Snake performs an air dodge.

Air dodging is a technique in Super Smash Bros. Melee, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate that does just as one would expect - it gives temporary invincibility frames to the user in the air, preventing attacks from hitting them. It has sometimes been described as Sidestepping in midair.

In Super Smash Bros. Melee

In Melee, an air dodge is performed by fully pressing L or R while in the air. Air dodging cannot be done if the character is tumbling or reeling. The air dodge halts the character's momentum, either leaving him or her hovering if the Control Stick is not tilted or giving the character a small boost in the direction of the Control Stick. This boost can aid one's recovery, though most air dodging characters cannot sweet spot the ledge, and most up Bs outreach the air dodge.

During the air dodge, the character cannot be hit by attacks, but then enters a helpless state and falls to the ground. However, unlike being helpless from an up-b move, Link, Young Link, and Samus can still air grab after air dodging.

Air dodging into the ground is known as wavelanding, which is the primary component of the wavedash.

Using air dodge as a recovery in Melee

An Angled Recovery is the opposite of Wavedashing, since you angle the control stick Up. An Angled Recovery is useful when you get knocked off a stage that has multiple platforms, such as Hyrule Temple. In order to perform an Angled Recovery, just hold the Control Stick up diagonally and Air Dodge. The Angled Recovery has less lag time compared to your character's normal Recovery and it can't be negated since you're invincible, but it doesn't go as far as your character's normal Recovery. The Angled Recovery is useful when you're at the peak of your second jump from a short vertical distance off the side of the stage (usually 1.5 inches below the edge of the stage at most) and a short horizontal distance (usually .5 inches away from the stage at most). If you are too far away, you will fall and receive a Self-destruct. You can also perform this at far distances only if you're at a very high altitude. The Angled Recovery works when your character's second jump doesn't make it to the edge of the stage.

Elevated Recovery is just like the Angled Recovery, except you hold the Control Stick up without angling it. The Elevated Recovery is trickier since you don't move at an angle and you're more likely to fall off the stage since Air Dodging doesn't allow you to Edge-hog and leaves you wide open to attacks during the Helpless phase. But you can move slightly during the Helpless phase. Players with effective Recoveries (including Side Special Moves) such as Falco (Fire Bird & Falco Phantasm), Fox (Fire Fox & Fox Illusion), Link (Spin Attack), Marth (Dolphin Slash & Dancing Blade), and Roy (Blazer & Double-Edge Dance), rarely need to use the Angled Recovery or Elevated Recovery since their Recoveries are tougher to block if done with proper timing. Angled Recoveries are most beneficial for Jigglypuff and Yoshi, since their up B attacks do not give any recovery distance, though with Jigglypuff, its jumps and Rising Pound can usually get it back to the stage anyway. Angled Recoveries are also particularly helpful to a lone Ice Climber, who otherwise has almost no hope of recovery, since it will go farther than Belay.

Air dodge intangibility and animation length in Melee

Characters are unable to grab a ledge until the animation length is over.

Characters Intangibility frames Animation length
Mewtwo 4-29 39
Dr. Mario 4-29 48
Ice Climbers 4-29 48
Luigi 4-29 48
Mario 4-29 48
Ness 4-29 48
Bowser 3-29 49
Donkey Kong 4-29 49
Captain Falcon 4-29 49
Falco 4-29 49
Fox 4-29 49
Ganondorf 4-29 49
Jigglypuff 4-29 49
Kirby 4-29 49
Link 4-29 49
Marth 4-29 49
Mr. Game & Watch 4-29 49
Peach 4-19 49
Pichu 4-29 49
Pikachu 4-29 49
Roy 4-29 49
Samus 4-29 49
Sheik 4-29 49
Yoshi 4-29 49
Young Link 4-29 49
Zelda 4-19 49

In Super Smash Bros. Brawl

In Brawl, the air dodge has been revamped. It no longer halts the character's momentum and no longer permits the user to nudge the character by pressing the Control Stick. It simply grants brief invincibility along the character's current line of movement. Following the air dodge, characters are put in their regular aerial state rather than the helpless state, and thus may attack, jump, or air dodge again following their initial air dodge.

The air dodge can now also be used when a character is tumbling or reeling, and is often employed by players to enable action quicker than waiting out their knockback. Using the air dodge at this time does not reduce knockback, a rumor that was started when it was noticed that higher-level CPUs were doing it constantly (however, by canceling reeling, it does allow the user to use directional influence much earlier). However, Ike and Snake yield better results using an air dodge when momentum canceling than their fastest aerial. In addition, they also gain the most benefit when Momentum Canceling using the basic method.

Air dodging a thrown item will cause the character to catch the item in mid-air. This does not work if the character already has an item. Using this property of the air dodge, characters can also do an air dodge canceled item throw, or ADCIT. Characters can quickly throw an item on the ground or return an item thrown at them using this technique. To do this, simply air dodge, then use the c-stick or attack button in any direction immediately after the start of the air dodge.

Air dodge invincibility and animation length in Brawl

The table here displays the frame data for the air dodge of every Brawl character. Every character has a certain amount of frames taken to perform an air dodge, and the intangibility frames starts and ends in between the total frames taken. For example, Meta Knight's air dodge takes 39 frames to perform, but he is only invincible between frames 3 and 29.

Characters Intangibility frames Animation length
Meta Knight 3-29 39
Charizard 4-29 39
Diddy Kong 4-29 39
Ike 4-29 39
Ivysaur 4-29 39
King Dedede 4-29 39
Lucario 4-29 39
Olimar 4-29 39
Pit 4-29 39
R.O.B. 4-29 39
Snake 4-29 39
Squirtle 4-29 39
Wario 4-29 39
Zero Suit Samus 4-29 39
Ice Climbers 4-29 48
Lucas 4-29 48
Ness 4-29 48
Sonic 4-29 48
Peach 4-19 49
Captain Falcon 4-29 49
Donkey Kong 4-29 49
Falco 4-29 49
Fox 4-29 49
Ganondorf 4-29 49
Kirby 4-29 49
Link 4-29 49
Luigi 4-29 49
Mario 4-29 49
Mr. Game & Watch 4-29 49
Pikachu 4-29 49
Sheik 4-29 49
Samus 4-29 49
Toon Link 4-29 49
Wolf 4-29 49
Yoshi 4-29 49
Zelda 4-29 49
Jigglypuff 4-29 49
Bowser 4-30 49
Marth 5-30 49

In Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U

In Smash for 3DS / Wii U, air dodges have have interruptibility frames, making them have significantly less ending lag compared to air dodging in Brawl. This now allows characters to execute many air dodges in quick succession to avoid attacks, as well as safely use attacks out of them. However, air dodging too close to the ground now produce a significant landing lag of 21 frames, making air dodges much easier to punish on land. Unlike in Brawl, characters can no longer air dodge to cancel hitstun, resulting in true combos being easier to land.

Air dodge intangibility and lag in Smash for Wii U / 3DS

The table here displays the frame data for the air dodge of every character in version 1.1.5 of both versions of Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U.

Characters Intangibility frames IASA frames
Mewtwo 2-24 28
Fox 2-25 30
Little Mac 2-25 30
Meta Knight 2-25 30
Pikachu 2-25 30
Sheik 2-25 30
Sonic 2-25 30
Toon Link 2-25 30
Zero Suit Samus 2-25 30
Dark Pit 2-26 31
Diddy Kong 2-26 31
Duck Hunt 2-26 31
Falco 2-26 31
Greninja 2-26 31
Mr. Game & Watch 2-26 31
Pit 2-26 31
Wii Fit Trainer 2-26 31
Lucario 2-25 31
Corrin 3-27 32
Dr. Mario 3-27 32
Kirby 3-27 32
Lucina 3-27 32
Luigi 3-27 32
Mario 3-27 32
Marth 3-27 32
Mii Brawler 3-27 32
Mii Gunner 3-27 32
Olimar 3-27 32
Pac-Man 3-27 32
R.O.B. 3-27 32
Rosalina 3-27 32
Roy 3-27 32
Samus 3-27 32
Wario 3-27 32
Bowser Jr. 3-28 33
Captain Falcon 3-28 33
Charizard 3-28 33
Cloud 3-28 33
Ike 3-28 33
Link 3-28 33
Lucas 3-28 33
Mega Man 3-28 33
Mii Swordfighter 3-28 33
Ness 3-28 33
Palutena 3-28 33
Peach 3-28 33
Robin 3-28 33
Shulk 3-28 33
Villager 3-28 33
Yoshi 3-28 33
Zelda 3-28 33
Ryu 4-25 33
Bowser 4-29 34
Donkey Kong 4-29 34
Ganondorf 4-29 34
Jigglypuff 4-29 34
King Dedede 4-29 34
Bayonetta* 5-27 36

*Bat Within activates on frames 1-4.

In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Air dodging in Ultimate works similarly to how it does in Melee. If the control stick is tilted into a direction, the character will halt their momentum and move a small distance in that direction while invincible. Using any dodge, including air dodging and rolling, will decrease the amount of invincibility frames gained. Unlike in Melee, air dodges in Ultimate cannot perform wavedashes; they can, however, waveland. Also unlike in Melee, the character does not become helpless afterwards and is affected by gravity during the action, allowing them to grab the ledge earlier.