Smash Bros Melee: Samus VS Fox Guide featuring HugS
Sun 20th Oct 2019 - 10:06am
Without a huge amount of research on Samus compared to the top tier characters, we tend to rely on the high level Samus' to light the way and guide us through spectating. However, sometimes, it's not easy to know exactly what's going on in the every match so our very own HugS clears it up for us and gives us tips on how to defeat the most common character in the game, Fox McCloud
Going into the match, neutral is your first and foremost obstacle that you have to win to get your punish and edgeguarding to be of use. Her best tools in this particular matchup include jab, forward tilt and wavedashing. Fox, in a lot of instances, will attempt to run through you or rush you down and Samus' jab gives Fox a little trouble with doing just that! It can stuff a lot of his attempts to run in and shine or grab you. Recognising when the Fox will attempt to run in is the tricky part but with enough awareness of your opponent's playstyle, it'll be no time before your batting Fox away. As for forward tilting, it keeps them at a distance so that they struggle more with shine and grab. This leaves the Fox with fewer options that he can use at a short range, leaving him with only aerials and lasers.
Spacing is one of Samus' key objectives in the match and her wavedash is fantastic for taking advantage of whiffed aerials. Wavedash down smash is key in many of Samus' matchups. With jab, forward tilt and wavedashing all implemented into the neutral, Fox's options are much more limited.
HugS says: "Careful with all these options, however. A jab can be crouch countered, a wavedash can lose to an overshot aerial or drill, and a forward tilt can be whiff punished for a lot of damage."
Following Samus' defensive options, this leaves you to find a way to start getting damage on Fox to start a kill. Your projectiles, with enough space that Fox cannot run in and punish in time, are a great way to start making Fox play in a defensive manner. Beware of the shine that will send the missiles back, but many Foxes will commit to jumping over the missiles too. If careless with these jumps, it gives you time to get in and catch them off-guard. Alternatively, Fox, when inexperienced in the matchup, will do unsafe aerials on Samus' shield. This can lead to a free up-B move, gaining either chip damage or a combo. Additionally, inexperienced Foxes will rarely overshoot their aerials, failing to challenge Samus' wavedash back.
HugS says: "In these past few years, my best improvement includes my patience in the neutral to not commit to any laggy moves without being sure that they will hit. I've also improved in covering Foxes approach angles from the top platform."
HugS says: "I think one of the most important things is to practice your up-throw to sweetspot back-air confirms, as it's a guaranteed KO if you can land a grab at certain percents."
When you've finally won the neutral, punish game is the next play on your agenda. Some of the 'must-know' aspects of Samus' punish includes up-throw into sweetspot back-air and tech-chasing on platforms with down-air. Down-air tech-chasing on platform leads to big combo or KO opportunities where you can follow up with a charge shot, sweet spot bair, or more tech-chasing at lower percents. You can involve using your grab for the up-throw into sweetspot back-air confirms safely. Though not often implemented because of it's laggy animation, in the right moment, it secures you combos like this and can also just help you win interactions in the neutral when your opponent isn't playing as carefully as they need to be.
Practising these on 20XX is one of the most valuable ways to practise these methods as the CPU opponent will tech or DI randomly, which will test your reactions and keep them well timed. Getting used to the speed of a Fox teching in place and the mixup of tech rolling away will help keep your reactions on point and will help you figure out what to do if you miss the tech-chase or the back-air.
HugS says: "I tend to use grab a lot more than other Samuses. I think the best way to utilize it is to have an understanding of when it'd be absolutely idiotic of your opponent to not shield, and then you exploit that by being an idiot and grabbing their smart shielding!"
You've finally got Fox off the stage! What now? In some cases, there are options that can function as a flowchart. For instance, when Fox is recovering low or if they are without a jump or even if a jump would still only put them at ledge level, you can take ledge immediately and wait for the firefox animation to begin. With this, you can drop down and intercept with a back-air. If they're more at a distance, projectiles are a great way to limit their options. In addition to this, you can choose a quick move that will cover a certain angle. This will make Fox recover from a different angle that you can either cover again with the same move or they are forced into a different recovery angle. This then makes it easier for Samus' to edgeguard, if Fox drops lower or gains height and falls back to the stage.
HugS says: "Choose a move that can cover one angle and finish quickly enough to start a new move that covers the angle that the first move would miss. For example, I'll sometimes tilt to cover a high angle, and if they pick an angle that I barely miss, I'll cover that with a jab, or if they end up behind me, I have enough time to turn around down-smash."
Samus has an incredible recovery game but that doesn't mean that it's perfect or not punishable in any way. With a recovery that allows her to recover from as far as the edge of the blast zone, Samus has a ton of bomb mixups to change her height and make her tricky to hit. Fox's shine can end her recovery very early and his back-air is really hard to beat with any move off the ledge. To avoid this, you can watch videos on when a Fox will usually go out after a Samus. The reason being is that you have to make an educated guess on when Fox will challenge you with the shine or back air and you can up-B early. You can also figure out how often Fox will go for the bait and when it's an ideal time for you to go for ledge. Researching this beforehand is ideal because in tournament, your stocks will bleed away without the knowledge of when Fox will usually attempt to come out for Samus.
HugS says: "If the Fox is grabbing the ledge and utilizing invincibility, it's usually best to save your jump and attempt to recover really high. If you can force them to cover that, you may be able to sneak toward the ledge as they commit to that option."
When you're successful in making it back to the ledge, one of your best options is an aerial interrupt. This is when you perform an up-air at the ledge that causes you to snap onto the stage without the move coming out. This will give you several frames of invincibility that you can act out of. With this, you can opt to shield, tilt, up-B and so on with invincibility.
Empty jumps onto ledge are also tricky. This because Samus' animation seems as if she'll still be in the air drifting, so people do a spaced move, not realizing you'll be out of range and able to punish with a down-smash. Forward-air from the ledge is also a great option but one of Samus' most predictable. Many Fox players will cover it. You can opt to try it out and if you realise you're getting punished for it too regularly, change it up and try an aerial interrupt or an empty hop into down-smash instead.
HugS says: "I'd say my biggest changes to improve my Fox game have been an improved edgeguard, specifically when the Fox recovers low."