A lock is a technique in Brawl where one character can repeatedly use a move or sequence of moves to place another character in an infinite after a missed tech. The term is also used for the repeated usage of a single move that traps a character.(ex. Sheik's forward tilt, Zelda's down tilt, and Snake's forward tilt
A lock is caused due to certain moves causing a character to bounce when they are on the ground after a missed tech, preventing them from using one of their wake up options long enough for the other player to hit them again with another move that can cause a lock. Also, after a character has bounced, they cannot use any wakeup options other than the standard get up, leaving them completely vulnerable to attack.
Types of locks
The most common type of lock is the Jab lock, which can be performed by multiple characters. As the name states, it is done by hitting a fallen character with a jab, stepping forward, and hitting them again. The locked player can be moved to the end of the stage, where the active player generally hits them with a charged smash attack as they stand up. Generally it is done with only the first hit of the jab, but some characters can do it with the second hit as well. If you attack too soon after each bounce, or use a move without lock properties, the character will snap to a standing position
Characters who can perform a jab lock:
- Donkey Kong
- Jigglypuff (both first and second hits of jab)
- King Dedede
- Marth (Only a very specific part of the hitbox)
- Meta Knight (against a wall)
- Squirtle (both the first and second hits can lock)
Other moves besides jabs can cause a character to bounce in the same way. Some of them are fast enough to be repeated like the jab locks, while others can only cause a single bounce, allowing for a charged smash attack as the character stands up. Some moves will move a character across the stage faster than others, causing smaller damage buildup.
- Meta Knight - Down Tilt
- R.O.B. - Down Tilt(against a wall)
- Squirtle - Forward Tilt
- Fox - Neutral Air
- Mario - Neutral Air
- Wolf - Neutral Air
- Peach - Back air and neutral air
- Zero Suit Samus - Dash attack and forward tilt
- Ness - Down tilt(Against a wall)
- Lucas - Down Tilt
- Mario - Fireball
- Diddy Kong - Peanut Popgun
- Jigglypuff - Neutral or Forward air
- Pikachu - Quick Attack(can be repeated with Quick Attack Cancel)
The most used lock is Falco's laser lock, which, unlike other locks, has enough range to hit and lock characters on level ground with Falco regardless of distance(assuming tournament legal maps. Larger maps like bridge of Eldin can cause a character to move far enough away that Falco's lasers cannot reach them.) Also unlike other locks, Falco cannot always follow up with a kill move because of distance, reducing the effectiveness of the laser lock to damage building only.
Not all characters can be laser locked, due to the height of their character model while lying down. For other characters, it is dependent on which way they fall - the height of the hitbox can change if they fall on their face or on their back.
Kirby using Falco's lasers will shoot them lower, allowing him to lock more characters than Falco can.
Starting a Lock
Starting a lock is often the hardest part, as most skilled players will tech before hitting the ground. Surprise attacks or other means of causing a character to fall to the ground can work, as well as taking advantage of Brawl's tech mechanics. Footstooling an airborne opponent at the right height will prevent them from being able to tech, though the upwards momentum can cause the footstooler to be unable to follow up with a lock depending on their character. For some characters, it is possible to fast fall an aerial with lock properties to cause a single bounce, then follow up with a jab lock or repeatable move.