A ledge (also called an edge) is any part of a stage from which one can hang or tether, usually found at the ends of the stage's main platform. Some stages have ledges in the middle of the stage, or none at all. On most neutral stages, however, there are two ledges, one on each end of the stage. The ledge, therefore, becomes an important factor in the battle between an edge-guarder and a recovering opponent.
When a character grabs a ledge, they are invincible for about half a second. There is also a limit within the character's range to grab the edge, called edge sweet spot. On certain stages (namely Norfair), there are passable platforms with ledges. In Super Smash Bros. and Melee, the player couldn't grab the ledge if they were looking in the opposite direction, but this doesn't matter in Brawl.
In Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U, edge mechanics have been through various changes. In order to prevent the infamous edge grabbing tactics and greatly expand edge-game, a new mechanic has been introduced, where a character will be automatically "kicked" out of the edge if another character tries to grab it. This doesn't cause damage, and makes edge-hogging kills no longer possible. Additionally, air time and damage percentage of a specific character now affect how much time he/she will be invincible while holding the ledge. Also, characters no longer have two different types of ledge attacks depending on their percentage. In Stage Builder, it's possible to change wheter or not the ledge can be grabbed, and there is also a range limit for the player to make a ledge that can be grabbed when building next to another platform.
When guarding an edge, the player can perform X possible actions:
- Attacking: If the opponent is recovering parallel to the stage, they can be edge-guarded using a tilt or smash attack. If they are recovering high, they can be guarded using an aerial attack.
- Projectiles: Using a projectile can be a good way to guard an opponent that is trying to recover from farther away since it has more range on it. In doing so the recovering opponent is knocked farther away from the edge. This method can be especially effective on opponents with poor recovery.
- Edge-trump: This method involves jumping off-stage and grabbing the edge. When the opponent nears the edge, releasing the edge and doing a back air or down air will keep them away and maybe even K.O. them.
- Pushboxes/Grabs: When the opponent gets close to the stage, using a pushbox move on the edge or just off the edge will repel the opponent from it and still leave them in a helpless state. Another useful method is grabs. Moves like King DeDeDe and Kirby's Inhale, Robin's Nosferatu, Wario's Chomp, any extended grab like Samus, Link, and Yoshi, and Lucario's Force Palm are all good ways to get kills.
- Meteors/Gimping/Footstools: Meteors will often secure a K.O. when used off-stage. Though they can be used over the edge, it can be more certain the opponent will be killed if used off-stage during their recovery attempt. Other moves like back air and forward air can be used as well; this is known as gimping. However, gimping and meteoring off-stage can be riskier since there is no way of being sure the edge-guarder will make it back to the stage. It is important not to overuse this method of edge-guarding since it poses such a great risk. Footstooling is a safer alternative to these two. Going off stage and tapping up or pressing jump when immediately above the opponent will send them into a tumbling animation for a brief time. They will often have time to recover again once they are out of the tumble, but unless they are Villager or Pit they aren't going to make it back; footstooling also gives the edge-guarding fighter a little boost into the air, meaning they aren't risking being unable to get back to the edge as much as with meteoring and gimping.
When hanging on the ledge, the player can perform 5 possible actions:
- Climbing: the character will get up by the ledge.
- Attacking: the character will do a "ledge-attack", which consists of a unique animation of the character quickly hopping back on the platform with an attack.
- Rolling: the character will roll forward and gain invincibility frames.
- Jumping: the character will do a normal jump and still be able to do multiple jumps. This is not possible in the original Smash Bros.
- Dropping: the character will fall down and still be able to do multiple jumps.
In all Smash Bros. games up to Smash Wii U/3DS, all characters have two types speed when recovering from a ledge. When a character's damage percentage is below 100%, he/she is considered "fresh", able to get up quickly. However, when the character is at 100% and above, he/she can be considered "tired", and climbs slower. This affects all actions save for dropping.