In a number of previous articles, I’ve spoken about my attempts to get every character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate into Elite Smash. Thus far, Luigi has been the most difficult character to make this happen with — even more difficult than Sheik, Bayonetta, Ice Climbers and Jigglypuff. As of right now, I have 64 characters in Elite Smash, but I have a tendency to take long hiatuses from this challenge (which has been several months long this time).
Even though it’s been over a year since I got Luigi in Elite Smash, I still remember how annoying it was to deal with this character’s flaws. His recovery in particular proved to be especially troublesome for me.
Considering this character’s tendency to perform touch of death combos, Luigi’s weaknesses certainly do make sense. If you are able to land a grab on the opponent at 0%, it’s possible to delete a stock with practice and execution.
Luigi very much feels like a traditional grappler as a result of the emphasis that’s placed on his grab and throws. He has some pretty extreme weaknesses, but he’s scary to fight against if the player knows what they’re doing.
One of the main problems was that I couldn’t really get this combo down. I instead opted for a less-than-optimal combo whenever I landed a grab. In many ways, I think this made it feel like Luigi’s weaknesses outweighed his strengths at times.
A slow grab, the second slowest fall speed, the 13th worst air speed, slippery ground movement and an agonizingly bad recovery. I cannot stress how bad Luigi’s recovery felt at times when I would just BARELY miss grabbing the ledge.
However, it turns out that there’s a secret trick to Luigi’s recovery. I’m specifically referring to his side special, the Green Missile.
I was watching a video by Larry Lurr when someone commented how Luigi’s side special will travel a little bit more distance if you smash forward with the special button instead of just tilting the stick.
When I first saw and heard this, I literally put my hands on my head and screamed out “What!? Are you kidding me!?” True story.
To clarify, I do know that certain side specials have different properties when they are performed like a smash attack. Other examples of this include Samus’ missiles, Byleth’s Areadbhar and Link’s Boomerang.
But in the case of Luigi’s Green Missile side special, this came across as being completely unintuitive. I even checked the in-game tips and saw no mention of this in Luigi’s section.
While the difference in distance between the two versions of the move might not seem like a lot, it would often be the difference between surviving and losing a stock when performing this 3-4 times in a desperate attempt to recover back to the ledge.
Whenever I’d receive a ton of knockback, I’d first hold towards the stage as to keep Luigi alive via directional influence. I’d then decide between using the charged version of Luigi’s side special or use multiple uncharged side specials to make it back to the stage.
As I was already holding forward, I would just simply press the special button after I’m convinced that the knockback has ceased. Pressing the special button too soon will cause Luigi to experience extra momentum in the direction of the side blast zone. I learned through experience that this was a really good way for me to look stupid and kill myself.
At this point, the image of Luigi just narrowly missing the ledge with his up special has been burned into my mind. So many matches were lost due to Luigi shenanigans.
I pretty much just accepted that if I got knocked off stage, I was losing a stock. If I managed to make it back, then it was basically a miracle.
Somehow, I had to win with a character that was intentionally designed to have an awful neutral and incredibly awkward approach options. This was to make up for the fact that Luigi’s combos from his down throw are among the best in the game.
Of course, my Luigi had pathetically bad down throw combos. Even if I opened my opponent up, I wasn’t going to get the reward that was intended for me because my execution with the character wasn’t on point.
My gameplan was basically to play as perfectly as possible. If I lost neutral 3 times, then I lost. That’s obviously a huge exaggeration, but my Luigi is awful. I accept this.
I was somehow able to make this happen and get Luigi into Elite Smash, but the experience would’ve been leaps and bounds better if there was some intuitive indication that the Green Missile traveled a little extra distance from smashing the stick instead of tilting it.
Banner image source: Mr. Ryan.