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Kirby guarding

Guarding is Kirby's primary defensive action in games such as Kirby Super Star and its remake, Kirby's Return to Dream Land, the challenge stages of Kirby's Dream Collection, Kirby: Triple Deluxe, Kirby Fighters Deluxe, and Kirby: Planet Robobot. By holding down the guard button, Kirby assumes a defensive posture until the button is released. While guarding, Kirby takes no damage from weak attacks and minimal damage from most stronger attacks, in addition to retaining his ability and not getting knocked off the ground. Enemies that contact a guarding Kirby also take minimal damage.

Generally, guarding is ineffective against attacks which involve grabbing. Guarding also has no effect on environmental elements such as wind or lava. Kirby can only guard while standing still. However, in Triple Deluxe and beyond, if Kirby guards in midair or moves to the side while guarding, he will Dodge.

Abilities with special guards

  • Bell - In Kirby: Triple Deluxe, while guarding with Bell, Kirby hides inside of his bell cap, and cannot be harmed. Releasing the Guard or being hit will cause the bell to reverberate, and damage nearby foes.
  • ESP - If an enemy hits Kirby shortly after the guard is activated, Kirby will vanish, then reappear and counter with a shock wave that deals substantial damage. When timed perfectly, the counterattack is even more powerful, and Kirby will shout as he performs it.
  • Ice - In Kirby's Return to Dream Land and onward, guarding with Ice produces a spherical ice formation around Kirby which blocks more damage than a regular guard.
  • Leaf - In Kirby's Return to Dream Land and onward, while guarding with Leaf, Kirby is intangible instead of invincible; attacks will simply pass through him regardless of their power. This guard also makes Kirby immune to grabs. Releasing the guard causes minor damage to nearby enemies.
  • Mirror - Guarding with Mirror provides a shining bubble of energy around Kirby's body. This bubble negates damage from even strong attacks and can reflect projectiles.
  • Ninja - Starting with Kirby's Return to Dream Land, guarding with Ninja right before being hit by an attack will cause Kirby to use Clone Technique, which transforms him into a log that damages the attacking enemy. However, it can only be used for a brief moment.
  • Parasol - In Kirby: Triple Deluxe and onward, guarding with Parasol will cause Kirby to shield himself with his parasol.
  • Smash - In Kirby: Planet Robobot, guarding with this ability produces a bubble shield resembling the ones in Super Smash Bros..
  • The Robobot Armor has a special Guard called Hunker Down, which causes its limbs to retract. If it is hit in this mode, it and Kirby take no damage, and it may rotate a short distance.
    • The Stone Mode of the Robobot Armor also has a move called Rock Blocker, which acts similarly to a standard Guard.
  • Spider - Guarding with this ability encases Kirby in a string pod, preventing more damage than a standard guard.
  • Sword Hero - In Team Kirby Clash and its expanded spin-off, Team Kirby Clash Deluxe, guarding in this role will create a large bubble shield which other Kirbys can take cover under to protect them from harm as well.

In the Super Smash Bros. series

The shield mechanic in the Super Smash Bros. series is heavily based on the guard mechanic, with the energy bubble very reminiscent of the Mirror ability's Reflect Guard. The primary difference is that shields shrink as they are held or take damage and will eventually break if not deactivated, stunning the user.

Eventually, this concept went full circle in Kirby: Triple Deluxe, when the ability to Dodge after guarding, developed in Smash Bros. made its way into this game.