Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Tier List – Best Characters 2020
Our picks for the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tier list meta as it stands.
Here’s our constantly updating Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Tier List, currently updated for patch 8.1.
Our Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Tier List is based on a combination of factors. We’ve taken into account tournament results from the top level of play, but also what we believe to be the potential of each character based on their future optimal play.
Keep in mind that for casual players, it’s usually better to choose a character based on who feels best to play as. If you happen to enjoy playing as Little Mac, fair enough – and he’s had some successful representation in tournament settings, so you’re not guaranteed failure if you pick a lower tier character.
Played properly, top tier characters do have a huge number of advantages over their lower-ranked counterparts, from recovery options to stronger neutral play. Even so, you’re not going to find any absolutely horrendous, unviable characters in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. It’s an excellently balanced game for the most part.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Tier List
We’ve got our Smash Ultimate characters in seven tiers. Top tier characters are the ones seeing the most success in the pro scene, as well as fighters with high potential if played by skilled players. Bottom tier characters are the worst in the game, but given the balance of the game, you can make them viable.
You can jump around the tiers with the navigation below!
Top Tier – Best Characters in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
These are the best of the best. If you master these characters’ toolsets you’ll be at a pretty solid advantage. The top players in the world have shown how these characters perform, and have seen a whole lot of success. Keep in mind that these rankings are in a vague order, but don’t take placings as gospel. If Pokemon Trainer is one slot above Wario, they’re pretty damn similar.
Represented by Samsora at the top level of Smash Ultimate, we’ve got Peach here given her ludicrous combo ability when played by a skilled player. Her capacity to cancel a jump into her unique float ability, as well as having extremely fast aerials and turnip projectiles give her a huge amount of potential in the right hands. Peach has all the tools needed to succeed if you’re willing to put the practice in.
Joker is insanely powerful in Smash Ultimate. His back aerial attack comes out extremely fast and is safe on shield. He’s got a fantastic amount of combo potential with the first hit of his forward aerial which leads into a great deal of follow ups, and his up aerial can drag the enemy down for a kill setup. His main strength is Arsene, though. Joker gets his Persona out and then deals ridiculous damage, killing with back aerial super early and using his fast movement and low-profile dash animation to remain elusive whilst punishing wrong moves from enemies.
Pikachu is a real pain to fight in the right hands. ESAM is the number 1 with this little rat, and goes into more detail in his various character guides. Pikachu’s ability to play at range by spamming Thunder Jolt, as well as get up close and personal with strong combos and kill setups means he’s one of the toughest characters to face. His down throw leads to huge combo potential too. Pikachu’s Up-B, Quick Attack, is great for recovery, escaping, mixups, and offence, and his neutral aerial loops can rack up damage early on. All in all, Pikachu has all the tools you’ll need to beat your friends, but things like Quick Attack angles take a lot of practice to master, and it’s very easy to mess up.
Shulk is unique in that he’s not usually seen in the final brackets of top level tournaments. Regardless, his Monado Arts mean his skill ceiling is one of the highest in the game, requiring players to swiftly change depending on the state of the fight. His Shield art can break combos, and racking up damage with Buster is extremely fast. Smash is a dangerous one too, as it increases knockback for both players – you’ll only want to use it in situations when you’re certain you’ll be able to get the kill. Other than the Monado Arts, he’s got a bloody giant sword and a whole lot of versatility – we’re excited to see how Shulk does when his gameplay is optimised.
Palutena is the subject of a whole lot of whining by the Smash Ultimate community. Most of this is due to how easy she is to win with when spamming neutral aerial. It’s far from that simple though. Palutena has a whole lot of tools she uses to keep opponents guessing, with strong range thanks to Explosive Flame and her Neutral-B, as well as juggling and kill capability with up aerial. She has invincibility on her dash attack and back aerial too, allowing her to trade extremely effectively. Honestly, the only struggle Palutena has is with ground game in neutral, and skilled players can avoid this with relative ease.
Zero Suit Samus
Zero Suit Samus is ridiculously fast, and her Down-B has such a ridiculous range she usually doesn’t remain in a state of disadvantage for long. She’s got great zoning with her tether grab as well, and her Up-B is a reliable kill option at higher damage ranges. Marss is a top player who mains Zero Suit, and has seen a whole lot of success through taking advantage of the character’s mobility and early kill potential. It’s worth picking up Zero Suit Samus if you can handle the fast pace of her game.
Three characters in one, Pokemon Trainer gives you a whole lot of options throughout the match. Squirtle can rack up a whole lot of damage with his combos, and Ivysaur has massively powerful juggling and kill power. Charizard got buffed recently too, so is able to reliably stick around and cause issues for your opponents until the late percentage ranges, with a massively fast up smash attack. You do have to learn three times the usual number of techniques and moves, but you’ll be able to keep your opponent on their toes the entire time, and if you master the tougher matchups then Pokemon Trainer becomes a huge issue for your opponents. Also, Ivysaur’s downward aerial has a savage spike hitbox.
This filthy boy is a mean scrapper. His Down-B, Waft, unleashes a giant, disgusting fart that’ll easily kill at low percentages, and can be set up through his up tilt attack. He’s also got some nasty combos with his up aerial, and at his down tilt combos into dash attack for a reliable kill setup. His recovery is surprisingly strong too, as he gets an extra jump when dismounting his bike from Side-B. Check out some sets from Tweek or Glutonny if you want to see the best Wario has to offer.
The ink mechanic, which makes enemies take more damage after you douse them in paint, is key to Inkling’s strength in Smash Ultimate. She’s also got a whole lot else going for her – Side-B buries unaware enemies, and her up aerial is a decent kill move. She’s got a whole host of safe moves, both grounded and aerial, and her recovery goes a surprisingly long way. Her most important piece of kit is her dash though – it’s so low to the ground you’ll be able to avoid loads of attacks with high hitboxes, and your opponent will struggle to follow the character with all the ink splashing everywhere. If you can get to grips with Inkling’s play style, you’ll see a lot of success.
Borderline Top Tier
Characters in this tier are up there with the very best. We feel there’s a noticeable difference between these fighters and those in the top tier, but it’s still more than possible to see a huge amount of success with these characters, and top level players have proven it.
Fox offers a simple game plan, focusing on his speedy tools to force errors from enemies and punish accordingly. His dash attack and neutral aerial are relatively safe moves for neutral and can be followed up with a variety of other moves, while his fast falling trait gives him more mobility than you’d expect. Fox is represented by Light at the top level, and it shows the power of Fox’s kit. His forward smash attack has a surprising amount of range too, letting you punish unsafe enemy moves or cover a few different ledge getup options from your opponent. He does struggle to finish off stocks sometimes, but if you can overcome that, you’ll be golden.
Solid Snake is a weird one. He has so many zoning tools and when used properly can make Smash Ultimate feel like a one-player game. His C4 can catch out enemies and you’ll be able to B-reverse using it to mix up your landings, and his Side-B Nikita Missile is up there with Ness’ PK Thunder as a strong edgeguarding tool. Grenades come out frame 1 too, meaning opponents’ combos can be broken if they leave even a single frame between moves. He’s hard to master but hugely rewarding if you play him well. Also, at low levels you can just spam his dash attack, because lots of people really struggle to deal with it.
Mr. Game and Watch
Once thought of as a low-tier gimmick character, Meister has brought the strengths of this beepy boy to everyone’s attention. Mr. Game and Watch has the best out-of-shield option in the game, with his Up-B hitting enemies up with him and setting up combos with backward aerial or up aerial juggles. His smash attacks are massively fast too, with down smash burying enemies and up smash having numerous frames of invincibility of his head. Couple this with some silly ledgetrapping tools thanks to his Neutral-B-frying-pan-sausage-throw and you’ve got a very tough nut to crack. He’s a bit light and dies early, but with his variety of tools, Mr. Game and Watch is a nightmare matchup.
Lucina is the most fundamental of fundamentals. She’s got a big ol’ sword, fast aerials, and an all around solid foundation. If you’re decent at Lucina, you’ll be decent with a lot of characters. Her consistency means you’ll find her easy to learn, but she’s a challenge to master, as many of your opponents will have a lot of practice against the character. Another slight problem is her lack of a comeback mechanic – she plays very ‘honest’, aside from a rare shield break from her Neutral-B. Generally, you’ll need to outplay your opponent, and it’s hugely satisfying to pull off.
Another member of sword gang, Roy brings a great deal of damage and power, combined with rapid speed. His Side-B can kill extremely early at the side of the stage, and the extra damage dealt at the hilt of his blade can lead to some fast stocks for you. Goblin and Kola represent Roy at a very high level, and for a beginner looking to pick up a character, he can feel really good to play. His aerial attacks are fast, he’s got a decent ground game, and his sword has decent range. The main drawback is the low damage dealt at the tip of his sword, but it’s surprisingly easy to get used to after a while.
Chrom is almost identical to Roy, with a couple key differences. Firstly, he has a different Up-B, which can be seen as a negative (it’s worse as a recovery move) and a positive (it’s a strong out-of-shield option and you can gimp opponents with it at the ledge). He also doesn’t have Roy’s hilt mechanic, meaning he’s going to deal equal damage wherever on his sword he hits. This means his maximum damage isn’t quite as impressive, but you’ll be able to have a more consistently good time with Chrom. Mr. R and Rivers are good pro players to take examples from if you’re looking to improve your Chrom play.
Wolf has a similar style to Fox. You’ll want to play him at a slightly longer range though, as his Neutral-B laser projectile can force enemies to approach and you can get a fair few punishes for whiffed moves. His up and down smash covers pretty large areas next to him, with his down smash attack even hitting below the ledge. He’s got a fair few solid kill options and fast aerials to rack up damage, just don’t mindlessly Side-B off the stage like we seem to keep doing…
Noodly ol’ Min Min from the ARMS series is really solid, and if a top player picks her up we’ll likely see great results. ESAM has been a big fan of the character in the early days, and while we haven’t seen any major offline tournaments recently, her ability to get one hit and edgeguard with her giant spinny Ram Ram arm is worthy of a high placement regardless. She’s a weird character to pick up compared to the rest of the Smash roster, but give her a go and maybe you’ll be trolling people’s recoveries for stocks to come.
High Tier characters are pretty strong in most situations. They’ve usually got decent matchups against most of the cast, but struggle in some situations when facing top tiers. They’ve got a lot of potential though, and the highest level players can win consistently and impressively with these characters.
R.O.B. is a giant hitbox waiting to get beaten up. He’s got a whole lot of janky kit to make up for it though. His neutral aerial covers a ludicrous distance, his Side-B acts as a reflector as well as a kill move, and his Down-B Gyro lets him deal silly amounts of damage when combined with his down tilt. WaDi is a great watch if you want to see the ridiculous things R.O.B. is capable of, from huge recovery distances to early kills.
The main man himself, Mario is a great pick if you’re just learning the basics of the game. His moveset is simple, he’s got combos, he’s got a gimmick with his Down-B, and he’s actually pretty good if you play him right. It’s kind of fun pulling off Mario combos too. Dark Wizzy is great to study if you’re after some sweet Mario action. Also, he can wear a Waluigi costume, which is always a bonus.
Pichu has fallen off the charts slightly since the baby rat’s early power level. Nerfs have hit the poor guy hard, as evidenced by VoiD’s 29 rank drop in the PGR after the changes. Even so, VoiD and RFang have represented the character well, utilising his place as a version of Pikachu that’s even more of a glass cannon. Be careful picking this one up – you’ll have to play extremely well and punish your enemies’ mistakes every opportunity you get given all the self-damage you’ll be taking, as well as the fact that Pichu is the lightest character in the entire game. It’s super stylish when you win with him though, so that’s always going to be fun. Just remember – Pichu’s Up-B doesn’t deal damage like Pikachu’s does, so it’s not something you should use in offensive situations.
Back at it again with the gimmicky characters everyone hates playing against. Tea has been showing the world just how scary Pac-Man can be, combining his speedy aerial attacks, projectiles from Neutral-B and the bizarre situations brought about by his Down-B fire hydrant to devastating effect. By perfecting combos brought about by Pac-Man’s unique set of abilities, you’ll be able to capitalise on one mistake to ruin an enemy’s day. His grab also lasts a whole lot of frames, meaning it beats out spot dodges and forces opponents to avoid it altogether. Get practicing with using the different fruits from the Neutral-B and Pac-Man could take you to new heights.
All three versions of Link are pretty similar in moveset. We find adult Link the best at the moment, as his remote bomb from Down-B offers a great deal of versatility and zoning to the stage, since you can detonate it whenever you want. He’s also great at killing, with a long-lasting up smash, an up and downward aerial that has priority over a load of other attacks, and an Up-B that carries enemies towards the top blast zone. He’s not particularly highly represented at the very highest level, but there’s a lot of potential here so you might as well give him a shot.
Olimar is a weird and irritating little fella. He throws his small plant babies at you and you can’t really do a bloody thing about it. Shuton and Dabuz have continued performing well with Olimar despite his nerfs, and the strategy behind perfect use of his Pikmin means there’s a whole lot of thought behind playing this character. Sure, his up and forward smash attacks are super strong, but cycling through the right Pikmin and staying out of harm’s way when you’re unable to get yourself more Pikmin are difficult tasks, and if you put the effort in, Olimar can do a brilliant job for you. He does have a very exploitable and vulnerable recovery though, so bear this in mind.
Ness may be a PK Fire spammer in Elite Smash, but there’s a lot more to him than that. His PK Thunder edgeguarding is massively powerful, and his short stature makes him hard to hit. BestNess showcases this excellently, using the character’s weird hitboxes and janky style to great effect consistently. He’s a surprisingly good matchup against some top tier characters like Pikachu too, so picking up Ness can help you enormously in a match with top tier fans.
Duck Hunt Duo
Duck Hunt joins the Pac-Man squad of weird characters with a bizarre playstyle. Their Neutral-B creates an exploding can which locks off a great deal of the stage, and the character is surprisingly mobile to boot. Their recovery is pretty exploitable, and you’ll struggle with players who know the matchup well, but the Duck Hunt gang are worth trying out if you want something slightly different. Raito is the best representative of the character at the moment, so keep an eye out at pro level tournaments.
Mega Man is a polarising character to pick. His matchups against some top tiers are amazing, evidenced by Kameme’s demolition of world number 1 MKLeo at EVO 2019. Against other characters though, he struggles massively. He’ll get beaten up by anyone who can handle his projectiles. Mr. Game and Watch’s Down-B wins out so often against Mega Man, and anyone who can force the character to brawl up close is in for a treat. We’d recommend co-maining Mega Man with another character considering the problems he faces with some members of the cast.
Hey look, it’s a heavy! Bowser has shocked the world by being really bloody good in Smash Ultimate. His enormous damage output from a whole bunch of his kit, from Neutral-B fire breath to his big ol’ claws, Bowser can kill early and survive late, thanks to being the heaviest character in the game. His Up-B is a fantastic out-of-shield option, and Side-B as a command grab can take opponents by surprise. LeoN is the best Bowser around, so take pointers – we’ve found him pretty easy to pick up and learn given his focus on big damaging moves rather than intricate combo-based gameplay.
Terry Bogard, the fourth DLC fighter in Smash Ultimate, sits at a pretty decent place on our tier list. He’s still relatively new, but since joining the roster he’s been performing fairly well competitively. His ability to cancel moves into special moves is especially enticing, particularly for fans of more traditional fighting games. Riddles has shown a little of what this character can do, and if you’re comfortable with a few button inputs, you might just love this big beefy fighty man.
Sure, there are slight differences between Ken and Ryu, but generally speaking you’ll be able to play both if you can play one. It’s another case of having to deal with fighting game-style inputs, but many struggle against the insane combos possible with these two. If you’re any good at Street Fighter, these are the characters for you. If not, it’ll take a lot more time but you’ll probably feel a decent sense of accomplishment when you do get to grips with the character.
- 1. Smash Ultimate Guide Hub – Smash Ultimate Guide Hub
- 2. Smash Ultimate Tier List – Smash Ultimate Tier List
- 3. Best Smash Ultimate Control Setup – Smash Ultimate Control Setup
- 4. B-reversing and wavebouncing guide – B-reversing and wavebouncing in Smash Ultimate
- 5. Smash Directional Influence (SDI) Guide – Smash Directional Influence (SDI) Guide
- 6. How to train your Amiibo – Smash Ultimate Amiibo Training and Spirit Combinations
Upper Mid Tier
These characters struggle quite a lot more than those above them. Usually, not many top players main them, and if they do, they’re a secondary pick, or a unique case. Even so, at any other level of competition you’ll be using a less common character your opponents might not expect, so give them a shot if you enjoy playing any of these characters.
Luigi is so much fun to watch if the person in control is good. The huge amounts of damage off of a single grab are outrageous, and the potential for even more hilarious kill setups make Luigi one of the more hype characters out there. Elegant is the only real Luigi competitor at the top level, but it’s pretty doable to learn the basic aspects of his grab combos. Remember – you can also use the plunger from Luigi’s grab as a projectile that’ll hit enemies as they try to grab the ledge, something worth trying if you knock them off stage. His Up-B also kills super early, but only from point-blank range.
Yoshi has a super strong neutral aerial attack. Spamming it out of shield is one of the character’s favourite pastimes. You’ll also see a lot of Up-B egg throwing and utilising his double jump (which resists knockback) to string together up aerials. He’s pretty simple to get to grips with, and the fact that he can’t be shield poked means you’re far safer holding shield than most characters. It’s also very satisfying to Neutral-B someone and egg lay them off stage if they don’t mash out of it in time.
Sheik dies extremely early, and deals very little damage per hit. Despite this, her combos can get ridiculous, and if your opponent fails to consistently DI out of them, she’ll be racking up damage extremely fast. It takes a whole lot of practice, but Sheik is one of the more technical characters in the game, and if you master her ability to deal damage and escape incoming attacks, you’ll start seeing a lot of success.
The second Link to make our tier list, Toon Link has a lot of the same strengths as adult Link. His projectiles are very similar, and his hitbox is smaller, avoiding more attacks and letting you get in close if your projectiles don’t do the job. Don’t forget about your tether grab too – it gives you a lot of grab range and is usable in the air for zoning enemies.
Falco’s up tilt attack is his primary combo tool. Despite being generally the worst of the Star Fox characters, he has his applications, acting as something of a midpoint between the sheer speed and aggression of Fox and the damage and projectile ability of Wolf. Many prefer to choose one over the other, but get used to Falco’s up-air ladder combos, as well as some potentially massive combos with his Up-B and you might just end up making Falco work.
Our favourite of the Mii fighters, Mii Gunner can usually be found dressed as Sans Undertale and spamming his ludicrously long-range forward smash attack. He’s got all sorts of potential movesets too, with our favourite specials being the Charge Shot for Neutral-B and Bomb Drop for Down-B. Either way, you can give different configurations a shot, and opponents might be unprepared for a unique set of attacks.
Young Link is pretty close to Toon Link in his abilities. We prefer his arrows, which can be fired super fast and set up for combos, but we’re not as into his out-of-shield options compared to Toon Link. Overall though, it’ll depend on how you feel playing each of them. Both are tough to master but offer a rewarding and entertaining gameplan, although you’ll have to be careful of enemy characters who possess reflectors.
Samus is a strong defensive character who can put up walls with her toolkit to stop enemies getting anywhere near. Her Charge Shot and Bombs from Neutral-B and Down-B are hugely powerful zoning tools, and with up and forward aerial attacks she can brutally punish attempted approaches from opponents. Up-B out of shield is a fantastic option too, for when your projectile wall is finally broken through, and you can really frustrate foes. The tilt factor is a big part of Samus’ success, so go ahead and irritate the enemy.
Captain Falcon is one of the most hype characters about. His up aerial attack can string into itself a fair bit, and Up-B works great as a way to get through enemy shields, as well as a combo finisher. If you’re a fan of getting right up in the enemy’s face and finding combos with his big electric knee forward aerial, you’ll have a great time with Captain Falcon. Early kills, ladder combos and fast-paced gameplay are the F-Zero man’s style.
Greninja is a character who seems to have a lot of untapped potential and could very easily rise up our tier list if players start trying them more. This Pokemon is fast, has a strong grab, excellent drag-down combos with up aerial and can catch opponents off guard since the matchup will often be unfamiliar. At low levels, Shadow Sneak, Greninja’s Side-B, will be very effective, but don’t over rely on it.
Banjo and Kazooie
The bear and the bird are quite the combo, with their Side-B Wonderwing acting as a hell of a trump card. You only get five per stock, but they can kill extremely early, and just the threat of the move makes your opponent play far more cautiously. His Down-B produces a bomb which can be air grabbed and thrown at enemies too. The trouble with Banjo and Kazooie is their lack of true combos. You’ll have to do a whole lot of whiff-punishing with these two, so if you’re alright with that then give them a go!
After a strong start in the metagame, with MKLeo maining him at the beginning of Smash Ultimate, Ike has fallen off somewhat. He’s got an issue with speed and versatility, and if your opponent can deal with your neutral aerial attack’s enormous combo-starting hitbox, you’ll struggle a fair bit. Regardless, he’s a solid character to play if you’ve got good fundamentals, and his enormous sword lets you keep your distance from enemies looking for combat in close quarters.
Byleth joins our tier list in the middle of the road. Of course, there’s always a chance for top players to show us what they’re capable of, but at present the character lacks the speed and mobility required to boost them up the tier list. Byleth is great for whiff punishing though, with a huge number of extremely powerful moves, including a few capable of breaking an enemy shield if you manage to hit them on target. Downward aerial and Down-B both deal huge damage, and Up-Air is a solid juggling tool. Unfortunately, out-of-shield options are lacking, and Byleth’s disadvantage state is subpar. Regardless, they’re a fun character to try out, so give them a go and see if this powerhouse is right for you.
Since the character’s introduction, Hero hasn’t quite destroyed the metagame like some in the community predicted. Regardless, he performs pretty well, and his Down-B offers a wide variety of options if you’re lucky. Hero takes a bit more skill than other characters to play, considering the dual challenge of going through the menu whilst in the thick of battle, but you’ll be alright if you learn to skim them quickly. Check out some of Salem’s fights for a great example of strong Hero play. Be careful though – his standard sword-based attacks are pretty slow in neutral, and you’ll struggle to rely on them against faster foes.
Wii Fit Trainer
Wii Fit Trainer is a bizarre choice. Who opens Smash Ultimate, sees the enormous character roster, and thinks ‘yup, I’ll go for Wii Fit Trainer’? Are you a glutton for punishment? Even so, the character has a lot of strong tools that’ll force opponents to adapt. Their Side-B flings out a volleyball at an angle based on your timing, and Down-B makes Wii Fit Trainer much faster and harder to battle. Try to always have a Meditation on deck whenever you get the chance – it’ll make you a far stronger fighter.
We’re getting lower in the list now. These fighters are yet to perform in the overall metagame, and we’re less than convinced they’ll be able to long-term without significant changes or buffs. Regardless, at any level other than professional, you’ll be able to find success with these characters, so if you find them natural to pick up, keep trying!
Mewtwo is a character with a load of incredible tools and combos, as well as the ability to kill surprisingly early. The big weakness this guy has is his hurtbox – it’s bloody massive. Mewtwo’s tail extends a ludicrous distance and leaves him vulnerable to all sorts of attacks from enemies. Often, you’ll get hit without it looking like you should be, stopping you from pulling off what you want to as well. Again, his attacks, kill moves, and combo tools are all there, the issue is the character’s huge vulnerability.
Mii Brawler, like Gunner, has a host of potential movesets to choose from. We’d recommend the Shot Put projectile as your Neutral-B, and either Onslaught of Suplex for your Side-B. Counter Throw is a solid Down-B, and Soaring Axe Kick is our favourite Up-B, although Helicopter Kick works excellently if you’re after that extra bit of kill power ahead of recovery. Basically, get to grips with Mii Brawler’s moveset and you’ll be able to use their fast fall speed and speedy aerial attacks to great effect, all whilst dressed as Waluigi.
After being a top tier character in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, Diddy has had something of a decline this time around. His bait and punish game is still pretty damn speedy, and using Down-B to produce a Banana can lead to solid follow-ups. Unfortunately, he’s just not got the ridiculous kill confirms he had in the previous game, so unless you’re able to bait and punish consistently and extremely well, you’ll struggle with Diddy. Check out Rivers’ play if you fancy giving the character a go though.
Zelda is a bit of a one-trick pony. Her Down-B, Phantom, can be charged up and make an enormous amount of the stage inaccessible to your opponent, but this is predictable, you’re in trouble. She does have some decent combos, with down throw into back aerial killing pretty early at the ledge, and her invincible Neutral-B is extremely annoying to play against, but in general Zelda is very exploitable.
They buffed the puff! What a treat. Her Side-B is now even harder to avoid with its lingering hitbox, and Jigglypuff’s forward throw angle change means your opponents will be put in a far worse position than they otherwise would’ve. Downward aerial can confirm into Down-B Rest as well, with a lack of regular options to setup Rest being one of the character’s main weaknesses previous to the buff. Even so, Jigglypuff is extremely light and can be killed very early. You’ll need to be extremely elusive to succeed with this character.
Sonic is a weird one. He’s obviously extremely fast, but with this speed comes a challenge when it comes to pulling off his moves successfully. It’s absolutely mesmerising to watch a good Sonic player though – Wrath has been flying the hedgehog’s flag for some time now. Sonic is amazingly fast, meaning you can punish enemy whiffs when other characters wouldn’t be able to, and if you get a stock lead you can just play lame and run away for the entire match. It’s not the most exciting, but when you’re in mid tier, you gotta do what you gotta do.
Villager relies on their slingshot from forward and backward aerial attacks for a lot of their neutral game. You can keep enemies at a safe distance with the move whilst approaching with Side-B Lloyd Rocket. Bowling Ball is a great tool for edgeguarding too, since it can be yeeted off a platform and crush the skulls of enemies below. Unfortunately, slingshot is easily avoided or dealt with by top tier characters, and Villager struggles enormously without it.
Pit is a character without any ridiculous shenanigans. That means he’s a character who has a hard time against a whole lot of the cast who possess those win factors. Unfortunately, there are too many strong characters in Smash Ultimate – Pit is one who’s decidedly okay. That doesn’t quite cut it.
Rosalina and Luma
These two galactic goons are some of the toughest characters to master. You’re something of a puppet master, controlling both Rosalina and Luma simultaneously. Dabuz, along with his Olimar play, has been trying to make Rosalina work in Ultimate’s meta with decent amounts of success, but in general the character isn’t as rewarding as the time investment would require. We’d recommend picking Rosalina and Luma if you somehow find yourself comfortable with the character by some natural talent.
Too big for Smash, but also somehow extremely light for his size, Ridley boasts a decent amount of power, and is able to stuff out approaches with his big neutral aerial hitbox. In addition, his juggling and tech chase game is scary, able to rack up big damage totals whilst keeping enemies at bay. The only real issue is his weight relative to his size – he’s literally lighter than Samus so dies earlier. Weird.
Robin is a fun character to play, using extremely powerful electric attacks when their Levin Sword is charged. Their aerials can kill early, and using Side-B Arcfire you’ll be able to deal damage and finish stocks. Unfortunately, all Robin’s abilities are limited, requiring a period of charge before they can be used again, including the Levin Sword. This makes them far more inconsistent and unable to reliably use their full toolkit when they want to.
Most of Lucas’ kit is just a worse version of Ness. His PK Fire doesn’t combo and most of his aerials have worse frame data and hitboxes. Even so, some might prefer Lucas thanks to PK Freeze stealing stocks early, as well as his handy tether grab mechanic which lets you mix up your recovery. At all levels but the very top, it comes down to which of the two you prefer, so you might as well see if Lucas is for you.
Marth is almost identical to Lucina, but finds himself down here due to one single mechanic – his tipper. Marth’s attacks deal more damage at the tip of his sword, and significantly less at the hilt, meaning you’ll have to space your moves perfectly to avoid whiffing. In all honesty, you might as well just go for Lucina. Consistency is everything in Smash Ultimate, and Lucina has everything Marth has and the added bonus of reliable damage. It’s usually not worth the risk.
It’s pretty cool that Cloud is in Smash. It’s less cool that he’s not great. His hitboxes are annoyingly small sometimes, and the Limit mechanic is underwhelming at best. You’ll often find yourself getting gimped (losing a stock at low percents) as Cloud too, since without Limit his recovery covers barely any distance. Even so, he’s got some decent moves, such as juggling enemies with up aerial and a pretty speedy dash attack.
These two are in the same boat as Rosalina and Luma – you can get some cool combos through desynchronising the two fighters and zero-to-death people off of one mistake, but the mechanical skill required is enormous to optimise Ice Climbers, and the reward isn’t quite enough to make the effort worth it.
The Belmonts are great for zoning, with their powerful projectiles like Side-B and Down-B offering a huge amount of potential against characters who don’t deal well with projectiles. They perform well against lower-level players thanks to the possibility of just spamming these projectiles, as well as their decent kill power. Even so, you’ll struggle to beat players who know the matchup against these characters, since their recovery is extremely exploitable and if you can get Simon/Richter off stage, it’s very easy to keep them there.
Low Tier characters have far too many weaknesses to be relied upon against higher-tier characters. Make no mistake – you can still perform well with them, especially at lower levels if you learn your movesets well. Just don’t expect to get carried to victories with low tier picks, especially considering how strong so many characters are.
Our favourite monkey boy received some recent buffs, most notably to his Up-B attack. This’ll kill reliably when grounded now, and boasts a decent bit of Super Armour, allowing you to power through enemy attacks and still hit the move. His backward aerial attack is equally pretty powerful and can be strung together for early kills. Unfortunately, DK still struggles when in a place of disadvantage, and has a horrible recovery when he’s chucked off-stage, so aside from the potential swing factor of his huge, scary damage, there’s not a lot to be worried about when facing him.
Meta Knight has fallen from grace big time since his glory days in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. You’ve got a fair few decent tools with him, such as air mobility, a great down tilt attack, and some solid ladder combos, but it’s tough to get his moves to work properly. Playing Meta Knight, you’ll often notice enemies falling out of your multi-hit moves, and your general lack of versatility in kit means you’ll find yourself having a difficult time against the majority of the cast. Regardless, it’s easy to catch out lower-level players with a Side-B in neutral – a lot of people forget to shield the whole move.
King K. Rool
K. Rool received a couple of decent buffs in recent patches. His neutral aerial is a great landing tool, and with the croc’s projectiles, it’s possible to wall out a lot of enemies who want to get up close and personal. The issue is his size and speed – aside from his difficult-to-punish neutral aerial, he’s combo food for a whole lot of the cast. Palutena has him for breakfast, and any character with the ability to punish K. Rool’s extremely laggy moves will have a field day. Ben Gold, over in Australia, showcases some excellent King K. Rool play if you’re interested in picking up the character.
Let’s get this straight – Piranha Plant’s Neutral-B is an amazing move. It beats out most other attacks and works brilliantly for ledge-trapping and protecting Plant’s recovery. He has decent damage output, and a up throw kills around 150%, but like most low-tier characters, his recovery can get you absolutely rumbled if your enemy knows how to deal with it. You’ll be relying heavily on Neutral-B to make things happen, as his aerial attacks are somewhat underwhelming. Over in Japan, Brood has seen a surprising amount of success with this floral fiend, racking up victories on top players with his unconventional playstyle, so if you’re looking to improve your plant play, give him a watch.
Ganondorf is one scary dude. Two hits can put your enemy at kill percent, and you’re able to secure some ridiculously early stocks when you get one decent read. His Side-B command grab is another great tool, which allows for numerous mix-ups and tech chases when the opponent gets up off of the ground, and if you’re a stock ahead, you can suicide yourself off stage to take your opponent down with you. Ganondorf’s recovery is really poor though. Any player who knows what they’re doing can usually take you down once you’re off stage. Even so, you’ll always be a threatening presence as Ganondorf – just look at Nairo’s set against top Fox player Light last year.
Corrin just doesn’t have enough about them to be worth maining, for the most part. They’re pretty slow, their damage output is underwhelming, and they die early when shoved off stage. Neutral-B is a predictable and poor projectile too. You might find yourself a bit of success with Corrin’s decent juggling game and powerful Side-B tipper hitbox, but in general their moves are very predictable, with a less-than-ideal recovery.
Morton has some decent tools and gimmicks to mess your enemies up. Hitting Morton’s clown car deals less damage than hitting his body, and using his Side-B is a great horizontal recovery tool, as well as a solid mixup in neutral. He’d benefit from more mobility though, and like many characters in this tier, his recovery is quite easy to mess with. Once he uses Up-B, he’s got no way to mix up his recovery, so players who know how to fight Morton will be able to take him down relatively risk-free.
King Dedede’s favourite tool is his Side-B, Gordo. Your ability to beat a Dedede is largely dependent on your ability to combat a Gordo, something a lot of characters find surprisingly easy. It flies back at King Dedede as soon as it takes a hit from most projectiles, so don’t over rely on it. He’s got some decent disjointed hitboxes and a fairly decent recovery thanks to his multiple jumps, but unfortunately he’s just excruciatingly slow. This means a whole lot of the cast can just run rings around him, and in addition to reading his Gordo hits, you’re going to struggle big time.
Mii Swordfighter is a pretty slow character. Their Neutral-B Tornado is a fairly decent one, but generally you’ll have a hard time against anyone who can see you perform this move and set up into its combos. You can have some success with Mii Swordfighter, but mostly due to the character’s gimmicks and varied movesets rather than their actual strengths. There’s a whole lot of swordfighters – this one can be skipped.
No one enjoys fighting Bayonetta. Please don’t play her.
In all honesty though, good Bayo players are able to pull off some decent combos, despite the fact she’s nowhere near as oppressive as she was in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. Generally though, she performs badly against a lot of high tier characters who you’ll see a lot of online and in the competitive scene, and can be extremely predictable when you know what setups she looks for. She also struggles to finish off stocks, usually being forced to fish for a Down-B Witch Time or a random Smash attack from a whiff punish.
Lucario’s Aura mechanic gives him huge power-ups when he’s taken a lot of damage. Unfortunately, this also means he’s one of the most inconsistent characters in the game, and extremely difficult to pick up if you’ve played any Smash before. The goal is to avoid taking damage, and the fact that Lucario is at its strongest when on death’s door makes this Pokemon one big risk. The damage and knockback changes from Aura also mean your combos will be different every time too, so you’ll find it even harder to grasp this character. All this on a fighter who isn’t really worth all the time investment when he’s optimised.
Incineroar is horrendously slow. If you can deal with this, you’ll enjoy playing him thanks to the huge damage output and kill potential the character holds, especially when Down-B buffs up his damage and knockback. Again though – his recovery is easy to mess with, even though he has Super Armour on his Up-B. Very little horizontal distance can be covered, especially with his low air speed, so enemies will be able to rumble you with ease.
It’s nothing personal, there has to be a bottom tier. This bunch just struggles far too much against the rest of the cast to be viable in most competitive settings, although they do have strengths you’ll want to exploit.
This pup plays similarly to Villager, but with a couple moves switched out. Unfortunately, these are almost all downgrades. Fishing Rod is a solid tether recovery move, but is much less useful than Villager’s rocket Side-B. Villager’s forward smash attack has uses for the likes of edgeguarding, but Isabelle’s is a tiny little hitbox with far less utility. You might prefer her Down-B in that she’s able to zone areas of the stage with her mine, but many characters can just reflect it or ignore it completely. In general, Isabelle can be summed up by her jab attack – a little squeaky rubber hammer.
Much like Isabelle, Dr. Mario is essentially Mario but worse. His recovery has barely any distance, his general movement speed is far slower, and despite dealing more damage per attack, Doc struggles to put together combos like standard Mario. Sure, his Down-B acts as a stronger version of Mario’s downward aerial, but lacking F.L.U.D.D. means he’s got one fewer option for claiming stocks.
Our poor boy was buffed, but it’s not changed a huge amount. Sure, he can combo from landing aerial attacks, but along with his recovery, these are extremely predictable, and his floatiness combined with light weight means he dies extremely early. Copy abilities from Neutral-B depend heavily on matchup too, and are often pretty useless. Basically, we’d love more Kirby buffs, help us Sakurai.
Little Mac’s complete lack of an aerial game means he’s going to be stuck to the ground at all times. Super Armour on his Smash attacks is helpful, but any character in the game can platform-camp him to oblivion, and if he gets thrown off the stage, Mac’s absolutely pitiful recovery means he’s probably dead. KO Punch with Neutral-B is fun, but unreliable, and if you whiff it you’re in store for a whole lot of punishable lag. You’ll either love him or hate him, but you’ll never find him in a top 8 at a major tournament.
Full Tier List
If you’re short on time, here’s our full list at a glance.
That’s all for our Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tier list! Remember – play who you enjoy. The biggest buff any character can receive is you having fun, so if you, like us, adore Kirby, don’t let his placement here stop you.
If you’re after a bit of help in Smash, check out our Super Smash Bros. Ultimate guide hub, where we’ve put together a whole bunch of techniques to help you improve your gameplay and take your skill to the next level.