Sephiroth snaps his fingers and shoots a thin beam of light forward. If the beam hits an opponent, they become surrounded by a circling ball of darkness. After 4 seconds, the ball flashes and strikes the target, always launching away from Sephiroth. Multiple balls can be stacked on the same opponent; the move can be charged by holding the button in order to stick up to 3 at once, and a total of 5 can be on a single opponent. The timer will be extended if the opponent is hit by the attack again before the balls strike. Additional hits will extend the timer by 0.5 to 3 seconds, depending on charge, but the timer will not exceed 7.5 seconds from when the first attack hit. If the balls are currently attacking an opponent, no more can be added until the attack concludes. Each ball is an individual projectile that can be reflected, absorbed, or pocketed, though they have no hitbox against the target until they attack. The balls can hurt other players if contact is made, however, which may use them up.
The initial shot has some special properties that can be used for mindgames. If the control stick is tilted in the opposite direction after the side special input is performed, Sephiroth will turn around and perform Shadow Flare behind him. The beam deals very little hitstun and no knockback similarly to Falco's Blaster, making it disadvantageous on hit in close quarters, but the sudden disruption may also cause opponents to make mistakes that grant Sephiroth an opening. Though the beam deals very low damage, it possesses unusually high priority and will destroy other projectiles within its priority range while continuing onward, allowing Sephiroth to break through an opponent's zoning with good timing.
Reflecting the initial beam will result in twice the amount of balls that would be placed, up to the maximum of 5. For example, reflecting a beam that would place 2 balls will stick 4 balls on Sephiroth, while reflecting a beam that would place 3 balls would only result in 5 balls, as the number of balls cannot exceed 5. Each Sephiroth can only have a total of 5 balls active amongst all players, including balls that have been reflected onto him. In addition, Sephiroth cannot place balls on a player that already has balls applied from another Sephiroth.
When using the move, Sephiroth may say 目障りだ ("Pathetic."), 焼き付けろ ("Burn."), 跪け ("Kneel."), 滅びよ ("Perish."), くらえ ("Take this.") or simply chuckle.
Shadow Flare is a spell that first appeared in Final Fantasy III as a learnable action through the Geomancer class and has since been featured in various other games, often as a dark counterpart to the Flare spell. In Final Fantasy VII, Shadow Flare was a spell that could be used by Safer Sephiroth, Ultimate Weapon, Dragon Zombie, and Ruby Weapon, and it could be learned by the party though the Enemy Skill Materia. Shadow Flare was the strongest non-Gravity spell in Final Fantasy VII. Its depiction in Smash more closely resembles its iteration in the Kingdom Hearts series and in turn, the Dissidia series and Final Fantasy VII Remake as flaming dark orbs that surround the target before blasting them.
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