The playful Goddess of Skyworld: Lady Palutena

The playful Goddess of Skyworld: Lady Palutena

Hey, guys and gals, BelChydru here with my second character guide. This time I'm going to talk about one of my Smash 4 secondaries and the one waifu to rule them all: Lady Palutena. Refer to her as Lady Palutena throughout the entirety of this guide, please. Otherwise... Well, you know the kind of guide this is going to be as soon as you read the word "waifu" within the first two sentences. Brace yourselves. Continuing on with the topic of concern, Palutena received a lot of buffs to her kit including the addition of a new attack that previously was only available through custom smash: Explosive Flame. I've been playing her religiously (cause... she's a goddess... you know... this was supposed to be funny. I'm sorry.) since release and I feel I can give some insight about the character's mechanics, overall gameplan and her moves with their respective applications. I am by no means a pro player nor do I aspire to be one, I just like analizing stuff of games I love. And I think I'm good at it, but that's up for you to decide. Without further a do, let's jump right into the guidance since Lord Sakurai knows we all spent our sweet, sweet time unlocking the LAST character in the entire roster *sigh*. Y tho?

Disclaimer: Throughout this guide I'll be using terms like "Nair, frame, edgeguard, shieldgrab, endlag, hitbox" among others. If you don't know the terminology you can refer to any Smash forum or the Smash wikia to easily learn about those.



Index


1.-About Palutena
2.-Pros and Cons
3.-Moveset
4.-Overall combos
5.-Underworld, Overworld and Skyworld Palutena (Differences in skill)
6.-Final thoughts


1.-About Palutena


If you ever played Palutena in Smash 4 you may notice she has kind of the same playstyle as she did back then, only better and with a few tweaks. If you didn't, well, lucky you cause you clicked into the right guide! Or missclicked... whatever the reason, you're here. Palutena is a Bait and Punish type of character: she thrives by tricking the opponent into making mistakes and then punishing accordingly. She has the tools to do it, gracefully and playfully. Her high speed, invincible moves in Bair and Dash attack and deceivingly fast attacks and make this possible. Her grab too. Many characters that had throw combos in the previous game now have none; that didn't happen to Palutena. That helps her pressure people who like shielding a lot since they not only will receive the damage of the throw itself, but the damage AND knockback of one of her aerials, typically Fair. One grab alone gives our favorite goddess stage control and puts the opponent in a disadvantage, where they're prone to make more mistakes which, of course, we'll smite with a warm smile in our face... MOVING ON.

Right now I can't go into detail about her overall gameplan since I haven't explained all of her moves and their uses. We'll discuss that in the Underworld, Overworld and Skyworld Palutena (Differences in skill) part.



2.-Pros and Cons


Pros

High speed.
Fast aerials.
Good damage with her combos.
Decent projectile damage with KO potential.
Reliable spike/meteor smash.
Invisible and intangible recovery.
Two invincible moves.
Throw combos.
Can edgeguard with ease.
Has a kill throw.

Cons

Poor ground game due to her slow jab and tilts.
Not very good options Out of Shield.
Struggles with up-close pressure due to subpar defensive options.

As you can see, Palutena has a lot of positives and a few negatives. Her high speed and aerials help her punish the opponent consistently. Her recovery in amazing for edgeguarding because it's hard for them to counter-edgeguard you unless they two frame you, which is not easy at all. She has KO potential with her Side B which goes very far for a kill move; just don't spam it. And the ability to kill with backthrow makes her even more scary around the ledge. But you want to be wary as well: even though she has more pros than cons, those cons come into play very often and you have to play carefully if the situations requires it. Palutena's best tool to get out of pressure is her Nair, but, even as amazing as it is, it CANNOT hit every character in the game consistently. I'll put a detailed list about that on the Moveset section. Also remember: her fastest ground attack is her jab, which comes at frame 8. That's... pretty lame.. You can count her grab in too, but that is, well, a grab, not an actual hitbox. And you may be asking yourselves "But Bel, why are you telling us her negatives all of a sudden? Shouldn't you be focused on making me interested in the character?". You may have a point there, but the purpose of this guide is to make you feel comfortable with Palutena, so you need to know what things make her uncomfortable for you to avoid them. I put emphasis in the word "avoid", cause once she's in there, it can be a pain to escape. You'll know what I mean at the end of this guide.
Even after all that, Palutena has the right tools to rack up damage, trick the opponent into making mistakes, edgeguarding and overall being elusive while onstage. You have to play her correctly in order to unlock her bait and punish potential. And to play her correctly, I'll explain to you which of her moves are the best suited for the divine punishment (can't contain myself, can I? Of course not).



3.-Moveset


Oh, boy, we're finally here. I'm going to describe in full detail all of her moves and their applications in battle, respectively. Here I'll discuss key aspects of her gameplan as a Bait and Punish character. I cannot stress it enough: she thrives by deceiving the opponent into thinking they can punish her and then capitalizing on their mistakes. For that reason alone (because it's REALLY important) I'll add two sections called "Goddess blessing" and "Goddess smite". If you choose the path of the light, she'll acclaim your deeds and help you in all your battles. If you don't, you'll be sent into a world of suffering. These, in my opinion, are going to be the most important bits in the moveset section since you'll start getting the notion about what to do and when to do it, and viceversa. Also, you may learn things you shouldn't do but, with enough experience, you can get away with them... (I won't tell if you won't). Pay special attention at the ratings of the moves, too. Attacks with 5 and above Awards are the best of her kit so you should learn to use them and get comfortable while doing so. Attacks with a 4 are just situational and should be treated as such. 3 and below are risky, inefficient or outright bad. Still, there's a use for those moves, just don't rely on them.

This is the format I'll use in order for them to be as clear as they can be. You can click the name of the attacks to open an image depicting it:

Type of attack and Awards (Jab, Tilt, Special; ranging from 1 to 7)

Speed (Very basic frame data explanation. This is important)
Description (Physical description of the attack)
Damage (The percentual damage the move deals. I'll cover full hop and short hop damage too)
Goddess blessing (Explaining the better ways to implement the move, signaled by a "^")
Goddess smite (Try avoiding these as much as possible, represented by a "__")
Risk (*Special explanation of the forbidden ways)

Example:

Up Smash (Usmash). 5/7 Awards.

Comes out at frame 18. Relatively slow.
Palutena stands in place, raising her staff to create a high reaching, long lasting pillar of light.
19.2% at the base, 14.4% past middle, 10.8% at the tip.
^Usmash. This move is better used when the opponent lands unsafely, be it on stage level or on a platform. One of her best kill moves due to its range.
__Chase people on the ground with it and see what happens.
*So I see you're shielding on a platform way above me. It'd be a shame if someone could read your mind... Applies if the opponent has readable airdodge patterns, too. Show them the path of light. (It can also hit people BELOW the stage, just so you know...).

WARNING: Ignore the Risk options (marked with "*"). After you read the Underworld, Overworld and Skyworld formes of Palutena, you'll know why. Be patient. HEY, I SAID BE PATIENT. DON'T JUST GO AND... HEY! *sigh* You unrighteous being.

Quality of life note: If you're used to Palutena's mechanics and just want to polish your abilities, jump right into "Underworld, Overworld and Skyworld Palutena (Differences in Skill)" section. If you really want to dissect her every move, continue as you may. Use Ctrl+F and type "^Nair", for example, in order to find the move of your choice. For tilts, smashes and throws don't write the "-" between letters, just type "^Ftilt". I do dis b'coz I luv u, guise.



Ground Moves


Jab. 6/7 Awards.

Comes out at frame 8. Very slow for a jab.
Palutena pokes forward with her staff. Can be extended by pressing the button again. Decent range.
3.6% first hit, 0.7% every multihit, 4.2% last hit.
^Jab. Use only the first hit of it. Excellent for poking shields. Throw them after a dash (the first part of it, a.k.a. initial dash) for maximum effect. You can bait your opponent with this move. Don't forget to walk and jab too! Also, after you connect the first hit, it gives you enough time to react and extend it. Again: use only the first hit. Choose "Title theme - Kid Icarus" in Palutena's Temple and practice the ryhtm until you get it right (quite appropriate if you ask me). This is one of her most important attacks.
__Using the full extension of the jab on neutral game. Just don't.
*Use it against a shielding opponent to push them back and vary the timing of it to trick your opponent into thinking you're going to end it sooner or later.


Dash attack. 5/7 Awards.

Comes out at frame 6. Fast.
Palutena charges directly at the opponent hitting them with her shield. Upper body invincibility.
13.2% at the beggining of the move, 8.4% on the last part.
^Dash attack. Best suited for quick punishes while running towards the opponent. Example: Your opponent is about to land some distance away from you while you're dash dancing and decides to swing an unsafe move but whiffs. You then proceed to smack them with the shield since it's your fastest move while dashing. It's better to lightly punish your opponent for their mistakes than let them get away with them.
__Running at the opponent and attacking them while they have a window to react. This includes hitting their shield.
*Counter their approaches using the invincibility frames on this move. You need to know when they're about to attack, though. For the quickest possible response, flick the stick and the c-stick in the same direction almost at the same time for an Instant Dash Attack.



Tilts


Forward Tilt (Ftilt). 4/7 Awards.

Comes out at frame 14. Slow for a tilt and has a lot of endlag.
Palutena takes a step forward, extending her arm and rotating her staff. Very disjointed hitbox with good range.
7.2% first hit, 8.4% second hit.
^Ftilt. Great for stuffing horizontal recoveries like Fox's Side B or Pikachu's Side B. It's a very useful tool when the opponent is trying to land onstage too, so long as you space it correctly. It also can catch poorly executed airdodges of people trying to grab the ledge. Use it strictly while the opponent is offstage and attempting to recover. Can kill at 120% on the ledge.
__Trying to poke the opponent with it. It takes a lot of time for the animation to end, so you're very vulnerable after using the move. There are just better ways to poke with her kit.
*You can stop dashing opponents if you have an idea of their moving patterns and you want to put out a long lasting hitbox to ensure a hit. You can also dash back and immediately attack with it since in creates space between you and the other character; that will throw off your opponent's timing and spacing.


Up Tilt (Utilt). 3/7 Awards.

Comes out at frame 8. Faster than you may think.
Palutena bends backwards and rotates her staff above her. This attack can low profile many moves. It is also very disjointed. Can hit battlefield plaftorms.
1.6% multihits, 3.0% last hit.
^Utilt. Catches people trying to land on Battlefield platforms. Even when they pass through the platform to get on solid ground this move will hit them since it has a long duration. If they fake a landing by airdodging through a platform they will still get hit by it. It's hard to challenge because Palutena kneels and the staff ascends very high. Use it as a safe option while under platforms, but remember: it only hits at Battlefield height level or below, and you have to time it right.
__Attacking with it whenever you see the opponent standing on a platform above you, even if it is out of reach.
*Read your opponent's landing options, like a Dair or an airdodge, even if there are no platforms above you, preferably over 100% to mix them up and making them think twice about landing on you. Use it sparingly.


Down Tilt (Dtilt). 5/7 Awards.

Comes out at frame 14. A little bit slow.
Palutena ducks and rotates her staff at ground level in front of her. Can low profile attacks. Disjointed hitbox with good reach.
10.2% early hit box, 6.0% late hitbox.
^Dtilt. Amazing tool in neutral game. It's a bit slow on the start up, but ends deceivingly fast; incredible for baiting the opponent. Learn the timing of it and try jumping or jabbing as soon as it ends. Practice "Jab, Dtilt, Jab, Dtilt" and "Dtilt, Dash, Dtilt, Dash" to get the hang of it. It stuffs ground approaches relatively safe. Can pop opponents trying to or grabbing the ledge.
__Using it while the opponent is near you or during pressure situations where you need to focus on defense rather than baiting. It ends fast, but not that fast.
*Pressure shielding opponents by spacing it correctly. You can also shield poke with it (hit the part of the character the shield is not covering) since its hitbox hits a very low spot on the ground.



Smash attacks


Forward Smash (Fsmash). 4/7 Awards.

Comes out at frame 18. Slow.
Palutena leans forward and attacks with her wings. Long reaching disjointed hitbox.
19.2% from base to the middle part of her wings, 15.6% from middle until the tip. Has a windbox.
^Fsmash. Strictly use it to punish an incredibly laggy move and only at kill percentages (above 80%). Unsafe otherwise.
__Throw it at dashing opponents to try to launch them away from you and get some damage on.
*The windbox at the end of the wings can be used to push recovering characters away from the ledge, gimping them in the process. You can also space it well for a very early kill when an opponent tries to aggresively get on stage by challenging you with their own attack.


Up Smash (Usmash). 5/7 Awards.

Comes out at frame 18. Slow.
Palutena stands in place, raising her staff to create a high reaching, long lasting pillar of light.
19.2% at the base, 14.4% past middle, 10.8% at the tip.
^Usmash. This move is better used when the opponent lands unsafely, be it on stage level or on a platform. One of her best kill moves due to its range.
__Chase people on the ground with it and see what happens.
*So I see you're shielding on a platform way above me. It'd be a shame if someone could read your mind... Applies if the opponent has readable airdodge patterns, too. Show them the path of light. (It can also hit people BELOW the stage, just so you know...).


Down Smash (Dsmash). 2/7 Awards.

Comes out at frame 17. Slow.
Palutena takes out her wings and does a crouching motion, hitting both sides at the same time. Can low profile attacks.
18% near Palutena, 15.6% everywhere else. Has a windbox.
^Dsmash. Better used when you're not sure where your opponent is going to land after a VERY laggy move (like King K. Rool's Up air) or a recovery move that puts them on freefall, since it covers both sides. F-smash and U-smash are still better though because they outrange it and D-smash has the most recovery frames among the smash attacks. Only use it seldom, if at all.
__Trying to punish rolls with it because it hits both sides.
*Make a hard *** read and let the weight of justice fall on the unfaithful... literally. This attack gets outclassed by the other smash attacks so... just use it for show. You can also attempt to hit an opponent that tries to regrab the ledge without invincibility with the outer part of the wings; it launches them horizontally and makes it incredibly hard to recover.



Aerial Moves


Quick note: This is where Palutena really shines. The MOST important part of her kit and, as such, I'll go into great detail about every attack. Go make a coffee, grab some snacks, prepare your emergency rations and get comfy because this is going to be A LONG ride. Especially the Nair section; you've been warned. Don't come crying to me when you're starving to death because you didn't bring enough food.


Neutral Air (Nair). 7/7 Awards.

Comes out at frame 5. Very fast. 12 frames of landing lag. Relatively safe is spaced correctly.
Palutena bends her knees and spins her staff in place, covering her whole body with it (that sounded a bit... funquestionmark).
Short Hop: 1.4% multihits, 5.2 last hit. Full jump: 1.6% multihits, 6.1% last hit.
^Nair. This is the move that makes her a Goddess. It comboes into itself at low percents to mid percents. It is incredibly oppresive against characters in platforms above you. This attack eats their shield and can even shield poke if they guard for too long. It covers Palutena's hurtbox so they need to outrange you in order to hit you out of it. It works exactly as a fan: if you try to touch something behind a fan, you may get hurt, but if you time it correctly it is possible to quickly poke through it. Be wary of which attacks you can challenge with this move. Incredible edgeguarding capabilities since it can catch people trying to airdodge through you. Fact: it launches characters at a 45º angle. This means they ALWAYS get launched where Palutena is facing, so you can attempt to stage spike them. If not, they can DI in to get the most height and recover nonetheless, given they know how to do it. Best used while the opponent is over 100%. Has little landing lag so you can bait with it. Use it at a somewhat safe distance, enough for your opponents to think they can punish you and for you to react accordingly. Practice this A LOT until you get comfortable with it. It is your ABSOLUTE BEST out of shield option. This will get you out of pressure and will turn the tides of the situation. It IS a 7 Award move, but there's a catch: it doesn't hit every character in the game OoS. Here's a list on the reliabilty of the move (a list within a list? how are your rations looking?):

1. DK.
2. Samus/Dark Samus.
3. Yoshi.
4. C. Falcon.
5. Peach/Daisy.
6. Bowser.
7. Sheik.
8. Zelda.
9. Falco.
10. Marth/Lucina/Chrom/Roy.
11. Ganondorf.
12. Mewtwo.
13. Pit/Dark Pit.
14. Zero Suit Samus.
15. Snake.
16. Ike.
17. Sonic.
18. King Dedede.
19. Lucario.
20. R.O.B.
21. Wolf.
22. Wii Fit Trainer.
23. Rosalina and Luma.
24. Little Mac. What a surprise.
25. Palutena.
26. Robin.
27. Shulk.
28. Bowser Jr.
29. Ryu/Ken.
30. Cloud.
31. Corrin.
32. Bayonetta.
33. Inkling.
34. Ridley.
35. Simon/Richter.
36. King. K. Rool.
37. Incineroar

1. Mario/Dr. Mario. You have to be facing him.
2. Link.
3. Fox.
4. Luigi.
5. Ness.
6. Ice Climbers.
7. Young Link
8. Wario. You have to be facing him.
9. Ivysaur. Only facing at its back.
10. Charizard. Can't hit him when it's not facing you because of its posture.
11. Lucas.
12. Toon Link. You have to be facing him.
13. Villager. You have to be facing him.
14. Megaman. You have to be facing him.
15. Pac-man. You have to be facing him.
16. Duck Hunt. Only face to face.
17. Isabelle. You have to be facing him.

1. Kirby
2. Pikachu
3. Jiggly
4. Pichu
5. Mr. Game & Watch
6. Meta Knight
7. Squirtle
8. Diddy Kong
9. Olimar
10. Greninja.

As you can see, it hits 37 out of 74 characters in the rooster: pretty good if you ask me. The other ones have weird hurtboxes of animations. Take note too about the move the opponent executes since some of them can duck or low profile the Nair and leave Palutena vulnerable.
__What? You thought there were no negatives for this move? Trying to land on a shielding opponent without spacing the move correctly. Challenging disjointed hitboxes such as Marth's Falchion or Young Link's bombs.
*Can drag opponents down to further increase your pressure. Caution is advised since you will suffer the 10 frames of landing lag while your opponents don't, so they can capitalize on you if they have a really quick attack or you make your intentions too obvious. Still, this can catch them offguard and let you extend your lead. You can cross them up making you hard to punish. THIS is really important. From now on, every time you Nair pay attention to what direction your opponent is facing. Tricky landing with this move will improve your game so much and you'll start noticing it the moment you do it. Especially because Helps you get on stage if you let go off the ledge and jump into an unsuspecting opponent. Just don't be too obvious.


Forward Air (Fair). 6/7 Awards.

Comes out at frame 9. Fast. 7 frames of landing lag. Safe. Your go-to poke.
Palutena straightens her body horizontally in a kicking motion with a glimmer at the tip of her heel.
Short Hop: 10.2%. Full jump: 12%.
^Fair. AMAZING spacing tool. Be sure to learn the timing and maximum range of it as soon as possible. Can start combos at low to medium percents. It baits unsuspecting opponents. Excellent for edgeguarding.
__Falling into the fake assumption that it is unpunishable, leading you to develop bad aerial habits. (It really happens. Be wary).
*Challenge a pursuing enemy when you get launched to stuff their approach. Fight your way back by performing this move after releasing the ledge and doublejumping on stage. Use it close to the ground to straighten yourself up when sent on a horizontal trajectory as it is virtually lagless. You'll feel like a Power Ranger.


Back Air (Bair) 7/7 Awards.

Comes out at frame 8. Fast. 10 frames of landing lag. Relatively safe. Partial body invincibility from frames 7 to 10.
Palutena slightly turns left and bashes her shield with a sparkling effect.
Short Hop: 12.2%. Full jump: 14.4%.
^Bair. Another Goddess tier tool in her arsenal. Your opponent simply CANNOT challenge this move. To do so, they need a very long reaching hitbox, otherwise they won't be able to touch you. 10 frames of landing lag make this a safe attack, but try to space it regardless. It's a kill move at 120ish% on stage; can kill as low as 80% offstage. Of course, her best edgeguarding tool by far. One of her best attacks to bait people since it is very deceiving (this has been a key word throughout the entirety of this text). Practice "Bair, turn around Dtilt, Bair, turn around Dtilt" until you get it right. Fast fall the Bairs and throw them as low as possible before turning around. This will help you execute simpler and faster commands such as turn around Jab and turn around Grab to trick opponents. Safely punish ledge get up options like Regular Get Up and Ledge Jump.
__Almost exclusively using this move as your go-to aerial as it is very safe. (Remember: we're playing bait and punish, we want the opponent to jump since Palutena has limited options on the ground). Jumping into smash attacks to "look fancy".
*Good Out of Shield option when medium to big characters land behind you. Identify the opponents aerial habits and challenge them with a superbly spaced Bair to crush their dreams of ever getting further into the bracket. You can even ignore the statement above and smack some smash charging faithless right into oblivion. It depends on the smash attack they're preparing, of course.

Little note: Haven't seen anyone post Palutena's actual invincibility frames on her Bair so here you go. On training mode, frame 7 gets the green effect of invincibility. Afterwards, the shining effect of the shield covers it up. You can check it yourself.


Up Air (Uair). 6/7 Awards.

Comes out at frame 10. Relatively fast. 14 frames of landing lag. Not that safe.
Palutena adopts a saintly pose while holding her staff, making her Goddess mark appear above her. (Did I just make her sound graceful on that move? Well of course. Were you expecting something else, dirty-minded individual?).
Short Hop: 1% multihits, 5.1% final hit. Full jump: 1.2% multihits, 6% final hit.
^Uair. Best aerial to prevent people from landing. The disjoint on this attacks makes it even easier to juggle them. Also a kill move above 110% when they're around top Battlefield platform height. Oppresive when people are trying to get down from medium height platforms like Yoshi's Island and Smashville, as well as the aforementioned top Battlefield platform.
__Edgeguarding with it sending the opposing characters upwards. Using it instead of Nair for low platforms.
*Her Goddess mark let's you see your future self reading an opponents airdodge and getting the stock of your life. Shulk is not the only one with Vision.


Down Air (Dair). 4/7 Awards.

Comes out at frame 10. Relatively fast. 11 frames of landing lag. Relatively safe.
Palutena pulls her leg back, then unleashes a powerful downwards kick adorned with a gleam. Her spike/meteor smash.
Short Hop: 11.2%. Full jump: 13.2%.
^Dair. Best used against characters trying to recover. You can get early stocks with this move since it is a very strong meteor.
__Trying to aggresively land with it on top of opponents. She attacks with her leg so it's not a disjointed hitbox.
*Good Out of Shield option against short characters that Nair cannot hit (See list above). Useful for baiting opponents since it's a weird option in neutral and recovers fast. Always sends the target BEHIND Palutena.



Special Attacks


Autoreticle (Neutral B). 4/7 Awards.

First projectile comes out at frame 24. Small reticle starts at frame 8 and locks red at frame 15. Slow.
Palutena raises her staff, releasing a beacon of light before shooting a stream of 3 projectiles at the selected target.
4.2% per bullet.
^Autoreticle. Interrupts opponents charging moves such as DK's Giant Punch of Samus' Charge Beam. Even smash attacks when you don't feel like approaching.
__Shooting a moving target, especially if they run fast, like Fox or Pikachu.
*Attack opponents waiting for you at the ledge for extra damage or to stop their attempts at edgeguarding you. Answer fire with fire against projectile characters to keep them on their toes. Just don't attack big projectiles that can erase yours. You can even get the rare Autoreticle edgeguard for bragging rights. Use it seldom.


Explosive Flame (Side B). 4/7 Awards.

Comes out at frame 28. Slow. Has the most recovery frames of her kit at 72.
Palutena aims her staff forward in a delicate manner, causing a fiery explosion some distance away.
1.8% multihits, 6.6% last hit.
^Explosive Flame. Throw it exclusively when the opponent is offstage, preferably above 120%. It kills even earlier if you catch them trying to recover high, like Snake, for example. This is your surprise element, treat it as such.
__Using it on neutral while the opponent has time to react. Spamming it to try and get kills offstage.
*Chase people's rolls after a knockdown to mix them up, keeping them on their toes. You can also use it while they try to approach you on tense, high percentage situations to get an awesome finish. Be sure to record it and spam the link everywhere!


Warp (Up B). 6/7 Awards.

Intangibility comes out at frame 16. Medium speed.
Palutena spins in place, disappearing after a short period and teleporting her self to the desired location.
It does no damage. This is your recovery move.
^Warp. Strictly used for recovering. Execute it horizontally or above ledge level to avoid the 2 frame vulnerability that every character has while grabbing the ledge. Note that, even while recovering horizontally, your head needs to be a little bit above stage level in order for the game to register it as safe. Practice this move a lot because it can result in self destructs if not careful.
__Teleporting onstage to mix up your opponent without proper control of it.
*Warp after being sent upwards in order to land safely and confuse people. Juking adversaries by overshooting the ledge, mixing your ways of recovering.

REMEMBER: This move travels a set distance when you perform it above a platform you want to land on. For example: If you're on a Battlefield platform and teleport straight down, you'll reappear a little bit further than expected. If you're trying to land and execute this move near stage level straight or diagonally down, you'll get the same effect. This WILL NOT happen if you're on the stage and Warp down since there are no platforms/solid ground below you.


Counter/Reflect (Down B). 2/7 Awards.

Invincible from frames 6 to 12. Counters/Reflects starting at frame 7. Fast.
Palutena adopts a defensive position, placing her staff and shield in front of her, crossing her legs slightly.
Damage varies depending on the move counter/reflected.
^Counter/Reflect. Reflect important projectiles you see coming from a safe distance, like Samus' Charge Beam. Counter easily gimpable recoveries like Chrom's Up B. Can be used if your opponent is really obvious with their smash attacks to punish them. This should be your least used move alongside Down smash.
__Jumping or running at people and countering near them.
*Edgeguarding people offstage to catch their recoveries. Punishing characters for swinging indiscriminately.



Grabs


Standing Grab (Z button). 5/7 Awards.

Comes out at frame 7. Pretty standard. Great grab range.
Palutena floats a bit and throws her arms forward in an attempt to grab the opponent.
No damage.
^Grab. Good for shieldgrabbing (shielding with R then pressing A to grab) moderately laggy aerials in front of you. Learn when to use it and your game will step up immensely.
__Hitting the grab button whenever someone pressures or touches your shield. This is a very bad habit.
*Catch people running towards you off-guard with this aggressive response.


Dash Grab (Z button while dashing or running). 5/7 Awards.

Comes out at frame 10. Relatively slow. Great grab range.
Palutena propels herself while leaning a bit forward in order to grab her adversary.
No damage.
^Dash grab. Good punish against people who shield too much when they see you running at them. Can get opponent's airdodging unsafely.
__Running and trying to grab the target without a visible tell at unsafe distances.
*Running and grabbins people who have an obvious neutral game. This will psych them out.


Pivot Grab (Simultaneously hitting the Z button + Stick in the opposite direction you're dashing or running). 6/7 Awards.

Come out at frame 11. Relatively slow. Huge grab range.
Palutena quickly slides on the ground before turning and grabbing her opponent.
No damage.
^Pivot grab. AMAZING tool for baiting. It can safely grapple landings, even when disjointed, if timed correctly. This includes airdodge landings, of course. Incredible move on her kit. If you're not used to the pivot grab mechanic, now's your chance to practice it.
__Dashing on top of rolling opponents who've lost their intangibility frames making it impossible to cross them up, thus failing to grab them.
*You can fake out a retreat and then immediately pivot grab the unsuspecting fools. Works on rolling targets, as well.


Pummel (A, B, Z button during a grab). 6/7 Awards.

Comes out at frame 1. Incredibly fast. You can hit one every 20 frames.
Palutena smites the disloyalty out of her opponents with the sacred light of her staff.
1.5% per pummel.
^Pummel. Just to be safe, after 30% you should ALWAYS pummel. End of the argument. Pummel 2 times at 60%, 3 times at 100%. Period.
__Pummeling more than you should to rack up more damage.
*Pummel 1 more time, 2 at max, than you should if your opponent is not good at mashing (hitting buttons really fast to escape from the grab) or doesn't even like to mash at all.



Throws


Forward Throw (Fthrow). 4/7 Awards.

Comes out at frame 20. Invincibility from frames 1 to 20.
Palutena curls herself up for a moment before unleashing a spiritual blast to send the opponent away. Insert animesque type of energy use here. (Or is it just the power of boobs?)
10.8%.
^Fthrow. Strictly use it to put the enemy offstage when you're near the ledge. There're better throws onstage.
__Executing it onstage to create distance or attempt to hit Explosive Flame afterwards.
*Send the adversary offstage and throw a well placed Explosive Flame to catch them offguard. Flashy.


Up Throw (Uthrow). 2/7 Awards.

Comes out at frame 17. Invincibility from frames 1 to 17.
Palutena raises the opponent with her shield hand and then proceeds to send them upwards with a thrusting motion of her staff.
9.6%.
^Uthrow. Use it to kill people if you grab them on a platform and have no better throw option. On Final Destination kills at 190%. Earlier if you manage to get them on a higher setting.
__Just using it in general. (There're much better choices).
*Put people on platforms above to pressure them. At 90% or higher you can even set it up to get a read and kill them with an Up Air.


Back Throw (Bthrow). 6/7 Awards.

Comes out at frame 20. Invincibility from frames 1 to 20.
Palutena lifts her opponents above her head and throws them away performing an ice skating motion. (Another description that could have went awfully downhill. I'm doing this all for you, My Goddess).
12%.
^Bthrow. Your kill throw. Don't waste it. Best used when the target is above 110% and near the ledge. You can send people offstage with it for an edgeguard situation as well. Incredibly valuable resource.
__Throwing opponents onstage with it to rack up damage.
*Platforms on Town and City are your best friends, if you know what I mean *wink wink*.


Down Throw (Dthrow). 7/7 Awards.

Comes out at frame 32. Invincibility from frames 1 to 32. Gives invincibility to the opponent from frames 24 to 31.
Palutena slams the adversary on the ground causing her to ascend a little bit.
6%
^Dthrow. This is your go-to throw on stage. You will almost always use this as it is your combo throw and can even link into an Up Air if the opponent DIs it wrong for a luxurious kill. This throw keeps your Back Throw fresh. Can kill cofirm to a Fair at high enough percents near the edge (but not on the very, very edge).
__Using it on the very edge of the stage.
*Down throw your opponents near a platform, inciting them to tech on it. Then punish accordingly. Bair, Nair, Fair, Uair and Up smash get the job done.



4.-Overall combos


Palutena has few combos at her disposal. I'm talking about combos that can be pulled in a regular match where the opponent DIs accordingly, not training mode combos. That doesn't mean they don't get the job done. For the purpose of this guide I'll be using Chrom instead of Mario as the dummy since Chrom/Roy are real middleweights at 95, while Mario has 98 units of weight. Note that effective percentages vary greatly between characters since their falling speed and weight are different: it's not the same comboing Pichu than DK. I'll list the Bread and Butter strings before the situational ones.

Bread and Butter combos

1. Nair-Nair. Works from 0% to 50%. This will be your main source of damage early to mid percentages. You can hit heavy characters from 3 to 5 times, depending on their DI. For lightweights, you can hit them from 2 to 3 times.

2. Nair-Fair. Works from 0% to 50%. Use this when the target goes too far away for Nair to hit.

3. Fair-Dash attack. Works from 10% to 60%. You have to hit a falling Fair in order to follow it up, if it wasn't obvious enough. At later percents you will have to hit opponents with a more inner part of the move in order for the combo to work.

4. Down throw-Fair. (You can also Down throw-Bair but it is a little harder). Works from 0% to 60%. Of course, your combo throw. Many characters lost their down throw combos, thus losing pressure against shielding opponents. That's not the case with Palutena. The combo itself may not do a lot of damage, but will usually end up in them being launched offstage or really close to the ledge, where Palutena is at her best. "Why?" you may ask. As you may know, her grounded moves are not that good; she prefers the air. If you lose them, you don't hinder yourself too much. But when you strip an opponent from theirs, suddenly they have to fight your invincible Bair and try to get around Nair with their own air moves. Practice the timing on this combo, it's not that hard.

Situational combos

1. Down throw-Up air. Works from 40% to 120%. It's a kill confirm at higher percents. Only works if the opponent DIs towards you. You see them bounce near you, they die.

2. Down throw-Nair. Works from 0% to 100%. Again, you need the opponent to DI in for you to connect this string. Otherwise, you're better off with Fair.

3. Fair-Jab/Fair-Ftilt. Works at 0% to 15%. Can only link if you hit a landing Fair close to Palutena's body, which means it's not a safe option. Very trivial.

4. Drag-down Nair to Jab/Grab. Works at any percent. This is not guaranteed as they can hit you with a fast move. Opponents can also expect you to drag them down and punish you. Use it only as a mix up.

5. First hit of Nair-Fsmash/Usmash. Works at any percent. The first hit of Nair has set knockback, meaning it will never send them flying no matter what. You have to hit them when you're about to land in order for it to work. Use it strictly at kill percents (around 90% for Fsmash, 110% for Usmash). Depending on the character you can alternate between Fsmash or Usmash if they fly to high when hit. Not incredibly hard to pull off and makes you feel like a true master.

Recommendation: Preferably stick with the Bread and Butter combos as they're all Palutena needs to get the job done. If you really want to use the Situational ones, please read the upcoming section first; it may help you immensely.



5.-Underworld, Overworld and Skyworld Palutena (Differences in skill)


Remember when I told you to ignore the Risk options a few days ago? Cause I'm assuming it took you at least two days to read that humongous amount of text. Well, here's why. There are three ways to play Palutena: the Underworld, the Overworld and the Skyworld versions. These formes are EASILY identifiable for the trained eye. And I'm about to train your eyes and your hands. First, here's a quick recap of the move ratings.

Must-learn and get-comfortable-with moves:

Nair 7/7
Bair 7/7
Down Throw 7/7

Jab 6/7
Fair 6/7
Up air 6/7
Warp 6/7
Pivot grab 6/7
Pummel 6/7
Back Throw 6/7

Dash attack 5/7
Dtilt 5/7
Up smash 5/7
Grab 5/7
Dash grab 5/7

Helpful if performed correctly but situational nonetheless:

Ftilt 4/7
Fsmash 4/7
Dair 4/7
Autoreticle 4/7
Explosing Flame 4/7
Forward Throw 4/7

You need to know what you're doing and there're just much better options:

Up tilt 3/7

Down smash 2/7
Counter/Reflect 2/7
Up Throw 2/7



Underworld forme


What is it?

This is a lowly version of Palutena. They tend to mix the use of attacks for variety purposes, but fail to grasp the concept of such moves. Typically find themselves in a double underscore situation. They use the Risk options unsafely and get punished for that. These Palutenas can get the job done against certain players but are very frail gameplay wise since they don't have notion of ^ and __ strategies. Poorly spaced aerials, unsafe use of projectiles, counters at a whim, dash attack and smash attack spam are some of the ways to tell them apart from other Palutena players. They fall into __ situations often and don't even realize it.

How to overcome it?

Start using ONLY 5 Award moves and above. DON'T DO ANYTHING ELSE. You have everything you need between those categories: All grabs and your combo throw to rack up damage. Fair and Bair for spacing. Jab and Nair to get out of pressure and still do damage. Up air to juggle. Dtilt to bait. Dash attack for quick punishes. Back throw and Up smash to kill. Many of the aforementioned for edgeguarding. And, of course, your recovery. Forget about every other move and just apply the Goddess blessing concept with these few ones and you'll see the GIGANTIC difference in your game (Ctrl+F for quick searching what you need).



Overworld forme


What is it?

This is the version of Palutena you achieve after following the path of light and cherishing her best moves. You can get there easily or it can take you weeks. It depends on the level of patience you have. This is the Palutena you should aim to be at all times. Your job is to bait the opponents and capitalize on their mistakes. If you know the correct ways to use your attacks, you won't make mistakes. In order for them to hit you, they will need to OUTPLAY you. It's not the same being punished for a mistake than being rightfully outplayed. When you blunder, it's -1 for you. When they outplay you, it's +1 for them. Is at this point where you start realizing people's skill levels compared to yours since you have solid grounds to know that you ARE NOT failing, THEY are succeding. So, this begs the question: how can I improve with her?

How to overcome it?

After you've learned how to not make mistakes you may feel like you're stuck. It's completely normal. You may have cheated in your way up and used some of the 4/7 moves that you shouldn't have. But, did you succeed? The answer doesn't matter too much; what's really important is that you tried something out of the norm to face certain situations. This means you were trying to expand your knowledge taking risks because, if you got punished, you'll know that "it was all for the sake of researching further and further". And, if you're on that point where you can throw unsafe moves or safe moves in a risky manner just to see what happens, it means you have control over your characters and your actions, and your mind is ready for the next step. It means you're not trying to win, you're trying to learn. And when you learn, you naturally improve. By this point you may have lost many matches trying to follow the path of the Goddess, but in the end, you INDEED improved. This is the time to start using the forbidden "*" options on the 5/7 moves; if you didn't already. Get a hold of the 4/7 too as they give you even more tools to work with. Don't forget to take risks with those as well. Experimenting is the name of the game now, and losing is also an option because when you take risks, anything can happen. That's what we want: more experiences.



Skyworld forme


What is it?

This is just a temporary state of Palutena's hidden potential. You can't expect to stay in this forme for long; that's not how it works. Her every move becomes available so you can achieve your goal. It's almost like a myth. Only self-aware Overworld Palutenas can grasp this version of her. You can't overcome it, you have to reach it. How?

Reaching Skyworld

I said it was only a temporary state because you need a lot of preparation to accomplish it. Let me elaborate on that. I assume you've played many matches in Overworld forme and you've experienced a lot of things during it. You had control over Palutena and your actions, consciously taking risks with your options. If you don't have full control of her and are not eager to take risks, then stop reading this part because it can hinder your growth as a player by confusing you with troublesome terms and thoughts. I mean it: the next part is full of theory and can be a little complex for newer players. You'll need a lot of fighting gaming experiences in order to understand it, otherwise it'll sound like all jibber jabber. If you don't want to get into that kinda stuff, it's ok. If you do, keep reading.

If you really want to know the Skyworld Palutena, you need to be conscious of your playstyle AND your habits while playing. Habits in general are not a bad thing. Everyone has habits, it's just a human thing. BAD habits are not the same as habits. There's a general consensus about what bad habits look like. Here's a quick list:

Using smash attacks too much.
Rolling too much.
Airdodging without thinking twice.
Trying to jump out of everything.
Challenging everything, even the things you shouldn't.

Avoid falling into any of those as much as you can.

Maybe you already know your habits, if you don't, go play against good local players, jump into online matches or even play with your friends. Record intense matches and watch them at least 3 to 6 times to try to find the reason why you're getting hit in every game. If you're only using the Goddess blessing options and you're still getting hit, you're one step closer to figuring it out. It means the players are reading your habits. They can be as follows:

You short hop frequently.
You full jump frequently.
You shield a lot.
You stay in shield a little bit more than usual.
You retreat dash after you attack.

Generally speaking, everything could be a habit, but that doesn't mean it is bad. To become a better player you need to identify your own habits and use them to your advantage. If you're a player who likes to short hop in order to pressure people and they start jumping preemptively to hit you out of the air, then you just have to short hop out of their possible aerial range and punish them for trying to read you. If you're a player who likes to patiently wait in shield and they start grabbing you, then just drop shield a bit earlier to get them with a jab or even use a Nair OoS. This is called self-awareness and it's what makes fighting games so exciting. A player who knows their weaknesses can use them to their favor. Remember when I said you need a lot of preparation to achieve this forme? That "preparation" translates to "conditioning your opponent mid match". You condition your advesaries by punishing or rewarding them in specific scenarios. In fighting games, it can be compared to throwing them in the middle of the ocean with limited, mutually excluvie escape options: they must pick one and commit to it or else they're going to drown (airdodging, jumping, challenging with their own attack, and so on). This is when your every move becomes available since their options are limited and have little time to react. Knowing your habits makes this job easier.

To conclude, the Skyworld forme of Palutena is just temporary because your opponent may only fall into the trap once, but that one time will make you feel like you're at the peak of the world. This can happen during any match at any given moment should you put the effort to attain it. With time, it would become easier to do and you would be able to do it more than once per game. And it would be awesome. That's where you achieve Palutena's hidden potential; your hidden potential.



6.-Final thoughts


Thank you for making it this far and congratulations: you are now a better Palutena player than you were before. I'll be adding updates picturing match-ups and advanced tech in the future, so stay tuned. I hope you really liked going through this guide as much as I loved writing it, cause if you didn't... Well, you already read it so the joke's on you, HA!













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Author
BelChydru
First release
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Rating
4.88 star(s) 8 ratings

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Damn Amazing
This review is absolutely amazing! It has helped me improve my palutena greatly.
Thank you.
It's amazing that there's such a great Palutena guide this early in the game. One small gripe tho, it seems that this guide kinda neglects the more passive playstyle that Palutena can have. You talk about Autoreticle to interrupt charges, but less to bully from far away. You talk about Explosive Flame for punishing approaches at high percents, but stuff like the further variant of Explosive Flame in neutral can also force approaches at low %s, as combos like Explosive Flame to Autoreticle do ungodly amounts of damage from faraway. You should also add how dashing in with Explosive Flame, or using it in juggle situations are great ways to use this move. But then again, I'm not the best Palutena main, so maybe Explosive Flame does suck. So yeah, adding a section differentiating between this more aggressive playstyle that this guide emphasizes (seen in Palutenas like Nairo's) vs the more campy playstyle (seen in Palutenas like Dabuz's), along with considering moves like Autoreticle and Explosive Flame in context of that playstyle would definitely make this a 5 star guide. Also, maybe add that she can have trouble killing at high percents, as she has to sometimes commit hard to get that kill. Another piece of advice, you should mention that when you go offstage, try and face towards the stage, as not only is back air usually better than forward air at edgeguarding, but down air lands more reliably to the side of you when use the back hitbox.

Sidenote: When I provide examples of Palutena's campier playstyle, I don't mean that all you should do as her is play that way, because other characters can play the camp game much better. I just mean that alternating between her campy playstyle when you're in the lead to her more aggressive playstyle when you feel like you need to push your advantage can be another strategy she can use.
BelChydru
BelChydru
Thanks for the feedback. I didn't cover the campy playstyle simply because I stated that Palutena's game was to Bait and Punish. She's not a fully fleshed projectile character; it only works under certain circumstances and it's not her general gameplan at all. As good as Explosive Flame might seem, it's really, really punishable. I said in the guide that you can use it but have to be careful around faster characters since they can start a combo on you after a missplaced Explosive Flame. Also, I did state that Autoreticle is good from far away but it suffers a decent amount of ending lag so you can be punished by aware opponents. Those are more suited to attack slow characters. Maybe could have added a little more insight on those moves, though. The fun fact here is that this guide reached the 50,000 character limit so I had to shave some things off and make it more concise. Yes, it DID surpass the 50,000 characters... I'm so proud of myself HAHAH. Trying to add the campy playstyle would have been entirely impossible for this alone. It also didn't suit the whole theme of the guide (the ^, __ and especially the * options) as this text is intended to teach you how to play Bait and Punish specifically. Still, I'm going to add an update containing advanced techniques, some of the more important matchups and maybe I can cover some of the campy playstyle for people who like to play her as such. Yeah, that sounds like an idea. Good stuff, dude. Thanks for the support!
Thoroughly covers kit, strats, and frame data. What else is there? Great job :)
I’m absolutely amazed by the amount of time and effort you put into this guide. This is the best tool we palu mains could possibly dream of. Thank you so much, you’re amazing !
Made this account just to say thank you, really helpful guide and helped improve in the game in general, can’t wait for updates or more guides from you
BelChydru
BelChydru
Wow, thanks! I'm happy you liked this guide so much you created an account to post this! And yes, I'll be adding updates soon because there're things I couldn't cover here like Advanced techniques, for example. See you around and Happy New Year!
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