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 in the original Super Smash Bros. and Super Smash Bros. Brawl, he is unlockable, instead of being available from the start. Captain Falcon is classified as Fighter #11.
As in Smash 4, Ryō Horikawa's portrayals of Captain Falcon from Melee and Brawl were repurposed for Ultimate. However, Horikawa briefly returned to voice Captain Falcon in Min Min's reveal trailer, though only recording eating sounds for Captain Falcon rather than new voice lines.
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, yet he boasts some of the best overall mobility out of any character in spite of his weight class. Captain Falcon sports the 2nd fastest dashing speed, the 7th fastest falling speed, the 11th fastest air speed, and the 14th highest gravity. His jumps and wall jumps are also very high. Strangely, though, his walking speed is rather slow, while his traction and air acceleration are around average. Additionally, while his running speed is very high, his initial dash speed is only slightly above average, and crucially he hits this lower limit during his initial dash a few frames before transitioning to his running animation, making his effective movement speed in short bursts lower than expected. Compounding this is his turnaround dash animation, which causes him to slide in the opposite direction for a few frames, before sliding back into his origin location. While his high run acceleration can mask this to an extent, this effectively results in him making no progress in the direction he is turning into for several frames, resulting in his retreat being counter-intuitively one of the least safe in the game, especially when combined with his legs extending a long distance behind him. Nonetheless, his high mobility overall, combined with his strong punish game and generally low landing lag on his aerials, benefits him with a trademark speed-and-power combo.
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 number of moves. Neutral aerial can chain into itself at low percents, and Falcon can combo it into his other aerials if he lands with the first hit. 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 medium-heavyweights also boasts excellent KO power. He also has a formidable edgeguarding ability. His up and down smashes are both excellent baiting options due to their low ending lag, making them safe on shield and potentially even on whiff. Even if they both have rather noticeable startup, they are also long enough to punish spot dodges reliably. His up smash in particular even functions as a situational combo starter at low percentages, which can allow Falcon to deal insane amounts of damage in just a few measly hits. While his forward smash is his least useful smash attack as a whole, even it serves well as a KO move. His forward, back, and down aerials all deal high knockback, with his forward aerial in particular being the strongest of its type in the entire game. His down tilt, while having noticeable startup, sends at a semi-spike angle with high knockback, and it has low ending lag, making it not only a good spacing and poking tool, but also a great edgeguarding and KO move, the lattermost quirk being extremely rare for a down tilt.
Falcon's special moveset also has its uses. Falcon Punch, while being extremely situational in the long run, is one of the strongest neutral specials in the entire game, especially when reversed on the ground, and is perfect for punishing shield breaks. As mentioned earlier, Raptor Boost is an excellent combo starter on the ground. In the air, it has the potential to meteor smash, and it also serves well as a KO move in such cases. Falcon Dive is one of the strongest command grabs in the game, and while it is linear, it does cover a decent amount of distance. It also works well as a combo finisher and out-of-shield option due to its high knockback and being a command grab. Finally, Falcon Kick is effective in terms of dealing with pressure due to its speed and long-lasting hitbox, and it also possesses decent KO power when hit early on. It is also an excellent tool for returning to the stage quickly when used in the air.
However, Captain Falcon does have his fair share of weaknesses. While he is a powerhouse, most of his KO moves are difficult to land, the most prominent examples being his forward smash and Falcon Punch. His forward aerial is faster than those moves, but even then 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 KOs. Though his neutral game is good overall, his lack of a projectile leaves him susceptible to camping. While his above average weight and fast falling speed give him excellent endurance, they also leave him vulnerable to combos, which is further exacerbated by the fact that he has little to no fast options with which to break them.
Falcon's moveset in general is also full of issues. As mentioned earlier, most of his KO moves are slow and tough to land, which forces him to rely on edgeguarding to KO effectively. Falcon Kick is extremely unsafe offstage due to its lag and Falcon's fast falling speed, as it is not unlikely for him to self-destruct with it. While Raptor Boost can meteor smash in the air, it will leave him helpless if he misses, which could also result in a self-destruct. Other examples of unreliability within his moveset lie in his neutral aerial and up smash, both of which tend to have trouble connecting properly at high percentages. His overall range, while not necessarily lacking for a brawler, is also lackluster in some moves when compared to other characters with good physical reach, especially due to the fact that he lacks a projectile.
While Captain Falcon has a good ground game and an excellent air game, his grab game is rather mediocre. To begin with, his grab range is overall somewhat short despite his height, making it risky to throw out. His down throw remains a useful combo starter at low to medium percents, but has lost its utility as a semi-guarenteed setup into Knee Smash due to its knockback and angle adjustments. While Captain Falcon's back throw remains a useful KO move, his forward throw has lost its decent combo potential as an indirect consequence of his much higher traction, just like Meta Knight's forward throw. Although it remains a serviceable KO move, it is utterly outclassed by back throw in this regard. Captain Falcon's up throw suffers from similar issues to his forward throw: it has too much ending lag to combo properly, even in spite of his faster jumpsquat, and it is somewhat weak for a KO throw despite dealing more damage than in Smash 4.
Captain Falcon's biggest flaw is his recovery: despite his impressive air speed, his two recovery options, Falcon Dive and Raptor Boost, are linear, easily intercepted, and have small edge sweetspots. Raptor Boost also doesn't have a hitbox above him, which can leave him open to meteor smashes, which he usually has trouble surviving due to his linear recovery and fast 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. Furthermore, since all characters can wall jump out of a tech, opponents can punish Falcon as he leaps back, possibly putting him in a worse offstage situation. In addition, while Falcon Dive covers an alarmingly high amount of horizontal distance due to its high drift, its vertical travel distance is quite mild, and Raptor Boost also renders him helpless, making it situational when combined with its poor travel distance. Although he has the second-best wall jump in the game, Falcon will be in danger offstage without his double jump.
Overall, Captain Falcon is the epitome of a rushdown character, yet also benefits from a bait and punish playstyle; when combining his excellent mobility and combo game, he can string very long combos for huge amounts of damage. Otherwise, if he can use his KO moves wisely, he does not have much trouble scoring KOs. However, he also falls under the bait and punish archetype, as one must be cautious due to his susceptibility to combos and exploitable recovery.
Changes from Super Smash Bros. 4
Being considered a high tier character in Smash 4 (ranked 19th out of 55 characters), Captain Falcon received a mix of buffs and nerfs in his transition to Ultimate. Although he has a noticeably higher learning curve as a result of his nerfs, the plethora of very useful buffs he received from subsequent game updates has essentially resulted in him being nerfed slightly overall.
Falcon's overall punish 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 and higher base knockback making it safer for spacing; his up tilt consistently meteor smashing both grounded and aerial opponents, allowing for combo extensions; 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. A notable buff was to his neutral aerial's first hit; while it is harder to connect into the second hit at high percents, it more notably launches opponents at a more vertical angle on landing, allowing Falcon to land combos and even KO confirms with his Knee Smash, which deals far more damage if sweetspotted. 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, ending lag, and new damage-based 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, as well as increased recovery distance; 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, 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, enough to counter his buffs and differentiate him from his previous appearances. The biggest nerfs were to his grab game as a result of increased traction; forward throw and down throw are less reliable for combos at higher percents in combination with the latter's altered knockback, and for mixups at lower percents. It even more notably shortens 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. This means he has a more lackluster grab game compared to 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. His up aerial may have slightly less ending lag and knockback, but it also has increased landing lag compared to almost all other aerials (which instead had it decreased), lower damage, and a shorter duration with increased startup, weakening its KO setups and slightly worsening the ability to chain into itself repeatedly. While Raptor Boost's reduced knockback allows combos at much higher percents, it can no longer KO 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.
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 quite slow, 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. Lastly, Falcon remains an inconsistent character and retains notable weaknesses from Smash 4 and even his Smash 64 days, like his problematic recovery and high vulnerability to combos.
Overall, Captain Falcon's buffs have improved several of his options and punish game, as well as granted him new options to utilize his speed and power; However, his nerfs to the previous options he had in Smash 4 mean he has to take higher risks at approaching and optimizing their use against other veterans who got buffed. As such, Falcon players likely have to apply more of a bait-and-punish strategy in order to win the neutral game, which now gives him a higher learning curve compared to Smash 4. He was initially found to be noticably worse than in Smash 4 in the early metagame of Ultimate, but as the meta progressed, his representation gradually improved; some players like Fatality, NickC, Nishiya, and Ogey still show that he has good potential, while higher ranked players like Marss and Glutonny began to use him as secondaries. In addition, game updates gave him significant buffs to help him with his power and combo ability. In the present day, a new game-changing tech has been discovered called Instant Double Jump (IDJ), which allows users to buffer a double jump and do any attack. This new mechanic arguably benefits Falcon the most. As of right now, he is still currently considered by most players as a high tier character and far better than in Brawl, though being fairly worse than in Smash 64 and Melee, and slightly worse than in Smash 4. However, his true placement remains up for debate.
Throws and other attacks
Captain Falcon has been buffed significantly by game updates. In update 3.1.0, back aerial's knockback was increased, which slightly improved its KO potential after it was initially nerfed in the transition from Smash 4. Knee Smash's sweetspot and Falcon Kick's clean hit received hitbox adjustments that made them easier to land. 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.
Following update 7.0.0's minor buffs to Captain Falcon's shield and neutral attack, update 8.0.0 granted him a number of very useful buffs. Most notably, Raptor Boost was buffed again: the grounded version has longer horizontal range, regained its launching angle from Smash 4, and its knockback was decreased. Altogether, these changes significantly improved its combo potential. Conversely, aerial Raptor Boost's meteor hitbox became much more consistent, thanks to its higher priority. Additionally, down tilt and up smash gained higher knockback, dash attack's ending lag was decreased, and Falcon Kick became quicker and gained a stronger clean hit, making it a better burst option.
Update 9.0.0 buffed up smash by adjusting the hitboxes and decreasing the knockback of its first hit, which improved its consistency into its second hit, especially under platforms. Most recently, update 11.0.0 significantly decreased the ending lag of Falcon Dive's throw (a buff shared with Dark Dive), which almost completely alleviated its glaring susceptibility to Tech Checking.
Overall, Captain Falcon fares much better than he did at Ultimate's launch. Due to online tournaments currently being more prominent, however, his true viability still remains unknown.
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 noted Captain Falcon's higher learning curve compared to Smash 4. As a result, his player base noticeably dropped, as 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. Despite his lower playerbase, however, his perception was anything but bad, as initial opinions on him varied anywhere between being a solid mid-tier to a solid high tier character. However, his nerfs, combined with the buffs to other characters, saw him ranked as a mid-tier character for much of 2019, and his best players were achieving lower placements in comparison to Smash 4. This was because his previous moveset was central to his playstyle, and he was becoming slightly more of a bait-and-punish character despite the faster gameplay of Ultimate.
Captain Falcon has received numerous buffs throughout the game's lifespan that have gradually improved his perception over time: patch 3.1.0 made his options on his punish game more reliable, while patch 8.0.0 gave noteworthy improvements to his close quarters combat and his combo game. As a result, his grounded neutral game has improved as well, and he has easier and more reliable ways to KO his opponents. Due to these buffs, Captain Falcon is generally considered a high tier character. ESAM believes that Captain Falcon might potentially become top tier with the new IDJ tech being recently discovered. 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.
Most historically significant players
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 on the cliffside 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 Pico's 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
Fighter Showcase Video