Getting the kill at the crucial moment- How to kill as Fox guide.

[RiP] S-Critical - June 23, 2017

Introduction

Knowing how to kill as Fox has been a long-term problem for Fox players at all kinds of levels, but it is most prominent at mid and low level play. A lot of people ask how they can kill. Fox has so many confirms to get the kill he needs, but why is it that he can have such a hard time to kill, especially heavier characters. Mid-Heavy character obviously are harder to kill due to their weight, but the method in killing them is still similar to how you'd kill lighter characters. You're still going to use kill confirms and stuff, but rage becomes a bigger factor because the longer you keep them alive, the bigger of a comeback factor they have.

Before we get down to getting past the struggle of killing, I'd like to list down all of the kill confirms that Fox does have at kill percentages:

Know your ways to kill


kill confirms :
1. Nair(strong/sour)>Usmash
2. Dair (landing hitbox)>Usmash
3. FTHC (Forward Tilt Hip Check)> Usmash
4. AC Dair>RAR Bair
5. Tipper Dtilt>Uair
6. Jab 1>Jab 2 (tippers)>Usmash
7. Side B (Sweetspot)>Uair
8. Utilt>Bair/Uair (at the ledge)

50/50s:
1. Utilt>Uair 50/50 (the percent range depends on the hitbox of Utilt you use. More information in our lab project about Utilt.)
2. Side B>Uair (it does become a 50/50 above the range in which it is true)
3. Utilt>Bair/Uair (at the ledge. It does become a 50/50 above the range when it is true)

Situational kill confirms:
1. Utilt>Firefox (only works if the opponent airdodges or tries to challenge it with a move that will not outrange the firefox hitbox)
2. Uair (first hit)>Usmash
3. Ftilt>FTHC>Usmash (requires a missed tech from the Ftilt)
4. Ftilt>Usmash (requires the opponent to DI badly and not jump out)
5. Utilt>Usmash (Utilt the opponent towards a platform and bait an airdodge or SOME of the landing aerials, then punish with Usmash)

Abusing their disadvantage state

Get them in a disadvantageous position as soon as you can. Your throws and tilts do this very well at high percent (Uthrow gets them in the air, fthrow gets them offstage, Utilt does the same as Uthrow, Nair and Ftilt do the same as Fthrow). When you are doing this, look out at what they are currently doing and where on the stage they are. A lot of people think it's safe to just shield a ton against Fox because he has no kill throws, but you can use that to your advantage to just grab them and throw them. The reason why I mention throws is that Fox's throws give you the opportunity to take advantage of your opponent's disadvantage and use a move that can kill while you have the advantage.

Using Uthrow
Uthrow can get the opponent in the air, and it throws then quite far in the air. Your opponent's objective now is to land as safely as possible without getting punished. They can try to use mixups to change their direction of movement, try to land with aerials, stall in the air, drift towards the ledge and so on. With this opportunity, you want to make sure that you are directly below your opponent at all times as they try to land. Use your movement options such as walking and Fox troting to stay under them (run>shield is a bad option when doing this, because it takes more frames for you to change direction. 10 frames to buffer a shield after initiating the dash, 10 frames of the shield to stay out and 7 frames for it to drop. It's a long time and you're wasting it staying in shield).

Using Fthrow
Fthrow can get people offstage if you manage to get the grab, which puts them at a disadvantage because they now have to recover and get back on the stage as safely as possible. You have the opportunity to 2 frame punish their recovery or even intercept it with Fair>Footstool. They have limited options at the ledge, and with Fox's brilliant ledge trapping game, you will find that getting kills at the ledge is actually a lot easier than getting them in neutral. Fsmash is a great option for covering neutral getups, Uair is very good at reading jump getups, Bair can cover virtually any option with the right positioning and timing, even when they mix up with airdodges. If you happen to miss the Bair, you can immediately act and either cover with another attack or go for a different option due to it autocanceling. There's a lot of things for you to do, and the more you keep them at the ledge, the higher chance you get to actually kill them with a strong enough move. Even if you don't get that Fsmash or Bair, do not panic and start to get desperate, because that is when you start to get predictable and do very questionable options. Think about what options your opponent may go for and cover it. It is better for your opponent to be at the ledge for a long time than for you to reset neutral because you missed a bad Usmash attempt and now you have to deal with high rage.

Punishing your opponent's options properly

If your opponent is using footsies to bait and punish your options (because either way, you're going to have to get in unless they're on the offensive. More about that later), then watch what they're doing and see what you can do to actually catch them offguard. Don't underestimate Fox's burst speed, because you can close gaps in a blink of an eye. Stay just outside of their range and even try to bait defensive options yourself (i.e. spaced aerials, empty hops, extended dash dancing) and punish accordingly.

For example, you can easily punish people empty hopping with a Nair and send them offstage (or closer to the ledge, at least). If you're feeling really ballsy, you can punish their landing with a Usmash or catch them with a SH FF Fair and put them into a tech chase situation which can end with a Usmash if they miss their tech and a Utilt>Uair 50/50 if they do tech. A lot of aerials can be wiffed punished with Fox's dash attack, which can put them into the dash attack>Uair 50/50. If the percents get too high, you can try to juggle them with Uair or they will try to drift offstage, in which you can start your ledge trapping game. Extended dash dancing can be punished by a dash attack if you run just a little bit further (again if you're feeling yourself you can straight up Usmash).


Most of the time, your opponent will be looking for options to punish, such as unsafe options on shield. Friendly reminder that NONE of Fox's kill confirms are safe on shield. Dair is no where near safe on shield, crossed up or not, and Nair can be punished by quick upBs, spaced or not (it can be safe against slow options). Again, baiting these kinds of options will help you in the long run, because your tilts can outrange standard grabs, which might catch out someone who is getting a little too shield grabby, giving you just enough time to get some kind of punish there that will get you closer to the kill you need. If you like the aggressive side, you can make them screw up by pressuring them. Space your tilts and aerials to apply pressure and see what kind of option they do to relieve that pressure. Once you see that option coming, call it out and get the kill you need. For example, I could do AC Bairs on a Diddy Kong's shield. If they try to shield grab me, they'll wiff it because it is spaced, and I can get a usmash in there due to the frame advantage I have. If they stay in shield, I can go for a grab, continue the pressure with AC Bair (delaying your timing can also be effective mindgames to throw them offguard. You might get a lucky shield drop punish), or even try to break that shield with a firefox.


If the opponent is trying to get on the offensive to take advantage of their rage, go back to how you would bait and punish said options that they are going for, like how it normally was in neutral to begin with. Since they have a lot of range, they may be specifically going for things that will either do a ton of damage or kill you if you are at that percentage (i.e. Donkey Kong and Bowser trying to get grabs). Do what you gotta do to avoid those grabs and tilts that start massive combos with your movement, and punish accoridngly. I'd go into detail but it really is matchup dependent, so you may have to do your research.

Staying consistent with your play as you seek for the kill

It is never good for you to start getting desperate for the kill, because you end up playing very unsafe and you throw your whole gameplan out of the window. You get tunnel vision, thinking "damn I need this kill NOW", and not having an open mind AKA you're not thinking about HOW to get that kill. Think about what your opponent is doing, and what can you do about it to get an advantage. Have you considered what they've done before? Are you aware of what options you may have to look out for ONCE you have the advantage? All of that data should be collected while you're in game with them and is crucial to use it now. If you haven't got the slightest clue on what they're going to do, do something safe and see how they react, and build up from there. You got a lot of options. Use them, but use them wisely.

Examples of top players getting the stock they need

But how do I know when to use which options? Here are some examples of high/top level Foxes taking stocks effectively.
All of the clips have been timestamped to where they take the stock. I have analysed those specific moments so people can get a better understanding about what just happened and why.

Example 1: K0rean (Fox) vs Ketchup (Bowser. Jr)

Pay attention to K0rean's shield pressure and how he calls out the roll. He is always playing 1 step ahead of the opponent, anticipating and trying to cover any type of thing they go for. If Ketchup kept trying to shield, K0rean would give himself space and he can easily just reset the pressure. He has the advantage at the ledge so he can do what he wants. He then follows up with a dash attack after the Nair, but Ketchup tech rolls backwards. K0rean sees this, and because he is at the perfect distance, he closes out the stock by doing tipper jab>Usmash. Alternatively, lets say Ketchup didn't actually tech at all. K0rean would get the dash attack, which will set up the 50/50. K0rean would either get the stock or would have the advantage because Ketchup is now in the air with limited options. He can drift back to the stage and try to land with his options, but he'll have to deal with K0rean's juggling with Utilt and Uair and shielding any potential attacks and punishing accordingly. He could drift to the ledge, but now he has to deal with the ledge trapping game, which can potentially mean a kill with Fsmash, Bair, Utilt>Bair and so on.

Example 2: Larry Lurr (Fox) vs Ranai (Villager)

Larry actually had to come back pretty hard in this one. He racks up most of his percent by keeping Ranai at the ledge. Villager has a multitude of options when he's in neutral vs Fox and can set up many layers of walls to deal with random burst-ins and lasers from Fox. However, Villager has limited options at the ledge that can be punished by Fox, and you see it here right now. Skipping to the part where he actually kills Ranai with that stock, Ranai plants the tree and waters it. Judging by how much Ranai used the axe or to setup into getting the axe hit in the earlier parts of the match, Larry seems to be looking out for something. What happens? Ranai walks towards Larry with jabs, probably to set up a combo or a 50/50 to kill. Larry jumps to anticipate some kind of move, and with Ranai jabbing, he actually wiff punishes the jab with Dair, which combos into Usmash and takes his stock. This is what I was talking about when I mean that Fox is extremely good at wiff punishing a ton of stuff. Villager's jabs have a FAF of 22 and 24 respectively, which can give Fox just enough time to wiff punish it due to his insane fast fall speed. Ranai was using that jab repeatedly and Larry called it out and got the kill confirm. He wasn't getting greedy. He found the right opportunity to get the kill confirm and got it in the safest way possible.What other Foxes tend to do badly is just use it whenever and crossup "to make it safe". Although some people don't end up punishing it due to the crossup, it's not a good habit to have, since all it takes is a turnaround grab, and they have plenty of time to do it. It CAN work when it is not expected, but it is very risky.

Example 3: Xzax (Fox) vs JEFFsoBOMB (Zero Suit Samus)

this one is pretty simple so I won't go into too much detail
Jeff failed to punish Xzax's side B to the stage and gets the lag from ZSS' upB. Xzax could have done a few options here since he had the opportunity to:

1. Utilt>Uair 50/50
2. Fsmash
3. Turnaround Usmash


I have my doubts about the latter 2 options actually killing, but Fox DOES have rage and it very well could have. However Xzax goes for the first option and reads the airdodge. It may seem like it was random, but Jeff was the one to airdodge quite often when Xzax DID have the opportunity to do something, but he chose not to. This lead to him successfully getting the read and getting the Uair to kill.

Example 4: Charliedaking (Fox) vs Nicko (Shulk)

This particular situation is quite interesting. Charlie had to recover but Nicko does try to edgeguard him with his UpB, however the attempt fails. Both grab the ledge at roughly the same time, so a ledge trump CAN happen. However, both buffer getup options. Nicko buffers a getup roll and Charlie buffers a getup jump. What is actually quite smart about this is that Charlie was in the position to punish both getup roll and getup attack with Dair. He does combo into Usmash and almost kills Nicko, but it goes to show how being one step ahead can be the difference from taking a stock and not taking a stock. If Nicko was to getup jump with Charlie? Fox has the frame data to beat Shulk in terms of how fast their moves are, so it would only take reaction. If Nicko was to getup jump + airdodge, then Charlie could wait it out and punish with a Bair, potentially killing Shulk or resetting the ledge situation again, but with Fox onstage and Shulk trying to get back, which can be rough for Shulk. I can go on more but you get the point.

Example 5: Eon (Fox) vs MKLeo (Corrin)

this one probably seems like the most random way to get a kill confirm, but I'll try to break it down as easy as possible and if it really was just a random attempt to get a kill confirm then fucking rip LOL.
MKLeo had the tendency to run up and shield a lot, anticipating an option from Eon and punishing with a grab, since that seems to be a good idea for him to do because Eon was running up and shielding a lot (probably due to the fact that MKLeo was landing a lot with aerials, he adapted to it and started punishing hard because of it). It worked one time, but the next time he did it, Eon mixes up with a FH, making MKLeo wiff the grab and get punished by Nair>Usmash, taking his stock.

Example 6: JaySon (Fox) vs Karna (Sheik)

JaySon has been juggling Karna for a while now, and he is now in the kill % for Usmash. JaySon actually decides to mix up with a Usmash to try and beat any landing options because he has taken Karna's jump. Karna had trouble landing, trying Bouncing fish to get away, but Jayson successfully stayed directly below him to cover his landings with Utilt and Uair. He finally catches him trying to airdodge due to using Uair to juggle multiple times. JaySon sees it coming and punishes him hard, giving him the Usmash.

What do all of these clips have in common? They find the OPPORTUNITY to get the kill/kill setup. They DO NOT try to force it to happen by randomly doing it because they are starting to get desperate. They gather data from what the opponent is doing, as well as what they already know about the character's options in that situation, and how the opponent is using it. They capitalise on it and find opportunities to get hard hits in there, whether it be raw hits or kill confirms. They do not focus on just one thing. They keep their options open and go for the option that will work at that specific moment.


Whew, that's all of it. I do hope I managed to solve a lot of people's problems and help them get better at killing as Fox! It is something that you will improve with over time as you understand the game and your character better. Keep working hard and you'll push through. Till next time~

Follow me on Twitter
Follow the Fox Lab Team on twitter (I'm part of it too yay)
Usmash kill percent chart. Know when your Usmash will actually kill (made by Fox lab team)

This blog post was written by a SSB World community member. Share your Smash 4 knowledge by creating your own blog post now.

Share your feedback:

You must log in to comment.

Community driven database of Smash 4 videos and statistics for players, characters & matchups
Community driven database for competitive Smash 4