Smash Ultimate is finally out in the wild. And many competitive players want to know: which fighters will reign supreme in the early going and which need some serious buffs. We’ve got our picks, can share our first Fanbyte Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Tier List. Obviously this list is subject to change because… well, the game’s not even a month old yet. We’ll need to fight (and watch) many more battles to completely iron this one out.
(NOTE: Characters are listed alphabetically within their tiers, not in any ranking order. For example, Falco and Inkling are not #1 and #2 overall, they’re just first in the alphabet in S Tier.)
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S Rank: The Best of the Best
Several newcomers seriously fill out the S Tier. That’s to be expected in the early days of a brand-new game, of course. K. Rool, Inkling, and Simon/Richter Belmont have plenty of tools at their disposal — from the Belmonts’ excellent zoning, to K. Rool’s surprising agility for a heavyweight. Snake earns a spot in S Tier for his projectile setups and enhanced Nikita missile side special — a tool that played a big part in Joshua “Pelca” Bedoya taking first place at the recent Northeast Championships in Philadelphia.
Rounding out S Tier are Falco, Pikachu, and Yoshi: three Smash veterans who continue to dominate thanks to speed, excellent recovery abilities, and solid move lists.
Falco, Inkling, King K. Rool, Pikachu, Richter, Simon, Snake, Yoshi
A Tier: The Power Players
There are a few early surprises in the A Tier. Chrom, for example, can dominate with speed and power in the right hands. Newcomer Incineroar is another highlight, hampered only by his up-special being unruly and hard to time due to its sudden dive. The returning Pokemon Trainer’s three-pronged attack offers some strategy, while Young Link is tailor-made for players who played adult Link in the past. We’ll… get to contemporary adult Link soon enough.
Many of the other fighters routinely found themselves at the top of Super Smash Bros for Wii U tier lists: Peach, Diddy Kong, Sheik, Roy, etc. They should be no surprise given how good they’ve been in the past.
Chrom, Corrin, Daisy, Diddy Kong, Ice Climbers, Incineroar, Lucina, Marth, Ness, Olimar, Palutena, Peach, Pichu, Pokemon Trainer, Roy, Sheik, Shulk, Sonic, Wolf, Young Link
B Tier: The Totally Solid Runners-Up
There’s a lot to choose from in the middle tier. Many of these fighters are already primed to climb the ranks within a patch or two. Bayonetta’s reign of dominance in the Smash Bros for Wii U circuit need not be forgotten, for instance. She’s been toned down in the early Ultimate scene, but can still pack a wallop.
Bowser, Donkey Kong, and King Dedede can land some serious blows, too, but their slow speed in what is… ultimately a faster Smash Bros. game hurts them in the long run. On the flip side Captain Falcon, Fox, and Greninja are speedsters that overwhelm an opponents, but their lightweight nature lets them get swatted down like flies.
Bayonetta, Bowser, Captain Falcon, Cloud, Donkey Kong, Dr. Mario, Fox, Greninja, Ike, Jigglypuff, Ken, King Dedede, Lucas, Mario, Meta-Knight, Mewtwo, Mii Swordsman, Ryu, Toon Link, Villager, Wario, Zelda, Zero Suit Samus
C Tier – Average Janes and Joes
C Tier is populated with what some might call “gimmick” characters — fighters like Duck Hunt and Mr. Game & Watch that rely on strange offense and unusual strategies to throw opponents off their game. Rosalina is a great example. She relies on her companion, Luma, to put foes in precarious positions. However, losing the companion hurts her offense severely.
Putting Pit and Dark Pit this low on the list may be a shock, but we blame it solely on how easy they are to K.O. Ridley is one of the lowest Smash Ultimate newcomer, but this is the one character we feel will benefit most from more time out in the wild. The tools for a dominant Ridley are there; they just need time to be found.
Dark Pit, Duck Hunt, Mr. Game & Watch, Luigi, Lucario, Mii Gunner, Pac-Man, Pit, Ridley, R.O.B., Robin, Rosalina & Luma, Wii Fit Trainer
D Tier: Grasping at Straws
D Tier has a few characters that make us scratch our heads. It’s a shock to see both incarnations of Samus so low, for instance, but their floaty jumps and lack of solid air attacks leave them wide open to characters with superior aerial options. Isabelle’s lackluster move set and easy-to-launch nature lowers her value. In fact, her major strength may be that no one wants to hurt someone so pure. Ganondorf’s new sword attacks offer a bit more range, but are still slow as molasses. Meanwhile, Mega Man’s unpredictable offense is belied by his subpar recovery and lightweight stature.
Dark Samus, Ganondorf, Isabelle, Mega Man, Mii Brawler, Samus
E Tier: The Bottom of the Barrel
It pains us to include a tier this low, but the flaws these four characters possess are too numerous to ignore. Bowser Jr.’s move set requires him to be up close save for his neutral special, which doesn’t jive well considering how easy he is to launch. Kirby’s floaty and super-light nature hampers an admittedly powerful moveset… if he can land any attacks. Link’s Breath of the Wild adaptation may gain remote bombs and the occasional double arrow, but both of those come at the expense of his Hookshot throw — which really limits his ground offense in ways we didn’t anticipate — and lighter stature. Finally, there’s Little Mac. His speed and ferocity on the ground cannot make up for his aerial ineptitude. In a game like Smash Bros., where recovery through the air is paramount, Little Mac’s boxing skills completely betray him.
Bowser Jr., Kirby, Link, Little Mac
And with that, the first Fanbyte Smash Ultimate Tier List is complete! Obviously, this is a fluid list; we suspect changes to be made with every weekend tournament and update patch, but for now these are the best (and worst) options for making a splash in you local competition.