Counterattack

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This article is about the class of moves. For moves of this class with a similar name, see Counter (disambiguation).
Lucario's Double Team is an example of a counterattack.

A counterattack is a type of special move. On use, they put the user into a shield-like state followed by a sizable period of lag. Should any normally blockable attack hit the user during these guard frames, the attack will be blocked (without depleting the health of their shield) and the user will automatically use an attack of their own, presumably hitting whoever was attacking unless it was a projectile, or some other attack that outranges the counter. Some counterattacks do more damage when they activate against a stronger attack, with knockback scaling to match the damage, while some deal a fixed amount of damage. Counterattacks usually activate fast enough that it is impossible for a melee attacker to shield the retaliating hit, although the attack itself can usually be blocked; there are a few exceptions, such as Shulk's Vision, which is unblockable.

A correctly-timed counterattack can tilt the momentum of a match towards the user, though as they are generally not effective on reaction, reading the opponent is crucial. Simply using counters repeatedly in hopes of getting one in will result in a competent opponent waiting until the move's lag to attack, or simply using an uncounterable grab.

While unblockable attacks cannot be countered (except with Witch Time), as previously mentioned, depending on the move, the user may still not take damage due to the initial invincibility frames. Unlike reflectors, there is no limit to how much damage can be countered, though in Smash 4, there is a cap on how much damage a counterattack can inflict, at 50%. The only exception is Shulk's Vision; its damage cap can be raised or lowered depending on which Monado Art is currently active.

Counterattacks were introduced in Melee, with Marth's and Roy's down specials and Peach's neutral special. In Smash 4, counterattacks cannot counter some explosive attacks, such as Link's Bombs and Steel Diver missiles, instead giving the user protection against them during the counter frames. Stronger explosions can be countered, however, such as the Bob-omb. Up until Smash 4, counterattacks did not have any special aesthetics upon countering. In Smash 4, most counterattacks gain a unique particle effect once the counter activates: a wave quickly appears, representing a heartbeat. This applies to all counterattacks lacking a separate particle effect, namely the entire cast that possesses a counterattack save for Greninja and Lucario. Each counterattack's heartbeat wave colour varies: Palutena's is blue, Little Mac's is red, and so on. 16 characters can now utilize a counter in Smash 4, 12 of which are available by default, and the game has become somewhat notorious for the high number of counters added to the game compared to Brawl (which had 4 counters).

List of counterattacks[edit]

Counterattacks only available as custom moves are in italics.

User Move Description
Bayonetta Witch Time Bayonetta performs a stationary backflip that slows down the opponent for a certain period of time, based on the overall damage of the opponent and how frequently Witch Time itself is used. If performed too late, she instead activates Bat Within, a teleport that reduces the amount of damage taken. Unlike most counterattacks, Witch Time does not damage the opponent, but allows Bayonetta to perform any attack while the targets are slowed down. This is the only counterattack in the series that is capable of countering non-grab unblockable attacks.
Chrom Counter The execution of the counter is almost identical to Roy's with the same multiplier and damage, the only difference being that there's no flames.
Corrin Counter Surge Corrin transforms into a dragon, dodges the opponent's attack, and stomps the ground, launching opponents vertically on both sides with surges of water. This is the only counterattack in the series that sends opponents directly upwards, instead of sideways in a given direction, and the only counterattack that avoids attacks instead of absorbing them, thus single-hit projectiles will not shatter upon contact and other attacks can hit other opponents nearby when the counter is triggered.
Daisy Toad It is currently unknown how the execution differs from Peach's. Daisy's Toad has blue spots, unlike Peach's Toad, who has red spots.
Dark Pit Electrocut Arm Instead of dashing with his arm, Dark Pit stays put with it ready (moving backwards slightly when doing so) and retaliates if any attack hits him. While this removes one of Dark Pit's recovery options, the attack will be stronger and gives him super armor to compensate. Dark Pit will also attack if something or someone gets too close.
Greninja Substitute Greninja vanishes, being replaced by a green doll or a wooden log, and then reappears while attacking with a sliding kick with eight possible directions, controllable by tilting the left control stick. The ability to control the direction of Greninja's dash allows it to confuse opponents or even use this counterattack as a recovery. If aimed directly downwards, Substitute will meteor smash opponents if it lands. However, the counterattack is slow enough to avoid/shield (much like Lucario's Double Team) and doesn't give Greninja intangibility or invincibility, making it possible for multi-hit attacks to interrupt the counterattack.
Ike Counter Ike's Counter does 1.2x the damage of the attack, with a minimum of 10%. In Brawl, it has higher startup before the counter window when compared to Marth's, although Ike's version has less ending lag. SSB4 removes some of the increased startup (9 frames startup), putting its speed more in line with Marth's counter, and it has the second longest counter window in the game (surpassed by Lucario and Shulk's counters).
Incineroar Revenge A weak counterattack that does not completely prevent damage dealt to Incineroar (instead cutting it roughly in half), but does prevent knockback and improve the damage and knockback of the next attack Incineroar lands, as well as having extremely fast startup (3 frames).
King K. Rool Gut Check K. Rool will puff out his stomach and reflect any damage onto the opponent. It also reflects projectiles, but the counter/reflection hitbox is confined to K. Rool's stomach, leaving him open to attacks from above, below, or behind.
Little Mac Slip Counter Little Mac does a fake-out, dodging the opponent's attack, and socks them with an uppercut while dashing forward. Said dash can make Slip Counter a useful though risky horizontal recovery option. Tied with Double Team and Witch Time for having the quickest startup of any counterattack, at 5 frames. Little Mac is invincible while counterattacking, unless Slip Counter activates in the air.
Lucario Double Team Lucario vanishes out of the way of an attack and reappears behind the opponent, striking them with a sliding kick. He has the option to attack in the opposite direction too. It is the slowest of all counterattacks to hit once activated, to the point of it being possible to simply avoid in some cases, along with being able to be shielded. Its power does not change based on the activation attack, instead depending on Lucario's aura, with a base damage of 11%, and at max aura it has incredibly high knockback, to the point of being able to KO medium percentage opponents, even more so in SSB4 than in Brawl.
Lucina Counter Functionally identical to Marth's, but with a different animation. Acts faster than Roy or Ike's, but has more lag afterwards.
Marth Counter In Melee, Marth's Counter does 7% regardless of the attack.
In Brawl, it does 1.1x the damage of the attack, with a minimum of 8%.
In Smash 4, it does 1.2x the damage, with stronger base knockback than in Brawl, making it KO much more reliably off strong attacks at lower percents.
Acts faster than Roy or Ike's, but has more lag afterwards.
Mii Swordfighter Blade Counter The Mii leans back a bit and holds their sword behind them in reverse grip. Should anything attack him/her during this, the Mii will respond with a quick slash. The counterattack does 1.25x the damage of the attack, with a minimum of 8%.
Mii Brawler Counter Throw The Brawler takes a defensive pose with its hands covering its face. If an opponents hits the Brawler while it is in its counterattack frames, the Brawler proceeds to grab the opponent and throw them behind it.
Palutena Counter Palutena puts up her shield, and if hit while it is active, she strikes back with her staff. The staff's length gives this counterattack a slightly longer horizontal range than most, though it's still small relative to Palutena's size; additionally, its vertical range is minimal. Also one of the two counterattacks with a sourspot (along with Vision), and has relatively low knockback scaling. In Ultimate, this move is combined with Reflect Barrier, allowing it to also serve as a reflector.
Peach Toad Peach pulls out Toad and hold him in front of herself. Toad operates slightly differently than other counterattacks: Peach does become invincible during part of the move, but not for the entire counterable duration, and hitting her does not activate the counter. Instead, Toad has a separate hurtbox that activates the counter, which is a set of nine spore shots that each do 2% and fire at random angles. The spores are projectiles, and thus can be absorbed and result in the move having the longest reach of any counterattack. In Smash 4, the counterattack activates if Peach is hit anywhere, making it more reliable. This move is the only neutral special counter.
Pit Interception Arm Just like Dark Pit's Electrocut Arm, Pit pulls out his Upperdash Arm and waits while talking a small step back, attacking if hit or if an opponent gets too close to him. The attack is stronger than Pit's default side special and grants him super armor.
Roy Counter Roy's version of this move is aesthetically unique as it creates an explosion when he attacks. In Melee, Roy's Counter does 1.5x the damage of the attack.

In SSB4, Roy's Counter activates 3 frames later than Marth's (frame 8) and lasts a shorter duration. However, it reflects 1.35x the damage of the attack, with a minimum of 8%.

Shulk Vision Shulk leans forward and holds the hilt of the Monado, and attacks with a slash if hit. It is unique as it possesses two different versions: a slow but wide-ranged slash or a quick dashing slash with higher base knockback that can be only done if Shulk is grounded. It is tied with Double Team for the longest counter window in the entire series when fresh, but the window becomes shorter each time the move is used. The window can be recharged over time by simply not using the move. Additionally, it is one of the two counters with a sourspot (along with Palutena's Counter).
Villager Timber Counter Rather than being an actual "get hit then retaliate" counterattack, Timber Counter gives the Villager's tree a longer lifetime and the ability to damage opponents if they hit it when fully grown. Other stages of the attack allow the tree to disrupt opponents, such as the sapling tripping opponents if they walk over it, though the tree deals less damage if chopped down. The tree also pulses red periodically, making it more obvious than the standard Timber.

Trivia[edit]

Marth countering Robin's forward smash, which is then countered by Ike before Roy sends him flying with his own counter.
  • It is possible, albeit difficult, to counterattack a counterattack. This is seen in Roy's introduction video for SSB4. If done perfectly with multiple players, counterattack damage can be stacked consecutively until it reaches the 50% damage cap, which is usually accompanied by one-hit KO power.
  • Since Peach and her Echo Fighter Daisy's Toad counters are the only neutral special counterattacks, it is the only counterattack that Kirby can copy or use.
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