Thursday, August 6, 2009

First non-introductory post: Focused Revelation

One of the nice things with messing around in Smash is that, to this day, I still find random things about it--specifically the ICs--that I never knew/noticed before.

A recent discovery is that you can up+b right as you dash off the edge of the level, turn around, and grab the edge while belaying Nana into the air. She gets her normal hitbox/invincibility frames, you grab the edge from the stage. Quick and kind of cool looking. Useful? Your mileage may vary :)

The best part about it is that I found with a crazy burst of logical insight. I thought, "you can turn around with their up+b, right? And if you jump just before you run off the stage, sliding off the edge will cancel the jump animation; that means I can up+b without using their double jump. What if I can just cancel this onto the edge and grab it?"

I guess the best term to describe this is "focused revelation." You put yourself in a position where innovation and discovery are possible, then put all your energy and exploring mutations of... something. In this case, I was noodling around with the ICs up+b and thinking of all the ways that up+b's can be manipulated. "Sheik has a trick like this, Jigglypuff has a trick like this, why not the ICs? After all, you can wavedash backwards off the level and buffer the up+b so you slide off as you begin, letting you grab the edge. Why not run off, turn around, and get the same effect?" And it worked! More often than not, your crazy ideas will turn out to be legitimately crazy and then flop, but sometimes they work out. This time, mine did. I found a new way to up+b cancel onto the edge with the ICs and look cool in the process.

So yeah, focused revelation. Pick one thing in any environment, any field, any circumstance, and explore it as much as possible. Combine that thing with any other thing you can think of, mutate it, twist it, bend it, and see what happens. It works just about everywhere, I think, and is a key to developing personal creativity. Since this is a blog about Smash however, I've been thinking about how many follow-ups you have to any opener, and I'm getting some unusual results.

Example. I've been messing around with IC's jabs as an edgeguarding tool--I've seen how many times people die to random weak hits at the edge, and realized that being immediately below the edge with no control over your approach angle is a bad place to be for many recovering characters. So why not jab them, and see what happens?

Well, for starters, a lot of people randomly air-dodge and give me free KOs. That's great, since until the late 100's and onward, jabs are untechable, and if people start mashing R and L they may wind up air-dodging by accident. Second, the IC's jab has deceptive range *beneath* them. Against a Falcon, you can repeatedly jab (only really doable with two ICs, I think) as he up+b's and just poke him. He drops below the edge, up+b's again, and you jab again. Duck cancel the jab, and repeat.

In the case of Falco, I would normally try to tilt or smash their recovery, but now I've found that if I just jab, Falco becomes incredibly easy to finish. I can jab and wait for him to recover so I can smash. If he goes too low, I can just edgehog. But this is boring, and in the spirit of focused revelation, I want to keep exploring. What else do I have? Well, I can also try to tilt or grab his recovery if he comes above the level.

What else? I've covered jabs, tilts, smashes and grabs. How about B-moves? Blizzard is a nice soft poke that might stun him and cause him to drop again, but it has more lag than the jab and sometimes freezes the recovering opponent, popping him up and giving him his 2nd jump back. Iceblock would be great for gimping, but when they're right below the stage the angle is usually all wrong. Up+b could work; after all, I have a new trick for grabbing the edge quickly; I could fake him out by pretending to stay on the edge and edgeguard, then quickly get the edge and let him fall. I have an idea for forward+b, but this is the wrong circumstance for it.

This leaves me with my aerials. I could drop off the stage and suicidal d-air, but that has a low chance of killing him unless he's already low. B-air could work if I get the reverse hitbox and hit him away from the stage, otherwise I give him a chance to tech. F-air might pop him up or spike him, but he could meteor cancel. Alternatively, I could stay on the stage and try to edgeguard with both f-air and b-air, or I could grab the edge and try getting him with the ledgehopped d-air loop. I could go down and use u-air, but that defeats the purpose of hitting him that low; then again if he's at a low percent, the soft u-air might send him nowhere and set up for another hit.

Of course, that effect could easily be outperformed by using n-air, which is exactly what I've started doing. Jab the Falco while he tries to recover; when he falls beneath the level, walk off and n-air him as he tries to up+b. N-air's low knockback makes it very suitable for gimp KO's in this circumstance; it also has a quick recovery, meaning I can quickly forward+b with Nana to recover. If Falco tries to be persistent, I can also double jump and n-air again, then forward+b or up+b afterwards. Catching him that low with such a weak hit guarantees he will be sent at a bad trajectory, and it makes for a very easy, untechable, deadly edgeguard off the relatively easy to use jab. I like it!

In fact, now that I know n-air is so effective at dealing with Falco here, where else can I use it? No spoilers! Go explore!


  1. I've started egeguarding Fox with ledgehopped nairs (while still invulnerable from grabbing the ledge). At moderate to high percentages, it puts him in a position where he has pretty limited recovery options, which is easy to take advantage of.

    I rarely jab to edgeguard, but I like the idea. Random thought: let's say you jab a space animal recovering on Battlefield. I bet you could run off and bair him below the stage such that he can't recover.

    You can use blizzard in a way similar to jab for edgeguarding, too. For example, sometimes with Sopo I'll bthrow Fox off the stage then blizzard, and if he double jumps into it, he's then a bit below the stage. He still has a few decent recovery options, but if you can guess which one he does, you can usually KO him.

    I think we could use more reliable ways of edgeguarding non-fastfallers, though. You can use nair in a really similar fashion against Marth as you can against Falco; just try to nair him right after one of his over-B's and he probably won't make it back.

    He can get around this by saving his side-B or recovering really low, but if he's being really cautious about nairs, he's easier to edgeguard from the stage or gimp with ice blocks.

    Other random thoughts: how good are ice blocks at messing with Samus' recovery? Can ICs reliably light-shield edgehog Luigi? I'm not coming up with a lot of ideas now, but I'll keep thinking about it.


  2. See, that's the kind of thinking I'm talking about when it comes to advancing your personal metagame and making discoveries :)

    "N-air works on Falco, who else can it work on? When would it work?" I did in fact start using it against Marths; they rarely have themselves mentally prepared to throw out f-air to defend themselves because Ice Climbers typically don't come leaping off the stage at them. I've also been doing it to Doc, Mario and Falcon as well.

    As for Luigi, the ICs are too floaty I think. If the Luigi sweetspots properly you'll wind up off the level and he'll grab the edge--at least, that's what happens with me and Marth. However, if you have Nana with you, roll to the edge and shield with Z, she'll just stand there grabbing thin air while you shield. Luigi might hit your shield first, then Nana--would that give you a chance to reach the edge first? Beats me, but it's this kind of thought process that leads to new discoveries and tactics.

  3. Little marth trick i "discovered" when applying this to marth's jab guard v spacies:
    When on battlefield, jabbing a recovering spacie will put him directly under the ledge. Therefore, he can only recover by going up. on a stage like yoshi's or FoD, he can angle towards the stage, but on BF that wouldn't work. Therefore, if I jab a spacie on BF, I tend to just start charging an Fsmash, because you end up with a lot of free time to just hit them.
    You probably know about this, whatever