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Samus: The Missile Maniac

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DISCLAIMER

I have only been playing competitively for about over a year now, so please forgive me if I don’t mention every single important detail. This guide is to help people who want to main Samus and have a solid introduction and not anything intermediate or advanced. Please disregard this if you are already informed of the basics. I will now be listing pros and cons to being Samus.

LONG OVERDUE EDIT:
So I do not think any more updates will come to this guide. its been two years since i have written this guide and I have since moved away from Samus and I now main Fox/Falco. I believe I could maybe try and make a small section about character match-ups with specific top tiers. The main ones I would be avoiding would be Ice Climbers and Jigglypuff since I don't really play a lot of people who play those characters and in general I don't play the game that much anymore ( I prefer Project M over Melee). If anyone else reads this guide, I believe all the info here is still pretty valid for an intro, so don't let this edit discourage you from playing Samus. She does have the potential to be great and I honestly did not have the patience or the time to truly practice and use her to her max ability. Let me know if you would be interested in some sort of small match-up update as I believe I have some general knowledge of very common characters that could be helpful to have listed here.
Also, I would like to open up the guide to other, more dedicated Samus players who have more knowledge than I do in order to make this guide the best guide for Melee Samus since it seems to be the only one here still even after 2 whole years since this small guide was published. I think it could have the potential to be a good place for aspiring Samus mains to go to. Hope that all who have read this have gained some knowledge of Samus and Melee in general.

PROS/CONS

PROS:

· Her floatiness helps Samus to recover from long distances and makes her a hard to kill opponent

· Wields solid projectiles that help to create space and also can act as kill moves at higher percents

· Can move fast on the ground thanks to her decent wavedashing capabilities

· Longest grab in the game

· Has the ability to actually grapple on part of a stage using her grapple beam. This makes Samus even more hard to edgeguard

· Has decent aerials including a sex kick(nair) which has lots of priority on all types of moves (Fire Fox[Fox’s up B], Dolphin Slash[Marth’s up B])

· Able to produce multiple projectiles at a time thanks to missile cancelling

· Very good character for players who do not want to have to learn immense amounts of tech in order to become a serious threat during a tournament

· Ability to crouch cancel is pretty good which helps Samus to stay at higher percents without being KO’d.

· Has a walljump

CONS:

· Samus is heavy, so without proper DI, other characters can combo her or even zero to death with ease

· VERY little Oos options, so getting caught in shield pressure by Fox and Falco could mean potential danger

· Grabbing is very dangerous; very slow and can be punished easily because of its small grab box

· Dash dancing is not very useful either as you cannot create sufficient amounts of distance with it

· Linear hitboxes causes Samus to have little vertical range(can really only hit in one solid direction rather than some sort of arc), so moves must be precise or they can punished

· Missiles have very low priority and can be rendered useless by characters like Marth who can swing his sword freely cutting the missiles off with no consequences

· Has decent matchups against Fox, but has trouble with lighter characters like Marth and fast punishers like C.Falcon

QUICK NOTE: These pros/cons may look different to you later on as you develop your own style of Samus play, so do not take everything here to heart. Learn about the character you like and read what other people have to say to increase your overall knowledge.


GROUND MOVES/SMASHES

Neutral A (Jab 1): weak damage and knockback, but comes out quite fast. You get about 3-5 % of damage. Use this move as a way to convert to a downsmash or fsmash. You can also use this move for Jab Resets that can help to extend combos. Not much to do with this move because of its simplicity.

Neutral A (Jab 2): a little bit more damage and knockback. This can be used to knock back the opponent a little far away if they are at high percents, but does not provide the means for a follow-up attacks. This attack also has a little bit of lag at the end which makes it punishable for characters that are quick. I don’t recommend usage of this move since it is very situational and is overall kind of useless.

Forward Tilt: Solid move for spacing. Does about 10% of damage and it has a quite a bit of knockback around 60-70%. This move can also be angles up and down to increase the amount of directions you can hit your opponent. Use this move if you want to make space fast. In some cases however, you can actually use forward tilt repeatedly in order to push your opponent off stage. This usually happens to characters like Fox or C.Falcon who are fast fallers (which makes potentially easy to combo with this move). Learning to wavedash and do this move is crucial for learning how to space with Samus

Down Tilt: Sends opponent flying into the air. Does 14%. Can be useful for aerial follow-ups or even good for ground follow-ups like an angled forward tilt. However, this move has some severe ending lag and if this attack misses, it can also be punished easily.

Up Tilt: Hits opponent by crashing down foot onto the ground. Looks exactly like C.Faclon’s Uptilt. Does 13%. It really only works on grounded opponents and it acts as a meteor spike. It can send opponents high into the air for aerial follow ups. You will usually follow with a bair when using this attack. It sends aerial opponents across the stage which can be done in very situational cases. Downgrab into this move can also be a viable option.

Forward Smash: Hits opponent with beam gun for a huge hit. Does 14%(19% charged). It can also be angled like Ftilt. This move is great as a finisher and is usually the move that will get you the most kills during a match due to its speed and killing ability. Learn to utilize it quickly with wave dashing and it can become very useful to you. Also, if you are brave enough to grab and actually hit, downgrab to Fsmash is pretty decent as well.

Up Smash: Does an array of close range fire blasts above the player. 21% if all blasts hit (29% charged and all hits). It has 5 hits. This move can hit opponents with good accuracy, but produces mediocre knockback and overall, this move really does not keep an opponent within the entire chain of hits. Do not expect this move to hit all 5 times. My personal recommendation is if you want to use this move, try to just hit with the last hit as that is the one with the actual knockback. This can help you keep your opponent in the air and give you more time for aerial follow-ups

Down Smash: Does a kick behind and in front of the player. 16% with both hits(22% with both hits charged). This attack is great for making distance with the opponent. It has great knockback even at early percents and can cover the player back and front quickly. This move can give the ability for an aerial follow-up, but only at around earlier percents. Expect to be using this move a lot since it is one of Samus’s better moves.

Dash Attack: Charges at the opponent with a powerful shoulder bash. Does 13%. It can knock opponents in the air which can allow for aerial follow-ups, but try not to abuse this move that much as it can get predictable and punished easily. It goes a long way before stopping, so try different distances on different characters in order to maximize range.

SIDE NOTE: If you want to see frame data, look at www.smashlounge.com for this. They also have one or two GIFs of some good Samus play, so check it out and support the site.

SPECIALS

Neutral B: fires an energy shot. Can be charged. 3% without charge(25% fully charged). Be ready to start charging this move a lot during this match. This move is a very good kill move. If fully charged, it provides huge knockback and kill potential at around 100% for most characters. It can also be a great tool for edgeguarding since it is a huge, powerful projectile that moves really fast across the screen. It usually can make some players panic while in the middle of recovery. Use this move wisely as it does take some time to fully recharge and become in its most usable form. That said, you don’t need to have it fully charged 100% of the time to be usable, so experiement and see what you can find out.

Side B: fires a missile that locks on to a target, but moves slowly. If the B button is pressed at the time of pressing the stick right or left(basically imagine doing a forward smash, but with b and stick instead of a) the missile turns into a more powerful projectile with more knock back and damage. However, this missile moves in a straight line and explodes after a certain amount of time without hitting something. Regular missile does 5% and “Super” missile does 10%. Missiles are crucial for Samus play as they help to create constant pressure for the opponent with the use of Missile cancelling(More on that later)

Down B: Drops a weak bomb that can actually boost Samus into the air for a little bit if Samus gets hit by it. Does about 4%. This move by itself is pretty useless, but with Bomb Jumping, it becomes the essential recovery method for Samus.(More on that later)

Up B: The Screwattack which sends Samus flying high in a long, vertical motion. Hits multiple times and percents vary. This is your best Oos option as it knocks back the opponent pretty easily and does not have that much ending lag. Also, it is obviously a decent recovery move, but it can become predictable very easily and should be used occasionally.

SAMUS ONLY TECH

This last section will consist of three, specific technical moves(or strategies rather) that are all essential to Samus play. These technical moves are all very important for any aspiring Samus main. With enough practice and consistency, It will become what separates you from other, more casual players and more importantly, it will help you to become a serious threat to other players during a tournament. So let’s get started!

Missile Cancelling: The act of Missile Cancelling is shooting a missile right above a platform in order to reduce ending lag. This is what allows Samus mains to create an almost impassable wall of missiles that cover the entire screen. This is also the reason why I call Samus a Missile Maniac. You can give yourself the ability to shoot multiple missiles at high speed like a crazy person and unlimited ammo makes this a great technique to work on. By doing this, you cover many approach options that the opponent might have in stock and allows you to take momentum of the game. Most people would say at this point that always using the Super Missile with this move is ideal, but it is not. Mixing it up with weak, homing missiles and strong, linear missiles actually help to create pressure and gain more control of the match overall. Mental game is just as important as overall game skill and this is how you can get into your opponents head and make them panic. With so much happening on screen and so many missiles, the opponent might get at least a little bit flustered. Or, someone who might not have experience with this might break down completely and end up giving the match to you. The best place to practice this tech is to go on Pokémon Stadium. You begin by doing short hops and firing missiles right before landing on the ground. Once you got that down, try doing the same thing by short hopping on to the platform, firing a missile right before landing, and then immediately run off the platform(don’t jump), fire a missile right before landing. Rinse and repeat this and eventually get to a point where you can switch between platforms and are able to get two missiles in each direction with consistent short hopping and timing missile shots.
ADDITION: Double Jump Fast Fall Missile Cancel(DJFFMC). This may look really complex, but it is actually a very useful way to missile cancel. When you double jump, fast-fall as soon as you can, After you initiated the fast-fall, immediately shoot a missile and you will be able to shoot missiles a little faster on the ground. This is great when you are on Final Destination because there are no platforms. It can really help get missiles out faster. If you are looking to upgrade your missile game further look at this link:
http://smashboards.com/threads/official-samus-missile-guide.105908/

What you should look like/determine to look like Missile Cancelling: http://youtu.be/f7dTYVM6E_s IGNORE THE NESS PART AT THE END.

Bomb Jumping: This is how Samus mains are able to stall in the air for so long. Simply put, the bomb jump is the act of dropping a bomb, letting yourself get hit to bounce vertically, and then dropping another bomb in succession to do the same thing over and over again. This obviously only works the way it sounds in the air. When you do this in the air, you can actually bounce the entire way to a ledge after being hit by a huge hit. In essence, you can actually avoid jumping almost at all by doing this and this also gives you the ability to mess with your opponents in midair. For example, you just got destroyed by a tipper fsmash by a Marth on Dreamland which is a huge stage, but you are able to DI well enough that you just barely live. Just start pressing down B until you bounce. As you are bouncing, move closer to the edge until you decide to do another bomb jump. With good timing and placement, you will have successively have gotten back to ledge most likely by not even jumping or using your up-B. This technique is what makes Samus so hard to kill and what makes her (at least in my opinion) the character with the best recovery. This a technique that should be practiced more in a real match, but you can practice by having the computer hit you hard and then force yourself to recover only using bombs. Otherwise, there is no real way to practice without a human, so try anyone really and get used to doing this quickly.

Sweet spotting with Grapple Beam: Like Link and Young Link, Samus can actually grapple onto the stage with her beam. However, this is not the best option as you’re subject to a forced jump and this causes you to be “static” or unable to do anything during this specific animation. This can really create problems during games where your opponent controls the ledge or is waiting patiently knowing that you will jump and be open for an attack. However, you must avoid this by sweetspotting. This is the act of using your grapple move to grab onto the actual ledge of the stage that gives you Invincibility frames (I.e. like if you just regularly grabbed ledge and not just jumped up after grappling the bottom of Final Destination). This requires precise accuracy and timing. You must also account for range as well being that you can just miss and lose a stock right then and there. To actually use the grapple beam in the air to grab the stage, press Z while in midair and the beam will come out. BEWARE: the beam only comes out once in midair, meaning that you must get on the stage in order to be able to use the beam again. If you try to do it a second time in midair without getting back on stage, you will just end up doing an aerial attack. In order to maximize your chances of sweetspotting, use Bomb Jumping and your air dodge so that you can aim your beam exactly where you want it. Do take note of your opponent however, as they will be trying to edgeguard as much as possible. When you hit the stage with your beam sweetspot or not, press A immediately in order to a jump/ grab ledge( if you sweetspotted). This technique is very good for safely getting onto the stage. In fact, this is probably your safest option as it is the only one that can provide you with some sort of invincibility in the process. Practice this tech on ALL STAGES. I know that some people just despise Battlefield and also Pokémon Stadium because of the weird ledges, but it is crucial because once you master this tech on all fronts, you will be less scared about going a certain stage. Additionally, like every other move, this should not be repeated as it can be predicted easily and punished severely. Mix-ups are important, so keep it fresh as you have many recovery options with Samus.

MISLLEANCIOUS

These are just some fun things about Samus that I will briefly explain:

Super Wavedash: You basically drop a bomb and as you land, slam the stick in one direction and in then in the other one that you want to go. So if you want to go left, drop a bomb, slam right and left. Can be only done in the time span of two frames. Not practical, but looks cool and shoots you across the entirety of Final Destination.

Extended grapple: As you are in the middle of doing a grab, mash dpad up and down. After this, press Z again and you should have an extended grapple beam. Can only grab if the player presses A as the beam hits the opponent. Can lock on by holding left trigger. Very slow and again not practical, but funny and weird.

ADDITION #1: STAGES
Side Note for people who are unaware/new to game:
BLAST ZONES: Borders of the stage; if passed, you will lose a stock.

Final Destination : This stage has no platforms, so it is very hard to apply Missile Canceling during a match, but it is possible in some way using SHFFMC. Also, this stage has large blast zones, so Samus can be knocked back quite a bit before getting knocked out completely. The most important thing to do on this stage is to make sure you are recovering the best way possible and conserving your double jump. Lots of Marth players will probably choose this stage due to being able to space a lot easier to get tippers. You should also practice wavedashing as far as possible in order to gain as much movement as possible. Again, the loss of platforms makes this a tough stage for someone who is just starting out, so I do not recommend this as a viable stage.

Battlefield: Battlefield is a great map for Samus in my opinion almost all the time except when getting on ledge. Obviously, the ledges on Battlefield are much different that an all other stage ledges. The ledges are probably the hardest with the grapple beam, so I recommend taking the time to practice sweetspotting the ledge here so every other ledge will not seem as bad. The horizontal blastzones in my opinion are much bigger than the vertical (especially if you are going downward). If you end up grabbing the bottom of the stage, try to wall-jump immediately and up B so you have a chance of survival. This will make you extremely vulnerable however, so space with your opponent accordingly. Missile Canceling can also be applied easily on this stage.

DreamLand: Probably Samus's second best stage. It has the largest blast zones which makes it easier for Samus to survive big hits and makes recovering easier. The stage itself is pretty big and has platforms for Missile Canceling. Definitely practice wavedashing off of platforms and wavelanding to take full advantage of the stage and gain lots of movement options. One more thing on this stage is the wind which is extremely annoying. Doing combos while the wind blows in your direction might mess up your momentum, so try and see what combos can be done with the wind in your face.

Yoshi's Story: Very small stage which makes it hard to live longer. The blastzones follow suit, so definetly make sure not to get hit with really powerful smash attacks or get spiked since there is bascially no hope of survival. Watch how far your wavedashes are as you might end up wavedashing off ledge or off the small platforms accidental. This stage can work in your favor, but I believe the key is to get Missiles out as much as possible to push your opponent back. The Shy Guys can mess up your combos since you can hit them, so watch out for them before you fire a fully charged neutral B and waste it on one of them. The Cloud(Randall) can help you with recovering as well since you can land on him, but it is highly risky,so I don't recommend it often. You can actually predict when Randall will appear on either side of the stage by using the timer, but I am not sure how to. Pick this stage in confidence knowing you have the proper spacing and technique to not die fast (dependent also on character you are facing).

Fountain of Dreams: This map has one of the weirder blastzones. Horizontally, it is almost too short for a stage that is about medium size(bigger than Yoshi's at least). However, the bottom blast zone in particular extends right to the bottom of the stage. Use this to your advantage by grabbing onto a part of the stage and jumping so you will sweetspot immediately. You can also walljump easily here. You can use the platforms as you would any stage, but mind the way they come back up and down. Using them effectively while they're up can mean losing or taking a stock. In my opinion, there is not much to say about this stage, but this is a decent stage for Samus. I would list it as somewhat neutral for Samus except when facing Falco since Falco players can get some ridiculous combos using the moving platforms.

Pokemon Stadium: This is THE stage for Samus. The platforms are so low that you can shorthop below them, fire a missile and then immediately cancel. This is where you can really fill the screen with Missiles and pressure your opponent immensely. The stage is also very long when it is still normal, so you can move around quite a bit without running out of space. When the stage transforms, I recommend just trying to wait it out as safely as possible until it turns back. It definitely is not worth it unless your opponent is on his last stock and you just want to finish the match. Try to be on the offensive when it transforms and see what works, but not much will/does work in my experience except when it transforms into the windmill stage. This stage has cool platforms to combo your opponents on since they're at certain heights that make it a lot easier. Ledge sweetspotting can be a bit difficult since the ledge is also kind of weird, but practice on battlefield will make sweetspotting everywhere else generally easier. The blast zones are just about average, but you can still live pretty long and recover from long distances with bomb jumping. In short, this stage is the best stage for Samus at least in my opinion.


CONCLUSION

Samus is not without her flaws. She can look pretty bad if not used correctly (which I know all too well after certain tournaments). However, she has the tools to become a fierce fighter capable of taking down the top tier characters. Like I said from the beginning, this guide is an intro, so I won’t be going into matchups. I also don’t own enough experience at least in my mind to talk about matchups. I just haven’t played all the common ones except Marth and a little bit of Fox/Falco. I really want to see this character grow more and be more present in top 8 or hell even top 16. I started playing as Samus because I just didn’t want to be part of the fox group or even Falco group. Samus is unique and I hope that anyone reading this intro I made gains some type of knowledge and is able to advance further in tournaments and become a great Samus main capable of taking on pros. I know I missed some details, but this guide as an intro is way too long anyway, so thanks for reading.
Author
gamegod7
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Latest updates

  1. AERIALS!!!!

    I honestly should have added aerials way earlier, but did not realize they were not there until...

Latest reviews

This could help me for my next tournament
Solid guide for a new Samus main as myself.
gamegod7
gamegod7
Oh wow i totally forgot that I wrote this whole thing. Since I wrote this guide, I have actually switched to Falco while keeping Samus as a character to play for fun or to mess around with. I am glad that it helped you as I wrote this with less than a year of experience.

Try to keep treking on with Samus as your main cause I think the only reason i switched was cause I didn't try hard enough and I switched only to have much easier time without any real practice.
Really amazing guide, thank you so much. I can't wait to try out Samus when I get my controller fixed. I'm feeling really confident about it.
combos?
I really like this guide and how u started by explaining what it is/who u are. I think there is more to be added though. Double Jump missle cancels are very useful and (fairly) straight foreward. I also think a general outline of what stages benefit/hurt samus would be useful for newer players. Good guide though, hope u continue to add to it.
gamegod7
gamegod7
Thanks! I think I will start to add the stage stuff later, but I honestly cant believe I didnt add in Double Jump Cancel missiles.
This is a great guide, and it covers everything needed! Time to hunt for those pesky metroids...
gamegod7
gamegod7
Thanks!
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