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Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Controls, Moves, and Combos

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Controls, Moves, and Combos

14 min

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Take an informative tour of the SSBU basics. This guide helps to understand how the simple mechanics work and how they lead to advanced techniques

All Smash games are dedicated to the vast gaming audience. You know — for kids to have fun with their Nintendo console. Masahiro Sakurai certainly took enough effort to make these fights deep and interesting for dedicated players (and even esports professionals). But the basic Super Smash Bros. controls are pretty straightforward; you will hardly have difficulties with them.

There are even simpler variants of controlling in a platformer fighting game. For example, Brawlhalla doesn’t have that tricky input difference between Tilt and Smash attacks. Smash might give more possibilities to your fighter, for sure. But some players need time to get used to this feature.

Ok, it might be a good idea to start a guide on Super Smash Bros. Ultimate controls and combos by actually explaining the basic movement and attack patterns.

SSBU Controls: Attacks

It’s a great feeling when you take a controller and start to mash buttons in a fighting game. Your character does something, and you have almost no slightest idea what’s going on. That’s so fun.

Such mashing practice can’t take you beyond this superficial fun. Even if you don’t plan to build an esports career or even master difficult combos, you need to understand what you are doing. This knowledge itself is enough to boost your skills.

In general, there are four types of attack in SSBU:

  • Basic Attacks (A button)
  • Air Attacks (A button in the air)
  • Special Attacks (B button)
  • Smash Attacks (right stick or A button with directional input)

Basic Attacks in Smash Ultimate 

These attacks are usually quick, and it’s their biggest advantage. They might deal a rather limited amount of damage and have just a normal short range, but they still remain the main fighting tool for Smash characters. Their speed allows players to avoid punishment — for example, when an opponent uses the delay of your strong but slow attack to land their quick hit. It might be you who uses Basic Attacks to punish Specials and Smashes of your opponent.

There is more than one Basic Attack. You should try to combine pressing the A button with directional input (pushing the left stick half-way up, down, and left-right). Such attacks are called Tilts in Smash.

  • Up Tilt
  • Down Tilt
  • Side Tilt (Forward and Back Tilt)

The trick is to push the analog stick just a bit. Push further, and you’ll get Smash input instead. Practice in the Training mode to feel the difference.

Dash Attack is a bit different here. You press the A button while running. Usually, Dash Attacks are strong with a significant launch effect. They are risky, though. You can get punished if your Dash Attack is blocked — the opponent has a chance to land their Neutral A or Tilt while your character is recovering.

Air Attacks in Smash Ultimate

Jumps are a very common movement in Smash. In fact, characters spend quite a lot of time in the air. They even have special types of attacks for such situations. 

Visit the Training mode to figure out how the actual moves of your character differ when they are on the ground and when they are jumping. The input itself is the same: the A button and directions.

  • Up Air
  • Down Air
  • Side Air

Special Attacks in Smash Ultimate

Specials in SSBU are simple and cool — no precise timing or tricky input is required, and most Smash Specials are spectacular. Still, the variety of Special Attacks in this game is confusingly huge. You definitely need to take your time and visit the Training mode to figure out what these buttons do for your character.

Smash Specials are also combinable with directions:

  • Up Special
  • Down Special
  • Side Special (Forward and Back Special)

Smash Attacks in Smash Ultimate

The variety of Smash attacks is quite impressive as well, but you might distinguish one pattern here — they are powerful but slow.

I mentioned that in my article with tips for Smash Ultimate players, and I want to repeat — be very careful with Smash Attacks. They are spectacular but extremely punishable. Rely mostly on Basic Attacks to build damage. Use Special in specific situations. Activate Smash as a follow-up to quicker attacks to launch a damaged victim into oblivion. Of course, it’s not a universal rule, but keep this pattern in mind while playing SSBU.

As Smash Attacks have two possible methods of input, experiment with both to feel which is better for you  — long pressing of A and directional buttons or using the right stick. There is no such thing as a wrong decision here. Do as it is more comfortable for you.

  • Up Smash
  • Down Smash
  • Side Smash

How to perform a Final Smash attack in SSBU?

This attack is kind of the ultimate one. It starts an awesome show and deals great damage, but you need to choose a proper moment and positioning to not waste this opportunity.

Final Smash becomes available after breaking a special Smash ball (it appears on the stage, and you should hit it). Another option for your fights is to have the Final Smash meter to fill it with energy. 

Then you need to press the B button while standing still. That will activate the Final Smash.

You can set Final Smash options in the Rule Setting of the Smash mode and Quick Online fights.

Movement in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

All platformer fighting games require a specific type of movement. Most of the time, your character should jump a lot and be quick in changing their position.

Movement control in Smash Ultimate has only one tricky moment — jump. By default, the game allows your fighter to jump by moving the left stick up and by pressing the X/Y buttons. For the beginner level, it’s totally ok. But if you want to be more accurate with your controls, turn jumps with the stick off and keep only the X/Y commands. In this way, you will not get confused performing Up Attack/Special/Smash.

  • Press X/Y fully to jump higher.
  • Press the button quickly, and the character will perform a short hop.

In addition to the standard ground jump, Smash fighters can jump at least once again in mid-air. The air movements in this game open many possibilities as the characters can change direction while jumping.

Smash Ultimate moves — walk and run — also have their specific features. Push the left stick all the way in one direction, and your character will start running. Tilt it only a half way, and the character will walk. You might need to walk even slower in some situations, and the game allows this as well.

Here is a useful trick. While running, release the stick and then push in the other direction. Your character will not lose time and perform this command quicker than without that releasing gap in between. In fact, run is cancelable into any action in Smash Ultimate, so you can quickly activate your following attack.

There are a couple of defensive features in the game.

  • Shield will lose its power over time. It can’t protect against Grab (Shield + A). Shield works when your character stays still.
  • Dodge is an effective evasion technique to avoid hits. To perform it, combine movements with the Shield buttons (ZL/ZR). Dodge is performable in the air as well, giving you an additional movement boost.

Every Smash Character is Unique

I mentioned this thing before, but it’s rather important and worth repeating. 

Even knowing the pattern of attacks, you still don’t know what those buttons do in the game. You need to take your character and try out their Super Smash Bros. Ultimate move list in practice.

The very simple example here is Up Special of Kirby. While it is an effective recovery option for most other characters, the pink creature shoots up just for a while and then suddenly falls down. And if you don’t know that, you’ll KO your Kirby in safe situations — instead of using the long series of air jumps.

Start learning Super Smash Bros. moves (such as Specials and Smash) with a lighthearted approach. While it is still a good idea to visit the Training mode and notoriously practice each move and every attack, you should always keep the game fun and interesting. 

  • Take a character to the Classic fights or offline Smash with low-level CPU — to just try out different abilities and understand what the character is capable of.
  • Try to increase the difficulty of your offline fights to feel the real power of the character. Test the fighter in multiplayer fights.
  • Head to Training and practice various small details of the moveset.

This plan can be repeated with lots of characters while you are looking for your main. It might be a good idea to start with the best Smash characters for beginners to not make the learning process uncomfortably overcomplicated. But if you already have your favorite fighter (for any reason), pick them and enjoy.

Smash Ultimate Combos

It’s a great feeling to find an opening in defense of your opponent and then keep landing one hit after another. Combos make fighting games spectacular and challenging. You need to practice to expand your combo arsenal and use versatile attack chains in the fast-paced flows of fights.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate combos have a bit of a different nature than those in more traditional fighting games (like Dragon Ball FighterZ, for example). Like in other platformer fighters, attacks in Smash cause the knockback effect. It is especially “tangible” with such powerful strikes as Smash and Dash attacks — the victim flies far away, and it’s difficult to follow them and land the next hit.

Most Smash combos start with Basic attacks (Neutral Jab, Tilts, Air) and then might follow to stronger Special or Smashes. Quite often, you need to add movement transitions, such as jumps or dashes, to not let the victim recover properly.

Many Smash characters can use kind of auto-combos with their neutral A attacks (Jabs). In some cases, you need to hold the button, and sometimes a few quick pressing are required. This series of hits can be followed by Tilts or Air attacks.

In Smash Bros. combos, a lot depends on the damage percentage of your opponent. When it’s low, you have specific combo options as the knockback effect is low, and you easily catch the victim. High percentages mean you will launch the opponent further, so more skilled movements are needed to catch them with the follow-up.

In general, the combo plan looks like this:

  • a quick starter
  • the same quick follow-up that catches the knockback direction
  • preferably one-two more follow-ups of the same nature
  • movement to try and catch the launched victim with the next attack
  • a strong launching finisher

Guys, it’s only a general plan. Some combos are limited to two-three links, and only really experienced players can add that movement part and a strong finisher. Also, the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate roster has so many characters, and they are so different — each step in this plan requires special practice in the Training mode.

Practice makes perfect. You need to develop your muscle memory for combos in SSBU to activate them “automatically” during the fast-paced fights.

Don’t start your practice from long, multi-link combos. Choose something simple and focus on that for a while. Then expand your combo arsenal — add new combos while still practicing those you’ve already learned.

You’ll find ideas on the BnB Smash Ultimate combos in character guides on DashFight. This might give a proper direction and a boost for your combo training. For example, you can find some practicing material in the guides on: 

When you have enough practical knowledge on Smash attacks and combos, you will be able to absorb more tricks from the pro esports matches. Watch various tournament streams and follow professionals who play your character. It’s a great way to understand the game even better, but it certainly should be accompanied by regular training sessions.

And another piece of advice to conclude this Smash guide: don’t overload yourself with info. You need to know stuff about the game to not get stuck in some aspects or to find shortcuts for your growth as a player. Then convert that theory into your gaming reflexes and let your talent shine in this fighting environment. In other words — just have fun playing! And yeah, practice a lot!

For more articles about Super Smash Bros. and news on this awesome esports discipline, stay tuned to DashFight on Facebook and Twitter.

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