Currently, Peach is 6th in the A tier, making her the highest ranked of any Mario character. Peach's float cancel gives her a fantastic aerial game. She also has good chaingrabbing abilities, which is particularly useful against higher tiered characters. She is also the owner of one of the best projectiles in the game. Additionally, Peach's recovery is among the best in the game, with many options available to her, allowing her to recover at almost any angle. However, Peach's primary flaw is her light weight and floatiness, which makes her more susceptible to KOs, especially on the upper blast lines. Additionally, her slow dash and weak ground attacks, save for her down smash, impair her approach while on the ground.
Peach does not fall into any specific archetype of fighting game character; her attributes are quite varied, with below average weight, a low falling speed, and among the slowest dashes in the game, alongside a high air speed. These attributes form the crux of Peach's combat: a focus on aerial combat while forgoing most of her ground-based options.
Arguably Peach's primary strength is her dominant air game. Despite a poor SHFFL due to a low falling speed and high jumping speed, Peach's unique ability to float gives her an enormous advantage in the air over other characters; in addition to allowing her to easily and effectively pursue characters she has knocked into the air, her midair jump's unusual properties allow her to utilise the Double Jump Cancel, a technique that allows her to quickly perform aerials in rapid succession. Outside of this, Peach's fast neutral and back aerials make them potent out of shield options. As a further benefit from her excellent aerial game, Peach's vegetables can become a powerful approaching technique compounded with her DJC.
As a result of her powerful aerial game, Peach owns among the most powerful, albeit specialised, approaches in the game. Against primarily ground-based opponents with poor aerial games, such as the Ice Climbers or Luigi, Peach can quickly overwhelm such opponents. Her vegetables can also allow her to easily camp against other characters, and due to their propensity to "bounce" upon striking other characters, they can be compounded with her DJC to combo either by themselves or with her aerials.
Regardless of her average grab range, Peach also owns a powerful throwing game. Her up throw can potentially chain throw characters with high falling speed, as well as lead into her other throws. Peach's down throw can also lead to a variety of options for herself, including another throw, a tilt, or a DJCed aerial. In addition, her forward throw and back throw can both be used as KO moves, with the former having the highest knockback for a forward throw in the game and the latter allowing her to easily segue into her powerful edgeguard game.
As a final, powerful benefit for Peach, she also boasts arguably one of the best recoveries in the game. With a high air speed, low falling speed, the ability to float, a long midair jump, the ability to recover with her side special and a long recovery special, Peach is extremely difficult to KO off the edges, even with her below average weight. Her fast neutral, up, and back aerials can also act as deterrents to edgeguarders, while her vegetables, if they are in hand during her recovery, can further aggravate such pursuers. Despite this powerful recovery, Peach's low falling speed and below average weight can also allow her to be easily KO'd via the upper blast line, and vertical finishers can more easily KO Peach than other top tiered characters.
Barring her grab and throw game, however, Peach suffers on the ground. Peach's side and down tilt attacks are slow, though good reads by players can potentially allow for her to use them as combo starters. Peach's smashes also suffer from similar problems, though her down smash can inflict significant damage to opponents and shields, while her up smash can potentially act as a potent KO move. A slow dashing speed (the second lowest in the game) also prevents her from easily pursuing opponents on foot, and her various attributes give her the shortest wavedash in the game, preventing her from taking advantage of wave smashing. Arguably Peach's best attack on the ground takes form of her dash attack; the attack can act as a useful combo starter, but barring this, the use of Peach's ground game for approaching should be avoided by players, and instead, they should be used to either continue combos or to finish them.
For a gallery of Peach's hitboxes, see here.
Note: According to the debug menu in Melee, Peach will always perform the idle pose listed first, then will randomly perform any of the idles poses listed below.
In Competitive play
Peach has very strong matchups compared to the rest of the cast. She is soft countered by 5 characters. has 3 even matchups, soft counters 9 characters, counters 5, and hard counters 3. Peach's floatiness and ability to chase people in the air and go deep for edguarding allows her to destroy characters like Ice Climbers. She also is good at killing horizontally, which makes Falco have a hard time against her. She has problems surviving vertically, as she is light and floaty, so characters like Fox and Captain Falcon have an easier time against her. Sheik has a good kill confirm on Peach in her down throw Uair, Jigglypuff outmaneuvers Peach in the air, and they are both bad on the ground, and Marth outranges Peach and can kill her with Up tilt (Marth's ability to KO Peach has been disputed with the recent success of Armada and MacD against top Marth's like Mew2King and PPMD. This leads some people to believe that Marth vs. Peach is an equal matchup.) Overall, Peach has very strong matchups in her favor and can beat many characters.
Tier placement and history
Due to Peach's great aerial potential and combo ability, as well as her powerful potential mindgames, she has been a character consistently ranking in the top tiers of the Melee tier list. However, as time progressed, Armada became the only Smasher who was able to win money from large tournaments with Peach, with all other Peach players being rather lackluster and falling short of the top 8 at national tournaments. Outside of Armada, representation of Peach in tournaments has still been ubiquitous, with many pre-top 8 placements, but other dedicated Peach players have seldom been able to earn significant money. Despite this, Peach is still ranked in the top tier at 6th place, and is still considered by some smashers to be one of the most powerful characters in the game.
Peach did not receive any changes from NTSC to PAL, but several characters that are placed higher than her on the tier list did; Fox now has a harder time KOing Peach and gets edgeguarded much more easily, Sheik has no guaranteed followups with her down throw and relies more heavily on zoning, and Marth has slightly lower air speed and weight, improving Peach's chances in those matchups. Peach is still ranked 6th in the PAL tier list, but is notably placed in her own tier at B, where most European players can see a noticeable difference in viability between Sheik, Peach, and Captain Falcon.
In Single Player Modes
In Classic Mode
Peach can appear in one-on-one battles, as an ally, on a team with Bowser, Mario, Ness, or Zelda, or as a metal opponent. Peach is fought on Battlefield when on a team with Bowser or in the metal battle, and on Temple when on a team with Zelda. In other cases, she is fought on either Princess Peach's Castle or Mushroom Kingdom II. Unusually, unlike every other Mario character (including sub-series), Peach does not appear as a giant opponent, making her the only Mario character overall that is ineligible for this battle type.
In Adventure Mode
Peach appears in the second portion of Stage 1 along with Mario or Luigi on Princess Peach's Castle.
In All-Star Mode
Peach and her allies are fought on Princess Peach's Castle.
In Event Matches
Peach appears in the following event matches: