Jump to content

About grab crushing and grab teching

Recommended Posts

Something came through my mind last week and apparently, the same thing came through Burnside's mind when he told me "you know what should lab? Frame data about grab teching", so I was like "this is the universe telling me to lab that" so here I am, writing this. If you dare saying this short paragraph is irrelevant, then it's like saying that Newton's apple was irrelevant too. I'm not gonna "create" the gravity but this might be useful for those who don't have "2Y top tier privilege". Anyway, let's get started. And let's start from the beginning.


What are grabs? Grabs are one of the ways of dealing damage in this game, besides attacks and counterattacks. Everything can be reduced to one of those three kind of moves. Actually, and unless we're dealing with shields that are about to break, unblockable moves or unblockable setups, the only real mixup in this game is grab/not a grab. You shield and you're able to stop every possible move but grabs. That's why it's important to know about this.


Every character has a standard grab with a different animation in field phase and duel phase. They're either frame 11 or frame 15, depending on the character. Those grabs shift phases immediately, so it means you gain some meter for landing them (40 cc in FP, 20 cc in DP, if I'm not wrong) and damage is usually 80/90 in FP/DP respectively. Some characters have 60/90, others have 100/150. Some characters get an enhanced grab when they're in Synergy Burst. They basically lead into more damage. It's usually the DP grab although the FP grab also changes for some of them. I encourage you to go through the frame data sheet to study about all of this.


What not every character has is a command grab. A command grab is something that all fighting games have and it's a grab which doesn't have the usual input. In this case, the default input for a standard grab is Y+B. Command grabs have all kind of different inputs. They also have completely different properties and they have specific uses in different situations. Some of them can be used to deal debuffs, some can be used to steal buffs or synergy, some of them are just to waste time in a timeout situation but in the end, their use is to deal damage. With all of this being said, they're just grabs after all and they follow the same mechanics than standard grabs.


Those mechanics are pretty easy to understand.

Grabs beat shields. If you're shielding, you can get grabbed.

Grabs beat CA and command CA as long as they don't clash with an active hitbox. Personally, my favourite interaction in this game is a CA beating a grab.

Grabs might or might not beat other grabs, depending on which one comes out faster. In a neutral situation, assuming both characters input grab at the same frame, a frame 11 grab will always beat a frame 15 grab.

Attacks beat grabs. As simple as that. You might tech the grab or you might crush it. And this is the main point of this thread. Grab teching is an underexplored mechanic in this game, or at least I haven't seen nothing written about the subject.






Crushing a grab means stopping the grab with an active hitbox and the attack itself coming out after stopping that grab without getting interrupted. How can we possibly get that? There are a few ways.


-8X/homing attack: the universal ones, the ones every character has access to are the specific grab crushing moves in DP and FP. In DP, such a move is 8X. In FP, we have homing attacks. Those two moves always work, no matter what. They crush grabs starting on frame 1. This means that, the moment you input this move, if your opponent tries to grab you, you're gonna break the grab and go through it. If you're completely sure that your opponent is going to grab you, use those moves. Most of them are committing, so you have to be confident about your read. They're usually slow moves so they might lose to other moves. Be careful when using them.


-Specific grab crushes: some characters have access to particular moves that stop grabs from frame 1. The game tells you which ones are those if you check the move list of your Pokémon. They're moves with other utilities besides crushing grabs. Some examples are Garchomp's 8Y which is an antiair, Lucario's 2Y which is a great neutral tool, Sceptile's 4X which is a move with decent range and can be used as antiair and high crushing properties... As a side note, a lot of frame 11 moves crush grabs but some of them don't. Study your character to see which ones you can use with that purpose if you don't want to commit to 8X.


-Moves that are already active: depending on when do an attack and a grab clash you might crush it or just tech it. Honestly, I had no idea about when does this happen, so that's why I decided to lab and study about it. For this purpose, I'm going to separate moves in two categories.


1) <i15 moves (moves faster than frame 15)

Moves that are fast will always crush the opponent grab. As far as my knowledge and taking into account every situation I've been able to recreate, specially meaty oki grabs, every move faster than 15 frames, not counting command CAs and grabs of course, should always crush any grab starting on frame 1. Scizor is the strangest case here. He has access to several frame 11 moves, particularly 2Y and Bullet Punch (1A) that aren't labelled as grab crushers but they can crush grabs at any point. Chances are that every frame 11 move crushes grabs, no matter what.


Whether it's true or not, this makes frame 11 moves a pretty valuable tool on oki situations. You might not get punished too hard for trying to tech a grab with one of those moves if you guess wrong. It's all up to you and your knowledge of the other player.


2) >=i15 moves (frame 15 or slower moves)

This is where the interesting things start. While apparently i11 moves always crush grabs, slower moves might crush or might tech, depending on the timing. I've been studying this for a whole week. Instead of just writing a theory about this, I'm going to give you several situations with different grabs and I'm pretty sure you'll be able to discern the pattern here.


·Using frame 15 moves

i11 standard grabs get crushed when you're -5 or more positive.

i15 standard grabs get crushed when you're -9 or more positive.

i19 grabs (Nuzzle) get crushed when you're -13 or more positive.

i23 grabs (Sand Tomb) get crushed when you're -17 or more positive.



·Using frame 19 or slower moves

i11 standard grabs get crushed when you're -1 or more positive.

i15 standard grabs get crushed when you're -5 or more positive.

i19 grabs get crushed when you're -9 or more positive.

i23 grabs get crushed when you're -13 or more positive.



It's pretty easy to see it, right? Actually, let me just write a small theory about this.


GRAB CRUSH THEORY: Any i15 attack will crush a grab if the attack reaches frame 6. Any attack slower than i15 will crush a grab if the attack reaches frame 10.


Don't forget this applies to moves that aren't specific grab crushers. Now let's go to the other possible situation. A grab is coming, you input a move, your character executes that move but you get a grab tech. Let's analyze that.






Teching a grab means stopping the grab with an active hitbox but the attack doesn't come out after that, so both moves get interrupted. When does this happen? This happens when a non-grab crushing move clashes with a grab but it was pressed too late. There are no specific moves to do this. From what we know about grab crushing, you have to use frame 15 or slower moves to tech grabs. Let's rewrite the situations I described earlier.


·Using frame 15 moves

i11 standard grabs get teched when you're -6 or more negative.

i15 standard grabs get teched when you're -10 or more negative.

i19 grabs get teched when you're -14 or more negative.

i23 grabs get teched when you're -18 or more negative.



·Using frame 19 or slower moves

i11 standard grabs get teched when you're -2 or more negative.

i15 standard grabs get teched when you're -6 or more negative.

i19 grabs get teched when you're -10 or more negative.

i23 grabs get teched when you're -14 or more negative.



As you can tell, this covers the two possible outcomes of an attack/grab interaction. We can also write another short theory about this.


GRAB TECH THEORY: Any i15 attack will tech a grab as long as the attack doesn't reach frame 6. Any attack slower than i15 will tech a grab as long as the attack doesn't reach frame 10.


It's easy to notice that this is the complementary of the grab crush theory. We can fuse them in a single theory, but it's so easy to understand that I don't feel it's necessary. Now you might have another question. "I know that I'm in an advantageous situation when I crush a grab, but what if I tech it instead?". I have the answer, of course.


When you tech a grab, any grab with any move, there's a universal reward that the one who techs the grab gets. 7.5cc of synergy. This might be useful if you're about to fill your meter. I think we've all seen that situation lots of times in real matches. However, this isn't all. You might be wondering if you can't get anything else out of a tech. Well, the answer is "it depends". I'm going to list all the frame advantage or disadvantage situations next and you can tell me if you can get anything or not.


-i11 standard grabs :Aegislash::Blaziken::Braixen::Croagunk::Darkrai::Decidueye::Gardevoir::Gengar::Lucario::Machamp::Mewtwo::Pikachu::PikachuLibre::Sceptile::Scizor::ShadowMewtwo::Weavile:

Teching a standard grab from any of those characters will put you in a +8 situation. However, one of those characters will give you a different advantage. Teching a standard grab from Aegislash will put you in +4.



-i15 standard grabs :Blastoise::Chandelure::Charizard::Empoleon::Garchomp::Suicune:

The same situation happens here. Tech their grabs and you'll be +8. And there's another character here will the same difference as the i11 grab ones. Chandelure's grab getting teched will give you a +4.



-Water Pulse :Blastoise:

Water Pulse is Blastoise's command grab (2A). It's frame 35. If Blastoise has at least a buff and/or if he's on SB, he gets CA frames from frame 5 to 29. This grab is pretty much seeable so unless you're pressing buttons and you hit Blastoise's armor, you shouldn't have problems to break it. In this particular case, you're the one who chooses if you want a crush or a tech. Teching it puts you in +8, so you should always crush it on reaction unless some extremely specific situations happen.



-Hex :Chandelure:

Hex is Chandelure's infamous command grab (2A). Frame 23, it's pretty much used for oki 50/50s, to catch jumps or simply to catch those who aren't sure about the range of this move, which is slightly deceptive. It deletes your recoverable health and it deals more damage the more debuffs you have. Assume you're going to get hit by this move plenty of times if you're facing a profficient Chandelure player. My advice is never crush this move, tech it unless you have a fast recovery grab crush. Teching it puts you in +12 but the range of the move makes it completely safe. Stay safe you too.



-Seismic Toss :Charizard:

Seismic Toss is Charizard's command grab (8A). Frame 19, so not reactable in a game with input delay. Another move used for oki 50/50s and useful as a combo finisher with no recoil like Flare Blitz. This move is a high so there are some characters with easy ways to avoid it. The fact that it's a high is also a threat, because it catches aerial opponents. It's a low crush too, starting on frame 13. If you manage to crush this move, take the most you can out of that. However, if you tech it, you'll get a +12 situation. Even if it's a small punish, take it.



-Dream Eater :Darkrai:

Dream Eater is Darkrai's command grab only accessible on Bad Dreams Rising or Nightmare Mode (2A). It's frame 27, so it's seeable and the animation is quite particular, however it can be hard to react to it in some situations, due to Darkrai's confusing movement and teleports. An interesting trait about this one grab is that it deals damage in two sequences and one of them never scales. The first part of the attack will always deal 30 damage that will be restored to your recoverable health, no matter the buffs, debuffs, scaling, damage ceiling or any other mechanic. Since reacting to this move is rather tricky, most of the times you might get a tech out of it. Teching it puts you in +7.



-Acrobatics :Decidueye:

Acrobatics is Decidueye's command grab on both, FP and DP (SS A/SS [A]). It comes out on frame 27 and frame 23, depending on the version, but both versions are pretty much reactable. As you probably know, it catches aerial opponents too and it leads into excellent wall combos, so be aware of this move all the time. This is one of the two particular cases of a command grab where the advantage varies depending on the character you're using and the height this move lands. The advantage you get from teching this goes from +11 to +19. Small characters like Weavile, both Pikachus and Croagunk can take a small reward from this while tall characters like Machamp, Gardevoir, Garchomp and Sceptile can easily get a i15 punish for teching this grab. As I said, it's also depending on the spacing of the move. I encourage you to go to practice mode and test situations by yourself.



-Sand Tomb :Garchomp:

Sand Tomb is Garchomp's command grab (2A). Being a frame 23 grab, it's on the threshold of what's reactable in this game and what's not. With the ability of being charged and being cancelled, this is arguably Garchomp's most dangerous mixup tools, specially in the corner. The fact that it doesn't have any PSP makes real the chance of getting killed in the corner just by holding shield. Guess right or die trying. Since we're talking about how to defend ourselves, if you guess right and you crush the grab, good. Do what you must. If you didn't want to commit hard to that guess and you just tech it, you'll be in +12, so try to take advantage of that and escape that corner.



-Hypnosis :Gengar:

Hypnosis is Gengar's command grab on both, FP and DP (6A/fA). Frame 27, cancellable into Shadow Stealth and it provides invincibility frame from frame 5 to 18. One of the main traits of this move is that when it lands it can convert into Gengar's standard grab, which steals HP and synergy. It can convert into a standard combo too if your opponent just needs the damage to kill. The fact that it's cancellable makes it quite difficult to deal with and the fact that you're +8 after teching it doesn't really help. I don't know if there's a frame perfect timing to make the hitbox active and cancel into SS at the same time like you can do with Shadow Ball, it doesn't sound like a thing, my knowledge about the character doesn't reach that far, but being +8 against a character with so many iframes options is an advantage or isn't it? You tell me.



-Submission :Machamp:

Submission is one of Machamp's command grabs on both, FP and DP (6A/fA). Frame 26. The enhanced version of this move gives Machamp CA frames from frame 1 to 16 which makes you wonder if you really want to play okis against this character when he's enhanced because you might lose 180 HP if you don't know how to deal with it. Not much to say about this move, it's a +8 for you if you tech it. I'll just remind you that it's cancellable into jump or shield.



-Air grab :Machamp:

Air grab is the second command grab Machamp has on both, FP and DP (j.Y+B). Frame 11, like his standard grab. Instant air grab is one of Machamp's most dangerous mixups in the corner. It deals 117 dmg and it has no PSP. This is the second case of a command grab with different frame advantages, like Decidueye's Acrobatics, due to the same reasons. My tests have dealt advantages from +15 to +23. Any character should be able to get something big out of teching this grab. Again, go to the lab and study the situations by yourself.



-Telekinesis :Mewtwo:

Telekinesis is Mewtwo's command grab on both, FP and DP (Barrier Y). Frame 15. Can only be used out of Barrier so it can be treated as an armored grab. Like all of Mewtwo's special moves, it consumes synergy. 12.5 cc from Barrier and 10 cc from Telekinesis itself makes it 22.5 cc but the reward is worthy because Mewtwo gets a full combo out of it. If you're able to tech this grab, you'll be in +8. There's also the option of jumping to avoid the Barrier mixups but be careful of Teleport.



-Nuzzle :Pikachu:

Nuzzle is Pikachu's command grab on both, FP and DP (6A/fA). At frame 19 and being a high, it doesn't look like a rewarding move until you're against the wall. Your best option against this move in general is, if your character has a low stance, use it. This move is extremely punishable on whiff, you can get basically everything you want. In case you press a button because you think it's coming and you manage to tech it, it's +8 on your favour.



-Electro Web :PikachuLibre:

Electro Web is Libre's command grab on both, FP and DP (4A/bA). Frame 21. Another grab that can catch aerial opponents. Mostly used as a combo finisher to apply a speed debuff on the opponent. It deals double damage when Libre is enhanced and it's an instant phase shift from duel to field. Powerful tool in oki 50/50 but you don't have to commit if you don't want to, as teching this grab will give you a clean +12 so most characters should be able to get a punish out of this.



-Leaf Storm :Sceptile:

Leaf Storm is one of Sceptile's command grabs (8A). Frame 19. Only works on aerial opponents, so it can only be used as a hard read tool or as a combo finisher. Deals an attack debuff to Sceptile. If you like fighting on the ground you shouldn't worry about getting caught by this move. Teching this move leads into a unique situation, given that you must be airborne for it to work. Teching this move will make you air tech so you can't really take advantage of this. You get the 7.5 cc of synergy and that's all but you might be in a bad situation after that. This move is dangerous even when it doesn't land properly. But of course, when it whiffs completely it's almost like a death sentence for Sceptile. Use this move wisely.



-Giga Drain :Sceptile:

Giga Drain is the other command grab Sceptile has (2A). Frame 27, it reaches every range but full screen or Sceptile's face. If you're not in any of those two places you're in danger. Like Darkrai's Dream Eater, this is another move that absorbs a set amount of HP, in this case 30. It also steals synergy. The way of dealing with this grab is similar to Hex. Since most of the times it's gonna be a long range grab, your best option is teching it instead of crushing it. You'll get a +12 out of it. Not punishable, anyway.



-Bug Bite :Scizor:

Bug Bite is Scizor's command grab (Bullet Punch Y+B/]A[) Frame 27, it has a very particular animation so it's not hard to react to it. The move is dash cancellable so don't fall for any bait. Another grab that steals HP, 20 in this case, but not just that. This move also steals buffs. And the most interesting thing about this is that it ignores the time you had left for your buff. If you get a buff that lasts for 12 seconds and Scizor steals it at the last second, he'll get 12 seconds of that buff. Since it's also a combo finisher, there are no ways of you not getting by this move, you'll get hit by it eventually. It's a seeable move so you can commit to a grab crush as long as it's not too slow, remember it can be cancelled into a dash. If you go for a grab tech, you'll get a +8 situation.




And this is it. This is pretty much all the information I've been able to gather with the resources I have. Just a few more notes.


All this information has been studied in duel phase. Different frame advantage situations can be recreated in duel phase with relative ease. Some of this information might change for field phase, for example, I've been able to tech Machamp's low air grab in field phase and get a Force Palm punish out of it, which is frame 23. Until I get recording equipment, I think I won't be able to study field phase situations. They might or might not change, I can't really tell. Trust all of this for duel phase. Trust it for field phase at your own risk. With that being said, thermodynamics gives us access to duel phase moves in field phase moves so information about moves like Leaf Storm, Sand Tomb or duel phase standard grabs in field phase might be accessible too but again, I probably won't be able to check it until I can record.


And one last note. All of this is the work of one person for a week. If anything is wrong or if you feel anything should be rechecked please let me know. I'll change it as soon as possible and I'll give you credit for finding it, of course. Meanwhile, enjoy this small piece of knowledge I provide and have fun!

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I might do more systematic studies, but at the moment the concept seems to be that grab tech is reached when the grab hits the attacker more than 8 frames before the imapct frame of the attack. When going with Charizard fY against wall in Field Phase (+8 advantage in Duel Phase) against Charizard 5Y on reaction (i19), Standard Grab (i15) hits 12 frames before impact and indeed 5Y techs it, while Seismic Toss (i19) hits 8 frames before impact and it's crushed.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Now that I had a more in depth look at the data, I discovered the following:


every attack has various properties that determine evasion, armors and even grab crushing, in particular the most common and relevant for us are:


attr_attack_repel grab teching

attr_attack_repel_evade grab teching and evasion

attr_attack grab crushing

attr_attack_evade grab crushing and evasion

attr_evade_all evasion only


these properties are follwed by the starting frame and, in case it is defined, the ending frame, with 0 being the first frame.

This means, however, that the window in which grab teching happens is not fixed, but varies depending on the attack. As an example, here are the properties of the basic weak and strong attacks of :Charizard: in Duel Phase (Wii U Pokkén Tournament version 1.3):




attr_attack_repel 0 7

attr_attack 8 17




attr_attack 0 9




attr_attack_evade_h 0 9

attr_evade_all_h 10




attr_attack_repel 0 3

attr_attack_evade_hm 4 15

attr_evade_all_l 16




attr_attack_repel 0 7

attr_attack 8 21




attr_attack_repel 0 7

attr_attack 8 17

attr_attack_evade_l 18 25

attr_evade_all_l 26 50




attr_attack_repel_evade_h 0 7

attr_attack_evade_h 8 17

attr_evade_all_h 18




attr_attack 0 13

attr_attack_evade_l 14 15

attr_attack_evade_ml 16 29

attr_evade_all_l 30 46

attr_evade_all_h 47 54


From these data we can see two things:

  1. The grab teching window was set independently of the actual impact frame: it is 8 frames both in the case of 5Y and 6X that are i19 and i27, respectively
  2. The grab teching window wasn't set to a fixed value either: 8Y has a 4 frames teching window instead of the usual 8 frames
Edited by Mister Wu
Using color coding to increase readability

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now