hollow knight smash moveset

The Knight Smash Bros Moveset

By u/idk_sorry

Strengths and Weaknesses

Strengths:

  • High mobility on the ground and in the air

  • Very strong combo potential

  • Small hurtbox

  • Many disjointed attacks

  • Can kill very early with spells

  • Increased longevity with focus

Weaknesses:

  • Dies at very low percents

  • Easy to combo and juggle

  • Exploitable recovery

  • Low range 

  • Few lingering hitboxes

  • Lacks killpower or longevity w/o soul

Basic Stats

Weight: One of the lightest characters in the game, its weight is around that of Fox.

Walk speed: It has an above average walk speed, near that of Pichu.

Dash/run speed: Its dash speed is decently high, similar to Inkling’s, but its run speed is middle-of-the-road, similar to ROB’s.

Air speed: Its air speed is on the slower side, similar in speed to Joker’s.

Air accel: Its air accel is extremely high, around that of G&W.

Jump height: It has an extremely high full hop, reaching a similar height to Diddy Kong’s.

Fall speed: Its fall speed is slightly above average, around that of Mega Man.

Gravity: It has very low gravity, similar to Luigi’s.

Soul Meter

The Knight has a meter that fills up as it hits opponents, which it can then spend on spells through its neutral special. Each hit from a grounded normal or an aerial, as well as certain special moves, fills the meter by a tenth, and using a spell or focusing drains half of the meter. The soul meter appears next to The Knight’s stock icon. When it has enough soul for a spell/focus, a pair of eyes (eyeholes?) will appear on the bottom half of the meter, similar to in Hollow Knight. When the meter is full, the edge of the meter will glow.

Grounded Normals

Jab: The Knight will swing its nail back and forth up to three consecutive times, with an animation similar to the Hollow Knight’s corresponding attack (see here). The first two hits combo into the final third hit, which launches diagonally away. The attack comes out quickly, but has a large-ish amount of endlag for a move as weak as it is. The full jab combo deals very low damage, virtually never kills, and has no combo potential, but each hit of the jab combo fills up a tenth of the soul meter, making it a useful move for quickly building up soul for a spell/focus.

Forward Tilt: The Knight swings its nail back and forth twice, similar to its basic attack in Hollow Knight. Each hit is inputted separately, similar to Hero’s forward tilt. It deals more damage and knockback than its jab, but is slightly slower, has slightly more end lag, and only hits twice. It launches at a similar angle to jab.

Up Tilt: The Knight swings its nail over its head in a narrow but tall arc, launching opponents straight up. It can hit grounded opponents that are very close to The Knight, but is most effective as an anti-air. It deals little damage, but also has low knockback, allowing it to easily combo into aerials at low to mid percents. It comes out fairly quickly and has decent endlag.

Down Tilt: The Knight bends down and quickly pokes its nail forward, in a similar motion to Meta Knight’s down tilt. The attack comes out quickly and has low endlag, making it safe on shield. It deals a small amount of horizontal knockback, allowing it to start combos at mid percents and set up tech chases or jab locks at higher percents.

Dash Attack: The Knight dashes forward and slashes in front of it, similar to the Broken Vessel’s corresponding attack (see here). The attack comes out quickly and deals decent damage compared to The Knight’s other normals, but it has much higher endlag and no combo potential. The move knocks opponents away horizontally and slightly up. It has high base knockback and low knockback growth, meaning that while it doesn't kill until extremely high percents, it can set up for edgeguards at very early percents.

Forward Smash: The Knight charges up, holding its nail behind itself, before performing a Great Slash. The attack covers a large area, both horizontally and vertically, in front of The Knight, but also has the longest startup and endlag of any of The Knight’s normals. This is the strongest of The Knight’s normals, killing earlier than any of its other moves, albeit still not as early as other moves as slow as it.

Up Smash: The Knight swings its nail in a wide arc around itself four times in a row, similar to the Broken Vessel’s corresponding attack (see here). The first three swings combo into the fourth, which launches straight up. It's noticeably faster to start up than forward smash, but also deals slightly less damage and knockback. Each hit of the mood fills The Knight’s soul meter. This move’s relatively quick start up, wide range, and decent damage make it a good out of shield option, though its high endlag makes it very unsafe on whiff or on shield.

Down Smash: The Knight swings its nail around itself in a semicircle motion at its feet, similar to Joker’s down smash. The attack has the fastest startup of any of its smash attacks by a noticeable margin, but it also deals much less damage and knockback, and has a much smaller hitbox. The attack sends at a mostly horizontal angle, making it capable of putting opponents in a very bad position offstage.

Aerials

Neutral Air: The Knight swings its nail once in front of itself, in a motion similar to the first hit of its forward tilt. The move launches straight forward. It comes out slightly faster that forward tilt, has little endlag, and has very little landing lag. Combined with its low damage and knockback, this move is very useful in combos and strings.

Forward Air: The knight swings its nail down in an overhead fashion, with a similar animation to the Hollow Knight’s corresponding attack (see here). This attack has similar framedata to Mario’s forward aerial, albeit with slightly faster startup, but more endlag and landing lag. Also like Mario’s forward air, the move has both a sourspot that launches diagonally away at the start of the move and a sweetspot that spikes. It has a small hitbox compared to the rest of The Knight’s aerials, making it difficult to land, but it can be led into by many of The Knight’s other aerials, such as neutral air, back air, or down air.

Back Air: The Knight swings its nail horizontally behind itself, in a motion similar to Robin’s back air. This move has both a strong early hit and a weak lingering hit. The strong hit sends away horizontally and slightly up. It deals a good amount of damage and can even kill near the ledge at higher percents. The weak hit sends up and away diagonally with weaker knockback and less damage. While the late hit virtually never kills, it can combo into other aerials when landed with, such as neutral air, forward air, or another back air. The move has slightly longer startup and endlag than most of The Knight’s other aerials, but its landing lag is extremely low.

Up Air: Essentially an aerial version of up tilt. It has low landing lag, but otherwise there isn’t anything to say about it that wasn’t already said about up tilt.

Down Air: The Knight swings its nail beneath itself, with a hitbox similar to up tilt and up air, but flipped. The move has similar framedata to up air, but with slightly more endlag and noticeably more landing lag. The move launches opponents upwards and slightly away from The Knight. It has low knockback, allowing it to combo into other aerials. Successfully landing this move gives The Knight a slight vertical boost, in addition to refreshing its double jump, airdodge, up special, and side special.

Specials

Neutral Special (Soul Vessel): Upon holding the special button, four icons will appear above, below, to the sides of, and on top of The Knight, representing Howling Wraiths, Desolate Dive, Vengeful Spirit, and Focus, respectively. Tilting the stick in the direction of any of these icons (or holding the special button without inputting a direction, for Focus) will perform the corresponding spell, assuming The Knight’s soul meter is at least halfway full. The soul is drained immediately after the spell is input, meaning that getting hit out of a spell will cause The Knight to lose its soul without casting the spell.

  • Vengeful Spirit: The Knight fires a blast of soul straight forward. The move comes out quickly and has little endlag, making it difficult to punish. The projectile itself is transcendent and can hit multiple opponents. The move launches horizontally and slightly upwards. It has below-average damage compared to The Knight’s other spells, but high base knockback and decent knockback growth, allowing it to kill relatively early onstage and take extremely early stocks when used to edgeguard.

  • Howling Wraiths: The Knight pauses briefly before releasing the Wraiths above itself. The spell hits the opponent multiple times before launching them upwards. This move has noticeably slower startup and endlag compared to Howling Wraiths, as well as slightly worse killpower, but it makes up for this by dealing much more damage, especially if all hits connect. The move also deals significant shield if all hits connect, meaning that if the opponent is shielding on a platform and has already had their shield damaged a good amount, this spell can break shields.

  • Desolate Dive: The Knight rises a short distance in the air before slamming into the stage, creating a large shockwave around where it lands. The falling hitbox of the move spikes, allowing it to combo into the finishing hit, which sends diagonally up and away. The Knight is completely intangible from when it begins its descent to shortly after it hits the ground. The startup and endlag of this move are both high, but the shockwave created on landing lingers for a good amount of time, making the move difficult to punish unless the opponent is very close to The Knight as it lands. This move deals average damage and knockback compared to the other two spells, with both the damage and knockback of this move being in between that of the Vengeful Spirit and that of the Howling Wraiths.

  • Focus: This spell can only be performed on the ground. Using this spell will cause The Knight to hunch forward and begin focusing soul. After a little under a second of focusing, The Knight will receive a substantial heal. The amount healed will go down slightly with each Focus, and will only be reset when The Knight loses a stock. At any point in the focus, The Knight can cancel the Focus by releasing the special button. This will allow The Knight to act sooner than it otherwise could, but won’t heal it or return any soul that it already used.

Side Special (Mothwing Cloak): The Knight quickly dashes forward a set distance. This move starts quickly, has little endlag, and doesn’t put The Knight into special fall when used in the air. This makes this move useful as a burst movement option and as a combo extender. If the special button is pressed again during the dash, The Knight will perform the Dash Slash. This move has a long horizontal hitbox, with decent damage and knockback, and will give The Knight soul on hit. This move has very high endlag, making it extremely unsafe on whiff or on shield. The dash can only be used once in the air, and will be refreshed upon touching the ground, getting hit, or successfully landing a down air. On the ground, there is a brief period after using the move where The Knight is unable to use it again.

Up Special (Cyclone Slash): The Knight rapidly spins with its nail, hitting opponents several times before launching them diagonally away. Pressing left or right while using this move will cause The Knight to slowly move in that direction. When used in the air, The Knight will rise as it spins, starting off slowly and accelerating, similar to the version used by Mato in his boss fight. This move doesn’t put The Knight in special fall. Both the grounded and aerial versions of the move have a quick startup but high endlag, and decent damage but little killpower. This move will only give soul on the finishing hit.

Down Special (Dream Nail): The Knight charges its Dream Nail briefly before slashing with it in front of itself, covering a large area. The move launches opponents diagonally away with set knockback and deals no damage. Successfully landing the love will completely fill The Knight’s soul meter. Hitting an opponent’s shield will still give soul, but since the move has very high endlag, doing so will leave The Knight extremely vulnerable.

Summary

The Knight fits a glass-cannon-like archetype. Trying to rush down your opponent carelessly with this character will get you punished harder than with most other characters, due to its light weight and poor disadvantage. Playing cautiously and waiting for openings, on the other hand, will reward you well, allowing you to easily string together hits, build up soul, and take early stocks with spells. Additionally, players can spend their soul on focusing instead, which trades off The Knight’s high killpower for improved longevity, if used at the right times. 

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