Update (16/12/2018): New tier list.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is out, and we love every minute of it. But if you’re new to the game, it may come off as daunting. The roster here is pretty huge for a crossover Nintendo game, after all. And they’re pretty darn different to play as if we’re sticking to typical fighting game conventions.
Don’t worry: Kakuchopurei is here to help. We’ve sorted out the game’s best characters to start off with and even crafted a tier list.
- Try out all the characters. Once you get a taste of the first 8 characters, try out the rest to get a hang of their playstyles and find the character that suits you. Get the hang of how everyone fights so that you won’t get surprised when playing against them.
- Unlock all the characters when you can. This Austin John Plays video explains it well. Basically, you can play through Classic Mode with each character to guarantee a Challenger Approach fight.
- Alternatively, play a 20-minute match between two players and just run around the entire stage back & forth to acquire the max amount of “distance” to trigger Challenger Approach fights. Then, shut down the game and restart it, play a 1-minute match, self-destruct yourself (ie fall off a cliff to end the match quick), then you trigger another Challenger Approach fight. Restart and repeat.
- Play the game with different controller setups. Paired mode, single Joy-Con mode, a GameCube controller; anything. There’s going to be a time where you need to adapt and play against three other players using 4 separate Joy-Cons.
The Best Characters To Use When Starting SSBU
Sticking with the following characters is a good starting point for new Smash players. Once you’re comfortable with them, follow our earlier advice and test them all.
Kirby has a number of decent moves and a puff-ball flight move that lets him easily return to the stage after getting knocked away. His Up+B attack also lets him snatch a ledge at a moment’s notice; be sure to gauge its distance before using it as a safety net of sorts. His Side+B hammer attack can be charged and make him move slowly either to the left or right; releasing it means an instant heavy attack.
If you want an extra attack, his Neutral B attack sucks opponents, spits them out, and makes Kirby use their trademark move. What Kirby lacks in power he makes it up with versatility and a beginner-friendly moveset.
Simon and Richter Belmont are long and mid-range zoners with extra mobility. However, Richter has fewer restrictions for getting extra damage from his whip attacks, since Simon’s whip tip deals max damage.
As long as you keep your opponents within your damage and item range, you’ll do fine as either Belmonts. Use your boomerang cross (Side+B) and axes (Neutral B) to pick away enemies from afar. The Holy Water (Down+B) is great for racking up damage and setting up some defense to keep enemies away. Protip: you can use the whip to grab onto ledges.
This Donkey Kong Country baddie is a mashup of the heavier characters in the Super Smash Bros. series. He can butt-slam like Bowser and throw punches like Donkey Kong. However, he has long-range options (his Neutral B cannon and Side+B crown toss), a flight move (Up+B) to get him back onto platforms or out of danger, and a counter (Down+B) to keep enemies away from you.
Keep in mind that unlike most counters, this move requires you to face your opponent. Other than that, he’s one of the best new characters you should pick up if you fancy tankier Smash characters.
Bowser excels at one-hitting his enemies hard. Like, really REALLY hard. He can dropkick enemies with Side+A (it’s chargeable too) and do a grab-and-flying-slam move with Side+B.
His Butt Stomp (Down+B) is a great crowd control tool too. He’s not exactly the best in being mobile and getting back to platforms if he’s kicked out, so try your best to stand your ground and play defence. His damage output at least makes opponents think twice before they approach you head-on.
Bayonetta may have been a broken character in the last Smash game, but at least she’s manageable in this version. Her powerful Wicked Weave attacks are great power Smash attacks that can keep pushing opponents away from platforms with ease.
But her greatest asset is her Down+B counter where she goes into Witch Time against her aggressor and allows her to score free hits. Her combos are also easy to pull off, so use her if you want a decent 1v1 character who is easy to pick up and play.
While the trifecta of Roy, Lucina, Chrom and Marth are almost similar in fighting style, Roy takes the lead here since he gets more powerful when he’s closer to enemies. His quick sword attack (Side+B) and sword slam (Side+A) are surefire ways to get on the offensive.
Just like some of the best characters in Smash, his counter move (Down+B) can help keep opponents from spamming Bs and As with reckless abandon. This is especially useful in free-for-alls that consist of more than three fighters who like to get into clusterf***s.
The downside to the aforementioned Fire Emblem heroes? Their recovery move is pretty bad. It’s Up+B is not that reliable a move if you want to get back to the platform. So play it smart and stay in the middle.
Before Super Smash Bros. existed, a single game came out and rose to instant fame. It revolutionized the landscape of fighting games forever and spawned a generation of classic fighting game series. With the release of Street Fighter II in 1991, fighting games became the hip thing to play, and soon everyone grew acquainted with the stoic but plain Ryu.
Clad in his signature white gi, Ryu is often considered the world’s most famous fighter. He excels in a balanced moveset based off the Ansatsuken martial arts, and has become the base for many fighting game gameplay designs. As such, Ryu has also become the resident beginner character to help newcomers learn more about fighting games.
Speaking of games he’s been in, Ryu has taken down giant monsters, fought androids and demons, and is even on good terms with the Avengers. If there’s anyone who would feel right at home in a crossover game as immense as Smash Ultimate, look no further.
Not all people enjoy diving into the thick of action. Sometimes it’s more fun to sit back, assess your situation, and come up with a well-planned strategy. That’s the Villager in a nutshell.
Hailing from the Animal Crossing series, Villager represents the games’ in-game player avatar. In these games, your main goal is to enjoy a peaceful village life with your animal neighbours. Smash isn’t like that, of course, but the Villager still does his best to keep away from direct confrontation. His moveset consists entirely of everyday activities such as growing trees, setting off fireworks, and even building a house for the raccoon Tom Nook.
Don’t be fooled, though – these can be very frustrating for your opponent, especially when they have to chase down such a small and timid character. Villager also has excellent recovery, and can easily avoid falling from the stage with the help of his Balloon Trip (it’s a quirky helmet with balloons strapped on to it, so that should say a lot).
The titular princess of the Legend of Zelda games may rely on Link to save Hyrule, but she can definitely still hold her own in combat. There have been many incarnations of Princess Zelda throughout the series. This time, Ultimate has decided to go with her design from The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. Her cutest incarnation in Smash yet, to say the least.
Zelda’s special moves come from the goddesses who created Hyrule and are uniquely designed for zoning and defence. Nayru’s Love summons a magical barrier that’s invincible, hits nearby enemies, and reflects projectiles. Din’s Fire allows her to direct and control a flame at your enemy, while Farore’s Wind lets her warp in any direction to throw the enemy for a loop. She can also summon a Phantom to really give her opponent a difficult time.
The Current Tier List (via ZeRo & Leffen,who happen to be the top Super Smash Bros players in the world)
While tier lists in fighting games aren’t the be-all-end-all guide to which character is the best, they’re a good indicator of how a character stacks up with the current Smash Bros. meta. Whether it’s tough-but-versatile characters like Palutena and Inkling, or easy-to-grasp fighters like Meta Knight, Ryu, Ken, and the Belmonts, you should pick who you’re comfortable using.
You should also keep in mind why they’re placed pretty high in the first place. For instance, Pikachu and Meta Knight have great speed and mobility with moves that fit their rushdown and hit-and-run playstyle. The Fire Emblem sword-users like Roy and Marth have great mid-to-close range sword attacks and a useful countermove to keep on the defensive.
Chrom, Lucina, Marth, Pikachu, Princess Peach, Princess Daisy, Olimar, Yoshi, Roy, Pokémon Trainer, Pichu, Falco, Simon Belmont, Richter Belmont, Mewtwo, Inkling.
Shulk, Donkey Kong, Diddy Kong, Meta Knight, Wolf, Sonic, R.O.B, Lucario, Link, Young Link, Palutena, Ike, Cloud, King K.Rool, Bowser, Fox McCloud, Zero Suit Samus, Wii Fit Instructor, Luigi, Corrin, Robin, Dr. Mario, Duck Hunt Dog, Isabelle, Villager, Toon Link, Ryu, Ken.
Mario, Sheik, Bayonetta, Incineroar, Captain Falcon, Ganon, Pac-Man, Zelda, Ice Climbers, Game & Watch, Ridley, Greninja, Mii Gunner, Jigglypuff, Mii Swordfighter, Wario, Cloud, Ness, Lucas, Rosalina & Luma, Pitt, Dark Pitt, Ridley.
Little Mac, King Dedede, Mii Brawler, Kirby, Bowser Jr., Solid Snake.