Super Smash Bros. Melee/Falco

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Falco (from the Starfox games) is a character in Super Smash Bros. Melee who is unlocked by beating the 100-Man Melee mode with any character. He can also be unlocked by playing 300 vs. matches. He is considered a clone of Fox. Top Falco players are notorious for their high levels of technical ability, as there are a lot of developed strategies and combos for Falco, particularly with "Shine" techniques, with notable differences from Fox's techniques, which are horizontal in nature whereas Falco's techniques are largely vertical in nature.

Falco's ability to KO on the top and bottom blast lines are almost unparalleled. Falco also has an extremely effective spike as his down air, which allows him to quickly and efficiently KO characters. Falco has amazing matchups, lacking any negative ones (making him, Fox, Pikachu and Meta Knight the only characters with no negative matchups). Falco, however, suffers from an extremely high falling speed and a very low air speed and having one of the worst recoveries in all the game. His high falling speed also makes him extremely vulnerable to chaingrabs, especially from characters such as Marth and Captain Falcon.

"A" Moves Analysis

Ground moves

  • Neutral attack- Two quick jabs, which can easily L-cancel into each other, both doing 4% damage each, and then a series of fast kicks. Each kick does 1% damage. His second jab makes Falco move forward a bit.
  • Dash attack- Leaps and sticks out his foot. Damage depends on how late the foe is hit, but the highest is around 9% damage.
  • Forward tilt- Quickly kicks his foot out. Pretty fast, impressive range for it's speed. 9% damage.
  • Down tilt- Swipes his tail in front of him with somewhat short range. However, it is unusually powerful in both damage and knockback. Because of his speed and power, his down tilt can KO above 100%. 13% damage.
  • Up tilt- Flips his leg behind him. Short range, but incredible combo ability, very fast, and a great killer at higher damage. 9% damage.
Smash attacks
  • Side smash- Flips his body in front and kicks in front of him. Good knockback, usually killing around 90-110%, and damage racking should not be difficult for experienced, adept Falco players. 14-17% uncharged, 19-23% fully charged.
  • Up smash- Flips his whole body in a 360° spin from his standing point, feet extended, and lands. Falco's version is notably weaker than Fox's; although, it is a better juggler. This also hits behind Falco, albeit with significantly lower knockback. 14% uncharged, 19% fully.
  • Down smash- Does a quick split. An excellent killer, if not good for setting up edgeguards, or simply spacing. 16% uncharged, 21% fully charged.

Other attacks
  • Ledge attack- Throws himself onto the stage with both feet sticking out. 8% damage.
  • 100% ledge attack- Slowly gets up and kicks in front. 8% damage.
  • Floor attack- Gets up and kicks on his left, then right. 6% damage.

Aerial attacks

  • Neutral aerial- Does a simple sex kick. Great knockback when it first comes out, and the move comes out quickly, usually out of a short hop. 12% max.
  • Back aerial- Kicks behind him. Sex kick. Good for KO-ing, and a great edgeguarder. 9-15% damage.
  • Down aerial- Unlike Fox's down aerial, Falco, who spins around in places at a downwards angle, strongly spikes the foe. Fox's variation is a multi-hitting drill kick. This makes Falco's version much better at edgeguarding and KO-ing in general. However, it also causes Falco to fall faster than usual. 9-12% damage.
  • Up aerial- Kicks up and extends his tail afterwards. A two-hit move, first hit does 6%, then 9%, for a total of 15% damage. If the center of Falco's body hits the opponent, then it inflicts the full damage, but with no knockback.
  • Forward aerial- Five kicks in front. Due to the number of kicks, this move has a high duration, and it's very unlikely that all hits will connect; Falco players usually have a short time to react with another jump or recovery. A surprising 27% damage if all hits connect.

Grabs & throws

  • Pummel- Knees foe. 2-3% per pummel.
  • Forward throw- Punches foe forward. Not many comboing follow-ups outside of using it to force opponents off the stage for edgeguarding. Can be used to chaingrab floaty characters at low percentages. 7% damage
  • Up throw- Tosses the foe upwards, which causes 3% damage, and fires four very quick shots doing 1% each. Excellent air combo set-up (most particularly up aerial), however, this can be DI'd out of at higher percentages.
  • Back throw- Tosses foe behind, for 4% damage, and fires four quick laser shots, dealing 1% each. It is possible to tech-chase an opponent, depending on the opponent's DI. Not most useful throw outside of edge-guard set-ups.
  • Down throw- Picks foe up and slams them to the floor, then shoots them four times with his Blaster. Only does 4% damage, though an up-tilt of predicted foe reaction an counter-attack is possible. Not too useful due to it being easy to tech out of.

"B" Moves List

Move Analysis

  • Neutral B

The Blaster is Falco's neutral special move in his Melee incarnation, which, like Fox, shoots a laser gun to damage faraway opponents. It is significantly different from that of Fox's: the Blaster has a slower firing rate and longer end lag, (though it fires faster in the air, but not as fast as Fox's), and each beam stuns the opponent in addition to doing damage. Falco's Blaster closely resembles Fox's Blaster as it appeared in the original Smash Bros. The end lag can be skipped if used during a short hop. Falco's Blaster is mainly used from long range to help build damage for later KO attempts, and as an aid in approaching. It has set knockback. It is also used for setting up kills, especially versus Captain Falcon and Ganondorf, as it can be fired numerous times off the ledge to force these characters to recover the same way each time.

  • Side B

Falco quickly dashes at the opponent leaving a trail of blueish-tinted afterimages behind him. The opponent can be hit by Falco or any one of the afterimages. Despite the fact that the move is an attack, it is rarely used as such; It is primarily used as a recovery technique, due to its speed. When used as an attack, it deals about 7% damage.

Like the Fox Illusion and Wolf Flash, the Falco Phantasm can be ended early by pressing the button for a special move before its animation is complete, but a few frames must pass by before it will work. An easy way to time the canceling of this move would be to press the special button at the exact point the high pitched 'cling' noise is played. While not an ideal move for KOing, the move's meteor smash can be useful for counter edgeguarding while recovering, but is highly unlikely to KO the opponent even at high percentages, as it is exceedingly weak. The Phantasm can also be used for a very swift approach. Short hopping slightly increases the distance traveled. It, along with the Fox Illusion, can be reversed by quickly tapping the control stick in the opposite direction. The sparkle will stay in its original position, which can lead to mindgames.

  • Up B

Fire Bird is Falco's up special move in both Super Smash Bros. Melee and Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

Fire Bird is almost identical to Fire Fox, but with some small differences. Unlike Fire Fox, which only hits an opponent once after Fox starts moving, Fire Bird can hit opponents with multiple small hits after a few frames when the move is charged and when moving, followed by a stronger finishing blow similar to Lucas' PK Thunder 2. On the downside, Falco travels a shorter distance than Fox or Wolf. Its best use would be vertical or diagonal recovery because it has lots of start-up, short distance, and Falco falls almost straight down after using it, meaning it can easily be edge-hogged or hit out of. To maximize the usefulness of Fire Bird, one should try to position Falco exactly under the ledge and use it completely vertical, because then it can sweetspot easier. Fire Bird doesn't burn opponents during the charge-up animation in Melee, unlike in Brawl.

  • Down B

In Melee, Falco's Reflector is identical to Fox's, although it sends opponents upwards when used as an attack; because of this, Falco cannot waveshine combo, unlike Fox. He can, however, Star KO with his shine.


Frame Data


SHL/B stands for "Short-Hop Laser/Blaster" and is very disruptive to opponents. In order to do a SHL/B, one must short-hop, fast-fall, and shoot a laser. When fast-falling correctly, there is no lag and the player is free to move about while shooting. A player can send flurries of SHL/Bs while approaching an opponent. This can somewhat substitute Falco's average speed dash, as it is a very fast and effective way to move around due to his fast jump and fall. SHL/B is considered to be the best approach tactic in the game and one of the most annoying moves in the game. It is imperative that Falco players learn to SHL/B since it is Falco's main method of opening up opponents' defenses.


How to perform

Against a shielding opponent, the easiest way to pillar is to SHFFL'd a down aerial and immediately shine. The shine is then jump-canceled into another shffl'd down aerial, and the cycle continues. However, other aerials may be used, depending on preference. This can be mixed up with multishines and waveshines. Jabs, down tilts (for Falco) and jump-canceled grabs out of shine are also popular mix-ups.


Pillaring can pressure an opponent in a shield, forcing them to roll out of it, which can be chased. It is possible for Falco's down aerial pillar to be shield-grabbed, but it requires very good timing. If the opponent is not good at defending against pillaring, their shield may be broken. This is rare in high-level play.


Pillaring can be shield grabbed or broken out of by Samus's up special move; Bowser's up special; Fox's shine or neutral aerial; and a few other moves. The exact timing of when to break out of the pillar depends on how the opponent times his aerials and the breakout attack used.


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.

The waveshine is generally used to aid in Falco's vertical down aerial and shine combos. It gives Falco the added horizontal distance such that he can jump up and catch up with his opponent. This is especially useful against a DIing Fox. A waveshine followed by another wavedash makes Falco a combo machine.

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.


Falco's down air (also known as the Quailbird) is one of the best Spikes in the game, and can usually kill at around 50%. His up tilt can be used to start combos. His down tilt can usually kill at high percentages. His forward smash is fast, combos from his lasers well and kills at fairly low percentages. His back air is also considered a Sex Kick.

A basic combo of Falco's is grabbing the opponent, throwing them down, immediately shining them and chasing them upward for a spike. The player can do this several times to build up damage, forcing them near the edge, and spiking them a final time. This combo is a guaranteed kill around 100% or 110%. It works on nearly every character except other space animals (although with C. Falcon it is imperative to SHL or SHFFL the down aerial), but does not work as well on floaters or lightweights.

Like Fox, Falco can down throw an opponent at the very edge of a stage which can't normally be passed through, and the lasers from the throw send the opponent down extremely quickly. It is almost impossible to meteor cancel it or recover from it at any percent, due to the speed. This tactic will only work if Falco is facing inward when he is on the edge. This technique is highly situational, however.

Boost grab

Along with Fox and Sheik, Falco can use a boost for his grab. To do it, the player has to do a dash attack and right after they do it, press the grab button and Falco will be able to reach out more when he grabs. The player can't jump cancel the boost grab. This can be used to increase the grab range.


Serious Advantage Match-ups

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

Advantage Match-ups

C.Falcon, Doc, Ganon, Pikachu, Mario, DK, Luigi, Link, Roy

Fair Match-ups

Fox, Marth, Puff, Sheik, Peach, Samus, IC

Disadvantage Match-ups


Serious Disadvantage Match-ups