Excessive rolling is a trap most new players will fall into in Smash; here's why you need to moderate your rolling and utilize other movement options

Posted by Justin 'AdaptiveTrigger' Gordon • April 17, 2017 at 1:18 p.m. PDT

So I've been playing the Smash Bros. series since the 64 days. I remember early on thinking that rolling was some sort of "advanced technique" back then and often utilized it as much as possible, but I've gotten a little wiser since then.

The best way to think of rolling is as a high risk, occasionally high reward technique. Don't get me wrong though, rolling is better in Smash 4 than it has ever been compared to the rest of the series - but it still carries an extremely high risk if used improperly.

Here's an experience I had over a year ago in a For Glory match (but still occasionally have it even today). I ran into a (nameless) player that preferred rolling as their primary defensive option.

In a single particular match, take note of what my opponent was doing before losing each stock. Many players refer to this playstyle as "For Glory Rolling."

Click images for animated versions

Very early into the match, I was able to notice that he had a habit of rolling as his primary (basically only) defensive option. This was a habit I knew I'd be able to take advantage of.

In the first clip, I feinted a jump towards him then threw a fully charged Sun Salutation towards him. This was enough to cover a roll forward, a roll backwards, and a spot dodge.

As for his second stock, you see me anticipating his roll and punishing it with a (pseudo) combo. This brought him from 49% to 104%.

Afterwards, this forced him to land in a very awkward position in which I was able to punish with a forward smash to finish off the game.

The idea I'm trying to get across here is that rolling can't always be your first go-to defensive option. Spot dodging also carries its own set of risks which is pretty similar to the risks that rolling carries.

Against most characters, your shield option is only countered by grabs. Sitting in shield is one option but that's also pretty risky if your opponent's character has lengthy grab combos.

Keep moving through walking, running, and jumping into the air. In particular, short hops are a good option to recenter yourself against the opponent (note that this is also how I kept catching his rolls).

It's important to note that you can jump out of your shield while still holding the shield button. This tends to be better in most situations than just simply letting go of the shield button (most of the time, but not always).

The goal here isn't to completely remove rolling from your gameplay, but to use it in moderation. It should be your last line of defense, not your first.

Even the best players in the world will roll from time to time. One of the many things that makes them pros is that they mostly use dashing and short-hopping as their movement options.

Next time you play a match, try to pay attention how often you roll and see if you can cut down on it a little. It's extremely important than you explore your other movement options to develop fundamentals in this game.

Do you want to see more Smash tutorials in the future? Let me know in the comments below.

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