Throws in Smash Bros

What do you think of the way throws work in the Smash Bros series?

There’s nothing else like it in any game I’ve seen, except Skullgirls with Beowolf, and I guess King in Tekken.

Lemme just describe how it works, basically, once you get a grab, the other player is held in front of you in a grapple, instead of instantly thrown like in most other fighting games. In this state, there is a timer that counts down until the other guy is released, the timer is longer relative to how high percentage is. (and if the guy is holding up or presses jump, then they’ll jump upwards when released) The player who is grabbed can reduce the duration of this timer by mashing buttons (I hear the best method is to spin the control stick, varies by game since Brawl and Smash 4 handle inputs differently). Once the timer runs out, you’re released as soon as it’s possible. So past a certain point, mashing out of icies wobble is pointless, you’ll escape automatically if they mess up.

The grabber character can choose to either pummel the grabbee, or throw them in 4 different directions. While flinching from being pummeled, the grabbee cannot escape the grab.

The throw animations scale in duration depending on the weight of the character being thrown, which is a really big deal. The thrown character can be released sooner or later during the throw animation, giving the thrower more or less frame advantage, and since the duration of that throw animation scales with weight, it means that the recovery of your throw animation will be longer versus heavier characters. If I up throw Ganondorf as Marth, then even though Marth’s up throw is crazy short, he’s still minus at lower percentages.

So basically, you get a grab, people can escape at lower percentages if they mash crazy fast, and you can pummel them to get a little extra damage before throwing them, which is more guaranteed at higher percentages (one pummel for every 50% you have on them is a good rule), or you can just throw them. This is kind of a reaction test to break out for the guy getting grabbed, and trying to mash out fast can screw up your DI too. Not trying to mash out can let your opponent get in more pummels than they should.

And of course throwing them lets you position them around you, many characters have throw followup combos based on DI, some characters have DI traps based on their throws, all strategic things to consider.

Another cool thing is you can buffer down throw with C-stick down. Just down throw though. So if you get in a pummel, you can buffer dthrow and get dthrow guaranteed after the pummel. This is really useful for sheik, so-so for everyone else.

In other fighting games, throws are usually just the way you beat shields, which get beaten by attacks, and can be teched by doing your own throw, in smash they’re a strong whiff punish tool, and tool out of shield, and have their own unique strategic utilities and counterplay.

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