Flare / Megaflare / Gigaflare
Flare (フレア, Flare) is Sephiroth's neutral special move. In a similar manner to Thunder and Frizz, it can be charged up to Megaflare (メガフレア, Megaflare) and then Gigaflare (ギガフレア, Gigaflare) before being released.
All three versions of the move launch a projectile that travels horizontally. The projectile will explode upon hitting an opponent, the stage, or another projectile, or after travelling a certain distance.
Flare is a red fireball that moves slowly and travels almost the entire length of Final Destination. Charging the move for a short time causes it to become Megaflare, which turns blue and deals more damage and moves faster, but only covers half the distance. Charging even further causes the move to become Gigaflare, a small projectile that results in an large and extremely powerful explosion, though significantly shorter-ranged, barely past melee range. The move can be cancelled during the Flare and Megaflare stages with the shield button, but this simply stops the move; the charge cannot be stored for later.
While moving, the projectile can be reflected and absorbed normally. However, the explosion itself is not considered a projectile and cannot be reflected or absorbed. Spacing is crucial when using a reflector or absorber, as they will not offer any protection against the damaging explosion. Absorbing the projectile will only heal based on damage that the projectile would do. This is most noticeable when absorbing Gigaflare, which does much of its damage through the explosion, thus only healing a minuscule amount. Reflectors, however, will increase the power of both the projectile and explosion. A reflected Gigaflare is strong enough to instantly KO.
Charging Flare is extremely potent at the ledge. When properly spaced and timed, Gigaflare can potentially cover every possible ledge option, often resulting in extremely early kills. Flare and Megaflare can be used against an offstage opponent, as they are both fairly large and travel a good distance. The charge can also be cancelled if the opponent attempts to avoid the projectile for further pressure.
Flare first appeared in Final Fantasy — originally localized under the name NUKE — where it was a high-level Black Magic spell. Despite its name and appearance, it is often listed as a non-elemental spell. However, in Final Fantasy VII, it appears as a fire-elemental spell (which is reflected in its Super Smash Bros. appearance). Safer∙Sephiroth uses Flare in the original Japanese version of Final Fantasy VII; in the English version, this was changed to the similar move Shadow Flare. It can also used by the party by using the Contain Materia.
Megaflare first appeared in Final Fantasy III as an attack used by Bahamut; it has since come to be known as the dragon's signature attack in every game it appears in, often shown as a massive explosion or destructive beam of energy fired from its mouth.
Gigaflare first appeared in Final Fantasy V as Twintania's most powerful attack. It would later appear in Final Fantasy VII as Neo Bahamut's attack, and like Megaflare, would come to be closely associated with more powerful strains of Bahamut, though other monsters like the Archeodemon would have access to it in their repertoire.
Names in other languages