Captain Falcon (SSBU)
Captain Falcon (キャプテン・ファルコン, Captain Falcon) is a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. He was confirmed on June 12th, 2018. As with the original Super Smash Bros. and Super Smash Bros. Brawl, he is once again an unlockable character. Captain Falcon is classified as fighter #11.
How to unlock
Complete one of the following:
With the exception of the third method, Captain Falcon must then be defeated on Port Town Aero Dive.
Captain Falcon is a tall heavyweight character. However, despite his weight, he boasts outstanding mobility; he boasts the second fastest dash speed, the 6th fastest falling speed, along with the eleventh fastest air speed. Strangely, though, his walking speed and initial dash are rather slow.
Despite lacking a projectile, Falcon has an overall effective neutral game, courtesy of his mobility. His primary combo starter is grounded Raptor Boost; its low knockback along with its vertical launching angle and low ending lag make it a fearsome combo starter if landed, allowing it to combo into a plentiful of moves. His up tilt consistently meteor smashes opponents even if they are grounded, making it not only a great combo tool, but a decent edgeguarding tool as well. One of his best combo tools is his up aerial; at a wide range of percents, it can create incredibly long chains, especially into itself due to its low base knockback and overall low lag. Alternatively, Falcon can chain his up aerial into some of his deadliest finishers, most notably into his forward aerial, the Knee Smash.
Captain Falcon, like most of his fellow heavyweights also boasts excellent KO power, as well as a formidable edgeguarding ability. His up and down smashes are both excellent baiting options due to their low lag, making them safe on shield and potentially even on whiff. Even if they both have rather noticeable startup, it is also long enough to punish spot dodges reliably. His up smash in particular even functions as a situational combo starter at low percentages, allowing Captain Falcon to deal huge amounts of damage off of a few hits. His forward, back, and down aerials deal high knockback, along with the formermost being a powerful semi-spike. His down tilt, while having noticeable startup, sends at a semi-spike angle with high knockback, and has low ending lag, making it not only a good spacing and poking tool, but also a great edgeguarding and KO move.
However, he has his weaknesses. Though he has numerous hard-hitting moves, most of them are difficult or slow to land, some prominent examples being his smash attacks. His Knee Smash is faster than those moves, but it suffers from a rather small sweetspot that lasts for only one frame, making it hard to land without an air dodge read or setup off of an up aerial. As a result, he often has to rely on edgeguarding to score his kills. Though his neutral game is good overall, his lack of a projectile leaves him susceptible to camping. His high weight and fast falling speed give him endurance, but they also leave him especially vulnerable to combos, and he has no fast options with which to break them.
Captain Falcon also has somewhat limited options from landing a grab. To begin with, his grabs' ranges are overall somewhat short despite his height, making it risky to throw out. His down throw, while a decent combo starter at low percentages, loses said combo potential very quickly at higher percentages. His forward and back throws don't have much other purposes other than KOing, with the former being relatively weak for a KO throw. His up throw has too high of ending lag in order to combo properly, and cannot KO too reliably at high percentages. Overall, while his grab game isn't outright useless, it doesn't have much reward past high percentages.
Captain Falcon's greatest problem lies in his recovery, despite having an impressive air speed. His two recovery options, Falcon Dive and Raptor Boost, are linear and do not grant enough distance, making them predictable and easily intercepted, and they have small ledge sweetspots. These two moves do not have hitboxes above him, leaving him open to meteor smashes, which he usually cannot survive due to his short recovery and falling speed. To his merit, he can reuse Falcon Dive if it connects with an opponent, and even stage spike them, though this is easily teched. However, in some offstage instances when Falcon Dive connects on a opponent, they can hit the ledge be launched back at him, leaving him very vulnerable to gimps and be KO'd. Although he has a wall jump, he will be in danger offstage without his double jump.
Overall, Captain Falcon fits into a huge rushdown playstyle; when combining his excellent mobility and combo game, he can string very long combos for huge amounts of damage. However, one must be cautious due to his noticeable susceptibility to combos.
Changes from Super Smash Bros. 4
Being considered a high tier character in Smash 4 (ranked 19th out of 55 characters), Captain Falcon has undergone a mixture of buffs and nerfs in his transition to Ultimate, but he was overall slightly nerfed. The dramatic increase in his learning curve suggests this.
Falcon's grounded game has seen bountiful buffs in one way or another. On one hand, several of Falcon's options at close range have been improved, some of which are more rewarding by virtue of their increased combo potential. Notable examples are his neutral infinite connecting much more reliably and being therefore more effective for racking up damage; his forward tilt's lower lag making it safer for spacing; his up tilt consistently meteor smashing both grounded and aerial opponents, allowing for combos; and his up smash's increased damage, added leg intangibility, and reduced ending lag turning it into a high-risk, high-reward combo starter that can contest aerial approaches. On the other hand, his other options have improved KO ability, such as his dash attack, his new forward smash (despite already being remarkably powerful in Smash 4), and his down smash, the latter which now semi-spikes and hits low-profile opponents more effectively, allowing him to take stocks more reliably up close.
Furthermore, Falcon's entire special moveset has been buffed in miscellaneous ways: Falcon Punch has significantly increased knockback, making it deadlier as a hard read or shield break punish much like in previous games; Raptor Boost is a much more effective combo starter on the ground thanks to its lower knockback and armor on hit, and leaves Falcon less vulnerable if it connects in the air (no longer causing helplessness in such case); Falcon Dive has increased knockback and less ending lag making it safer to hit opponents with and giving him a KO option that can counter shielding opponents; and Falcon Kick is faster, has increased power on the ground, and less landing lag. In addition to these direct changes, the universal changes in Ultimate benefit Falcon's rushdown oriented playstyle, having increased mobility and reduced landing lag on aerial attacks that allow him to juggle and punish opponents more effectively, most notably with his Knee Smash, which deals far more damage if sweetspotted, the ability to use any attack out of a dash cancel further improving his grounded game, and the removal of teching grounded meteor smashes giving his up tilt and down aerial increased combo potential.
However, Captain Falcon has received significant nerfs as well, which counterbalance most of his buffs. His dash grab, infamous in Smash 4 for being one of Captain Falcon's best approach punish and/or burst options due to its large ground coverage and high reward, now travels significantly less distance as a result of his increased traction — a change that also affects his throws negatively, with his forward throw losing all its guaranteed combo potential, and down throw being much less reliable for combos at higher percents in combination with its altered knockback. Most importantly, the latter can no longer lead into semi-guaranteed KO confirms at high percents, nor can it force an option select at the ledge, where the appropriate DI for forward throw resulted in a KO from down throw and vice versa. This hinders a large component of his playstyle from Smash 4, as his grab is now harder to land, less rewarding, and due to all standard grabs having increased ending lag in Ultimate, easier to punish if it misses. Another of Falcon's most nerfed moves is his up aerial; while it has slightly less ending lag, its increased landing lag compared to other aerials (which instead had it decreased) and lower damage weaken its punishability and KO setups, and the changes in knockback physics have slightly worsened the ability to chain into itself repeatedly. Adding to this, while his slower KO options were improved, his faster ones, such as back aerial and Raptor Boost, have been worsened, the latter no longer KOing at realistic percents in exchange for its increased combo ability. Meanwhile, his new forward smash, while dealing more knockback, has significantly decreased range, to the point it can sometimes miss at point-blank range if the opponent is pushed by Falcon himself.
Finally, while Falcon's playstyles benefit from some of the universal changes, other changes have negatively impacted the way he has to execute his playstyle. Namely, the tumbling animation from a footstool jump now being techable prevents him from racking up large amounts of damage and setting up KOs by repeatedly footstooling and meteor smashing opponents back up with his down aerial. Ironically, the changes to dash-dancing have also adversely affected him more than other characters; since his initial dash animation is one of, if not, the slowest in the game, this causes his dash-dancing animation to be more awkward and slower-moving than other characters, and reduces its mindgame potential compared to his previous extended dash-dance in Smash 4.
Overall, while Captain Falcon's buffs have improved several of his options and punish game, the nerfs to the previous options he had in Smash 4 mean he has to take higher risks at approaching and optimizing their use, instead of constantly relying on a few safe options to rack up damage and set up KOs, which is more dangerous for him, since a large number of characters in Ultimate are either zoners or have had their close-up game buffed to various degrees. As such, Falcon players have to be significantly more cautious of their opponents in order to win the neutral game, which now gives him a higher learning curve compared to Smash 4, where he had a rather low learning curve. His representation in the early metagame of Ultimate has been relatively average, although he still has seen good amounts of success thanks to the efforts of notable players such as Fatality, NickC, and Ogey who continue to represent him in tournaments. As the meta progressed, his representation gradually improved, as some top players like Marss and Glutonny began to use him as secondaries. As of right now, he is considered by most players as an upper mid-tier character, although his true viability remains up for debate.
Throws and other attacks
Captain Falcon has been buffed by game updates so far. Update 3.1.0 gave him more noticeable buffs, while update 7.0.0 provided minor buffs for him. In update 3.1.0, back aerial's knockback was increased, which slightly restored its KO potential after it was initially nerfed in the transition from Smash 4. Knee Smash's sweetspot and Falcon Kick's clean hit were both made easier to land, thanks to adjustments to their hitboxes. Captain Falcon's close range options and combo game were also improved: forward tilt's base knockback was increased, up tilt's lag was decreased, and Raptor Boost's uppercut gained a marginal decrease to its start-up lag alongside increases to its hitstun and the damage threshold of its armor.
Technical changelist 3.1.0
For a gallery of Captain Falcon's hitboxes, see here.
Note: All numbers are listed as base damage, without the 1v1 multiplier.
In competitive play
Many players have noticed Captain Falcon's higher learning curve in transition from Smash 4 to Ultimate. As a result, his player base noticeably dropped, due to the fact that his once easy-to-use combos (which included his dash grab and footstool combos) became harder to use or were removed entirely as a result of the game's mechanics; the changes to his playstyle required players to be more cautious in the neutral game. Initial opinions on him have varied between a solid mid-tier to a solid high-tier, but his perception started to rise after patch 3.1.0, which made his options on his punish game becoming more reliable. While his overall representation is still relatively average compared to the rest of the cast, his results have begun to improve thanks to players such as Fatality and NickC.
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.
Classic Mode: Up Close and Personal
Captain Falcon fights opponents who specialize in close-range combat. To fit with the theme, Captain Falcon fights Giga Bowser as his final boss, the one with by far the least amount of projectiles (one).
Role in World of Light
Captain Falcon was among the fighters that were summoned to fight the army of Master Hands.
During the opening cutscene, Captain Falcon was present when Galeem unleashed his beams of light. He attempted to escape in the Blue Falcon, but Galeem vaporized him and his vehicle before he could do so. He was then imprisoned by Galeem along with the rest of the fighters (excluding Kirby). A puppet fighter of him can be seen behind Mario in the group of puppet fighters under Galeem's control.
Captain Falcon can be found early in the mode if the player goes through Villager's path instead of those of Marth and Sheik. He is in the middle of a racetrack that can only be traversed with the assistance of the Pico spirit.
Captain Falcon's Fighter Spirit can be obtained by completing Classic Mode. It is also available periodically for purchase in the shop for 500 coins. Unlocking Captain Falcon in World of Light allows the player to preview the spirit below in the Spirit List under the name "???". As a Fighter Spirit, it cannot be used in Spirit Battles and is purely aesthetic. Each Fighter Spirit has an alternate version that replaces them with their artwork in Ultimate.
In Spirit battles
As the main opponent
As a minion
Character Showcase Video