Jeremy enjoys gaming when not helping manage the college he graduated from.
Projectile Moves in SSBU
One thing that distinguishes Smash titles from most fighters is its projectile attacks, giving many characters the ability to fight at range. Projectiles come in many shapes and sizes but generally trade big cool-down periods (leaving you open) for their long-reaching blasts.
In other words, put some distance before unleashing these so you aren't easily punished, though some are surprisingly quick—which reign supreme? Looking only at special moves (not items or final smashes), these are the ten best-ranged attacks in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate!
Damage: 6.1-10.8% (based on charge), or 5% when idle
R.O.B.'s down-special begins charging his top-like Gyro, and he can store his charge for later use. Charging only slightly increases damage, but drastically increases the move's range, and its weight means it'll fall eventually (which helps edge-guard). Plus, this move has less cool-down than most projectiles, meaning it's pretty safe at mid-range.
The Gyro will stay grounded if it doesn't hit anyone and opponents who touch it take minor damage, letting R.O.B. also use it as a trap. Just remember that R.O.B. can only have one out at a time and that all players can pick up an idle Gyro to toss—but this isn't so bad since R.O.B. can reflect projectiles with his side-special.
9. Metal Blade
User: Mega Man
Damage: 5% (3% when picked up and thrown)
Sure, Mega Man's neutral-B looks pretty weak, but its large hitbox usually hits foes twice, scoring extra damage. Better yet, Mega Man can toss it in eight directions, making it a versatile technique with several applications. It can't be charged, but it's fast, has less cool-down than most projectiles, and works well with edge-guarding, spacing, and approach.
We're emphasizing straight-traveling projectiles today, but note that Mega Man also has impressive aerial projectiles with his up and down air-tilts.
8. Shadow Ball
Damage: 2.5-25% (based on charge)
Compared to our earlier projectiles, Mewtwo's neutral-B has a bigger cool-down, so be careful using it up close. However, its erratic movement (traveling straight but bouncing up and down a bit) makes it harder to read than straight-firing blasts like Samus's Charge Shot.
The charge time is a bit lengthy, but you can store the charge and the fully-powered sphere has great knock-back and deals hefty damage to enemy shields. Firing a charge blast pushes Mewtwo back a bit, usually a good thing since it creates space and can help recover.
7. Sun Salutation
User: Wii Fit Trainer
Damage: 5-21% (based on charge)
Wii Fit Trainer's neutral-B works similarly to Samus's Charge Shot, forming a sphere that travels straight when fired and grows in strength and size when charged. She can hold the charge, and it's a potential K.O. tool when fully-powered.
But perhaps its best trait is the fact that it heals Wii Fit by 2% when fully charged, even if it doesn't connect. This gives her arguably the best healing capacity in the game, letting her repeatedly charge-and-fire with sufficient distance to pressure foes and heal her own wounds.
Both Simon and Richter utilize the same neutral-B, tossing an axe that travels in a parabolic arc (upwards and forwards before falling). While it can't be charged and has some startup lag, the axes are big, powerful, and their unique curve makes them great for edge-guarding.
Unlike some projectiles, they also travel through soft terrain, and their angle can be changed before launch, giving three possible trajectories. Used alongside the other ranged attacks of the Castlevania warriors, you've got great camping tools and anti-air artillery.
5. Thunder Jolt
Damage: 4-6% (Pikachu), 5-10% (Pichu)
Both Pikachu and Pichu use this as their neutral-B, sending a wave of electricity that bounces along the stage. Compared to Pikachu, Pichu's Jolt is bigger, stronger (especially its aerial version), and faster, but he takes 0.7% recoil damage.
While the move can't be charged and isn't especially strong, it has low cooldown, can guard your recovery since it drops in the air, and works well when edge-guarding.
Damage: 6-31% (based on charge and how many hits connect)
Kafrizz is the fully-charged version of Hero's neutral-special. Earlier forms of the attack instead shoot weaker but faster-charging Frizz and Frizzle spells. Still, you'll probably want to full-charge the move, which doesn't take too long and can be stored for later use.
Kafrizz is massively powerful in terms of both damage and knockback, killing opponents around just 60% when near the edge. It's also destructive against shields and hits multiple times (making it harder to block), but remember it drains Hero's slowly-recharging MP gauge, so keep an eye on it throughout the match.
3. Gale Strike
User: Mii Swordfighter
Damage: 10-13% (damage decreases as as tornado travels)
One of the Swordfighter's neutral-Bs (you can customize them), Gale Strike shoots a tornado in a straight line. While not chargeable and somewhat slow, it deals impressive damage for such a quickly-executed move and has solid range.
Best of all, its large hitboxes make it tough to dodge, and its set knockback offers a fantastic combo move, holding foes in place while you prepare a killing blow.
Damage: 5.5% (Thunder), 11% (Elthunder), 23.6% (Arcthunder), 18.2% (Thoron)
Robin's neutral-B offers an electrical attack with four stages depending on your charge (which you can store). Thunder is weak and short-ranged but fast and able to surprise foes. Elthunder is stronger and travels thunder, and Arcthunder unleashes a gradually-accelerating multi-hit sphere. The full charge shoots Thoron, a long-range blast with high knockback.
Thoron may seem like the goal, but really, all the stages are useful. For instance, Thunder's speed and Arcthunder's shifting acceleration can throw off enemy shielding. Like Robin's other specials, you'll eventually lose access to the move once used enough, but it recharges quickly (10 seconds, further shortened if you score any K.O.s), and you get it back immediately if you die.
Damage: 6-8% (laser), 7% (bayonet)
This deceptively-simple neutral-B has Wolf fire a straight-shooting energy blast. It can't be charged but has good size and its slow speed makes it a great disruptive tool.
Plus, Wolf's gun itself will deal damage (via bayonet) to nearby foes, making the move much safer in melee range than most projectiles. Damage is moderate but drastically increases if both bayonet and blast connect, offering the best quick-fire ranged move in the game.
Countering Projectiles in Smash Bros.
Today's only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to launched weaponry; how can you thwart ranged moves? Well, you could fight fire with fire by using your own. Better yet, many characters contain "reflectors" that toss projectiles back at their origin, increasing the damage along the way.
That said, some characters (like Donkey Kong and Ganondorf) lack both projectiles and reflectors, meaning they'll have to maneuver around artillery as they close the gap for their preferred melee range. Like anything, mastering projectiles takes time and practice, but for now, as we await Nintendo's next set of ranged moves, vote for your favorite and I'll see you at our next Smash Bros. countdown!
© 2019 Jeremy Gill