Sweet spot (hitbox)
The sweet spot of an attack is the area of the hitbox with the most desirable knockback effect - usually, the most powerful part of the attack. For example, in Super Smash Bros. Melee, the sweet spot for most of Roy's attacks is the area of his sword closest to his body, while Marth's is at the end of his blade, called a tipper. Sweet spots are critical to learn to master a character. Most sweet spots on moves come out straight away, e.g. the move has 2 hitboxes, one with a sweet spot and one very weak one. However, the sweet and sour spots of some attacks, such as sex kicks, depend on timing rather than the hitbox's placement. In this case, most of the attack's duration is the sourspot and only a few frames are the sweetspot.
When an attack hits with its sweetspot, it is officially called a critical hit.
Notable sweet spot moves
- Luigi's Super Jump Punch in every game has a sweet spot just before he jumps near the center of his elbow. If this hits an opponent, they will take extremely high damage and knockback, with flame damage and a distinctive 'ping' noise, called the Fire Jump Punch, and this is powerful enough to KO characters at just 60% or higher.
- In every game he appears in, nearly all of Marth's attacks have a sweetspot on the tip of the sword, referred to as a tipper. This is especially noticeable in his forward smash, which is one of the weakest forward smashes when untipped, but one of the strongest when tipped in all games.
- One of Marth's clones, Roy, is the opposite, with nearly all of his attacks having a sweet spot at the hilt of the sword.
- Lucina and Chrom, who are clones of Marth and Roy respectively, are different primarily in that they lack these sweetspots (using the weighted average of the sweetspots and sourspots instead). However, Lucina uniquely has a sweetspot on her up tilt, based on the timing of the move rather than the spacing.
- Captain Falcon's Knee Smash forward aerial in Melee onward. The Knee Smash is one of the strongest aerials in the games it appears in, giving massive knockback when sweet spotted and an electric effect, but it is extremely weak when sour spotted. The sweet spot is harder to land in Brawl, SSB4 and Ultimate than in Melee, due to slightly less hitbox duration and the player now having to land a specific hitbox, as the back hitbox of the knee is another sour spot.
- Zelda's forward and backward aerials in Melee and Brawl, known as the Lightning Kicks, deal extreme horizontal knockback with an electrical effect if the tip of Zelda's foot is landed. Otherwise, they do extremely low knockback and damage.
- In Brawl, Zelda's down aerial was given a similar sweet spot on the tip of her foot, where instead of being an extremely weak meteor smash, it is a very powerful meteor smash with electrical damage and is one of the strongest meteor smashes in Brawl, SSB4 and Ultimate.
- Mario's forward smash in Melee, Brawl, SSB4 and Ultimate is notable for having a visible sweet spot (the flame that he shoots out of his hand). The sweet spot itself doesn't have a very notable effect, though; it simply just hits with stronger damage and knockback while dealing fire damage.
- Sheik's up smash has a sweet spot at her hands when she splits them apart, where when landed, is one of the strongest up smashes in both Melee and Brawl (especially in the former game). Otherwise the move hits with unspectacular power.
- Kirby's Hammer in Melee has a sweetspot at the head of the hammer, where it hits with extreme power. When hit with the handle, however, it'll deal much less knockback and damage, with little KO potential. In Brawl, Hammer's reach was reduced, but the handle sour spot hitbox was removed.
- Ganondorf's Warlock Punch in Melee has a very small sweet spot on his shoulder, which hits with increased damage and much stronger knockback. While this has no real effect in actual play, due to being about impossible to land on a move that's already nearly impossible to land in general, it has special use in the Home-Run Contest, where players have found reliable ways to land the sweet spot and get much farther distances with Ganondorf (where it's necessary for Ganondorf's world record strategies).
- Peach's up smash has a small sweetspot at her shoulders where it hits with extremely powerful vertical knockback, and is one of the strongest up smashes in Brawl.
- Additionally, the tennis racket of Peach's forward smash in Brawl is normally a very weak attack that can't even KO at 200%. However, if the area hitbox not overlapped by the other hitboxes lands during the middle of the move, it hits opponents away powerfully on a semi-spike trajectory, and is the strongest semi-spike any character possesses in Brawl.
- King Dedede's forward smash is much stronger if landed after the initial hitboxes, where it hits with extremely powerful knockback, and is the strongest forward smash in Brawl and on par with Bowser's in SSB4, as well being the strongest forward smash in Ultimate.
- The end of Wolf's Wolf Flash is a very visible sweet spot, electrifying the opponent, and depending on the location the opponent touches Wolf's body, either hitting the opponent with powerful semi-spike knockback or powerfully meteor smashing them.
- Wolf's up smash is another move with a notable sweet spot. Normally, the move hits opponents vertically with average knockback for a smash attack. However, if the opponent touches a small hitbox on Wolf's body instead of his legs during the second hit of the move, they are hit with significantly stronger horizontal knockback (which is also the strongest attack in Wolf's moveset).
- The end part of Zero Suit Samus' side special move, Plasma Whip, has a visible and powerful fire-imbued sweet spot. It is also one of the easiest to hit with, as the whip will often push opponents into the sweet spot.
- Almost all of Shulk's sword-based attacks have a sweetspot and sourspot due to the Monado's beam properties, with the blade itself being the sweet spot, and the beam blade being the sour spot. This applies to all Monado-based attacks barring the third hit of jab, dash attack, up smash, and Air Slash.
- The first slash of Link's forward smash has a sweetspot at the tip of his sword, which can often be unhelpful, as it launches the opponent away from the attack so the second slash cannot hit. However, at higher percents, it can help for a quicker KO than having to follow through.
- All of Corrin's smash attacks feature a sweetspot on the tips of the dragon fangs, with forward smash and Dragon Lunge being the most notable due to their immense ability to punish opponents from a distance.
- Ridley's Skewer features a sweetspot on the tip of his tail. Hitting an opponent with this sweetspot will cause a Special Zoom to occur, and the opponent will crumple onto the ground.
- The Home-Run Bat has a sweet spot near its tip, also referred to as a tipper, where it hits with even more knockback. However, this is only useful in the Home-Run Contest, as all parts of the bat OHKO regardless under normal circumstances.
- Similar to the Home-Run Bat, Ness's forward smash in each game has a sweet spot at the tip of the bat.
A sour spot is the exact opposite of a sweet spot; an area with the least powerful part of the attack, such as the tip of Roy's blade and the "jumping" portion of Luigi's Super Jump Punch.
Notable sour spots
Notable sour spots include:
- The sour spot on Luigi's Super Jump Punch is the most infamous in Smash; if the sweet spot of the move isn't landed, the opponent is otherwise hit with only 1% in damage and near nonexistent knockback.
- In Melee and Brawl, Marth's down aerial, when sour spotted, hits with very weak horizontal knockback and much lower damage, instead of powerfully spiking/meteor smashing.
- In Melee, Roy's forward smash is normally one of the strongest forward smashes. However, when landed with the outer half of the sword, it deals much less damage, with extremely weak knockback.
- In Brawl, Falco's down aerial is a powerful meteor smash during its initial hitboxes. However, if landed during the later hitboxes, the move hits with weak horizontal knockback. This also applies to Falco's down aerial in PAL versions of Melee.
Useful sour spots
While normally sour spot hitboxes are undesirable to land, they can occasionally be beneficial. This is usually due to them hitting in a vastly different trajectory, which can be more useful for certain situations despite the lowered knockback, or their weaker knockback allowing the move to combo into other moves when it normally wouldn't.
The following is a list of notable useful sour spots.
- The sour spot of Captain Falcon's Knee Smash can combo into other moves (especially a sweet spotted knee), and it can be used to gimp opponents with very gimpable recoveries (such as Falco). While the comboing properties are near nonexistent in Brawl, it still has use in gimping opponents.
- In Melee and Brawl, Marth's untipped forward aerial is especially effective at comboing, where it's part of the famous Ken combo in Melee, and allows Marth to pull together large aerial strings in Brawl. In SSB4, due to the further reduction of knockback on Marth's untipped swings, this allows him to effectively use sourspotted moves as setups for attacks or tippers.
- The back hitboxes of Ganondorf's up aerial hit with much weaker knockback, while semi-spiking (especially the final hitbox at Ganondorf's foot). The weak to extremely weak semi-spike knockback allows it to gimp recoveries extremely effectively. This also applies to Captain Falcon's up aerial in all games, though it's less useful and prominent than Ganondorf's.
- In both Melee and Brawl, if Mr. Game & Watch's down smash is sour spotted, it semi-spikes the opponent. This can be utilised for edge-guarding and getting KOs near the ledge (especially in Brawl, where the sour spot is much stronger than it was in Melee).
- This additionally applies to Kirby's down smash in Melee and Brawl. Also like Mr. Game & Watch's, the sourspot of Kirby's down smash is much more useful in Brawl, due to being much more powerful.
- From Brawl onward, the forward aerial meteor smashes of Mario, Yoshi, and Donkey Kong, and the down aerial meteor smash of Captain Falcon, each have a hitbox that hits horizontally, with even stronger knockback than the meteor smash hitbox. These hitboxes can be utilised to get KOs on onstage opponents.
- Similarly from Brawl onward, the later hitboxes of Ganondorf's Wizard's Foot and the leg hitbox of Snake's forward aerial hits opponents vertically instead of meteor smashing, with weaker knockback. However, despite the weakened knockback, they are still very powerful, and can be used to get star KOs on opponents onstage that the meteor smash sweet spots would not KO.
- From SSB4 onward, Kirby's Stone activates faster if standing on the ground and always hits with its sourspot shockwave. The horizontal knockback off this is very likely to send victims flying off and below the stage.
- From SSB4 onward, Donkey Kong's down aerial has a sourspot on the chest which sends opponents horizontally with high power. This makes it an effective edgeguarding tool and powerful KO option whether onstage or offstage.
- In SSB4, Cloud's up aerial is notorious for its wide hitbox and effectiveness, but also benefits from a weaker sourspot that can challenge airdodges or attacks even in Ultimate. Meanwhile, his down aerial's sex kick properties allow him to protect himself from juggling, and can also be an excellent combo starter into aerials or Limit Break finishers.
- From SSB4 onward, the late hit of Ryu's neutral aerial is a very effective combo starter due to it having the lowest landing lag of any aerial in the game. This allows him to transition into his powerful combo-oriented offense.