Priority

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This article is about priority in relation to attacks. For controller slot priority, see Port priority.
The white "bubble" between Kirby and Pikachu's attacks indicates that two hitboxes have collided.

Priority is a property of hitboxes in the Super Smash Bros. series that describes their behavior upon interacting with other hitboxes. While the priority of the hitboxes produced by normal ground attacks follows a set of rules that is dependent upon the amount of damage they deal (the law of high and low priority), different rules apply to those of normal aerial attacks, and certain special moves when performed in the air. Furthermore, some hitboxes and attacks, such as shots from Fox's Blaster, possess a special kind of priority called transcendent priority, which ignores the rules of normal priority. Rebound is a term used to describe an animation that occurs when two direct grounded moves with normal priority mechanics are within 9% of each other when they collide. The length of this animation changes based on the damage output of both attacks.

Priority in the Super Smash Bros. series is not to be confused with the general term "priority" that is used to gauge the relative usefulness of a move with regards to its speed, the size or duration of its hitbox, or any other property it might have (e.g. armor or intangibility/invincibility around part of or the entire body). The concept of priority also governs how individual hitboxes and objects react, not attacks as a whole. For example, an attack can be cancelled if its only non-transcendent hitbox is outprioritized, regardless of the status of its other transcendent hitboxes. In addition, attacks being cancelled via priority rules is on a per-object basis, meaning that an attack that is outprioritized can still damage other players or objects if it hits at the same time.

Normal priority[edit]

Normal priority describes the set of rules that apply to normal attack hitboxes, that is, any attack hitbox that is not classified as transcendent. As such, the majority of standard attacks, aerials, special attacks, and projectiles contain hitboxes with normal priority.

Ground attacks and projectiles[edit]

The hitboxes of normal ground attacks follow the law of high and low priority. This means that they interact with each other in terms of the damage they deal, which in turn classifies each as having "high" or "low" priority. When two ground attack hitboxes overlap, they will collide, and will either cancel each other out, or one will override (out-prioritize) the other. This collision is signified by a white "bubble", and in Melee, a distinct "ting" sound, as if swords are clanging, is also heard. If two actual swords clash, such as Link and Marth's blades, a more realistic "ting" sound is heard. The law of high and low priority functions in terms of a damage (priority) range of 9%. On these terms, one ground attack must deal 9% or more additional damage than another attack if it is to out-prioritize it, hence, the "priority range" in Smash Bros games is 9% (note that in the original Super Smash Bros., the priority range is instead 10%).

If one attack hitbox is above the priority range of another, that is, deals 9% or more than the other, the stronger hitbox out-prioritizes the weaker one, and the weaker attack is cancelled by the stronger one. However, if two colliding ground attack hitboxes are within the priority range, that is, damage dealt is less than or equal to 9% within each other, they will "clash", and both will cancel out, delivering no damage to either character. Thus, normal attacks with "high" priority are those whose hitboxes deal a large amount of damage, and are therefore more inclined to out-prioritize other attacks, while those with "low" priority deal little damage.

For example:

  • In Brawl, if Marth's un-tipped forward smash collides with Ike's forward smash (14% vs. 22%), they will clash and cancel each other out.
  • However, if Marth's un-tipped forward smash collides with Ganondorf's forward smash (14% vs. 24%), Ganondorf's forward smash will cancel out (out-prioritise) Marth's forward smash and hit Marth.
  • If Captain Falcon's forward smash collides with Ness' up tilt (19% vs. 7%), Captain Falcon's forward smash will out-prioritise Ness' up tilt and hit Ness.
  • If Captain Falcon's Falcon Punch collides with Yoshi's Egg Roll (27% vs. 12%), the Falcon Punch will out-prioritise the Egg Roll and hit Yoshi.

The same rules apply when ground attack hitboxes overlap normal projectile hitboxes.

For example:

  • Marth's un-tipped forward smash is out-prioritised by Samus' fully charged Charge Shot (14% vs. 25%).
  • However, if the second hitbox of Bowser's forward smash collides with Samus' fully charged Charge Shot, they will cancel each other out (23% vs. 25%).

While most normal projectiles follow the rules of ground priority, Snake's Remote Missile, Diddy Kong's Peanut Popgun, and King Dedede's Waddle Dee Toss behave differently. While the 8% range does apply to Dedede's Gordo, its hitbox behaves like an airborne attack as it cannot be cancelled out. For example, if Captain Falcon's forward smash collides with a Gordo (19% vs. 23%), the clash bubble will appear, and the forward smash will be cancelled out while the Gordo is not. However, since both hitboxes are within the priority range, the Gordo will go right through Captain Falcon without harming him, and continue along its natural path. It will, however, still possess its damaging hitboxes, and can still harm any other character it happens to touch along its route.

Snake's Remote Missile has a damagable hitbox and behaves like a thrown item, such as a capsule. Hence, when opposing hitboxes collide with the Remote Missile, they will damage it instead of colliding with it. If the Remote Missile takes enough damage, it will be destroyed. The peanuts from Diddy Kong's Peanut Popgun behave the same way, but any colliding hitbox, even if it only deals 1%, will destroy the peanuts.

Aerial attacks[edit]

Different rules apply to the hitboxes of normal aerial attacks. When a normal aerial attack hitbox overlaps that of a normal ground attack or another normal aerial, the attacks cannot collide or clash and the law of high and low priority does not apply. If an overlap between the hitboxes of two such attacks occurs, both will persist, irrespective of each other, and will damage their foes if they contact them.

For example:

  • If Sonic's back aerial overlaps Mario's up tilt, neither attack is cancelled, and both characters are hit by each other's attacks.

However, the hitboxes of aerial attacks can collide with normal projectiles, in which case the law of high and low priority functions. However, aerial attack animations cannot be cancelled out, and will continue even if out-prioritised.

For example:

  • If Marth's forward aerial collides with Samus' fully charged Charge Shot (10% vs. 25%), his forward aerial will not be cancelled out, but it will fail to cancel out the Charge Shot. As a result, the collision action will occur, but Samus' Charge Shot will out-prioritise the forward aerial and hit Marth.
  • However, if Ganondorf's forward aerial collides with Samus' fully charged Charge Shot (17% vs. 25%), his forward aerial will cancel out the Charge Shot and Ganondorf will not be harmed.

Exceptions to normal priority[edit]

Considered both airborne and grounded[edit]

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Character Move Games
Falco Falco Phantasm Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Fox Fox Illusion
Meta Knight Mach Tornado (both grounded and airborne)
Drill Rush (both grounded and airborne)
Glide attack
Ness Up smash
Down smash
Olimar All Pikmin-based attacks
Zero Suit Samus Neutral aerial
Up smash* (second hitbox only)

*The second hitbox of Zero Suit Samus' up smash behaves like an aerial. It may be out-prioritised by another character's aerial, but the up smash's animation and subsequent hitboxes cannot be cancelled.

The hitboxes of the above attacks can collide with the hitboxes of other attacks regardless of if they're ground or aerial attacks. When such a collision occurs, the clash bubble will appear and the outcome will follow the law of high and low priority. However, airborne attacks cannot be cancelled out, including airborne special moves. Thus, while the results of a collision will follow the law of high and low priority, the appearance of such a collision will differ to that of two colliding ground attacks.

If one of the above ground attacks collides with an aerial, or one of the above aerials collides with a ground attack, and the ground attack is below the priority range of the aerial, the ground attack will be cancelled and the airborne attack can damage the wielder of the ground attack. If the two hitboxes are within the priority range, the ground attack will be cancelled out, and, since it is an aerial attack, the animation of the airborne attack will persist. However, the airborne hitbox becomes harmless, and the wielder of the ground attack will not at all be knocked or damaged by the airborne hitbox, regardless of whether it connects or not.

For example:

  • If King's Dedede up tilt collides with Meta Knight's glide attack (12% vs. 13%), Dedede's up tilt will be cancelled out, but he will not be harmed, even if the hitbox of Meta Knight's glide attack contacts King Dedede's body.

If the hitbox of a ground attack is above the priority range of a colliding airborne hitbox, both attack animations will persist, but the airborne hitbox will become harmless, while the ground attack is still able to damage. Thus, if the hitbox of the ground attack connects with the body of the character who used the airborne special, this character will take the damage and knockback of the ground attack. A notable example of a special move that can collide with the hitboxes of other attacks while airborne is Meta Knight's Mach Tornado. If performed on the ground (grounded), it can be cancelled out, but if airborne, it cannot be cancelled. Mach Tornado is a multi-hit move that deals 1% per hit during the main portion of the attack.

For example:

  • If Captain Falcon's forward tilt collides with a hitbox of Meta Knight's grounded Mach Tornado (10% vs. 1%), the forward tilt will collide with, and cancel out the Mach Tornado.
  • If the Mach Tornado is airborne, Captain Falcon's forward tilt can cancel one of its hitboxes, but cannot cancel the hitboxes that follow. Mach Tornado cannot cancel his forward tilt either, because it is too weak (10% vs. 1%). However, unless the hitbox of Captain Falcon's forward tilt connects with Meta Knight's body, the Mach Tornado will continue and can afterwards damage Captain Falcon, despite the fact that his forward tilt out-prioritised it.

Moves that cannot rebound[edit]

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Some attacks cannot rebound after colliding with an attack within the priority range (also known as trampling); in other words, they will continue their animations as if they did not collide at all, but both hitboxes still cancel each other out if they are within the 9% range. This can be advantageous for moves with this property that are either multihitting in nature, very fast, or very damaging (which would increase the length and therefore vulnerability of the rebounding animation), but is disadvantageous if the move's endlag is longer than the length of the opponent's rebounding animation. Additionally, two moves that cannot rebound that are used against each other are more prone to damaging both characters instead of cancelling out their hitboxes.

Character Move Games
Bayonetta All smash attacks Super Smash Bros. 4
Bowser Forward smash (late)
Up smash (first hit only)
Cloud Limit Break Cross Slash
Climhazzard (regular and Limit Break version, first hit only)
Finishing Touch
Falco Forward smash Super Smash Bros. Melee
Falco Phantasm Super Smash Bros. MeleeSuper Smash Bros. 4
Fox Forward smash Super Smash Bros. Melee
Fox Illusion Super Smash Bros. MeleeSuper Smash Bros. 4
Ike Dash attack (early) Super Smash Bros. 4
Jigglypuff Dash attack
Little Mac Neutral attack
All tilt attacks
Lucario Force Palm (projectile portion)
Mewtwo Neutral attack (infinite)
Mii Brawler Shot Put
Mii Swordfighter Gale Strike
Palutena All tilt attacks
Ryu Forward tilt (held, both hits)
Tatsumaki Senpukyaku (all versions)
Focus Attack (arm hitbox)
Zero Suit Samus Up tilt (both hits)
Zelda Farore's Wind (first hit, grounded)

Non-character objects with complex animations[edit]

A select few attacks in SSB4 will collide with other attacks, but can only nullify projectiles within the 9% range and will always lose a trade with regular hitboxes regardless of the 9% rule, much like a grab. For example, Bayonetta's up smash cannot be used as effectively as other up smashes to hit opponents in the air, as any hitbox that comes into contact with it will render the up smash inert, and if the hitbox is close enough to Bayonetta at the moment of colliding, only Bayonetta will take damage. However, if the opposing hitbox is a projectile or another attack with this property (i.e. Lucario's Aura Sphere or another Bayonetta's up smash), both characters will take damage as if one of them used an aerial hitbox (but the collision bubble will still appear). The overarching pattern among these attacks is that they are character-specific props that feature complex animations beyond simply moving or rotating, and thus it is possible (but not proven) that the game short-sightedly does not attempt to make them capable of trading with attacks from other animating elements (i.e. characters).

Because they cannot override regular hitboxes and it is not always clear to players whether a hitbox is attached to a character or a prop, these attacks are often perceived as having "low priority", and some moveset repositories such as Kurogane Hammer list them under such term.

Character Move Games
Bayonetta All smash attacks (except for first hit of down smash) Super Smash Bros. 4
Corrin Forward smash (non-charging portion)
Dragon Fang Shot (both portions)
Dragon Lunge (initial lunge only)
Olimar All Pikmin-based attacks
Villager Timber (tree hitboxes only, both sprouting and falling)

Transcendent priority[edit]

Incomplete.png

Transcendent priority (also known as transcending priority) describes the set of rules that apply to transcendent attack hitboxes, as distinct from normal attack hitboxes. In Smash Bros. games, particular attacks and hitboxes are assigned transcendent priority by the game designers; the property is not inherent of any attack type or character. However, it should be noted that, in Brawl, all of Meta Knight's standard attacks, except dash attack and glide attack, are transcendent. Transcendent hitboxes ignore the rules of normal priority: they cannot collide with, clash with, cancel out, or be cancelled out by other hitboxes, even other transcendent hitboxes.

For example:

  • Meta Knight's forward smash is transcendent. If a pair of Meta Knights use their forward smash at the same time, and the forward smash hitboxes overlap each other, they will not collide, and their animations and damaging properties will continue until the attack ends naturally. If the two Meta Knights are close enough together, each will be hit by the other's forward smash.
  • Lucas' forward smash is transcendent. If Donkey Kong's forward smash overlaps with Lucas' forward smash (20% vs. 15%), Lucas' forward smash will go through Donkey Kong's without colliding. If its hitboxes touch Donkey Kong, he will receive damage and knockback from Lucas' forward smash, while Lucas will be hit by Donkey Kong's forward smash as well since normal hitboxes will go through transcendent hitboxes.

Attacks with transcendent priority[edit]

The following is a list of characters' attacks that contain hitboxes with transcendent priority. Note that, while there are standard aerials with transcendent priority, this only comes into effect if they collide with a projectile or one of the few attacks containing hitboxes that can collide with airborne attacks such as the Mach Tornado. This is because the hitboxes of aerials cannot collide with the hitboxes of standard ground attacks and other aerial attacks.

Character Move Games
Bayonetta Heel Slide and After Burner Kick Super Smash Bros. 4
Bullet Arts on all applicable moves
Bowser Fire Breath Super Smash Bros. Melee
Koopa Klaw (the attack hitbox, not the grab)
Fire Shot Super Smash Bros. 4
Captain Falcon Falcon Punch Super Smash Bros. 4
Charizard Up smash Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Cloud Limit Break Blade Beam Super Smash Bros. 4
Corrin Forward smash (charging portion)
Diddy Kong Dash attack Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Donkey Kong Hand Slap Super Smash Bros.Super Smash Bros. MeleeSuper Smash Bros. BrawlSuper Smash Bros. 4
Dr. Mario Forward smash (sweetspot only) Super Smash Bros. 4
Super Sheet Super Smash Bros. MeleeSuper Smash Bros. 4
Dr. Tornado (all hitboxes except the final hit in Melee, only the final hit in Smash 4)
Falco Blaster Super Smash Bros. MeleeSuper Smash Bros. BrawlSuper Smash Bros. 4
Reflector Super Smash Bros. BrawlSuper Smash Bros. 4
Fox Blaster Super Smash Bros. MeleeSuper Smash Bros. BrawlSuper Smash Bros. 4
Fox Illusion (only when airborne) Super Smash Bros. Melee
Ganondorf Down aerial Super Smash Bros. MeleeSuper Smash Bros. BrawlSuper Smash Bros. 4
Warlock Blade Super Smash Bros. 4
Warlock Thrust (sourspot only)
Ice Climbers Squall Hammer Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Blizzard Super Smash Bros. MeleeSuper Smash Bros. Brawl
Ike Up smash Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Down smash
All aerial attacks
Eruption
Aether (all hitboxes except the initial one in Brawl, all hitboxes in SSB4) Super Smash Bros. BrawlSuper Smash Bros. 4
Incineroar Darkest Lariat Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Ivysaur Neutral attack Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Bullet Seed
King Dedede All smash attacks Super Smash Bros. BrawlSuper Smash Bros. 4
Neutral aerial Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Super Dedede Jump
Jet Hammer Super Smash Bros. BrawlSuper Smash Bros. 4
Kirby Dash attack Super Smash Bros. Melee
Hammer (grounded only in Melee, grounded and aerial from Brawl onwards) Super Smash Bros. MeleeSuper Smash Bros. BrawlSuper Smash Bros. 4
Final Cutter (projectile only in Melee, sword strike and projectile from Brawl onwards)
Link Grab aerial Super Smash Bros. Melee
Spin Attack (only initial hitbox for grounded version from Brawl onwards) Super Smash Bros. MeleeSuper Smash Bros. BrawlSuper Smash Bros. 4
Lucario Forward smash (sweetspot only in Brawl, late hitbox only in Smash 4) Super Smash Bros. BrawlSuper Smash Bros. 4
Aura Sphere (charging hitbox)
Force Palm (projectile portion) Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Lucas Forward smash
Down smash
Neutral aerial
Back aerial (sweetspot only)
PK Freeze
PSI Magnet
Lucina Shield Breaker Super Smash Bros. 4
Dancing Blade
Dolphin Slash
Mario Forward smash (sweetspot only) Super Smash Bros. MeleeSuper Smash Bros. BrawlSuper Smash Bros. 4
Cape
Mario Tornado Super Smash Bros. Melee
Marth Shield Breaker Super Smash Bros. MeleeSuper Smash Bros. BrawlSuper Smash Bros. 4
Dancing Blade
Dolphin Slash
Meta Knight All standard attacks except dash attack, glide attack, and floor attack (trip) Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Shuttle Loop
Dimensional Cape
Mewtwo Forward smash (sweetspot only) Super Smash Bros. Melee
Down smash
Disable
Mii Gunner Forward aerial Super Smash Bros. 4
Mr. Game & Watch Chef (frying pan hitbox) Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Ness Dash attack Super Smash Bros. MeleeSuper Smash Bros. Brawl
PK Flash
PK Thunder (projectile only) Super Smash Bros. Melee
Olimar Down smash (sweetspot only) Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Palutena All smash attacks Super Smash Bros. 4
Down aerial
Peach Up tilt Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Up smash (sourspot only)
Pichu Forward smash Super Smash Bros. Melee
Thunder
Pikachu Neutral attack Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Forward smash (sweetspot only in Brawl) Super Smash Bros. MeleeSuper Smash Bros. BrawlSuper Smash Bros. 4
Up smash (late hitbox only) Super Smash Bros. 4
Down smash Super Smash Bros. MeleeSuper Smash Bros. BrawlSuper Smash Bros. 4
Thunder Super Smash Bros. MeleeSuper Smash Bros. Brawl
R.O.B. Robo Beam Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Arm Rotor
Roy Flare Blade Super Smash Bros. MeleeSuper Smash Bros. 4
Double-Edge Dance Super Smash Bros. 4
Blazer Super Smash Bros. Melee
Ryu Shoryuken (all versions) Super Smash Bros. 4
Focus Attack (fist hitbox only)
Samus Grab aerial Super Smash Bros. Melee
Sheik Needle Storm Super Smash Bros. BrawlSuper Smash Bros. 4
Chain Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Vanish Super Smash Bros. BrawlSuper Smash Bros. 4
Bouncing Fish Super Smash Bros. 4
Shulk Up smash
Snake Forward smash Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Squirtle Up smash
Sonic Neutral aerial
Toon Link Spin Attack
Wario Forward smash
Down aerial (final hit only)
Wario Waft
Wolf Blaster
Young Link Grab aerial Super Smash Bros. Melee
Spin Attack (airborne only)
Zelda Neutral attack Super Smash Bros. MeleeSuper Smash Bros. BrawlSuper Smash Bros. 4
Forward tilt
Up tilt
Dash attack
Forward smash
Up smash (except final hitbox) Super Smash Bros. BrawlSuper Smash Bros. 4
Down smash Super Smash Bros. Melee
Neutral aerial Super Smash Bros. MeleeSuper Smash Bros. BrawlSuper Smash Bros. 4
Forward aerial (sweetspot only in Smash 4) Super Smash Bros. MeleeSuper Smash Bros. 4
Back aerial (sweetspot only in Smash 4)
Up aerial Super Smash Bros. MeleeSuper Smash Bros. BrawlSuper Smash Bros. 4
Down aerial (sourspot only) Super Smash Bros. 4
Nayru's Love Super Smash Bros. MeleeSuper Smash Bros. BrawlSuper Smash Bros. 4
Din's Fire Super Smash Bros. Melee
Farore's Wind Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Zero Suit Samus Dash attack
Down smash

Gallery[edit]

Trivia[edit]

  • In Melee, a unique metallic sound effect can be heard when hitboxes with a slash effect clang with each other.
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