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Guide The Competitive Kirby [ver 2.1]

t!MmY

Smash Hero
Joined
Dec 22, 2005
Messages
5,135
Location
Oregon
NNID
t1mmy_smash


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Table of Contents
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I. Basics
1. Fighting with Kirby - An Overview
2. Attacks - General Strategies
3. Movement - Staying Alive

II. Fundamentals
1. Leads and Advances: Going Offensive
2. Combos, Juggles, and Follow-Ups
3. Edge, Ledge & Air

III. Et Cetera
1. Spikes, Meteors & Kirbycides
2. Kirby Mind Games
3. Tactics & Strategies, aka: How to Play "Cheap"
4. Character Match-ups

Appendices:
i. Team Battle
ii. Free For All
iii. In-depth Move List


IV. End


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I. Basics
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1. Fighting with Kirby - An Overview

It is very important for someone unfamiliar with Kirby to learn quickly that you do not win fights with Kirby the same way you do with other characters. He is weak, so you can't go for out-right KOs like Marth; his attacks are slow so you can't hope to get mad combos like Sheik; and his movement, both on the ground and in the air, is slothy, which means you can't hope to make lightning-fast maneuvers like Fox. Because of these factors many people who are used to playing other characters will not have a clue when trying to use Kirby.

Kirby is best played in close combat, sticking with his opponent, not giving them room to properly distance themselves nor time to think. His excellent evasive abilities help him avoid attacks as he strikes both from the ground and in the air and "taps" his opponent off the ledge. From there, his victim must split their attention between Kirbys' attacks and attempting to recover back to solid ground, leaving little in the way of retaliation. While off the ledge, Kirby has the advantage with his ability to fearlessly engage in off-stage combat for a prolonged time; his multiple jumps allow for multiple attacks while he floats safely in the air. Depending on the situation, Kirby can go for KOs with Back-Air or Up-Air; or he can try to interrupt recovery attempts with Neutral-Air or Down-Air, netting KOs without need of power or speed.

Kirby should not rush head-on into the fight; rashly doing so against a skilled player will likely result in you quickly losing a stock. The same goes for overdoing it on the defensive. If you're too concerned with dodging attacks, then you will never get the hits in that you need, nor will you be able to capitalize on the small opportunities advanced players leave open for attack. You have to play Kirby smart. Your opponent must always be under the threat of attack, but Kirby mustn't attack until there is an opening.

Concentrate on utilizing your Tilts when on the ground. They can catch your opponent far more often than a Smash Attack and they will not leave you as open to counter attacks should you miss. They don't pack much of a punch, but the damage will build up on your opponent and you'll be able to use the knockback from your Tilts to push your opponent off the ledge where they're vulnerable.

Forward-Tilt is the one to use when your opponent has enough damage to knock them off the ledge. The speed and range of this attack can often land a hit before your opponent can react, or can interrupt their attack before it has a chance to reach you.
Down-Tilt has a greater reach than the F-Tilt but with less power. Since it is a crouching attack, Kirby will be hard to hit before, during, and after this attack.
Up-Tilt isn't likely to KO someone or push them off the stage by itself, but it easily leads to juggling and combos.

Aerials form an integral part of Kirby's fight. Mixing your offense with a variety of Tilts and Aerials will keep your opponent from effectively judging where to strike or how to defend. Keeping your opponent from predicting your attacks is part of any good fighter's game but it is even more valuable to Kirby who cannot afford to be hit.

Forward-Air can be used to rack up damage, and the third hit can knock your opponent horizontal.
Down-Air has a bit of start-up lag, but this attack works well when you want to go offensive and the Meteor Smash is an added bonus.
Back-Air is quick, strong, and effective in practically any situation. Especially deadly when intercepting a recovery attempt.
Up-Air is even stronger than the B-Air, but only especially useful when your opponent is above you.

The final, and most unique aspect of Kirby's fighting technique is that at any given time your opponent could set himself up for a sudden "Kirbycide" - that is, one of a number of attacks that results in both Kirby and his opponent Self-Destructing. There will be much cursing and gnashing of teeth when you do this, and the word "cheap" will inevitably come up more than once. But without this shockingly effective ability, Kirby would easily be rock-bottom on the Tier List.

Summary:
Kirby is light, but hard to hit because of his dodges, evasion and crouching.
Kirby is slow, but keeps his opponent guessing.
Kirby's primary attacks are tilts and aerials.
Kirby's main strategy is to build damage until the opponent goes off the ledge.
Kirby's KOing strength lies in Ledge Gaming, Edge Guarding, and Air Guarding.
Kirbycide 4TW!

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2. Attacks - General Strategies
New section to be added.

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3. Movement - Staying Alive
New section to be added.


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II. Fundamentals
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1. Leads and Advances: Going Offensive
You can't always expect your opponent to come to you, nor is it wise to neglect the opportunity to move in for an attack when there's an opening. But what are some good offensive approaches Kirby can use? It really depends on the situation, but here are some basic ways of initializing an attack.


Position [Basic Offensive Options] [Additional Options] [Leads Into...]
Standing
[Neutral-A, U-tilt, Grab] [D-Smash, F-Smash, U-Smash ] [Crouch, Walk, Dash, Jump]
Crouching [ D-tilt] [D-Smash ] [Stand, F/B-Slide]
Walking [F-tilt, Grab] [F-Smash, Side-B] [Stand, Crouch, Dash, Jump, F/B-Slide]
Dashing [Dashing-Grab, DC-Grab] [Dash-Attack, Smash-B] [Crouch, Jump, F/B-Slide, Dash*]
Jumping [F-air, D-air, B-air] [U-air, N-air, Neutral-B, Smash-B] [Air Dodge, Landing Slide]
F-Slide [F-tilt, D-tilt] [F-smash, Side-B] [Stand, Crouch, Walk, Dash, Jump, F/B-Slide]
B-Slide [D-tilt, D-smash] [F-Smash, Side-B] [Stand, Crouch, Walk, Dash, Jump, F/B-Slide]
Ledge [Neutral-A (Ledge Attack)] [None] [Ledge-Drop, Ledge-Jump, Ledge-Stand, Ledge-Roll]

Note, these are not all of the options, but the best ones to use 9 out of 10 times. For instance, it's possible, easy, and feasible to use a Dash Attack while Dashing, but the chances of it being better than a Jump-Canceled Grab or leading into a different Position are unlikely.

*Dashing into a Dash can be seen with Dash Dancing, Pivoting, or Trotting (AKA "Fox Trot" or in this case "Kirby Trot).

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2. Combos, Juggles & Follow-Up Attacks

Now that you know how to go in for an attack, you should learn how to follow up that attack with additional attacks. Kirby really can't afford to let his opponent recompose himself after a single hit, so you need to string combos, start juggles, and come in for Follow-ups.

Down-Air
D-air -> F-tilt/D-tilt/U-tilt/Grab
This move can either be Short Hopped or used with a full Jump becuase the duration of this attack is fairly long, with significant start-up time. In fact, if you Short Hop and Fast-Fall this attack, you can shorten the duration.

As you hit, your opponent will be stunned - which works well against crouch cancellers. The last hit of this attack is the strongest part in terms of knockback. This is good because it can knock opponents away; just far enough away that if you L-Cancel properly you can follow up with a Tilt on them. Most of the time this will be an F-tilt or D-tilt, but if you're lucky and your opponent isn't knocked too far back (or DI'd behind you), you might be able to score an Up-tilt and continue into a juggle. Make sure to watch which direction your opponent is heading and how far; you won't have much time to react so to start with, go for a F-tilt as that's the direction they're most likely going to go.

Up-Tilt
U-tilt > U-tilt/B-air/U-air
A successfully landed U-tilt can obviously be followed up with multiple U-tilts, the number of which varies depending on the character, damage, and how effectively the player DI's. Generally, you can get two or three consecutive U-tilts before the character moves away. You'll usually want to end with a B-air or U-air.

Neutral-Air
N-air > Neutral-A
N-air > U-tilt, F-tilt, D-tilt, or Grab
This aerial hits rather quickly and has low knockback, making it an ideal opening into a combo. Fast Fall this move and L-cancel it's short lag to move quickly into another attack. This move works best for combos on an undamaged opponent and Vulcan Jab (rapid Neutral-A) is a good choice since it is very fast and can get many hits on a lightly damaged target (follow up with a D-tilt, F-tilt, or Grab as you see fit).

Other possible follow-ups include U-tilt, F-tilt, D-tilt, Grab, D-smash, F-Smash, and U-smash depending on what your circumstances allow. But at higher percentages this attack will knock your opponent away making it ineffecitve for leading into a combo.

Forward-Air
F-air-> F-tilt, D-tilt, or Grab
F-air-> Multiple F-airs/U-air
This attack isn't the most obvious to combo from because the third hit from this attack is much stronger than the previous two and will often times knock an opponent too far away to combo. However, if you only connect with the first couple hits, you can sometimes move in with a Forward or Down Tilt. To purposefully cut the move short, SHFFL this attack and move in while your opponent is bumped by the weak hits. At higher damage even the weak hits will knock an opponent back too far for a good combo, but you can follow up with a Dash and a JC-Grab. On some floaty characters, it's possible to jump into multiple F-airs, in a sense creating a "horizontal juggle". This really only works based on DI, so comboing into a U-air is generally a better idea.

Back-Air
B-air-> Multiple B-airs
B-air-> U-tilt
(at low damage)
Usually when you are hitting with a B-air, you're trying to knock your opponent as far away as possible, or going for a KO. But the B-air can be used to set up for additional attacks, especially on floaty characters at low damage. The usual follow up attack is often to jump into another B-air, as mentioned above with F-airs.

Keep in mind your timing with this. Kirby's B-air hits hardest at the beginning of the attack and loses knockback power the longer it stays out. Hitting with the weaker end of the B-air will keep your opponent closer for the follow up attack (usually a strong B-air).

Up-Smash
U-smash > U-tilt, or random follow-up
If you manage to hit with an Up-smash, you have a possibility to follow up with additional attacks. The sweetspot with this attack is right next to Kirby. If not sweet-spotted, the U-smash can allow for a follow-up. The follow-up attack will vary on the situation since the U-smash can send an opponent up, backward, or practically no where, depending on how you hit with it.

A sweet-spotted Up-Smash at low percentages can send the opponent straight up which can obviously lead to all sorts of extra hits. An obvious one is to move into a U-tilt juggle where you can add some damage before finishing with a B-air or U-air, hopefully sending them off the ledge where you can Air-Guard with B-air, D-air. If the U-smash is weak, you'll have to follow the opponent's trajectory and move in with whatever attack you can pull off.

Neutral-A (Jab/Vulcan Jab)
Neutral-A > Vulcan Jab > D-tilt, F-tilt, or Grab
Kirby's Jab comes out quickly and can be followed up with a second punch which easily leads into a Vulcan Jab. The Vulcan Jab hits multiple times and works best against heavy and/or lightly-damaged opponents.

After the Vulcan Jab has knocked your opponent out of its reach, you can usually catch them with a quick D-tilt immediately after. You can vary the duration of the Vulcan Jab against savvy opponents by ending it sooner than usual. They might be caught off guard, expecting more jabs, and you can go for a F-tilt or dash in for a Grab.

Grabs and Throws
None of Kirby's Grabs are especially likely to lead into a combo against a good player. This is because there are ways of breaking away that your opponent can use when you attempt a Throw.

When you use a Backward or Forward Throw, your opponent can "wiggle" free and take absolutely no damage. Don't be discouraged, you can often take them by suprise! Follow up with Aerials, such as the B-air when they're behind you or a F-air when they're in front. Or you can Fast Fall into a U-tilt if they react especially slowly. Players familiar with Kirby tactics will be able to react quickly, so you may have to go defensive with a Shield or Dodge if they launch an attack before you can land yours. The Back and Forward Throw can result in a Kirbycide (see "Fighting With Kirby 3" for more details).

After a Down-Throw, some characters (such as Samus, Luigi, and other Floaty types) can hit Kirby before he has a chance to move into a combo. They usually come in with a N-air and only need to fall on your head to hit with it. The D-throw can be good against other characters, especially Fast-Faller, which will land on the ground before they have a chance to hit Kirby. A good player will likely Tech (L/R-button), often times rolling to one side or the other which will let you Tech Chase and follow up with another grab. Since Kirby is rather slow, many characters can Tech and roll faster than he can follow and they will be on their feet and able to react before you can get a Grab on them. To remedy this situation, Dash as close to them as you can and as they are getting up use a D-smash. Many good players will expect a Grab (since you're Tech Chasing) and will forego a Shield and try to Sidestep to dodge the attack. Kirby's D-smash will outlast the Sidestep and hit them in the last few frames of its animation. An alternative is to either charge a Smash, or simply stand and wait for their Dodge to expire and then move in for a Grab or another quick attack.

More times than not, an Up-Throw is your best choice when deciding where to toss your opponent. This is because it is the safest; it cannot be broken out of like the F-Throw or B-Throw, nor do floaty characters get a chance to hit Kirby on their way back down. It also does 10% damage, which is rather impressive as far as throws go, and if an opponent reacts poorly to it you have a chance to attack or grab while they're flailing. Additionally, it has awesome Kirbycide potential (see "Fighting With Kirby 3" for more details).

Smash-B (Hammer)
Aerial Hammer > U-tilt, F-tilt, F-smash, D-smash, or Grab
Reverse Aerial Hammer > F-tilt, U-smash, D-smash, or Grab
Using Kirby's Smash-B while standing on the ground ("Ground Hammer") is a single, strong attack without an ounce of combo potential. Using it while jumping ("Aerial Hammer"), on the other hand, comes out quickly, stuns with multiple hits, and can lead into a quick attack (U-tilt, F-tilt, Grab).

A good technique is to dash into a Short-Hop and execute the Hammer. If the opponent puts up a Shield, you can use the jump to move behind your opponent reducing the risk of a Shield-Grab, but, better yet, it moves Kirby into position for an easy U-tilt juggle. It works even better than it sounds because often times the Aerial Hammer will spin in a way that just as you're landing it will come up from the ground and hit at the opponent's feet which makes a Shield less likely to defend. Sometimes the opponent will even drop their shield early because they think the Hammer attack is finished and they want to move in while you're "lagging" only to get stunned by a weak Aerial Hammer tap. A varient on this technique is to Dash in as usual, but use the opposite direction to execute the Hammer in the air ("Reverse Aerial Hammer"). This will let you land either in front of and facing away from your opponent, or behind and facing your opponent. When landing in front, you can go for your U-tilt as normal, and when landing behind you go for a Grab or other attacks due to your positioning (e.g. it's easier to sweet-spot an Up-Smash when facing your opponent).

Up-B (Final Cutter)
Final Cutter (Ledge-Cancel) > any Ledge attack
Final Cutter (Ledge-Cancel) > Ledge-Hopped Aerial Hammer
Final Cutter (Ledge-Cancel) > Final Cutter (Ledge Cancel) > Repeat?
This could be seen as a combo in and of itself since it hits once on its way up, once on its way down, and then sends out a projectile capable of multiple hits. But it has an additional use: Ledge-Cancelled Cutter.

You can execute a Final Cutter either adjacent to the ledge or while hanging from the ledge (Ledge-Drop: use Back or Down on the Analog or C-stick to drop from the ledge). Instead of hitting the ground and lagging yourself with the shockwave projectile, you can maneuver Kirby in the air to fall in front of the ledge and grab onto it. If your opponent was hit by the Final Cutter on the way down, he will usually be taken by suprise and lying on the ground, vulnerable for a follow-up attack.

You can try for a Ledge Hopped F-air or B-air as good choices, or a Ledge-Attack (Neutral-A while hanging on the ledge) if you want something quick or less technical. Most of the time you can hit with almost anything you think you can get away with, but a particularly nasty thing to do is to quickly Ledge Hop into a Swallow (Neutral-B). With any luck, your opponent will be taken by suprise allowing you to combo into a Swallowcide.

Another good attack to go for would be a Ledge-Hopped Aerial Hammer. Since it comes out quickly and hits multiple times, you might be able to continue into a longer combo, such as a U-tilt to B-air juggle, knocking them off the stage and setting up for a Meteor Smash or good ol' fashioned B-air. When executing the Ledge-Hopped Aerial Hammer, make sure to wait until Kirby is over the edge of the stage before hitting Side-B. The Aerial Hammer will give him a short boost in height and distance, but not enough by itself to get him over to your opponent without a little horizontal momentum from your Ledge-Hop. If you Aerial Hammer too soon, Kirby will likely fall right back down, unable to grab the ledge.

Some people will spam the Final Cutter with Ledge-Cancelling. To do this, position yourself with a Ledge-Drop as you see fit - Down on the Analog will help you fast fall momentarily to hit from below, back on the Analog or C-stick will position you slightly away from the ledge - then execute your Final Cutter (repeat as necessary). It is not recommended that you do this against good players since there is an opening during the Final Cutter that they can move in for an attack and if you're hit, Kirby is out of jumps and pretty much loses a stock. In general, the risk is not really worth it, competatively speaking, but, hey, if you want to have fun chopping up noobs or CPUs, go for it.

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3. Edge, Ledge, and Air
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Some Definitions
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Recovery
The ability and attempts of a character who has been knocked off the stage to get back.

Edge Guarding
A tactic used when an opponent has been knocked off the stage and you take a position near the edge in order to hinder their attempt at recovery.

Air Guarding
Similar to Edge Guarding, but jumping off the stage and fighting in the air in an attempt to intercept a recovering opponent.

(Ledge) Sweet-Spotting
Coming up and grabbing the ledge perfectly and gaining invincibility to prevent an Edge Guarder from hitting you.

Edge Hogging
Purposefully dropping onto the ledge to prevent a recovering opponent from grabbing it.
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Living Life on the Edge
The closer you get to the boundries of the stage the closer to getting KO'd you become. This is true for every character, especially Kirby, but Kirby has several advantages over other characters:

Kirby is light and floaty
At high damage it doesn't matter how close you get to the boundries or how risky you play on the ledge, usually one hit is going to take you out anyway so you might as well make use of it.

Kirby gets multiple jumps
Contrary to popular belief, this doesn't automatically make recovering back to the stage simple and easy. It's main advantage lies in granting you the ability to stay in the air as you attack multiple times. While the multiple jumps help, they're really best for boosting Kirby's offensive options when fighting off-stage.

Kirbycides!
The more often you are at the ledge, the more likely you'll be able to pull off a Kirbycide. Because of this, many opponents will be cautious when approaching a Kirby near the edge of the stage. This can make Kirby especially dangerous on stages with multiple drop-offs.

Quick Kills
Some characters are hard to KO either because of weight or recovery options. But Kirby has two Meteor Smashes - one for Edge-Guarding (Final Cutter), and one for Air-Guarding (D-air) - which have a possibility of a quick KO regardless of weight or recovery. And any of Kirby's Aerials have a good chance at interrupting his opponent's recovery leading into a quick KO, especially when using the B-air and U-air.

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Taking the Fight off the Ledge
For the most part, you will have to engage your enemy in close combat, tiring them out with evasion and "weak" attacks until they are finally driven to the ledge or completely off the stage. Seeing as Kirby has a lot of advantages both on the ledge and off the stage, the sooner your opponent is off-stage the better. Because of this, you have to learn how to manipulate your opponent into that position. Here are some tips in doing so.

Taps and Pushes
Kirby's D-tilt is deceptive, adding small amounts of damage while at the same time making him hard to hit. As the damage builds up, F-tilts can be used to push an opponent further out than a D-tilt would be capable of, and soon your foe will find himself being Edge Guarded.

Aerials
F-air and B-air are great for building damage and knocking opponents in one direction or the other. The third hit from the F-air is good for this purpose, but the B-air is even more reliable and useful. These two Aerials work great in conjunction with Forward and Down-tilts. The D-air combos perfectly into a F-tilt or D-tilt, adding damage to the mix.

Looking Vulnerable
Let's face it, when your opponent is hanging from the ledge he looks like an easy target. One hit will send him off the stage and force him to recover, setting him up for a quick fall, right? Well, this is exactly what you want your opponent to think. When they see you hanging "helplessly" on the edge, they will likely come closer, taking the bait only to find that Kirby isn't as helpless as he looks.

This works especially well when you're already high in damage; the ledge offers a protective position and it doesn't matter if you get hit off the stage since one hit would take you out anyway. An easy, and inconspicuous way of setting this up is to simply aim for the ledge when recovering from a near-fatal attack. More often than not, your opponent is already Edge Guarding and unaware of the trouble ahead.

Keep in mind when a ledge position is beneficial to you and when it is dangerous. Some characters are at an advantage when Kirby is hanging on the ledge, such as characters with a long reach (Marth). Most characters with projectiles will simply stay at a safe distance and throw or shoot things at Kirby (Peach, Samus, Link), especially if they know the dangers of a ledge-happy Kirby.

Annoyance
Some people will become frustrated with Kirby, especially when you're dodging in and out and hitting them without them landing any satisfying attacks of their own. As you deal damage and avoid strong attacks, you can start to direct where the fight goes by moving closer toward the ledge. Most likely your foe will follow you rather than stay back.

Kirby's taunt is especially useful to get on your opponent's nerves, and spamming it can goad your opponent into coming to you. This works well when behind a wall, on an out-of-reach platform, or on the other side of of a large stage. If your opponent is a safe distance away and is playing the waiting game, show them who has the most annoying taunt.

Star-Shot (A or Z-button after Swallow)
Yes, Kirby's Swallow is great for Kirbycides but don't neglect how useful a Star-Shot can be in positioning your opponent. A happenstance Swallow in the middle of the stage can send your opponent closer to the ledge and deal 10% damage. If you catch them near the ledge while facing the middle of the stage, you can usually turn around and shoot them over the edge before they have a chance to wiggle free. This can put the player in an awkward position as they aren't used to dealing with this type of attack.

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Edge-Guarding
Air-Guarding and Ledge Tactics might both be considered "Edge-Guarding", but for Kirby it is important to look at the differences in the situations, so I have separated them into different sections.

Although it is usually more effective to Air-Guard, Kirby still has some effective Edge-Guarding tactics to use when the situation calls for it. The D-tilt works well because its speed and range usually takes a recovering opponent by suprise. The only downside is that the knockback is so weak that a good player can still recover after being hit by a D-tilt, and additional D-tilts only seem to help bring the opponent up higher as they keep using Up-B recovery moves. If you can, try to use the D-tilt as far off the ledge as you can reach safely. Unfortunately this isn't always an easy thing to set up perfectly. But this is usually where the D-smash comes in. The D-smash has much more knockback; it's preferable to hit with the tips of Kirby's toes so the opponent gets knocked back in a low, horizontal trajectory.

If the opponent is coming in horizontally and is within reach, you can always try F-tilt or F-smash to send them back the way they came. This isn't likely to happen since decent players will be able to avoid the attack, attack as they recover, or are sweetspotting the ledge from below. But, remember that these attacks can be aimed high or low, making it more likely to catch an opponent otherwise out of reach.

A bit situational, but plausible, would be to stand on the edge and start vacuuming with Swallow when your opponent gets near. Since you're already facing the ledge, it becomes easier to drop off into a Kirbycide this way, or at least to use a Star-Shot and send them back off the stage, which is not as worthwhile because that would send them upward and give them their jumps back. Even so, you can try to follow up with B-air and other attacks to send them back off the stage, and sometimes players will button mash in an attempt to free themselves and end up Self-Destructing.

If your opponent is coming in from above, often seen with Peach, the U-air will be helpful, or perhaps the B-air if you find them above and at one side. It's also possible to wait for them to come in for an attack (usually a D-air), and then intercept them with a U-tilt or U-smash. This works especially well if you fake them out by jumping up as if you would be attacking with a U-air only to fast-fall back to the ground and crouch, throwing their timing off and then coming in for an attack while they're vulnerable.

The Final Cutter would seem a perfect Edge-Guarding tool since it spikes with a Meteor Smash on it's downward hit, and if you miss there will still be a projectile sent out that can knock an opponent away from the ledge. While this is true, it is often difficult to time, and good players will usually be sweet-spotting the ledge from below which mitigates the usefulness of this attack. Most of the time you'll be better off using a different tactic in competative play.

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Air-Guarding
There is a significant difference in my mind between "Edge-Guarding" and "Air-Guarding", or at the least when I'm thinking of Kirby. This is because Edge-Guarding connotates standing near the edge of the stage, ready to attack a recovering opponent, whereas Kirby's strength lies in jumping out and meeting them in the air before can even think about getting back to the ledge. I have termed this technique "Air-Guarding", and refers to any character offensively intercepting a recovery attempt out in the air.

Kirby has a couple obvious Air-Guarding attacks to choose from. These are the D-air and the B-air. Which one you use really depends on what you need to do to get the KO. Most often you will want to jump out and Air-Guard with a B-air. The D-air spikes opponents down because it is a Meteor Smash, but this is exactly why the B-air is more useful; since the D-air is a Meteor Smash, it can be Meteor Cancelled whereas a B-air will knock an opponent away from the ledge or even KO outright. You will have to learn for yourself when it is better to go for a D-air instead of a B-air. Perhaps your opponent is too far below to get a strong B-air, or maybe your opponent is in a position where even a Meteor Cancel will not save them from a vertical drop (often seen with Jigglypuff, or Samus without a Grapple Beam).

The above two attacks make up the backbone of Kirby's Air-Guarding. They alone are enough to make him good at intercepting recoveries, but he still has a few tricks up his non-existant sleeves. F-air and U-air are obvious alternatives if the opponent is in front or above you.

The first two hits of a F-air are weak and are very useful when striking to immediately interrupt your opponent's Air Jump, but they are almost useless or even disadvantageous when interrupting an Up-B recovery since the opponent can just reuse his Up-B again. Striking with the third kick of the F-air works wonders but the timing is, of course, more difficult.

The U-air is a strong attack and will often KO a recovering opponent. A trick to positioning yourself is simply to Fast-Fall through the opponent and then strike them from inside or below. More often than not they're more focused on their recovery than in avoiding a fast-falling Kirby. The speed at which a U-air hits can be suprising; your opponent might not even know Kirby can hit so powerfully so quickly from below.

Kirby's B-button attacks can be effective Air-Guarding techniques. Not so much the Aerial Hammer (too weak) or Final Cutter (suicidal), but Swallow and Stone. The Swallow attack can be decisively deadly, though risky. Basically, stand your ground until they come into range, and then jump out and vacuum them in as you drop. For more information, see "Fighting With Kirby 3".

The Stone attack is easily overlooked as an Air-Guarding attack because there are few instances where it is better to use than any other Air-Guarding technique. It is at its best when an opponent is recovering from far below, often seen with Samus and Link grapple-recoveries though there are some characters that have good vertical recovery where this could be used (such as Fox). Just jump off the ledge so you are lined up vertically with the opponent prior to or as they are recovering straight up and drop on them with Down-B. The attack is almost guarenteed to hit and you'll be invulnerable so no need to fear being hit in return. Just make sure to cancel your Stone with the B-button and recover back to the stage.

The downside to this use is that even though the Stone deals 18% damage, it usually will not KO someone until over 150%. Additionally, the Stone knocks opponents upward, which can guarentee a recovery for them. So this move is best reserved for when any other attack is less likely to hit. Some examples would be: outprioritizing attacks (Screw Attack, Fire Fox, etc); when you need to cover vertical distance quickly (Stone drops fast); or when the opponent will obviously be hit by this move and you're more interested in dealing some damage (Link or Samus grapple-recoveries or Marth Up-B recovery).

Some good news about this technique is that people rarely expect it, and it is difficult to defend against (Air Dodging being the only viable defense, which is not a good idea when off-stage). Also, if the stage has a jutting edge (e.g. Final Destination) there's a chance that your opponent will be sent up, ricochet off the underside of the ledge, and get spiked straight down before they know what hit them.

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Ledge Tactics
Hanging on the ledge can, and often will, draw your opponent to you. This is just fine for Kirby since he has plenty of options at his disposal, several of which can outright KO your opponent instantly.

Kirby's generic "Ledge-Attack" (A, B, or Z-buttons or C-stick forward while hanging on the ledge) is fairly quick and strikes from up to down which can catch a lot of Edge Guarders by suprise. When he has 100% or more damage on him, Kirby's Ledge Attack is much slower and less useful (a weak Propeller Kick similar to a 6% D-smash). For the most part, Kirby has better options than this.

Ledge Dropping/Hopping
Tap away on the Control Stick while hanging on the ledge to release your grip (Ledge-Drop). Most of the time you'll want to immediately jump toward the stage (Ledge-Hop). This maneuver will give you more options to use in such cases as being Edge Guarded or whatever. You can use Aerials, Special Attacks, Air Dodges, Slides, or drop back onto the ledge again.

You can also tap down on the Control Stick, but be careful because this results in a more downward Ledge Drop and you can Fast Fall as you do it too. This is really only advantageous when you want to drop away from the ledge quickly - doing so inadvertantly can result in a Self-Destruct. An alternative to using the Control Stick is to tap away or down on the C-stick. You cannot Fast Fall with the C-stick which makes it relatively safer than using the Control Stick.

Aerials
Ledge-Hopping a F-air is an excellent choice since it has good reach, good damage, and good speed. If your opponent catches on to this attack, you can leap off the ledge, execute a F-air, and then move backward in the air to the safety of the ledge. This works very well if they're trying to Shield-Grab you, or they try to slide back in an attempt to hit you as you come at them. You can use a Ledge-Hopped D-air to vary your Ledge-Hopping tactics if they're close enough.

Kirby's U-air works well while at the ledge. It is quick and strong and opponents don't see it coming most of the time. This attack works best when your opponent has moved in close. Ledge-Drop down and strike at their feet; the U-air can have impressive results in this way.

To really mix things up, you can jump away from the ledge so that Kirby turns around (faces away from the stage) then execute a B-air at an Edge Guarder. It's harder to pull off, but a single B-air can send an opponent flying away from you.

Special Attacks
Ledge-Cancelled Final-Cutters can take an opponent by suprise and can set Kirby up for a Ledge Attack (see Combos, Juggles, and Follow-Up Attacks), and if your opponent moves away from the initial attack, you have the option of moving forward onto the stage where you can land and send a projectile after him. Ledge-Hopped Aerial Hammers work well to set up a combo and come out quickly which can also take your opponent by suprise. They also work well after a Ledge-Cancelled Final Cutter has "stunned" your opponent. A Ledge-Hopped Swallow can, of course, be the perfect way to commit a Swallowcide (see Meteors, Spikes, & Kirbycides for more info).

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Recovery Tactics
Kirby's recovery is easy to follow, which makes him easy to Edge Guard. So what you'll want to do is play your recovery real tricky-like. Use Fast Falling to vary the speed of your descent in an attempt to throw off any attacks, especially if you Fast Fall right onto the ledge and grab on for a moment of invincibility. Also remember that you don't have to jump. You can purposefully drop down to avoid Air-Guarding attacks or to put a monkey wrench in Edge Guarder's plans; this can put you in a position to sweet-spot the ledge with a Final Cutter.
Kirby Recovery Tip #1
Whenever you're hit horizontally, you'll want to DI up and against the attack with the control stick. This will send you in an upward direction so that if you survive Kirby will be able to use his floaty characteristic to cover more horizontal distance. When hit upward, you'll want to DI to one side and down.
Although Kirby's recovery may be predictable and easy to defeat on a basic level, he has some unique techniques to help him out. After being hit horizontally, you can use the Stone (Down-B) to stop your horizontal momentum as soon as you are allowed to attack. This can also be seen with the Hammer (Side-B, opposite of the direction you're moving) when at a slower horizontal velocity, which can also move you a slight distance toward the stage. The drawback being the resulting vertical drop that using an Aerial Hammer produces.

You can also use the Stone in a different way if you still have a good height in your recovery. As you line up vertically to the front of the ledge, drop straight down as a Stone and don't cancel it until you are just below the ledge. Kirby will then pop up slightly as he reverts back to his normal self and Sweet-Spot the ledge. This will make it difficult on Edge Guarders because Kirby is virtually invulnerable the whole time.
Kirby Recovery Tip #2
As you're jumping back to the stage, you can use Kirby's F-air immediately after each Jump to better time his jump distance.
Kirby's Neutral-B gives Kirby an offensive approach with his recovery that can greatly discourage opponents from jumping out and attacking. If you have the height, Swallow as you drop in toward the ledge. It puts up a warning to most charactes not to approach lest they be Kirbycided, and there's always the chance that you really will catch someone with this. If that's the case, you won't even need to worry about recovery since you'll now be aiming for a Self-Destruct (and if they break free, you get all your Jumps back).

The Final Cutter is the most obvious tool for Kirby's Recovery. It's basic use is to simply move in an upward direction so you can grab the ledge. It has poor horizontal distance, so don't rely on it if you're even remotely too far out.
Kirby Recovery Tip #3
Kirby's Ledge-Grab has a good amount of reach. If you're too far away to reach the ledge with a Final Cutter, opt for an Air Dodge instead! Angle your Air Dodge slightly upward to get a little more reach as you arc back down. You can be suprised at how much horizontal distance you can squeeze out of this.
Don't be afraid of going offensive when recovering. Just because other characters are concerned about staying alive as they recover doesn't mean Kirby always has to be. If you sacrifice your recovery and get a KO from a well-placed Aerial, consider it a Pseudo-Kirbycide. And sometimes an offensive approach will be the only way you can recover. Striking an Air or Edge Guarder first can interrupt their attack and get you back to the stage where some other tactic could have resulted in you getting KO'd.

Do not pass up a chance to U-air. This attack works very well when you're coming straight up to the ledge and the opponent is standing close to the edge, ready to hit you. As mentioned earlier, the speed and reach of this attack can take an opponent by suprise, and you'll often hit them before they even realize Kirby can attack overhead so quickly. This can also be a life saver if the opponent jumps down at you with an attack (often seen with Fox's "Shine Spikes").

On the defensive side of things, don't neglect your Air Dodge. This works well on Edge Guarders who are trying to get a good hit on you right as you come within range. You can evade the attack and leap back onto the stage all at once. More likely than not, they will be lagging after their attack which will give you the opportunity to hit back, distance yourself, or at least put up a Shield.

Air Dodges can work against Air-Guarders too. If an opponent jumps out to hit you, they might not even expect you to Air Dodge. This, of course, works best when the Air Dodge takes you just far enough to reach the ledge. You will now be in a good position to go offensive while your opponent is now in prime position to be KO'd.
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III. Et Cetera
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1. Spikes, Meteors, & Kirbycides

In general, players will call any attack that sends a character in a downward direction a "spike" though technically the majority of these are "Meteor Smashes". The difference is that Meteor Smashes can be Meteor Cancelled, but "spikes" just sound cooler so you'll hear that term more. To Meteor Cancel, just jump (or Up+B) after being hit, and your downward descent will be interrupted by the jump. Kirby is excellent at Meteor Cancelling because he gets five jumps while in the air.

Kirby has two Meteor Smashes, his D-air and his Final Cutter (Up+B).

Of the two, the D-air is the easier of the two to pull off, as the only setup you need is to be above your opponent and to hit him downward. You can use this Meteor in two different ways. The first is to drill right into your opponent and drag them down with you. This is a good strategy to use on characters who have poor vertical recovery (e.g. Samus, Peach, Bowser) because even if they meteor cancel they usually can't make it back up to the ledge. The second way of using the d-air is to time it so you strike the opponent with one hit, which can send the opponent down sharply and more quickly. This is good to use on fast-fallers and/or characters at higher percents because it can KO them off the bottom of the screen before they have a chance to react with meteor cancel.

The Final Cutter's best setup for a Meteor is as an Edge Guarding technique. Just hit with the downward strike as a character is trying to come back up to send them straight down. It's not the most reliable, but when it hits it can take someone by suprise meaning they'll be less likely to cancel it. You can also get a Meteor off on someone as you recover, either because they jump into the Final Cutter's spike while attacking you, or they run into it as they try to grab the ledge at the same time as you cut down into them.

Kirbycides

"Kirbycides" are a specialty of Kirby. These are self-destructive attacks that will cause Kirby to plummet off the ledge, taking his opponent with him. They are best used when you are ahead in Stock and/or are damaged enough to be in danger of being KO'd anyway.
The Kirbycides are
  1. Forward Throw
  2. Backward Throw
  3. Upward Throw
  4. Neutral B (Swallow)
Forward Throw & Backward Throw
Kirbys' Forward and Backward Throw move both Kirby and his victim to the side slightly before he slams them into the ground. The trick here is doing it so you go over the ledge, and since there is no ground below you, both you and your opponent will lose a Stock.

These throws are very easy for your opponent to break free from at light damage, which makes this move risky. To reduce the chances of your opponent escaping before they get plunged over the side, make sure they have at least 100% damage on them before attempting this type of Kirbycide. The benefit here is Kirby dies after his victim, which can get you the win on the last Stock.

Upward Throw
This is not seen right away as a Kirbycide because it only goes straight up back down again. But, if you are right next to the ledge you can miss the stage completely and Self-Destruct your opponent with you. The advantage this Kirbycide has over all the others is that the victim cannot break free before being dropped down. The drawback to this one is that Kirby always Self Destructs first, which means if you are both on your last Stock, you're the one who loses.

Swallow
This is perhaps the best Kirbycide if only because it's the only one you have a possibility of surviving after your opponent loses a Stock. Start off by catching your opponent with a Swallow attack (preferably right at the end of the ledge). Once you have them, it's as easy as walking off the side and dropping off the screen. If they struggle fast enough, they can break free before you have a chance to drop off, but then it sets them up for a nice F-tilt or Vulcan Jab (A). Then again, if they struggle and break free after you're off the ledge, they will drop downward as Kirby moves up slightly, practically guarenteeing a Self-Destruct for them and survival for Kirby.

If they do not break free by the time you drop off the bottom of the stage, you will both Self-Destruct. However, characters larger than Kirby will Self-Destruct before he does. This means that even if they're still caught in your mouth when they die, you will have a fraction of a second to jump back to the ledge. Keep in mind that when a victim Self-Destructs or breaks free of the Vacuum, Kirby is given all his jumps back and can usually make it back to practically any ledge.

Surviving after the Vacuum Kirbycide can be tricky, as the smaller the character is the less likely you are to survive. Always assume that you will be going down with your opponent and surviving a Vacuum Kirbycide is just an added bonus.

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Do-it-Yourself Kirbycides
Over the course of playing Kirby at various tournaments and against various players, I've noticed - to my amusement - that simply playing Kirby can confuse, annoy, or frustrate players to the point where they will inadvertantly put themselves into a position to be easily KO'd or will outright Self-Destruct by accident; all in an attempt to deal with Kirby's unconventional techniques. I have jokingly called these "Do-It-Yourself Kirbycides". Here are some D.I.Y. Kirbycides I've come across, and no doubt some of you other Kirby players out there will recognize them too!

Ledgycides
Simply by "ledge camping" you can frustrate your opponent to the point where they will literally start to try anything to get you off that ledge. On more than one occassion I've seen characters hurl themselves off the ledge and realize too late that they cannot get back up or were suprised to see Kirby suddenly Air Guarding or Edge Hogging them. The more you hang around ledges, the more likely you'll see a Captain Falcon fly past you and over the edge with a Raptor Boost, or a Falco fall to his doom with an accidental Falco Phantasm. Good stuff.

Un-Swallowcides
Swallowcides can be great, but timing your jump so you don't Self Destruct along with your victim can be difficult. Well, the Un-Swallowcide fixes that problem in a cinch! Once in a while after I've Swallowed someone, I will hear them mashing buttons in an attempt to break out. In response, I Copy or Star-Shot them over the ledge and they Air Dodge or otherwise Self-Destruct before they realize it. This is, of course, random luck and bad break-free technique on your opponents part, but funny none-the-less.

Follow-the-Leader
When Kirby gets hit off the stage, many characters will take the opportunity to jump off after him in an aggressive manner. As you're making your way back and see what they're trying to do, you can drop down really far, even going off the bottom of the screen at Final Destination. As you do so, you're forcing your opponent to choose between following down after you, or turning back and recovering. If their timing is off, they'll drop too far and will be unable to make it back up. I always make sure to laugh evilly after they Self-Destruct and Kirby floats all the way back up to the stage.

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2. Kirby Mind Games
Moving toward your opponent and attacking as soon as you get close might be a good strategy when fighting players of lesser capabilities, but in order to compete with more advanced players you'll have to deal with "Mind Games". These are tricks and techniques that players use in order to throw the other player off balance, equivalent to feints and such in a real fight.

Mind Games can be as simple or complex as needed, but as long as they induce a moment of vulnerability they have done their job. In this section, I will go over various movements and techniques you can use with Kirby for your Mind Games.

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Dashes
There are a few basic things to expect when an opponent dashes at you: a Grab, an Aerial attack, or a ground attack (including Dash Attacks). In response, the defender has a few basic options, such as Dodging a Grab, Shielding an Aerial, or a "riposte" (attacking first). Knowing this, you can use their presumptions against them by dashing at them, stopping your dash, and then not doing anything. This allows you to watch their response and move in quickly as they are vulnerable.

You can stop your dash very quickly by crouching. You can use the downward direction to lead into other things, such as a defensive Kirby Crouch or to prepare for an attack, such as D-smash or D-tilt. You can use the C-stick to quickly attack from a crouch-cancelled dash, allowing you to stop and Smash in any direction. An alternative to a crouch-cancel could be a "stomp" - that is, Sliding straight down so you stomp on the ground and stop in place.

Another useful way to cancel a dash is with a jump. This can obviously lead into an Aerial if you think they were expecting a Grab, for instance, but it can also lead into an upward attack. As an example: if you dash at someone you can use Up on the control stick to "jump cancel" your dash and use the Up direction to lead into a U-smash or Final Cutter.

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Jumps

Floating Tactics

When an opponent sees Kirby jump at them, they very much expect to see an Aerial of some sort. Use this presumption against them and jump again. More often than not, you will see them shield, and, most likely, they are used to facing characters that will have, at most, one additional jump. Kirby, on the other hand has five Air-Jumps and you can stay in the air as their shield deteriorates.

From there, players will recognize that holding their shield is not feasible and will try to attack Kirby as he descends. Since Kirby has plenty of jumps, just jump again, then Fast Fall as they lag from their attack and hit them with an Aerial or other attack of your choice. It's important to remember that it looks more likely that Kirby will attack when he Fast Falls his jump at an opponent - that's when they're more likely to attack, allowing you to jump up to evade, and then come in with a Fast Fall for your real attack.

False Jumps
A good way to test your opponent and evaluate his responses is to jump at them from an obviously far distance away. You're too far away to be a threat and too far away to be hit, but this could still goad your opponent into going offensive allowing you to come in for a quick attack.

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Slides

Mobile Crouching

Sliding is one of Kirby's special mind games. This is mostly because he is flat for most of the slide, which combines perfectly with The Kirby Crouch. You can stay on the ground and slide back and forth, moving in and out of attacks so your opponent doesn't know which way you'll go next, all the while remaining hard to hit. This technique works well on characters who rely on precise hits and stringing combos together, such as Fox, Falco, Sheik, Falcon, and Ganon.

Retreating Slide
A very simple, and effective, technique. Move aggressively at your opponent, usually with a Dash, and then slide backward. This will move you out of range of attacks and allows you to quickly come in for an attack, especially a Grab. If you're lucky, you can slide back and execute a Hammer to catch an advancing foe and sweet-spot them for a strong attack.

Advancing Slide
Similar to the above, but instead of looking aggressive, you can use this when your opponent thinks you're more of in a defensive posture. Slide forward and execute a quick attack, such as a F-tilt, D-tilt, Jab, or Grab.

Fake False Jump
Short Hop at your opponent, but from a distance where it's obvious you'll be out of reach from any Aerial attempts, just as you would with a "False Jump" (above). This time, however, as you come down in front of your opponent, do a Landing Slide toward them and immediately attack. This movement is quick and deceptive, and you can take your opponent by suprise especially considering how quickly Kirby's F-tilt can hit and how far a D-tilt can reach.

You can also use this technique up-close. Start off by dashing at your opponent, then cancel it by Short Hopping backward. This by itself could unbalance your opponent, but in case it didn't, you still can still Fast Fall to the ground and use a Landing Slide to move back toward your opponent. From there, he'll most likely be taken off guard - you can Grab him if he has a shield up, or hit him if he's lagging from any dodge or attack he might have tried.

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Dodges

Everybody should know that Kirby has one of the best Rolls in the game. It's quick and distracting, goes a good distance, and doesn't leave him as vulnerable to attacks as other characters' Rolls can. Learning to use Rolls with Kirby is important for getting in close or making it difficult for your opponent to hit in the right direction or proper distance.

Basic Sidestep Fakeout
This is an obvious and basic use for a dodge, but very effective and is harder to do "punish" than the more extravagant facades. Simply move in as if you're going to attack, whether using a Dash, Slide or whatever. If your opponent is the aggressive type, his attack can be predicted and right before he hits simply sidestep. Kirby's Sidestep is fast and he recovers from it quickly enough to hit with a tilt or maybe even a Smash. This works very well on characters with predictable attacks with notable lag, such as Roy, Marth, and Link.

Basic Retreating Dodge
Move toward your opponent and roll away. The benefits to using this rather than a Retreating Slide is that it lasts longer, covers more distance, and evades attacks in the process. Because of its distance and duration, it has less offensive options than a Retreating Slide, but works well if you find your opponent coming in much closer than a Retreating Slide can cope with.

Basic Advancing Dodge
Purposefully move into reach of your opponent's attack and roll forward. Chances are this will position you directly behind them as they lag, allowing for any manner of ground-based attack to be unleashed on them. This works especially well on laggy characters, or players who like to use stronger attacks in a predictable manner.

Dashing-Roll
I have to admit, I stole this one from my brother's Pichu because was so irritatingly effective. Much to my delight, it works well with Kirby too. Just dash at your opponent; more than likely they don't care - seriuosly, Kirby (and Pichu) don't look all that threatening - and most often they'll try to hit you as hard as they can, only to find that you have just Rolled through the attack and behind them leaving themselves vulnerable to all sorts of mischief. This tactic works very well with Kirby and Pichu because they are small, quick, and their Rolls look deceptively like they're still dashing forward. If you're having trouble executing a forward roll while dashing forward, my suggestion is to hold the L-button and use the C-stick to do the rolling.

Air-Dodge Facade
Move in for an aerial advance. If you suspect your opponent will try to attack first (often seen with Marth), switch your offense to defense and Air-Dodge through the incoming attack. You can technically Air-Dodge in any direction, so don't limit yourself to Air-Dodging in place. Instead, aim toward the ground or go behind your opponent. This will cut down on the time you stay in the air and/or better position yourself for a counter attack.

A very quick jump with a diagonal Air-Dodge toward the ground can cancel out the usual lag you get from Air-Dodging when you touch the ground. This is known as a "Triangle Jump" and is useful for getting close to opponents that have a longer reach than Kirby. The timing has to be very precise, as there's little room for error, which is probably why you don't see this otherwise useful technique very often.

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Miscellaneous

Failed Throw Suprise
When Kirby does a B-Throw or F-Throw, the opponent can break free in the middle of being thrown. When this happens, the opponent can be taken by suprise. Take advantage of his vulnerability by launching a quick attack (usually a B-air) before they realize where they are and what is happening.

Vulnerable Vacuum
It's quite easy to miss with Kirby's Swallow (Neutral-B). When this happens, Kirby is at a disadvantage because the Swallow has a terrible lag that can allow an opponent to come in for an attack. Sometimes the best thing to do is just to keep the attack going; your opponent will likely rush in for an attack rather than taking his time and working around the Swallow. You'd be suprised how often they'll just run right into it and get Swallowed in the process.

Kirby's Slow Hammer
When you know your opponent knows you can hit them and all they have time for is a defense, swing a Hammer at them. Most of the time they will try to sidestep, which defends against Grabs as well as any tilt Kirby might throw at them. Kirby's Hammer, however, is so slow that the timing is perfect for them to sidestep too early and get hit right when they're vulnerable again.

Kirby's Slow Stone
Similar to the above, but with the Stone instead of the Hammer. This is harder to pull off, but possible none-the-less. Jump over someone as if you're going to hit them with an Aerial, but drop on them as a Stone. The timing can usually catch a sidestep just like a Hammer can; sometimes just seeing the Stone used will confuse an opponent as they aren't really sure what you're doing or what the timing of it is. This can result in shields being dropped, or an attack launched just as the Stone crashes down on them.


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3. Tactics & Strategies - AKA How to play "Cheap"
Let's face it, Kirby is not by any means a great fighter. There are plenty of other characters that can run faster, hit harder, combo better, and pretty much do anything else better than Kirby. In fact, the only thing Kirby is especially good at is fighting dirty. His movement is erratic, his attacks distruptive, and even his taunt can drive people over the edge. The following are statements of reassurance that if you're opponent is getting annoyed, then you're playing Kirby the right way. :laugh:

A Note on Kirbycides
If you know you can get away with a Kirbycide, go for it! Do not hesitate to lose a Kirby stock if it's advantageous to do so. Stock to Kirby isn't nearly as precious as it is to Fox, Marth and other uber-tier characters. Make sure to practice surviving Swallowcides since it makes the loss all the more bitter for your opponent. Be prepared for accusations of being cheap or outbursts of anger. Make sure to smirk and/or chuckle at such responses.

The Kirby Crouch
Crouching with Kirby is one of his best defenses. So many attacks will simply go right over his head that even I am suprised once in a while when my Kirby avoids being hit simply because I was crouching. Make sure to crouch plenty and often, especially against opponents unfamiliar with Kirby because they'll likely have to spend valuable fighting time just figuring out which attacks will actually hit you! Use plenty of D-tilts when they come within range to further add to the frustration, and when they finally develop some sort of strategy to cope with The Kirby Crouch, throw a monkey wrench into their plans such as Sliding away or under them, or just jumping up and hitting them as they approach. Lavish the way Ganon players are always suprised when a Side-B goes right over Kirby's head.

Ledge Camping
We all know that a ledge-hanging Kirby can be annoying and effective on the ledge, so if you're opponent is having difficulties dealing with it, by all means exploit it for as long as you can. This works especially well on characters without projectiles or a long reach. Keep in mind that even the smallest of mistakes with a Final Cutter on the ledge can lead to disaster.

Deadly Death Maneuvers
So far, there are three Deadly Death Maneuvers. The Death to Marth Maneuver, the Death to Captain Falcon Maneuver, and the Death to Bowser Maneuver.

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4. Character Match-Ups

It is a sad, but true fact: Kirby has very few favorable match-ups. Most characters will have an advantage against Kirby or will outright counter him. The one thing going for Kirby is that most players won't know how to deal with a Kirby. They don't know how his attacks work or exactly what will happen when they come in for an attack. Because of this, you can take advantage of your opponent's unfamiliarity early in the game - he is trying to figure out how to deal with a Kirby while you already know what to expect from his character.

Here is a list of characters organized from top to bottom going from "Easy" to "Hard"

Character --> Kirby's Advanges --> Kirby's Disadvantages
Easy
No One
Medium
Kirby --> He's Light, Weak, and Slow... --> ...so are you
Pichu --> Very Light Weight --> Nasty Edge Guarding; Strong Smashes
Mewtwo --> Light Weight, Slow, Easy to Hit --> Hard to Air-Guard
Bowser -->Easy to combo & Kirbycide; Deadly Death Maneuver --> Kills Kirby at low percentages, Up+B
Zelda--> None --> Hard to Air-Guard; F-smash, B-air, and F-air; Turns into Sheik
Yoshi --> No Up-B jump --> Knockback; Weight
Donkey Kong --> Easy to Combo & Kirbycide --> Kills Kirby at low percentages; Reach/Power
Roy--> Fairly easy to combo & Edge guard --> Reach; Kills Kirby at low percentages; He's not Marth
Hard
Link--> Air/Edge-Guarding; Laggy --> Sword Reach; Projectiles; Weight
Young Link--> Slight Lag --> Sword Reach; Projectiles; Aerials
Game & Watch --> Light Weight --> Reach & Knockback
Pikachu --> Fairly light --> Hard to Air-Guard; His U-smash and N-air; Thunder Jolts
Ness --> Air/Edge-Guarding --> Reach; Strong hits; PK Thunder/Fire
Mario --> Easy to Edge Guard, Lacks KOing oomph --> Fireballs; Good Aerials; His Smashes
Dr. Mario --> Easy to Edge Guard; Short Reach --> Pills; Strong Hits
Captain Falcon --> Kirby Crouch, Deadly Death Maneuver* --> Kills Kirby at low percentages
Ganondorf --> Kirby Crouch;Combos; Kirbycides --> Kills Kirby at low percentages
Peach--> None --> Turnips; Aerials; Recovery; D-smash discourages Kirby's crouch
Sheik--> Kirby Crouch --> Needles, speed, combos
Ice Climbers--> Nana's stupidity --> Strong Smashes; Ice Shot/Blizzard
Jigglypuff--> Lightweight; Bad Vertical Recovery --> Aerial supremacy; Hard to Kirbycide
Samus --> None --> Projectiles; Smashes; N-air; Weight; Recovery; Crouch Cancel Counter
Very Hard
Marth--> Deadly Death Maneuver* --> Kills Kirby at low percentages; Sword Reach; Combos; Spike
Luigi --> Easy to Edge Guard --> His Aerials and Combos own Kirby; hard to combo; Fireballs
Fox--> Easy to Juggle; Air/Edge-Guarding --> Speed; U-smash; U-air; Shine; Lasers
Falco --> Easy to Juggle; Air/Edge-Guarding --> Speed; D-air; Shine; Lasers

*Those unfamiliar with Kirby can easily lose one (or more) stock due to these tactics.

Note that the middle of the list isn't where the "even" matches are - that starts around Kirby vs Kirby and anything above that is unfavorable to Kirby.


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Appendix i.
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Team Battle

Kirby can make an excellent ally in Doubles tournament play. He is small and weak, which makes it unlikey for him to KO or be KO'd by his partner. Anyone who has been hit by Ganondorf, smashed by Marth, or shot by Samus can attest how useful this is. Additionally, Kirby's evasive maneuvers can make him especially hard to hit when there are three other fighters in the fracas. If it weren't for his light weight and tendancy to Kirbycide, he'd make an excellent "Life Tank" (staying alive and letting your parter take stock from you if they run out).

Interestingly, the worst of Kirby's attack get a big boost in multiplayer. Final Cutter can tear through multiple opponents and knock them back. The Hammer's slow start-up isn't so crippling when no one is paying attention to you, and even the Stone has a chance to hit! If your partner helps out, such as holding someone in place while you swing your Hammer or by clearing opponents away to let you revert out of Stone, Kirby's special attacks aren't as terrible as they usually are.

One thing you really have to rethink in Doubles in contrast to Singles is Kirbycides. One-on-One, you can theoretcically Kirbycide your opponent to death, but in doubles you can't really expect to get away with that when facing twice the number of stock. When a Kirbycide results in a loss of your own Stock, that's one less life you could use to help out your partner or to share if they run out of their own. In general, it's best to only Kirbycide when you're damage is high and you know you can get away with it.

Teammate Synergy
Kirby works best with heavy-hitters. This is because these types of characters don't have to worry so much about accidentally hitting Kirby so they can use their strongest attacks with abandon. Also, strong attacks are more likely to get an opponent off the stage quickly where Kirby can take over, Air-Guarding to his heart's content and freeing his partner from the job.

Characters that fit the "heavy-hitter" description include Ganondorf, Bowser, Samus, Zelda, Marth, Roy, and Captain Falcon. Interestingly, a good number of those characters aren't good at Air-Guarding, and only Marth and Roy are particularly good at Edge Guarding. Samus is a good choice because Kirby can stay close to the ground, crouching under missiles and striking anyone who comes close. Samus is also heavy, which increases the damage she does when Star-Shot, not to mention she's got a very good ability to Copy.

When working with weaker teammates, such as Peach, Jigglypuff, Young Link, and the like, Kirby's main job is to build damage, stay alive, and keep one opponent busy. Even though these types of characters are considered "weak", they're probably more likely to KO someone with an attack than you are, so let them go for the kills while you help build damage and stay alive.

New Uses for Old Attacks

Jab
Normally in 1-vs-1, the Jab is used as a quick, cautious attack. It has little lag that lets you put pressure on a nearby opponent without leaving yourself entirely open. In 2-vs-2, the Jab can be used when a your ally is in close fighting quarters with one or both opponents. The jab can put an opponent into hitstun allowing your partner a chance to strike, and even thrown out blindly you still have a chance to interrupt a strong, slower attack that might have otherwise hit your ally.

Vulcan Jab
This has a special use in team battles when both your and your ally are still fighting and only one opponent is left (making the rest of the match effectively 2-vs-1). If your ally grabs the opponent, get just far enough away to hit them with the tips of your Vulcan Jab while they are caught in your opponent's Grab. The damage will be racked up as your ally pummels the opponent which makes it extremely hard to break free. Continue doing this until you can KO your opponent, usually with a Smash attack or ground Hammer. I've had opponents who just put down their controllers and give up during this technique.

Dash Attack
Kirby's Dash Attack is weak and lasts a while. This is much more beneficial in a doubles match when your ally can take the short amount of hitstun you inflict on one or more opponents as you plow through with your Burning fireball. It can also be used the same way as Jab, above, to interrupt an opponent's attack, such as when you know they're going for a Smash attack (or Falcon Punch or something) and you need to reach them before it lands on your ally.

Tilts
Keeping low to the ground while crouching is very effective in the fracas of a doubles fight. Kirby is easy to lose track of as the camera pans in and out, especially on larger levels, or level that have foreground objects like Dreamland and Kongo Jungle 64. This lets Kirby sneak in D-tilts to interrupt opponents, rack up damage, and knock them off the stage.

U-tilt is always good to set up a juggle or combo. Usually Kirby will go for B-air or U-air, but his partner can step in and take advantage of the situation. Combo'ing a U-tilt into, say, Falcon's Knee, Zelda's foot, Fox's U-air, etc, can be highly effective. Make sure your partner knows how to take advantage of this ahead of time.

Aerials
Kirby's aerial attacks are used generally the same in doubles as singles environments. One thing Kirby excells at is edge-hogging opponents that your partner has knocked off and guarding that ledge with ledge-dropped B-airs. Ledge-hopped D-air can put an opponent into a long hitstun, giving your partner a free hit should he be near by. In general, though, use f-air and b-air to distract opponents and herd them off the stage.

Smashes
Kirby's smashes still aren't great, even in doubles. D-smash works well to clear opponents away from you on both sides as it's a strong and quick smash in a semi-crouching posture. It's also a good way to edge-guard, of course.

Grabs & Throws
Kirby's Throws still aren't great, but he can hold and pummel an opponent and let his partner deliver a strong attack. Marth tippers, Jiggly rests, Falcon/Warlock/Giant Punch, etc, all work great. If your ally is familiar with Kirby's Throws, he can go for team combos with them. For instance, D-throw sends floaties up and near and fast fallers hit the ground. So you might D-throw a fast faller and tech chase to the right while your opponent guards the area to your left. Or you might U-throw and launch a floaty into the air while Falco sends them back down with a D-air spike.

Specials
Copy - This is a versatile attack with Team Attack on. First and obviously, you can have your partner run into your Swallow to get a free Copy ability. Falco, Sheik, Samus, and Mewtwo are all good choices. Some odd combos include using Sausages to fill up Game & Watch's bucket, or Ness' PK Flash to replenish his damage while he uses PK Magnet.

Star-shot - This is no longer limited to dealing 10% as an attack. You now have the chance to hit your opponent with his own ally! Alternately, you can shoot out your own ally and hit one or both opponents. Your ally is completely invulnerable as a star, and can break out and instantly react allowing him to go for aerial attacks on nearby opponents. Damage is based on weight, so if you parnter with heavy characters like Bowser, DK, Samus, Yoshi, or even Link and Falcon, you can use them as high-damage ranged attacks. This will often times take your opponents completely by suprise for some reason.

Swallow - As a risky maneuver, you can jump off the stage and Swallow your ally if they're out of jumps and falling to the bottom of the screen. Once you catch them in your mouth, you can Copy (or Star-shot if applicable) them and launch them into the air, restoring all their jumps. There's a bit of lag after using this, so either don't use it too far below the stage, or judge if giving up a stock to save your ally is worth it.

Final Cutter - This attack becomes more useful with multiple opponents because it has the ability to knock opponents away without losing any force. Also, if your partner is edge hogging, you can land a Final Cutter on a platform, e.g. at Battlefield, and send a projectile over his head making it more difficult for the opponent to recover over top of your ally's edge hog. Sending a Final Cutter projectile into the midst of a fracas can help clear out both opponents while doing minmal damage to your ally, breaking combos and giving your partner a chance to escape.

Hammer - Though it's more likely to land a Hammer on an opponent in doubles due to the distraction of multiple players, it's still not a great option. Using this on an opponent who's been grabbed by your ally is a good way to pack a whallop - just make sure to distance yourself correctly!

Stone - The uses for this attack is still pretty much the same as in 1-vs-1. However, opponents tend to flock to Kirby while he's in his Stone, either to grab him or hit him when he reverts. Your ally can take advantage of this distraction and hit with a strong attack (if Kirby is still a Stone) or for a weaker attack (if he's been grabbed).


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Appendix ii.
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Free-For All

New section to be added later.

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Appendix iii.
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In-Depth Move List

Neutral-A (Jab)
Frames: 17
Hits: 3 - 4
IASA: 16

Simply standing still and hitting the A button repeatedly will send out a Vulcan Jab - a volley of punches that can hit multiple times in a second. The main use for this is when you have a chance to attack on short notice but your opponent is not off-balance and has a chance to defend. By using this, you have a higher liklihood to land your attack before your opponent can either attack or defend, and if they defend with a Sidestep Dodge or a Shield, the Vulcan Jab can be continued. This will push them back, and most likely score a couple hits on them. Make sure you know the best time to stop because if you just stand there punching away, your opponent will be able to recover and come in for another attack. You can follow this up with a Down-Tilt once your opponent has been pushed back too far.

Straight
Frames: 20
Hits: 3-4
IASA: 17

Vulcan Jab
Frames: 30
Hits: 2-3, 6-7, 10-11, 14-15, 18-19
IASA: ?

Dash Attack
Frames: 63
Hits: 9-43
IASA: 60

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Tilts

Down-Tilt (D-tilt)
Frames: 29
Hits: 4-7
IASA: ?

Since you'll be crouching often, this attack will come naturally. Kirby sweeps out his foot, which stretches out to a nice range. This can be used to interrupt incoming attacks before they hit, or to stop a dashing opponent before they can grab or come to a halt. This attack works very well as an Edge Guarding technique.

Forward-Tilt (F-tilt)
Frames: 32
Hits: 5-8
IASA: 28

This attack might not look like much, but it is quick with a respectable range. This can be used much like the Down-Tilt, but it has more horizontal knockback which can be utilized to shove an opponent over the ledge, or even go for a KO if you have built up enough damage on them. Positioning the Analog Joystick slightly upward can catch airborne opponents. A downward angle can also be executed, but it is rarely used since Kirby is already close to the ground.

Up-Tilt (U-tilt)
Frames: 23
Hits: 4-7
IASA: ?

If you can get an Up-Tilt hit on someone with light damage, it makes for an excellent setup for a Juggle. You can usually pull off multiple Up-Tilts in a row, which will knock your opponent upward. When they get far enough away to pull out of the Juggle, use a jump to continue the attack with an arial (Back-Air and Up-Air work well).

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Aerials

Neutral-Air (N-air)
Frames: 79
Hits: 10-34
IASA: 50
Auto-Cancel: 9, 38
Lag: 15
L-Cancel: 7

This attack can look very pathetic. It has practically no range and the damage inflicted isn't very much, but, regardless, it can have suprising effects when used correctly.

First of all, it starts quickly; the moment you push the A-button is practically when this attack launches. This can interrupt the slower, more powerful attacks that other characters would just love to land on Kirby. Secondly, the lag after landing with this is very minimal allowing you to execute a follow-up attack or providing you enough time to defend against an incoming attack almost instantly. Thirdly, the knockback with this attack can be devestating on damaged opponents when they're off the ledge and attempting to recover. Sometimes all it takes is a weak attack to interrupt a recovery and get the KO.

Forward-Air (F-air)
Frames: 49
Hits: 10-11, 17-18, 25-26
IASA: 40
Auto-Cancel: 9, 38
Lag: 20
L-Cancel: 10
(Hitbox on the 1st & 2nd frame upon landing when not auto-canceled)

At first this may seem like a weak attack, even with the multiple hits, but upon further analysis its use will become obvious. The first two weaker hits come out fast and can interrupt an opponent's attack before they have a chance to strike and the third kick has a respectable knockback, even to the point of KOing them at a high enough percentage. There's also a "hidden" fourth attack upon landing on the ground. Short-Hopping this attack is very useful, especially against characters taller than Kirby, of which there are plenty.

Back-Air (B-air)
Frames: 43
Hits: 6-20
IASA: 36
Auto-Cancel: 5, 28
Lag: 15
L-Cancel: 7

The reason this move is so handy for Kirby is because it can sometimes feel stronger than his Smash attacks. A solid hit from a back kick can send your opponent flying away from you, and is often times the best way of KOing a highly damaged opponent. The lag on this attack is short, so you can actually pull off multiple back kicks before ever touching the ground. A sudden short-hopped back kick can hit your opponent before they can react, and the range you get with this can keep you safely away from a Grab that a lot of Shielded arials get caught with.

There are a couple ways to take your opponents by suprise with this attack. You can play tricky by jumping in at an expected position to attack only to jump or fast-fall instead, leaving your opponent off-balance. You can also run under opponents (or Wave Dash under) as they jump for an arial of their own and counter with this attack before they can recover.

Up-Air (U-air)
Frames: 39
Hits: 11-13
IASA: 36
Auto-Cancel: 10, 17
Lag: 15
L-Cancel: 7

Though probably not used as much as the Back-Air, this attack can pack a whollop and send your opponent flying horizontally. It seems more difficult to hit with than other arials, but it works very nicely as a way to end a combo. In general, you'll be using this attack when an opponent is directly above you - it works great on opponents on platforms over your head, especially when they're just a short-hop away.

Down-Air (D-air)
Frames: 59
Hits: 18-19, 21-22, 24-25, 27-28, 30-31, 33-34
IASA: 55
Auto cancel: 17, 48

There is a short pause before this attack begins, so you have to get used to the timing on it. But once you do, you'll find this attack useful both for a damage-dealing attack and a Meteor attack. Short-hop to D-Air and drill your opponent; hit the L, R, or Z button when you hit the ground to cut your attack lag in half and you're all set to move into a combo: Up-Tilt to set up a juggle, F-Tilt to knock your opponent away, a Throw (against a shielding opponent), Smash Attack (to finish off a highly-damage opponent), or a defense (against an opponent that defended against you or that you missed).

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Smashes

Down-Smash (D-smash)
Frames: 55
Hits: 7-22
IASA: 50

This attack is very useful. The startup is short, the lag isn't bad, it hits to both sides of Kirby, and it lasts long enough to get a hit in even against an opponent who is trying to Sidestep. The only reason I use the tilts more than this Smash is because they are just a little bit faster and reach a little bit farther, and when it comes down to it every little bit counts. The Down-Smash works great as a Edge Guarding technique, and can often knock your opponent far enough from the ledge to KO them.

Forward-Smash (F-smash)
Frames: 49
Hits: 13-21
IASA: ?

There're very few tricks involved in this smash. It's main purpose is to get a strong hit on someone, but you have to know when to or when not to use it because if you miss or are too slow, you leave yourself open. Even though you're more likely to KO someone with this than a Tilt due to its strength, I tend to get more KO's with my Tilts simply because there are more opportunities to get a hit in with them.

This attack can be angled in an upward or downward direction. The use for this is rather limited and I find I use it more on reflex than through calculated decision - mainly seen when an opponent is coming at me in front and slightly above. When used in this way, it has a suprising ability to help land a strong hit in on the advancing, airborn assailant.

Up-Smash (U-smash)
Frames: 49
Hits: 13-23
IASA: ?

Although this Smash has the potential to be powerful, the number of opportunities to use it safely are very small. Most of my Up-Smashes I get in right after a well-timed Sidestep so that I'm right next to my opponent and can sweetspot the Smash. Aside from such instances, you could always try to combo into it, such as from a d-air, but the startup lag on this attack makes it more likely that your opponent can get a hit on you first.

Often times I will use this Smash as someone comes in for an aerial attack and I need to make sure to knock them away for some elbow room. Although an Up-Tilt might be faster, the Up-Smash has a much wider arc of attack, which will make it much more likely to hit.

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Grabs

Grab, Standing
Grab, Dashing
Grab, Jump-Canceled
Grab, Dash-Canceled
Grab-Attack
D-throw
B-throw
F-throw
U-throw
Grab, Broken
Grab, Break-Free

Grabbing and Throwing your opponent works great and are quickly executed after evading an attack, especially when your opponent has little time to do anything more than put up a Shield. The lag afterward if you miss isn't too bad, especially when you Jump-Cancel a Dash Grab.

The Throw you'll probably want to do most in this instance is Up. The main reason is that your opponent can easily break out of a Back or Forward Throw at low percentages, and some characters can recover from a Down Throw fast enough to score a Neutral-Air hit on Kirby. After an Up Throw, the opponent will pop up and you can sometimes follow up with further attacks.

If you use a Forward or Backward Throw, and your opponent breaks free, try to turn this to your advantage. There will be a small window of opportunity where your opponent is momentarily unware of what has happened or is undecided on what to do. Most of the time, the opponent will be on the ground, either in front of or behind Kirby, and Kirby will be in the air after the failed throw. Most of the time you can get a free hit on someone, most likely a B-Air, because they're unlikely to have a Shield up after this. Another tactic is to try to get to the ground as quickly as possible, which might set you up to hit with a Tilt, or, at the least, give you a chance to defend against an attack a quick opponent might be ready to use on you.

Make sure to push the A-button after grabbing an opponent to score a few hits on them before the Throw. Punish people who do not try to break free after being grabbed this way, but make sure to get your Throw in - your opponent can break free quickly at low damage. For more information on Kirby's Thows, see the "Meteors, Spikes & Kirbycides" section.

-----------------------
Special Attacks

Side-B (Hammer)
(Facing Left)
(Aerial Hammer)
On the ground, the Hammer is slow, laggy, and easily defended against. It doesn't even have a good amount of Knockback unless you hit with the tip of it, which is difficult to do. So what good is it?

Well, in the air the start up is much faster, covers a wider area and is harder to defend against, but it has less damage. It's really handy this way as an offensive means of getting into a combo. Jump at your opponent and execute an Arial Hammer. If your opponent doesn't defend against it, they'll take about 2% damage per hit and sets them up for a combo (such as Up-Tilt). A Sidestep Dodge won't help much as the attack usually lasts longer than the Dodge will protect them. A Shield can help, but many times the Hammer will come up from behind as you land and hit their feet disrupting them anyway. Many times the Hammer will hit because the opponent drops their Shield to go in for a counter attack as Kirby lands thinking he is vulnerable and will wind up getting hit as the Hammer slowly winds down.

There are still a couple more uses for the Hammer, besides bringing a nasty end to a sleeping Jigglypuff. You can Ledge Hop into an Arial Hammer disrupting Edge Guarders. See the section on "Edge Gaming With Kirby" for more information. One final trick, best used against advanced players, I call "Kirby's Slow Hammer". When it would be preditcable for you to attack, such as dashing in for a Grab, simply switch tactics at the last second and swing a Hammer instead. With any luck your opponent will expect a faster attack and execute a Sidestep Dodge. The startup of the Hammer will be just slow enough to outlast the Dodge so that it will hit right when they're lagging from the defense.

Neutral-B (Swallow)
In his games, this is Kirby's main shtick which he uses to Copy his opponent's attacks. In Melee, however, the move has a slow start up and a laggy end, and more often than not Copying your opponents Neutral-B attacks just won't be worth it. After Vacuuming someone up, you can push Down, or the B-button, to Copy their Neutral-B attack (8% damage) or you can push the Z-button and spit them back out as a star (10%) damage. Note that you can hit things/players when you spit an opponent out; the damage dealt is dependant on how heavy the character getting spit out is (about 16% on the average).

You can move around, albeit very slowly, after Vacuuming someone; you can even Jump once, though it's short and slow. The amount of time someone is caught in your mouth is greatly reduced if they're wiggling their joystick and pushing buttons. This can be bad because they can break free before you have a chance to do Copy or spit them out, but it's hilarious when they break free and end up killing themselves by executing an attack that sends them over the ledge or sets them up for a Smash Attack.

This is a tricky attack to use effectively, and the only thing you can do to get the feel of it is simply use it when the time is right. This may sound stupid, but it's true; if you try to force a Swallow on a capable opponent, they will most likely see it coming and maneuver into a position to get a free hit on you. If you wait until an opportunity presents itself you will be more more likely to take your opponent by suprise and suck them in.
Some tips:
You can usually get a Swallow pulled off by jumping at your opponent and executing the attack in the air. The reason this works is mostly dependant on them predicting an aerial attack (which you should be doing much more than a Swallow); often times they will put up their Shield in defense only to realize too late that it won't work.
Also, sometimes you may not want to stop vacuuming when you've missed or your opponent has rolled away or moved out of the way. Often your opponent will try to get an attack on you whilre you're "vulnerable" only to be pulled in as they attack! Yes, you can even catch people who attack you from behind sometimes, which can always make taking the chance worth the risk.

This move works great as a Kirbycide. See the section entitled "Meteors, Spikes, & Kirbycides".

Up-B (Final Cutter)
This is a move taken from Sir Kibble in the Kirby games. As a direct attack it really makes Kirby vulnerable because you're caught in an upward to downward strike that lasts long enough to give your opponent time to formulate the proper counter measures. If you are hit while executing this move, keep in mind that you may not have any jumps for recovery.

The speed and range of this attack helps make up for its lag. Since you can change direction and move forward or backward (slightly) while starting this move on the ground, you have a little bit of mobility to use. A lot of times you'll be able to catch people by suprise who think that they're a safe distance away only to be caught by it unexpectantly, or who come in for an attack only to find you've move slightly away. This isn't always the case, so it's use as an attack isn't highly suggested, though it works pretty well in multiplayer brawls.

Most Kirby players will agree that the Final Cutter is mainly reserved as a recovery technique. It brings Kirby up quite a distance improving his verticle recovery. You can also use it as a quick descent so you land right in front of the ledge and grab ahold of it, and anyone nearby will risk getting hit by the downward-arcing blade. Or, from the ledge, you can quickly release your grip (away on the Analog, or down on the C-stick) and execute a suprise Final Cutter which you can follow up by landing on the ground or returning the saftey of the ledge. These techniques take precision, and you must be warned that even a minor miscalculation can spell doom.

Down-B (Stone)
There is little to say about the Stone's place in a competative environment since its startup is slow, has noticeable lag, is hard to use against a competant player, and leaves you vulnerable to a Grab while you sit helplessly on the ground. Because of this, the Stone will not be especially useful for offensive purposes, but can be used to drop faster (cancelling horizontal movement after you've been hit, for example). You can cancel your Stone by pushing the B-button again, and a handy tip is to do so after falling past the edge of the stage so you pop back up out of the Stone and sweetspot into a Ledge-Grab.

One on one, the best offensive use for the Stone in a given fight - if ever - is simply as a suprise attack. This is best accomplished while your opponent overextends themself during an aerial combo, allowing you to drop suddenly on their head as they attempt to juggle you.

It's worth noting that I have managed to pull off Stone attacks in a couple other ways. When an opponent rushes at me and I suspect a Dash Attack I can jump up and come down right as they attack and are helpless to defend. The other trick is the Stone's equivilant to "Kirby's Slow Hammer". That's right, all you have to do is come in for an attack. Your opponent might suspect the usual Arial attack but you execute "Kirby's Slow Stone". The startup lag can cause your opponent to read it as an aerial attack, and if they attempt a Sidestep, they can miss the timing and end up getting struck a moment later by the Stone attack. This is definately not an attack to repeat with any frequency whatsoever since its not always guarenteed to work even on a previously unsuspecting victim.

If you're ever caught on the ground in Stone form with your opponent ready to strike there's very little you can do. If your opponent attempts a Grab, it is almost assured to be successful. There's not much you can do about this except cancel your Stone and hope your upward movement disrupts their Grab.

Some people will strike right away with a strong attack (usually a Forward or Upward Smash) when they see a Kirby Stone. I've noticed this mostly happens as you drop and hit the ground, as if they take the cue from the sound Kirby makes when lands. If this is the case, don't cancel your Stone. If you wait half a second, they may strike you while you're still a Stone and give you the chance you need to break free and launch an attack or defense. This is mostly seen with players who have experience fighting Kirby and have seen him cancel out of his Stone attack quickly.

Finally, and sadly often, many people will correspond a charged Smash Attack so that they can hit with maximum power the moment Kirby is forced to break free of his Stone. As usual, your options are limited, but the worst thing to do is to sit there and wait for the inevitable. Break out of your Stone as soon as you see someone charging a Smash Attack so they don't get any more of a charge than they already have. If you're lucky, and your timing is precise, you can land an aerial on them before they have a chance to strike, or you might attempt an Air Dodge if they attack as soon as you return to normal. This is why it's usually a good idea to cancel your Stone attack well ahead of time, before you ever come close to touching the ground.

Miscellaneous Hitbox Data

Dodge, Rolling
Dodge, Sidestep
Dodge, Air
Shield (Guard on/off)
Shield, Light (Guard on/off)
Ledge, Attack
Ledge, Jump
Ledge, Roll
Ledge, Stand

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IV. End

Thanks go to Nintendo and HAL staff for making the best game on the GCN.
Props to Mr. Masahiro Sakurai for making Kirby; slops to the guy who nerfed Kirby in Melee.
Credit to my brother who mecilessly killed my Kirby countless times.

Thanks for reading - feedback is appreciated!
Thanks to:
t0mmy for critiques and suggestions
Aftermath for help with ver 1.0
Omnigamer for ver 1.0 feedback & stickification at SWF
This guide is authored by t!mmy. Any use of this document in part or in whole is a violation of copyright laws. If you would like to use this guide in any way, please contact the author. (SWF members, please send Private Message)

© 2005, t!mmy
 

Aftermath

Smash Champion
Joined
Mar 23, 2004
Messages
2,136
Location
Portland, OR
Wow, that is a lot of information just for Kirby. -Almost- makes me want to start playing him. Nice review of all his attacks and some different strategies he has. The edge-gaming section looks pretty viable, good job on making it really clear and concise. I'm not a kirby player really so I can't tell how much of the information is questionable, but it seems to make sense and seem like good advice. The kirbycides are too good.

very nice guide for beginners and vets as well, hope to see it get stickied.
 

Omnigamer

All the things
BRoomer
Joined
Jun 16, 2003
Messages
4,412
Location
Boston, MA
I haven't read all of it yet, but a few things I noticed that require some clarification/corrections:

The speed and range of this attack helps make up for its lag. Since you can change direction and move forward or backward (slightly) while starting this move, you have a little bit of mobility to use. A lot of times you'll be able to catch people by suprise who think that they're a safe distance away only to be caught by it unexpectantly, or who come in for an attack only to find you've move slightly away. This isn't always the case, so it's use as an attack isn't highly suggested, though it works pretty well in multiplayer brawls.

Most Kirby players will agree that the Final Cutter is mainly reserved as a recovery technique. It brings Kirby up quite a distance improving his verticle recovery. You can also use it as a quick descent so you land right in front of the ledge and grab ahold of it, and anyone nearby will risk getting hit by the downward-arcing blade. Or, from the ledge, you can quickly release your grip (away on the Analog, or down on the C-stick) and execute a suprise Final Cutter which you can follow up by landing on the ground or returning the saftey of the ledge. These techniques take precision, and you must be warned that even a minor miscalculation can spell doom.
There is a large difference in mobility between using a Final Cutter on the ground and using it in the air. You can move much further on the ground than in the air, and this increases its usefullness on the ground. It has a good deal of 1v1 uses, but it takes a large amount of practice and competitive experience to use correctly, so I'll just leave that out for now. Besides, it's really late, and I want to have this post finished in less than an hour :p

Otherwise, a huge, huge part of Kirby's recovery game is learning the proper positioning of Final Cutter when attempting to recover. Done correctly, it is extremely difficult to properly edge-gaurd Kirby, especially on opponents with little to no experience against him. I've tried to explain it a number of times before, but most people are best off seeing it as an example in videos. Basically, it just involves positioning Kirby adjacent to the ledge and starting a Final Cutter there so that the tip of the blade goes slightly above or under the ground beyond the ledge. The distance should be just right so that very few characters can actually reach you, and for those that can there are ways around it which I won't go into here. If done right, it should pop any waiting opponent up, then down, and you grab the ledge and can attack right out of it. Going from Final Cutter to the ledge (either through recovery or even straight from the ground) is an extremely usefull tactic, but still requires a good deal of experience to know exactly when to start the attack. But once it's down, it's very difficult to get through. A good deal of my tactics for gaining the advantage in a battle revolve completely on this strategy.

A few final notes, there's only a very short duration where the Final Cutter actually does damage on the downswing. The hitboxes last for about the same distance down as they did going up. So it would not be wise to try it higher than would be prudent.

Up-Smash
Everything that has been said about the Side-Smash can be said about this attack. Although this Smash has the potential to be powerful, the number of opportunities to use it safely are very small. Most of my Up-Smashes I get in right after a well-timed Sidestep so that I'm right next to my opponent and can sweetspot the Smash. Aside from such instances, you could always try to combo into it, such as from a d-air, but the startup lag on this attack makes it more likely that your opponent can get a hit on you first.
There's more to this attack than meets the eye. First of all, there are some times when you want the opponent to realize that you're using such a slow move. For example, even if they're a good few wd lengths away from you, start charging the usmash. From there, one of two things will happen.

1. They won't immediately notice and run right into it. Their loss.
2. They'll see it and wait just outside of attack range.

Obviously, #2 will happen much more often. But this is what you want. Coming out of a charged smash, the main thing people will try to do is run in and try too get a grab. But this is where the secret lies. Right after Kirby does an usmash, there's a few frames where he'll go into a crouching animation, much like his normal crouch, and most grabs will go right over. From there, you should have a small window to utilt/grab/dsmash/whatever while they're in lag. It's still a bit risky because the time that you're crouching isn't too large, but I managed to use this at a very recent tournament and it helped me to win the match.

I had some more I was gonna talk about, but I forgot what it was, and it's 3 AM. So g'nite and I'll try to get back with more later.
 

DeathscytheHello

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Also, as I noticed in your guide, you say that the Hammer can be used against a sleeping Jigglypuff. While this is true (and once was thought by me to be the best option), a fully-charged Up Smash can generally instantly kill that sleeping Jigglypuff at some damage... somewhere around 50%...
 

Omnigamer

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Even at low damages, a semi-charged usmash can lead to an utilit into uair.

Just remembered one other thing. Nair isn't actually that fast of an attack. Bair is one of the fastest attacks in the game, and both the fair and uair come out at the same time as nair.
 

SuperDoodleMan

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One of the fastest in the game? Frame 6 is fast, but there are many many attacks that are faster. Even as b-airs go, there are 6 that hit sooner than Kirby's, and 6 that hit just as soon.
 

t!MmY

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Thanks for the input, Omni. You're right about positioning the Final Cutter just right during recovery. I think you're right that it is best explained through demonstration as in a video...and through actual practice in matches. I can't wait to hear the rest of your comments, they're very much appreciated.

By the way, I found your use for Kirby's Up-Smash very cool. It is the perfect picture of how a good Kirby player can change things around in an instant; one moment you're thinking "easy throw" and the next, Kirby has slipped away and is counter attacking.
 

t!MmY

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DeathscytheHello said:
Also, as I noticed in your guide, you say that the Hammer can be used against a sleeping Jigglypuff. While this is true (and once was thought by me to be the best option), a fully-charged Up Smash can generally instantly kill that sleeping Jigglypuff at some damage... somewhere around 50%...
Lol. That part was mostly said tongue-in-cheek. It was mostly an indication that the use for the Hammer on the ground is about on par with encountering a sleeping Jigglypuff. For the record I will usually come in with a charged up-smash, too, but if I happened to feel the timing and distance was enough to allow a free shot with the Hammer, you bet I'd go for it. It's just so much more satisfying sending someone to their doom with a solid Hammer strike. :)
 

Buttcrust

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That's one hell of a guide. Great job. I think the arial hammer deserves its own section, though, to discuss the different types (reverse, normal, their effects, advantages, etc.).

Also, While you probably just want to be done with this, I think a little bit of match-up basics would be useful. Nothing to in-depth because that's all situation based on player style and such. Just simple strategies like for Jiggly don't d-throw unless Jiggly has at least 50% and spam the arial hammer to rack up loads of damage. If you don't know about a certain match-up there is certainly enough info on here to find it. Someone will know the match-up well, probably Omni can help you with all of them.

Omni, this should really be stickied.
 

Omnigamer

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SuperDoodleMan said:
One of the fastest in the game? Frame 6 is fast, but there are many many attacks that are faster. Even as b-airs go, there are 6 that hit sooner than Kirby's, and 6 that hit just as soon.
I meant to say "aerials" rather than "attacks", but meh, too late to take it back now. I just meant to emphasize its usefulness, but I didn't want to spend too much time going through your guide. Since when do you surf around the character forums anyway :p

*stickified*
 

Kirbymaster12

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Ah, interesting. Very good guide! I've seen better at Gamefaqs.com, but this is a post, of course. You put in more time to a faq cause it is a word doc first, the posted at a website. Anywhoo, are smash attacks those with the yellow stick or which one?
 

DeathscytheHello

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Kirbymaster12 said:
I've seen better at Gamefaqs.com
Yeah... no. See, though those guides may be set up well (and I'm being pretty generous on saying that), they contain nothing useful about playing Kirby well. Example- One guide says that the rock is possibly THE BEST move, and the other suggests using the forward smash several times.
 

RDK

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Lol, wow--Rock is the best move? I think not. Gimme some o' whatever he's smokin'...

Anyhoo, I really enjoyed that guide. I've been playing as Kirby for years, and I still found that edge-gaming part useful.
 

t!MmY

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Red Darkstar Kirby said:
I've been playing as Kirby for years, and I still found that edge-gaming part useful.
Thanks. The last addition I made to it was adding in some more details for the Swallow. But speaking of edge-gaming, I've been using a new technique that I've found to be useful... and it involves the Stone.

Basically, you can turn Kirby into a Stone sort of like you're going to be sweetspotting the ledge, but you do this when someone is recovering (usually from far down and vertically back up). You can drop straight down on them and there's little they can do about it because their mobility is restricted and if they Air Dodge they drop off the screen.

Yes, this works best on Final Destination, and often times you'll find it useful against Samus and Link who have a predictable grapple recovery. But it works great, if only because it feels nice to finally put that Stone to work. I've even hit Captain Falcon with this move and ricocheted him off the side of the stage and straight off the screen.

I'll be adding this to the guide the next time I update it.
 

Omnigamer

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That is an interesting way of using it... I had considered that at one time or another, but never tried to make much use of it. You have to be wary of having them too close to a wall though. Wallteching to save lives is becoming all-too-common in today's competitive smash community, and I'd much rather have a sure kill than a chance one involving a wall.
 

RDK

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I see what you mean--wall teching is risky business. :dizzy: But when you're in a sure-win situation, I guess it's alright.
 

MegaKirby9

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I've used Kirby for the past 5 years and have never hit any *human* player with Rock. Great anti-AI move, terrible melee attack.

It disappoints me that he's so limited. I got good with Kirby becuase he's my ultimate favorite character, but eventually realized that he lacks potential. I started using Jigglypuff a lot, thinking they would be similar, and it didn't take long after I got really good at the game to realize that she was the way to go.
 

DeathscytheHello

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MegaKirby9 said:
I got good with Kirby becuase he's my ultimate favorite character, but eventually realized that he lacks potential.
I'm sorry, but I just had a problem with this...

I've never, ever said that the character lacks potential. I don't believe that's true. In my opinion, there are no bad characters in this game, only bad players.

Basically, a great Kirby can beat any other character. Period. However, a great Sheik can do the same, as can a great Ganondorf, Marth, Falco, etc. It depends on the player entirely.
 

Omnigamer

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I can see where your opinion would lie if the ancient tier arguments were to arise.

But you must admit that Kirby is quite limited as a character. He lacks quite a bit of things, which isn't to say that he can't be made competitive, but it most certainly makes the road to getting there that much more difficult, and in the end not nearly as fruitful as would be with other characters. If you want to look at it as potential, then certainly Kirby has it, it's just that the other characters have more ^_^;
 

RDK

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I sure hope they un-**** Kirby for SSBR, or at least change him so he doesn't suck men. Sure, I like playing as him because it's fun to laugh in my friend's faces when I beat them with a low-tier character, but like Omnigamer said--it takes a lot of time.
 

DeathscytheHello

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Of course it takes a lot of time! Getting good with anybody takes a lot of practice and experience. If you want him to be a two-bit character, then just go to one of the other two-bit characters. Getting good is one of the fun things of the game. And playing as a low-tier character who has to constantly play on his/her toes, you gotta continue getting good to have a chance.
 

Buttcrust

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DeathscytheHello said:
Of course it takes a lot of time! Getting good with anybody takes a lot of practice and experience.
Sheik, Peach, and Marth? They are easy to get good with. They're hard to be great, like a Ken or Vidjo level, but if they weren't then there wouldn't be a Vidjo and Ken to talk about now would there? :D Kirby isn't as good as Marth or Fox, etc. but I also feel that any character can be great, it's more the player than the character choice.
 

g-regulate

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a good kirby really comes down to really good/cheap edgeguarding. imo kirby can keep anyone off the stage once their off, with few exceptions.
 

g-regulate

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i think that bair is just unstoppable off the ledge. you can reach almost anywhere off the stage and return safely, it has huge priority, it usually trades hits against marths upB! its just too good not to be taken advantage of.
 

t!MmY

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Yes, Kirby's edgeguarding is one of his few strengths, and should be a major part of any Kirby's gameplay. The B-air is almost a guarenteed KO when you flap out and hit someone as they're trying to recover. The D-air is really good, but the only thing keeping it from being better than the B-air is it can be Meteor Cancelled. Jumping out and Swallowing someone into a Kirbycide is a lot of fun, but obviously risky.

Teleporters (Mewtwo, Zelda/Sheik) are of course more difficult for Kirby to Edgeguard. Mewtwo's not so much of a problem since he's so light even Kirby can get a KO on him, but Zelda/Sheik offer more problems since you do not want them regaining their foothold. The best way I deal with them is to try to guess where they will be going rather than trying to intercept them in the air. If they teleport back to the stage, I can usually get a B-air, F-Tilt or smash on them; if I guess they're going for the ledge, an edgehog works well.
 

DeathscytheHello

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Yeah, I love edgeguarding with Kirby. Especially when I go for the coup de grace and decide (usually on the final stock) to just shame them by inhaling them instead of a normal bair. :chuckle:
 

t!MmY

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When you do Kirby's F-air, it looks (and sounds) like he does a triple kick, but when he lands on the ground there is one additional, albeit weak, attack. It has come in handy more times than I would have thought likely; sometimes if my opponent has managed to evade my F-air, they'll move in for a counter attack as I land and end up getting pushed back a tiny distance from this "hidden" attack which gives me enough time to recover from the lag to defend.

You can see a similar, but less "hidden" attack this way when Kirby does his D-air. The main focus of the attack is his feet drilling into the opponent, but as he lands there's an additional hitbox that will push the opponent away.
 

Wave⁂

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i think u forgot the use of swallow:
while edge guarding, continuously suck him up and spit him out.
becuase B has HIGH range, it is useful on almost anyone, to be finished off with a dair
 

Omnigamer

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That's not gonna work too well. There are 2 huge problems with that tactic:

1. Eating somebody gives them their jump back (it acts as a grab)
2. They can break out of the star immediately and be behind you and on the ground before you can do anything about it

Besides, if anything, it'll put them higher in the air than they started, which is a better position for most when recovering at all.
 

t!MmY

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The only time I edge guard with Swallow is when I jump off the ledge and suck them up which is the perfect setup for a Kirbycide. If you're thinking B-air an D-air are going to be better choices in most of the situations, then you're right. ;)
 

Wave⁂

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o thx.
i dont think im gonna do that on any humans 4 awhile.
how do u break out of star?
is it just move control stick a lot?
or is it A?
 

t!MmY

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You know, I don't have a lot of experience breaking out of the star, myself. :) From what I know of my opponents attempts, all they do is the generic "wiggle" - that is, I'm guessing moving the control stick and pressing buttons will get you out of a Star Shot whereas doing nothing will keep as a star for its entire duration.

Slightly off topic, I tell my teammates not to break out of the Star Shot if I accidentally Swallow them. I can usually use them to hit a nearby opponent. If I don't tell them ahead of time, they tend to jump out of it before they slam into anybody.
 

The Triscut

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Star-Shot

I don't use Kirby very often so I haven't had a chance to test this agains anyone good, but I found that if you get someone in your mouth while falling of hte stage it is really easy to shoot them under the stage and almost imopossibly for them to recover. I have only tested this on my friend who is bad at escaping from grabs and kirby's mouth so it may be too easy for the oponent to escape before you have time to reach the bottom of the stage.
 

Runt

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I like the dashing roll. But what i normally do is a dashing sidestep because of 2 reasons: The sidestep takes less time than a roll so u can act quicker once they finish the attack. And also when facing a character such as samus, marth, mario, link etc. if u roll around them and they use their d-smash your just gonna get hit on the other side when their d-smash comes around the other side. This used to happen to me alot but now it dosent.
 

Omnigamer

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Kirby Recovery Tip #2
As you're jumping back to the stage, you can use Kirby's F-air immediately after each Jump to extend his horizontal distance. It's more practical to do this with your first two or three Jumps since they benefit from it the most.
Gah, been a while since I've been able to look through this forum. Looks like you've massively redone your guide, and it looks very appropriate, but I haven't had much time to read things yet. This one thing caught my eye as I was skimming. Expect more as I get more time.

Unfortunately, Kirby's fair actually does not extend the distance any... I've tested this quite a few times with the same results. But that still doesn't weaken it as a tactic. I still recover using fairs in most cases simply out of habit. But it still sets up a small wall of defense for Kirby as he's recovering. Being not an incredibly maneuverable character, he'll have trouble avoiding spur-of-the-moment edge-gaurds with just normal jumps. Using fairs to recover will oftentimes catch a hasty or ill-prepared opponent as they try to intercept you, in which case you regain the upper-hand. It's nothing absolute, but any safegaurd for Kirby is a good thing. The only time I wouldn't recommend it is when you're below the ledge trying to get to a suitable position, as you won't gain any height from it. As a side note, it does control how quickly you can jump, so when recovering you'll recover in a straight horizontal line rather than your own timing. I guess this could be a way to maximize distance for those that haven't learned the correct spacing or count of the individual jumps yet.

Keep up the good work ^_^

Edit: Just saw this part:

Slightly off topic, I tell my teammates not to break out of the Star Shot if I accidentally Swallow them. I can usually use them to hit a nearby opponent. If I don't tell them ahead of time, they tend to jump out of it before they slam into anybody.
This was a tactic that Pyrogamer and myself came up with in Teams at FC3. He (as Peach, or occasionally Falco/CF) would get swallowed by me, at which time we would wait for an opponent to come within range. At this time, I would fire him out and he would connect with the opponent, knocking him up and away. An important note also is that the star itself has ultimate priority (similar to the beginning of Ness's pk thunder on himself) and you are essentially invincible while still a star. Anyway, after the star hits, the game goes into hitstun frames. During these frames, you can still input the breakout motions, so you can effectively break out immediately after connecting. From there, you travel the same trajectory as the hit enemy, so you can follow up with an appropriate attack (fair for Peach and CF, dair to pillar for Falco) that will be devestating in nearly all circumstances. We managed to get 10th at FC3 with this team combination/strategy, albeit only using this strategy as the situation allowed for (not too often).
 
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