How strange it is that a game that is about comrades beating the tar out of each other is an experience that’s able to bring so many together in celebration. The Super Smash Bros. series was a unique idea upon the debut of the first game in the franchise, and it continues to be a black sheep amongst fighting games and similar genres. There’s just something about the games that are so viscerally enjoyable and magical.
It might be the fact that so many beloved characters get to partake in a bonkers crossover, or it might be the incredibly chunky sound effects that make each impact be as satisfying as possible, or it might just be that the very atmosphere is one of celebration and history.
Regardless of the what the reason might be, the latest entry in this iconic series, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, aims to live up to its namesake and be the definitive version. Every character has been brought back, and so has nearly every stage, and the gameplay itself is the best the series has felt since the competitive darling, Melee, made its presence known far and wide.
Despite the pick up and play nature of Ultimate, there’s a great deal of depth beneath its simplistic surface, and players might be surprised to discover how unprepared they are for the rigors of online competition.
To help everyone prepare for the cataclysmic competitions that await them, we’ve compiled a list of the 20 Things Only Experts Know How To Do In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
20 Use Simon's Whip To Deflect Projectiles
With Simon Belmont finally making his long-awaited appearance on the worldwide stage of Smash, it’s a relief to see just how faithful and detailed his moveset is. He’s got his axes, crosses, holy water and a few maneuvers picked up from his Echo Fighter, Richter, but it’s the whip that’s most impressive.
Just like in the atmospheric masterpiece, Super Castlevania IV, not only can Simon whip in multiple directions, but he can dangle the Vampire Killer in order to deflect and defend against projectiles. Simply hold down your attack button and wiggle the control stick in the desired direction, and you’ll be reliving Super Castlevania IV all over again… and that’s always a good thing.
19 Break Your Fall With Your Shield
Whether your characters are landing from an intentional jump or drop, or if they’re heading towards the ground fast due to a brutal hit from an adversary, there is going to be some lag in their getting up, attacking or evading. More importantly, in the case of a hard hit sending you rocketing to the floor, there’s a chance that you’ll bounce off the hard surface and back into your enemy’s clutches or, even worse, straight into oblivion.
This can all be avoided by the skillful activation of our shield a moment before you actually hit whatever surface you’re heading towards. When done right, your character will flash and all lag will have cancelled, allowing you to get right back into the fight on your own terms, or, more importantly, not being bounced to your doom.
18 Be Aware Of Your Ledge-Grabbing Options
Being that the Super Smash Bros. franchise is based all around returning to the stage after you’ve been knocked off (rather than having a life bar depleted) it’s logical that desperately grabbing for (and holding on to) a ledge are critically important skills. All characters will latch on to a ledge if they are near enough, but certain characters have extra options of grabbing the elusive corners of a stage.
For example, characters like Simon Belmont and Samus have tethers they can use to return to the map from a great distance, and all you need to do is press the grab button when you’re in range and their whips will do the trick. Also a word of caution: two characters cannot be hanging on to a ledge simultaneously. Someone’s gotta drop, no matter what.
17 Dash Dancing
Starting in Super Smash Bros. Melee, players called a specific mode of transportation “dash dancing,” due to… well, how you need your character to dash to and fro during the chaotic, high-speed combat of multiplayer matches. Dash dancing was integral in engaging in what the community calls “footsies,” which is, in the plainest terms possible, opponents doing ground-based, mid-ranged battle as far as possible from eachother while still able to connect with their attacks.
In all truthfulness, “dash dancing” is more-or-less unimportant in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate due to changes in the mechanics of dashing, but it’s important to understand the concept, regardless, especially if you plan on engaging in the updated and evolved form of what “dash dancing” has become.
16 Super Armor Awareness
There’s an interesting mechanic in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (and certain previous installments) that the game calls “super armor,” and it’s something that you should be extremely aware of. Essentially, performing certain moves for certain characters will grant them “super armor,” which is a very fancy (and honestly pretty cool) way to say that they can be damaged, but can’t flinch or be knocked back.
This knowledge can be used both offensively and defensively, and will give you an edge against any number of opponents with its risk / reward qualities. Knowing what moves grant your character super armor can be the difference between total victory and being turned into a shooting star in the background of a stage.
The controls for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate may seem basic (and they are) but there’s a lot of finesse involved with truly mastering the intricacies offered by such deceptively simple systems. While you’re never need to implement complicated directional and button combinations (unless you’re playing as Ryu and Ken), there’s still more to the Special Moves than simply pushing “B,” and this is one of them.
In short, you can reverse the direction of some of your specials by doing the move and then quickly hitting the opposite direction. This is a great way to keep opponents on their toes or quickly change your own momentum to take on multiple opponents in multiple directions without skipping a beat.
14 Change Up Your Moves
For many players, whether they are longtime fans of every entry in the series or folks who are just taking their first baby steps into Nintendo’s crossover spectacular, there’s a good chance that they’ll stick to their go-to maneuvers, with careful use of Special Moves and an overreliance on Smash Attacks, with some jabbing or grabbing thrown in for good measure.
Also, though that strategy will work, at least for a while, it’ll do far more holding back than one might think. The truth is that using the same “stale” moves repeatedly will actually lower their overall effectiveness, with the game literally making them weaker. Not only does this encourage players to test out their air, tilt and meteor attack arsenals, but it’ll also make them better overall.
Having little to do with Fox McCloud strutting his stuff on the streets of Corneria City, but having everything to do with being an excellent dance-related pun thanks to this maneuver’s relation with “dash dancing,” fox-trotting is another key, high-level move that can make or break a match in the competitive scene, and will separate the experts from the amateurs in any multiplayer match.
Unlike dash dancing, you won’t be dashing in all direction, but will specifically gear your momentum in one, where you’ll quickly stop to avoid an undesirable slide, and then start up again, cancelling any adverse effects when done right. Best of all, you won’t have to worry about any unfortunate tripping accidents interfering with your stylish and efficient stage traversal this time around.
12 Don't Autopick Your Spirits
Smash Bros. Ultimate’s “World of Light” features some of the most unfair and difficult battles the series has ever had (barring Cruel Melee, of course.) This mode was obviously created with the concept of stat-boosting Spirits in mind (of which there are over a thousand) so the key to victory lies in careful Spirit application and leveling up.
With so many options, the game has a helpful autopick feature that can do the thinking for you if it’s too overwhelming or if you can’t be bothered… but here’s the thing: it’s awful. It’s choices are so consistently awful and random, that you might think they gimped the system on purpose. If you’re looking to beat the most difficult Spirits, you need to handpick your team, period.
11 Re-Map Your Controls
This might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s very far from it. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate allows you to remap the controls in any way you want, no matter what controller set-up you’re using. You can then save these specific layouts to a name, giving you easy access.
If you’re having trouble grappling with the chaos on screen and controlling your character, it’s worth a shot to investigate the various options and do some tinkering and testing. Even if you think you prefer the default layout, you might be surprised together what switching one or two buttons around might do for your comfort and control. With all the options that are available to customize, there’s no reason not to investigate.
10 Use Richter's 0% KO Combo
In a typical Super Smash Bros. match, you’ll need to rack up a lot of damage on your opponents before you’re able to send them flying. While that seems simple enough, it can be hard to land a hit on a skilled adversary, and even if you can, you might find yourself in a battle of attrition.
Thankfully, a technique has been discovered with Richter Belmont that allows for you to swiftly deal with an opponent, KO’ing them even if their damage is at 0%. Simply jump, toss holy water at your enemy, jump again and throw a cross, use the down kick, have them be hit by the cross, down kick again and then uppercut them, and they’ll be sent to their doom. It's certainly hard and impractical to master, but it can be done.
9 Use Your Items Unpredictably
If you pick up a ray gun, you’re expected to shoot it, right? What about a Poké Ball? Surely you’ll just toss it immediately, no? In the examples used above, but of those actions seem reasonable, and they are, but they are totally expected. If you play with items and want to keep people on their toes, use the items in unexpected ways.
Pick up the ray gun and toss it immediately into someone’s face, or toss the Poké Ball straight up in the air, delaying the inevitable beast that’ll emerge while everyone scrambles around in chaos. Sure, it’s not always prudent to use an item in a way that it wasn’t specifically intended for, but you should still keep every option open in your mind.
8 De-Sync The Ice Climbers
The Ice Climbers are an almost inseparable duo, barring any unfortunate events for either Nana or Popo. But, then again, it is actually possible to intentionally de-sync the hammer-wielding pair, have them operate independently, and throw your opponents for a whirl. Some of the methods are simple, such as holding down the special button and grab at the same time. As long as the grab misses, the pair is likely to separate.
Another method is to make the Climbers run, then hit the stick in the opposite direction. As they turn around, hold down special, and the two become independent. These methods all take practice to perform perfectly, but they can open up a whole new world of strategy for those who take on the mantle of the Ice Climbers.
Footstooling is an awful, cruel and overall obnoxious technique that’ll embarrass and frustrate countless individuals… but it’s great as long as you are the one doing it and not the one on the receiving end. Basically, “footstooling” is the act of jumping off an opponent’s head.
When done right, you’ll get a nice bit of air while they’ll not only get a foot to the face, but start tumbling uncontrollably in a downward spiral. When executed properly, footstooling can become a useful tool for defense and offense, or you can simply focus on its applications in malicious taunting. It’ll take some practice to master using this skill on the fly, but when you have, it’s yet another telltale sign of a pro rather than a flailing newbie.
6 Mangle Characters In Villager's Net
Animal Crossing’s Villager might seem cutesy, but his soulless eyes tell you everything you need to know about his penchant for horrific maiming. Don’t believe us? Try out this incredibly difficult glitch and see for yourself. Again, this is absolutely ridiculous to pull off, but not impossible. You’ll need a lot of patience and practice to do it.
Choose Villager and an opponent, then head to the stage where Nabbit appears. Change the speed of the game to half, approach Nabbit until you’re right next to him, and then grab and use the down throw on him, pausing the game at the precise moment it happens. If Nabbit disappears, you’re on the right track. Now grab your opponent and do any throw you wish. When they come out of the net, they’ll be disfigured in ways you couldn’t possibly imagine.
5 Reconsider Your Stick Functions
We’ve already spoken about the importance of customizing the various control styles and button layouts (of which there are several), personalizing them to your specific liking, and this bit of advice is somewhat related, but goes much further. First off, turn off Tap Jump, which turns off the traditional use of pushing up on the control stick to jump. With that feature off, you’ll know be able to execute upward tilt and Smash Attacks without the fear of the hyper-sensitive controls kicking off a jump instead.
Second, alter the function of your “C-Stick” (or second control stick if on the Joy-Cons) to not be an auto-Smash Attack machine, but instead to a an auto-tilt attack maker. Now you’ll be able to engage in tilts at any angle without worrying about going too far and ending up dashing or smashing.
4 Perfect Shielding / Parrying
This technique is one that will take a lot of time and practice to master, especially in the heat of battle against real humans (and more than one!) but should you enter the Zen-like state needed to pull off the Perfect Shield and accompanying parry, you’re in a league mainly comprised of elites.
To put it as simply as possible, you need to release your shield at the precise moment you are hit by an enemy. If successful, there will be a quick freeze and your character’s eyes will glow yellow. When these telltale signs of the perfect shield are seen, feel free to deliver some free hits on your opponent, as they’ll be unable to react due to the effects of the parry. Again, this is incredibly difficult to do, but it’s the key to victory.
3 Extend Grab Range
A well-placed grab can immediately shake-up the status quo of a given match. Even if the grab isn’t fully effective, its ability to jarringly bring the ebb and flow of a match to a jarring halt can shatter anyone’s focus.
That said, skilled players and their associated characters are often quite slippery, making the risk of a failed grab (which leaves you open) a little too dangerous of a prospect… unless you know how to extend the range of your grab, that is. Called a “Pivot Grab,” you can dramatically increase your grab range by dashing in a given direction, immediately slamming the stick in the opposite, and then grabbing. If you pull it off, you’ll be the one doing the surprising from now on.
2 Infinite Assist Trophies
Did you ever feel the urge to release an infinite amount of Rathalos to devastate everyone living in the Smash universe? Or perhaps a dozen Alucards in order to exact your revenge for how overpowered he is? Well, we’re happy to report that a glitch has been found that will allow you live out your bonkers, game-breaking fantasies by unleashing an unlimited amount of Assist Trophies. You’ll need two players to take on the role of Isabelle.
Both players should be close enough to use their fishing poles on an Assist Trophy, and when they are, let the two rods fly. Timing is tough, but when you do it correctly, one of the Isabelle’s will take hold of the item, and then chaos will erupt.
1 Branch Out From Using A Single Character
We get it: your favorite character is finally in Smash (hi Simon!) and you don’t really want to play as anyone else (guilty as charged.) We don’t really blame you, but you’re missing out on a lot of the available fun and seriously hurting your ability to succeed in the online multiplayer fracas.
With 70+ characters on the roster, it’d be a crime to neglect all but one. You might even find out that you enjoy toying with your prey as Olimar, or being incredibly broken as Isabelle. Everyone plays so differently that they’re all worth a shot. Critically, though, you’ll be able to understand the mechanics of multiple characters and use that knowledge against your enemies, much to your advantage.
Are there any other things that only experts know how to do in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate? Let us know in the comments!