Keep Calm and Jab - your resource for pressing A

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#1
Any experienced Bowser main will tell you about Bowser's Jab. Though it is one of the slowest jabs in the game, it has a lot of desirable qualities. This thread will be dedicated to the study and discussion of this tool. Since the move has so many applications to discuss, the OP will be set up with separate “articles” for each topic. Information is to be easy for newer players to digest yet concise enough for veterans to brush up on their facts with in a quick manner.

As of right now, this thread is still a work in progress and is very open to fact checking and further input on existing or new topics about Jab.

Jab 1's active frames are 7-9. Like most of Bowser's normal moves, his fist has intangibility during those active frames, letting you punch through intangible obstacles like Lucario's charging aura sphere animation, or unclankable attacks like specials or falling aerials. Bowser can perform actions other than Jab 2 as soon as frame 21 (not counting hitlag, aka “freeze frames” from striking an opponent). The window in which Bowser can initiate Jab 2 starts at 11. Jab 2's active frames are 9-11.

The move's range is well represented by the punch, and has three separate hitboxes along Bowser's arm. The farthest hitbox is pretty much Bowser's fist - approximately 20% of the move's range. The other two hitboxes both seem to be half of the remaining arm length - or 40% each. The hitboxes may actually be the same size, but due to hitbox IDs, the stronger ones take priority over the weaker.The move delivers more knockback and thus more hitstun on the hitboxes closer to Bowser's body.

I have counted how much hitstun every character suffers at every range in Training Mode, and that will tell us the frame advantage. Frame advantage is defined as how many frames Bowser can act before his target can act. In our data table, if a character is able to double jump after hitstun ends, then double jump is their frame 1 action. If they are on the ground, they instead shield, also a frame 1 action, but the shield bubble doesn't visually appear until 2.

[Target – Hitstun for Far/Medium/Close hit (hard landing lag) Frame Advantage for Far/Medium/Close hit]

Mario – *11/17/21 (4) -3/+3/+7
Luigi *11/18/20 - (4) -3/+4/+6
Peach - *12/*16/22 (4) -2/+2/+8
Bowser – 17/17/18 (6) +3/+3/+4
Yoshi - *12/19/21 (4) -2/+5/+7
Rosalina - *12/*16/21 (4) -2/+2/+7
Bowser Jr - *11/17/20 (4) -3/+3/+6
Wario - *11/16/20 - (4) -3/+2/+6
Donkey Kong - *12/19/19 (5) -2/+5/+5
Diddy Kong – 15/16/20 (4) +1/+2/+6
Mr. Game & Watch - *11/19/22 (4) -3/+5/+8
Little Mac – *12/19/21 (4) -2/+5/+7
Link -17/18/21 (5) +3/+4/+7
Zelda - *13/*16/21 (4) -1/+2/+7
Sheik – 14/17/22 (4) +0/+3/+8
Ganondorf – 16/17/20 (5) +2/+3/+7
Toon Link - *12/19/20 (4) -2/+5/+6
Samus – *11/18/19 (4) -3/+4/+5
Zero Suit Samus – 15/18/22 (4) +1/+4/+8
Pit/Dark Pit -*12/20/21 (5) -2/+6/+7
Palutena – 15/16/20 (4) +1/+2/+6
Marth/Lucina – *13/20/22 (4) -1/+6/+8
Ike - *11/16/19 (4) -3/+2/+5
Robin - *11/17/20 (4) -3/+3/+6
Duck Hunt - *13/20/21 (4) -1/+6/+7
Kirby – *12/*16/23 (?) -2/+2/+9
King Dedede - *12/19/20 (6) -2/+5/+6
Metaknight – 16/17/22 (4) +2/+3/+8
Fox – 13/17/21 (4) -1/+3/+7
Falco – 14/17/21 (4) +0/+3/+7
Pikachu – 16/17/21 (4) +2/+3/+7
Charizard – 15/15/19 (5) +1/+1/+5
Lucario - *12/19/21 (4) -2/+5/+7
Jigglypuff - *13/*17/26 (4) -1/+3/+12
Greninja – 12/16/20 (4) -2/+2/+6
ROB - *11/17/19 (4) -3/+3/+5
Ness - *12/20/21 (4) -2/+6/+7
Captain Falcon – 14/15/20 (4) +0/+1/+6
Villager - *11/19/20 (?) -3/+5/+6
Olimar – *13/*17/22 (4) -1/+3/+8
Wii Fit Trainer - *12/18/21 (4) -2/+4/+7
Shulk - *12/18/21 (4) -2/+4/+7
Dr. Mario – *12/18/21 (4) -2/+4/+7
Pac-Man - *12/20/21 (4) -2/+6/+7
Mega Man – 16/17/21 (4) +2/+3/+7
Sonic - *11/17/20 (4) -3/+3/+6
Mewtwo - *12/20/22 (5) -2/+6/+8
Lucas - *11/20/20 (5) -3/+6/+6
Roy – 16/17/21 (5) +2/+3/+7
Ryu – 14/16/20 (4) +0/+2/+6
Mii Brawler – 16/17/21 (?) +2/+3/+7
Mii Swordsman - *12/18/21 (5) -2/+4/+7
Mii Gunner - *11/17/20 (?) -3/+3/+6

Here's a spreadsheet

Notes:
1. Numbers with an asterisk (*) are instances where the opponent is airborne when hitstun wears off. If they fail to double jump they will sufffer their hard landing lag number in addition. As well as whatever amount of frames it takes for them to touch the ground. Conversely, if the target successfully DIs in a way that lets them double jump in an instance where they normally can't, then subtract their hard landing lag for the frame advantage. This is also suitable for instances where your jab pushes a target off of a ledge.
2. I should point out that the landing lag targets suffer is not registered by the game as hitstun frames. So if Bowser were to hit the target with another move during landing lag, the game's training mode would not register a true combo.
3. Whether or not a target is forced to land is dependent primarily on fall speed and weight. There's also a factor of whether a character's hitstun animation "reaches" low enough for them to register a landing.
4. I don't currently know why Dr. Mario and Mario have different numbers. Possibly a miscount.
5. On Bowser Jr. The middle and close hits were registered as “headshots” during my frame count, which probably add a single frame, maybe two to hitstun received. It's unlikely for jabs to not register a headshot at such close range.
6. The Mii numbers were counted with default proportioned Miis.
7. Naturally, move staling and rage affect these numbers. A staled jab has less hitstun, while rage gives it more.

Opponent approaching with a dash? Jab. Trying to poke your opponent with minimal risk? Jab. Thumb itches? Face your opponent and jab. It reaches far, it has three active frames to help with intercepting dash attacks and dash grabs, and is Bowser's safest move to hit a shield with from the ground. We used to joke about how this move is all Bowser needs, prompting the phrase “Keep Calm and Jab”. However, if you only rely on this attack, your opponent will have little trouble punishing it once they've successfully anticipated it. And with all this recent business of Perfect Parries and optimal punish techniques, the best way to avoid punishes is to mix up what you're doing, not how you're doing it. Jabbing may be faster than tilts, grabs, jumping, or anything else in the neutral, but just because it's the safest or quickest, doesn't mean you should use it exclusively.

I'd actually really like some user input on this topic. How and when to jab is tricky to theory craft about. It's like asking “how and when should I throw a move at all?” It's mostly up to the descretion of the player and how they're feeling about their situation. But there should still be logical answers to this question.

The move has three separate hitboxes with differing, weight based knockback. No knockback growth means that jabbing an opponent at 0% will be the same as jabbing them at 999%. Rage does have an effect, but we'll get to that later. When the target is closer to Bowser, the move will push them forward, but if they are at the edge of the move, they are popped up vertically instead. This design is to place the victim at around the same area after jab 1 for consistent followups no matter how close you are, but it also creates an issue for followups.

Characters with a faster falling speed such as metaknight and Fox will land before their hitstun from Jab 1 ends. When a character lands after being jabbed, they suffer their hard landing lag (which is 4 frames for most of the cast). I'm fairly certain such lag overlaps with hitstun at the point in which they land (more on that next topic). However, if the opponent has slow falling speed, they will still be airborne when their hitstun expires, allowing them to perform double jump (a frame 1 action) to escape your followup. To know whether or not they will still be airborne depends on your opponent, and what part of Bowser's Jab hits them. If it's the very edge, they will be launched the highest angle. If they are jabbed from a closer position, they are launched forward at a lower angle. Only with the two farther hitboxes will some characters in this game be able to escape with a double jump, but they can also DI upward to better their chances.

Tier 1: When struck by the middle hitbox, the following can double jump away (not factoring DI)

Peach
Rosalina
Zelda
Kirby
Jigglypuff
Olimar

Tier 2: When struck by the farthest hitbox, the following can double jump away (not factoring DI)

Mario/Dr. Mario
Luigi
Yoshi
Bowser Jr.
Wario
Donkey Kong
Mr. Game & Watch
Little Mac
Toon Link
Samus
Pit/Dark Pit
Marth/Lucina
Ike
Robin
Duck Hunt
King Dedede
Lucario
ROB
Ness
Villager
Wii Fit Trainer
Shulk
Pac Man
Sonic
Mewtwo
Lucas
Mii Gunner (default proportions)
Mii Swordfighter (default proportions)

Tier 3: Characters that must land (not factoring DI)

Bowser
Diddy Kong
Link
Shiek
Ganondorf
Zero Suit Samus
Palutena
Metaknight
Fox
Falco
Pikachu
Charizard
Greninja
Captain Falcon
Mega Man
Roy
Ryu
Mii Brawler (default proportions)

To recap, your opponent can use DI and mashing double jump to increase their odds of escaping a followup. Regarding DI, nearly every character I've tested moves up another “tier” when they employ optimal DI. However, the odds that they are holding up before being struck by our fastest move is slim, since people only ever DI upward when being juggled or thrown, which is not a scenario where you'll be landing Jab in the first place. An alert player can also mash jump during hitstun to buffer the double jump. Opponents with plenty of experience fighting Bowser can be distinguished by how consistently and effectively they use these two methods to escape. But the lowest tier is the most disadvantaged by Bowser's jab.

From my own testing methods, I surmise that if a target lands during hitstun from a move, that landing lag will play out and overlap with the hitstun. It doesn't add to the hitstun, but if they land at a point where their hitstun was just about to end, it effectively increases your frame advantage by as much as 4 frames. 6 if you're fighting another Bowser. This is why Down Tilt and Forward tilt can be true combos while not being registered by the game as “true combos”. Because they're being hit while suffering lag, rather than hitstun. Please note that if an opponent was capable of double jumping (ie: they were no longer suffering hitstun when they landed) they will instead suffer soft landing lag, which is universally 2 frames for all characters. With just two frames, this increases the odds of your non grab followups being power shielded immensely. And for the best fallers like Mega Man, they land long before their hitstun was up, so no frames may be added to your advantage.

Remember, we get more and more frame advantage when landing Jab at closer ranges. Shields are a Frame 1 action, so an opponent could hold shield if they react quick enough to avoid Bowser's attack options. But grabs will go through a shield. This makes them the most optimal, but we'll be covering all of Bowser's choices:

Dash Grab – After Patch 1.13's buff to Uthrow, this is definitely the most optimal. Dash grab's 10 frame startup makes it as faster or faster than other choices while still getting past their shield, and the new combo potential nets you as much damage as the other choices. That and the possibility of killing with an Uair gives this as much versatily as Side B always had, while also not being capable of missing the target (unless they buffered a double jump on time, in which case, any choice could have missed). Uthrow benefits from being staled, while Side B does not.

Flying Slam (Side B) – Side B is a command grab. It can kill at reasonable percents (especially on stages with platforms) and deals a solid 18% damage. It can also Bowsercide, of course, just make sure you're well aware of the issues with bowserciding in Smash 4, and which characters can recover. Another advantage is that in Smash 4, Side specials can be performed during a character's initial dash frames. The main issue with this followup as many Bowser mains have enlightened me in this thread, is its difficulty of use. You must carefully practice the art of buffering a dash out of jab 1 in order for Side B's grab to reach the opponent. If you perform Side B at the earliest possible point of Bowser's dash, you only get a little distance, which is often not enough to reach. Instead, hold that dash for long enough that Bowser slides further to always reach regardless of the opponent's random, unintentional DI inputs. Practicing this optimal usage should let this followup connect consistently, but most of its utility here is better fulfilled by Dash grab, so you can pass on it.

Jab 2 – Completing the jab combo should not be forgotten as an option. Even if all you get from jab 2 is a measly 6.5%. Among all the non-grab options, it IS a true combo 98% of the time. It may even kill at extreme percents near the ledge with ideal conditions. But if your opponent is alive long enough for Jab 2 to ever kill, they're also at KO percent for virtually anything else. Jab 2 has the same low launch angle as Down and Forward Tilt, allowing you to set up edgeguarding options. And as of Patch 1.13, Bowser can now ledgesnap behind him with Fortress, which significantly buffed the safety of his offstage edgeguard options. Jab 2 is not a bad choice at all for these reasons.

Down Tilt –The first swipe comes out at Frame 10, making it likely that it will be powershielded by an alert player, but they would need cracker jack timing to punish you between swipe 1 and 2. For the most part, swipe 2 is pretty safe on shield, especially since they'll be so far away from Bowser thanks to the pushback. They would have to perfect shield both swipes to get a hard punish on Bowser's Dtilt, but at this point, you'd be fighting a freakin' robot. Down Tilt connects very often on opponents that simply don't know how to escape followups or weren't expecting to be hit by jab. At low percents, both swipes can hit the target for a good 25% damage in total, as well as cause tripping for a followup dash grab. The move also kills reasonably if you've got the opponent at a ledge with it. The reward on Dtilt is great, but you're really gambling by choosing a non grab, since your opponent can pull up shield. Consider avoiding this option when your opponent is at neither low nor high percent.

Forward Tilt – This also comes out on Frame 10, and can be angled upward to possibly catch double jumpers before they get out of range. Plus, at only 12% damage it has less reward and KO power than other options. It does set up edgeguards for the same reason as Jab 2, with more knockback, but I would still go for Jab 2 if that were my goal.

Bowser Bomb (Down B) – the Hail Mary followup. This is a special move, so you don't need to perfectly time this, just buffer it out of Jab 1. The rising hit comes out on Frame 11. Even inattentive players may have their shields up by the time it comes out...but that may be exactly what you want. Bomb's falling and landing hits have enough shield damage to break a fresh shield. Upon a shield break, Bowser can walk into the stunned opponent to push them further to the edge before charging his Fsmash, which is the second strongest Fsmash in the game. A full charge can take out Mario from the center of FD at around 30-35% (not factoring DI). If you do catch the opponent with the rising hit rather than striking a shield, the damage will total to 24%, plus extremely good vertical KO power. So why is this not the best followup? The biggest issue is that you'll be hitting your opponent at the maximum range of Bowser's rising hit, and there are many instances where the opponent is knocked too far for the falling hit to followup. Especially when Bowser has accumulated too much rage. Even weight based moves like the rising hit will hit harder because of rage. This type of miss loses the advantage for Bowser. In addition, opponents can dodge roll away after successfully blocking the rising hit. While it is a panic option, it's also the best option they have to escape damage or a shield break. Sometimes they'll flub the input and buffer a spotdodge instead, but the point is that you're gambling many factors by choosing this option. Do not use this exclusively.

Fsmash – The crowd pleaser followup. This move comes out on Frame 22. It's 24% damage and amazing KO potential are nice, but the most likely scenario that you'll ever land this is if an attentive player puts down their shield because they were expecting to block punish a faster followup. But they might also panic and dodge roll away. I can't endorse the use of this choice, but I also can't accurately describe how this option just manages to work every so often. Do not use unless you are a man of faith.

Whirling Fortress(Up B) – Bowser's absolute fastest move (frame 6). This is a special move, meaning that you don't need to time your button press, you can simply buffer it out of jab 1. Just move into your opponent after activation. I've heard of people managing to true combo this move like Jab 2, but I can't replicate it. Like Jab 2, this followup has no reasonable kill potential, and the damage is often a measly 4-7%. An interesting option, but not terribly practical for regular use.

Dash Attack – By buffering dash and pressing A at the point where Bowser begins moving, you can perform this move. It's frame 11 when performed frame perfectly, however, and only clocks 10% damage. Only notable for being an option that launches the opponent vertically for air mixups.

Another Jab 1 - In order to perform another Jab 1 instead of Jab 2, you must either crouch or lightly tap forward on Frame 21 or later. Then by letting go of the control stick, you can jab like normal. In addition, you can set your C-stick to attack and do a diagonal input while you're crouching. A jab will always come out from a crouching position, as long as you're precise. Several jabs can connect on an inattentive opponent, but it's quite easy to avoid after the second strike. It's only really an option by being Bowser's second fastest followup, but by keeping opponents at maximum jab range, you lose any frame advantage you might have had on the first jab. There are other limitations as well. One of Bowser's movement quirks with Jab is moving backward after crouch cancelling jab. As such, you would move yourself out of range after just two or three jabs. There may be hope for this as a psuedo infinite, but it requires the testing of many different victims and the possibility of rage delivering more hitstun to make this really shine.

Grab releases are not at all as abusive in this game as they are in Brawl, but they make for an interesting mixup that most players I know just aren't exploring. Here's some info that seems to be consistent with all characters. When you release an opponent after pummeling them, they regain control a single frame before you do. -1 frame advantage. If you release an opponent without pummeling them at all, they regain control at the very same frame you do. 0 frame advantage. This may sound like you're just resetting the neutral, but consider three more ideas
  • since grab releasing is not an abusive or even common technique, most opponents are expecting to be thrown, not released. Their waiting for which throw you choose so they can decide on DI, rather than holding their finger on the shield button.
  • Grab releasing places the opponent at a fixed distance that, for most of the roster, happens to be within range of Bowser's jab.
  • Bowser's throws are objectively pretty good just for the damage they deal, but he can't do much else with a grabbed opponent besides deal damage. [Incorrect as of Patch 1.13]
So here's my theory pitch. Grab release into Jab 1 is by no means guaranteed. But if you grab and pummel like you normally would, and carefully buffer Jab 1, I feel like it's likely you'll catch your opponent with it. Of course, all they have to do is hit shield within a generous time frame, but remember, nobody is expecting a grab release. Just remember that you can't choose your grab options after Jab because of the grab immunity timer, so you should try Dtilt or bomb as a followup. So the plan works once. Now your opponent is ready to shield your next grab release...only you've thrown him instead. See the mixup? Now you can get the rare Uthrow where your opponent wasn't on point with his DI. Keep your opponent guessing, because the eventual end to this charade should be a grab release into Bowser Bomb. They were expecting to catch Bowser's jab with an OoS option. It's unlikely they'll react with a pannicky dodge roll instead, because their fingers were ready for that shield grab, which should keep them immobile for the falling hit. Getting a shield break is always a possibility as well.

Grab release into Jab makes for an interesting mind game, while also slightly increasing damage on your jab game thanks to pummels. The biggest setback is losing grabs as a followup, so keep that in mind.

The following characters are not within range of a buffered Jab 1 after being released:

Luigi, Yoshi, Rosalina and luma (only luma is within range), Diddy Kong, Zelda, Pit/Dark Pit, Palutena, Ike, Metaknight, Pikachu, Greninja, Captain Falcon, Wii Fit trainer, Shulk, Sonic, Mewtwo, Lucas, and Mii Gunner.

If the opponent is not within range of jab, you could try for Dtilt instead. The added range on that should reach all of these except Luigi, Palutena,Wii Fit trainer, Mewtwo, and Lucas

Finally, if you grab release an opponent, their distance that they travel away from you is decided by their traction. If you are on a grassy surface, traction is reduced, allowing everybody to be within range of Jab except maybe Luigi.

Here is evidence that rage has an effect on hitstun.

Since Jab 1 has only fixed knockback, opponents will be hit further and with more hitstun. I haven't tested it extensively. However, rage seems to affect our followup potential in a completely positive way. When hitting Lucas at 100% worth of rage with the furthest hitbox, he was consistently unable to double jump away. The added hitstun should also improve the likelyhood of non-grab followups hitting the victim. Or any followups, for that matter.

A word of warning. If you have high rage, consider not following a jab with Bowser Bomb. The rising hit is also weight based, and rage will increase the chance that your falling hit will miss the target. Especially since rage should also be placing your opponent just a bit further away from you than normal thanks to the marginal increase in knockback.

Yes. They will be hit less distance by the jab and suffer less hitstun as a result. I tested a close jab on Sheik, and her hitstun was 12 frames instead of 22. Close jabs will especially suffer from this, and the only upside is not hitting enemies high enough for them to double jump.

There are two, actually. Upon performing Jab1 and then Jab 2, Bowser takes a half-step backward. Just the same, if you crouch after performing jab, Bowser will also be positioned slightly backward as well. This half-step does not seem to occur when Bowser performs any attacks after his jab FAF, so don't worry about it hindering your followups.

The other quirk is if you lightly hold away from the direction you're facing after a jab, Bowser gets a bizarre speed up on his walking animation. No such speed up occurs if you dash, this only applies to walking. We don't have a groundbreaking use for this, but it may be fun to practice if you really want to optimize your footsies while walking in and out of jab range.

Let me preface this article with a reminder that you shouldn't use Jab exlusively in the neutral. Then your opponent will be able to walk calmly into jab's range and block it. It's a great move, but any great move can be punished when anticipated. This is Smash Bros.

If they've perfect shielded it, then you'd better hope they haven't brushed up on those Perfect Parry options, as we will be eating them. But on a regular shield, things are more optimistic. It takes the opponent seven frames to put down their shield after blocking normally. Jab creates only 4 frames of shieldstun (not the same as shieldlag, which is 6). In total, this gives your opponent 10 frames to realize they've blocked you and should punish with something. Chances are good their reaction timing may be a bit late, but for theory crafting, let's say your opponent is consistently good at that. I used 60FPS footage to frame count and Bowser has -2 advantage on block for this scenario. But if Bowser is within distance of a true OoS option like shieldgrab, it's -9, because they don't have to spend 7 frames putting down their shield.

Okay, so they've blocked your jab. Don't panic. Think of this scenario from their perspective. When players in Smash 4 block something successfully that they know they won't get a heavy punish on, they will want to grab. Shields are the one universally Frame 1 option people are well tuned to get past thanks to grabs. And they're not dense enough to try shieldgrabbing if you're out of range. Bowser's jab most often hits at max range, which is farther than non-tether grabs. Thus they'll usually put down their own shield and come in for that grab. -2 frame advantage is not terrible, especially by Bowser standards, but the speed of our options is poop. 8 frames to jump, 6 to Up B, 9 to perform Jab 2.

When you're blocked, my best advice is this. Against practiced players, a good response to the incoming dash grab is a retreating pivot grab. You get the benefit of putting a move out while still moving away from the danger. If you're going to panic and shield, don't just sit there and take the incoming grab. Spot dodge or dodge roll can work wonders as they make you invulnerable starting on frame 4. In order for your opponent to hit you after your invulnerability wears off, your opponent has to punish with something outlandish. But it's also possible for them to be too inattentive to realize they just blocked a move, so it's a gamble.

But often times, I just go ahead and do my jab followup anyway. It's not a safe option under ideal conditions, but stopping to reconsider your options when you've been blocked is easier said then done. It's easier on the player to have their fingers in motion regardless of the danger since most players just aren't that good at punishing attacks to begin with in order to stop you. If you jab followup was a grab, it will be stuffed by speedy jabs, if it was a tilt or Bowser Bomb, it can be be beat by long range moves. But overall, I find Bowser to be in the better position.

The goal for this thread is to serve as a quick resource for players to keep their facts straight on jab, as well as provide new Bowser players with every reason they need to start using it. Devoting an entire thread to a single move may seem bizarre to an outside player, but this move is worth it. Happy jabbing. :4bowser:
 
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Volimutt

Smash Cadet
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CapnDonutBear
#2
This very well put together with lots of facts and mysteries to be determined. this whole is important. Because as it stands, Bowser's jab is a foundation all on it's own. Adding this my archives of information. Thanks.
 

pitfall356

Smash Apprentice
Joined
May 25, 2015
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#3
Good thread to read if you're a Bowser player. Jab is incredibly important, and knowing how to use it to it's best can be the difference between a win and a loss.
 

pitfall356

Smash Apprentice
Joined
May 25, 2015
Messages
140
#6
I've tried to jab into klaw, but I can never get it to connect - even when I try dashing forwards. Tell me if you guys can manage to land it.
 

Big Sean

Smash Journeyman
Joined
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#9
And then you miss 50% of the time.
I haven't had this problem. The trick is knowing your distance after you do you're jab 1. Half the time you don't even have to dash, but when you do it's important to know how long to dash for. This is something that's very easy to practice in practice mode. If they are shielding you should get it every time.
 

MagiusNecros

Smash Master
Joined
Nov 16, 2014
Messages
3,176
#11
I haven't had this problem. The trick is knowing your distance after you do you're jab 1. Half the time you don't even have to dash, but when you do it's important to know how long to dash for. This is something that's very easy to practice in practice mode. If they are shielding you should get it every time.
Everything is easy in practice mode.

Now fighting an opponent or even lvl9 cpu and the story changes.

We need consistency. Not a mixup you hope will land. It isn't optimal. It's crap.

If they shield they are making their hitbox bigger. On most characters you'll just whiff.

Spacing klaw is not really good since you have to be rubbing against them anyway.
 

MrEh

Smash Hero
Joined
Aug 24, 2008
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6,652
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Honolulu, HI
#12
Jab 1 to Klaw requires really specific spacing. If the spacing is not close enough, you have to stutterstep Klaw. (it's an ok frametrap, but dash grab works at much longer ranges and is generally more reliable)

Jab 1 to Klaw is a real combo against most of the cast if you get the spacing absolutely perfect. But that never happens in actual matches.

In short, there's usually always something better you can do. If you know that your opponent is pushing buttons, then Bomb is better. If you want something safe, then pivot grab or Dtilt exist.
 
Last edited:
Joined
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#13
Huh, I wasn't expecting such opposition to Side B as a followup. I've been using that option to followup my jabs since my first week with Bowser. I don't remember having it fail on me after I took special time to learn the feel of using out of a jab. It's as easy as buffering a dash and holding it until the moment you visually see Bowser start the dash animation. Then input B as you're still holding forward. It's pretty easy muscle memory. Since Side B was performed from a dash, you're slid into the optimal range for the move to help account for the victim's random, unintentional DI inputs. A dash Side B reaches as far as a dash grab, and also can't be crouched under. Yes the move could whiff at point blank when Bowser is in motion, but that's why it requires practice. Too late on the B input will make you overshoot. And there's no way you'll reach without the dash. Side B on its own does reach farther than a standing grab, but not by enough to catch them.

Like I said, Jab to Side B is one of the first tricks I've cooked up for Bowser, and honestly thought it was the standard. I'll take another look at it for issues. I've been working on a few topics to add to the OP, but I need more time. @ J Jerodak dumped a metric ton of data on me that relates to grab releasing that could serve as its own thread but quite a bit does relate to topics discussed in this thread about jab.
 

Big Sean

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#14
Everything is easy in practice mode.

Now fighting an opponent or even lvl9 cpu and the story changes.

We need consistency. Not a mixup you hope will land. It isn't optimal. It's crap.

If they shield they are making their hitbox bigger. On most characters you'll just whiff.

Spacing klaw is not really good since you have to be rubbing against them anyway.
If you are looking for a follow up to jab 1 that isn't a mixup, you only have one answer, jab 2. The whole point of this thread is a discussion of mixups that you hope you will land. Also I get consistent jab -> klaws in tournament not just practice mode. It's a move that pays off to practice since it could lead into a kill and works like 70% of the time. You can absolutely judge on reaction the distance of your jab 1 and do the appropriate klaw option. Since klaw is almost strictly better than dash grab I think in general it's the optimal option.
 

MagiusNecros

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#15
Thing is if you are off by a single frame and an opponent powershields and drops it immediately your Klaw has a chance to miss and since you are on cooldown your opponent now punishes you for trying to punish them.

That said it's going to be matchup dependent. If your opponent is Donkey Kong Jab 1 to Klaw is a viable thing but if it's like Kirby not so much.

And then you account for player skill and how well they react. If they react slowly that gives you additional frames to decide what to do and how to do it.

I've had cpu powershield the initial Jab, spotdodge Klaw and then smack me with something.

Jab 1 to Klaw is a good thing but it isn't going to be a consistent tactic. And even if we are tanky we can't afford to take a hit against the higher tiers because we become combo food and then we die.

Now if Jab 1 drew opponents in like Bowser's old jab did in Brawl we would have a guaranteed Jab 1 to Klaw. Every. Single. Time.
 

Zigsta

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#16
Jab to Klaw is nowhere near as good as it was in Brawl, as Klawing after Jab in this game requires you to run after your opponent, then Klaw. It's a very, very rare mixup at best. I went from going for jab to Klaw a lot to hardly using it at all. Jab to grab or jab to Bowser Bomb is just a much better option.

Just whatever you do, don't go for jab to Klaw often. PLEASE DON'T DO IT.
 

KuroganeHammer

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#17
Someone should make a visual aid image of when to go for what at various ranges of jab.

I was told by another Bowser that jab to dash grab doesn't really work but I've been doing it for ages and it works on everyone who doesn't MASH THE A BUTTON (This player habit infuriates me).
 
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#18
Sorry for the delay in updates. I shouldn't have to search far among Smash players to find people that understand what work and school do to your time for labbing. Here is a list of topics in which I have edited in this update:

Choosing your jab 1 followup - I have amended information on the various options to have better clarification of their strong points and weaknesses. At the concern from you readers, I have reworked Flying Slam so as not to seem like the single greatest choice because of it's difficulty in performing consistently. I have also added Whirling Fortress and Dash attack as followups, after seeing mention of them on other threads. Don't want people to think I overlooked them, I just didn't think they were too reasonable.

Grab Release into jab - added a list of characters that are not within range of a buffered jab 1 (it was more than I thought), and a note about traction, which is a factor here.

I have added the following article to the OP:

They've shielded my jab! What do I do!?

Finally, here are some topics I'm planning for the future:

So what's different when my opponent is airborne after jab? - a companion article to the one about opponents who are forced to land. If your opponent is airborne when hitstun ends, double jumping isn't the only thing they could do to escape, in fact many players don't even consider the option, instead relying on a speedy aerial to hit Bowser with before they land. This is problematic since our (objectively) best followups from Jab are Side B and dash grab, and no grab armor exists in Smash 4. This article will focus on what aerials could hit Bowser before that character lands. It shouldn't be a large list, but I'll also be looking at moves that have invulnerability on startup, like Jigglypuff's rest.

The jab advantage rankings - looking in depth at characters who can double jump or use a speedy aerial to defeat Bowser's various options out of jab, and which characters have neither option available after getting hit. We then rank the cast by which opponents have the most and least trouble escaping our followups.
 

Big Sean

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#19
Follow ups for jab1 against aerial opponents is something that I really want to explore. I notice that when i jab someone about trying to grab the ledge, I always get the downtilt. I'm pretty sure it's not guaranteed but maybe people aren't as aware of their options in the air? It's basically a kill confirm at the moment, but probably just out of my opponent's ignorance.
 
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#21
Where are you getting the idea that Jab 1 is +4 on block
I already mentioned that I frame counted it, but I know you're interested in the full breakdown. Jab 1 hits on Frame 7. It inflicts 6 frames of shieldlag (both the attacker and defender suffer this lag) and 2 frames of shieldstun (only the defender suffers this). The opponent can perform OOS options at this point, while Bowser is still on frame 9 of his jab animation. His IASA frame for Jab is 12, three frames later. So it's -3 for true OoS options like shieldgrab, shieldjump, Usmash/Up B, and dodges. But when they drop shield, they suffer seven frames. Thus, +4 advantage on block.

I recorded video footage to confirm these numbers for the sake of the thread, but I actually knew of them based on other moves that deal 5% damage and have had documented shieldlag/stun numbers. You can find examples here, but the person that documents them never got around to doing Bowser.
 

Lavani

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#23
Sixriver says 20f total which would be 21f FAF, which the data dump supports (third value for sub[50])

It should be like -12 without shield drop/-5 with.
 
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#25
Blast, I see now. The source I used had a different distinction for the FAF that was focused on the point where you can initiate Jab 2. And when looking at the jab under the theory of frame 12, the supposed frame advantage matched up almost perfectly with the nearly year old post about Bowser's frame advantage on the move. You can still find that in the OP of the moveset discussion thread with the name "Mreh's true facts about jab". But I'm not trying to set up a scapegoat. I should have noticed the discrepancy between Bowser and the victim's frame advantage and done my own frame count. It's also the reason I ask for peer review in the first place. Victims clearly recover at around the same point Bowser does. Actual frame advantage on hit looks to be +1 by my count. Give or take one frame since it's hard to discern at what point hitlag ends and hitstun begins for a move this weak. Lavani's numbers are also correct for block advantage.

Clearly I need to rework some articles. Thank you @ KuroganeHammer KuroganeHammer for the correction. Next time, try writing a bit more tactly. You left me wondering whether you were daft or on to something. A simple, "I did my own frame count and this is what I got" would have sufficed, since I know you know what a FAF is. This:

His FAF for jab is 19 I think.
Is about as convincing as some dude claiming a move KOs earlier in a patch update thread. No source, no method of testing, no credibility.
 

KuroganeHammer

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#26
I like to post in a way that confuses people. But c'mon man, people don't call me "The Frame Data God" for nothing.

You (should) know I own kuroganehammer.com.

I'm looking at making a thread with advantages on hit, I would possibly be interested in working with you.
 

Big Sean

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#27
Here's a question @ Zapp Branniglenn Zapp Branniglenn or @Kurogane Hammer! So I want to use down tilt to punish rolls after jab 1. I've noticed that sometimes people roll out despite down tilt being a guaranteed punish of roll. If I do the dtilt too early, I get a jab 2. Too late and they roll out. Are there any buffering frames to this move? Is this a 1 frame link? 2 frame link?
 
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#28
I like to post in a way that confuses people. But c'mon man, people don't call me "The Frame Data God" for nothing.

You (should) know I own kuroganehammer.com.

I'm looking at making a thread with advantages on hit, I would possibly be interested in working with you.
Well, I did learn a lot of the basics of frames from your Project M threads some years back. You're on, Aero. Message me sometime about what you need done. Until then, I need to do some more frame counting with jab in order to fix up this thread.

Here's a question @ Zapp Branniglenn Zapp Branniglenn or @Kurogane Hammer! So I want to use down tilt to punish rolls after jab 1. I've noticed that sometimes people roll out despite down tilt being a guaranteed punish of roll. If I do the dtilt too early, I get a jab 2. Too late and they roll out. Are there any buffering frames to this move? Is this a 1 frame link? 2 frame link?
Unfortunately, you cannot buffer Down tilt after jab 1. Any pressing of A before Jab's FAF results in a Jab 2. And C-stick set to attack won't help either. You have to simply hold down for Bowser to crouch to get an idea of when that frame is. Then try inputting A at precisely that point. It takes practice to do consistently.

This is what sets so many followups apart from each other in terms of ease of use. Special moves like Bowser Bomb can be buffered during Jab to come out as soon as possible, as well as dashes. Speaking of Bomb, that move comes out a frame after a perfectly inputted Dtilt would. Maybe you ought to try that more. I just don't like that option for dealing with rolls since rolls are the one thing that makes you safe from the Bomb. Instead, hope that they cower in their shields.
 

Jerodak

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#29
Someone should make a visual aid image of when to go for what at various ranges of jab.

I was told by another Bowser that jab to dash grab doesn't really work but I've been doing it for ages and it works on everyone who doesn't MASH THE A BUTTON (This player habit infuriates me).
Try punishing it with ftilt, or Bowser bomb if you feel confident in the read, though jab to perfect parry OS could work as well.
 

Big Sean

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#30
Speaking of mashing the a button. @ Zapp Branniglenn Zapp Branniglenn you are missing one important option post jab 1. Pivot grab. It should beat or trade with mashers, along with people rolling or moving towards you in any way. It's also pretty safe.
 

Jerodak

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#31
Ftilt also beats mashers. Also, when doing grab releases on grass, only do so vs characters with very low traction. Grass release sucks vs everyone else, even Ganon, who is completely free to it otherwise.
 
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#32
Speaking of mashing the a button. @ Zapp Branniglenn Zapp Branniglenn you are missing one important option post jab 1. Pivot grab. It should beat or trade with mashers, along with people rolling or moving towards you in any way. It's also pretty safe.
You can trust that I've labbed it. Pivot grab's reach is massive, - longer than our Dtilt, though a Dtilt doesn't involve Bowser moving backwards away from the target. After quite a few tries, I managed to land jab to pivot grab only when jabbing with the closest hitbox. The chances of it landing certainly improve if you're closer to the target. But I concern myself most with max range jabs and whether moves could reach the target from there. And it makes all the difference for pivot grab. It's annoying to try an option that simply won't reach most of the time. If the opponent stays put and shields or double jumps away, you can't rely on it. But for this scenario for beating opponents mashing attack, you could very well grab an extended hurtbox.

I hadn't considered this use for pivot grab out of jab, but it is a niche important enough to warrant mention of this option. However, I stand by Bomb and Dtilt as more effective counters to attacking opponents. We just reach farther than anybody not wielding a sword. And if they are, we can't grab a sword. Our Dtilt swipes have our arms being intangible for the active frames, and Bowser Bomb's rising hit is typically disjointed enough from Bowser's body that trades are rare. I'll make mention of pivot grab, but I think this may be the one scenario where the best pivot grab in the game just isn't good enough for something.
 
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#34
Okay, so I've been studying up on hitstun and knockback properties to lock down a theory about Bowser's jab, and how much hitstun it deals at different ranges. In my last post about this, I've only looked at and counted the frames of max range jabs on sheik. But in Smash Bros., Hitstun is directly linked to the knockback value of a move, and Jab has three separate hitboxes of varying amounts of weight based knockback. The far hit has the least amount of knockback. Frame counting footage of jabbing a target at the three different hitboxes has produced promising results that completely change how we should interpret the frame advantage of Jab 1. The numbers for how much hitstun frames the target gets is as follows:

[Target - Far/Middle/Close hitbox]

Jigglypuff - *13/*17/26 (*22)
Mario - *11/17/21
Bowser - 17/17/18

* = Target was airborne at the time hitstun wore off, allowing them to double jump. For jigglypuff, I used DI upward on the close hit so that she could double jump away instead of land and suffer 4 frames of landing lag.

Keep in mind these numbers are frames of hitstun. Meaning they can act only on the very next frame. In order to calculate frame advantage for these hits, you take the difference of Jab's FAF and its startup (21-7=14), and subtract this number from how many frames of hitstun they suffer. Then add 1, since their buffered action comes out only on the frame after hitstun has ended. In these three examples, frame advantage varies from -2 to +13. Remember that if the target is forced to land after being jabbed, they will suffer their hard landing lag. That's 4 for Mario and Jigglypuff, and six for Bowser. Try taking six away from Bowser's numbers and you'll see that heavier targets suffer the least amount of hitstun increase based on the difference in weight based knockback of the jab. Bowser's frame situation is hardly effected thanks to his weight, but he still has to suffer six frames of landing lag because he's Bowser. His numbers are high all around. Jigglypuff's situation is more influenced by the increase of knockback because she's the lightest target in the game. Even with the ability to double jump away, she still gets majorly disadvantaged when jabbed at close range. These higher numbers easily explain the claims of +7 frame advantage we were talking about almost a year ago. They were probably jabbing Mario at close range to get that precise number.

As for Jigglypuff's +13 situation, go ahead and try it with your friend. If you jab Jigglypuff with the close hit, and choose Bowser Bomb as your followup, it's guaranteed unless she DI'd upward and double jumped away. But don't get your hopes up for the Jigglypuff MU, she's more likely than not to evade the falling hit of Bomb. Weight based moves knock light targets farther by design, and both Jab 1 and the rising hit of Bomb are weight based.

Furthermore, I must amend my theory about landing lag and histun frames overlapping with each other. I thought the frames overlapped, but then I found from jabbing Jigglypuff that they are added directly to the hitstun. Character's that land from Jab, MUST suffer their full hard landing lag frames in addition to the hitstun. Characters that have the opportunity to double jump away and successfully do so are the best off.

During my research I was trying to find a way to apply the knockback formula I kept finding in a way that accommodates weight based moves, but I've been having trouble. It should give a knockback value that I can then convert to a hitstun value. If I can't get it to work to confirm these numbers (bearing in mind which numbers have landing lag) then I'll probably just frame count every character's three numbers.

In other news, I found that the handicap feature does work like previous games, so I should be able to get examples of how much hitstun is increased when under the effects of 100% worth of rage. I'm expecting promising stuff from that as well.
 
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Jerodak

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#35
Hey, fun fact, characters that can jump away (at least some of them) are able to jump between the jab combo hits, even when there's no delay, but they will get hit out of the jump that way. Since jab 2 often forces tech situations, this could be a boon if you catch the tell tale jump ring while they are getting hit.

This will not work at the closest hitbox because the hitstun is too high, but you could get some potential late percent shenanigans on floaters.
 
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#36
Thread Update. The biggest change is that Frame Data/Frame Advantage has been split and rewritten into two topics. I have spent hours frame counting characters being hit by jab and now have accurate frame advantage for us to use for the purposes of this thread and even for MU discussion. There's a lot of topics I want to revisit with this new information. The "Can I combo jab into another jab?" article has been removed, and all information regarding jab 1 as a jab followup was moved into "choosing your jab 1 followup". There's a lot of touching up I want to for followups in the near future.

The next article I want to tackle is how rage affects Jab and its followups. In the past, I have found that it increases the hitstun even further, and I want to know how much. One of my goals was to find which characters are all around the least equipped to deal with Bowser's jab and followups. In my experience, I find our middle hitbox to be the most common to land in a match. Now that I have the frame advantage numbers, you guys can help me theory craft. I'll be happy to see any input. For instance, when jabbing Pit with the middle hitbox of jab, his fastest move is a frame 5 jab. I suspect our attack followups should out prioritize it. And our grab followups should cut through his shield, while also having a chance to land before his jab would.
 

Jerodak

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#37
Would you be able to sort the list by numbers? In ascending or descending order for the middle number? If it's convenient of course.
 
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#38
Would you be able to sort the list by numbers? In ascending or descending order for the middle number? If it's convenient of course.
Here's a google doc. Just use the dropdown arrow on the column you want and choose sort sheet A-Z.

I was trying to figure out how to make an interactable table in Smashboards, but I couldn't figure it out.
 

Jerodak

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#39
Jab to dash grab should be guaranteed where Bowser is + 9 unless the opponent has a frame 1 attack or invincibility. It shpuld also work on all + 8 situations as long as there ate none of the previously mentioned options or a frame 2 spot dodge or attack.

The advantage list and the Kurogane hammer site should make it easy enough to put together a list of characters that meet this criteria, if any.

Edit: Actually, now that I think about it, if they can spot dodge the dash attack or dash grab follow up, that's fine, since that means conditioning for the jab -> fsmash.
 
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Duck SMASH!

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#40
Bowser's going to need every trick he can get to beat the rest of the cast. This definitely helps with understanding your options for one of his most important moves.
Thanks for posting. :)
 
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