Little Mac using Straight Lunge and KO Uppercut in Ultimate.
Straight Lunge involves Little Mac stepping back to charge up a powerful, forward-sliding straight punch. Unlike most chargeable moves, its charge cannot be stored. The charging animation and fully-charged punch grants Little Mac weak damage-based armor from frame 1, which can tank minimal damage; this allows it to function as a counter of sorts and deter juggling in niche situations.
Straight Lunge consists of two phases:
- An uncharged, blue-tinted straight that shoots Little Mac forward, giving more distance as it is charged up. Compared to the fully charged version, it has lower power but less ending lag. Regardless, the early hit is very powerful in all games, as it can KO opponents at around 100%.
- A fully charged, red-tinted punch that sets Little Mac's fist on flames, sending him almost half the distance of Final Destination. This version takes about three seconds to charge and gains significant ending lag, as Little Mac will flex his burning fist. However, it deals high damage and extreme knockback, having KO potential on the majority of the cast at as low as 60% even from the middle of medium-sized stages. Despite its high knockback, it is impractical as a finisher in Home-Run Contest due to its low knockback growth.
Like majority of Little Mac's moves, Straight Lunge is significantly weaker in the air, and loses both power and travel distance. A fully-charged aerial Straight Lunge will grant horizontal distance, but it is of questionable use as it is unlikely for the move to fully charge in midair, and Mac cannot grab ledges during the entire animation. Straight Lunge is therefore highly impractical for recovery or attacking in midair. Courtesy of its high ending lag and Mac's ineffective recovery moves, using it offstage would also result in an inevitable self-destruct.
Overall, this move is useful as a method for Little Mac to stand his ground, as he will not be knocked back by weak projectiles such as Mega Man's Metal Blade or jab infinites from characters like Fox. In Smash 4, it can also be used as a niche way to punish enemies who are prone to spamming edge attacks. In comparison, the fully-charged version is almost impossible to land during 1v1 matches due to its charge time, leaving it only useful against enemies that have a broken shield.
Like most of Little Mac's special moves, Straight Lunge has a unique 8-bit sound if he is using a Wireframe alternate costume. If Kirby copies him while in that costume, he uses the 8-bit sound along with his own voice.
In Smash 4, Straight Lunge is unique in a few ways: it is the one of the two moves (aside from Ultimate Uppercut) that does not gain damage unless fully charged, as the level of charge only increases the distance Little Mac lunges, while damage remains the same. Additionally, the charging process can only be canceled by letting the move fully charge or by pressing the special button again after around a second has passed.
- The uncharged version deals 14% clean, 12% after the initial animation, and 9% during its ending frames, regardless of charge.
- The fully charged version deals 25% clean. While strongest during its first few frames, a late hit still deals potent knockback, and the initial hitbox deals enough shield damage to break any damaged shield. This version has an infamous point-blank blind spot, so it is recommended to space slightly away from the opponent.
In Ultimate, Straight Lunge was given additional utility. It can be shield cancelled, improving its defensive and mixup ability as Mac can tank a weak move and have options to dodge afterwards. It can also be turned around when unleashed, allowing it to hit enemies behind him. Finally, the move no longer possesses a blindspot due to the changes to jostling.
Unlike in Smash 4, Straight Lunge's power properly scales with charge time, and the fully charged version consists of a lasting sweetspot. The uncharged version has lowered ending lag, but weaker power (especially in the air), but the charged version is more powerful overall. While the move still possesses armor, the increased damage of edge attacks now prevent Straight Lunge from tanking against them, removing a key ledge trapping option for Mac.
- The uncharged version deals 12% clean, and 8% during its ending frames when completely uncharged.
- The fully charged version deals 30% clean, with equally high shield damage.
When Little Mac's Power Meter is full, his Straight Lunge is replaced with a single-use uppercut named the KO Uppercut. While it has the word "KO" in its name, it is not a true one-hit KO. Regardless, it is one of the strongest special moves in the game.
Getting a KO Uppercut requires Little Mac to either receive 100% damage or deal 333% damage to opponents (or, more likely, a combination of both) to fill up his Power Meter via his own attacks or melee-based items; thrown items do not contribute to the meter. Unlike other special moves, Little Mac can only safely hold a KO Uppercut for four seconds before it is vulnerable to being removed by any attack that causes Little Mac to tumble.
The attack itself can be considered similar to a fully-charged Wario Waft: it is immensely powerful yet extremely fast, hitting on frame 9 and dealing enough knockback to KO the entire cast at 35% (with the exception of Shulk in the Shield Monado Art). This is dependent on the opponent's weight due to the uppercut's strong vertical angle (Jigglypuff in Smash 4 only needing 12% to be at KO percentage). However, KO Uppercut can be very predictable and risky due to its high ending lag, and the potential to lose it from being tumbled after four seconds. Fortunately, the move's quick startup and Little Mac's excellent grounded combo potential allows a KO Uppercut to combo from many of Mac's moves.
Kirby can use the Straight Lunge via copying Little Mac, but does not gain a Power Meter and thus can only use the standard version of the move.
The attack itself has several properties to note:
- It is completely unblockable and ignores armor, making Witch Time the only defense it does not bypass.
- Little Mac gains super armor from frames 8-9.
- Like with Straight Lunge, the KO Uppercut will work as if it was grounded if done correctly right after jumping from the ground.
- If the attack lands, it gives tremendously high freeze frames to Little Mac and his victim; this also applies to items like the Fire Hydrant. This can catch opponents even if they walk towards Little Mac while he is stuck in the move's freeze frames, without any loss of power (an example shown here, where it is abused to KO Pac-Man on a tower of crates).
- If 2 KO Uppercuts are used at the same time, port priority is used to determine who delivers the attack.
Consistent with Little Mac's depiction as a very strong fighter on the ground and very weak in the air, the aerial version of KO Uppercut is drastically weaker, and also becomes blockable. However, using the KO Uppercut while having any sort of forward momentum gives Little Mac some decent horizontal distance, which can help him get back onstage. This tactic can boost Little Mac's abysmal recovery on certain stages, notably ones with walls that allow him to wall jump, although it is a very risky tactic in general, since the move's high ending lag makes it extremely likely that he'll be KO'd anyway.
In Smash 4, KO Uppercut appears as an uppercut that generates sweat-like particles while Little Mac stays grounded. The uppercut creates a small windbox when unleashed; in rare cases, this can force an opponent offstage unexpectedly should they dodge the initial hitbox, and can also cause the attack to miss entirely. The windbox can even be negated by a counterattack's counter frames, making it seem like it was "countered" with no effect to the opponent.
In Ultimate, Little Mac will leap upwards while his front/back faces the camera before instantly returning to the ground, which makes it more closely resemble the Star Punch from the original Punch-Out!!. It is now easier to land overall due to Mac's movement and its better animation covering a larger area, which even allows it to catch jumping opponents. Its windbox has been removed, which prevents unintentional interactions, and its ending lag has been slightly reduced.
The aerial version now grants good horizontal distance and can be used for an actual recovery due to its ending lag being reduced. It also deals much more knockback and works as a feasible KO option at high percents in the air, although it is difficult to land and retains its old downsides (blockable, much weaker than grounded version).
Combos into KO Uppercut
KO Uppercut can be easily telegraphed despite its quick startup. However, Little Mac grounded combo prowess grants him a few combos he can use to give himself a better chance to land an Uppercut, giving him potentially one of the most potent combos-to-KOs in the game along with more mixups to play mindgames with the opponent.
- Jab 1 and 2: Easily jab cancels into a KO Uppercut. It is useful for mixups especially if the opponent shields the jabs, as the Uppercut bypasses shields. Less effective on lighter fighters, as they may be able to jump or airdodge away after hitstun.
- Down tilt: A common move that positions his opponent for a KO Uppercut. It is the easiest way to combo the move and works best on opponents that are conditioned to airdodge during the game (which will make them suffer from landing lag and guarantee success). Fastfallers such as Fox and heavier fighters like Bowser will be vulnerable to this combo for a wider percent range, while middleweights and light characters such as Jigglypuff will be sent too high for the uppercut to hit once they pass a certain percentage. This combo functions worse in Ultimate due to down tilt's high ending lag, although its effective percent range can lower significantly due to rage.
- Up tilt: The second best way to combo an uppercut in Smash 4, and is better in situations which require catching landings or anti-airing. It is significantly better in Ultimate due to its altered knockback and the ability to perform any ground attack out of a turnaround, as Little Mac can buffer a turn to hit an opponent if they are behind him.
- Down aerial jab lock: Little Mac can use his incredibly fast down aerial to jab lock an opponent into getting up, then unleash a KO Uppercut. This requires pinpoint timing as Little Mac's down aerial has an incredibly small hitbox. In Smash 4, it can potentially start a zero-to-death combo, particularly on fastfallers and heavyweights; starting with several down tilts, a Jolt Haymaker can then force an opponent forward onto the ground, followed by a down aerial lock if the victim misses the tech, then an uppercut.
- Jab infinite KO Uppercut (Smash 4 only): See below.
- The "Gazelle Punch": See below.
As Little Mac's neutral special has a property where using it on its first frame cancels all upward momentum  while moving him slightly forwards, a few advanced techniques take advantage of this to perform grounded KO Uppercuts at the ledge.
Jab infinite KO Uppercut
The Jab infinite KO Uppercut is a Smash 4-only advanced technique that takes advantage of Smash 4's jab mechanics to combo into a KO Uppercut. As multi-hitting jabs slowly push the user away after a few seconds, Little Mac can face himself away from the ledge, then trap an opponent at the side of the stage with a jab infinite. Once he is pushed offstage, he can instantly cancel his jab into the KO Uppercut for a true combo.
This technique has to be used at low percentages, as extremely damaged opponents can get knocked out of the jab. This is incredibly situational and risky, as inputting at the wrong time will swing the Uppercut too late, or send him offstage while trapped in the Uppercut's high ending lag, causing an SD. Additionally, the player has to have the KO Uppercut ready while both Little Mac and his opponent have to be extremely close to the ledge to even attempt the move.
This technique cannot be performed in Ultimate, as fighters are no longer pushed off ledges while performing jab infinites.
The Gazelle Punch is an advanced technique that allows Little Mac to perform a grounded KO Uppercut almost immediately from the ledge. While it is named after a real life boxing punch, Little Mac's version was named by the Mac community and does not match the actual technique. Optimally performing it differs for each game, although the objective is the same: have Little Mac land on the stage before the hitbox comes out to allow the uppercut to register as a grounded attack.
- In Smash 4, it requires the player to, while hanging from a ledge, use a ledge jump get-up and then a KO Uppercut within a strict 2-frame window. This window is a few frames right after Little Mac's ledge jump animation begins.
- In Ultimate, it instead requires him to drop from ledge, quickly double jump while holding forward, then perform the uppercut, as Little Mac's KO Uppercut animation was changed to include a short jump.
The Gazelle Punch allows Little Mac to perform surprise comebacks from what is usually a very bad position: the KO Uppercut goes through shields and has a few frames of super armor, which can be used against certain edgeguarding options such as shielding or charging an attack. Its downsides are its risk: besides the obvious requirement of needing a KO Uppercut while at the disadvantageous position of the ledge, performing it incorrectly will either result in the KO Uppercut registering as airborne (which is much weaker, lacks super armor and does not go through shields), or cause Little Mac to miss the stage and fall to his death.
|case foldout||A devastating punch. Press to charge and again to release.|
|Move List||Blasts forward with a powerful punch. One button press begins the charge and a second unleashes the strike.|
Special Move customization was added in Super Smash Bros. 4. These are the variations:
|1. Straight Lunge||2. Flaming Straight Lunge||3. Stunning Straight Lunge|
|"Blast forward with a powerful punch. Press once to charge and again to strike."||"Blast forward with a flaming punch that hits multiple times before launching opponents."||"Blast through opponents at high speed. Will stun and launch at full charge."|
- Straight Lunge: Default.
- Flaming Straight Lunge: Adds a Flame effect, hits multiple times, and has a much faster charge time of about one second, allowing it to be used as a horizontal recovery albeit with high endlag, along with extreme risk as Little Mac cannot sweetspot the ledge until the move is complete. It travels a shorter distance and deals less damage, and its multiple hits do not chain well against opponents at high percentages, making it possible for them to DI out after the first few hits.
- Stunning Straight Lunge: Adds an electric effect and at full charge will paralyze enemies before launching them. The lunge is also faster and covers a much greater distance, sending Little Mac the entirety of Final Destination's length at full charge. However, it deals less damage and lacks knockback resistance. If partly charged, this move shoots Little Mac forward with decent horizontal distance, which can be used in the same way as a fully charged Flaming Straight Lunge to get back to the stage, albeit without high ending lag, making it a better recovery move overall.
*All custom variants of Straight Lunge do not alter KO Uppercut in any way.
The uppercut is a reference to Little Mac's signature moves in the Punch-Out!! series, the Star Uppercut and KO Punch. These moves deal considerable damage, and the KO Punch has a higher chance of leaving Mac's opponents down for the full ten-count.
The power meter originates from the 1984 arcade Punch-Out!! and Super Punch-Out!!. If Little Mac keeps attacking the opponent, the power meter will fill, but taking damage will cause the meter to fall, unlike in Smash Bros. When the power meter is fully charged (indicated by a glowing "KO" similar to the meter in Super Smash Bros.), the player can perform one of two knockout punches, an uppercut or a body-blow, by pressing a button on the arcade cabinet depending on the position of the gloves. Unlike the version in Smash, the player can continue to use knockout punches until they are hit. The only Punch-Out!! game to retain this system outside of the arcades was Super Punch-Out!! on SNES.
A fully charged Straight Lunge in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U.
Straight Lunge as shown by the Move List in Ultimate.
Names in other languages
- Little Mac has a unique animation when he uses a fully charged Straight Lunge in the air: spinning around and doing an awkward flex. Due to Little Mac's attributes (specifically his poor jumps and fast falling speed), this animation is difficult to spot, as he has to be either close to the top blast line or using custom moves to finish charging up a Straight Lunge in midair.
- Although Little Mac's fist gets engulfed in flames when fully charged, a fully charged Straight Lunge does not do flame damage.
- Straight Lunge in Smash 4 is one of the only chargeable moves that does not increase damage or knockback with charging until fully charged; charging and releasing Straight Lunge before then only has increasing traveled distance. The other is Ultimate Uppercut, which, like Straight Lunge, does not possess increased damage or knockback unless fully charged.
- A successful hit with the KO Uppercut will cause the game to go in slow motion, as the camera zooms in on Little Mac for about a second. It is possible, however, that the camera won't focus on Mac, though the game still slows down. This seems to happen if Little Mac is hit out of the Uppercut animation after it lands or if the camera is in a locked distance, such as during the 3DS subgame Smash Run.
- Little Mac's Power Meter gain is directly affected by equipment, as they can change the damage he takes and deals.
- Grabbing Little Mac while he's performing KO Uppercut will not only stop the move, but also cause the grabber and Little Mac to slide back a large distance, as seen here.
- Rarely, a KO Uppercut will still connect during its ending frames, as seen here hitting Diddy Kong. It only happens if Little Mac lands during the last active frame of the hitbox.
- There is an unused animation showing Giga Mac using theKO Uppercut suggesting either that there was a point in time where he could use it, or that it was a leftover from Little Mac's default moveset.
- If Kirby copies a wireframe Mac, he uses the 8-bit sound along with his own voice.
- After Little Mac performs a KO Uppercut, he'll perform an animation of him wiping the sweat off his face. The particle effect of KO Uppercut in Smash 4 also features a sweat-like particle throughout the punch, though this is not present in Ultimate.
- In Smash 4, This is the only move with damage-based armor that can be shield cancelled.