Projectiles - Low Tier Edition!
Wed 6th Jun 2018 - 6:53pm
Low tiers are an aspect of Melee that gets brought up a little more rarely than the top tiers, which can make them a tricky opponent. A lot of people have struggled against low tiers solely on the basis that they know nothing about those characters. Here's some information on the low tier's projectiles that you may not know. Knowledge is power, good luck!
Our hero Young Link has a range of projectiles that can cause frustration to the calmest of players which include arrows, boomerangs, and bombs! Young Link's arrows do 8% unstaled and 4% staled when they're uncharged. They deal a more devastating 15% unstaled when they're charged and 8% staled. Sometimes, it can do as little as 1% if you're a little too close to the opponent. It takes 14 frames for him to shoot the arrow without charge, so that's the soonest it can be shot. It takes 46 frames for Young Link to charge his arrow and then a frame extra to release it. Regardless of whether or not the arrow is charged, it takes him 25 frames to act out of the shooting animation. His arrow uncharged will barely make it a few steps ahead of him but a charged arrow will make it just over halfway across Final Destination. When being hit by an arrow, the frames for being actionable is dependent on character.
His trusty boomerang does 7% damage unstaled and 3% staled at a long range. His boomerang range goes just over halfway across Final Destination but he can angle his boomerang throw which can send it in any direction and also shorten its range. Thankfully, if the boomerang catches you on the way back, it does only 1-2% damage. However, Young Link's boomerang damage ranges depending on how close he is to you. If you're stood right beside him when he throws it, he can do as much damage as 19% and occasionally hit 20% damage for every few close range hits he deals and it stales at 14%. Fortunately, it takes a slow 27 frames for him to throw it then 19 frames to act out of the throwing animation. Acting out of this hit is character and distance dependdnt, some examples include Pikachu who is able to act out at 29 frames standing and 8 frames crouching whereas Captain Falcon takes a longer 31-35 frames standing but the same 8 frames when crouching, both at a mid-range distance.
His bombs are a little more tricky to give definite percents on as they hit multiple times. With all four hits included, a regular A button throw will do 11% but 12-13% with a smash throw. His bombs do not go too far and both regular throw and smash throw barely make it halfway across Yoshi's Story. It’ll take 40 frames from the very beginning of the input being entered for Young Link to act with the bomb in his hand so it’s very laggy and pretty punishable. It takes a further 7 frames for Young Link to throw the bomb and 13 frames for the throwing animation to end.
Our more matured hero does not share the same attributes as Young Link. Link’s arrows start at 5% and eventually stale at 2% uncharged. With a little more precious time, he can do as much as 18% unstaled to 9% staled when it’s fully charged. His uncharged arrow will use 18 frames to start up before being released and then 61 frames to fully charge his arrow. His uncharged arrow barely flies but his fully charged arrow will almost make it from one end to the other of Final Destination. It takes 11 frames to act out of his uncharged arrow and 6 frames when it's crouched at 0% and that goes for any character. However, when it's charged, it's a little different. For instance, DK can act out of being hit with a charged arrow at 20 frames standing and 12 crouching whereas Falco takes an extra frame to recover with 21 frames to wait standing and but 11 frames to recover if crouching.
His boomerang is much simpler; doing 6% unstaled to 3% staled and hitting 1-2% if it’s thrown past you but hits you on its return back to Link. It takes 27 frames to pull the boomerang out and throw it. His boomerang reaches from one end of Final Destination to about three quarters across the stage. The frame that you become actionable is character dependent. With Fox, you can act out at 23 frames standing and 8 frames crouched, whereas it's 33 frames stood and 9 crouched for Ganondorf.
Link bombs were a little tricky to give definite percents on. Roughly, the bombs will do 4% per hit of the bomb with a regular throw and a smash throw will do between 5-10% for two consecutive hits. The bombs can reach halfway across Final Destination providing you smash throw it. It takes him a whole 40 frames to pull the bomb and act out of his animation and 7 frames to throw it, just like Young Link! In theme with the other projectiles, there are differences depending on character. Luigi can act out of a bomb attack after 34 frames stood or 10 crouching while Fox can act at a quicker 28 frames stood but an identical 10 frames crouched.
Zelda and her Din’s Fire are not to be laughed at. When charged, the fire does 13% unstaled and 7% staled. Uncharged, it does 7% unstaled and 4% staled. It takes 12 frames to come out and then 22 frames after you press B to detonate it (14 frames to explode after the orb disappears). This move when charged will go three quarters of the way across Final Destination which means it will cover the whole width of a small stage like Yoshi’s Story or Fountain of Dreams. At the soonest possible explosion, this move takes Zelda 78 frames to complete; 20 frames after the actual orb explodes. When fully charged, it takes her 130 frames to do the animation with 25 frames wait after the orb has exploded. With Captain Falcon, you can act out of being hit at 32 frames stood and 9 frames but act out sooner with Samus at 30 frames stood but the same 9 frames crouched.
Pikachu and Pichu
Our childhood comes flooding back to us when these tiny electric mice grace our screens. Though not considered the best characters, nor close to, many have picked the adorable Pikachu on the character select screen, including a top ten player in the world, Axe. However, it's rare to find many competitive players that choose Pichu. Pikachu can do a lot of damage and becomes anything other than cute when he's sending electrical shocks through our opponents! Both Pichu and Pikachu's unusual projectile can go underneath and down the sides of stages when they shoot them close to the edge. Both thunder jolts will go from one side of Final Destination to the other, just missing the very end of it. Their thunder jolt at the furthest distance can do 7%. Though, when next to the opponent, it'll do as much as 10%. The long range shocks will stale at 3% and the close range will stale at 5%.
It takes 18 frames for thunder jolt to come out then it takes a further 40 frames for Pikachu and Pichu to be actionable again. They can also use this move while jumping and it releases a thunder ball which does 10% and stales at 5%. It goes downwards at a diagonal angle but when it touches the stage, it becomes the thunder jolt and it hugs the stage as usual until it disappears. When being hit with thunder jolt, if Pikachu or Pichu is right next to you, you can act out around the 31-32 frame window when stood (DK acts out at 31 but the likes of Puff and Samus act out at 32) and 11-12 frames when crouching. If they're further away, you can act out at 12 frames stood and 7 frames crouched.
Both of these characters also have a Thunder move; the bolt that shoots down from the sky and annihilates anyone in its vertical path! It's always a crowd pleaser when it hits and more so when it's used to end a stock. The Thunder moves they have however, act differently. We'll start with Pikachu. If hit with both parts of the Thunder, being the bolt and the spark, it'll do 27% damage. The bolt does 10% and the spark will deal 17% damage. The bolt hit stales at 5%, the spark stales at a total of 9%. It takes 39-40 frames for the bolt to hit the floor from the beginning of the animation to the spark coming out, but a further 69 frames for the animation to finish and for Pikachu to be actionable again; this is also the same for Pichu. Pikachu's Thunder move also has a greater horizontal knockback than Pichu's Thunder move. Most characters at 0% can act out of an unstaled bolt hit at 53 frames, and a spark hit at around 60-62 frames if hit with just the spark. This is providing they don't hit the floor first. This projectile can not go through platforms.
Pichu's Thunder hits a little differently however. Pichu's Thunder spark will cause 13% damage unstaled and 7% staled. Pichu's Thunder will usually catch you with multiple hits that do 15-16%. if they all hit. It hits in four parts and knocks you up vertically instead of the horizontal way that Pikachu's does. It takes Jigglyuff 41 frames to act out if she's been hit by all four parts of the bolt. Captain Falcon and Samus can act out at 42 frames. This is not including the spark and providing they're starting at 0% and the Thunder move is unstaled.
Ness' PK Fire is a tricky one to pinpoint exact damages because of it's multiple hits. It takes 20 frames from the beginning of the animation for Ness to throw the fire and then a further 50 frames to act out of the animation. You can be hit 8 times by the flames and it racks up around 15% and stales at 9%. You can look DI out of the flame pretty easily.
PK Flash is an insanely strong move, hitting at 36% fully charged and unstaled. Luckily for the opponent, it stales at 19%. When not charged, it'll do 11% damage and stales at 6%. 153 frames to come out then a further 65 frames for Ness to be able to act out of the animation. Takes Captain Falcon 58 frames and Mario 59 frames to act out of a charged Flash when it's unstaled and they're at 0%. This is also providing they don't hit the ground first and tech it.
PK Thunder's orb will hit at 8% unstaled and stales at 4%. Most characters will act out of being hit with this at 38-42 frames. It comes out after 20 frames and the longest the orb can stay out is 119 frames. It takes Ness a further 54 frames to be actionable from the disappearance of the thunder. If Ness hits you with himself after being propelled by the Thunder, it can do as much as 25% if close by and 20% if a little further away. If Ness uses it to aim himself at you or as a recovery option, it takes him 100 frames after being hit with the thunder orb to be actionable again.
Mysterious both in Pokemon and Smash Bros, Mewtwo has been known to be a dominant force despite being ranked on the lower end of the character tier list; Taj and Leffen (as a fun secondary) have famously picked him up and Mewtwo's rarely played moveset has baffled new and old players alike. His Shadow Ball when charged does 25% damage and stales at 13%; it takes a whopping 137 frames to fully charge. The time in between stocks is usually when a Mewtwo will charge this ball. Uncharged, the shadow ball's damage starts at 3% and stales at a measly 1% and it takes 25 frames for the animation of a slight charge and the actual throw animation.
Of course, these percents will change if you partially charge the shadow ball. Regardless of charge, it only takes Mewtwo 9 frames to throw it. If you as an opponent are stood directly behind Mewtwo while he's charging his ball, you can get hit while it's charging so beware! The time you are actionable after being hit by the Shadow Ball is dependent on character, though the frame count will not be drastically different between characters. As an example, Captain Falcon will act out of an uncharged shadow ball at 12 frames stood and 7 crouched. He can act out of a charged shadow ball at 49 frames (providing he doesn't hit the floor first) and 12 frames crouched. Bowser will also act out at 12 frames and 7 frames with an uncharged shadow ball but will act out at 48 frames stood and 14 frames crouched when the shadow ball has been charged.
Mr Game 'N' Watch
Mr Game 'N' Watch is luckily very simple. He has his frying pan full of sizzling, crispy bacon that does 4% unstaled and stales at 2%. Although, if he's directly in front of you and hits you with his frying pan, he'll cook you to 9% and the frying pan attack will stale at 5%. These projectiles are very slow so they're easy to avoid and punish.
A single strip will take 18 frames to leave his frying pan. He can only spam release 5 strips of bacon at a time if the B button is being held; the first will come out at 18 frames, the following bacon strips will leave his pan 32-33 frames after the previous bacon strip. If he only throws one strip of bacon, he can't act out of the animation until 32 frames after he's thrown the bacon so it's likely not in Mr Game 'N' Watch's best interest to spam release bacon as he can be easily punished. If you're hit by a strip of bacon at 0%, you can act out of the stun after the 15 frame mark depending on which character you're using and roughly the 7 frame mark when crouching. Like many other projectiles, you can shield or attack the strips and they will disappear.
As covered in the Top/Mid-tier projectile information article, many projectiles will be stopped with basic shielding, powershielding, attacking them, or just dodging them. I'd like to mention that each 'actionable frame' section is an unstaled projectile being thrown at a 0% opponent. The frames given on higher knockback moves such as Mewtwo's Shadow Ball are providing the opponent doesn't hit the stage floor first. They will be actionable sooner if that is the case; they are given as though the character is freefalling off the stage. Naturally, this data changes depending on character, percent and placement of certain projectiles. Hopefully, this will give you a little more knowledge on the tricky and devious low tiers and the lack of knowledge will no longer be an issue! Good luck!
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