Samus (サムス, Samus) was confirmed to be a playable character in Super Smash Bros. 4 in the E3 2013 trailers on June 11th, 2013. She was also among the first wave of amiibo figures that are compatible with SSB4. However, unlike in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, she is no longer capable of transitioning into Zero Suit Samus due to the latter now being an entirely separate character.
Samus is currently ranked 51st on the tier list, placing her at the top of the J tier and resulting in her once again remaining a bottom-tier character like in Brawl, where she was ranked 32nd out of 38. Samus has a rather strong camping game thanks to her projectiles and Grapple Beam, along with a good air game that allows for powerful combo strings when she gains momentum. Her Charge Shot poses a constant threat to opponents, functioning as a fearsome KO move and a strong punish in many situations due to its high damage and excellent knockback. However, Samus is reliant on defensive spacing to keep opponents at bay; her moves are generally ineffective at point-blank range, with the exception of down tilt. Even at mid-range, Samus is prone to trading hits with opponents. Combined with her floatiness and mediocre mobility, this makes it very difficult for her to escape from juggling and other bad situations. Though she is generally considered to have improved from Brawl, with most other veterans having also improved, Samus has not really risen on the tier list. While Samus' representation is poor overall, she has a slightly more significant playerbase than other bottom-tier characters (even some that are ranked higher than her), with professionals such as ESAM bringing her some degree of competitive success.
Samus is unique among the other heavyweights in the game. While she is tied with Bowser Jr. as the sixth heaviest in the game, she is a floaty character with slow falling speed and average air and ground speeds. While this gives her an easier time chasing down aerial opponents and forcing air dodges, it also causes her to be juggled easier, leaving her with few reliable landing options as her slow fall speed gives the opponent more time to punish her as she attempts to return to the stage. In addition, many of her moves artificially extend her hurtboxes, leading to trades, an opponent grabbing her invisible hurtboxes and in some cases getting punished after landing a move despite her being visually out of range of the opponents counterattack. Furthermore, some of the hitboxes on her moves, most notably up smash, forward smash and down aerial, have the issue of failing to connect properly or outright whiffing.
Samus' moveset is defensively-oriented, as she uses her projectiles to space, rack up damage from a distance and pressure shields. Many of her moves can be used to place opponents in unfavorable positions that can allow Samus to tech-chase or guarantee a shield break if Bombs are used in conjunction with a sweetspotted back aerial or a sufficiently charged Charge Shot. Many of her combos can rack up more than 30% and when using platforms to her advantage, she is capable of stringing her up aerials multiple times and even finish with Screw Attack, leading to a KO or at the very least dealing 40%-50%. In addition, back aerial is one of her best moves courtesy of its power, damage output and speed. Screw Attack can be used as a decent out of shield move, doing 12% and can KO near the upper blast line. Samus possesses a very strong off-stage game thanks to her high jumps, which enable to recover from nearly anywhere on the stage, stay in position for longer periods of time due to her floatiness, or bait the opponent by stalling in the air and punishing edge-guard attempts. Her throw game is also useful: Grapple Beam has impressive range, doubles as a tether recovery (with its range as such having been increased since Brawl) and it is useful for spacing when used as a grab aerial, but it still possesses considerable ending lag even though it has been reduced since Brawl and in update 1.0.8. Down throw is very useful for starting combos that deal respectable damage and can be used with her neutral, forward and up aerials at varying percentages. Finally, her pummel is tied with Lucas' as the second fastest in the game, although it is the weakest one in the game.
In terms of customs, Samus benefits from a few. Apex Screw Attack has slightly more start-up and the recovery it provides is slightly worse, but it does more damage and massive knockback to the point of KOing most middleweights at 75% from the stage and as low as 50% near the upper blast line. Screw Rush, while making her vertical recovery worse, grants more horizontal distance and KOs earlier then Screw Attack depending where on the stage and deals more damage, making it more useful for racking up percent. Relentless Missile, while traveling slower, has more accurate tracking as a homing missile while dealing less damage. The Super Missile deals more damage and slightly more knockback. Turbo Missile travels more distance and is considerably faster then both Missile and Relentless Missile, at the cost of dealing less damage in general. Dense Charge Shot is dependent on the match-up and the person's playstyle. As one of the strongest projectiles in the game, it takes a bit longer to charge, and has much less speed and range. However, it gives Samus multiple set-ups due to the length of time the Charge Shot stays in the air and with the increased damage, can force shield breaks much easier and KO much easier. Slip Bomb, while doing less damage, has the useful property of tripping grounded opponents and meteor smashing airborne opponents, making it useful as a set up for a grab or a punish and a edgeguarding option to spike the opponent. Mega Bomb can be used to stall opponents, since Samus can stay next to the bomb itself, Waiting until the Bomb explodes, allowing Samus to either retreat, launch Missiles, charge her charge shot or make the opponent approach. Melee Charge shot has a shorter charge time then both Charge Shot and Dense Charge shot, while also having considerably more hitstun and shieldstun with the inclusion of extra pushback after its use, making it extremely safe if shielded or outright whiffed.
Overall, Samus is a character that works best when using her Missile, Bomb and grab aerial for spacing in order to set up combos and either finish off pressured opponents off-stage or KO them outright with Charge Shot. Despite her veteran status, Samus' optimal playstyle is highly unorthodox; as she falls short in regards to either zoning-exclusive offense or melee-exclusive offense, success with Samus requires careful, calculated use of her various tools to keep momentum in her favor. She is a character hard to master, and rewards patient play like Shulk.
Changes from Brawl
Samus has received a mix of buffs and nerfs in the transition from Brawl to SSB4, despite her status as a low-tier character in Brawl. Samus has gained several new KOing options, the most notable of which is her staple move, Charge Shot, which has drastically increased speed and knockback. The other noteworthy options include her forward smash, up smash and Screw Attack. Forward smash now has a powerful sweetspot in the form of a fiery blast at the tip of her Arm Cannon. Up smash and Screw Attack have each have had their knockback improved (though only to the final hit in Screw Attack's case), while up smash's hits now connect better to further ensure that opponents cannot escape it. Samus' dash attack and neutral aerial are also capable of KOing due to a strengthened sweetspot and increased knockback respectively, but they are not as viable in doing so like the aforementioned attacks. Aside from her new KOing options, Samus' combo game has also been improved; attacks such as down throw and dash attack have been given better knockback angles, and with the removal of hitstun cancelling, she is able to chain attacks much easier.
However, Samus also received some nerfs that can offset her buffs. Her forward smash now has a new sourspot that is weak and runs along the Arm Cannon as well as more ending lag, while her up smash now deals less damage overall. To compound this, some of her finishers in Brawl, such as her down tilt and down smash, can no longer KO until very high percents. Her projectile game was weakened slightly, as Missiles are less effective due her losing the ability to perform her Missile Cancel technique, though her projectiles are still powerful in their own right. Additionally, many of Samus' attacks deal slightly less damage and have more landing lag (although these are universal nerfs among the cast), meaning that she still has some trouble in racking up damage. However, this has resulted in Samus being re-balanced to be slightly less reliant on projectiles while now wielding a slightly improved close-range game.
As many of Samus' issues were not addressed, she has little representation in major SSB4 tournaments. However, her few dedicated players like ESAM have brought her some degree of tournament success and continue to develop her metagame; because of this, she is seen as a difficult-to-learn character who can be quite viable and versatile when mastered that still suffers from major flaws that hold her back in the metagame, similarly to Shulk.
Samus has received a mix of buffs and nerfs in the game's updates, but has been buffed overall as of update 1.1.1. The new shield mechanics in 1.1.0 and 1.1.1 are a mixed bag for Samus, buffing her projectile game while nerfing her close-ranged game. The new mechanics gave Samus a number of new Charge Shot combos that allow her to break shields (previously, she only had one such combo, using a Super Missile). However, it makes most of her close-ranged attacks more difficult to land, and the only other moves that get improved are her down tilt and forward aerial (which are already difficult to land by themselves). Thus, while Samus has been buffed overall as of update 1.1.1 and is slightly better than she was in Brawl, she is still poorly regarded overall apart from ESAM's efforts. Like in Brawl, this is ironic considering her status as a potent choice for tournament play when she is not wearing her Power Suit.
In competitive play
In Event Matches