Super Smash Bros. Melee/Fox

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Introduction

Fox McCloud is the lead character from the space combat series Starfox. He is emblematic of speed, dominating foes with his rapid attacks, quick movement and overpowering offense in all areas of his game. Because of these advantages, Fox has won many tournaments and currently ranks 1st on the tier list (suggesting that he has the most potential of any character in Melee), ousting Sheik from the number one position for the fourth time.

Fox, however, is equally notorious for being an extremely difficult character to master. Almost all of his attributes reflect an unbridled speed, requiring quick fingers and reflexes to master. Players need utmost concentration to SHFFL aerials and shine combos with efficiency, and more importantly to avoid being grabbed by an opponent, which almost certainly means a painful chain throw or combo. Because of these struggles, Fox must remain slippery, unpredictable, and above all faster than his opponent to win.

"A" Moves Analysis

Ground moves

Normal
  • Neutral attack: Fox jabs forwards with his paw, followed by a short series of fast kicks. A versatile jab that can combo into several other attacks, including up smash (similar to SSB). Very useful against shields, to jab reset, and into shine cancels. More useful against lightweights than heavyweights (such as Jigglypuff). The second jabs makes Fox move forward a bit. 2-4% damage on the first jab, 4% damage on the second jab, and 1% damage on the kicks.
  • Dash attack: Fox runs forward and sticks a foot out. Low priority but good combo ability, especially into up smash. Very vulnerable to crouch canceling. 5-7% damage.
  • Strong down: Fox performs a sweeping tail lash. Moderately fast. Can combo at mid-percentages into aerials. It can also become a somewhat solid ground killer at higher percentages. 10% damage.
  • Strong side: Fox sticks a foot out to the side. This is best used for a quick close-ranged spacing move. 4-9% damage depending on how its angled.
  • Strong up: Fox performs a quick and surprisingly strong vertical back kick. It covers Fox's whole body; thus, it makes Fox and his vertically-aimed foot a hitbox. Its speed, power, and hitbox make it great for close-up spacing. It can easily combo into itself, up air, and up smash. Used as part as a chain-grab against fast-fallers with it being connected to his up throw. It can start killing around 120% on mostly the floaty lightweights. 9-12% damage.
Smash attacks
  • Side smash: Fox performs a flying hook kick. Has moderately low knockback for a smash, though is fast, and is actually quite reliable at higher percentages, KOing usually around 120%. This move does 12-15% uncharged, 16-20% fully charged.
  • Up smash: Fox performs a back flip kick. This move is very fast, and when used on the ground while facing the foe, it has very high vertical knockback. It is very reliable at mid-high damages. Shine into up smash is very useful for kills. 18% uncharged, 24% full. Hitting an opponent behind Fox does 13-17% damage.
  • Down smash: Fox does a split, hitting on both of his sides. It is fast and has moderate knockback. Useful for edgeguarding and an excellent spacing/killing move. 15% uncharged, 20% full.
Other attacks
  • Ledge attack- Climbs up and sticks his feet out in a similar fashion to his forward smash in Template:G. 8% damage
  • 100% ledge attack- Slowly climbs then very suddenly thrusts out his foot. 8% damage
  • Floor attack- Kicks on both sides. 6% damage

Aerials

  • Neutral air: Sticks the entire foot out. Sex Kick properties. A very quick aerial. Very good against shields and great power when it first comes out. 12% damage.
  • Forward air: Fox kicks forward five times. Good knockback when all hits connect. Regrettably, this move is very awkward due to the short amount of forward distance, short range of the move, and bad physics of the kicks being chained together. All hits are extremely hard to connect without a good set-up, especially on lighter characters. Approximately 17% damage when all hits connect.
  • Back air: Fox does a quick no-look kick backwards. Sex kick properties. Great knockback when it first comes out. One of Fox's best edgeguarding moves. 9-15% damage.
  • Up air: Fox whips his tail up and kicks immediately after. A very high knockback move, good vertical killer, can combo out of up throw on virtually everyone. Can be Smash DI'd out of however. Two hits, 17% total.
  • Down air: Fox spins around, drilling downwards with his feet. It can combo into up smash and out of up tilt. Useful into shines as well. It is the weakest spike in the game, giving almost no knockback when it is used on an opponent. However, when it is used on a wire frame, it sends them strongly diagonally downwards, like a spike. Using this move will not win any of the meteor smash bonuses with it, and meteor smashes send opponents purely downwards, and not diagonally downwards like a spike, giving proof that it is a spike. 19% damage when all hits connect.

Grabs & throws

  • Pummel: A quick knee jab to the opponent. 2-3% damage
  • Down throw: Fox throws the opponent into the ground and shoots him/her with his blaster. This throw does not make opponents bounce off the ground like other down throws (except Falco) because it is a meteor smash. Not useful due to being able to tech out of it, but you can read techs for kills. Can lead into up-tilt or his Reflector. It meteor smashes over a ledge if his body is partially overlapping it. 5% damage.
  • Back throw: Fox throws backwards and shoots the opponent with his blaster. Used mainly for setting up edgeguards off-stage, though really not many other uses besides mixing up a Fox player's throw game. 7% damage.
  • Forward throw: Fox punches the opponent forward; furthermore, this is Fox's only throw that does not involve him shooting his opponent with his blaster. Despite its generally poor combo ability, it can chain-grab on some heavy characters. Although, it is best used for edge-guarding. 7% damage.
  • Up throw: Fox uses his laser and throws the opponent into the air. It can easily combo into up tilt, up aerial, and up smash. It can also chain-grab fast fallers at lower percentages; however, it can be Smash DI'd out of the chain-grab. 7% damage.

"B" Moves List

Move Analysis

  • Neutral B

In Melee, Fox's Blaster is quite different from the original; it has a faster rate of fire and traveling speed is drastically increased, but the Blaster has absolutely no knockback or hitstun and does 1%-3% damage per shot. This is one of the few moves in the game that can never, under any circumstances, provide a KO, except for stealing other players' KO's. It is mainly used from long range (As short hop lasers or short hop double lasers) to camp and help bring up damage for an up throwup aerial combo or up smash. It should never be used while standing as there is ending lag.

  • Side B

The Fox Illusion is Fox's side special move. Performing the attack sends Fox darting forwards with ridiculous speed, which causes an afterimage effect and hurts any enemies in his path. The move first appeared in Super Smash Bros. Melee, and returns Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

It deals little damage (3%) and has very little knockback, but can knock an enemy upward. The dash is so fast that if used facing an edge at the end of a stage, the attack will cause Fox to dart over the ledge, resulting in going into the helpless state, and usually causing a self-destruct.

The move may also be used by players as a useful recovery technique, since the move can quickly cover about half of the length of Final Destination and makes up for Fire Fox's easily being edge-guarded. However, unlike Fire Fox, Fox Illusion normally halts all momentum after a dash, which can sometimes give less recovery than Fire Fox.

Special use

Fox Illusion can be cancelled with the special button. In each of these cancellations, the characters keep their horizontal momentum in the air. There are three points during the startup lag frames which the player can cause the dash to cancel in which these moves can be cancelled, but it is most easily done with Fox, due to his longer beginning lag. The first part for cancellation is right before he starts the dash. Fox will move just about 3 feet as if attempting to stop himself from dashing, stalling out if in midair. The second part is in mid-dash; canceling the attack now will send him slightly less than the normal Illusion distance, but his momentum will still carry him forward. The last part is right before the dash is completed and if you try to cancel now, Fox will move slightly farther than the normal illusion distance due to leftover momentum. However, with practice, the player can control exactly when Fox will cancel. Since all three types of canceled Illusions can hurt the opponent, this is both useful to pseudo-wavedash while attacking (due to its sliding properties of landing on the ground), which can save him from punishment, as well as recovery, thanks to momentum leftover from the attack.

  • Up B

When he uses it, Fox charges the move while being surrounded by flames (Melee and Brawl only), and then he flies in the direction inputted on the control stick or d-pad. The move has a fire effect throughout the entire move.

Fire Fox is Fox's primary vertical recovery move. The attack can deal around 28% damage, provided the opponent is hit by both the charge-up and recovery. Fire Fox, out of all the Star Fox characters' recoveries, covers the greatest distance. However, unlike Wolf and Falco's versions, Fox's Fire Fox only hits opponents once, not having many multiple hits during charge-up or after being executed. It is highly likely to return to the ledge of the stage by using Fire Fox to recover, due to its long traveling distance.

  • Down B

Fox's Reflector creates a blue hexagonal shield around himself. Fox can keep the Reflector active for as long as he wants, and using it in midair slows his falling speed (this works by reducing his air speed and resetting his downwards acceleration). If he used the Reflector rapidly and repeatedly in midair, Fox can negate all downward momentum and stall in one place in midair. The reflector multiplies a projectile's damage and knockback by 1.5 when reflected. If the projectile is reflected several times, his reflector may break, similar to a shield breaking. The Reflector is often used for shine spikes, which involve using the Reflector's damaging properties to knock recovering enemies downwards. It is also extremely useful against bosses, considering most of their attacks are projectiles.

In Super Smash Bros. and Super Smash Bros. Melee, the Reflector caused a sound effect identical to the sound effect used for picking up items. Because of this, Fox made a different sound when he grabbed items. In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, the Reflector's sound effect was changed.

While in the shine, Fox's falling speed is altered: Fox falls and accelerates more slowly. This is the reason that Chillin Dashing works. In Brawl, Fox can effectively hover in the air by repeatedly using his reflector. The slowed falling speed, mixed with the damaging aspect of the Reflector, can prevent Fox being juggled. Fox can also turn in midair when spamming his shine. However, shine-spiking in Brawl is much less useful due to a combination of the reflector's damage affected knockback, longer recoveries and floatiness.

Combos

Frame Data

Strategies

Shine Spike

The Shine spike is one of Fox's edge-guarding techniques. It consists of using Fox's down B to spike an opponent who is already off of the stage, down and away, to prevent their recovery. The Shine spike is especially effective, because the Shine has set knockback and stun, making it as capable at zero percent as it is at three hundred percent. Also, since the move slows Fox's vertical movement, it allows him to easily recover after spiking.

Wave Shine

How to Waveshine

A wavedash can be performed anytime a character is on the ground and can jump. The shine can be canceled by jumping shortly after it is initiated. Therefore, it is possible to jump out of the shine into a wavedash.

To waveshine, use the shine, then jump cancel into a wavedash out of it.

It is often easier to use the X/Y buttons instead of the Control Stick because it is considered harder to wavedash with only the control-stick. The logic is that to jump with the Control Stick requires the stick to go up. To wavedash, the succeeding angle is angled towards the ground. This makes for more complicated manual motions, and should be avoided in order to achieve a speedy waveshine.

Uses of the Waveshine

The waveshine is generally used for combos with Fox. However, some characters fall over when shined. This presents a problem, and generally these characters are immune to waveshine combos. Note that if these characters crouch-cancel the shine, they will not fall over and can be treated as normal waveshine. Also, using an attack after the wavedash can cause a character who has fallen over to be "forced" to stand up (most noticeably a neutral attack). This is referred to as "Thunder's Combo."

A waveshine can be followed up by many attacks. The choice of attacks depends on how far the opponent is pushed away. For example, Peach is not pushed away very far at all, but Luigi is pushed very far away. As such, Fox's choice of move following a waveshine against Luigi is more limited.

Some of the most useful attacks used in conjunction are the up smash, grab, down aerial, or even another shine. Waveshining plays a vital part in Fox's infinite combo.

Waveshined Laser

The Waveshined Laser is a very useful technique because it's a good defense and a good offense. To do this, use Reflector, Wavedash backwards without facing behind the player, and shoot as many Lasers that they want to shoot.

Waveshining is also a popular mixup when pillaring an opponent's shield. The waveshine allows the Falco player to move behind an opponent's shield to not get shieldgrabbed.

For both Fox and Falco, the waveshine can be used as a method of spacing and avoiding the lag after a Shine.

Waveshine Infinite

A Waveshine infinite is an infinite which uses the waveshine. The only character able to perform the Waveshine infinite combo is Fox. The Waveshine Infinite can not be done with Falco, as his Shine has vertical knockback. To do all variations of the infinite, the player must be able to L-cancel, Waveshine, and Short-Hop.

There are two general types of the Waveshine infinite. One can infinite an opponent either against a wall, which is generally easier, or on a flat surface, without a wall. Both types of infinite have multiple ways to perform them.

One that is often talked about is the Drillshine infinite. In order to Drillshine infinite combo, the player uses Fox's down aerial and L-cancel it into his Shine and wavedash out of it. Then, the player repeats. This combo is extremely hard to pull off and takes a considerable amount of practice.

There is also an infinite combo when the player gets on the edge, triple jump (so they just hit the edge again, when they just move into it without actually finishing it and firing), fall, shine, jump cancel the shine, and repeat.

Limitations

The damage sustained from the infinite combo can be 999%, thus the name "infinite combo." Characters like Link, Peach, and Zelda cannot escape this if the Fox player is skilled enough. On the down side, most characters cannot be infinite combo'd. Most characters slide too far (from the Shine) in order to be caught again by the down aerial. Some characters are even knocked down from the Shine, and unfortunately, the player can't infinite combo a character if he/she is on the ground.

Wall infinites

This combo works on characters that don't fall over from Fox's shine. Against most walls, Fox can string together L-canceled down aerials into the shine. At this point, Fox can either jump cancel the shine and start another down aerial, or Waveshine out of it and start another down aerial. Both of these variations will work. The repetition of this drill-shine-drill-shine input results in an infinite combo. Note also that the down aerial may be short-hopped or full jumped.

Land infinite

Waveshine into another shine and repeat, hitting the opponent each time. Can only be done against characters that only go about as far as Fox's wavedash allows him to.

IJC Shine

This is very similar to the other infinites, except that it doesn't include Fox's SH(FF)L'd down aerials. It is performed by shining, jump-canceling the shine, and before leaving the ground, shining again (ad infinitum). The IJC Shine is widely recognized as the most difficult non-glitch technique to perform, as it requires frame perfect precision.

It also is possible to SDI during the 4 frames before Fox leaves the ground, as seen in many of SuperDoodleMan's works. Considering that it is possible to double and triple shine on flat land, this may allow Fox to IJC Shine anyone, regardless of stage layout.

Wall infinite

The wavedash is used only to cancel the lag of the shine, and should be done so that Fox does not move forward. It is also possible to infinite against a wall by Waveshining, then using the down aerial on an opponent, followed by another shine to repeat the process. This can also be done by jumping out of the shine instead of Waveshining. As the down aerial is easily SDI'd, this is not as popular of a method, as it is much easier to escape. Another much harder method is to jump cancel the shine and shffl an up aerial so that only the first hit connects, then immediately shining. This is not a practical method, as it is very difficult to perform multiple times, and can also be escaped with good DI. However, it is possible to "infinite" someone using this method on Corneria, where normal wall infinites are not possible. The last possible way to wall infinite someone is to repeatedly multishine someone against a wall.

Against characters that fall down upon being hit by the shine, the only possible way to infinite them against a wall is to multishine. When a character that is lying on the floor is hit by the shine, he is pushed along the floor, and stands up when he stops sliding. If the character does not tech the first shine, he can be kept in the animation of sliding on the floor by repeatedly shining him again before he has a chance to get up. This requires consistent multishining, and is thus very difficult to perform.

Stages Wall Infinite is possible on: Princess Peach's Castle, Pokémon Stadium, Onett, Icicle Mountain, Brinstar Depths, Hyrule Temple, Green Greens, Venom, and Fourside.

Wall-less infinite

The wall-less infinite is performed by shining an opponent, chasing them with a wavedash, and following up with either a down aerial or another shine. Using the down aerial, however, is very unsafe, as the opponent can easily escape using Smash DI, which is easy to perform on the down aerial. Against characters that slide too far to be caught after only a wavedash, a dash is required before the down aerial. If the Fox player wants to infinite without a down aerial against characters with low traction, he has to Waveshine, run, and perform a jump canceled shine. This is considered difficult. Characters that fall to the shine cannot be infinited without a wall. It can be performed on any level with a flat surface.

Short Hop Laser

In Melee, Fox can shl and shdl, and both techniques are used to camp and "tack on" small amounts of damage, but are much less effective at stopping approaches, due to the lack of hitstun that Fox's lasers deal. Fox's shl and shdl are considered more safe and flexible than shooting lasers from the ground, for a number of reasons. Short hops can be maneuvered toward or away from the opponent, and the lag caused by landing takes less time than that which occurs during a grounded blaster's cool-down animation.

As Falco, the shl is used to camp and disrupt and slow opponents' ground movement and approaches. Continuous strings of Falco’s shl are faster to execute than continuous grounded lasers.

Moving and weaving

Fox and Falco are able to cover horizontal distance while airborne during the shl and, in Fox's case, the shdl. By pushing the control stick left or right shortly after tapping B, Fox and Falco can move forward or backward after firing a laser. With Fox, B can be pressed a second time during the control stick movement, in order to fire a second laser and perform a moving shdl. While this technique allows for horizontal aerial movement, it prevents players from fastfalling; slowing the speed at which they return to the ground. The moving shl and shdl can be used to approach and retreat while shooting lasers at an opponent, and is often more effective for this purpose than the regular shl and shdl combined with ground movement. The technique can also be used to move swiftly in and out of an opponent's attack range while damaging them, a technique known as weaving.

Match-ups

Serious Advantage Match-ups

Link, Zelda, Mew2, Yoshi, G&W, Ness, Bowser, Kirby, Pichu

Advantage Match-ups

Puff, Sheik, Peach, C.Falcon, IC, Doc, Ganon, Pikachu, Mario, Luigi, DK, Y.Link, Roy

Fair Match-ups

Falco, Marth, Samus

Disadvantage Match-ups

None

Serious Disadvantage Match-ups

None