Super Smash Bros. Melee/Captain Falcon

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Introduction

Captain Falcon, from the F-Zero series, currently ranks 7th place (A tier) on the tier list. He ranks high due to a superb punishing game and combo ability, in addition to the powerful Knee Smash. However, he is a fast faller and one of the heavier characters of Melee, making him vulnerable to various combos and chaingrabs.

"A" Moves Analysis

Ground moves

Normal
  • Neutral attack - Jabs twice then knees opponent, followed by several fast jabs. First two jabs do around 2-3% each, the "gentlemen" kneeing does 8%, and each jab after does 1% each. A fast and somewhat short-ranged jab-attack, this move is good for stopping close-up opponent's approach.
  • Dash attack - Shoulder tackle. Strongest when it comes out, weaker afterward. Pretty fast, this move is good for knocking the foe away from the ledge to follow with an aerial attack or edgeguard, with proper mindgaming/prediction. 10%
  • Down tilt - Does a quick round kick. The down tilt is a great launcher, if difficult to land. It has a long lag and therefore is not one of C.F.'s preferred setups. However, it can combo at most percentages and almost every DI into a SHFFLed neutral aerial, which can further combo. Fox and Falco can often be regrabbed from a down tilt at medium damage percentages, and their side special moves can be intercepted by Falcon's down tilt if they try to sweetspot the ledge. The down tilt can also combo into a Knee Smash and the up aerial, depending on knockback and DI. 12% damage.
  • Forward tilt - Kicks his foot out in front of him. Fast with decent range. There are not a significant amount of combo options from an forward tilt because of its horizontal hit trajectory, low knockback and stun time, and wind-down lag. One can try to follow up with a up aerial or a Jump-canceled grab, and even a dash-canceled down tilt or Raptor Boost, but they are not true combos and can be countered by every character. It may be a good idea to wavedash slightly forward to maintain pressure, and enter a defensive stance or used after a pivot as a surprise attack to keep enemies away. An forward tilt, angled upward, can stun enemies long enough from an up/down throw that it can lead to a Knee Smash. 11% damage
  • Up tilt - Brings his leg up and brings it down in an axe-like way. His up tilt has horizontal knockback as well, and, like the forward tilt, is difficult to combo from. Due to its low trajectory, one can often follow off the edge of a platform or stage with a falling neutral aerial or non-sweetspotted forward aerial edgeguard, but this is not a true combo. It may be a good idea to wavedash slightly forward to maintain pressure, and enter a defensive stance. Most players use up tilts as an edgeguard technique since the heel can extend below the platform. 11% damage.
Smash attacks
  • Side smash - Reels his elbow back and thrusts it forward. Excellent knockback even when uncharged with good horizontal and vertical launching power, making it hard to DI. Somewhat fast as well. Uncharged usually kills around 100%+. 20% uncharged, 27% fully.
  • Up smash - Quickly thrusts both his feet upward in circular motions. A fast and powerful move, though short range. The second hit sometimes has difficulty connecting, as with Ganon's. When both hits connect, 19% uncharged, 27% fully charged. This is Falcon's most powerful move damage-wise (When fully charged).
  • Down smash - Kicks in front then back of him. Small noticeable startup, but good speed and knockback. 18% front, 16% back uncharged, 24% front and 21% back fully charged.
Other attacks
  • Ledge attack - Picks himself up and kicks. 10% damage.
  • 100% ledge attack- Somewhat slowly gets up and punches in front of him. 8% damage.
  • Floor attack - Gets up and flips while kicking. 6% damage.

Aerial attacks

  • Forward aerial (Knee Smash) - Captain Falcon sticks out his knee. If sweetspotted (located anywhere on his body at the first frames of execution), the victim is electrocuted and is sent in a difficult-to-DI-out-of semi-spike trajectory. If sourspotted, the move is very weak with little knockback, though it can be chained into another Knee. An extremely powerful move when sweetspotted, it is often regarded as one of the most powerful and useful moves in the game, and undoubtedly the most powerful forward aerial of Melee. This move is the usual end to most of Falcon's aerial combos, or even to use against grounded foes in an aerial assault. Easily KOs at damage percentages as low as 60% off the edge. Impressive 18% when sweetspotted, and does 5-6% otherwise with terrible knockback.
  • Neutral aerial - His forward aerial from SSB, kicks twice in front of him. A good two-hit combo starter or ender, though the second hit is difficult to land. This move can infamously lead into a Sacred Combo. First hit does 6%, second hit 7% damage. Total 13%.
  • Back aerial - A quick punch behind him. Good power and speed, often used as an edgeguarding move. Weak if the opponent is hit late in the attack. 14% damage.
  • Down aerial - Stomps below him for good downward knockback. Minor startup and ending lag. Can nipple spike if hit within the torso region, making it even more powerful. 16%.
  • Up aerial - Does a midair bicycle kick and sticks his feet out. Knockback direction depends on what angle the move hits the foe, though strong nonetheless. Also good for juggling, and edgeguarding if hit near the end of the attack. 13% damage.

Grabs & throws

  • Pummel - Knees opponent in the torso region. 2-3% damage per pummel.
  • Forward throw - Punches foe forward. Oddly, has two hits, the first hit doing 5% damage, second 4%.
  • Back throw - Kicks foe behind. Also has two very small and hardly noticeable hits. Knockback is usually hard to follow-up or combo with unless over a ledge. Throw does 5% first, 4% second.
  • Up throw - Punches foe upward. Yet another mysterious throw where Falcon supposedly only hits the foe once, although has two separate hitboxes. Foes usually fall straight down afterward, at lower damage percentages can lead into his side special and aerial follow-ups. 4% then 3%.
  • Down throw - Crushes foe to the floor. Only one hitbox unlike his other throws. This knocks the foe to the floor, and this can easily lead into his side special. At lower damage percentages, following his down throw and side special, an up smash or tilt is possible. At higher damage percentages, follow with an neutral aerial or whatever, depending on the foe's DI reaction. Throw does a single-hitting 7% damage.

"B" Moves List

  • "up B" Falcon Dive- Captain Falcon boost upwards and forwards, grabs his opponent, and explodes them.
  • "B neutral" Falcon Punch- Most famous move, does a powerful punch.
  • "down B" Falcon Kick- Falcon boost forward for a flame kick.
  • " forward B" Raptor Boost- Falcon dashes forward for a flame upper-cut.

Move Analysis

  • Up B

Captain Falcon is given a quick boost upwards and forwards, and anything within his target area is pulled to him, given a blast of fiery energy, and launched away. If it connects, it sends Falcon backwards, but also removes the helplessness state, allowing him to perform the move again. This move acts as a grab, so it can hit enemies that are shielding. The range at which the enemy is latched on to Captain Falcon is much greater in SSB than in Melee or Brawl. Very useful end of combo move in smash 64 (such as after up airs) and moderately useful Oos move.

  • Down B

There have been some changes to the move in Super Smash Bros. Melee, notably how he will regain his second jump after using this move in the air. The move lost a little speed and some KO power, but seems to travel farther and has better rendered effects (though a few red fire sprites appear in the move). This move is also easier to use near a ledge. The range is about half of Final Destination.

Despite these new factors, it isn't used particularly often outside of recovering due to his brand new throwing and aerial meta-game.

  • Neutral B

In SSBM, the Falcon Punch was made slower, though the punch itself seems to be stronger and now has a full 3-D model, complete with better fire effects. Due to C. Falcon's dair being much slower than in SSB, that combo was made more unreliable, but with L-Canceling, it's still possible. One of the more famous combos is the Sacred Combo. Originating in Melee, it is a combo that uses Captain Falcon's Forward Aerial and the Falcon Punch. It is very hard to perform.

The combo itself is performed by knocking an opponent off the stage with Captain Falcon's forward aerial (the Knee Smash) and then jumping off the edge of the stage before striking the opponent with Falcon Punch, in mid-air. If performed successfully, this combo results in a KO in almost all cases, although by performing this combo, Captain Falcon may fail to recover back to the stage in Melee if he jumps too far off the edge to perform his Falcon Punch. In either cases, KOing an opponent with the Sacred Combo is widely regarded as being one of the most satisfying ways to remove an opponent's stock.

  • Side B

When used, Captain Falcon pauses for a split second before dashing a short distance forwards. If he hits an enemy, he proceeds to unleash a fiery uppercut, which pops opponents up into the air with below-average knockback. If Captain Falcon doesn't hit an enemy during the dash, he falls down and is easily punished - or even worse, if he falls off an edge, he immediately becomes helpless and is very likely to self-destruct.

When used in the air, the move changes from an uppercut to a downpunch, acting as a meteor smash. Captain Falcon becomes helpless whether the move connects or not; as a result it is very risky to use in midair. In Melee, Captain Falcon's momemtum instantly halts when he hits an opponent, making the move difficult to survive using in any case. In Brawl however, he bounces over the meteor smashed opponent and keeps a bit of sideways momemtum.

This attack is useful for tech-chasing, due to its duration and range. Additionally, it can be comboed directly into Falcon's knee to achieve KOs relatively easily. Sometimes people follow with Falcon Dive, which is seen as a newbie tactic.

As the move doesn't deal any damage until it hits a target, it does very poorly at protecting Falcon from opposing attacks via clanking, leading to a reputation of low priority.

Combos

Frame Data

Speed options

  • Captain Falcon's aerial game is very fast, making performing combos fairly easy. His knee is a good KO move at medium-high damage. He also has one true spike. Use that as a follow-up in case his Knee Smash doesn't work, or to continue comboing.
  • Because Falcon's Falling Speed and weight are so high, he is the character that is most resistant to vertical knockouts.
  • Since he is a heavy character and a fast faller, attacks like Peach's down smash can be horrible against Falcon.

Ground options

  • Captain Falcon's ground attacks have some lag, but, in return, they generally have good knockback and damage. Captain Falcon's up smash hits twice which can KO at low percentages. His side smash is a little laggy, but has great range and knockback. His down smash is two kicks which hit both sides of Falcon so opponents on either side of him will be hit so long as they are within range. In addition, his down smash has a very good reach and priority.
  • Falcon's tilts include his forward tilt, a long ranged kick with decent damage and knockback, his down tilt, a sweeping kick which sends opponents upwards, and his up tilt, where he lifts his leg in the air and smashes it down. The up tilt is frequently used for edgeguarding.

Aerial attacks

  • Forward aerial (Knee Smash) - Captain Falcon's forward aerial is a great, if not Falcon's best, finisher. Timed at the end of grab and aerial combos, it can KO opponents at about 60%. Although the move does require precise timing to land, since a non sweetspotted hit will be very weak, the sourspot can be used as a form of Wall of Pain that can combo into another knee.
  • Back aerial - A backhand hit with a significant startup lag. Falcon's back aerial is excellent, especially for edgeguarding. While an opponent is off stage it is common to hop backwards and intercept them with a back aerial for the KO.
  • Neutral aerial - Two fast kicks. The Neutral aerial is good for racking up damage.
  • Up aerial - A quick back-flip kick. Good for attacking airborne opponents as it is fast and relatively strong, and has a long duration making it comparatively easy to land.
  • Down aerial - An airborne stomp. Falcon's down aerial has a considerable amount of startup lag. It is good for use on the ground, where it will send opponents upward, sometimes Star-KOing at high percentages or creating a setup for a Knee. Hitting opponents with the upper hitbox (above Falcon's waist) will result in a nipple spike.

Projectile/Protecting

  • Using Falcon's Raptor Boost is a good way to dodge oncoming projectiles like Samus's Missile or Mario's Fireball.
  • Falcon is equipped with one of the best roll dodges in the game, as it is one of the fastest and longest. Both left and right roll dodges are quick and long.
  • Falcon has the best dash-dance in the game, so if timed right he can dash away from an attack and quickly dash back to retalliate.

Grabs

Captain Falcon has some good grabs that are used to start chains and combos, most notably into his forward aerial, which can allow for quick kills.

Down throw

  • Can chain-grab many characters with average falling speeds and weights at various damage percentages. Simply down-throw, follow the opponent's DI with a dash, and use a Jump Cancelled Grab to grab again. If the opponent DIs towards the player, a re-grab in place or turning and re-grabbing may be possible.
  • Combos into neutral aerial at most damage percentages and DIs against non-fastfallers.
  • Can combo into a forward aerial at medium to high damage percentages against non-fastfallers. This may be escapable at some damage percentages with DI. This is also an option at very high damage percentages against fast-fallers.
  • Tech-chasing chain grabs are possible as well against fast-fallers. Additionally, one can Tech-chase with Isai Stomps and Raptor Boost. Down-smash is additionally useful as it hits in front of and behind C.F., hitting 2/3 tech-rolls and hitting non-techs if properly timed.

Up throw

  • Combos into neutral up and forward aerials at various damage percentages and DIs against virtually every character. The higher the percent, the more chance opponents have to break free.
  • Combos into down tilt at low-medium damage percentages against fast-fallers.
  • Combos into forward smash and down smash against fast-fallers at medium damage percentages, depending on DI.
  • Against fast fallers at low damage percentages, does not combo directly but leads to Tech-chasing.
  • Combos into a up smash against fast-fallers that do not DI to a side. Against large, heavy characters, can be wavedashed into at several DIs.
  • Can combo into an angled forward tilt depending on DI. Useful for catching awkward DIs and damage percentages.
  • If an opponent bounces, it is possible to hit them with any SHFFL'd aerial, a down-smash, Raptor Boost, Falcon Kick, Falcon Punch, and any tilts out of the bounce.
  • Raptor Boost is always an option, and directly combos against many characters at low damage percentages and against most DIs, however is known to be very touchy and avoidable. Can be used to tech-chase as well.
  • Up throw can lead to a dashing, jump-cancelled re-grab against Fox at very high damage percentages (approximately 110%) if the opponent DI's away. This is possible due to Fox's light weight and high downward acceleration.

Match-ups

Serious Advantage Match-ups

Mewtwo, Yoshi, G&W, Ness, Bowser, Kirby, Pichu

Advantage Match-ups

Peach, Doc, Ganondorf, Samus, Pikachu, Mario, Luigi, DK, Link, Y.Link, Zelda, Roy

Fair Match-ups

Marth, Ice Climbers

Disadvantage Match-ups

Fox, Falco, Puff, Sheik

Serious Disadvantage Match-ups

None