Hey guys, I'm Co-op, and today we will be talking about what I think are the 10 most important mechanics for you to learn when you are trying to get into Smash 4 competitively.
(If you aren't super familiar with the game lingo/want to watch a video instead of reading, check out my video covering all of this here)
Up first is discussing the basic defensive mechanic, shielding. When your shield is hit, you will encounter shield stun which will stop you from doing any actions for a certain period of time. Shield stun is calculated by the strength of the move. You will also be pushed away from the attack (how much depends on your character's traction and strength of the move). Whenever you let go of shield, your character suffers 7 frames of lag where they cannot act. If a move hits your shield in the first 3 frames it is up, you have "perfect shielded" the attack.
If you do so, three things happen. You receive 25% less shield stun, you don't slide away from the attack at all, and you don't suffer the 7 frames of lag when you drop shield if you do so right after the attack. The timing is strict, but once you get it down, you can power shield most projectiles on reaction and attacks that have long wind ups.
The next mechanic is one of the most important and is in regards to shielding once again. Most people know you can roll or spot dodge while in shield, but it's also possible to grab, throw items, or jump. If you do any of the options listed above, you actually skip the usual 7 frames of lag from letting go of shield. Also, if you press your normal attack button (default being the A button) while in shield, your character will grab without dropping shield.
This leads us into our next tip, canceling your jump-in attacks. Once you press the jump button while your character is on the ground, they do a squatting animation before they jump, called their jump squat. During this time (which varies from character to character), you can cancel your jump by entering your Up-Speccial or Up-Smash. This means you can use these attacks out of shield (commonly abbreviated OoS) without incurring the 7 frames of shield drop lag.
Now let's talk about the Rage mechanic. You may have noticed sometimes people will be sent farther by the same move. This can be attributed to the rage mechanic. Starting at 35% and lasting until 150%, the knockback of your moves will increase as your percent inches towards 150. Your knockback is at a 1.0 multiplyer starting at 0 and will max out at 1.15 if you are at 150%. This makes making comebacks easier and also makes it important to take stocks before your opponent's percent gets too high.
While we talk about mechanics affecting knockback, we have to also talk about staling. The game has a queue that is filled up by the last 9 moves you have used. Every time a move is part of the queue, it means the next time you use it, the move will be weaker, going all the way down to 52% of its original strength if all 9 moves in the queue are the same move and you use it again. This encourages players to use different moves instead of spamming one move over and over. Also, if a move hits and isn't part of the queue, it actually receives a freshness bonus in the form of a 1.05x damage multiplyer.
When it comes to surviving powerful attacks, we have to discuss Directional Influence. If you hold your analog stick in a specific direction when being sent towards the blastzones, you can actually make your character travel a shorter distance, helping you survive longer. Generally speaking, when you are sent upwards, you want to hold the stick to the left or right. When sent horizontally, you want to hold down and towards the stage. (I.E. if you are sent to the left, you want to hold down and right). This will not be the case for all moves and there are tools online to find the exact way to DI any attack (Ruben's Calculator).
If you are into Street Fighter 5, you will know about the input buffering system. In Smash 4, if you input an action withing 10 frames of your character finishing their current action, they will perform your most recent input on the first frame it's possible. If you input multiple different actions during these 10 frames, only the most recent one will be done by your character.
Next up, while in most situations your character will grab it when they are near it and aren't in the middle of an animation, there is another point where your character cannot grab the ledge. If you have been hit by an attack, you will not be able to grab the ledge for 54 frames. If you get hit by a weak move and expect to grab the ledge, you might not realize the mistake in time to recover.
Onto more advanced techniques. If you jump when you are right above your opponent and they aren't in the middle of an attack animation, you will footstool them. When you do this, they will be unable to act for a short period of time if you footstool them in the air. This is great to use for opponents attempting to recover or to lead into combos because they cannot tech the ground if they are still unable to act due to the footstool.
This leads us into our last mechanic, Jab locks. A lock is when you use a low knockback move on an opponent who has recently hit the ground without teching. This will force your opponent to use standard getup and you can choose your punish to hit them when they come out of it. In Smash 4, you can lock someone 3 times in one instance. If you try to hit them a 4th time, they will pop out and not be locked anymore.
Thanks for reading, and I'll see you guys next time!