Diddy Kong (SSB4)
Diddy Kong (ディディーコング, Diddy Kong) is a playable character in Super Smash Bros. 4. He was confirmed on February 21st, 2014, coinciding with the international release date of Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. Diddy Kong retains his realistic chimpanzee screeches from Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
Diddy Kong currently rests at 1st out of 58 characters in the tier list, on the S tier, a slight rise from being 4th out of 38 in Brawl. Diddy Kong's strengths lie in his profound comboing ability, with attacks flowing very well together as a result of their surprisingly long reach for a character of his size, quick frame data, and low knockback. He also has a fair share of strong finishers, such as his smash attacks, which he can combo into. He is highly mobile and has a strong neutral game thanks to his Banana Peel and Peanut Popgun. However, Diddy Kong is quite susceptible to being gimped, as Monkey Flip is linear and short-distanced while Rocketbarrel Boost is very unsafe to use from virtually any distance. He also suffers from a poor damage output, exacerbated by his poor aerial mobility when not using special moves, which hinders his aerial combo game. Finally, his Banana Peel, which heavily contributed to his top tier status in Brawl, has reduced stage control potential and is no longer capable of locking or zero-deathing opponents as the active Banana Peel maximum was reduced to one. Still, his strengths generally outshine his flaws, and he has seen some of the best tournament representation and results of any character in spite of being severely nerfed by updates. Despite this, Diddy's tier placement is somewhat debated, as other characters such as Mario have recently been more dominant in competitive play; in particular, Diddy's best player ZeRo no longer shows the same level of dominance as he once did, even in the early days of version 1.1.6.
Diddy Kong, true to his appearance in the Donkey Kong games, is an overall agile character. He is a middleweight with fast walking speed, fast dashing speed, fast falling speed, strong jumps, as well as the ability to wall cling and crawl. However, he has low air speed, below average air acceleration and high gravity, hindering his aerial mobility.
Diddy Kong's greatest strength is the resilience of his moveset. His jab is not only quick, but decently strong as well, having some KO potential at high percentages. Forward tilt has very good range, can be angled and deals good knockback, making it great for fending off opponents. Up tilt has follow-up potential at low percentages and good KO potential at high percentages. Down tilt has low knockback, giving it the ability to combo into itself, as well as KO set-ups into up smash and forward aerial. His smash attacks have high speed and high power, making them great for finishing off opponents. Down smash is also a semi-spike, making it great for edgeguarding and covering rolls. Forward aerial is fast, strong and has long duration, making it a great choice in any case. Back aerial is very fast, and its varied power makes it useful for comboing. Up aerial, while significantly nerfed over time, remains extremely fast, hitting on frame 4, making it excellent at keeping opponents above Diddy Kong at bay. Lastly, down aerial has large autocancel windows and high power, making it a very dependable meteor smash. Along with the speed of his moves, Diddy Kong's limbs have the unique ability of stretching, giving his attacks surprising range.
Diddy Kong's already great neutral game is further supplemented by his versatile special moves. Peanut Popgun allows Diddy Kong to shoot a peanut, a weak projectile that can be used for edgeguarding or disrupting approaches. While slow and difficult to land, the explosion from the overcharged popgun can also be used as an attack. It is also tremendously powerful, dealing 23% damage and heavy knockback, KOing earlier than even King Dedede's forward smash. Monkey Flip is a command grab that lets Diddy Kong latch onto and pummel an opponent. From there, it can be followed up by either a double punch or a jump attack, with the latter being a meteor smash and granting Diddy Kong a second use. Alternatively, it can be cancelled immediately into a strong flying kick. The jump also grants a lot of momentum, making it a great move for recovery. Rocketbarrel Boost is Diddy Kong's primary means of recovery, covering large amounts of distance, especially if fully charged. Diddy Kong can also ram and launch opponents, and if attacked during it, the rocketbarrels become unblockable projectiles. Finally, Banana Peel is a defining part of Diddy Kong's ground game. It can be used as a regular banana peel or out of shield, both of which can be used for predicting the opponent's floor recovery or leaving them open to a smash attack.
However, Diddy Kong has some serious flaws. His damage output has been nerfed over time, and has now ended up being below average. This makes it crucial for him to extend his combos in any way possible. In addition, as a fastfaller, Diddy Kong is vulnerable to combos, making it easy for other characters with reliable combos to rack up damage on him, worsening his already mediocre survivability. While his high jumps, wall cling and special attacks grant very long distance overall and allow for many mix-ups, none of them are effective on their own, making his recovery easy to gimp. As mentioned before, Rocketbarrel Boost has to be charged to cover long distances, and the rocketbarrels will detach from Diddy Kong if he's hit. This means that any hit during the move can be detrimental to Diddy Kong, with meteor smashes often KOing him outright.
Diddy Kong doesn't benefit much from his custom moves, having only two that are overall better than their defaults: Rocketbarrel Attack and Shocking Banana Peel. Rocketbarrel Attack has much less maneuverability and is slower, but is extremely powerful even when uncharged, granting Diddy Kong a lethal surprise KO option. Shocking Banana Peel has a different throw trajectory and is less effective when thrown directly at the opponent, but is able to paralyze the opponent, leaving them wide open to any attack. The rest of his custom moves have disadvantages that noticeably outweigh their advantages, with Exploding Popgun being particularly notorious.
Overall, despite his constant nerfs, Diddy Kong remains a very potent character. The combination of high combo versatility and strong stage control have granted him great results in tournaments, and is ranked first on the official tier list, being even higher than in Brawl.
Changes from Brawl
Initially, Diddy Kong was heavily buffed in his transition from Brawl to SSB4 despite already being a top tier character, but as of patch 1.0.8, he is considered to be slightly nerfed overall. He has received a major nerf to his Banana Peel move, which was previously the key to his past success, and many attacks deal less damage, weakening his damage racking abilities. To make up these nerfs however, he has attained many new easily usable combos, which are further benefitted by the changes to hitstun canceling, and some of his moves were buffed to KO better. Overall, he is still seen as one of the most successful characters in competitive play, albeit not nearly as much as in early versions of the game.
Likely as a result of his dominance in early competitive play, taking top spots in several tournaments, Diddy Kong was infamously nerfed by patches. Previously, Diddy Kong possessed powerful aerials that could easily be comboed into, most notably down throw to one or more up aerials, which was both a powerful KOing and damage racking tool which was simple to execute. However, patches 1.0.6 and 1.0.8 greatly weakened the hitstun, damage, and knockback of several of Diddy's most frequently used moves, particularly the aforementioned down throw to up aerial combo, bringing Diddy's competitive usage more in line with other frequently used SSB4 characters. The changes on shield mechanics slightly hinder him, too, as banana throw out of shield, one of his fastest punish options, comes out slower.
Nevertheless, while Diddy Kong initially seemed to be much less effective after the nerfs, his neutral game has not been nerfed significantly in these updates, and he has obtained slight buffs in other areas, so he is still seen as a popular and successful character in competitive play.
In patch 1.1.1, Diddy Kong had a glitch that had rendered him invulnerable to grabs of any kind until he performed any kind of dodging maneuver. This was later fixed in patch 1.1.2, nine days after 1.1.1's worldwide release.
In competitive play
Tier placement and history
Diddy Kong was highly dominant in early competitive play due to his very powerful combos; in particular, his down throw to up aerial combo quickly became infamous for easily securing KOs at relatively low percentages, resulting in him being deemed the best character in the game. After being nerfed by updates 1.0.6 and 1.0.8, Diddy's representation dropped and Sheik was considered the best character instead, but he remained a potent character with many high-level players. Diddy was ranked 9th on the first tier list, but thanks to continued strong results from multiple players including ZeRo, along with the nerfs to Sheik in update 1.1.5, he has now taken the top spot despite not being as dominant as he was originally.
In Event Matches