The simplest way to dash cancel is to jump. Characters who have good aerial attacks, such as Meta Knight and Jigglypuff, are able to benefit the most from this. Some of the momentum from the dash is carried into the character's jump, so those with fast running speed, like Fox and Sonic also benefit. It is also possible to jump cancel into a grab, an Up Smash Attack, or an Up Special.
Crouching is available in Super Smash Bros. Melee. Canceling with a crouch causes the character to slide a little bit, almost like Wavedashing. If the crouch is released while the character slides, he/she is still considered to be standing, so basic, non-dashing A button-attacks are able to be performed while sliding (with the exception of the Side Smash Attack, which negates momentum unless the C-Stick is used). It can also be used to simply exit the dash for those with slow running speed, since the distance of the slide is dependent on speed, not traction.
Putting up a Shield allows the character to do any defensive techniques involving the shield while the game considers you to be standing. This not only allows the character to do a Roll or Sidestep, but also a Grab without the normal lag of a Dashing grab.
The small delay provided by an initial jump makes it possible to execute an Up Smash Attack while running. The result is the character sliding a little while performing their Up Smash Attack. This is usually a good alternative to using the character's Dash Attack, which often has more lag than the Up Smash Attack. Because Smashes can be charged in Melee, Brawl, and 3DS/Wii U, this allows for execution of the Hyphen Smash technique.
Down Smash Attack (Melee only)
Within the first few frames of a crouch, it is possible to press the A button to interrupt and perform a Down Smash Attack, which allows you to slide while using the Down Smash Attack if a dash is used first. This is still considered Hyphen Smashing as the character will slide for a short distance if charged. Down Smash Attacks are also useful approach tactics when used in this manner because they tend to sweep the ground. Unlike using the Up Smash Attack though, the Down Smash Attack will not cause all of the characters to slide, as some Down Smash Attacks negate momentum like Link's. This technique is not available in Super Smash Bros. and Brawl because it is not possible to cancel the dash with a crouch in these games.
While it is not possible to slide with the Down Smash Attack (except in Melee) and the Side Smash Attack while dashing, some characters can slide while using their Down and Side Smash Attacks by doing them while walking at their top speed, Ice Climbers for example.
Using Special Attacks
You can exit a dash using any special move, which is very useful for approach. Projectile-based attacks like the Fireball can be very useful when done while dashing. Many Special Attacks also have high hitstun, which allows follow-up into other attacks.
In Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS/Wii U: Perfect Pivoting
In Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS/Wii U, it's possible to do a Perfect Pivot by dash-canceling with Dash itself. This is done by flicking the analog stick in one direction and then immediately tilting it to the other direction, causing the character to do a small slide. This allows the player to slide while facing the same direction and input other commands such as Grabs, Tilts, Back Air Attacks and even Smash Attacks and Special Attacks.
The distance covered by a character's Perfect Pivot is directly affected by their initial dash. The longer the initial dash, the longer the Perfect Pivot. The longest Perfect Pivot is Captain Falcon's, while the shortest is Jigglypuff's.
Perfect Pivoting's length ranking: [*]
- 1st: Captain Falcon - 6.0 squares
- 2nd: Luigi and Little Mac - 5.5 squares
- 3rd: Meta Knight, Fox, Greninja, Sonic - 5.0 squares
- 4th: Sheik, Duck Hunt, Pikachu, Dark Pit, Lucina - 4.5 squares
- 5th: Mario, Yoshi, Diddy Kong, Zero Suit Samus, Pit, Shulk* - 4.0 squares
- 6th: Donkey Kong, Zelda, Toon Link, Samus, Rosalina, Marth, Kirby, King Dedede, Falco, R.O.B., Wii Fit Trainer - 3.5 squares
- 7th: Peach, Bowser, Bowser Jr., Mr. Game & Watch, Ike, Charizard, Lucario, Ness, Olimar, Dr. Mario, Pac-Man, Mega Man - 3.0 squares
- 8th: Rosalina, Wario, Link, Ganondorf, Robin, Villager - 2.5 squares
- 9th: Jigglypuff - 2.0 squares
[*] Measure done in the Omega Version of Windy Hill Zone, using its small squares on the ground as measurement.
*If Shulk used his Speed and Shield Monado Arts, he, respectively, would have the highest perfect pivot and would be tied for lowest perfect pivot with Jigglypuff. His Speed Art would let him travel 7.0 squares, while his Shield Art would let him travel 2.0 squares.