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Short hop laser

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Falco performing a short hop laser in Brawl.
Comparing a tan Falco that does a short hop, fires his blaster, and fast falls which decreases lag for his blaster while a red Falco fires a ground laser, having more lag than the tan Falco's blaster which he short hop lasered.

The short hop laser (also known as short hop blaster, abbreviated respectively to SHL and SHB) is a technique usually performed by short hopping with Fox or Falco, using their blaster to shoot a laser, and fastfalling (in Melee). The technique has two additional variants; the short hop double laser (SHDL) and the short hop triple laser (SHTL), for which two and three lasers respectively are shot during the short hop and no fastfall is performed. The SHL techniques were first utilised in Super Smash Bros. Melee, and have since carried into Super Smash Bros. and Super Smash Bros. Brawl. The main reason reason why shooting lasers in a short hop is preferable to using lasers on the ground is because in games prior to Super Smash Bros. 4, the move auto-cancels on landing; giving it minimal ending lag. Lasers also have less startup lag when used in the air; speeding up their rate of fire.

Kirby can also perform some of these techniques, by copying Fox and Falco's blaster abilities using Inhale with Kirby being able to shoot more lasers out of his short hop due to his more floaty nature (having lower falling speed/gravity than Fox/Falco which subsequently gives him a higher/longer short hop).

In Super Smash Bros.[edit]

In the original Super Smash Bros., Fox can perform a short hop laser and short hop double lasers. Both techniques are very effective, as the blaster's hitstun can stop opponent approaches and can deal damage while camping. It's usually better for Fox to shoot his lasers while short hopping instead of shooting from the ground as he can shoot and draw out his blaster more quickly in addition to avoiding ending lag. Due to his camping techniques such as short hop laser, Fox is considered one of the best characters on Hyrule Castle in Smash 64 competitive play, which gives him better matchups against characters who lack projectiles and/or ways to deal with them, such as Captain Falcon. However, Hyrule Castle has since been banned from competitive play and Fox is overall a less effective character on Dream Land. One of the main reasons Fox and his matchups are considered worse on Dream Land is because there is less space to laser camp.

Along with Fox, Kirby can also perform short hop lasers if Kirby uses Inhale. However, Kirby can also short hop triple laser due to floatiness. This is a very lethal ability as these lasers combined can do up to 19% damage if all 3 hit and Kirby can get a free up smash or pivot up tilt out of it up close. This is also a common idea in doubles, especially if Hyrule Castle is allowed.

In Super Smash Bros. Melee[edit]

In Melee, Fox can short hop laser and short hop double laser. Fox's lasers are much less effective at stopping approaches, as they no longer cause hitstun and they deal less damage. To compensate for this, Fox can fire his lasers much faster although he can still only shoot two lasers in a short hop due to his much lower short hop.

Short hop lasers are used to camp and "tack on" small amounts of damage. Fox's short hop laser and short hop double laser are considered more safe and flexible than shooting lasers from the ground, for the same reasons as the previous game. Short hops can be maneuvered toward or away from the opponent, and the lag caused by landing takes less time than that which occurs during a grounded blaster's ending lag.

Falco's lasers cause hitstun; much like Fox's in the previous game although they don't deal as much damage. Falco can short hop laser and fast fall while doing so, allowing him to quickly dash after firing a laser, meaning it can stun the opponent and allow him to followup with a grab, shine, or other combo starter. His short hop laser is used to camp and disrupt opponents' ground movement and approaches. Continuous strings of Falco’s short hop lasers are faster to execute than continuous grounded lasers.

Kirby can short hop triple laser after copying Fox, and short hop double laser after copying Falco, due to his higher short hop height and drastically slower falling speed.

Moving and weaving[edit]

Fox and Falco are able to cover horizontal distance while airborne during the short hop laser and, in Fox's case, the short hop double laser. By pushing the control stick left or right shortly after tapping B, Fox and Falco can move forward or backward after firing a laser. With Fox, B can be pressed a second time during the control stick movement, in order to fire a second laser and perform a moving short hop double laser. While this technique allows for horizontal aerial movement, it prevents players from fastfalling; slowing the speed at which they return to the ground. The moving short hop laser and short hop double laser can be used to approach and retreat while shooting lasers at an opponent, and is often more effective for this purpose than a still short hop laser and short hop double laser combined with ground movement. The technique can also be used to move swiftly in and out of an opponent's attack range while damaging them, a technique known as weaving. Weaving was not possible in the previous game and would be absent in all later entries.

In Super Smash Bros. Brawl[edit]

In Brawl, Fox can short hop laser, short hop double laser and he can now perform a short hop triple laser. The practical uses of which are very similar to those in Melee although the blaster travels less distance and they deal less damage from afar. If Kirby copies Fox's Blaster, he can short hop quadruple laser, being able to fire the fourth laser before landing.

If Fox or Falco's lasers are fired just before landing, it won't produce the blaster SFX, and is referred to as silent lasering. Jigglypuff's Pound also has this trait. Additionally, Fox and Falco can no longer weave when performing the move and it will not auto-cancel on landing during certain frames of the move which makes using laser in the air slightly more risky.

Falco can short hop laser and short hop double laser, the use of which to camp and combo out of is considered a staple of his competitive metagame. While Falco can no longer weave, the move has received multiple indirect benefits both due to Falco's reduced falling speed and multiple universal changes (mainly the changes to powershields and locks). If the special move button is pressed twice quickly, the two lasers will be fired at a near-identical height, though Falco can easily shoot two lasers; even if he reaches maximum height with his short hop. Kirby can short hop triple laser with Falco's lasers.

Wolf can short hop laser, but since his blaster cannot auto-cancel and has a high amount of ending lag, he lands before it ends. B reversing short hop laser is a common Wolf technique. Wolf's SHL can be used as a followup to his neutral attack combo at higher percentages. If Kirby copies Wolf's Blaster, he will be able to SHL without landing before the animation ends.

In Super Smash Bros. 4[edit]

In Super Smash Bros. 4, while both Fox and Falco can still perform the short hop laser and short hop double laser, the viability of the technique is much lower due to Fox and Falco's lasers now having landing lag as they will now never auto-cancel. The lasers have also seen other nerfs which have hindered their effectiveness. Due to this, the technique is not used nearly as commonly. In Falco's case, the ineffectiveness of this technique has significantly impacted his viability, as he has lost the most pivotal option in his neutral and approach games. In addition to his blaster shots no longer auto-cancelling, they travel a shorter distance, and consecutive shots are much slower. Falco's tournament viability is thus far worse than in previous games although this is not the only actor which hinders his viability.

While Fox is also adversely affected by these changes, they have not nearly had as much of an impact on his play style, and even with such nerfs, he is considered more viable than he was in Brawl due to the game's universal changes being immensely beneficial for him. His lasers are weaker and slightly laggier but they have not seen any other drastic changes other than losing their ability to auto-cancel. His Blaster is still a crucial aspect of his neutral game, as his lasers are much faster than Falco's and are thus more useful in forcing approaches.

See also[edit]