Bayonetta performs a backflip, and if struck during it (starting at frame 5 in Smash 4, and frame 8 in Ultimate), activates Witch Time, which dramatically slows down nearby opponents (including any who did not attack) for a few seconds, leaving them open to a counterattack. This slowdown effect affects any enemy close to Bayonetta when an attack hits her; it can even be activated by projectiles, but it will not slow down the user if they are too far away. Its effect is greater than that of the Timer item, slowing opponents down to 1/8 speed. This is accompanied with the visual effect of a purple vortex and a clock surrounding the victim. The slowdown duration is signified by the clock's hand, and upon making a full revolution, the effect wears off. If Bayonetta flinches during the effects, it wears off immediately.
Witch Time's slowdown duration increases as the opponent's damage percentage is higher, but decreases with repeated use, regardless of whether it successfully activates or not. With these factors, the slowdown can last as long as four seconds, and as short as roughly half a second. This makes Witch Time the only counter that not only takes the opponent's percentage as a factor, but ignores the damage output of the move that triggered it, which infamously allows it to punish weak and quick attacks (such as jabs) with as much efficiency as slow and strong ones (such as smash attacks). After the move is used, its slowdown duration slowly regenerates to its fresh amount if it is not used again.
Though the hit used to activate Witch Time will be nullified, any other hitboxes produced by the affected character will still be considered active under Witch Time, meaning that multi-hitting attacks can still potentially flinch Bayonetta and stop the slowdown if she is not quick enough to intercept. This can notoriously cause a KO on Bayonetta when she would have had the upper hand, such as against Charizard's Flare Blitz, since it can still land with full power if she walks into Charizard. Witch Time can activate again on an opponent already slowed down, but this does not reset the slowdown duration, while still adding to the move's penalty with each use.
Witch Time does not work against grabs, though attempting the move gives the user intangibility frames which will make grabs miss, just like Lucario's Double Team. Furthermore, unlike all other counters, it can activate on non-grab unblockable attacks. It can also affect opponents while they are invincible, but not when they are completely intangible. Bosses and enemies can be affected by the move as well, but with the exception of the Master Shadow form of Master Core, they will not display the clock visual effect.
If Witch Time's effect is activated right before the counter frames run out, Bat Within activates instead: Bayonetta will transform into a swarm of bats and travel in any direction the player wishes, while halving the amount of damage taken. This mechanic technically gives Bayonetta the least vulnerable counter. It also makes it the only counter that has a safety net if activated too late, which allows easy punishes. It is also possible to activate both Witch Time and Bat Within at the same time, since the activation times for the two moves overlap within 5 frames of each other. When they are both activated, the slowdown time is reduced to 2/3 of the usual slowdown time, and Bayonetta will take the halved damage.
When Bayonetta hits a slowed down opponent with any of her smash attacks, their damage increase by charging becomes only half as effective, reducing their maximum damage multiplier to 1.2× in Smash 4 and 1.1× in Ultimate. Since smash attacks' damage output is also a factor in the knockback inflicted by them, this causes them to be noticeably weaker when fully charged, preventing Witch Time from easily netting early KOs. However, slowing down opponents at high enough percents where the smash attacks can KO without any charge remains a viable setup, as their uncharged strength is not affected.
Slowdown duration formula
The formula for Witch Time's slowdown duration in frames is
When Witch Time is activated, Bayonetta can interrupt it after 34 frames in Smash 4, or 39 frames in Ultimate, and gains full intangibility for 61 frames, preventing her from getting punished before she can act out of it. These actions are actually coded to end on frame 15, 20, and 42, respectively, but Bayonetta herself is slowed down for the first 22 frames of the move's activation, increasing their true duration.
Special Move customization was added in Super Smash Bros. 4. These are the variations:
Like the other DLC characters, Bayonetta lacks custom move variations.
Witch Time is a major mechanic in Bayonetta, where Bayonetta/Jeanne increase their speed, causing them to move faster than everything around them. This mimics the effects of a time slow — where Smash's Witch Time is a time slow on a singular target, Witch Time in the original games functions as a speed boost. This ability is used to traverse terrain that would otherwise be inaccessible, such as water or rock fragments. It can be activated in a variety of ways, primarily by dodging enemy attacks at the right time, as well as being activated by various accessories. Lumen Sages possess a similar technique called Light Speed, which also lets them increase their speed. Various other releases by PlatinumGames and its predecessor, the Capcom subsidiary Clover Studios, also feature speed boosting abilities, such as the "Mach Speed" in Viewtiful Joe and "Blade Mode" in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. Other games which feature mechanics similar to Bayonetta's Witch Time include the "Bangle of Time" in Devil May Cry, "Veil of Mist" in Ōkami, "Focus" in Transformers: Devastation, and both Unite Bomb and Hero Time in The Wonderful 101.
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