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Drop cancel

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Terry drop cancelling Power Geyser to edgeguard Yoshi.
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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 technique introduced in Super Smash Bros.. It allows one to land back onto a platform immediately after platform dropping and hitting something with an aerial attack, cutting aerial time to minimum.

The concept[edit]

Corrin drop cancelling Dragon Lunge to KO Greninja.

In 64 and Melee, while characters are in the air, their floor collision points move according to their animation, and are usually a short distance above the character's position. Since the floor collision point is level with the characters position while a character is standing on a floor, and usually above the characters position while in the air, characters would simply land back onto a platform immediately after trying to drop down if there wasn't a mechanism to prevent that. For that reason, the floor collision point is locked to same relative height as before the drop for a brief period when dropping from a platform, instead of letting it shift above the platform according to the animation. However, the lock period also wears down during hitlag while a character is frozen still. That can make the character maintain enough height such that its floor collision point still rises above the platform after the lock period ends, and result in the character landing onto the platform.

Drop canceling is usually done by following a platform drop as soon as possible with a quick aerial that hits something. Alternatively, getting hit by a cape or even a phantom hit immediately after a platform drop can result in a drop cancel. There are many deciding factors to whether an attack can be drop canceled on hit. Characters with low gravity are more likely to have aerials that can be drop cancelled, and can have larger windows for performing the aerial. Attacks have to hit quite quickly for drop cancel to be possible. Aerial attacks that shift the character's body upwards (like Falco's back aerial or Captain Falcon's up aerial) are more likely able to be drop cancelled than aerials with unsuitable low reaching animations.

After Melee, Drop Cancelling changed slightly. Although traditional drop canceling does not return in later games, certain stall-then-fall aerials and even special moves can emulate the effect, albeit with varying utility and effects. For starters, the startup lag isn't always shifted to one frame before. 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, and some characters, like Corrin, utilize it when ledgetrapping.

With the introduction of Command Input Special Moves in Smash 4, drop cancelling was applied through adding 5 extra platform drop frames for the purpose of making them easier to use on platforms. This came with the downside of giving Ryu a longer platform drop animation than usual, with these extra frames only being cancellable through his command specials. Without these frames though, the Ryu would end up falling through platforms, using his aerial versions instead. This mechanic returned in Ultimate with the addition of Ken and Terry, with the latter's special moves being more centered around offense when compared with Ryu. Ken received the extra 5 frames, while Terry received 9, likely to account for Power Geyser's noticeably longer input requirement.

How to perform[edit]

  • Drop through a platform that the character is standing on. Both regular platform drop and shield drop work equally.
  • Start a suitable aerial as soon as possible. In many cases, the aerial has to be initiated frame perfectly.
  • Hit something with the aerial. Any target suffices, including character, shield, shy guy, or even a projectile hitbox the aerial clangs with.
  • If done correctly, the character will very quickly land back on the platform it dropped from before.


When used with aerial attacks that have little lag, a drop cancelled aerial attack can lead to lethal combos due to the incredibly small amount of lag. Normally quickly performed aerials have long airtime, since they're done when the character is rising up. Drop cancel completely cuts that lag. In Melee, regular platform drop includes 4 starting frames of crouching before the character becomes aerial and aerial attack can be done. Thus the startup of a drop cancel aerial via regular drop is similar to jump aerial, or even longer with characters that have shortest jump squat, such as Fox. With shield drop, s character becomes aerial immediately and can therefore attack on 2nd aerial frame. Thus drop cancels out of shield drop can be done even faster than jump aerials. However point blank shield drops usually require a setup that loses that speed advantage.

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.

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[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.

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.

Example 3

Applicable attacks in Brawl[edit]

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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]

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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.
Ryu Hadoken Shakunetsu Hadoken can be drop cancelled using a 4122 → 36B input.
Tatsumaki Senpukyaku Snaps to the grounded version, works as one would expect.
Shoryuken Snaps to the grounded version.
Ken Hadoken Exactly the same as Ryu's in context.
Tatsumaki Senpukyaku The same as Ryu's in context, only the window is significantly smaller. Tends to transition to the aerial version.
Shoryuken Similar to Ryu's, but fallouts happen quite often.
Nata Otoshi Geri Difficult to perform with little utility.
Oosoto Mawashi Geri Can be drop cancelled using a 4122 → 36B input, little utility.
Corrin Dragon Lunge Hitbox can come out on frames 3 to 4, which helps with landing the tipper hitbox near the edge of platforms, such as on Battlefield.[1]
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.
Terry Burning Knuckle Very viable, and can be used to keep the usual arc rather than using Tiger Knee. Mainly designed for allowing grounded command specials to be used without falling through platforms.
Crack Shoot Mainly designed for allowing grounded command specials to be used without falling through platforms. Since Crack Shoot isn't restricted to platforms, it's much more viable with drop cancelling compared to Burning Knuckle, which leaves Terry extremely vulnerable if it fails to connect.
Power Dunk Full move comes out with little difference to the grounded version. On Battlefield, it will travel to the top platform if used from the left or right ones as usual. Command inputs can be used to initiate the tech, but it is fairly difficult.
Buster Wolf Same as Burning Knuckle, only it can't travel off of platforms at all, making its utility questionable at best.
Power Geyser Very tight, but made easier by Terry's unique 11 frame platform drop animation. Can be used to reposition Power Geyser's hitbox below the platform if done late.

External links[edit]