When the move is used, Robin casts a spiral of dark magic in front of themself, acting as a special grab. Opponents grabbed take 0.8% darkness damage multiple times over several seconds (155 frames) for a total of about 15% damage. Other opponents are knocked back if they touch the victim; this causes darkness effects but no damage. In the air, ensnaring an opponent with Nosferatu will cause both Robin and the opponent to slowly fall down. If the opponent lands before Robin does, Robin will continue floating in the air until the move has finished. Robin will be helpless if the move ends with him in the air. Using this move changes Robin's active tome to Nosferatu.
The opponent held by Nosferatu may escape faster by button mashing, depending on their percent. If their damage when initially grabbed is 0%, each input made will reduce the duration by an extra 5 frames. The higher their percent is when grabbed, the less effective each input will be. The effect is linear until 120%, where at that point mashing has no effect on the duration. When the opponent is released, they recoil with set knockback.
In addition to its damaging properties, the move heals Robin. Every time it does damage, Robin heals for
Nosferatu can only be used a total of 4 times (3 in Ultimate) before the tome's durability is depleted. The tome respawns after 40 seconds (30 in Ultimate) have passed. This is the longest cooldown of all Robin's weaponry along with the least uses of any tome in Robin's arsenal. Because of this move's extremely limited uses, it can be used repeatedly in order to easily obtain a throwable used tome in the quickest time possible. Used tomes deal good damage and have KO potential when thrown.
Special Move customization was added in Super Smash Bros. 4. These are the variations:
Nosferatu is a special Dark tome from the Fire Emblem series (except for in the first five games and the Tellius series, in which Nosferatu is instead a generic tome or a Light tome). When a unit casts Nosferatu, however much damage he or she inflicts will return to the caster in the form of healing. This effect carries over into Smash 4. Additionally, Nosferatu tomes have lower accuracy, making it harder to hit enemy troops with it. This is reflected in Smash 4 by the difficulty in landing the move.
Goetia is another Dark tome that is introduced in Fire Emblem: Awakening. It is much stronger than Nosferatu, but does not have the healing property Nosferatu does. It is also easier to land in Awakening.
As a Tactician, Robin ordinarily cannot use dark magic in Fire Emblem: Awakening, though he or she can potentially wield such magic if he or she reclasses to one that can, such as a Dark Mage; however, if Male Robin marries Aversa, his daughter Morgan gains the skill Shadowgift, which allows her to use dark magic tomes in any Tome-wielding class. Masahiro Sakurai gave Robin the ability to use Nosferatu as a Tactician in order to "capture certain aspects of the original title".
The word "Nosferatu" itself is a nonsense word meant to sound Romanian, and has come to be synonymous with "vampire" in fiction since the word's introduction in the synonymous 1922 vampire horror movie Nosferatu.