Witch Time in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
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
(180 - n) * b + 0.1p in Smash 4, and
(90 - n) * b + 0.3p in Ultimate. n is the penalty for repeated uses of the move, p is the opponent's damage percent at the time they were slowed down, and b is 0.67 if Bat Within is activated alongside Witch Time, or 1 otherwise. As a result, if Witch Time is activated normally, the base duration is 180 frames (3 seconds) in Smash 4, and 90 frames (1.5 seconds) in Ultimate. These formulas abide by the following conditions:
- The maximum slowdown duration is 240 frames (4 seconds) in both games.
- Each use of the move increases the penalty of subsequent uses by 75 frames in Smash 4 (50 prior to version 1.1.5), and 60 frames in Ultimate. If Witch Time successfully activates, 20 frames are added to the penalty in Smash 4, or 40 frames in Ultimate. However, the minimum resulting duration from this penalty cannot be lower than 20 frames in Smash 4 (30 prior to version 1.1.5), or 22 frames in Ultimate (5 in version 1.0.0).
- In Ultimate, if Witch Time is activated by a projectile, the slowdown duration is reduced by 30 frames (40 before version 12.0.0), which are considered part of the penalty.
- Due to the percent factor, the slowdown duration increases by one frame for each 10% gained in Smash 4, and each 3.3334% gained in Ultimate. Without any penalty, the maximum slowdown duration is reached with at least 600% damage in Smash 4, and at least 500% damage in Ultimate. As this increase is applied after the minimum 20-frame duration, the shortest slowdown duration for opponents with higher damage increases as well. For example, if a fully penalized Witch Time activates on an opponent with 200% damage, its duration is only reduced to a minimum of 40 frames (20 + 0.1 * 200) in Smash 4, and 82 frames (22 + 0.3 * 200) in Ultimate.
- The maximum 240-frame duration only applies when the move activates, so higher damage percents can still increase the underlying duration above this cap and effectively reduce its penalty. For example, if Witch Time activates on an opponent with 600% damage in Ultimate, it still lasts 240 frames with no penalty, but lasts 210 (270 minus 60) instead of 180 if it was previously used once and not activated.
- In Smash 4 prior to version 1.1.5, the opponent's percent was multiplied by 0.2 instead of 0.1, so the slowdown duration increased by one frame for every 5% gained, and capped at 300% without any penalty. Likewise, in version 1.0.0 of Ultimate, it was multiplied by 0.4 instead of 0.3, so the duration increased by one frame for every 2.5% gained, and capped at 375% without any penalty.
- Every frame Witch Time is not in use, its penalty is reduced by 0.06 in Smash 4 (0.08 prior to version 1.1.5), and 0.04 in Ultimate (0.03 from version 1.1.0 to 3.0.0), allowing it to regain its full strength. As a result, in both respective games, when used once and not activated, it takes 1250 frames (20.83 seconds) and 1500 frames (25 seconds) to fully refresh, whereas if it has reached its maximum penalty, it takes 2500 frames (41.67 seconds) and 1700 frames (28.33 seconds) to fully refresh.
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.
|Move List||Avoids an enemy attack and slows down time. The effect is reduced with repeated use.|
Special Move customization was added in Super Smash Bros. 4. These are the variations:
|1. Witch Time|
|"Avoids an enemy attack and slows down the flow of time for them. The effect lessens with repeated use."|
- Witch Time: Default.
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.
Names in other languages
- Witch Time can activate on Final Smashes, excluding Peach Blossom, Daisy Blossom and Final Smashes with Vacuum property (the Black Hole portion of Black Hole Laser, Dedede Burst, Dream Home, Dream Town Hall, Poltergust G-00, Psystrike, Super Pac-Man, and Triforce Slash). However, Bayonetta is still intangible to everything until the activation time for Bat Within begins, though some Final Smashes (Mega Laser portion of Black Hole Laser, Final Edge, Full Blast, PK Starstorm, Super Diffusion Beam, Three Sacred Treasures, Wii Fit, and Zero Laser) render it useless due to their lasting hitboxes.
- Witch Time cannot slow down the Landmaster, Octopus, Super Dragon, Super Sonic, or Mega Charizard X, despite these Final Smashes only providing invincibility (or super armor for Mega Charizard X), but can slow down Wario-Man, Giga Bowser, Giga Mac, and Mega Lucario due to them still being treated as characters, whereas the other Final Smashes are actual transformations and have significantly different properties.
- Witch Time is the only counter that does not do damage.
- In Ultimate, Witch Time can activate on all other Final Smashes except for the following cases:
- Poltergust G-00, Psystrike, the Black Hole portion of Black Hole Laser and Super Pac-Man.
- The lasting damage part of End of Day.
- Dream Home, Dream Town Hall and the far hitbox of Triforce Slash. However, these Final Smashes will fail if Bayonetta is in intangibility frames.
- Infernal Climax, as it does not deal damage.
- While difficult, it's possible to activate Witch Time on Shin Shoryuken and Shippu Jinraikyaku / Shinryuken in Ultimate.
- For Shin Shoryuken and Shippu Jinraikyaku, the opponent has to activate Final Smash on frame 7 of Witch Time.
- For Shinryuken, Ken must be facing a third fighter because Shinryuken's startup is longer than Witch Time's activation window.
- In Ultimate, Witch Time can slow down Snake, Rosalina, Inkling, Piranha Plant and Bayonetta while their respective Final Smash is active.
- Bayonetta being a special case where Witch Time slows down an intangible target.
- If the Shadow Assist Trophy freezes Bayonetta while performing Witch Time, the counter hitbox will remain active and trigger if hit and the opponent will receive the normal amount of slowdown. Bayonetta is also intangible until being unfrozen.
- However, it is impossible to perform Bat Within in this state, as Bayonetta is no longer intangible at the point the mechanic activates and would simply be hit when frozen.