Throw techs will be available as series first in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, but shimmies probably won't be relevant

Port priority issue finally resolved

Posted by Justin 'AdaptiveTrigger' Gordon • June 23, 2018 at 7:29 a.m. PDT

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate for the Switch was revealed on June 12, 2018 during Nintendo's E3 2018 video presentation. Considering that it was revealed that Ridley, Daisy, and every character that has ever been playable in a Super Smash Bros. title was announced, we received an enormous information drop.

There were also a number of new and old mechanics revealed to be present in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Fighters will now be able to perform any attack out of a dash and directional air dodges will return from Super Smash Bros. Melee.

With that said, some mechanics were discovered afterwards as they weren't actually revealed during the trailer. While we were told that every stage will have a Omega and Battlefield versions, we learned later that there will also be a stage hazard toggle.

Now it seems a mechanic that's been present in traditional fighting games for years is finally making its debut in the Super Smash Bros. series. If two players attempt to grab at the same time, they will now perform a throw tech.

We actually had an opportunity to witness this occurrence during the Nintendo 2018 Invitational. It happened during TSM|ZeRo's and FOX|MKLeo's grand final set. This pitted Mario against Sonic in a familiar match up.

The next day, Nintendo employees described how this classic fighting game mechanic worked in Smash Bros. You'll probably want to slow the ZeRo vs. MKLeo clip down in order to see as it happens very quickly.


Click images for animated versions

Based on the description of this throw tech, we are given the impression that both players essentially have to time their grabs at the exact same time. Seeing as how the game runs at 60 frames per second, this has to be within 1/60th of a second or one frame.

Afterwards, both players will push one another away and they'll take 1.2% damage each. Obviously since this isn't the completed game, everything is subject to change.

Compared to most traditional fighting games like Street Fighter, this is extremely strict. These type of games usually offers a tech window of roughly two, three, or even more frames as a form of defense.

But for Smash Bros., this mechanic might not be in place for the sake of a defensive option. Remember that Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will be the first that features this new trick.

Grabs have not typically been viewed as a particularly overpowered mechanic (although it could be argued that the Ice Climbers' infinites in Melee and Brawl were what made them top tier in both games). In fact, any Smash Bros. veteran might tell you that there is sort of a paper-scissors-rock type of deal that's already going on.

"In older Smash Bros. games, if player one and player four attempt a throw and connect at the exact same time, the game will decide that player one wins."

Theoretically, attacks beat grabs, grabs beat shields, and shields beat attacks. There are obviously some exceptions to this rule, but it's a basic premise that is present.

Even though grabs have always been able to hit airborne opponents, jumping also tends to be a counter to this tactic. It's not necessarily the balance behind the grabs and throws that is being addressed with the new throw tech.

The purpose of this change appears to be fixing a problem that has always been present in the series -- port priority. If two players grab each other at the exact same frame, the game decides the winner based on which player port they are plugged up into.

In older Smash Bros. games, if player one and player four attempt a throw and connect at the exact same time, the game will decide that player one wins. As a result of this, it is considered to be more advantageous to be plugged in to a lower port in Super Smash Bros.

There have been times where players would have to decide who would get the port priority advantage after a quick game of paper-scissors-rock.

"More than likely, this won't result in a meta that encourages 'shimmying' like the Street Fighter series."

Looking back at the clip between ZeRo and MKLeo, had the game still decided the winner of throws based on port priority then ZeRo, with all due respect him, would've gained an advantage that technically wasn't earned. It will certainly be interesting to see how often this pops up at high level tournaments.

More than likely, this won't result in a meta that encourages "shimmying" like the Street Fighter series.

It really appears that going for the perfectly timed throw tech isn't the best defensive option if you read the opponent going for the throw. A dodge, jump, or attack is probably the better escape. It all depends on the spacing.

Overall, while this change likely won't be meta defining or have any effect on player playstyles, it is a very good addition nonetheless. This most certainly will impact the outcome of many high level sets.

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