Mastering move-choice based on how damage the opponent has taken is a fundamental element of Super Smash Bros. Melee play. Hitting a more-damaged character results in more stun time and sends them on a higher trajectory, with implications for viable followup options. Here the top player, Armada, reviews two key moments from a competitive match (Mango vs Plup at Smash Summit 4) that hinge on accounting for the opponent’s % taken.
In Smash, hitting a character with an attack increases their accrued damage percentage. A character with higher damage percent will fly further and be stunned longer when hit by attacks. Here, Plup as Shiek throws out a bad attack, a fullhop into forward arial that allows Mango’s Falco to fall and touch ground first. If Falco had more damage %, he would have been hit further and this attack would have been good, but here Plup needed a shorthop f-air to guarantee the followup initiative:
Armada returns to a similar point later: Shieks should decide whether to full- or short-hop neutral arial (n-air) out of shield based on the opponent’s damage percent. Low-perecnt opponents will not fly far on hit and so should be attacked via short-hop, while highly damaged opponents can be struck out of a full hop while still allowing Shiek to get in more hits: