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 (in all games except Ultimate), Samus, Dark Samus, Young Link, Lucas, Zero Suit Samus (in Smash 4 and Ultimate), Toon Link, and Luigi (in Ultimate) are the only characters with this ability, though Lucas's grab aerial deals no damage in Brawl. Grab aerials 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; prior to Ultimate, the latter option allows the grab aerial to cancel air dodges, allowing for aerial punishing. All grab aerials except Luigi's can work as a tether recovery, or a wall-grapple in Melee.
Despite their name and means of input, grab aerials cannot be used to grab opponents, and instead strike them directly. While these inflict little damage and have very little KO potential, they have long range that makes them useful for spacing, especially after a short hop. Their generally high speed can also be used to surprise an opponent. They are 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 a grab aerial, which in Brawl and SSB4, allows one to use a grab aerial or tether recovery without dropping a held item. Another difference between Melee and the other two games is that grab aerials 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 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, and it will be facing upwards off the screen, though the blast is 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 close to the ground.
List of grab aerials