Ganondorf (SSBM)/Back aerial
Ganondorf punches behind him. It is considered to be Ganondorf's best move as well as a contender for the best back aerial in the game due to its plethora of good traits and lack of a big downside to using it, incredibly helping his neutral and punish games. It can be seen as a Knee Smash that is four frames faster, has significantly reduced ending lag, much longer range, around the same power, autocancels in a short hop, lacks a late hit and has twice the amount of active frames as the Knee's clean hit.
In neutral, it is a highly spammable move and arguably the most frequently used move by Ganondorf mains due to its ability to autocancel even if used at the apex of a short hop or at the beggining of a short hop fast fall. This, in conjunction with its huge power (with Zelda's back Lightning Kick being the only back aerial stronger than it), range and lack of a late hit makes it incredibly risky for the opponent to try and whiff punish. One minor issue the move has is with its hitbox placement, as every character except for Mewtwo can duck under a rising back aerial and many others can dash under it, though the Ganondorf player can choose to delay the attack slightly and fast fall to prevent this. On the flipside, the move's hitbox placement makes it effective at shield poking, especially on characters whose shields do not fully cover their heads, such as Marth and Falco. This can especially be taken advantage of if the Ganondorf player has successfully conditioned the opponent to remain in shield, where the fast depletion rate of shields in Melee will make achieving the shield poke easier.
Even a back aerial that doesn't hit the opponent can provide value for Ganondorf, as the move's strength and extreme difficulty to whiff punish plays very well into Ganondorf's archetype of making the opponent fear him. On shield, the move functions similarly to forward aerial, being very difficult to punish out of shield if spaced properly due to their long range and the high shieldstun and shield pushback provided by their high damage. If the Ganondorf player predicts the oponent will shield, the best course of action would be to SHFFL the attack, like they would do with forward aerial, being completely impossible to shield grab if done right, despite the increased landing lag that comes with not autocanceling the attack.
The move also works extremely well as a combo finisher thanks to its high damage output and knockback (making it Ganondorf's best kill move out of his long list of kill moves) and being easy to land. It is typically comboed into from a down throw, which works on most non-space animals if the oponent DIs backwards, and will keep working until the combo becomes a powerful kill confirm. If they DI forwards and are at 106% or higher (where it becomes stronger than forward aerial), a common technique is to quickly turn around so that back aerial can connect. However, for it to actually be stronger than forward aerial, it has to connect with the "fist" hitbox (as the other two have less base knockback), which isn't hard at all due to it having increased priority over the others. It can also be used to finish a down throw chain grab if the oponent DIs backwards.
Overall, Ganondorf's back aerial is considered a key part of his metagame and one of the main reasons why he is not considered to be a low tier character in Melee, as an experienced Ganondorf player can create a seemingly impenetrable wall of back aerials, conditioning the opponent to play more defensively and make more mistakes, which will be brutally taken advantage of with even more back aerials or any of Ganondorf's other powerful attacks.
|L-cancelled animation length