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Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: Movement and Ledge Mechanics

Super Smash Bros: Movement and Ledge mechanics

In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, various mechanics and nuances have dramatically changed. All this makes it obvious that the development team has kept an eye out for the different communities. Smash as a franchise has mainly two different sides. On one side is the casual community that plays the game to just have a blast. Items are on, matches are chaotic, and that all adds up to a fun experience.

The other side is way more in-depth and more focused on skill, knowledge, and mastery of the game’s mechanics. Competitive Smash is constantly evolving and growing, to the point where there have been in-game modes dedicated to allowing more competitive play through Smash 4’s For Glory mode and Smash Ultimate’s Elite Smash mode. Moreover, competition has gone through many stages of development. Considering how Masahiro Sakurai made the game to be a casual experience, its diehard competitive community is a miracle.

In the Melee section of the competitive community, many people put hours into discovering every single bit of information about the game. With this in mind, it created a level of depth that can’t really be found in any other title.

As Super Smash Bros. Ultimate starts its competitive timeline, labbing (discovering and developing new techniques and strategies) is a must. Compared the previous iterations of the series, it is a completely different experience. In this article, we will go over the optimal ways to move, and how the ledge mechanics work in Super Smash Bros Ultimate.


Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: Movement and Ledge Mechanics
Spot Dodge Animation – Image: Nintendo Life

As with any fighting game, movement is critical to a player’s success. Melee brings wavedashing to the table, a mechanic that allows players to move quickly and have access to more offensive options. Movement in Smash 4, on the other hand, is toned down. Its most important movement mechanic is perfect pivoting, a technique that allows for players to punish reliance on dodging. In Smash Ultimate, the new movement mechanics add a whole new range of options in the neutral game. Allowing for characters to have a whole new set of options that were impossible in Smash 4. With this in mind, lets begin breaking down the game, and its different movement mechanics.


Foxtrotting is achieved by repeatedly using the initial dash animation of a character. It’s in previous entries, but now it has been refreshed and has become easier to perform. This is due the lengthening of the initial dash, and the shortening of their range. The ability to attack out of a dash adds many different applications that can enhance the different characters’ neutral game. As an example, the ability to use tilts out of a dash has added a new layer to Captain Falcon’s neutral game. In Smash 4, he depended on up airs and dash grabs, but now his options have dramatically increased. Learning how to use this movement mechanic is a key element to becoming a great player.

Directional Air Dodging

Using directional air dodges to move or recover to the stage is critical. It’s mostly used for landing, but as the game develops, it should get more applications. Right now, it’s an option to mix up when approaching the stage or landing near an enemy. With the correct air dodge, a player gains the ability to put themselves in an advantageous situation. That is, if its used properly. A miscalculated air dodge can cost the player the stock. Air dodges need to be used in a premeditated way to guarantee their effectiveness.

Rolling and Spot Dodging


Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: Movement and Ledge Mechanics
Roll Animation – Image: ssb Wiki

To roll, one simply horizontally moves the stick while shielding. In Smash 4, rolling was really powerful. It was quick, and allowed players to repeatedly move without many penalties. As a change in Ultimate, players are penalized for rolling or spot dodging repeatedly, consequently adding more frames of lag to them.

Universal Three Frame Jumpsquat

A Jumpsquat consists of the window where the character crouches before it can jump. In the previous iterations of the series, characters possessed different jumpsquat duration. This resulted in some characters having significantly quicker options out of a jump. To fix the issue, Ultimate now possesses a universal three frame jumpsquat. Therefore, everyone is has the same tools to succeed.

General Changes

Run speed and air speed received a ten percent increase compared to Smash 4. Additionally, walk speed also got a five percent buff. The animation when dropping shield increased by four frames.

Ledge Mechanics

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: Movement and Ledge Mechanics
Ledge Grab Animation – Image: Shoryuken

When a character enters the ledge grab animation, the player has about five different options. Those being, rolling, jumping, attacking, doing a neutral getup, and letting go of the ledge. This grants different ways to mix up the opponent.

The way players approach these ledge options is crucial. For this reason, the frame data needs to be considered for each option, and should be used under different circumstances and strategies.


Ledge rolling is now four frames faster. With the increase of the time it takes to drop shield reacting to the ledge roll is very challenging. Accounting all of this using a ledge roll is a viable option when trying to get back onto the stage.


Jumping from the ledge is mostly unchanged. However, players are able to buffer a quick air dodge, making this option harder to punish.


Attacking on the ledge gives frame one advantage. This now makes it almost impossible to immediately punish it. Players can either trade or shield it.

Neutral getup

Neutral getup allows you to act on frame one. But because of the new shield timing, it’s harder to use it to gain advantage. Players must get a read on the opponent to take advantage on the neutral getup. Because characters can no longer run past each other this option puts the player in a trivial spot. The options to follow up on this are very limited, and the enemy has all the advantage in the situation. However, after observing the pattern the enemy uses, one can use this to the advantage and punish the opponent. Use this as a calculated option on an opponent that has shown a pattern that can be punished.

Letting Go

Lastly, letting go of the ledge allows players to get back onto the stage with an aerial move. Because of the buffer, it’s now significantly easier to use this, allowing players to more accurately use moves when letting go.

In the End

Movement is going to keep evolving. To keep yourself updated on it, some YouTube channels that provide vast explanations on the different aspects of the game are listed down below. Make sure to also keep in touch with upcoming articles that will highlight the new different mechanics, and how to use them effectively.

Highlighted YouTube channels:
  1. ZeRo
  2. William Hjelte
  3. GimR’s Lab
  4. Armada
  5. IzawSmash

Featured image provided by VG247

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