The DoJoe – Aerial Neutral Concepts Through the Lens of Puff

Joe “JustJoe” Dattalo

The air is a common place to be in melee. Ground, platforms and the air are where all mixups in neutral can happen.

Neutral is likely the most deep layer of melee which means there’s a lot to be said about mixups in the air. Most characters actually share a lot of characteristics in the air, namely a big priority bair, a sex kick (lasting hitbox like fox nair), the ability to turn around mid air and finally drift and fast fall mixups. We’ll have a brief look at how these characteristics appear in Jigglypuff, but mainly the turn around, drift, and fast fall mixups.

Big priority Bair – This one’s obvious. A notable mixup is the ability to turn around to mix this up with a sex kick.

Sex Kick – Puff has nair and fair. Nair lasts longer and hits lower which specifically has strengths regarding fast fall because it hits low. Fair has strengths largely with drift because it lasts fewer frames so puff can use lasting hit boxes in different zones back to back. It also has the turn around mixup with bair.

Turning Around – Puff can jump and angle towards a direction and turn around to face that way. This works for all of her aerial jumps. This really lets her mix up back air and forward air to a strong level. Bair lets her really mixup range when used in conjunction with forward air, and is a strong poke (by Jigglypuff’s standards) and her forward air lets her control space and cut off options while maintaining an aggressive opportunity with these same ideas.

Drift – In my opinion, nobody really thinks about drift. We know how high characters jump, how fast they run, but not the extent of their drift. Puff can drift deep one direction and can drift pretty damn far back the other direction before landing. This, tied with the turn around mixups (mainly bair and fair), actually creates a lot of layers to what Puff is doing up in the air. Include the fact that she can mix both of these things up again for every jump she uses. A pretty common example is jigglypuff attacking high with fair, a lasting hitbox, then retreating and turning around to poke approaches that would be strong had she stayed facing forward. 

Fast fall – Drift affects horizontal spacing mostly and vertical spacing slightly due to drift directly being tied with pressing left or right. Fast fall is the opposite, mostly affecting vertical change while still having a say in the horizontal due to fast falling or no fast falling having to do with hitting down or not. The fast fall mixup can very subtly give Puff mixups that will fly under the radar unless you’re mindful of the layers of mixups Puff really has in the air. Also keep in mind that fast fall can be mixed up every jump as well. 

People have this idea that Puff truly just throws out bair and fair. This is definitely somewhat true but there are a lot of mixups in the air that she’s toying with. It’s on her opponent to understand her gameplay and gameplan, otherwise they will just not see a majority of Puff’s mixups and will get outplayed on levels they don’t even see. 

The better a Puff is, the better they mix all this up. Her gameplan is probably the most foreign compared to the whole cast. Taking some time to learn situations with these things in mind is good for learning Puff and learning to play against her.

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