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Tech Chasing with Link


Smash Ace
Sep 27, 2013
Nashville Tennessee
In progress...
Reaction Tech Chasing

This thread will be detailing tech chasing and how to implement it into Link's play. It will also go over what options are available to Link while tech chasing in different scenarios.

To be added...
other corrections
hard data prof on concepts
expansions on most presented ideas.

What is tech chasing?
When the opponent lands on the ground while in tumble they are forced to use one of their four tech options. Missed Tech, Tech In Place, Tech Roll In, and Tech Roll Away. Reaction Tech Chasing is the act of reacting to the opponents selected tech option and punishing accordingly. How Link should chose to follow up on these tech options is highly dependent on character, percent, stage positioning, and many more factors.

Is Tech Chasing Important To Learn?

Tech chasing, in my opinion, is one of the most integral parts to playing Link successfully. Link can often get hits that don’t lead into direct follow ups, but force knock down. Being able to follow up on these openings gives Link a substantial boost in the punish game.
Tech chase opportunities are most common against fast falling characters, which happen to be some of Link’s worst Match-Ups. They also happen to be some of the most popular characters in the game. Links flowchart punishes on Fast Fallers necessitate tech chasing at low percents. You’ll be running into these characters very often so if you can not convert off of the openings, you will not do well in a tournament setting.
It is also very common for Link to force his opponents to tech on platforms. This situation is called platform tech chasing and happens to almost the whole cast regularly. In some cases it can net you big damage and even kills.

How To Tech Chase?
Tech chasing is not just relegated to just D-throw re-grabs, like how most players think of when they first here the word. Tech chasing happens every single time Link gets a knock down.
This can happen from shield poking with D-smash or just landing a bomb in neutral. Recognizing what moves force these situations at what percents on each characters will give you a great advantage in every MU.
You also want to familiarize yourself with the beginnings of each characters tech animations and how they differ from one other. Tech chasing has a tight window for execution so you must be able to quickly distinguished every tech option from each other.

Ideally in Melee you want to cover your opponent's best option first and force them to use a less desirable one. In Tech chasing this is no exception and in this case the opponent's best option would be to tech in place as it’s the fastest, least vulnerable, and most difficult to react to. This means that in most cases you’ll want to cover tech in place first by walking up the where the opponent will land. (make sure to keep a reasonable spacing so not to get caught by a fast wake up move.) This is the ideal position for tech chasing as it allows you to react to all tech options. Now that we’re in the right positioning to tech chase on the ground, what moves are available for Link to use to cover each option?

Covering Tech options and Human Reactions

Average Human reaction time to visual stimulus is roughly 0.25 seconds or 15 frames.
Link must have something to react too. Most characters tech rolls are distinguishable from each other on frame 3. Recognition takes 3 frames and reaction takes 15 making the total 18 frames before average humans can input any move on reaction.

Tech in Place
Invincible - 1-20 (pika/pichu 1-24)
Total - 26
Covering tech in place is the hardest to do on reaction. It lasts for 26 frames total. The fastest and best defensive option out of tech in place for most of the cast is spot dodge which has 1 frame of start up before being invincible on frame 2. This means that there is a 27 frame window for link to input a follow up. 18 frames of reaction minus a 27 frame window leaves Link with 9 frames. This means Link can only cover tech in place on reaction with a move that comes out within 9 frames or less. Link only has 5 moves he can get out on the ground that come out in 9 frames or less.
Jab, Dash Attack, U-tilt, D-Smash, and Up-B.

Jab is not something i can recommend in this situation, but might need some testing.

Dash attack is really good on FFers as it can force more grounded tech chase situations, force them to tech on platforms, combo into other combo moves, kill moves, or even combo into itself.

U-tilt isn’t something I've used often as i find it highly situational.

D-smash is a good punish as it can combo into a Dash attack or U-air in certain situations, can force techs on platforms and puts link into a great positional advantage. Pressing this advantage can often lead to baiting out DJs.

Up-B is a niche move. It’s good at higher % to knock them away or off stage. It covers roll behind and is great for stopping spot dodges after the tech.

Miss tech

Total - 26
When the opponent doesn’t tech there will be a great big green flash where they land and the whole screen will shake. This is very obvious and can be punished just about anyway you’d like aside from grabs. This is also where jab resets come into play which I've already done a write up on here.

Tech Rolls
Invincible - 1-20
Total - 40
Tech rolls aren’t as much about execution with Link, but more so about reaching the opponent. As a result of Links inability to run to the opponent's location he must use long reaching or lunging moves to cover tech rolls in most cases. Luckily for Link he has two moves that are exactly that! Grab and Dash Attack. Grab is ideal as it can net-Link the most damage, but it does have a tighter window and higher degree of execution than Dash attack.
Spacing these moves and understanding when they'll reach is trick because every character has their own roll distance and start moving on different frames.

The Corner
Forcing the opponent to tech while close to the ledge is an amazing advantage. Teching in the corner limits your opponent's tech options as the ledge won’t allow tech roll away. Tech in place and miss tech also are very risky because they could be knocked off stage or just killed outright. Knowing this most opponent's will opt to tech roll in. Being cognizant of this, you can easily react to the opponent's tech options. Something interesting to note is that in this case a well timed Up-B and D-smash can cover all 4 options.

Platform Tech Chasing
When the opponent is forced to tech on a platform it is substantially easier to cover their tech roll options because they are confined to such a small space. ( i.e. they can only roll as far as the ends of the platform). Them being above you on platforms also makes tech chasing with aerials a way better option. You can actually SH aerial and simply drift to one side to cover 3 tech options. It’s also notable that you can FH Aerial straight up and Link have time to react to tech rolls with his aerial drift. This is extremely useful with D-air and can be very safe if you’re proficient at edge canceling. This can cover all options. Another option is to WL on the platform and follow up from there. Up-B will cover all tech options and is great at high percents. You can also re-grab. On FFers landing a weak U-air to early D-air kill combo out of platform tech chases should be standard by now.

D-Smash coverage
On characters with short tech rolls Link can time D-smash to cover 3 tech options. Inputting D-smash between frames 10-17 of the opponents tech will cover tech in place and miss tech with the first hit and tech roll behind with the second. If the opponent is close to a ledge D-smash will cover all 4 options. On many characters D-smash can combo into D-attack at mid percents and force them to DJ. Following up on these can lead to big combos and kills. it's important to note that if you charge D-smash before their tech Link's charge starts on frame 4 of D-smash so you'll actually be able to swing 4 frames sooner.

Up-B coverage
Links Up-B wont net him any follow ups but is very lenient and covers everything but tech away if he’s at least one character's length way. The end lag does make Up-B punishable if they tech away. (up-B is twice as long as the tech roll animations)
It is amazing at covering corner tech options and platform tech chasing. It covers all tech options with almost no risk and can spike people if they’re too close to the ledge.
WLing on platforms and using spin attack is a setup at mid to high %s. It can kill from the strong hit or spikes them off. It’s easily set up out of a dash attack or U-throw of FFers and out of a D-throw on average fall speed characters.
A hard counter to this is Tech in place and shield so be careful. A good rule of thumb is to be at least platform height by the time they tech. This way Up-B will be out before they are active.

D-Air with platform tech chasing is absolutely amazing. FH D-air Straight up covers miss tech and tech in place. Link’s aerial drift can cover both tech rolls after on reaction. This covers all options on every stages platforms. Link can edge cancel on either side eliminating most risk of being punished if you made the wrong read. This is a highly effective killing strategy. An early D-air on side platforms can kill Marth as early as the 80% range on BF.

Dash Attack

Dash attack is one of the best combo extension moves Link has at mid percents. It's best to use dash attack only when it causes tumble around the 40 percent range for most characters. Dash attack forces him to lunge forward allowing him to cover long tech rolls and the hit-box is active from frames 7-12. That's 5 active frames which is very lenient when covering tech rolls. When DI'd in it combo's into itself and many other of Link's best combo and kill options including U-air, U-tilt, D-air, and Up-B. When DI'd away it forces the opponent into aweful positions and can sometimes set up for edge guards.


Grabbing the opponent can lead to the biggest punishes Link has to offer. This comes with a cost as it is also one of the more difficult moves to land. It's also extremely punishable if missed. It can't be used to cover tech in place aside from a read but it does cover tech rolls very well. Despite Link not being able to cover tech in place with grab on reaction you can punish the opponents move choice after tech in place. By waiting you can out space most all grounded moves and punish an immediate spot dodge. Two of the most common scrub options. Fun fact is that Link doesn't necessarily have to JC his grab. JC grab and dash grab both come out on frame 13 and have almost exactly the same length. Dash grab is 10 frames longer but you'll most likely be punished by then regardless.

Relevant resources.

Side By side Tech animations for Top Tiers
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