Lucky's Five Favorite Stylish Techniques
Sat 8th Sep 2018 - 6:12pm
Super Smash Brothers Melee is one of the most expressive 1-on-1 games being played right now. Being the current premier platform fighter, the game’s unique mechanics allow players to express their own unique styles and personalities through their diversive movement and attack choices. Unlike traditional 2D fighters like Street Fighter or Dragonball FighterZ, Melee is a platform fighter, meaning that combos are not purely executed by pressing buttons or directions in a certain order, but must also take into account the opponent’s directional influence. This leads to an uncountable number of situations that give the player certain amounts of freedom with their combo game.
Our very own Joey “Lucky” Aldama is notorious for not only being one of the members of SoCal’s infamous Norwalk crew, but also for his own unique stylish playstyle. Lucky has been a longstanding stylish player who also performs at the highest level in the game, so he knows his way around stylish techniques. He’s shared with us five of his recent ideas about what techniques and sequences he thinks are the most stylish!
What Makes a Player Stylish?
Lucky: “It really depends on what a player thinks is stylish honestly. Optimal and flowchart play-styles will end up becoming the norm and the style points might diminish a bit in the future. However there will always be players who will push for style for the love of the game. I'd like to imagine that I will be one of them when I can.”
Style can be interpreted in a plethora of ways, but the two biggest factors are movement and move choice. Like Lucky said above, what is stylish to a player really comes down to what a player determines to be stylish. For some people, they value the ‘most correct decision’ in all situations, but others might value moves that ‘look cool’ or might be difficult to execute. Most players tend to agree that seeing new, difficult to execute situations tend to be the most stylish, especially when there are much easier and ‘better’ options. Lucky is notorious for being one of these types of players, someone who tends to bring new things to the game. Innovation is a good word for describing new stylish moments, as players develop more common answers to common situations, innovation is a perfect way to describe how players come up with new answers to the same situations. I asked Lucky what period of time he thought showed the most amount of style from players, here’s what he said:
Lucky: “Probably the era where Mango was the undisputed best player in the world. It felt like any set that guy was in was a compilation of style and on-the-fly innovation because he was so much better than everyone. Which in turn inspired a lot of the players at the time to do the same.”
One of the other factors of stylish play is the risk/reward factor. A majority of the most stylish moments in SSBM’s history have come from high risk/reward gambles. This is what makes hard reads stylish, by committing to a move choice that is relying on you calling what decision your opponent is going to do next will always be stylish, but there are high limits to which a player can push this idea. Again, a majority of stylish moments in SSBM involve some type of read on an opponent, which in turn can give a player a high reward if played correctly.
Lucky: “Hard reads over reaction-based tech chasing always comes to mind. The fact that the punish game is so consistent now makes hard reads that much more stylish, since it isn't guaranteed.”
Lucky’s Favorite Techniques
Lucky: “Shine > Turn Around > Back-air with Fox - Great DI mixup at a higher percentage and close to the edge of a stage.”
Shine-turn-around-back-air is definitely one of the coolest techniques Fox can do. In order to do a shine-turn-around-back-air, you must be approaching your opponent from underneath them. Usually this can be done best by up-throwing your opponent and tends to work easiest on fast-fallers (Fox, Falco, Falcon), but you can do this combo on most characters. There is a trick to performing this technique, as newer/middle-level players may notice that connecting the back-air after the shine can be tricky. One of the tricks to hitting the back-air is by making sure that your shine is hitting your opponent towards the bottom of their hurtbox. You also need to make sure that your turn-around is timed correctly at the end of your shine. A good way to practice getting the turn-around before learning when to input your back-air is to practice hitting the shine (after an up-throw for example), and pausing a split second after your turn around in your shine before jumping. You should be able to see Fox turn around in shine for a couple frames before being able to jump out, but if you stay in your shine too long after turning around you won’t be able to jump cancel your shine.
Once you have got a handle on jumping out of your shine after turning around, you can start to input a move. Back-air is traditionally the best/most effective move to use after shine. It deals a lot of damage, has a huge and fast hitbox, and can send opponents deceptively far off-stage.
This technique can be pretty difficult for some players to perform, so don’t get too frustrated with the timing if you’re just starting out. Remember to work at each step slowly and accurately, focus on how fast you can do everything after you’ve got the basic timings down.
Lucky: “Marth Pivot Forward-Smash.”
Recently Marth’s punish game has been improving with the use of implementing pivots into his movement options. Most players know that Marth makes great use of pivots in both the neutral and his chaingrab game, but Marth’s pivot forward-smash is a recent mixup popularized by Marth players like Rishi and Zain. Pivots are a useful tool to make use of in general, and you can check out this more in-depth guide by Rishi himself!
(GIF from Rishi's article)
The technique Lucky is specifically referring to is pretty simple to execute and can look very clean when done correctly. One of the important things to remember when first trying to execute pivot forward-smashes is the direction your initial dash is going as well as what direction you want to forward-smash. You can do a quick pivot forward-smash by starting your dash (to the left, for example) and then flicking your control stick to the right quickly, and immediately flick your c-stick in the direction you want your forward-smash to go. What this should look like is Marth starting his dash, and forward-smashing out of it. What is happening is that when Marth is turning right out of his dash there are a couple frames where he should be standing, and you’re forward-smashing during these frames. Another tip when doing this is to make sure that you’re ready to flick your c-stick at pretty much the same time as your turning.
Double-shine-grabs will probably always look cool as long as the player can actually execute them. This is probably one of those techniques that would have little actual use, as there are other easier options to use as a mixup but would look amazing if pulled off correctly. Basically, this technique is combining both a double-shine with a shine-grab after it. Shine can be jump cancelled, so when executing a shine in general you know you can do jump -> option out of jump, which commonly tends to be a wavedash resulting in a waveshine. However, you can jump cancel your first shine into doing another shine, with the correct timing.
A shine-grab is just a jump-cancelled-grab out of a shine. You have to be able to do both of these techniques on their own before attempting a double-shine-grab, or at least that would probably be the easiest way to understand how to do double-shine-grabs. Each player (that can do a double-shine-grab) has their own way of doing this technique, but it comes down to how you know how to double-shine and shine-grab, as you pretty much have to link the two together. A good way to practice getting double-shine-grabs after you can do the first two basic techniques is to practice jumping out of the second shine consistently, and then to try executing your grab after you can consistently do a jump out of a landed double-shine.
Lucky: “Fox Waveshine Infinite (uses dash -> jump cancel shines to crossup).”
Most players know that Fox can waveshine certain characters across the stage or infinitely against a wall, but what Lucky is referring to here is dashing past a waveshine-able character and doing a dash-cancelled-shine into continuing a waveshine infinite. This is significantly harder than a regular one direction waveshine, as you have to rely on doing your first waveshine fast enough so you can dash behind your opponent, and then do a jump to cancel your dash animation into another shine. This can be really tricky for beginners, but it’s important to remember to just take each step slowly until you’ve got it down.
Lucky: “Falco Shine -> Down-air against Fox Up-B (Armada shine timing). It works the exact way Fox can shine the beginning portion of another Fox player's Up-B.”
This is pretty much how it sounds. The main thing to take into consideration here is Falco’s recovery, as well as the stock count. If you aren’t too familiar with “Armada Shine Timing,” Lucky is talking about the last few frames of startup on Fox’s Up-B. Right before Fox starts the second part of his Up-B, there are a few frames where there are no startup flames, giving the opponent a window of opportunity to get in an edgeguard. ‘Armada shines’ are already pretty difficult and stylish on their own, as well as being optimal, but thinking about doing it with Falco’s shine into a down-air is definitely one of the riskier and stylish decisions you could go for.
Lucky’s Insight to His Own Stylish Play
Style in SSBM comes down to how a player wants to express what they love about the game. Lucky is one of those players that always brings something new to the game every year. While I asked Lucky about some of his favorite ways to be stylish, I also asked him how he determined whether or not he wanted to try and do something stylish or what he thought of his own play:
Lucky: “I don't think I can give a good answer to that. After playing for so many years it's basically just a feeling that randomly takes over, haha. A lot of people would probably say I'm stylish compared to the average player, but I really do think I am a decent mix of both [style and optimal play].”
That was it for our guide, good luck in your games!