A counterattack is a type of special move. On use, they put the user into a shield-like state followed by a sizable period of lag. Should any normally blockable attack hit the user during the guard frames, the attack will be blocked and the user will automatically use an attack of their own, presumably hitting whoever was attacking unless it was a projectile, or some other attack that outranges the counter. Some counterattacks do more damage when they activate against a stronger attack, with Knockback scaling to match the damage, while some do the same damage all the time. Most counterattacks are unblockable, with a few exceptions: attacks from Substitute and Double Team can be safely shielded, although it requires quick reflexes.
A correctly-timed counterattack can tilt the momentum of a match towards the user, though as they are generally not effective on reaction, reading the opponent is crucial. Simply countering repeatedly in hopes of getting one in will result in a competent opponent waiting until the move's lag to attack, or simply using an uncounterable grab.
While Unblockable attacks cannot be countered, as previously mentioned, depending on the move, the user may still not take damage due to the initial invincibility frames. Unlike reflectors, there is no limit to how much damage can be countered.
Counterattacks were first introduced in Super Smash Bros. Melee, with Marth's and Roy's down special, and Peach's neutral special. In Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS/Wii U, counterattacks cannot counter some explosive attacks such as Link's Bombs and Steel Diver missiles, instead giving the user full immunity against them during the counter frames. Stronger explosions can be countered, however, such as the Bob-omb. Aesthetically, most counterattacks gain a unique particle effect once the counter activates: a wave quickly appears, representing a heartbeat. This applies to all counterattacks lacking a separate particle effect, namely the entire cast that possesses a counterattack save for Greninja, Lucario and Shulk (although his counter also has a yellow heartbeat wave on the very frame he counters a move). Each counterattack's heartbeat wave colour varies: Palutena's is blue, Little Mac's is red, and so on.
List of Counterattacks
|Bayonetta||Witch Time||Bayonetta performs a stationary backflip that slows down the opponent for a certain period of time based on damage taken and how frequently it is used. If performed too late, she instead activates Bat Within, a teleport that reduces the amount of damage taken. Unlike most counterattacks, this does not damage the opponent, allowing her to perform any attack while they are slowed down. Bayonetta's counterattack gets less effective when used repeatedly.|
|Corrin||Counter Surge||When activated, Corrin transforms into a dragon, dodges the opponents attack, and stomps the ground, launching opponents vertically on both sides with surges of water.|
|Dark Pit||Electrocut Arm||Instead of dashing with his arm, Dark Pit stays put with it ready (moving backwards slightly when doing so) and retaliates if any attack hits him. While this removes one of Dark Pit's recovery options, the attack will be stronger and gives him super armor to compensate. Dark Pit will also attack if something or someone gets too close.|
|Greninja||Substitute||If Greninja is hit while using this move, it vanishes, being replaced by a green doll or a wooden log, and then reappears rushing in a single direction, attacking the opponent with a sliding kick. This counter works similarly to Lucario's Double Team, the counterattack being slow and avoidable, but Greninja can reappear in all eight directions, allowing Greninja to confuse opponents or even use the counterattack as a recovery.|
|Ike||Counter||Ike's Counter does 1.2x the damage of the attack, with a minimum of 10%. In Brawl, it has higher startup before the counter window when compared to Marth's, although Ike's version has less ending lag. SSBWU/3DS removes some of the increased startup (9 frames startup), putting its speed more in line with Marth's counter.|
|Little Mac||Slip Counter||When used, Little Mac does a fake-out, dodging the opponent's attack, and socks them with an uppercut. Unlike most other counterattacks, this move can be a useful though risky horizontal recovery option as he takes a big step forward if the move activates, boosting Little Mac's infamously sub-par recovery if he successfully counters anything. Like most counterattacks, Little Mac is invincible while counterattacking, though he does not gain invincibility if the counter activates in the air.|
|Lucario||Double Team||When used, Lucario vanishes out of the way of an attack and reappears behind the opponent, striking them with a sliding kick. He has the option to attack in the opposite direction too. It is the slowest of all counterattacks to hit once activated, to the point of it being possible to simply avoid in some cases, along with being able to be shielded. Its power does not change based on the activation attack, instead depending on Lucario's aura, with a base damage of 11%, and at max aura it has incredibly high knockback, to the point of being able to KO medium percentage opponents, even more so in 3DS/Wii U than in Brawl.|
|Lucina||Counter||Identical to Marth's. The animation, however, is different. Acts faster than Roy or Ike's, but has more lag afterwards.|
|Marth||Counter||In Super Smash Bros. Melee, Marth's Counter does 7% regardless of the attack.|
In Brawl and 3DS/Wii U, Marth's Counter does 1.1x the damage of the attack, with a minimum of 8%.
Acts faster than Roy or Ike's, but has more lag afterwards.
|Mii Swordfighter||Blade Counter||When used, the Mii will lean back a bit and hold their sword behind them in reverse grip. Should anything attack him/her during this, the Mii will respond with a quick slash. The counterattack does 1.25x the damage of the attack, with a minimum of 8%.|
|Palutena||Counter||Palutena puts up her shield, and if hit while this shield is active, she will strike back with her staff. Given the length of her staff, this counterattack has slightly more range than most, though when compared with the rest of the cast, not much considering her size.|
|Peach||Toad||This move is the only neutral special counter. In it, Peach pulls out Toad and hold him in front of herself. Toad operates slightly differently than other counterattacks: Peach does become invincible during part of the move, but not for the entire counterable duration, and hitting her does not activate the counter. Instead, Toad has a separate hurtbox that activates the counter, which is a set of nine spore shots that each do 2% and fire at random angles. The spores are projectiles, and thus can be absorbed and result in the move having the longest reach of any counterattack. In Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS/Wii U, the counterattack activates if Peach is hit anywhere, making it more reliable.|
|Pit||Interception Arm||Just like Dark Pit's Electrocut Arm, Pit pulls out his Upperdash Arm and waits while talking a small step back, attacking if hit or if an opponent gets too close to him. The attack is stronger than Pit's default side special and grants him super armor.|
|Roy||Counter||Roy's version of this move is unique as it creates an explosion when he attacks. In Melee, Roy's Counter does 1.5x the damage of the attack.
In Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS/Wii U, Roy's Counter activates 3 frames later than Marth's (frame 8) and lasts a shorter duration. However it reflects 1.35x the damage of the attack, with a minimum of 8% damage.
|Shulk||Vision||Shulk leans forward and holds the hilt of the Monado, and attacks with a slash if hit. It is unique as it possesses two different counterattacks: a slow but wide-ranged slash or a quick dashing slash with higher base knockback that can be only done if Shulk is grounded. It has the longest counter window in the entire series when fresh, but the window becomes shorter each time the move is used. The window can be recharged over time by simply not using the move. This counter also has the ability to hit opponents while they are shielding.|
|Mii Brawler||Counter Throw|
|Villager||Timber Counter||Unlike being an actual "get hit then retaliate" counterattack, Timber Counter gives the Villager's tree a longer lifetime and the ability to attack opponents if they hit it when fully grown. Other stages of the attack allow the tree to disrupt opponents, such as the sapling tripping opponents if they walk over it, though the tree deals less damage if chopped down. The tree also pulses red periodically, making it more obvious than the standard Timber.|