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 Steve, released October 2020.
On this page:
- Super Smash Bros Ultimate Tier List
- How we settled on our Super Smash Bros Ultimate Tier List - and how it's changed in the latest update
- How good are Joker, Piranha Plant, Hero, Banjo and Kazooie, Terry Bogard, Byleth, Min Min and Steve in our Super Smash Bros Ultimate Tier List?
- Best Melee Fighters in Super Smash Bros Ultimate
- Best Sword Fighters in Super Smash Bros Ultimate
- Best Ranged Fighters in Super Smash Bros Ultimate
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.
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.
With Volume 2 of the Fighters Pass for Super Smash Bros Ultimate now starting to deliver us more characters frequently, we've taken a look at all the changes in Patch 9.0 of Super Smash Bros Ultimate, and have also tinkered around with Steve in the lab to see how these brand-new balance changes affect our Super Smash Bros Ultimate tier list, helping you decide which characters you might want to invest in.
Super Smash Bros Ultimate Tier List changes at a glance
Between new characters and patches, here's Super Smash Bros Ultimate Tier List has changed since the arrival of Steve and the 9.0 update:
- Ness (Good to Strong)
- Steve (NEW - Good)
Super Smash Bros Ultimate Tier List (Fighters ranked by Tier, last updated October 16th, 2020)
|Best||Lucina, Peach, Daisy, Pikachu, Pichu, R.O.B, Hero, Chrom, Ridley, Inkling, Olimar, Ryu, Young Link, Toon Link, Wii Fit Trainer, Falco|
|Strong||Roy, Marth, Mega Man, Yoshi, Mewtwo, Fox, Cloud, Bayonetta, Bowser, Donkey Kong, Isabelle, Villager, Ken, Link, Simon, Richter, Shulk, King K.Rool, Lucario, Joker, Corrin, Lucas, Robin, Incineroar, Terry, Ike, Snake, Ness|
|Good||Pit, Dark Pit, Samus, Dark Samus, Wolf,, Palutena, Pokemon Trainer, Rosalina and Luma, Sonic, Zero Suit Samus, Zelda, Greninja, Mr Game and Watch, Mii Brawler, Mii Gunner, Mii Swordfighter, Wario, Jigglypuff, King Dedede, Steve|
|Average||Banjo, Bowser Jr., Diddy Kong, Duck Hunt Duo, Ice Climbers, Mario, Luigi, Dr. Mario, Meta Knight, Pac-Man, Piranha Plant, Sheik, Captain Falcon, Kirby, Byleth, Min Min|
|Weak||Ganondorf, Little Mac|
Super Smash Bros Ultimate Tier List (Fighters listed alphabetically)
|Smash Bros Fighter||Tier ranking|
|Duck Hunt Duo||Average|
|King K. Rool||Strong|
|Mr Game and Watch||Good|
|Rosalina and Luma||Good|
|Wii Fit Trainer||Best|
|Zero Suit Samus||Good|
How we settled on our Super Smash Bros Ultimate Tier List - and how it's changed in the latest update
With Patch 9.0 dropping alongside the latest character to be added to the lengthy Super Smash Bros Ultimate roster, it appears as though there are less changes within this patch, in comparison to the significant balance changes that we saw in Patch 8.0 before it.
This is no bad thing, however, as Super Smash Bros Ultimate nears its second birthday, it's definitely a good sign that we're seeing less sweeping changes that affect most of the roster, and with more changes that are just very finely tuning some characters each time around.
That's not to say that 9.0 doesn't contain a single fundamental change to all characters. In a previous patch, you should have had a slight frame advantage when perfect guarding or parrying a projectile.
However, a bug limited this to being in training mode only. This is only a very slight one frame difference, but for players at the absolute top level, it'll absolutely be a big change.
And that's where the majority of changes are for the rest of the patch, a quick glance over the patch notes won't tell you the full story of the impact of 9.0's changes.
When tested, these amounted to near-miniscule differences that do not fundamentally change the feel or play of certain characters.
The majority of these changes amount to slight buffs, in line with how the game is balanced at the minute, and we see this trend in previous patches; Nintendo is much more keen on making characters stronger, than wholesale debuffing them.
Some characters who have received these small buffs include Simon and Richter, who have slightly extended launch distances on some attacks, in addition to recovering from some attacks better. The same generally goes for Lucario, Bowser Jr and Ness.
The only real outlier here is that Shulk's shield has been slightly nerfed, but he counters with a bit more force than before.
The only real tier shift that I believe that can be justified is to shift Ness up into the 'Strong' tier, as he'd been teetering on the precipice of the 'Good' tier, anyway, and with the changes to his tilt, throw, dash and air attacks, all which do a bit more damage before, or have a little more range, makes for a potent combo, and is more up to the same quality and strength that we've seen Ness boast in previous Super Smash Bros titles.
A more curious change is to the AI of one of our humble Ice Climbers, Nana, who has previously just been generally unhelpful when playing as the Ice Climbers.
With 9.0 claiming to boast 'better AI' for Nana, it appears as if she might be marginally better than before, but this is one of those changes that really needs to settle to see if the Ice Climbers start to look like more of a threat than they are currently.
Regardless to say, we've decided to leave them in the 'Average' tier for now, until the implications and power of this AI change become a little more clear in time.
How good are Joker, Piranha Plant, Hero, Banjo and Kazooie, Terry Bogard, Byleth, Min Min and Steve in our Super Smash Bros Ultimate Tier List?
The addition of new characters always add new dimensions to the tier list ranking - and it can be hard to keep track on the impact they make each time. Here a rundown of what each DLC character adds to Super Smash Bros Ultimate.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Arms finally getting some representation in the form of Min Min in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, we've found that she's not quite all that when it comes to raw power and versatility, in comparison to some of the other characters that we have seen being introduced to the game.
Min Min has a pretty average movement speed, with some impressive range on some attacks, this doesn't necessarily mean she's a ranged fighter, however.
We've found that she can hold her own up close or at a medium distance, thanks to her spring-loaded arms. Side specials and smashes perform relatively well, if not a little bit underpowered for how slow they come out.
You can charge the cannonball using down special, and release the energy with a side special. but we've found that it's a bit too much investment to prove useful when it comes to being in a high-octane brawl.
However, she does have an impressive fast recovery time, using her arms to zip up to the edge, this may be useful for edge guarding in a pinch.
Her air attacks are where those spring-loaded arms come in really handy, you can keep enemies at a pretty safe distance, but all of your attacks dish out fairly mediocre damage, and don't necessarily always have the launch power to fully take your enemies out.
Unfortunately, this means that we didn't exactly have a great time online with Min Min, as she just didn't have all the tools we needed to hold our own.
The saving grace for Min Min are her defensive options, which are thanks to her impressive melee range. For this reason, we've placed Min Min onto the 'Average' tier.
If you think it could have gotten weirder than how characters like Joker, Hero or Terry play, strap in, because Minecraft's iconic default skin, Steve has entered the ring, and he might just be a little bit too much to take in.
Mechanics for Steve revolve around mining the stage for resources, and then using those resources to power up your attacks. With each stage having a different number of resources, and types of resources available, you'll always be changing up your attack strategies when playing as this mind-boggling character.
The complexity and randomness isn't an issue, however. It becomes a bit more stark when looking at his slow movement speed. Luckily for poor Steve and his equally-blocky alternate costume compatriots, the amount of damage that Steve can put out is fairly formidable.
His normal attacks combo incredibly well, meaning that characters that attack at shorter ranges will have a hell of a time against Steve. His smash attacks are also pretty good, with an up and down smash that has decent range, does a decent amount of damage.
Steve's special allows him to 'mine' whatever he's stood on top of, and then that resource can be 'crafted' by tapping special again to upgrade his weapons, depending on what resources he has.
This makes for a base upgrade to attacks and not much else, however. Steve's down special plops some TNT in front of you and your enemy, which can be a bit of a risky move, but quick-witted players could easily activate the TNT from a distance using something like Steve's throw; a ranged fishing hook to trigger it.
To surmise, Steve might have his own weaknesses when it comes to movement speed, but his potential is fairly massive. However, there are just too many elements of randomness involved in his playstyle, which means that he's been placed in our 'Good' tier, for now.
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.
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.
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.
With a range of buffs as of Patch 8.0, we're really happy to finally be able to pop Kirby on this list, as one of, if not the easiest entry-level Super Smash Bros Ultimate character.
They might not have the strongest attacks, but Kirby certainly is the most forgiving, and with the most options too. Kirby's most potent attack is the charging side special, a hammer which you are able to dish out a decent amount of damage to smash characters offscreen
In addition to this, Kirby's recovery is incredibly generous, so if you are starting out in the game, or trying to get to grips with the basics, Kirby is a no-brainer.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ness is a Super Smash Bros. staple, and no list would ever be complete without highlighting the benefits of this slightly harder to control character.
If you've dabbled with simpler ranged characters before, Ness is hardly a bad pick, when it comes to stepping up your game. PK Fire, Ness' side special can provide enough annoyance to your foes to find another opening, and just when they think they're safe, you can use your up special, PK Thunder, to shoot them out of the skies, and follow up with a sweet yo-yo smash to finish the job.
Upon first glance, Ness can seem slow and a bit floaty, especially in comparison to the closer ranged fighters, but don't be turned-off, this just takes some getting used to. The same can be said of Ness' PK Thunder, which can also be used to launch yourself back onto a platform after you've been thrown off, but takes some careful control.
If you're looking for a slightly different character that dishes out heaps of damage, you could be off worse than Ness, who has been newly-introduced into our "Strong" tier after a series of buffs, thanks to patch 9.0.