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 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 KO'd off the upper blast line, 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, though the blast is small and incomplete.

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[edit]

  • Link's Hookshot 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 possesses an aerial grab in Ultimate, due to it not returning in Breath of the Wild (which is the basis for his current design), even though both of his doppelgängers still have it (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.
  • Luigi - In Ultimate, Luigi tosses out the hose of the Poltergust 5000. It can damage opponents like all other grab aerials, but it is the only one that cannot tether to ledges.
  • Samus - Grapple Beam. Considered to be Samus' best spacing move in Brawl. In Melee, it can be canceled by dropping Bombs in the NTSC version.
  • Toon Link - Shoots his Hookshot forwards. Short range compared to Link and Samus' zairs, although due to its short height, it's easier to hit grounded opponents. Very useful for setting up an up smash.
  • Young Link - Shoots his Hookshot forwards. Useful spacing tool. An interesting fact about this is that in Melee has the same model as Link's (like his grab), making it look a little bit large when used by him.
  • 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.


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