- “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate” is out now for the Nintendo Switch, and players are already starting to get competitive – less than two weeks since release.
- The world’s number one ranked “Super Smash Bros.” player, Gonzalo “ZeRo” Barrios, has ranked all 74 characters in the game based on his early impressions.
- The best 11 characters are regarded as “top tier” by the competitive community, meaning they have moves and abilities that make them stand out against the rest of the cast.
- While tier lists like Zero’s may reflect players’ opinions on the strongest characters, it will always be possible for the worst characters to win if they employ the right strategy.
Like most fighting games, “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate” can inspire a competitive drive in even the most casual of video game players.
The Super Smash Bros. franchise has a long and storied history of grassroots tournaments and esports events dedicated to findind the best players around the world, and the games evolve constantly as players develop new strategies and techniques.
Gonzalo “ZeRo” Barrios was named the best overall player over the four-year life span of “Super Smash Bros. for Wii U” by Panda Global, a leading organisation within the Smash esports community. After taking a break from competition for most of 2018, ZeRo has been working hard to reclaim his mantle in “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate,” helping out other players along the way with video guides and early impressions of the game.
Earlier this week ZeRo released his first tier list for the game, ranking all 74 characters from best to worst.
“Super Smash Bros. Ultimate” is still just a few weeks old so the overall ranks will shift over time, but ZeRo has seperated the characters into four primary tiers; Top tier characters are considered the best; high-tier characters are strong with some flaws; mid-tier characters are solid but may lack strong tools, and low-tier characters struggle to stay competitive.
It’s important to note that just because a character is high tier they wont always win; matchups between specific characters will sway based on the strategy of the players and the way their moves interact. A better player using a low- or mid-tier charater will be able to overcome a weaker player using a “better” character, if they stay sharp and make best use of their skills.
However, understanding why top tier characters are considered the best is one of the most important steps towards building a sound strategy and learning how to win. If you’re curious as to where the rest of the characters land on the tier list, be sure to watch ZeRo’s full video and hear the explanations for yourself.
Here are the 11 top tier characters in “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate,” according to the world’s number one Smash player, ZeRo.
The Inkling joins “Super Smash Bros.” series from one of Nintendo’s newest franchises, Splatoon. Despite being a totally fresh character in “Ultimate,” Zero and other top players consider Inkling to be the best overall.
Inkling can slow enemies and deal additional damage by coating them with ink, a unique mechanic inspired by “Splatoon.” With multiple moves that can cover the opponent in ink, a strong Inkling player can maintain an advantage thoughout the match.
Even without the ink giving an extra edge, the Inkling has strong basic attacks, and can use their Ink Roller special to guarantee kills on weakened enemies.
As the mascot of Pokémon, Pikachu is one of the original “Super Smash Bros.” characters, and has had one of the most balanced designs throughout the series. Pikachu has tons of mobility, a great move for returning to the stage, and a solid pair of ranged attacks to force enemies to react from a distance.
ZeRo claims that Pikachu has some of the best moves for guarding the edge of the stage, including multiple moves to spike players as they recover from a big hit. With quick normal attacks and tools for just about every situation, Pikachu is a strong all-around character.
@PG_MVD takes it over @PG_ESAM and enters GRAND FINALS! Onto Losers to determine his opponent! ????????????????
— VGBC (@VGBootCamp) December 17, 2018
Hailing from Nintendo’s “Pikmin” series, Olimar is an astronaut with a team of colourful alien creatures, the titular Pikmin, as his allies. Olimar’s greatest strength is throwing Pikmin at his enemies to maintain a good distance.
Differently-coloured Pikmin have different effects on an opponent: Some do heavy damage, while others may poison or temporarily stun an opponent. Olimar’s other moves are fairly safe too, allowing him to slowly wear away at the patience and health of other player while staying out of range of their reprisals.
Yoshi is one of the memorable members of the “Super Mario Bros.” crew, and a veteran of “Super Smash Bros.” Surprisingly the small dinosaur is one of the heaviest characters in the game, and can tank big hits that would send other characters to their death.
He’s also got some solid normal attacks to rely on, and can kill enemies with his directional attacks in the air. While his egg attack seems odd at first, players who learn how to position the projectile can open up tons of fun combos and follow-up attacks.
— Seth_Windam ???? (comms open) (@Seth_Windam) December 14, 2018
Princess Peach and Princess Daisy
Also hailing from the world of “Super Mario,” Princesses Peach and Daisy are nearly identical with some minor differences in their animations. They both share the ability to float during a jump, opening up some unique combo possibilities, and letting them return the stage from just about anywhere.
Being able to float low to the ground helps keep the pressure on opponents, too, and their ability to create and throw turnips are useful projectiles for controlling space and forcing opponents to block.
— Quarium! ◇Water Fairy Arc◇ (@QuariumArts) December 11, 2018
Chrom is another new face in “Ultimate,” but shares several moves with Roy, another character from Nintendo’s “Fire Emblem.” ZeRo calls Chrom “the best character with a sword” in the game, noting his hard-hitting moves and good ground movement.
While Roy has a sweet spot for extra damage at the base of his sword, Chrom’s damage is more consistent overall. This makes it easier to net kills with stray hits, and makes things easier to predict mid-match.
Chrom’s recovery is a bit worse than Roy’s when he’s knocked off stage, but his upwards-facing special attack does come with unique advantages. If an enemy is hit with Chrom’s rising special off stage, it will automatically drag them to the bottom of the stage, often taking Chrom with them. If both players fall at the same time, Chrom will always die second, making it a silly way to close out matches.
Chrom is fun pic.twitter.com/SV52fJTAxR
— K2S | ShiftyVixen (@Veranibbles) December 16, 2018
Lucina and Marth
While ZeRo considers Chrom the best sword character for his strong offence, Marth and Lucina have a more balanced playstyle that use their weapons for range and managing the space.
The two characters are largely the same, but Marth does more damage with the tip of his sword. However, this can occassionally be a drawback, as the other parts of his sword are less likely to kill opponents. Lucina’s damage is more consistent, allowing her to notch up knockouts more easily, even with less-than-ideal spacing between her and an opponent.
Marth and Lucina can both control the pace of the game with their far-reaching normal attacks, but can struggle on defence if thrown off the stage.
Lucario is a Pokémon with a distinct fighting style using a mix of energy attacks and martial arts. His “aura” ability gives him greater knockback on his attacks as he takes damage, giving him easier kills late in the game. This comeback mechanic suits his playstyle, since he can play keepaway with opponents fairly well with his projectile and normal attacks.
With multiple moves capable of killing opponent’ at high damage, Lucario can be a stressful matchup for characters who can’t put him down before the aura ability takes effect.
here, take some lucario stuff from the last few days uwu pic.twitter.com/kcm0k0okXN
— Sway D. Louie (@SwayLouie) December 15, 2018
Mewtwo, the legendary psychic Pokémon, was considered one of the stronger characters in the previous Super Smash Bros. game, and his skillset remains solid in “Ultimate.” In addition to a large projectile and incredible teleport for stage recovery, Mewtwo’s tail gives him good range on several attacks.
Like Lucario, Mewtwo has a multiples moves that are good for finishing off opponents. However, Mewtwo is one of the lighter characters in the game, meaning it takes less effort to send him flying.
The rest of the rankings
In ZeRo’s opinion, these 11 characters make up the upper echelon of “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.”
But tier lists are fluid and expected to change over time. Players will eventually learn to exploit the weaknesses of popular characters, and develop new strategies for the lower tiers, throwing everything into flux.
Nintendo will also offer periodic balance updates to the game to adjust characters for competition. Plus, there are 5 new fighters coming to “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate” as downloadable content, so the new faces will inevitably shake up the tiers.
Whether you decide to play a proven character or dedicate yourself to making your favourites stronger, keeping track of the best characters in competition will keep you ahead of the curve.