Smash is a fighting video game that takes place on a variable arena. That arena is surrounded by a perfectly square boundary. If this boundary is crossed, that player will lose a stock. Thus it is every player’s goal to force their opponent outside of this boundary.
Above is the basic science of Smash Bros. What I will be discussing here is something much more in-depth: the physics of Smash Bros. There’s a difference between playing the game, and playing the game. To play this game at its maximum potential, you must understand the basic laws of war.
Positioning is the single most important factor in any battle. In Smash, you play on a limited surface. Falling off the surface thus increases the chances of you crossing the arena’s boundaries. Also, being in a posture where damage can be given to you will increase your chances as well. Here after, the word position will always be spoken in regards to the player’s current location on any given stage.
Because there are two players at any given time during a match, there will always be two positions. There are 5 basic factors that determine the strength of the player’s position:
1.) Direction. Which way is the player facing?
2.) Character. What character is being used? What is their range, speed, unique features, etc?
3.) Location. Where is the player in regards to the stage’s boundaries? Where is the player in regards to the opposing player? Where is the player in regards to stage obstacles (platforms, walls, etc.)?
4.) Action. What is the character’s current frame of action at the moment?
5.) Percentage. What is the current player’s percent?
A match is a battle for the better position. Remember this.
B. Adjusting Your Position
In any given match, two players are constantly moving in order to gain a better position. There are 3 basic ways to adjusting your position.
1.) Advancing – To close the gap in regards to distance between two players.
2.) Retreating – To expand the gap in regards to the distance between two players.
3.) Waiting – To base one’s own position on the opponent’s adjustment. Also to shield.
Note that adjusting your position does not necessarily give you better position. For example, in a Fox vs. Marth match, if a Fox adjusts his position onto the platform of Battlefield located directly above Marth he has weakened his position because he has become more vulnerable in this situation. After any adjustment, the rules of positioning apply as explained in the previous section.
C. What Adjusting Really Means
If you take into consideration everything that has been said, a player only has 3 options in any given situation: to advance, to retreat, or to wait. That’s it. Players do not adjust their position on a whim; there’s always a reason. What is that reason? I’m glad you asked.
The common smash player is impulsive. Remember this.
The common smash player reacts. When they are afraid, they retreat; when they’re confident, they advance. When a player feels vulnerable, they shield or roll; when a player finds their opponent vulnerable, they attack. Understanding this common law and abusing it is what separates the good from the regular. It’s impossible to improve your game if you play off impulse alone never attempting to look outside the box. I mean, there’s no excuse now: I’m showing you the outside of the god **** box.
How a player adjusts and adjusts to adjustments (reacts) says a lot about the person’s playing style. Understanding a person’s playing style is the first step to overcoming them. Smashers indirectly (sometimes directly) tell their opponent what kind of player they are when they adjust their position given a certain scenario. Essentially, there are a lot of kinds of styles; however, there are only 3 raw styles:
1.) The Assailant. Advances constantly. Rarely retreats.
2.) The Camper. Retreats constantly. Rarely advances.
3.) The Ambusher. Rarely advances or retreats fully.
Even then, you can go further. If the person’s style is that of The Assaliant is he reckless? Accurate? Predictable? It’s too bothersome to go into the combinations. The best smashers have no real combination, either; there’s a time and place to advance, retreat, and wait and they simply do it at those correct times. Some people can camp better then they can attack and vice versa. What’s important is that you recognize that its there.
D. Why Is This Important?
Everything said up to now is important if you want to have the mind of a great smasher. The first step to dominance in this game is understanding what you're up against. Character match-ups, for example, are essential to know, but they're not absolute. This is why Low Tier users are able to compete and even beat High Tier users; they are skilled in keeping good position and always leaving their opponent in bad positions.
And that's it. This is ALL you have to know in order to seperate yourselves from the mass. Practicing and mastering this concept is the essence of what we call "mindgames". It's the reason why your best friend always beats you. It's the reason why you always get grabbed. You're simply being outsmarted so stop letting it happen. You know everything your opponent can dish at you which means you know everything you can dish at your opponent; if you get bested, it will be simply because you guessed wrong or you were tricked, but knowing that you were tricked and seeing that trick is all that matters to improving your game.
Good luck. I hope this helped.