Dare To Shine: A Smash Ultimate Fox Guide
Tue 26th Mar 2019 - 8:47pm
Fox McCloud once again is a prominent member of the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate roster. One of the original characters since the inception of the series, Fox continues to be a popular pick in both casual and competitive play, seeing consistent finishes in Top 8s. That being said, Fox isn’t the easiest to do well with, so here are some tips to improve your Fox skills so that you can destroy any opponent within minutes.
Fox is one of the fastest characters in Ultimate, with some of the highest run speed (5th/2.4), walk speed (3rd), and fall speed (1st) in the game, as well as decent statistics in dash speed (tied-17th). However, Fox is among the lightest characters in terms of weight, so the best way to play Fox is to play around his strengths so his weakness is not exploited by premature KOs. As for his strengths, it lies in his ability to rack up damage in multiple ways and his high momentum.
One of the best ways to play around Fox’s main weakness is movement. Fox’s movement is vital for staying alive, while also being excellent for combos and kill options. Firstly, being on the move will help tremendously. Being able to avoid your opponent’s attacks and leaving room for your own follow-ups will help you keep up with most opponents, especially heavier competition, such as Bowser and Ganondorf. Due to Fox’s high run speed, it's almost a given that you will be sprinting along the stage at almost all times, so be sure to practice running around. Secondly, simply punishing your opponent will help you rack up damage and potential kills. While punishing depends on the character you are up against, simply having the patience to figure out your opponent’s habits will work in your favor, whether it’s one game or a set.
Fox has some great tools for racking up damage and has great combo potential. While they are easy to overuse, Fox lasers are a solid tool for offstage damage dealing, rather spamming it. Another good tool for racking up damage is his Jab, which can do up to 10-15% per full jab setup. As for shine, while it is great for mixups, is not a good combo tool. While it is good for knocking down opponents, it does not combo into much. Shine is better suited in matchups that are more projectile heavy, against characters such as Villager, the Belmonts, and Samus. Shine's best purpose does lie in edge guarding, where going offstage and shining your opponent is a viable option. Just make sure you're not getting hit by said recovery.
Fox’s throws are by far one of the weaker parts of his moveset. Fox’s Forward and Up Throw don’t kill until 215% and 240% respectively, and Down Throw and Back Throw won’t kill until around 400%, so it’s best to try and use the throws to launch rather than kill.
The bread and butter for combos lie in Fox’s aerials, Neutral Air (Nair), Forward Air (Fair), Back Air (Bair), Down Air (Dair), and his side B move, Illusion. Illusion, while being a good movement and recovery tool, is also great for starting off combos by causing your opponent to play around it. If your opponent is hit by Fox’s Illusion, they are sent upward and leaves them open for some setups, ranging from a kill with Up Air or Bair and combo starters with Fair and Nair. While it is good to approach with Fair for percent, Nair is the better at starting combos and disrupting your opponent. Dair into Up Smash is a key kill confirm in smaller spaces and is best used when falling down from platforms. Other good kill moves are strong hit Up Air and Back Air. Both moves, despite having small hitboxes, are excellent at launching opponents offstage at higher percents. These two moves, as well as Dair to Up Smash, are vital for securing kills. Lastly, a good move to punish opponents hitting your shield is Down Smash. Simply timing your opponent's attack on shield and waiting for your opponent to whiff will be enough to knock them flying.
Fox’s tilt attacks (Forward tilt, Down Tilt and Up Tilt) are excellent for spacing. While they are also quick and small, they are better suited for linking into aerials on platforms. Aside from that, they are good at catching out opponents (like jab) as well as edge guarding.
(Visual Credits to VGBC - >https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dbm1WgEDB6M&t=15s)
Fox’s recovery has been fantastic for every version of the character, and the Ultimate version is no exception. Illusion is still a fantastic gap closer when offstage, but if your opponent can space around it properly or sees it coming, you’re giving away your stock. Firefox, on its own, is still a great multi-hit move, but it can be easily predicted due to its startup animations. A good way to figure out if your opponent can punish your recovery depends on where they are standing onstage and where you are recovering. If your opponent is standing at the ledge, try to aim high so that they can’t spike you or hit you again. If your opponent is a fair distance away from the ledge, aim for the ledge. If you need to stall, shining in the air is a good option. Illusion into Firefox is the best chance you have at larger distances, but it can be easily predicted based on the animations. A good way to mix up your opponent is to angle the FireFox at an odd angle (not onstage), and try and angle your freefall so your opponent can’t hit you.
In conclusion, here are the main points that I would like any reader to take away from this guide:
Play around his speed and you will be able to stay alive and hit your opponent like a bus. If you work on your punish game, you can hit your opponent so fast and hard they will have almost no idea what happened. Key moves to approach with are Nair and Fair so you can start off stylish combos and killer setups. Good kill moves to keep in mind are Bair and Up Air. Lastly, please practice your recovery options. If you don’t, you’ll either gift wrap your stocks to your opponents or Firefox to your doom.
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