Super Smash Characters lined up
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Super Smash Bros. Terms for Beginners

Jul 7, 2016
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The Evolution Championship Series (EVO) main event at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas is just around the corner. As the largest and oldest running fighting game event in the world, we are looking forward to a lot of great matches, tough competition, and maybe a few upsets.

Street Fighter V, Killer Instinct, Pokken Tournament, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Mortal Kombat X, Guilty Gear, Super Smash Bros. WiiU, Tekken 7, and Super Smash Bros. Melee will all be on showcase at this year’s Evo with the best players in the world competing for each game’s title. As we cover Super Smash Bros. Melee regularly here at Esports Edition, I thought a good way to prep for the big tournament is to give all the esports fans who are new to Smash a quick guide to common terms.


Seasoned players know these words/phrases well. Those who are new to the game will find them very useful. These are terms used at all levels of competitive play and by any caster you hear while watching a stream or event. There are more than what is listed, but hopefully this will give you a good base and help you begin to understand how the game works and digest and decipher what you see happening on screen.


The blank can be filled with one of several letters (N, U, F, B, D, Z). Each of these is an abbreviation for a type of aerial attack. For example Uair is short for “up air,” an attack done mid air by hitting the attack button while holding the control stick up. Nair is possibly the most common of these phrases and stands for “neutral air” or an aerial attack done by hitting the attack button with no directional input.


A combo which uses multiple grabs in a row. This kind of combo is extremely common with Sheik. As Sheik is near the top of the character tier list, you will no-doubt hear the term at most tournaments.


Dash-dancing is a technique where the player runs back and forth in a small amount of space very quickly. This is typically done in an attempt to mask how the player will be approaching their opponent, or to keep the spacing between the characters ambiguous.


Directional Influence (commonly called DI) is when a player holds a direction on their control stick immediately as they are being struck. DI allows the player to influence the direction which their character will travel in response to the attack. This can be very handy when trying to survive at low percentage, or throw off the rhythm of your opponent.

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Edge guard (also known as “edge defense”) refers to a player trying to prevent their opponent from reaching the stage once they have been knocked off. Typical parts of edge guard include edge hogging and aerial attacks (see _air).


When a player grabs and holds the edge of the stage in an attempt to keep his opponent from reaching the edge for safety. In Smash, only 1 character can be holding the edge of the stage at a time. So if a player knocks his opponent off the stage then grabs the edge himself, the opponent has to gain more height to make it back to the stage than they would have needed if the edge was open.


Some actions can be cancelled after input by a jump. For example, Fox players can cancel their reflector by jumping.


While dash-dancing, there is a point between the directional moves’ animation where a move can be executed. This point in known as the pivot.


Often during a match both players will attempt a move at the same time, priority decides which of the 2 moves cancels the other. The priority is often decided by how many frames of animation the move takes to complete.


Shine refers to the reflector move, which can be used by both Fox and Falco. The term typically is used when the reflector is used at point-blank range. The move generates a small hitbox around Fox/Falco and will damage opponents as well as deflect any projectiles. Although the term is only specific to 2 characters, both Falco and Fox are considered top-tier. Consequently, both characters are played by a high percentage of the competitive community.


A smash is a ground attack which is done by moving the control stick in a direction and pressing attack. Smashes knock back opponents further than other attacks and can be charged by holding the attack button.


Teching refers to a player quickly recovering from the ground instead of letting the bounce animation take place. Teching is done by hitting your shield button within 20 frames of hitting any solid surface. If done correctly, the character will immediately be standing and ready for further moves and input.


I hope that this quick guide to common Smash Bros. terms has helped you understand a little bit more about the games. If you have any other common terms we might have missed, or if you heard a term during a broadcast and have no idea what it meant, let us know! Enjoy Evo!

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Cameron Rogowski
Long-time blogger, esports fan, last of the AP Tryndamere. I follow every game I can find the time to watch and have an unhealthy fascination with esports in the Southeast Asian region. You can catch me on twitter @cdrogowski.
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