.
Jab - PPK
Active on frame 3
-8 on shield
Cancelable into Jab 2 on frames 8-24
Active on frames 2-3
-9 on shield
Cancelable into Jab 3 on frames 7-23
Active on frames 4-6
-7 on shield
Forward Tilt - Horse Kick
Active on frames 7-11
-17, -18 and -19 on shield (depends on tilt direction and hitbox)
Down Tilt - Leg Throw
Active on frames 6-10
-18 on shield
Up Tilt - Sonic Up Draft
Active on frames 6-10
-17 on shield
Dash Attack - Spin Attack
Active on frames 2-5, 6-22
-32, -30 on shield (depends on hitbox)
Forward Smash - Windup Punch
Active on frames 16-19, 20-22
-16, -14 on shield (depends on hitbox)
Pivot forward smash also has its limited use in tech chase situations but nothing worth losing a stock over if you read incorrectly. Be prepared to follow up if you hit with the inner hitboxes, as it sends straight up. If you do happen to whiff this move you can wavedash back or use side special in a shine-esque fashion as the IASA frames start relatively soon after Sonic draws his fists back in. Even so, exercise caution when using this move.
Down Smash - Sonic Flare
Active on frames 10-19, 24-30
-17, -18 on shield (depends on hitbox)
Up Smash - Razor Spin
Active on frames 18, 20-24
-29, -21 on shield (depends on hitbox)
Active on frames 7-8
Active on frames 10-11
Active on frames 10-11
Active on frames 4-5
Yields 3 damage
Forward Throw - Foot Launch
Opponent thrown on frame 11
Back Throw - Flip Throw
Opponent thrown on frame 43
Down Throw - Double Spin
Opponent thrown on frame 42
Down throw is also used primarily off the ledge; this is a very important mixup and will often be your throw of choice at the ledge. After down throwing your opponent off the ledge you can reliably drop off the side of the stage into a fast fall and effectively cover options from there on a character by character basis. Solid options include b-turnaround primed Homing Attack, a raw fair meteor or a bair stage spike. Down throw is very flexible and will likely be your second most often used throw.
Up Throw - Quill Rack
Opponent thrown on frame 25
Straight up DI can be chained into uairs at lower percents, usually stacking up about three or four before a bair finisher. At higher percents you can double uair with spring and land the KO; practice spring followups and memorise what heights you can achieve out of jump and double jump. No DI is fairly simple but actually hard for Sonic to follow up on sometimes due to the odd angle they travel at, treat it a bit more like straight up DI and try to land uairs at low percents. At higher percents you can kill with fair, uair or the dair spike; nair can be risky out of these throws due to the positioning you have to achieve in order to land the sweetspot, keep this in mind especially against characters like Luigi or Samus. Away DI is the most common DI but still doesn't have its lack of followups. At low percents Sonic can dair spike to start a grounded combo and/or tech chase. Additionally you can fair sourspot into uair or reliably use the nair sweetspot to push opponents offstage. At mid percents Blast Attack starts to put the opponent in enough hitstun for you to convert it into another aerial so its fantastic for laying on damage, Blast Attack also connects after sourspot fair on certain characters in a small percentage bracket.
At higher percents the floatier characters and faster falling characters will start to escape Sonic's followups if they DI offstage as Sonic cannot jump from directly beneath them without the ground to jump from. However, on most characters you can land a kill with nair sourspot, the dair spike or Blast Attack into Spring Uair/Bair. It is important to work out what followups work on certain characters in order to understand when you should cease up throwing and DI mixup into down throw or other tools. A useful option at mid percents is to charge down b and jump as soon as you can, this way you can followup reliably with aerials if they DI away or double jump cancel the down b charge into a bair if they DI straight up. Up throw has a huge lexicon of followups and it's up to the Sonic player to be as creative as possible as up throw can lead into 50%+ combos on most characters if you learn what works on different floatiness/weight combinations.
Neutral Air - Instashield
Active on frames 4-8, 9-14, 15-21
+1, -1, -2, -3 on shield (depends on hitbox)
I generally don't use this aerial as heavily as his others but it still has its uses and it's worth experimenting with them to see when it's most useful as nair's most rewarding element is its frame data (quick start up and low cooldown) as its actual utility in terms of where you hit with it are outclassed by his other aerials in most situations (nair sourspot can be replaced with fair starting sweetspot and nair sweetspot can be replaced with dair spike). A very good aerial otherwise and a signature move of his character.
Forward Air - Sonic Eagle
Active on frames 8-9, 10-13
-5 on shield
Offstage, Sonic's fair is useful to wall out opponents with good interrupt aerials (Luigi, Samus etc.) or characters that have active hitboxes on their recovery (Fox, Mario etc.) as the heel hitbox has a slight amount of disjoint. At almost every percent Sonic can combo meteor cancels from his fair into a bair which may lead to a stage spike, there are also other creative options you can utilise with his specials in order to cover other options out of the opponent's meteor cancel. It is also worth noting that fair is very good to use out of spring when recovering just above the ledge; it is a very fast option and can catch many edgeguarders next to the ledge offguard, just only use it in moderation. This move is quite safe and fast so it is handy to throw out this move often to control space whilst also remaining unpredictable. Use this move well.
Back Air - Turn Kick
Active on frames 13-15, 16-21
-5, -3, -2, ±0 on shield (depends on hitbox)
Bair is a great combo finisher as well, useful out of uairs at lower percents and blast attack at mid percents. Grounded down b also realiably leads into the RAR jumping hitbox of the spin and then into bair against floaty and larger/heavier characters. Bair's opening hitboxes only last for two frames but the late hitboxes are still useful, reliably killing offstage at higher percents. Like fair, bair can also be used out of spring to quickly land a hit as the move starts up when Sonic is still rising. You will likely be using this move very often to control space and end stocks so experiment with percentages in order to figure out when the move kills certain weight classes reliably.
Down Air - Stomp Dive
Active on frames 9-11, 12-24
-8 on shield
In terms of combo and KO potential, Sonic's dair is fantastic for both its spike hitbox and falling hitbox. During the first 3 frames, Sonic's dair is a slow spike, sending the opponent down at roughly the same angle and speed that Sonic is traveling. After these three frames, however, Sonic's dair will start to send at a more horizontal angle and the hitbox is reduced to his leg, making it negatively disjointed. In combos, Sonic's spike is often useful out of throws or blast attack, reseting the combo into a tech chase scenerio. Dair also commonly combos out of grounded Spin Charge, where Sonic hits with the grounded hitbox of the spin then performs a RAR jump into dair, depending on the opponents percent and SDI this will either lead into the spike or horizontal hitbox, both of which deal decent damage and have a great chance for followup if Sonic chases up to maintain frame advantage. Offstage, Sonic's dair can often combo raw out of up throw on many characters, which can be particuarly devastating for characters with poor vertical recoveries like Donkey Kong or Bowser. After the spike you can either footstool or double jump back and fair, guaranteeing death at even the lowest percents. Sonic's dair is one of his best aerials and is very versatile; strong and smart use of this move can heavily improve your Sonic game and it is worth exploring all of its uses in order to maximumise that potential.
Up Air - Windmill Kick
Active on frames 5-7, 10-14
-8, -4 on shield (depends on hitbox)
Like Fox's uair, falling uair is also useful as an option when above an opponent or for hitting an opponent up without having to halt to use grounded options; this is even greater for Sonic as he can follow up after this to even higher percents than Fox can due to spring uair. You can also use the first hitbox by itself with proper timing to combo into grounded options like grabs or tilts. Offstage, Sonic's uair is good to use out of spring, like fair and bair, and can hit opponents poised at the ledge through certain stages, such as Smashville. Sonic kills off the ceiling quite extensively simply due to this move, use it often.
Neutral Special - Homing Attack/Blast Attack
Home releases on frame 25
Missed target shot releases on frame 59
4-58 Blast Attack frame window
-24 on shield
Onstage Homing Attack can be used as a poke in the neutral against certain characters as a mixup. Sonic has amazing tools to cross up his opponent through spinshots and wavelands and, as such, Homing Attacks mixed in amongst these is often a good tool to utilise. Depending on weight classes and percent Sonic can follow up Homing Attacks with aerials or up tilts, leading into platform tech chases or aerial finishing moves such as dair or bair. If Sonic ever needs to tech chase someone, Homing Attack is a good low risk, low reward option to utilise. The range of this generally covers tech in place, tech in and no tech depending on your position and the initial startup and invicibility of the opponents tech rolls. This usually doesn't lead into many direct followups but allows Sonic to maintain frame advantage and continue to tech chase and/or pressure the opponent in the air. Be warned that certain characters have good tools to punish Homing Attack on shield (DK's nair, Falcon's uair, ROB's uair, Link's up b etc.) so be ready to drift your taunt in different directions to maintain a guessing game for their punish. On almost all characters Homing Attack can link to itself with proper spacing at certain percents. The percents ranges are very strict on most characters, however, which the exception on some larger characters such as Bowser. Multiple Homing Attacks tack on a large amount of damage and can carry opponents to the very top of the screen, linking into an easy uair to finish off their stock.
Offstage Homing Attack is notrious for its gimping potential but also its predictability. Be very aware of where and when you use Homing Attack offstage as a simple misspace of the move can mean death without warning. A good practice to employ is priming a B-turnaround everytime you attempt a Homing Attack offstage, no matter how certain you are of its safety. This can guarantee your survival if the opponent escapes your lock on range as Sonic will flub towards the stage, wall or ledge when he misses and you will be free to recover with Spring. When you do use Homing Attack offstage, be aware of the enemy's options to punish it at close range and also when hitboxes are surrounding their recovery. Generally speaking, the more linear and "hitboxless" the recovery is, the better time Sonic has at punishing it. Some examples include Roy, Falcon, Ganondorf, Ivysaur, Charizard, ROB etc. After landing a Homing Attack, you can then choose to follow up with your aerial of choice. Generally sweetspot nair or bair is your best option and will KO most characters off the side. At higher percents you may find you will have to Spring then aerial afterwards in order to land the kill.
Against fast fallers offstage Homing Attack is very useful, pushing them down far enough for Sonic to followup with another Homing Attack or the late hit of nair. The general rule here is to down throw or forward throw the fast faller offstage then chase up with a Homing Attack and slowly push them further down and away until they cannot recover anymore, Sonic can then double jump and safely spring back up to reach the ledge. I will talk about how edgeguarding different fast fallers contrasts in the matchup section. Be very careful with your use of this move and take every precaution necessary to survive if you miss.
If you press A during the startup of Homing Attack, Sonic will launch straight forward at the same angle of his missed homing attack instantaneously. (as early as frame 4!) This move is called Blast Attack and is a great combo tool for Sonic to use both onstage and offstage. Distinctions from Homing Attack include the lack of homing properties, a quick startup and IASA frames that come out twice as fast on hit as Homing Attack. (Frame 15 as opposed to 30) I have talked a lot about Blast Attack in other sections, talking about how it generally extends combos into other aerials from throws and specials, this is its primary use. Out of throws Sonic can use it to slow down the situation and properly set up into a kill aerial with proper spacing for the sweetspot. You can also use this out of Somersault to link into other aerials for larger amounts of damage. Blast Attack deals 8% which is nice to tack on during your combo for that extra mileage. Use this move frequently during combos and you will extent Sonic's aerial links as far as you possibly can, just be aware that missing this move will end in a special fall like homing attack's missed lock on.
Side Special - Somersault
5 frame startup
Jump cancel/Baseball Slide window begins on frame 7
Tap Somersault active on frames 1-4, 6-9, 11-14, 16-19
Hold Somersault active on frames 4-60
Baseball Side active on frames 6-25
-37, -40, -48 on shield (depends on hitbox)
The most important thing to remember when using Somersault is to consider what options you have available and what is most effective on the character you are fighting at the current time. For instance, floaty characters like Jigglypuff will not crouch cancel your side special for very long and as such it is within your best interest to jump out of the move and chain it into Blast Attack then into another aerial for maximum damage, rather than attempt a jump cancel grab, which is effective against crouch canceling or faster falling characters. When going for aforementioned jump canceled grabs, be aware of what options the opponent has out of crouch cancel, notably the space animals' shines or Roy's down tilt/down smash. Sometimes it is more effective to wavedash back to bait the counterattack then punish with a grab or something similar. As such, you can use wavedashes out of Somersault as a pseudo waveshine on stage, useful for baiting attacks and for small amounts of burst movement. If you manage to drag opponents offstage with Somersault you can follow up with in similar ways as you would after a down throw at the ledge; aerials or Homing Attack generally. This is very important against fast fallers.
In general, due to its 5 frame startup, Somersault can be used after aerials or when recovering from a tech chase in a shine-like fashion, quickly pressuring the opponent and preventing any form of counterattack. Any misspaced Somersault can generally be canceled safely with wavedash away or ledge dropping out of it; somersaulting off the ledge of a platform of the stage puts Sonic into a unique spinning animation which can then be canceled into wavelands or other movement options. It is often a good choice to cancel Somersault into the Baseball Slide when close to the ledge, which will push you offstage, allowing Sonic to succesfully escape a bad onstage situation and setting up a bair counterattack.
The aerial version of Somersault is great for movement and recovery purposes. Upon activation Sonic will hop slightly in the air in a ball whilst moving forward if you hold the button down or travel on a diagonal angle downwards in a ball if you only tap the button. Both options have very flexible positioning parameters attached to them so it is quite easy to adjust trajectory accordingly whilst performing the move, whether that be drifting to grab the ledge or to land on a platform. Aerial Somersault transitions into the grounded version of the move once you touch the stage, meaning that it can be used as a way of moving Sonic in the air towards a platform quickly and then into a waveland, this is especially useful out of a spinshot and is a great recovery option to utilise. When performing aerial Somersault keep in mind that is not jump cancelable in the air as of 3.5 and the quickest way to end the animation is to pull back on the stick in the opposite direction you are performing the move; Sonic will halt his momentum then uncurl slowly. It is very important to use this cancel effectively or you can lose stocks due to the end lag of the move when not uncurled. Aerial Somersault only hits once, knocking opponents either in front or behind Sonic depending on where they hit him whilst he is in his ball formation. You can use this for gimps whilst traveling towards the stage but Somersault's end lag makes it almost impossible for this to be achievable whilst low offstage, so be vigilant of the opponent's position when jumping offstage to attempt this. Keep in mind that once Sonic is hit, he cannot perform Somersault again until he touches the ground so only use this move only when it is safe.
You can also use Aerial Somersault to grab the ledge; if you run straight off the stage then hold side special towards the stage immediately after falling off you will grab the ledge. This is a quick way of grabbing the ledge if you feel uncomfortable with RAR wavedashes and it also spawns the Somersault hitbox for several frames which can result in gimps, just be prepared to pull back on the stick if the opponent edgehogs you as they recover or you will not be able to get enough height to reach the ledge with spring when you attempt to get back to the stage. This technique is shown in a gfycat above.
The hold version of the grounded Somersault has identical properties to the aerial one and is great for catching opponents that like to short hop frequently. Since it only hits once the held Somersault is fantastic for leading into tech chases or vertical combos out of down tilt or uair. Somersault is a very flexible move and is often the crutch of Sonic's approach options in many matchups so mastering this move is pivotal to winning as Sonic.
Down Special - Spin Charge
7 frame startup
60 frame maximum charge time
Jumping hitbox active from frame 11
As of 3.5, turning around during Spin Charge does not yield a hitbox which means it is now only useful for positioning purposes. Turning around during Spin Charge is primarily useful for RARs as it gives Sonic great horizontal momentum whilst also turning him around for back airs. You can also use the turn around to charge again at another attempt at an approach but this is very dangerous because it gives the opponent a large amount of time to react and defend accordingly and punish. You can also cancel out of a Spin Charge on the ground at any time except during a turnaround by pressing a shield button, this will result in a quick skid animation and Sonic will return to his idle pose. This is sometimes useful for linking into tilts but is extremely unsafe on shield so I suggest you practice hitconfirming with the Spin Charge hitbox before using this cancel technique frequently.
Once you land Spin Charge's grounded hitbox on your opponent many combo possibilities are opened up. Assuming the move is not crouch canceled jumping out of Spin Charge will lift the opponent up with Sonic, usually leading into Sonic's aerials. At low percents RAR dair is a great combo starter if you land the spike hitbox and good at dealing damage regardless even if you land the horizontal hitbox instead. As percents rise more combos will become avaliable, some outright KOing the opponent. A good example of this is what Sonic mains like to call "The Sonic 3 Combo", that is, linking grounded Spin Charge into a neutral air. This will kill many characters beyond 90% as long as they do not SDI the jumping hitbox of Spin Charge. Another reliable combo against floaty characters is RAR jumping out of Spin Charge once you hit the opponent with the grounded hitbox then popping them up further with the jumping hitbox before double jumping and finishing them off with a bair; this combo used to be bread and butter in 3.0 but is now primarily useful only for KOing floaties at mid to high percents or fast fallers at extremely high percents.
Aerial Spin Charge's hitbox is seldom useful for much, though you can link the initial hit into footstools against grounded opponents which opens up a plethora of options, this is very situational though so don't count on it working 100% of the time. You can also use the charging hitbox to drag people down offstage after putting them into a bad position after down throw or Somersault, again this is very situations so be careful with your application of it. What Aerial Spin Charge is good for, however, is for an advanced Sonic technique known as the spinshot, you can see a gfycat of this technique performed in the spoiler tag above. To perform a spinshot initiate Spin Charge then quickly jump out of it by either hitting a jump button or up on the stick. (I personally prefer the latter) Be aware that this technique consumes your double jump.
Spinshot is Sonic's primary recovery option in most facets of his offstage game as it gives him the maximum vertical height of his double jump whilst also yielding huge horizontal momentum and distance. You can perform any of Sonic's aerial options after spinshotting and for this reason it is useful for many situations. Onstage Sonic can use spinshot to cross up opponents above their shields and then mixup with other specials or aerials behind them. You can combine Somersaults platform ledge cancels with spinshots for extremely deceptive movement that is easily cancelable into any of Sonic's offensive options, making it an aerial dash dances of sorts. You will find that correct use of this technique will make it very hard for opponents to read your next move and can often lead to hasty aerials or laggy moves from them, allowing you a free punish. Just be careful though, as getting hit of spinshot means you may end up offstage without a double jump.
Up Special - Spring Jump
Spring spawned on frame 7
49 Frame duration
Onstage Sonic's Spring is good for chasing up opponents above him into uairs or bairs. On certain characters Sonic can uair the opponent up to 5 times through smart platform usage and double jump uair + Spring uair. As percents rise double jump uair will not be enough to reach opponents after launching them up with moves such as meteor fair, down tilt or up tilt and you will have to spring uair them to reach them before hitstun wears off. You can play around with grounded spring as it will stay on the ground for roughly 4 and a half seconds before disappearing. Moves such as held Somersault or the dair spike can push your opponent into grounded spring which then can be followed up by spring uair, resulting in very early star KOs.
Spring can also be used to escape combos, similar to Game & Watch's up special, Fire. This means that during gaps in opponent's strings Sonic can launch out of the way of future attacks and then dair to reset the neutral. Be careful with your timing of dair, it can be very predictable and smarter opponents can bait your use of this and punish accordingly. Sometimes it is safer to drift back onstage or to the ledge.
Offfstage Spring is very deadly to certain characters due to the hitbox's gimping potential. Proper spacing of this tool can be detrimental to the recoveries of characters such as Roy, Fox, Captain Falcon or Diddy Kong. This move will send opponents in a diagonal direction opposite to the side Spring hit them on, meaning proper spacing of this move is required lest the opponent techs on the wall and recovers safely. You can use the Spring intially by jumping offstage and using the move as a projectile normally or after a failed bair/fair edgeguard attempt as a second measure to both recover yourself back to the stage and also gimp the opponent. Most recoveries that have hitboxes will eat straight through this move (Cypher, Firefox, Spinning Kong, Whirling Fortress etc.) so proper timing is required if you want it to successfully land; heavy practice is required if you want to learn the spacing requirements of this move so attempt this techique when you can because mastery of Spring can result in gimps as low as 15%.
As I'm sure you know by now, Sonic has the fastest run speed in the game and it is up to the player to utilise this speed and translate it into deceptive movement that will be fruitful in both your neutral game and punish game. There isn't an exact way that I would advise a Sonic player should be moving but it is important to understand what movement options Sonic has available to him and why they are useful.
Dash Dancing and Sprinting
Sonic's dash dance is very flexible as his long initial dash animation allows the player to mix up the length and duration of each dash before starting another. Whilst not the fastest in the game, the sheer length of the dash allows Sonic to actively invade space and bait out attacks on a much larger scale than characters with shorter and quicker dash dances such as Captain Falcon. Sonic's run speed is the highest in the game which means that followups and punishes from full-stage distances are very possible.
Sonic's wavedash, whilst not the longest one in the game, is still very useful and using it in conjunction with dash dances is very important to throw the other player off more. Also using it out of of the Somersault (Side Special) is pivotal for canceling your momentum and resetting the situation.
Sonic's jumps are very fast and very high; you can quickly waveland on and off platforms around the stage and convert this movement into speedy grounded approaches or aerials off the platforms which may lead into grabs/kill moves. Sonic excels in this area as the majority of his momentum is carried from his dash to his jump. It is important to use this in order to form approaches versus characters with heavy projectile usage. As mentioned in the Somersault section, you can also waveland out of aerial Somersault once you hit the ground, which is an amazing movement option.
Spin Charge Jumps and Cancels
The Spin Charge gives Sonic a burst of movement, even when uncharged. Whilst it is slightly slower than his run speed, his aerial movement during the spin charge jump is unmatched by any other movement option he has, this is especially useful for option coverage after up throw or edgeguarding/deceptive movement. I speak more about this in the Spin Charge section.
Performing a double jump during the initial charge animation of Spin Charge in the air will give Sonic a huge boost in both vertical and horizontal momentum, allowing him to move inbetween platforms or follow up combos when no other option would give him the leeway. I talk about this extensively in the Spin Charge section.
Sonic's moonwalk is by far the largest in the game, almost pushing him an entire half stage length of Pokémon Stadium 2. Sonic can use repeated moonwalks as a baiting tactic and cancel them into Dash attack, a run or jump. Offensively, Sonic can also use any standing option after performing the full moonwalk, this means an almost full stage forward tilt poke or forward/down smash killing move. I will talk more about the jumping momentum use of this move in the edgeguarding section.
It is important to frequently practice these movement options as they will form the very core of your gameplay with Sonic. Drill these techniques into your mind and force yourself to perform them in matches until it becomes a habit.
Sonic's recovery is very, very flexible and there are many ways that a Sonic player can make it back to the stage safely but is important to mix up these options lest you be read and lose a stock. It is important to build knowledge as to what characters can punish certain recovery pathways and what alternatives you have. I will speak further about which options are effective in each matchup in the matchup section. Here's a list of Sonic's recovery tools and what they can be used for.
Spin Shot [DJ out of Down B Charge]
This should be your first recovery option if you have a double jump left. Sonic will curl up for a small period of time then launch himself up and forward at high speed. This cancels any knockback momentum you may be carrying and will propel you in the opposite direction, allowing yourself the flexibility to chose other options to land back on stage. This is B reversible as well.
Somersault [Side B]
Once his primary recovery option in previous versions, is now something you should use only in moderation. Side B is mostly used when you have traded offstage and no longer have a double jump left as it will gain you some horizontal momentum needed in order to sweetspot Spring. It is important to pull back on the stick to end the animation several moments after starting the move because it is not jump cancelable and you will self destruct.
Homing Attack [Neutral B]
Only use this move after a spinshot or any other form of deceptive recovery options as it is easily read and will only succeed if you successfully bait your opponent into a position where the homing attack will lock on. Use this sparingly as failing it will usually end in a self destruct. I suggest going into training mode and memorizing the range of this move in case you wish to use this option.
Spring [Up B]
The most obvious recovery tool. Sonic launches upward and drops a spring beneath him. The most important thing to remember here is that using an aerial as soon as the IASA frames become available will give you increased aerial speed and you will be able to move further horizontally, this is especially important when recovering extremely high and also for baiting the edgeguarding character to throw out a move (Eg. Marth's forward smash). A very useful technique is to spring in a position that will put Sonic slightly above the ledge and then either bair or fair as soon as you can; the speed of spring often catches your opponent offguard and you can land the aerial and then chase up afterwards. Spring also doesn't sweetspot very easily so I suggest you only go for that option when you absolutely need to, if that is so then be ready to ledge tech.
Here are several flowcharts of ways you can make it back to the stage;
Side B (Pull back cancel) > Spring > Fair/Sweetspot
This will generally be your most frequently used strategy to get back on stage if you do not have a double jump left. If you are forced to ledge tech walljump because of an onstage attack then I advise you homing attack directly after and it will home on the edgeguarding player and land you back on stage.
Spinshot > Spring > Dair
This will probably become your most often used way to land back on the stage due to how safe dair can be when spaced correctly. Space your spinshot so the animation ends when you're close to the stage then spring and dair so you land back on the stage. Be sure to L Cancel the dair or you'll be eating a hefty punish.
Spinshot > Side B Hold > Wavedash on platform or on stage
A daring way of landing back on stage and is generally fairly safe against slower characters and/or stages with high platforms.
Spinshot > Homing Attack
Use this option as quickly as you can as you can be easily hit if you linger around too long in the air after the spinshot.
One of Sonic's greatest strengths is his ability to edgeguard. As a Sonic main, one of your goals should be to get the other player offstage and wall them out, using all your amazing tools to prevent them from landing back on the stage. There are many different ways that a Sonic player can edgeguard and it is pivotal to make use of all your options in order to land successful punishes. I will speak about what methods work for certain characters in the matchup section. Here's a list of some of the options a Sonic player has at his disposal.
Grabbing the Ledge
Like every character, grabbing the ledge prevents the other player from grabbing it themselves and recovering onstage. Sonic has several ways he can achieve this as other characters do, such as wavedash back, RAR wavedash or backflip. However, Sonic has access to his side b hold edgegrab; This is very quick and reliable and it also spawns a hitbox which can trade with some of the more open recoveries (Falcon, Ice Climbers etc) You can find a gfycat of this in the Somersault section.
Walling out with Aerials
Sonic can achieve high mileage through his bair and fair respectively in order to pressure an opponent offstage. Moonwalk bair is reliable against some of the more linear recoveries and you can chase them up with a fair afterwards if they manage to recover under you. Sonic's down special jump on stage also yields huge height and speed, meaning a RAR out of it can position Sonic in the perfect position for a bair far offstage. You can mixup your aerial coverage as well with spring to aerials and other special mixups.
The infamous Sonic edgeguard. Be very careful with this one as overuse and misspacing of this move can often lead to a suicide. The safest situation in which this move is useful is after a down throw at the ledge, as opponents general cannot afford to mix up their recovery in order to dodge the homing attack and you get a free followup. A good way to option select your survival if the beacon doesn't home is to prime a B turnaround before initiating the homing attack by smashing the stick towards the stage briefly before pressing neutral B. Homing Attack is very important in some matchups offstage, which I will go more into depth later on in the matchup section.
Somewhat a bad stage for Sonic. This stage inhibits Sonic's movement due to its small size and the platform heights aren't the best for Sonic's movement aside from uair chains. I suggest you only go to this stage when it inhibits another character more than yourself (Captain Falcon, Jigglypuff) Also something worth noting is that it is impossible to sweetspot the ledge with Spring due to how close the bottom blast zone is, this is very bad and it forces you to recover in other ways meaning that it is easy for the opponent to read your recovery path. If I have three bans I generally ban this stage.
Sonic's home turf and a bit of an oddball in terms of how Sonic performs on it. In most matchups I do not suggest you go to this stage due to its small size which prevents Sonic from baiting at a large distance in addition of having no immediate platfrom to escape to the majority of the time. One benefit of this stage to Sonic is its walls which gives Sonic another option to recover through his walljump. This stage also has a high ceiling so you will KO later than usual with your Spring combos.
A stage that is generally good for Sonic in most matchups. The large space gives Sonic plenty of room to run around and the platform helps with that movement as well. The blastzones are fairly average so you will not exceed with KOing in any direction more than usual. Keep in mind that the platform can sometimes help opponents escape your up throw combos and that some characters heavily benefirt from the large space more than Sonic does. (Snake, Captain Falcon, Fox etc.)
Sonic's second best stage. The platforms are at a perfect height for wavelands and deceptive movement whilst also being great tools for drop down aerials and specials after running off the platform. The height is a touch lower than some of the other starter stages and this is accentuated by the top platform aiding with uair combos. This stage is one of my go to options in many matchups but I would not suggest taking characters with extreme poking/camping abilities under platforms to this stage (Zelda, Marth etc.)
A favourite for many players in Project M. As for many other characters, Sonic is fairly average on this stage; the wide open space is great for baiting and movement and the two platforms also help with movement and combos. The low ceiling is both a weakness and a strength for Sonic; you will find that your uair KO options are much more powerful on this stage but a lot of characters will kill you extremly early due to your light weight. Do not take other characters with great camping abilities and powerful upward KO moves to this stage. (Fox, Luigi etc.)
This stage is strange for Sonic and is only good in certain matchups when the stage is in certain layouts. The platforms are good tools for Sonic to use in terms of movement and the large area is great for baiting attacks. The problem innately here is that some transformations can heavily benefit the opponent and inhibit lots of Sonic's tools. I don't have any solid opinions yet regarding what characters I would counterpick this stage to as of yet so I encourage you all to experiment with the option.
Sonic's best stage. This stage offers the Battlefield layout which is fantastic for Sonic's movement whilst also being very open and as such fantastic for baits and deceptive approaches. Sonic can also gimp opponents very low down below the stage reliably without killing himself, which is generally impossible on other stages. The only downside of Dreamland is the high ceiling which means that uair will not kill until much later, the other benefits of Dreamland, however, lessen the importance of this fact as Sonic can win the neutral game with greater ease due to the stage's layout.
This stage has almost disappeared from most relevant stagelists around the world but you may end up in a region where it is still legal (for some odd reason) so it is still worth discussing. Lylat is alright for Sonic, the platforms are in good positions for his movement and the stage itself is fairly wide, which allows for big reads and punishes from a distance. The blastzones are fairly average so you won't be KOing in any different fashion on this stage. I find this stage uncomfortable due to the strange nature of the ledges so I wouldn't go to this stage personally. If you don't have this same stigma then I encourage you play on this stage to see how it benefits your own playstyle.
Unlike Battlefield, the platform layout on this stage isn't particuarly amazing for Sonic at all and the extremely close blastzones on all four sides means that Sonic will die very early due to his light weight. I suggest you only counterpick to this stage against characters that lose more options than Sonic in the confined space, similar to Yoshi's Story (Captain Falcon, Jigglypuff). Otherwise, ban this stage.
Sonic's worst stage. The platform layout is detrimental to many of Sonic's combos and can interrupt many spin attempts which can result in you being punished. The ceiling is quite high which means that Sonic's uair KOs are not very effective. I always ban this stage.
This stage isn't particuarly bad or good for Sonic, but useful against slow opponents that dont have particuarly good anti air options (Link, King Dedede etc.) I like to counterpick to this stage when I know I can cross up and reliably approach from the air without being interrupted.
Whilst this stage isn't being phased out in some rulesets, Yoshi's Island is a fairly average stage for Sonic. The middle platform is great for tech chases out of up throw and the curvature of the stage means that Spin Charge will increase in speed as Sonic traverses down the slope. I do not suggest going to this stage against characters that have bad recoveries as they can be helped by the support ghost; Sonic has a fantastic recovery so the support ghost will likely be more useful to your opponent than to you.
A fairly good stage for Sonic. The large area is good for Sonic's movement and the platform layout helps with escaping pressure on stage. The leaves aren't particuarly bad for Sonic either and helps with recovering high. None of the stagelists in Australia feature this stage so I don't have huge competitive data on the viability of counterpicking here but I suggest you all give it a go.
This stage is somewhat average for Sonic. The platforms can be helpful or hazardous to Sonic depending on their layout and the blastzones are also quite average. I do think that the large space both on the ground and in the air is great for Sonic as it allows you to move about on the platforms without fear of being caught; Sonic can traverse between the two easily through use of Somersault.
This section was unfortuantely unable to be finished in time for my release of this guide. For now please check out my AMA on reddit for more information! Myself and some of the other top Sonic players are looking into some sort of a formulated matchup discussion schedule. When this is worked out I will begin to add matchup data to this section. Thanks everyone!
Conclusion and Special Thanks
Special Thanks to...
My Fellow Sonic Players
GabPR, Ariyo, JFyst, Motobug, NyTRO, Vultron, Krumpberry, Bassinium and Lex.
Without these guys a lot of my ideas wouldn't have been consolidated as they are now. I've had many great conversations with these guys over the times which I'm very thankful for. I'm especially grateful to Bassinium, whom without I would have lost motivation to write this guide.
Other Sydney Power Ranked Players
Luxingo, Cunchy, Zxv, Summoner, Ted, RCJay and Unreon.
Thank you to each and every single of one of you for helping me improve so heavily and giving me the thrill of the fight in tournament. It's always a pleasure to play any of you and discuss our progress and the game itself.
Notable People that Have Helped Me Improve
Splice, Jamwa, Tyler, Noserus and Savvas.
All of you have helped me a lot one way or another in terms of my mental or matchup problems with Smash in general and I'm very grateful for your support. Thanks guys.
Guide Related Help
Sethlon, Shane (Poob), Sartron and 1MachGo.
Sethlon, thanks for giving me permission to use your guide as a rough base for the creation for mine; it really helped with structure and making the guide look nice. Shane, your guide and way of speaking is very inspirational and I found that your way of articulating your thoughts was very helpful to developing my own guide, thanks dude. Sartron, thanks for letting me use your Hitbox gifs and frame data, it makes describing moves so much more practical. Thanks also to 1MachGo for your statistical data!
I hope you all enjoyed the guide everyone, if you want to get further information on Project M Sonic I suggest you check out the character's boards.
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