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Smash/Fighting Game States

There is a plethora of terminology throughout different specialties, sports, and trades. Super Smash Brothers and fighting games in general also contain jargon that makes ideas easier to communicate. These can range from attacks, option coverage, option selects, and even to the game-play itself. This post will address the three states of game-play that occur in any fighting game: neutral, advantage, and disadvantage. For this case the examples will be for a one versus one format. With a better understanding of these three states players can develop their play based on what needs improvement.

The first state to discuss is neutral. Neutral occurs whenever both players are free to move and no one is being damaged. Players put out hitboxes, or attacks, in neutral in order to try to add damage and possibly follow up with more attacks. Different characters have different options in neutral to use, thus adding variety to games. There are usually basic options that are similar in most characters. For Smash, the basic options are usually the tilt normal attacks and aerial attacks. Hits in neutral cause the other two states, which will be discussed below.

The second state to discuss is advantage. When a player confirms a hit, they have entered their advantage state. This is the opportunity to follow up with true combos, wait and react to the opponent’s next move, or mixup with pressure options. Some characters in smash have better advantage states than others. For example, Fox can push his state far with basic dash attacks, neutral air attacks, and up tilts. It’s key to push advantage and react to what an opponent is doing. Noticing defensive or movement tendencies can really change the game.

The last state is disadvantage, which occurs when the player is receiving hits. Disadvantage is not the state to stay in, and players must find paths to get out of disadvantage and return to neutral state. For Smash, characters with fast options or disjoints can exit disadvantage easier. One example would be Lumina’s forward aerial to combat a player who pushed a non true combo during advantage state. This would shift the momentum, putting the Lucina player into advantage and the other into disadvantage. It’s key to pick options in disadvantage that are safe and try to reestablish ground.

Fighting games use these three core states and understanding them is a good start to better play. Neutral varies from player to player; some play safer while others go for risks and push for interactions. Advantage is good to maintain with various options that will be discussed in future posts. Disadvantage is something that players must learn to escape based on the match-up. A quick hit can shift the tables and take stocks for players. State awareness is vital to competitive game-play within the fighting game community.