Since Melee, Smash’s default controls have always mapped the normal attack input to the larger A button, and the special attack input to the smaller B button. Naturally, with tilts, Smashes, and aerials all using the attack input, it makes sense to map this to the larger, more prominent button – but what secrets does that small B button hide? In this video we’ll be going over some unique techniques that only work with special moves. If you want to learn all that you can, do check out ProGuides dot com where you’ll find loads of content and information for your competitive game of choice, including our Play With Pros platform and our Pro Course featuring MkLeo, the best in the world. Now let’s talk special moves. Every character has 4 main special moves: Neutral special, side special, up special, and down special. Most commonly you’ll hear specials referred to as X-direction B, rather than saying the word special. Special moves are called special for a reason. Unlike normal attacks which generally are basic Melee attacks with the character’s body or a sword, special moves tend to have more interesting and sometimes more specific actions and purposes.
Another property that makes special moves unique, is that you can use them to adjust your character’s perspective as well as their momentum using a few specific techniques. The first of these is known as a “B-reverse.” Most, but not all, special moves can be turned around by aiming the left stick opposite the direction you’re facing right after inputting the special. Doing this will result in not only the reversal of a character’s perspective, but any aerial or ground momentum will also be immediately shifted in the opposite direction.
This is very useful for mixing up your drift on a moment’s notice, and can be essential for characters like Snake, whose poor air speed makes landing an otherwise grueling task. Here are some examples of common B-reverse applications. B-reversing was first implemented in Brawl and has remained in every title since. It’s important to note that Captain Falcon’s Falcon Punch and Ganondorf’s Warlock Punch have their own unique turnaround animation when inputted as a B-reverse. Reversing these moves changes the frame data and attack power, and the reversal input window is larger too, so these aren’t technically B-reverses despite functioning so similarly.
Similar to a B reverse, is the less commonly referenced and more subtle “turnaround special,” or “turnaround-B.” Like B-reversing, turnaround specials allow you to change your character’s perspective when performing a special, only with a turnaround special, your momentum will be unaffected. A turnaround special works in what you might call the opposite method of a B-reverse: first aim the left stick in the opposite direction, and then input the special. This is most commonly done when using an up special to recover when your character isn’t facing the ledge. Be sure to fully release the left stick before pressing B when turning a Neutral special around this way to avoid accidentally getting a side special. Reversing your perspective is also useful because in the air you cannot otherwise turnaround with the exceptions of characters with multiple double-jumps and certain aerials like Marth’s back air. Now if a turnaround special requires the left stick direction before inputting the special, and a B-reverse requires the direction after the special, what happens if you combine both of these techniques? Well, the result is a “wavebounce.” Wavebouncing lets you reverse your momentum without reversing your perspective.
This works by first reversing your perspective with a turnaround special, and then B-reversing that resulting turnaround special. The manual input for this is Back, special, forward, all executed in quick succession to achieve a wavebounce Neutral special. For a side special, simply input back and special simultaneously, then input forward quickly after, and likewise for a wavebounce down special, input down back diagonally while pressing special, then immediately hold forward. As you may have noticed, these methods for wavebouncing are very difficult and require precise left stick movements. Fortunately, there’s an arguably easier alternative. With C-stick set to tilt you can wavebounce in the air by taking advantage of the directional input that the C-stick includes. To do this with a side special, hold forward on the left stick, and then press C-stick back and special at the exact same time when in the air.
Having a shoulder button mapped to special will make this easier, and if you want to do this immediately after jumping, having a shoulder button mapped to jump is essential as well. For a wavebounce Neutral special, again hold forward, then simultaneously input special and instead of back, press down back diagonally on the C-stick. Finally for wavebounce down specials using this method, first move the left stick from forward to down back, then input special and forward on the C-stick simultaneously. Keep in mind that these C-stick methods can only be performed in the air. Wavebouncing can be an effective way to mix up and fake out your movement. By moving forward, you bait and pressure the opponent as explained in our dash dancing video guide, and then by wavebouncing you immediately retreat before your opponent can react. Now that you understand how these techniques work, let’s take a look at how you can counter them. The 2 characters who will likely be using B-reverses and Wavebounces the most are Snake and Lucario.
As we mentioned earlier, Snake relies heavily on B-reverses in order to land safely. Having a very slow air speed with no reliable aerial to defend himself consistently, B-reverses give him a much faster way to shift his position and avoid juggle-hungry opponents. Snake players will often recover very high, using UpB as one of their first options. From here Snake has a few options left to mix up his movement: he can B-reverse drop a C4, he can B-reverse pull out grenade, and he can directional air dodge. Understanding Snake’s access to these resources will help you greatly in dealing with them. If he already has a C4 planted, Snake can no longer B-reverse his momentum with anything besides a grenade. In this scenario, you can dash or jump in the direction Snake is drifting to bait him to reverse the grenade, and then quickly move in the opposite direction to cover his reversed momentum. You can do this if he still has the C4 option too, but you’ll need to be wary as he may detonate it quickly or stick you with it. If Snake has already pulled out a grenade and is holding one as a result of pulling it out rather than catching or grabbing it, he loses access to all of his other options, so you can hit him here more freely.
Just keep in mind that if you hit the grenade while attacking Snake, it will detonate which may be an unfavorable trade based on your relative percents. If he isn’t holding a grenade, Snake also has the option to Directional airdodge in any direction if he hasn’t already used it. Take note of any time Snake uses this option before UpB-ing so you’ll know it’s off the table. Covering a Directional airdodge is similar to covering a B-reverse – threaten Snake with deceptive movement and wait for the reaction. Dealing with B-reverses and wavebounces in general requires lots of anticipation as the shift in momentum may be nearly unreactable. This is a big part of Lucario’s Neutral, as his aura sphere has a charging hitbox that acts as a deadly combo starter. There are some cues to look for though. In order to catch you with the charging hitbox from a B-reverse, Lucario will usually be drifting away from you with his perspective facing you. The B-reverse will turn him around and bring him towards you with the charge hitbox.
Alternatively, if Lucario is drifting towards you with his back facing you, this is where he can B-reverse to drift away from you and throw the aura sphere at you. Keep in mind that this example will also let him cover your roll with the charge hitbox. Once you get used to anticipating Lucario’s potential position shifts, you’ll have a much better chance of dealing with his tricks. By practicing these techniques, you can unlock the potential of the B button and out-maneuver your opponents. Before you press the B button, make sure you press that subscribe button here on the ProGuides YouTube channel to keep up with all of our daily competitive content!