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A lock is a technique in Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS/Wii U 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 (such as Sheik's forward tilt, Zelda's down tilt, and Snake's forward tilt).

Causes

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.

Starting a Lock

Starting a lock is often the toughest part, as most, if not all, skilled players will tech prior to 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 the tech mechanics. Footstooling an airborne opponent at the right height will prevent them from being able to tech, though the upwards momentum can make it impossible for the footstooler 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 (such as Meteor Smashes or some Sex Kicks), then follow up with a jab lock or repeatable move.

Types of Locks

Jab Lock

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. The problem is, two things can go wrong here: if you attack too soon after each bounce, use a move without lock properties, or using all the lock hits, the character will snap to a standing position.

Characters who can perform a jab lock in Super Smash Bros. Brawl:

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. Other attacks will only work at low percents, so they are very rarely used in this manner.

  • Bowser - Neutral Air and Back Air (sourspot)
  • Captain Falcon - Forward Tilt, Forward Air (sourspot), Back Air, and Up Air
  • Charizard - Forward Tilt, Neutral Air, and Back Air (sourspot)
  • Diddy Kong - Forward Tilt, Forward Air, Back Air, Peanut Popgun, and Monkey Flip (attack)
  • Donkey Kong - Forward Tilt, Down Tilt, Neutral Air, and Back Air
  • Falco - Forward Tilt, Forward Air, Back Air (sourspot), Down Air (sourspot), Forward Smash (sourspot), and Reflector
  • Fox - Forward Tilt, Neutral Air, and Forward Smash
  • Ganondorf - Neutral Air (2nd hit), and Up Air (sour spot)
  • Ice Climbers - Neutral Air, Back Air, and Ice Shot (can lock indefinitely if properly desynched)
  • Jigglypuff - Dash Attack, Forward Tilt, Neutral Air, Forward Air (sourspot), Back Air, Forward Smash, and Down Smash
  • King Dedede - Down Tilt, Forward Air, Back Air, and Jet Hammer (uncharged)
  • Kirby - Neutral Air, Back Air, Forward Tilt, and Down Tilt
  • Link - Forward Tilt, Neutral Air, Forward Air, and Hero's Bow
  • Lucario - Forward tilt (Only a very specific hitbox), Neutral Air, Back Air, and Forward Smash
  • Lucas - Down Tilt, Forward Air, and Back Air
  • Luigi - Dash Attack, Forward Tilt, Forward Air, Back Air, Down Air, and Fireball
  • Mario - Forward Tilt, Neutral Air, Forward Air (sourspot), Back Air, and Fireball
  • Marth - Forward Tilt (Only a very specific hitbox)
  • Meta Knight - Forward Tilt (1st hit), Down Tilt, and Neutral Air
  • Mr. Game and Watch - Forward Air (sourspot)
  • Ness - Dash Attack (1st hit), Forward Tilt, Down Tilt (Against a wall), Neutral Air, Forward Air, and Back Air
  • Olimar - Forward Tilt, Forward Air
  • Peach - Neutral and Back Air
  • Pikachu - Down Tilt, Forward Tilt, Neutral Air (sourspot), Down Air, Thunder Jolt (not when it comes out), and Quick Attack (can be repeated with Quick Attack Cancel)
  • Pit - Forward Tilt, Forward Air, Back Air (sourspot), and Down Smash
  • R.O.B. - Forward Tilt, Down Tilt, and Forward Air
  • Samus Forward Tilt, Neutral Air, and Forward Smash
  • Sheik - Neutral and Back Air
  • Snake - Back Air (sourspot)
  • Sonic - Forward Tilt (2nd hit), Neutral Air, Back Air, and Spring Jump
  • Squirtle - Forward Tilt, Neutral Air, and Back Air
  • Toon Link - Dash Attack, Forward Tilt, Down Tilt, Neutral Air, Forward Air, and Hero's Bow
  • Wario - Neutral Air (sourspot), Forward Air, and Back Air
  • Wolf - Down Tilt, Neutral Air, Back Air, and Forward Smash (1st hit, only a very specific hitbox)
  • Yoshi - Dash Attack, Neutral Air, Forward Air (sourspot), and Forward Smash
  • Zelda - Forward and Back Air (both sourspot)
  • Zero Suit Samus - Dash Attack, Forward Tilt, Forward Air (1st hit), Down Air (1st hit), Forward Smash (only certain hitboxes), and Paralyzer

In Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, jab lock can be done up to 2 or 3 times (depending on the character); after that the character will go into his/her ground stun animation and be able to act out. Not all characters can perform jab locking, however some can also initiate combos through aerial attacks that function like locking, resulting in true combos as well. Attacks that have Meteor properties can also ground-bounce opponents into locks, however only at low percentages.

Some characters can become easy targets of jab locking if they receive small knockback and slide from a fall-through platform (such as the ones in Battlefield); in this case, those specific characters will not be able to tech or dodge when falling, and can be locked. All characters have moves that can make opponents slide from platforms, except for Robin.

Characters that CANNOT be locked through sliding are: Luigi, Peach, Yoshi, Rosalina, Mr. Game & Watch, Toon Link, Samus, Kirby, Duck Hunt, Ness, Villager, Olimar, Pac-Man. All other characters can be locked through sliding, and will be unable to jump out of the slide or tech when they hit the ground.

Characters who can perform a jab lock in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS/Wii U:

Laser Lock

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, making the effectiveness of the laser lock be limited 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-down or face-up. Kirby using Falco's lasers will shoot them lower, allowing him to lock more characters than Falco can.

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