Super Smash Bros Ultimate Tier List: All fighters ranked plus the best melee, sword and ranged fighters explained

Where does Byleth debut in our updated Super Smash Bros Ultimate tier list?

Fighting your friends in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has become more heated than ever, but with over 70 playable characters, it can be tough to choose which is the best Smash Bros Ultimate character to try.

We've done the hard work and worked out a Super Smash Bros Ultimate Tier List in order to help you get to grips with competitive play, updated to include all the latest Smash Bros DLC characters, up to the newly available Byleth released January 2020.

On this page:

One of the first things that you should look out for is the general play style of the character. We've segmented these into three categories, Melee, Sword and Ranged. Be aware however, that some characters (such as Link and all of his variants) do not generally fit into this mould.

When you have settled on which character to play as, you need to get them first - which is where our Super Smash Bros Ultimate character unlock page comes in handy. We also have some Super Smash Bros Ultimate tips if you want to brush up on the essentials, plus everything we know about Super Smash Bros Ultimate DLC.

Super Smash Bros Ultimate Tier List

We've attempted to rank every current fighter in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate into a single list, based on their strengths, weaknesses, options for attack, recovery and general attack power.

Super Smash Bros Ultimate Tier List (Fighters ranked by Tier, last updated January 31st, 2020)

TierCharacters
Best Lucina, Peach, Daisy, Pikachu, Pichu, R.O.B, Hero, Chrom, Ridley, Inkling, Snake, Ryu, Young Link, Toon Link
Strong Roy, Marth, Olimar, Mega Man, Yoshi, Mewtwo, Fox, Cloud, Bayonetta, Bowser, Donkey Kong, Isabelle, Villager, Ken, Link, Simon, Richter, Wii Fit Trainer, Shulk, King K.Rool, Lucario, Joker, Corrin, Lucas, Robin, Incineroar, Terry
Good Ike, Pit, Dark Pit, Samus, Dark Samus, Falco, Wolf, Ness, Palutena, Pokemon Trainer, Rosalina and Luma, Sonic, Zero Suit Samus, Zelda, Greninja, Mr Game and Watch, Mii Brawler, Mii Gunner, Mii Swordfighter, Wario, Jigglypuff
Average Banjo, Bowser Jr., Byleth, Diddy Kong, Duck Hunt Duo, Ice Climbers, King Dedede, Mario, Luigi, Dr. Mario, Meta Knight, Pac-Man, Piranha Plant, Sheik, Captain Falcon, Kirby
Weak Ganondorf, Little Mac

Between new characters and patches, here's Super Smash Bros Ultimate Tier List has changed the arrival of Terry and the 6.0 update:

  • Byleth (NEW - Average)
  • Toon Link (Strong to Best)
  • Young Link (Strong to Best)
  • Ryu (Strong to Best)
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Super Smash Bros Ultimate Tier List (Fighters listed alphabetically)

Smash Bros FighterTier ranking
Bayonetta Strong
Bowser Strong
Bowser Jr. Average
Byleth Average
Captain Falcon Average
Chrom Best
Cloud Strong
Corrin Strong
Daisy Best
Dark Pit Good
Dark Samus Good
Diddy Kong Average
Donkey Kong Strong
Dr Mario Average
Duck Hunt Duo Average
Falco Good
Fox Strong
Ganondorf Weak
Greninja Good
Hero Best
Ice Climbers Average
Ike Good
Incineroar Strong
Inkling Strong
Isabelle Strong
Jigglypuff Good
Joker Strong
Ken Strong
King Dedede Average
King K. Rool Strong
Kirby Average
Link Strong
Little Mac Weak
Lucario Strong
Lucas Strong
Lucina Best
Luigi Average
Mario Average
Marth Best
Mega Man Average
Meta Knight Average
Mewtwo Strong
Mii Brawler Good
Mii Gunner Good
Mii Swordfighter Good
Mr Game and Watch Good
Ness Good
Olimar Best
Pac-Man Average
Palutena Good
Peach Best
Phirana Plant Good
Pichu Best
Pikachu Best
Pit Good
Pokemon Trainer Good
R.O.B Best
Richter Strong
Ridley Best
Robin Strong
Rosalina and Luma Good
Roy Best
Ryu Best
Samus Good
Sheik Average
Shulk Strong
Simon Strong
Snake Strong
Sonic Good
Terry Strong
Toon Link Best
Villager Strong
Wario Good
Wii Fit Trainer Strong
Wold Good
Yoshi Strong
Young Link Best
Zelda Good
Zero Suit Samus Good

How we settled on our Super Smash Bros Ultimate Tier List - and how it's changed in the latest update

Patch 7.0 in Super Smash Bros Ultimate not only brings Byleth into the fray, but a whole host of balance changes across a wide range of characters. We see increased shield sizes across the board for many of the weaker characters, with some notable further debuffs and buffs for characters across the board which should help to explain how the list has been shuffled since 6.0.

Kicking off with Joker, who was introduced as an incredibly powerful character who debuted at the top of our list has since slightly been debuffed moving tiers over to 'Strong' from 'Best'. This latest patch sees further debuffs made to Joker.

Arsene is now summoned for less time when you receive damage in battle with two or fewer opponents. This makes him slightly less powerful, especially in a competitive context. In addition to this, Joker's down special has also been debuffed, making it more difficult for players to get those final hits in on a player who might be attempting a recovery back to the stage.

Ultimately, while these debuffs are significant, we think that Joker still stands a good competitive edge, and have not moved him out of the "Strong" tier, especially considering Arsene still proves to be a pretty vital component to your arsenal, and has not been made completely moot quite yet.

Palutena, one of the game's more difficult to handle characters has also received a debuff. While in competitive contexts, if you master Palutena she can be deadly, knowledge of her attacks and range keep her locked into the 'Good' portion of the tier list.

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This is compounded by 7.0's debuffs, which include an extended distance on her down throw, making it harder for you to follow up with a further combo.

In addition to this, her neutral air has also been nerfed, meaning that the attack has less potential to spike opponents at lower percentages. That's not to say that she's also received a few buffs to her up tilt and down smash. However, these changes rounded the character out a little bit more, and therefore we've not moved her from the 'Good' spot on the tier list that she currently occupies.

On the opposite side of the coin with character buffs, we see Toon Link and Young Link come out as one of the biggest buffs to characters we've seen in a patch so far.

Young Link has seen a buff in terms of launch distance pretty much across the board, and his midair grab now lasts for a longer amount of time, and has an additional damage buff. Toon Link has received a similar buff, with increased attack speed for his back air attack, and down air attack.

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This is in addition to an extended launch distance on his down smash, which is fairly significant. That's why we moved this pair from 'Strong' to our 'Best' tier. These incarnations of Link have the most options, are easy to pick up, and overall - the most powerful.

Street Fighter's iconic Ryu has also received some notable buffs that warrant a shift of tier, with more attacks that have increased power, and more invincibility frames on his side special.

It's also now possible to cancel his down smash attack into a special of your choice, basically creating a pseudo-option select in Super Smash Bros, which is a pretty wild addition if you're able to land the down smash.

For the seasoned Street Fighter players, don't sleep on Ryu, he's just shifted from our "Strong" tier over to best. Ryu's less-cool shoto brethren Ken has also received a few buffs, but nothing quite as significant as Ryu.

How good are Joker, Piranha Plant, Hero, Banjo and Kazooie, Terry Bogard and Byleth in our Super Smash Bros Ultimate Tier List?

The addition of new characters always add new dimensions to the tier list ranking. Kicking off with Piranha Plant, its range of moves and attacks make it a slightly weaker ranged character, but it doesn't quite give you the same sort of options as the most recent addition, Joker adds.

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Joker is incredibly versatile, with fantastic close range and melee attacks, in addition to a dynamic recovery. In addition to this, when you fill his gauge up and unleash his persona, Joker becomes a master of zone control, if you want to keep your enemies at bay, you can - but you can also stand toe-to-toe with some of the better melee fighters, but a change to the way that Arsene reacts to projectiles in 4.0 means that we've given him a slightly lower ranking.

That said, a Joker player just won Evo 2019. Sometimes, raw tiers don't always count towards player skill!

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In update 4.0, we saw the addition of Dragon Quest's Hero and his many cosmetic incarnations. And phwoar, he's very strong. Being a swordfighter, Hero has an MP Bar, with a menu ability that allows you to use special attacks, that often do some incredible damage, including a movement and speed buff.

Additionally, you're able to block projectiles with a forward tilt, and his special attacks consume a slight bit of MP. If you fully charge your side special, Zapple, you're able to almost certainly thwack an enemy right off stage. With really strong normals, tilts and smashes, and to top it all off, a skill named Thwack, that has the potential to instantly KO enemies.

It's likely that Hero may be banned in future tournaments, just because he's that good.

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The fourth character, Banjo and Kazooie, is worth considering thanks to a decent range of attacks.

Banjo and Kazooie's normal attacks and tilts can come across as slightly stubby, and as such they aren't a great fighter when playing up close, with Banjo and Kazooie you'll want to use their excellent throw and side special to do a big hunk of damage and close the gap.

If your opponent is at range, you're also able to use their side special, which spouts eggs at the enemy. The trick with Banjo and Kazooie is that because their side special is so strong, they give you limited uses by the way of feathers, so use them wisely.

Banjo and Kazooie is an incredibly situational character, and not really the best all rounder, even with their range of attacks, which is why we have placed them in the average section of our tier list.

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Patch 6.0 introduced Fatal Fury and Garou: Mark of the Wolves legend, Terry Bogard.

This technical fighter is not for players who cannot quickly perform fighting game inputs, but if you handily know how to do Supers and special moves in Street Fighter, you'll be fine.

Either way, you can practice in the training room until you've nailed it.

Terry has a lot of special moves, and with the right inputs you'll be able to master them all. Tapping B does Power Wave, a short-ranged projectile that tracks across the floor, a quarter circle forward and B or A will do Burn Knuckle, a horizontal punch that covers a decent amount of ground.

Back, down back and down will perform Crack Shoot, an overhead kick that is a really good situational gap closer, which will help out with your zoning and distances.

smash_bros_tier_list_6_3

Power Dunk is forward, down and down forward which will launch your enemies into the air and smash them back down again, which is great for getting those high percentage spikes.

Terry's final special Rising Tackle isn't too useful we've found, and is an attack that launches you upwards, dealing a minimal amount of damage.

Just from these moves alone, Terry isn't too powerful, and can be hard to close the gap with ranged fighters, but due to the amount of air attacks that Terry has, he can do excellently when fighting offstage.

The real interesting meat, and what tipped Terry from Good to Strong in our Tier list are the special moves that he gets when he hits 100% damage, where a 'Go' will appear near his character portrait.

Power Geyser requires you to input down, down back, back, down back, forward and A or B, this will make Terry perform a quick smash to the ground, which can kill at relatively low percentages, and launch your opponents into the air.

The other notable move is Buster Wolf, which can be performed with two quarter circles forward on the stick and B or A. This will launch Terry forward, and connect with one attack, before "shooting" them.

This does some great damage and can also kill at lower percentages, especially if you're close to the edge of the stage.

The only thing holding Terry back from the "Best" Tier are his options for closing distance with other characters, and average movement speed. This makes Terry a more difficult character to use, but one that we'll be keeping an eye on in the competitive scene.

Finally, Fire Emblem: Three Houses star Byleth gets a well-earned cameo in Super Smash Bros Ultimate as the final character in the first Fighter's Pass.

Byleth appears in both masculine and feminine forms, and also has a few other tricks up their sleeve. Byleth's gimmick is that they're often a slower, hard-hitting character that has pretty variable (inconsistent) range, but can very easily kill at lower percentages.

Doing an upward direction attack will see Byleth use a fast whip, which causes multiple hits, a side attack using the lance has long range, and usually comes out slower.

smash_bros_ultimate_tier_list_byleth_2

A down attack uses Byleth's Axe, which comes out incredibly slowly, but with some pretty incredible damage. Byleth's most useful attack is their Bow, which can be used just by using neutral special.

This can be charged, and do an obscene amount of damage, flinging your enemies far across the screen. The key to using Byleth is to not only know how fast your attacks come out, but also how to wrap your enemies around your finger using zone-control using the bow.

Since the bow is pretty powerful and also has a longer range, you need to carefully think about what attacks to use and when.

Like Terry, you don't want to be mashing out on Byleth willy-nilly, as it probably won't end well when the slow movement speed is compounded with the slower side and down attacks that use the lance and axe.

One thing redeeming this is that Byleth has a great recovery, which can also allow you to bounce straight off walls and into another attack. However, this is a really finicky character.

Since you're able to deal a bit more damage than a lot of other characters, we've popped Byleth in the 'Average' tier. We can only hope to see that Byleth gets buffed in the future, as the slow movement speed and slow attacks do not make up for the damage output we managed.

With the above changes and explanations out the way, it's time to choose a fighter. One of the first things that you should look out for is the general play style of the character. We've segmented these into three categories, Melee, Sword and Ranged. Be aware however, that some characters (Such as Link and all of his variants) do not generally fit into this mould.

If you're looking for a specific playstyle, then may the following sections help...

Best Melee Fighters in Super Smash Bros Ultimate

Melee fighters are the best at getting up close and personal with your enemies. Their normal attacks should be quick, their tilts exceptional, and smashes hit hard. A great example of a good melee fighter would be Bowser, who might have some ranged options with his firebreath, but excels at getting up close and personal to dish out some pain.

You should also consider a move often forgotten by a lot of casual Smash Players, the throw is an excellent way to chuck your enemies offstage, a great example of a character with a great throw is Ken's Roll-Back throw, as you're able to take an enemy from the last quarter of the stage, grab and roll them straight off the edge, leaving them vulnerable to your spiking smash attacks to finish them off.

While Terry is a great character, we wouldn't recommend him for those who might not be used to fighting game inputs. Practice with Ryu or Ken, then move onto Terry.

Peach / Daisy

Peach/Daisy are arguable the best melee fighters in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, with some devastating attacks with her side special, and quick tilts, you can often find yourself juggling characters in the air, or driving enough pressure on them to the side of the stage that they cannot escape.

A great bonus to any Peach/Daisy players out there is the fact that their recovery is also brilliant, with the iconic parasol dishing out damage where it causes the most pain.

Finally, While Terry is a great character, we wouldn't recommend him for those who might not be used to fighting game inputs. Practice with Ryu or Ken, then move onto Terry when you're ready.

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Ryu / Ken

While our iconic street fighters are not in our top 'strongest' tier, that doesn't make them any less deadly up close. With their focus attack, Ryu and Ken gain armour on a single attack, and are able to crumple your opponents to the ground, meaning that this is a great counter to hard hitting single attacks or smashes.

Additionally, with their repertoire of traditional Street Fighter moves, Ryu and Ken might be a little bit stubby when it comes to their normal attacks, but it is a great starting point for someone wanting to play a melee character.

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Ridley

This fan-favourite character has shown their true colours as the patches have gone by, highlighting how good Ridley really is. Focusing on a big close-range game, and with some devastating attacks and a strong recovery, Ridley is a great option for players who want to use a melee character at a high level.

In particular, Ridley's dominance in the air is one of his biggest strengths. From tilts that come out incredibly quickly, to great recoveries on his side special, Ridley is a force to be reckoned with, in the right hands.

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Best Sword Fighters in Super Smash Bros Ultimate

Sword Fighters dominate a lot of our 'Best' tier, and for good reason. Their attacks have some decent range, and they use that to use space to their advantage. Sword fighters have excellent zone control, and often can also combo you into oblivion. Many Sword Fighters also have a 'Counter', which is essentially a parry, but have to be timed excellently. So what's all the big fuss about? We go into detail with two of the best characters below.

Roy / Chrom

Roy and Chrom are more than just simple Marth clones. With fire damage side specials in addition to an excellent neutral air attack. Roy and Chrom are in our 'Best' tier, and it shows when coming face to face with them. They have incredible midair control and options, in addition to being able to dish out some incredibly hard hitting attacks. Combine that with some of the fastest running speed in the game, and you're left with an absolute beast of a character.

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Ike

Ike is a tank. His movement might not be the best, but when it comes to raw attack power, he's hard to beat. Combined with handful of buffs, this is the best version of Ike yet.

Why? With a fast sweeping side special in addition to a neutral special that can be charged to erupt into three fire pillars, Ike is great when you're surrounded, or have to deal with multiple enemies, his smashes can sweep up multiple enemies, and while slow, they can KO Characters at less than 75% damage when coming out raw.

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Hero

This new DLC character is one of the most unpredictable characters out there, with great range and a huge range of spells at his disposal, Hero can even do a 1 hit kill, if the RNG gods smile upon you with the list of spells you get when hitting down special.

Either way, he has a very good run speed, as well as being able to KO at low percentages with your neutral special or side tilt. Hero might just be the best character in the game, for now.

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Byleth

Byleth isn't strictly another sword fighter, but sure does fight in the same style as one, with a number of options by their side, you can expect Byleth to KO others at low percentages with the lance and axe attacks, which may be a good strategy if you manage to dominate through usage of the bow, employing responsible zone-control where necessary.

Coupled with a pretty generous recovery, Byleth is a good option for a mid-ranged fighter who can be potent in the right hands.

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Best Ranged Fighters in Super Smash Bros Ultimate

Ranged Fighters are excellent at shutting down fast-moving characters and trapping those slower characters into a loop, all from a distance. Like their name might imply, they might be in a spot of trouble when up close against a good melee fighter, but with the options available to you to keep them at a distance and dish out the pain leading up to a powerful smash, Ranged Fighters are no joke.

Simon / Richter

Simon and Richter are exceptional ranged fighters. Namely, the Holy Water, Throwing Axe and Boomerang are all deadly combos for pretty much any character. With the Axes being thrown at an arc, they hit incredibly hard, and can KO high percentage characters.

Combined with the horizontal control with the boomerang, you can complete your setup by trapping them with your Holy Water and charging a whip attack. This deadly concoction can shut down almost any character.

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Samus

While not quite as potent as Simon or Richter, Samus is a great beginner ranged fighter. With missiles and a chargeable blast, Samus is a good starting point to build from when it comes to fighting ranged.

She has some trouble when fighting up-close, but when practicing your ranged game with Samus, she has enough options to build from and take to a better character. Samus has value, if not just for being a great starting point to use as a ranged fighter.

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Ready to get started playing as some of the above fighters? Our Super Smash Bros Ultimate character unlock can help you start getting your hands on them.

Banjo and Kazooie

Rare's finest fighter is finally in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and they're a very situational duo. Banjo and Kazooie we've found is best at range and closing distance when you've softened them up with your ranged attacks.

The feathers that appear above your head mean that you only have five side specials per stock, and they deplete with each use. But, if you use them wisely along with your throw, you can end up with some great setups to smash your enemies offstage.

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Banjo's down spike smash attack is also great, but you'll have to make sure the enemy is at a pretty high percentage and if you can land safely. They're a pretty tricky character to learn and not super strong, but we've found are incredibly fun to play as.

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