Learn How to DI (Directional Influence), SDI, and LSI in Smash Bros Ultimate


DI? LSI? SDI?? The Smash community loves to use a bunch of fancy acronyms and customized terms for advanced techniques. In this video we’ll be explaining much more than what these terms stand for, but also explain what they are and how you can master them. If you guys wanna master even more than these techniques, make sure you head over to ProGuides dot com where you can find all kinds of competitive gaming resources, such as our Play with Pros platform which gives you instant access to top coaches in the game of your choice, and our ProPass feature which offers additional daily content and free access to coaching. Anyway, what do these Smash terms mean? Well, the common letter in all 3 acronyms is “I,” and in each case it stands for “influence.” That’s because all three of these are means of influencing your knockback in one way or another. Let’s start with DI. DI stands for directional influence, which is your ability to influence the angle of your knockback.

Any time you get hit by an Attack, there’s a window of possible angles that the move can send you in, which varies with each specific attack. By holding the left stick in a direction, you can adjust which of these angles your character is launched in. The DI input from your left stick is registered on the last frame of hit-lag, so right before you get launched. DI has a myriad of uses, but we first need to understand LSI as well, as these techniques work in conjunction. LSI stands for launch speed influence. This is your ability to influence the speed of your knockback, and thus its distance. Just like DI, LSI works by holding the left stick in a direction right before you are launched. Holding up will give you universally more knockback, and universally less knockback by holding down. The degree to which LSI increases or decreases knockback is relative to how close the left stick angle is towards directly up or down. If you have a background in Smash 4, you may remember LSI by its former name of “vectoring,” which was replaced with LSI for accuracy purposes.

Now let’s get to the applications. Understanding the workings and mechanics of these techniques can be a bit confusing, but fortunately there are straightforward applications. There are only 2 reasons for using DI and LSI: escaping combos, and surviving. When you’re getting combo’d, you generally want to move away from the opponent so it’s harder for them to follow up with another attack. For example, if you don’t DI properly, Palutena has a kill confirm with down-throw into back-air. By holding away during the down-throw, you DI to an angle straight in front of Palutena. In most matchups, this puts you too far away for her to follow up with a back air in time In order to properly escape combos with DI and LSI, you have to be very familiar with the knockback of every move, such that you can react in time and avoid the next attack.

This is only possible with lots of experience, but holding away from your opponent is the right combo DI in the majority of situations. When in doubt, hold out! Stage factors are important for escaping combos too. Against characters like Mario and Joker, you’ll want to DI away from platforms so you can’t get laddered higher. Sometimes you’ll want to DI down and away so you’re closer to the ground and can tech, like against Fox’s Nair to up Smash.

There are also times when you should DI up to avoid being in a tech-chase scenario. With combo DI out of the way, it’s time to talk about survival DI. Contrary to combo DI, we want to reduce our knockback instead of increasing it in order to survive a KO. Knockback can have many possible angles, but to understand survival DI, we’re going to break it down into 3 main possibilities: horizontal knockback, vertical knockback, and diagonal knockback. Surviving horizontal knockback is the simplest and most intuitive. When you get launched horizontally, hold the left stick in the opposite direction of your knockback. This gives you a favorable DI angle without increasing your knockback with LSI. For example, if you get hit to the right, hold left. Now, vertical knockback is a bit different. If you remember that LSI down reduces knockback, you might be thinking that holding down is the best method for surviving upwards knockback. Well, there’s a small catch: LSI does not apply to specific knockback angles between 65 and 115 degrees, as well as between 245 and 295 degrees. This means that if your knockback is straight up or down, LSI will have no effect and you’re left with regular DI.

In order to increase survivability with regular DI, your goal is to get a knockback angle that gives you the closest trajectory straight towards the corner of the screen. This is because a diagonal line to the corner will always be the farthest you can travel before hitting the blastzone. In Melee and Brawl, this kind of DI was the only mechanic present for influencing knockback, but LSI changed things in Ultimate and Smash 4. So in order to DI vertical moves properly, you’ll want to hold perpendicular to the direction of the attack.

Most vertical moves send you slightly forward, so you’ll want to DI away to get the best angle. It’s important, however, to be wary of the knockback angles of every attack, as some vertical hits will send you backwards and you’ll need to hold back. For example, Fox’s up Smash sends you up and forward, so you’d DI forward to get a good angle for survival, but Luigi’s up Smash sends you up and backward, so you’d hold back to survive. Finally, we have diagonal moves. These can be a bit confusing, and they tend to involve LSI the most.

Since these moves will fall within the range where LSI is considered, holding down will give you maximum LSI and reduce knockback. Sometimes though, you’ll need to regular DI down and away to get a knockback angle in the LSI-able range. In general, holding down and away is good for surviving diagonal moves when you’re more likely to be KO’d off the top than off the side. However, if you’re more in danger of dying horizontally, you can hold straight down. There’s still one more type of “influence” we need to cover, and that’s SDI. SDI stands for Smash Directional Influence, and despite the similarity in name, it’s very different from DI. SDI allows you to change your position during hitlag. In case you don’t know, hitlag is the period of freeze frames you’re trapped in, during the time from when a move first connects to when your knockback starts.

During hitlag, you can adjust your direction every frame with the left stick. The game won’t read the same direction 2 frames in a row, so to SDI effectively in one direction, rotate your stick back and forth in a small arc around the direction you wish to move in. Single-hit moves don’t have much hitstun, and SDI-ing them wouldn’t achieve much anyway, so this technique is best used for multi-hit attacks. If successful, SDI-ing away during multi-hits can allow you to escape before the final hit, or at least get further away when the last hit connects, making a follow-up harder.

SDI is not very strong in Smash Ultimate, but there are still a few situations where it can make a significant difference. Now that you know all about DI, you can start surviving longer and escaping combos. One combo you don’t want to escape however is the subscribe into bell notifications combo right here on ProGuides! Get top notch Smash Ultimate videos delivered to your inbox every day with strategies to get better, learn more characters, and to follow the ever changing competitive scene..