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Collaborative Project M Snake Guide


Smash Journeyman
Writing Team
Jul 2, 2013
Table of Contents

1. Briefing
- Purpose of the Guide
- Conventions Used

2. Recon - Snake's Attributes
- Character Overview
- Character Stats

3. Arsenal - Snake's Moveset
- Normals
- Specials
- Throws

4. Battle - Snake's Gameplay
- Advanced Techniques
- Neutral Game
- Punish Game
- Defense
- Recovery
- Cheesy Stuff

5. Field Report - Snake's Metagame
- Matchups
- Stages

6. Archives
- Yata's Data Haven
- FlashingFire's Video Database
- Sartron's Frame Data Thread

7. Credits and Thanks

1. Briefing

Hello everyone, and welcome to the Collaborative Project M Snake Guide. This guide was co-authored by FlashingFire and Yata, with additional help from Flipp and Yink, to provide a comprehensive resource for people interested in learning about Snake in Project M. The most obvious group we are seeking to help is of course fellow Snake players, but we hope that this guide will also serve people who endeavor to learn how to combat Snake, determine whether they want to invest into the character, or simply to commentate Snake matches with greater accuracy.

The structure of this guide is like a pyramid, with more and more information being shared as you go lower. We will begin at the top with a general overview of Snake and his attributes. Further down the pyramid, we will touch on each component of his moveset and how it functions. Digging deeper, we will share more information about Snake’s general gameplan, character-specific advanced techniques, strategies in different matchups and on different stages, and so on. Finally, at the end of the guide there are several repositories of data - combo trees and percents, video archives, and frame data to be precise - which form the widest, lowest level of this metaphorical pyramid.

Smash players frequently use shorthand terms to refer to various game mechanics and moves, and we are no exception. Here is a list of some abbreviations you should be familiar with before moving on. For more information on what these terms mean, please visit a broader guide on Smash terminology.
  • OoS = Out of Shield
  • CC = Crouch Cancel
  • DI = Directional Influence
  • SDI = Smash Directional Influence
  • SHFFL = Short Hop Fast Fall L-cancel
  • Abbreviations for move names, e.g. F-Smash, F-Tilt, Nair, Side-B
2. Recon - Snake's Attributes
Snake has a bevy of strong attributes to help him compete in the Project M metagame. To begin with, he has a unique arsenal of explosive moves - and not all of them are specials! These tools give Snake a high degree of flexibility when it comes to stage control, combo extensions, and messing with the opponent’s head. Snake is a tall, muscular soldier dude, and that translates in-game to long reach on normal attacks and grabs, high damage output throughout his moveset, and (in conjunction with all the equipment he carries) high weight. In fact, Snake’s weight combined with the incredible distance he can achieve via normal recovery moves and other advanced techniques make him one of the hardest characters to KO in the game.

Snake possesses a strong set of OoS options that allow him to counter many forms of shield pressure and open up the enemy for combos. And speaking of combos, Snake’s punish game is among the best of the best. Not only do his moves link together well and provide tons of damage output and KO setups, but Snake looks really really good while he’s doing it. Snake combos are notoriously flashy and explosive - pun wholeheartedly intended.

Overall, Snake’s unique toolkit is one that allows for significant creativity, innovation, and style. Additional fortés include a low-profile crouch and crawl animation that helps him duck under some characters’ grabs and other moves, potent throws that compliment his long grab range, and top-tier taunts.

Of course, Snake is not without his weaknesses. While he excels at capitalizing off of openings, he lacks tools to create openings consistently if the opponent plays patiently and safely. In other words, his approach game is relatively poor. Snake’s big body becomes a problem when he has to avoid attacks without crouching - his tall running and standing animations expose him to high attacks and projectiles. And while Snake’s weight and fall speed are great for surviving hits, they also result in a character who is very easily comboed.

Snake lacks any significant disjoints on his attacks and possesses somewhat average mobility, except in the air, where his mobility is decidedly subpar. Snake’s explosives, while potent, require time to detonate and can be dealt with on reaction without proper setup. His recovery can go extremely far, but it is quite linear and can be intercepted many times over if the opponent is familiar with its counterplay. Finally, Snake lacks consistently effective answers to heavy projectile camping or zoning via disjointed attacks. Both strategies abuse many of the above weaknesses.

The raw statistic is listed first, followed by how that stat ranks among the cast, when that rank is relevant. The grab rankings don't include tether grabs.
  • Weight - 105 (9th)
  • Max Fall Speed - 2.12 (15th)
  • Fast Fall Speed - 2.89 (14th)
  • Gravity (Falling Acceleration) - 0.098 (23rd)
  • Jumpsquat Frames - 5
  • Max Run Speed - 1.55 (22nd)
  • Max Walk Speed - 0.875 (30th)
  • Max Air Speed - 0.94 (25th)
  • Aerial Mobility - 0.55 (24th)
  • Standing Grab Range - 17.2482 (6th)
  • Dash Grab Range - 16.7382 (4th)
  • Pivot Grab Range - 18.0387 (10th)
  • Wavedash Distance - 24.68 (30th)

3. Arsenal - Snake's Moveset

    • Jab Combo
      1. Jab 1
        1. Jab 1 is a solid tool in its own right. It is Snake’s fastest hitbox overall (frame 3) and possesses good reach and a relatively high hitbox. It does 4%, which is good damage for a jab, and has set knockback, making it difficult to SDI out of. A major selling point of Jab 1 is that its low set knockback value makes it impossible to buffer getup options out of jab resets. This means that jab reset is a very powerful punishment option! Jab 1 cancels relatively early (frame 16), making it a solid combo option when you need a hitbox out quickly. Its high reach can cause Jab 1 to miss low-lying opponents, however, such as those in crouched or pratfall positions.
      2. Jab 2
        1. Jab 2, like Jab 1, has set knockback which disables buffered getups on jab resets. However, it lacks the fast cooldown that Jab 1 has. The hard numbers are that Jab 2 takes 7 frames longer to end than Jab 1, potentially impacting your follow-up, and definitely impeding your ability to follow-up if you whiff your jab. This is essentially only useful to get to Jab 3.
      3. Jab 3
        1. Jab 3 is comparable in strength to a Falcon Gentleman, possessing relatively high knockback that will push opponents away from you. Most useful as a “get off me” maneuver rather than an actual combo tool, but the full jab combo dealing 15% is nothing to sneeze at.
    • Forward Tilt
      1. F-Tilt 1
        1. F-Tilt 1 is insanely good on grounded opponents. It is a set-knockback meteor that comes out on frame 4 and deals 8%. You’re essentially guaranteed to get a tech chase started off of F-Tilt, and if there’s no SDI down on it, a lot of floatier characters get popped up for long enough for a free Up Tilt, grab, or C4 stick (see the Data Haven for more). Additionally, the right leg is invincible during the hitbox, making it hard for the opponent to trade with
      2. F-Tilt 2
        1. F-Tilt 2 sends at a pretty intimidating 33° trajectory with solid knockback—approaching semi-spike status. F-Tilt 2 is a good way of setting up edgeguards, as well as forcing opponents into mines. It also deals 10% and becomes a solid KO option at higher percents.
    • Up Tilt
      1. Up Tilt is one of your better KO options overall, possessing approximately as much knockback as a C4 detonation. A solid anti-air and anti-approach move, it can stop a lot of threats before they happen and occasionally begin combos. It starts on frame 5 as a hitbox in front of Snake before extending a good way above of his head, giving it considerable reach. Some consistent set-ups for Up Tilt include early Nair and Dair hits as well as the aforementioned F-Tilt 1.
    • Down Tilt
      1. Down Tilt has a low-profile hitbox and an often-overlooked backswing hitbox that trips up opponents almost too often. Down Tilt is arguably Snake’s best combo-starter at middle percentages. Most aerials combo into this as well as Up Tilt and grab in some circumstances. Its long reach and low-lying hurtbox as well as its heavy reward make Down Tilt a good neutral poking tool.
    • Crawl Tilt
      1. Snake is one of a few characters in Project M that possesses a Crawl Tilt, which is performed by pressing A while holding the control stick down and forward. It’s a quick knife stab with a low, thin hitbox that can be used to shieldpoke. The move is relatively unexplored, but its low base knockback and knockback growth give it combo potential similar to that of F-Tilt 1.
    • Forward Smash
      1. F-Smash 1
        1. Snake’s F-Smash starts with two knife slashes, with the first setting up for the second. While this move possesses decent KO power, it is outclassed by many of Snake’s other tools in that regard. F-Smash does have potential as a mix-up, seeing as the third and final hit is optional.
      2. F-Smash 2
        1. The final hit of Snake’s F-Smash is quite powerful, with a deceptively large hitbox thanks to the step forward that Snake takes during the move. The slashing hitbox starts above and slightly behind Snake’s head, and has enough vertical reach to catch opponents standing on some platforms. Its main use is to nail people that try to challenge F-Smash 1 or to net a surprise KO when there are no other setups available. Use sparingly.
    • Up Smash - "Mortar"
      1. Up Smash is one of the more interesting tools in Snake’s kit as it possesses a base hitbox that knocks opponents upward into a projectile hitbox. The Mortar rocket is both chargeable to travel farther and aimable in five directions: smash left/right, tilt left/right, and neutral. The controllable aspects of Mortar in tandem with it being a vertical projectile opens up exciting juggling and edgeguarding options for Snake. In tandem with DACUS as a burst movement option, Up Smash can become an invaluable part of any Snake’s arsenal.
    • Down Smash - "Mine"
      1. Snake’s Down Smash is likely the most unorthodox tool in his kit compared to normal options characters possess: Instead of putting out a hitbox immediately, it sets up an immobile trap hitbox to be utilized later on. The applications of Snake’s mines are numerous, ranging from stage control to edgeguarding to comboing to techchasing. More often than not, it can be used to discourage enemies from utilizing portions of the stage, which may net you much greater rewards than the 14% and vertical knockback that the move dishes out. It’s worth noting that mines can be remotely activated by projectiles and by running up and shielding with proper timing, or by placing another mine.
    • Dash Attack
      1. Dash Attack is rather nuanced in its applications. The quick tackle comes out on frame 6 and gives Snake a small burst of horizontal movement, which gives the attack some utility as a zone breaking tool. The move also sports strong (early) and weak (late) hitboxes, which launch at distinctly different angles. Dash Attack’s combo applications vary depending on fall speed and percent - follow-ups include Jab, Up Tilt, aerials, and even another Dash Attack on poor DI. Where this move truly shines, however, is in its ability to be cancelled into Up Smash (DACUS), which is detailed later on.
    • Neutral Air
      1. Neutral Air is fantastic as a combo tool. It’s a three-part kicking attack slightly resembles Captain Falcon’s Nair, but the key differences lie in how these moves work within their kits. Falcon’s Nair has a moderately high knockback, allowing it to begin aerial juggles with the help of Falcon’s speed. Snake makes use of his Nair’s low knockback (the first hit has set knockback) as a way of securing his close-range normals such as Up Tilt, Down Tilt, grab, and Cypher. Its nature as a three-part aerial attack with considerable range and low landing lag also makes it useful to pressure shield, as many characters will struggle to punish a well-spaced SHFFL nair on their shield, especially when they aren’t sure how many hits are truly coming. It’s useful for catching opponents on neutral or outward DI on Cypher and comboing them off of that, either securing a grounded follow-up or using all three hits to knock them offstage. Furthermore, Nair lasts long enough to punish spot dodge attempts with the third hit. It should be noted that by far the strongest function of neutral air is as a combo extender, as Snake doesn’t possess the qualities that would allow it to be a strong approach tool and its knockback isn’t high enough to secure KO’s until very high percentages. Beware of SDI as well, as it can allow opponents to escape the first two linking hits.
    • Forward Air
      1. Forward Air is legendary at this point due to the 3.02 days of Professor Pro and Rolex. The bygone days of ridiculous power and indiscriminate spiking hitboxes may cause some to overrate the move, but its current potency can’t be ignored. The tip of forward air (Snake’s foot) possesses a powerful 15% sharply angled spike hitbox while the rest of Snake’s leg is a still-admirable 14% meteor hitbox. These hitboxes change when used on grounded opponents, instead launching them outward with just as much force. Fair can be a devastating finisher out of a number of moves, including Cypher, Up Throw, grenade, mine, tranq, and C4, but outside of that role, Fair lacks a lot. It’s a slow move on both startup and cooldown, leaving Snake extremely vulnerable during those times. Still, with its sweeping 180-degree range extending nearly as high as up air and as low as down air, it’s an intimidating threat to deal with.
    • Back Air
      1. Back air is Snake’s primary sex kick, being active for 16 frames total and covering the majority of Snake’s body. It’s a fat hitbox to throw in front of opponents and cover a large amount of space, and it auto-cancels out of short hops, meaning a quick, safe landing if your fingers are fast enough. Back air is one of your most useful horizontal finishers given its low startup, far reach, and good knockback. It combos out of throws and Cypher and is Snake’s major edgeguarding tool as well, often allowing him to favorably trade with recovery moves like Firefox and Dolphin Slash. You can also stuff them completely with ledge invincibility and still regrab ledge after a ledge hop Bair. Its long reach also allows Snake to out-space out of shield options, making it a viable way of baiting bad options from shielded opponents. It’s altogether one of Snake’s most flexible aerials, having great usefulness in the neutral, edgeguard, combo, and KO game.
    • Up Air
      1. Rotate Back Air 90 degrees and you get Snake’s Up Air: the same damage and reach pointed upwards instead. Up Air will be invaluable in a lot of specific contexts, but its primary function is a launcher to either KO outright (as its strength is comparable to Up Tilt and C4) or set up for a C4 KO (typically out of up throw for low% KO setups; the Data Haven is your friend!). It also shifts Snake’s landing detection significantly, allowing for quicker landings out of Cypher and specific tech with platforms (see Aerial Interrupts section for more). It also functions technically as a sex kick, although its shape and coverage doesn’t lend much to this usefulness, you can occasionally utilize the weaker hitboxes of Up Air in combos.
    • Down Air
      1. Down Air is something like a slowed-down Fox drill, but with a lot of funky hitboxes thrown into the mix. Each hit is a meteor on the ground, with the fourth hit being the strongest, allowing for nasty combos and semi-true locks on grounded opponents through good SHFFL use and hitbox choices. You can choose to employ the full move and get the strong meteor on the fourth hit, or land early and combo off one of the linking hits. In the air, the first three hitboxes gain “auto-link angles” which force opponents to travel in the same direction that Snake travels, essentially vacuuming opponents into the next hit. This makes the move quite difficult to SDI out of, especially since each linking hitbox deals little knockback. Down Air is also Snake’s fastest aerial at frame 3 and covers the space directly below him relatively well, allowing him to break out of combos unexpectedly at lower percentages. This move also functions well as a fast out of shield option. It is only one frame slower than shield grabbing, but it hits lower targets that grab might whiff against.

    • Neutral B - "Grenade"
      1. Grenade will almost definitely be your most-used move. There’s a lot of advanced tech stuff that will be discussed later, but all that needs to be said right now is this: Grenade is an item, making it the most flexible projectile Snake has. It doesn’t explode on contact with a hurtbox, instead it bounces off of hurtboxes and deals between 1 to 5% depending on a number of variables. It will explode when strong hitboxes or energy hitboxes come in contact with it, otherwise it explodes after roughly two seconds of first pressing B; the explosion deals 12% and a good amount of vertical knockback, often allowing for juggles or other follow-ups. You can throw the grenade in four different directions (up, down, neutral, and forward) or drop the grenade by holding shield. These four directions can be thought of as a lob (up), roll (down), soft toss (neutral) and hard toss (forward). After that, an airdodge, grounded A-input, or an aerial Z-input will pick up the grenade, meaning you can wavedash over the grenade and pick it up. All of these possibilities are also available to your opponent, resulting in some fun situations where they don’t mean to grab the grenade at your feet. After you pick up the grenade in this fashion, it can be thrown forward, backward, upward, and downward as any item can be. It can also be z-dropped.

    • Side-B - "Tranquilizer" or "Tranq"
      1. Tranq is the sleep dart which will put grounded, non-shielding opponents into a mashable sleep animation. It has almost no effect on aerial or shielded opponents outside of miniscule hitstun/shieldstun - think weak hit of Luigi’s Up-B. Tranq requires a reload after 3 shots are used, but it can be manually reloaded at any time by holding shield during the startup of the move, and it automatically reloads when you lose a stock. The dart is impossible to powershield and has transcendent priority, meaning no hitbox will clank with it. This makes the move fantastic for punishing whiffed or hard-read attacks. Despite its benefits, the slow startup of tranquilizer makes this its only reliable function. Sometimes you can catch opponents off guard with a ledgehop tranq as they try to out-space your ledgehop aerial, but again, this is a read. It’s impossible to react to techs or accurately time tranquilizer so that it hits an opponent in any situation other than lag. Any hit either is a hard read or a hard punish. The usefulness of a projectile that renders your opponent immobile is invaluable, however, and when the opportunity arises Tranq will seem like the greatest move in the game.

    • Up-B - "Cypher"
      1. Cypher is arguably Snake’s best move. It’s fast (5 frames on the ground, 7 frames in the air, cancellable on frame 11) with multiple hitboxes and a good amount of hitstun that allows for combos into any of Snake’s aerials, all of which can cancel the Cypher. It has three component hitboxes, the first being a grounded launch hitbox with a Sakurai angle, the second an aerial hanging hitbox with a more vertical trajectory, and the final being the hitbox of the floating Cypher device that rises above Snake after the move is cancelled or finished. The three of these together with Snake’s host of aerials allows for a massive damage output, maxing out reliably at 31% if all three hitboxes of Cypher and the strong hitbox of Up Air connect. Snake can cancel Cypher with the following moves: Neutral Air, Forward Air, Back Air, Up Air, Down Air, Grenade, C4, and Footstool. He can also manually cancel Cypher by pressing down after frame 11, which enables the use of tranquilizer as well. You cannot perform any other actions out of Cypher, most notably air dodges. With all this offensive potential, it’s almost hard to believe that Cypher’s recovery distance is as good as it is. Though rather slow and linear, Cypher will carry Snake extremely far if you don’t cancel it with anything. Be wary, though - each time you get hit out of Cypher before landing, the move’s maximum duration gets shortened by 5 frames. Repeat uses in edgeguarding situations may force you to resort to lower recoveries and C4 jumps, which will be covered in the gameplay section.

    • Down-B - "C4" or "Sticky"
      1. C4 is the greatest boon to Snake’s moveset and also vies for the position of best move in Snake’s arsenal. C4 is a grab box active on frame 8 and interruptible on frame 24 (grounded and aerial versions). C4 is able to be stuck on the ground, walls, ceilings, and opponents, and will stick to opponents through shield due to its grabbing hitbox. Once stuck, the C4 remains in place until Snake detonates the C4 or loses his stock. Detonation takes 22 frames to occur and can be canceled into a fake-out animation by holding the B button, allowing for some dirty mind games. C4 is a high knockback vertical launcher that can be used to secure KOs off of other vertical launching moves such as Up Tilt, Up Throw, Down Tilt, mines, grenades, and Cypher - as such it will be responsible for a number of your KOs. A good rule of thumb for C4 sticking is that if you can get a grab in a given situation, you can also get a C4 stick since the startup and hitbox data of C4 is extremely similar to a grab. C4 has the added benefits of actually “hitting” much lower and working on prone enemies! This move also has important applications outside of sticking onto people and blowing them up. Snake can use C4 in similar fashion to a mine by placing it on the ground and using it to cover space remotely. C4’s blast radius can be deceptive - when placed on most platforms, the explosion can tag people standing underneath it! Finally, Snake can utilize C4 to blast himself upwards and extend his recovery distance almost infinitely - again, more details about that will come. Make good use of C4 and your Snake will go far. Literally and figuratively.

  • D-Pad Walking
    1. Snake has the almost-unique ability to move left and right while he has an opponent grabbed (shoutout to DK). Simply press left or right on the D-Pad with side taunt assigned to do so. This ability has a wide array of applications in stage positioning, platform chaingrabs, throwing people into mines, mindgames, and the like.
  • Forward Throw
    1. This throw is essentially designed for tossing people into mines. It has very low knockback growth and a trajectory that forces many characters to tech. It it also useful for setting up edgeguard situations.
  • Back Throw
    1. Basically a mirror image of Forward throw. The animation is slightly faster, making it more difficult to react to.
  • Up Throw
    1. Oooooh boy. Ladies and gentlemen, this throw is absolutely amazing. Up throw is a pivotal element of Snake’s combo game, a tool with which to guarantee a host of follow-ups. Use this spectacular suplex to lead into chaingrabs, tech chases, stickies, aerials, you name it. It even KOs at high percents (>150%). Some floaties will be able to escape true combos as their damage goes up, however. Great focus has been given to this throw in the Data Haven.
  • Down Throw
    1. Yet another highly unique tool in Snake’s arsenal, this throw puts opponents on the ground right in front of Snake and forces a getup situation. Despite its gentle animation, it does a whopping 14% when it’s fresh. With a bit of extra stage control provided by mines or platforms, Snake can set up some nightmarish option coverage with this throw. Use it in those rare situations where Up throw wouldn’t be too rewarding.
4. Battle - Snake's Gameplay

    • DACUS
      1. DACUS is an acronym for Dash Attack Cancel Up Smash. As the name suggests, what it accomplishes is cancelling the animation of a Dash Attack and instead executing an Up Smash. The benefit of this is that you maintain the initial momentum of the Dash Attack for a good portion of the Up Smash - in Snake’s case, this means he slides forward with his mortar attack. DACUSing is Snake’s longest-reaching burst movement tool, and it can allow Snake to approach, tech chase, and combo in situations where it would be impossible otherwise. There is a 2-frame window to cancel the Dash Attack successfully, so be sure to practice! It can be executed consistently, and should be a readily available option while Snake is grounded. For more information, check out this thread.

    • Grab Techniques - These techniques can be performed by all characters, but their usefulness varies widely. The listed frame data will be Snake-specific, as you might expect.
      1. Jump Cancel Grab (JC Grab)
        1. You can cancel a jump during its jumpsquat frames with a grab. This means you can run and do a standing grab as opposed to a dash grab. This is especially useful for Snake, since his standing grab comes out 4 frames earlier than his dash grab and also has 5 less frames of cooldown. JC grabbing is one of the most subtle yet commonly used ATs for Snake and many other characters because of its relative speed and safety.
        2. Grab Boxes: 7-8
        3. Total Duration: 30
      2. Turn Grab ("Pivot" grab)
        1. You can also cancel a turnaround animation (that laggy skid that happens when you change direction while running) into a grab. Though often referred to as a Pivot Grab, this type of grab is not actually grabbing out of a pivot. Turn grabbing can be used to nab opponents who have almost caught up to you as you’re running away, and its reach is about as generous as that of a JC grab. Its startup is a tad slower, but the total duration is the same.
        2. Grab Boxes: 9-10
        3. Total Duration: 30
      3. Boost Grab
        1. In the same vein as a JC grab, you can cancel a Dash Attack into a grab. This gives you a slight momentum boost (not nearly as much as a DACUS) to your dash grab. The technique has niche use, but it can grab low-profile crouches from a bit further away than a regular dash grab.
        2. Grab Boxes: 12-13
        3. Total Duration: 40
      4. Boost Pivot Grab
        1. This is the name for a Dash Attack cancelled into a turn grab. The boost that snake gains from the dash attack is enough to allow shield crossups and generally is far less frame commitment than the traditional boost grab would be, saving two frames on startup and seven frames on endlag.

    • Glide Toss
      1. Explanation
        1. Roll animations can be cancelled with an item throw - this is called Glide Tossing, because you can retain momentum (“glide”) from your roll as you toss the item. You can do the same thing with airdodges - this is referred to as an Aerial Glide Toss, or AGT for short. You can even catch an item with your airdodge and cancel that same airdodge with the item toss! This is called an Instant Glide Toss, or IGT. While these techniques are universal, different characters get varying amounts of momentum out of them. Snake in particular gets virtually no distance out of his regular Glide Toss, meaning its only real use is throwing an item OoS. The applications of Snake’s Aerial Glide Toss are more interesting, seeing as he can pull grenades on command and he goes a decent distance during AGTs.
      2. Aerial Glide Toss
        1. A very straightforward setup for an AGT is lobbing the grenade upward, jumping into it, catching the grenade with Z, and then initiating an AGT. This is really useful for covering multiple options at once. By utilizing the 9 directions of air dodge (each vertex of the control stick as well as air dodge in place) and the four throw directions, you can effectively produce 36 different blast radii. You can extend juggles by observing the opponent’s aerial drift and selecting the directional combination that will cover the appropriate space.
        2. The upward grenade lob has jump cancel frames at the end, meaning you can jump toward the grenade sooner, and thus AGT it sooner as well. This can be done easily through tap jump from the ground, but is probably most useful while recovering. You can pull a grenade, lob it upwards, jump cancel and IGT, effectively granting Snake a third jump and lunging an explosive toward the ledge, which may force your opponent to leave that spot! It can also be used offensively as a mixup, as you can short hop upward lob into AGT and create numerous mixups for your opponent to grapple with. Combined with B-reverses, the flexibility of this setup is staggering.
        3. Speaking of B-reverses, Snake can utilize a B-reverse to effectively push himself closer to a grenade that’s rolled by holding down when throwing it. Both you and the grenade will land, and then you can airdodge close to the ground and set up the AGT that way, setting up a zone of danger that your opponent would be hesitant to deal with directly preceding the action. This can also be used with platforms to sneakily plant a grenade above you, manipulating the zone your opponent has to be wary of, and potentially shutting out options of approach or retreat. Similarly, you can roll the grenade while recovering, fade into it, and DJ to AGT into it to gain some extra height in this way, although it’s somewhat inefficient versus other options, particularly the jump cancelled upward lob.
        4. Shield dropping is another interesting mechanic that allows for AGT tech to be used. Simply shield on a platform with a grenade, then shield drop, and then immediately air dodge to set up the AGT. The applications here are truly staggering given how quickly Snake AGTs out of a shield drop—it’s actually the quickest method possible based on hard frames, as it only requires a single frame of shield before it becomes available, compared to the 45+ frames the previous methods take and the 5 frames IGT requires for jumpsquat. Following this, you can AGT in any direction and throw in any direction, providing many different options. Some of my favorites are Air Dodge Up + Throw Up to get grenades very high very quickly, Air Dodge Downward + Throw horizontal to quickly apply full-stage pressure, and Air dodge downward throw downward to set up a second AGT, as the grenade bounces when it hits the ground. Shield drop AGT enables all the mixups the other techs do as well as being a strong movement option in general—you don’t need to AGT after the shield drop, and grenade’s status as a special move means you can freely manipulate the direction Snake faces to open up back air or neutral air threats, grabs, or what have you.
        5. Further still, there is the Velox Drop which enables a seamless drop through the platform to Snake due to programming involved with grenades, shields, and platforms. A Velox Drop is essentially a buffered shield drop as you land on a platform while holding a grenade. To perform, pull a grenade in the air as you descend to a platform. Hold the shield button to buffer the input, then press down right before landing on the platform. If done correctly, Snake will drop through the platform but leave his grenade on top of it. This is a useful mixup against people who will wait out the grenade and shark you from underneath the platform, as you can act immediately out of the Velox Drop.
        6. You can also AGT OoS by jumping and performing an IGT. The input is essentially a botched wavedash where you either delay your air dodge timing slightly or air dodge a direction that isn’t downward. Outside of a platform-dependent shield drop setup, this is Snake’s fastest method of throwing a grenade and has three key applications outside of just putting out a hitbox: replicating (yet improving) standard glide tosses by air dodging horizontally and on the first airborne frame, supplementing Snake's OoS movement options, and setting up for a second aerial glide toss by throwing the grenade at the ground. The grenade will bounce and allow you to IGT a second time, providing a way to both cook the grenade and mix up spacing on how you throw the grenade.
        7. Off-the-Wall AGTs are also possible while recovering on walled stages like Wario Land, Green Hill Zone, Delfino’s Secret, and so on. Simply throw the grenade in such a way that it will bounce against the wall, and as you’re falling and fading forward, you’ll cross paths again, allowing you to AGT it and gain some extra height, and scary your opponent twice over! Naturally, this comes with some risks as mistakes cost your stock, but the mixup possibilities can’t be ignored, either. This works on any flat wall, but without proper aim it becomes difficult on stages such as Dreamland or Pokemon Stadium 2 where the relevant space you have is far less.

  • Aerial Interrupt (AI)
    1. Certain aerial attacks change how a character’s landing detection works. Some aerials do so in a manner that makes the character land on a platform even while travelling upward. This is an aerial interrupt. Even better, some aerials cause an aerial interrupt during the autocancel window before the move’s hitboxes are active. Snake’s Up Air is one of those moves. The result is that you can move upward and land on a platform with only 4 frames of lag, as long as your timing is correct. Pretty neat.
    2. Since Snake can cancel his Cypher into aerials, he can Up-B though a platform with an active hitbox, Up Air at the right moment, do an aerial interrupt, and autocancel the landing. The quickest way to do this involves full hopping before using the Cypher to gain more vertical momentum. This sequence is called a Flash Jump, after its inventor FlashingFire. It is a very situational technique - after all, if an opponent is shielding on a platform, you’ll generally want to stick them instead. However, if the opponent is already stuck, this technique is an incredibly quick and surprising way to land on the platform and grab your opponent. For more information, check out the original video and the frame-by-frame follow-up analysis. The name of the technique has changed since these videos were released. Just remember that this is a non-essential technique and you should prioritize learning things like fundamental movement and DACUS first.

Playing Snake in neutral is, by far, the most challenging aspect of the character in the long-term. Just about everything else can be researched or practiced to extreme proficiency, but this is the one thing that simply requires you to play against and learn about human opponents. This guide will be able to give you useful information and goals for neutral, but ultimately, the decision-making, adaptation, and reflexes necessary for this intricate part of Smash are built game by game.

  • Movement
    1. Snake’s ground movement is pretty average. He’s not slow, but he’s not terribly fast either. However, Snake’s lackluster air movement forces him to get as much out of his ground game as possible. This means that fundamental techniques such as dash dancing and wavedashing will be of vital importance. A good Snake must be able to fluidly transition between all kinds of grounded states—dashing, running, crouching, crawling, wavedashing, shielding… everything!
    2. In addition to ground movement, Snake loves utilizing platforms. He has an assortment of unique ways to take advantage of when opponents are on platforms, and they give him a less committal means of using his aerials. Platforms are also very useful tools for avoiding projectiles, and Snake needs every method of doing so at his disposal. Shield dropping is highly recommended. By subtly moving the control stick downward while you character is shielding on a platform, you can drop through said platform OoS. Snake loves moving in and out of shield thanks to his strong OoS game, and shield dropping is yet another way to do so efficiently.
  • Grenades
    1. Grenades are the staple tool of Snake’s kit in many arenas, and neutral is one areas where Snake really couldn’t do without them. With proper manipulation, they can be cooked and thrown in precise spots, used to punish overzealous approaches, give Snake room to breathe, and even be used as an approach tool themselves. Grabbing a grenade, running up to the opponent and shielding is one of many perfectly viable ways to fish for a bad decision out of your opponent. Experiment with grenade positioning, baiting opponents with unexpected AGTs, and using them in conjunction with the rest of Snake’s arsenal to herd opponents into bad spots. It’s a safe bet that you will use many, many grenades over the course of each match.
  • Approaching and Whiff Punishing
    1. While Snake’s approach game is certainly subpar, it is possible to bait options or predict movement from the opponent, and for that you will want to be ready with your best distance closers and combo starters. JC grab is generally the bread and butter way for Snake to capitalize on misspaced aerials or movement reads, since Snake grab range is long and his punish game off of grabs is severe. DACUS is the best option for covering longer distances, and the explosive hitbox can combo into aerials, but beware of the move’s significant endlag and susceptibility to CC on the pop-up hitbox. Dash Attack is a quicker move with combo potential on bad DI, but it is also quite laggy. It is useful in situations where a grab would not reach but a DACUS would be too slow. Down Tilt is a relatively safe neutral poke. It has low endlag, moderate to high reward on hit, can be safely space on shield. The trick is that you can’t use Down Tilt out of a dash unless you pivot, so it requires a greater up-front time commitment than the previous three options. Finally, Tranq can be used as a long-distance whiff punish or to cover a position you expect your opponent to be in during lag.
    2. Note that while Snake’s quicker aerials can also be used to some effect in neutral, they are generally a high commitment and unsafe on shield. Snake’s aerial kit is better suited to punishing opponents OoS and extending/finishing combos.
  • Camping
    1. There are times when Snake’s movement shortcomings will force him into a more defensive, low-risk playstyle. Camping with Snake can take many forms, from dropping C4 on opponents from above, to throwing precisely cooked grenades over a mine that separates Snake from the opponent, to crawling around and inviting opponents into a vicious zone of booby traps and CC potential. This is the playstyle that is most likely to incur salt from opponents, but especially at high level play, camping is the optimal strategy in certain situations. Do remember, though, that Snake’s camping requires time to set up and will generally be foiled by characters with better projectiles. Snake does have the advantage of having a lot of things for the opponent to keep track of though, so if you stay patient enough and incorporate solid movement into your camp game, you may eventually wear down your opponents.

It is impossible to describe the whole of Snake’s punish game (or really, that of any Smash character). There are so many variables to take into account - position, percent, character weight and fall speed, DI tendencies, proficiency in SDI, tech patterns, and on and on. This guide will cover most of the high-reward punishment options at Snake’s disposal, but it is important to experiment and figure things out for yourself. For detailed information on certain combo trees, especially out of Up Throw, refer to Yata’s Data Haven.

  • General
    1. Sticking the opponent with C4 is the main focal point of Snake’s punish game. If you can only get one hit, you’ll want to get the sticky. It cuts down the lifespan of your opponent by around 30-40 percent depending on the character, in addition to granting you additional edgeguarding and landing options. Once the stick is achieved, you put a significant mental burden on your opponent, who has to be wary of any vertical launcher. Up Throw > Up Air > C4 and similar combos become viable setups around the 50 to 80 percent range. At higher percents, just about any strong hit will combo into a C4 KO.
    2. Speaking of which, Snake’s Down Air is an absolutely phenomenal combo tool. With the linking hits setting up for quick moves and the meteor hit setting up more (including more Dairs), the maximum reward of this move cannot be overstated. Use Dair to keep opponents close to Snake and with in range of the rest of his kit. Additionally, low Dair meteors often force a tech situation that is notoriously hard to hit.
    3. Grabs, as mentioned previously, are central to initiating guaranteed combos and nasty positional advantages. Up Throw should always lead into a combo, a sticky, a chaingrab, a tech chase, or some combination of the three at low percentages. At higher or middle percentages it usually sets up for aerial combos, including Fair spikes (which will usually KO or set up a tech chase). Ramp up the damage high enough, and it even becomes a kill throw. Down Throw your opponent on platforms or near ledges to put yourself in a position to cover every possible getup option. Toss them offstage (using D-pad walking if necessary) to set up edgeguard situations. Long story short, you have no excuse not to make your grabs count.
  • Tech Chasing
    1. Playing Snake gives you a variety of tools to begin, extend, and capitalize off of tech chase scenarios. The only component he really lacks is speed, but Snake can compensate. Intelligent use of DACUS will allow you to cover tech situations that would otherwise not be possible to punish, primarily when characters tech away. The most consistent ways for Snake to begin a tech chase are via Down Throw, F-Tilt 1, and the Dair meteor, but lots of attacks will suffice against characters with high fall speeds.
    2. While standard tech chasing practice applies here (cover tech in place first, react to rolls in either direction), there are some notable situations where you will want to be hunting for missed techs. F-Tilt 1 and SH Dair meteor are the two main moves that will mess with your opponent’s tech timings. As noted earlier in the moveset overview, Snake’s jab has set knockback and will always cause a jab reset. And if you spot missed techs and can react properly with a jab, you can get a guaranteed tranq afterward! This is Snake’s most deadly guaranteed punish, especially at higher percents where the tranq will take longer to mash out of. Use the time to stick your opponent and follow up with the combo of your choice.
    3. For more information on the feasibility of Down Throw tech chases, which getup attacks Snake can duck under, when Up Throw will force a tech chase and more, refer to the Data Haven. As a final tip against fast fallers, you can create tech traps by going for Up Throw into Up Tilt at low percents. If they try to tech the Up Throw, they will be guaranteed to miss the tech on the Up Tilt, netting you a jab reset situation.
  • Juggling
    1. Snake, more so than most characters, benefits heavily from being underneath his opponent. His ability to choke off portions of the stage to limit landing options and then shark with his incredible anti-airs means that keeping opponents above him is a fantastic way to generate damage. It also helps that most of his powerful attacks launch foes upward, keeping them vulnerable. Take full advantage of mines, grenades, Up Smash, Up Tilt, Up Air, Cypher and other moves to make opponents regret not having ground to stand on. You can even cancel Up-B with low Up Airs to release the Cypher device (one at a time) at opponents.
  • Edgeguarding
    1. Edgeguarding opponents often allows Snake the time he needs to make full use of his explosive stage control. The options he has are pretty nuts. Proper mine placement can cover platforms, ledge rolls or the ledge itself. C4 can cover other sections of the stage without the danger of accidental detonation. Snake himself can cover the ledge and more with his long-reaching aerials. This is one area that is most definitely not optimized, but there are some very strong simple setups that have been developed.
    2. If Snake only has enough time to do one thing, grabbing ledge is generally a good idea. He can also opt to lay traps on stage, but against a good many recoveries, there is lag that he can exploit after denying the ledge option. From the ledge, you can use Snake’s powerful, long-lasting, far-reaching Back Air to cover a variety of options. You can even ledge hop Bair and regrab the ledge with proper timing. Dropping down and using Cypher to gimp is also an underdeveloped option. Close landings on stage can be punished by ledgehop aerials or C4, while further landings can fall victim to ledgehop tranq.
    3. Another potent setup involves facing center stage, placing a mine, and wavedashing to the ledge. When the time is right, roll in. This setup will deny the ledge, blow up the opponent if they can’t overshoot the mine, and trigger the mine with Snake’s invincibility from the roll. It also royally screws over tether characters, since the only way they can escape getting hit by the mine is with a precise ledge cancel out of their tether hop. At high percents, you can spell certain doom for recovering opponents. Be cognizant of times where the mine is not the optimal punish for an on-stage landing, though - for example, against Falcon, whose high fall speed and heavy landing lag after Up-B render him more vulnerable to things like ledgehop Fair.
    4. Yet another way to put your opponent in a terrible spot is to throw them offstage while they are stuck. The instinct for the opponent in this situation is to DI toward the stage, but you can take advantage of this by detonating the C4 and capitalizing on the bad DI with a Bair or a Fair spike. Alternatively, if the opponent is wise to this trick, you can fake the detonation and catch your foe delaying their jump for too long to get past your follow-up edgeguard.

  • Out of Shield - Snake’s OoS game is fantastic overall. Make sure to get comfortable moving in and out of shield, since you can make your opponent severely regret hitting it unsafely.
    1. Up-B
      1. Coming out on frame 5 with full-body coverage, Up-B OoS is a bread-and-butter option for any Snake player. Its sudden hitbox, ability to thwart crossups, and combo potential make the move a terrific answer to bad approaches. While good DI can hinder follow-ups, anything less can be punished with an aerial, a sticky, even a jab or grab if you land quickly enough. Up-B into Up Air does a whopping 31% if all hitboxes connect, and it combos well. Scary stuff.
    2. Grab
      1. It may seem obvious to list shieldgrab here, but it really deserves emphasis that Snake’s grab game is amazing. His grab reaches far in front of him, his Up Throw combos the whole cast and leads into regrabs against a good portion of it, his Forward and Back Throws set up edgeguards and mine kills, and his Down Throw gets you 14% and a tech chase. Like most grabs, it comes out on frame 7. Just beware of well-spaced moves and landing animations that may cause opponents to duck under Snake’s tall grab (*cough* squirtle *cough*).
    3. Down Air
      1. Thanks to Dair’s quick startup, a frame-perfect Dair OoS only takes 8 frames to come out. Dair will cover those low profiles that grab cannot, and gives you a host of combo options. This is one of Snake’s more high risk/high reward OoS options.
    4. Wavedash
      1. When you can’t directly punish an attack on shield, or when no attack has come and you need to reposition, wavedashing OoS is easily one of the better options you have. In addition, some ground moves (like Marth’s non-tipper F-Smash and Wario’s Side-B) have enough lag that you can wavedash OoS toward your opponent and capitalize with a grab or something similarly quick.
  • Crouching and Crawling
    1. Snake’s crouch and crawl animations cause him to go prone, very low to the ground. This gives him the ability to duck under a variety of moves and render them virtually useless for as long as he remains crouching. Use this ability to dodge fireballs, lasers, attacks that hit high, and a fair number of grabs. Taller characters such as Captain Falcon, Marth, Link, Ganon, and Snake himself will be unable to get their hands on a crouching Snake - at least, not with their standing or JC grabs.
  • Crouch Cancelling and ASDI Down
    1. Snake is a heavy character, so he can CC lots of weaker moves even as he approaches 40% or 50% damage. Baiting opponents into attacking and then CCing that attack is one of the techniques Snake can use to overcome his lack of approach options. Good CC options include Dtilt, grab, Dair, Dash Attack, and sometimes (especially against multi-hit moves) shield. Remember, true CC is accomplished while a character is already crouching. ASDI down happens as you’re getting hit. Both are useful for turning your foe’s attacks against them.
  • Combo Breaking
    1. Down Air
      1. This move does a lot, doesn’t it? Snake’s Down Air comes out on frame 3 and has decent coverage below Snake, which makes the move one of his primary combo breakers. If you can connect with Dair and land the finicky L-cancel timing that results from Snake’s legs moving up and down, you can completely reverse roles on your opponent and begin your own combo.
    2. Cypher
      1. While Cypher lacks the speed of Dair (the aerial version comes out on frame 7), it grants Snake full-body coverage and still has combo potential, especially if your opponent DIs in while attempting to continue their own pressure. If you don’t hit your opponent, you can still use this move to gain some breathing room and try to mix up your landing afterward. However, be careful when you opt to break combos with this move, since if you are unsuccessful it will burn your double jump.
    3. Grenades
      1. Once again, grenades prove their worth. Pulling a grenade while you’re being juggled forces your opponent to space their attacks precisely or eat a trade, which you can use to DI away from the opponent. Even if you're not being juggled, pulling a grenade can often force your opponent to better respect your space. Be careful not to rely on this method when you are at high percent and/or near the top blast zone.

  • Recovering High
    1. As Brawl Snake mains have known for a long time, Snake is very vulnerable if he tries to recover low. Snake’s Cypher, however versatile it may be overall, moves in a relatively slow and obvious trajectory. When possible, it is generally favorable for Snake to use his far-travelling Up-B to recover high outside of edgeguarding range and then attempt to land. The key to this recovery is that Snake can mix up his landing by B-reversing grenades or C4, or by fast falling with an aerial (typically Bair or Dair). B-reverse grenade in particular is a staple landing option after a high recovery, since its tendency to force trades will discourage some foes from challenging Snake’s descent even if they can follow the change in momentum from the B-reverse. Furthermore, Snake can Velox Drop through platforms after doing a B-reverse grenade. If the opponent is stuck with C4, you can detonate it to force the opponent to shield/dodge/get hit and allow yourself some breathing room. Alternatively, you can fake the detonation, which may spook the foe and net you a safe landing without burning such a precious resource.
  • Recovering Low
    1. Whether by choice or not, Snake will have to recover low sometimes. On the one hand, Snake boasts a great ledge grab range for sweet spotting and his Cypher offers coverage from certain moves such as Wario’s Dair and Sonic’s spring. You can sweetspot the ledge by pressing down to cancel the Cypher just as Snake reaches the ledge. With the right momentum, the floating Cypher may even hit the opponent after it is released. On the other hand, Snake’s path to the stage becomes extremely telegraphed and easy to snipe with certain moves. Some characters even have spikes/meteors that can hit Snake and then trade with the immediately-released Cypher, cancelling all downward momentum. When recovering low, be ready for all manner of edgeguards - ledgehogs, meteors, stage spikes, and the like. Remember that pressing shield while in Cypher does nothing, so you can option select a tech!
  • Recovery Techniques - Snake can recover across virtually infinite distance due to his ability to damage himself after using his Up-B.
    1. C4 Recovery
      1. Recovering with C4 is Snake’s most consistent method of extending his lifespan. To do this, begin by cancelling Cypher into a C4 drop and HOLDING DOWN afterward. Press B again to detonate the C4 when you’re ready. Holding down after the initial C4 drop prevents Snake from fast falling when you attempt to detonate the explosive. Once Snake is blasting off, you have a couple of options. One is to just go upward and recover once hitstun wears off, but this isn’t feasible at higher percents. The other is to DI the explosion so that you can hit the stage and tech. If you do a normal wall tech, you can immediately Up-B again and go for the ledge or the stage. If you do a wall tech jump (hold up or the jump button as you tech), you have several additional mixups for returning to the stage - B-reversing a Grenade or Cypher, airdodging (or even wavelanding) onstage, doing a Bair to cover yourself, etc. Learn to consistently execute this recovery technique and the ensuing tech mixups - it is vital that you exploit Snake’s fantastic survivability.
    2. Grenade Recovery
      1. If Snake is recovering from very high up, he can pull a Grenade out of Cypher instead of using C4 to blow himself up. Grenades take much longer to explode, so they’re less consistently useful, but they do less damage and knockback, meaning Snake has a lower chance of KOing himself from the blast. The same tech mixups from the C4 section apply here.

    • Port Priority
      1. The Snake Ditto is the only mirror matchup in the game that is not even. There is a slight advantage that goes to the player with the higher-numbered port. The reason is that if one character has another grabbed and an explosion goes off and hits them both, only the player with the lower-numbered port will take knockback. Both will take damage. So, for example, if Snake A is in port 3 and Snake B is in port 1 and Snake B walks too close too a mine while he has Snake A in his clutches, Snake B will get sent flying. For this reason, Snake players are advised to take port 4 whenever possible. Those playing against Snake should challenge him for port 4 (via rock-paper-scissors, Game & Watch hammer numbers, or whatever the TO decides).
    • Down Throw into Footstool
      1. If you grab an opponent and walk them to the edge of the stage or a platform and then Down Throw, it is possible to immediately run off and footstool that character after the throw animation ends. In addition to putting the opponent into a terrible spot, you can inflict a decent amount of mental damage from this silly but lethal technique. While this setup is extremely gimmicky, telegraphed, and has lots of character-dependent counterplay, the reaction window is tight enough that you can still get the footstool against many opponents. From there, you can proceed to ledgehog or go for a different edgeguard.
      2. It’s worth noting that there is a lot of exploration into this setup and its counterplay that has yet to develop. For example, attacking immediately means you can’t be footstooled, but Snake can respond by simply shielding and punishing the attack. Or maybe your opponent can fast fall to avoid the footstool, but then they’re way below the stage and they have to make it back.
    • Forward or Back Throw into Forward Air
      1. This is Snake’s noob killer. Toss the opponent offstage, predict the double jump timing, and slam them with the axe kick spike. Though this edgeguard is easy to react to with attacks, air dodges, or better-timed jumps, its potential reward is not to be underestimated.

5. Field Report - Snake's Metagame [In development - more to come later]

- Matchups

- Stages

6. Archives - Useful Resources and Information

- Yata's Data Haven

At what percent does a mine KO Jigglypuff on different stages? Can Snake chaingrab this character? Which characters can be jab reset after a Down Throw? Answer all of these questions and many, many more with this meticulously crafted spreadsheet, courtesy of Yata's lab work.

- FlashingFire's Video Database

Looking for tournament footage of high-level Snake players in various matchups? This spreadsheet is specifically designed to be easily searched and sorted for those needs. FlashingFire plans to continue updating and expanding this database, though he would also appreciate help in doing so.

- Sartron's Frame Data Thread

Head here for the cold hard facts. Information about various moves' startup, cooldown, damage, shieldstun, and sometimes frame advantage can be found among Sartron's work.
7. Credits and Thanks

The bulk of this guide was written or compiled by FlashingFire and Yata, with final edits being done by the former. Additional credit goes to Yink and Flipp, who made important content suggestions. The Snake Discord Server was instrumental in the organization and compilation of content and planning, so shout out to Discord and all the Snake mains on that server.

Thanks to every Snake main who contributes to the character's developing metagame and playstyles, especially those who perform at a high level. Without inspiration from players like Professor Pro, Messi, Rolex and more, many of us wouldn't be as accomplished as we are today.

Last but not least, thank you to the former Project M Development team for making a phenomenal game with a phenomenal cast of characters. Your combination of design, balance, polish and flavor makes Project M the best competitive video game mod out there.

Now get out there and play some Smash.
Last edited:


Smash Journeyman
Writing Team
Jul 2, 2013
Reserved for future updates and version tracking. Please post feedback and criticism!

1/18/16: Guide posted. Cleaned up formatting issues involving spoiler tags, bullet points, and numbering.

Known errors:
  • Bullet points have inconsistent spacing across sections
Last edited:
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