Esports Fighting Games

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: Edge Guarding

how to edgeguard

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate released a month ago, and it has offered us a great game. In its current lifespan, the game has already offered vast character diversity, providing the viewers with a lot of unique action. Many new players join the Smash community, and others attempt to transition from a different tittle of the franchise.

Transitioning from one Smash tittle to Ultimate has its set of difficulties. The core mechanics drastically change from title to title, giving a learning curve to the transition. Changing the core mechanics snowballs into affecting most elements the game has to offer.

On Smash 4, edgeguarding was a very challenging part of the game due to the opponent’s ability to air-dodge repeatedly. However, Ultimate has swung the tides to the players that hold the advantage state. The changes to edgeguarding provide players with a whole new set of cards. In the metagame, it’s extremely important to edgeguard effectively. Mastering this area of the game makes players exponentially better.

Let’s go over the two different types of edgeguards, how to execute them, and how to punish them.

Offstage Guarding

how to edgeguard
Off Stage guarding is an extremely important element of the game – Image: Aminoapps

Offstage guarding occurs when a player goes offstage to intercept an enemy. It carries a big set of risks, but if done effectively, the rewards outweigh them.

A key moment when a player must use offstage guarding is when the opponent uses their jump. Applying pressure to the player that has little to no options left is necessary to guarantee their stock.

Edgeguarding an opponent to the point that they no longer have a jump is almost always going to guarantee the stock. The only exception is if the character is using a character with an exceptional recovery such as Bayonetta or Pikachu.

Putting some effort into mastering this type of edgeguarding is crucial. Knowing the offstage capabilities of your character and knowing how to make critical decisions will help anyone get better in this area. If a player gets better at punishing opponents while offstage, they will gradually see a positive change in their overall performance at the game.

Onstage Guarding

Staying on the ledge also has its sets of benefits. It is substantially safer than leaving the ledge, and also provides a whole set of different options that going offstage doesn’t provide.

The first of these options is attempting to rely on “two framing” the ledge. When a character grabs the ledge, there is a two frame window where they are vulnerable to enemy punishes. It is really hard to get consistent at this punish, but eagle-eyed players that study characters’ recoveries closely will become able to two-frame at least semi-consistently.

Another option can be baiting the opponent to miss the ledge. This can be done by faking an offstage guard. Most characters have a great amount of lag when missing the ledge. Missing the ledge can sometimes be a viable option, but more times than not, it fails. When an opponent misses the ledge, be sure to not miss the punish window.

how to edgeguard
Ledge trumping is still there, but it has lost its past effectiveness – Image: zeldauniverse

Ledge trumping is achieved by grabbing the ledge when an opponent is holding on. In Smash 4, this was a powerful mechanic because it always sent the opponent flying backwards. However, in Ultimate, this mechanic was nerfed. Now, the direction they are sent depends on the opponent’s directional influence. This means that it is no longer the reliable and powerful option that it was in Smash 4, but it remains as a good mix-up option given the correct application.

The last option is to allow the opponent to grab the ledge, and attempt to punish their ledge option. Make sure to keep tabs on the opponents preferred ledge option, and punish it. This may not directly be edgeguarding, but it is directly influenced by it.

Mixing up

To get in the enemy’s head, one must avoid being predictable. Going offstage offers a high-risk, high-reward situation. If a player repeatedly picks to go offstage, they will be most likely be punished. Staying onstage doesn’t carry the same risk, but repeating the same option will reassure the opponent when recovering. The player on advantage must make sure to use the time when they are in advantage accordingly.

By using the same option repeatedly, one can condition the opponent into expecting it. This is when edgeguarding gets really interesting. Because, if one reads the player correctly, a massive punish can end their stock.

Featured image courtesy of Shoryuken

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1 comment

Smash Bros. Ultimate: Learning, Futility, and Sisyphus January 11, 2019 at 11:59 am

[…] master the fundamentals. Whether it be understanding how to edge-guard or mastering DI, this type of expertise is independent of swings in the meta and […]

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