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Spacing is the utilization of a character's range in comparison to the opponent's range to ensure a character's attack makes contact while the opponent's attack does not.
Spacing is performed by accounting the range of the attack the player plans to use and take steps to position themselves at the optimum distance from their opponent. The goal is to withdraw to the maximum distance possible; ideally, in this position their best attacks can hit while their opponents' cannot. Air speed is also a factor with characters like Jigglypuff who can use their amazing air mobility to "fade in and out" with their aerial attacks. While other characters like Donkey Kong and Ichigo can rely on sheer range alone. For example; Ichigo's neutral aerial has good range in front of him making it a good spacing tool. Spacing is considered effective for characters such as Marth.
Spacing is character-specific and influenced by the stage being played. Platforms will drastically affect spacing.
The key to mastering spacing is experience with learning the range of other characters and how to space against them when faced with a given situation.
Tilts can also be used for spacing to great affect especially Donkey Kong and Ichigo's forward tilts which are excellent spacing tools due to their good range. Special moves like Zero Suit Samus's Plasma Whip can be used to similar results. Almost all projectiles are good tools for spacing due to their range.
Spacing is known for being specially effective against characters with poor range, such as Wario, making it more difficult for these characters to approach and land hits on their opponents.