A Smash Ultimate Tier List (for When Things Go Back to Normal)

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

With COVID-19 still spreading rapidly across all parts of the world, its fair to say that the number of in person smash events has dropped to an all time low. Presumably though, with the right combination of government policy and social distancing to stop the virus’ spread, it will end at some point, and when it does it is likely that tournaments will start again en masse. Here is what I think the meta will look like when tournaments start again.

To start, only the section labled high tier, top tier, and bottom tier are in numeric order. Every tier below and above that is a rough estimation.

Also, I thought it might be worth briefly explaining my own personal methodology on how I made this tier list. Basically, my opinion is made up of equal parts pro opinion, major tournament results, and theory crafting. Personally, I think when it comes to evaluating the potential of a character, it is important to take into account all three.

Additionally, I try to weigh whether or not the character has more advantages than disadvantages. For example, if a character has a larger than average number of moves that are safe on shield, that would be considered an advantage. conversely, if a character has a recovery that is weaker than average, that would be considered a disadvantage.

Other than that, I will address a few placements that I think might cause contention, and that need clarification.


Pikachu is the Best Character

Largely due to its much more balanced characters than in previous iterations, Smash Ultimate’s best character is a tough thing to figure out. However, Pikachu stands out as the best for a number of reasons.

First, Pikachu has a lot of fast aerials, and against a number of characters on the roster, his moves come out so fast and have so little lag that effectively, he cannot be punished. This makes pressuring the opponents shield safe and incredibly easy.

Second, Pikachu’s now infamous “pancakes” mean that during the animation of certain attacks, his hurt box shrinks so that even during unsafe moves where he theoretically could be punished, he often times is not. In situations where this happens, it often times means the pikachu gets to go back on the offensive because the opponent whiffed an attack.

Lastly, Pikachu’s combo game is second to none. Those who are familiar with the character competitively are likely also familiar with his “lighting loops” a drag down combo consisting of a grab down-throw, nair drag, up tilt and then repeat.

Pikachu not only competes with the best, but often beats them by a lot.

Shulk in High Tier

Those who pay attention to competitive “Smash Ultimate” are probably aware of Shulk’s continued rise to prominence. Originally starting in the meta as a high-mid tier, players such as Nicko and Kome have proven Shulk’s power again and again. As such his position has raised significantly among both pro opinion and tournament results.

However, new tech that was discovered more recently, as explained in the video above, allows Shulk to perform techniques such as L-cancelling and wave-dashing, techniques that are only available in two other smash games, Melee and Project+. While Shulk is currently held back by his more lag ridden aerials and poor movement, if pro players were to master these techniques, it is possible he could move even higher up.

Young Link in High Tier

Many players saw promise in Young Link upon the games release. His quick projectiles and low lag aerials made him, at least theoretically, one of the best characters in the game.

However, as time went on, many lost faith, and as a result, was not valued as highly. After a recent patch blessed the character with many new buffs, including now a forward throw that can kill near the ledge fairly early, and a recent top 8 placement at Frostbite 2020, players are again changing their minds about the character.

Do any of you play Smash Ultimate? If so, which characters do you enjoy playing? Let me know in the comments below.

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