Donkey Kong (SSB4)

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This article is about Donkey Kong's appearance in Super Smash Bros. 4. For the character in other contexts, see Donkey Kong.
Donkey Kong
in Super Smash Bros. 4
Donkey Kong
Universe Donkey Kong
Other Smash Bros. appearances in SSB
in Melee
in Brawl
Availability Starter
Final Smash Konga Beat
Tier C (28)

Donkey Kong (ドンキーコング, Donkey Kong) is a playable character in Super Smash Bros. 4. His return to the series was confirmed on June 11th, 2013 during the E3 Nintendo Direct. As in previous installments, Donkey Kong also retains his realistic gorilla grunts, albeit with a new set of voice clips.

Donkey Kong is currently ranked 28th out of 58 on the tier list, placing him in the C tier, and his best placement in the series to date. This makes him the second highest ranked super heavyweight and is an improvement from his placement in Brawl, where he was ranked 21st out of 38. Donkey Kong retains his signature power, mobility, and spacing options, with his renowned back aerial remaining a quick and powerful option to stop approaches and deal damage. However, Donkey Kong now boasts great combo potential thanks to his "cargo up throw", which allows for guaranteed follow-ups at varying percents and even a guaranteed KO combo at a small range of percents.

However, Donkey Kong retains many of his flaws from Brawl. His large hurtbox has become even larger, which makes him even more susceptible to combos than before, while his poor vertical recovery continues to render him very susceptible to edgeguarding. Nevertheless, Donkey Kong's advantages generally outweigh his disadvantages, to the point that he has achieved above average results in competitive play, largely thanks to HIKARU, Tweek and DKwill.


As the second heaviest character in the game, Donkey Kong is a super heavyweight. However, he is also one of the fastest heavyweights in the game in terms of both movement and attack speed, to the point that he defies the typical heavyweight archetype. He has fast walking and dashing speeds, above average falling speed and gravity, and very fast air speed, but below average air acceleration. His large size also gives his attacks great physical range.

As expected, Donkey Kong's greatest asset is his speed. In typical heavyweight fashion, Donkey Kong has a plethora of reliable KOing options (sweetspotted up tilt, all of his smash attacks, his forward, back, up and down aerials, his back throw, Giant Punch, and grounded Spinning Kong) and high survivability thanks to his high weight and fast falling speed. However, his aforementioned mobility and frame data (almost all of his attacks are faster than any other super heavyweight) gives him an effective approach and makes it easier to land his attacks, further complemented by his large reach. Also, his moves that lack KO power can be used for effective set-ups, thanks to their high speed, low knockback, and favorable launch angles, giving him a capable combo game. Thanks to these attributes, Donkey Kong can rack up damage and KO his opponents not only quickly, but safely, compared to most heavyweights.

Donkey Kong's grounded moveset is very useful; his neutral attack can be jab canceled for follow ups, and can jab lock, his forward tilt is great for spacing, his up tilt is a decent combo starter at low percents, and his down tilt has incredible speed and can trip opponents, making it ideal for starting or extending combos. All of his smash attacks pack incredible power and have very long ranges, while not being particularly slow either. To complement his ground game, Donkey Kong's aerial game is extremely effective. His forward and down aerials can meteor smash and can effectively finish off his combos or his opponents, thanks to their high power. His neutral aerial is very quick and can lead into followups, or it can be used to give Donkey Kong some space. His up aerial launches opponents upwards, making it great for combos and KOing. His back aerial is long-ranged, has a long-lasting hitbox, and can be used to edgeguard opponents. The last three aerials can also autocancel in a short hop, further demonstrating their utility. Finally, Donkey Kong's fast air speed allows him to easily chase opponents in the air.

In addition, the aforementioned combo abilities pair well with his grab game. Donkey Kong's grab range is the second largest non-tether grab in the game (being surpassed only by Greninja's), while his grabs are decently fast, making them very easy to land. His pummel is decently quick, making it great for racking up damage. While his up and down throws are rarely used because of their limited utility, his forward and back throws make up for that. His back throw is the 10th strongest in the game, making it one of his safest KO moves. His forward throw is an all-purpose throw, as well as an excellent damage racker. Using it will open up four different throws, commonly known as the "cargo throws". Cargo down throw is a semi-spike and is great for edgeguarding. Cargo back throw deals 12% and can KO at higher percents. His most notable throw, however, is his cargo up throw, which can lead into any aerial at lower percents. Since it connects directly into his powerful up aerial at most percents, this combo can be used to KO opponents at specific percents, and has since been nicknamed the "Ding Dong".

Finally, Donkey Kong's special moveset has a lot of utility. Giant Punch is a deadly KO move, and a fully charged one has super armor, making it difficult to interrupt. Headbutt can bury opponents, leaving them exposed to any move. It also does strong shield damage, threatening attempts to block the move. Hand Slap has very long range and allows for stage control, but since it is a quake move, it has no effect on aerial opponents when it is performed on the ground. However, an aerial Hand Slap is now capable of meteor smashing and is not only fairly easy to land, but it is an effective one as well. Finally, Spinning Kong can be used as an out of shield option, thanks to its super armor and high damage output. As a recovery, it lets Donkey Kong move horizontally quickly and for a long time, giving him a very long horizontal recovery. Spinning Kong also retains its ability from Brawl to completely negate all momentum, against both horizontal and vertical knockback however, this is considered impractical and nearly impossible to utilise due to the changes to hitstun canceling.

Despite these advantages, Donkey Kong has noticeable flaws. His most notable flaw is his poor defensive game. Although his large size gives him high reach, it also makes him very easy to hit. While his out of shield game is strong, Donkey Kong's shield itself is rather poor, due to it being unusually small for a character of his size (like Ganondorf), making him heavily vulnerable to shield stabbing. His rolls and ledge recovery options are also very slow. With all of this working against him, Donkey Kong is heavily vulnerable to combos and juggling, worsened by his lack of combo breakers (due to his polarizing aerials) and lack of good dodging options outside of aerial maneuvering. His moveset, despite being very fast in terms of startup, is slow in regard to ending lag, making him susceptible to punishment without careful spacing. Finally, his vertical recovery is almost nonexistent, due to Spinning Kong's vertical distance being considerably low. This also makes it extremely difficult for him to survive even the weakest meteor smash.

Custom moves can give Donkey Kong considerable benefits, more so than most other characters. Storm Punch has a wind effect, and is very effective for edgeguarding and spacing. Jumping Headbutt has more vertical range and a hitbox during the entire descent, making it a good alternative to fast falling, but at the cost of being unable to properly bury opponents. Stubborn Headbutt eschews its role as a pressure move due to its slow startup. However, it has higher power and super armor, protecting Donkey Kong from any attack. Focused Slap and Hot Slap sacrifice range for paralysis and vertical range, respectively. Both are also potent KOing options, with the latter having high diagonal knockback, and the former having extremely high vertical knockback. Kong Cyclone is often considered to be Donkey Kong's most valuable move, as well as the best custom in the game, as it has super armor, a suction effect, more power, and the aerial version has greater maneuverability and speed, as well as autocanceling capabilities, significantly improving his neutral game.

Overall, Donkey Kong is a potent character, and is perhaps the most effective of all of the super heavyweights. With speed, power, range, survivability, and easy-to-use combos, there are very few matchups he cannot overcome. He has average tournament representation and above average results, with dedicated mains such as DKwill.

Changes from Brawl[edit]

Donkey Kong has been considerably buffed in the transition from Brawl to SSB4. The most noticeable improvement has been to his overall speed; his attacks, such as his signature Giant Punch, are now performed faster, and his already excellent movement speed has also been greatly increased, allowing him to better keep up with, and in quite a few cases, even out-speed certain lightweights. He is also much heavier, which allows him to withstand potential KOs easier and enables him to become an effective user of the new rage mechanic, which results in his already fantastic power becoming even more effective. In addition, Donkey Kong is a lot harder to combo than before due to the removal of chain grabbing. Finally, DK benefits considerably from the removal of edge hogging and the introduction of edge stealing, which prevents his poor vertical recovery from being edge hogged.

Although he was buffed, Donkey Kong did receive a few noticeable nerfs. His grab game was slightly weakened and many of his attacks now deal less damage. Even with the removal of chain grabbing, his increased falling speed and larger hurtbox enable him be easily susceptible to combos regardless, although he is still less susceptible to being juggled. However, these nerfs are considered to be largely negligible due to the impact of his initial buffs and especially because of the subsequent buffs he has received in game updates. As a result, he is considered to be more viable than he was in Brawl.


  • Change Donkey Kong's fur is of a higher visual quality than in Brawl. His proportions also seemed to have been tweaked slightly, with his design now being reminiscent of his appearances in Donkey Kong Country Returns and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. Additionally, his teeth are now white, rather than yellowish white.
  • Change Most of Donkey Kong's animations are now more fluid. His general expressiveness has been greatly exaggerated as well, with many of his moves and animations now accompanied with smirks, toothy grins, or even a look of utter confusion. When Donkey Kong is launched, his eyes will even bulge out of his head, much like in the Donkey Kong Country games for the SNES.
  • Change Donkey Kong has updated voice clips with the exception of his down taunt, which reuses the voice clip from Brawl.


  • Change Like other large characters, such as Bowser and King Dedede, Donkey Kong's general size in proportion to the other playable characters is also greater than in previous installments. This improves his range, but makes his hurtbox larger.
  • Change Donkey Kong is heavier (116 → 122). This improves his endurance, but makes him more susceptible to combos.
  • Buff Donkey Kong walks faster (1.2 → 1.3).
  • Buff Donkey Kong dashes faster (1.622 → 1.7031).
  • Buff Donkey Kong's air speed is faster (1.081 → 1.15), making it tied for the ninth fastest in the game.
  • Change Donkey Kong falls faster (1.58 → 1.63). This makes him less susceptible to juggles, but more susceptible to combos.
  • Change The changes to hitstun canceling both help and hinder Donkey Kong. They improve his offense by granting many of his attacks combo potential. However, they significantly hinder his overall endurance, as he can no longer use Spinning Kong to cancel momentum despite his increased weight.
  • Change The removal of meteor canceling both helps and hinders Donkey Kong. It results in his meteor smashes becoming even harder to recover from than in Brawl. However, his faster falling speed and poor vertical recovery have made him even more susceptible to meteor smashes.
  • Nerf 10 frames were added to his ground release animation, now matching the rest of the cast. This gives him less time to counterattack the opponent.

Ground attacks[edit]

  • Nerf Upward angled forward tilt deals 1% less damage (12% → 11%).
  • Nerf Down tilt deals 1% less damage (8% → 7%) and has decreased base knockback (20 → 10), reverting it to how it functioned in Melee and thus hindering its spacing potential.
  • Buff Down tilt trips more easily, and its reduced knockback gives it better combo-starting potential. It can now be reliably followed up by other moves, including itself or a grab.
  • Buff Donkey Kong has a new dash attack, the Barrel Roll from the Donkey Kong Country series. Compared to the previous dash attack, it has less ending lag (FAF 55 → 42) and has a longer duration (frames 10-21 → 9-24).
  • Change Dash attack deals less damage (11%/9% → 10%/8%) compared to the previous dash attack. However, this grants it combo potential.
  • Nerf Forward smash has decreased knockback growth (94 → 91). It also has a smaller hitbox size overall (6.4u/6.8u/4.3u/3u → 5.7u/3.7).
  • Nerf Forward smash main hitbox' knockback angle has been modified (Sakurai angle → 46°). This can be considered a nerf as it now launches to the top corner rather than directly to the side, resulting it later KO's.
  • Buff Forward smash now has intangibility on Donkey Kong's head and arms on frames 20-26.
  • Nerf Up smash has much less knockback (40 (base)/93 (growth) → 30/83), now KOing in the 100%-125% range rather than the 80%-100% range in Brawl. Its hitbox size is also smaller (9.5u → 8.8u/7u).
  • Buff Down smash has received an extra hitbox that deals 18% and occurs when Donkey Kong's arms hit the ground.
  • Buff This new hitbox also makes down smash good at pressuring and even nearly breaking shields as it is possible for it to hit shields twice in one move.
  • Nerf Down smash has decreased knockback growth (100 → 88), hindering its KO potential. Its new hitbox also does not compensate for its decreased knockback growth, especially since it has less base knockback (35 → 30). Though it is still one of the best down smashes in the game in terms of its start-up, range and knockback.
  • Change Down smash knockback angle has been modified (115° → 70°).

Aerial attacks[edit]

  • Nerf Neutral, back, and up aerial have increased landing lag (15 frames → 17 (neutral), 15 frames → 18 (back), 22 frames → 25 (up)).
  • Buff Forward aerial and down aerial have decreased landing lag (30 frames → 29 (forward), 31 frames → 24 (down)).
  • Buff Forward aerial has decreased start-up lag (frame 25 → 18).
  • Nerf Forward aerial's sourspot deals less damage (16% → 15%/13%), though its meteor smash hitbox's knockback was compensated. Its early hitbox also has decreased knockback growth (100 → 85), hindering its KO potential.
  • Nerf Back aerial has decreased knockback growth (100 → 97).
  • Nerf Up aerial deals 1% less damage (14% → 13%) without its knockback being compensated. These changes slightly hinder its KO potential.
  • Buff Down aerial has received has a sourspot at his chest that deals strong horizontal knockback. It is also faster (frame 18 → 14).
  • Nerf Down aerial's sweetspot has decreased base knockback (38 → 30). Its duration is also shorter (frames 18-23 → 14-16).

Throws/other attacks[edit]

  • Buff Donkey Kong's grab range is now the second highest in the game, after Greninja.
  • Buff Dash grab has significantly decreased ending lag.
  • Nerf Pivot grab has increased start-up lag (frame 10 → 11).
  • Change Donkey Kong now grabs with one arm as opposed to two.
  • Nerf Pummel deals 0.9% less damage (3% → 2.1%).
  • Buff Pummel is slightly faster.
  • Buff Cargo forward throw deals 2% more damage (8% → 10%).
  • Buff Cargo back throw deals 4% more damage (8% → 12%) and has altered knockback (80 (base)/50 (growth) → 70/80).
  • Change Cargo back throw's angle was altered.
  • Buff Cargo up throw deals 3% more damage (7% → 10%) and has altered knockback (90 (base)/30 (growth) → 58/52), allowing it to combo into other moves.
  • Buff Cargo down throw deals 1% more damage (6% → 7%) and has altered knockback (65 (base)/26 (growth) → 50/38). It can now also be used to stage spike opponents quite easily.
  • Nerf Donkey Kong has a new edge attack, a forearm club. Compared to the previous edge attack, it is slower and has less range.
  • Buff Front and back floor attacks deal 1% more damage (6% → 7%).

Special moves[edit]

  • Buff Giant Punch charges, comes out and ends faster.
  • Nerf Giant Punch deals less shield damage (2 → 0).
  • Nerf Aerial Headbutt deals 4% less damage (14% → 10%) and it no longer stalls Donkey Kong in the air, removing its recovery potential.
  • Buff Headbutt has increased range.
  • Buff The 19% damage increase to shields and the significant increase to shieldstun both significantly improve Headbutt's pressure potential, as they allow it to bring shields to a sliver of health.
  • Nerf Headbutt deals less shield damage (30 → 25) and has slightly increased ending lag.
  • Buff Grounded Spinning Kong is now a multiple hit attack, improving its damage racking potential. It also spins at an angle instead of completely horizontally, improving its vertical range.
  • Change Grounded Spinning Kong's animation has changed. Donkey Kong now performs a series of discus clotheslines with both arms and it concludes with him striking a flexing pose.
  • Nerf Spinning Kong has increased ending lag.
  • Buff Hand Slap can now be used in midair, with its second hit being a meteor smash. It also has a larger hitbox on the ground.
  • Nerf Hand Slap has significantly increased ending lag.
  • Buff Konga Beat is now accompanied by a bar that indicates when to press the button in rhythm with the beat, similar to the display in Donkey Konga. This improves its reliability.
  • Change Konga Beat's animation has slightly changed. If Donkey Kong performs all button presses with the correct timing, he will strike a thumbs up pose at its conclusion.

Update history[edit]

Donkey Kong has been significantly buffed overall via game updates. Update 1.0.6 saw Giant Punch's charging time decreased even further, making it even more viable as a KOing option. Update 1.0.8 buffed the damage outputs of all variations of Donkey Kong's cargo throw, which helps his initially weakened grab game. Update 1.1.0 gave him a faster and longer lasting dash attack and noticeably improved his combo game due to cargo up throw's base knockback being decreased considerably, which gave Donkey Kong new follow-up options. The most famous follow up, jumping cargo up throw to up aerial, has been affectionately nicknamed the "Ding Dong".

Update 1.1.1 reduced the shield damage dealt by Giant Punch and Headbutt, but this was compensated by the increased shieldstun allowing Hand Slap to break shields more easily. The shieldstun changes in general significantly benefit Donkey Kong's powerful, high hitlag attacks by making them safer on shield. While the changes to shield mechanics it also inhibit his effective out of shield options and his already poor shield game, this nerf is largely negligible.

Overall, Donkey Kong's buffs outweigh his nerfs, to the point that he is considered to be significantly better than he was during SSB4's initial release.

Super Smash Bros. 4 1.0.6

  • Buff Giant Punch's charge time decreased: 172 frames → 144.
  • Nerf Headbutt no longer stalls Donkey Kong in midair, removing its recovery potential.
  • Change Neutral attack's first hit no longer launches opponents at the Sakurai angle.

Super Smash Bros. 4 1.0.8

  • Buff Cargo forward throw deals 2% more damage: 8% → 10%.
  • Buff Cargo back throw deals 4% more damage: 8% → 12%.
  • Buff Cargo back throw's knockback growth increased: 38 → 80.
  • Change Cargo back throw's angle altered. This angle change makes it nearly impossible for it to stage spike opponents, but the angle change combined with the increased knockback allows the move to KO near the top blast line after jumping from a platform, such as the one on Smashville or the upper platform on Battlefield.
  • Buff Cargo up throw deals 3% more damage: 7% → 10%.
  • Buff Cargo down throw deals 1% more damage: 6% → 7%.
  • Buff Cargo down throw's animation has slightly changed. Donkey Kong now hops while performing it. This allows Donkey Kong to jump off-stage, use his cargo down throw and safely recover back to the stage, regardless if the throw was used to stage spike an opponent or not.

Super Smash Bros. 4 1.1.0

  • Buff Up smash's hitbox size increased: 7.5u/6u → 8.8u/7u.
  • Buff Forward smash's hitbox size has increased: 5u → 5.7u.
  • Buff Forward smash's bone intangibility on Donkey Kong's head and arms have received additional frames: 20-26.
  • Buff Dash attack improved. Its start-up lag decreased: frame 10 → 9, its ending lag decreased
  • Buff Cargo up throw's knockback altered: 90 (base)/50 (growth) → 58/52. This re-purposes it into a combo starter, which can be performed even up to high percents.

Super Smash Bros. 4 1.1.1

  • Nerf All variations of Giant Punch deal less shield damage: 2 → 0.
  • Nerf Headbutt and Stubborn Headbutt deal less shield damage: 30 → 25.


  Name Damage Description
Neutral attack   4% A hook followed by an uppercut. At very low percents, it can combo into itself or work as a fairly reliable set-up for a fully charged Giant Punch. However, its first hit can also be jab canceled into forward tilt, down tilt or a grab, which is further supplemented by the first hit's tip launching the opponent towards Donkey Kong instead of away from him.
Forward tilt   11% A backhanded slap. Can be angled, with the upward angle dealing the most amount of damage and the downward angle dealing the least.
Up tilt   11% (sweetspot), 9% (sourspot) An overheard arcing swipe. It has very reliable range and deals more damage and knockback if the target is extremely close to Donkey Kong's back.
Down tilt   7% (sweetspot), 6% (sourspot) A crouching swat. Slightly less powerful around his fingers. In addition to its great speed and range, it has a chance to trip opponents, allowing for guaranteed follow-ups such as itself, a turnaround up tilt, Giant Punch, Headbutt, Hand Slap or a grab.
Dash attack   10% (sweetspot), 8% (sourspot) The Barrel Roll, his signature attack from the Donkey Kong Country series. It deals less damage towards its end.
Forward smash   20% (hands), 21% (arms) A lunging clap. It deals slightly more damage if it hits with Donkey Kong's arms, but has a noticeable blind spot at DK's chest. KOs at 92% uncharged and at 54% fully charged without rage.
Up smash   18% An overhead clap. Unlike other up smashes, it does not scoop opponents into the main hitbox, making it somewhat problematic to land if the opponent is not airborne or incredibly close to DK. However, it can be effective if used beneath a platform. KOs at 119% and 73% uncharged. At full rage, it is slightly more powerful than his Brawl up smash. Donkey Kong's head and arms are intangible while the hitboxes are out.
Down smash   14% (arms), 17%-18% (fists) Swings both of his clenched fists down 90° to perform forearm clubs. It has decent range, fast start-up for a smash attack, and deals great vertical knockback. It KOs starting at 101% when sweetspotted, it is especially good for punishing rolls and laggy attacks, and is a reliable out of shield option. It could arguably be considered one of the best down smashes in the game, despite its fair amount of ending lag. When at full rage, it is slightly more powerful than his Brawl down smash.
Neutral aerial   11% (clean), 8% (late) Quickly spins around to perform discus clotheslines with both arms, similarly to Spinning Kong. It is not the fastest of DK's aerials, but has the longest lasting hitbox and the lowest amount of ending lag. Additionally, its late hit has excellent combo potential when SHFF'd, but it requires good timing due to its hitbox not being optimally positioned compared to his other aerials.
Forward aerial   16% (early), 15% (meteor smash), 13% (late sourspot) A double axe handle. If sweetspotted, the opponent is meteor smashed. Like many other moves, its early hitbox is weaker than its meteor smash hitbox, to the point that it is even weaker than the late sourspot despite dealing more damage. However, the early hitbox launches opponents away by dealing extreme horizontal knockback, making it more effective for KOing horizontally. It appears similar to his midair attack from Donkey Kong 64, which itself was inspired by this attack due to SSB debuting before Donkey Kong 64.
Back aerial   8-13% A back kick. A useful move courtesy of its decent power, large, lingering hitbox and minimal start-up, ending and landing lag. Its low ending lag allows it to initiate a wall of pain.
Up aerial   13% An upward headbutt. DK's head is intangible as soon as it begins. Its high damage output and knockback make it a viable KOing option and an ideal follow-up from "cargo up throw".
Down aerial   16% (sweetspot), 13% (sourspot) A stomp. Its sweetspot is a strong meteor smash, while its sourspot, which is close to Donkey Kong's chest, deals diagonal knockback. However, it is a rather laggy attack despite its fairly quick start-up.
Grab Reaches out. Donkey Kong's grab range is above average, while his dash and pivot grabs have even greater ranges.
Pummel   2.1% A karate chop. A fairly fast pummel.
Forward throw   10% (forward), 12% (backward), 10% (upward), 7% (downward) Cradles the opponent on his back, allowing him to move and jump around while still holding the opponent. This gives him access to forward, back, up, and down throws that are distinct from his normal grabs.

Forward: Throws the opponent vertically.

Back: Heaves the opponent backward using both hands, launching them at a slightly higher trajectory. Can only be done in midair or by strongly tilting the control stick backward while grounded.

Up: Heaves the opponent upward. Its very low base knockback allows for follow-ups, especially when preceded by a jump, such as his up aerial (which can be performed twice in a row) or his neutral aerial (which can be followed immediately by his back aerial). At medium to high percents, Donkey Kong can set up an early KO with his up aerial when preceded by a jump, making it reminiscent of Diddy Kong's "Hoo-Hah" combo. This combo is referred to by players as the "Ding Dong" combo.

Down: A gorilla press slam. It launches the opponent horizontally, which allows it to be used off-stage as a surprise KOing option against opponents with poor recoveries, such as Little Mac.

When the opponent is too damaged to escape in time, all of these throws allow for easy stage spikes. Donkey Kong can simply walk off the edge, pull back and throw them against the underside. However, this carries significant risk, as the opponent can tech it and thus result in DK ending up too far below the edge to recover if his timing is off.

Back throw   11% Flings the opponent backward. DK's strongest throw in terms of damage and knockback, KOing the heaviest characters in the game below 170% near the edge without rage.
Up throw   9% Heaves the opponent is upward with one arm.
Down throw   7% A body slam. It has rather weak knockback and launches opponents horizontally in front of DK.
Floor attack (front)   7% Performs a swat.
Floor attack (back)   7% Claps behind himself and then in front of himself.
Floor attack (trip)   5% Throws a spinning, wind-up punch.
Edge attack   8% Performs a forearm club while climbing up.
Neutral special Default Giant Punch 10% (uncharged), +2% (per wind-up), 28% (tenth wind-up/fully charged grounded), 25% (tenth wind-up/fully charged aerial) Winds up his right arm and then throws a powerful punch. The attack is at fully charged after eleven wind-ups and gains super armor. The punch deals more knockback but lacks super armor at ten wind-ups. Its charge can be saved and chosen when to be released after being fully charged. DK will be rendered helpless if he uses it in midair.
Custom 1 Lightning Punch 10% (uncharged), +1% (per wind-up), 16% (five wind-ups), 15% (fully charged) An electrical version that takes less time to fully charge (six wind-ups at increased speed), but deals less damage and lacks super armor at full wind-ups.
Custom 2 Storm Punch 8% (uncharged), +2% (per wind-up), 18% (fully charged) Deals less damage, but produces a powerful windbox that will push back opponents and takes less time to charge. Higher ending lag and lacks super armor.
Side special Default Headbutt 10% (grounded/sweetspot aerial), 8% (sourspot aerial) A headbutt. The grounded version buries the opponent, who will remain submerged longer if the opponent has already dealt a fair amount of damage. The aerial version will meteor smash the opponent if they are hit by its sweetspot. Unlike in Brawl, it will not stall DK in the air. Full power shields will barely manage to avoid breaking against this move.
Custom 1 Jumping Headbutt 5% (aerial), 10% (grounded) A jumping headbutt. Buried opponents can break out faster and Donkey Kong will self-destruct if he uses it off-stage out of edge grabbing distance.
Custom 2 Stubborn Headbutt 13% Has longer start-up, but deals more physical and shield damage while granting super armor for its entire duration.
Up special Default Spinning Kong 7% (grounded hit 1), 1% (grounded hits 2-6), 4% (grounded hit 7), 18% (all grounded hits connect), 10% (aerial hit 1), 2% (aerial subsequent hits), 36% (all aerial hits connect) Rapidly spins around, trapping opponents and damaging them with a series of discus clotheslines and spinning backfists before launching them. It grants super armor at the very start and excellent horizontal recovery, but grants poor vertical recovery. If used on the ground, Donkey Kong now spins at an angle, increasing the move's vertical range.
Custom 1 Chopper Kong Grants increased vertical distance, but almost no horizontal distance and deals no damage.
Custom 2 Kong Cyclone 4% (grounded hit 1), 3% (aerial hit 1), 15% (grounded hit 2), 12% (aerial hit 2) Pulls in opponents in with a windbox while spinning, then launches them with its last hit. The grounded version has no hitboxes except for its first and last hits. The aerial version deals no damage except for its first and last hits, but does deal hitstun. Both the grounded and aerial versions have super armor during the spin, but the aerial version does not rise as high as Spinning Kong.
Down special Default Hand Slap 14% Slaps the ground to cause earth-shaking vibrations. The attack gives him some protection from opponents while grounded and has good range. Donkey Kong can now use the move while in midair, although only twice in a row. The second hit is a powerful meteor smash that is fairly easy to land. Originates from Donkey Kong Country.
Custom 1 Focused Slap 7% (hit 1), 14% (hit 2) Has increased hitstun and knockback, but decreased range and is unable to meteor smash.
Custom 2 Hot Slap 4% (hit 1), 12% (hit 2) Flaming pillars erupt instead of earth-shaking vibrations. It does not reach very far in front and does not reach behind DK at all, but it has much less start-up and much more knockback growth than Hand Slap, making it have better KO potential. However, it does not meteor smash if used in the air.
Final Smash Konga Beat Varies Takes out the DK Bongos and begins to play them to the beat of "DK Island Swing", emitting shockwaves in the process. The attacks range and power is determined by the player's input. The player must push the attack button in succession with the song's beat in order have the greatest range and power. While this was difficult to perform properly in Brawl, Konga Beat is now accompanied by an indicative bar that will appear above DK, which signals the player when to press the attack button in sync with the beat.

On-screen appearance[edit]

  • Bursts out from a DK Barrel and strikes a flexing pose.


  • Up taunt: Beats his fists against his chest while scowling.
  • Side taunt: Shakes himself as if he was wet, during which he will Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DSsport a toothy grin or Super Smash Bros. for Wii Usport the expression seen in his down taunt.
  • Down taunt: Faces the camera, shrugs his shoulders, and grunts while making a humorously confused, bug-eyed expression. It originates from SSB.
Up taunt Side taunt Down taunt
DonkeyKongUpTauntSSB4.jpg DonkeyKongSideTauntSSB4.jpg DonkeyKongDownTauntSSB4.jpg

Idle poses[edit]

  • Bares his teeth and crosses his eyes.
  • Bumps his fist together, then performs an underhand strike.
DonkeyKongIdlePose1WiiU.jpg DonkeyKongIdlePose2WiiU.jpg

Crowd cheer[edit]

English Japanese
Donkey Kong Cheer NTSC SSB4.ogg
Donkey Kong Cheer JP SSB4.ogg
Description D-K! Donkey Kong! Don-key Kong!
Pitch Group chant Group chant

Victory poses[edit]

A flourished remix based on the jingle that would play whenever Donkey Kong completely cleared a bonus room or defeated a boss in Donkey Kong Country.
  • Clenches his hands together and shakes them overhead in a self-congratulatory manner.
  • Does a backflip and then strikes a flexing pose. It is identical to his "character chosen" animation in SSB.
  • Beats his chest and then faces the screen while sporting a toothy grin.
DonkeyKongPose1WiiU.gif DonkeyKongPose2WiiU.gif DonkeyKongPose3WiiU.gif

In competitive play[edit]

Official Custom Moveset Project[edit]

Character Custom sets available
DonkeyKongHeadSSB4-U.png Donkey Kong 3233 3231 3232 1233 1231
1232 2233 2231 2232 1333

Notable players[edit]



Tier placement and history[edit]

Upon the SSB4's release, Donkey Kong was considered a bottom-tier character, despite the good buffs he had received in his transition from Brawl. This was due to players thinking of his poor frame data and hitbox placements, below average grab game despite his grabs having above average ranges despite not being tethered, an average damage output despite being a super heavyweight, and laggy finishers. Opinions of Donkey Kong would slowly start to improve, as players later noticed he had indeed gained more than what he lost in the transition to SSB4, leading him to be seen as a low-tier character rather than a bottom-tier character in most eyes.

While he would gain dedicated mains like DKwill and buffs via game updates, it was not until update 1.1.0 that Donkey Kong's reputation would improve considerably. This was due to said update granting him a massive buff for his grab game in the form of his now-famous "cargo up throw", which allows for what is known as the "Ding Dong" combo, which is reminiscent of Diddy Kong's "Hoo Hah" combo, albeit not to the same extreme degree. Because of the huge benefits as well as the true combos that can be performed with this throw, Donkey Kong's popularity started to increase at all levels of play, with professionals such as DKwill, Average Joe, HIKARU and Mew2King making a larger impact in tournaments.

As a result, Donkey Kong was ranked 27th on the first 4BR tier list, and then rose to his ranking of 25th on the second tier list, before dropping to his current ranking of 28th on the third tier list, and losing his title of the best super-heavyweight character to Bowser. Despite Donkey Kong remaining slightly unpopular in competitive play, his results by the players who main him have been sufficiently high enough to secure his current tier placement.


Donkey Kong
ntsc This king of the jungle really, really loves bananas. His adventures usually start with people stealing his hoard of them. In Smash Bros., he's known for his incredible strength and long reach. Despite his size, he's still pretty quick. He can even jump carrying heavy items! Use this knowledge well.
pal With help from Diddy Kong and his Animal Friends, this banana-loving king of the jungle will take on anyone causing trouble on his turf. The best things about him in this game are his colossal strength, his speed, his long reach and the fact that he can jump while holding heavy items. Make sure you use all that to your advantage!
SNES: Donkey Kong Country (11/1994)
Wii: Donkey Kong Country Returns (11/2010)
Donkey Kong (Alt.)
ntsc Donkey Kong pulls no punches when it comes to fighting. Or headbutts, as it turns out. His Headbutt special move will bury anyone on the ground who gets hit, leaving them open to some serious damage. If Donkey Kong strikes an airborne foe with this move, they'll go crashing downward.
pal Donkey Kong's always been one to use his head. Anyone who's been on the receiving end of his Headbutt special will tell you that. If they're on the ground when it hits them, they'll get buried, leaving them open to a serious walloping. If they're in the air, though, they might find themselves being knocked down. Either way, it;s going to hurt.
SNES: Donkey Kong Country (11/1994)
Wii: Donkey Kong Country Returns (11/2010)
Konga Beat
ntscIn this Final Smash, DK drums on a set of bongos, just like in the Donkey Konga games. Press the attack button in rhythm with the circles to boost the attack's range and power. Enemy attacks won't affect you, but you can't move, either. Auto-scrolling stages will slow down but won't stop-don't get too carried away in the beat!
pal In this Final Smash, DK drums on a set of bongos, just like in the Donkey Konga games. Press the attack button in rhythm with the circles to boost the attack's range and power. Enemy attacks won't affect you, but you can't move, either. Auto-scrolling stages will slow down, but be careful or you might still self-destruct!

In Event Matches[edit]

Solo Events[edit]

Co-op Events[edit]

  • 1988: Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong must defeat three Marios, each one larger than the last.
  • Flat Fracas: Wario and Mr. Game & Watch must defeat a giant shadow Donkey Kong and a shadow Mario.
  • The Ultimate Battle: Two players select a character and must defeat the entire roster.

Alternate costumes[edit]

Donkey Kong Palette (SSB4).png
DonkeyKongHeadSSB4-U.png DonkeyKongHeadBlackSSB4-U.png DonkeyKongHeadRedSSB4-U.png DonkeyKongHeadBlueSSB4-U.png DonkeyKongHeadGreenSSB4-U.png DonkeyKongHeadWhiteSSB4-U.png DonkeyKongHeadYellowSSB4-U.png DonkeyKongHeadPinkSSB4-U.png



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