From SmashWiki, the Super Smash Bros. wiki
Super Smash Bros. series
Mario grabbing Donkey Kong in SSB.
Mario grabbing Diddy Kong in Brawl.

A grab (つかみ/掴み, Grab, grasp, grip or catch) is the action of grabbing and holding an opponent. Regular grabs are performed by pressing either the shield and attack buttons simultaneously (as implied by the games' How to Play sequence), or a specific grab button, which is (by default for Brawl and Smash 4) the R button for the N64 controller, Z button for the Gamecube controller, Minus button for the standalone Wii Remote, D-Pad sideways for the Wii Remote and Nunchuk, L button for the Nintendo 3DS, L and ZR for the New Nintendo 3DS, ZL or ZR for the Classic Controller, Wii U Pro Controller and Wii U GamePad, L or R for the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller or dual Joy-Cons and SL on a sideways Joy-Con. Once grabbed, a character can be thrown by tilting the Control Stick in any of the four standard directions (only forward and back in the first Super Smash Bros.), or pummeled from Melee onward with the attack or grab button.

A grabbed character will automatically escape after a certain amount of time depending on their damage; characters at higher damage percentages will be held for longer. SSB has no grab releases excluding Donkey Kong's forward throw, which must be manually imposed by the opponent: other grabs will automatically make the grabber use their forward throw after holding the foe for a full second. Damage inflicted upon the grabbed character will increase grab time, and any button input by the grabbed character will decrease grab time.

If a character fails to grab a foe, they will suffer a considerable amount of lag, with most characters getting about 25 frames of lag after their grab hitbox comes out. The lag can also be longer if a dash grab or pivot grab is used, and characters with extended grabs have significantly longer ending lag for all of their grabs, with most of them exceeding 60 frames (a full second). In Super Smash Bros., though, grabs are significantly faster in both startup and ending lag; all characters except Link, Samus, and Yoshi (who suffer as much lag as in the sequels) are able to perform up to four grabs in one second. Computer players at high levels use grabs conspicuously, often using dash grabs to approach in Melee, shield grabbing to punish foes in Brawl, and grabbing foes that come close to them in Smash 4. Grabs can be avoided by intangibility, such as from dodges.


An important property of grabs is that they cannot be shielded, completely ignoring a foe's shield and grabbing them out of it; in comparison to other unblockable attacks, grabs are available to the entirety of the cast in all Smash games, preventing foes from overusing their shields against any character. This, along with grabs' generally fast startup, their ability to easily punish out of shield, and most throws allowing the player to execute diverse combos and chains, causes them to be used very prominently in competitive play, constituting the neutral game of characters as a triangle in which grabs beat shields, but are beaten by attacks as they are outranged by them. Grabs also ignore moves that conceptually block attacks, such as those that provide armor and most counterattacks, though they do not work against foes knocked down on the floor (with the only exception being in the original Super Smash Bros.). In Smash 4 and Ultimate, characters also gain invulnerability to grabs for 70 frames after being released from them, preventing chaingrabs and team wobbles; in Ultimate, this is indicated by the released character flashing yellow whilst the grab invulnerability is active.

Grab hitboxes react very interestingly throughout the Super Smash Bros. series when they collide with a regular hitbox that is within a character's grab range. In Super Smash Bros. and Melee, the grab has priority over the hitbox and will completely override whatever hitbox it collided with and grab the opponent; in Brawl, the grab still has priority over the hitbox, but the hitbox will deal full damage to the character that attempted the grab before they proceed to grab the opponent. In Smash 4, however, hitboxes outprioritize grabs; in this situation, the character that attempted the grab will receive full damage and knockback from the hitbox that the grab collided with, and the character that threw out the hitbox will be grab released and take 3% damage (or more if the grab came from a special move and the grab itself dealt damage, like the beginning of Falcon Dive).

Hitting a character with a grabbed foe in Super Smash Bros. causes them to make their hard-damage noise. From Melee onward, if a character grabbing another character is interrupted (that is, hit by an attack), the grabbed character will be sent flying horizontally. In Melee, characters oddly cannot escape from grabs if they are constantly hit by other characters at certain intervals, which is the main cause of wobbling.

In Ultimate, if two players attempt to grab each other at the same time, both players will take minor damage and will perform their grab release animation. This is similar to the 3% damage grab break effect from Smash 4, but affects both characters like a clang. Before Ultimate, port priority was used to determine which fighter's grab was successful in the event of simultaneous grabs colliding.

A particular character can grab only one opponent at once, and similarly, a grabbed character cannot be grabbed by another one before being thrown or released. Prior to Ultimate, the Ice Climbers are able to grab two opponents at once, with Popo grabbing one and Nana grabbing the other. In Melee, when the trailing Ice Climber grabs an opponent, he or she will act independently, being CPU-controlled. In Brawl, the partner is directly controlled by the player during the grab, enabling zero-to-death combos as each Ice Climber re-grabs the opponent immediately after the partner's throw. In Ultimate, the trailing Ice Climber cannot grab at all, and does not act while the leader is grabbing and throwing an opponent.

In game modes such as the Subspace Emissary and Smash Run, most enemies which are vulnerable to attacks can be grabbed, pummeled, and thrown.


Dash grab[edit]

From Melee onward, characters attempting a grab while dashing will perform a variation known as a dash grab: in comparison to regular grabs, dash grabs usually have longer range and conserve some of the dash's momentum, allowing them to be used reliably against foes at mid-close range, but also have longer ending lag when not grabbing a foe, making them punishable if overused. Every character uses a different, more sluggish animation for dash grabs. Tether recoveries on the other hand are barely changed when used as dash grabs: for example, Link's dash grab keeps very little momentum from his dash in comparison to other characters, while Samus's is quicker than her normal grab but has less reach (about half in Melee). Dash grabs were not present in SSB; instead, the dashing character grabs as usual, negating some momentum of the dash (depending on the character's traction). In Brawl and Smash 4, dash grabs that give the character a significant boost forward, such as those of Meta Knight in the former game and Captain Falcon in the latter, conserve some of the momentum when dash grabbing foes: this can also drop them off edges in some instances.

Jump-canceled grab[edit]

In Melee, grabs can cancel the squat animation that characters undergo before jumping; since jumps can be performed at any time while dashing, this allows normal grabs to be still used after a dash. Jump-canceled grabs are as such often preferred over dash grabs due to their shorter ending lag, since they retain almost as much momentum from a dash as them. From Brawl onward, this ability was removed, preserving the intended purpose of dash grabs.

Pivot grab[edit]

Introduced in Brawl, a pivot grab is performed by dashing in a direction, then tilting the Control stick in the opposite direction and inputting a grab. This results in the character pivoting and performing a grab with longer reach than both a character's standing grab and dash grab, and may be useful in varying one's approach. The animation for pivot grabs is also slightly different. Pivot grabs tend to have more startup than both standing and dash grabs, and more ending lag than standing grabs but less than dash grabs.

Bonuses in Melee[edit]

  • All Thumbs (-1500 points): Missed 4 or more dash grabs.
  • Butterfingers (-500 points): Most attempted grabs failed.
  • Cuddly Bear (2000 points): Grabbed foes 3 or more times without pummeling or throwing them.
  • Pitcher (6000 points): Fought using only grabs and throws.

Special attacks as grabs[edit]

Some special attacks technically function as grabs (colloquially known as command grabs). When their hitboxes are viewed with Melee's Debug Menu, these attacks use the same magenta hitbox color as standard grabs.

  • Bowser's Koopa Klaw (can grab in the air or at close range on the ground, can only throw forward or backward, no invincibility frames); Melee only
  • Bowser's Flying Slam (can grab and sacrificial KO opponents); replaces Koopa Klaw from Brawl onwards
  • Yoshi's Egg Lay (traps opponent in an egg, opponent takes half damage until they escape)
  • Kirby and King Dedede's Inhale (Traps opponent inside Kirby or Dedede, opponent can wriggle to affect movement. King Dedede's is noticeably more powerful.)
    • Using Inhale, Kirby can also copy Egg Lay, Chomp, Blunderbuss, as well as King Dedede's Inhale.
  • Captain Falcon's and Ganondorf's up special moves (grabs opponent in air and propels them away; can be done repeatedly if it connects the first time)
  • Ganondorf's Flame Choke from Brawl onwards (grabs opponent and slams them into the ground)
  • Wario's Chomp (bites opponent several times, then spits them out)
  • Lucario's Force Palm (grabs and throws forwards after about a second, cannot grab in midair or at long range)
  • Diddy Kong's Monkey Flip (latches onto an opponent, can either attack or jump into the enemy to release, or let go)
  • Mewtwo's Confusion at close range (grabs the opponent, spins them around, and drops them)
  • Mii Brawler's Suplex (grabs opponent and slams them behind the Brawler)
  • Robin's Nosferatu (traps opponents and damages them while healing Robin)
  • Ridley's Space Pirate Rush (grabs opponent, drags them across the ground, and throws them; can be ended early by jumping)
  • King K. Rool's Blunderbuss (sucks opponent in at close range can be thrown forwards, backwards, diagonally, or upwards)
  • Isabelle's Fishing Rod (throws out line, if the hook connects with a non-shielding opponent, the opponent is hooked and reeled in, then throws them in one of four directions)
  • Incineroar's Alolan Whip (grabs opponent, and throws them into wrestling ring ropes, and reacts in three different ways based on when Incineroar attacks when the opponent rebounds back to him)
  • Joker's Grappling Hook (throws out line diagonally upwards, if the hook connects, the opponent is pulled closer in then thrown, cannot grab opponents already in hitstun)

Tether grabs[edit]

Some grabs also have a significantly large reach, and from Melee onward can function as a recovery technique when used in midair; by pressing the grab button in midair, certain characters will extend a long-range grappling item, an action known as a grab aerial or z-air. When used on the ground, these grabs have the longest range, but they have a lot of ending lag if the grab does not connect (lasting more than 60 frames). Tether grabs cannot grab midair opponents in Melee and Brawl, but this was changed by Smash 4. In Melee, if a grab aerial connects with a wall, the character will hang from that wall and can press a button to be pulled up to where the end of the grab connected, allowing for second and third jumps to recover; this is known as a wall-grapple. In Brawl and Smash 4, they will be instead shot to the nearest edge, making them tether recoveries. These include:

In addition, there are several other ranged grabs, although they cannot be used as tether recoveries:

  • Yoshi's tongue.
  • Olimar's Pikmin, which dash forward and do the grabbing and throwing for him, allowing throws to be completed even if he is hit out of the grab - although this doesn't apply before a throw is input. (Olimar's up special in Brawl is already a tether recovery.)
  • Zero Suit Samus's Plasma Whip in Brawl (cannot be used as a grab aerial, since her side and up specials are already tether recoveries).
  • Ivysaur's vines (one special is already a tether recovery).
  • Villager's net.
  • Pac-Man's tractor beam from Galaga.
  • Luigi's Poltergust G-00 in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (has a grab aerial).

Grabs in the original Super Smash Bros.[edit]

The physics of grabbing were heavily altered between the original Super Smash Bros. and Melee. In SSB, a grab always lasts the same amount of time. Once the time is up, a forward throw automatically takes place. Grabs cannot be escaped in SSB unless someone is hit hard enough, and only two throws (forward and back) exist. Pummeling does not exist; pressing any button results in a forward throw. The strength of throws in general is significantly higher than in the later games, dealing damage comparable to air attacks and often KOing around 100%.

Grab frame data in SSB[edit]

This is the first frame on which the grab hitboxes come out for the whole cast.

Character Grab
Mario 6
Luigi 6
Yoshi 15
Donkey Kong 6
Captain Falcon 6
Fox 6
Ness 6
Kirby 6
Samus 20
Link 17
Pikachu 6
Jigglypuff 6

Initial grab range in Melee[edit]

Yoshi's grab range compared to Marth's. Note that Marth's grab only succeeds due the large hurtbox of Yoshi's nose.

Melee grab ranges by character according to Mew2King's webpage.

  1. Samus
  2. Link
  3. Young Link
  4. Marth
  5. Roy
  6. Yoshi
  7. Kirby
  8. Sheik
  9. Zelda
  10. Falco
  11. Jigglypuff
  12. Mewtwo
  13. Peach
  14. Fox
  15. Luigi
  16. Donkey Kong
  17. Ice Climbers
  18. Mr. Game & Watch
  19. Ganondorf
  20. Captain Falcon
  21. Mario / Dr. Mario
  22. Bowser
  23. Pichu
  24. Ness
  25. Pikachu

Grab frame data in Melee[edit]

This is the first frame on which the grab hitboxes come out for the whole cast.

Character Standing grab Dash grab
Dr. Mario 7 11
Mario 7 11
Luigi 7 11
Bowser 9 10
Peach 7 7
Yoshi 18 11
Donkey Kong 8 10
Captain Falcon 7 11
Ganondorf 7 11
Falco 7 12
Fox 7 12
Ness 8 10
Ice Climbers 7 7
Kirby 7 11
Samus 18 18
Zelda 12 12
Sheik 7 8
Link 11 12
Young Link 11 14
Pichu 7 11
Pikachu 7 11
Jigglypuff 7 11
Mewtwo 7 9
Mr. Game & Watch 7 11
Marth 7 10
Roy 7 10

Initial grab range in Brawl[edit]

Tether grabs[edit]

  1. Olimar's Blue Pikmin 10.1
  2. Olimar's White Pikmin 10.0
  3. Zero Suit Samus, Olimar's Red Pikmin 9.75
  4. Olimar's Yellow Pikmin 9.6
  5. Samus: 9.2-9.4
  6. Link: 8.25
  7. Olimar's Purple Pikmin: 7.5
  8. Lucas: 7.25
  9. Toon Link: 7
  10. Yoshi: 6.75
  11. Ivysaur: 6.1

Non-tether grabs[edit]

None of these characters' grabs are longer than the tether-grabbers, although King Dedede's is very close to surpassing Ivysaur's.

  1. King Dedede: 6
  2. Charizard: 5.5
  3. Zelda: 5.3
  4. Donkey Kong: 5.1
  5. Squirtle: 5
  6. Marth, Diddy Kong , Snake: 4.75
  7. Kirby, R.O.B.. 4.5
  8. Peach, Fox, Falco, Ness 4.25
  9. Wario: 4.1
  10. Bowser, Pit, Meta Knight, Jigglypuff, Ike, Sonic: 4
  11. Pikachu, Sheik: 3.9
  12. Lucario: 3.75
  13. Wolf, Ice Climbers, Mario, Luigi, Mr. Game & Watch: 3.5
  14. Captain Falcon 3.25
  15. Ganondorf: 2.75

Grab frame data in Brawl[edit]

This is the first frame on which the grabs hit for the whole cast. [1]

Character Standing grab Dash grab Pivot grab
Mario 6 12 11
Luigi 6 12 11
Peach 6 6 13
Bowser 9 10 9
Donkey Kong 8 10 10
Diddy Kong 6 10 8
Yoshi 17 11 10
Wario 6 10 8
Link 12 14 15
Zelda 12 11 14
Sheik 6 7 8
Ganondorf 7 11 10
Toon Link 12 14 15
Samus 17 17 19
Zero Suit Samus 16 16 16
Pit 6 10 9
Ice Climbers 6 8 8
R.O.B. 6 9 10
Kirby 6 10 10
Meta Knight 6 8 7
King Dedede 6 9 7
Olimar 11 11 11
Fox 6 11 9
Falco 6 11 9
Wolf 6 11 9
Captain Falcon 7 11 16
Pikachu 6 9 10
Squirtle 6 8 9
Ivysaur 13 13 13
Charizard 6 8 10
Lucario 6 8 9
Jigglypuff 6 10 10
Marth 6 9 9
Ike 7 12 9
Ness 6 8 6
Lucas 13 16 15
Mr. Game & Watch 6 9 10
Snake 8 11 9
Sonic 6 10 10

Initial grab range in Smash 4[edit]

Tether grabs[edit]

  1. Samus
  2. Zero Suit Samus
  3. Link
  4. Olimar's White Pikmin
  5. Toon Link
  6. Olimar's Red, Yellow and Blue Pikmin
  7. Pac-Man
  8. Yoshi
  9. Lucas
  10. Olimar's Purple Pikmin
  11. Villager

Non-tether grabs[edit]

  1. Greninja
  2. Donkey Kong
  3. Bowser
  4. Palutena
  5. Bowser Jr.
  6. Duck Hunt, Zelda
  7. Lucario
  8. Charizard, Rosalina
  9. King Dedede
  10. Bayonetta, Dr. Mario, Shulk
  11. Luigi, Mario, Mii Gunner, Mii Swordfighter
  12. Corrin, Dark Pit, Falco, Lucina, Marth, Pit
  13. Diddy Kong, Ness
  14. Captain Falcon, Mega Man, Mewtwo, Wario
  15. Sonic
  16. Mii Brawler, Mr. Game & Watch, Peach, Robin, Roy, Wii Fit Trainer
  17. Fox, Pikachu
  18. Ike, Ryu
  19. Ganondorf, Kirby, Sheik
  20. Meta Knight
  21. Cloud, Little Mac
  22. Jigglypuff
  23. R.O.B.

Grab frame data in Smash 4[edit]

This is the first frame on which the grabs hit for the whole cast.

Character Standing grab Dash grab Pivot grab
Mario 6 8 9
Luigi 6 8 9
Peach 6 8 10
Bowser 9 10 11
Yoshi 14 11 10
Rosalina 6 8 9
Bowser Jr. 12 13 12
Wario 8 8 8
Donkey Kong 8 10 11
Diddy Kong 6 8 9
Mr. Game & Watch 6 9 10
Little Mac 9 10 11
Link 12 14 15
Zelda 10 11 11
Sheik 6 8 9
Ganondorf 7 11 10
Toon Link 12 14 15
Samus 16 16 17
Zero Suit Samus 16 16 17
Pit 6 10 9
Palutena 7 9 10
Marth 7 8 9
Ike 7 10 11
Robin 7 8 9
Duck Hunt 8 10 10
Kirby 6 8 10
King Dedede 7 9 10
Meta Knight 7 9 9
Fox 6 10 11
Falco 8 10 11
Pikachu 6 8 9
Charizard 8 10 11
Lucario 6 8 9
Jigglypuff 6 8 9
Greninja 11 9 15
R.O.B. 7 9 11
Ness 6 8 10
Captain Falcon 7 9 12
Villager 15 16 17
Olimar 10 10 10
Wii Fit Trainer 6 9 10
Shulk 7 9 10
Dr. Mario 6 8 9
Dark Pit 6 8 9
Lucina 7 8 9
Pac-Man 12 12 12
Mega Man 6 8 9
Sonic 6 10 10
Mewtwo 7 9 10
Lucas 12 14 12
Roy 7 8 9
Ryu 6 8 9
Cloud 7 10 11
Corrin 7 8 9
Bayonetta 7 9 10
Mii Brawler 6 8 9
Mii Swordfighter 6 8 9
Mii Gunner 6 8 9
Giga Bowser 8 9 8
Wario-Man 8 8 8
Giga Mac 9 10 11
Mega Lucario 6 8 9

Initial grab range in Ultimate[edit]

Tether grabs[edit]

Non-tether grabs[edit]

Grab frame data in Ultimate[edit]

Character Standing grab Dash grab Pivot grab
Banjo & Kazooie N/A N/A N/A
Bowser 8 11 12
Bowser Jr.
Captain Falcon
Chrom 7 8 9
Daisy 6 9 10
Dark Pit 6 9 10
Dark Samus
Diddy Kong
Donkey Kong
Dr. Mario
Duck Hunt
Fox 6 10 11
Ganondorf 8 11 12
Hero N/A N/A N/A
Ice Climbers
Ike 7 10 11
Incineroar 8 12 13
King Dedede
Little Mac
Mega Man
Meta Knight
Mii Brawler
Mii Gunner
Mii Swordfighter
Mr. Game & Watch
Piranha Plant
Toon Link
Wii Fit Trainer 6 9 10
Young Link
Zero Suit Samus


  • In SSB and Melee, characters cannot be grabbed by their lower legs or lower arms (in general); the grab bubbles must make contact with a more substantial part of their body. This behaviour does not appear to exist in later games.
  • In SSB and Melee, characters hanging on ledges cannot be grabbed, but in Brawl and SSB4 they can. This can be done if a certain character's grab animation is low enough to be able to grab a character hanging from a ledge if the latter character's head is above the ledge. An example video for SSB4 can be seen here.
  • In NTSC versions of Melee, it is possible to extend Samus's grab to nearly x2.5 its usual reach by using a special input combination. When this is done, her grapple beam also homes in on enemies if the L button is held, being the only tether grab able to do so, but only grabs enemies if the A button is pressed when the tip connects, and still cannot affect aerial opponents. This affects both her normal grab and dash grab, though not her grab aerial.
  • In Brawl, it is not possible to grab an opponent that is standing behind the grabber, even if the grab makes contact with a part of the target's body that extends in front of them. In the previous two games, grabs will connect regardless of the opponent's position.
  • Grabs are the only non-special moves to not cause the player's controller to rumble (should the feature be turned on) when used, only doing so if the grab connects with an opponent.

See also[edit]


Ads keep SmashWiki independent and free :)