Super Smash Bros. Brawl: Learn all about how to play Zero Suit Samus, from the basics to more advanced attacks.
Smash School: Zero Suit Samus
Learn some solid combat tactics with Zero Suit Samus. I’ll start off with a general overview of how to play Zero Suit Samus, then move on to her individual moves and when to use them. Finally, I’ll cover some combinations, juggles, and KO techniques.
This guide is not for beginners or tournament players, but for people somewhere in between. You’ll get the most out of it if you can at least execute smashes and tripple just confidently. For total beginners, you may want to check out some of my more basic guides, like this one on ground attacks: http://rivermanmedia.com/super-smash-bros-brawl-ground-attack-guide/.
FOR MORE ADVANCED PLAYERS, here are some great “Zamus” resources:
A full discussion (with videos) of using your down smash to rack up high damage (“d-smash chain”). Gives a full list of who it does and doesn’t work on:
Zamus frame data, compiled by Delicious Cake. It’s not quite finished yet, but it gives you a very good picture of how fast her moves are:
How to actually “taunt transform” from Samus to Zamus:
A running discussion of how to beat specific characters with Zamus:
Zero Suit Samus is a fast character with a huge variety of moves, including long reach moves and a projectile, with a great recovery. Her main weaknesses are that she is light and her smashes are a bit less powerful than average.
How to choose her: Pick Samus normally. When you are ready to move to the next screen (usually the stage selection screen), hold a shield button as you hit start, and you’ll shed your suit as the battle starts. You can also change to her by quickly taunting as Samus (see the taunt transform link above), or using Samus’s final smash (which changes you automatically).
Easy KO moves:
- plasma whip (side+B), from the ground or in the air as an edge guard
- up aerial, the higher they are the better
- Flip Jump (down+B, then hit an attack button to kick shortly after), used over the course edge as a spike, or toward the edge as a side-KO.
- forward smash
- forward aerial (the second kick), especially as an edge guard
- back aerial, close to the course edge
Easy Juggle/combo moves:
- Dash attack- starts juggles nicely.
- Jabs- ditto.
- Down tilt- quick trip move that can lead in to others.
- Up tilt- your second fastest move; hits them upward.
- Plasma wire- pull opponents down toward you and stun them long enough to follow up.
- Up smash- hits them up a short distance with good damage.
- Down aerial- use it against an airborne character for an easy hit.
General ideas: Zero Suit Samus is fast like Sheik. This means that you want to use your speed to your advantage. Try not to leave your opponent alone any longer then you have to. Be attacking them constantly to keep them confused, disoriented, and unable to strike back.
Unlike Sheik, Zero Suit Samus also has two long reach moves: her forward smash and her plasma whip (side+B). These moves (the plasma whip in particular) give you the option to approach slowly and smack your opponent with the end of your whip, keeping them at a distance.
Zero Suit Samus also has several spikes (moves that hit your opponent straight down). These are great for KOing a player who is trying to recover. You can do these spikes without much risk because you have such a strong recovery (when you include your Down+B move, the flip jump).
She does a short combination of three moves. Use this when your opponent is close and the combat is chaotic, just like with most characters. It’s also your fastest move, hitting just one frame after you press a. The third hit is the most powerful, so if you are trying to combo you may want to only use the first two moves in quick succession to keep your opponent close.
This is a medium reach kick with low power. Because it isn’t terribly strong, I’d only recommend using this when you opponent is close, but not close enough for your jab or down tilt.
A solid trip move, great for starting juggles and throwing your opponent off guard. It’s fast, short-medium reach, and hits them upward a short distance. I use it all the time.
Also good for starting juggles. She turns upside down and spins around, pulling enemies close with the spin and then kicking them up at the end. It feels slightly slower than the average up tilt to me, but it’s actually pretty fast and the way that it pulls in opponents from the sides makes it more reliable. Your only faster move (in terms of start up time) is your jab.
Zero Suit Samus runs fast and she has a good dash attack to go along with it. This one looks like a very low jump kick. It’s a solid move that hits them a short distance up. You can usually follow it with an up smash, tilt, or jabs. Just watch for shield grabs. If you see that your opponent is shielding before you get there (or just standing there like they are going so shield), don’t do the dash attack. You can cancel out of a dash using up on the C-stick to up aerial if you want (the impact of the up aerial should shove them far enough for their grab to miss), or do something a little crazier like a throw.
It’s slow, but it has a long reach and medium power. You can get kills with this but you are almost always better oof with plasma whip as a slow, ranged approach. However, your forward+B has a longer reach and is more powerful. You’ll want to use that quite a bit more then your forward smash. One small advantage of this move over plasma whip is that it also hits opponents close behind you at the end, which is useful when someone rolls under it.
Samus shoots the ground right in front of her with the paralyzer pistol. Any enemy hit by this is stunned for about 1.5 seconds, which is plenty long enough to get of any smash you want, your plasma whip, or whatever else you like. Unfortunately, this move doesn’t hit on both sides of you, so it’s not good to use if you are surrounded, unlike most down smashes. A great time to use this is when you have just dodged a slow attack and your opponent is recovering, or if you see them start to roll and you know where they are going to stop. This way, you get the damage of the down smash and have enough time to do your up smash and start a juggle, or use plasma whip if they have high damage for a KO.
Samus twirls her whip high up in the air. This move has somewhat low power and is unlikely to KO, but it is pretty fast, has a long reach, and the collision box stays out there a while, making timing easy. You can damage characters approaching you from directly above with ease, or if your opponent is on the ground, you can start juggles with it. It works great after your dash attack or to cancel out of a dash. And if they are on a ledge above you, have fun.
A quick, farily powerful vertical flip kick. This move is good for KOs at high damage because of Samus’s excellent jumping. You can keep kicking them up over and over without much challenge. If you jump up and try to get them with this but they are out of reach, use your plasma wire instead.
This move does two medium reach horizontal kicks in a row. The first kick is pretty weak, the second is powerful enough to KO. Usually you can hit with both kicks if you started the move late enough, but the second kick is the important part. Sometimes I try to time the attack so that only the second kick hits, that way the first kick doesn’t disrupt things and they get hit at its maximum reach.
A single, quick, medium reach kick, strong enough to KO. Both the forward and back aerial are solid attacks, but because their reach isn’t that long, you’ll want to avoid using them against characters you know can hit you from far away in the air (like characters with swords, or a long kick like Sheik’s back aerial).
Samus shoots almost directly downward (at a slight angle forward) fast, with her foot pointed down at a slight angle. This is a spike, but you don’t want to use it over the edge of the course because you’ll almost certainly get a self destruct. It’s great for taking down an airborne character below you, or a character on the ground who’s charging a smash (opponents can’t really time a smash to hit you out of this move. Its just too fast).
You can use this when you are just a little ways above them as a surprise move, but you probably don’t want to use it against a grounded character who is just standing there. Chances are, they are going to shield the move or roll away and then attack you while you are recovering (it has a short recovery time after landing). Luckily, when you land, it will hit anyone close on either side of you, so your aim doesn’t have to be perfect (and if you took a character down with you in the first part, they get hit again). Nice bonus: I’ve seen this move go right through a hammer, so use it if you are feeling lucky.
Samus uses her whip a short distance behind and in front of her. There is a short delay before and after the move, the reach isn’t great, and it isn’t really powerful enough to get KOs. I haven’t found a great use for this move yet, since the other aerials seem to be quite a bit better. Let us all know if you find anything.
Zero Suit Samus’s projectile is a bit on the slow side, but if it connects, your opponent is stunned for about a half second (more if you charge it). If they are out of reach of your plasma whip and you want to go on the defensive, you can use this to disrupt their approach and then plasma whip if it connects. Or, you can use this before charging in and possibly get in a free hit. You can use this in the air, but it is a bit too slow to be used in an aerial approach.
Side+B (Plasma Whip)
Without this move, Zero Suit Samus wouldn’t have any very reliable KO moves, and would be overall just slightly underpowered. Thanks to this move, you have a strong, long reach, medium speed move with easy timing. Use this attack often. The whip is long and goes directly horizontal. The tip is the most powerful part, but if you hit with the middle, it usually does damage then shoots the character back to the tip, where they get hit again by the powerful part. It is your best bet for KOs, and the reach makes it safe at a distance.
This move sets Samus apart from the other fast characters, like Sheik or Pikachu, because you can still get kills from far away. This move also helps you deal with larger groups. Get them all on the same side of you and whip away, as if you were using any normal long reach move like a sword (but this is even longer). You can also use this in the air, and it’s just as effective. It’s especially good at picking off recovering characters (when you are on the ground or in the air). The timing is a little bit tougher in the air, but the reach is long enough that you won’t have to worry about counter attacks if you miss. Don’t forget, you can also use this to recover in the same way as plasma wire, except that this one goes horizontal rather than up.
Up+B (Plasma Wire)
This is your triple jump without the jump part. If the ledge is above and not too far behind you, your whip will connect with it instantly and you’ll be hanging there. The whip is pretty long, but not quite long enough to be a good triple jump on its own (don’t worry though, see the next move). One big advantage of this “triple jump” is that you can do it multiple times, and you can do attacks after it too, so you don’t have to worry about when to use it. It’s also good for juggles. It’s long and goes straight up, like your up smash. Unlike your up smash, if it connects well, you’ll pull the enemy directly downward, making it a good spike (if they are hit with the beginning of the move instead of the end, it actually throws them up first).
You can also jump up and yank down a character above you, stunning them long enough for you to follow up with an easy down aerial. Depending on your opponent’s damage and weight, you can also you this as a juggle by itself. It looks like you are playing with a big yoyo as you slam your opponent up and down. However, unlike your up smash, this move won’t connect to a standing character unless they are REALLY close. Best just to use it when they are in the air. One more great time is when they are on a ledge above you. This move will smack them around again and again.
Down+B (Flip Jump)
It might seem counter intuitive to hold down and hit B when you are trying to go up, but you’ll just have to get used to it, since this is your real triple jump. Samus does a flip, propelling her upward about as much as a normal jump with a predetermined arc (you can’t influence the arc except by holding left or right as it begins), with a couple frames of invincibility right in the beginning. If you hit an attack button (or down+B again) shortly after the move, Samus will extend a foot out left or right (whichever direction you are holding), with a fairly long collision box and a good priority. If you hit your opponent from directly above with this jump kick, it’s a spike (if you’ve been counting, that’s spike #3…nice!), and it has decent power either way, enough to KO at high damages.
This move is incredibly useful. If you get used to the distance of the arc, you can use this from the ground a short distance from your opponent as a surprise aerial approach. You’ll come in at a high angle from the front or behind (depending on your starting distance). You can use the spike as an edge guard, but this is tough until you get used to it (easier to stick to plasma whip or plasma wire to repel recoveries). When you are recovering, it’s a nice third jump to use before plasma wire. If you are falling and an opponent tries to hit you with an up aerial, you can use this to get out of reach (and maybe hit back if they try to chase you). It can also get you out of the middle of a group and punish opponents who follow too close. And the best part is, just like plasma wire, you can still do moves afterwards (but you can only do this move once each time you are in the air).
Another unusual bonus of this move: you can use it while grabbing a ledge to do a very short flip back on to the ledge, facing the other direct. You can kick with it normally too. This is a nice surprise move for opponents waiting on the edge of the ledge for you to recover. And if they decide to try to edge guard you while you are still jumping back to the course, this is a great move to counter their edge guard since you might get lucky and spike them straight down for a very embarrassing KO.
Samus glows, and nearby opponents are pulled close for some easy KOs. You then regain your power suit. It’s more consistent for getting KOs than many final smashes.
Fighting fast, short reach characters (like Pikachu):
Against fast, short reach characters you want to use your long reach moves (mostly plasma whip, forward smash and paralyzer) to show them that they’ll have to close with you to do any damage. Once they learn that they’ll have to get close and start using their speed, you do the same. Vary your attacks, and use your faster moves (tilts and taps) to juggle them once you close in. Punish their mistakes with plasma whip, at short or long distances.
Against stronger, long reach characters (like Marth):
You can still use your plasma whip to close slowly if that’s how you want to play (it’s just as long as any non-projectiles they have). But a better idea early on is to use your speed. Close with dash attacks and try for juggles. Just get in as close as you can and throw out quick moves (your jabs and tilts) to get juggles going. Once you’ve got them damaged, you can back off (if you want) and go for kills with plasma whip. Or, knock them off the course with a weaker move (like a side aerial) and do some edge guards (see below).
Specific combat tactics:
When the fight has just started, there is no reason not to chuck those 3 suit pieces at your opponent as the first thing you do, or at least take one with you as you approach. After that, close fast and get the juggles going.
A few juggle/combination ideas:
- Plasma wire is its own juggle in the right circumstances.
- Your dash attack or your down tilt can lead into an upward attack, like your up smash or plasma wire.
- Once they are higher up in the air (from your up smash or up tilt), you can jump and go for your up aerial.
- As they fall, you can keep going for up aerials, or use plasma wire in the air, or get just a little to their left or right and do quick jumps to surprise them with your side aerials.
- After you’ve pulled them down from the air with plasma wire, you can follow with your down aerial (easy if you are already in the air, or just do a hop first).
- Your down smash can start off any combination. I like to follow it by quickly dashing close and using an up smash if their damage is low (just plasma whip if their damage is high).
Here’s an example of how you might string these together, against a fairly low damage character. Run in with a dash attack. If this doesn’t hit them in the air, go for a quick down tilt. Now immediately transition into your up smash. Now they are high up, so jump up and pull them back down with plasma wire. If it connects, down aerial right away while they are still stunned. I’ve used this exact combo many times before, but every situation is different and you’ll have to vary it as you go.
Blocking a recovering character
Zero Suit Samus is great at this. I’ve mentioned before that you’ve got three spikes, and your great recovery makes it low risk to try them (with plasma whip being the easiest to pull off, as long as they are high up). You’ve got more reach than any of their aerials with plasma whip, and the timing is easy. Just jump on out there and give it a shot. No big deal if you miss, just get back to the course and get ready to attack them from solid ground as they get back. Your forward aerial (the second kick of it) is powerful enough to KO them if they are near the edge, so try this one too. Now let’s say you try one of these techniques and you miss. Like I said, recovery is easy with flip jump + plasma wire, but you could try an edge hog instead. Just grab onto the edge with plasma whip or plasma wire and hang there. When you’re holding the edge, they can’t use it. It works best against characters that don’t have a damaging triple jump (like Rob, if he has just enough boost to hit the ledge), or if they aren’t coming in at the right angle to hit you with it.
Want to know more? There are plently of players much better than me talking about Zero Suit Samus all the time at http://smashboards.com/