Knockback

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As the damage meter goes up, so does the knockback of most moves.

Knockback is a measure of how far an attack sends its target. For example, Bowser's forward smash is an attack of high knockback; it launches opponents very far, so far that at high damages it's more powerful than a Home-Run Bat's smash attack. Pikachu's neutral attack, on the other hand, has very low knockback - it hardly sends opponents anywhere, even at ludicrous damages.

Basic physics[edit]

The knockback of almost every attack works in tandem with the target's damage - it increases as the target's damage gets higher. It is also affected by the target's weight, gravity, and a few other conditions (such as type effectiveness). The damage dealt by an attack is a significant factor in how much knockback it deals, but it is not the primary factor - this is the reason stale moves have less knockback than fresh ones, and why many chargable special moves deal less knockback when fully charged (the knockback values of the fully-charged move are altered to compensate for the higher damage, whereas the same is often not true when not fully charged).

Each hitbox of a move has two knockback values: a base knockback and a knockback scaling (also known as knockback growth). Base knockback is the minimum amount of knockback the attack can deliver (in normal circumstances), and knockback scaling is a factor that controls how much the knockback increases as damage increases. Moves with high base knockback deal high knockback under any circumstances, such as the swing of a Home-Run Bat. They additionally tend to be more effective at KOing when less knockback is needed to KO (such as against lighter characters, when near the edge of the stage, or when an opponent is handicapped to sustain more knockback). On the other hand, moves with high knockback scaling take less damage to reach KO potential, such as Luigi's forward smash. They additionally tend to be more effective at KOing when the opponent requires more knockback to be KO'd (such as against heavier characters, when far away from a stage's blast line, or when an opponent is handicapped to sustain less knockback). Advanced techniques to extend survival such as DI and momentum cancelling are also less effective the stronger a move's knockback scaling is.

In Melee, the highest knockback delivered and received by each character is given in match results, though the number lacks meaning. In Brawl, the velocity applied (in units per 1000 frames) is provided instead of the knockback value (though it's simply knockback divided by 0.03). The unit is given as "mph"; while this would presumably mean "miles per hour", this is obviously not the case, as a 1,000 mph hit barely sends characters anywhere. The following table gives an idea of various knockback strengths:

Knockback values in Brawl
Knockback Velocity Example
10 333.33 One stage builder block per second
33.6 1120 Jigglypuff's short hop
43.2 1440 Jigglypuff's first jump
63 2100 Fox dashing (without running)
102.6 3420 Falco's first jump
131.43 4381 Sheik's footstool jump
172.5 5750 The approximate knockback needed to KO from the center of Final Destination with the Sakurai angle DI'd down.
186 6200 The approximate knockback needed to KO from the center of Final Destination with the Sakurai angle and no DI.
204.75 6825 The approximate knockback needed to KO from the center of Final Destination with the Sakurai angle DI'd away.
300 10000 Jigglypuff's Shield Jump

Angle indicator[edit]

Visual effects known as angle indicators appear in Super Smash Bros. and Super Smash Bros. Brawl when a hitbox collides with an opponent. As its name suggests, the angle indicator shows the angle of hitboxes. Angle indicators show different colors depending on who or what they hit. With player one, the angle indicator is red. The second player's angle indicator is blue, with the third and fourth players' angle indicators yellow and green, respectively. Computer-controlled opponents and objects like Sandbag have white angle indicators. Angle indicators appear in Super Smash Bros. as small "bubbles" appearing in the direction of the angle. Smoke trails (appearing in all four games to date) also indicate the angle at which a character is knocked away, but only appear when a character has taken a lot of damage, and are thus much less useful.

Formula[edit]

Smash 64[edit]

SSB64KnockbackFormula.png

Melee/Brawl[edit]

SSBBKnockbackFormula.png
Technically the Melee formula is unknown, but it is extremely likely to be identical to the Brawl one.

Brawl uses a second formula to alter knockback based on the target's gravity:

SSBBKnockbackFormulaGravity.png

The result of this formula is added to the vertical component of the knockback. As a result, characters with higher gravity take more knockback than those with lower gravity, depending on how vertical the angle is.

Variables[edit]

  • p is the percentage of the target, counted after the attack's damage is added.
  • d is the damage the attack dealt.
  • w is the weight of the target. Note: in Smash 64, heavier characters have a lower weight value than lighter ones, in accordance to the formula.
  • s is the attack's knockback scaling (also known as knockback growth) divided by 100 (so a scaling of 110 is input as 1.1).
  • b is the attack's base knockback.
  • r is a ratio based on a number of factors, including:

If the move has a weight-based knockback value set (so the move deals set knockback), then d is set to that value, and p is always 10.

Other physics of knockback[edit]

  • Bouncing off a surface reduces knockback by 20% in Melee and 15% in Brawl. Landing a meteor smash or spike on a grounded opponent counts as a bounce, if enough knockback was dealt. Because the bounce occurs after the hit, the amount of hitstun suffered is not reduced a corresponding amount, meaning that downwards-hitting attacks tend to be excellent combo starters.
  • Characters that take a certain amount of knockback will slightly damage opponents they run into while flying. This hitbox belongs to the character that dealt the knockback, and KO'ing with one is how one achieves the Dead-Weight KO bonus.
  • Characters with Super Armor will take no knockback.
  • In Super Smash Bros. 4, charaters at higher percentages will deal more knockback.[1] It is currently unknown whether this is a "less knockback at low damage" system, a "more knockback at high damage" system, or both.

Set knockback[edit]

Set knockback, also referred to fixed knockback, is a property of some attacks where the knockback dealt by the attack does not depend on the opponent's percentage or how much damage the attack does. This results in it dealing the same amount of knockback regardless of stale-move negation. Usually, set knockback is used for the first hits of a natural combo or multi-hit move, while the last hit deals normal knockback (sometimes called "scaling knockback" to contrast), to make it easier for the entire attack to hit regardless of the opponent's damage. While damage is not a factor for set knockback, the character's weight still is, so the term weight-dependent set knockback is sometimes used.

List of set knockback moves[edit]

Super Smash Bros.[edit]

Super Smash Bros. Melee[edit]

Super Smash Bros. Brawl[edit]

No knockback[edit]

In Melee onward, there are attacks that deal zero knockback. These attacks normally deal damage to the foe but do not cause flinching, meaning that the character being hit can still perform any actions while they are being attacked. Some of these attacks can be used for racking up damage quickly, as they can hit foes repeatedly without causing flinching or sending them away. These moves can also be used to "steal" KOs from opponents in free for all battles, as while they do not cause knockback, they will take ownership of the KO on an already fatally struck opponent. Fox's Blaster is an infamous example of an attack with no knockback. Due to the fact that it does not deal knockback, it will not interrupt an opponent's moves or force them out of a punishable state such as being asleep or being stuck in the ending lag of a missed Rest. Fox's Blaster in Brawl can also turn idle foes around if they are shot repeatedly.

In Melee, phantom hits damage foes, but without any knockback. It is possible for any character to receive no knockback from attacks by certain factors, such as by being giant and metal simultaneously on a low damage ratio battle, or during the actions of certain attacks in Brawl, such as Charizard during the first frames of Fly. This is known as launch resistance. Additionally, if Master Hand or Crazy Hand is used on a battle by glitches or hacks in Melee, when he grabs a foe and then crushes it, other foes near him will still take damage, but with no knockback.

List of moves with no knockback[edit]

Knockback stacking[edit]

Knockback stacking is the means by which the game applies knockback to a character who has already been sent flying. The new knockback will sometimes replace the old knockback entirely, sometimes have no effect at all, and sometimes a merge will be performed between the two velocities. This has a large effect on combos, as the character being comboed will often have already been struck when another hit lands.

In Melee[edit]

In Melee, the method of knockback stacking used varies based on how many frames separate the first and second hit in addition to the relative angle between the two knockback directions. When the two hits are separated by fewer than 10 frames, the second hit's knockback always replaces the first's. This prevents attacks that hit repeatedly from accelerating the character that they hit with each strike, which would be the case were they added. This can also lead to some interesting scenarios that allow strong hits to be canceled into weaker ones, although this is mostly prevalent in team battles and with certain items. If the two hits are separated by 10 or more frames, the knockback is either set to the stronger value or the two are merged. The relative angle between the two hits' launch angles comes into play here: if the angle is large enough (meaning the hits are in opposite directions), then the two hits are merged via vector addition. However, if the relative angle is small (meaning the hits are in the same direction) the stronger hit is used and entirely replaces the weaker one. Since merging occurs when the hits are in opposite directions, merged knockbacks will often be in a direction completely unrelated to either of the previous two. For example, if a character is struck up and right by a strong hit and then up and left by an equally strong hit more than ten frames later, the character will be sent straight up (as the horizontal values cancel out and the vertical ones stack). This often leads to there being residual knockback from a previous hit in a combo which must be taken into account when trying to follow up.

In addition, hitstun duration is always refreshed by the second hit regardless of the time and angle between them, and the amount of hitstun applied is the amount that would be applied if the opponent had not already been hit. (I.e., the additional knockback put on the opponent from any merging does not factor in to the equation used to calculate the amount of hitstun that should be put on the opponent.)

In Brawl[edit]

In Brawl, the second hit always completely replaces the first hit's direction unless the first hit was much stronger, in which case the direction does not change. No merging is ever performed.

Knockback chart[edit]

The following is a chart demonstrating how much knockback each character sustains in Brawl. While weight is the primary attribute for determining how much knockback a character sustains, there are other attributes that factor in, such as a character's gravity. This results in some characters sustaining more knockback than lighter characters.

The knockback value shown is how much knockback a character sustains when hit with Marth's Critical Hit at 0%, arranged from least knockback sustained to most knockback sustained.

Rank Character Knockback sustained Velocity applied
1 Bowser 490.8 14724
2 Donkey Kong 494.667 14840
3 Snake 499.367 14981
4 King Dedede 501.4 15042
5 Charizard 504.667 15140
6 Samus 505.333 15160
7 Ganondorf 508.467 15254
8 Yoshi 508.7 15261
9 R.O.B. 509.533 15286
10 Wario 509.867 15296
11 Ike 513.3 15399
12 Link 515.633 15469
13 Captain Falcon 517.133 15514
14 Lucario 520.033 15601
15 Ivysaur 520.833 15625
16 Mario 525.1 15753
17 Wolf 525.7 15771
18 Luigi 525.9 15777
19 Sonic 531.9 15957
20 Ness 532.367 15971
21 Pit 532.8 15984
22 Lucas 534.4 16032
23 Toon Link 536.2 16086
24 Diddy Kong 536.6 16098
25 Ice Climbers 536.967 16109
26 Peach 539.533 16186
27 Marth 546 16380
28 Zelda 550.467 16514
29 Olimar 556.267 16688
30 Sheik 558.5 16755
31 Zero Suit Samus 561.567 16847
32 Falco 561.9 16857
33 Kirby 565.5 16965
34 Pikachu 566 16980
35 Meta Knight 566.933 17008
36 Fox 573.367 17201
37 Mr. Game & Watch 574.133 17224
38 Squirtle 577.567 17327
39 Jigglypuff 589.1 17673

Trivia[edit]

  • Brawl and Smash 64 both have a knockback cap of 2500 (or 83 1/3 units per frame), fast enough to move from the edge of Battlefield to the center in less than 1 frame.


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