Smash 4 Perfect Shield Option Selects: Part 2 - Examples and Breakdown

Naturally, whenever there is someone theorizing about a piece of in-game tech, there will be naysayers; people who, for whatever reason, don't think that the tech will be useful or worth the time. Perfect Shield Option Selects are fairly complicated and certainly aren't the only piece of tech out there, and it can be hard deciding on what is worth trying to learn. Economy of time in the training room is just as important as economy of motion in tournament, in many ways.

"Sethlon, Perfect Shield Option Selects are too difficult to set up in actual tournament matches!" the naysayers might say. Personally, and from experience, I quite disagree.

But I don't want you to just take my word for it. Instead, I'll let the gameplay speak for itself. Today, I'm going to look over and break down a few different examples from tournament play where I apply Perfect Shield Option Selects.

(Note; as you might guess from the "Part 2", this is a continuation of the Perfect Shield Option Selects article written a few weeks prior. If you haven't already, please go read through it now. That article will help explain what these OSes are, why they work, and how to do them yourself!)


Example #1: vs CalmAnimal

Straight out of the gates, I open up with running cross-center stage into a fairly simple perfectshield roll OS. (Inputs; tap shield, release, tap away on control stick.) This is a pretty safe way to contest center stage at the start of the game, since Bowser would have to be doing something like dash attack or short hop forward-air to really threaten me in that position (which would be blown up by the PS, assuming optimal timing), and if he doesn’t contest the space, then I slip back with the roll and am in a decent position to be attacking center stage myself. I don’t OS any attack option for this one, content to rely on my reaction timing if the PS does happen to trigger. 

CalmAnimal chooses to play a little slow at first, simply walking forward into a shield, and then reacting to my deep run by running in with a shield of his own. By the time he gets into position with his shield, however, my OS is already over and I’m a safe distance away, ending my roll, giving me ample time to set up a dash in neutral-air to beat out the startup of his out-of-shield jabs. Nair gets a quick follow up, and I push him into the corner with some tempo advantage and the damage lead.


Example #2; vs Cosmic Witch

Another perfectshield OS opening. This time I run deep into Cosmic Witch’s side of the stage, leading in with a jab re-shield OS. (Inputs; press shield, release, press A, press shield again and hold.) The perfectshield triggers off of her attempted dash attack; jab comes out of the OS, but Rosa has crossed me up with the dash attack, so it whiffs. I have time to still react with Roy’s side-B to punish, but side-B is very inconsistent against Rosa, so she jumps out after a measly 3% and we enter into a scramble.

Not a terrible result for an admittedly bold invasion of space, but could have gone better. The OS triggered appropriately, but the decision to use side-B afterwards put me in a bit of hot water…attempting to punish the dash attack cooldown with something like a dash grab or a dash in neutral-air may have been better in this situation.


Example #3; vs Cosmic Witch, moments after the previous example

Shortly after, I go into another OS. My two previous approaches were out-spaced and stuffed with Rosa’s down-tilt, so this time I run in and use another jab re-shield OS. Having lost Luma, Cosmic Witch decided to play a bit more defensive, and instead goes into shield. The jab in my OS doesn’t trigger, and I run in holding shield, and quickly after transition into a neutral-air out of shield. The n-air clips Cosmic Witch out of her shield grab; I convert into a quick tipped forward-air, and Rosalina is pushed to the ledge.

This interaction really highlights why I enjoy making use of this particular OS; even in situations where the jab doesn’t trigger, being put into shield for just a moment is a fairly safe option, and quick reflexes afterwards can catch many options that your opponent might try to do. (Example; in this case, if Cosmic Witch took to the air to try to slip to center stage, it would be a simple thing to react with a jump out-of-shield and chase with aerials. If she had tried to slip through with a roll behind, I could drop shield and f-tilt or dash grab. Etc.) The only real option she had to hard counter this tactic would be to dash in and grab me out of my shield in the small window between shielding and executing the n-air, which wouldn’t give much of a reward (since she had no Luma), and opens up other avenues of attack for Roy (such as n-air and its juicy follow ups).


Example #4: vs ReQzee

In this situation, ReQzee is coming in from offstage, leading with a thunder jolt. Perfectshielding the slow-moving thunder jolt is easy, but sets up for him to potentially lead in with an aerial afterwards, so I drop out of the thunder jolt PS into another shield for a jab re-shield OS. ReQzee opts to empty land, so the OS isn’t triggered, leaving me in shield afterwards. He is too far away for me to shield grab, and not in a great spot for jab out-of-shield, so I opt to play it safe and short hop backwards, giving up a bit of stage in exchange for a safe out from the situation and a bit stronger positioning.

In retrospect, this is a somewhat poor situation to be using the jab re-shield OS…if he were to drop with a forward-air, the jab OoS would be triggered mid multi-hits and I would have gotten stuffed out of the start up of my jab, and if he had Quick Attacked directly in at me, he would most likely be behind me afterwards and the jab would whiff. Down-air is the only real option he could have chosen that would have led to the jab part of my OS actually coming out and winning the interaction for me. In general, this situation is a good place to be using the re-shield OS, but not so much against characters like Pikachu that have multi-hit aerials.

(Fun fact of the day; you can tell a Pikachu's gender by the end of its tail! Male pikachus have a sharp and flat tip, whereas female pikachus' tails are rounded like a heart.)

Unfortunately, none of these examples show a really clean result coming through with the attack in the PS OS being triggered...I have had many instances where it has in the past couple of weeks where I started to focus more on the tech, but none were on stream. I think that is one of the interesting things to highlight, though; even if the attack isn't triggered, proper use of these OSes can still leave you in a rather favorable position afterwards. Because of the natural safety of the technique, you can be using OSes often with no real detriment while still getting the benefit if the attack portion does trigger!


Questions? Comments? Reccomendations? Feel free to send a message to Sethlon on his twitter; @S3thlon