There’s something different about Smash Bros from other fighting games. Most notable is that instead of damaging health and decreasing a life bar, you inflict damage that makes it easier to knock your opponent off the board. That makes for much more of a nail-biting finish to each round because you never know exactly when someone’s going to get sent flying into space. Also, as it happens, it causes losing a round to fill me with a deep and unprecedented fury as though a black hole has ripped a tear in the universe deep in my stomach.
Something about the combination of the bright light that engulfs you as you fall to your doom and the fact that I know freakin’ Jigglypuff is sitting there looking smug as my R.O.B -AN ADVANCED ROBOT WHO SHOULD NOT BE DEFEATED BY A MARSHMALLOW- gets jettisoned into the ether…I just…ooooooooooooo it gets me worked up. So to help all the dads out there who are new to Smash, we put together this handy rage-avoidance guide to prepare you for our Super Smash Bros Ultimate Tournament!
First off, here’s how the event will go down. Sign up here. Then, on October 9, we’ll all pop a fresh pack of Planters Pop & Pour, and settle in for an elimination bracket. If we have enough signups, we’ll hold two of these. The top 16 – or 32 – will then be invited back for a Double Elimination Grand Final Showdown to secure ULTIMATE BRAGGING RIGHTS. In order to play in this tournament, you will need Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, a Switch console, Nintendo Online, and the determination of Bowser taking his opponent on a flying slam off-stage. What you do NOT need is to be any good at the game. Just take it from me.
Sign up here, and now let’s learn to overcome our demons…
What is SSBU?
Super Smash Bros. is a fighting game at its core. As we talked about before, though, unlike arcade classics such as “Boulevard Warriors” and “Fatal Konflict” the idea is to inflict a higher percentage of damage to your opponent, making it easier to throw them off the board and send me into a rage spiral. It’s kinda like a sumo wrestling match, but with Pikachu and Donkey Kong.
- Stock – your “lives” in a match. Your starting stock can be altered in the game settings.
- Blast Zone – The outside edges of each stage – your goal is to knock opponents into this, and you lose a stock when you touch it. Trust me, you’ll know.
- Normals or Tilts– the basic A-button attach. There are 4 variations based on also pressing on the direction pad.
- Specials – the Special B-button attach. Again, 4 directional variations. These are character-specific moves, so experiment with these to find your “Mains”
- Smashes – 3 extra powerful attacks performed by pressing A, but with a hard/fast directional input.
- Double Jump – all characters can perform a double jump while airborne, and some can even perform multiple jumps (Kirby and Jigglypuff have 5, the smushy jerks). You can use these to pull yourself back from the Blast Zones.
- Rolling – This is a quick dash-move that makes you invincible for a brief second. It’s good for getting out of a tight fix. Press the directional button while holding the shield button at the same time.
- Recovery – The strategy I just described – trying to get back on the board from the Blast Zone so you don’t lose a stock.
- Edge Guard – attempting to prevent your opponent from recovering back to the stage. Usually standing on the edge yourself shooting or attacking them so they can’t quite land.
- Knockback – the force and distance you travel when hit by an attack
- Percent or Damage – how much damage you have taken on your current stock. As your percentage increases, so does your knockback, making it easier to send you flying into the Blast Zone.
HOW TO NOT LOSE YOUR COOL
Because Smash is an otherwise straight-forward fighting game, the strategies here are pretty simple to learn but difficult to master.
Learn the “Neutral” – AKA: Footsies
Have you ever watched any boxing or MMA fights and noticed that those guys don’t throw haymakers and power hits all the time? They only go for it when they are confident it will land. Spamming the slow but powerful hits is a good way to get KO’d quickly. Use quick “safe” moves to test their opponent; momentum can shift quickly in a Smash Bros. match, so sometimes reverting back to the neutral game may be the best choice.
Know Your Character
SSBU currently fields a roster of 74 characters that all handle differently and have different abilities. Knowing one inside and out is difficult enough, trying to generalize that can just dilute your abilities. This is why fight gamers like to have a “Main” – the character they rely on and know how to live in. Definitely play the field at first and be willing to try new things, but when it’s time for a tournament, you’ll want to play with a character you know like the back of your hand.
Limit Your Rolls
While rolling is an essential tool for bobbing and weaving around a fight, doing it too much gets predictable, allowing your opponent to lay the smackdown on you. They also have diminishing returns, and gradually make you more vulnerable. It’s good to float like a butterfly, but you gotta learn the stinging/bee part, too.
Use Your Shield
Oh how I wish I knew about this the first twenty times I played Smash back in college. Many newer players keep their foot on the attack pedal, forgetting that the shield button even exists. Playing defense doesn’t have to mean losing ground. You need to look for openings, not just button-mash. The game is fast paced, but I promise you’ll do better if you stand your ground and get acclimated to that speed, rather than trying to just hail mary your way through.
Don’t Burn Your Double Jump
Oh no! You got knocked off the stage! Don’t panic, you have a lot of resources you can use to help you recover, the best of which is your double jump! However, and this is a big instinct to learn to beat – if you use it too soon, but ar being edge guarded, or are just too far away, you’ll still fall into a KO.
If you are recovering – as in trying to get back on the board, not…like, recovering emotionally – it’s usually safer to drop below the stage and approach it from below. It’s harder and riskier for most opponents to edge guard against someone below the stage as opposed to above.
Pop & Pour
Smash Bros is a fast-paced game, and the tide can change swiftly. Many an overconfident player has found themselves blasting out unexpectedly after reaching for a snack or a drink. Planters Pop & Pour are designed to give you a quick, one-handed snack fix so you don’t lose focus on what’s important.
Don’t Spam Your Smashes
SSBU has a mechanic that reduces the effectiveness of subsequent uses of attacks. Sometimes it will be better to utilize the weaker attacks that are better at combo-ing, then following up with a quality smash more likely to send them into a blast zone.
Mix It Up and Adapt
Simply put, try to be as unpredictable as you can. If you start showing patterns, your opponent will likely pick up on those and hit you at your most vulnerable moments.
Practice, Practice, Practice!
There’s a training mode in the game, which is a great way to find your Main and get used to the moves and rhythm of the game.
Watch The Pros
Join The Dad Gaming Smash Bros group and find resources to learn from the best! There are a ton of character-specific and tutorial videos online, and just watching people who are good at the game can help you play better!
Okay, that’s enough to get you going. I can’t promise you’ll win every round without a lot of practice, but if I’d known these tips when I got started, I’d probably have much better blood pressure. Hop into some rounds with The Dad Gaming to get warmed up, stock up on some Pop & Pours, and then we’ll see you on October 9th!
This article and The Dad Gaming League are sponsored by Planters. Enjoy delicious snacks without gunking up your controller with Planters Pop and Pour