Disclaimer: This is not for seasoned veterans. This guide is aimed at helping beginner players improve and beat their friends. You won’t be winning any competitive tournaments after reading this, but you will be able to embarrass your friends the next time you all sit down for a game of Super Smash Bros Melee.
With that being said, welcome to the wonderful world of Super Smash Bros Melee, or SSBM. SSBM is a fighting game where you defeat your opponent by knocking them off the screen into a “blast zone.” The more damage your opponent has taken, the further your attacks will send them flying. Each player begins with 4 stocks and the player left standing wins. The most common form of gameplay is an 8-minute match with 4 stocks per player and items turned off. This is what you’ll find in any competitive gameplay. Without further ado, here are 10 tips on destroying your friends at Super Smash Bros.
- Character Selection
The first step in beating your friends is selecting your character. Masahiro Sakurai, the father of Super Smash Bros, worked incessantly on Melee for 13 months, but it simply wasn’t enough time to ensure that every character was balanced. This resulted in some characters having innate advantages over others. Due to this, only a handful of characters should be played. However, when picking up the game, it’s important to find a character you enjoy and feel comfortable playing. For the sake of beating the crap out of your friends at this game, take a look at this matchup chart showing you the best and worst character matchups.
- Stage Selection
Picking the right stage is important because different characters do better on different stages. For instance, Final Destination (on the left) has no platforms, whereas Dreamland (on the right) does. Furthermore, the tree on Dreamland will occasionally blow gusts of wind, moving your character if you aren’t careful. Some stages have small blast zones while others have large ones. If your character is very light and floaty, you generally want larger blast zones so you live longer. If your character is slow but powerful, you probably want a smaller stage, so your opponent can’t run away from you.These rules aren’t set in stone, of course, so explore and find out which stages you enjoy. Competitive stages include Battlefield, Yoshi’s Story, Fountain of Dreams, Final Destination, Dreamland, and Pokemon Stadium.
Moving forward, it’s important that you know the buttons on a Gamecube controller. That way, you know what the heck we’re talking about. Here’s a handy button map for reference.
What’s the saying again..oh right, the best offense is a good defense. By pressing the Left or Right Trigger, your character will create a shield. Your shield will deplete over time and as you take damage. If your shield breaks you’ll be stunned for 10 seconds. You can also be grabbed while shielding, so don’t let it give you a false sense of security.
Shielding allows you to roll and dodge. By moving the Control Stick left or right while shielding, your character will perform a roll. It’s a good move for avoiding an attack if you’re in a pinch. A better evasive option, however, is the spot dodge. Move the Control Stick downward while shielding to make your character dodge in place, allowing you to quickly attack afterward.
Some moves, like smash attacks, are powerful and appealing, but don’t be fooled! Melee is about speed and agility, you should be using quick attacks that don’t slow you down, which is why it’s important to use tilts. Tilts are performed by pressing the A button while slightly tilting the control stick either left, right, up, or down. There’s a delicate balance between performing a tilt attack and making your character jump or run. It takes some getting used to, but tilts are the best thing a beginner can practice in order to improve!
While jumping, Press the C-Stick in any direction or A + any direction on the Control Stick, to perform an aerial attack. Pressing A without holding any direction will perform a neutral air attack. Aerials are strong, quick moves that will send your opponent flying off the screen! Landing while performing aerial attacks results in some serious landing lag, however, which your opponent will take full advantage of. We’ll address this further on and get you back on track to victory!
For most characters, pressing up on the Control Stick + B will allow you to recover. Some characters have multiple methods of recovering. Fox, for instance, has several recovery options. His Up + B move allows you to angle him in any direction and blast back towards the stage. His Side (left or right) + B move will send him horizontally in which direction you chose to press. Once you perform a directional B move you won’t be able to perform any other actions until you touch the ground or grab a ledge. Below you can see an example of a Fox player recovering onto the stage and another grabbing the ledge.
- Edge Guarding
As mentioned, there are multiple ways to recover, and it’s your job to stop your opponent from doing that. When you grab the ledge you have 30 frames of intangibility, meaning your opponent cannot hit you and they cannot grab the ledge. If your opponent is below the stage and their only option is to grab the ledge, hop on first, and they will fall to their doom! Conversely, if your opponent is knocked up and away and it looks like they’ll recover onto the stage directly, try to anticipate where they’re going to land to punish them accordingly. As you improve, begin trying to intercept their recoveries with aerial attacks off the edge of the stage. High risk, high reward. Here’s a useful video on the subject by Super Smash Academy.
L-Canceling is an advanced technique used to cancel the lag caused by landing while performing an aerial attack. By pressing shield 1-7 frames before you land, it significantly reduces the lag of your character animation. This allows you to quickly perform another action. The more you play, the more you should try to incorporate L-Canceling into your game. Playing against someone who doesn’t L-Cancel is like running a race against someone who doesn’t know how to sprint. For a more in-depth explanation, check out this video tutorial.
- Neutral Game
What is a ‘neutral game’? It’s all finding a strategic position where you can avoid your opponent’s attacks and then hit them with your own. Anticipating your opponent’s movement while continuously moving will help you avoid their attacks. A key is something called Dash Dancing. This is when you flick the control stick left and right in quick succession to keep your character constantly sprinting. As shown below, dash dancing around an opponent can lead them to make a crucial mistake.
As mentioned earlier, this is by no means an all-encompassing list. There’s much more knowledge on the subject of Super Smash Bros than can fit into a single blog post. Learning the game is fun and easy, but mastering it takes practice and dedication. There are tons of helpful resources out there, so keep looking and keep improving. For now, however, these 10 tips on destroying your friends at Super Smash Bros will have you kicking their asses in no time!
Good luck, now get playing!