Yoshi's shield : escaping when on the ground, punishing out of shield, and other tidbits


Smash Rookie
Aug 23, 2017
v0.9 of the post (04/03/2020). Any updates will be detailed at the bottom

Shielding and parrying with Yoshi

Note : I'll use the abbreviation 'oop' to describe 'out of parry' (similarly to 'oos', for 'out of shield').

This is another long post, sorry. Maybe my last one.

Perhaps the sections of particular interest to Yoshi players are the following :
- Escaping when stuck in shield on the ground
- Multihit moves vs Yoshi shield
- Which moves can be true punished with shield release and/or shield grab, whether off a timing read or on reaction

Wait, shielding... ?

That's right. Shielding.

But Yoshi's shield on the ground sucks ! He can't jump out of it.

Ah, I'm going to go on a tangent here, because there's something that irks me a little. (And no, it doesn't suck as much as you think it does).

First off, if you don't really know what you're talking about, it's probably best not to make such assertive statements, or at least to add a few disclaimers somewhere along the line. I don't like 'X move is big suck' statements because they can bias players (especially newer players) into thinking they completely suck all the time, which is only rarely true in melee. And then people don't experiment with the move and overlook some potential.

Very few moves are truly useless in this game. Really, truly useless, with ZERO use cases, including doubles. Here's what comes to mind :

  • Sheik fsmash, possibly. Some Sheik players appear to like it in specific shield pressure scenarios (Tafokints, iirc).
  • Puff dtilt is pretty much never seen, and ftilt is super duper rare to see.
  • ICs dtilt. Idk if it sucks, but I very very rarely see that move come out.
  • Samus usmash. Too unreliable.
  • Luigi taunt, except perhaps for mental damage. His DAFT doesn't really see much use either, but may be the only move that connects in some spots. Luigi dash attack *may* have some situational use in some scenarios (for instance, to deal with turnips).
  • Some throws are almost useless, or have no value compared to others.
  • Some of Roy's moves. He's underexplored, so idk how many, but probably not as many as people think.
  • Some spotdodges, maybe (Bowser ? G&W ?). People keep saying Falcon's sucks. I don't see it. It sucks in most spots where the other spotdodges are great, but it has its own unique and interesting uses. Its longer dodge frames make it good at spotdodging moves the others can't. You can also see Wizzy sometimes spotdodge oos (deliberate ? Tech flub ?), and he gets hit out of them only rarely, in fact. So there's some uses he's getting out of them, even though they conventionally 'suck'.

And that's about it.

People tend to think of other moves (Peach ftilt, Warlock Punch, ...) but if you watch enough games, you'll see some players make super situational use of them (for instance, Warlock Punch as a rest punish, or as a means to turn around when high offstage on Dreamland).

DK's dash attack ? You see DK's dash attack and utilt be used by some of the better DK players. Watch a few games of Moe vs spacies for some dash attack usage, for instance. It's very situational, but it's there.

Anyway, yeah.

Yoshi's shield doesn't suck. It has limitations, but it has unique uses, and a lot of the creative players out there didn't get to where they are by parrotting crap like 'x moves sucks, never use it' and believing it.

Similarly, if you take into account that some characters are pretty decent in doubles, can be specific counterpicks, have at least one strong stage, one wacky cheesy teams partner that might work against some comps, are harder to play against at mid-high level compared to top level, X player sucks vs them, etc. You may find that almost no character is '100% useless' in melee.

Yoshi's shield uniqueness

So he can't jump out of shield. If you play other characters, it's very hard to adjust to that. How should you play him ?

Shield vs Parry confusion

Commentators get this wrong a lot, so I'll talk about this here a bit, just in case. It doesn't really matter too much compared to other misinformation, but eh, might as well mention it.

Essentially, "Parrying and shielding is the same thing", more or less. Parry = shield startup for Yoshi. It has unique properties, but it's still a shield state, meaning you more or less have access to all the usual OOS options.

So when you parry, you DON'T HAVE TO JUMP. You can grab, shield release, spotdodge, roll, shield drop, etc. You CAN jump during shield startup (most of the time, but let's not get into that now), if you wish to, and then after the 'getting into shield' bit is done, you CAN'T, but you never HAVE TO jump. This is probably dead obvious for most people who've played the mechanic for a bit, or intuitively obvious. But commentators get surprised when, for example, they see a grab whiff as Yoshi goes into shield after parrying a grab. Which is perfectly normal. Yoshi parried the grab and then went into shield. The animation overlap is usually what confuses them, since the grab whiffs right in Yoshi's face (and egg), but he didn't jump.

It's a pretty easy input, too. Just press R.


Powershielding with Yoshi is mostly an annoyance. It's nice to be able to parry-powershield projectiles, but when attempting to parry non-projectiles, the few frames of shieldstun you get and the fact that you can't jump if you powershield makes it a liability more than anything else.

Powershields occur if Yoshi's egg (initially invisible) if hit during the early frames of parry. Opponents may try and aim for that part of Yoshi specifically if they can. Good to bear in mind.

One use of powershields for Yoshi though, is storing them.

When to parry

Parrying is generally timing coverage, and is mostly used as counteroffense. Not so much in 'true' neutral, not as a reliable tool. Usually, a parry *into jump punish attempt* falls into roughly five categories (that I can think of) :
  • A slow reactable move is coming, you parry on reaction. Not too much to say about those (except that it might be worthwhile to practice the timing vs some of them). I'll list those moves.
  • A character is approaching you, you read a specific attack move and timing that you can parry and punish, or reposition after the parry. Lots of variations here, often with many levels of complexity.
  • You randomly parry before you jump, which may be done independently of what your opponent is doing (hence why I consider it slightly different). It's not exactly a read. I'll give a few examples.
  • Projectiles, which have their own quirks. Lots of variations here.
  • An option select in some defensive and offensive situations.

When to shield

I'm including the other OOS stuff here. So any situation where you shield, and DON'T JUMP.

  • You read/react to a move you can punish oos. I'll list them later, but again, not too much to say about this.
  • You're playing vs a character who can't easily deal with you in shield, might toss out punishable moves, and gets little off of grab vs Yoshi, meaning you can use it more liberally in neutral, and do stuff like run in shield, which isn't too common for Yoshi.
  • You're on a platform, and can shield drop.
  • You're about to get hit, don't feel confident in dashing away / counterpunching / punishing out of parry, ... So you either lightshield to get pushed back, or hardshield to try and reset neutral somehow. There'll be a section on that later.

Common parrying scenario

The most common parrying scenario one usually sees is this :

Your opponent jumps at you and goes for an aerial, usually an early one, you parry, cover the fastfall timing they had, and then DJC nair as a punish.

How does your opponent beat your parry timing ?

  • Early fastfall aerial vs latest aerial no fastfall. For a lot of characters, there's usually enough of a frame difference that parry timing can't cover both, and you'll get hit before DJC nair comes out.
  • Sheik players might toss out needles instead of aerialling, which should generally deal with parry if there are two of them.
  • Tomahawk into something may come out faster than DJC nair. What comes to my mind with this is a Falco player tomahawking into shine/double shine (waveland in shine is also something I've encountered before).
  • Use a multihit move, eg Fox drill.

How does Yoshi deal with those options ?

  • Preemptively hit them, with ftilt, for instance. Even in case it trades, Yoshi may come out on top.
  • Dashdance grab. Too often overlooked.
  • Dash away DJC nair back in. A classic.
  • Go for early armour instead and tank the aerial
  • Oddities like bair in place may work

I'm glossing over a lot of stuff, obviously (spacing, for instance, and the fact that nair can be ASDI'd down at low %), but hopefully you get the idea.

A lot of opponents don't really change their aerial timings too much, meaning many Yoshi players don't change their parry timings that much. So a lot of the next-level stuff immediately tends to cause trouble to some Yoshi players, which is why I went into this kind of detail.

Dealing with ASDI down on parry followups

This is also a killer vs some Yoshi players. Nair doesn't knock down that early. A Falco or Falcon player may quite be happy to land and take the nair at low %. Especially Falco, who'll mash shine and get some juicy stuff out of it. Some opponents may try and position themselves such that strong nair can't quite connect but soft nair does, and that can be ASDI'd down for a very long time (this kind of reasoning also applies to some armour scenarios).

A possible defensive measure vs some moves is to ASDI down immediately after landing, either to amsah tech, shield, or to get your own ASDI down counter. Preparing SDI/ASDI away is also something to keep in mind.

You can also simply parry and jump away with no aerial. You can then go for armour, and/or aerial movement options. No risk of being ASDI'd down if you don't hit them.

Another possibility is to SH nair instead of DJC nair. You may still get punished, but most characters will only get an aerial, which isn't usually as bad, as ASDI down grab or shine (this might be a worthwhile trade to get them out of ASDI down %). Spacie ASDI down shine may whiff.

Vs, say, Falco shine, SH fair doesn't guarantee you a punish, but can avoid the shine. And if it connects, it may lead to a lot.

Hurtbox manipulation

The commonly known stuff is that hurtbox extension make it easier for Yoshi to get a parry if he's initially crouching. Note as well that turnaround parry is also an interesting option (I believe aMSa may use it occasionally during shield pressure, my memory is hazy though).

When Yoshi jumps away, his body moves back and partly goes into the z-axis. This kind of hurtbox manipulation may make a lot of moves whiff where they otherwise would have connected.

Similarly, in situations where you get hit by an aerial before you parry, you might try and ASDI down to counterhit or amsah tech, or vs moves that can't be dealt with that way (say, Falco dair at low %), you can try and SDI/ASDI away. Yoshi's flinch animation also pulls his head back, meaning if you move away and then go into shield you will not get hit by a followup shine.

Multihit moves

Some people like to reduce Yoshi to 'multihit moves are safe vs armour and beat parry'. In armour's case, it's sometimes true, sometimes not. It depends on the move. Pikachu fair with the electric hitlag is bloody awkward to counterhit at best (usually impossible). For drill depends on the spacing. But you certainly can armour counterhit those moves, so don't listen to the naysayers.

In parry's case, however, it usually is true. Multihit moves are often going to beat it. Parrying Fox drill is theoretically possible, but requires specific spacing and perfect timing, so won't happen often, if at all.

The better defensive answer to multihit moves, when you're on the ground, and can't put a move out in time (and can't CC, dash away, ...) is to shield. Yoshi has unique options to deal with them, and possibly counterhit.

If you're on a platform, many multihit moves can be punished with shield drop uair. Some have very little lag, and may end at different timings depending on fastfall timings, or may simply try and pressure you from beneath, so there are situations where you may not be able to punish reliably (Samus fair comes to mind). But you have other options on a platform.

If you're shielding on the ground, depending on the move, you may be able to punish it. I've discussed this in my previous thread, but Yoshi can punish many multihit moves by spotdodging out of shield with the right timing. He will at least get at shot at resetting neutral.

Explanation : No shieldstun. Can therefore spotdodge between hits of multihit moves. No other character can reliably do that, or only on very few moves (Sheik dsmash).

  • Vs a laggy multihit (Sheik dsmash, say), with the right timing, Yoshi's spotdodge ends before the multihit move's endlag, and then punish it.
  • Vs aerials like Fox drill, your opponent cannot know when you spotdodge, so has to completely guess his L-cancel timing (meaning they may miss it, or click their shield), and they may not know when your spotdodge ends, meaning their followup shine may whiff or be parried. (It might connect during the spotdodge vulnerable endlag, of course). In any case, it is a rather unique option that improves Yoshi's OOS game massively, considering without that option most multihit moves are very awkward to deal with when on the ground.

The one move that is still quite tricky to deal with in those circumstances is Peach dair, due to her ability to float cancel it at any point.

I'll list the multihit moves that can be true punished (whether on a read or a reaction), and discuss shielding on the ground a little more below.

Note that spotdodge with the grey stick has the universal 3-frame buffer. Meaning if you guess a random timing, four things can happen :
  • Your input occurs in the middle of hitlag, 4 frames later you're still in hitlag, your input doesn't end up spotdodging.
  • Your input occurs near the end of hitlag, 4 frames later you're out of hitlag, you spotdodge and are intangible before the next hitbox comes out.
  • Your input occurs in-between hits, there's one frame of downtime before the next hit connects, so you spotdodge immediately and are intangible before the next hitbox comes out.
  • Your input occurs in-between hits, but the next hitbox comes out on the next frame, so you will get hit (unless shield pushback, z-axis or spacing luck means you dodge the hitbox).

So your odds of getting hit from a 'random' spotdodge timing are at worst 25%, usually less than that.

You can also buffer a tech during the spotdodge (if you weren't hard shielding), prepare SDI, ... So you're not out of defensive options either in case you get hit during or after the spotdodge. In some cases you might even be able to option select a shield grab, or shield release to ASDI down the later hits and still get to punish even though your spotdodge input got eaten up by hitlag.

You need to use the grey stick, remember.

Projectiles (needles, ...)

To be completed later. Maybe. It's complicated.

Moves 'safe' vs parry

What mostly makes a move 'safe' vs parry is spacing. It takes 10f to DJC for Yoshi, 13 or so to DJLand dsmash/ftilt, and 15 or so to DJLand dtilt. DJLand out of parry being a rare option, few Yoshi players have developed it.

So a well-spaced Falcon nair, Ganon fair, or puff bair is not going to be punished. Yoshi gets some frame advantage and some stage position possibly, but no true punish.

Some projectiles are pretty hard to parry powershield (pill, Yoshi egg), or impossible to (desynched dual ice blocks), meaning they're 'safe' too vs parry (and shield). They're a good way to hamper Yoshi on the ground and limit the frequency with which he might want to block or run at you.

Parry DJ land

I've mentioned this earlier, not much to add. It's a very strong punish option, but very hard to pull off properly (recognising situations where it's the better choice is also very hard), underdeveloped, and not used by many players. So, uh, remember it exists, just because I don't mention it much here doesn't mean you should disregard it.

Parry vs double shine/shine grab

Already discussed a bit, may come back to it sometime, idk yet.

Animation ambiguity / opponent reaction time

Yoshi's shield and roll animations being a bit unique, they're a little harder to react to than most other characters'. It's hard to tell the difference between shield release and spotdodge due to the egg shell shards flying all over the place. Yoshi is actionable out of roll earlier than people think. These often give you a slight edge

It's a topic worthy of discussion for other moves, too.

A few notes regarding shielding on a platform

I'm not going to go too much in detail about shielding on a platform, as Yoshi's strengths are better-understood in that spot. Still, a few noteworthy points :

  • I mentioned some stuff (like Samus fair) being very hard to punish, or requiring a guess on the landing timing.
  • Yoshi can't jump out of shield, only double jump out of shield drop. He's never going to jump out and fastfall through the platform like some other characters.
  • You can lightshield some hits to try and punish an opponent crossing you up.
  • Know the ASDI down %.
  • It's quite ok to just escape and reset neutral or land on the platform (with DJ AI/waveland, or GTFO with armour).
  • Higher-level opponents will mix spaced poking hits with delayed timings, projectiles, landing on platform to grab, platform cancels, use very awkward moves to shield drop against (Sheik utilt, for instance), or position themselves such that you need to DJC nair and reach a bit to hit them, and then they will ASDI down that soft DJC nair into a punish. So it's not like Yoshi's untouchable when shielding on a platform You may need to preemptively shield drop, or to spotdodge into ASDI down to punish some of those timing mixups. Not every character is as well-equipped to deal with Yoshi, and it may depend on whether they are beside you on the platform or on the ground.

Platform pushoffs

This is the other major point regarding shielding on a platform. It is especially noteworthy in situations where you tech on platforms (after Falco dair, say). If you go into shield after a tech roll your opponent can push you off and try and go for a followup (like, say, shine). Some characters get very juicy followups, so this situation is important to properly react to.

Alternate options to teching are sliding off if you can. Alternate options to going into shield are going for spotdodge, immediate shield drop into double jump, ASDI down, or double stick DI. If you're facing the right direction, you may let them push you off and then go for armour so as to tank the hit after you get pushed off (you cannot do anything other than fastfall if you fall off the platform on your back, so this is only an option if you're facing outwards)/

Bear in mind that the direction in which you shield drop affects your DI (and ASDI, potentially). It may be worth it to learn how to shielddrop in both directions (possible consistently independently of your controller thanks to UCF) to mitigate bad DI.

(It's been a while since I've played the game and thought about this, so hopefully all the above is correct).

Mixups to try and get out of shield when you're trapped on the ground

This is a pretty common situation and I think most Yoshi players still aren't great at shielding on the ground, and default to suboptimal mixups.

Opponents may :
  • Wait for an oos option and try and punish it.
  • Grab (or command grab for some characters)
  • Try and whack the shield with a strong move
  • Try and poke it with jabs, shines, weak moves and prompt a reaction
  • Specific kinds of pressure like repeated drills from Fox or Puff (or dair from Peach)

What options does Yoshi have ?

  • Wait.
  • He can invisibly switch between light and hardshield.
  • If he's holding a turnip or bomb (or saturn, etc.), he can toss it out of shield. If you can toss it in your opponent's direction, it's a valuable mixup.
  • Grab. Slow, risky, borderline reactable.
  • Roll. His rolls are slow (especially his backwards roll), don't go very far, and are easily reactable if that's all the opponent expects. People tend to struggle a little with Yoshi's roll, due to animation ambiguity, it ending earlier than some players 'feel' it 'should', and the z-axis/hurtbox shenanigans. YOSHI PLAYERS OFTEN PANIC ROLL ON THE GROUND AS THEIR ONLY OOS OPTION, MAKING IT MUCH EASIER TO REACT TO IN THIS SITUATION. A Fox player for example can easily chase it and usmash, and other characters have plenty of stuff they can do on reaction. As is, it is the WORST out of the oos options in this situation. IF YOU ARE A YOSHI PLAYER PANIC ROLLING ALL THE TIME YOU SHOULD PROBABLY WORK ON THAT BAD PATTERN.
  • Spotdodge out of shield.
  • Shield release.

Yoshi rolling will likely lose to opponents who wait, and those who poke with weak moves. So the only time you win is if your opponent goes for a grab or a strong move and you happen to get the timing right. It's a REALLY LONG SHOT. It also is very likely to lose pretty hard to drill pressure (or drill shine) at high-level.

Lightshield into shield release is fine if you get hit by strong moves. And it makes it harder (but not impossible) for most characters hitting you with weak moves to catch your roll.

So if you only use roll and lightshield, you're not going to do very well in those spots vs an opponent who waits. And it seems to be what most Yoshi players do, I've read quite a lot of posts from other players stating that one should 'just punish the roll, he can't do anything' when Yoshi is in shield on the ground. Which means that that's all they need to do in the current meta, and Yoshi players are often getting punished in that spot.

Yoshi can do a lot better than that.

I've mentioned this before in another post, but it's worth going into detail again.

  • Spotdodge lasts 22 frames. Yoshi is intangible from frames 2 to 15. Some characters can react with shine/jab/rest (unlikely)/a tilt, but apart from shine or jab it's pretty hard to do so.
  • Shield release lasts 16 frames (or 17, I can't remember). It's borderline unreactable.
  • Yoshi can't jump during shield release, unlike other characters, but can spotdodge at ANY time during shield release.
  • The two animations are not easy to tell apart. And Yoshi has intangibility during spotdodge.

What options does Yoshi have afterwards ?

  • Jab. Fast, frame 2, decent range, good hitbox.
  • Parry. Frame 1, the threat of a turnaround is pretty scary. Going back into shield after parry might also still be benefitial. Note that you can't jump out of a buffered parry, so you may need to wait a frame if you want to jump out of that parry.
  • Roll, spotdodge. May be a good answer if your opponent went for a big swing or moved away, reading a roll.
  • Crouch.
  • Slower options like fsmash (with its hurtbox manipulation), ftilt...

The first two options in particular are very good. They can throw off your opponent's timing or turnaround the whole situation. Parry especially is a risk your opponent has to factor in.

But what does this all mean anyway ? The spotdodge + shield release stuff ?

Well, if you go for spotdodge or shield release, or shield release + spotdodge at a random timing, your opponent CANNOT RELIABLY REACT to your oos option. THEY HAVE TO GUESS A TIMING. There is no way for them to wait for your roll and usmash Yoshi anymore. They have to guess.

So when stuck on the ground, it is a matter of timing and move decision mixups exclusively as to whether you reset to neutral/get hit/get a hit/get back into shield.

  • If they wait for a roll, shield release/spotdodge gets you out of shield faster than they will be able to punish. Your situation improves.
  • If they tap your shield, you can shield release/spotdodge just as your lightshield gets you pushed out of range of the next jab/weak hit. If ever the next hit connects, you may be able to ASDI it down. If it doesn't, your situation improves.
  • If they go for a strong hit, if they guess wrong, you either lightshield away the hit, or you spotdodge it, or you were able to get out of shield before the hit, meaning you can go back in shield, parry, or try and hit them first. The only way they hit you is if they happened to catch you during your vulnerable frames. If you chose not to lightshield, you may be able to shield release and punish that strong move.
  • Similarly, their randomly going for grab is a timing battle they are statistically not that likely to win.
  • Drill-type shield pressure can be defended against by attempting to lightshield away then shield release/spotdodge (risky), or spotdodging out of shield between hits (you are not 100% guaranteed to avoid a hit, more like 75-80%, so you may try and SDI or buffer tech during the spotdodge), which may either net you another mixup, or a punish, depending on the move (with the possible exception of Peach dair, which is trickier). Your opponent can't reliably react to your decision (and may miss their L-cancel, or land earlier than expected and click their lightshield).
  • If the opponent switches it up and goes for long-lasting hitboxes instead (dash attacks, nairs, raptor boost, you name it), roll away may become a more interesting option. Lightshield, shield release + ASDI down, shield grab, ... may also be workable.

Your chances of getting out of shield unscathed are overall much much better than the panic roll option.

As a rule of thumb, here's what Yoshi should probably do in most shield pressure scenarios on the ground if he has no clue what his opponent is going to do :
  • If roll away is guaranteed to avoid any followup because your opponent is too far, it's fine to go for it. Prepare a parry/SDI/ASDI down while rolling to defend vs potential followups.
  • If not, switch to lightshield.
  • Quickly go for spotdodge/shield release/shield release + spotdodge randomly during the shield release.
  • Input SDI/ASDI/Tech during the spotdodge/shield release.
  • If you weren't hit during your oos option, go for jab/lightshield/parry/crouch/ASDI down/roll.
  • If you decided to shield again, rinse and repeat.
  • If you got hit during all that, prepare defense.

In doubles, you may find it harder to escape, as opponents can cover more timings. Some specific moves like shieldbreaker may make .

Hard shield is a more interesting option if your shield is low (or you're vs Marth with shieldbreaker), if your opponent is following your lightshield (Peach dairing and floating forwards, for instance, and switching to hard shield in the middle means you stop moving but she keeps going), or if you read a strong move on your shield that you think you can punish. Or to trick their spacing (may be useful vs a Fox that would want to waveshine).

So there you have it. Find the discipline not to panic roll, learn to jab and parry out of spotdodge/shield release, and your odds of getting out of shield on the ground should improve.

Note that some specific types of pressure (shine grab, drill shine, Peach repeated dairs + float cancel, for instance) may not be very favourable in terms of timing. Your odds of getting out aren't quite as high as other mixups. Those kinds of pressure do require a few frames before the opponent can set them up, so you should probably quickly be going for your out-of-shield mixup in those situations. Though you may want to switch your timing, of course.

If you start feeling confident in your reads and mixups, you may be able to start mixing in a little more run-in shield, especially in matchups where the risk-reward can get interesting. Marth (depending on % and stage position, doesn't always get a great reward off of grab + his fsmash is very punishable on block), Samus (slow grab, not a huge reward off of it most of the time + very grounded character with laggy ground moves) are two examples that come to mind.

Parrying as a defensive option select
Parrying as an offensive option select
Parry option select in other situations (shield pressure, amongst other things)
Parry dashgrab
(danger of jab ?)
Parrying falling aerials from platforms

List of moves that Yoshi can true punish oos/oop

Emphasis on 'true punish'. I am assuming a character spotdodges/shines/rests/parries as soon as possible. Their fastest grab-dodging option. If they go for another option, you may get more leniency, of course.

Moves with slow startup can be punished on reaction. The faster ones might require reading a specific timing read. Some moves will require specific spacing, which I won't always detail.

Shieldgrabbable moves

Yoshi can true punish many, many more moves than people think with shield grab. Lack of shieldstun means you need to time things differently. And obviously you aren't going to spam shield like other characters can. Still, this partial list should be of some help.

I'm disregarding lightshield grab shenanigans (say, a cross-up nair where you lightshield to follow the opponent and shield grab right after the hit). Those are too timing- and spacing-dependent to be listed here. I'm also going to disregard dual ICs. It's complicated. You'll usually be able to shieldgrab non-desynched fsmash and usmash on reaction, the rest is probably generally going to be no.

Note that I haven't played the game in a while, and haven't labbed in a while either, so some of this data is slightly conservative.
  • Almost all get-up attacks can be shieldgrabbed as a true punish after the second hit. Most have a few frames of leniency, a couple are tighter (Link/YL/Marth/Roy/M2/Samus on their back). The only possible exception is M2's stomach get-up attack if it hits late.
  • All ledge attacks < 100% can be shieldgrabbed after blocking the hit, except for Game&Watch. Bowser's is tight, but possible.
  • Over 100%, it's more character-dependent. Not possible : Falco, Fox, Sheik, Link, YL, Pichu, Pikachu, G&W. Mewtwo is possible btt very tight. Kirby and Puff have a long-lasting hitbox, which can be true punished if you block it in the earlier frames, but not the later ones.
  • For most projectiles, the answer is yes if you're in their face. Exceptions : the stuff that autocancels (aerial lasers, needles, and missiles).

Shieldgrabbable on reaction :

Startup + hitlag + leniency on the endlag means that for many of the moves included here, the reaction time required shouldn't be too rough. Sometimes the endlag is short, so the timing is tight. I'm not taking into account the complexities of reaction time, nor of animation ambiguity, so take it with a grain of salt.

Most characters' smashes. Vs multihit moves, wait out all the hitboxes that might hit you, obviously.

Exceptions listed / additional notes :
  • Spacie fsmash (a very late hit can't be true punished, an earlier one can).
  • Peach dsmash is possible but the timing is tight.
  • Sopo dsmash is possible but tight.
  • Ganon and Falcon usmash and dsmash have very little endlag. You can't shieldgrab them unless the second hit whiffs.
  • G&W fsmash needs to hit early. His usmash can't be true punished. His dsmash is tight.
  • Zelda usmash and dsmash are really tight to punish if the last hit connects with egg. Fsmash can't be true punished.
  • Ness usmash is tight.
  • Can't true grab Link/YL between hits of fsmash. Meaning it's a mixup between when you decide to grab, and them going for second hit or not (but you can punish second hit on reaction). Link/YL usmash is very tight to punish if last hit connects.

Most characters' dash attacks can be shieldgrabbed. You may need to face away from the opponent if they cross you up. Or to lightshield, so that they don't cross you up. Beware of getting royzoned.

Exceptions/additional notes :

  • Peach's dash attack : you need to grab before the hitbox ends, meaning it's a little trickier if she hits you with the last frames of weak dash attack.
  • Doc/Mario's late dash attack has too little endlag, so it's usually not possible to true punish (you'll get royzoned or he'll cross you up)
  • G&W dash attack can only be true punished if it hits early (meaning you need to be facing away from him, and then grab him as he crosses you up)
  • Kirby's DA is one long hitbox and he goes pretty far, so spacing unlikely to line up.
  • Ness DA is very tight if last hit connects.

Additional moves that can be shieldgrabbed on reaction after blocking them :

  • Puff sing, rollout, rest
  • Peach ftilt, utilt, bomber
  • Falcon/Ganon's specials, but side b spacing is a bit wonky
  • Samus dtilt, utilt
  • Doc cape, but you need to be facing away first
  • Ganon/Falcon dtilt and utilt (falcon utilt is tight)
  • Ganon dair
  • DK jab 2, ftilt, utilt, punch, headbutt
  • Link/YL ftilt, dtilt, dair, grounded spin attack
  • G&W ftilt and utilt, but only if the move hits early. His uair and bair can be shieldgrabbed. Judgement.
  • Mewtwo disable
  • Zelda ftilt, utilt (if it hits late, it's tight to punish). Naryu's Love.
  • Bowser ftilt, utilt, dtilt (wait out second hit). All of his aerials. Nair, fair and uair need a couple of airborne frames, but bair and dair can be grabbed regardless, though dair's landing hitbox makes it very tight.
  • Kirby hammer. Several of his hats, but that only concerns doubles.
  • Ness ftilt, utilt

Additional true punishes that require a timing read and can't be done on reaction (some of those are frame-perfect, some are more lenient) :

There may be a couple more multihits, if you happen to avoid the later hitboxes thanks to pushback and/or shield SDI.

For instance, a spacie spamming your shield with utilt. If you read the second utilt, you can shield grab right after the first one connects on your shield, and that's a true punish.
  • Spacie dtilt, utilt (only if the earliest hitbox connects, otherwise not a true punish), ftilt.
  • Any of Sheik's grounded moves, except for utilt, jabs, chain. Don't bet on it for needles unless she's in your face and you know how many she has. None of her aerials, including aerial needles.
  • Any of Marth's grounded moves (including single jabs and sword dance, but not if he chains them) except for dtilt.
  • Marth dair, if it isn't the closest possible to the ground.
  • Puff's grounded moves, except for utilt, jabs.
  • Peach jab 2, if you're feeling confident. NOT her dtilt.
  • Most of Sopo's other grounded moves. Utilt requires the last hitbox to whiff. The specials are touch and go.
  • Falcon/Ganon ftilt, but it's tight.
  • Pika early ftilt, dair (very tight, after the landing hit), thunder, skull bash
  • All of Samus's other grounded moves, except for jab 1.
  • All of DK's ground moves, except for dtilt. Fair and dair are almost true, so if they're high enough on egg grab'll land. Handslap, possible but you need to read when DK decides to end the clapping loop.
  • Link/YL uair that lands in front of you won't hit egg. Grab should land, if you start it before he lands. Link's is unlikely to hit egg, YL's isn't though. Link utilt usually hits with the late hitbox, which can't be true punished. If it's the early frames of the move, it's fine.
  • G&W dtilt, if it hits early.
  • Ness jab 3.
  • Bowser's other grounded moves (jab 1 and 2).
  • All of M2's other grounded moves, except for rapid jab.
  • All of Zelda's other grounded moves, except for jab.
  • Doc/Mario's non-jab grounded moves.
  • All of Yoshi's grounded moves, except for jabs and dtilt.
  • Link/YL jab 3. Utilt usually hits late and can't be true punished in Link's case.

Moves Yoshi can punish with shield+shield release :

Quite a few moves out of those above can be punished with shield release + ftilt/dsmash. I might clean the listings up.

But hopefully at this point you understand that Yoshi with a good timing read on an opponent's move can decide to block and punish (if the spacing is right).

Multihit moves Yoshi can punish with shield+spotdodge :

I'm only going to list some grounded multihits, or drill moves which are hard to punish/escape from without using this tech. And aren't too hard to reason about. So this list is very incomplete, but the main moves where this option is of specific interest should be in there.

Some moves (like DK up b, G&W bair, Link/YL dair) behave a bit weirdly. I dunno about those.

Some moves have landing hits, and it all becomes a little complicated.

Some of the option selects are spacing and hitbox-dependent, obviously. Examples : Don't go for shield grab if facing away. And Peach's dsmash pushes you away enough for shield release if you're facing her after two hits, but after three hits if you're facing away (credit to Granmasgotgame for that one).

  • Fox drill : No true punish, only escape mixups.
  • Sheik utilt : No. Sorry.
  • Sheik dsmash. Yes, on reaction, as long as it's before 3rd hit, more or less. But if you spotdodge too early, the 3rd hit may connect. Should be consistent with practice. Can option select shieldgrab and/or shield release.
  • Sheik fsmash. Yes, on reaction.
  • Peach dsmash. Yes, on reaction, spotdodge between the second and third hit. If on a platform, shield DI in slightly to avoid platform push off and getting shredded. Can option select shieldgrab and/or shield release.
  • Peach dair : No true punish, only escape mixups.
  • Mario/Doc dair : Sometimes.
  • Puff drill : Yes.
  • Ganon/Falcon dsmash/usmash : Yes.

The list is very incomplete, like I mentioned.

Note that the last two lists only take into account if a move hits Yoshi's shield once he's fully in it. It doesn't take into account that if you shield release right after shield startup, you may have actually parried or powershielded the move.

If you parry the move, then you may get a few extra frames, since you don't even have to deal with hitlag. However, this extra frame advantage is usually not that impactful, as it often gets consumed during reaction time. It also shifts spotdodge timings a bit, which can be bothersome.

If you powershield the move, pushback increases, and you also get a few frames of shieldstun (1-4), so frame advantage is decreased.

Other unique punishes :

Spotdodge -> dash grab spacie side b on reaction

ASDI down -> shield (dsmash)

Something all characters can do vs a multihit move with enough delay between hits (like, say, Sheik or Peach dsmash) is, when hit by the move at low % while on the ground, ASDI the first hit down, then shield the second hit. After that, any punish out of shield becomes available. So it's a trade that might be worthwhile.

And that's it for now. I might add a few things here and there. I hope this was useful to you.

Thanks to the various Yoshi labbers and enthusiasts who've contributed a lot to help build the knowledge shared here.

Version history :
v0.9 : 04/03/2020 : First draft. Some sections incomplete.
Last edited:
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