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How to Master Directional Influence (DI) in Smash Ultimate

How to use Directional Influence to survive longer and break combos.

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About James Law

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Something you’ll need to understand if you’re getting into Smash Ultimate is Directional Influence. Without it, you’ll be dying way too easily.

Mastering Directional Influence is key to improving in Smash Ultimate. Here’s how to get it down.

What’s Directional Influence in Smash Ultimate?

Directional Influence, or DI, is a technique that’ll help you survive for longer after getting hit. It’s simple to execute - just hold your left analog stick in a direction, and you’ll influence your character’s trajectory in that direction.

How do I DI?

Depending on where you’re getting launched, you’ll want to pull out different kinds of DI. If you get hit to the side, push your stick in the opposite direction when you’re in hitstun. This’ll mean you get launched a shorter distance and are more likely to survive until higher percentages.

If you’re hit vertically, however, you’ll need to do some slightly different maneuvers. Simply pushing the control stick downwards won’t do.

Instead, you’ll want to DI to the side, aiming towards the corner of the blast zone, since this makes the distance you’ve got to travel further.

The angle you take when DI-ing is important to take note of too. Depending on the move you’re being hit with, your ideal angle changes, and you’ll need to get to know specific matchups through experience. In general though, you want to DI in the same trajectory you’re already being launched. So for example, Mr. Game and Watch can only survive when DI’ing to the right against Mario’s up smash, whereas going left actually makes matters worse.This is the kind of thing you see when commentators in pro games bemoan ‘bad DI’.

Generally, up smash attacks send you slightly away from your enemy, so usually you’ll want to be DI-ing away from your enemy too.

Jumping and directional air-dodging towards the stage can further help you survive, especially if you’re extra close to the blast zone, so if you feel like it’s touch and go, or see yourself hurtling towards the edge of the screen, mashing jump or directional air dodge alongside DI-ing could just be the difference-maker.

Other uses for DI

Of course, DI isn’t only useful for saving yourself from getting killed by smash attacks. The same technique can be used to escape combos from enemies. For example, against Pikachu, you’ll want to DI away from up throws at mid to high percent ranges, since that move can combo into Thunder for a KO setup. Again, every character and matchup is different, especially when you take weight into account. Soon enough though, you’ll get a feel for it, and DI-ing out of combos will become second nature.

After mastering DI-ing, it might be time to take a look at our guide for SDI, or Smash Directional Influence. This is a completely different mechanic that can save you big time if you get to grips with it, although it’s slightly more complex.

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