Super Smash Bros. DLC lights a fire under its fans like no other. That got us thinking, what’s the definitive ranking of all the DLC fighters in the Smash Bros. series, from Wii U to Ultimate?
We’ll be honest, we’re not the biggest fans of Lucas. Unless you’re really wanting to play as a blonde character (in which case, pick Cloud, who we’ll get to in a minute), we see limited reason to select Lucas over Ness, to whom the title of ‘Backthrow King’ already belongs. Don’t get us wrong, we’re glad to see the return of the EarthBound franchise, but perhaps Nintendo could’ve gone with another character with a more unique moveset.
While low on our list for similar reasons to Lucas, Roy does have some appeal in that, despite being a clone of Marth, his moves have slightly different properties to his counterpart. Marth’s sword attacks hit strongest at the tip of his sword, strongly enough that some of his strikes can break shields or send his opponents flying. Roy has a similar mechanic, but with the strongest part of his sword being the hilt. On top of that, his moves are a lot more explosive and destructive than the rest of the Marth Clone Squad. Roy also has a lot of nostalgia value. Fans had wanted “our boy Roy” back for a while, especially with the unbelievable tease of the new Koopaling fighter named Roy, which caused no shortage of memes.
Corrin, despite being an FE fighter, is not simply a Marth Echo, and is actually the first fighter on this list with a unique moveset, hooray! However, it was around the time of his announcement that fans started to become a lot less charitable regarding Smash’s love affair with Fire Emblem. Four fighters with almost the exact same moveset had started to get a liiiiittle annoying, but thankfully Corrin broke the mold, just not in a way that made everyone happy. Smash’s online warriors are notorious for calling for quick bans when new characters drop, and they don’t know their way around the fighter’s new stuff yet. Corrin’s counter was one such move that ticked a lot of players off. It hits all the way around Corrin, it almost doubles your own attack’s power back at you, and it kills super early. Like, in single digit percentage if you fully charge a Smash attack.
The very first DLC fighter announced for Smash 4, players lost their minds for this dude, the returning veteran all the way from Melee, come to teach the new-age Sm4sh players a lesson in pain, and he did just that. He was a high-tier machine, and his tail was as good of a sword as any FE character (until they added that hurtbox to it in Ultimate and dropped him three tiers in one move; thank you for removing that, Nintendo). Still, even though he was a lot of fun, had great tools and an amazing reveal that got everyone excited, it was a disappointment to some that the first DLC character was a veteran fighter. Smash is a crossover series – fans want to see some new fighters, from new series!
5. THE HERO
The latest character to come out! He’s still fresh in our hearts and minds, and we’re all still enjoying the feeling of a shiny new character to experiment with and all the wondrous possibilities that comes with a new fighter. He’s pretty fun, and they didn’t skimp on alt costumes either, letting a bunch of old Dragon Quest protagonists into the proceedings. How’s his gameplay really though? Well, he’s definitely not as high tier as some other fighters on this list; in fact he’s probably near the low end in terms of competitive viability (but keep in mind, any DLC fighter in Smash is by default better than most of the base roster). Having his moves rely on a limited Mana supply for any sizable damage, along with his randomly generated list of Down B Special Menu attacks adds up to a character that is kinda hard to make something cool happen with. While it might sound like we’re not into The Hero, though, that’s definitely not the case. All his weird mechanics and RPG silliness make him a lot of fun to mess around with in casual play, and if you put in the effort you can definitely make him work – just don’t rely on Down B in a pinch.
The Piranha Plant was Nintendo’s amazing way of showing everybody that they didn’t give a damn what you thought of their DLC or new roster, they’re gonna include ANYONE they want, meme characters and all. Sakurai added a Piranha Plant before Dante or Master Chief, and that’s absurd, but we love him for it. The Plant is just a generic Mario enemy that nobody thinks twice about, and yet here it is, robbing some angry fan of the chance to see their favourite character or franchise represented. Beautiful. And to add insult to injury, they made him fun to play too! His recovery has no business being as good as it is, it covers practically the whole stage and is an active hitbox the entire time, and he has surprisingly good projectile game, making him a monster of the neutral game. #PlantGang forever.
Piranha Plant pipes up in #SmashBrosUltimate as a new playable fighter! Ready your flowerpots for battle with this poisonous powerhouse starting today! Piranha Plant is a free bonus for players who have registered Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and redeemed their code before 1/31. pic.twitter.com/qDDjHOJXbk
— Nintendo Versus (@NintendoVS) January 30, 2019
Legitimately one of the biggest surprises in the history of Smash – nobody saw this coming, especially given how rare it is for Square Enix to share their IPs. Yet here we are, Cloud has stormed into battle, and he is great. Another high-tier warrior in 4, before his Nair got nerfed in Ultimate, the sheer reach he had with his Buster Sword was ludicrous. His charged-up specials were billed as being difficult, with high-risk, high-reward. You have to stand totally still for ages to build up his Limit Gauge, a one-time charge that powers up one of his Specials. Nonetheless, it’s a cakewalk for him to knock you a hundred metres off stage, before ledgeguarding with Cross Slash for ridiculous damage and launching power, or using Finishing Touch, a move which only deals 1% damage, but defeats most characters instantly even before 70%. Cloud broke the tier list so badly he had to be put into a tier of his own.
The first reveal of Smash Ultimate, and what a reveal it was. Joker’s reveal soundly smashed any made-up rule or perception that the community had about DLC. “This character won’t be added because their game isn’t on Switch.” Wrong. “They won’t be added because their weapons are too mature, like knives and guns.” Very wrong. “They won’t get added because they’re too ‘anime.’” Nope, nope, nope. Joker stole a Smash invite at E3, and a lot of stocks from players online. As for gameplay, is there any doubt that this character is dummy good? He just won EVO, and people are asking for him to be nerfed. You know when people are yelling for the nerf, or better yet the ban, you’ve really made it. Well done, Joker.
So, before Ryu, the DLC we had gotten were all veteran fighters: Mewtwo, Lucas and Roy. For a hot second, it seemed like we’d only be seeing the return of old fighters from the Wii U, and then… Ryu. A Street Fighter in Smash, that’s as good as it gets in terms of validation. A traditional, arcade-style, 2D ICON of the FGC was joining Smash! It definitely made the DLC line-up a lot crazier, and suddenly, a lot more exciting. If we could get Ryu, then who was next? The sky was the limit. We think that’s what Ryu was for a lot of Smash players. The hope that Smash could become not just the definitive Nintendo crossover event, but THE gaming crossover event. You didn’t need to be from a fighting game, or even exclusively on a Nintendo console, you just had to be a symbol of gaming, and that’s exactly what Ryu was. The symbol of the whole fighting game genre. You could argue that Solid Snake did this in Brawl, and that would be correct, but come on? What are the odds of lighting striking twice! Next to none, and they made it happen anyway! Also, very cute thing, if you did his inputs from Street Fighter in Smash, it actually powered up his attacks. A very neat homage to a legendary series.
It’s not technically DLC, but how could we ignore the most important reveal of all?
We knew a new Smash Bros. was coming for the Switch, but at the time of that first Direct, we didn’t know what to expect. Should we brace for mild disappoint? Do we run? And then, regardless of what anyone thought, there was one shining moment that united everyone in awe, a moment that assured everyone that this would be something special. Solid Snake appearing on stage with an electric crack, and the line, “EVERYONE IS HERE”.
Every single fighter from every game, even the guest stars like Cloud and Ryu, brought back for the ultimate Smash game. And as if that wasn’t good enough, Ridley! They said he’d never get in, that he was “too big” for Smash, and he proved all the haters wrong! He didn’t end up being that great to play, but he’s there!
It had to be. No one has caused as much trouble and controversy in the Smash scene as the Umbran witch. No matter how many times they nerfed her, she was simply too good to stop. She was riding high at the top of everyone’s tier list, and baby, she wasn’t comin’ down. 0-Death combos, near-impossible to avoid setups, and that pesky Witch Time all made her an absolute nightmare on the battlefield, to simply say she was “broken” would be to grossly understate just how completely she ripped up the game’s rulebook and tossed it into the garbage. She made a lot of people rage, and we have to respect that, but also, we have to avoid that like the plague. Nintendo knows that the only way to top Bayonetta is to add the fighter we all deserve: Cooking Mama. Nintendo, give us more powerful women in Smash.