A taunt, previously referred to as a finishing pose and as Appeal internally (AppealL and AppealR in Super Smash Bros. Melee's Debug menu), is a move designed to provoke, annoy, or mock opponents, or to just celebrate a successfully executed move or combo. Up until Super Smash Bros. Brawl, each character had only one taunt (with the exception of Pichu and Captain Falcon in Melee); in Brawl onwards, however, each character has three different taunts: up, down, and side taunt. To use a taunt, the player must press the L button in Super Smash Bros., and up on the Directional Pad in Super Smash Bros. Melee. In Brawl, Smash 4, and Ultimate , the direction the player presses on the D-Pad (or the buttons on the Wii remote for Brawl) determines which taunt is used.
In Super Smash Bros., there was only one taunt animation, so characters that taunted would either face the screen or face away from the screen depending on whether they were facing left or right. This was changed in Melee so characters that turn towards the screen have slightly different animations, making sure they never face away (unless they are caped). Using this functionality, Pichu and Captain Falcon had taunts in Melee that had two distinctly different animations depending on what direction they were facing. Also, Wario has an extra taunt when he is riding his bike (used by pressing any of the taunt buttons).
Each taunt is different between every character. However, taunts will always have the character doing a motion (such as dancing), and the character may also speak or yell out a battle cry. Some people take advantage of taunts where characters talk within taunt matches. Taunts can all be done on the ground only, and they also cancel if the character goes airborne or slides close to an edge, which is known as taunt canceling.
Cloud is the only character in non-Japanese versions of the series who still speaks Japanese in any of his taunts as of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. However, some "speaking" taunts change between languages. A notable example is Jigglypuff, whose dialogue changes to reflect its name in other languages, such as its Japanese name, "Purin", or Fox in Melee, when he says "kakatte koi" ("come on").
One of the most common uses of taunting is after KOing an opponent, which is implied by computer players using taunts as such in Super Smash Bros. Melee and Super Smash Bros. Brawl. In both games they push their taunting habits to such a degree that in Melee, they taunt regardless of what is around them, which leaves them vulnerable to other nearby players or traps such as active items, and in Brawl, they taunt even if their foe self-destructs. This has sparkled dislike among some players, who perceive this behavior of the AI as "disrespectful". In the original Super Smash Bros., CPUs also taunt, but they do simply when launching a foe a high distance instead of when KOing them, which also often leaves them exposed like in Melee. In Super Smash Bros. 4, this was changed so that CPUs will not always taunt (though when they do taunt, it is in the same instances as in Brawl), with their likelihood of taunting decreasing as their level increases: level 9 CPUs will never taunt on the whole. In Brawl and Smash 4, CPUs in Team Battles also taunt when a teammate KOs an opponent. While CPUs never use taunts for other purposes (such as removing Copy Abilities with Kirby), CPU Luigi in Smash 4 will, interestingly, attempt to use his down taunt against foes hanging on ledges.
Other common use of taunting is also after breaking an opponent's shield, as this is a rare achievement and the attacking player often finds this an opportunity to mock the foe before KOing them, without being left open to attacks due to the foe being unable to move.
In Ultimate, taunts are disabled during online quickplay matches (excluding Kirby discarding a copy ability). However, they can still be performed in Battle Arenas.
While predominantly only for show, seven characters' taunts in the series can affect gameplay outside moving the character's hurtboxes:
In Ultimate, while most taunts are interruptible, most of gameplay-affecting ones are not. The only exceptions are Kirby’s taunts (which will remove the copy ability before the taunt animation begins) and Samus’s (as she and Zero Suit Samus are completely separate).
Lists of taunts
Main article: List of taunts (SSB)
Main article: List of taunts (SSBM)
Main article: List of taunts (SSBB)
Main article: List of taunts (SSB4)
Main article: List of taunts (SSBU)
One feature of Super Smash Bros. Brawl's With Friends mode when playing on Wi-Fi Connection is that it allows a player to assign four different taunt messages to all four taunt button combinations. If the player were to perform an up taunt on the With Friends mode, their character will display a personalised taunt message written by the player that they have assigned to the up taunt. This feature is disabled in the With Anyone for security and censorship reasons. Each message is limited to 20 characters in length.
The function returns for Super Smash Bros. 4's With Friends mode played over the Nintendo Network. The user is prohibited from including certain of inappropriate words, and each message is limited to 16 characters at most.
The custom message feature was taken out in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate in favor for pre-made messages, most likely so people won't use profanity in their taunt messages. As most taunts are disabled in Quickplay, (with Kirby as the exception), taunt messages only shown at the start of the match and at the results screen. The player can personalize eight taunt messages, four at the start of the match and four at the results screen.
A custom taunt is an action that is intended to taunt opponents without using one of the taunts already available in the game. Custom taunts often involve actions that look similar to an ordinary taunt; a well-known example is King Dedede's crouch, though others include Ness's up and down smashes, where he performs yo-yo tricks, Bowser Jr.'s down tilt, where the Koopa Clown Car licks the foe with its tongue, Olimar's down tilt, where he appears to be doing "the worm", Charizard's slow walking animation, dubbed the "Zard Walk" by fans, Shulk using Monado Arts while walking, dubbed the "Monado Walk" (which applies to Kirby as well when he copies Shulk's neutral special), many characters' crawling animations (with those of Wario and Zero Suit Samus being the most common), and Mr. Game & Watch's up tilt where he waves a "#1" flag.
Within taunt matches, actions that produce loud, irritating, or otherwise repetitive sounds can become custom taunts; examples include crouching as Jigglypuff and Kirby, Ganondorf's up smash prior to Ultimate, and his forward smash in Ultimate, Captain Falcon's Falcon Punch, the majority of Wario's moves (especially Wario Waft), Shulk's Back Slash, Little Mac's neutral attack, and Olimar's Pikmin Order.
Repeatedly crouching and standing back up (i.e. teabagging) is a common form of pseudo-taunting. King K. Rool's teabag makes it look like he is "dabbing". This also applies to Falco's spotdodge prior to Ultimate. In Ultimate, teabagging is notoriously common on Quickplay due to taunts being disallowed, and is a widespread criticism of the mode that is considered a form of griefing. As such, players are often advised to mentally and emotionally prepare themselves for opponents who will attempt to aggravate them.
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