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Grab aerial

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Dark Samus's grab aerial in Ultimate.

A grab aerial (空中ワイヤー, Midair wire; also known as a grab air or zair) is a technique introduced in Super Smash Bros. Melee that allows a character to use their extended grab implement as an aerial attack or tether recovery (wall grapple in Melee). Grab aerials are performed in the same way as grabs, either by simply pressing the grab button while in the air, or by holding a shield button and then pressing an attack button.

Grab aerials quickly extend forward and strike opponents with weak damage and knockback (except Lucas's in Brawl, which doesn't hit opponents). They tend to have more range than other aerials, which makes them useful for spacing (especially out of a short hop) and surprising opponents with their high speed, and are sometimes effective for starting combos. Despite their name and input, grab aerials cannot grab opponents, though attempting one while holding an item will drop the item instead. All grab aerials except Luigi's can be also be used as a tether recovery or wall grapple, though they cause helplessness in Melee if they fail to attach to a wall.

Grab aerials are considerably more useful in Brawl and onward than in Melee due to their lack of ending lag, the absence of L-canceling and the existence (only in Brawl) of the landing lag glitch which affects other attacks. Prior to Ultimate, characters with it can cancel an air dodge with a grab aerial, which in Brawl and SSB4, allows one to use a grab aerial or tether recovery without dropping a held item. Starting in Brawl, grab aerials do not cause a character to go into a helpless state, allowing for repeated usage more easily, as well as being able to safely use the move off of the stage for edge guarding.

In Brawl, if a character uses their grab aerial right before getting KO'd off the upper blast line, the KO blast will be seen with the usual colourful explosion seen on other blast lines, but it will be facing upwards off the screen, and appear small and incomplete.

In Smash 4, all grab aerials have 8 frames of landing lag. If they are used by pressing a shield and attack button at the same time, however, they will instead have the landing lag of an air dodge (which lasts 21 frames); as such, using grab aerials to cancel air dodges is riskier when close to the ground.

List of grab aerials[edit]

  • LinkHookshot and Clawshot. In Melee, it has high lag and low damage, but in Brawl and Smash 4 it can be used to start combos and the ending hit has much more knockback. Combos into a DACUS at moderate percentages. Link no longer has a grab aerial in Ultimate, but both of his doppelgängers still do (see below).
  • Lucas – Thrusts his Rope Snake forward. No damage in Brawl, but can be used to move Lucas a bit faster in the air. In Ultimate, it is involved in a special double jump cancel tech specific to Lucas.
  • Luigi – Performs the Suction Shot, in which he fires a plunger from the Poltergust G-00. It can damage opponents like all other grab aerials, but it is the only one that cannot tether to ledges. Unlike other grab aerials, Luigi's grab aerial acts like a projectile, as the plunger doesn't retract back into the Poltergust and instead stays out and slowly falls down, with its hitbox still active. Exclusive to his appearance in Ultimate.
  • SamusGrapple Beam. Considered to be Samus's best spacing move in Brawl. In Melee, it can be canceled by dropping Bombs in the NTSC version. Quite a strong combo tool in Ultimate thanks to leading into dash attack consistently.
    • Dark Samus also has this move, with identical functionality.
  • Toon Link – Shoots his Hookshot forwards. Short range compared to Link and Samus's grab aerials, although due to its short height, it is easier to hit grounded opponents with. Very useful for setting up an up smash and other options.
  • Young Link – Shoots his Hookshot forwards. Useful spacing tool. Interestingly enough, his Hookshot in Melee shares the same model as Link's (just like his grab), making it look rather large when used by him. In Ultimate, it combos into options such as dash attack.
  • Zero Suit Samus – Shoots her laser whip forward. As a grapple, it behaves almost identically to her Plasma Whip. Can be used for edgeguarding opponents. Does not exist in Brawl.