Diddy Kong (SSBU)
Diddy Kong (ディディーコング, Diddy Kong) is a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. He was officially confirmed on June 12th, 2018 alongside Olimar and the rest of the returning roster. Unlike his previous appearances in the Super Smash Bros. series, Diddy Kong is now an unlockable character instead of a starter character. Diddy Kong is classified as fighter #36.
Diddy Kong once again retains his realistic chimpanzee screeches that were used in both Brawl and Smash 4 instead of being voiced by Katsumi Suzuki.
How to unlock
Complete one of the following:
With the exception of the third method, Diddy Kong must then be defeated on Kongo Falls.
Diddy Kong is a small low-middleweight with typical attributes for his weight class; he has very fast dash, run, and walk speeds, which allows him to move on the ground very well. In contrast, his air mobility is rather lacking, as his air speed and air acceleration are both below average. Overall, while Diddy outspeeds many characters on the ground, his air game is rather clunky due to his lackluster air attributes.
Similar to other characters of his weight and size, Diddy Kong has very fast frame data, which allows him to throw out a flurry of moves at his opponent while still being able to chase them with his strong grounded mobility. In fact, nearly all of his moves, with the exception of his forward smash, down aerial, and special moves, come out before frame 10, with many of them also having low endlag. Thanks to these attributes, Diddy has a strong, flexible combo game, allowing him to use multiple different moves to string into each other and continually pressure his opponent even if they escape his combos, as he has multiple ways to keep them in a disadvantageous position.
Another important aspect of Diddy's combo game is his excellent selection of combo starters, which lets him start combos reliably both in the air and on the ground and also lets him create mix-ups and play unpredictably. One of his main combo starters is from a grab, as both his down and up throws have low endlag and send at great angles for immediate follow-ups, as down throw can lead into a forward or back aerial and up throw can lead into any of his aerials except for down aerial. Up throw also has potential KO setups into up aerial, although these are inconsistent and unreliable. His dash attack has a long duration and extremely low endlag and sends the opponent upwards, which lets Diddy follow up with an up, back or forward aerial. His neutral aerial has a long lasting hitbox and can lead into another aerial from low to high percents, with the late hit being particularly useful at high percents due to its lower knockback. Diddy's up and down tilts are both excellent combo starters themselves, with the latter having the ability to KO confirm into an up-smash at high percents. Additionally, all of Diddy's aerials except for neutral and up aerial can lead into a grab when landed on grounded opponents thanks to their low knockback and landing lag.
Diddy's special moveset also comes with several unique options. His neutral special, Peanut Popgun, is a small projectile with low range and knockback when uncharged. It is useful for pestering the opponent in the neutral game and can be charged, giving it extreme power when fully charged, although it has extremely high lag, doesn't shoot at a distance, and its charge cannot be saved like other chargeable projectiles(such as Samus' Charge Shot). He can also cancel charging the move by shielding, dodging, or spotdodging. His side special, Monkey Flip, has Diddy leap forward and will act as a command grab when landed on the opponent or will be a fast kick if the player presses the attack button again during the duration of the move. Due to its fast speed and decent distance, low endlag, and ability to edge-cancel off platforms or the ledge of the stage, it can be used as both a movement option and a way to approach, as its speed can compensate for his poor air mobility. It can also be used for horizontal recovery. His up special, Rocketbarrel Boost, is Diddy's main vertical recovery option. Uncharged, the move has unremarkable distance, but when fully charged, it moves much faster and travels much further. However, this requires Diddy to stay in place while charging the move in the air, leaving him highly vulnerable to gimps or edgeguards. The move also has a unique property in that if the opponent hits Diddy while using the move, the barrels will fly off and will irregularly move around, with the player having a small amount of control over their trajectory before they lose control. This gives him a useful, although niche stage-controlling option and the barrels will deal high damage and knockback when landed on an opponent. Lastly, Diddy's down special, Banana Peel is his most useful special and one of his best moves. It has him pull out a Banana Peel over himself, which can be picked up and thrown by both Diddy and his opponent. If Diddy places it down before the opponent could grab it, then they will be tripped by it if they attempt to pick it up. This lets Diddy land almost any attack he wants on his opponent if he times it before the tripping animation is done and allows for a plethora of combo options and even KO confirms into his smash attacks. Thanks to its ease of use and low commitment due to him only having to throw it at the opponent for it to work, it is integral to his kit and lets him punish missed attacks, have a strong advantage in the neutral game, create extremely long combos, and take control of the stage. He can also use a held banana as an excellent out-of-shield option when thrown. The only true downside to his Banana Peel is that the opponent can also catch and throw it just like he can, which allows them to use it against Diddy and take away one of his most important tools. Additionally, only one Banana Peel can be used at a time and it disappears when hit by an opponent or thrown twice.
Despite very strong strengths, Diddy isn't without his weaknesses. His two main flaws are his inconsistent KO power and unimpressive recovery. Despite having multiple ways to confirm into his smash attacks (which are all respectably strong), he often struggles to end the opponent's stock even at high percents if these options are unavailable to him (such as when the opponent takes away his Banana Peel). While his back and up aerials boast above average knockback, they are still relatively weak unless used close to the blast lines. Additionally, while his down tilt can set up into his up smash somewhat reliably, the former move has short range and must be used close to the opponent for it to work. Diddy's other main weakness, his recovery, is arguably worse however. Monkey Flip has respectable distance and safety when the kick version is used, but has some endlag and also doesn't allow him to use Rocketbarrel Boost afterwards, while the non-kick version risks Diddy latching onto his opponent and being pushed back afterwards, which leaves him open even longer. Rocketbarrel Boost is also subpar as a recovery move by itself, as it leaves Diddy very vulnerable when being charged, which leaves him to rely on using the uncharged version sometimes, which has much less distance. Also, if Diddy accidentally hits the side of the stage after using it, he will crash and not be able to make it back to stage. Lastly, Diddy still has some other smaller issues, such as his up aerial failing to hit much of the time due to having blindspots in front of him, his aforementioned lacking air attributes, and being slightly easier to combo than some other characters of his weight class due to a lack of combo breaking moves and an above-average fall speed (although his small size still gives him an edge over many other characters).
Diddy Kong falls into a quick, rushdown oriented playstyle. He must utilize his fast movement speed and frame data to overwhelm his opponent while also heavily utilizing his Banana Peel to put his strengths to good use while also maintaining stage control and capitalizing on his great neutral game. However, players must be smart in how they use his Banana Peel, as the opponent could potentially hinder his options by taking it away from him and also exploiting his linear recovery. Overall, his strengths outweigh his weaknesses and is generally considered to be at least an upper mid-tier character, with many thinking of him as a solid high-tier character. Diddy has also seen great results and representation in competitive play, indicating that he is still a very viable character, although not to the same extent as in Smash 4.
Changes from Super Smash Bros. 4
Likely due to his top tier status in Super Smash Bros. 4 (3rd out of 58), Diddy Kong has received a mix of buffs and nerfs in the transition to Ultimate but he was nerfed overall. His staple moves have all been worsened in various ways, hindering his once excellent neutral game; the most notable example is his Banana Peel, which cannot be grabbed as quickly due to him releasing it at a higher arc, and although it can now be thrown twice at opponents before disappearing, this also gives them more opportunities to use it against him. Some of his moves also have reduced range, most notably down tilt, up tilt, up aerial, forward aerial's late hit, and down smash all of which were a staple part of Diddy's gameplay making it harder for him to take advantage of them. Additionally, Rocketbarrel Boost travels a drastically shorter distance when fully charged, and the charge time itself was reduced by a third worsening his already vulnerable recovery when hit very far offstage. Further exacerbating these nerfs, the universal changes hinder Diddy overall, as the reduced shieldstun for items and increased lag on grabs weaken his approach and defensive game with Banana Peel, while the faster knockback physics reduce his up throw's combo potential, no longer having reliable combos or KO setups at high percents. He also suffers from the universal increase in jump speed, as he can no longer reliably hit small characters with his back aerial from a rising short hop. Lastly, Diddy's weight has been lowered, making him even easier to KO.
Diddy Kong did receive notable buffs, however. His neutral attack no longer has an infinite portion, which decreases its damage potential but allows it to connect much more reliably, improving its overall consistency and utility as a close range option. Some of his moves also have more range and/or reduced lag that increases their combo ability, namely forward aerial's clean hit, dash attack, up tilt, down aerial, and down throw, the latter working better as an alternative to his up throw at lower percents. His special moveset has also been improved in a number of ways, namely Monkey Flip has reduced startup lag and much more range, which when coupled with the changes to jostle mechanics greatly improve its utility as an offensive tool, Peanut Popgun has less startup lag, deals more damage and charges significantly faster and Rocketbarrel Boost goes further when uncharged and makes Diddy Kong fall much slower during the charge period, slightly improving his recovery overall. Game updates have further enhanced various aspects of Diddy's moveset: his up smash, down smash, and up aerial have increased KO power, his neutral aerial (previously his most situational aerial attack) is considerably more useful due to auto-canceling much earlier and having increased range. However, these buffs do not fully compensate for the nerfs to more crucial aspects of Diddy's moveset.
Overall, Diddy Kong's nerfs outweigh his buffs, making him worse than his iteration in Smash 4. During Ultimate's early metagame, his overall perception was negative, since notable Smash 4 Diddy Kong players such as MVD, Zinoto and Nietono dropped him in favor of other characters, and he suffered from minimal tournament representation at the time. However, game updates (most notably patch 3.1.0 and 8.0.0) have meaningfully buffed Diddy to a more substantial degree; furthermore, Diddy has started to show signs of competitive success thanks to the efforts of Dakpo, who placed 13th at Low Tier City 7 and 25th at GENESIS 7. Other players such as Tweek, Aaron, Rivers, and Twinkle have also shown that Diddy still has potential to be a strong pick for tournaments. As a result, Diddy Kong is considered to be a high or even top-tier character.
Throws and other attacks
Due to the engine changes and the direct nerfs to his most useful tools in the transition from Smash 4 to Ultimate, which overall significantly hindered his viability, Diddy Kong has been heavily buffed in game updates. However, he has also received a major nerf to his Banana Peel that extends the time he can respawn another Banana, removing his infamous "Pyramid scheme" infinite combo.
For a gallery of Diddy Kong's hitboxes, see here.
Note: All numbers are listed as base damage, without the 1v1 multiplier.
In competitive play
Diddy Kong's role in Ultimate competitive play has fluctuated over its lifetime. On release, top professionals immediately noticed his weaknesses, which include inconsistent KO'ing at higher percent and his greatly nerfed recovery. Many of Diddy Kong's top players either dropped him in favor of other characters (MVD and Zinoto) or quit competitive play altogether (ZeRo). In the early months of Ultimate, Diddy was perceived as a mid-tier character.
When Patch 3.1.0. dropped, Diddy received a multitude of buffs to his kit to compensate for his main problem of KOing. Some players further optimized Diddy's moveset, such as an infinite being discovered on platforms, which was named the Pyramid Scheme. In recent times, many of Diddy's players have consistently done well in larger tournaments compared to the past. Aaron, Dakpo, Rivers, and Legit have attained respectable placements. In addition, Dakpo has notably upset Glutonny while even utilizing the infamous pyramid scheme infinite in GENESIS 7, and Player-1 has upset Marss in CEO Dreamland 2020. Because of this, the general opinion of Diddy Kong has been on a noticeable rise lately, with some players, such as Samsora, Maister, and ZeRo, viewing him as a solid high-tier character, with Dabuz going as far to say that he is a top-tier character.
Another patch for Diddy Kong could change some perspective for each players. Patch 8.0.0 received some changes to Diddy Kong. Dash Attack and Forward Aerial did the most to Diddy Kong's move set. The most notorious nerf that he got was the Banana Peel, due to the extended time it has when it can be thrown again. This greatly hurt his infinite (Pyramid Scheme) which is now long gone. This gives players mixed reactions on his list, players like Marss or Hungrybox to put him in high tier. Players like ESAM still puts him in mid-tier, while Dabuz puts him from top tier to high tier.
Diddy Kong fares very well in online tournaments due to his buffs in Patch 8.0.0, and with players like Tweek and Aaron have been doing well with him. Tweek has notably been using Diddy Kong for the majority of his sets in online tournaments, winning both Get On My Line 2020 and TNS: Pandemic Monthly 5.5, and other high placements such as 9th at The Cosmic Kerfuffle.
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: Hey, Little Buddy!
In Diddy Kong's path, he serves as the "little buddy" to the hero of various Nintendo franchises and fights the respective villains or final bosses. In the penultimate stage he finally teams up with his true partner, Donkey Kong, to defeat their nemesis King K. Rool. Donkey Kong is also Diddy Kong's partner for the final fight against Master Hand and Crazy Hand. The title originated from the manual of Donkey Kong Country and was popularized by the Donkey Kong Country TV series; Diddy Kong is also referred to as Donkey Kong's "little buddy" in games such as Brawl and Donkey Kong Country Returns.
Role in World of Light
Diddy Kong was among the fighters that were summoned to fight the army of Master Hands.
During the opening cutscene, Diddy Kong was present on the cliffside when Galeem unleashed its beams of light. He attempted to fly away with Rosalina & Luma using his activated Rocketbarrel Pack, but a beam of light hit him and he was vaporized and placed under Galeem's imprisonment along with the other fighters, excluding Kirby.
To find Diddy Kong, the player must access the Kongo Jungle sub-area reminiscent of the first Donkey Kong Country game, where he's found right at the end.
Diddy Kong's Fighter Spirit can be obtained by completing Classic Mode. It is also available periodically for purchase in the shop for 500 coins. Unlocking Diddy Kong 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