Duck Hunt (SSBU)
Duck Hunt (ダックハント, Duckhunt), known in PAL versions as Duck Hunt Duo, is a playable fighter in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. They were officially revealed on June 12th, 2018 alongside Dr. Mario, R.O.B., and the rest of the returning roster. Although they are a team, Duck Hunt are collectively classified as Fighter #59.
Duck Hunt retain their realistic dog barks and duck quacks, using a combination of recycled voice clips from SSB4 along with additional new ones.
How to unlock
Complete one of the following:
With the exception of the third method, Duck Hunt must then be defeated on Duck Hunt.
Duck Hunt is a lightweight character (same weight as Sonic, putting them among the bottom 20 in that category) with below-average height, above-average walking speed (25th fastest in this category), average run speed, a slow initial dash (tied for 12th slowest with Incineroar, Snake, Bowser Jr., and Ryu), low traction (15th lowest), above-average air speed (tied for 20th fastest with Bowser, Sheik, Lucas, and Mega Man), average air acceleration and falling speed, and low gravity (14th lowest). Duck Hunt can also crawl and wall jump. These traits make Duck Hunt a character who, while lacking strong burst movement on the ground due to their slow dash, does a good job at maintaining aerial presence with their air speed and fairly high jumps. Collectively speaking, their overall mobility is average.
As a character with three unique projectiles for special moves, Duck Hunt excels in zoning and stage control with an emphasis on setups. Trick Shot generates a can that explodes on contact, and the fact that it can be maneuvered by the player with the press of the special button make it a key component of Duck Hunt's pressure, setups, and stage control. Additionally, the fact that the can is generated on frame 1 gives it utility as a combo breaker. Clay Shooting, a frisbee-like projectile that can be detonated with the press of the special button, not only has use as a zoning tool, but it also functions as Duck Hunt's most potent combo starter, as the fact that they can act out of the move before it detonates allows them to chain the move into aerials, another side special, or a combination of the two. Their down special, Wild Gunman, summons a gunman that shoots a delayed projectile, further supplementing their zoning and setup centered play style since they can act out of the move before the gunshot. In addition, the gunmen possess their own hurtbox, giving it occasional use for blocking attacks.
Duck Hunt's air game also has decent utility courtesy of their good air speed. Back aerial is a fast and powerful finisher that comes out at frame 7 and kills middleweights as early as 120% from the edge of Final Destination, making it even deadlier in the context of edgeguarding. Neutral aerial also compliments their edgeguarding abilities, as it comes out fast at frame 6 and has lingering hitboxes that make it useful for gimps while the strong hit also functions as a passable kill move, killing middleweights at 135% from the edge of Final Destination. Finally, up air is a good vertical finisher that starts killing middleweights at around 135% near the blast zone, plus it comes out fast a frame 6 and has a decent amount of active frames.
Unfortunately, Duck Hunt's main weakness is that, outside of some their aerials, the aspects of their kit that don't revolve around their versatile projectiles are rather lackluster. For example, while their aerials are undeniably the best parts of their kit outside of their special moveset, some aren't without their flaws. Although forward aerial is fairly fast at frame 7 and has decent range, it has atrocious kill power; even with the sweetspot, the move doesn't start killing middleweights until around 180% from the edge of Final Destination, and the fact that the move has sourspots adds a layer of inconsistency to its already poor kill power. In addition, down aerial has some inconsistencies of its own, as while it's a decent spike on paper, the two hits don't always connect into each other. Duck Hunt's endurance also leaves more to be desired due to their low weight and exploitable recovery; while Duck Jump covers good horizontal and vertical distance, its unremarkable speed and lack of protection make it prone to edge guards. While their recovery fares better than their Smash 4 counterpart due to being able to cancel it into attacks and air dodges, but the fact that Duck Hunt can only cancel their recovery 50 frames later still makes it fairly exploitable.
However, the flaws of other aspects of Duck Hunt's kit are most apparent in their ground game, as their grounded normals are mediocre at best and well below average at worst. While their rapid jab is a good damage racking option, neither the rapid jab nor the gentleman jab function as a good late percent finisher, as neither start killing middleweights until 190%. Forward tilt, while being disjointed and having passable startup at frame 8, lacks range in comparison to other disjoints and doesn't start killing middleweights until 150%. Up tilt, while in theory being a frame 7 combo starter into neutral and up aerial at low and mid percents, isn't that consistent in practice due to the fact that its narrow hitbox struggles to hit grounded opponents even at point blank range. Even down tilt, which is among the best of the grounded normals in their arsenal for being their fastest grounded poke at frame 6 and having the potential to lead into tech chase scenarios, suffers from being an even worse disjoint than forward tilt in terms of both range and kill power. While the aforementioned moves are simply mediocre, the same cannot be said for dash attack, a move that is genuinely below average; it has slow startup at frame 10 while also having abysmal kill power, as it can't even kill middleweights past 200%. On top of having slow startup, Duck Hunt's poor initial dash further hinders its use as a burst option, a role that dash attacks are generally meant to fulfill. Duck Hunt's smash attacks don't do their ground game many favors either, as while they have good kill power and are disjointed for utilizing the NES Zapper, their startup is rather subpar and they have awkward hitboxes that prevent all the hits from connecting at times. Their grab game is also a contributor to their less than stellar strength on the ground; their standing and pivot grabs have deceptively good range, but the reward they get from a grab leaves more to be desired due to none of their throws leading to consistent combos or killing at reasonable percents.
Overall, Duck Hunt is a character who excels at controlling the neutral by simultaneously controlling both the character and their assortment of projectiles in order to create setups, cause frame traps, and generate pressure whether the opponent is onstage, at ledge, or offstage while their good air mobility and fair share of fast aerials also give them a slight emphasis on offstage edgeguards. In exchange for these strengths, they have a notable lack of flexibility in other aspects of their kit due to their overall average recovery and ground game, meaning they have to be more reliant on crafty use of their projectiles in order to get things going compared to other zoners. Essentially, while Duck Hunt is a solid character, other characters in a similar archetype simply have more flexibility in parts of their kits that don't revolve around their projectiles. For example, while Link is good at zoning and creating setups with Boomerang and Remote Bomb, the reason why he is considered to be a high tier is because he has notable strengths all across the board such as a strong out of shield option in the form of Spin Attack, safe and potent aerials in the form of neutral air and forward air, and an overall better ground game than Duck Hunt due to the greater reach and power of his disjoints as well as his more combo friendly grab game. While it's not entirely certain whether Duck Hunt's strengths outweigh their flaws or vice versa, Duck Hunt is generally considered to be a viable mid tier character.
Changes from Super Smash Bros. 4
Duck Hunt received a mix of buffs and nerfs in the transition to Ultimate, but have been buffed significantly overall. Duck Hunt's notoriously inconsistent KO potential has been improved in many ways: their infamously unreliable smash attacks now connect much more reliably (though their final hits may still fail to connect in rare instances), while their forward tilt is now a situational KO option thanks to its much higher base knockback.
Trick Shot, which was already a powerful, versatile projectile, has been improved in many ways: it KOs earlier, travels further, has less endlag and can now be hit in air, all of which improve its utility. Clay Shooting has less ending lag and forces opponents to stay in place if they get hit, which make it an excellent combo tool. In addition, it now explodes into shrapnel that deals damage in many directions, increasing its effective range.
Duck Jump now allows the duo to act out of it after at least 50 frames; when coupled with the reintroduction of directional air dodges, these changes somewhat improve the safety and reliability of their once-risky recovery. Lastly, Wild Gunman has less ending lag, higher damage outputs and knockback (to the point that the orange and sombrero gunmen boast KO potential at high percents), and the defeated gunmen each maintain a hurtbox that allow Duck Hunt to use them to block incoming attacks.
Duck Hunt also benefit from the universal changes of Ultimate. Their mobility has improved, particularly in regard to their dash/initial dash speeds and their aerials' reduced landing lag. These changes, when coupled with many of Duck Hunt's moves in general having less endlag, somewhat improves their combo game.
However, Duck Hunt have received some nerfs. Their lighter weight further worsens their already poor endurance. Some of their aerials have also been worsened: clean neutral aerial's noticeably lower knockback growth hinders its KO potential, forward aerial has a slightly shorter duration, and down aerial no longer auto-cancels with a short hop. Lastly, Trick Shot has lost some of its set-ups into Clay Shooting, while the latter is harder to destroy and its shrapnel can also damage Duck Hunt.
Overall, the changes to Duck Hunt greatly benefit them, as they are considered to be better than they were in SSB4. These buffs and nerfs, however, also change their playstyle somewhat. When coupled with Ultimate's faster engine, the combination of Duck Hunt's lighter weight, improved mobility and generally improved normal moves gives them more a more aggressive playstyle than in SSB4. Despite this, the large retention of their camping game also enables them to use it potently, despite the faster game engine favoring more offensive playstyles.
Initially, Duck Hunt were believed to be considerably worse than in SSB4, to the point that their playerbase was even smaller than it was in SSB4. Raito, the best Duck Hunt player in the world, most notably held this negative perception of them, and thus resorted to using secondaries, such as Inkling. However, as time went on, Raito started achieving very strong results competitively with them, such as placing 3rd at both Albion 4 and Umebura Japan Major 2019, placing 5th at EVO 2019, and taking sets off of notable players including Dabuz, Shuton, Cosmos, and Abadango.
These commendable results indicate that Duck Hunt have maintained their viability, but have also potentially become even more viable than in SSB4. Along with Raito, other Duck Hunt mains, such as Ozone and Vintendo, started achieving respectable results as of late. Although Duck Hunt's playerbase is still small, their impressive results, especially by Raito, indicate that they can be very potent when mastered.
Throws and other attacks
Aside from glitch fixes, Duck Hunt have received a mix of buffs and nerfs from game updates.
For a gallery of Duck Hunt's hitboxes, see here.
Note: All numbers are listed as base damage, without the 1v1 multiplier.
In competitive play
Duck Hunt's true viability has remained unknown by many since the beginning of the metagame. Since Ultimate's game mechanics encourage more aggressive gameplay, many players thought that the duo fared worse than they did in SSB4. However, Duck Hunt's competitive reception has improved as the metagame progressed. Many players agree that Duck Hunt have improved considerably overall thanks to their buffs making them more capable at playing aggressively. Although Duck Hunt's camping gameplay is generally agreed to be worse than it was in SSB4, it nevertheless remains a viable strategy for them to fall back on if need be.
So far, Duck Hunt have achieved great results thanks to players such as ASA, Wisdom, White Girl 6 9, and especially Raito. However, like in SSB4, Duck Hunt maintain mediocre representation in spite of their respectable results. Although it is unknown what their true viability will be posited as, the general consensus is that they are mid tier.
Most historically significant players
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: Dog, Duck, Zapper
Duck Hunt's opponents are animals, or in the case of the Mii Fighters, humans wearing animal costumes. Due to being an animal, Rathalos also fits this theme and is fought as the final boss of their route.
Role in World of Light
Duck Hunt were among the fighters that were summoned to fight the army of Master Hands.
During the opening cutscene, Duck Hunt were present on the cliffside when Galeem unleashed his beams of light. The duo was seen panicking alongside Villager and a composed Wii Fit Trainer, with the dog covering his eyes and the duck attempting to lift the dog off the ground with Duck Jump. The duo was then placed under Galeem's imprisonment alongside the rest of the fighters, excluding Kirby.
In the mode proper, Duck Hunt can be found inside a forest covered in fog to be challenged and recruited.
Duck Hunt's fighter spirit can be obtained by completing Classic Mode. It is also available periodically for purchase in the shop for 500 coins. Unlocking Duck Hunt 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 opponents
As an ally
Fighter Showcase Video