Luigi Cyclone is similar to the Mario Tornado in that it involves Luigi spinning around wildly with arms outstretched and finishes with a full-body stretching bash. It is different from the Mario Tornado, however, because there are only two hits (prior to Brawl). To add, Luigi closes his eyes in fear when using the move (not in Smash 4).
It can be used as a recovery move by button-mashing the special button. For vertical distance, this works best after a jump in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, because the move carries Luigi's momentum with it, but if used while falling, it will be much more difficult to gain height.
It is generally perceived as being very difficult to get the full height due to the number of times the player needs to push the special button during the animation, especially in Melee compared to his brother's version. This move does not put Luigi into a helpless state, so the player can use the Super Jump Punch or Green Missile after.
In the original Super Smash Bros., there are a total of two hits during the move: one at the beginning (when Luigi curls up and begins to spin), and one at the end (when Luigi sends out his hands), which deals 15% and 18% damage, respectively, with the latter dealing significantly more knockback than the former. Only one of the hitboxes can hit a particular enemy with a use of the move, however, acting more like a sex kick. The first incarnation of the move is not as difficult to use as a recovery move as the one in Melee, but is slightly more difficult than in Brawl. Otherwise, it is almost the same as Mario Tornado (except that Luigi can move sideways slightly while using it), but can rise as high as Mario with the move. For a sure hit, it is mostly used to attack an airborne enemy from above by rising. It is usually considered Luigi's other main KO'ing move outside of his Super Jump Punch.
In Melee, Luigi Cyclone is Luigi's primary vertical recovery as long as the player has very quick tap speed, though if used in midair, it's possible to halt falling speed for a short time with decent horizontal movement. There are a total of 2 hits like in Smash 64, with one right at the beginning and one in the end, though the hits can now link each other, and Luigi has a much better sideways movement when the attack is used on the ground. This version of the cyclone has the best combo ability, but very low KO or gimp potential. If the Cyclone is used at the peak of Luigi's mid-air jump, it is much easier to gain height. However, unlike other Smash games, the Cyclone needs to be "charged" by having it finished or interrupted on the ground. It is also by far the hardest Cyclone to successfully maneuver, with only people with very fast tap frequence being able to do it correctly. It takes around twice the hand speed as a jumpless Rising Cyclone from Brawl. It is also a very quick out of shield move that can be used for approaches. It is a primary combo starter versus fast fallers or heavyweights. The first hit deals 8% damage, and the second deals 12% with stronger knockback (or 10% due to stale-move negation).
The height gained from the cyclone depends on how many times the player presses B during the startup animation:
Curiously, with certain combinations of characters, controller ports (only works for the player in the higher port), and stages, the Cyclone may start already charged. The full list of combinations (for the NTSC version) can be found here. In the PAL version it seems to only work for the player with the lower port, independent of character choice and on the stages Fountain of Dreams, Pokémon Stadium, Icicle Mountain, Onett, Big Blue and Poké Floats.
In Brawl, Luigi uses the Cyclone in a slightly different way. This time, his hands are extended with his palms facing up to make him more resemble a helicopter propeller, and his arms during the full-body bash stretch are extended more horizontally. While still able to travel across a stage surface very quickly, Brawl's Luigi Cyclone has more hits than Melee's (with no vacuum effect compared to Mario's version), less power, and is very good at gimping certain characters. The first four hits deal 2% damage with a semi-spike angle for each, with the last hit doing 4% damage with a vertical angle and high base knockback. The vertical recovery distance is now much easier to perform than its Melee counterpart, making it much more versatile. It has less vertical distance than the version from Smash 64 but has the most horizontal distance of all three games. The Cyclone gains the most vertical momentum in midair when implemented just after a jump, a property shared with Green Missile. Combining these two techniques with the standard recovery move (jumped GM→double-jumped Cyclone→Super Jump Punch) allow for dramatic aerial movement and recovery improvement. The Brawl Cyclone is also one of the better moves Luigi has to approach and bait. There are a few main techniques using the Cyclone in Brawl:
In Smash 4, Luigi Cyclone has similar traits to its Brawl incarnation, but its use for recovery has been made less viable; it gains less vertical recovery distance, and it becomes as difficult as in Melee to mash to gain height if Luigi does not jump before using it or is not suffering hitlag from actually hitting opponents with it. In turn, the last hit of Luigi Cyclone has much stronger vertical knockback, and can KO at around 130% when closer to the upper blast line, however it deals 3% less damage to compensate for this, now dealing 9%. It was commonly used as a finisher after down throw before the 1.1.1 patch. Aesthetically, Luigi no longer closes his eyes in fear, instead keeping his eyes and mouth open. It can no longer semi-spike due to utilizing the autolink angle (though this makes the hits connect better) but in the air, if the penultimate hit connects and the final hit does not, the opponent will be sent downwards with deceptively high hitstun, making it a decent gimping option.
In Ultimate, Luigi Cyclone gains almost no vertical distance, and as such its recovery is now horizontal only and it is no longer possible to gimp opponents with the move. However, update 2.0.0 buffed the move as an attack by increasing its knockback, making it a more reliable follow-up from his down throw. It is also given invincibility during the first few frames of the move (frames 4-8 on grounded version and frames 1-7 on aerial version). As of update 3.0.1, a technique has been found involving Luigi Cyclone where if Luigi uses the move at the edge of a platform and at the final frame of invincibility moves away from the platform, the invincibility will last for the entire duration of the move. This technique has been dubbed the "Super Cyclone", and can be used to avoid punishments for using the move and to edgeguard opponents. This technique has been removed since 3.1.0.
Special Move customization was added in Super Smash Bros. 4. These are the variations:
The Luigi Cyclone is likely based on the Spin Jump that originated in Super Mario World. The Spin Jump has lower vertical range than Luigi's jump but deals more damage, can jump on hazardous enemies, and can break rotating blocks. In Super Mario Galaxy, both Mario and Luigi have a spinning attack very similar to the Mario Tornado and Luigi Cyclone. The spinning attack from Super Mario Galaxy made them gain some vertical height when used in the air, just like Luigi Cyclone and Mario Tornado, although in Super Mario Galaxy the spin acted more like a double jump.