The down aerial (sometimes abbreviated as "down air", "dair", "DAir", or "ADA") is an aerial attack that is performed in midair by pressing the A Button, and tilting the control stick downwards. Its official term varies between titles, where it is known as a "Down Midair Attack" in Super Smash Bros. Melee, and a "Down Air Attack" in Brawl. Many of these moves are Meteor Smashes.
Down airs in SSB either are one of three things: drills, spikes, or just sideways knockback-oriented moves. Due to most of them being drills, they are some of the few moves that can be easily DI'd out of in an otherwise low DI game.
Captain Falcon: Thrusts both feet below him. A powerful spike. Can also combine a down air into Falcon punch at mid or high percents depending on character.
DK: Thrusts one foot below him. High power spike. Too little range. Combos well into both up smash, aerials, and Giant Punch at varying percentages.
Fox: Does a very fast drill kick. Easy to DI out of. Combos into up smash, shine, and tap a combos.
Jigglypuff: Does a drill kick. Similar to the other drill based characters, combos into up tilts and up b.
Kirby: A drill kick that is very difficult to DI of, very useful in both combos and gimping. Considered by many the best gimping move in all of SSB64. Down air on the ground combos into up tilts and f-smashes. Really good vs shields as well.
Link: Thrusts his sword below him. Very useful move to short hop. Has the most ending lag of any aerial and is overall the best way of showing the difference of Not Z-cancelling and Z-cancelling. Great power and great vs shields if Z-cancelled.
Luigi: A drill kick. It's easy to DI out of. A good combo move and good vs shields. Can combo a down air into up b or down air into up air into up b. If there wasn't smash DI in ssb64, this move would be Luigi's best move.
Mario: Similar to Luigi but slightly more useful. combos into up air. A drill but with quicker hits so it is more difficult to DI out of. Good vs shields as well. Part of the basic Short hop down air short hop up air combo.
Pikachu: Thrusts his head down and electrocutes the opponent. A high priority move like Pikachu's other aerials. Great shield stun.
Samus: Thrusts her arm cannon below her. A high power spike. Usually considered Samus's best move. Main kill combo is Down air into back air or charge shot. You can also repeatedly down air opponents and anticipate techs. Short hop down airs can lead to shield break if the opponent is careless.
Yoshi: Rapidly moves feet to damage the opponent. The most damaging move in SSB64 if all moves hit. Shield breaker. It is however a drill so its easy to DI out of. If the opponent can't DI well, a very easy 0 to death is up tilt into down air repeated. Weakest DJC aerial but good to combo into F-smash.
Ness: Thrusts one foot down. A good spike if it connects.
Bowser: Spins upside-down in his shell. Can be used in a somewhat similar fashion to Mario's due to the multiple quick hits, though the landing lag is comparatively larger.
C. Falcon: Thrusts his legs below him. A very powerful and fast meteor smash. If the attack connects in the upperhitbox, the attack becomes a spike and therefore it cannot be meteor canceled.
DK: Stomps the air below him. Will always meteor smash his foe with powerful knockback but is rather slow.
Dr. Mario: Similar to Mario's, but dealing seven, multiple hits with more damage and a different sound effect.
Falco: Similar to Fox's dair, but will instead strike once and spike his opponent. It is quite possibly the easiest spike to perform in the game, but is risky when performed off their edge since it lasts a long time and Falco falls very fast. It is stronger when the initial hitbox is landed, but will spike throughout the entirety of the attack.
Fox: Performs a drill kick. Another Mario-esque Down Air Attack, useful for generally the same purposes. However, this attack is a spike, but a extremely weak one. It produces noticeable knockback against only lower handicapped opponents.
Ganondorf: Similar to Captain Falcon's but is much more powerful. It is by far the strongest meteor in the game and is also the strongest aerial in the game when landed on airborne opponents. It is so powerful, it reliably KOs almost every character while grounded under 100%. Widely considered to be the best meteor in the game due to its power, speed, and surprisingly low aerial ending lag, making it a low risk meteor that is easy to land and recover from.
Ice Climbers: Place their hammers below them, and drop down. Knocks the enemy a fair distance upwards.
Jigglypuff: Performs a drill kick identical to Kirby's, but only meteor smashes with the first hitbox rather weakly. The meteor is very difficult to perform and is rather impractical due to Jigglypuff's Wall of Pain.
Kirby: Performs a drill kick. It is a weak but effective meteor. It is effective as Kirby can drag the opponent down with him and recover easily, compensating for its weak knockback.
Link: Thrusts his sword below him. It is a very powerful attack, it is in fact one of the strongest aerials in the game. It will knock his opponent at an vertical angle. It is more powerful if the initial hitbox is landed. Despite its great power, this attack has notorious landing lag (it is in fact the aerial with the longest landing lag in the game). This is also Link's most powerful attack.
Luigi: Spins around, performing a downwards kick. Appears identical to Mario's, but instead of multiple, low knockback hits, he performs one quick spin that can knock the enemy in diverse directions. If Luigi hits his foe with his spinning fists or hip during the start of the attack, they will be powerfully meteor smashed. If sourspotted, this aerial still produces very powerful horizontal knockback, making it a very efective edgeguard. This is Luigi's most powerful aerial.
Mario: Performs a drill kick. Is somewhat functionally identical to his Mario Tornado (in fact dealing the same amount of damage), but strikes faster, is harder to escape from, and has no finishing punch, making it a good damage-racker and having good combo potential.
Marth: Slashes his sword downward. Very fast and spikes the opponent when tipped. It is utilized in conjunction with his fair for the famous Ken Combo. In the PAL versions of the game, it is a meteor smash instead. While it has almost no start-up lag, it has a lot of ending and landing lag, making it risky if performed off staged.
Mewtwo: Backflips and kicks downwards. It has three hitboxes varying from being weak to moderate in strength. All three hitboxes meteor smash. The meteor is slow, but Mewtwo's floaty falling speed and great recovery make it a low risk meteor.
Mr. Game & Watch: Pulls a key out and plunges downward. If it hits immediately at the start of the attack, Mr. Game & Watch will meteor smash his foe with good power.
Ness: Stomps the air below him with his foot. It will always meteor smash his opponent. It has high base knockback, being the only meteor other than Ganondorf's dair to be able to pop up all characters at 0%. It has very low knock back scaling however, and it is also has slow start-up and long ending/landing lag.
Peach: Kicks below herself. Good combo starter but deals low damage and produces barely any knockback.
Pichu: Identical to Pikachu's, but Pichu will receive 1% damage upon using it.
Pikachu: Turns upside down and spins around emitting electricity from its cheeks. Another simple drill move that strikes once with decent power, but it suffers from slight landing lag.
Roy: Identical to Marth's, but the sweetspot required to meteor smash is located a bit higher and significantly more difficult to land. A very weak meteor with massive ending lag; it is arguably the worst meteor in the game.
Samus: Swings her arm below her. It is a powerful meteor smash with a wide hitbox, but it has rather slow start-up lag. Due to Samus's floaty air speed, it is a low risky meteor that is easy to perform.
Sheik: Points her leg out and falls at a downwards angle. Knocks her foe very slightly horizontally with mostly vertical knockback.
Yoshi: Kicks his legs very rapidly below him. Can deal a absolute maximum of 51% when all hits connect. but 44% is a more realistic maximum against normal sized opponents. It weakly meteor smashes, but it is inferior to his fair for meteor smashing.
Young Link: It is identical to Link's, but it meteor smashes opponents very powerfully if he lands his dair with the handle. Though weaker than Link's dair, this is still a very powerful dair and is also Young Link's most powerful attack.
Zelda: Sticks her leg out below her. This is a meteor smash but an extremely weak one. It is the weakest meteor smash in the game.
Bowser: Flips upside-down and rotates around inside his shell. Racks a lot of damage, and has an additional hit upon landing, which helps to keep opponents from taking advantage of the large landing lag. The last hitbox is a meteor smash, but is very weak and impractical as an edgeguard maneuver due to its long ending lag and Bowser's other superior edgeguard options.
Captain Falcon: Captain Falcon's classic stomp, it meteor smashes opponents powerfully that connect with the hitbox on Captain Falcon's legs. If he connects with his body, the opponent is knockbacked horizontally very powerfully. This meteor was nerfed in Brawl as it is weaker, more difficult to land, and the "nipple spike" was removed.
Charizard: Stomps below with both feet. It always meteor smashes but has bizarre properties. It is the only meteor smash in the game that is stronger on grounded opponents than airborne opponents. It is in fact the second strongest meteor on grounded opponents and sends them on a upwards diagonal trajectory. On airborne opponents, it power is only slightly above average and sends opponents on a pure vertical trajectory. It is a effective meteor smash in most situations due to large hitbox and Charizard's multiple jumps.
Diddy Kong: Diddy Kong slams both his fists below him, meteor smashing the opponent with slightly below average power. The meteor is fast, but can be a pain to land due to its small hitbox and Diddy Kong's jumping.
Donkey Kong: Stomps his foot below him while performing a strong-man pose in midair. It always meteor smashes and is very powerful, it received a power buff in Brawl, just like the rest of Donkey Kong's attacks.
Falco: Similar to Fox's, except only one hit, not several. It meteor smashes when the initial hitbox is landed with average power. If landed after the initial hitbox, it knockbacks the opponent with weak horizontal knockback. This is the second fastest meteor in Brawl start-up lag wise and when combined with Falco's incredible jumping abilities, it is the best meteor in short hopped situations as well as meteor smashing opponents recovering above. Like the returning spikes from Melee, this sends airborne opponents on a slight diagonal downwards trajectory instead of straight down.
Fox: Spins legs around, a bit diagonally, hitting multiple times. It is the weakest Meteor Smash in the game. It is Useful when shorthopped for combos, especially in conjunction with his u-tilt. Being a spike in Melee, it sends opponents on a slight diagonal downwards trajectory.
Ganondorf: Jams legs underneath him with an electrical effect. Has two hitboxes, having weaker knockback in the body than in his legs but by far the highest knockback scaling of any meteor in the game and always meteor smashes if it connects. It is the most powerful meteor smash in the game at percentages higher than 20% and the 3rd strongest at 0% with OHKO potential. It is the only meteor in the game that can reliably KO grounded opponents under 100%. On airborne opponents, it is the most powerful aerial in the game. Even on grounded opponents, there very few aerials that hit harder. This dair has massive landing lag but just like in Melee, it has low aerial ending lag, making it easy to recover from. This is most effective at meteor smashing opponents recovering from below and is arguably the best meteor in such situations. Ganondorf's jumping abilities limits its effectiveness in other situations.
Ice Climbers: A Stall-Then-Fall attack. Both position hammers below themselves and fall downwards a very slight distance. Knockback is upwards and a bit diagonal but is quite weak with a good amount of landing lag.
Ike: Faces screen while swinging his sword down. If hits during initial frames, it meteor smashes very powerfully. It is overall the third strongest meteor on grounded opponents and third strongest on airborne opponents at mid and above percentages. It has great vertical reach but lacks horizontal reach. It is somewhat risky due to its long ending lag and Ike's poor recovery.
Ivysaur: Blasts its bulb below himself. Surprisingly, does not launch Ivysaur upwards, but stalls it in the air, like Lucario's Down Aerial. It meteor smashes opponents right below him, but rather weakly. It meteor is risky due to its slow start-up and long ending lag combined with Ivysaur's extreme vulnerability to edge hogs when it is off stage.
Jigglypuff: Spins around. Identical to Kirby's, but faster and much weaker. Almost no knockback unless at percentages above 200%. Can lead to a Rest though difficult.
King Dedede: Spins hammer around under him for multiple hits. Works well in the ascent of a ground jump. First hit is a meteor smash, but an extremely weak and impractical one.
Kirby: Spins around in multiple circles, drilling with his feet. It weakly meteor smashes throughout the entire attack. Despite its low power, it is a very effective meteor as Kirby can meteor smash multiple times or fast-fall, dragging the opponent down with him and perform a footstool jump at the end of the meteor, often resulting in a KO.
Link: Kneels above his sword with it upside down. Extremely powerful, incredibly long duration, and low startup lag. When it is landed with the initial hitbox, it is the strongest aerial with vertical knockback in the game on grounded opponents, KOing grounded opponents even faster than Ganondorf's dair. It is even stronger than it was in Melee, but it still has its notorious landing lag that is made worst by the loss of L-Canceling. Link bounces off the opponents when he lands it, but falls through the opponent when fast-falled.
Lucario: Blows up two bursts of aura beneath its foot. Stalls all frames of vertical momentum and can be used to delay. It is very powerful when Lucario is at high percentages and it has almost no start-up or ending lag. With its power, speed, and versatility, it is one of the best aerials in the game, being an incredible asset to Lucario's aerial game.
Lucas: Four quick downward kicks. Can rack up to 20% damage, each kick doing exactly 5%. A weak meteor smash is produced with the last kick. Can be used easily to hit an edge-hogging opponent.
Luigi: Spins rapidly in place. Multiple effect-varying hitboxes surrounding feet, arms, and torso. If the arms connect, it becomes a strong meteor smash. It is easier to meteor smash than it was in Melee, but it was weakened significantly and is no longer a reliable KO attack when not used for meteor smashing.
Mario: The famous Mario Tornado, replaced by the F.L.U.D.D. as a down special, is now his dair. Outer hitboxes draw the opponent into the center. Very fast start-up and it produces decent knockback on the final hit.
Marth: Swings sword beneath him. It meteor smashes powerfully when the tip is connected but hits opponents horizontally weakly when nontipped. It is the fastest meteor in the game, start-up lag wise. Since it was a spike in Melee, it sends opponents on a slight diagonal downwards trajectory. However, this meteor is difficult to land and it has high ending and landing lag, making it a risky meteor to use offstage.
Meta Knight: Swings sword below him. Similar to Marth's Down Aerial, but will semi-spike instead of meteor smashing. Can be used on the ground (short-hopped) to set up a kill by edgeguarding. It has almost no start-up and very little ending lag, allowing Meta Knight to WoP his opponents. Is one of the best edgeguarding attacks in the game due to its semi-spike trajectory, decent power, and blinding speed.
Mr. Game & Watch: A Stall-Then-Fall (Donkey Kong Jr.), Grabs a key and plunges downwards. Upwards knockback; similar in most ways to Ice Climbers' stall-then-fall. Can be aimed slightly to the side and can be canceled in the middle with Fire. Can also perform the Stall-Then-Fall Glitch along with Toon Link. Is a Meteor Smash if the enemy is directly under him and during initial frames, and if you tap down on the d-pad after executed, the move will slow. It has significantly less risk than other stall-then-fall attacks.
Ness: Jams foot downwards. Somewhat laggy, but it has very high base knockback (2nd strongest meteor at 0%). However, it has very low knockback scaling and therefore cannot reliably KO grounded opponents. But its base knockback is so high, it is one of the deadliest meteors in the game. It has diagonal knockback if the move connects in later frames.
Olimar: Arcs a Pikmin below his knees. Similar to bair and fair. If the enemy is directly below Olimar, it becomes a meteor smash, with power varying by Pikmin - red is one of the strongest meteors in the game, purple/blue are powerful, yellow has average power, and white is weak. It difficult to land due to its small hitbox and even smaller sweetspot.
Peach: Thrusts legs rapidly below herself at a slight angle. It deals low damage and produces almost no knockback. Fourth kick has weak vertical knockback, and it can be used for combos.
Pikachu: Like his Forward aerial, but downwards with only one hit. Decent power, but has high landing lag.
Pit: Swings both halves of bow downwards. This attack surprisingly only produces vertical knockback. It produces good knockback as well, being one of Pit's few KO moves.
R.O.B.: Pauses momentarily, then blasts boosters powerfully downwards. It will meteor smash if hits. Can be difficult to use due to its very slow start-up, but it has a large hitbox and almost no risk.
Samus: Flips 90 degrees forward and faces the screen while swinging arm cannon in a 180 degree arc below her. It always meteor smashes with good power and with a wide hitbox. It has slow start-up but has almost no risk due to Samus's floaty falling speed and the dair's low ending lag. This is often Samus's only means of geeting an early KO.
Sheik: A Stall-Then-Fall. Sheik bends her body behind her center of gravity and leans leg out below her. Minimal knockback, and is dangerous to use. It comes down fast but has high landing lag.
Snake: Launches four subsequent kicks below himself. Similar to Lucas', but more damage, knockback, and doesn't meteor smash. Can be used very well in a short hop for a medium-high percent kill on a grounded opponent. Similar to his neutral aerial, this can do up to 28% damage having the last stomp higher knockback than his neutral aerial and last hit being able to connect in a short hop at the expense of being harder to trap with. Overall, this is one of the strongest aerials in the game.
Sonic: A Stall-Then-Fall. Lasts a long duration, but has high landing lag. After some frames, this move can be cancelled with his Spring Jump. It produces good horizontal knockback if landed in the initial frames, but it produces weak diagonal knockback when landed in subsequent frames.
Squirtle: Similar to Mario Tornado, but is better vertically ranged because of Squirtle's long tail with less horizontal range. It is also weaker than Mario's dair as well.
Toon Link: An powerful and fast Stall-Then-Fall. Similar to Link's, although rockets downwards, stopping only when used in very high altitudes, and can meteor smash near beginning few frames. Dangerous to use when not above ground, but if one have more lives than their opponent, it may be worth the risk to get an early KO. Like Link's, it bounces off the opponent; after the bounce, it works like a normal aerial attack.
Yoshi: The greatest damage racking aerial in the game. Flutter kicks very fast below him. Deals 33% and meteor smashes with all the hits. It is easier to land it than it was in Melee, but has a much lower damage maximum (it is still deals the most damage out of any aerial in the game).
Wario: Flips upside down and rotates once or twice. When the move connects, he makes contact up to 7 times. It works very well for racking up damage due to its speed and Wario's air speed.
Wolf: Similar to Diddy Kong's but weaker and easier to land. It is one of the easiest meteors to land in the game, but the opponent has to usually be above 50% for this attack to meteor successfully.
Zelda: Thrusts leg once below her vertically. Similar to her lighting kick, it is very powerful when sweetspotted, shocking the opponent as well. When sourspotted, it is an extremely weak meteor. It is interesting to know that it cannot be sweetspotted on nonshielding opponents that are on the ground. It is also weaker than her fair and bair.
Zero Suit Samus: A Stall-Then-Fall. Turns body in a linear form, then propels downward. If the opponent is hit in the air, they are carried down until they are knocked away once in contact with ground. Might make food for thought about "Zerocide" if it is used on a foe in the air and is carried downwards until both ZSS and foe KO.
Ganondorf's down aerial in Brawl can be auto canceled in short hops and KO below 100% who connects on the ground while in an aerial opponent making it a great approach move and as a spike it always spikes if connects with enough power to OHKO an opponent in most cases. It is the strongest aerial in both Melee and Brawl.
Lucario, Ivysaur, R.O.B.'s down aerials stop their movement in the aerial. However, it doesn't stop momentum while in the knockback from an enemy's attack.
Ike's down aerial, notorious for it´s amazing spike properties combined with sheer power, having OHKO properties.
Meta Knight's down aerial, that is an amazing gimping tool and overall the best move for him to use offstage.
Marth's down aerial, possibly the most feared with its speed, range, and ability to spike in both Melee and Brawl.
Yoshi's down aerial, the most damaging aerial in Melee and Brawl, dealing a maximum of 53% and 33%, respectively. it was also notorious for being the attack that won people who couldn't bat drop the Paper Mario trophy in the Home-run Contest in Melee.