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What should I do about projectile approaches?


Smash Lord
Jul 5, 2013
When you're not looking, I'm there.
I played a match on Anther's today. I was dash dancing waiting for a mistake to be made and my opponent was a Falco. All he did was SHL on my dash dance. Even when I tried to approach he SHL'd and got enough time on the flinch for me to eat Shine - Dair for as long as he felt like it. My question is how should I deal with projectile approaches? Pikachu's Jolt, Falco's Laser, Pills, etc.


Smash Apprentice
Aug 26, 2015
The nature of projectiles allows characters with them to force their opponents to approach, but I'll be talking more specficially about Falco's lasers since they are widely considered to be the best projectile, and perhaps even the best neutral tool in the entire game. A lot of the knowledge you can apply to them can also be applied to other projectiles.

Falco's lasers pose a significant threat to Marth's usual pacing and control, but are not so overbearing that they "beat" Marth. You have to settle for the fact that if Falco is spamming lasers, your ground game will have to change to compensate. Falco's entire gameplan revolves around forcing you to play his game with lasers. Here are some things you can do to mitigate the negative effect of lasers on your ground game:

  • Develop laser defense patterns
    On flat stages like Final Destination, which do not offer platforms, you need to know exactly what you can do to avoid getting hit with a laser (which is not the only option; more later.) You have several options: Shield, short hop, full hop, counter, and in some cases crouch. It's safer to assume the Falco will always fire low enough to hit your crouch, and better to practice for it as well. Using your tools, you can piece together patterns to block consecutive lasers so that you can still maintain control while Falco fires, biding time for the opening you seek. Using your most versatile tools (shield and jump) are better because they allow you to avoid as many as you want if executed correctly. One of my most favorite patterns to use is shield -> short hop and fast fall -> dash away and powershield. This avoids 2 lasers and reflects one.

  • Use platforms to change your approach angle
    Often times you just need to vary your positioning to make it harder for Falco to get a bead on you. With platforms, you can bait Falco to stop firing or into a full hop laser to cover the platform you're on. You can react to each of these by changing your positioning again, repeating until you've effectively reshuffled both character's positions to a point where you are at the advantage.

  • Learn to act effectively out of laser stun
    Soaking the laser is sometimes a better option. Laser stun is rather short, but can scramble you up if you're too focused on your normal input patterns. For example, many new players react to getting hit by a laser with raising their shield by accident, and then in turn, going through the long and awful shield release animation only to get hit by yet another laser. If you find yourself getting hit, slow down and just keep moving. You can dash in between laser hits pretty well if you pay attention.
A good Falco player will vary the timing in which they choose to jump in, all while covering your options with a hail of lasers. Never forget that he controls the ground game more readily than you. Don't expect to do your usual dash dancing, D-tilts, or SHFFL F-airs. @Dr Peepee and his motto of "Less is more" is probably the most pronounced in this match up. There's a range that Marth can be in that pressures Falco without Marth even having to swing his sword. Imagine a donut about the width around Falco as he moves around to get an idea of where your threat is most effective. In other words, close enough to catch him with something like grab, but not too close for him to blow you up with D-air or shine. The reason lasers are so good is because they can keep Marth out of this "donut" shaped threat range unless the Marth knows explicitly how to handle lasers.

Practicing dealing with lasers is easy to do to an extent with the 20XX Training Pack (http://smashboards.com/threads/the-20xx-melee-training-hack-pack-update-4-0-beta04.351221/). Use the correct code and you can make Falco spam SHL.
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Faust the Lich

Smash Cadet
Sep 28, 2014
Toronto, Ontario
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGtPF_13AaA Best video that comes to mind. Covers just about everything. Against an aggressive falco, I'll usually let him approach since I'm pretty confident in my defense against lasers. Depending on the range, my go-to options are SH oos fair, or wd oos. Short hop fair is best when you tipper it, because then it resets back to neutral in a position that favors you, or sets up for a grab while hes still airborne (usually around 30-50%ish). If he goes in at that range, dash-back grab is good for marth reasons. If he goes for another laser, you have plenty of options. If he goes back and lasers, a dash attack might be good. If he stays in place and lasers, your f-smash has a good chance of tippering.

But say a falco gets on top of my shield. At this point all you can really do is roll, get grabbed and DI it, or find some other niche hole in his pressure.

Platforms are also pretty key against falco, especially a campy one. If a falco laser camps, you can try to get to the top platform, or use platforms to let you jump towards him. You can also waveland on a platform if he gets near you and try to run back to center stage.

Something that has helped me SOOO much against falco is the idea that you only want to hold shield in anticipatio/reaction of lasers. I know this sounds obvious, but my gameplan against falco used to be to sit in shield for 65% of the neutral, and use basic oos options to beat scrubby falco neutral. A lot of falcos at a low level actually have a pretty terrible neutral thats bandaided by lasers, a decent punish, and a lot of smash attacks on shield. So if you learn their patterns, you can punish hard. If they always go in, swat them away or find a reliable defensive option (maybe they just flowchart in and a roll-fsmash will catch them a lot). If they try to laser at a close range, especially near the edge of the stage, an f-smash will do you wonders. You might get a few falcos calling you scrubby for "randy f-smashing them", but don't be discouraged and just realize that you're beating their scrubby option with a read. Back to reactively shielding, you can DD grab a lot of scrubby falco dair approaches. Maybe they spotdodge shine if they miss, but just read this and react accordingly. Just focus on beating scrubby falco neutral options, and then you'll realize what a good falco neutral looks like and you'll be set to learn how to beat that. Thats my thought process on it.

If you get falco in shield, you can literally wait a few steps outside and wait for him to do something, or pressure with d-tilt or some spaced aerial.. He's terrible in shield.
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