A neutral attack (弱攻撃), often referred to as a jab (and officially standard attack or weak attack before Super Smash Bros. Ultimate), is the most basic attack a character can perform. It is performed by pressing the attack button while standing on the ground, with no input from the control stick. Typically, neutral attacks are fast, short-ranged, weak attacks meant for easy close-range punishes or escaping pressure.
Almost all neutral attacks in the series are natural combos: a type of attack with multiple stages which lead directly into each other. Just after the first attack is thrown, pressing the attack button again – regardless of whether the first attack connected – will result in an immediate follow-up attack. Certain natural combos also have a third stage, with a few that have a fourth stage. Mario's iconic neutral attack, a simple punch-punch-kick combo, is a well-known example of a three-stage neutral attack.
From Brawl onwards, holding the attack button instead of pressing it for the first hit of certain neutral attacks will cause the character to continually perform the first attack at a very high speed until it hits an opponent. This property is known as consecutiveness, and can be a helpful way to ensure an opponent will be hit by a jab without requiring strict timing. Additionally, when a neutral attack connects, regardless of whether it possesses consecutiveness, the next stages can be activated by simply holding the button, rather than pressing it repeatedly like in the original Super Smash Bros. and Melee.
Types of neutral attacks
Since generally all nonfinal stages of a natural combo have the simple purpose of leading into the final one, most neutral attacks are defined by the nature of their final stage. To this end, there are three types of jab enders:
Characters like Mario, Sonic, and Ness have jabs that end with a simple final hit, launching opponents away. Certain characters with one-hit jabs that are not natural combos, such as Pikachu, Ganondorf, and Roy, fall into this category as well. Because this is by far the most common type of jab, there is not a universally-accepted term for it.
A rapid jab is a constantly-looping flurry of incredibly fast and weak attacks that link into each other. Once this attack is launched, it can be infinitely looped by pressing the attack button repeatedly in SSB and Melee, or by simply holding it from Brawl onward. Despite their infinite nature, rapid jabs can be escaped relatively quickly with proper DI and SDI, especially prior to Smash 4. Later games mitigate this by speeding up the rapid jabs' hit rate and lowering their SDI multipliers (as well as weakening SDI itself), but they instead slightly push the attacker back after landing a certain amount of hits.
The rapid jab ends once the attack button is released. Prior to Smash 4, this causes the character to simply stop attacking – however, from Smash 4 onwards, rapid jabs have a final hit known as a rapid jab finisher that is designed to launch opponents away, and is used once the attack button is released. Since no new button input is made to activate this final hit, it is not its own stage of the natural combo.
A choosable jab is one that can end either in a rapid jab or a standard final hit (which, in the context of a choosable, may be referred to as a Gentleman). The rapid jab is chosen by repeatedly pressing the attack button during the nonfinal hits of the jab – once it is launched, it functions identically to the typical rapid jab. Likewise, the Gentleman is chosen by pressing the attack button less frequently, or by simply holding it once the first hit connects with an opponent.
List of jabs
Consecutiveness only applies from Brawl onward, as the feature did not exist in previous games.
Notable neutral attacks