Star KO (abbreviated as Star-Knockout and Star Finish) is a type of KO that occurs when a character is knocked beyond the upper blast line (save for a few exceptions, see below), they fly through the background, yell/scream/etc, and eventually disappear as a star. There is also a random chance of a Screen KO instead, where the opponent hits the camera.
Star KO's are the longest type of KO, so they usually protect their perpetrator more from the victim's revenge. Their duration varies from game to game, but it is around 2 seconds.
In Super Smash Bros., members of a team (such as the Fighting Polygon Team) do get Star KO'd. In Melee, members of a computer team (such as the Fighting Wire Frames) don't experience Star KOs, instead undergoing the usual colorful explosion (However, in Event Match 37, they can get Star KO'd). Also, in the beginning of the second trailer for Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Kirby uses his up smash to knock Mario and Link off the top of the screen, but the usual colored explosion occurs, instead of a Star KO. The Star KO is still in this game. As mentioned above, sometimes a Screen KO will happen instead. According to Sakurai, Star KOs return in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS/Wii U, but getting them is somewhat harder as sometimes characters explode instead, and they will not occur when the time limit is almost reached, due to their lengthy animation. The animation for the Star KO has become slightly different in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Characters will do their tumbling animation facing the screen, although some, like Little Mac, appear to still tumble facing left. In addition, they become much smaller as they're falling right before disappearing as a star.
Stages where Star KO's cannot occur
- Luigi's Mansion - Star KO's can happen in Super Smash Bros. Brawl and in Super Smash Bros. 4's and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate's versions's Omega and Battlefield forms. The reason for banning them in the normal version from Super Smash Bros. 4 and onward is due to the mansion.
- Mushroomy Kingdom - Only in the normal form.
- Skyloft - Early versions featured Star KO's.
- Wrecking Crew - Only in the normal form. The reason for banning Star KO's may be due to the background.
- Jungle Hijinxs - Only in the normal form.
- Gamer - This is due to the background.
- Dream Land - Background.
- Mario Circuit - Background may be obscured sometimes.
- Duck Hunt - Only in the Wii U version of Super Smash Bros. 4. The 3DS version has Star KO's.
- Pac-Land - It is not known why Star KO's cannot happen, since the background is more open. However, this may be due to the forest.
- The Great Cave Offensive - Victims may be obscured.
- Battleship Halberd
- Wuhu Island - Only in the normal form.
- Delfino Plaza - Only in the normal form.
- Super Mario Maker - Star KO's can happen in the 3DS version of Super Smash Bros. 4.
- Miiverse - Messages in the background.
- Green Hill Zone
- WarioWare, Incorporated - Elevator doors. (This also explains why summons that go into the background cannot come in.)
- Umbra Clock Tower - The Angles may obstruct the victims.
- Flat Zone X - Only in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
- Hanenbow - Only in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
- Gerudo Valley - Only in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
- Boxing Ring - The Jumbotron may obscure the victims.
- Balloon Fight - Only in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
- Dracula's Castle - The victim falls behind the background castle wall.
- Moray Towers - The stage platforms could block the victims from view. This only applies to the normal form.
- New Donk City Hall - The victim would go behind the New Donk City Hall itself (and possibly shatter a window).
- Pictochat 2 - The background is too close to the stage.
- Garreg Mach Monastery - The victim would be blocked from view by the background objects. Plus, flying out through the cathedral window would be illegal in real life. Strangely, Star KO's can happen in the standard form if the fight is on the bridge section, in the reception hall (Though they would logically banned there.), and in the transition phases.
- Star KO: Star KO an opponent.
- Solar Being: Get star KO'd.
- Comet Mystic: Get Star KO'd with an opponent.
- The Star KO could be a reference to the Pokémon anime series, as when Team Rocket gets defeated, they tend to (but not always) get sent flying and shout "We're blasting off again!" before vanishing into a star.
- Star KO's have appeared in other media, their process being similar to in the Pokémon series.
- Any conditions on the character are seen in the Star KO, such as if a character is KO'd while frozen, or has a Smash Ball when they are KO'd. In Flat Zone 2 and Hanenbow, conditions are not aligned with the character (i.e. the frozen block and character fly off separately).
- Giant/tiny characters who are Star KO'd remain giant/tiny while falling on the background (Their "falling voice" remains deep/tiny as well). On the other hand, Star KO'd metal characters appear in normal conditions on the background (inc. voice). The only exceptions are the Metal opponents in Melee's 1 Player modes. In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, when giant/tiny characters gets Star KO'd, they will return to normal size.
- If Kirby has copied another fighter's abilities and gets Star KO'd, he will appear as a normal Kirby while disappearing into the background.
- While it is generally impossible to self-destruct as a Star KO, there are a few ways: one can stand on a platform above the upper blast line or get launched upwards by Pikachu's Quick Attack in the highest platform of Hyrule Castle (only in Super Smash Bros.), Wario's fully charged Wario Waft, Snake's C4, Jigglypuff's Shield Jump, or two timed Sonic using the Homing Attack.
- Strangely, being carried off the upper blast line with Fox, Falco, or Wolf's Landmaster will result in a Star KO, even though you do not suffer damage or knockback from being carried into them. Because of this, though, the fighter's Landmaster will not get the KO; it will count as a self-destruct or go to whoever damaged the KO'd character last.
- If King Dedede is Star KO'd while using his Down Air Attack, the respective sound will remain until he disappears.
- Star KOs were not seen in the trailers in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS/Wii U, because the game was still in development.
- However, they appeared in the E3 2014 gameplay, although it was sometimes shown, and other times they were KO'd upwards with Blast KOs.
- Ultimate marks the first time a character actually says something during a Star KO other than screaming. When Star KO'd, Pit will yell out "I never learned how to reaaaaad!" instead of yelling. He is the only fighter that does this. (Not even his Echo Fighter, Dark Pit, does this. He just grunts as he did in his Super Smash Bros. debut.)
- Byleth also says something if (s)he dies in a Star KO. Their line has them shout "My battle ends here!", a reference to if (s)he dies during the events of Fire Emblem: Three Houses.