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Grab Attacks (aka: pummels)

Grab Attacks (aka: pummels)

Ever since Super Smash Bros. Melee, all characters were given the ability to do a grab attack upon landing a grab on an opponent. Grab attacks, or pummels, were designed to deal a bit extra damage before throwing an opponent. This is risky to do because some players are godlike at mashing out of grabs quickly. However, does this mean you shouldn't pummel at all and just go for the throw right away? Of course not. In this guide, I will explain to you when it's optimal to pummel and how they vary from the Smash games.

NOTE: How long a character can be held is determined by the percent of the grabbed opponent. The higher the opponent's percent, the longer that character can be held before escaping. This duration is shortened if the player is mashing. Always listen to if the player you grab is mashing.

With all that said, let's begin.

Super Smash Bros. Melee
In this game, all pummels have about the same amount of duration before another action can be performed. Because of this, it's best to wait until the grabbed opponent is around 80% to do at least one pummel, maybe two at around 120%. All grab attacks do 3%. Pummels will stale if used consistently. It's advised to not use grab attacks as Pichu because it does recoil damage, which never stales. If you're going for a chain grabs, one pummel is ok (though not necessary) per grab because the player will most likely be focusing on trying to DI out of the chain grabs rather than trying to mash out. Try to get a couple in if the character you're using has a throw for KOing, like Luigi's Back Throw.

Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Certain characters have faster pummels than others. Some have slower ones. The slower ones generally deal more damage per grab attack while the faster ones deal less damage. Generally, it's recommended that you go for more pummels the faster it can be performed. For example, Mario's grab attack does 3%. It's strong at the cost of having a long duration between performing another one or going for the throw. However, Marth's does 2%, yet he can use another one not too long after the previous pummel has been performed. Someone like Samus has a 1% pummel. She can do another pummel within milliseconds because of its weak damage.

Overall, grab attacks have been completely diversified in Brawl. Faster pummels are weak, but can be spammed right before a throw. Slower pummels are strong, but should be used sparingly unless the grabbed opponent has damage in the triple digits.

Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U
Not much has changed to the pummels from Brawl to Smash 4. However, I still recommend using them, even if it's just one per grab. Remember, if it's slow, wait until triple digits. On the plus side, Smash 4 has a buffering system. If you immediately do a throw right towards the near end of the grab attack animation, a throw will come out. And because of the whole rage mechanic in this game (attacks do more knockback as your damage goes up starting at 35% and maxing out at 150%), pummeling before using a KO throw is highly recommended when your character is at rage. One famous example is a Ness at max rage ready to do a Back Throw.

All in all, use your grab attacks. In the case of Melee, wait until high percent. In the case of Brawl and Smash 4, you can still wait until high percent, but do take into account the speed of your character's grab attack. For the latter two games, they help with unstaling other moves.
Applicable Games
Melee, Brawl, Project M, Smash 3DS, Smash Wii U
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