A grab aerial (空中ワイヤー, Midair wire; also known as a grab air or zair) is an aerial attack that utilizes a character's extended grab implement in the air. Link, Samus, Young Link, Lucas, Zero Suit Samus, and Toon Link are the only characters with this ability, though Lucas's grab air doesn't do any damage in Brawl. Grab airs are performed simply by pressing the grab button while in the air or, in the same way as grabs, by holding a shield button and then pressing an attack button; the latter option allows the grab air to cancel air dodges, allowing for aerial punishing. Grab airs can work as a tether recovery, or a wall-grapple in Melee.
Grab airs inflict little damage and have very little KO potential. However, they have long range, and can be used to surprise an opponent. A short hop followed by a grab air can be useful for spacing. They are also considerably more useful in Brawl and Smash 4 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. In all three games, characters with it can cancel an air dodge with zair, which in Brawl and SSB4, allows one to zair or tether recovery without dropping a held item. Another difference between Melee and the other two games is that zairs do not cause a character to go into a helpless state in Brawl and SSB4, allowing for repeated usage more easily, as well as being able to safely use the move off of the stage.
In Brawl, if a character uses their grab air right before getting Star KO'd, the KO blast will be seen with the usual colourful explosion seen on other blast lines, and it will be facing upwards off the screen.
In Smash 4, all zairs 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 zairs to cancel air dodges is riskier close to the ground.
List of grab airs
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