Byleth (♂: ベレト, ♀: ベレス, Byleth) is a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Byleth was officially announced on January 16th, 2020 as the fifth and final downloadable character from Fighters Pass Vol. 1. Both male and female versions of Byleth are playable. Byleth was released as part of Challenger Pack 5 on January 28th, 2020 and is classified as Fighter #75.
Zach Aguilar and Jeannie Tirado, who respectively voiced the male and female versions of Byleth in Fire Emblem: Three Houses and Fire Emblem Heroes, reprise their roles in the overseas version, while Yūsuke Kobayashi and Shizuka Itō reprise their respective male and female roles in the Japanese version.
Byleth is a tall, middleweight swordsman, yet has poor overall mobility in a similar vein to Ganondorf, Incineroar and Dr. Mario, high startup and ending lag on many of his moves, and a rather short grab range. In the words of Super Smash Bros. series creator Masahiro Sakurai, Byleth is a "distance demon", since his optimal playstyle involves using his Heroes' Relics to zone out opponents at mid-range, similarly to Marth and Shulk. Thanks to his variety of weapons, Byleth's overall range is fittingly long in line with his archetype, and his attacks are generally very strong, especially for a middleweight. All of these traits make Byleth's general gameplan very patient: his sluggishness and strength makes it important for him to plan ahead and learn the opponent's habits before covering their options with his range and arsenal of hard-hitting weapons.
Like other weapon wielders, Byleth's attacks have disjointed hitboxes that allow them to fight from a safe distance. Neutral attack is a quick chain of attacks that help ward off nearby opponents, and is useful due to being his fastest attack of any kind. Due to having four weapons, each of of them are assigned to different attacking directions. Like in Fire Emblem: Three Houses, the Sword of the Creator is Byleth's default weapon, and it is wielded throughout all animations that do not involve any other weapon.
Neutral infinite is one of the most damaging of its kind in the entire game, and it can even KO at very high percentages while near the edge. Up and forward tilts have wide hitboxes and decent speed, making them effective spacing attacks. Down tilt transforms the Sword of the Creator into its whip form, and although it is slower than the other two tilts, it is a useful combo starter into aerial attacks. Dash attack is a wide slash forward that is potent for punishing whiffs, and can even KO at reasonable percentages when its blade hitbox connects. However, its ending lag makes easily punishable, which is further compounded by its weak hilt hitbox.
In regard to an assigned attack direction, all of Byleth's up-inputted moves emphasize the Sword of the Creator's whip form. Up smash causes him to lash upwards in a flurry, which deals multiple hits and is useful for denying landings or starting juggles. It is also Bylth's fastest smash attack, while its moderately powerful final hit makes it a viable KO option as well. Up aerial functions very similarly to up smash in regard to aesthetics and mechanics. Due to being an aerial, however, its looping hits can also drag opponents downward to initiate extended combos, which makes it one of Byleth's most useful attacks in general.
When used as his up special, the Sword of the Creator grants Byleth a very long tether recovery that can grab Battlefield's edges, even if he near the bottom blast line. Notably, Byleth's up special can attach to walls and perform a wall jump if it touches a wall, much like tether recoveries in Super Smash Bros. Melee. However, the Sword of the Creator also boasts potent offensive potential as an up special: it causes an untechable meteor smash at high percentages that, if used on offstage opponents, sees Byleth hop off the opponent's head for a meteor smash, which can cause an unavoidable KO at high percentages. This hop also has extremely low ending lag, allowing for certain follow-ups like side special or even down aerial. Altogether, these traits provide Byleth with a safe array of covering various approach options.
Byleth's other weapons grant more specialized options. Areadbhar, a lance, is used for Byleth's side-inputted moves (forward smash, forward aerial and back aerial, and side special). It has long range and has a tipper that deals more damage at the tip of the lance. Forward smash is a slow, but long-ranged stab that deals more knockback if aimed upward and tippered, allowing it to heavily punish jump options. If aimed downward, Areadbhar can also hit opponents grabbing edges. Meanwhile, forward and back aerials are very effective spacing moves, even outranging those of Marth, and their tippers deal heavy knockback.
Byleth's side special has him swing Areadbhar in a slow, but wide swing, and allows him to step forward if the special button is held. Its massive hitbox easily denies jump options and acts as a powerful but risky spacing option, as any character can punish it even when fully spaced if they shield it. Aside from its offensive potential, Areadbhar can even assist Byleth's horizontal recovery when used as a side special in the air. All of Areadbhar's moves are weak if the hilt lands, so proper spacing is vital; the sourspots of forward and back aerials can be used to combo or tech chase effectively, but will KO less readily. Side special will be extremely weak if the hilt lands, but Byleth will be able to shield to protect themselves even if the hilt is used.
Aymr, an axe, is used for Byleth's down-inputted moves (down smash, down aerial, down special). It is an extremely slow, yet powerful weapon that deals high damage and knockback on each move that uses it. Down smash is slow overall, but hits very hard and can KO as early as 90%. Down aerial is a similarly slow swing downwards with extreme landing lag, but it is the strongest meteor smash in the game when it lands, making it also among the most rewarding. Byleth's down special causes him to charge Aymr in a super armored stance before unleashing a powerful, Special Zoom-inducing swing. It allows Byleth to pass through platforms and turn around in the opposite direction while charging, which can be used for mindgames. It also has a surprisingly wide hitbox that starts behind Byleth's head. Altogether, these traits make it a high risk, high reward move that can catch opponents by surprise. If used in the air, it will be slightly weaker and lack super armor, yet still KO at very reasonable percentages.
Finally, Failnaught is a bow which is used for two of Byleth's neutral-inputted moves (neutral aerial and neutral special). Neutral aerial involves Byleth spinning it in a circular motion for a fairly long time, much like Pit's neutral aerial. As a result, it is a good option out of shield due to its fast startup, and can also initiate combos or edgeguard with its looping hits and landing hitbox. Byleth's neutral special uses Failnaught to fire an arrow, which can be shot at two different strengths: a slow but strong arrow that acts it serviceable for sniping and spacing, or a very delayed arrow that is one of fastest projectiles in the game and is strong enough almost break a full shield. The charged arrow also becomes an energy projectile, making it possible to absorb it, though it cannot be Inhaled or Pocketed. Unlike other bows, Byleth can charge-cancel Failnaught, specifically up until slightly after the delayed charged arrow begins charging. However, he is unable to cancel it after he reaches that point. Byleth's neutral special can also turn around up to two times before the charged arrow is fired, similarly to Palutena Bow/Silver Bow.
Byleth may have good strengths, but he does also have weaknesses. Due to his overall mobility being among the worst in Ultimate, his approach is very committal. This flaw is further compounded by many of his attacks having slow startup (e.g. down smash/down aerial), narrow hitbox placements (e.g. forward/back aerials), or even both (e.g. forward smash). Dash attack, neutral aerial and side special are exceptions, but are easily punishable on shield due to their ending lag, while the lattermost is dangerously unsafe if the sweetspot does not connect.
This flaw becomes even more dangerous with Failnaught's unique charge properties: while the arrows fired from it are powerful and fast, they are equally as dangerous if reflected, as Byleth cannot cancel the move after charging it halfway through. Byleth's abundance of powerful attacks is also a double-edged sword: while these attacks make it easy for him to heavily punish mistakes, his sluggish frame data also makes counterattacks an excellent option to punish his many KO options if they are used unwisely.
Byleth's grab game is also lackluster at best. Down throw is, by far, the best aspect of Byleth's grab game: it is a reliable combo starter below 80%, with neutral, forward and back aerials being reliable follow-ups. However, this is offset by the other aspects of his grab game. Aside from his aforementioned grab range issues, his pummel is akin to a heavyweight's by being decently damaging, yet fairly slow. Up throw is his most damaging throw, but inflicts only a mediocre 9% and its only real purpose is applying pressure from below, with up aerial and up special being possible follow-ups if the opponent fails to DI properly. Although back throw can potentially combo into dash attack at low percentages, this combo is utterly outclassed by down throw's combos. Instead, it and forward throw are used primarily to launch the opponent offstage.
Byleth's recovery is also burdensome in certain ways. Due to being a tether recovery, his up special boasts high vertical distance, but lackluster horizontal distance. When coupled with his poor air speed, Byleth is susceptible to gimps. However, his recovery is deceptively useful when used properly. Since up special can recover from halfway between the camera border and blast zone on Final Destination, Byleth mostly has to worry about getting in range horizontally. To assist with this, he can use his side special or his neutral/forward/back/up aerials to hit away opponents, and performing a B-reversed Failnaught charge, canceled with a jump, which will make where Byleth is going to be very hard for the opponent to guess.
All in all, Byleth is a ranged powerhouse that boasts a capable mixture of highly damaging attacks, KO options, combos, and setups. However, Byleth's slow overall mobility and poor overall frame data mean that he must be careful with his offensive techniques and use his tools very patiently in order to punish his opponent's mistakes, as a careless move on Byleth's end will easily give his opponent just as big of an opening to retaliate.
Byleth has been buffed slightly via update 11.0.0. The most notable buffs were to Sword of the Creator: its decreased lag improved its utility for recovering, combos and as an out of shield option, while its increased base knockback improved its KO potential while offstage and removed its dead zone (the latter of which improved its consistency). Areadbhar became safer on shield via shieldstun multipliers, and its recovery potential was improved slightly via decreased ending lag. Down smash and down aerial gained slightly higher knockback, which improved their KO potentials, while the latter also gained a higher shield damage output.
Overall, Byleth fares slightly better than he did when he was first released.
For a gallery of Byleth's hitboxes, see here.
Note: All numbers are listed as base damage, without the 1v1 multiplier.
In competitive play
Because of limited tournament play (largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic impacting tournaments), it is hard to pinpoint where exactly Byleth stands in terms of viability. The consensus, however, is that Byleth is at most a mid-tier, with people citing the character's poor frame data, slow ground and aerial speed, limited landing options, and difficult matchups against faster characters such as Fox, Zero Suit Samus, and Sonic. Despite this perception, MkLeo has seen success with the character, with placements such as 1st at Ultimate 32, 2nd at The Airlock, and 7th at Frame Perfect Series 4: ONLINE. More recently, Pelupelu has also garnered great, albeit sporadic, results with the character, placing 1st at The Online Olympus II and 2nd at Frame Perfect Series 5: ONLINE. However, even with these results, as well as buffs to his frame data, Byleth continues to have low representation in the online metagame.
Most historically significant players
Any number following the Smasher name indicates placement on the Fall 2019 PGRU, which recognizes the official top 50 players in the world in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate from July 13th, 2019 to December 15th, 2019.
See also: Category:Byleth professionals (SSBU)
Classic Mode: A Heroic Legacy
Byleth's Classic Mode route is themed around the Fire Emblem fighters and stages from across the Smash series, fought in order of release year. All battles are stamina battles and the player always starts with 100 HP.
Role in World of Light
Due to his status as downloadable content, Byleth does not have a legitimate role in World of Light. Instead, he is unlocked for use in the mode after freeing 10 fighters from Galeem's control. If loading an existing save file that meets this condition before downloading Byleth, he is immediately unlocked.
Male Byleth's fighter spirit can be obtained by completing Classic Mode. Unlocking Byleth in World of Light allows the player to preview the first spirit below in the Spirit List under the name "???". As a fighter spirit, it cannot be used in Spirit Battles and are purely aesthetic. Female Byleth has a fighter spirit of her own, available periodically for purchase in the shop for 300 coins, but only after Byleth has been downloaded. Each fighter spirit has an alternate version that replaces it with its artwork in Ultimate.
In Spirit battles
As the main opponent
As a minion