10,000 Words of Power

Jan 14, 2008
Purdue, W Lafayette IN Rancho Cucamonga, SoCal
10,000 Words of Power

By: Little England

[Note: This was made originally to help the smash scene at Purdue University, so keep in mind there will be a few references towards some of the smashers in and around the area. However, this should not detract from your understanding while reading]

[Note: All video links will automatically load to the correct time reference]

Do NOT read this all at once. You’ll get much less out of this thread if you don’t read everything for complete understanding. If you feel your attention span slipping then take a break. Focus on one or two sections at a time during your practice. Do NOT try to incorporate everything at once. Aside from that, happy reading! :D

Table of Contents

I. Prelude
II. Want to Get Better
III. Results Oriented thinking
IV. Picking a Main
V. Get Tech Skill
VI. Drop Bad Habits
VII. Spacing, Stage Control, and Approach
VIII. Playing on Reaction
i. Hit Confirming
IX. Poking/Punishing
i. Comboing for position vs Comboing for damage/stock advantage
ii. Taking double jumps
X. Edge Guarding
XI. Minimizing Losses/Defensive “Stuff”
i. DI tips
ii. CC techs
iii. Double Stick teching
iv. Light shielding
v. Angling your shield
vi. Effective Powershielding
XII. Option Selects
i. Buffer C-stick inputs OoS
XIII. Recovery
XIV. Reading Comprehension
XV. Super Theory Brothers Melee (Coming soon)
i. Control/Momentum is your #1 priority
ii. Play to your Character’s weaknesses (always being in 50/50)

I. Prelude

It was around this time last year that I went from noob to good. It was the time I chose my main, and chose to stick with that main, the time where I started playing to learn, the time I actively started attending tournaments, and the time where my improvement was rapid.

However, even though I was in SoCal, I was not in the best situation. I was in the least active part of the region for smash, and I had a ****ty car that would get me no farther than 30 miles away from home at max. (Public transportation is near non-existent in SoCal) I was not deterred though. I was going to get better despite my circumstances. I learned how to do it on my own. I made a focused plan and I followed it. This post is that agenda, plus all of things I’ve implemented up to now.

II. Want to Get Better

The first step to getting better is WANTING to get better. It’s that simple. Allow me to let out some steam here; THAT was the primary focus of my Dear Midwest thread. It’s such an essential part to progress that most just did not understand. At no point did I say that wanting to get better will instantly make you a better player or magically spawn tournaments across the region. lol But it is a mentality that is necessary.

Sub topic: I don’t know if I have the time to put in the effort to improve =/

There is a common misconception about getting better, and that is that it requires hours on end of practice. This is untrue! Playing a lot does not help you get better. It is what you do with that playtime that will help you improve. If you want me to put a number on things

1.Get better at a fast pace (15 minutes a day of focused practice)
2.Get better at a average pace (45 minutes a week of focused practice)
3.Get better at a slower pace ( 15 minutes one day of the week of focused practice)

(Of course these are not absolute values, just my opinion) I think 15 minutes a day is very manageable. If you don’t have 15 minutes of spare time in your day, I don’t know what to tell you besides you’re probably killing yourself. Haha

III. Results Oriented Thinking
phrase coined by Adam Madison

Results oriented thinking is as it’s described, playing with the mindset of being focused on a result. This is what makes a noob. Being a noob has nothing to do with how good or bad a player is. Being a noob is having the aforementioned mindset.

I go back to a conversation I had with Lance at the dining courts. After a whole bunch of B.S. about how he thought I was carrying him in teams at a past SG tournament and me trying to convince him otherwise, he brought up “that one time we lost a match to cykofox and alcheato”. I remember this experience. I remember the look on his face when he asked me “Where should we counterpick?” after they took one game from us. He had a look of slight distress, and I could tell the match got to him. However, for me, at no point during that set did I “lose”. Mentally, I was in control. We held the momentum for the whole set, so it put the team in danger for Lance to think we were somehow behind. That is results oriented thinking. Some ask what is wrong with thinking like this. What is wrong with being focused on results? That is what I’m after right? The answer is yes. Everyone wants to improve because everyone wants results. The problem is the way in which you are going about trying to achieve those results. These things do not come overnight. They come through practice, and a mentality of “playing to learn”. Success comes as a consequence to this.

Follow: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUqJ-IVTihI

Watch the whole video. Lambchops explains to Mew2King his results oriented mindset of always playing to win rather than playing to learn.

IV. Picking a Main

So you’ve decided you want to get better and you have the time to get better. You know the mindset you must have here forth and you are ready to begin. Your next step is to choose your main! This can be very frustrating to many people. It was for me. I think I’ve went through more “mains” than anybody at the school (aside from Jay lol). It is really simple though. The easiest way to put it is, your character should match your personality.

I’ll use myself as an example. I’m an observer, I’m a linear thinker, I like rewarding myself for doing the right thing, and I like to take responsibility for my actions. As you can see, all these parts of my personality fit into my character, Falco. The equivalent to my personality traits as related to my character are as follows: I like to see observe how people respond to lasers, I like to know exactly what I should do when they respond to my lasers (linear thinking), I like to punish hard and land big combos (rewarding myself), and I don’t mind being off the stage with a poor recovery because of a decision I made (taking responsibility for my actions).

Based on your personality, you’re main will probably be the character you are naturally most comfortable with and the one you enjoy playing. In other words, that character that you keep going back to is probably your best. If you still can’t choose a main based on your personality, comfort, and fun, here’s some advice. Relate the following to both your preferences in Smash and in life.

If you like having a correct answer for every situation, or always doing what’s right try playing: Captain Falcon*, Falco*, Fox*, Marth, Sheik

If you like being in control of situations try playing: Falco*, Fox*, Jigglypuff, Marth, Peach, Samus, Sheik, Young Link (only against slow characters)

If you like the I got you factor and have good patience try playing: Captain Falcon*, Doctor Mario, Donkey Kong, Falco*, Fox*, Ganondorf*, Ice Climbers*, Mario, Marth, Mewtwo, Peach, Pikachu*, Roy, Sheik, Zelda
If you like long lasting matches and you don’t mind endurance try playing: Doctor Mario, Jigglypuff, Luigi, Mario, Mewtwo, Peach, Samus, Young Link, Zelda

If you like an large arsenal of useful moves you can be creative with try playing: Fox*, Falco*, Link, Young Link, Ice Climbers*, Pikachu*, Marth, G&W, Samus, Yoshi

If you like winning by cheese and tricks and/or you don’t mind a good challenge try playing: Bowser, Donkey Kong, G&W, Ganondorf*, Ice Climbers*, Kirby, Link, Young Link, Luigi, Mewtwo, Ness*, Pichu(a REALLY big challenge lol), Pikachu, Roy, Yoshi

*denotes higher technical demand (which means your focused practice on tech skill will last longer than if you chose a different character. DO NOT LET THIS BE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CHOOSING ONE CHARACTER OVER ANOTHER)

Again, these are just my opinions on how these characters work. Try to find a character that fits into multiple categories that describe you!

V. Get Tech Skill

You’ll never be able to unlock your potential if you cannot control your character. Tech skill is simply, being able to do what you want when you want to do it. I can’t go into detail about the demands each character has as far as tech skill, but look in character specific forums. There’s usually a stickied thread with all that good stuff.

Some things every character needs: get the full wavedash/waveland lengths for your character on command, wavedash OoS, wavelanding onto the stage, edge canceling aerials on all stages, CC teching, edge teching(both the regular and walljump versions) for recovery, running upsmash, jc grab/boost grabbing, and isai dropping (useful for attacks and aerials. Look it up if you don’t know what it is)

Here’s a good excerpt from a thread that got very popular in SoCal around the time Brawl came out and Melee died down. The scene was very small and developing.

Adam Madison said:
A large problem is a lot of players don't know how to practice properly. Here's what worked for Tofu, and it worked for me, so I'll help you out:

Pick Fox and Falco. Pick a Lv1 Bowser, put the Damage Ratio on .5, and the Handicap on, with Bowser's at 9 and yours at 1. Practice drill shines/pillars. Practice nair shines. Important: vary the fast fall speed of your aerials. This will mimic the shield-timing situations that will occur in real matches. The trick of drill shining properly is hitting the fast fall. Even if you don't main these characters, it will help get your fingers faster!

Familiarize yourself with your main. In Cactuar's thread on the Marth boards, he recommends picking up Marth and just doing moves so you understand the timing of everything. Your goal is to be able to move as soon as you can, as soon as the move is complete. Work on dashing away immediately after an aerial when you land; work on wavelanding and wavedashing perfectly; work on empty short hops. Work on anything that will make you more technically proficient with your character. The important lesson this will teach you is timing. To accomplish anything in Melee, all it requires is certain timing. Practicing on your own will force you to learn that timing and force you to try new things to figure out the proper timing of moves. Most importantly, you will learn how not to become frustrated!

Eliminate frustration. Keep your head in the game. Don't get mad or upset at anything that happens. Remember, it's just a game! Have fun! If you feel yourself getting agitated, just let it go and take a couple of breaths. Take a couple of seconds to chill on the respawning platform if you must. You must be calm to be successful, because you have to focus 100% of the time to be successful in this game. That will not come overnight, and you have to train yourself to accomplish this. It takes work!

Just think of all the smashers you know that visibly show frustration throughout the course of the match. Do they ever pull off comebacks? No, they usually get progressively worse.

If you don't know what things to work on, go to your character specific forum! I can list a ton of things for a few of the characters:

Fox: Firefox sweetspots; drill shines; running shines; shine to wavelands off the edge; shortening your Fox illusion; Fox illusion autocancels from the ledge on stages such as Battlefield and Pokemon Stadium. Tons more at the Fox forum!

Falco: There is a whole thread on the Falco forums dedicated to lasering, and it is very useful. Double shines, empty short hop to reverse utilts, perfect wavelands, finding the perfect spacing on the forward smash, autocanceling the bair, etc.

Sheik: Retreating autocancel fairs, full hop autocancel nairs, autocancel bairs, perfect wavelands from the platforms, Isai/Shai drops from the platform to needles, empty short hop to utilt, boost grabbing, needle/Shino stalling, perfect (and imperfect) wavelands from the ledge

Marth: Autocancel nairs, early autocancel fairs to dtilt, late fairs to crossups (dashing through / away from the opponent), pivot fsmash/ftilts, shield breaker regrab from the ledge, perfect wavelands/wavedashes, chaingrabs on space animals, etc.

I will update this section more with useful links and good examples of players to watch!

Be creative! The little things matter! Even if you don't think they have a tremendous use in-game, they teach you how to practice! They help you prevent yourself from getting frustrated in the match, because you can't get frustrated while practicing if you hope to learn how to do something.


One of the best things Tofu taught me to play around with in training was just getting used to the empty short hop timings of my character. Short hop and practice the variations I fast fall, do an aerial and/or wavedash back.

I didn't realize it, but it helped me a lot. Something I have learned from Mango: the thing is, in the absence of an opening that grants you an offensive moment of pressure, it's better to do nothing in the absence of something. The goal is just to put yourself in position to take advantage of any misstep your opponent makes. Simply just floating in your opponent's face right outside their effective range and keeping spacing with wavelands rather than coming down with aerials gives you both defensive and offensive potential and keeps your opponent on their toes.

Stick to one main...
VI. Drop Bad Habits

Doing this will INSTANTLY make you improve. This is the only form of improving overnight you will find. When you eliminate bad habits you’ll find yourself creating more opportunities for yourself and less opportunities for your opponent. In your focused practice, look for your bad habits. It is important to play analytically, that is, do NOT play on auto pilot. Focus on everything that you are doing. Recognize when you get punished and why. Chances are there is a reoccurring theme for why you get hit or put into bad situations. Here are some common bad habits:

Attacking from the ledge- meaning when you are on the ledge
and your opponent is on the stage.

Rolling- Generally bad. Wavedash OoS is better 99% of the time (Mango advice). Only a few characters have fast/sometimes useful rolls.

Shield grabbing- People spam this in their desperate attempt to turn the tide in their bad situation (being in their shield). Jay is a
prime example of this, especially when he’s fighting spacies.

Attacking from the air- This describes that situation where you’re in the air and your opponent is below you on the stage. They are in the advantage! Do not force an attack here. Focus on landing safely. Assess the situation and decide the best way to safely gain your ground.

Get-up attack- When you use get up attacks after you miss your techs you are vulnerable forever. Your opponent is able to punish that off of pure reaction. All they have to do is stand outside of the range of the getup attack and punish you.
Missing techs in general will get you punished, but get up attacks are a sure fire way to get ***** by good players. Play cat and mouse with them. Just lay there. Again, wait and assess the situation. Make a decision that he may not be ready for, or just choose a way get up that will minimize your loss.

Making bad out of Shield Decisions- Most bad players shield grab a lot. The other half will roll or spot dodge. You have to be able to recognize what is the best option to do out of your shield. To do this you have to observe how your shield is getting pressured. This get’s really specific. The best way to learn is to:

A. Watch what top players do in a similar situation B. Slow down, evaluate how your shield is being pressured and make a decision based on this. Even if your decision was wrong, you are still evaluating the situation, which is a lot better than mashing a or rolling.

Again, the best thing to do OoS is a well timed wavedash. It’s fast and safe, and most of the time if you get hit out of it you’ll get a CC tech. If you can not wavedash out of shield this is something you need to learn. They should be full long wavedashes.

Not grabbing the ledge when edge guarding- Grab the ledge when you’re edge guarding. It’s that simple. The only decision they have once you are on the ledge already (with the invincibility which you have been refreshing btw) is to go onto the stage. Most of the cast will get punished for having to go onto the stage. There are some exceptions, but grab the ledge and figure those exceptions out for yourself! Once it’s all said and done, you’ll be able to punish these characters too.

VII. Spacing, Stage Control, and Approach

All of these concepts have been explained by others very well. I’ll just add to them.

1st Read this
Center Stage

Now, there is one position you always want to occupy: Center stage. Imagine Battlefield in your head: one top platform, two side platforms, and one ground level.

You always want to be on the ground occupying the bottom level in between the two platforms on the side.

Here's my ****ty MS Paint trying to illustrate this. Imagine Battlefield in your head, with the top middle platform, the two far platforms and the ground level of the stage:

In between the "x"s is where you want to control at all times. That is desirable position; that is center stage. If you're on the right or left side of those platforms, for all intents and purposes you are being edgeguarded. So you need to have the same mindset you have when you're actually off the stage trying to get back to the ledge / on the stage: I will play safe as ****. If you try to attack your opponent while you're on the side of the stage, he can easily wavedash back or runaway and make you whiff, and then you will be punished. Watch Cactuar for a great example for how he controls the center stage.

To an extent, every single pro knows this, whether consciously or subconsciously. They exert pressure while they control the middle, and they play safe until they get the middle. Zhu is another textbook example of this phenomenon.

If you are launched into the air, you are in no position to attack. If you are hanging on the ledge, you are in no position to attack.[/i If you are recovering off the stage, you are in no position to attack. If you are sitting on one of the platforms, you are in no position to attack.[/i Your mindset should be regain center stage. Don't rush it or force it -- your opponent knows that's what you need to regain control of the match, so he's not just going to let you have it. It's a dance, and whoever messes up first gives his opponent the advantage. The difference is if you don't control center stage and you mess up, you die. If your opponent messes up, then you just regain center stage; he's usually not going to die from it. Instead, he's put in the position where he has to work his *** off to get it back.

So don't think to attack if you don't own center stage! Sure, if your opponent messes up and you obviously can hit him, then do it -- congratulations, you just regained center stage. But overall your strategy is to be extremely careful and to do anything and everything that's safe. Think like Isai -- "don't get hit."

Respawn Invincibility

Nintendo must've had a good idea about the efficient simplicity of the fighting engine, so they put something in to counteract a wise and smart player controlling center stage all day: respanw invincibility. The next time you watch a melee match, pay attention to where the kills occur: the majority of time, the opponent loses a live, respawns with invincibility, and his opponent runs around trying not to get hit. But soon after the invincibility wears off is where the kill usually occurs. Why is that? It's evidence of the phenomenon of center stage: when you have it, and the opponent has to fight hard to get it back, they usually make a mistake and die, because they're already at combo percent so one hit is all that is needed to lead to an edge guard.

So the most important part of the match, in terms of asserting your dominance on the match, is re-gaining center stage back from your opponent after his invincibility is gone. Most players that get a kill in that scenario experience a brief let down; they think, Okay, after the first two seconds, I play my game again, but get slightly lazy -- maybe I did a move that would normally work, but because his percentage is low got CCed into a smash -- and they lose their stock. This happens all the time, it is truly ridiculous. Don't let this be you: instead, concentrate most fiercely in that situation, because if you can consistently add 30 or even 40 percent to that stock before you perish, you can use the invincibility of your own to put them into kill range easily and make comebacks incredible hard for them to accomplish.

I cannot emphasize the importance of this; it truly separates good players from great players. It takes consistent practice, but it turns high percentage one and two stocks into consistent two and three stocks on players lower than your skill level, and keeps you in the match against players better than you.

You want to see someone who stresses this fundamental part of their game? Watch Zhu, and what he does to regain center stage after his opponent respawns. He never goes on the aggression; instead, he plays extremely carefully, waiting to abuse Falco's priority and intimidation to earn him center stage again to resume locking down his opponent.

-Adam Madison

2nd Watch this video (THE WHOLE THING) for complete understanding. If you do not get something/if it goes over your head ASK ME. I only got this quickly because the concept is the equivalent of “footsies” in fighting games. I’ll explain a few points along the way.


Specific excerpts to take note of

2:33 “Imagine that he’s always nairing”

3:47 “Where they are currently/what they’re currently doing effects this range”

4:47 *take a mental note of the character attacks that he mentions* “The farthest range they can do immediately is the range you want to stay out of” (This is the thesis of the video)

5:03 “As soon as you’re out of that range you’re in just as much danger as if you’re full stage” & 5:20 “You wouldn’t shield from full stage…if you’re outside the farthest range, you’re just in much threat as if you’re full stage”

6:30 “Grabs or aerials because of CCing…Fox doesn’t have to worry about dash attack range at that percent” & 7:02 “Once you reach certain percents, this is when you have to worry because that [dash attack] is unlocked.” [To summarize: certain ranges become a threat at certain percents.]


Camping is generally not an effective strategy in this game, especially as high level. I’ll leave that at that. Approaching is where it is at in this game. If you can approach effectively you can land good hits, force people into their shields, and reveal bad habits. Some characters are not offensive heavy (ie: Sheik and Peach) but they still have tools to apply pressure without fully committing themselves.

Here are some things to remember about approaching:
-Approaching doesn’t always mean hitting. If you can put your opponent in his shield you have greatly reduced their options!
-Approaches should be safe. There is no point in recklessly approaching and getting shield grabbed, counter attacked, losing stage control, etc.

Some examples of safe approaches include: deep nair shine (for both spacies), shine grab, double shine, knee>gentlemen, gentlemen>nair, spaced dtilt/fair with marth, float cancel nair, spaced autocancel bair/uair with Ganon, desych nana ice block/blizzard.

-Approaching tells you information about your opponent or makes them “speak”. You can see how they react to certain attacks and situations. (See: Reading Comprehension)

VIII. Playing on Reaction

Aside from eliminating bad habits, playing on reaction is the other thing that you can focus your practice on to instantly improve. Playing on reaction comes in many forms in this game. You’d be surprised to discover how many things actually. You must trust your ability to react. Do NOT guess if you don’t have to. There’s no point to doing that. Here a few of the many situations to rely on your reactions:

Tech chasing- The big one. Always look for the tech in place. Here is my tech chase tree:

(Start at your opponent hit the ground in tumble state)

Mew2king visually breaks down concept of tech chasing in friendlies with Juggleguy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2XEDGfLpvmY&feature=player_detailpage#t=129s

Comboing- You must react to your opponents DI while you are comboing. In example, you can’t just mash shine after landing a dair with Falco. Your opponents can SDI the dair away which would force you to use reverse utilt, grab, or jump shine.

Edge guarding- Also another big one. You must choose the correct choice to edge guard based on the situation and where/how your opponent is recovering. (See: Punishing>Edge edgeguarding)

Counter attacks- Know what attacks you have that go through your opponents attacks. Example: Peach’s dash attack beating Falcon’s shffld nair. Peach must react to the Falcon’s nair and dash attack. Trust your reaction speed. It works!

Punishing (shield) grabs- Grab animations are VERY long. You can see the grab and have enough time to fsmash (unless you’re like Bowser or something), knee, slap, grab them. CunningKitsune once baited a shield grab from me and had enough time to wavedash back and tipper fsmash me.

Punishing rolls- All rolls can also be punished off reaction. Next time someone is caught in their shield, wait to see their roll and punish it. Some rolls are faster than others, but they should all be punished!

Hit Confirming

This term is a part of street fighter terminology which I feel applies to Smash as well. Hit confirming is acknowledging a hit that you land on your opponent and following it up as a result. A hit confirmable attack is one that allows enough time for humans to react and follow it up with another attack.

Here’s an example of this in relation to smash. Say Fox lands a shine. The player must acknowledge that they landed the shine and watch their opponents DI and wavedash towards them. Sometimes his opponent may get hit with the back of the shine. This is something you must react to, by waveshining backwards and following it up with a grab, upsmash, etc. Another example would be if a Falcon lands a nair. The player must acknowledge that he hit the nair and immediately follow it up with a grab. Hit confirming comes in many forms. Even if you don’t play Street Fighter, this might help you get the concept if you aren’t grasping it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDMboPnznJc

Fortunately it is not all about reaction. There is some “guesswork”. But in the time where you need to guess, you want to make the best educated guess. See: (Reading Comprehension)

IX. Poking/Punishing

Poking simply refers to those hits you land to slowly add damage or cause your opponent to make reaction. All percent matters and will put you in a better situation to land a better “significant hit”. Pokes should be safe attacks or "hit and run" type of attacks. Often times pokes will cause a bad habit to come out for you to punish, such as a roll or spot dodge.

It is very important to know what to do once you get that “significant hit”. This is a term I use often for those hits that lead to lots of damage or a stock, such as a shine, grab, stomp, any move that knocks somebody over forcing a tech chase situation or puts them in the air in a juggle state (ie: Falcon dthrowing Puff). This is your opportunity to turn the tide of a match!

Know what to do with every single “significant hit” in every situation, against every character, at every percentage to give you the best advantage.


Knowing basics/fundamental punishes

Know basic punishes. These work all the time every time and most of the time the simplest punish is the best. Another example is chain grabs on FD or basic Sheik dash attack ftilt slap combos. Know the easy stuff. DO the easy stuff.

Knowing how use all parts of your attacks

Beginning of the video JB jumps out of his shield and gets hit with a nair. Lucien sees this (hit confirming) and shines. At 23% he knows a weak autocanceled dair will combo into whatever he wants (utilt, another shine, dair, etc.)
Here are a couple more examples:

Knowing how to punish in situational positions

2:44 Zhu lands a bair. He knows fair combos at high percents like nairs do at low percent. He also knows that landing on the platform will set him up to follow up the fair and based on Nima’s DI Zhu reacted and upsmashed. Once you understand all the effects of your attacks and the different parts of the stages you'll be able to do this easier.

Comboing for Position vs Comboing for damage stock advantage

There is a common misconception that the only purpose of a combo is to rack up big damage or take a stock. It’s common that you’ll hear somebody say 1 hit = the stock, but this is consistently true in few situations, most being certain matchups on FD. Getting 1 hit more often indirectly leads into taking your opponents stock. There is something you want to keep in mind while your comboing. By the time your combo ends, you should still have stage control! If you can gain stage control at the end of your combo you’ve put yourself in the position to rack up more damage on your opponent.

Here’s an example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lthywHqwX6I&feature=player_detailpage#t=109s
Armada’s dash attack was the significant hit to start the combo. He tech chases him with dash attack 2 times. At 1:52 Lucky’s DI allows him to escape with a tech roll away, but Armada is controlling center stage and is still in control. His position puts Lucky on the defensive with a shield, so he grabs. Armada misses his edge guard, but he still eventually takes the stock. Remember that the concept is what’s most important. Never mind the fact that Armada missed his edge guard. Acknowledge the situation Armada put himself in by controlling center stage.

Here’s an example of overextending a combo for damage at the cost of stage control (the wrong thing to do of course): http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=tSFo9UnZqAs#t=214s
Raynex lands a shine and then combos into uair. Then we went wrong. His next decision was to try to nair him to get him off the stage for an easy stock, but as you can see, this wasn’t an assured nair. He overextended himself and missed his attack. As you can see, he landed behind Eggm and then tried to jump back towards the center of the stage to gain his stage control back and got hit by Eggm’s get up attack which could have lead to a disaster. Also, imagine if Raynex did not jump towards the center of the stage and instead ate Eggm’s get up attack when he was closer to the edge of the stage. That could have costed him a stock.

Here’s another example of overextending a combo for damage at the cost of stage control: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=xltqV6VEeto#t=164s
Lance lands a nair and then a shine. He then opts to dair me. A reverse bair to knock me slightly off the stage would have been a better option. (Falco’s reverse bair is his strongest aerial to hit his opponent forward.) This would have put Lance in good stage position to possibly land another bair or set up and edge guard.

Taking Double Jumps

Taking a double jump means a big punish on your opponent. Do it at every opportunity you get (unless of course this would cause loss of stage control). Hitting your opponent once they double jump limits their options DRASTICALLY. They are limited to just falling strait down , air dodging, or attacking from the air (bad habit), all of which are options that can be easily punished. Common ways to hit somebody out of their UP Bs are:

-Predicting a double jump when their opponent is falling from the air
-Hitting your opponent on the first frame where they are out of hit stun or tumble.
-Simply waiting until you see the double jump then aggressively going after them
[The one I find myself using the most is the latter. Even if I get a trade for hitting them out of their double jump, the payoff for me is MUCH greater.]

Taking double jumps is the most problematic for character’s with slow UP Bs or UP Bs that can be easily intercepted (Spacies, Marth, Sheik, Luigi).

So what’s the best thing to do once you’ve used your double jump? Well, here are some things to keep in mind:
-Your double jump is sacred. Don’t use if you have another option that’ll get you out of danger more effectively. Your double jump is an evasive move, not a panic move.
- When you use your double jump, keep spacing in mind. Make sure that when you use it you don’t put yourself in a situation where you can get hit.
-When you use your double jump aim towards the ledge if your opponent is controller center stage and you have nowhere to go. If you can grab the ledge you can waveland onto the stage with invincibility.

[Note: Be very careful about attacking from the ledge, especially without regrabbing the ledge first for invincibility.]

This is also why I mentioned in the bad habits section that attacking from the ledge is generally a bad idea. To attack from the ledge you must use a double jump and if you get hit out of it you are off the stage with only your UP B, which for most characters means the loss of a stock. Let’s look at some examples of players getting punished by getting hit out of their double jumps.

Mango lands a shine then predicts Jmans double jump out of the shine hitstun and dairs him for an easy edge guard.

Connor lands a fair. I miss my tech and he follows my roll away and fairs again. He then pressures me with a FC nair which I jumped away from and then I double jump towards the stage to try to gain stage control. Connor sees my double jump and nairs me such that I get knocked off the stage with only an UP B left to use which sets up an easy edge guard for him.

I trade an uair on the platform. I then continue to juggle him in the air. At 3:27 I see the double jump and I opt to uair aggressively knowing that this is a good trade.

Let’s look at this now from Lance’s perspective: Lance did the right thing by heading towards the ledge, but he noticed I was following him, so he was smart and forward B’d towards the middle of the stage in his attempt to gain his ground.

And now look from my perspective: Notice what I did after I baired him at 3:29. I knew I could not follow up with a fair edge guard, so I went back to the center of the stage. Not only is this a good example of the effects of taking a double jump, but it also is a good example of the pay off of comboing for position/stage control. I was in the center of the stage and he was not. I was ready for whatever he threw at me. Eventually it set up a fsmash to easy edge guard. (Also notice I tried to fsmash him before he hit the ground so that he would not get his double jump back.)

One last example. As you can see taking double jumps come in many forms. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=bSBa-tSv7ts#t=12s
Why did Mango say “he’s dead.” Why did Shroomed Up B?

X. Edge Guarding

The most important thing to remember about edge guarding is, against the majority of the cast IT IS NOT A GUESSING GAME. Here’s my simple 5 step edge guarding guide for beginners:

1. Hit them off the stage.
2. Hit them again if they are still close to the stage. (Don’t let a Falco UpB really close to the ledge.)
3. Grab the ledge. You may need to regrab the ledge for invincibility depending on who you are are edge guarding, ie: Marth. Overall it’s a good habit to get into. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8d95uCpFeYQ&feature=player_detailpage#t=48s
4. Stay on the ledge and WAIT!
5. Did they make it back onto the stage? If so, hit them back off. If not just roll.

Edge guarding revolves around taking away your opponent’s ‘sweetspot the ledge’ option. Once you have taken their ability to sweetspot, they have no safe option to get back onto the stage.
Here are some of the most blatant example of the effectiveness of taking away your opponent’s sweetspot option:



Here are some other character specific examples of the different ways you can take away your opponent’s option to sweetspot:

Mew2King takes away Amsah’s sweetspot option with a dtilt and forces him on the stage. Nevermind the fact that he did not punish him as hard as he could have when he landed on the platform. Don’t have results oriented thinking. Recognize that he took away Amsah’s best option. Leave it at that.

Armada knocks Zhu off stage and throws a turnip. Look where he threw it though, right in the spot where Zhu could have forward B sweet spotted the ledge. This forced Zhu to upB to avoid the turnip and allow Armada an easy bair edgeguard. Peach’s turnips are the way she covers options for edgeguarding.

[There are a lot of character/matchup specific ways to edge guard on reaction. Learn the ways in which your character can take away sweetspot options against other characters and land easy edge guards! Ie: Falcon players will grab or regrab the ledge against spacies right when they see them start to charge their upB. His ledge invincibility will last long enough to take away their sweetspot option]

XI. Minimizing Losses/Defensive “Stuff”

As described in the title, this section will discuss how you can minimize your losses and other defensive “stuff”.

Mango: “Everybody can combo, but not everybody knows defensive stuff. When you get hit you should be thinking ‘what’s the fastest way I can escape this combo or minimize my losses’. You gotta pick your poison.”

DI tips

“DIing is basically anything you can do when you are taking a hit to affect your trajectory. (I'm not talking about Aerial Control, which has nothing to do with being hit)”-Doraki

http://www.smashboards.com/showthread.php?t=60218 Read this guide if you have not done so before. It’s not long.

Here is my rule of thumb for beginners who do not know how to DI. Smash DI (SDI) and regular DI perpendicular to the trajectory of the attack that hit you. (Example: Samus’ dsmash hits you at a 10 o’clock angle so you want to DI at a 2 o’clock angle.)

You will also have to adjust your DI based to the blastzones of each stage and where you are on each stage. Example: It would be safer to use perpendicular DI on Jigglypuff’s rest at low percent on Dreamland than it would be on Yoshi’s Story. [Note: If you cannot survive Jigglypuff’s rest you want to DI down to die quicker and punish Puff.]

Here are a few short SDI tips:

-When you get hit by a Samus upB you want to SDI out of it by wiggling the joystick really fast. The input is the same as dash dancing. Sometimes you’ll be able to gain your ground and punish Samus during her landing lag.
- Smash DI down and behind Falco’s dair at low percents to avoid the shine. You can shield the shine or use a fast attack, your own shine, dolphin slash, etc. to beat it clean. Example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=CqqeQZVIHDU#t=19s

[Note: This also works against Fox's dair]


Simply refers to hitting left and right on your joystick quickly (as if you are dash dancing) to leave tumble sooner. This can help prevent you from getting comboed and allow you to use your double jump sooner. Mango displays this well here (after getting hit from Amsah’s ledge hop uair):


I can also be used to escape Fox's uthrow uair. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=QkAR_jMo5nk#t=43s) If you have not done so, also view this short funny guide which explains how.


[Note: I have a “trick” for preventing SDI out of uthrow uair as Fox. I haven’t told many people because I’m not sure if it really works or if it’s just my opponent screwing up. Contact me if you want to know though.]

CC techs

Crouch Cancel teching is one of the most effective high level defensive tools in smash. A CC tech is performed by crouch canceling an attack to cause a tumble and teching it right when you hit the ground. It can mean the difference between getting hit once or getting comboed, getting hit once or getting edge guarded, and getting hit once or dying.

[If you want a deeper understanding of how CC techs work have a Falco dair you at mid percent (40%-70%) and hold down. You will see your character hit the ground rather than pop into the sky. During those frames where you hit the ground is where you are allowed to tech. Here is what it looks like when you miss a CC tech:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QkAR_jMo5nk&feature=player_detailpage#t=87s You can see Mango input a dtilt which made him CC. He could have CC teched here.]

To perform a CC tech hold down, down/right, or down/left, and press R. If you jump with X or Y, the input for performing CC techs is the same as wavedashing. In fact, that is exactly how I CC tech. I input a wavedash in the direction I want to tech the moment I get hit. (ie: If I want to CC tech in place I’ll input wavedash in place as soon as I get hit)

How do I know if I can CC tech the attack that is about to hit me?
Remember the rule. CC techs can be performed by teching during those frames in which you would bounce on the ground after crouch canceling. You have to assess the situation. Here are some things to ask yourself when you are not sure if you can/should CC tech:

-What percent am I at? Will this percentage allow me to CC tech?
-What is the trajectory of the attack that is about to hit me? Will it cause me to hit the ground if I CC? (Remember the perpendicular DI rule) If so CC tech!
-Is the pay off better for me if I just DI regularly to escape the situation? If so don’t CC tech.

Here are some examples of attacks that commonly get CC teched at high level play: Peach dsmash, Samus Up B, Falco dair, most dash attacks (especially amongst high tiers), Fox’s shine, sheik’s fair, spacies dsmash

Here are some video examples:


The famous set between Mew2King and Overtriforce at Pound 4. To perform that CC tech, the input would be a wavedash towards M2K right before he hit you. Had he have done a CC tech backwards he would have still teched but the momentum probably would have sent him flying off the stage still. You can see that the direction to CC tech is also important. Imagine the damage that Overtriforce could have done once he had M2K off the stage.

Lucky CC techs the second dash attack towards Armada. Imagine what the results would have been if he just did regular DI up or away or something. Not too good. Lucky recognized the percent he was at and that Peach couldn’t really hit him with anything he couldn’t CC tech. Also recognize that Armada still hit him with another dash attack. That’s tech chasing off reaction (the right thing to do of course). Be ready for good players to CC tech and like Armada you should be ready for this and keep chasing them.

Armada FC bairs out of his shield and hits Mango. Mango knows that at this time he’s going to get hit by a dsmash so he CC techs away (a wavedash away input right before the dsmash). Look at how much better his situation turned out. Mango CC techs all the time (especially with Falco), look for more of him using CC techs to escape sticky situations because he does it a lot.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5mia1VckFEU&feature=player_detailpage#t=136s Look at this nasty CC tech after Mango's bair.

[WARNING: West Coast DI- West Coast players constantly try to CC tech. Sometimes we choose the wrong attacks and in the end we end up being sent of the stage at a terrible angle. WC DI can either be a successful CC tech or a failed attempt (the one most people talk about lol), whereas European DI is often recognized for consistent CC techs]

Momentum and Platforms

Platforms can be a great defensive tool. Sounds silly, but it’s true. Say you are getting juggled in the air. Instead of just landing on the platform and getting comboed more, try to bounce of the edge of the platform/edge cancel. Here’s an example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5mia1VckFEU&feature=player_detailpage#t=106s Look at M2K after the 2nd uair and again after the bair.

You can also just crouch cancel on a platform for a desired effect. The momentum gained from bouncing on the platform can mean the difference between the loss of your stock or the salvation of a stock. Sounds situational, but if you are analytical when watching videos you’ll see it often.

Here’s an example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5OiwnCioS0&feature=player_detailpage#t=31s Mango CCs to set up his sweetspot illusion. (Spacies players, acknowledge this exact situation. It will come up often and this is the best decision in this situation.)

Double Stick teching/Double Stick DI

Double stick teching refers to hitting both your joystick and C stick down and pressing R to perform a tech. There is a common misconception that double stick teching IS CC teching. This is not true. Double stick teching simply refers to a method used to CC teching and edge teching. Double stick DI simple enables you to SDI and regular DI in two different ways, so double stick teching does influence your DI so it can be effective in theory, but most players just tell me to use the joystick to just DI in one direction. The payoff for using your C stick as to override SDI is next to zero. You’ll usually want to SDI and regular DI in the same way. All in all, my recommendation is not to worry about double stick teching.


Lightshielding is being used more and more nowadays, and for good reason. Lightshielding has several uses and can be a great defensive tool if you find yourself caught in your shield. Here are some of the several uses for light shielding. These are the ones I find most effective.

Protect from lasers: Many players often complain about the power of spacies and their lasers. However, they are much less powerful for damage/combos as they are for simply forcing a reaction. Protect yourself from that pesky spacie full screen laser spam with light shield (or Sheiks that abuse needles). Wavedash out of shield when the time’s right and get a better position.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=hqDZUzpH0zg#t=482s Cosmo shows us how he makes up for Zelda’s slow speed and makes the most of Zelda’s light shield to protect himself from Tink’s lasers. Patience is a virtue, especially if you play a slow character.

Protect from shield pokes (including lasers/needles): Lightshielding is also very effective if you’re trying to protect yourself from a shield pokes. Some characters have really weird angles on some of their attacks. If you don’t want a part of your body exposed light shield is the way to go. Common knowledge to some, but most forget it.

Move back farther and fall off platforms: This is one of my favorite uses for lightshielding. As you may know, you will get knocked back farther than normal if somebody hits your shield when you’re lightshielding. A regular shield will actual set you up to get hit as you're falling. Use lightshielding to the best of your ability. Here are some uses that I like the most…

>Many players will try to get behind your shield when they are pressuring you to decrease your OoS options. Use your lightshield to move yourself back when they hit your shield in front of you so that it’s harder for them to get behind you. (CKit does this a lot to prevent people from getting behind his shield in the Marth/Falco matchup.)

>I spam this next technique with no shame. When you use regular shields on platforms you may get pressured for a while and then fall off (possibly in tumble) and take a lot of damage. That’s no good! Lightshielding on platforms will cause you to fall off of them very quickly and push you off of the platform quite a ways. This is the most effective escape when you’ve found yourself caught on a platform imo.

This is also a very effective thing to do when your opponent has respawned after you’ve taken his stock. He is limited to trying to grab you (which is very easy to see) or waiting to see what you do OoS. Lightshield on platform and wavedash off is simply ****.

[Note: Remember the effects of lightshielding when edgeguarding Marth, especially if you play a fast faller]

Mix with regular shield: Mixing in your lightshield with your regular shield can really throw off your opponent’s game. Think of your options from lightshield to regular shield and vice versa. A regular shield might expose a limb, so you can switch to lightshield to protect yourself. You can give an illusion of going all in defensively by lightshielding, and then switch to your regular shield and land a shield grab or a fast OoS option. This is especially useful against spacies. If you want, you can think of it like the ICs shield. They can very their shield sizes amongst themselves to create more defensive and offensive options. Watch Ice Climbers players and learn. Standard dair shine shield pressure does not work in 2010 and it will stay that way well into 2011.

Compensate for a small shield (or a diminished shield) or bad shield grab: Some characters simply have bad shields that may hardly cover their whole body, or expose most of it all together. This puts you at great risk. If you play a character with a terribly small shield (common for low tiers), lightshielding may be a better option for you. (Some characters with bad/sub-par regular shields include Marth, Zelda, Bowser, Peach, Samus, Pikachu, G&W, Luigi.) All characters will find their shields getting smaller over time. Remember that if your shield is about to break you still have the option of lightshielding to annoy your opponent for a bit longer and give yourself more time to make a good decision out of your shield.

In addition some characters may have a terrible shield grab. Lightshielding should be more commonly used if you play a character with a bad shield grab.

[Note: The biggest cost of using your lightshield is that shield stun is increased. That is, you cannot do anything out of your shield for longer than if you were using your regular shield. Keep this in mind!]

Angling your shield

This is another important technique you should know how to use. Some uses:

>Angle your shield towards your opponent’s attack to avoid shield pokes. (Especially useful if your shield is small
>Angle your shield towards your opponent’s attack such that it hits your shield faster. This way, you’ll be able to move faster (OoS) out of shield.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFYkM6LTdt0&feature=player_detailpage#t=106s Mango angles his shield up towards Lovage. Lovage nairs his shield and shines OoS. The nair hit Mango’s shield slightly higher than it usually would, so:
-Lovage was in hitstun at an earlier point in his jump and…
-Mango’s shield stun ended sooner

Effective Powershielding

Everybody knows about powershielding projectiles like Samus’ charge shot and missles, Sheik’s needles, Link’s boomerang, Peach’s turnips, and of course Falco’s lasers. These are all good strategies to use, but I feel like most people are missing out on another use for powershielding, and that is powershielding attacks!

Now you may be thinking this is totally impractical, nobody actually powershields attacks intentionally, etc etc. The truth is most people don’t, but a select few players make good use of it (even me and if I can do it anybody can)! Powershielding an attack cuts off A LOT of shield stun. You can almost instantly do any attack out of powershields. Some common attacks I’ve seen out of powershields include: spacies shine, Sheik’s dsmash, Peach’s dsmash, Zelda dsmash, Mario upsmash, any non grapple type grab. Pretty much any fast attack will work.

[Note: Do NOT try to powershield everything. It won’t work. Every once in a while you know you’re going to powershield something just in time. This is when you should anticipate that you might powershield. Right when you see the powershield, throw out your fast attack!]

Here’s an example of a good powershield from Armada (watch closely): http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=DoyGxR94Cu4#t=118s
After throwing the turnip, Armada lands and anticipates Calle W’s dair, powershields, and dsmashes. Pretty cool right?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KSj2zlFDmZ0&feature=player_detailpage#t=33s 0:33 Armada does it again. Powershield grab this time.

XII. Option Selects

(Yes, Smash has them) If you don’t know what an option select is, watch this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aHHoGHcgK9k explanation from 0:00-0:20

Option selects in smash have a lot to do with buffering inputs when on both offense and defense. Buffering simply refers to inputting commands inside other commands. (ie: Inputting a wavedash command during an uair. I’ll get more into why you’d do that later.) Whenever possible, you should buffer inputs within your attacks. I often see people get lazy and miss out on these opportunities. In example, I’ll see a Fox fsmash and wiff it, but not hold down to CC their opponent’s aerial. (Of course you’d only CC when the time is right. That was just one example.)

Basically the point of this section is that when you input an attack you should always analyze the situation and see if there is another input you should be buffering to give you the best results. This is a fairly broad topic, so when I’m describing several different things, refer back to the words of the video to see how it relates.

Now let’s look at some specific scenarios. You’re Falco. Imagine that incredible Fox shield pressure. Nair/dair > shine (repeat). You often hear people say, wavedashing out of shield is your best option. But why? Think about it. You’re covering two options at once. After he hits your shield with the nair or the shine and you input the wavedash either:
A: His shine/nair will hit you and you’ll CC tech roll away from him
B: He won’t shine/nair and you will wavedash away safely

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=80v-tJTlIGk#t=36s This is proof of the concept. See how M2K got the tech in the middle of his WD?

Two options covered by inputting a WD. TRY IT!

Another scenario http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=FLcYHYTr-Vk#t=258s Did Mew2king go for a “risky” upB edge guard? I don’t think so. If Mew2king inputted these three inputs in this order UP(1oclock joystick position)>B>R then he is at little risk. Had he have got hit by a fair from Amsah he would’ve wall jumped teched on the side of the stage due to his UP>R command. UP>B>R favorably covers 2 options. Think about how you can apply this to your main.

Remember this part about taking away double jumps? Well notice something else. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=xltqV6VEeto#t=208s
This was my input during the uair. Joystick UP>A>R. Again, the tech command is buffered within the uair. Let’s look at both possible outcomes:

A: The uair wins clean, in which case the R input has no effect and I could continue my punish
B: The uair trades (which is what happened) and thus the “R” input caused me to tech in place.

[Note: holding up while teching on the ground causes a tech in place (some people don’t know)]

Do you see how this eliminates some guesswork?

Option selects also apply to tech chasing. There is almost no buffering of inputs when it comes to this. It is important to be able to recognize how many options you can cover with one or two attacks on different parts of different stages. Ex: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6pCD7lphcbg&feature=player_detailpage#t=181s
Several characters can do one fast attack in the place where their opponent lands to cover neutral techs or no tech options and cover tech rolls if they do that instead. (ie: Falcon can dthrow Fox, knee where Fox lands, and chase with a grab if he tech rolls any direction) See how you can take this information and apply it to your character.

View the GIFs below from


They are very useful visual displays of the concept of covering teching options.


MAGUS420's Detailed Techchasing options with animated GIF's and frame data

Landing Frame: The moment they touch the ground is used for timing references and windows. -1 is the frame directly before they touch the ground, 0 is the 1st landing frame, +1 is the 2nd landing frame, etc

_______________________Coverage A

_______________________Coverage B
*Options Covered*
[3/4]: No Tech, Tech-Stand, Tech-Roll (Away from Ganon)
[3/4]: No Tech, Tech-Stand, Tech-Roll (Towards Ganon)
-As long as you are close to the opponent you can choose either set of coverage options you want from a single location (as shown in the gif), since the pullback on the move will position you behind them before moving forward to always cross through where they landed with the attack

Falco/CF: To cover their Tech Roll Forward in the set you need to be slightly past/fully overlapping them before using side-b (see gif below). In other words, if those techs are to the right, you would need to be at least on the right half of their body before doing the side-b to the right (the pullback will move you back onto their left side before going)
-Tech Roll Forward: A Tech Roll in the same direction the opponent is facing. If you d-throw them while facing right it would be a tech roll to the right since the d-throw turns them around
-Tech Roll Backward: ^^ cept the other direction

*Timing Window*
Fox/Falco/CF {Closest Range}: ~4 frames (+1 through +4)
Fox/Falco/CF {Farthest Range}: ~4 frames (-1 through +2)
-These aren't exact and vary slightly with spacing and which tech roll is involved

*Maximum Range*
-If you are any further away than this you won't reach them on the tech roll.
____________________Tech Roll Backward

____________________Tech Roll Forward
*Other Stuff*
-At very low damage they can ASDI down to not be lifted up from the side-b (they can't do this after a No Tech however)
-Since it's always strong enough to cause knockdown they can't punish you if they do though, and you are at a +5 advantage before they can do a getup on no tech, +5 if they Tech-Stand, and +19 if they Tech-Roll it
-If you grab Fox/Falco at ~14 damage and CF at ~17% or more, they can't hold down against a side-b after d-throw to not get popped up into the air by it


*Options Covered*
[3/4]: No Tech, Tech-Stand, Tech-Roll (Towards Ganon)

*Timing Window*
Fox/Falco: 5 frames (-2 through +2)
CF: 4 frames (-2 through +1)

*Maximum Range*
-If they are any closer to you than this you won't reach them on the tech roll.
____________________Tech Roll Backward

____________________Tech Roll Forward
*Other Stuff*
-If they land on the same platform as you such as off a d-throw or low damage d-air, a d-smash will hit them out of all 4 of their landing options at once pretty easily. Same thing if they land between you and near the end of the stage (the 2nd kick will usually send them upwards for a combo or offstage depending on DI)

-They can avoid the 2nd kick with SDI+ASDI+DI up
---Fox: The SDI up is always required
---Falco: The SDI up isn't required when spaced more out towards Ganon's foot
---CF: The SDI up isn't required when he goes into the "barrel roll" type knockback animation and towards the outer part of the leg (which one he gets is random), and near the tip of the foot it isn't required on the other KB animation
-The 1st kick can be teched by holding downward if they are allowed (if the d-smash hit them out of a Tech-Stand they won't be allowed to tech again). If they don't tech when ASDIing downward they still bounce/slide into the 2nd kick anyway


*Options Covered*
[3/4]: No Tech, Tech-Stand, Tech-Roll (Away from Ganon)

*Timing Window*
Fox/Falco/CF {Closest Range}: ~10 frames (0 through +9)
Fox/Falco/CF {Farthest Range}: ~10 frames (-5 through +4)
-These aren't exact and vary with spacing and which tech roll is involved

*Maximum Range*
-If you are any further away than this you won't reach them on the tech roll.
____________________Tech Roll Backward

____________________Tech Roll Forward

B-Air(Autocanceled) -> JC Grab

*Options Covered*
[3/4]: No Tech, Tech-Stand, Tech-Roll (Towards Ganon)

*Timing Window*
Fox/Falco: 3 frames (input jump for SHFFAC B-Air within -7 through -5)
CF: 2 frames (input jump for SHFFAC B-Air within -7 through -6)
-SHFFAC B-Air: For the fastest one possible, input B-Air on 6th air frame, and do soonest FF

F-Air(Early) -> JC Grab(Behind) or Jab(Front)

*Options Covered*
[3/4]: No Tech, Tech-Stand, Tech-Roll (Towards Ganon)
-If you don't have enough time to land from the F-Air towards the beginning of their landing you won't be able to jab a Tech-Stand
-Being able to land early enough with the F-Air usually means coming off a platform or being in the air already, otherwise you could just get them with something before they land if you have time to set it up with a SHFFL

*Timing Window*
Fox/Falco/CF: 11 frames (F-Air landlag starts on +1 through +11)

F-Air(Middle) -> JC Grab(Behind)

*Options Covered*
[2/4]: No Tech, Tech-Roll (Towards Ganon)

*Timing Window*
Fox/Falco/CF: 7 frames (F-Air landlag starts on +12 through +18)


*Options Covered*
[2/4]: No Tech, Tech-Stand

*Timing Window*
Fox/Falco/CF: ~10 frames (input F-Air within +1 through +10)
-These aren't exact and vary with spacing/airtime


*Options Covered*
[2/4]: No Tech, Tech-Stand

*Timing Window*
Fox/Falco/CF {Don't Care Either Way}: 10 frames (input D-Air within 0 through +9)
Fox/Falco/CF {Normal Launch off No Tech}: 4 frames (input D-Air within +6 through +9)
-On No Tech if you hit before frame 23 of the bounce animation they hit the ground again and don't go upwards
-On a no launch d-air you can still get up to a +9 advantage before they can do a getup if the d-air hits directly before landing

Buffering C-Stick OoS

This is a short, but important section. Use c-stick to buffer rolls/spotdodges/jumps to your advantage. This is especially useful for spacies players. When your shield gets hit and you can shine OoS using the cstick to buffer your jump out of your shield on the first possible frame and shine! It’s that simple. It’s that broken. Do it. The input is VERY slow. If you’re getting it wrong it is probably because you’re doing it too fast! It’s that easy.

Also, just recognize some situations where you need to jump/roll/spotdodge frame perfectly and use this method. The c-stick comes in handy for more than just Peach players! ;)

XIII. Recovery

Some characters have good recoveries. Some have bad recoveries, but all come with the same goal in mind. Get back center stage! I think about recovery in parts:

The Recovery Process

1. DI- input the best DI that will help you achieve the following parts of recovery
2. Stay away from harm- avoid all hazards such as missles, shine spikes or needles, but not at the cost of achieving the following parts of recovery
3. Sweetspot the ledge- grab the ledge, do not aim for the stage (generally speaking, landing on the stage comes at the cost of landing recovery frames from your recovery move which will of course get you punished)
4. Recover with ledge invincibility- make sure that when you recover you have ledge invincibility. The only reason not to do this is if your opponent is out of range to hit you (seldom occurance).
5. Gain back center stage- you’re on the stage, but you’re not in center stage. Patiently make your way there, and gain back control of the game!

Some character’s recoveries will allow you to skip or accomplish certain parts of recovery easier. For example, Jigglypuff goes from survival DI strait to trying to gain back center stage, while Marth will more than likely go through the whole process any time he is hit off the stage. In addition when you get hit, you are not always off the stage (of course), but if they hit you to the ledge, you still have to recover. So this means different scenarios will put you in different parts of the recovery process. You are not in control until you have your center stage control.

XIV. Reading Comprehension
(coined term by Lucien)

Reading Comprehension is a very important topic and can be hard for some to grasp. Luckily it's Lucien to the rescue again. He goes over it very thoroughly. I will go over this video much like his Spacing video. Like I said before, watch the whole video first then go over the notes below.


0:36 He explains why he calls it Reading COMPREHENSION. Very smart guy. "Everybody sees the same thing, it's what you take from it"

0:50 "Once you threaten them with some of your ranges, see how they respond."

1:13 "The reason why people shield is...because they are afraid of getting hit"; "Likewise, if someone sidesteps they are afraid of grabs."

1:44 "Two rules: #1 People are stupid until proven smart...2nd History repeats itself"

2:10 "People have a set way of doing things, that's what style is...so let's say I fthrow and he shields asdf, see and he rolled? That's what his set thing is."; "So next time I fthrow him *watch what he does* I have confidence."; "I ran and shined, because that's safe."

2:50 "Let's say I'm not sure if he's going to roll...if he rolls into me I'm going to shine him right? He rolled back...I actually punished him. I punished him because he's close to the ledge and has less space to move. You don't have to hit him to punish him." [Note: Remember this is stage control, punishing, and recovery? He has to work for positioning now]

3:10-4:01 Listen to that whole excerpt on rolling.

4:09 "Even if you just tap(jab) his shield is shrinking"; "People react to something...just tap and see what they do"

5:00 "A lot of top players...after tech chase they'll dash dance first and then pillar. The reason why they do that is because if the sidestep they get hit and if they stay in their shield they are still going to get pillared. That's why that works because it covers two options at once." [Note: Remember option selects?]

5:31-5:50 Listen to that whole excerpt on dash dancing "There's ways around that." *listen to the ones he lists, these are just a few examples* "If you don't whiff anything they aren't going to come at you. Likewise, if you stay out of their range and you whiff something they'll go after you." (This is baiting)

6:37 "If you see them jump towards you, then obviously they're trying to come down with something"; "Ways around that is, you don't have to hit him...you can just run up to them, where they land...That's when you start the game between the shielding, the sidestep and the rolling"

7:13 "When they're shielding they are always at a disadvantage no matter which character it is...so if you can get them to shield that's your que to move in."

7:41 "Likewise, if you're in that range and you're weaving in and out, and they're not doing the sh nair, then their not trying to hit you with anything...that's when you know the coast is clear to move forward...start approaching more, they're more defensive minded"

XV. Super Theory Brothers Melee

(Coming soon)


Smash Grimer
Aug 16, 2005
Ann Arbor, MI
I'll read through more comprehensively when I have time, but it's looking good at first glance. Nice expansion of Neighborhood P's similar thread from 2008.


Smash Master
Jan 27, 2006
I like what I see here, Jason! You've been a busy bee.

It's very akin to what Vro and Rat have been talking about recently.


Smash Debater
Jul 2, 2008
Hey ORLY, what does the word count say about his power level? ...

Sorry. Anyway, fantastic read, I've got some practicing to do.
Apr 4, 2006
Walnut Creek, Ca
I didnt think anyone would type out a script of my video haha. I honestly think those videos are pretty sloppy in how I explained it. I can help you with this if you would like. My aim is ZodiakLucien


Smash Lord
Feb 6, 2009
Leavenworth/Kansas City, Kansas
I feel like this deserves a sticky just for sheer volume of content

I'll read more later, but what I see so far looks well done :)
I second this. This is seriously a good read. I haven't finished it, but there's a lot in here I can add to my game.

Lucien, that video you made is probably the most useful video I've watched for smash, ever.


Smash Champion
Jul 24, 2007
vegas baby
really good read so far, though i just got to the part about 'bad habits' and rolling is said to be 'generally bad'. i think this is an overstatement, especially since these teachings aren't meant for people at top level where you get punished for rolling more often.

i see professional/really good players roll all the time. Mango has even givin tips to a buddy of mine saying rolling is no where near as bad as everyone makes it out to be, just don't abuse it. I mean if you're in a match and you get punished for rolling noticeably, then cool it down, but besides that it's a GREAT evade tactic especially vs. space animals.

finished reading/skimming over it all. must say awesome read, i took in alot of the advice, it's easier to grasp when it's written properly. i even wrote a note on my phone to save incase the thought drifted my mind.

also sent this to some smash buddies in our facebook group.


doot doot doot
Feb 15, 2005
Usually not playing Brawl. Location: Enterprise
trahhsteezy's right
I think there should be a qualifier here about "if you're not getting punished for it, it's generally not a bad thing to keep doing it." That is, if you're gaining openings or escaping punishment because you're spamming spotdodge, keep doing it. If you're getting punished for it, stop. The truly "bad habit" is one you can't break when someone starts crushing you for it.

The picking a main section seems a little limp compared with the rest of it, and I think you're doing many characters injustice when classifying them. Also the reasons you give for selecting falco are definitely not something specific to his character. I think marth would fit your description better, but seeing your style Falco makes sense with what you like.

The amazing thing about melee is the level of control you have, and how much individual players determine characters styles--not vice versa. Even characters like samus universally thought to be forced to play defensively have players come along and prove they can be effective as an aggression machine. And Falco who is perhaps the most recognized character for his constant pressure and aggression has many defensive/cautious and campy players.

Now there are more things specific to a character which can help select a main. A player can prefer to have a projectile, can prefer to have a better recovery, can prefer to be fast enough to not be camped, can prefer to have a useful kill move, can prefer to not be comboed. These are the qualities which you actually select when picking a character (*smirks at how fox qualifies for all but one*.) I'm sure there are others, but more general stuff than this can be found in all characters.

Oh and if you didn't notice, I did say at the beginning that the section seems limp compared to the others. It's not bad, but it's not the same quality as the others. Overall this thread is very good. Good stuff LE.


Smash Champion
Jul 24, 2007
vegas baby
you say that like it's a bad thing. anyone who actually is interested in getting better outside the realm of learning techskill, should read this. just read bits here and there if you don't like reading too much.
Mar 20, 2008
East Peoria, Illinois
Finished reading this, and I'm sure I'll be going over it multiple times just to make sure it's all ingrained into my head xD

One thing though...if it's even possible, you should do a section on Doubles IMO.


Smash Master
Sep 10, 2007
Central IL
I didn't learn a lot from this, but I did learn a few things. That makes it a very successful thread. There are hundreds of players like me who can learn a little bit, and hundreds (if not thousands) more who can learn a lot from this.
+rep Jason. I think this could be the best thread on the forums

Fortress | Sveet

Dec 21, 2005
Northern IL
Here is my rule of thumb for beginners who do not know how to DI. Smash DI (SDI) and regular DI perpendicular to the trajectory of the attack that hit you. (Example: Samus’ dsmash hits you at a 10 o’clock angle so you want to DI at a 2 o’clock angle.)
going by the clock, 90 degrees (aka perpendicular) is actually 3 hours. If it sends you to 10oclock, then you should hold toward 1 oclock.


Simply refers to hitting left and right on your joystick quickly (as if you are dash dancing) to leave tumble sooner. This can help prevent you from getting comboed and allow you to use your double jump sooner.
wiggling doesn't reduce hitstun, it only breaks the tumbling animation so you can airdodge.

I can also be used to escape Fox's uthrow uair. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...R_jMo5nk#t=43s) If you have not done so, also view this short funny guide which explains how.

i'm surprised you put SDI with wiggling. Even if the control stick inputs are similar, they have completely different purposes.

Anyways, good read. Glad i finally finished it


Smash Hero
Dec 10, 2005
St Louis, Missouri/Fremont, CA
in your approaching section, you include
"float cancel nair" as a safe option. This is not true. Float cancel nair is easily countered by many moves because of it's short horizontal range and lack of priority after the first few frames. You should replace with fc fair, which is a much better and safer option (just watch armada, he never approaches with fc nair)


Smash Master
Sep 10, 2007
Central IL
memory tells me fc nair is not safe on shield. even if you're floating really low and fastfall quickly, fox can shine oos. some characters can up b oos.
I am positive that fc fair is safe on shield though. If you're floating at minimum height and start your grab frame perfectly, fc fair->grab actually works unconditionally.
Jan 14, 2008
Purdue, W Lafayette IN Rancho Cucamonga, SoCal
Tomacawk, did you not know that if you press down and hold jump peach will start floating? You don't even have to fast fall that.

This is the FC nair I'm talking about you guys: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=109dsjAj52k&feature=player_detailpage#t=83s

Also, fc fair is definitely safe. However, I'm hard pressed to believe that fc fair>grab is legit. lol Couldn't you buffer a roll?
Dec 12, 2001
FC fair>grab on a shield is pretty much guaranteed, ask any top Peach player

FC nair on sheilds is not safe. Tomacawk got it right.

Also, notice in your video how far Pink Shinobi was from the sheild, and how he jabbed after (to catch a jump oos). There's definitely not enough stun from either of those hits to lock someone in (the supposed "Peach Pillaring" technique, which was proven not to be useful)


Smash Champion
Nov 1, 2007
Crystal Lake, IL
i dont think fc-nair or fair can be punished at all if done correctly, maybe fox and falco could get you with a shine oos but i think thats it

and it seems like you could buffer roll out of the fc-fair to grab


Smash Hero
Dec 10, 2005
St Louis, Missouri/Fremont, CA
whoops didnt see people responded

Fc Fair - grab on shield does not [realistically] work, they can easily buffer a roll out of it, or even jump out if it.

Any FC attack on a shield cannot be punished if done correctly. However, I wasn't talking about shields, I was talking about approaches.
FC nair as an approach is nowhere as safe as deep nair-shine, marth's dtilt, and other options mentioned. The attack covers very little distance past the core of peach's body. All the other player has to do dash back and hit her during the weak part of the move or after she lands. FC Fair has a disjointed hitbox and covers far more range in front, and gives more hitstun to shields upon impact.

If you watch Armada, if he is approaching or trying to force openings, he'll float around and drop down with fairs, generally unpunished. If he sees a shield he'll quickly run up with nair or grab

george i remember 3 stocking you with said character last time we played :p


Smash Hero
Dec 10, 2005
St Louis, Missouri/Fremont, CA
Peach's nair is like a sex kick correct? If you do a grounded FC nair (using the strong part) on a shield, how can it be punished? What are some of the attacks that can punish it? This is news to me. lol
peach's nair is a sex kick, but doing an fc nair is like sex kicking in place. It would actually be less punishable to use sh nairs while approaching or retreating.

Oh yeah I'll keep reading and try to give comments later. Great guide btw, the examples are really what makes it amazing.

Particularly that lucien vid where he uses the weak autocanceled dair. I can't believe I didn't notice that before.