Climbing the ranks in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s online mode can be incredibly difficult, especially when there are 74 characters to learn and master. Ultimate’s roster is absolutely brimming with classic Nintendo characters and Sakurai’s beloved brawler is only going to get bigger with this year’s upcoming DLC. Unlocking every character can take quite some time - but with our simple guide to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate unlock characters, you'll have the entire roster in no time. Of course, if you’re planning to duke it out against the world’s best Smash players, then you’ll want to pick the characters at the very top of the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tier list to help give you an edge over your foe. While simply picking an S-tier character won’t make up for poor mechanical skill and overall game knowledge, it will certainly increase your odds of netting yourself a win. So, which fighters should you be using to give yourself an advantage in the ring?
Note: This tier list will likely change as the meta evolves and players discover new tricks and mechanics, so characters will likely shift in standing. The tier list below currently represents fighters that have been doing well in pro tournaments and Ultimate’s online modes.
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S-Tier: Chrom, Lucina, Marth, Inkling, Peach, Daisy, Mewtwo, Lucario, Pikachu, Pichu
There appears to be a Fire Emblem theme among Ultimate’s finest fighters and Chrom, Lucina, and Marth all find themselves at the top of the list. All three of these fighters’ attacks deal considerable knockback damage and have high mobility that allows them to quickly capitalise on even the smallest of openings, while their safe tilt attacks give them plenty of opportunities to deliver that all-important final hit. Inkling is an absolute nightmare to play against thanks to the sheer amount of ranged pressure and AoE damage you can pump out. This squid kid also has excellent recovery options and huge amounts of KO potential thanks to the added damage multiplier it gets when attacking painted targets. It’s certainly not hard to see why the Splatoon star is at the top of the list.
Peach has been a fan favourite among the best Smash players for years thanks to her incredibly versatile kit. The princess’ floating ability gives her great aerial recovery and rewards offstage plays, allowing players to effortlessly spike players without the fear of hurtling towards the abyss below. Combine this with the ranged poke from her vegetable projectile and the damage nullifier from Toad, and you have an incredibly potent fighter. Meanwhile, Mewtwo also finds himself at the very top of Ultimate’s rankings thanks to his incredibly punishing playstyle. His forward throw, forward aerial, fully charged Shadow Ball and smash attacks all offer great KO potential, while his floaty nature makes it incredibly easy to juggle airborne enemies. Lastly, Nintendo’s beloved electric mouse, Pikachu is still a staple character amongst the pros thanks to his speedy neutrals, electrical zoning, AoE smash attacks and overall safe playstyle. You certainly can’t go wrong with this electrifying mouse.
A-Tier: Roy, Ike, Bayonetta, Cloud, Donkey Kong, Diddy Kong, Olimar, Falco, Fox, Wolf, Link, Young Link, Toon Link, Yoshi, King K. Rool, Pokémon Trainer, Isabelle, Meta Knight, Shulk, Ken, Ryu, Simon, Richter, Snake, Zero Suit Samus, Samus, Dark Samus, R.O.B.
The A-tier is filled with fantastic fighters and many of the characters above can trade blows with their S-tier rivals, so don’t be afraid to pick from this powerful pool. Roy may not be as broken as Chrom, but he’s still a fantastic swordsman that can dish out tremendous amounts of damage with his fiery combos. The majority of his neutrals deal tremendous amounts of knockback damage and he can easily keep foes off the stage with his aerial and edge guarding capabilities. Meanwhile, Falco, Fox, and Wolf are still hotly contested picks due to their speed and deadly precision. Their strong aerial and ground game allows them to punish even the slightest of mistakes, while the projectile spam from their blasters can rack up huge amounts of damage. Both Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong have also been making a rumble in the Smash Bros. jungle. While Donkey Kong uses brute force to pummel and pulverise his opponents into submission, Diddy Kong utilises his Peanut Popgun/Banana Peel to zone and control the flow of the fight.
Isabelle is another character that excels at stage control and uses mind games to outwit her opponent. The range, damage and zoning potential she has with her fishing rod make her incredibly frustrating to play against. Animal Crossing’s cute canine secretary will have your foes falling hook, line, and sinker in no time. Meanwhile, the Hero of Hyrule and his young predecessors proudly take their seats among those of the star-studded A-tier. Both Link and Young Link deliver devastating sword-based attacks, while their explosive bombs, razor-sharp arrows, and trusty boomerangs can effectively pressure their foes at range.
B-Tier: Captain Falcon, Greninja, Ganondorf, Bowser, Wario, Incineroar, Mario, Dr. Mario, Luigi, Mii Brawler, Mii Fighter, Mii Gunner, Ness, Lucas, Palutena, Rosalina & Luma, Villager, Pit, Dark Pit, Sonic
The characters under the B-tier may not be as strong as those above them, but they still pack a mean punch when in the right hands. Captain Falcon can quickly overwhelm his opponent with a combination of lightning-fast attacks, strong neutrals, and devastating KO potential with his famed Falcon Punch. Unfortunately, the majority of Captain Falcon’s moves leave him open, while his overall bulk and falling speed make him highly susceptible to aerial juggles. Another noteworthy appearance in the B-tier is that of Mario, Dr. Mario, and Luigi. Nintendo’s resident plumbers have decent all-round abilities that allow them to trade evenly in most matchups. Their grapple game is still as potent as ever and creates opportunities for some nice follow-up damage, but the lack of KO potential and predictable recovery options can make things a little tricky.
Incineroar’s debut in Smash Ultimate has been a little shaky, with many players being put off by his lacklustre speed and aerial capabilities. However, this feisty feline is an absolute monster and is equipped with some monstrous smash attacks. Unfortunately, Incineroar struggles to deal with mobile and ranged foes – in fact, this weakness is also shared by fellow B-tier heavyweights, Ganondorf and Bowser. Kid Icarus’ Pit, Palutena, and Dark Pit all have incredibly safe playstyles thanks to their strong recovery game, while their neutrals and dash attacks can lead to some decent combos. Aside from edge-guarding and using forward/up smashes, it can be rather tricky to land that all-important kill, so bear this in mind before picking them.
C-Tier: Bowser Jr., Duck Hunt, Ice Climbers, King Dedede, Mega Man, Pac Man, Sheik, Zelda, Mr Game & Watch, Robin, Corrin, Wii Fit Trainer, Jigglypuff
Characters in the C-tier all have notable weaknesses that can be easily exploited and while they do have their individual strengths, it’s almost always better to pick fighters from the S, A, and B tiers if you want to maximise your chances in Ultimate’s online mode. One of the most notable characters featured here is Bowser Jr. This loveable little tyke is still hampered by his poor combo potential, while his overall kit leaves a lot to be desired. Bowser’s child prodigy may have a lot of stage control, but this often does little to dissuade players from rushing him down and forcing him into unwinnable trades. Duck Hunt also shares this weakness and while he may be able to pressure his foe with a barrage of projectiles, there’s very little he can do once he’s airborne. If you’re after a decent ranged character that can safely pressure your foe, then it’s almost always better to opt for Simon, Richter, Link, or Samus.
Another character that narrowly avoided the clutches of the D-tier is King Dedede. Kirby’s arch nemesis may deliver some heavy-hitting attacks with his giant hammer, but his underwhelming combos, poor aerials, and easily countered projectiles have left him feeling rather blue. As a result, King Dedede often feels like an extremely risky pick when compared the game’s other heavyweight characters. The Smash Ultimate nerf hammer has also reined in Sheik’s damage and her overall kill potential has dropped considerably. The once proud warrior now has to work even harder than ever to set up KO’s, but even when she racks up the damage, her smash attacks rarely guarantee a kill. Rounding off the C-tier is Mr Game & Watch. This stick-like figure may have some decent KO options thanks to Judge and Fire, but his overall ability to deal damage is on the low side. When you combine these flaws with the long windup time on his smash attacks, you have a character that is incredibly hard to win with.
D-Tier: Kirby, Little Mac, Ridley
Sakurai’s very own brainchild sadly makes his way to the bottom of the list, despite being an absolute monster in previous Smash titles. Unfortunately, Kirby’s lack of range, lacklustre combo game, and predictable recovery has left the little guy down in the dumps. Joining Kirby at the bottom is Punch-Out’s very own Little Mac. Little Mac is a fighter who prefers to have both feet firmly planted on the ground, forcing players to cling to the centre of the stage in order to avoid an untimely demise. Rising Uppercut is Little Mac’s only offstage recovery option and the predictable nature of this move makes it incredibly easy to intercept. Once you’re sent hurtling offstage, there’s very little you can do to get back on it. Stay away from Little Mac unless you’re prepared to battle with his non-existent aerial and recovery options.
Smash Bros. players have wanted to play as Ridley for years and while many fans’ prayers have been answered, the winged terror is not as threatening as we had hoped – in fact, Ridley is one of the most predictable characters in the entire game. His whole kit is largely tailored around using his Space Pirate Rush and neutral air attack to bully his foes, but these can be easily countered with the right spacing. To make matters worse, his weight and fast falling speed make offstage fighting incredibly difficult.
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