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Special Zoom

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Captain Falcon attacking with Falcon Punch, which causes the Special Zoom effect.

Special Zoom is an aesthetic effect introduced in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, designed to add drama during a match. The term was coined by Masahiro Sakurai and his development team[1] (referred to as Decisive Impact in the initial design document[2]).


Ridley attacking with Skewer. Note the sweetspot causing Special Zoom.
The sound effect of a Special Zoom.

Special Zoom activates when a fighter is hit by certain attacks: for a short moment, the background flashes blue with dramatic "spark" effects pointing towards the impact, time will substantially slow down, and the camera zooms in on the impact. In games with more than two players, the slowdown and camera zoom effects will be nearly non-existent, although there are some exceptions (a few moves will always zoom even outside of 1v1 matches). A Special Zoom is usually accompanied by the sound effect previously exclusive to Little Mac's KO Uppercut in Super Smash Bros. 4. During some Special Zoom events, camera control is disabled, though this is not consistently enforced.

A few moves in Smash 4 which also had zoom-and-slowdown effects, such as KO Uppercut and Cloud's Finishing Touch and Limit Break Cross Slash, now use the standard Special Zoom effect.

In general, the attacks that trigger Special Zoom are slow and hard to hit with (such as Warlock Punch or Falcon Punch). Most other attacks that trigger Special Zoom have conditions that need to be met, such as Ridley's Skewer needing to be sweetspotted, or Little Mac's smash attacks requiring his armor to be triggered during the start-up. Certain items and stage hazards may also trigger Special Zoom, also requiring special conditions in some cases.

Special Zoom occurs even if the attack's knockback is negated by armor. However, Special Zoom will not trigger if the opponent is hit while invincible, during the last five seconds in a time match, when Nightmare is active, when hitting the AI-controlled character of the Ice Climbers, or when a Final Smash is active.

Finish Zoom[edit]

A Burrowing Snagret hits Duck Hunt and triggers a Finish Zoom at the end of the match.
The sound effect of a Finish Zoom.

Similar to Special Zoom is Finish Zoom or Final Zoom, terms also coined by Sakurai and his team.[1] Finish Zoom is used when the game calculates an attack will likely result in a game-winning KO. Like the Deadly Blow mechanic introduced in Super Smash Bros. 4, this effect only factors in knockback and launch angle, and does not account for obstructions or DI being used to make an otherwise-deadly blow survivable. Like Special Zoom, Finish Zoom zooms in on the point of impact and briefly slows down time. However, Finish Zoom uses a red background instead of a blue one, and the sound is always the same. The sound used is also different again, being akin to a ping hit combined with the sound of slashing swords. Screen KOs rarely occur when a Finish Zoom sends an opponent into the upper blast line, while Star KOs are very rare.

List of moves that trigger Special Zoom[edit]

By character[edit]

Character Move(s) Conditions Always zooms
Byleth Aymr Clean hit. No
Captain Falcon Falcon Punch No
Chrom Flare Blade Charged for at least 2.5 seconds. No
Cloud Cross Slash Limit Break. No
Finishing Touch
Donkey Kong Giant Punch Fully charged. No
Ganondorf Volcano Kick Clean hit. No
Warlock Punch No
Hero All smash attacks Random critical hit. No
Metal Slash Connecting with a metal opponent, including another Hero using Kaclang. Yes
Hatchet Man No
Whack When it Instant KOs. Yes
Ike Eruption Fully charged. No
Incineroar All smash attacks When Revenge is active. No
Alolan Whip When Revenge is active and the move is sweetspotted.
Cross Chop Explosion hitbox while Revenge is active.
Jigglypuff Rest No
Kazuya Rage Drive Occurs on final hit of the grab. No
Glorious Demon God Fist When hitting at the tip of Kazuya's fist. No
King Dedede Jet Hammer Fully charged. No
King K. Rool Belly Super Armor If broken by an attack. No
Kirby Hammer Flip Fully charged. No
Any neutral special from other characters that triggers Special Zoom If Kirby copies an opponent whose neutral special can trigger Special Zoom, Kirby will also experience it under the same conditions. The only exceptions are Little Mac's KO Uppercut, as Kirby can only copy Straight Lunge and does not have access to the KO Meter, and the Mii Brawler's Exploding Side Kick, since Kirby can only copy Shot Put. No*
Little Mac All smash attacks When attacked during startup armor. No
KO Uppercut
Lucario Force Palm On grab attack when at high aura. No
Lucas PK Thunder On last hit of PK Thunder 2. No
Lucina Shield Breaker When breaking a shield. No
Luigi Super Jump Punch Grounded sweetspot only. No
Marth Shield Breaker When breaking a shield. No
Mii Brawler Exploding Side Kick No
Mr. Game & Watch Judge Judge 9. No
Oil Panic On release. No
Ness PK Thunder On contact during PK Thunder 2. No
Ridley Skewer Sweetspot. Yes
Roy Flare Blade If charged for at least 2.5 seconds. No
Steve TNT Explosion hitbox on anyone not triggering the pressure plate. No
Wario Wario Waft Fully charged. No

* None of the attacks that Kirby can copy have the 'Always zoom' effect.

By item[edit]

Item Conditions Always zooms
Assist Trophy Upon defeat. Only possible for defeatable summons. Yes
Daybreak When a fighter has collected all three parts. Yes
Death's Scythe Sweetspotted tilt or smash attack at ≥80% damage. Yes
Home-Run Bat Smash attack. No
Motion-Sensor Bomb When detonated by touch. No
Staff Any hit at maximum range. No

By assist trophy[edit]

Character Conditions Always zooms
Black Knight Triggers for all attacks except a backhanded slash. No camera zoom occurs. No
Lyn Yes

By stage hazard[edit]

Hazard Stage(s) Conditions Always zooms
Invisible walls King of Fighters Stadium When hit with enough knockback to KO, shatters with the special zoom effect. No
Walls and ceiling Mishima Dojo When hit with enough knockback to break, shatters with the special zoom effect. No camera zoom occurs. No
Klaptrap Jungle Japes On contact, causing a one-hit KO. Camera zooms in slightly. Yes
Mimic Yggdrasil's Altar When it bites a fighter upon being attacked for the first time. Yes
Red Bulborb Distant Planet Chomps down on any fighter that enters its mouth, which causes an instant KO. Yes
Train Mementos When hit in front. Camera zooms in slightly. Yes


Ganondorf Mario Volcano Kick (Special Zoom).jpgGanondorf Mario Volcano Kick (Finish Zoom).jpg
Part of the MediaWiki software. For use in {{ImageCaption}}Part of the MediaWiki software. For use in {{ImageCaption}}
A comparison of Mario's expression when hit by the sweetspot
of Ganondorf's up tilt during a Special Zoom (left) and a Finish Zoom (right).
  • Should a character be hit by an attack that triggers a Finish Zoom, they will react with a shocked expression that overrides the expression normally displayed.
  • If a non-cinematic Final Smash causes Finish Zoom, the background will change to the stage's normal background, rather than the background for the Final Smash.
  • In-game parameters reveal that Captain Falcon's Knee Smash was planned to have the Special Zoom effect, although it is not active in the final game.
  • Hero has the most moves which can trigger Special Zoom out of all characters, with 7.
  • Collecting all three parts of the Dragoon and getting hit by Odin's slashing attack will cause the camera to zoom in, but do not cause the Special Zoom background to appear.
  • In Home-Run Contest, Special Zoom does not occur on moves that trigger the effect; presumably to prevent such moves from costing the player time due to the timer not slowing down while Special Zoom is in effect.
    • However, using a Special Zoom move in place of the Home-Run Bat swing will not result in an angled view of Sandbag flying, and will instead feature a normal Special Zoom.
  • Certain moves are given a hidden multiplier that increases the amount of knockback needed to trigger Finish Zoom, usually for moves that are clearly telegraphed and/or heavily affected by DI, which the opponent would feasibly always react to and DI against accordingly. Star KOs will be more common if the match is finished this way than with the actual Finish Zoom effect.
    • These multipliers are set manually, independent from the move's actual knockback calculations, and may not always accurately reflect the practical KO potential of the move. For example, Mario's back throw can KO at around 140% at the ledge with no DI and 160% with optimal DI for a roughly 1.15x increase in survivability, but it is set with an arbitrarily high multiplier of 1.5x, causing the Finish Zoom to begin occurring well beyond its minimum KO percent.
  • A glitch involving Min Min and Finish Zoom was introduced in the Version 8.0.0; if the opponent didn't get KO'd (e.g. due to directional influence) after Min Min's attack triggered Finish Zoom, her last used ARM will be visually stuck in being stretched.
  • If Finish Zoom occurs to a character getting hit from behind, the reverse knockback animation does not play, although they will briefly assume the pose.
  • If Hero uses Thwack on Squirtle performing Withdraw, Squirtle will be instant KO'ed, but it will not trigger the Special Zoom.[3]
  • If Ryu uses Shin Shoryuken or if Ken uses Shippu Jinraikyaku as his Final Smash, the move uses a mechanic similar to Finishing Zoom where if the final hit has enough knockback to KO, the backdrop is set to an orange color.
  • Characters launched out of the bury status that trigger Finish Zoom have a notably increased chance of being Star KO'd after Finish Zoom.