Armor

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Ike's super armor from his Aether move. Notice how Ike didn't take any knockback from Critical Hit, which is an invariable OHKO under standard circumstances.

Armor (PAL english armour) , also called launch resistance, knockback resistance, super armor (for infinite knockback resistance), or heavy armor (for finite knockback resistance), is an effect of certain moves or actions in all four Super Smash Bros. games. When a character has super armor, they will generally not flinch nor take any knockback when attacked by a harmful hitbox; while heavy armor also provides protection from attacks, a sufficiently strong attack can still deal more damage or knockback than the heavy armor can sustain, and cause the character to receive full knockback. Most types of armor only affect knockback and the attack's full damage is still taken; however, both Kirby's Stone and Ryu's Focus Attack grant damage-based heavy armor that reduces the damage taken to half (or negates damage entirely in Brawl in the case of Stone), and two Final Smashes grant super armor with the same damage reduction. Armor can also be known as light armor if it only protects against extremely weak low-knockback attacks, such as jabs or individual hits of multi-hitting attacks.

There are two unrelated phenomena with similar effects; one is known as faux super armor, which occurs when two characters are hit with the same hitbox while one has the other in a grab. Whoever has higher controller port priority takes full damage but only flinching slightly from the attack, while the other takes full damage and full knockback. The other phenomenon is called grab armor; in Brawl, when a grab connects with a character that also has an active hitbox, the character that attempted the grab takes the full damage from the hitbox but not the knockback, giving the illusion that grabs have launch resistance, though this will only occur if the grab actually connects with the other character's hurtbox, and in both previous games, the same character would not have taken the damage. In Smash 4, this situation is reversed; the character that attempted the grab will now take full damage and knockback from the hitbox, and the other character will simply be grab released and take 3% damage (or more if the grab came from a special move and the grab itself dealt damage, like the beginning of Falcon Dive).

Note that grab hitboxes ignore all variations of armor, and many bosses (except Giga Bowser in Melee and Master Core's final form in Smash 4) cannot flinch or be knocked back at all, effectively giving them permanent super armor.

In Super Smash Bros. and Super Smash Bros. Melee[edit]

Yoshi double jumping through an attack.

Armor is not an established mechanic in the first two games. In both games, launch resistance is limited to Yoshi's double jump cancel counter and crouch canceling, neither of which are infinite. The difficulty setting on the single player modes (and events in Melee) alters launch resistance for both the player's character and the CPU characters, with the player's character taking more knockback and the CPUs taking less knockback as the difficulty setting increases. Adjusting the handicap levels in the multiplayer modes in Melee has the same effect.

According to the Japanese Super Smash Bros. website, Yoshi's double jump resistance works by subtracting 120 units from the knockback that would have been delivered, with Yoshi not flinching if the result is negative, and Yoshi taking the difference in knockback if the result is positive.

In Super Smash Bros. Brawl[edit]

Armor was formally introduced in Brawl; several characters have moves that provide them with infinite launch resistance, usually to allow for such characters to counter attempts to disrupt the incoming attack. Some of these moves are not offensive, however, and there are a few cases of finite launch resistance, as listed below. Crouch canceling no longer affects knockback, but instead affects the amount of freeze frames sustained.

All of the moves below have super armor, unless a threshold is stated.

Character Moves Notes
Bowser Giga Bowser Entire duration.
Charizard Fly Frames 4-13, making it useful when jumping out of shield and an effective combo breaker.
Diddy Kong Rocketbarrel Boost Grounded version only.
Donkey Kong Giant Punch Only if fully charged.
Spinning Kong Only the grounded version; just before he starts to release it (frames 10-16 first hitting on frame 19); if he leaves the ground with Super Armor frames when using the grounded version, a glitch will make the Super Armor frames last for the entire move.
Cargo throw DK gains knockback-based launch resistance for the entire duration of the move. Also works while holding heavy items.
Ganondorf Flame Choke In the grounded version, when holding the opponent off the ground; the opponent also gets super armor. In the aerial version, the opponent gets super armor but Ganondorf does not, allowing for strange KOs in places like Norfair or Brinstar where Ganondorf will bounce off the acid, while the opponent will continue their plummet.
Ike Aether After throwing his sword in the air, but before he leaps up towards his sword.
Eruption A few frames after the special move button is released but before the sword hits the ground.
King Dedede Super Dedede Jump From the start until just before the apex of the jump.
Kirby Stone The entire duration of the period Kirby is in his Stone transformation. Will flinch when taking more than 29% damage while in the transformation and take the full knockback of the move that causes him to exit the transformation, but none of the damage.
Olimar Pikmin Order During the first few frames. Lasts until right after he puts his head down.
Pit Mirror Shield Grounded version only; while pulling the shield out: frames 4-6.
Snake Cypher From the beginning of the move until Snake lets go of the Cypher. Will flinch to hitboxes that deal more than 7% damage.
Squirtle Forward smash While moving forward.
Wario Forward smash While moving forward: frames 8-12.
Wario Waft When fully charged, during the first few frames.
Yoshi Double jump Yoshi retains the double jump armor from previous games, and it can still sustain 120 units of knockback. However, instead of taking the difference in knockback if the attack is strong enough to surpass the armor, Yoshi takes the full knockback of the hitbox.

In Super Smash Bros. 4[edit]

Smash 4 continues the trend of implementing launch resistance to certain characters, though there is more variation with the strength of armor (some negligible, some infinite, and some based on damage). Crouch canceling now acts as a combination of Melee and Brawl's version of the tactic, although the knockback sustained is only reduced to 85% of the original value.

All of the moves below have super armor, unless a threshold is stated.

Character Moves Notes
Bowser All animations Bowser will not flinch to attacks that deal 19 or less units of knockback. Referred to as "Tough Guy" in the tips.
Giga Bowser Giga Bowser retains the infinite knockback resistance from Brawl.
Bowser Jr. Clown Kart Dash Can block attacks which deal up to 7% damage.
Grounding Dash During the startup of the move.
Charizard Rock Smash During the move's start-up, starting from frame 5. Is negated if the boulder is broken before Charizard headbutts it.
Rock Hurl Same as Rock Smash, except the super armor starts on frame 1.
Fly/Rising Cyclone During the move's start-up, like in Brawl.
Flare Blitz/Blast Burn During the active charge portion it has Heavy armor which blocks attacks which deal up to 14% damage. A hitbox that deals more than 14% will launch Charizard with its usual knockback.
Mega Charizard X Entire duration. Takes half damage.
Dark Pit Electroshock Arm Gains super armor during the uppercut.
Donkey Kong Giant Punch Only receives full super armor when the move is fully charged, when his arm is moving forward just before and during the punch (on frames 11-20).
Spinning Kong Only the grounded version, DK gains super armor when he pulls back and just before he starts spinning (frames 8-17, first hit on frame 19).
Stubborn Headbutt Gains super armor for the entire move, including start-up.
Kong Cyclone From the 2nd hit in front until shortly before the last 2-3 swings.
Cargo throw Gains knockback-based heavy armor while carrying the opponent or heavy object (i.e. boxes, crates etc.).
Ganondorf Warlock Punch/Warlock Blade When initiated on the ground, the move will have super armor until Ganondorf begins his punch/thrust forward; also has super armor even when reversed. Does not have super armor if initiated while Ganon is airborne, even if Ganondorf lands on the ground before punching.
Flame Choke In the grounded version, when holding the opponent off the ground; the opponent also gets super armor.
Dark Fists Frames 6-16 (when the hitbox of the first punch comes out).
Ike Aether Gains a brief duration of super armor while his sword is thrown upwards (frame 18-21).
Eruption Only gains super armor 3/4 to fully charged: shortly before the release (ends before hitbox appears) (frame 6-10).
King Dedede Super Dedede Jump/Rising Dedede Just like in Brawl, it has super armor during the rising portion of the move, until Dedede reaches the apex of his jump.
Armored Jet Hammer Once Dedede starts charging the move, it has super armor until Dedede unleashes the move or is interrupted by other means.
Kirby Stone/Grounding Stone/Meteor Stone Kirby can sustain up to 24% damage while transformed, where he'll take no knockback from all moves regardless of how strong their knockback is, while also taking no damage. Once he sustains more than 24% damage while transformed, he'll be launched as normal, while taking half the damage from the threshold-breaking hitbox. This is a variation of heavy armor.
Hammer When fully charged, it'll have super armor during its swing.
Giant Hammer Once Kirby begins charging the move, he'll have super armor until the frame he unleashes it or until he is interrupted by other means.
Little Mac Straight Lunge Gains percent based heavy armor during the charging and execution (taking more than 8% damage will knock him out of the move).
KO Uppercut Has brief super armor when the punch comes out (frame 8-9).
All smash attacks. They all have super armor during their start-up (forward: 8-15 (angled up/straight), 9-15 (angled down); up: 8-11; down; 7-10 (first hit), 15-17 (second hit)).
Giga Mac Entire duration.
Lucario Mega Lucario Entire duration. Takes half damage.
Mii Brawler Ultimate Uppercut During the start-up of the punch, only if fully charged.
Exploding Side Kick During the start-up, before kicking.
Olimar Pikmin Order Pikmin Order's armor frames are lesser than it was in Brawl.
Pac-Man Power Pellet Towards its end.
Pit Upperdash Arm During the uppercut.
Roy Blazer Has super armor on the grounded version during startup.
Ryu Focus Attack While charging the attack, Ryu will be able to withstand any single hitbox that deals less than 22%-39% damage (depending on how long he has been charging Focus Attack, anywhere between frame 1-59) and will take half damage whether or not the move is stronger than the armor. However, if he is hit again while having already withstood another attack, he will take the full damage and knockback of that move.
Wario Wario Waft During the startup when fully charged. (frames 5-10)
Wii Fit Trainer Volatile Breathing During the startup of the move.
Yoshi Double jump Yoshi retains the knockback-based heavy armor from Brawl.
All characters Home-Run Bat When the bat is about to be swung.
Ore Club When charging and releasing a smash attack.

External references[edit]

  • A better 'Super Armor List' Thread: lists characters and their moves that have Super Armor, along with some frame data.
  • The Armor Project: explains how knockback-resisting moves that are not super armor work, including Snake's Cypher and Yoshi's double jump.
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