Recovery 101: Mid Tiers
Wed 12th Sep 2018 - 8:14pm
Today’s article covers a rather diverse cast of characters when it comes to their ability to recover from offstage. Some of these characters boast unique recovery options which are difficult to edgeguard, making them some of the most solid offstage characters in the game. Others have rather terrible recovery options, allowing their opponent to almost certainly guarantee a stock after sending them offstage.
In any case, each of these characters can be difficult to recover with, whether it be because of a lack of good options or because of difficulty of execution. As a result, mid tier mains should know the fullness of their characters’ recovery toolkits if they hope to save their stock upon finding themselves offstage.
Despite his mid tier status, Pikachu boasts one of the strongest recoveries in the game, primarily because of his Up-B, Quick Attack. Quick Attack has two segments, both of which can be angled in different directions (or angled twice in the same direction). Not only does the attack cover a large distance, but Pikachu also has a plethora of mix-up options due to the wide variety of unique angle combinations he can utilize.
Pikachu’s Quick Attack is difficult to edgeguard because it is hard to predict exactly where Pikachu will land, giving the opponent a hard time discerning whether to go for the ledge or to throw out a hitbox elsewhere. However, because of the precision required to get a series of perfect angles, it can also be difficult for Pikachu to sweetspot the ledge, or to otherwise land safely on the stage. For this reason, Pikachu’s recovery can be seen as more viable at higher levels of play.
Pikachu’s Side-B, Skull Bash, can provide a short horizontal distance if uncharged, allowing Pikachu to better set up his Up-B, or it can provide a very long horizontal distance if charged. However, Pikachu players will typically use Side-B as a compliment to their Up-B rather than as a primary recovery option. Pikachu players may also make use of Pikachu’s Neutral-B, Thunder Jolt, in order to put out a hitbox which may block off their opponents and allow Pikachu to reach the stage more safely.
Like Pikachu, Samus boasts a recovery which is complex, multi-faceted, and often difficult to edgeguard. While her Up-B, Screw Attack, offers next to nothing in terms of horizontal recovery, it provides a decent amount of vertical distance. In addition, it possesses several hitboxes which discourage opponents from trying to challenge Samus’ recovery. Indeed, the window for successfully gimping Samus’ Up-B is rather small, so Samus can often make it safely to the ledge by Up-B’ing from below the stage
Samus also possesses quite a few options which boost her horizontal recovery, excellently complimenting her one directional Up-B. By repeatedly using her Down-B, Bomb, Samus can perform the Bomb Jump technique, as the explosion from each Bomb she collides with will give her a slight jump. If launched a distance away from the stage, Samus can Bomb Jump over and over in order to make it close enough to safely Up-B to the ledge. This strategy creates an onslaught of hitboxes, further discouraging any opponent from trying to gimp Samus.
Finally, Samus’ zair acts as a wall grapple, allowing her to cling to the side of a stage or grab onto a ledge and hoist herself up. She can execute her wall grapple after performing an air dodge, allowing her to gain a slight vertical boost before attaching herself to the stage. In addition, she can get an even larger vertical boost by using her Rising Grapple, performed by executing her zair at the very beginning of her air dodge. All of this, along with her ability to wall jump, gives Samus a large set of techniques which help her to recover. Though Samus mains will typically employ a fairly consistent recovery flowchart, the various hitboxes she keeps out and the reliability of her options keep Samus from being edgeguarded too often.
Though he has a few recovery options up his sleeve, Dr. Mario’s recovery is still among the worst in the game. His Up-B, Super Jump Punch, launches him upward at a slight diagonal angle. Though it is rather good for sweetspotting the ledge, the distance it provides is unimpressive compared to the Up-Bs of many other characters.
Using his Side-B, Super Sheet, will cause Dr. Mario to briefly slow down his falling speed while gaining a slight boost forward. Players can also gain vertical distance by mashing during his Down-B, Dr. Tornado. These options, though certainly helpful, still may not be enough to get Dr. Mario close enough to Up-B to the ledge if he has been sent very far offstage.
Since Yoshi lacks an Up-B recovery move, he typically relies on his double jump alone to recover. Of course, Yoshi’s double jump covers such a large distance that this is usually sufficient to get him back to the stage. Yoshi also gains armor on his double jump, making it rather difficult for opponents to edgeguard him since he can armor through most attacks in order to make it back to the stage.
Yoshi’s Side-B, Egg Roll, may be used to gain horizontal distance while offstage, although Yoshi is almost always better off sticking to a simple double jump. In addition, Yoshi players can make use of Yoshi’s air dodge to return to the stage if his double jump leaves him just short of the ledge.
Luigi’s recovery is less than stellar, though he still has many tools which can help him make it back to the stage (although the slowness of his recovery can make him rather easy to edgeguard). Luigi’s Up-B, Super Jump Punch, provides strictly vertical recovery. While the vertical distance it covers isn’t too bad, it is really only useful if Luigi can position himself below the ledge and then Up-B directly to the ledge. Luigi can also gain vertical distance through intense button mashing during his Down-B, Luigi Cyclone.
Luigi’s Side-B, Green Missile, works similarly to Pikachu’s Skull Bash; uncharged, it provides a short horizontal boost which can be employed many times in one recovery sequence, while charged, it will travel farther. Luigi’s Side-B also has the potential to Misfire, launching Luigi a great distance and dealing a good bit of damage to any opponent Luigi comes in contact with. While this can be undesirable in some cases, Luigi mains will almost always hope for a Misfire while recovering.
As mentioned earlier, Luigi’s entire recovery sequence is very slow, primarily because of his slow air speed and his lack of fast-acting recovery moves (barring the Misfire). Because of this fact, Luigi’s recovery can be very easy to edgeguard. Even so, Luigi may be able to put out Fireballs to try and protect himself while recovering. In addition, the threat of getting hit by a Misfire may be enough to discourage Luigi’s opponents from challenging him recklessly offstage.
As a clone of Captain Falcon, Ganondorf’s recovery sequence plays out pretty similarly to Falcon’s (and he is quite susceptible to being edgeguarded as a result). His Up-B, Dark Dive, is mediocre at best. While he can catch impetuous opponents with its grab hitbox, most opponents will be able to wait out its hitbox and push Ganondorf further from the stage with an attack regardless (unless, of course, Ganondorf is able to sweetspot the ledge with his Up-B). Ganondorf’s Side-B, Gerudo Dragon, functions similarly to Falcon’s; despite the horizontal distance it can provide, it is risky as it will leave Ganondorf helpless offstage. Generally, he is better off sticking to his other options.
Ganondorf’s Down-B, Wizard Foot, can be used to refresh his double jump offstage. Interestingly, Ganondorf’s Down-B is arguably more useful for recovering than Falcon’s. This is because it covers less downward vertical distance, meaning Ganondorf is less likely to SD by using this move offstage, and he may even be able to use it more than once in one recovery sequence.
While Falcon often benefits from recovering high, Ganondorf will more frequently recover from lower anyways, since his poor double jump height will prevent him from getting far up in the air without being launched. This fact further incentivizes Ganondorf to utilize his Down-B while recovering.
As characters in this tier boast various different strengths and weaknesses, it is clear that this tier lacks a clear standard of recovery among all of its members. While Pikachu and Samus are some of the hardest characters to edgeguard in Melee, Dr. Mario and Ganondorf are some of the easiest, with Yoshi and Luigi both falling somewhere in between. In the next article, we will discuss the characters for which many of us have never even had to consider what an effective recovery would look like: the low tiers!
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