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How to do Smash Directional Influence (SDI) in Smash Ultimate

Every day I'm (hitstun) shuffling.

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About James Law

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If you’ve got to grips with the basics of DI, get ready for Smash Directional Influence.

There’s a whole load of techniques in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate the game doesn’t tell you off the bat, but none are more bizarre than Smash Directional Influence, or SDI.

What is Smash Directional Influence?

Smash Directional Influence, also referred to as SDI, is the act of shifting your character’s position whilst in hitstun. This can help you get into a different position when hit, and gives you a better chance of surviving a kill move, as well as escaping multi-hit moves to disrupt enemy combos.

Hitstun refers to the frames in which your character isn’t moving whilst receiving a hit, and you have the ability to shift your character model once every four frames of hitstun. For this reason, multi-hit moves are easier to SDI because there are more freeze frames in order to do so, whilst moves without many freeze frames are impossible to SDI.

How do I SDI in Smash Ultimate?

Tapping the control stick in a direction during these freeze frames will slightly move you in that direction, but you’ll need to register a new input as many times as possible when SDI-ing a move (due to complicated mathematical reasons we won’t get into here).

This can be done either by quickly tapping the stick from the neutral position to your desired direction over and over, or by using a method known as ‘quarter-circle DI’. This involves you quickly rotating the control stick between two adjacent points, for example left and up.

Below is an example of the difference in positioning when we SDI a Smash attack versus when we do nothing.

Of course, you’re more likely to see success SDI-ing multi hit moves, given their more numerous freeze frames. Below, we saved ourselves a whole lot of damage by repeatedly tapping the stick away from Lucario’s charging Aura Sphere, but this technique is also useful against the likes of Pichu’s combos as well as many characters’ Rapid Jab attacks.

It’s also worth knowing a few other things about SDI. When you parry an enemy attack (letting go of block at the perfect time before impact so you get that satisfying freeze frame action), you can SDI during those small freeze frames, and as you shield an attack, you can input a direction during hitstun to SDI. The latter is easier to pull off if you hold down two shield buttons at the same time, as it’s then impossible to accidentally input a roll or other move.

That’s all for our SDI guide - let us know if there’s any special situation in which SDI-ing works especially well! It’s a slightly higher-level strategy, so it might take a bit of practice.

We’ve got more Smash Ultimate guides for you too - have a look at our tips on teching, as well as advice on B-reversing special moves!

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