Introductory Guide to Fox in Smash Ultimate V1.0

Aquatics - July 7, 2019

Updated my Smash 4 guide for Ultimate Fox. Certainly not a perfect guide but I hope it helps those who want to pick up fox!!

General guidelines: Fox is a character that needs to be able to be played in all sorts of play styles to throw off his opponent. He uses his movement speed and frame data to create his openings that some characters would not be able to get in on. Most fox players would describe his play style as heavy bait and punish. Fox does not have many safe ways to approach mainly relying on his nair and speed to get in on his opponents. Along with this Fox also lacks a lot of range in his moves which can lead to him being outranged in some match ups. Playing Fox not overly aggressive but in a style that makes it seem like you're going to be aggressive and then switch off into doing something else so that your opponent commits is a proven strategy for Fox. Aggression can work very well for Fox but since he is lightweight your mistakes will be magnified so do so at your own risk.

Neutral: Bait and punish is your friend. With his very fast run speed and fall speed, Fox is a master of weaving in and out of your opponent's active range through his run/walk/jumping. Fox's best neutral tools are nair, bair, empty hops, tomahawk grabs and dash attack (although it isn't safe). He can poke shields with ftilt to try and force your opponent to pick an option but it is unsafe against characters with longer oos range moves that are frame 11 or faster.  Learning how to parry unsafe approaches allows fox to start more combos in neutral and get usmash kills so use it to your advantage and make your opponent respect you. Lasering against slow characters is a very important thing to do but do not go out of your way to laser them (ie: retreating to go laser across stage) Fox gets more out of stage control both vertically and horizontally than most of the other characters in the cast so abuse it!

Late percent neutral: Fox starts to slow down and focus even more on bait and punishing his opponent since he has little safety in his kill confirms. So his entire goal is to force his opponent into a situation where they are conditioned not to shield or you have found a pattern in when they jump and to stuff those attempts with nair/usmash or a tech chase to garner it. Parrying is also very strong as he can generate usmashes this way.

Punish game: Uair does 16% base damage and combos into itself in lowish mid percents, mainly just used as a combo ender/pressure tool once your opponent is above you. 

Bair is going to pressure your opponent into shielding which is when you go for tomahawk grabs due to bair starting combos at low% (bair -> dash attack->nair) or just outright killing at late percents.

Fox doesn't get much out of grabs, percent wise, but what he does get is a lot of stage control which is where you basically can make it so your opponent can't play the game. Fox can use uthrow to bait out landing options and can punish most attempts to hit him with a dash away -> whiff punish with dash attack or an up air/nair. Dthrow and fthrow are mainly positional based throws but you can get a tech chase out of forward throw at mid percents.

Dair: has issues with linking so sometimes it is rough to make it connect properly, however, if you do you can get dair ->usmash or dair -> a tech chase etc. Autocancelled dair, can be hard to hit in neutral (requires to do a full hop down air near the peak of your jump) but if hit does allow you follow-ups into your aerials besides itself.

Nair: One of your main combo starters AND neutral pokes. it is -4 on shield at worst (be careful not to poke mario, gnw, bowser, etc shield too much since they have direct tools to punish you for doing so) along with it being an easy to parry sex kick. At low%-mid % strong nair combos into jab,dtilt, ftilt, and dash attack. At At death percents nair combos into usmash (look for the slide animation right before tumble would start) and with proper spacing can also combo into forward smash.

Utilt: is great punish tool that start combos. Lowish mid percents it combos into itself and sets up your frame traps. Almost every character in the game can punish you on hit at 0% after the first utilt so don't just spam it at super low %. After about 25% is when you can start to get frame traps out of your utilt. With the shifted up initial hitbox of utilt from smash 4 it now can act as more of an anti-air.
Dtilt: is one of Fox's main combo tools at low %, combos into his aerials on a large portion of the cast at a wide range of %. Fox loses combos with DI away around the later middle percents or against fast fallers who fox will not be able to get anything true other than a fair on after dtilt. Dtilt -> IRA bair is very useful to have in your back pocket if you use attack cancel but a normal dash RAR bair usually will suffice.

Ftilt: is Fox's early percent combo starters as it allows you to connect into a dash attack after it. Middle-Late percents can set up into tech chase situations to confirm into kills. At higher percents your opponent can DI up and avoid having to tech but still forces them to jump out which now they have to land against a sharking fox.

Dash attack: Fox doesn't have too many things true out of dash attack in smash ultimate due to the lack of hitstun, however, nair/up air are very good follow-ups to try and go for. Up air doesn't actually combo into dash attack in smash ultimate but it usually doesn't matter because fox can cover the options or force a landing afterward. You can combo weak dash attack into usmash at some percents.

Shine (AKA Down b): Reflector, intangible frame 2-3, reflects frame 4, Hitbox out on frame 3. Technically foxes fastest oos option but the lack of range makes it not that useful for that. Set KB makes it a decent edge guard tool. Finally, you can cancel shine with a roll, jump, or spotdodge if you reflect a projectile.

Dtilt/Dsmash are your two frame moves.

My opponents about to grab the ledge, what do I do? Foxes ledge trap game is one of the best in the game, he can wait at a spacing so that he can react to every option except jump off the ledge. By putting a back air/ neutral air to cover that, you essentially can cover every option as long as you react and time your punishes properly. A basic form of ledge trapping with Fox is standing on the ledge with your shield up back towards the ledge. If they roll, you dash attack/usmash. If they neutral get up, you grab then throw them off stage again or utilt/fsmash. If they jump you react to their option after the jump or read their option immediately following the jump and punish. Get up attack you have enough time to drop shield and utilt/usmash/jab/grab/almost anything in your kit as long as you react.

Another set up is to stand right outside of get up attacks range and do a similar thing except reverse the roll/neutral get up coverages. Fox can cover absurd amounts of options simply just by standing near ledge.

Off stage game: Foxes offstage game is not good. Due to his fall speed, usually, it isn't worth going for anything offstage too much. However, if he is playing someone with a very linear recovery and is confident on his teching he can run off nair/fair if they have jumped and trade with them which can gimp them at very early percents.

Disadvantage and how to accept your fate: So you got hit. You're in for a ride probably. Fox is one of the most combable characters in the game. The best thing you can do is to avoid putting yourself in the situation in the first place. So don't try and force your punishes too far or run off stage trying to KO people. Foxes advantage is so good that you can force your opponent to commit to land properly or make them exhaust their resources. Don't over extend into places you don't need to. Most importantly don't get tilted when you're hit for huge damage or die for a mistake it's going to happen and you just gotta stay calm. It's the contract you sign for playing fox!

Recovering: SAVE YOUR JUMP. Fox has a very good recovery in terms of length but it also is very linear. He has trouble recovering diagonally or vertically safely. In general, you want to avoid recovering low with firefox. Don't be afraid to abuse firefox into the stages to mix up your ledge grab timing if you are forced to use it. It will save your life as most people will try and meet the firefox right before it hits ledge. Get really good at teching, you'll need to be if you don't want to die to a lot of things. Also, practice using LSI to let you not be untechabled for as long as you possibly can.

Common Questions: 

I'm having trouble killing, how do I kill? You need to play patiently and take your grabs where you are forced to give them to condition not shielding. Overcommitting is the easiest way to lose a % advantage very fast to a stock deficit as Fox. Otherwise look for nair -> usmash / apply pressure through platforms.

How do I handle projectile pressure as Fox?: Use your speed to run in and parry their projectile habits or jump over, mix up doing a reflector very rarely or on a hard read so that they have to respect that you're willing to use it.Since Foxes dash length is a bit long, once you start getting closer to your opponent is when you need to start walking more so that you aren't caught in your dash. You have the speed to break almost any zone in the game if you approach it smartly and play the way you're supposed to beat zoners.

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