Drop cancel

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This article is about the technique involving cancelling the dropping through platforms to perform an aerial quickly. For the technique which can be performed in Brawl, see platform cancel.

Drop canceling, also known as platform canceling is a tech introduced in Super Smash Bros.. It is essentially the fastest way to use an aerial attack, sometimes leaving only one frame before the aerial attack's animation starts. In comparison, DJCFFL has 5 or 6 frames (usually as a result of human error or jumpsquat) before the attack initiates.

The concept[edit]

In 64 and Melee, while dropping down from a platform - one frame after the initial crouch animation - characters are considered to be in the air. Because of this, they are obviously allowed to use aerial attacks. Drop canceling takes its name from the fact that using an aerial attack during that one frame causes the character to re-land on the platform, thus canceling the drop. It's important to note that it is far simpler to drop cancel an aerial attack that shifts the character's body upwards (like Falco's back aerial or Captain Falcon's up aerial). Conversely, it is harder (and possibly impossible) to drop cancel aerial attacks that generally shift the character downwards (like Marth's down aerial).

In Melee onwards, there are many deciding factors to whether an attack can be drop/platform canceled. How strong the attack is, and thus how much hitlag it has, how fast the aerial's hitbox comes out, the ECB pattern of the aerial and the character's fall speed all affect an aerial's ability to drop/platform cancel.

After Melee, Drop Cancelling changed slightly. Although traditional drop canceling does not return in later games, certain stall-then-fall aerials can emulate the effect, albeit with varying utility and effects. For starters, the startup lag isn't always shifted to one frame before, and an L-Cancel isn't necessary to perform. Overall, while it becomes slightly easier, the payoff is nerfed a smidgen. However, characters like PAC-MAN profit heavily off of this due to the combos it can enable.

How to perform[edit]

  • Drop through a platform that the character is standing on.
  • On the first possible frame to do so, use any aerial attack.
    • When playing 64 or Melee, an L-cancel is required, and usually it will have a one frame window.
  • If done correctly, an aerial interrupt will occur, and one will be in the landing animation of the aerial attack on the platform that was dropped from.

This happens because the character's ECB changes position after a certain number of frames after the aerial. Due to the additional frames of hitlag on shield, some moves will progress to this state before dropping too low.

Applicable attacks in Melee[edit]

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The editor who added this tag elaborates: Applications in competitive play to replace or rework the "Frame perfect?" column (July 2019)
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Unless noted, attacks have a one frame window. These apply to stationary platforms; for downward moving platforms, the window sizes may vary, and more attacks may be possible.

Character Moves Frame perfect?
Link Neutral aerial, Up aerial Neutral aerial has a two frame window, up aerial does not.
Luigi Neutral aerial, Back aerial Neutral aerial has a two frame window, back aerial does not.
Mario Neutral aerial Yes
Marth Forward aerial Yes
Samus Neutral aerial Yes
Yoshi Up aerial Yes
Sheik Neutral aerial Yes
Falco Back aerial Yes
Young Link Neutral aerial Yes

Pseudo Platform Cancel (Melee)[edit]

When sliding off a platform you start falling with lower velocity than when dropping through a platform. This allows you to cancel many more aerials than a regular platform cancel because you effectively have more airtime. Here are 2 examples of this phenomenon.

Example 1 Example 2

In these examples, Marth and Falcon use aerials which cannot normally be platform canceled. They are hit in shield and shield DI towards the edge, which pushes them off the platform, then the knockback pushes them back on the platform.

These still require hitlag though, as hitlag allows the ECB to update (and thus become above the platform). Samus, however, has such low fall speed, that she can throw out a nair, have her ECB update, and be above the platform, without any use of hitlag.

Example 3

Applicable attacks in Brawl[edit]

Incomplete.png
Character Moves Notes
Sheik Down aerial Meteor smash hitbox comes out and combos into the landing hit on its own. However, it has little combo potential outside of this.
Mr. Game & Watch Down aerial Landing hitbox only.
Toon Link Down aerial Can lead into 50/50 situations. The windbox also comes out.
Snake Back aerial Strong KO option.
Sonic Down aerial No hitbox comes out, making it useless.

Applicable attacks in Smash 4[edit]

Incomplete.png
Character Moves Notes
PAC-MAN Up aerial Gets a lot of mileage, being able to combo into his Bonus Fruits with the correct inputs.

Applicable attacks in Ultimate[edit]

Largely the same as in Brawl and Smash 4 in execution.

Character Moves Notes
Bowser Down aerial The meteor smash hitbox comes out, and combos into the landing hit at lower percentages.
Ice Climbers Down aerial Can potentially mean a desync, otherwise, if only Popo is present, can go into Popo's forward tilt.
Sheik Down aerial Very much like in Brawl. Similar to Bowser's, the meteor smash hitbox comes out and goes into the landing hit. However, there are no potential combos out of this, making its utility questionable. Needle Storm can be used out of this in niche circumstances.
Mr. Game & Watch Down aerial Only the landing hitbox comes out, making it relatively useless in a competitive field.
Zero Suit Samus Down aerial Frame perfect, only the landing hitbox comes out.
Sonic Down aerial No hitbox comes out, making it useless.
R.O.B. Down aerial If timed too early, the hitbox won't come out in a similar way to Sonic's. However, if timed correctly, this can hit through platforms.
Toon Link Down aerial Can lead into 50/50 situations, and the windbox comes out allowing for situational gimping at the ledge. Can go into Spin Attack at low percentages with 12 hits, and lead into a jab lock situation at around 10%.
Greninja Down aerial Has many issues hitting opponents, requiring Greninja to be inside the opponent's hurtbox a lot of the time. If timed too late, the hitbox doesn't come out.
PAC-MAN Up aerial PAC-MAN gets a lot of mileage off of this, allowing him to perform numerous combos due to how quick his up aerial is. Currently the only drop cancel which functions similarly to Melee.
Corrin Down aerial Multihits and the landing hitbox come out, although the utility is questionable.
Bayonetta Down aerial 2 frame window. The landing hitbox comes out if done correctly which can allow for a surprise kill option. Otherwise, can be held for the Bullet Arts to activate.
Ridley Down aerial Due to how strong it is, this can be considered a niche KO option, but the sluggish nature and small hitbox makes it questionable.
Simon Down aerial No hitbox comes out, making it useless.
Richter Down aerial Exactly the same as Simon's, with the hitbox not coming out.
King K. Rool Up aerial Improves the 50/50 situation it provides in tandem with up tilt when landing on a platform, but the hitbox makes it a niche if not unviable option.
Banjo and Kazooie Down aerial Not a very viable drop cancel, but does provide some niche uses if the opponent doesn't tech. Only time it would be somewhat useful is on a platform like Smashville. A demonstration of it being used to set up a jab lock can be found here.

Application[edit]

When used with aerial attacks that have little lag, a drop-canceled aerial attack can lead to lethal combos due to the incredibly small amount of lag. In comparison to the SHFFL, the character's jump animation and falling animation are both eliminated, removing somewhere from 20-30 frames from an aerial attack. However, drop canceling could easily be considered the most difficult to use advanced technique in the game, requiring frame-perfect technical skill to be used consistently and effectively.

It is also possible to do this in Smash 64, as demonstrated through TAS style combos by Jpheal, and it is similarly incredibly difficult. However, it is only possible on rising platforms/diagonal platforms.

Advantages[edit]

  • Largely erases the jumping and falling animations, replacing them with a one-frame crouching animation.
  • Slow-starting aerial attacks are auto-canceled, creating a mindgame option that can improve movement for some characters.
  • The speed of the technique allows for extremely fast combos - especially in Melee - allowing for potent shield break combos in said game.

Disadvantages[edit]

  • Requires a platform which can be passed through, which can be situational.
  • Only quick aerial attacks will actually hit, with slower moves outright having no hitbox.

Aerial interrupt[edit]

Similar to drop canceling is the aerial interrupt: a technique in Melee that causes a character to land on a platform earlier by doing an aerial attack at a certain frame. The reason it works is that the character's environment collision box (ECB) is shifted downwards due to the attack's animation, making it connect with a platform and triggering the landing animation. It can be used to preserve enough ledge intangibility so that a grounded attack can be carried out whilst being still intangible. Its use can replace the need to air-dodging onto a platform since the aerial interrupt is the fastest possible way to get onto a platform from under it.

External links[edit]