7 Valuable Tips for You to Master in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate!

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Marie-Ange Demory
@marie-angedemory
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ea.com ubisoft.com playstation.com

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Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has arrived and it's time to start training. With 74 characters (plus DLC's) and some new mechanics, Ultimate promises to bring together lovers of all previous titles, in addition to attracting new players.

If you've never played Smash, or if you're already familiar with other games in the series, we've brought you some essential tips for you to learn how to play the right way, or make the transition to Ultimate in the best way possible.


Check out the 7 best tips for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate!


1. Learning the Basics

Smash Bros. is a fighting game unlike any other. For starters, there is no life bar. Each player starts with the percentage at 0% and, as he receives hits, this value increases according to the strength of the hits received. The higher the percentage, the lighter your character becomes and the farther it will be thrown when taking hits.

At any stage of the game, the fight takes place inside a rectangle that appears whenever a player is knocked off-screen. The area outside the rectangle is called the blast zone. Whenever you pass the rectangle and enter the blast zone, you lose a stock (as lives are called in Smash).

Blast zone. You lose a stock whenever you cross the outer rectangle in either direction.

The most common way to lose stocks in Smash is to take a hit hard enough to send you flying into the blast zone. The higher your percentage, the lighter you are and the more hits will have this effect. However, you can die even at 0% if you fall from the stage and can't get back.

Check out the list of all confirmed characters in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate!



Movement

In Smash you can walk, run, jump high and jump low. As you walk (pointing the d-pad slightly in the desired direction) you can perform any game action, be it punches, dodges, jumps, etc. While you are running (fully pointing the d-pad in the desired direction) you cannot jabs, tilts or smashes (see below).

The high jump (full hop) is used when pressing any jump button (X/Y or up arrow). It is usually used to move throughout the stage, climb platforms or attack opponents that are in the air.

To jump down (short hop) just press one of the jump buttons (X/Y or directional up) and release as fast as possible. Short hop is often used to perform aerial attacks while your opponent is on the ground.

All characters also have a second jump (double jump) that is used when you are already in the air. Some characters like Kirby, Meta Knight, Kind Dedede, Jigglypuff, etc, have more than two jumps.

Another mechanic related to jumping is fastfall, which happens when you reach the peak of your jump and put the d-pad down. Your character will descend much faster than normal, which is most of the time to your advantage.

Hits

The moves in Smash are divided into: normal, aerial, special and grab. It is important to learn the most commonly used nomenclature to better study the game and understand the game's narration.

The normal hits are:

jab (A)

Dash Attack (A while running)


Bridge (directional + A): These are fast blows and generally weaker than smashes. They are divided into:

  • Forward Tilt ou Ftilt: → + A or ← + A
  • Up Tilt ou Utilt: ↑ + A
  • Down Tilt ou Dtilt: ↓ + A

Smashes (D-pad + A at the same time or Cstick in the desired direction): Strong hits are usually slower than tilts. They can be concentrated by holding down the A button. They are divided into:


  • Forward Smash ou Fsmash: → + A at the same time or Cstick forward
  • Up Smash or Usmash: ↑ + A at the same time or Cstick up
  • Down Smash or Dsmash: ↓ + A at the same time or Cstick down

Air Charter: are the same as tilts, but can only be used when your character is in the air:

  • Neutral A ou Nair: A no ar
  • Forward Air ou Fair :→ + A or ← + A in the air
  • Up Air or Wowr: ↑ + A no ar
  • Down Air or About: ↓ + A no ar

Specials. They are divided into:

  • Neutral B: B
  • SideB: → + A or ← + A
  • UpB: ↑ + B (on most characters this is the move used to get back to the stage)
  • DownB: ↓ + A

grapple ou Grab It can be performed in two ways: pressing Z or L/R + A. After grappling, you can throw the opponent in the desired direction:


  • Forward Throw ou Fthrow: Grab + →
  • Back Throw ou Bthrow: Grab + ←
  • Up Throw ou Uthrow: Grab + ↑
  • Down Throw ou Dthrow: Grab + ↓

Also regarding grabs, there is a mechanic called pivot grab, in which you run to one side, hit the d-pad to the opposite side and use a grab. This will make you turn immediately by grappling, as well as giving your strike more range. It is extremely useful and must be learned.


Even using the same commands, each character has its own set of blows, with specific speeds and forces. It is essential that you learn as much as possible about each character's moveset to know how to use it and, especially, how to play against each one. For example: Mewtwo has an extremely strong Uthrow that kills most characters at around 120%. If you're at that percentage against a Mewtwo, never forget this move and play the rest of your entire stock avoiding it.

Shield, Rolls and Dodges

In Smash you have three defensive measures: shield, rolls and dodges. The shield appears in the form of a bubble when you press L/R or when you hold Z. The longer you hold the shield, or as it absorbs hits, the more it shrinks and exposes your character. If the shield breaks your character is stunned for a few seconds.

The shield can be directed to any side, even diagonals. To do this, just open the shield and point the directional pad slightly in the desired direction.

To angle the shield you need to move the stick slightly in the desired direction. If you move the stick fully, your character will roll or spotdodge, depending on which direction you choose.

One of the great new features of Smash Ultimate is the parry mechanic. Parrying happens when you drop the shield IMMEDIATELY BEFORE it takes a hit. This will cause your opponent to suffer a delay that varies depending on the strength of the parried blow, while you can counter with strong blows that would not be viable otherwise.

In addition to nullifying any damage to the shield, parry allows for stronger punishments due to the delay caused to the opponent.

Rolls are performed by opening the shield and fully pointing the directional pad forward or backward (L/R or Z + → or ←). This will make your character roll in the desired direction while being invincible for a few frames (frames of animation). Each character has their own distance and roll speed.

The dodge (spotdodge) is a kind of “stopped roll”. It is performed by pressing L/R or Z + ↓. Your character will do a dodge animation and be invincible for a few frames, without moving.

Dodges can also be used in the air (airdodge). In this case they can be directed to any side, even diagonals.

2. Learn to position yourself: edgeguard, spacing and juggling

One of the most important notions in Smash is the notion of positioning. Due to the fast pace of the game, many players do not realize when they are in advantageous positions and end up not taking advantage of them.

As a rule, the player who is closer to the edge (edge) and therefore with less space is at a disadvantage. Characters with poor recoveries like Little Mac and Olimar will always try to stay away from the edge, while their opponents must always press them out. Generally speaking, you should always put pressure on your opponent and react to attempts to gain space.

Edgeguard

Edgeguard is the situation where a player tries to prevent the recovery of another who has left the stage. As a rule, you should run edgeguard whenever you get the chance. Put pressure on your opponent and be aware of their recovery tendencies. Many players always return to the stage the same way until forced to vary.

In very few situations the edgeguard should be dispensed with:

  • When your character has a really bad recovery. In that case, it's best to run to the middle of the stage. The best example of this is Little Mac, which should always stay away from edges.
  • When your opponent has a very good recovery and your character doesn't have good moves to avoid it.
  • When your character has good zoning (space control) and you prefer to improve your position. Characters with good projectiles often prefer to go to the other side of the stage and force the opponent closer.
  • When the game time is running out (last seconds) and you are winning by very little. In that case it is better to run and wait for the game to end.

The edgeguard can be performed without leaving the stage, just stay close to the edge trying to prevent the opponent's recovery.

Spacing

Spacing means spacing. It is a concept that is never fully mastered as it always depends on your opponent.

Spacing consists of you using blows at a safe distance so you don't get counterattacks. Characters with great range (almost all sword characters, Donkey Kong, Mewtwo, etc) find it easier to space their attacks and stay away from opponents. Characters with good aerial mobility (Wario, Jigglypuff, Meta Knight, etc) also have it easy because they can attack with aerials and retreat before their opponents can do anything.

That doesn't mean these characters are better than short-range characters (Mario, Luigi, Pikachu, Pichu, Diddy Kong, etc). It is always possible to space and circumvent the opponent's blows. Also, short-range characters tend to have higher combos ability.

Juggling

Juggling means juggling. In Smash, it's the situation where one player is in the air while another tries to stop him from falling back to the ground. Even characters with multiple jumps (Meta Knight, Kirby, King Dedede, Jigglypuff, etc) need to get back to the ground eventually.

Generally, whoever is in the air is at a disadvantage, so it's up to the other player to do whatever it takes to keep him there. If you're on the ground, threaten your opponent with airs or empty jumps to force airdodges. Fastfalls are essential at this point both to return to the ground and to maintain juggling.

Characters with low air mobility (Peach, Daisy, King Dedede, etc) tend to be bad at getting back to the ground and this should always be explored.

3. Learn to cancel your race

Perhaps the most relevant change introduced in Smash Ultimate is the possibility for you to cancel your run and use any move immediately. Anyone who knows the other titles in the series knows how important this novelty is and opens up countless possibilities, playing a role very similar to Melee's beloved wavedash.

As a rule, if your character is walking, you can use any move in the game, but if you're running, you can't use jabs, tilts, or smashes. However, if you're running, point the d-pad down and release as quickly as possible (before the character ducks), you can then perform any move in the game. Visually, the blow will happen immediately after the race.

This mechanic is extremely useful as it allows you to use whatever move you want while remaining mobile. The mechanic also allows for a level of movement and spacing that wasn't possible in Brawl and Smash 4.

4. Play offensively

Unlike the last two titles, Smash Ultimate rewards offensive players. This is because all defensive options have been nerfed since the last game. Spotdodges and rolls are now less invulnerable as you use them in play and airdodges now have a lot of lag at the end of their animation.

The fact that airdodges are now bad options makes players use them much less, opening up several possibilities for combos and favoring more offensive players.

Remember that being offensive does not mean “going up”, but rather taking the initiative. If you use a character with good projectiles, THERE'S NO REASON for you to get close to the opponent, but you can still be offensive by attacking from afar as much as possible.

5. Explore your character well: play it right

If you want to play Smash right, you should forget about the concept of “call”. Every character has at least one move that should never be used (because they have better options) and others that are definitely the best options and that define their style of play.

For example, since joining the series, Marth has one of the best Fairs in the game, and that's no different in Ultimate. The move has great range and can be used both offensively and defensively, as well as combo for other moves. Thus, Marth's gameplay revolves around this move which, therefore, must be used very often. It's up to your opponent to figure out how to handle it.

Likewise, if you use characters with good projectiles, there's no reason to approach the opponent. Characters like Snake, Duck Hunt, Samus, Simon, Richter, any of the Links, etc. WERE MADE to fight from afar, so if you can deal damage without taking any risks, why not use it to the fullest? Again, it's up to your opponent to find their way to you while defending, dodging, and taking damage from projectiles.

6. Learn to use Directional Influence (DI)

Definitely one of the mechanics that must be learned first in any Smash. Directional Influence, or simply DI, is how you can influence the trajectory you are sent when you take a hit. This serves both to get out of combos and to survive longer.

In Ultimate DI is used as follows:

  • If you receive a blow that throws you horizontally, hold the d-pad in the opposite direction. You should do this as soon as you take the hit during so-called freeze frames, the brief animation windows where you are paralyzed by the hit. It's not as difficult as it looks.
  • If you receive a hit that throws you vertically, hold the d-pad down and to the corner of the screen closest to you, ie the DI for vertical hits is always diagonal. It should also be done as soon as you get hit.
With DI you can survive hits that would normally kill you.

DI has always been one of the core mechanics of the game and can be the difference between winning and losing a match, so stay tuned.

7. Value your stocks

Each character in Smash has its own weight that reflects the average percentage at which it can die. Some light characters like Kirby, Jigglypuff, Pichu, etc, die much faster than heavy characters like Donkey Kong, King Dedede, Bowser, King K. Rool, etc.

So, whenever you are in percentage of dying, play patiently and safely. Your priority should be to stay alive. Avoid using slow moves that leave you vulnerable and try to do as much damage as possible for when you come back to the other stock. For this, use jabs, tilts, grabs and other fast moves.

The safer you play, the more chances you have of frustrating your opponent. Value your stock and wait for your opponent to expose himself when trying to kill him. These are the times when mistakes are made and you should be ready to capitalize. Nobody likes to see their opponent at 160% and still dealing damage.

Now that you're ready, check out the Smash Ultimate character list and choose your own!

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