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6 Least Competitively Viable Super Smash Bros Ultimate Characters


6 Least Competitively Viable Super Smash Bros Ultimate Characters

Super Smash Bros Ultimate released a little over a week ago, and we absolutely loved it in our review. More importantly, professional players have already made their tier lists. These lists will undoubtedly shape the face of the Smash Bros Ultimate scene for years to come, guiding players towards certain characters over others.

While we’re not about to go that far and claim one character is better than another, we can use these lists to give advice on which characters to avoid if they ever want to play competitively. However, take the following with a grain of salt; every character is deadly in the hands of a master. Moreover, the characters in this article fare better on certain stages, most of which have been banned from competitive play, so don’t get too discouraged if your favorite character is on this list.

Least Competitively Viable Super Smash Bros Ultimate Characters


Smash Bros Chrom

When Robin was announced for Super Smash Bros 4 (the Wii U/3DS), gamers prayed fellow Fire Emblem Awakening protagonist Chrom would also appear in Smash Bros. And he did… as Robin’s Final Smash. While Chrom is playable in Super Smash Bros Ultimate (even though he’s still also part of Robin’s Final Smash), he regrettably suffers from Little Mac Syndrome.

What’s Little Mac Syndrome, you ask? Well, like Little Mac (more on him later), Chrom is a beast so long as he’s on solid ground, or at least above a stage. He has all the range of Super Smash Bros Ultimate’s other Fire Emblem swordsmen (and swordwoman) but with none of their swords’ sweet and sour spots. However, unlike other Fire Emblem characters, Chrom has the recovery capacity of an actual sword.

In their infinite wisdom, Nintendo decided to make Chrom a hybrid of Ike and Roy, which meant pairing Ike’s soaring up-B with Roy’s combo-happy side-B. Yet therein lies the problem: Ike’s up-B is all vertical and no horizontal, which is why his side-B is strictly horizontal. As for Roy, his up-B shoots him diagonally upwards, which means he doesn’t really need a side-B for horizontal mobility.

Chrom’s recovery is the worst of both worlds since it has zero horizontal options outside of his single midair jump. Competitive matches always take place on floating arenas, which means Chrom players fight with a serious handicap, one the rest of Super Smash Bros Ultimate’s roster doesn’t have.

Least Competitively Viable Super Smash Bros Ultimate Characters

Ice Climbers

ice climbers, super smash bros

When the Ice Climbers didn’t appear in Super Smash Bros 4, gamers begged for them to return in the next Smash game. Well, they’re here in Smash Ultimate, and they aren’t exactly as tournament-viable as you hoped.

Now, the Ice Climbers’ gimmick is they’re two characters in one. Not to be confused with how Rosalina fires Luma as a living projectile or how Duck Hunt is a dog and a duck who share the same hitbox and damage meter; I mean two independent characters who are generally controlled by the player, which is the Ice Climbers’ biggest strength and weakness.

While the Ice Climbers usually stick together, plenty of attacks can split them apart, especially when one climber’s damage is higher than the other. Sure, the second climber will do his or her best to reunite with the player, but the AI that controls the second Ice Climber isn’t exactly intelligent. Plus, Ice Climbers’ up-B move doesn’t work when the characters are separated, which can make recovery nearly impossible.

To make matters worse, if the AI Ice Climber is KO’d and the player’s Ice Climber is still in the fight, the remaining character only operates at half efficiency. Therefore, opponents don’t fly as far, and the up-B is completely useless. While all hope is not lost, fighting with one Ice Climber is inadvisable.

Least Competitively Viable Super Smash Bros Ultimate Characters

Little Mac

And here we have the originator of Little Mac Syndrome himself: Little Mac, which isn’t a surprise. After all, he’s a professional boxer, not an overweight Italian plumber. Jumping 20 feet in the air isn’t exactly in Little Mac’s job description.

Now, in all fairness, Little Mac is designed to stay on the ground as much as possible. The guy can withstand everything from minor electric shocks to 2,000 pounds of dropkicking koopa so long as he uses super armor, and plenty of Little Mac’s moves grant him super armor. Plus, his strongest attacks get even stronger when he is firmly planted on the ground, and don’t even get me started on his insta-KO. To balance out these strengths, Little Mac has some of the weakest recovery in the game.

Granted, Little Mac’s jumps have improved since Super Smash Bros 4, and his side-B no longer renders him helpless. Even with those incremental improvements, Little Mac has some of the worst jumps and recovery options in Super Smash Bros Ultimate. He’s more than capable of reaching floating platforms, but leaping back onto a stage is beyond his reach, a fact that is all the more painful since he is easily launched when he doesn’t have super armor.

Some of Super Smash Bros’ best professional players like to spend a good chunk of time in the air, and since Little Mac is at his worst midair, many players will not be able to keep up with the air (and mind) games of many competitors.

Least Competitively Viable Super Smash Bros Ultimate Characters


Smash Bros Kirby

Unlike the previous characters on this list, Kirby doesn’t have any difficulty getting back on stage. The little pink puffball is the OG king of recovery thanks to his five midair jumps. However, what was once a huge advantage in the early days of Smash has turned into a crutch.

Once upon a time, Kirby ruled the skies with his multiple jumps, but he was quickly overtaken by other inflatable (and a few winged) characters. While they couldn’t jump as much as Kirby, they all weighed significantly more than the lighter-than-helium pastry puff, which made them comparatively harder to KO, whereas Kirby has remained light and easy to KO at low percentages. That’s just the beginning of Kirby’s woes.

Another problem is, since Kirby weighs less than a balloon, he doesn’t have a lot of mass behind his punches. He has a select few killing blows, and they all have quite the telegraph and windup. Sure, he can suck in opponents to use their B-moves against them, but only a few characters have B-moves that make up for Kirby’s shortcomings.

In the right hands, Kirby is quite the monster; against seasoned competitive Smash veterans, he’s stale and predictable.

Least Competitively Viable Super Smash Bros Ultimate Characters


Incineroar made quite the entrance in Super Smash Bros Ultimate, one befitting a loud, posturing wrestler. And, like a wrestler, Incineroar is at his best when he is either on or above the stage. After all, professional wrestlers aren’t exactly known for platforming prowess.

Incineroar is yet another character who suffers from Little Mac Syndrome, and we can’t expect much else from him. What is a wrestler but a boxer who tosses opponents instead of punch them? Sure, Incineroar has some devastating attacks and throws, especially if he’s powered up by his down-B move, yet he’s hampered by every smasher’s worst nightmare: an attack that can easily result in a self-destruct.

Anyone who uses Ike, Cloud, or Chrom knows their up-B attacks send them flying into the air and then crashing down onto the ground. When used on solid ground, these moves tend to land back on that ground. Incineroar, on the other hand, jumps into the air and zooms diagonally down, which gives him some horizontal mobility —horizontal mobility in the wrong vertical direction.

It’s easy to misjudge Incineroar’s angle of descent, and since most of Smash Bros Ultimate competitive-legal stages are tapered, players stand a good chance of launching themselves under a stage instead of into it. And that’s not even a worst case scenario. If used too close to the edge, Incineroar’s up-B sends him tumbling into oblivion, which is just as effective in ending competitive matches as it is embarrassing.

Least Competitively Viable Super Smash Bros Ultimate Characters


I wanted Ridley to be a good character. I went into Super Smash Bros Ultimate wanting to main him. Sadly, by all accounts, he’s a cavalcade of mediocrity that spirals into a losing combination.

Now, it’s no secret that Ridley is a big, heavy character, which makes him an easy target for smaller, lighter characters. While other heavyweights (and super heavyweights) share this weakness, they also tend to out-range their opponents with long, sweeping attacks. Outside of a few tail-based moves, Ridley has a deceptively short reach. Sure, he uses his tail in a devastating down-B attack, but it’s easy to sour spot and has a lengthy windup that severely limits its use.

To make matters worse, Ridley’s recovery is less than optimal. He’s got multiple midair jumps thanks to his wings, but his up-b can only go in one of four cardinal directions, only one of which has any recovery utility. When used to shoot Ridley forward, the move throws him diagonally down, which makes it slightly less useful than Incineroar’s up-B.

One must wonder if Ridley’s mediocrity is some form of karma. We wanted him in Smash so much, we forgot a spot in the roster didn’t guarantee he’d be good in a competition. Perhaps Ridley is meant to serve as a reminder that we should be careful what we wish for.

About the author

Aaron Greenbaum

Aaron was a freelance writer between June 2018 and October 2022. All you have to do to get his attention is talk about video games, anime, and/or Dungeons & Dragons - also people in spandex fighting rubber suited monsters. Aaron largely specialized in writing news for Twinfinite during his four years at the site.
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