Dark Dive (雷神掌, Raijin Palm) is the up special move used by Ganondorf, introduced in Super Smash Bros. Melee. It is similar in function to Captain Falcon's Falcon Dive, but instead of the opponent getting hurt by fire, they will be shocked by electricity if Ganondorf connects with them. Like his side special, Flame Choke, it counts as a grab, so it cannot be shielded or countered. Like the Falcon Dive, it can be used repeatedly if successful, and Ganondorf can grab a ledge at the peak height of this move when facing the other direction. This helps to sweet spot and prevents some forms of edge momentum shifting such as the cape glide in Brawl. However, the move suffers from predictability, poor distance, lack of protection, and in the case of Brawl, low attack power.
The move itself is essentially a clone move of Falcon Dive, except that there are electric effects. Ganondorf rises up, catching opponents that are above him, zaps them, and then knocks the opponent away with an explosion for a total of 17% damage, and can use this move again after if it is successful. Also, as with most moves Ganondorf has compared to Falcon, the move is stronger than Falcon Dive, and is easier to KO foes with (though Falcon Dive is still strong by itself), reliably killing around 150% from the center of Final Destination. It is interesting to note that, unlike Falcon Dive, Dark Dive can harm other characters (in addition to the victim Ganondorf has latched on to) via the electrical hitboxes, making it harder for an opponent to hit Ganondorf out of this move. However, it cannot grab or affect foes on a ledge, making this move prone to edge-guarding and edgehogging.
Using Dark Dive on an opponent below stage level will often stage spike them. While this can punish a failed edge-guard, the opponent can also tech the spike and then strike back, as they can move before Ganondorf can, a technique known as Tech Check.
Ganondorf can still grab opponents with his Dark Dive, but if the move does not connect until the end of the animation, Ganondorf does a 7% damaging uppercut with a deceptively large and disjointed reach that knocks the opponent away vertically with darkness damage, being slightly stronger but less damaging than the move's grab and throw. In addition, Ganondorf can now grab opponents hanging onto the ledge, which often stage spikes them, but they are still capable of teching. It also has armor mid-grab. The move is also capable of destroying targets in Target Smash!! when his body comes in contact with the target. It also has a different animation where Ganondorf rises upward and spins and no longer spins forward during the ending's descent.
However, Dark Dive was overwhelmingly nerfed, dealing 11% damage and, outside of stage spikes, only KOing at 300% with the grab (from the center of Final Destination) and 200% with the uppercut (anywhere on the ground of Final Destination). This extremely poor knockback, combined with the new mechanic of being able to act out of hitstun much sooner, allows opponents with low damage percentages and fast aerials to immediately hit Ganondorf once they are released from the grab, which can cause gimps and overall makes the move unsafe to use. In addition to its crippled damage, the move has slightly more difficulty in turning around, slightly more startup, and slightly less reach on its furthest grabbox. While it is possible for the uppercut to KO near the upper blast line, it is difficult to accomplish due to the move's weak knockback and no reliable setups for it.
In The Subspace Emissary, Ganondorf attacks Tabuu with his Dark Dive after he finds out Tabuu is controlling Master Hand with his Chains of Light. The distance Ganondorf travels with Dark Dive seems to be highly exaggerated. Before he hits Tabuu, Ganondorf gets hit by a counterattack, turning him into a trophy.
Dark Dive was initially nerfed from its Brawl iteration due to the removal of the mid-grab's armor, making it much easier to intercept and edge-guard. However, due to the removal of Brawl's mechanic of fast acting out of hitstun when knocked short distances, the grabbed opponent can no longer attack him once he releases them. Ganondorf now aesthetically grabs the opponent with one hand instead of two.
Dark Dive's power was improved in 1.1.3, where the grab does 13.8% damage with significantly improved knockback, and is now a decent out of shield move. However, the power increase is still quite underwhelming compared to Melee, as it does not gain KO potential until around roughly 200% from Final Destination's center and 140% near the ledge.
Dark Dive was buffed considerably from Smash 4: its grab damage was increased to 16.6%, and the throw's power was drastically increased to KO at 89% near the edge of Final Destination and 130% from the center, being much more powerful than it was in Melee. The fiery explosion that was created was changed to a vibrant burst of purple magic, now possessing the electric effect.
However, when executed from the ground, the grabbox is only active after Ganondorf leaves the ground. This causes it to whiff against many small opponents on the ground, especially if they're crouching. In addition, Ganondorf leaps back much farther out of a throw, worsening his already poor recovery even further; this allows opponents to repeatedly jump into the grab, eventually causing Ganondorf to leap too far away to be able to reach the stage.
Special Move customization was added in Super Smash Bros. 4. These are the variations:
Differences with Falcon Dive
The Dark Dive is a move original to Smash, as it is directly based off of the Falcon Dive. The main visual difference is the flame effects are replaced with purple particle effects as a reference to the dark magic Ganondorf possesses and frequently uses.
Names in other languages