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Unfortunately for those who are seeking specific tips and such, I apologize for this is more of a theory and a way of thinking to help you understand how to play at your best and get better.
Anyway, this guide is actually pointed directly to my fellow low tier mains. I have been working on Ness, Pikachu and Young Link for like a year and a half and honestly.. it sucks. I feel fantastic and hey my combos are, if not, look expert and I obviously put a lot of work into a stock. That's great!. What's not great is that the higher tiers who have supreme neutral or just have monster priority make everything seem clean and effortless like a Fire Fox (Up B) sweet spotting the ledge versus a Pk Thunder (Up B) bouncing off the ledge THEN sweet spotting (try sweet spotting the ledge with Ness and you will know what I mean.) My point here is that if you aren't Samus Tier or higher.. you aren't going places. In fact you should give up most say.
Well with some of this being true I can't help but agree, If you are like me and have spent time into a Young link and expect hitting the finals at like.. TBH6 then you are expecting crushed dreams but hey everyone has crushed dreams in the smash community.
Why is that? Why is using Mario... the FACE of Nintendo so hard to use in such a seemingly basic game? Why the FOX can't I play well with my character when Axe can make top 8 with Pikachu at Evo?
Using a lower tier character or a character that is NOT Fox or Sheik automatically puts you in a disadvantage. A lot more of a disadvantage than you think. Sure your first thought with fox is that no character will ever have the amount of techskill opportunity or learning curve. Infact people have theorised that Fox will be the only viable character in a few years just because of that. With Shiek people all think that it's because she chain grabs 80% of the cast and has a greater priority over 90% of the cast and she has plenty of kill options to boot. Yes again this is all true, these characters are painfully overpowered and overused but I can tell you that it's for a good reason. A very good reason.
Please note, this theory was not founded by me. It was actually given to me by a guy who is much better than me in this game, more knowledgeable too. I like to think of him as a teacher even though we only play each other like once every 2 weeks but he shines a lot of light on the people he plays with. The theory he gave me is that Fox and Shiek are one of the best characters simply because they are the closest to being actual FIGHTING characters. I wouldn't be surprised if I got like 5 comments telling me that is obvious or 5 comments saying that other characters like Falcon or Marth are better candidates. I wouldn't deny that infact I almost agree, but then I took some time to watch videos and play against these characters I realised that that's what makes them so difficult. If Fox and Shiek don't have anything, they at least have a solid neutral, though they'er both very opposite. Fox, that one fighting character that can cover ground with speed alone, jump somewhat high, and puts out lightning fast hitboxes to combo on and on and on, and then Shiek the defensive wrestler character who uses grabs, counters or reactions, gimps, or 3 hit combos to clear a stock. Neither of them have a lot of gimmicks to kill like moves that turn your opponent around, or long ranged attacks that have annoying knockback or some kind of charge attack that takes a ton of time to be committed into a hard read. Both of their kits are straightforward, and kind of obvious.
Now I'm going to guess what you are thinking when you read this. "What's the point of all this?", "You are telling us things we already know."
My response to these questions is simple. Test these characters out. If you main Pikachu, pick up Fox. Their jump squat has the same frames, their kill options and movement style is similar and they both have nasty combos. If you main Falcon or Samus or even characters like DK or Doc play Shiek. They all have similar short hop heights, and aerials, same grab options and tech chase potential and even similar defensive strategy. What I'm telling you that the smash character tier list has something like a skill tree. Most of the smash cast branch off of Fox and Shiek. and learning the neutral of one of them can make you a much better player using characters that branch from them.
Does that make sense? Does it sound like mumbo jumbo? Probably but I find it true.
I don't know Shiek that well, I've contemplated learning her just cause she seems fun but I haven't gotten to it. Lately I've just been building and building my techskill and neutral with Fox to make me a more aggressive and aware player.
I use foxes mobility and ground coverage to help me with my positioning with other characters and also help me read my opponent. When you play fox and play him well you start learning how to space your opponent and how to react with better timing and using his speed to your advantage and keep your opponent on their toes. when you get as far as you wanted with fox as a character you see results when you play the ones you actually like. if you switched back to pikachu after playing a lot of fox, you might notice your dash dancing is more effective. You shuffle at the right times, and you learn when and where you should punish. You might have picked up when and when not to up smash, or how to keep stage control in a more aggressive way rather than defensively.
Overall, My final point is that Fox and Shiek are like Mario was when you played smash for fun. He was that all-round character that anyone could use and use well. He had all the perfect options, animations and simple attacks that made sense to you way back when and everyone enjoyed using this character just because of the simplicity. You felt as though you had learned him instantly and regardless of tier you could win with this character if you are good enough. That's the definition of Shiek and Fox and unfortunately the only difference is that they are the highest of tier.
I'm not telling anyone to drop their current mains to win a tournament with these two characters, I'm saying that practicing these characters by yourself and in friendlies will help you understand the movement and playstyle of the competitive smash meta and help you gain knowledge of neutral, zoning, spacing, the rush of combos, even how some match ups work. These characters will give you knowledge of the game at a faster pace and keeping a pocket Fox or Shiek as you main Kirby wont hurt anybody.
wow i finished this guide faster than i had expected