Auto-canceling

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SSB64 Icon.png SSBM Icon.png SSBB Icon.png SSB4 Icon.png SSBU Icon.png This article's title is unofficial.
Comparison of Marth auto-canceling (left) and L-canceling (right) his neutral aerial, demonstrating how even L-cancelling is slower than auto-cancelling.
Zero Suit Samus failing to auto-cancel; she has landed during the middle of her aerial attack, and has thus incurred significant landing lag, thereby leaving her open to punishment.

Auto-canceling is the act of landing during the beginning or ending frames of an aerial attack, thereby circumventing the landing lag that would have occurred had the character instead landed during the middle of that attack's animation.

Auto-canceling an attack produces no more landing lag than a regular landing from an ordinary jump (of which the landing lag tends to be around 4-6 frames, a very short amount of time), whereas landing during the middle of an aerial attack almost always results in a significant delay before the character can act (raise a shield, jump, dodge, etc.) again. Most aerial attacks can be auto-cancelled during both the first few frames and the last few frames of the attack's animation; however, some attacks cannot be auto-cancelled at the start, at the end, or even at all. Each individual aerial attack for every character has a specific auto-cancelling window (or lack thereof) that must be memorized and practiced.

Auto-canceling can be very beneficial to players using characters with laggy aerial attacks, as this can reduce the amount of landing lag produced, and create more time for the character to act, potentially avoiding being punished during the move's landing lag. Precise auto-canceling of aerials is also frequently needed for performing followups and combos, so as to leave less time for the opponent to react and escape.

In Super Smash Bros. and Super Smash Bros. Melee, though auto-cancelling is useful, it generally has no large impact on gameplay, since L-cancelling is effective on its own in reducing landing lag. A notable example is Ness's down/up aerial shield break which requires many inputs so the lack of needing to z-cancel makes the shield break significantly easier. Super Smash Bros. Brawl removed L-cancelling making auto-cancelling more important and useful. However, aerial attacks in Brawl generally have more lenient auto-cancel windows to partially compensate which is further compensated by falling speeds being much lower than in Melee. A lot more aerials can be auto-cancelled in a short hop in Brawl compared to Melee because of these changes. In Super Smash Bros. 4, L-cancelling continues to be absent, and aerials overall have increased landing lag and auto-cancel much later, hindering aerial approaches and enforcing a heavier reliance on grounded combat.

In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, however, since the landing lag on moves has been altered and removed across the board, aerial approaches have become safer than previously. Because of this, auto-cancelling isn't as useful as it was in Smash 4.

Notable examples[edit]

The following characters' respective moves have notable auto-cancels.

Smash 64[edit]

  • Ness: His up aerial and down aerial will always auto-cancel. This allows him to get easy shield breaks along with his DJC (double jump cancel) as well as start long combo strings since his dair has one of the longest lasting hitstun in the game.
  • Pikachu: Pikachu's up aerial's large disjointed hitbox and coverage behind and in front of him make it an effective approach option and defense option. It also combos into itself or into finishing moves such as Pikachu's back aerial.

Melee[edit]

  • Donkey Kong: His up aerial's large autocancel window allows it to combo into itself, especially against fastfallers.
  • Marth: Neutral aerial's large hitbox and long duration make it an effective approach option, especially out of a dash dance.
  • Sheik: Forward aerial can autocancel almost immediately after it is initiated, doing so from frame 11 onward, making it one of the safest aerials in the game. It retains this trait in subsequent Smash games.
  • Ness: All his aerials autocancel in a short hop. His down aerial autocancels as soon as the hitbox ends, making the move frame safe on shield if executed perfectly.

Brawl[edit]

  • Captain Falcon: All of his aerials auto-cancel in a short hop. His down aerial meteor smash has good combo ability, and his Knee Smash can be used to approach and KO.
  • Ganondorf: Approaching with his down aerial meteor smash is known as Thunder-stomping, and it has excellent combo ability as well.
  • Ike: His powerful back aerial is useful for both approaching and KOing.
  • Meta Knight: All of his aerials autocancel in a short hop. Most notably, his forward aerial's long range and autocancel window give it great utility in relieving pressure, approaching, and comboing.

Smash 4[edit]

  • Captain Falcon: Back aerial's range and power make it a useful for approaching, pressuring, starting combos, and KOing.
  • Cloud: Both up aerial and down aerial have long hitbox durations and autocancel immediately after their hitboxes cease, with the former doing so in a short hop, making them useful for disrupting opponents' approaches and starting combos.
  • Fox: Back aerial has one of the most lenient autocancel windows in the game, with only a 7 frame window where it will suffer any landing lag.
  • Ike: Forward aerial is a good combo move and spacing tool, and back aerial is quick and one of his best KO moves.
  • King Dedede: Back aerial's range and power make it arguably his best KO move.
  • Kirby: Up aerial is an effective juggler due to it's low knockback and angle. Back aerial comes out faster than all of his aerials and is his strongest aerial, making it one of his best KO moves.
  • Luigi: All aerials autocancel from a short hop. Forward aerial is good combo move, and back aerial is one of his better KOing options.
  • Mario: Up aerial is great combo move and can lead into Super Jump Punch. Back aerial can Wall of Pain due to its speed.
  • Pac-Man: Back aerial is his strongest aerial, and has a significant autocancel window on startup.
  • Pikachu: Up aerial is very fast and is great for juggling.
  • R.O.B: His neutral aerial has a large hitbox, and is effective at approaching, relieving pressure, and starting combos.
  • Sheik: Forward, neutral, and back aerials autocancel in a short hop. Specifically, forward aerial is one of her best moves due to its abnormally lenient autocancel window, being effective for approaching, pressuring, comboing, and KOing at very high percentages.
  • Sonic: Up aerial has a large autocancel window coming immediately after its hitboxes cease, making it a low risk move. It is great for combos and KOing near the upper blast zone. Back aerial is Sonic's main KO move and forward aerial is good for edgeguarding. Down aerial autocancels after a double jump up B or an up B from the top Battlefield platform, allowing Sonic to land surprise KO's and setup Lock combos.

List of characters who can auto-cancel all aerials in a short hop[edit]

Character Super Smash Bros. Super Smash Bros. Melee Super Smash Bros. Brawl Super Smash Bros. 4 Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Captain Falcon CaptainFalconHeadSSB.png No CaptainFalconHeadSSBB.png No No
Daisy N/A N/A N/A N/A DaisyHeadSSBU.png
Dark Pit N/A N/A N/A DarkPitHeadSSB4-U.png Indeterminate?
Donkey Kong DonkeyKongHeadSSB.png No No No No
Diddy Kong N/A N/A DiddyKongHeadSSBB.png No No
Fox FoxHeadSSB.png No No No No
Inkling N/A N/A N/A N/A InklingHeadSSBU.png
Isabelle N/A N/A N/A N/A IsabelleHeadSSBU.png
Jigglypuff JigglypuffHeadSSB.png No JigglypuffHeadSSBB.png No No
Kirby KirbyHeadSSB.png No No No No
Lucario N/A N/A LucarioHeadSSBB.png No No
Luigi LuigiHeadSSB.png LuigiHeadSSBM.png LuigiHeadSSBB.png LuigiHeadSSB4-U.png LuigiHeadSSBU.png
Mario MarioHeadSSB.png No No No No
Meta Knight N/A N/A MetaKnightHeadSSBB.png No No
Ness NessHeadSSB.png NessHeadSSBM.png NessHeadSSBB.png No NessHeadSSBU.png
Olimar N/A N/A OlimarHeadSSBB.png OlimarHeadSSB4-U.png Indeterminate?
Peach N/A PeachHeadSSBM.png PeachHeadSSBB.png PeachHeadSSB4-U.png PeachHeadSSBU.png
Pikachu PikachuHeadSSB.png No No No No
Pit N/A N/A PitHeadSSBB.png PitHeadSSB4-U.png PitHeadSSBU.png
R.O.B. N/A N/A ROBHeadSSBB.png ROBHeadSSB4-U.png ROBHeadSSBU.png
Samus SamusHeadSSB.png SamusHeadSSBM.png SamusHeadSSBB.png No No
Villager N/A N/A N/A VillagerHeadSSB4-U.png VillagerHeadSSBU.png
Yoshi YoshiHeadSSB.png No No No No
Zelda N/A ZeldaHeadSSBM.png No No No

Trivia[edit]

  • The forward airs of Donkey Kong in Melee, and of Donkey Kong and Ganondorf in Brawl and Smash 4, cannot be auto-cancelled during their ending frames. By exploring the code of the games and looking at the underlying properties of the moves, it has been discovered that the developers had intended for auto-cancelling those moves to be possible; however, due to a minor error (the accidental use of the wrong type of timing function), it is not possible to auto-cancel those moves.
  • Shulk is the only character in the Smash 4 who cannot autocancel any of his aerials at all, due to his autocancel windows being programmed after his aerials complete (with the exception of forward aerial, which has a very strict 3 frame window). However, this allows him to cancel an aerial attack's ending lag with another action (jumping, aerial, airdodge). Snake also exhibits this trait with his back aerial.
  • Luigi is the only character in the entire series who can auto-cancel all of his aerials out of a short hop in every game despite almost every character in Smash 64 being able to auto-cancel all of their aerials out of a short hop.
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