Fox (フォックス, Fox) was confirmed for Super Smash Bros. Brawl at Nintendo World 2006. Fox was the first fighter to appear on the DOJO!! that did not appear on the E3 2006 video. Instead of being voiced by Shinobu Satouchi in all regions of the game like he was in Super Smash Bros. and Super Smash Bros. Melee, he his now voiced by Jim Walker and Kenji Nojima in the English and Japanese versions of the game respectively.
Fox is currently ranked at 15th place on the tier list, placing him in the middle of the C tier, a noticeable nerf from his position at the top of the Melee tier list. Fox maintains his incredible movement, fast attack speed, high damage output, effective setup moves (especially his down aerial), and a very fast (8-frame) up smash with enough strength and reach to KO the majority of characters reliably under 100%. Additionally, Fox possesses the fastest projectile in Brawl in his Blaster (which is also transcendent), a long reaching recovery with good mixup, and an effective semi-spike and defensive stalling tactic in his Reflector. Fox is notoriously frail, however, sustaining the fourth most knockback in Brawl, with rather poor vertical endurance (despite strong vertical momentum cancelling abilities), and among the worst horizontal endurance. His endurance problems are exacerbated by his extreme falling speed and acceleration, which leave him heavily vulnerable to combos and juggles, locks, and chain throws, some of which (including Pikachu's and Sheik's) can bring Fox to KO percentage from zero damage, if not zero deathing him outright. Additionally, Fox's attacks are very poor on shield, with high ending lag, low shield stun, and insufficient reach to hit opposing shields safely. Fox also has poor horizontal aerial movement and mobility, a tendency to over-rely on his up smash to KO, and a projectile without any flinch. Nonetheless, Fox's offensive prowess tends to outweigh his significant flaws, with his matchups being above average overall (despite a few hard counters), along with above average tournament results (which are significantly better in Japan, where he ranks 7th on the tier list).
Fox is a very light character who moves at very high speeds, clocking in as the third fastest runner and 2nd fastest walker in the game (with Marth being the fastest). Almost all of his attacks come off quickly and combine with each other. Fox's excellent speed is counter-balanced by the small and short reaching hitboxes in most of his attacks. This can complicate approaches, and his Blaster doesn't make up for that because it doesn't make opponents flinch. However, it is able to force approaches, unless the opponent has a lasting reflector, an absorbing move such as PSI Magnet, or their crouch is low enough to avoid it.
His up smash is a powerful vertical killer, and is also his only move that can KO reliably under 100%. It's a good move due to its high knockback scaling, speed, and reach. It can also be combo'd into, most notably from a down aerial. His forward aerial can add extra height to Fox's jump, due to producing a hovering effect if used shortly after jumping (known as Foxcoptering) - this can extend his recovery and allow him to quickly recover vertically, which isn't possible with his primary vertical recovery move (Fire Fox). His back air has high horizontal knockback. As far as specials go, Fox's laster can easily build damage from a distance, it refreshes stale moves if it hits, and it is also able to steal KOs. Fox's Reflector not only reflects projectiles, but can semi-spike opponents when used in the air, making it a useful tool for gimping poor and/or slow recoveries, and also slows Fox's aerial movement. The jump cancel has been replaced with a dash cancel, allowing a continuous shine volley across the stage (it works best at 70% and above depending on the character). As far as recovery goes, Fox Illusion can be used to gain a horizontal boost, and can also be canceled before completion to trick opponents, as opposed to Fire Fox, which comes off much slower but can move vertically. However, Fire Fox is easily edgeguarded, due to leaving Fox vulnerable during the charge required to use the move (though it can damage opponents if they get too close). Fox is also able to wall jump, boost grab, and DACUS (though his sliding up smash doesn't gain much less distance than his DACUS).
Fox's most notable attribute, as well as the most notorious, is his short jump in relation to the rest of the Brawl cast (much like Jigglypuff having the slowest falling speed in the game). His falling speed acceleration is the fastest, and his falling speed is the third fastest in the game (which is unusual for a character as light as he is). It has advantages and some hindrances, all of which must be known to make the best use of Fox. Some advantages of such speed are that it makes him difficult to juggle and KO vertically. However, his extreme falling speed acceleration is what makes him very susceptible to certain chaingrabs (particularly Pikachu's buffered d-throw chaingrab that has a 0-death on Fox) and locks (like Sheik's f-tilt lock). His fast falling speed also shortens his recovery.
The end result is that Fox is a glass cannon. He has difficulty approaching characters with strong defensive games or the ability to space effectively, forcing him to rely on his Blaster to approach if needed, which some characters can avoid rather effortlessly. His combination of a very low weight (seventh lightest character), very high knockback sustained (fourth highest), very fast overall falling speed (third fastest normal falling speed and fastest accelerated falling speed), mediocre air speed, and mediocre recovery for his weight create a tendency to KO at low percentages. However, he has many quick moves, a very strong offensive game, and once the opponent is knocked back he has flexible follow up options, but his speed can make him tough to control.
Changes from Melee to Brawl
While Fox technically received more buffs than nerfs, the nerfs he did receive were enough to significantly nerf him overall in comparison to Melee. All the traits that made Fox excel in the previous game are still intact: his impressive mobility, fast attacks, the ability to force his opponents to approach thanks to his Blaster, and his impressive and effective KO and damage racking ability (though the damage output on some of his attacks were toned down slightly).
However, he is much more frail than in Melee thanks to the changes in the knockback formula, despite being heavier. The reduced range on Blaster has weakened his ability to zone and force approaches. The most severe nerf was to his Reflector: it has slower start-up and can no longer be jump-cancelled, greatly weakening Fox's close-range pressure ability and combo game. His general combo game is far worse: down throw can no longer tech-chase, up throw is ineffective for combos and chain-grabs due to the slower fall speeds, and the aforementioned changes to his reflector have removed all previously possible follow-ups, and such changes are exacerbated by the addition of hitstun cancelling. His KO'ing ability is weaker: up smash and up air, his two best finishers in Melee, have had their damage and knockback reduced, and they are also more difficult to combo into in the new physics and with the loss of Fox's Shine combos.
Overall, while Fox's nerfs outweigh his buffs, he maintains a fairly viable position with only a few match-ups that are considered major disadvantages, which is more than what can be said for other fellow Melee veterans like Ganondorf, Sheik, and Jigglypuff.
In competitive play
According to the current SmashBoards matchup chart for Brawl, Fox's matchup spread has the seventeenth highest unweighted rank and has a weighted total of -58, seventeenth highest overall. Fox has mostly positive matchups, despite being hard countered by three characters. He is also soft countered by seven characters and even with eight characters. He soft counters ten characters, counters seven characters, and hard counters only Ganondorf. Fox is notably hard countered by Pikachu and Sheik as they can take advantage of his extremely fast falling speed acceleration attribute. Pikachu can perform a "0-death" chain grab on him by using its down throw to rack up damage in excess of 100%, then using a Thunderspike to KO, while Sheik can rack up 50%+ damage with her forward tilt. The Ice Climbers also hard counter Fox, as he lacks safe options to approach without getting grabbed. On the positive side, Fox has a winning matchup against King Dedede, a character known to counter almost every character below him on the tier list. Fox's amazing speed and effective KOing options allows him to counter many characters that are below him on the tier list.
Tier placement and history
Fox has both risen and fallen on the tier list over time. He started out at position 19 on the first tier list before falling to being below the top 20 (the lowest placing being at spot 24 on the second tier list) until the fifth tier list came out in which he rose to position 16, and stayed in the 15th-16th place since then.
Role in The Subspace Emissary
It is later shown that the Arwing crash-landed at the edge of a jungle, near a lake. Diddy Kong discovers the Arwing, but Rayquaza rises from the lake and territorially attacks the Arwing with an Energy Ball, setting it aflame. As Diddy is snatched up by the provoked Pokémon, Fox is ejected from the cockpit of the burning Arwing and proceeds to effortlessly rescue Diddy from the clutches of the serpentine Pokémon using his Fox Illusion and Reflector. After the two defeat the giant Pokémon, Fox attempts to leave, but is dragged back by Diddy and follows him deeper into the jungle. Soon, they fight a Shadow Bug clone of Bowser and defeat it. Suddenly, the real Bowser fires his Dark Cannon at them, and Fox barely dodges the shot. Although Diddy is eager to fight Bowser, Fox knows that they can't survive against his Dark Cannon, so he grabs Diddy and jumps off a cliff.
After recovering from the fall and quickly making their way through The Swamp, they are ambushed by Bowser again, who succeeds in turning Diddy into a trophy. Bowser then attempts to turn Fox into a trophy, but he manages to dodge the shot, so Bowser sends some Shadow Bugs to clone Diddy's trophy, outnumbering Fox. Falco suddenly appears out of nowhere in his Arwing and saves Fox from Bowser by destroying his Dark Cannon, forcing Bowser to escape. The Diddy clone begins to absorb more Shadow Bugs, becoming gigantic as a result. Fox uses the opportunity to revive the real Diddy, and the three fight the clone. After Falco unwillingly joined the group, they find a ship carrying Donkey Kong's trophy to a floating island. The Great Fox suddenly appears, and as Falco and Diddy attempt to free DK, Fox plans to take down the Halberd with the Great Fox.
The Great Fox duels with the Halberd, but it ends up getting carried away by it, gets crashed into a mountain, and flies away in smoke. Later on, as Peach and Zelda (disguised as Sheik) are making their escape after Snake frees them, Fox is seen attacking the Halberd again in his Arwing. During the fire-fight, some of the Arwing's Blasters hit dangerously close to Peach. Sheik does a very high range teleport on top of the Arwing and breaks open the cockpit. Both Sheik and Fox fall out of the Arwing and on the Halberd deck. They start running towards each other at high speeds and just before they break into a fight, Peach randomly offers them a cup of tea. Although Fox is shocked by this, when Sheik accepts hers, he accepts his as well. Just as they do, a group of Shadow Bug Mr. Game & Watches fall from the Halberd's cockpit and form into Duon. The three are joined by Lucario and Snake (who knocked them down there in the first place), as well as Falco who arrives on another Arwing, and defeat the monster. Duon leaves behind the real Mr. Game & Watch trophy as it disappears. Fox prepares to blast the trophy, but Peach approaches it and revives Mr. Game & Watch. With Meta Knight taking back control of the Halberd, he flies his ship into the daylight and eventually landing on The Canyon, coincidentally the same time The Falcon Flyer lands, after previously escaping the doomed Subspace Factory. Fox, Falco, Peach, Zelda, Lucario, Snake, and Mr. Game & Watch are now greeted with Mario, the rest of the Canyon heroes, and the Falcon Flyer heroes, they all unite and become one big team, now plotting against Subspace. Fox joins the rest of the heroes in the assault on the Subspace Gunship and the attack on Tabuu, although he would be one of the many heroes to be transformed into trophies by Tabuu. However, like the other heroes, his trophy could be found and be revived by King Dedede, Luigi, and Ness in Subspace. After being rescued, he join the rest of the heroes to go to The Great Maze and defeat Tabuu.
The following stickers can either be only used by Fox, or by a select few characters including Fox:
In Event Matches
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