Out-of-shield (abbreviated as OoS) options are any moves or other actions that can be performed while a character is shielding. These moves are usually used in response to shield pressure from an opponent. Since only some actions can be performed out-of-shield, the player who is shielding has fewer options both for fighting back and for movement. A character's set of out-of-shield options consists both of "built-in" moves from shield such as grabs and rolls, as well as many other moves like wavedashes, aerials, and up smashes. Moves that have high ending lag or very little range are easiest to punish by performing a move OoS.
Of all of the options that a player has while shielding, the most important option is jumping. Players can cancel the startup of the jump with either an up smash or an up special. Any aerial can be performed immediately after jumping, or the player can wavedash or simply jump away. While all up smashes and up specials are technically out-of-shield options, as they can be used while shielding, not many of them are effective. For example, Falco's Fire Bird can be used directly from shield, but is essentially useless due to its lack of hitbox while charging. The same goes for many characters' rolls or grabs, especially if they suffer from long lag. The quicker a move and the better its range, the better the move is OoS.
Starting in Melee, characters who can jump out-of-shield can also jump during their guard-off animation, providing all the same options as jumping OoS.
Differences between games
Between the different games in the Smash Bros. series, the amount of shieldstun has varied. As shieldstun disables a player's ability to use any of their out-of-shield options, the more shieldstun a game has, the more difficult it becomes to get out-of-shield. It is easiest to OoS in Brawl both because the amount of shieldstun is lower than in the other games, and because it takes only 7 frames for a player to drop a shield, making it viable for a player to drop their shield and then use any move. Conversely, it is the hardest to use OoS techniques in Smash 64 because of its high shieldstun.
Examples of OoS moves
- All grabs are effective OoS moves (known as shield grabbing). Some characters like King Dedede and Marth have fast grabs with great grab reach, allowing them to punish most attacks with a shield grab, while some like Ganondorf have very poor grabbing reach and will have to be very close to the opponent in order to punish with a shield grab. Tether grabs have even better reach than other grabs, but are much slower. As such, they tend to be more effective at shield grabbing after being hit by a slow but strong attack that cause non-tether grabbers to slide too far away to shield grab, but are less effective shield grabbing weaker but faster moves, where they may be too slow to grab in time.
- Jumping (not possible for Yoshi in Melee and Brawl).
- Many characters have many aerial moves that are quick, and thus can be used as a response out-of-shield.
- Wavedashing can be used from a jump in Melee, to either retreat or advance. A Wavedash straight down can also be used, since it's faster than dropping the shield for some characters.
- Shines can be used OoS by jumping and using them immediately after leaving the ground. The shine cancels the momentum from the jump and the character returns to the ground, able to jump out of the shine. This technique is nearly identical to multishining.
- Any up special move can be used from shield by jump canceling except for Yoshi's. Some are more effective than others, though.
- Bowser's Whirling Fortress, which is very fast with adequate horizontally reach while striking powerfully. It also allows Bowser to move pretty far across the ground in either direction, allowing Bowser to escape pressure easily.
- Donkey Kong's Spinning Kong, which works similarly to Bowser's, except much slower, much weaker, and while Donkey Kong can move just as far as Bowser's forward, he barely moves if he tries going backwards.
- Link's Spin Attack, which is decently fast with great horizontal reach that strikes equally on both sides. It's very powerful in Melee, but lacks KO power in Brawl when uncharged.
- Mario's Super Jump Punch, which with a start-up of three frames, is the fastest possible attack out-of-shield any character possesses. It deals low damage and knockback however, with low horizontal reach, limiting its effectiveness.
- Dr. Mario's Super Jump Punch is strong at the start which provides an offensive option, especially when a move is perfect shielded.
- Marth's Dolphin Slash, which has a very fast five frame start-up, with great horizontal reach, and striking powerfully (moreso in Brawl). In Brawl, it also has intangibility during its start-up, which can allow Marth to use it while opponents are attacking his shield with multi-hitting moves. While extremely effective and capable of punishing nearly any move out-of-shield, it carries great risk, as it leaves Marth helpless in the air while causing him to sustain heavy lag when he lands.
- Meta Knight's Shuttle Loop, which works similarly to Marth's Dolphin Slash, except it hits vertically when initiated on the ground and has less horizontal reach. However, since Meta Knight can glide away at the end of Shuttle Loop, it carries none of the risk Dolphin Slash does.
- Any jump-canceled up smash can be used from shield except for Yoshi's. Many are not usually useful, as they're either too slow or have too short of horizontal reach to hit an attacking opponent out-of-shield. Some though can be especially effective.
- Zelda's Farore's Wind is a very powerful, as well as deadly OoS option, the first hit combos into the second, this combo is often called "the elevator". However, it's very risky to use carelessly as if she misses, she will be left open to punishes.
- Charizard's, which is decently fast with large hitboxes that reach decently far horizontally, while also being quite powerful. It also strikes on both sides, but there is a delay to the second hit that strikes behind, which is usually too long for it to effectively hit an opponent attacking from behind.
- Fox's, which has a combination of fast start-up, decent horizontal reach, and fearsome power. It can't effectively punish those attacking from behind however, as it doesn't reach behind until the end of the move, and it has less horizontal reach striking behind while striking much weaker.
- Olimar's, while its horizontal reach is poor, strikes equally on both sides, and is very fast while being very powerful (especially if done with a Purple Pikmin), enough so that it can be even deadlier than Fox's.
- Marth's in Brawl, as it is decently fast and has moderately sized vacuum hitboxes on the sides that suck opponents into the main attack, dealing very high damage to those who attack Marth's shield a bit too close.
- Wolf's, which with its decent start-up and horizontal reach that strikes equally on both sides, combined with Wolf's high traction, is perhaps the most landable up smash out-of-shield. It allows Wolf to punish a variety of moves from various positions with it.
- While this is not generally used as a punish, Lucario's Aura Sphere charging hitbox can be canceled with shield, allowing it to perform a jump-canceled up smash as a kill confirm while its opponent remains in hitstun. The effectiveness of this technique scales with aura; due to the fact that the charging hitbox's size increases with aura, it becomes considerably more difficult to escape from at higher percents. Note that up smash can be substituted for Lucario's additional kill options, such as back air.
- Some trickier characters have the same freedom while shielding.
- Duck Hunt's special moves, when deployed, can be used while shielding, and this provides an attack option while defending.
- Rolling (which also allows glide tossing).
- Sidestepping, while not especially effective at moving the player away from danger or countering with a hit, can be used out-of-shield.
- Quick shield-dropped moves (almost exclusively in Brawl) like many jabs and tilts.
- Dashing after dropping shield (usually called shield dashing).
- Power shield canceling.
- Shield platform dropping while on a platform.