In case you’ve missed it, “Everyone Is Here” in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Nintendo’s latest crossover brawler. With characters from Nintendo staples such as Mario and Link, facing off against the likes of Final Fantasy’s Cloud and Metal Gear’s Solid Snake, it seems nothing is off the table - and that goes doubly for the DLC fighters.
At the time of writing, five characters are here - bringing the total roster up to an eye-watering 80. We’re still awaiting the final addition to the season pass - but we know that more characters are coming afterwards.
Here’s our brief primer to each of the new additions and their special moves, in release order.
Piranha Plant – Released February 1, 2019
A bonus for early purchasers of Super Smash Bros Ultimate, Piranha Plant may not have been the most exciting addition at first announcement. A stalwart of the Mario franchise, he offers an interesting move set as well as arguably being one of the funniest characters to see hopping about a stage.
Neutral – Piranha Plant spits out a spiky metal ball, and can be suspended above the character. It can also be sent either side of Piranha Plant, damaging when it comes into contact with an enemy. If an enemy attacks while it’s above the characters head, there’s a good chance it’ll drop on them too!
Side – Piranha Plant spits out damaging poison, which doesn’t offer any knock back but can deal considerable damage if all of the hits land. It can be charged up to offer more damage, but can also be stored for later use - ideal for surprising an opponent once they’ve taken a bit more damage.
Down – Piranha Plant retreats into its pipe and extends to snap at enemies. This can be charged too, which increases the length of the extension but this in turn makes Piranha Plant a bigger target. It does dish out a fair bit of damage when charged, too, but ordinarily is very much a risk/reward attack due to the increased hit box.
Up – An incredibly fun and effective move to use, this allows Piranha Plant to shoot upwards. It can deal damage above, but is also very effective at recovering from an otherwise perilous fall from the map. Just remember your head is still vulnerable, even in the air.
Piranha Plant’s Final Smash summons Petey Piranha, a huge Piranha Plant that stomps around the stage. He carries two cages, and these can trap enemies caught too close to them. He breathes fire at the cages too - dealing significant knock back damage. He can even be knocked off of the stage himself, potentially taking enemies in the cages with him!
Piranha Plant is fun (and unique), but probably isn’t the kind of character professional players gravitate towards to due to the short range of its attacks on the ground. With excellent recovery (especially for one of the game’s heftier characters) though, you may surprise a few opponents.
Joker – Released April 16, 2019
The first “proper” DLC character, Joker hails from the excellent Persona 5 - an RPG on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3. A “Phantom Thief” capable of changing the hearts of evildoers from infiltrating their mind, he can summon a Persona called Arsene to assist him in battle - boosting his attacks.
Arsene is summoned when Joker’s “Rebellion Gauge” is full, and this will fill over time or when Joker uses “Rebel Guard” against enemy attacks. It’ll also fill more quickly when Joker (or his team) are losing a match in terms of score.
Neutral – Joker fires his handgun at enemies, but these bullets cannot be reflected or absorbed - even by Link’s shield. The gun can be fired in mid-air, and holding the button will cause more bullets to be fired.
If Arsene is active, the gun fires three bullets instead of one - and regardless of his presence the bullets can penetrate and hit multiple opponents.
Side – Eiha is a slow moving projectile spell that deals damage over time, but with only a small amount of initial damage. Using it with Arsene turns it into Eigaon, which turns it up to eleven - dealing multiple hits, has an area of effect, travels further, and dishes out even more damage over time.
Down – If Joker hasn’t filled his Rebellion Gauge, Rebel’s Guard gives it a boost when timed with an opponent’s attack. It reduces incoming damage, while also filling the gauge.
If Arsene is present, it becomes a counter against melee attacks and reflects projectiles back at enemies. This makes Joker’s down-special one of the more versatile moves in the entire roster.
Up - A simple concept that’s deceptively tough to master, Joker’s grappling hook can grab opponents or return him to the stage. It fires out diagonally though, so can take some time to learn the right angles to use it.
With Arsene the ability becomes Wings of Rebellion, and Joker is able to fly upwards. Although this deals no damage it does have a more predictable movement than the grappling hook.
Joker’s Final Smash is the “All-Out Attack” found in Persona 5. Teaming up with his fellow Phantom Thieves, he dishes out considerable damage to any enemy caught by his initial attack.
Unusually, missing the attack still allows Joker to dart back across the screen if the left stick is held in the opposite direction - perfect for catching an opponent unaware.
Without Arsene, Joker is hard to hit but unlikely to strike fear into opponents. With his Persona, however, his attacks range from deadly (Eigaon), to versatile (Rebel’s Guard), to life-saving (Wings of Rebellion). If you can bring your Persona to the fore, you’ll find a lot of success.
Hero – Released July 30, 2019
The protagonist of the Dragon Quest series of RPGs, Hero takes four different forms - each from a different Dragon Quest title (III, IV, VIII and XI), each with their own unique alternative costumes but all with the same move set.
Hero has a curious number of randomly assigned spells which can turn the tide of battle - if you get the one you need. This makes it a strange prospect for playing competitively.
Neutral – The first of Hero’s many spells, Frizz is a fireball attack. It can be charged up to deal more damage (becoming Frizzle and then Kafrizz) but this charge cannot be held like most chargeable specials can.
Side – Zap is, as the name suggests, a bolt of electricity, and can’t be reflected or absorbed. It can also be charged to deal more damage, first becoming Zapple and then Kazap.
Down – Here’s where things get interesting, with Hero pulling up a menu of four randomly chosen spells from a pool of eighteen options, each of which uses up the Hero’s MP gauge:
- Oomph - Increases attack, lowers defence
- Snooze - A projectile that can send opponents to sleep, even if they’re airborne
- Bounce - A spell that reflects projectiles
- Flame Slash - An attack that deals extra damage and knock back
- Kacrackle Slash - An attack that freezes enemies
- Kaclang - Prevents the Hero moving but makes him impervious to damage
- Zoom - Causes the Hero to fly vertically and land in the middle of a stage
- Kamikazee - A self-destruct that deals huge damage and knock back
- Sizz - A flame projectile
- Sizzle - A quicker flame projectile
- Psyche Up - Increases knock back of the next attack, but not the damage
- Heal - Heals the Hero
- Acceleratle - Buffs movement speed
- Bang - An explosive projectile that deals knock back
- Kaboom - An explosive projectile that can pull opponents in
- Hatchet Man - A downward slash that delivers a critical hit. Can break shield.
- Whack - Projectile that can INSTANTLY KO!
- Thwack - Explosive that can INSTANTLY KO!
- Metal Slash - A weak attack that can instantly KO any other Hero using Kaclang
- Hocus Pocus - A spell with random effects, some positive and some negative
- Turn Hero invisible
- Makes him invincible
- Makes him giant
- Reduced MP costs
- MP refill
- Slower movement
- Poison damage to self
- Sleep to self
- Flower effect on self
- Makes him smaller
- MP reduced
- Magic Burst - A spell that deals multiple hits and more damage depending on how much MP the Hero has
Up – Woosh is a spell that lifts the Hero on a tornado, and is ideal for recovery. Charging it adds more vertical and horizontal movement, first as Swoosh and then as Kaswoosh.
Hero teams up with another seven Dragon Quest protagonists to deliver a huge slash with his sword, dealing huge damage.
Hero can be devastating and frustrating in equal measure. The possibility of damaging himself or initiating negative status effects can make him tough to stick with, but if you’re luck is in there’s always the chance of an instant KO.
Banjo-Kazooie - Released 4th September 2019
Released on the same day as Nintendo’s Direct presentation, Banjo and Kazooie have finally landed in Smash Bros. Ultimate. Star of platform titles since 1998, there hasn’t been a new title in the franchise since 2008.
Despite this, the pair remain popular and are another indication of Nintendo working with Microsoft - meaning future Microsoft characters might not be out of the running for the Smash DLC roster.
Neutral - A nice simple ranged attack, Banjo-Kazooie’s neutral special throws an egg, and multiple throws can be made by holding the B button - although this reduces damage per egg.
Side - Wonder Wing is an invincible charging attack that can only be used five times per life/stock. It’s lethal, but has an impressive amount of utility to recover from otherwise perilous falls or as a dodge.
Down - Not dissimilar to Diddy Kong’s banana peel, Banjo-Kazooie’s down special is a risk/reward move. While it launches an explosive egg backwards, the item can be thrown back if an opponent is sly enough.
Up - Pure cartoon chicanery, Banjo-Kazooie’s up special sees the duo use a spring to pull off a Shock Spring Jump. As you can imagine, it propels them skywards and Banjo can then use his standard jump afterwards. Holding the button longer leads to a higher jump, too, and it can be used to edge guard an opponent looking to recover from a fall.
A huge multi-hit attack, The Mighty Jinjonator begins with a statue emerging from the ground. Any players hit are then trapped in a cutscene where Jinjonator slams into them multiple times, before another four Jinjos attack.
Banjo-Kazooie are a pretty handy character choice, with plenty of moves for recovery making them a forgiving pick. Timing Wonder Wing well can deal plenty of damage, but missing can cause serious punishment - especially since you can only use it five times per life, preventing it being spammed for an easy recovery. Hit it when an enemy is off the stage though, and you’ll have a huge chance of eliminating them.
Terry Bogard - Released 6th November 2019
A fighter many may not have heard of prior to his announcement, Terry Bogard is a fighter and basketball player that hails from Fatal Fury, a fighting game from the SNK universe. Just as with other fighting game characters Ryu and Ken, he offers impressive diversity and complexity in his moves - making him one of the most exciting additions to the roster so far. He can even “cancel” out of his special moves, and unlocks extra offensive options when he reaches 100% damage or higher - but more on those later.
Neutral - Power Wave is a projectile move that only has a short range and travels slowly - but it can be used while airborne to catch opponents off guard. The stronger version ups the pace and the range, too.
Side (facing) - Burning Knuckle is similar to Power Wave in that it has a weaker and stronger version, but packs more of a punch - probably because it is a punch. The stronger version requires a quarter-turn on the left stick going down and towards the opponent.
Side (away) - The only Smash Character with independent side specials, Terry can unleash Crack Shot when pulling the left stick away from his opponent. Use it to catch opponents off guard by mixing up your attacks.
Down - A rising punch, you can turn this into a variant that grants invincibility on startup with right, down, down/right followed by A or B when the fighter is facing right to dish out a huge chunk of damage.
Up - An upward-thrusting move, this special can be ideal for stage recovery, but holding the button also offers temporary invincibility and a higher leap - perfect for a match-ending KO when your opponent things they are out of your reach.
Power Geyser - if Terry’s damage hits 100% or more, you’ll see a “Go” icon above his portrait at the bottom of the screen. Much like Little Mac’s “Knockout Punch”, this unlocks another move. The Power Geyser deals huge damage, but you’ll need to hit Down, Down/Left, Left, Down/Left, Right and A or B to pull it off.
Buster Wolf - If the Power Geyser is too easy for you, then maybe the even deadlier Buster Wolf will give you a challenge. You’ll need to pull off the following input, and both Buster Wolf and Power Geyser offer higher risk - it can be deadly if you miss or they’re blocked. If you go for it, you’ll need to hit Down, Down/Right, Down, Down/Right, Right and A or B to pull it off.
A combo move fitting of a fighting game character, Terry sends out three ranged attacks forward. If they hit an opponent he uses two more special moves on an enemy to send them flying - the Power Dunk and the Buster Wolf - it’s quite the sight.
While he doesn’t offer the incredible number of moves that someone like Dragon Quest Hero does, the fact Terry’s moves are less random and more predicated on a player’s dexterity makes him tough to learn but rewarding to do so. Expect to see him make a splash on the competitive scene in due course.