Remember when Super Smash Bros. for Wii U dropped and Diddy Kong ran ragged all over everyone for about two weeks before balance changes made more characters viable? Well, despite the fact that this tier list will be rendered fairly obsolete after more patches drop, it’s still helpful for all Super Smash Bros. Ultimate players to have at least a vague idea of where characters land on the tier list in order to plan your matches out.
So without further ado, here’s our patented, way-too-early-nobody-really-knows-exactly-how-good-anyone-is-quite-yet tier list for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate!
We’ve used our own experience with the game as a basis for this list, while taking into account tier lists from professional players like Zer0 and Leffen as well. And as a note, we’re not including a few echo fighters like Richter, Dark Samus, and Daisy that either don’t differ from their counterparts at all, or don’t differ enough to land them in a different tier.
For our purposes, here’s how we’ve organized our tiers.
S-tier characters are the ones you’ll see the most at the highest levels of play. They all have great recovery, offense, and defense, but what really puts them in the top tier is the fact that they’re not just strong, but they all have something about them that makes them really tough to approach: a strong command grab, insane edgeguard options, or reliable combo options that are versatile and work in a whole lot of situations.
A-tier characters are still competitively viable, for sure, but they land there instead of in the top tier because they usually have one small flaw: the lack of a good projectile, their recovery isn’t great, or they’re easily comboable.
You’ll still see some B-tier characters at tournaments, but this is when the level of quality starts to drop off a bit. For characters in the A and S-tiers, you really have to know specifically how to deal with that character to be successful against them. In the B-tier, that’s less important because those insane character-specific combo options are more limited.
Folks who choose a C-tier character will end up having to work really hard to overcome character flaws like slow smash attacks, bad recovery, or the lack of reliable kill options. They likely won’t be played at major tournaments except for a few rare exceptions.
Finally, D-tier characters all have a glaring flaw that makes them easy to match up against, one that’s more dire than any flaw in the C-tier. They could be incredibly light and floaty, making them easy to kill at low percents, or they could simply have trash recovery, meaning that if you camp by the ledge, you’ll be able to simply throw your opponent overboard and there won’t be much they can do about it.
Imagine Roy but with a better up-B and no sweet/sour spot on the sword. At least here in Chicago, Chrom has been atop the rankings in most of the tournaments that have gone on, and it’s for good reason. They’re scary.
One of the most unique fighters in the cast, Inkling lands in our top tier for many reasons — her kill confirms, the range on her projectiles, her paint roller punish, and the range of her forward smash, but what really puts her over the top is the fact that defensively, she’s a powerhouse as well. Her dash allows her to shimmy under a lot of attacks as she turns into a squid, as does charging up ink. It allows for a ton of mind games and supremely augments the way an attacker has to deal with you.
- Young Link
- Toon Link
Girl got a few buffs. Her neutral B is a whole lot better, and her weird invisible bomb side-B dealie is an amazing edge guard and mind games tool.
Though grabs were changed a ton in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, reducing grab range for most characters and making them a whole lot less safe, Incineroar still finds himself as a formidable foe. His side-B attack is a great punish move (with kill power, if your timing is right or you manage to land a hit in the air up high), and since it’s a grab, enemies can’t shield it. Incineroar has the most powerful grabs in the game, and a toolset that is pretty adaptable. His neutral B is a great defensive option, and his down-B counter can turn most of his attacks into viable kill options.
- Diddy Kong
In addition to his wide array of options in the neutral and the edge guard game, Falco can now dab, which makes him an automatic high-tier pick.
- Rosalina and Luma
- Meta Knight
- Dr. Mario
Dr. Mario lands here, above his non-PhD’ed counterpart, because of the buffs he received to his side-B, and the fact that his down-B is a great kill option offstage.
- Zero Suit Samus
- Wii Fit Trainer
Take it from a Wii Fit Trainer main — Wii Fit Trainer is scary in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. She retains all of her camp options from the previous entry, but has received buffs across the board. Her soccer ball is much more powerful now, with a wider angle of attack, and her neutral air combos into pretty much anything (with a pretty nasty kill confirm into her up-air at certain percents).
Perhaps it’s the fact that most folks have forgotten how to play against Snake, but even though he struggles to find kill confirms sometimes, his toolset is tailor-made for shield poking and edge guarding.
- Captain Falcon
- Donkey Kong
Get ready for up tilt strings and stomp combos that seem to last forever. Fun!
Nobody seems to know where to put Ridley on this list. He’s as high as A tier on some lists, and as low as D on others. The reason he’s at B tier here is because no matter how badly you think you’re winning against Ridley, he has a ton of punish options that can take stocks at low percents. You’ll have an aerial combo going, have Ridley above 150%, then land, make one mistake, and lose a stock. It’s frustrating to play against, but satisfying to achieve.
- Pokemon Trainer
- Mii Brawler
Miis actually ain’t that bad now. Brawler, in particular, has a whole lot of special moves that are surprisingly powerful — perhaps most notably Head-On Assault, which is blazing fast, and has a sneaky-huge blast radius.
- Mii Gunner
- Mii Swordfighter
- King K. Rool
K. Rool isn’t as good as you think he is. Sure, he’s got options, but his belly counter is actually pretty easy to break — most characters can just shorthop over with an aerial attack and just poke him in the face.
- Simon Belmont
Simon has a wide variety of tools, but struggles to find consistent kill options that don’t leave himself wide open to counter-attacks. He’s a heavy hitter, but the lengthy startup frames on most, if not all, of his projectiles and smash attacks means that your spacing will have to be perfect at all times.
- Ice Climbers
Though their down-B got a pretty significant buff, the Ice Climbers still aren’t top-tier yet. At least until people figure out the desyncs and chain grabs.
- King Dedede
Though they all have different movesets, the big slow evil bosses that return from previous Super Smash Bros. games are still high-risk high reward picks that will really struggle against top-tier competition, especially if they can put aerial strings together or space you out.
- Bowser Jr.
- Mr. Game & Watch
- Duck Hunt
Just like in Brawl, Wolf is just a bit less viable competitively than his Star Fox team counterparts. Poor guy.
Yikes. Pac-Man wasn’t great in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, but the jump to the Switch didn’t do him any favors. The best buff he received was essentially a nerf to all non-ranged grabs that makes Pac-Man’s grab more viable. If you’re a Pac-Man main, though, you’re used to playing as a low tier and know how to play mind games. Not much has changed there.
- Little Mac
Still super scary on flat stages, but still really easy to throw off the map and kill at 30%.
Really, really cold of Sakurai to make his baby, the beloved character he created, one of the worst in the game. At least he gets top billing in World of Light!
Things are sure to change, but these are the current character tiers for Ultimate in December 2018 and I’m sticking to it!