30 Smash Ultimate Terms Explained


by in Fighting Games | Dec, 11th 2018

Even if you can play Smash just fine, there are plenty of Smash Ultimate terms you might not know. Browsing Reddit, GameFAQs, or Smashboards might leave you confused. Even watching videos about the game might be difficult if you don’t understand certain words and phrases.

We’ve compiled a bunch of Smash Ultimate terms that we think will help you get more familiar with the mechanics and gameplay of Smash Ultimate. Knowing the lingo is key to discussing the game and getting better.

Smash Terms

Fair, Bair, Uair, Dair, Nair, and Zair – These terms refer to the normal air attacks of Smash characters. They refer to the direction held when attacking—forward, back, up, down, neutral (no direction), and Z (pressing the grab button on certain characters).

Edgeguarding, Edgehogging, and Ledge Trumping – Edgeguarding refers to the act of preventing someone from getting back on the stage after being knocked off. Edgehogging refers to the physical act of grabbing the stage’s ledge before they can. Ledge Trumping refers to a newer mechanic where if you grab a ledge someone is already grabbing, you’ll pop them off the ledge.

Shorthop – This refers to the shortest possible jump a character can make. It is usually used in conjunction with a move, e.g., “shorthop bair.”

Fastfall – Holding down while in the air will make your character fall faster. This is useful for recovering and maintaining combos.

DI/Directional Influence – When your character gets hit in Smash, they’re pushed away in a trajectory according to the move. DI gives you some control over where your character flies. Holding the control stick in a direction perpendicular to the trajectory will affect the angle you fly away. This is useful for getting out of combos or surviving huge kill moves.

Spotdodge/Sidestep – Pressing down while shielded causes your character to avoid damage and attacks for a moment. It is similar to rolling, but your character stays in place.

Parries – New to Smash Ultimate, parries are a new defensive maneuver that allow you to turn the tables when someone is pressuring your defense. Releasing your block button right as a move hits instantly drops your shield, allowing you to land a quick counterattack.

Shield Stab – In Smash, your shield gets smaller and covers less of your character every time it’s hit. You can angle the direction of your shield to cover weak spots, like the head or feet. When an unprotected part of your shielded character is hit, you have fallen victim to a shield stab.

Armor – Some moves, like Ganondorf’s neutral-special, cannot be interrupted by small attacks. This is called armor, super armor, or heavy armor.

Mashing – this refers to frantically pressing random buttons to escape a grab before getting thrown.

Clanking – This refers to two moves canceling each other out because they hit at the same time. For example, you can hit a projectile out of the air by clanking it.

Tether – This refers to a unique grab attack. Instead of grappling someone in melee range, they launch a projectile that will grab whatever it comes into contact with. Samus, Toon Link, and now Luigi are examples of this. Tethers can also be used to get back on the stage by launching the tether move at a ledge. (Simon and Richter Belmont can both tether using their aerial whip moves.)

Invincibility frames/i-frames – Some moves and techniques cause characters to be invulnerable when used. An example of this is Sheik’s up-b, Vanish. In the frames before she teleports, she cannot be hit.

Airdodging – Pressing the block button while in the air will give your character a few invincibility frames. Ultimate also sees the return of directional airdodging, which allows you to dodge in a direction at the start of your i-frames.

Gimps – When someone is trying to get back on stage or recover after being knocked off, you can “gimp” them by messing up their recovery with a projectile or an attack.

SD – This stands for “self-destruct.” This refers to characters committing suicide, either by accident or on purpose. An example would be Little Mac accidentally launching himself off the side of the stage.

Hitboxes and Hurtboxes – Hitboxes are the parts of a move that can actually hit you (like Mario’s feet in his uair) and hurtboxes are the parts of a character that can get hit (Mario’s entire body).

Disjoints – This refers to hitboxes that are separated from the character and can’t be “hit back,” like Marth’s sword or Olimar’s Pikmin.

Wavedashing and Wavelanding – In Melee, the second game in the series, the physics engine allowed characters to slide across the ground by immediately airdodging in a diagonal-down direction. This is called wavedashing, with wavelanding referring to sliding on the ground at the end of a normal jump. This is back in Ultimate, but with reduced effectiveness.

Jab reset – When someone is knocked onto the ground, a jab (or other small, quick move) will force them onto their feet and leave them open to more attacks.

Meteors and Spikes – Back in the days of Meteor Canceling, which no longer exists, these two terms referred to two different kinds of moves that sent the opponent spiraling downward. Now, they essentially mean the same thing. Usually dairs or fairs, these moves are great for knocking your opponent to their deaths when they’re already offstage.

Legal Stages – This term refers to stages allowed in competitive play. Although the ruleset for Ultimate isn’t finalized, this generally refers to stages that have no hazards and have a level ground with no walls.

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