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Toon Link's down aerial is an example of a stall-then-fall move.

A stall-then-fall is a type of aerial maneuver in all installments of the Super Smash Bros. series. Types of stall-then-falls vary from kicks to hip drops. No matter the type, all stall-then-falls are similar in function. Stall-then-fall moves come in 2 types, aerials and special moves. Stall-then-fall specials exist in all games of the series, and stall-then-fall aerial attacks have existed since Super Smash Bros. Brawl.


The attack is as simple as the name: the character pauses briefly in the air, then rockets downward, usually with a kick. The downward falling speed can be much greater than the character's usual falling speed, even while fast falling. Most of these attacks launch the character diagonally forward and downwards, but a few of them (Toon Link's, Mr. Game & Watch's, Bowser's, Kirby's, Yoshi's, Ridley's, and Banjo & Kazooie's) do not, instead launching straight downwards or allowing the direction to be controlled (Mr. Game & Watch and Bowser's down aerial in Super Smash Bros. 4).

If the character performing the move hits the stage while the attack is still being executed, there is typically a fairly large landing lag with most of them. However, some of these moves have an additional hitbox upon hitting the ground, creating a shockwave effect that extends a short distance to either side of the character.

Aerial stall-then-fall attacks have their downwards movement disabled if the character attempts to use such a move to cancel hitstun from vertical knockback they have recently received, or if they are used while there is any residual knockback from attacks that cause hitstun, even after the hitstun would have ended. This behaviour originates from Brawl, where aerial attacks can be used to cancel hitstun, presumably in order to prevent this from being exploited to avoid being KOed vertically, although this behaviour extends to aerials which push opponents upwards as well, such as Fox's forward aerial. Starting in the 4.0.0 update for Ultimate, many stall-then-fall aerials do not have this property anymore, however removing it requires hard-coding, and they will still exhibit this behaviour by default, if not programmed not to do so. Notably, since residual knockback stacks with the momentum from the aerial, as it does will fall and air speeds, and as such the initial stall can cause the fighter to be boosted upwards, and the fall will be slower to begin with.

All aerial stall-then-falls are momentum based, meaning that they simply add a large amount of downwards momentum to a fighter, and thus the downwards momentum can persist after the move ends, depending on a fighter's vertical air friction. This also means that, like special moves, and unlike other ground moves like tilts and rolls, the speed granted by stall-then-fall aerials ignores size changes, but may be affected by stat changes, such as the stalling portion of Bowser's down aerial gaining more height in light gravity, and less height in heavy gravity.

Special move stall-then-falls behave like any other special move which moves a fighter. They typically use scripted motion rather than adding momentum, and they will not have their movement disabled by residual knockback, rather they will always stack with it. Some such specials also move horizontally when used on the ground, examples of this include the Falcon Kick, Wizard's Foot and Power Thrust.

Platform stalling[edit]

If one of the down aerial stall-then-fall attacks is used immediately after beginning to fall through a platform, the stall will cause the character to move slightly above the platform, so that they fall immediately directly on to it. This is somewhat useful with Toon Link and Mr. Game & Watch, who have the shortest landing lags on their stall-then-fall aerials, and can use this technique to land several quick hits.


Certain stall-then-fall aerials will cause the user to skid down slopes a bit, mainly Toon Link's and Mr. Game & Watch's. Depending on the steepness of the slope, this can be a tiny distance or a huge one, and at steep slopes, the character slides a large distance at a speed that is often faster than their dash. This could be used to keep an opponent from taking advantage of the long landing lag, and also for mindgames.


Stall-then-falls are useful for sweet-spotting the edge. The player can use the attack in midair, fall to below the level of the edge, and use their midair jump or up special move. They must be very high above the bottom blast line to avoid a self-destruct. Only Yoshi's Yoshi Bomb and Bowser's Bowser Bomb can sweetspot the ledge automatically while falling. The rest do not do so, continuing downwards.

Extra jump (Melee only)[edit]

In Super Smash Bros. Melee, Captain Falcon and Ganondorf could use another midair jump after using Falcon Kick and Wizard's Foot, respectively.

Juggling counters[edit]

Some characters are vulnerable to juggling due to floatiness, such as Kirby and Toon Link. Having a stall-then-fall move allows the character to be less vulnerable to juggling due to the increased falling speed, which will make it difficult for the juggler to respond quickly.


While stall-then-falls have a long duration — giving them long-lasting hitboxes — this also means that they are slow and easy to intercept if prepared for. Therefore, while they can assist in coming down from a juggling situation, the opponent can also use their landing lag to reset the situation. If used while off of the stage, they can result in a self-destruct. Therefore, their off-stage utility is limited and requires advance knowledge of when this can occur. With this knowledge, they can be effective; for example, Ridley in Ultimate can full hop and use his down aerial on stages like Battlefield to thwart simpler recoveries. However, if this fails, characters using this tactic are in terrible situations afterwards: Being below an opponent is a recipe for a meteor smash. Ergo, using stall-then-falls for edgeguarding is extremely rare and arguably self-sabotage.

Characters with stall-then-fall attacks[edit]

  • Banjo & Kazooie's down aerial — the Beak Buster from Banjo-Kazooie, in which Kazooie dives down beak first. The start of the move meteor smashes opponents.
  • Bayonetta's down aerial — She front flips and dives down heel-first. The heel meteor smashes opponents. Surprisingly low duration, allowing quick recovery.
  • Bowser:
    • Bowser Bomb — Bowser faces the screen, takes a sitting position midair, then plummets. Has considerable landing lag, but greatly damages shields. Bowser will self-destruct if used over a pit, but he can still grab ledges during the attack. Meteors in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
    • Down aerial in Super Smash Bros. 4 onwards — Bowser withdraws into his shell then falls. Clean hit is a meteor smash. Late hit sends horizontally. Can be slightly directed left or right. This move also grants Bowser minor additional height; more than other stall-then-falls.
    • Flying Slam is a grab-based stall-then-fall. First, Bowser will grab a victim, then Bowser will rise to an impressive height, then fall directly downwards. This stall-then-fall is unescapable.
  • Captain Falcon's Falcon Kick — when performed in the air, Captain Falcon extends his leg and shoots diagonally downward in a blaze of fire.
  • Corrin's down aerial — The Dragon Fang transforms his legs into spears and Corrin dives straight downward. The only multi-hit stall-then-fall, and it meteor smashes throughout with weak, set knockback. There is a shockwave when landing before the move completes that launches opponents diagonally at an nonadjustable angle.
  • Ganondorf:
    • Wizard's Foot — when performed in the air, Ganondorf extends his leg and shoots diagonally downward surrounded by dark energy. Spikes during all hitboxes in Melee, but meteor smashes in the initial falling hitbox in Brawl and Smash 4.
    • Flame Choke in Super Smash Bros. 4 and Ultimate — One of the only grab-based stall-then-falls, Ganondorf dashes forward to choke his opponent. If successful in midair, the pair rise slightly before slamming the foe to the ground. Unlike other stall-then-falls, this only damages the grabbed opponent. Ganondorf can steer left or right just after grabbing his opponent, which can be combined with the stall to prevent or cause Ganoncide.
  • Greninja's down aerial — Plummets incredibly quickly. If Greninja strikes an opponent, it will backflip upwards off them and regain control, consuming a midair jump in Smash Bros 4. The first hitbox meteor smashes. Lasts a long time, has no landing hitbox, and suffers plenty of landing lag, making it very punishable.
  • Hero's Kaclang - One of the spells available through Command Selection. The Hero will turn into metal and, if used in the air, plummet downwards, damaging any opponent he hits in the process. The spell cannot be canceled, effectively guaranteeing a self-destruct if used over a pit, though the Hero has a very limited ability to steer his fall. Also cannot be canceled after the Hero hits the ground, leaving him vulnerable to be hit once the metal transformation fades off.
  • Ice Climbers' down aerial (Brawl onwards) — the pair thrusts their hammers below them and then drop down. Falls slower than most stall-then-falls in Brawl, but with less landing lag than most. They also do not "stall" for very long (seemingly not at all), making the move less predictable.
  • Kazuya's down aerial — the Demon Scissors, in which Kazuya flips forwards and extends his legs, rushing downwards quickly. He travels a short distance upwards at the beginning of the move.Becomes a nearly inevitable self-destruct if missed.
  • Kirby's Stone — during the stall, Kirby transforms into an invincible stone and plummets. The stone remains invincible after hitting the ground, other than grabs. Can be cancelled midair by pressing the special button. Won't cancel automatically until some time after hitting the ground.
  • Mii Brawler's Head-On Assault — Flips around while airborne then crashes down headfirst, attacking anyone it hits.
  • Min Min's down aerial - She extends her leg outward and then dives downward.
  • Mr. Game & Watch's down aerial (Brawl onwards) — takes out a giant key and rides it to the ground while holding it beneath himself. Meteor smashes in the initial fall. Can be directed left or right slightly during descent.
  • Richter's down aerial — works exactly like Simon's down aerial.
  • Ridley's down aerial — stomps down with both feet. Meteors at the beginning, but has a good bit of landing lag.
  • Sephiroth's down aerial - Falls down with his sword pointed down.
  • Sheik's down aerial (Brawl onwards) — extends a leg and shoots diagonally downward. Can meteor smash in Super Smash Bros. 4.
  • Simon's down aerial — extends a leg and shoots diagonally downward. Meteor smashes at the beginning. If he hits an opponent, he bounces off, giving Simon a relatively safe edgeguarding option.
  • Sonic's down aerial — extends a leg and shoots diagonally downward. Can meteor smash starting in Super Smash Bros. 4.
  • Sora's down aerial — Hurricane Blast, where Sora plunges downward while backflipping with the Keyblade stretched outward. Unique among other stall-then-falls, the hitbox position is not consistent as Sora is spinning with the Keyblade, resulting in the hitbox following a spiral pattern.
  • Steve's down aerial — Generates an anvil below himself, then stands on it as it falls. The first example of a stall-then-fall that can be cancelled, in which case Steve will jump off the anvil as it continues to fall. However, it requires one piece of iron to perform and will fail if he has no iron.
  • Toon Link's down aerial — Points his sword down, then falls quickly. Meteor smashes in the initial fall. In Brawl, bounces off successful targets and loses downward momentum. In Super Smash Bros. 4, it does not bounce off opponents, making it riskier.
  • Wario-Man's down aerial (Brawl and Smash 4) — Plummets downward head-first, meteor smashing anyone in the way.
  • Yoshi's Yoshi Bomb — when Yoshi starts the attack in the air, he flips once then butt-stomps downward. When Yoshi hits the ground, damaging stars appear on either side. Like the Bowser Bomb, this will always self-destruct if used over a pit.
  • Zero Suit Samus's down aerial - extends a leg and shoots diagonally downward. Falling hitbox is a meteor smash for aerial opponents.

See also[edit]