Tag Archives: Wolf

5 of the Most Interesting Competitive Character Designs in Smash Ultimate

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Being the forefather of the modern platform fighter, Smash Bros and its many iterations have seen a number of changes. Many of those changes have been in game play, like the the removal of many mechanics from Melee to Brawl. However, arguably a bigger change is the number of characters available in its latest iteration, Smash Ultimate. Not only does this create a more interesting challenge competitively, with players having to memorize many more match ups, but there are also many new types of characters. Here are five of the most interesting characters in Smash Ultimate.

Zero Suit Samus

Zero Suit Samus (ZSS) was introduced in Super Smash Brothers Brawl and was given the unique identity of starting the game with items that she could pick up and throw. However, it was in Smash for the Wii U/3DS where her current design was finalized. While her combo game and raw kill power were nerfed fairly heavily coming into Ultimate, ZSS still retains the raw speed and mix up game that made her so deadly during competitive Smash Wii U.

The biggest and most talked about part of her kit is her down special flip jump. The move can be used to hop over a given area in both horizontal directions, and can even bury a grounded opponent or spike and aerial opponent if they are hit with the second input of the move. Not only does the move allow her to maneuver through space, it also makes it so that she can go fairly deep off stage and expect to make it back safely.

ZSS also has built in stuns in the form of her neutral b and down smash which give her near guaranteed kills if landed. Combine all of this with her relatively fast air speed and strong aerials and you get one of the the more satisfying characters to play.



Given just how different platform fighters usual are from their 2D and 3D counterparts, it makes sense that a different type of character would excel within the genre, mainly those that are faster, have longer combos and more ability to go offstage. However, one type of character has remained a staple of the fighting game community, an archetype known as the grappler. Grapplers are usually reliant on throw combos to do damage and get wins, and Incineroar, who was introduced in Ultimate, is Nintendo’s nod to this archetype.

Incineroar has a few obvious strengths and weaknesses. First, the characters throws give him a lot of options. His down throw can combo into any of his aerials given the right percent, and can even combo into his special moves like neutral special. Additionally, his other three throws are considered kill throws, meaning at higher percents they can outright take an opponents stock.

However, given his slower movement speed and lack of a projectile, Incineroar can also find himself walled out relatively easily, which means the character often has to rely on an opponent making a mistake in order to get anywhere. This variance in his play has made the character extremely polarizing to many, but also puts him in line with many of the grapplers that came before him.


Unlike his slower, fire-type counterpart, Greninja plays exactly like how you would want a character in this genre to feel. Not only his he fast, with a relatively high air and ground speed, he also has a number of high damage combos and kill confirms. He is, in a lot of cases, the definition of rewarding.

However, it is not just that the character feels good to play that makes him so interesting. Many of the character’s special moves also reflect his origins very well. His side special shadow sneak gives him a decent neutral mix-up as well as increased horizontal recovery. Water shuriken, his neutral special, gives him a projectile that can help wall out opponents and build up chip damage. His down special substitute acts as a counter and gives him another way to edge guard opponents offstage. His up special, much like Pickachu’s, gives him a number of angles from which to recover.

The character does lack significant defensive options, however, as most of his kit is focused on constant aggression. Because of this, his disadvantage can often be pretty bad, allowing opponents to rack up quite a bit of damage, and often times leading to a stock as well. Still, despite this lackluster aspect of his character, Greninja is still one of the most interesting designs in Smash Ultimate.



Despite his reputation among many in the competitive community as a “cheater” due to his strong defensive options, Shulk was not considered much of a strong character until Ultimate. Not only does he have a frame 1 Monado Arts switch, which allows him to change the properties of his character, making him faster, heavier, stronger, etc, his large disjointed sword gives him the ability to wall out opponents fairly easily.

Shulk also has something that not many other characters do. Using a mechanic called dial storage, Shulk is able to store frames of charge on his neutral special, making it easier to pull out his Monado Arts. This mechanic also gives him the ability to do things such as L cancel and wavedash, two mechanics that have thus far been limited to Melee. This means that has access to tools that other characters simply do not. As pro player Salem notes in the linked video, mastery of these techniques will likely mean that Shulk becomes one of if not the best character in the game.


If there was ever a character who just oozes cool, outside of Joker, it would be Wolf. Not only does he just look badass, his move set and fast falling classification given him an extremely smooth feel that a lot of the DLC characters in smash simply don’t have. Moreover, Wolf’s combos and kill confirms all feel incredibly satisfying to hit due to many of them being fairly difficult or being extremely risky to go for.

It is unfortunate, however, that the character does not see much play. Relative to his popularity in the first year of the game’s lifespan, coupled with many nerfs to the character overall, Wolf has seen dramatically less play at the top level. In fact, most of his highest level appearances have been at the hands of Zachray, the best player in Japan, and even then he only uses him on occasion.

Still, at least before the worldwide appearance of COVID-19, Wolf was making a resurgence from players like Charliedaking and Larry Lurr. So, despite the relative difficulty of playing him optimally, Wolf will likely to continue to see play for years to come.

What characters do you think have interesting designs in Smash Ultimate? Let me know in the comments.

If you are interested in reading more from me, check under blog to read my most recent stuff, or look below for some related posts. Also, if you would like to support Animated Observations, consider donating on Ko-fi or through paypal, or pledging on Patreon. You can even support by just liking and sharing this post.

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Wolf: From Powerhouse to Barely a Pocket Pick

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

The early meta of “Super Smash Brothers Ultimate” was defined by a much different group of characters than what is popularly seen today. In the beginning of the game’s competitive lifespan, characters fell into two main groups based on their strengths. Either they had ridiculously strong combo games, such as Pichu and Olimar, or they rewarded strong fundamentals and game knowledge, such as Lucina.

Wolf falls into the latter category, and was indeed an incredibly strong character. He was introduced in “Super Smash Brothers Brawl” and has since been a fan favorite. His return in “Smash Ultimate” came with the support of nearly everyone.

Not only are many of his moves somewhat disjointed, meaning the hit-box of those moves is separated from the rest of the character, Many of his moves serve as combo starters, including his down throw, up throw, forward aerial, and many others. Wolf at his core rewards those who are aware of his advantages and know how to play the game on a more fundamental level.

This, in large part, explains his popularity among the competitive scene at the time. His reliance on fundamentals to do well made him easier to pick up, and his strong reward because of his easier combos and strong down smash used for reads made him well worth the relatively small time investment.

This lead to many top players, including Nairo, Void, MKLeo, and Zachray, to picking up the character as a secondary and many more to outright main the character. In fact, on the first PGRU, the official ranking of top smash players created by Panda Global, lists wolf five times, with most of his appearances in the top half of the list.

However, after the first few months of the game, many began developing the meta for other characters, most notably MKLeo rising in skill with his Joker, Nairo with Palutena, Marss with ZSS, Samsora with Peach, and Ally with Snake.


Wolf also suffered from some compromising nerfs, which included a base knockback reduction on his down smash, and a increase in ending lag on his blaster. While he did get lots of other minor buffs, overall the character seemed to lose more than he gained.

Both of these things, combined with Wolf’s lackluster offstage options, lead many to abandoning the character. By the time the second official PGRU rolled around in the following fall, Wolf’s appearances went from five to just one in the form of Zachray, who only occasional played the character in specific match-ups.

While his popularity has certainly been at a low point, not all hope is lost for the furry villain. Many regions across the United States have a number of prominent Wolfs. Of these regions, SoCal stands out the most, who is home top Smash 4 player Larry Lurr, as well as rising star Charlie “Charliedaking” Haruno, the latter of whom recently made an incredible run at Genesis 7, getting ninth out of over 1,600 entrants and who almost beat current number six Maister.

Current number three Gavin “Tweek” Dempsey has also show much interest in the character as of late, using him most recently at Frostbite 2020 and getting third out of over 1,200 players. Even Zachray, who lost faith in the character fairly early on, has continued to use him sparingly in tournament play.

While it is hard to see the character’s widespread popularity returning anytime soon, his history in “Smash Ultimate” is interesting. At the end of the day, Wolf alongside others like Lucina felt a lot like characters that people were just messing around with while they got a feel for the game. Even despite the competitive scene’s strange online transition, it is possible that Wolf may see a minor return in the form of new and old top players.

Something a little different, this time around. I haven’t spent much time talking about competitive smash on this blog, most recently because pretty much all offline tournaments have grinded to a halt. However, I had a sudden inspiration and so this is the final product. Who is your favorite “Smash Bros” character? Let me know in the comments.

If you are interested in reading more from me, check under blog to read my most recent stuff, or look below for some related posts. Also, if you would like to support Animated Observations, consider donating on Ko-fi or through paypal, or pledging on Patreon. You can even support by just liking and sharing this post.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

If you can’t, or just don’t feel like it, no worries. Thank you all for reading, and goodbye, for now, friends!