Captain Falcon (SSBM)

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This article is about Captain Falcon in Super Smash Bros. Melee. For other uses, see Captain Falcon.
Captain Falcon
in Super Smash Bros. Melee
Captain Falcon SSBM.jpg
FZeroSymbol.svg
Universe F-Zero
Other Smash Bros. appearances in SSB
in Brawl
in SSB4
in Ultimate
Availability Starter
Tier B (8) (North America)
C (7) (Europe)
CaptainFalconHeadSSBM.png
A bounty hunter who boasts speed and power.
—Melee's instruction manual

Announced at E3 2001, Captain Falcon (キャプテン・ファルコン, Captain Falcon), shortened as C. Falcon on the victory screen and character select screen is a starter character in Super Smash Bros. Melee.

Ryō Horikawa reprises his role as Captain Falcon in Melee, albeit via recycled voice clips from Super Smash Bros. 64, but a bit more lower pitched.

Captain Falcon currently ranks 8th out of 26 on the Melee tier list, in the B tier. While this is considered to be a minor drop compared to his previous placement in Smash 64, where he was ranked 3rd out of 12, he still ranks rather high likewise in the Smash 64 tier list because he retains his incredible comboing abilities; he has a fast falling speed and air speed, and the single fastest dash speed of all characters, giving him one of the best SHFFLs in the game. This also makes him the highest ranked of the heavyweights. His fast falling speed and heavyweight status make him the most resistant character to vertical KOs. His speed, fast rolls, and Raptor Boost enable an excellent dodging and tech-chasing game. Falcon also has multiple quick KO moves, most notably his Knee Smash, forward smash, and down aerial, all of which can be powerful combo finishers. Against other high- and top-tier opponents, however, Falcon is susceptible to chain grabs and combos due to his high falling speed. He is also prone to edgeguarding, since he has a predictable recovery that, like in Smash 64, cannot grab ledge-hanging enemies. Falcon lacks a projectile, impairing his approach in some matchups, while most of his attacks have long startup and lack extended hitbox duration, making his approaches very committal in general. As such, Falcon is considered to have one of the most inconsistent neutral games among the higher tier characters. Regardless of his weaknesses, Captain Falcon still has an impressive number of winning matchups, including six that are near-unloseable.

Attributes[edit]

Captain Falcon is arguably the fastest character in the game. He has the single fastest dash speed, the second fastest falling speed (behind Falco), and one of the fastest lateral air speeds in the game. These traits, coupled with his high traction, good jumping prowess, the ability to wall jump, and the longest dash dance (because of his many dash initiation frames) give Captain Falcon great approach options, a short but quick wavedash, and the best moonwalk in the game.

Despite lacking a projectile, Captain Falcon's attacks and speediness enable great approach options to KO and combo reliably and efficiently. Many of Falcon's attacks have fairly long startup, but they deal incredible damage and knockback, have great range, and have little ending lag. His low short-hop, very fast falling speed, and aerials that reliably chain into one another makes for an excellent SHFFL, giving him a great damage rate and a multitude of approaches and combo finishers.

His aerials are fast and powerful and allow for many approach and KO options. The second hit of his neutral aerial has sex kick properties and can be SHFFLed very easily. His forward aerial, the (Knee Smash), is arguably Captain Falcon's best move. It can chain into one another through a series of well-timed sweetspots and sourspots, dealing high damage with little startup and KOing at damage percentages as low as 60%. It can be a combo starter and finisher. His back aerial is a quick and powerful backhand punch that is useful for edgeguarding. His up aerial is a high-reaching, strong bicycle kick with very fast startup (5 frames), and can be used for edgeguarding or as an out-of-shield option. His down aerial is the fourth most powerful meteor smash in the game. It has minor startup, high hitstun, and can chain itself into another down air by SHFFLing. If the down aerial hits above Captain Falcon's waist, then it acts as the most powerful spike in the game, though landing this sweetspot requires good spacing and timing.

All of Captain Falcon's smash attacks can be powerful combo starters and finishers with high KOing potential. Captain Falcon's forward smash, despite its fairly long startup, is the third most powerful forward smash in the game in terms of damage and knockback and is an excellent combo finisher and reading tool. His down smash is his fastest, dealing great horizontal knockback, and his up smash can flexibly act as a combo starter and finisher.

A combo notoriously difficult to execute is the infamous Sacred Combo, a two-hit combo involving his Knee Smash followed by a midair Falcon Punch, before the hitstun of the previous attack wears off. If executed correctly, the opponent is likely to be KO'd. However, there are severe consequences if Falcon makes a mistake while performing this technique; it's possible for him to jump too far while performing the Falcon Punch, which will result in a self-destruct.

Despite having a poor grab range (the sixth shortest in the game), Falcon's grab game is among the most flexible and devastating in Melee; his forward and back throws can easily send opponents off the stage at higher percents and create an edgeguard situation, while his up and down throws can be used to start combos and chain grabs.

One of Captain Falcon's glaring and famous weaknesses is his mediocre-at-best recovery. He has high air speed, but the distance that he can cover is drastically shortened by his fast falling speed. He is prone to edgeguarding because his recovery move cannot grab edgehoggers. He can extend his horizontal recovery by performing an uninterrupted Falcon Kick in the air; this gives him back his midair jump, but it usually forces him to recover from the bottom blast line, as the Falcon Kick sends him very far down. Using Raptor Boost is a decent horizontal recovery option, but it grants nonexistent vertical height and cannot instantly snap to the ledge. It also halts recovery immediately if it connects with anything in midair, sending him down the bottom blast line.

Besides somewhat crippling his horizontal recovery, Captain Falcon's fast falling speed also acts as a double-edged sword; while it does grant him a very good combo game and the best vertical knockback resistance in the game due to his above average weight, he is also prone to chain grabs such as Pikachu's and Peach's up throws; combos that utilize moves with decent vertical knockback, such as up tilts and up aerials, are also easier to land on Captain Falcon due to his relatively large hurtbox.

Overall, Captain Falcon is a tank with gifted speed; he can deal a lot of damage and take as much punishment, while having one of the fastest movement speeds in the game. Players must take advantage of this speed and quickly adapt to their opponents to fully utilize his abilities.

Changes from Smash 64 to Melee[edit]

In the transition from Smash 64 to Melee, Captain Falcon gained a mix of buffs and nerfs. His recovery has seen multiple improvements due to his higher air speed, Falcon Kick giving him his double jump back and Falcon Dive covering more distance. He also benefits from the fact that jumps carry over momentum from a dash moreso than any other character greatly improving his aerial approach. His forward aerial is now his Knee smash which has excellent KO potential and combo ability which along with the previous change, now gives him an extremely powerful and deadly approach option and combo ender. Captain Falcon's horizontal movement is better than ever due to multiple universal changes giving him access to new movement options such as more flexible dash-dancing, wavedashing and moonwalking. Captain Falcon has also gained strong tech-chasing potential due to both the universally increased falling speeds and his new up throw, down throw and his new side special Raptor Boost which also acts as a solid combo starter. Lastly, many of his attacks have reduced ending lag and some of his attacks also have increased KO power (such as forward smash, down smash and the aforementioned Knee smash).

Falcon has also received some significant nerfs however. While he has more movement options and better aerial mobility, his dash speed (while still the fastest) has been decreased especially relative to the cast. His up aerial is no longer an extremely powerful juggling tool due to its clean hit now launching opponents horizontally (although it is still one of his best moves) and its late hit has drastically reduced power no longer being a strong KO move. His throws are also less reliable at comboing (although he now has the potential to chain grab or tech chase his opponents out of his down throw) while his back throw has much lower KO potential. His combo game in general is less consistent and effective due to both the introduction of DI and the fact that some of his other moves having reduced combo potential (such as up smash and down aerial which also have drastically increased startup lag) and are less reliable as his up smash no longer consists of one hit and down aerial can now be meteor-cancelled. A decent amount of Captain Falcon's moves have increased startup lag (such as his smash attacks and aerials) and while some of his attacks have increased KO potential, others have reduced KO power (such as his afforementioned back throw and his aerials besides his forward and down aerials). Captain Falcon also suffers from the changes to shields as while he is less vulnerable to shield pressure, his moveset is less safe on shield with multiple moves (such as his up tilt, landing aerials and Falcon Punch which previous gave him frame advantage against shield) now becoming punishable and his own out of shield options are worse due to his slower and altered aerials making his out of shield game a bigger weakness than it was before. Lastly, his specials are worse in various ways. Falcon Punch is weaker and slower giving it less combo potential, Falcon Dive is considerably weaker and has seen other non-beneficial changes and Falcon Kick now decays over time making it less effective from afar.

Overall, Captain Falcon has a less consistent combo and punish game along with having many moves with increased startup lag and reduced KO power. Despite this, the few reliable KO moves he has are extremely effective and he still possesses a solid combo and punish game. Additionally, most of his moves which were nerfed in some ways were buffed in other ways and he has benefitted from numerous changes to Melee's mechanics which have made his excellent movement speed an even bigger advantage/threat. Nevertheless, Captain Falcon remains one of the stronger characters in the game and has still seen a fair amount of success in tournaments.

Aesthetics[edit]

  • Change Captain Falcon has a new idle pose along with his one from Smash 64, which was also altered.
  • Change Captain Falcon has new and higher quality voice samples, though he is still voiced by Ryō Horikawa.
  • Change Captain Falcon’s default color is now dark blue instead of purple.
  • Change Captain Falcon’s green and blue palette swaps from Smash 64 are now accessible through normal battle instead of just Team Battles.
  • Change Captain Falcon's taunt has a new voice clip (although later games would go back to using the same voice clip as in Smash 64).

Attributes[edit]

  • Change Captain Falcon is lighter (108 → 104), which hinders his endurance, but makes him less susceptible to combos (although this is completely nullified by his increased falling speed).
  • Nerf Captain Falcon walks slower (0.32 → 0.85).
  • Nerf Captain Falcon dashes slower (75 → 2.3).
  • Nerf Captain Falcon's initial dash is slower (80 → 2) although it is now the fastest in the game.
  • Buff Captain Falcon's air speed is much faster (31 → 1.12). Captain Falcon also greatly benefits from the fact that jumps now carry momentum from a dash noticeably improving his aerial approach.
  • Buff Melee's more lenient window for dash-dancing combined with the addition of moonwalking and air dodging has given Captain Falcon more/superior movement options.
  • Change Captain Falcon falls much faster (66 → 2.9), which combined with his high weight, gives him the best vertical endurance in Melee, ousting Donkey Kong (who has the second highest vertical endurance). However, this does make him more susceptible to combos.
  • Change Captain Falcon's gravity is higher (3.4 → 0.13) having the same benefits and drawbacks as his higher falling speed but also reducing the height of his jumps.
  • Buff Captain Falcon's rolls have less ending lag (FAF 42 → 32).

Ground attacks[edit]

  • Neutral attack:
    • Buff The first hit of neutral attack has less startup (frame 5 → 3) and ending lag (FAF 21 → 16).
    • Nerf The first hit of neutral attack deals less damage (3% → 2%) and has a shorter duration (frames 5-8 → 3-5).
    • Buff The second hit has less ending lag (FAF 20 → 19).
    • Nerf The second hit has more startup lag with a shorter duration (frames 4-7 → 5-7).
    • Change The first two hit's knockback scaling (80 → 100) and angles (361° → 80°) have been altered.
    • Buff The Gentleman deals more damage (4% → 8% (clean), 6% (late)), has much more knockback (40 (base), 30 (scaling) → 20/100) and launches opponents at a different angle (80° → 361°). Altogether, these changes improve its utility granting it tech-chasing, followup and KO potential.
      • Nerf However, these changes make it connect into the rapid jab much less reliably.
    • Buff The Gentleman has a longer duration (frames 5-9 → 6-12) and has much less ending lag (FAF 32 → 23).
    • Change The Gentleman also has a more exaggerated animation.
    • Nerf The Gentleman has more startup lag (frame 5 → 6).
    • Nerf The Gentleman now requires precise timing to be performed without Falcon performing his neutral infinite making it more difficult to utilise.
    • Buff Neutral infinite's animation is altered: Captain Falcon kneels down forward a bit more, as well as having his punches reach a bit further.
  • Forward tilt:
    • Buff Captain Falcon has a new forward tilt: Captain Falcon performs an inward roundhouse spin kick. It has slightly more range than the previous one.
    • Nerf Forward tilt has a shorter duration (frames 9-15 → 9-11).
    • Nerf Forward tilt deals less damage (15% (up)/14% (mid up)/13% (non angled)/12% (mid down)/11% (down) → 12% (up sweetspot)/11% (up sourspot/non angled/down sweetspot)/10% (down sourspot)) and its base knockback was not fully compensated (6 → 10).
  • Up tilt:
    • Nerf Up tilt only hits once which in turn:
      • Nerf Increases its startup lag and shortens its duration (frames 8-9 (hit 1)/10-15 (hit 2) → 17-21).
      • Nerf Makes it deal 10% less damage (9% (hit 1)/14% (hit 2)/23% (total) → 13%).
      • Buff However, this also removes the chances of Falcon's opponents being able to SDI out of the stronger hit.
    • Nerf Up tilt has altered knockback compared to the previous second hit (20 (base), 100 (scaling) → 50/80) which along with its lower damage, makes it weaker overall.
    • Buff Up tilt has less ending lag (FAF 40 → 38) now only having 16 frames of cooldown (as opposed to 24).
  • Down tilt:
    • Buff Captain Falcon has a new down tilt: a leg sweep. It has significantly more combo ability than the previous down tilt due to sending opponents at a more vertical angle (30° → 80°/70°/60°).
      • Nerf This new angle however has greatly hindered down tilt's edgeguarding potential.
    • Buff Down tilt deals more damage (11% → 12%) with its knockback scaling compensated (80 → 75).
    • Buff Down tilt has more range.
    • Nerf Down tilt has more startup lag with a shorter duration (frames 8-15 → 10-15) and has more ending lag (FAF 31 → 35).
  • Dash attack:
    • Buff Dash attack has a shorter total duration (FAF 41 → 38).
    • Nerf Dash attack has a shorter duration (frames 7-10 (clean)/11-26 (late) → 7-9/10-16) and its total duration was not fully compensated giving it more ending lag.
    • Nerf Dash attack deals less damage (12% (clean), 9% (late) → 10%/7%) and its clean hit's knockback was not fully compensated (0 (base), 100 (scaling) → 22/90).
      • Buff However, this combined with the move's shorter total duration makes the move safer on hit at lower percents.
    • Nerf The late hit deals much less knockback (0 (base), 100 (scaling) → 10/50).
  • Forward smash:
    • Nerf Captain Falcon has a new forward smash: an advancing elbow thrust in a single move. It has slightly less reach and slightly more start-up lag with a shorter duration compared to the previous forward smash (frames 16-23 → 18-21).
    • Buff New forward smash deals more damage (19%/18%/17% → 21%/20%/19%), and has increased base knockback (20 → 24) improving its KO potential and now being the 3rd most powerful forward smash in Melee.
    • Buff Forward smash has less ending lag (FAF 62 → 60).
  • Up smash:
    • Buff Captain Falcon has a new up smash: a jumping-spinning double kick aimed vertically upward. Its first kick has low knockback to connect into the second kick and the second kick has significantly more knockback (90 (base), 40 (scaling) → 25/(128/126/110), no longer making it the weakest up smash, now being the 7th most powerful up smash in Melee if both kicks connect.
    • Buff Up smash has less ending lag (FAF 46 → 40) with the move now only having 11 frames of cooldown (as opposed to 35).
    • Buff Due to having two hits, up smash's maximum damage output is much higher (17% → 26%).
    • Nerf Up smash is much less reliable due to now consisting of two hits.
      • Nerf This combined with the introduction of DI, the reduction of hitstun and the move's altered knockback has prevented the move from comboing reliably despite its much lower ending lag.
    • Nerf Up smash has drastically higher startup lag (frame 4 → 21) going from the fastest up smash to one of the slowest.
      • Nerf It also has a shorter duration overall (frames 4-11 → 21-23 (hit 1)/27-28 (hit 2)).
  • Down smash:
    • Buff Captain Falcon has a new down smash: a fast swinging kick that hits forwards with an inward punt and backwards with a back thrusting kick. It has more horizontal and much more vertical range.
    • Buff Down smash launches opponents horizontally (60° → 361°) and it deals more damage (16% (front), 14% (back) → 18%/16%). The front hit has higher base knockback while the back hit's base knockback was not fully compensated (25 → 30 (front)/20 (back)). Altogether, these changes significantly improve its KO potential.
    • Buff Down smash has less ending lag (FAF 48 → 45) with the move now only having 12 frames of cooldown (as opposed to 25).
    • Nerf Down smash has more startup lag and the first hit has a shorter duration (frames 8-12 (front), 19-22 (back) → 19-22/29-32).
    • Nerf Down smash can no longer hit characters hanging on ledges due to its higher hitboxes.

Aerial attacks[edit]

  • Nerf All aerials except for back aerial auto-cancel later (frame 28 → 34 (neutral), frame 28 → 35 (forward), frame 19 → 22 (up), frame 25 → 36 (down)). Neutral, forward and down aerials can no longer auto-cancel in a short hop and when combined with the weakening of L-canceling, this makes them more punishable when landing and reduces their follow up potential.
  • Neutral aerial:
    • Change Captain Falcon's previous forward aerial is now his neutral aerial. It has an altered animation where Falcon kicks with his right leg first, then left leg all while turning to his right, as opposed to the other way around (with right leg first and left leg last). It is also angled more diagonally upwards.
    • Change The first hit of neutral aerial has set knockback and launches opponents vertically (361° → 82°/78°/74°).
    • Buff Neutral aerial has less ending lag (FAF 50 → 45).
    • Nerf Neutral aerial is far less reliable due to its multi hit properties.
    • Nerf Neutral aerial has smaller hitboxes.
    • Nerf Neutral aerial has more startup lag with a shorter duration (frames 4-7 (clean)/8-27 (late) → 7-12 (hit 1)/20-29 (hit 2)).
    • Nerf Neutral aerial deals less damage (16% (clean)/13% (late) → 6% (hit 1)/7% (hit 2)/12% (total)) and the second hit's base knockback was not fully compensated (20 → 40) significantly hindering its KO potential (no longer being one of the strongest neutral aerials).
      • Buff These changes however give neutral aerial much more combo potential.
  • Forward aerial:
    • Buff Captain Falcon has a new forward aerial: an electric knee thrust known as the Knee Smash. Its clean hit deals significantly higher damage (12% → 18%) and knockback compared to the previous second hit (20 (base), 80 (scaling) → 24/100) making it a drastically stronger KO move.
    • Buff Forward aerial is overall a more reliable move due to only consisting of one hit.
    • Buff Forward aerial has less ending lag (FAF 45 → 36).
    • Nerf Forward aerial has less range.
    • Nerf Forward aerial has double the amount of startup lag (frame 7 → 14).
    • Nerf Forward aerial deals less overall damage (10% (hit 1)/12% (hit 2)/22% (total) → 18% (clean)/6% (late)).
    • Nerf Forward aerial is overall a less reliable combo starter although the late hit has solid combo potential.
  • Back aerial:
    • Buff Back aerial has less ending lag (FAF 35 → 29) and auto-cancels earlier (frame 28 → 21).
    • Change Back aerial has received a late hit after its first four frames which deals significantly less damage (16% → 8%) with only a slight increase to its base knockback on its sweetspot (10 → 20) while its sourspots have less base knockback (10 → 0).
      • Nerf This drastically hinders its KO potential and makes it more susceptible to punishment.
      • Buff However, this also significantly improves its combo potential at higher percents when combined with its decreased ending lag.
    • Nerf Back aerial has more startup lag with a shorter duration (frames 7-18 → 10-18).
    • Nerf Back aerial's clean hit deals less damage (16% → 14%). Its sweetspot's base knockback was not fully compensated (10 → 20) and it now has sourspots with less base knockback (10 → 0).
  • Up aerial:
    • Buff Up aerial has less ending lag (FAF 34 → 30).
    • Change Up aerial now only has a clean hit and a late hit rather than a clean hit, mid hit and a late hit (a late hit with a 0° angle as well as lower damage and knockback exists in the move's files but it never comes out due to its hitboxes ending one frame before the mid hit).
    • Buff The clean hit has a longer duration (frames 5-7 → 6-10).
    • Change The clean hit now sends opponents at the Sakurai angle (80° → 361°).
      • Buff This grants it edgeguarding potential.
      • Nerf However, this along with the reduction of hitstun and the introduction of DI has significantly hindered its combo potential no longer being a viable juggling tool. This has generally made it much harder to combo into moves such as other aerials, itself and Falcon's specials.
    • Change The late hit has an angle between up aerial's previous mid hit and late hit (361° (mid)/20° (late) → 30°).
    • Nerf Up aerial has more startup lag with a shorter duration (frames 5-13 → 6-13).
    • Nerf Up aerial has less vertical range.
    • Nerf Up aerial no longer deals consistent damage (16% → 13%/12% (clean)/10%/8% (late)) and the late hit deals less knockback (10 (base), 100 (scaling) → 8/6 (base), 80 (scaling)).
  • Down aerial:
    • Buff Down aerial has larger hitboxes and has more range overall.
    • Buff Down smash deals more damage (14% → 16%) and has higher base knockback (0 → 40) significantly improving its KO potential as well as the sweetspot's edgeguarding potential (being the fourth most powerful meteor smash in Melee).
    • Nerf As with all meteor smashes from returning veterans, Down aerial has significantly increased startup lag with a shorter duration (frames 7-24 → 16-20).
    • Nerf Down aerial's angle has been altered (-80° → 270°/290°) which allows the move to be meteor canceled unless the highest hitbox on his body (nicknamed the Nipple spike) connects hindering its reliability.
    • Nerf The weakening of L-canceling combined with its worse auto-cancel window and higher knockback has hindered down aerial's combo potential.

Grabs and Throws[edit]

  • Grabs:
    • Buff Like all Super Smash Bros. veterans, Captain Falcon has been given a pummel, up throw and a down throw, significantly improving his attack options out of a grab.
    • Nerf As with all returning veterans without a tether grab, Falcon's grabs have more startup lag (frame 6 → 7 (standing), 11 (dash)) and ending lag (FAF 16 → 31 (standing), 41 (dash)).
  • Forward throw:
    • Change Captain Falcon has a new forward throw: he punches his opponent forward with horizontal knockback (70° → 45°).
      • Nerf Compared to his previous forward throw, it deals less damage (12% → 5% (hit)/4% (throw)/9% (total)) and its knockback was not fully compensated (100 (base), 50 (scaling) → 29/105).
  • Back throw:
    • Change Back throw's angle has been altered (361° → 45°).
    • Nerf Back throw deals much less damage (16% → 5% (hit)/4% (throw)/9% (total)) and its knockback was not fully compensated (100 (base), 50 (scaling) → 14/130).
    • Nerf Back throw has more ending lag (FAF 44 → 50).
  • Down throw:
    • Change Captain Falcon's previous forward throw has been moved to his down throw. It has an altered animation where Captain Falcon keeps both his feet on the ground as opposed to leaning forward enough to bring his following foot off the ground like in Smash 64.
      • Buff This new animation gives it less ending lag (FAF 44 → 40).
    • Change Down throw deals much less damage (12% → 7%) and knockback (100 (base), 50 (scaling) → 75/34) which hinders its KO and combo potential but grants it chain grabbing and tech chasing potential.
    • Change Down throw launches opponents at a slightly lower angle (70° → 65°).
    • Change Down throw is weight dependent which increases its speed against lighter characters but decreases its speed against heavier characters.

Special Moves[edit]

  • Falcon Punch:
    • Buff Falcon Punch's sweetspot deals more damage (26% → 27%), takes priority over the sourspots (ID# 2 → 0) and has a larger hitbox than the mid hit making it much easier to land.
    • Buff Falcon Punch has more range.
    • Change Falcon Punch now has a flame effect and an altered animation for both the grounded and aerial versions.
    • Nerf Falcon Punch has significantly increased startup lag (frame 42 → 52) with its ending lag compensated (FAF 90 → 100) drastically hindering its use as a combo ender.
    • Nerf The sourspot deals less damage (24% → 23%).
    • Nerf Falcon Punch has less knockback scaling (120 → 102) hindering its KO potential especially the sourspot.
    • Nerf Aerial Falcon Punch no longer deals extra shield damage (4 → 0).
      • Nerf In general, the reduction to shieldstun and shield damage has made Falcon Punch heavily punishable against shield (as opposed to being frame positive on shield).
    • Nerf Falcon's higher falling speed/gravity has removed Falcon Punch's use as a recovery option.
  • Raptor Boost:
    • Change Captain Falcon now has a side special move: Raptor Boost. It is a dash that, when connects, does a flaming uppercut, which can act as a great tech-chaser and combo-starter; but on the flipside, is somewhat easy to punish and isn't a viable horizontal recovery option as it cannot snap the ledge.
  • Falcon Dive:
    • Buff Falcon Dive travels more distance.
    • Buff Falcon Dive now has a disjointed grabbox on the first active frame (frame 13) that only affects grounded opponents, making it a useful surprise move to utilize.
    • Nerf Falcon Dive deals less damage (20% → 5% (hit)/12% (throw)/15% (total) with only a slight increase to its base knockback (30 → 40), greatly hindering its KO potential.
    • Nerf The grabbox has a shorter duration (frames 13-44 → 13-33).
    • Nerf Falcon Dive has more landing lag (17 frames → 30).
    • Nerf Falcon Dive can no longer grab characters hanging onto the ledge.
    • Nerf Due to the introduction of wall teching, the opponent can now easily wall tech Falcon Dive if they get caught by the grab and hit the underside of the stage and they can punish Falcon for it.
  • Falcon Kick:
    • Buff Grounded Falcon Kick travels further and has increased base knockback (40 → 50).
    • Buff Grounded Falcon Kick has less ending lag (FAF 85 → 70).
    • Buff Falcon Kick restores Falcon's double jump when used in midair.
    • Nerf Falcon Kick has more startup lag with a shorter duration (frames 12-31 → 14-32 (ground)/15-29 (air)).
    • Nerf Aerial Falcon Kick has more ending lag (FAF 50 → 59).
    • Nerf Falcon Kick decays over time dealing less damage (15% → 15%/12%/9% (ground)/15%/13%/11% (air)) and knockback (40 (base), 70 (scaling) → 50/(70/60/50) (ground)/50/(70/65/60) (air)) the further Falcon travels before connecting it.
    • Nerf The landing hit deals less damage (12% → 9%).

PAL differences[edit]

Like some other characters, Captain Falcon was slightly changed in the PAL version of Melee.

  • Buff Gentleman can be performed without the jab infinite by simply pressing the A button three times.
  • Nerf Soft hit of Knee Smash deals 3% less damage (6% → 3%) and has less base knockback (35 → 30).

Moveset[edit]

Captain Falcon's aerial attacks

For a gallery of Captain Falcon's hitboxes, see here.

  Name Damage Description
Neutral attack   2% The first two hits are fast and somewhat short-ranged jabs, which are good for disrupting an enemy's approach. The third hit is the Gentleman knee. The jab combo finishes with a series of fast, weak punches.
3%
8% (clean), 6% (late)
1% (loop)
Forward tilt   12% (leg), 11% (body) Does a roundhouse kick that can be angled up or down. Fast with decent range. There is not a significant amount of combo options from this move because of its horizontal hit trajectory, low knockback (though it has good knockback for a forward tilt) and stun time, and wind-down lag. One can try to follow up with a u-air or a jump-canceled grab, and even a dash-canceled d-tilt or Raptor Boost, but they are not true combos and can be countered by every character. It may be a good idea to wavedash slightly forward to maintain pressure, and enter a defensive stance or used after a pivot as a surprise attack to keep enemies away. A forward tilt, angled upward, can stun enemies long enough from an u-throw/d-throw that it can lead to a Knee Smash.
11%
10% (leg), 11% (body)
Up tilt   13% Brings his leg up and brings it down in an axe-like fashion. It has incredible range, able to out range many of Marth's tilts. This move has good horizontal knockback and like his f-tilt, is difficult to combo from. Due to its low trajectory, one can often follow off the edge of a platform or stage with a falling n-air or non-sweetspotted fair edgeguard, but this is not a true combo. It may be a good idea to wavedash slightly forward to maintain pressure, and enter a defensive stance. Most players use this move as an edgeguard technique since the heel can extend below the platform.
Down tilt   12% Does a quick sweep kick. This move is a great vertical launcher. Compared to Falcon's other launchers, it has relatively high ending lag. However, it can combo at most percentages into a SHFFLed n-air, which can lead into other combos. Fox and Falco can often be regrabbed from a down tilt at medium percentages, and their side special moves can be intercepted by Falcon's down tilt if they try to sweetspot the ledge. This move can also combo into a Knee Smash and u-air, depending on knockback and DI.
Dash attack   10% (clean), 7% (late) Shoulder tackles forward. Strongest when it comes out, weaker afterward. Fairly fast, good for knocking the foe away from the ledge to follow with an aerial attack or edgeguard, with proper mindgaming/prediction.
Forward smash   21% Reels his elbow back and thrusts it forward, dealing powerful flame damage. Excellent knockback even when uncharged with good horizontal and vertical launching power, making it hard to DI. Somewhat fast as well. Uncharged usually KOs around 100%+. This attack is the 3rd most powerful forward smash in the game. This move can be angled, dealing more damage when angled up.
20%
19%
Up smash   8%/14% (hit 1), 13%/12% (hit 2) Performs a spinning double kick. A fast and powerful move, though is short ranged. The second hit sometimes has difficulty connecting, as with Ganondorf's. This is Captain Falcon's most powerful move damage-wise (when fully charged).
Down smash   18% (front), 16% (back) Quickly kicks forward then backward. Small noticeable startup, but good speed and knockback.
Neutral aerial   5-6% (hit 1), 7% (hit 2) His f-air from SSB64, kicks forward twice. A good two-hit combo starter, though the second hit is difficult to land.
Forward aerial Knee Smash 18% (clean), 6%/3% (late NTSC/PAL) Sticks out his knee. If it lands during the initial frames, the victim is zapped and is sent in a difficult-to-DI-out-of semi-spike trajectory (32 degrees to be exact). If it lands any other time, the move is very weak with little knockback, though it can be chained into another Knee Smash. An extremely powerful move when it lands a clean hit; it is often regarded as one of the most powerful and useful moves in the game, and undoubtedly the most powerful forward aerial of Melee (though, in terms of knockback, its the third most powerful forward aerial in the game, after Zelda and Dr. Mario). This move is the usual end to most of Falcon's aerial combos, or even to use against grounded foes in an aerial assault. Easily KOs at damage percentages as low as 60% off the edge.
Back aerial   14% (clean), 8% (late) Does a quick backhand punch from behind. Good power and speed, often used as an edgeguarding move. Weak if the opponent is hit late in the attack.
Up aerial   13%/12% (clean), 12%/10% (late) Does a midair bicycle kick and sticks his feet out. Knockback direction depends on what angle the move hits the foe, though strong nonetheless. Also good for juggling, and edgeguarding if hit near the end of the attack.
Down aerial   16% Stomps below him for good downward knockback and high hitstun. Minor startup and ending lag. Can nipple spike if hit within the torso region, making it a spike and even more powerful (the most powerful spike in the game). If used on a grounded opponent, this move is a great combo starter, and can KO at high percentages. One of the strongest meteor smashes in the game.
Grab
Pummel   3% Knees opponent in the torso region.
Forward throw   5% (hit 1), 4% (throw) Punches foe forward.
Back throw   5% (hit 1), 4% (throw) Kicks foe behind. Knockback is usually hard to follow-up or combo with unless over a ledge.
Up throw   4% (hit 1), 3% (throw) Punches foe upward. Can lead into various moves or tech chases at low percentages, as the opponent usually falls straight down. At higher percentages, aerial followups are easier to land.
Down throw   7% Crushes foe to the floor. Depending on opponent percentage, fall speed, and DI, can lead into aerial combos or tech chase regrabs. Can chaingrab more floaty characters (such as Ganondorf).
Floor attack (front)   6% Gets up and flips while kicking.
Floor attack (back)   6% Stands on both hands and does a spinning double kick.
Edge attack (fast)   10% Picks himself up and kicks forward.
Edge attack (slow)   8% Slowly gets up and punches in front of him.
Neutral special Falcon Punch 27% (close), 25% (mid), 23% (far) Winds up then releases a powerful, fiery punch, with his fists engulfed in a falcon-shaped flame. Deals very high damage and knockback, and is the finisher move after an fair in the Sacred Combo. However, it is much slower than in SSB64 and is extremely predictable and punishable (the charging can also be cancelled by most attacks).
Side special Raptor Boost 7% Dashes forward. If he doesn't hit an opponent, he falls over. If he hits an opponent on the ground, he launches a fiery uppercut, knocking them into the air. If he hits an opponent while in midair, he punches downward, meteor smashing them. However, this move always makes him helpless, so it is very risky to use offstage.
Up special Falcon Dive 5% (grab), 12% (release), 6% (breakout) Leaps upwards, a recovery move that can also grab the ledge even if Captain Falcon if facing the opposite direction. Normally makes him helpless, but if he grabs an opponent, he releases them with a fiery blow and will be able to use the move again.
Down special Falcon Kick 15%/13%/9% (ground), 15%/13%/11% (air), 9% (landing) Rushes forward while performing a fiery kick. If he goes off a ledge, he continues dashing forward. If started in midair, he kicks down at a diagonal angle. Restores his midair jump, making it a useful move for horizontal recovery at long distances.

Taunts[edit]

Note: Captain Falcon and Pichu are the only characters in the game to have two different taunt animations.

  • Left: Faces to his right, salutes and exclaims "Show me your moves!"
  • Right: Faces the camera, salutes and exclaims "Show me your moves!"
Left taunt Right taunt
CaptainFalcon-Left-Taunt-SSBM.gif CaptainFalcon-Right-Taunt-SSBM.gif

Idle poses[edit]

  • Makes a battle pose where he leans forward and thrusts his arm out.
  • Makes another battle pose where he crouches slightly and thrusts his elbow out.
Captain Falcon Idle Pose Melee 1.gif Captain Falcon Idle Pose Melee 2.gif

Crowd cheer[edit]

English Japanese
Cheer
Description Falcon! *claps three times* Cap-tain! Fal-con!
Pitch Group chant Mixed chant

Victory poses[edit]

An electric guitar-based cover of the music that plays when a character finishes a race in F-Zero X.
  • Performs a jumping spinning kick, landing in a kneeling pose.
  • Kneels and thrusts his chest forward, shouting.
  • Crouches low, then performs a spinning hook kick.
Falcon-Victory1-SSBM.gif Falcon-Victory2-SSBM.gif Falcon-Victory3-SSBM.gif

In Competitive play[edit]

Matchups[edit]

Super Smash Bros. Melee Character Matchups
  FoxHeadSSBM.png FalcoHeadSSBM.png MarthHeadSSBM.png SheikHeadSSBM.png JigglypuffHeadSSBM.png PeachHeadSSBM.png IceClimbersHeadSSBM.png CaptainFalconHeadSSBM.png PikachuHeadSSBM.png SamusHeadSSBM.png DrMarioHeadSSBM.png YoshiHeadSSBM.png LuigiHeadSSBM.png GanondorfHeadSSBM.png MarioHeadSSBM.png YoungLinkHeadSSBM.png DonkeyKongHeadSSBM.png LinkHeadSSBM.png MrGame&WatchHeadSSBM.png RoyHeadSSBM.png MewtwoHeadSSBM.png ZeldaHeadSSBM.png NessHeadSSBM.png PichuHeadSSBM.png BowserHeadSSBM.png KirbyHeadSSBM.png Avg.
CaptainFalconHeadSSBM.png -2 -2 ±0 -1 -1 +1 ±0 Mirror match ±0 +1 +1 +2 +1 +1 +1 +2 +1 +3 +2 +2 +3 +2 +3 +3 +3 +3 +1

Captain Falcon has strong matchups. He is countered only by Fox and Falco, soft countered only by Sheik and Jigglypuff, has 3 even matchups, soft counters 7, counters 5, and hard counters 6. He does well against relatively floaty characters, such as Peach and Dr. Mario, as he combos these characters the easiest at mid-percents. He also has favorable matchups against slower characters, such as Yoshi and Ganondorf. His even matchups with Marth, Ice Climbers, and Pikachu are widely disputed; Marth has superior range and attack speed, while Captain Falcon has a much more solid combo game on Marth than Marth does on Captain Falcon. The Ice Climbers have intricate setups into Wobbles and even inescapable handoffs on Captain Falcon, but he can just as easily separate them with his stronger moves. Pikachu can juggle Captain Falcon for long periods of time, but is otherwise lacking the range to consistently win the neutral game.

He has some trouble against characters that can either edgeguard him efficiently or outprioritize his moves, such as Jigglypuff and Sheik. Fox and Falco in particular can do both of these as well as combo Captain Falcon consistently, as he can be juggled very easily; Falco is notable for easily disrupting Captain Falcon with effective use of his lasers, leading many to regard Falco as his worst matchup. However, it is not impossible to win against the space animals, as Captain Falcon can combo them in return if he wins the neutral game. While the ease of juggling Captain Falcon can be exploited by Pikachu and even lower tier characters such as Yoshi, Donkey Kong, and Mewtwo, they usually lack something the space animals do not, allowing Captain Falcon to gain the upper hand regardless. Overall, Captain Falcon has a good matchup spread, and can win against any character.

Notable players[edit]

Any number following the Smasher name indicates placement on the Summer 2019 MPGR, which recognizes the official top 50 players in the world in Super Smash Bros. Melee from February 1st, 2019 to July 7th, 2019.

Active[edit]

  • USA $mike
  • France Alox - Ranked 10th on the French Power Rankings.
  • USA Captain Smuckers
  • USA Darkrain
  • France DjaGoF - Best Falcon in France, Ranked 7th on the French Power Rankings
  • UK Fuzzyness
  • USA Gahtzu (#22) - One of the best Captain Falcon players in the world.
  • USA Gravy
  • Japan Gucci - Best Falcon in Japan
  • Netherlands Jeapie
  • USA Lord
  • USA Lucky - Top Fox player in SoCal. Occasionally picks Falcon which he is nicknamed Batman.
  • USA Mafia
  • USA Mango - One of the five gods and the undisputed best player in SoCal. Occasionally picks Falcon in tournaments.
  • Canada n0ne (#29) - Having placed 18th on the 2016 SSBMRank and having beaten a god twice in a row has made him one of the three best Falcon players, along with Wizzrobe and S2J. n0ne is the first Falcon to have beaten Mew2King in a decade, taking two sets in a row at GOML 2016 and UGC Smash Open. n0ne is known for his very creative and aggressive style, as well as his high-risk/high-reward punishes. His common use of often successful reads and his multitude of mixups are what set him apart from the other top Falcons. There is also a combo known as "The n0ne" (Reverse Back Air to Knee), which n0ne says he uses a lot because it was a popular Falcon combo in Nicaragua, which is where he used to live. Although his high-risk/high-reward punishes often fail him getting back on to the stage, along with having a subpar neutral game compared to the other two, he is still considered among the best with them. He is arguably the most technical Captain Falcon player in the world.
  • USA SilentSpectre - Along with Tang, SilentSpectre was responsible for the immensely famous Wombo Combo. He is also one of most influential old-school Falcons, along with Isai, Darkrain, and Scar, who popularized the fast-paced and aggressive playstyle of Captain Falcon.
  • USA S2J (#9) - Ranked 16th on both the 2015 SSBMRank and 2016 SSBMRank, S2J is known as one of the three best Falcon players, along with Wizzrobe and n0ne. He has been considered one of the best Falcons for almost half a decade. He is known for his unorthodox, aggressive style and his crazy punish game, which has coined the term "Johnny Stock". His fiery zero-to-death combos and ridiculously creative and strong punish game are what sets him apart from the other top Falcons. Although his edgeguarding game is still lacking compared to the other two, he is still considered among them.
  • USA Westballz - Westballz has a pocket Falcon whom he notably landed a sacred combo with. He is ranked 8th on the 2016 SSBMRank.
  • USA Wizzrobe (#2) - Wizzrobe has become the most consistent and strongest Falcon to date, ranking 12th on the 2016 SSBMRank. His recent success and consistency has made him one of the three best Falcon players, along with S2J and n0ne. He is known for his safe and optimal style, which is a style popularized by the 20GX crew. This style includes optimal tech chases, edgeguards, and followups, as well as safe and consistent neutral game and punish game, which is what sets Wizzrobe apart from the other top Falcons. As such, he is now considered to be the best Captain Falcon player in the world.

Inactive[edit]

  • USA Hax - Ranked 19th on the 2015 SSBMRank, Hax was considered the best Falcon player in the world before he retired him in favor of Fox. While playing Falcon, Hax popularized "Haxdashing", which is a strong ledge option, especially for Falcon. Haxdashing was a technique that Hax did to ledge stall, refresh ledge invincibility, and to mix up from the edge. Despite being a strong ledge option and mix up, Haxdashing is hard to master because of the particular waveland angle and the window to perform it ideally. Hax showed how technical and precise Captain Falcon could be, making him an unforgettable contribution to Falcon's metagame.
  • USA Isai - Was regarded as the best Melee Captain Falcon player in the world in his prime. Although his placings at Melee singles tournaments lowered over time, he is one of the few players to have defeated former Melee world champion Ken multiple times.
  • USA Scar - Ranked 89th on the 2014 SSBMRank. He is now known primarily as a commentator.

Tier placement and history[edit]

Captain Falcon was considered a low tier character on the first tier list; inexperienced panelists felt he was inferior to his Super Smash Bros. counterpart, and failed to overcome the high technical skill demands required to play him. Captain Falcon then moved up to the middle tier, but was not recognized as being a solid character until one year after Melee began being played competitively. Dedicated Falcon mains such as Isai showed how powerful his comboing abilities were, and how well he could KO out of a combo with the deadly Knee Smash. Falcon mains began placing very high in tournaments, inching him up the list into the high tier as old high tier characters, such as Mario and Luigi, began falling. Today, although Captain Falcon does not often win tournaments, he is one of the most common characters that place within the top rankings, resulting in him being at a solid 8th place on the current tier list, being placed below the Ice Climbers for the first time.

PAL viability[edit]

Captain Falcon only received two changes in the transition to PAL, the more welcome of the two being that the Gentleman can now be done with just three A button presses, without any extra inputs or timing alterations required. The other nerfed his soft Knee Smash, making it hit only half as hard as the NTSC soft Knee Smash. The Gentleman is now much easier to perform and Captain Falcon's jab combo is overall a much more viable damage racking option than it is in NTSC. The nerf to the soft Knee Smash, however, prevents a guaranteed followup into another Knee Smash, slightly weakening Falcon's edgeguarding and combo potential, though this can be worked around by using up aerial instead. With almost all of the characters who would years later be above him in the tier list receiving nerfs (particularly Fox and Sheik), he fares better in those respective matchups, but due to considerably less representation of Captain Falcon in Europe, he remains at 7th place.

In 1-P Mode[edit]

Classic Mode[edit]

Captain Falcon appears in a one-on-one, as an ally, on a team with Fox, Falco, or Samus, in a giant, multi-man, or metal battle. Captain Falcon appears in Mute City or Big Blue except in the metal battle where he appears on Battlefield.

Adventure Mode[edit]

Captain Falcon appears in the second portion of Stage 8: F-Zero Grand Prix.

All-Star Mode[edit]

Captain Falcon and his allies are fought on Mute City.

Event Matches[edit]

Captain Falcon is featured in the following event matches:

  • Event 5: Spare Change: The player controls Ness and fights Captain Falcon in a coin battle on Onett. The player must collect 200 coins within 80 seconds in order to clear the event.
  • Event 12: Seconds, Anyone?: The player chooses any character and must defeat Captain Falcon within 7 seconds in a one-stock match on Mute City. Both players start with 100% damage.
  • Event 17: Bounty Hunters: The player controls Samus, allied with Captain Falcon, and must deliver the finishing blow to Bowser on Jungle Japes. The event results in failure if Captain Falcon delivers the finishing blow or if Bowser self-destructs.
  • Event 20: All-Star Match 2: Captain Falcon is the fourth opponent to be fought in this series of staged battles. The player battles him on Mute City, which will transition to the next stage if Captain Falcon gets defeated. With a timer of four minutes, the player must defeat him along with Samus, Link, Zelda, and Fox.
  • Event 33: Lethal Marathon: As Captain Falcon, the player must race to the finish of F-Zero Grand Prix similar to Adventure Mode. However, the gameplay is sped up and the F-Zero racers can deliver almost a one-hit KO.
  • Event 36: Space Travelers: The player uses Ness must defeat Samus, Kirby, Fox, Captain Falcon and Falco. The player battles the first three characters on Fourside and battles the last two on Battlefield.
  • Event 43: Birds of Prey: As Fox, the player must defeat Captain Falcon and Falco in a two-stock match on Big Blue.

Ending images[edit]

Trophies[edit]

In addition to the normal trophy about Captain Falcon as a character, there are two trophies about him as a fighter, unlocked by completing both Adventure and All-Star modes respectively with Captain Falcon on any difficulty:

Captain Falcon
Usually a relentless bounty hunter, Captain Falcon shifts gears to become a race pilot once the F-Zero Grand Prix begins. His beloved racer, the Blue Falcon, can exceed the speed of sound, and he knows how to drive it; he'll go down as one of the all time-greats. Now 36 years old, Captain Falcon wears his F-Zero X visor.
  • F-Zero 08/91
Captain Falcon [Smash]
Falcon's style is a balanced combination of raw power and speed. His attacks are slow, but when combined with Falcon's high mobility, he's a formidable combat force. The Falcon Punch packs the highest degree of destructive power, while the explosive Raptor Boost can be used to smash airborne foes into the depths.
  • B: Falcon Punch
  • Smash B: Raptor Boost
Captain Falcon [Smash]
The Knee Smash, used in midair on foes in front of you, is slow and has a short reach, but if it connects, it'll send foes flying a long way on a low trajectory. Falcon uses his Falcon Dive to grab an enemy in midair and fling them away with an explosive blast. He can do this technique repeatedly without landing, so it can also be used as a recovery move.
  • Up & B: Falcon Dive
  • Down & B: Falcon Kick

Alternate costumes[edit]

Captain Falcon Palette (SSBM).png
CaptainFalconHeadSSBM.png CaptainFalconHeadBlackSSBM.png CaptainFalconHeadRedSSBM.png CaptainFalconHeadWhiteSSBM.png CaptainFalconHeadGreenSSBM.png CaptainFalconHeadBlueSSBM.png

Gallery[edit]

Trivia[edit]

  • Captain Falcon is the only character to have every single smash attack changed from Smash 64 to Melee.
  • While Captain Falcon's normal air speed is a great 1.12, by jumping while running he can start off with an airspeed of 2.1, notably faster than any other character's best airspeed and even almost all characters' running speeds (except his own dashing speed and Fox's).
  • Captain Falcon and Pichu are the only characters in Melee to possess two taunts.
  • Captain Falcon's red costume (the costume resembling his evil clone, "Blood Falcon") has a different logo on the back of his outfit, being a skull with bird wings and text that reads "BLOOD HAWK" (Blood Falcon's F-Zero machine).
    • In the Japanese version of Melee, the text instead reads "HELL HAWK".
  • Captain Falcon is one of the two characters who was unlockable in Smash 64 that became a starter in Melee, the other being Ness.
  • Captain Falcon's ECB (Environmental Collision Box) varies in size depending on the costume being used. His default costume has the smallest ECB, while his green costume has the largest. He is the only character in the game known to have gameplay differences depending on costume.
  • Mr. Game & Watch, Captain Falcon and Young Link are the only characters in Melee that don't finish their defeat noises upon being KO'd horizontally or falling.
  • When Captain Falcon is selected on the character select screen, one of his attack voice clips is played very quietly, to the point where it is usually barely audible when the music is turned off due to being drowned out by the announcer. As shown by the debug menu's Sound Test, every character has one of these, but only Captain Falcon's isn't silent. The clip also isn't present in the regular Sound Test.

External links[edit]