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Esports Fighting Games

Super Smash Bros. Utimate: The Punish Game

How to improve my punish game

When two players engage in a match in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, there are many elements that factor in towards who comes out on top. Randomness factors into it, but good players know how to make the most out of difficult situations.

Having the ability to punish the opponent’s poor options serves to elevate the player’s game. During a match, both players offer many openings. Some are whiffed grabs, others poorly timed aerials, but they both carry some sort of lag that opens up the player for a punish.

Looking for the Optimal Punish

How to improve my punish game
Jigglypuff’s rest provides an amazing reward while posing a huge risk – Image: SSBwiki

To analyze what’s the best possible punish, a player must reflect on their character’s tools. Out-of-shield options hold high importance in this area.

The amount of frames an aerial takes to come out-of-shield might be the characters blessing or curse. Some low tiers might be unable to punish certain moves that hit their shield because of the lack of options. However, one must play around that and look at how to mix up the opponent.

Different characters offer different punishes. No characters share the same frame data, thus punishes depend on the character being used.

This game also offers a way to heavily punish opponents by using the parry mechanic. Pairing it with shield SDI can lead to a massive punish. To make sure all the options are listed out players must study their characters frame data, and experiment in training mode.

Now to determine optimal punishes players must make sure to account for most situations. As an example, hitting a shield with a jab could be punished. Also, some characters can punish enemies for trying to land on top of them. It all depends on the tools the character possesses.

Achieving Consistency

Everyone whiffs some punish from time to time, but achieving a satisfactory consistency is necessary. Missing a key punish can swing the tides during a match. As both players go head-to-head, the most consistent one should come out on top.

High caliber players make sure to always have the right answer stored in their heads. In rare occasions, autopilot might kick in and mess up their game, but they know how to come back. Sometimes, they might also mix things up to throw off their opponents.

High-pressure situations serve to make players grow. It’s all about maintaining a high level of consistency through the set. As players progress through a set, their punish game needs to stay consistent, because if it degrades, then they are to blame.

To make sure the opponent keeps being kept under pressure, players must keep punishing the opponent’s mistakes. It’s very important to take into consideration the enemy character’s height, and out-of-shield options. While some punish may be able to affect the whole cast, others may depend on a character-to-character basis.

Conditions for certain punishes may also change depending on the distance being put between both characters, and the enemy’s reaction.

Reacting vs. Reading

How to improve my punish game
Chrom has the ability to deliver massive punishes against his opponents – Image: IGN

Players must be able to punish using the two different main styles.

The first is punishing out of reaction, and it’s the most consistent out of the two. This is because reaction will most likely than none lead players to a sure punish.

Second, we have punishes out of reads. Punishing players with reads leads to devastating exchanges. It comes out of identifying the enemies pattern and adapting.

Reacting is the low-risk option of the two, but reading offers the largest reward. It’s down to the player to pick which they want to rely on. Some characters might benefit more out of a style due to their particular tools.

How to Keep Improving

Improving requires players to keep steadily going to tournaments where they can test how players adapt to certain options. It’s a slow process to the top, but a necessary one.

At this point, the “just go to a tournament” phrase might be too redundant. However, it’s just that important to get better at the game. Like in a video game,to step up in the skill ladder, one needs to grind for experience.

To all players, stay on the grind. All the effort that may seem pointless at the moment will pay off in due time.


Featured image provided by Know Your Meme.

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