Super Smash Dad
February 26, 2020 2:20 PM   Subscribe

Help me level up my Super Smash Bros Ultimate skills just enough to show my kids who's boss.

When we first got the game for Switch, my kids crushed me. I spent a night practicing with Donkey Kong -- simple smash battlefield mode vs CPU's -- and the next day I was king. Woo!

But they quickly improved and left me in the dust. I'm too disorganized a player to figure out how to get back in the game. I've been trying to use Yoshi instead because he's faster and has better recovery, and I generally know their moves, but I don't understand how to string things together, counter, stay off the edge, etc.
Unlike my kids, I get unlimited screen time. Seems like I could spare half an hour now and then against the computer to try to get better. We don't have online accounts so I don't have anybody else to practice with, but I think there's still enough to learn from the computer anyway.

My oldest son is a purist who likes to play with no items and final smash meter disabled -- often in battlefield mode as well so there's fewer stadium hazards / less luck involved. That's where I need to find some way to improve.

I'm willing to change characters if I must, but preference would be DK (in gray fur, so they lose to "Old Man DK"), Yoshi, or mmmaybe Wario (because he makes them laugh).

So, scene by scene, what does my training montage look like?
posted by rouftop to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (9 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Do your kids have particular characters they prefer to play as? Understanding what weaknesses you should exploit will be just as important as defining your strengths.
posted by matrixclown at 2:55 PM on February 26

This happened to me and I just had to play a lot to get better. Playing against human players helped, but really getting to know all of the moves (grabs, drops, etc.) for a small handful of characters proved to make a big difference, because it also would dazzle my son with cool moves that also smashed him.
posted by sleeping bear at 3:46 PM on February 26

Son a: Snake, Ridley
Son b: Inkling, Mewtwo, Corrin
posted by rouftop at 3:51 PM on February 26

First off, controls. You can make a custom tag and associate your preferred controls with it. These are your preferred controls.

Training montage:

1. focus on a specific character. DK is not considered a high tier character(poor recovery, no ranged attacks), whereas you'll note that Inkling is generally considered high tier (strong if predictable recovery, many ranged attacks). But for novices, practice is typically a stronger factor than tier rankings, and characters often have counters further down the tier list.
2. Watch some streamers to see their style and moveset. One thing you'll notice is that they tend to go for offstage kills more often. And they'll use back-air attacks if the range is better than forward-air.
3. Learn your 'kill' moves vs damage moves. Moves have a different combination of damage and knockback. Falco's lazer, for example, has zero knockback and cannot kill, while Jigglypuff's rest move has massive knockback
4. Practice against AI in slow mode to learn the moveset, then ramp up. Ideally hit faster than 1x speed, so that 'normal time' feels slow. This is your hyperbolic time chamber.
5. Practice against strong AI. IMO Don't use 9's since I think they have access to your button presses (they often counter / perfect shield).
posted by pwnguin at 6:17 PM on February 26 [1 favorite]

OK, just had a long conversation with my 17yo son who plays yoshi in local tournaments. Three things you need to know are:
* how to get back on the stage after you fall off  
* what all your attacks do, and what they look like
* how to shield

One thing I have been struck by is how much time in each game he spends off the stage. You'd think that falling off was a death sentence but there are a few recovery tricks. If you aren't too far off the stage, double-jump (press jump button while in the air). If you've fallen a bit farther, double-jump anyway, then press up-b, which throws an egg and gives you a little extra momentum to get back up. Most characters can use up-b to get back on this way.

Speaking of jumping, you might want to consider turning off tap jump (may be called stick jump) in the controls. This is on by default and it causes you to jump when you press the stick up, but some people find it causes them to jump too much.

Now on to attacks. Go into training mode and try all of these out. You will find something you like, and you can then overuse it till your kid figures out how to counter it.

There are 8 ground attacks, which are done with the control stick plus A button. These are all done while you are on the ground.
jab = press the A button
dash attack = press A while running
3 tilts= side-tilt, up-tilt, down-tilt. 
3 smash attacks = side-smash, up-smash, down-smash
The difference between tilts and smash attacks is how you use the control stick. If you kind of roll the control stick it's a tilt. If you flick it, it is a smash.

There are 5 aerial attacks which are done with the control stick plus A button. These are all done while you are in the air. They are: fwd-air, back-air, up-air, down-air, neutral-air

There are 4 special attacks which are done with the control stick plus the B button. They are neutral-b, side-b, up-b, down-b.

Finally you can grab by pressing the grab button. Grab attacks ignore shields so it is convenient to grab someone who is shielding.

You can shield by pressing the shield button and a bubble (or egg in yoshi's case) forms around you. Don't overuse it - if you keep holding it down it explodes, you get shot into the air and there are a few seconds where you're dizzy and can't act. 

Air dodge is pressing shield while in the air. You can't get hit while air dodging. Also, if you fall off the platform, a directional air dodge (shield + press the control stick the way you want to go) can sometimes get you back on.

It's also worth knowing that yoshi has heavy armor on double-jump. So, lets say  you jump, then are about to get hit while in the air. If you then jump while in the air, that's a double jump. If you get hit during double-jump you take the damage but you don't take the knockback so you don't get shoved toward the edge of the stage.

When you're on the ground and think someone is going to hit you, shield, then jump, and hit them with an aerial attack. This shaves a bit of time off. Normally there's a whole animation of going out of shield, but you can jump out of shield instantly. It saves you 8 frames, which is 8/60ths of a second.

Also it is sometimes convenient to fast fall - flick the controller down while descending from a jump and you get to the ground faster. You will see a little spark when you land. The reason for doing this is that you are vulnerable in the air and want to get to the ground faster.

The really important thing is to just know your moves really well. There are a lot of them. Doing all the moves in training mode will help a lot. You want to try out each move because you can't always tell via the animation where it is going to hit or what angle your opponent is going to get sent in - you just have to practice it to know. The reason you want to know what angle the opponent will go in, is that you want to know where to hit them with a follow-up attack.

Later on, you might want to check out BananaBoySSB. He has youtube tutorials on smash, and he plays yoshi.
If you want a lot of detail on moves, and how fast they are in frames, you can check out

Let us know how it went! Good luck defeating your kids! All of us parents are cheering for you.
posted by selfmedicating at 6:33 PM on February 26 [15 favorites]

selfmedicating's post is great and probably everything you need to know to get started, but just as a small thing: I'm a good "amateur" Smash player—I'll beat most other people who just play it a lot for fun, and I'll get pulverized by most anybody who plays it seriously enough to think about playing in a local tournament, etc. The thing that I, personally, would get punished for constantly by better players is being the first person to jump. I try to remember to stay on the ground more and I do better now.

More generally—especially when you're playing with the same people most of the time—if they're beating you a certain way a lot, try to think less about the move they're using and more about the thing you're doing that's making you vulnerable to it.
posted by Polycarp at 6:50 PM on February 26 [2 favorites]

If you have some time to yourself, drilling fundamentals and online play will help a lot more than playing the CPU. Think of drilling fundamentals like learning scales for a musical instrument: 5 minutes every day will pay off. Izaw on YouTube has a great video on training that you can bite off about 5-10% of and get a lot of mileage out of. (All of his videos are great, btw, probably better than my advice here)

One big thing is to pick a single character to get good at. This is your "main" - if you like DK, then sticking with DK is great. People obsess a lot about which characters are better than others, but honestly it only matters if you're competitive at a high level. At local tournaments, you can find winners with almost any character, so it's really a matter of what suits your play style.

Here's some things to think about as you play:

* Get to know their moves:
* What's the reach of all the attacks? With some play, this will get more instinctive
* Which moves can kill? How early can they kill? Which moves *don't* kill? Can some chain damage at low %?
* If there's something tricky (e.g. Palutena's fire blast move, which has different ranges), practice
* Short hops! This isn't mentioned above, but if you tap the jump button very quickly, you can do a short jump. You can also map a button specifically to it, iirc. Depending on your main, this can be super useful - e.g. Palutena's short hop side air attacks are fantastic
posted by billjings at 10:26 PM on February 26 [1 favorite]

We want to know if you've played your kids yet!
posted by selfmedicating at 10:27 AM on February 29

Up-throw -> up-air -> up-air -> up-air. DK is a beast.

When your opponent is above you, or offstage, don't let them get back to the ground/on stage. Run off nair is a great edge guard option (with practically any character) if they are recovering low (from below the stage).

The one thing that separates most beginners from intermediate players is the willingness to go offstage to continue a combo/punish. Go out there. Finish the job. Don't let them come back on stage once they leave it (either because you hit/threw them up or offstage - don't let them get back down/back on stage).

Looking on twitter I see "cargo up-throw" (walk a little after the grab before throwing) -> fair is a combo. Also 1 hit of down b -> grab.

Also, learning OOS (out of shield) options is good. Run up shield is a great bait. Often times people try to trade by throwing out their own attack when they see you running up (assuming you will attack as you run in), so shielding when you're close and they're already reacting is a great way to bait. Then you just press A while in shield to grab if they land in front of you, or short-hop aerial (back-air if they're behind you, etc.), or maybe look up what OOS options are good for DK (I'm spit balling, I don't actually know).

Good luck. I hope you can push them to greater heights.
posted by Zanthir at 10:00 AM on March 2 [1 favorite]

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