Dr. Mario (SSBU)
Dr. Mario (ドクターマリオ, Doctor Mario) is a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. He was revealed for the game along with the rest of the veterans on June 12th, 2018. Dr. Mario is classified as fighter #18.
How to unlock
Complete one of the following:
With the exception of the third method, Dr. Mario must then be defeated on New Donk City Hall.
As a clone of Mario, Dr. Mario is a middleweight that can wall jump. Like his normal self, Dr. Mario also has excellent frame data: when not counting special moves, the overall start-up lag of his normal moveset is very fast. As a result, Dr. Mario is both difficult to punish and very effective at punishing. Although they share an overwhelming number of identical animations and even the exact same values for certain attributes (falling speed; fast falling speed; traction; and gravity), Dr. Mario nevertheless has a number of traits that differ from his normal self. Like Mario, Dr. Mario's height is below-average; oddly, however, he is marginally shorter in comparison, and does not crouch as low as his normal self.
Dr. Mario functions like a stronger, yet slower Mario, owing to the implementation of multipliers to the majority of his moveset and some of his attributes. Aside from six moves, the remainder of Dr. Mario's moveset deals more damage compared to Mario's moveset. Conversely, his walking and dashing speeds are noticeably slower; his air speed and air acceleration are slower; and his jump and double jump's initial speeds are slower, which is equivalent to their heights being slightly lower. These multipliers result in Dr. Mario being distinctly affected by passive equipment physics, in which he specifically possesses a higher Attack value and a slower Speed value. Although Dr. Mario's lower jump height makes his short hop more effective than Mario's, these modified attributes collectively render his overall mobility as sub-par. Conversely, Dr. Mario's higher overall damage output results in him being noticeably more efficient at KOing in comparison to Mario.
He shares two useful combo starters with Mario. Down tilt is the most effective of the two: although it is short-ranged, it is very reliable at low to high percentages, with useful follow-ups including itself, neutral attack, up tilt, his smash attacks, back aerial, up aerial, and Super Jump Punch. Like Super Jump Punch, forward aerial can function as a KO mix-up at high percentages, but requires a hard read. Up tilt can combo into itself reliably, albeit not as consistently as Mario's version because of its higher damage output. However, its higher damage output makes it better at juggling, and even enables it to function as a situational KOing option at very high percentages.
Outside of these moves, up smash functions similarly to Luigi's version instead of Mario's version: it launches the opponent diagonally instead of vertically, and will launch them in the opposite direction of where Dr. Mario is facing so long as they are in front of him. Compared to Luigi's, however, it launches at a lower angle. As a result, Dr. Mario's version has much greater combo potential when uncharged: it can combo into itself, up tilt and Super Jump Punch at 0%-10%, and into forward and down tilt at 10%-15%. On an unrelated note, its launching angle also makes it much better at edge-guarding or setting up edge-guards compared to Mario and Luigi's versions.
Dr. Mario possesses a decent grab game. His overall grab is range is average, but each of his grabs have minimal start-up and ending lag. Forward throw is useful for initiating edge-guards and can even combo into dash attack at 0%-20%, whereas back throw is one of the strongest back throws in the game.
Up throw is able to initiate aerial pressure, especially on fast-fallers, but is effectively his least useful throw. Lastly, down throw is able to combo into Dr. Tornado at low percentages, and into up aerial at low to medium percentages. It can also combo into up smash; reverse aerial rushed back aerial; down aerial; and even forward aerial and Super Jump Punch as KO mix-ups at high percentages. However, up smash is only effective against the majority of the cast at 0%-10%, whereas the latter four follow-ups require hard reads.
Like his normal self, Dr. Mario's air game is above-average. Neutral aerial is a "reverse sex kick": its clean hitbox deals minimal damage, whereas its late hitbox deals more damage. Thanks to it hitting on frame 3 and having low landing lag, its clean hitbox is ideal for set-ups. Conversely, its late hitbox is decent at edgeguarding, due to its long hitbox duration. Back aerial is also fast; auto-cancels in a short hop; and possesses a powerful clean hitbox, which collectively make it viable for KOing, edge-guarding and approaching. Forward aerial has considerable start-up lag, but its clean hitbox makes it the third strongest aerial of its kind; as such, it is lethal when SHFF'd against unwary opponents that are near the edge. Up aerial's horizontal launching angle grants its beginning and ending frames decent combo potential into Super Jump Punch and back aerial, respectively, at low to medium percentages. Down aerial is a meteor smash that hits on frame 16, making it a good edgeguarding option while also having 27 frames of ending lag and 13 frames of landing lag. However, the hitbox only lasts for 5 frames, and the meteor smash sweetspot is located at Dr. Mario's feet.
In regard to special moves, Megavitamins travel farther in the air without landing compared to Mario's Fireball, and they bounce twice instead of three times. Super Sheet's reflection hitbox has a longer duration compared to Cape's. Due to its hitbox being positioned higher, it also has more vertical range, yet less horizontal range in comparison. Like in SSB4, Super Sheet no longer stalls Dr. Mario in midair like it did in Melee. To alleviate the removal of Super Sheet's recovery potential, Dr. Tornado is now a much more integral part of Dr. Mario's recovery, thanks to it granting him a decent amount of horizontal distance when it is button mashed sufficiently.
Unlike F.L.U.D.D., Dr. Tornado deals damage. When coupled with its very high knockback scaling, auto-link angle and transcendent priority, it is useful for edge-guarding, warding off edge-guarders, and even out-prioritizing attacks. However, Dr. Tornado's much shorter range makes it much riskier to use for edge-guarding compared to F.L.U.D.D. Due to Super Jump Punch consisting of a powerful clean hitbox and a weak late hitbox instead of multiple hitboxes like Mario's, it actually functions like a less polarized version of Luigi's Super Jump Punch. As a result, its clean hitbox makes it a viable KOing option unlike Mario's. Although it can not be canceled, Super Jump Punch can be B-reversed upon landing its clean hitbox like Mario's can upon start-up This makes it useful for edgeguarding, and can enable Dr. Mario to avoid punishment and/or hit an opponent behind himself upon hitting his primary target.
However, Dr. Mario's flaws are significantly more noticeable in comparison to Mario's. Although he boasts excellent KO potential, it is inconsistent. This is most obvious with up smash: its launching angle makes it reliable at KOing only while near the edge, whereas Mario and, to a lesser degree, Luigi's up smashes KO reliably from anywhere on-stage because of their higher launching angles. By extension, he has minimal KO set-ups like Mario. Additionally, Dr. Mario shares Mario's notable weakness of having short range in his attacks, which hinders his ability to approach and fight characters with long or disjointed range like Link. Dr. Mario's sluggish mobility compounds another notable weakness: his recovery. Despite being able to wall jump, the combination of his slow air speed; slow air acceleration; and Super Jump Punch's mediocre travel distance results in his recovery being predictable like Mario's.
Due to his overall recovery granting noticeably less vertical distance compared to Mario's, Dr. Mario is very vulnerable to most meteor smashes. As a result, it is optimal for him to read the opponent when trying to return to the stage, as well as knowing when and how to make use of Dr. Tornado, which has a huge amount of ending lag (33 frames, aerial version) and cannot sweetspot edges. Even though Dr. Mario may not need to use his double jump to recover, any sufficiently strong attacks, particularly semi-spikes, may launch him too far away to recover properly. Lastly, Dr. Mario is an all-rounder like his normal self, and is thus outclassed in certain aspects by other characters: Donkey Kong and Captain Falcon have more power and much better overall mobility; Mario and Luigi have much more versatile combo games; Lucina and Cloud have much more range; and Link and Samus are much better at zoning.
Overall, Dr. Mario's fast frame data enables him to pressure and/or punish the opponent effectively at close range, while his above-average damage output makes him capable of KOing easily. Unlike Mario, however, his slow mobility hinders his neutral game to the point that he is largely reliant on baiting and punishing. By extension, his sub-par recovery makes him a less capable edgeguarder compared to his normal self, and he retains his normal self's lack of range as well.
Differences from Mario
Despite not being an Echo Fighter of Mario, Dr. Mario is still very much a full clone of Mario. Both characters are middleweights with the ability to wall jump. Because Dr. Mario uses external modifiers to his stats (rather than directly modifying them), Dr. Mario sports subpar mobility compared to Mario. He has the 16th-slowest walking speed, 7th-slowest dashing speed, 8th-slowest air speed, poor air acceleration, 29th-slowest falling speed, 31st-slowest fast falling speed, average gravity and traction, and below-average jump force. As a result of these traits, Dr. Mario's approach and recovery are greatly inferior to Mario's, giving him sluggish movement in addition to negatively impacting both his neutral game and his edgeguarding skills. However, Dr. Mario compensates for his slower mobility with another external multiplier that increases the damage of his attacks in comparison, as all of his attacks deal noticably more damage without any compensation on knockback, which enables him to KO more easily as a result.
Like Mario, Dr. Mario has excellent frame data, with most of his standard attacks having low startup and ending lag (excluding forward smash, forward aerial, down aerial and special moves). As a result, Dr. Mario is effective at punishing his opponents, while he himself is difficult to punish. Like Mario, Dr. Mario has excellent combo starters in his up tilt and down tilt, since both attacks come out rather quickly, and deal low knockback to the opponent. All of Dr. Mario's aerials have decreased landing lag compared to his previous appearance in SSB4 (but still higher than Mario's), contributing to his combo game, and making setups easier to create.
However, much like Mario, Dr. Mario's range is fairly short, forcing him to fight close to his opponents and limiting his ability to fight opponents with long or disjointed range. Due to Dr. Mario's slower mobility, this is considerably riskier for him.
Grabs and throws
Changes from Super Smash Bros. 4
Dr. Mario has been buffed in the transition from SSB4 to Ultimate. One of his biggest buffs were to his already above-average damage output; all of his moves deal much more damage (excluding his pummel and get-up attacks), which further supplements his damage-racking game and previously inconsistent KO ability. His recovery, while still poor, has nevertheless improved slightly; his Dr. Tornado has increased distance, and the readdition of directional air dodges gives him another option to possibly extend and mix up his recovery. His Megavitamins and Dr. Tornado have also been given notable improvements; the Megavitamins deal enough damage and knockback to cause opponents to tumble, and launch at a higher angle, making them viable as a combo starter and even giving them the ability to set up KOs. Dr. Tornado, outside of its improved recovery potential, has been significantly buffed; it has gained notoriety for being able to KO offstage effectively at very low percentages, and when combined with its increased distance, make it a deadly edgeguarding option. It also has gained heavy armor on startup if used on the ground, which further improves its safety and viability. Additionally, Dr. Mario has a new down aerial which can meteor smash opponents much like Mario's forward aerial, which when combined with the changes to Dr. Tornado give him an improved edgeguarding game.
However, Dr. Mario has received a few nerfs. Dr. Mario's up tilt has had its hitbox placement adjusted, giving it inferior range in front of and underneath him. Additionally, his grabs have increased ending lag, hindering their utility and combos. Furthermore, his already sub-par mobility is slower, especially in comparison to the rest of the cast, given the nerfs to his air speed and jump height. His overall mobility remains largely unaltered from his previous appearance, resulting in him now being much slower relative to the roster, considering as most other fighters have received buffs to their mobility.
Compared to Mario, Dr. Mario is still a slower and stronger clone of him. However, he is not classified as an Echo Fighter. There is currently no confirmed reason for this oddity, though it is likely due to Dr. Mario debuting in Melee rather than SSB4 or Ultimate as with the other Echo Fighters. Aside from having an updated idle animation, slightly higher traction compared to Mario, an altered animation for his side special, as well as receiving a new back throw and down aerial, he has not been further decloned. He has also received many of the same changes as Mario.
Compared to his appearance in SSB4, his damage-racking potential has increased and his recovery is safer and better overall (though it is still considered among the worst in the game, along with Little Mac and Ganondorf). Because of these changes, he is better in Ultimate, but nowhere as close to his Melee incarnation, where he was a high or mid tier. He has seen results in the competitive scene, achieving some representation from players like Locus and Lui$. However, Dr. Mario's overall tournament representation is poor in spite his buffs, as he is regarded as a mid, low or even bottom-tier character, with most players drawing comparisons to Mario being a much better character, contrasting Dr. Mario’s slow speed, and abysmal recovery. However, patch 7.0.0 awarded Doc with a myriad of buffs to his damage racking and edgeguarding potential, which has caught the eyes of some players, such as Goblin, who notably sees Dr. Mario as a high tier and that he is underrated and slept on. Overall, his buffs may not be as significant as other changes that most characters got. His tier placement is questionable due to the young meta of Ultimate.
Throws and other attacks
Initially, Dr. Mario had received a mixture of minor buffs and nerfs. In 1.1.0, Super Sheet was buffed, as reflected projectiles are now somewhat stronger. 3.0.0 nerfed the shield damage of Megavitamins like with most other projectiles, but it also slightly improved Dr. Mario's Final Smash as well. Overall, these changes had little to no effect whatsoever on Dr. Mario's competitive viability.
However, 7.0.0 gave Dr. Mario more noticeable buffs. His down tilt has received reduced knockback scaling and increased hitstun which improves its utility as a combo starter and grants it combo potential even at percents where Mario's stops working, down aerial has a longer hitbox duration, and strong moves such as Super Jump Punch have been made better for KOing and out of shield option. Despite the notable buffs, the overall opinion on him remains the same and that his base fighter, Mario, outshines him in nearly every category. His buffs unarguably benefit the character, but he is still considered one of the worst characters in the game by many players.
For a gallery of Dr. Mario's hitboxes, see here.
Note: All numbers are listed as base damage, without the 1v1 multiplier.
In competitive play
Although his power, out-of-shield options, and damage-racking capabilities were improved in the transition to Ultimate, Dr. Mario has been consistently perceived as an inferior version of Mario. While Lui$, Stroder, and Locus achieved decent success very early on, his recurring flaws from Smash 4 would still remain prominent, as his sluggish speed, atrocious recovery, and mediocre range would only highlight his still poor approach options. However, he does have a few strengths over Mario, such as his out of shield game and KO power with back throw and Dr. Tornado. Even with these specific strengths, both of Doc's best players would eventually drop him or relegate him as a secondary in favor of Terry and Fox.
Dr. Mario would arguably only get worse throughout subsequent patches, as characters such as Palutena, Samus, and Lucina would continue to hinder him in competitive play. Even with players such as Oryon, Fons, and Tsumusuto achieving notable success with the character, top players such as Mr.R, Samsora, and Dark Wizzy continue to see him as a low tier character, with some like ESAM and Maister viewing him as one of the worst characters in the game. Some people asserted their argument for Doc to connect to Mario as a better version. However, his viability continues to remain questionable. For example, ZeRo, Nairo, Armada, and Leffen now believe Dr. Mario is a mid tier due to his scary attributes and improved punish game after 7.0.0. ESAM and MkLeo also believed Dr. Mario's buffs helped him in certain character matchups he struggled with prior, such as their mains Pikachu and Joker, respectively. In addition, Goblin views him as a high tier and says that Doc is underrated after 7.0.0 because of his improved combo game and out of shield options. Lui$ is thinking of picking him back up as a co-main with Fox due to these buffs.
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: Colorful Treatment Plan
Dr. Mario's opponents are all trios of the same character in red, blue, and yellow costumes, referencing the three viruses: Fever, Chill, and Weird. The stage before Master Hand with the trio of Warios references their rivarly from Dr. Mario 64.
Role in World of Light
Although Dr. Mario does not appear in the World of Light opening cutscene, he was vaporized and later imprisoned alongside the rest of the fighters (sans Kirby) when Galeem unleashed his beams of light. Dr. Mario has his own awakening battle separate from that of Mario, who appears in the opening cutscene.
Dr. Mario can be awakened in a cloud that is found on a pathway connected by a ribbon that also leads to a city-like area.
Dr. Mario's Fighter Spirit can be obtained by completing Classic Mode. It is also available periodically for purchase in the shop for 500 coins. Unlocking Dr. Mario 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 it with the fighter's artwork in Ultimate.
In Spirit battles
As the main opponent
As a minion
Character Showcase Video