Super Mario World”S Cape Mario World: 5 Steps (With Pictures)

This is a page for compiling information about various advanced techniques for cape flight. For the most part they are not needed for vanilla speedruns, but can be useful for some hacks or TASing. This page is currently UNDER CONSTRUCTION.

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1 Speed Management1.1 Maximizing Speed1.2 Managing Low Speeds1.2.3 Flying in Place/Backwards2 Catching Air2.1 Aircatch Timing2.2 Big Air3 Preserving Flight3.2 Pipe/Door Fly4 Cape Spin Techniques4.2 Throwing Held Items4.3 Speed Manipulation5 Yoshifly5.1 Starting a Yoshifly5.3 Catching Air6 Miscellaneous Techniques6.1 Low Takeoff6.2 Sticky Fly6.3 Clipping
Speed Management

While Mario is accelerating forward normally (walking, running, swimming, etc.) his speed typically increases by 1.5 subpixels/frame (hereafter “units”) each frame (with the remainder saved as “subspeed” for calculating future speeds). On the other hand, while Mario is cape flying, his speed increases by 4 units/frame. Mario”s cape speed is capped at 48, leading to a speed oscillation pattern which repeats as 48, 47, 51, 50, 49 while speed is capped and forward is held. Once forward is released, speed is conserved as long as Mario remains airborne (effectively indefinitely).

Maximizing Speed

If your goal is merely to reach the highest possible speed, then this video explains the basics of recognizing flight speeds between 51 and 47.

Video: How to Optimize Mario”s Flight Speed Source: IsoFrieze

The principles in this video can be helpful for recognizing other speeds. For instance, at 1 speed, the camera moves forward every 16 frames, the same as the jerking forward at 49 speed, while 3 speed corresponds to camera movements with the same frequency as the jerking at 51 speed. For speeds not near a multiple of 16, more experience watching the camera scroll carefully is necessary; for instance, 8, 24, and 40 speed all feel “smoother” than nearby speeds while still less smooth than 16, 32, or 48, due to the fact that the camera jerks every other frame (frequent enough that it does not feel “jerky” in the same way that e.g. 49 speed does). With enough practice and some knowledge an advanced player can determine their exact speed in potentially as few as 16 frames, though very few people are capable of doing so quickly for the entire range of relevant speeds from -13 to 51.

Being able to recognize speeds (or at least 51 speed) is a critical skill for top level speedruns. Once you are skilled at it, there are some more advanced techniques which can help you to reach 51 speed more quickly.

Optimal Tapping

If you have identified your current speed, the number of frames you need to hold right can be determined easily as SPEED – 46 (so long as your speed is between 47 and 50). Holding forward for an extra 5 frames (which does not change the final speed) can be helpful as well.

Speed Tap Forward
47 1 (or 6)
48 2 (or 7)
49 3 (or 8)
50 4 (or 9)

One special case is 1-frame tapping. Tapping forward for a single frame can be done by flicking the d-pad very quickly, and with practice can be done fairly consistently. This allows correcting 47 speed immediately, but is not helpful for speeds between 48 and 50.

4-Frame Tapping

A simpler alternative to optimal tapping. If you have identified that Mario”s current speed is not 51, you can guarantee increasing speed by tapping forward for exactly 4 frames. This will have the overall effect of increasing speed by 1 unit, so e.g. 47 will become 48. Mastering this is significantly easier than mastering optimal tapping since the number of frames to press right is the same every time.

By the same principle, if you have identified that Mario”s speed is between 47 and 49, a 3 frame forward tap will always increase your speed by 2 units. Beware though, doing this at 50 speed will instead set you to 47. A 5 frame tap will not change Mario”s final speed. Thus, a 4 frame tap is actually more lenient than one might expect; overshooting by a frame is always fine, and undershooting by a frame is fine as long as you are below 50 speed.

Initial Speed Optimization

Until Mario enters cape flight state, his speed oscillation pattern is *generally* that of p-speed running, namely 48, 47, 49, 48, 47. This will not be the case in some scenarios e.g. when Mario enters flight before reaching capped p-speed or (by using the takeoff meter) without full p-meter, but in a majority of cases it does apply.

This oscillation pattern can be exploited to increase your chance of getting an initial 51 speed. Because your speed the frame you enter cape flight is always between 47 and 49, the number of frames of cape flight before you reach 51 speed the first time is always between 1 and 3. There is a 40% chance for 1 or 2 frames and a 20% chance for 3 frames assuming your p-speed oscillation is random. Releasing right after 4 or 5 frames of cape flight will never give 51 speed. (Of course, you can also hold forward for an extra 5 frames, and the eventual result is the same, which may or may not be easier to time.)

To make use of this technique, you need to have a sense of exactly when Mario will enter cape flight. This is not as difficult as it might sound. Assuming you just press and hold B for the initial takeoff, he cape descent framerule gives a large amount of leeway for when to release B to stop ascending and begin cape flight on the same frame. For an experienced runner, getting the correct cape descent framerule for an initial takeoff is already a useful skill and one that most people learn without even trying to.

With this knowledge, one can take several approaches. If you always release forward after 3 frames, your initial flight speed will be between 49 and 51, better than random (though there is only a 20% chance of 51). If your goal is just to maximize the chance of getting initial 51 speed (e.g. for an IL speedrun), then releasing right after 1 or 2 frames gives a 40% chance each of getting initial 51 speed. Releasing after 2 frames is often especially good, because if you don”t get initial 51 speed, you get 50 speed (40% chance), with only a 20% chance of getting 47. Either of these 2 techniques gives an average initial speed of 49.8, significantly higher than what you would expect from a uniformly random initial speed (49) that you would get if you did not do anything to try to optimize initial speed.

Also, note that the cape descent framerule and p-speed oscillation tend to help, rather than hurt, your ability to control Mario”s initial speed in a controlled environment like the beginning of a level. In many cases, getting the initial 51 speed does not require a consistent initial B press frame; there is usually a 2-3 frame window for the initial B press where the correct frame to release forward after entering cape flight does not change. As a result, while one might think that getting consistent initial 51 speed is double frame perfect, in most cases it actually only requires one frame-perfect input, the one to release forward, which is relative to the time since the start of the level and so can be timed using visual or music cues. This is obviously the fastest option, but can only be used reliably in levels where you can completely control Mario”s movement from the beginning of the level, such as simple flyover levels like Vanilla Secret 2.

Managing Low Speeds

In speedruns it is rarely helpful to go at low speeds (the most common application being to recover from major mistakes), but in difficult cape hacks it is a necessary skill.

Losing Speed Quickly

Often, one wants to go from having a high flight speed to a low one quickly. The easiest way to do so is by tapping B while holding backward on the d-pad to reduce speed by 6 units per B press. The B button can be pressed any number of times, and so long as Mario is not travelling with a backward speed of more than 7 units. It is useful to plan exactly how many B taps will be done rather than just guessing. If Mario is initially travelling at 51 speed, mashing B 8 times in quick succession will result in 3 speed. With that said, if you only know that Mario”s speed is in the oscillation range (that is, between 47 and 51), 8 B taps will sometimes lead to 0 or -1 speed if the initial speed was 47 or 48. Instead, many players will prefer in some circumstances to do 7 B taps to get a speed in the range of 5-9, and then more carefully adjust their speed from there through B taps and forward taps.

With this technique, the speed that one can mash the B button directly determines how quickly Mario”s speed can be eliminated. For this reason, it is important to choose a controller grip which allows B to be mashed while holding X or Y. Clawing the X button with your index finger is a good idea, at which point the B button can be mashed with the thumb. While possible, it is difficult to adjust the right hand controller grip in the middle of flight, so always clawing X while flying is advisable.

An alternative method of using cape spins to reduce speed is described below in the cape spin section, but for several reasons B tapping tends to be the better option in normal cases.

Speed Mod 2 and Mod 4

One of the most dreaded situations during cape flight is getting 0 speed without expecting it. 0 speed takes a significant amount of time to distinguish from 1/-1 speed (up to 16 frames plus reaction time), and at exactly 0, attempting to catch air will generally lead to Mario stalling, which can be difficult to recover from. In many cases, 1 speed is the most desirable speed, while 0 is deadly. With a bit of effort and understanding, one can preempt this. This can also be used in niche situations where exact speeds are desirable, and understanding it will help in determining exact speeds more quickly.

Note that, so long as Mario”s speed is not capped (over 47), B is not used, and Mario doesn”t collide with any walls or enemies which change speed, his speed can only change by a multiple of 4 units. Hence, given a particular known speed, the only final speeds after any number of frames in which none of the exceptions above are mentioned are those that are the same mod 4. This is true regardless of turn-arounds and d-pad inputs. For instance, with an initial speed of 1 unit rightward, it is possible for Mario to change speed to 9 units rightward or 3 units leftward, but never to any even speed or to e.g. 7 units rightward. This means that to avoid 0 speed, all one needs to do is make sure to have a speed which is 1, 2, or 3 mod 4 but not 0 mod 4.

In practice though, usually some amount of B-tapping is also needed while flying at low speed (at least outside of yoshi fly). Each B tap reduces Mario”s speed by 6, so long as it is not more than 7 units backwards on the frame B is pressed. Since 6 is 2 mod 4, this means that after some number of (uncapped) B taps, the speed will no longer be consistent mod 4, but will be consistent mod 2. In particular, if Mario initially has an odd speed, his speed will remain odd, and hence will never hit exactly 0.

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This may make it seem like B-tapping is slightly detrimental, but in fact with care it can be used to manipulate speed mod 2 and mod 4. If Mario is at the backward speed cap (8 units or more), instead of reducing speed by 6 units, Mario”s forward speed increases by 1 unit. One can shift from an even speed to an odd one using this fact. The number of B taps needed to change the parity of Mario”s speed is listed in this table (were negative denotes a speed opposite the direction of motion):

Speed B taps to flip speed parity
-8 or lower 1
-7 to -2 2
-1 to 4 3
5 to 10 4

In particular, if your goal is to go from an even speed to an odd one, as soon as Mario reaches a negative (not 0) speed, it always requires exactly 2 B taps to adjust the speed parity.

If you want to control Mario”s speed mod 4 rather than just mod 2, the same table initially applies, but after the correct number of B taps is done, additional B taps will increase speed mod 4 by 1 until the speed reaches -7, at which point it will drop to -13 again. Knowing this one can work out the number of B taps required to get the desired speed mod 4.

While this may seem like a lot of work to avoid 0 speed, the key here is that everything here only has to be done once, after which Mario can fly and change speeds for an indefinite amount of time with better knowledge and without risk of 0 speed unless and until one of the conditions above is violated (at which point it will need to be manipulated again).

If Mario begins a room from a stationary position midair (such as a vertical pipe exit), he will spend 1 frame before entering flight (if there is takeoff meter remaining). Based on this, the player can immediately manipulate either an odd speed by holding forward or an even one by holding neutral as the room begins. Holding forward for just 1 frame will give 1 speed, and each subsequent frame adds 4 speed (of course until 49 is reached). Be aware that romhacks with modifications to give Mario flight automatically (rather than through pipe/doorfly) may not respect this though.

Flying in Place/Backwards

It is possible for Mario to move backwards relative to the direction he is facing. This technique is useful in conjunction with cape-spins to turn around, because one can react to whichever direction Mario faces. In some cases it may be used to eliminate the need to turn at all. This is also useful for precise movement, allowing one to carefully position Mario in a particular spot while flying.

The basic rule of thumb is that Mario must always be travelling forward with at least 1 speed while catching air. However, if immediately after catching air, one holds backwards and presses B quickly, Mario”s speed will go negative within a few B presses, lowering by 6 units each press. If done well, Mario will move backwards slightly while rising during the aircatch. Then, at the desired height, forward should be pressed very briefly to get back to a positive speed. Each frame forward is held increases Mario”s speed by 4. Mario”s capped backward speed ranges from -7 to -13, so in the best case only 2 frames of forward are needed, while in the worst case 4 frames are required. Once Mario”s speed is back to positive, quickly shift on the d-pad back to backward to start another cape pump, and repeat. If it is not necessary to travel backward, only in place, then it may be better to press B a controlled number of times rather than mashing, making the needed forward taps more consistent.

2 B-tap Method

By far the biggest risk with backward flying is hitting exactly 0 speed. This method allows you to keep your speed always odd, but has the disadvantage of not achieving optimal backward speeds. If you begin at any positive speed, you can always do two B-taps safely, and your speed will remain odd. So long as your initial speed was less than 12, you will end up with some negative speed between -11 and -1. Unfortunately, this cannot reach the optimal -13 speed. If you tap forward too long, you may get more speed than you would want. If you end up with at least 5 speed, you can safely do 3 B-taps and maintain odd speed parity. The main issue here is that it will prove challenging to avoid moving forward too much; your forward taps must be done precisely or else you will gain too much speed.

4 Frame Forward Press Method

The highest possible negative speed for Mario is -13. That means that if you tap forward for 4 (or more) frames, you will always end up with a positive speed. That speed could be as high as 9 if your negative speed is at -7, but it is perfectly possible to fly backwards if you hit 9 speed (or even potentially higher if you mash B quickly enough). With this method, it is then safe to do any number of B taps after catching air. However, you should do at least 4. With 4 B-taps, any speed up to +17 will end up in the range between -7 and -13. With only 3, the highest such speed is +11, which you can easily accidentally go above simply by pressing forward a frame too long. More B-taps won”t tend to improve your final negative speed, but they do make it safer if you do longer forward presses. In principle, as many as 10 B-taps can help, but only if you pressed forward far longer than needed.

Negative Speed Flowcharts

Backwards flying is difficult to do consistently without accidentally missing an aircatch. The above methods are workable, but very inefficient if your goal is actually to move backwards an appreciable distance. One method to alleviate this is to use a speed flowchart. If you know your current speed, you can determine the number of B-taps to reach a desired speed. -11 speed is a good choice for a desired negative speed because with an ideal 3-frame forward tap you will end up at 1 speed. If you overtap slightly you will end up at 5, 9, 13, etc, which can be distinguished easily from 1.

To start with, you will need to reach the desired speed. One thing to note is that, while Mario”s negative speed is capped, it is easy to distinguish when Mario has -13 speed, because on this particular B-tap Mario will noticeably accelerate backwards, while other B-taps only slightly reduce Mario”s negative speed. From -13 speed, it requires 2 B-taps to reach -11. This allows one to get to the desired -11 speed, after which the flowchart can be followed.

Alternatively, if you know Mario”s exact (positive) speed, you can determine how many B-presses are needed easily. This flowchart shows the number of B-presses needed both for positive speeds which can be reached from -11 speed (in the center) and others that cannot (to the right).

A very similar method can be used for -13 speed, though it tends to be slightly less convenient.


There is nothing stopping one from using other negative speeds, but these two are probably the most useful. -12 and -8 speed are potentially quite bad because of the risk of hitting exactly 0 speed. -10 does not carry this risk, but does put you on an even speed, which is usually still a bad idea. -9 and -7 are both workable, but because these are not as fast as -11 or -13, covering distance with these speeds will take longer. A particularly committed player could combine multiple flowcharts, switching between target negative speeds as the situation calls.

A different approach, still flowchart-based but requiring less precise determination of speed, is shown in the following chart. The chart shows the minimum number of B-taps to get to one of the four target speeds (or two when the speed is 5 mod 6). This still assumes you have odd speed and seek to keep it odd.


The lesson here is that, if the player has speed between +1 and +5, 2 B-taps will work. Between 5 and 11, 3 B-taps will. Between 11 and 17, 4 will, and so on. The player thus needs to be able to distinguish speeds +3 and below from +7 and above, and so on.

Catching Air

An aircatch (also known as a cape pump) is when Mario tilts backwards and begins ascending while in cape flight. Aircatches are normally triggered by pressing and briefly holding backward on the d-pad while flying.

Note: while there are many differences between NTSC and PAL physics, catching air is one very obvious difference. As with everything on this page (and most of this wiki) this page deals only with the NTSC versions.

Aircatch Timing

To catch air, Mario must be in flight phase of at least 3 for more than 1 frame, and then begin pressing backward on the d-pad. The flight phase is indicated by the angle of Mario”s cape animation while flying. Most commonly, when Mario “bobbles” or pulls back without catching air, he was only in flight phase 2 when back was pressed. Occasionally though, when back is pressed on the first frame of phase 3, Mario”s animation will visually change for a frame to the phase 3 animation, but will not successfully catch air. In this case, back needed to be pressed (at least) 1 frame later.

Watching Mario”s animation thus gives a good indicator of how optimally one is catching air. Ideally phase 3 should be visible for as short as possible (but not a single frame).

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Ceiling Hits

Often one wants to stay close to a ceiling while flying, and accomplishes this by rapidly catching air and then hitting the ceiling. One example in speedruns is in Roy”s Castle. In this case, it is possible to catch air more often than normal due to hitting the ceiling. In this case, the cape sound effect provides a useful tool for determining precisely how long it took from starting the aircatch to hitting the ceiling (which consequently informs on how far Mario fell prior to the aircatch, etc.) Normally, the cape sound effect does a quick glissando of a full octave up and back down. However, if the ceiling is hit, this sound effect will be cancelled after ascending only part of the octave. Based on the relative pitch of the starting sound and the sound as it is cancelled by the ceiling, one can determine precisely how many frames the aircatch lasted.

This is useful for hitting very precise windows without good visual cues, for example this strategy in Roy”s castle:

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