Master Hand glitch
The Master Hand glitch is a variant of the Name Entry glitch in Super Smash Bros. Melee that allows the player to use and control Master Hand on any stage. It is impossible to use any other non-playable characters through this glitch. Although any player is capable of being Master Hand, only the third player is capable of actually controlling him. Like any other character, Master Hand will appear with a damage percentage meter. Since he takes no knockback at all, he cannot be KO'd except in Stamina Mode. Any options that would affect knockback, such as handicap and damage ratio, will not affect Master Hand at all. There is a subglitch that can be done called the Master Hand Laser glitch.
Performing the glitch
There are two ways to perform the glitch. One requires only one controller; the other requires two.
Method one (one controller)
This method works on all modes except Tournament, but many things freeze the game.
The player must have a controller in slot 3, or Master Hand cannot be controlled. It is much easier to do if there is only one name entered. Using this controller, place the cursor over the name field on the character selection screen. Now press the A and B buttons at the same time, and the player will come to the name selection. Hold the B button, but release the A button, then go down with the cursor until they are over the "name entry field". Then press the A button at the right time. The game should want to go back to the menu, because the player held the B button, but it should also want go to the name entry screen, because they pressed the A button over "name entry". If performed correctly, instead of going to either of these, the game should go to the stage selection screen (or, in Single Player, straight to the game). After selecting the stage, the player will be playing as Master Hand.
Method two (two controllers)
This method is much simpler, but only works in Melee or Special Melee mode. To perform it, simply have two controllers; one as P3 and the second one in any other port. Have the controller that's not player three select a character, and then hover over the back button, while the one in the third port goes to select a name, and have them hover over the name entry button. Both controllers must then hit A at the same time, as to select their option, and if done correctly, the stage select screen will appear (there is very little leeway between selection, less than a second). On whatever stage selected, player 3 will be Master Hand.
These move names are not official.
|+||Jet||Master Hand makes a vaguely plane-like shape meteor smashing a target if in the middle of short hop or recovering (It can be meteor cancelled), then flies into the background. He attempts to fly into the victim, then flies in from the right. 10-30%|
|+||Ram||Master Hand flies off the screen, then appears in the background as a fist. He attempts to slam into a target, then flies back onto the stage from the top of the screen. If a player is in the middle of their jump, they will be meteor smashed, therefore the ram attack cannot KO a grounded player unless the player is at a very high percentage. 34%|
|+||Crush||Master Hand flies off the top of the screen, then appears in the background. He attempts to flatten the player(s). His palm can semi-spike a player powerfully. Any character who is close to the thumb will be sent upward. 30%|
|+||Lasers||Master Hand shoots a laser beam from each of his fingertips. Only the endpoints do damage. 9% each|
|+||Gun||Master Hand makes the shape of a gun, and fires sets of bullets. He fires 1 set if above 100 HP, and three sets if below. 10% (one set) 6% (three sets). Ness can absorb while Fox and Falco can reflect the attack.|
( Or )
|Grab||Master Hand grabs his opponent and begins to crush them. They can escape by button mashing, but, if they fail to do so, Master Hand will toss them away. 13% crush, then 18-20% afterwards. Depending on the direction pressed with Z, Master Hand will throw the opponent differently. If up is used, he will throw them upward behind him. If right, he will slam them into the ground.|
|+||Poke||Master Hand pokes the air three times. The third poke is more powerful. 7-34%|
|+||Punch||Master Hand hovers over the target, then quickly punches down. 24%|
|+||Ground Slap||Master Hand slaps the ground. 26%|
|+||Drill||Master Hand flies up, then slams down while spinning in a drill-like fashion. Almost no knockback if a player doesn't utilize DI. If the victim utilizes DI, they will be sent sideways with decent horizontal knockback. 1-48%|
|+||Stage-Wide Slap||Master Hand makes a slapping motion across the platform. 25%|
|+||Walk||Master Hand "walks" using his pointer and middle fingers. When he reaches his opponent, he flicks them. 10-30%|
|+||Sweep||Master Hand makes a large sweep across the stage.|
Note: Master Hand's moves are typed in on the d-pad, not the analog stick. Also, the player cannot move him. The player can only get around by doing moves.
Each character in the game has an ID number. When a character is selected on the character selection screen, the game loads that character's number. In this situation, Master Hand's ID number is 1A, and NONE's ID number is 21. When the player enters the character selection screen, it will default to loading each character's ID number as 1A. However, if the player hovers the character slots and generates a player chip, the character ID number will be changed to 21. This is most likely the explanation behind why the game may occasionally crash when this glitch is attempted. In order for the game to re-register that the character ID number is 1A (Master Hand) instead of 21 (NONE), the player must either 1. enter and exit the name entry screen while the chip for the intended Master Hand player is being held by the player's hand, or 2. exit then reenter the character selection screen. So if this glitch is performed and then crashes the game upon entering a match, it is most likely because the chip of the Master Hand player was created and changed the player's character ID number to 21. Also, the reason a controller must be in socket 3 is because in Classic mode (or event match 50), Master Hand is always character 3; character one is the player, and character four is reserved for Crazy Hand.
|Classic Mode||Freezes after the glitch is executed. (Sometimes goes to the VS. screen before freezing the game, however, the game will not show Master Hand or the computer player's contestant picture.)||Can't load. Master Hand doesn't have a contestant picture for when it shows who the player is challenging.|
|Adventure Mode||Master Hand will fly into the center of Mushroom Kingdom (inside the hill just left of the Red Koopa Paratroopa), and will then get stuck. Using at least some of his attacks will freeze the game.||While characters normally spawn on the left side of the Mushroom Kingdom stage, Master Hand is programmed to always spawn about halfway between the middle of the stage and the right-side blast line (here just to the right of the Yoshi ambush), resulting in his strange spawn position due to the long length of the stage. Master Hand cannot move other than by attacking, so he will be unable to complete the level. A few of Master Hand's attacks require an opponent to target. As Goombas and other Adventure Mode enemies aren't considered actual opposing fighters, the game freezes, as Master Hand can't target anything.|
|All-Star Mode||The player can complete the first level normally, but Master Hand will get stuck in the Rest Area. Using the finger walk attack in the Rest Area will freeze the game.||Similar to Adventure Mode, Master Hand cannot move in the Rest Area to proceed to the second level. When Master Hand attacks with the finger walk, he will have nothing to aim at in the Rest Area, causing the game to freeze.|
|Event Match||Works on any event where the player can choose their character. His high scores go to Mario.||Occasionally freezes in the middle of the event for no real reason, especially on All-Star Matches. As Master Hand cannot be KO'd, he is useful for completing difficult matches. However, he is not as useful on timed matches. Also, there are some events such as Event 7: Pokémon Battle that are more difficult to complete, as they require items or specific goals. It is possible to use the glitch on the event Final Destination Match, resulting in two Master Hands and one Crazy Hand. Once Master Hand defeats the CPU Master Hand, the player can use moves in conjunction with Crazy Hand, by inputting the D-Pad either up or right and pressing the Y Button. This will only be possible on certain moments, when Crazy hand's fingertips are sparkling, while in his idle animation. This signals Master Hand the possibility for a team-attack. While in this state, Crazy hand will not perform any attacks and simply stay idle for a short period of time. The player (as Master Hand) can trigger this team-attack state by flicking the C-stick in any direction, While Crazy Hand is present. Causing the latter to enter this state immediately after completing his current attack animation. However, Crazy Hand will still see the human Master Hand as an enemy and his moves in will raise Master Hand's damage percentage but won't lower Crazy Hand's stamina.|
|Home-Run Contest||Works.||The player can get Master Hand in, but his laugh and entry animation will waste at least half of the time the player has, and there is no way to get any distance.|
|Target Smash!||Master Hand's laugh is heard, then it freezes.||Can't load. Master Hand doesn't have a target test. However if this stage could load, it would go to the DUMMY stage, with no targets.|
|Multi-Man Melee||Works.||As Master Hand cannot be KO'd, Cruel Melee and Endless Melee can only be finished by quitting, though records will still be saved. Also, his high scores go to Mario. As Master Hand cannot be KO'd, he is useful for completing 100-Man Melee and 15-Minute Melee.|
|Training Mode||Works.||If the player activates Reset on the Training Menu, Master Hand begins to face right instead of left. His targeting system therefore becomes flawed, e.g. Gun will fire to the right of the opponent. Master Hand's records are given to Mario because Mario has an ID of 1, the nearest number to Master Hand's ID of 0.|
|Melee||Works on every mode. Freezes when the match is over if Master Hand wins. Master Hand can still lose on a Coin or Bonus match by having another player get more Smash Coins (or a higher score at Bonus matches). If done so, data is shown normally on the results box, except that there is no profile image, and Master Hand's name appears as "Sheik", with the Legend of Zelda icon. Teams work. Sudden Death also works when scores are even.||The game freezes after the match because it can't show Master Hand as the winner, as he doesn't have a victory pose. The reason other stuff freezes the game is unknown. One is possibly because the crowd appeals a character when they achieve enough KOs or successfully do something, but Master Hand doesn't have a "crowd cheer" voice clip. Also, if many characters are chosen on a hazardous stage like Corneria or Mute City, the game may freeze at the beginning and on Corneria, he will spawn below the blast line, causing most of his attacks to be useless, but his grab becomes a one-hit KO. If Master Hand loses a Coin or Bonus match, the records will be given to Mario.|
|Special Melee||The game freezes when the match is over. No player can be Zelda (except in Lightning Melee, Tiny Melee, and Slo-Mo Melee). Teams work.||Same as above. In Giant and Tiny Melee, Master Hand appears giant/tiny without problem, with his attacks' damage being normally changed, except that his voice won't be modified when he first appears. His controls are not affected at all in Single-Button Melee. He also becomes invisible with no problem in Invisible Melee: this is also the only instance in which he can do so, as he can't use Cloaking Devices. For some reason, Zelda can be selected in Lightning Melee and Slo-Mo Melee without the game crashing.|
|Camera and Stamina||Both work perfectly. Again, Zelda can be selected without any problems.||In Camera Mode, the player can take pictures of Master Hand and they save. Stamina Mode allows for fair matches with Master Hand as he can be KO'd (he cannot be KO'd in normal matches as he does not experience knockback). If Master Hand is defeated in Stamina Mode, he will fly off the stage exploding like in Classic Mode, except that the camera won't freeze on Master Hand, and he won't scream. However the match will end before he makes it all the way off the stage, as the announcer will shout "GAME!", except if he is defeated before another character on a battle with three or four combatants. After being KO'd, the game won't freeze, as Stamina Mode doesn't have a results screen. For some reason, Team Battles cause the game to freeze most of the time. When Master Hand grabs a character in Stamina Mode, if he defeats a character by crushing them, without being able to throw, the game will freeze.|
In competitive play
While not explicitly mentioned in most tournament rulesets, the Master Hand glitch is implied to be banned due to being a derivative of the name entry glitch, which is banned in most rulesets. The reasons for this banning are potentially game-breaking glitches that are associated with the name entry glitch.
Master Hand was technically tournament legal before 2009 due to not being discovered yet and had a brief period afterwards where he was sometimes considered tournament legal due to the ambiguous legality of the name entry glitch at the time. The most common reason is that the name entry glitch does not necessarily break the game on its own, as the player needs to do specific actions to cause the glitches, which were already covered in the ruleset. Under this interpretation, Master Hand may at first appear to have a considerable advantage, as he does not take knockback at all and thus cannot be KOed at all under standard tournament rules, meaning the only way to win is to survive the full eight minutes while taking less damage than him and never losing a single stock. However, these stipulations are easier to achieve than initially anticipated. As typical of bosses, all of Master Hand's moves have both extremely long startup lag and ending lag, and he is unable to block or dodge opponents' attacks, allowing a skilled opponent to easily dodge all of Master Hand's telegraphed attacks, while using Master Hand's unavoidably large vulnerable periods to inflict damage, including slow high-damage attacks that would almost never successfully connect in a usual match.
Master Hand's playable viability was referenced in the tenth Melee tier list. Released shortly after the Master Hand glitch was discovered, he was placed in his own tier below all other characters, in a "Gengar" tier.
- Metal Boxes, Starmen, and Lip's Stick all work on Master Hand without freezing the game. Screw Attacks can also be thrown at him, but they have no special effect. Any other item also works, with the exception of Mushrooms: they mostly freeze the game when they make contact with Master Hand on certain stages. Also, if this happens, the GameCube controller for Master Hand may rumble indefinitely until the console is turned off.
- As Master Hand cannot receive knockback, being giant, tiny or metal won't affect him at all, other than size/physique changes.
- On Mute City, attacks where Master Hand dives into the background (either Ram or Jet) can destroy the F-Zero machines in the background during the move.
- Similarly, when Lugia is summoned, its Aeroblast can still damage him during the background portion of these moves.
- Similarly, on Princess Peach's Castle, Master Hand will spawn inside the castle.
- On scrolling stages like Rainbow Cruise, Icicle Mountain, or Big Blue, Master Hand moves with the screen because the game treats him as a character, not as an object.
- If Master Hand enters Flat Zone he will come in from the front, not the side.
- When combining this glitch with the black character glitch, after the match is over, the victory theme of the character's universe (the character not being Master Hand) will play. The game still freezes, though.
- When the player makes the glitch occur with two players (or one player and one CPU) and they don't choose any character, all players will be considered to be Master Hand, but only one will appear until one of them moves. The two Master Hands can move only if one of them is a CPU, as a human player can only control Master Hand if they are Player 3. Also, if three or four players are chosen as Master Hand on a battle, the game often freezes, with Master Hand's laugh being heard at first.
- On Pokémon Stadium, the screen will say "Masterhand."
- It's also worth noting that there is an unused sound clip for the Announcer where he says Master Hand's name.
- If the player doesn't pick the stage with the player 3 cursor, the game has a higher chance of freezing. The game still might freeze if the stage is picked by P3, however.
- Whenever Master Hand doesn't have a target to use his moves on, the only moves he can use without the game freezing are the laser move (^B), the sweep move (^L), and the smack move (>L). However, they don't move Master Hand.
- It is possible to have a computer player Master Hand if the player has one with no selected character while using the name entry glitch. Interestingly, a CPU Master Hand will attack players even if he isn't Player 3. Also, it will always behave the same way even if the CPU Level is changed, as Master Hand only has one AI code.
- However, it is not possible to get a computer player Master Hand into training. There is no way to do the name entry glitch with no selected character for the CPU.
- Also, it's not possible to have only Master Hand CPUs on a battle, as the player cannot execute the glitch with CPU ports.
- The glitch was referenced on the 10th Melee tier list, with the bottom tier being called "Gengar", and being described as "Master Hand and other glitch characters".
- When defeated on Brinstar, Master Hand will continually repeat his defeat animation.
- Master Hand can still use names.
- As Falco and Pichu can be unlocked after completing 100-Man Melee and Event 37: Legendary Pokémon, respectively, it is possible for Master Hand to face them in the Challenger Approaching battle. Defeating them will unlock them as usual, without the game crashing.
- In a regular Melee, if Master Hand is teamed with another character and his team wins, but the other character gets the most points, the victory music of that character will play after "Game!" appears, then the game will freeze.
- As Master Hand wasn't intended as a playable character, CPUs will treat him as any other character and fight in their usual ways, which can result in things such as a CPU trying to grab Master Hand when close to the ground, as well as spamming attacks such as neutral aerials to damage him.
- When fighting against a CPU Ganondorf, he will still spam Dark Dive heavily, which won't have any effect (as it is a grab). This allows tricking him very easily. Similarly, CPU Pikachu and Pichu may spam Thunder to attack.
- If a team of CPUs fight Master Hand on Corneria, they will stand still until he comes up to them (or if a valued item appears), which only works with the Grab attack.
- High-level CPUs will still perfect shield precisely against Master Hand's Gun attack (except for Bowser) to reflect it, as they do with most projectiles. Strangely, they will also powershield this way against his Slap attack, even though it's not a projectile, nor were they programmed to be capable of fighting Master Hand.
- When viewing detailed information of Master Hand on the results screen, none of his attacks will be counted, so all attempted attacks and grabs will have a zero. It will also count him as staying all time in the air, due to him being a floating character. Other records, such as maximum knockback achieved and peak damage, will still be counted.
- This glitch is the only way to normally see Master Hand's idle pose, which is never seen in regular gameplay because the AI never allows enough time between his attacks. For Master Hand's idle pose, he simply clenches his fist.
- If the game freezes while using this glitch, save data (and the console) should not be affected at all but players may need to hit Reset on the console. If the game is being played on a Wii players will have to reenter Melee from the Wii Menu, which requires a Wii Remote.
- In World of Light in Ultimate, Master Hand becomes legitimately playable in a challenge where the player defeats many Puppet Fighters on Final Destination, which could possibly reference this glitch.