HugS' Ledgetrapping Guide For Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Mon 4th Mar 2019 - 7:32pm
Super Smash Brothers Ultimate has already been out for over two months and high-level players are quickly solidifying important core elements that will be necessary for any player’s gameplan. One of these core elements is ledgetrapping, a gameplay state when one player is holding onto a ledge and the other player is standing on stage. The player on stage is given the opportunity to perform a ledgetrap by reacting to and/or covering the choice the opponent on the ledge chooses.
Some characters have lots of options to punish their ledge-bound opponent’s decisions, while some characters have limited options. In this guide we will be going over how to perform ledgetraps as a general technique, and be going over some input from Hugo "HugS" Gonzales as we go!
How Important Is It to Learn Ledgetrapping?
HugS: "Ledgetrapping is absolutely vital to the meta. Since most characters will likely make it to the ledge without issue the majority of the time, it's important to challenge them at the next step to keep them in that disadvantaged position. It's great that in this game, characters are definitely at a disadvantage when they hit the ledge, and they must rely on a mixup to make it back in. However, my only issue with ledgetrapping for me is that it seems a bit too easy to master with some characters, and it'll be too advantageous for the person on stage."
You want to make sure you learn how to ledgetrap properly as some characters will be able to get back to the ledge often in Ultimate. Characters like Inkling, K. Rool, and Piranha Plant who have an Up-B move which covers a large amount of distance. If these characters (or any others) are giving you a difficult time when you try to edgeguard them, you might want to just put yourself into a ledgetrapping scenario. If you can force your opponent to avoid you and go to the ledge, you can use their ledge state to your advantage.
HugS: "In Ultimate, I definitely have more of an ability to go offstage for an edgeguard since recoveries are so good and I'm almost guaranteed to get back to ledge. In Melee, one misstep while offstage can lead to your opponent taking the ledge, and I can't simply Up-B back to snap it away from them. Furthermore, they'll have invincibility frames to work with to keep me offstage."
HugS: "It seems relatively easy to get down at a low/mid-level, but as you play better opponents, they'll manage their resources better to find a way to sneak in. But as I mentioned earlier, it'll become easier to simply position yourself in the most ideal way with some characters to cover every return option. Since the ledge keeps your opponent at a disadvantage, you sort of get another opportunity to keep them off stage. However, I think it'll be important to use both the edgeguard and ledgetrapping, two separate opportunities, to finish a stock or do maximum damage."
The first part to learning ledgetrapping is understanding all the options that your opponent can make. This means that you’ll need to learn the specific options every character has for returning to stage if you want to be successful at ledgetrapping. There are general options that every character has access to that you’ll want to be aware of and some characters will have more options for getting back to stage due to their specific movesets.
Here are the common options you want to be focused on covering from all characters: get-up into wait animation, rolling back on stage, get-up-attacking onto stage, tournament winners (pressing jump), dropping down and jumping back onto stage with an aerial attack, or dropping down and wavelanding onto stage.
You’ll see that some of these options have an attack included. In most scenarios with most characters, shielding in the right spot by the ledge will be how you want to start your ledgetrap flowchart. A good spot to put yourself in is close enough to the edge to be able to be in range of both the ledge and their max-distance roll from the ledge.
HugS: "Flowcharting can be ideal depending on your moveset, but the most important aspect behind it will be your positioning the moment the opponent gets to ledge."
Remember that by starting in shield you are limiting your options in that moment, and you want to react to the option your opponent chooses. This is the part that will require you to focus on what your opponent is doing and reacting accordingly. This will come with time and practice, so don’t beat yourself up if you’re having trouble performing any of these options, just remember which spots you are having difficulty in and practice them later.
HugS: "It's something I'm going to be more and more mindful of as I get better."
For this next section, assume your character is appropriately spaced near the ledge. Here are the common options you are going to want to choose with most characters against most characters.
Get-up into wait animation: Shield-grab if you’re close enough/have a long enough grab or do an aerial/up-B out of shield with an appropriate hitbox.
Rolling back onto stage: Doing either an appropriately spaced aerial out of shield or dropping shield when you see them start the animation, and turning around into doing a grab, an attack, or aerial.
Get-up attack: Continue holding shield into shield-grab or up-B out of shield.
Tournament winner: Out of shield aerial or up-B if your up-B has an appropriate hitbox.
Aerial attack from the ledge: If your opponent drops down from the ledge and uses their double jump to come back on stage with an aerial move, you can treat it just like a get-up attack. It is important to remember that characters that have an aerial grab are going to be a bigger threat to doing an option out of shield, so you have to be careful against moves like Wario’s chomp (neutral B).
Wavelanding onto stage: This is probably the least utilized option at the moment due to how Ultimate’s mechanics work. Wavelanding onto stage won’t give you the same type of advantage as it would in Melee, but it can be used as a mix-up into a grab if you’ve been holding shield for too long or too often. This option will probably be the riskiest decision, but going forward in Ultimate, this is something that might be worth thinking about.
Visual Representation of the common options you want to think about.
Red = where you should commonly be positioned.
Green = Common movement ranges.
Blue = Opponent's position before choosing an option
It’s important to remember that each character will have their own tools to punish your opponent’s decision, so you want to become comfortable with what you’d want to do with your character to get the best outcome for you. Depending on the character you’re playing, it might be better to focus on getting grabs in order to send your opponent offstage to go for an edgeguard or ledgetrap, or maybe you have a good combo throw and want to send them in a different direction to get more damage. While some characters have good tools for securing stocks at low/lower percents offstage (like Ivysaur’s down-air), other characters do not have a tool for getting easy offstage stocks. This is where knowing your toolkit becomes important for securing the best outcome.
HugS: "You have to learn to ledgetrap with the tools your character has. Learning with one character won't apply the same way to another, unless they're echo fighters I guess, haha. The Belmonts are exceptional at ledgetrapping. Their moveset covers every recovery option and even allows them to passively cover some with a projectile while they worry about other options. Their ledgetrapping often leads directly into a KO at lower percents. I feel that sword characters also have great ledgetrapping, as their disjointed attacks can cover most options with more flexible reaction timing."
Covering Multiple Options at Once
We’ve already addressed the common options characters have to return to stage and some examples of what you can do to punish them. Some characters will have an option during a ledgetrap that can cover two possible options, meaning you’ll have an easier time reacting to a certain decision. For example, if your character has an Up-B that has a large enough hitbox (think Chrom or Ike), then by focusing on using your Up-B in reaction to your opponent’s decision might be better than trying to react with a grab.
While these characters might have moves that can cover two options at once, some characters have the ability to set-up other moves to cover an option leaving you free to react to other options. The Belmonts have projectiles (mainly the axes) that they can set up to cover multiple options like get-up attack (or stand) and tournament winner while they can react to the few options their opponent has left.
Ledgetrapping is going to be one of the important fundamental aspects in Ultimate players will want to focus on. In order to win in any game, you want to push your opponent into a disadvantageous situation when you have an advantage, and in Ultimate grabbing the ledge doesn't mean you'll gain an advantage just from getting some invincibility frames. When your opponent grabs the ledge, they are left with limited options to get back on stage. Being able to consistently punish your opponent for being forced into grabbing the ledge is something that will lead to getting more damage and being able to secure stocks easier. Here are some final thoughts from HugS about top players and ledgetrapping:
HugS: "I think top players have a great sense of timing and range on their moveset relative to their positioning near the ledge, so they're great at consistently choosing the right options to keep an opponent trapped. There's always room to experiment with different moves though, depending on the character you're using. I don't have a great idea yet of the best players to watch for ledgetrapping, but I'm betting players like MKLeo and Tweek already do it exceptionally well."