Saturday 1 November 2014

DIY: SSBM Movement Drills (part 2/2)

DIY: SSBM Movement Drills (part 2)
AKA: Examining movement in SSBM as transitions between different action states.

Link to part 1.

SECTION B: Intermediate 
Implementing: Walk, Dash, Run

Just like before, we're gonna be numbering action states and giving a brief description. Now that we've gotten the bones out of the way, we can start getting into the fun stuff. SSBM is famous for the amount of control it gives to its players over their movement, and in this section we'll be integrating some of the staples into our drills. So turn on the stove 'cuz we're cooking with gas!

3 - Walk
Walk is the mobile version of stand; you have access to your whole kit, while moving in a direction. Walk builds momentum until it reaches its maximum (unless you artificially charge its momentum by leading into walk with something else; say, a wave-dash), which makes it somewhat awkward to use in combat (since leading in with a wave-dash or wave-land is a big cue, and it builds up slowly on its own).

The momentum you build this way carries over onto future actions -- a lot of characters' utilize this in moonwalking or certain edgehogs (most famously the "PC hog").

4 - Dash
Dash is very easily the most powerful movement form in the game because of how flexible it is: the ability to cancel itself with a turn-dash grants a player the ability to move forward with a variable distance while keeping the option to retreat. In a skilled player's hands, good control over dash becomes the ability to threaten without really committing. Extremely powerful action state.

The drawbacks are mostly that it limits one's access to their attacks (performing tilts, d-smash, f-smash, down-B, and neutral-B out of dash require extra steps) and you cannot immediately crouch out of it either. You're trading mobility for options.

5 - Run
Run is, in practical terms, like a more mobile version of walking (for anyone with a short dash). After dashing for X frames, a character enters a new state where they can cancel the running motion with crouch. An essential utility for characters who want to set up their ground tools, run is especially useful for characters with short dashes (like Sheik or Samus). 

Note: The frame where dash becomes run is determined by character -- consult the Index DRa or Index DRs at the bottom for more information.

So now we have several action states:

0 - Stand
1 - Turn
2 - Crouch
3 - Walk
4 - Dash
5 - Run

From here, we are going to convert those numbers into action sequences. Your goal is to perform each sequence below without error. You will also be allowing the control stick reset to neutral between each action (during the "0" the control stick should be centered).

Now since these action states have a bit more spice to them, some special rules:
  • When you're using Walk (3), you're going to be aiming to build up to maximum momentum (which means gradually sliding the stick from center to one side completely). And without entering dash. However, once you reach your maximum walking speed, you're gonna be stopping and moving onto the next action.
  • When you're using Dash (4), you simply tap the stick in one direction and allow your character's initial dash animation to complete. The only exception to this is if dash is followed by Run (5).
  • When you're using Run (5), it will almost always be followed by Crouch (2). To perform this transition, unlike other transitions we've done (where you release the stick) this one will be done by sliding the stick from the direction you're running in to down.

On offset, aim for accuracy (not speed; that comes later). Start slow if necessary. If you make a misstep (eg. dash instead of walk or you stumble during dash-turn-walk, etc.) then you have to do it over again.

There are admittedly a lot more sequences in this section so the same rules as last time apply:

  • Once you've created that sequence correctly, retry the drill but aim to go faster by reducing the amount of time spent on stand.
  • Don't cheat. Let the stick reset to neutral after each action you perform (with the aforementioned exception).
  • When you're satisfied with your result here, move onto the next sequence.

There are seven drills in total for this section:

[Sequence B1][0-3-0-1-0-3-0-1-0-3-0-1]

[Sequence B2][0-4-0-1-0-4-0-1-0-4-0-1]

[Sequence B3][0-4-0-3-0-1-0-4-0-3-0-1-]

[Sequence B4][0-4-0-2-0-1-0-4-0-2-0-1]

[Sequence B5][0-4-5-2-0-1-0-4-2-0-1]

[Sequence B6][0-4-5-2-0-3-0-4-5-2-0-3]

[Sequence B7][0-4-5-2-0-4-0-1-0-4-5-2-0-4-0-1]

Intermediate Drills Completed.
Congratulations! You're probably noticing there's a lot of places where you can feasibly slot options you didn't consider before: this is part of how you establish threat with your movement and create opportunities to condition your opponent. By understanding all the opportunities you have where you can feasibly put an option, and utilizing that, you can send a number of signals to your opponent to force them to react to your movement openers. And you'll look very pretty while doing it.

In Closing:
The article may stop here, but the fun doesn't. I've just covered the basics with these drills. And now that you've finished my drills, you have all the tools you need to go off and make your own. Here are some additional action states to help you get started:

6 - Wave-dash
Commits you as you move towards the opponent, so it's not generally useful for approaching someone (though it situationally can work). That said, it's great for creating space and gives you access to your entire kit after its startup (startup is character's jump startup + 10).

7 - Shield
Interesting action state, usually a last resort for most characters. In general if you can solve a situation with movement, it's better to do that. That said, shielding to draw grabs is probably one of the oldest lures in the game.

8 - Jump (off ground)
Comes in SH and FJ heights. Lots of ways to customize the amount of horizontal distance you travel.

9 - Wave-land
Commits you to 10 frames of landing lag, but it provides an interesting utility. Primarily a means of protecting your landing & repositioning from an airborne state. One of the major perks of it is that when you slip off a platform (or similar surface) with a wave-land, you go into an airborne state -- this can therefore be used to cut down on the 10 frames of lag.

10 - Double-jump
More height, usually in exchange for horizontal momentum. Useful for trickier setups. Defensively misunderstood -- it doesn't actually solve a bad position by itself.

Have fun, and enjoy!!

Index DRa / DRs (frame data by SuperDoodleMan)
Index DRa
The frame where Dash becomes Run
(sorted alphabetically)
Index DRs
The frame where Dash becomes Run
(sorted by speed, aka earliest frame)


  1. If I want to do the
    [Sequence B1][0-3-0-1-0-3-0-1-0-3-0-1]

    should I be emphasizing the "standing" inputs? Like, after I turn, should I let my analog stick return to neutral? Or should I just be going straight into the walk, and letting my stick just move to complete side?

  2. I just wanted to say that this is so cool and one of the first really helpful practice tools I've seen so far for Melee. I just moved to a new city and there aren't a ton of smashers here, so I've been looking for ways to improve my game on my own and this blog is helping my strategies and training so much! Thank you!

  3. there's a typo in Sequence B5's coding I think you forgot a 5. also these drills are amazing for getting better and I hope you get in summit

  4. Peach has Float action state, which opens up a ton of possibilities!

    I also found that while in crouch state, Peach can do Jab while holding the control stick back and down, and also do F-tilt while angling the control stick down and forward. Maybe all characters can do this but it was new to me!

    Great article and I'm excited to start coming up with my own!