The Warrior Behind the Mask - A Guide to Meta Knight
The mysterious swordsman known as Meta Knight, who is he? Even in his first in appearance in the NES game Kirby's Adventure and many other times, Meta Knight would challenge Kirby to a duel of swords. Meta Knight might appear fairly ominous and perhaps even evil because of these challenges, but this is not the case. Each and every time he handed Kirby a sword of his own to use, which is proof enough he is not a villain, but an honorable warrior. It seems more as if during Kirby's encounters with Meta Knight, Kirby's will, courage, and skill are being tested, rather than our mysterious swordsman trying to stop Kirby. Rather than being evil, he is more like a guardian of Dream Land persay, where Kirby and Meta Knight come from.
Now that you've learned a bit about this sword-wielding master, it's time to learn about his qualities and abilities.
I: Meta Knight's qualities
Meta Knight is one of the most overused characters in Brawl, and for good reason. He can be an absolute master when used in an efficient way. He's small, but he packs more of a punch than you'd think
- Using his cape and turning it into mysterious bat-like wings, Meta Knight has 5 mid-air jumps. Use them to your advantage, hether you're chasing a foe off the stage, guarding the ledge, or trying to recovery, these multiple jumps won't let you down.
- While his attacks are generally weak, he is blindingly fast. Rumor says his sword is swung so fast, it breaks the sound barrier. I wouldn't doubt it. He has barely any start up lag for his attacks, and even then his cool down lag is amazingly small. Even then, attacks like the shuttle loop and D-smash have quite a bit of power when considering their awe-inspiring speed.
- Meta Knight is one of the few characters with a near-perfectly safe approach, his Dash attack. It has alot of speed when launched, sending him behind his opponent. If they attempt to shield grab you, they'l fail. If they try to attack you, Meta Knight almost always outspeeds, or atleast ties with their attack, preventing any harm to Meta Knight. Better yet he has tons of combos to work from with this attack.
- Meta Knight's prioritzed attacks are very hard to beat, and most of the time, you'll deflect the opponent's counter-attack and continue to slice them apart, especially with his Neutral B and Side B (Tornado and Drill Rush, respectively).
- While Meta Knight is mostly known as an offensive character, he has the evasive manuevers to agitate a projectile using opponent into an approach, and especially play the waiting game with projectile-less enemies, or ones without long-range weapons(Link, barring his bow, which is still easy to dodge). Meta Knight can certainly pull off a defensive role. And considering his fast attacks, he will put the hurt on any approach when used right.
- Meta Knight's specials are unparraleled. They have priority, good power, great range(either horizontal or vertical), and are very easy to manipulate for your own gain. The can be offensive, spacers, combo starters and finishers, interupters, and even recovery(besides up-B even!). Master his specials and you master Meta Knight.
- In my eyes, Meta Knight only has three less-useful attack options. His F-smash, his Neutral A, and his U-tilt. They are very situational, but even then they still work. All of his other attacks vary from effective, to mind numbingly awesome.
- Using his multiple jumps, Meta Knight can glide across the stage for the ultimate horizontal recovery. And for stages that float in the air, he can fly in a swerved pattern to go under the stage and make it back to the other side! His Shuttle Loop also ends in one final glide, making him truly a master of recovery.
As you can see, Meta Knight has many things in his arsenal to induce major pain apon the enemy with. While he does have some cons, they are easily outnumbered by his Pros.
- Meta Knight is rather light, and is KOd off the side of the stage, or even the odd star KO, very easily. If you can't master his fast attack speed and defensive manuevers, this can be his downfall.
- Meta Knight lacks raw KO power, with the exception of the foe being at the edge of the stage. However, this isn't a terrible Con, as he racks up damage quickly and is the master at gimping his foes, having no need for absolute power most of the time.
- He moves horizontally through the air very slowly. But with his low-powered aerials, this isn't a problem when it comes to doing combos. And with his glides, he doesn't really care about this hindering his recovery. It's a very small con indeed.
3 Cons is all he has, and even then they aren't very serious. This is why he is so deadly and amazing in battle. Now, we need to get to know his super-speed offensives.
II: Meta Knight's moves, let me show you them
As aforementioned, Meta Knight's useful moves are endless in supply, with only three moves that can still function at times! I'll be listing every single attack and how it functions.
Neutral A: Meta Knight's jab move. This is unique, as there's no single hit, no 2-3 combo. It's an endless jab attack similar to Captain Falcon's or Fox's neutral A, but without needing to set up. It does very little damage and knockback. However, it scores multiple hits, and can fend off an enemy, especially one who needs to get in extremely close. This attacks hits in a good radius all around Meta Knight and is launched quite fast, and even hits enemies slightly behind him!
F-Tilt: This is one of his best attacks. Meta Knight unleashes a slash each time you press A, up to 3. The first two slashes have practically no knock back, which means all 3 slashes will hit if they're in range. It does good damage for a tilt as well, and has amazing speed. The final slash sends them directly upward, making them prime for a follow-up hit. Great for starting combos, and intercepting foes.
U-Tilt: This attack is situational, and almost always fails in comparison to Meta Knight's U-Smash. Meta Knight draws his sword upwards above his head in a stabbing motion. It's not as fast as his other attacks, but has a bit more damage than usual. You must remember, after a dash attack, it can be used to combo in two U-tilt hits. From there on an aerial pursuit can take place for massive damage and combo potential.
D-Tilt: This attack is great for getting in a few quick hits, as well as spacing and stopping an opponent's approach. Meta Knight crouches low and stabs low to the ground, which can sometimes make enemies trip. Use this attack to fend off certain approaches, or if you want an attack that is quick, but can be used in sucsession faster than a D-smash. If Meta Knight repeats the attack, he will move forward very slightly, allowing him to get in one or two more potential hits.
Dash attack: Meta Knight leaps forwards while staying low to the ground, extending out a leg for a kick. This might be the best approach in the games! It does good damage, and launches the foe directly upwards, which can lead into many, many combos. Meta Knight is also propelled far enough behind the foe so that shield grabbing is not an option.
F-Smash: This attack isn't all that good, prediction is absolutely necesarry to make good use of it. Meta Knight draws his sword to his side for just a short moment, and with a grunt, he slashes forward with much force. This attack does very good damage compared to his others, and has great knock back. The only problem is, the big start up lag. The cool down lag isn't nearly as bad, but connecting with it is the problem, not being left open. It's his best KO move, but it's very difficult to pull off. Use is sparringly, if you do manage to get in a hit, you want it to be fresh.
U-Smash: Meta Knight slices rapidly above his head 3 times, the third slash having the knockback desired(similar to the U-tilt, but upwards and all at once). It has moderate damage, but blazing fast launch time and almost no cool down lag. This is not a good KO move, but is a great launcher to keep your foe on their toes. It's great at intercepting an aerial assault if they're coming down fast, just be careful when using it.
D-Smash: This attack is wonderful, and by far his best smash, and even one of his best attacks. Meta Knight slashes infront of him and instantaneously behind him in the blink of an eye. It has no start up lag, I can assure you that. It also does good damage, and great horizontal knock back, which often leads to a gimp. Use it at the edge of the stage for a clean KO, but don't spam it! It's not going to KO unless it's fresh. A small note, the second slash behind Meta Knight, is ironically more powerful. This makes getting behind Meta Knight a daunting prospect.
Meta Knight's Specials:
Neutral B-Tornado: This attack is very hard to stop, and is controlable in all ways. Meta Knight begins spinning around ferociously, creating a vortex that sucks in and slashes anyone nearby. This attack is nearly impossible to parry, none the less break through. Keep tapping the B button slowly to keep the Tornado spinning for awhile, tap B fast to make him rise upwards while doing so(recommended for most possible hits). If you catch your opponent inside during the beginning, you can do around 19% damage! This attack also launches quickly, can be used for horizontaly recovery, and is just plain useful. There's only one weakness - any attack from directly above will hit Meta Knight helplessly! One thing you need to keep in mind - if your enemy is shielding Tornado, get away quickly! During the move you can move quite fast, so take advantage of it to retreat before they pummel the small amount lag at the end!
Side B-Drill Rush: An attack even harder to stop than Neutral B, it's extremely useful. Meta Knight points his sword forwards and spins ahead, slicing anyone in his way. The final hit has somewhat useful knockback. Moderate damage, slow approach speed. Very little start up and cool down lag. This attack can be moved up and down, or even in a half circle using the control stick! You can even go up and down repeatedly for some mind games. It does respectable damage too, just don't use it when you're right next to someone, or else you'll miss! It can double as recovery, but be careful. If you don't hit the enemy, they might have the chance to KO you. Also note, if you're touching the ground at the end of the move, you won't flip backwards into the air and be left helpless, you'll land with very minimal lag and will have the chance to score some more hits! I only recommend this attack if you can end up on the ground directly during the ending of the move.
Up B-Shuttle Loop: This attack is absolutely amazing, very original as well. Meta Knight quickly spreads his wings and lunges upwards, slicing anyone in his path. The sweet spot is down about half way through the hit box, and has great knockback that launches upwards, and good damage. The second hitbox has poor knockback and average damage, but can be followed up by a glide attack(A during glide). Speaking of that, once the attack ends Meta Knight goes into a controlable glide! Be careful though, once the glide ends, he goes into a fall special, and is helpless! Also note, when used in mid air, the knockback is horizontal, making it a devastating side KO move! One final note: before you land during any glide, press A to attack and land without any lag! You must remember this trick, or you'll be left wide open!
Down B-Dimensional Cape: This is one odd, yet badass attack. Difficult to master, but the payoff is huge. Meta Knight exclaims "Fool!" and relinquishes his cape around him, vanishing into thin air, and reappearing wherever the player chooses. He can move in any angle within a specific area, which differs depending on how long and where you move the control stick. He can also reappear with a moderatly powerful slash attack. This attack has very few invincible frames, so be careful. To attack where you appear, simply hold down B. To just reappear without an attack, release B. This attack is hard to control, but can be used for recovery, suprise attacks, or even escaping the enemy when timed ahead. There is also a glitch which is difficult to perform, but gives Meta Knight an infinite vanishing time. I look down apon this stalling trick, so youtube it, my friends.
Pummel: Meta Knight brandishes his bat wing to clug the foe on the head, which can't be used rapidly. However, it gives a solid 3% damage each hit.
F-Throw: Meta Knight jumps upwards, delivering a kick while doing a backflip through the air, sending the opponent diagonally forward.
U-Throw: Comparable to Kirby's. Meta Knight spreads his bat wings and lunges upwards while gripping the opponent, coming crashing downwards to slam the foe into the ground with a small explosion, pushing the foe diagonally forward, and Meta Knight slightly backwards.
B-Throw: Meta Knight disappears and instantly forms behind his foe, delivering a quick slash to them, sending them flying.
D-Throw: Meta Knight quickly pulls his foe to the ground, and delivers a flurry of kicks, ending with a powerful stomp to send them into a rainbowing arch forward. Great for starting combos.
That's all of Meta Knight's moves. And with only 3 somewhat average ones, he has a lot of options to choose from, as well as some solid throws.
Now I need to teach you how to use Meta Knight effectively. Basically, I'll tell you how Meta Knight functions in battle, both offensively and defensively.
How to break the sound barrier
Considering Meta Knight moves slothfully through the air, he should always use his amazing ground speed to move around. He should never fly through the air as an approach, his glide is not a good approach as the single cancel-slash is predictable, and his only option from there. Stick to the ground, and once your opponent gets launched, get into the air with them! Alot of the time people expect the flawless Dash attack entry, which means they'l stay shielded. Occasionaly, mix a grab into the offensives. D-throws with a pummel or two get good damage, and get the opponent that much closer to the stage's edge. Remember, once the enemy is off the stage, they're at a humongous disadvantage against Meta Knight. R.O.B, Kirby, and other ultimate recovery characters can be gimped by Meta Knight if done correctly, so noone is perfetly safe from his edge guarding prowess.
Speaking of edge guarding, this is a must for Meta Knight. If you're a player who doesn't Brawl competitively and will not edge guard, stay away from Meta Knight. Not edge guarding with Meta Knight is like not using Falco's blaster!
Be wary of shielding if you attack with an aerial, they may catch you in a grab if you're close by, or worse, counter attack. Meta Knight is most at danger of a shield-to-counter attack when he uses his B-air and N-air, since B-air lasts too long, and N-air also lasts awhile, with some unfavorable landing lag. Don't forget Tornado and Drill Rush can leave you in a bad position as well if you misuse them!
Meta Knight's offensive game:
Stop spamming F-smash, and get into the speed game Meta Knight plays so masterfully! Don't use Meta Knight's lag attacks very often, only once in awhile. Things to keep in mind, F-smash is a finisher, and a risky one. Don't use it unless you know it'l KO. Shuttle Loop is in the same boat, where it's a star or side KO. It can be used out of combos and to force the enemy to the side of the stage, however. His quickest attacks such as F-air, his dash attack, and his U and D airs function well at the appropriate time. Meta Knight's grabs shouldn't be used often, as he's left open, and is a bit too slow to work effectively. Still, don't neglect his grabs entirely, just use them sparringly. Just keep throwing in a rain of quick and lagless blows one after another, and eventually you'll score a hit, and it'l lead to a combo.
While Tornado and Drill Rush aren't the best at speedy, offensive attacks, throwing these in randomly can not only suprise the foe, but rack up damage and force them into a position where a follow up attack can be devastating. Throw these in sometimes and you'll reek havoc, and rack up their damage.
For the main part, don't spam with Meta Knight, ever. You can repeat, but try to keep things fresh. He is blindingly fast with all his useful moves, so one mis-prediction and they'l get pummeled by an attack they didn't predict.
If you've gotten in close and it's a fist fight where noone is scoring blows and you both are constantly dodging, his D-smash can really come in handy. It's rapid and hits both sides, and if you charge it for just a moment, you can catch anyone side stepping or dodge rolling. If you know someone will side step or dodge roll away from you, his rapid-hitting D-tilt can be very useful. If your opponent gets to the ground and your combo has either ended or failed, don't forget to chase them! Predict them rolling backwards to get away? Go after them and hold your dash attack back until they're open! Not sure where they'l go? Use Tornado, most get-up attacks won't break it, and anywhere else they'l go is easily followed!
If you're looking to push someone to the edge of the stage for some gimping, don't forget about his U-smash. Side steppers will regret staying in place, and it launches people up, making them vulnerable for some small combos, or a mid air Shuttle Loop. The Tornado achieves the same purpose as the F-smash, although while it is slower, it racks up more damage and is harder to counter. Drill rush into a D-smash is an effective move to force the enemy back as well.
Meta Knight's defensive game:
Whether or not you know, Brawl is tailored to defensive characters nowadays, with only a few exceptions, Meta Knight included. However, He can still pull off defensive duties perfectly fine. Here's the main strategy for doing so.
Strike defensively with an F-tilt, people rushing in will either get hit by all 3 attacks, or shield the first 1-2, and you'll be free to escape without lag. F-tilt is a combo monster, and is useful for even defense, as you can see. Either way you use Meta Knight, F-tilt is key. You should always be using this instead of his Neutral A, it's faster, does more damage, has less lag, and is alot safer.
If you've shielded an enemies attack, yes, use F-tilt to begin a combo. It's lagless from the start, any attack with ANY lag will get punished. If you don't feel like using it, get in a few D-tilts for some quick damage. You can also use the Tornado for some huge damage, and set the enemy up for an aerial face off, where Meta Knight knows no equal. The Shuttle Loop is a great attack to use as well if your enemy has a high damage meter, you'll have enough time to land and get ready for their approach, or even finish them off.
Meta Knight's dodge rolls are excellent, as they're very fast. So fast, most moves that hit both sides at the same time miss, and moves that hit from front to back can be shielded. Due to it's speedy end, he can effectively launch a counter attack, especially if they've used a laggy move. You know the drill, F-tilt, D-tilt, etc.
Mainly, try to play hit and run. Once to strike a combo, don't go after the opponent for some more. Retreat immediatly and start that spacing, and wait for them to walk in yet another trap. It's called defense for a reason eh?
As I mentioned before, Meta Knight is no longer a monster without edge guarding. You must master this deadly art. For the main part, use Meta Knight's powerful but quick moves like his N-air, D-smash, and aerial Shuttle Loop to throw the enemy off the stage. Immediatly, chase them and launch a barrage of D-airs, F-airs, and if you aren't too far away to grab a ledge, Shuttle Loop them. Shuttle Looping right next to the stage's edge is effective, as the attack throws an enemy quite a good distance with good hit stun(for Brawl). This usually end up in a KO. Remember, go upwards and cancel the Shuttle Loop normally, don't slash, cancel, or dive downwards to end it, you'll kill yourself! But be very careful! If you miss and the enemy beats you to the ledge, you might edge guard yourself!! I've had it happen to myself many times when still learning the ropes. Try to be able to land on the stage just barely when employing this strategy!
So remember, don't just smack the enemy with your D-smash and jump of the ledge, follow them unless they have almost no chance of recovery as is.
Meta Knight's recovery is absolutely top notch. With Shuttle Loop being able to grab ledges at the appex of the loop, and 5 jumps along with a multitude of Specials that can be used to recovering, he's near impossible to gimp without getting gimped yourself.
When knocked off the stage and you're down vertically, simply use your jumps to get back up. If you think your opponent will edge guard your attempts to Shuttle Loop directly to the ledge, stall for a moment with 2-3 jumps, and use the remaining to get up high, and stage spike the enemy while recovering with Shuttle Loop! Note: This is best done on Battlefield or Final Destination.
As for Horizontal recovery, the 5 jumps aren't too useful here. However, you must remember, he can glide once by holding down the jump button, and again using Shuttle Loop! Always use the jump glide first ofcourse. If you constantly, but slowly tap B, Tornado has great horizontal recovery, but beware! It's wide open to attacks from above, mainly spiking! Drill rush can be used in the same manner, and smack around anyone waiting at the edge of the stage. But make sure you touch down, or you'll rebound back and be vulnerable, or even miss the ledge and Suicide!
Don't forget, in a pinch, if you've mastered his Dimension Cape you can go right to the ledge and grab it, but it takes serious skill, I can't even do it. It's also a great escape move in general if you've been launched in the air and need to get some space - just don't end the move too far away from the ground, or else you'll be wide open.
No Meta Knight player would Brawl without knowing his impressive approaches. His number one approach: the dash attack. It knocks the enemy into the air for easy combos, leaves him ready to attack and virtually invulernable, all the while doing passable damage. Don't be caught dead never using this attack.
Meta Knight's drill rush is a wondeful approach. Sidestep dodging and dodge rolling away will only get you hit, and as long as you stay on the ground, it can lead into a finisher or a combo delivered by an F-tilt, persay. It's a great entry, use it every once in awhile.
Meta Knight's infamous Tornado is also a wonderful approach. With great damage and manueverability, nice priority and hard to cancel and especially break through, it's a reliable approach. However, if this becomes predictable, you'll just get attacked from above. Don't spam this, or else.
The 3 hit F-air is also a useful approach. You need to rush towards them on the ground, and jump up while immediatly launching an F-air. It's great for inducing some tech chases, and combos very well. Just be wary that being shield grabbed or shielded then counter attacked is very possible, just use it cautiously and you'll get results.
Finally, the thing everyone has been reading for, combos. The speedy swordsman just doesn't have the damage-inducing capabilities to do without combos(bar his powerful specials). Learn and perfect these combos well, a Meta Knight player can't do without them.
i: A rather well known combo, this one causes quite a bit of damage, and can bring someone from 0% to 50% if done correctly. It's tough to pull off, even I have trouble, but it's still wonderful.
Dash attack > U-tilt(can be done twice with good spacing) > U-air(can be done 2-4 times with good spacing as well) > Shuttle Loop
ii: The Dash attack is extremely versatile, here are some ways to use it.
Dash attack > (depending on the spacing, use one of the following) B-air, D-smash, F-tilt, Tornado, or turn around D-tilts
iii: Meta Knight's F-tilt can also be applied in a few ways. All of them are very useful for their own reasons.
VV> F-air > Drill Rush or Tornado(Tornado is less accurate)
F-Tilt > Dashing jump into U-air > any number of U-airs > Shuttle Loop
^> Shuttle Loop > at low %, glide slash
iiii: Meta Knight's D-throw is a very good combo starter, although the combos are short usually, they get good damage.
D-throw > Dash attack > U-tilt(can be done twice with good spacing) > U-air(can be done 2-4 times with good spacing as well) > Shuttle Loop (yes this is a copy but with D-throw, since this isn't an opening)
^> Drill rush > D-smash, D-tilts(multiple), Tornado, F-tilt( Any F-Tilt combo)
Well, that's the end of the guide for the monstrous, sword weilding brawler known as Meta Knight. By now, you better know in the right hands, you will get raped.
Guide number 2 in the making, heheh. All you up and coming Meta Knight mainers, get out there and kick some ass for me! Goodluck Brawlers! 3.. 2.. 1.. GO!!