Super Smash Bros. series


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Zero Suit Samus currently in shieldstun from Snake's jab.

Shieldstun (referred to as Downtime from Shielding by Super Smash Bros. Ultimate's tips and official patch notes) is an inactionable period that occurs when a character's shield is hit. It is comparable to hitstun, in that it occurs after hitlag and only for the defending character. While the attacker still experiences the hitlag of the move, they do not undergo shieldstun, allowing them to move again before their opponent can if the ending lag of the attack is low. During the period of shieldstun, the shielding player cannot perform any of their normal out of shield options, rendering them stuck. Several fast multi-hitting moves (such as Fox's or Yoshi's down aerials) hit fast enough to keep an opponent in shieldstun for the duration of the move, as each hit lands while the opponent is still in shieldstun from the previous hit; this is usually referred to as a "blockstring", a term stemming from similar situations with block mechanics in traditional fighting games. In addition to not being able to perform out of shield options, players in shield stun cannot release the shield, adjust the tilt of their shield, shield drop, or change their shield's density. Attempting to perform any of these actions while in shieldstun will have them happen the frame shieldstun ends instead.

With the inability to jump, grab, roll, or spot dodge out of their shield, the player in shieldstun is very susceptible to another hit or a grab. Though it is rare, this can sometimes be used to the point of breaking a player's shield, as with Fox's and Falco's pillaring combos. A combo meant to lock an opponent in shield until their shield breaks is known as a shield break combo. However, outside of SSB, these combos are not perfect, as all other combos on shield have gaps in shieldstun. Thus, the goal of shield combos in Melee is rarely to outright break shields: it is far more likely an attempt at causing a shield poke, or to bait and punish a roll, grab, or spot dodge. Still, since gaps in shieldstun must exist it is necessary to mixup where and for how long these gaps fall. Doing so covers different out of shield options that the defending player might want to use. As an example, a double shine covers the grab-sized gap that is normally left after a waveshine or a jump out of shine into an aerial, and grants the attacker the hit they were looking for.

In Super Smash Bros.[edit]

In Smash 64, shieldstun is extremely high. When hit on shield, the majority of moves leave the defending player in such a long period of shieldstun, that another hit is nearly always guaranteed. This is especially apparent with aerials with the use of Z-cancelling. This, along with the lack of perfect shielding, makes shield break combos easier and far more frequent. Some moves, such as Kirby's up tilt, are notorious for breaking shields on their own with repeated use.

The formula for shieldstun frames in Smash 64 is , rounded up in the Japanese version, and , rounded down in the international versions, where is the amount of damage the attack would deal if not shielded (therefore, shield damage is not accounted for). Compared to the international versions, the Japanese version has even more shieldstun for most attacks, unless they deal 1%, 2%, 4% or 5%, where they deal the same amount of shieldstun.

In Super Smash Bros. Melee[edit]

In Melee, shieldstun duration in general was reduced. A large difference from other Smash games is the introduction of analog shielding. The analog shield level used when blocking affects shieldstun: the lighter the shield, the more shieldstun the blocker suffers. The formula for shieldstun frames in Melee is rounded down, where the values correspond to the following:

  • is the base damage of the attack, rounded down. Usually that corresponds to the damage the attack would deal if not shielded. However, many thrown items deal additional damage on hit based on the speed of the item, and that extra damage doesn't contribute to shieldstun.
  • is , where describes the analog shield level used, and is equal to , with ranging between 43 and 140 depending on how much the shield button is pressed.[1] As a result, can be as low as 0.30714 with the lightest possible shield, and caps at 1 with a full shield. Shielding with the Z button corresponds to , or .
    • The general formula can be approximately simplified to for a full press, and for the lightest press (accurate up to 28% and 26% damage respectively), resulting in a significant difference. For example, an attack that deals 13% damage will inflict 7 frames of shieldstun with a full shield, and 20 frames with the lightest possible shield.

This amount of shieldstun, while heavily reduced, is still sufficient to leave smart and quick attackers at an advantage. Many moves are unsafe on shield, and it is possible for defending players to capitalize on such hits. But many moves, especially certain aerials, are still safe. Pressuring an opponent's shield is challenging and risky, but highly rewarding. Often, despite a move merely breaking even on shield, or even being a few frames negative, the attacker will still have an advantage. Options out of shield, especially movement, are so limited that good spacing or quick dash dancing out of lag allow the attacker to safely pressure despite frame disadvantage.

While Melee generally has no input buffering, it is possible to buffer out of shield options by holding the C-stick during shieldstun. The character will then jump, roll, or spot dodge on the first frame after they leave shieldstun, depending on the direction held.

Yoshi is a notable exception to these rules. While he cannot jump out of shield in this iteration outside digital shield startup, he suffers minimal or no shieldstun, which combined with the other unique properties of his shield, gives his shield game a very different dynamic to the rest of the cast. Yoshi only receives shieldstun when blocking during any of his first 4 shield startup frames, and in those cases suffers an amount of shieldstun equal to 5 - shield frame# .

In Super Smash Bros. Brawl[edit]

In Brawl, the formula for shieldstun frames is , rounded down. As a result, shieldstun is even more drastically reduced than in Melee, with attacks that deal less than 2.9% damage inflicting no shieldstun at all. Combined with the lowered time to drop shield (taking 7 frames instead of 15), this puts attackers in a much more vulnerable position for hitting shields. As a result, Brawl's metagame is considerably more defensive, with very little in the way of shield pressure, instead putting more emphasis on characters keeping themselves away from shielding opponents, as a punish is nearly guaranteed otherwise. However, shield pushback is increased compared to Melee's fully dense shields, unless the attack is perfect shielded, which allows a few powerful and long ranged moves with relatively low ending lag, such as Meta Knight's down smash and Snake's up tilt, to remain difficult to punish out of shield if spaced properly.

Yoshi's shield is no longer immune to shieldstun, and unlike the rest of the cast in the transition from Melee, his shield still takes 15 frames to drop. In combination with him having one of the slowest shield grabs, as well as still being unable to jump out of shield, this gives him significantly worse defensive options than any other character.

In Super Smash Bros. 4[edit]

In Smash 4, shieldstun was originally thought to have been reduced again from Brawl, but further testing showed this to be false. The formula for shieldstun frames prior to version 1.1.1 was , with rounding down performed twice; first for the portion in brackets, then the final result. This resulted in barely higher shieldstun than in Brawl, being either the same or with a single extra frame for most damage values, while moves that dealt less than 1.54% damage still inflicted none at all. In combination with the cast's generally higher landing lag, ending lag, and/or lower damage values, especially for top and high tier characters, as well as shield pushback being decreased (with the effect of edge slipping on it being particularly weakened), this originally made Smash 4 an even more defensive game than Brawl, with heavy reliance on out of shield retaliation instead of direct pressure. Yoshi was also given the ability to jump out of shield and the standard 7 frames of shield drop lag, no longer differentiating his shield game heavily from the rest of the cast.

However, following version 1.1.1, shieldstun from direct attacks was increased dramatically, to the point of being higher than in Melee, and received further specialization for various cases. The new formula is rounded down, with the values corresponding to the following:

  • , like in the previous formulas, is the damage the attack would deal if not shielded.
  • is 0.5 for indirect attacks (such as projectiles), and 1 otherwise, resulting in a general multiplier of 0.29.
  • is 0.66 if the attack is perfect shielded, and 1 otherwise, resulting in general multipliers of 0.3828 and 0.1914 for direct and indirect attacks, respectively.

As a result of this formula, all attacks once again inflict shieldstun regardless of their damage output, and direct attacks are especially safer, to the point of various landing aerial attacks only being a few frames negative on shield with proper timing. In turn, perfect shielding having an effect on shieldstun ties further into its purpose of being much more precise, yet much more rewarding than normal shielding. Compared to previous versions of Smash 4, these changes allowed several characters to play more offensively, though due to out of shield options still being relatively fast and highly rewarding, as well as the aforementioned damage/lag nerfs, the game remained generally more defensive than Melee. On the other hand, the specific multiplier for projectiles made them generally safer as well, but to a lesser extent and only up to high damage values, preventing powerful ones such as Charge Shot from becoming too difficult to punish.

Version 1.1.3 of the game added an additional wrinkle to shieldstun: if a character is trapped in shieldstun for at least 10 hits (or in more colloquial terms, a blockstring), they are allowed to cancel it with a roll or spot dodge, and the intangibility of either option comes out immediately on frame 1, regardless of their coded startup. Practically, very few moves can hit a shield enough times for this to trigger; the looping hit of a charging Aura Sphere is the most noticeable. In the case of said move, this mechanic allows shielding characters to escape it if they are trapped by it at the ledge, where they would otherwise be forced to shield SDI or have their shield broken.

In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate[edit]

Shieldstun has been adjusted further in Ultimate, with more specific cases introduced than in Smash 4. The new formula is , rounded down[2], with the values corresponding to the following:

  • , like in the previous formulas, is the damage the attack would deal if not shielded.
  • is 0.725 for smash attacks, 0.33 for aerial attacks (excluding grab aerials and landing hitboxes), and 0.29 for indirect attacks (such as projectiles); due to this, the former results in the same general multiplier of 0.58 as in Smash 4[3], while the other two result in general multipliers of 0.264 and 0.232, respectively. For indirect smash or aerial attacks (such as Mega Man's forward smash and down aerial), only the indirect multiplier is used. In other cases, the value is 1.
  • is a shieldstun multiplier, a move property new to Ultimate that can be specified for each hitbox. This is mostly employed by rapid jabs and dash attacks, which use a higher multiplier than usual to either prevent shielding opponents in range from escaping them or to decrease their punishability (respectively). However, a few other moves possess them as well, such as Ridley's Skewer, which uses a much lower multiplier than usual (0.2×) to prevent its skewering hitbox from otherwise producing ludicrously high shieldstun, as it deals 45% damage (likewise, it has a high amount of negative shield damage to prevent it from instantly breaking a shield). Shieldstun multipliers also affect the amount of pushback inflicted on the shielding fighter, further affecting how punishable attacks are out of shield.
  • Perfect shielding no longer directly affects the shieldstun duration. Instead, perfect shielding characters enter a unique state that allows them to act 3 frames earlier compared to the shieldstun they would receive if used against a direct attack, and 1 frame earlier if used against an indirect attack, barring specific cases.

As a result, shieldstun remains unchanged for smash attacks compared to Smash 4, but is increased for direct special moves and all other ground attacks; tilt attacks in particular are noticeably safer on shield. Conversely, it is decreased for aerial attacks and projectiles, most significantly the former. Further adjustments in Ultimate include short hopped aerial attacks having a 0.85× damage multiplier, further reducing the shieldstun of some of them (albeit slightly), and stale-move negation applying on shield, weakening repeated pressure with a particular attack. However, due to the universally lower landing lag, the general safety of aerial attacks on shield remains unchanged, with some of them being slightly safer. Furthermore, shield dropping takes longer (11 frames instead of 7), while shield grabbing after shieldstun has increased startup by 4 frames. Overall, attacking shields in Ultimate is more favorable, with options to safely punish out of shield being riskier (albeit still highly rewarding), promoting more offensive play.

The ability introduced in version 1.1.3 of Smash 4 to dodge-cancel blockstrings of at least 10 hits returns as well, and is now applicable to several other moves, most remarkably every rapid jab, due to their increased shieldstun and much faster hit rate. This renders it vastly more useful for punishing such moves, as in the case of rapid jabs, the shielding character can usually roll behind the attacker, who will then be forced to unleash their rapid jab's finisher and become much more vulnerable. This mechanic's larger notoriety has led to it being referred to as shieldstun canceling by the community.

Version 9.0.0 made other smaller adjustments to shieldstun:

  • If multiple attacks hit a shield on the same frame (such as King Dedede's Gordo and hammer swing in Gordo Throw), each attack's shieldstun is individually calculated, and only the highest result of such is taken. In previous versions, the highest damage and highest shieldstun multiplier of each move was used, resulting in higher shieldstun than if any of the attacks hit individually.
  • Shieldstun caps at 60 frames, making Ultimate the only game in the series with a shieldstun cap. However, this is only realistically possible to reach if spirits are used to significantly boost an attack's damage output, and even then, a normal shield will usually take more than enough damage to break, so this can only be noticed with a perfect shield.

List of moves with shieldstun multipliers[edit]

Due to a glitch, even if a move has a shieldstun multiplier only coded for specific hitboxes, the game applies the multiplier to all hitboxes of the move during frames where the specified hitbox is present. Likewise, if a move has different shieldstun multipliers for each hitbox, the multiplier for the hitbox with the highest ID number applies to all hitboxes, and other multipliers are ignored. This is noticeable for Areadbhar, where the sweetspot's shieldstun multiplier applies to the entire move for all except the grounded version's first active frame (where the sweetspot isn't present), and Kazuya's forward smash, which has a 0.1× multiplier for the sourspot and a 1.75× multiplier for the sweetspot, but the latter applies to both.

Character Attack Multiplier
Banjo & Kazooie Rapid jab 6
Wonderwing 0.48 (clean)
0.28 (late)
Bayonetta Rapid jab 15
Bowser Jr. Rapid jab 8
Down tilt (hits 1-2) 1.2
Byleth Rapid jab 9
Failnaught (uncharged) 1.1
Areadbhar 1.7[4] (grounded; 11.0.0 onward)
2[5] (aerial; 11.0.0 onward)
Captain Falcon Rapid jab 9
Dash attack 1.5 (1.875 before 8.0.0)
Charizard Dash attack 1.5
Corrin Rapid jab 8
Forward smash 1.6 (8.0.0 onward)
Daisy Dash attack (hit 1) 2.9
Dark Pit Rapid jab 3
Dash attack 1.37
Donkey Kong Hand Slap 0.58
Dr. Mario Dash attack 1.875
Duck Hunt Rapid jab 5
Falco Rapid jab 5
Fox Rapid jab 6
Dash attack 1.8
Ganondorf Dash attack (late) 1.3
Greninja Rapid jab 4
Hero Kazap (hit 3) 0.3
Ike Dash attack 1.2
Inkling Rapid jab 6
Dash attack 1.5
Ivysaur Rapid jab 3
Jigglypuff Pound 1.5 (6.0.0 onward)
(with Arsene)
Forward tilt (hit 2) 2
Down tilt 1.5
Dash attack (hit 2) 1.1
Forward smash 1.25
Up smash (clean)
Down smash (hit 2) 1.33
Kazuya Neutral attack (hit 1) 1.3
Forward tilt 0.8
Up-forward tilt (hits 2-3) 2
Down-forward tilt (hit 2, frames 15-16) 1.5
Down-back tilt 1.7
Forward crouch attack 1.1
Back crouch attack 1.5
Forward smash 1.75[6]
Down smash 1.2
Up throw (beam) 1.1
Left Splits Kick
Devil Blaster (clean)
Wind God Fist 1.2
Dragon Uppercut (except late hit) 0.5
Ken Inazuma Kick 1.25
King Dedede Rapid jab 5
King K. Rool Dash attack (clean hit) 1.15
Kirby Rapid jab 7
Link Dash attack 1.4
Lucina Dash attack 1.5
Mario Dash attack 1.875
Marth Dash attack 1.5
Mega Man Dash attack (last hit) 2.1
Forward smash 0.32[7]
Meta Knight Rapid jab 4
Mewtwo Rapid jab 4
Dash attack 1.3 (1.875 before 2.0.0)
Mii Gunner Dash attack 1.5
Bomb Drop (hit 1) 3.75
Mii Swordfighter Forward tilt 0.7
Dash attack 1.6
Min Min Rapid jab 9
Mr. Game & Watch Rapid jab 10
Mythra Rapid jab 8
Neutral aerial (landing hit) 0.2
Lightning Buster (linking hits) 2
Palutena Rapid jab 7
Peach Dash attack (hit 1) 2.9
Pikachu Dash attack 1.8
Piranha Plant Rapid jab 9
Dash attack 1.3
Pit Rapid jab 3
Dash attack 1.37
Pyra Rapid jab 8
Forward tilt 1.5
Dash attack
Richter Rapid jab 5
Axe 1.1
Ridley Rapid jab 5
Skewer 0.2[5]
Robin Rapid jab 3
Rosalina & Luma Rapid jab (Rosalina) 5
Roy Dash attack 1.25
Ryu Hadoken 1.2 (weak)
1.13 (medium)
1.06 (strong)
(all from 7.0.0 onward)
Sephiroth Blade Dash 0.5
Sheik Rapid jab 9
Dash attack 1.5
Simon Rapid jab 5
Axe 1.1
Sonic Dash attack 0.75 (clean; 9.0.0 onward)
1.05 (late; 1.57 before 9.0.0)
Homing Attack 0.5
Sora Neutral attack (all hits) 3
Forward tilt (hits 1-2)
Forward tilt (non-linking hit 1 and 3) 2.4
Dash attack 2.2
Forward smash 2
Down aerial 3.6
Firaga 1.05
Steve Neutral attack 0.25
Forward tilt
Neutral aerial
Squirtle Dash attack (clean) 1.45
Terry Dodge Attack 0.5
Wii Fit Trainer Dash attack 1.3 (clean)
1.8 (late)
Young Link Rapid jab 6
Zelda Rapid jab 8


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ Only specified for the sweetspot, but applies to all hitboxes except during the first active frame, due to the aforementioned glitch
  5. ^ a b Only specified for the sweetspot, but applies to all hitboxes due to the aforementioned glitch
  6. ^ Has a specified multiplier of 0.1 for the sourspot, but is overriden by this multiplier due to the aforementioned glitch
  7. ^ Does not work properly, as the game uses the projectile shieldstun multiplier instead

External links[edit]