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Hard matchups at low level play


Smash Cadet
Jan 10, 2016
Canada, Quebec, Montreal region.
Hello fellow Links. I am a Link main in Montréal. I have been working hardcore on my Link since December '15 as I attended every weeklies (and more) in my area since then.

I realized that, when facing someone with a skill level around mine, some character playstyles are harder to deal with for the wrong reasons. Let me explain.

Fox is not that difficult. It's still a hard matchup, but you can punish missed tech as Fox demands extremely consistent input and effort to be played well. And he is easilly comboable.

Shiek, aside from the chain grab. Is also somewhat easy to deal with. Since her air mobility is so poor, she has trouble approaching if you keep good control of the ground. And above 60% D-Throw -> Up-B is a true combo. You can also bait FAirs on a platform and punish with UP-B. You can bait grabs by empty hop -> Wavedash back when she expects an aerial, then punish with Grab or FSmash. And she is easilly edgeguardable.

The characters that give me a hard time are the low level Falco mains and the campy Captain Falcons.

Falco. His lazers. I don't know how to deal with this. Sometime I can just stand still and let the shield do the work, then jab. Sometimes I can't because he adapts and changes the timing. Buffer roll is good against Drill -> Shine, most of low level Falcos don't adapt to the roll. But this is a gimmick and I don't think it's the optimal way to adress the issue. Once hit by a Lazer, I have trouble getting out of it because of Link's slow jump squat combined with my not optimal execution. My only way to adress this matchup is by platform camping, which really is a 50/50 in this matchup for me as of now. I need a way to directly confront this Lazer to DAir approach. Please fill me in. I know I can power shield, but even though I understand the theory, I just can't seem to get the hang of it. Is there proper frame data and tutorial on how to power shield with Link? Or do you guys have any tricks up your sleeves to counter this?

This other matchup is probably the worst one. CAMPY CAPTAIN FALCONS.

Usually, Falcons are somewhat agressive, and I have been used to this (I train with EC and PlamZ, both are mid-high level in the Montréal scene).

But this new guy came to the weeklies with his Falcon. I can see some of his terrible habits (almost always roll back after a nair, does not ever sweetspot the ledge, spams SH UAir for platform pressure. WAY TOO GREEDY for the knee).

When I play against Falcon, I am extremely defensive and try to cover his jumps with projectiles, this worked for me against Falcons that try to go in. But The issue is that this guy just waits. He dashes around and blocks them, and he never goes in. And I feel like I have no safe way to approach him because of his mobility and sheer speed. I feel completely cornered.

If there are any high level player or, at least, Link mains here in this forum that have strategies against campy Falcons, please share them with me. He 2-0d me at his second weekly even though I can see his bad habits, but I just can't get an opening because he camps me.

I can try to get a on stream match if necessary, but I think you guys know what kind of Falcon I am talking about.

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Smash Ace
Sep 27, 2013
Nashville Tennessee
Falco's lazers just take time to understand. Find a Falco in your area and ask him to shoot you a billion times until you find your work arounds.

Working around them is the best way I can convey the idea because Falcos main job with his lazers is to controle space. Luckily he can only controle space horizontaly. This means all of links arcing projectiles become very useful combined with platforms. Falco can double lazer on side platforms but that's nothing a shield drop can't fix. Also links short hop bamb throw gos strait over the highest SHL.

Because you have to work around the SHL camping it's best to find out what kind of SHL the Falco is doing. New players have a rhythm so they often will only shoot lazers high or only shoot them low. High lazers you can crouch and under and bait an approach. Low lazers you can CC jump or just hop over. You really should only be hit by one lazer from far away seeing as how you can just jump OOS and get out of lock down. Learn how much shield stun lazers give you is very useful. Also a lot of the times I let the Hylian shield take one or two. Mostly out of crouch. Lazer camping against Link isn't that strong I've found and using bombs and platforms can easily for the opponent to approach. Most players who are use to camping have never gone on te offensive in their lives so you can count on them to be very easy to pray on after they give up their camping.

This is all really low level basics, but I really wish some one would have told me to watch the height of the Lasers.
Also also also reading full hops wins MUs. Falco has no raising areals that are safe against a Link Nairing above him. Just bait and read full hops and it can destroy a Falco. Whenever he's above you your only goal is to get him to double jump or off stage. Don't get greedy. Being above Link blows.

Know if he is close enough to punish pulling a bomb is rule #1. And for some reason all lower level Falcons can't seem to stop running into my bombs so if you do pull a bomb just wait for them to jump in like tards and blow them away. Up B beats SHFFL Nair approaches so if their at kill % and keep jumping in just Up B. They love stoping through platforms as well but it's super not safe. If their above you on a platform as jump strait up, 9 times out of 10 their trying to stomp through. Full hop Uair juggles are good, BUT DJ NIL U'tilt is deadly.
Also Falcons shield is balls so Dsmash will shield poke a lot.

A shielding Falcon is actually what you want. Throw a bomb at his shield. Run up a safe distance and stand their. He's the one who has to act, not you. Standing outside someone's shield with a bomb is amazingly powerful especially against falcon.
CC Dsmash is a monster against nair approaches. As well as run in Shield stop. Forcing falcon to land Nair's high on shield and then nair or auto cancel Bair OOS are also good.

Good luck with the Link.


Smash Apprentice
Jul 16, 2011
Eugene, OR
Falcon is, in my opinion, Link's hardest matchup. The punish game against him is fairly straightforward, but his punish is much more severe and he wins neutral handily if he is patient enough to DD camp. Link is slow, and Falcon is fast. Bombs can move fast enough to hit Falcon, but Link usually can't do the same. Because of this, we either have to anti-air him or catch him when he dashdances in for a grab in neutral. If Falcon stops dashdancing and stands still (say, to shield) we have a good chance to hit him.

Anti-Airing - Falcon will mostly come at you with SH nair and occasionally late up-air. If he's feeling confident he might just knee. The only reasonably safe moves to stuff these approaches are bombs, utilt, and usmash. Bombs are great for this but smart players will wait out your bomb or will react to you jumping and come in below you with uair, so you usually can't AA with them. Utilt and usmash both have long startup so you really need to get a read most of the time to AA with them. If Falcon sees usmash and hasn't already jumped, the animation is long enough that he could grab or raptor boost you, or even knee if he has good timing and spacing (knows the matchup). Anti-airing is risky in general but if you never do it you can't keep falcon honest so you should throw out utilts if he's jumping a lot. ASDIing down during utilt can sometimes let you jab or dsmash him if he hits you with bad spacing.

DD Grab Interruption - This is very straightforward. All you have to do is jab to catch Falcon out of this. His grab range is poor and Link's jab covers a lot of space. Sometimes he will CC the jab once he expects it. If his percent is low enough to CC dsmash you have to respect him and do something like dash away, jab2, or maybe rising nair/bair. After he can't CC dsmash, just jab>dsmash him. If he CCs dsmash he can grab you out of your second slash.

Getting Falcon to Shield - The easiest way to do this is to throw a bomb at Falcon and follow it closely with an aerial if you're at a middle distance. At close range you can just throw the bomb from the ground and walk forward to him. Once he is shielding you'll want to jab him from outside of his grab range. You have to mixup the timing of your jabs or he'll catch on and jump to safety. The trick to this is to catch him when he jumps with nair or jab. If he holds shield through the jabs, once his shield is small enough you can poke it with nair or dsmash. Even if he holds shield it's very risky to try to grab him because if he jumps or rolls back he can knee or grab you. At low %s knee combos into knee, and at higher percents grab combos into air wobbles into knee, or just straight into knee. He can also stomp knee you. When you go for nair you need to land behind Falcon if possible. If you autocancel nair right behind him and immediately usmash or turnaround utilt you can catch a lot of Falcons trying to do an aerial. utilt has more end lag and can get punished on reaction, but usmash's cooldown is low enough that you can dash or roll away Falcon holds shield.

Nairing around like in the spacie matchups is decent on Falcon but you'll trade a lot with his large hitboxes. It's worth considering depending on percentages. It's not as safe as against them imo because Falcon is faster than they are and can punish you when you land easier. Of course there are all kinds of mixups out of FJ nair but they aren't as safe as jabs and bombs imo.
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