Posted by: SirKibble | March 31, 2009

The More You Know — Priority

How many times has a regular or veteran been asked “What exactly is priority?” More times than a mutant kangaroo with 18 fingers and 25 toes can count to on his fingers and toes, I’ll tell you that much. So let’s make this common knowledge, shall we? Let’s clear up a few things concerning



Priority is a trait of moves in Smash Bros., just like damage or range. If two moves collide, the move with higher priority will beat out the other and cancel it. If moves have equal priority, they’ll usually bounce off each other, neither attack prevailing. High priority on a character’s moves is a definite positive point, for one because it helps a player be more powerful in their approaches, knowing their attacks will beat out their opponent’s. Priority is, in a big way, related to the type of hitbox a move has. So, with that, let me cover the three basic categories of priority, according to hitboxes:


A joint hitbox is the most common type. All directly physical attacks have joint hitboxes, and are of the lowest priority. These moves involve direct physical contact for an attack. These are the moves where priority really plays a part, as one move canceling out another means that one will hit, and the other won’t. If you want to test out some priorities and see how things work, these are the best moves to do it with. There are a ton of examples of this, but I’ll just name a random handful:

Examples: Mario’s Down Smash, King Dedede’s Backward Aerial, Ness’ Up Tilt, Jigglypuff’s Rollout


Disjointed hitboxes are connected to a character, but don’t involve direct contact. In other words, the character is usually swinging or stabbing a weapon. The character doesn’t totally separate from their hitbox, but a connection with their hitbox won’t damage them. Frequently, these type of moves will bounce off each other, as their priority is roughly equal. Disjointed hitboxes outprioritize joint hitboxes without fail.

Examples: Meta Knight’s Forward Smash, the Ice Climbers’ Down Aerial, Marth’s Dancing Blade, Kirby’s Hammer


Projectiles are hitboxes that completely separate from the character using the attack. They aren’t connected at all. These moves save you from the punishment of having a lower priority, but are more rare as well. Projectiles can be beaten out by other types of moves, if the canceling move has a higher priority, but the projectile user suffers no drawback from this, as the hitbox is not connected to them.

Examples: Samus’ Charge Shot, Snake’s Up Smash, Pikachu’s Thunder Jolt, Diddy Kong’s Peanut Popgun


All right, so that’s the basic gist of priority. Let’s do a quick refresher, though, using two characters that have all three types of moves at their disposal: Link and Olimar.

The majority of Link’s attacks are disjointed hitboxes that involve him swinging his sword. His Standard Combo, as well as all his Tilts and Smashes, are disjointed hitboxes. Now, let’s check his Aerials. The F-Air, U-Air, and D-Air are also disjointed hitboxes, but what about the N-Air and B-Air? Link uses his feet for both of these attacks, making them simple joint hitbox moves. Now, in the Specials department, Link’s loaded up with projectiles. Apart from his Up Special (another disjointed hitbox), all of Link’s Specials are projectiles. Nifty, huh?

It’s easy to see where we’ll start with Olimar. All of his attacks that can be done without Pikmin. . .are joint hitboxes. He uses his body for these attacks. Now, among all of those Pikmin attacks, which are disjointed and which are projectiles? You might say that any attack where Olimar throws, rather than swings, a Pikmin is a projectile. Not so. Olimar’s only projectile is his Side Special, the Pikmin Throw. Why aren’t his Smashes projectiles, then? The trick lies in the fact that the move doesn’t actually separate the Pikmin from Olimar. Toss a Pikmin with Olimar’s Forward Smash, and it doesn’t have to return to him afterward, it just runs to the back of the line.

Luckily, not many characters are as tricky as Olimar when it comes to figuring out stuff like this. As a general rule, punches and kicks are joint hitboxes, swings and stabs are disjointed, and things that are thrown or shot are projectiles. Keeping that in mind, as well as general priority, can make move descriptions a lot more concise, and can help you get your point across much easier in some cases.





  1. Projectile priority is absolutely depending. The Mario Bros.’ fireballs are easily cancelled with a simple Jab or FTilt, for example.
    Same goes for Link’s arrows.

  2. Thankee, Spade. Not having Brawl’s not always nice to my write-ups. :S

  3. Hehehe, atleast I had knowledge of this stuff, but don’t actually put them into my sets (which I will do nao), lol, but for Chaos 0 and his Advanced technique of “Puddle Jump Cancel Dash” (what a mouthful). This will defiently help some people, so it’s all gud!

    ♪♪ Frog spoke giberish just nao

  4. this is actually all wrong…Disjointedness and jointedness do play a role, but all attacks have *some* disjoint to them, and damage then plays a bigger role…

  5. You are more than welcome to write up a more accurate explanation of priority. There were a few flaws in this one; it’s more general than comprehensive.

  6. Oh, don’t worry about it, Kibble. JOE learned some crazy, silly technical jargon that we all ignored anyway and continued to use the standard definition of priority, as outlined above. 😉

  7. well, after my rant about it we saw no more mentioning of “priority” as a property of moves.

    Pre-Rant we allways had “blah blah blah and has medium priority blah blah”, nowadays that aspect is largley left out, except ina few cases where it has something special….

    actually, I may just post the rant here

  8. Priority is based on damage – it’s not an attribute. More damage = more priority; there needs to be a difference of at least 9% for one to cancel out the other, otherwise they both clash. Disjoint doesn’t have much of anything to do with it.

    • nice comment m8

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