Freezing, also known as ice, is an attack effect in the Super Smash Bros. series, which debuted in Super Smash Bros. Melee and has appeared in every subsequent game. It causes a character to be encased in ice while taking knockback, preventing them from taking action for a certain amount of time in replacement of the hitstun they would usually experience.
Freezing attacks are boosted by Freezing Attack stickers in Super Smash Bros. Brawl's The Subspace Emissary and the Support Spirit skill Water & Ice Attack ↑, as well as certain Spirit Battle conditions in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. In Ultimate, the Spirit skill or trait Water/Freezing Resist ↑ weakens freezing attacks. The Support Spirit skill Ice-Floor Immunity prevents the equipped fighter from being frozen or being damaged by Spirit Battle ice floors, but does not affect the damage the player takes from freezing attacks.
In all games, a freezing attack needs to inflict knockback of at least 52.5 units to freeze the target, which matches the minimum knockback required to trigger their heavy flinching animation. When a character gets frozen, their knockback is calculated as usual, but they decelerate slower as they fly away (with a launch speed decay of 0.03 per frame, down from 0.051), and their falling speed is reduced (by 0.7× from Brawl onward), giving them significantly floatier physics and causing them to cover a longer distance. While frozen, characters also take 0.5× damage and 0.25× knockback from subsequent attacks, hindering the effectiveness of KO setups against frozen opponents, with even powerful meteor smashes dealing negligible knockback. Frozen characters cannot be grabbed.
In Melee, being hit by a freezing attack causes a variation of the ping sound to play; only those that deal high enough knockback, such as the Freezie and Articuno's attack, use the actual ping sound. From Brawl onward, freezing attacks use their own sound effects, with the exception of Mr. Game & Watch's Judge #8.
The amount of frames characters are frozen for is determined differently across games, though in all of them, the damage inflicted by the freezing attack is a factor, and it is altered by both button mashing from the victim's part and dealing damage to them while frozen. Additionally, remaining freeze time will begin decaying immediately, even during hitlag, meaning that non-projectile ice attacks effectively have a lower frame advantage. In Melee, the formula for the initial freeze time is
In Ultimate, freeze time has undergone significant changes. The new formula for the initial freeze time is
In all games, a frozen character automatically jumps after thawing out, canceling out most of their remaining launch speed, and can perform other actions immediately (except in Melee, where they sustain 16 frames of ending lag), though their horizontal momentum is still temporarily locked. Additionally, they are protected from subsequent freezing attempts for 60 frames after thawing out.
Overall, freezing is unreliable for conventional combos and KO setups compared to other status conditions, due to the opponent's greatly reduced damage and knockback taken during it, as well as lacking any frame advantage when they thaw out. However, it can still be a useful way to build damage, due to button mashing's relatively weak effect on it causing characters to usually remain frozen for a prolonged amount of time. In Ultimate, Lucas' PK Freeze is also notorious for launching at a low angle that is strengthened in effectiveness by its freezing effect, causing characters to fly much farther than usual due to their combination of reduced launch speed decay and longer immobile time, which makes it an excellent edgeguarding and horizontal KO option.
The Subspace Emissary
Freezing is one of the more useful effects in The Subspace Emissary: it deals extra damage to flame-based enemies and about half of the bosses, and is only specifically resisted by Glices. However, it cannot cause non-fighter enemies to freeze, and attacks with the freezing effect are rare and almost exclusively indirect, which most enemies and bosses resist; Judge is the only non-indirect freezing attack available in The Subspace Emissary, and it can only be used at random.
List of freezing attacks
By enemies and bosses
By stage hazards
In addition to natural stage hazards, the Spirit Battle condition "The floor is frozen" creates a hazard that inflicts freezing damage.