A grab (つかみ/掴み, Grab, grasp, grip or catch) is the action of grabbing and holding an opponent. Regular grabs are performed by pressing either the shield and attack buttons simultaneously (as implied by the games' How to Play sequence), or a specific grab button, which is (by default for Brawl and Smash 4) the R button for the N64 controller, Z button for the Gamecube controller, Minus button for the standalone Wii Remote, D-Pad sideways for the Wii Remote and Nunchuk, L button for the Nintendo 3DS, L and ZR for the New Nintendo 3DS and ZL or ZR for the Classic Controller, Wii U Pro Controller and Wii U GamePad. Once grabbed, a character can be thrown by tilting the Control stick in any of the four standard directions (only forward and back in the first Super Smash Bros.), or pummeled from Melee onward with the attack or grab button.
A grabbed character will automatically escape after a certain amount of time depending on their damage; characters at higher damage percentages will be held for longer. SSB has no grab releases excluding Donkey Kong's forward throw, which must be manually imposed by the opponent: other grabs will automatically make the grabber use their forward throw after holding the foe for a full second. Damage inflicted upon the grabbed character will increase grab time, and any button input by the grabbed character will decrease grab time.
If a character fails to grab a foe, they will suffer a considerable amount of lag, with most characters getting about 25 frames of lag after their grab hitbox comes out. The lag can also be longer if a dash grab or pivot grab is used, and characters with extended grabs have significantly longer ending lag for all of their grabs, with most of them exceeding 60 frames (a full second). In Super Smash Bros., though, grabs are significantly faster in both startup and ending lag; all characters except Link, Samus, and Yoshi (who suffer as much lag as in the sequels) are able to perform up to four grabs in one second. Computer players at high levels use grabs conspicuously, often using dash grabs to approach in Melee, shield grabbing to punish foes in Brawl, and grabbing foes that come close to them in Smash 4. Grabs can be avoided by intangibility, such as spotdodges and air dodging.
An important property of grabs is that they cannot be shielded, completely ignoring a foe's shield and grabbing them out of it; in comparison to other unblockable attacks, grabs are available to the entirety of the cast in all Smash games, preventing foes from overusing their shields against any character. This, along with grabs' generally fast startup, their ability to easily punish out of shield, and most throws allowing the player to execute diverse combos and chains, causes them to be used very prominently in competitive play, constituting the neutral game of characters as a triangle in which grabs beat shields, but are beaten by attacks as they are outranged by them. Grabs also ignore moves that conceptually block attacks, such as those that provide armor and most counterattacks, though they do not work against foes knocked down on the floor. In Smash 4, characters also gain invulnerability to grabs for 60 frames after being released from them, preventing chaingrabs and team wobbles. However, special moves that are grabs will not cause the opponent to gain the grab invulnerability, allowing for repeated use of the special move, with Ganondorf's Flame Choke being the most prominent example.
Grab hitboxes react very interestingly throughout the Super Smash Bros. series when they collide with a regular hitbox that is within a character's grab range. In Super Smash Bros. and Melee, the grab has priority over the hitbox and will completely override whatever hitbox it collided with and grab the opponent; in Brawl, the grab still has priority over the hitbox, but the hitbox will deal full damage to the character that attempted the grab before they proceed to grab the opponent. In Smash 4, however, hitboxes outprioritize grabs; in this situation, the character that attempted the grab will receive full damage and knockback from the hitbox that the grab collided with, and the character that threw out the hitbox will be grab released and take 3% damage (or more if the grab came from a special move and the grab itself dealt damage, like the beginning of Falcon Dive).
Hitting a character with a grabbed foe in Super Smash Bros. causes them to make their hard-damage noise. From Melee onward, if a character grabbing another character is interrupted (that is, hit by an attack), the grabbed character will be sent flying horizontally. In Melee, characters oddly cannot escape from grabs if they are constantly hit by other characters at certain intervals, which is the main cause of wobbling.
A particular character can grab only one opponent at once, and similarly, a grabbed character cannot be grabbed by another one before being thrown or released. When grabbing with the Ice Climbers, only one of them can grab the opponent, though they can grab two respective foes at once. In Melee, when the trailing Ice Climber grabs an opponent, he or she will be CPU-controlled. In Brawl, the partner is instead controlled by the player, allowing them to throw the enemy freely and instantly grab them with the other Ice Climber afterwards, which allows zero-to-death combos.
From Melee onward, characters attempting a grab while dashing will perform a variation known as a dash grab: in comparison to regular grabs, dash grabs usually have longer range and conserve some of the dash's momentum, allowing them to be used reliably against foes at mid-close range, but also have longer ending lag when not grabbing a foe, making them punishable if overused. Every character uses a different, more sluggish animation for dash grabs. Tether recoveries on the other hand are barely changed when used as dash grabs: for example, Link's dash grab keeps very little momentum from his dash in comparison to other characters, while Samus's is quicker than her normal grab but has less reach (about half in Melee). Dash grabs were not present in SSB; instead, the dashing character grabs as usual, negating some momentum of the dash (depending on the character's traction). In Brawl and Smash 4, dash grabs that give the character a significant boost forward, such as those of Meta Knight in the former game and Captain Falcon in the latter, conserve some of the momentum when dash grabbing foes: this can also drop them off edges in some instances.
In Melee, grabs can cancel the squat animation that characters undergo before jumping; since jumps can be performed at any time while dashing, this allows normal grabs to be still used after a dash. Jump-canceled grabs are as such often preferred over dash grabs due to their shorter ending lag, since they retain almost as much momentum from a dash as them. This ability was removed in Brawl and Smash 4, though.
Introduced in Brawl, a pivot grab is performed by dashing in a direction, then tilting the Control stick in the opposite direction and inputting a grab. This results in the character pivoting and performing a grab with longer reach than both a character's standing grab and dash grab, and may be useful in varying one's approach. The animation for pivot grabs is also slightly different. Pivot grabs tend to have more startup than both standing and dash grabs, and more ending lag than standing grabs but less than dash grabs.
Special attacks as grabs
Some special attacks technically function as grabs (colloquially known as command grabs). When their hitboxes are viewed with Melee's Debug Menu, these attacks use the same magenta hitbox color as standard grabs.
Some grabs also have a significantly large reach, and from Melee onward can function as a recovery technique when used in midair; by pressing the grab button in midair, certain characters will extend a long-range grappling item, an action known as a grab aerial or z-air. When used on the ground, these grabs have the longest range, but they have a lot of ending lag if the grab does not connect (lasting more than 60 frames). Tether grabs cannot grab midair opponents in Melee and Brawl, but this was changed by Smash 4. In Melee, if a grab aerial connects with a wall, the character will hang from that wall and can press a button to be pulled up to where the end of the grab connected, allowing for second and third jumps to recover; this is known as a wall-grapple. In Brawl and Smash 4, they will be instead shot to the nearest edge, making them tether recoveries. These include:
In addition, there are several other ranged grabs, although they cannot be used as tether recoveries:
Grabs in the original Super Smash Bros.
While the physics of grabbing remain much the same between Melee and Brawl (and again between Brawl and Smash 4), they were heavily altered between SSB and Melee. In Super Smash Bros., a grab always lasts the same amount of time. Once the time is up, a forward throw automatically takes place. Grabs cannot be escaped unless someone is hit hard enough, and only two throws (forward and back) exist in SSB. Pummeling does not exist; pressing any button results in a forward throw. The strength of throws in general is significantly higher than in the two sequels, dealing damage comparable to air attacks and often KOing around 100%.
Initial grab range in Melee
Melee grab ranges by character according to Mew2King's webpage.
Grab frame data in Melee
This is the first frame on which the grab hitboxes come out for the whole cast.
Initial grab range in Brawl
None of these characters' grabs are longer than the tether-grabbers, although King Dedede's is very close to surpassing Ivysaur's.
Grab frame data in Brawl
This is the first frame on which the grabs hit for the whole cast. 
Initial grab range in Smash 4
Grab frame data in Smash 4
This is the first frame on which the grabs hit for the whole cast.
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