Fox (フォックス, Fox) is a playable fighter in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. He was officially revealed on June 12th, 2018 alongside fellow Star Fox fighter Falco and the rest of the returning roster during the E3 2018 Nintendo Direct. Fox is classified as Fighter #07.
Mike West reprises his role from Super Smash Bros. 4 with new voice clips, sounding more akin to his appearances in Star Fox Zero and Starlink: Battle for Atlas. In the Japanese version, Fox is now voiced by Takashi Ōhara, reprising his role from Star Fox 64 3D and Star Fox Zero, replacing Kenji Nojima from Brawl and Smash 4.
Fox is a lightweight, hit-and-run type character with excellent grounded mobility and good frame data for the majority of his moveset. Fox is incredibly mobile: he possesses the sixth-fastest dashing speed, third-fastest walking speed, 33rd fastest air speed, 21st highest air acceleration, the highest falling (and thus fast falling) speed and gravity in the game, with the latter two allowing him to quickly move from the air to the ground with ease. These attributes allow him to keep up with almost any opponent while additionally making him very difficult to punish.
In terms of attack speed, almost all of Fox's moves have less than 10 frames of startup lag, which greatly helps him with approaching and comboing, while some of them are decently powerful despite of their quick startup. All of his grounded moves excluding smash attacks have both low startup and ending lag, which allows them to connect and flow into each other extremely easily. All of his aerials also have quick startup lag, and some of them are able to auto-cancel from a short hop (back aerial, up aerial), or have low landing lag (neutral aerial, back aerial). Alongside his fast falling speed, this gives him a good aerial approach and shield pressure.
Another one of Fox's biggest strengths is his combo potential. Almost all of his moves can combo into each other and he even has several KO confirms. Though a majority of his combos are not as lengthy compared to other characters like Sheik, the higher damage output makes up for it.
Fox's tilts are an important part of his combo game. Forward tilt, while mostly used for spacing, can be used as a combo starter at low to mid percentages and can start tech chases at higher percentages, giving Fox an opportunity to extend his combos if the opponent fails to tech or if the tech is read properly. Up tilt can combo into itself and can lead to other grounded moves or aerials. Down tilt is one of Fox's best combo starters despite it being difficult to connect, and can combo into most of his aerials and up smash at various percentages. Dash attack is quick and is one of his best moves for whiff punishes, with its early hit being able to combo into several moves (most notably neutral aerial) or start a 50:50 scenario into his forward aerial or up aerial, while the late hit can set up into up smash as a KO confirm at high percentages.
Fox's aerials are also a huge staple of his moveset, arguably being the most important part of his combo game. All of his aerials have either average or above-average damage output and they can combo into other aerials and some grounded moves, including smash attacks. Neutral aerial has very high speed, as well as low knockback, all of which allow it to combo into other moves even at high percentages, and allows it to serve as a reliable KO setup, with the weak hit of neutral aerial being able to lead into an up smash. Forward aerial can combo into up aerial and can drag opponents down if Fox lands before ending the move, allowing for jab lock/tech chase opportunities and can even drag the opponents down offstage, which can gimp certain characters. Back aerial can combo into grounded moves at lower percentages and is useful for shield pressure and KOing at high percentages. Up aerial deals the highest amount of damage and can combo into itself, making it a great juggling move. Additionally, it can serve as an effective KO move, which makes it arguably his most potent aerial, due to the number of moves that can combo into it. Down aerial can pressure shields and can lead into other aerials if autocanceled. The landing hit launches opponents at a low angle and can setup into up smash as a KO confirm.
His grab and throw game is below average but is nonetheless an important part of Fox's arsenal. Fox's grab is fast and has decent ending lag, but has low range, requiring Fox to be very close to the opponent. His pummel, while weak, is very fast, allowing him to slightly damage the opponent before throwing and is effective for unstaling other moves. None of his throws are true combo starters (barring down throw at low percentages if the opponent DIs in), but can help with setting up juggles and combos if the opponent's reaction is read properly.
Fox's special moves have several uses. His Blaster, while it lacks hitstun and deals low damage at a longer range, is quick and helps with forcing approaches while unstaling his moves without drastically reducing the effectiveness of the projectiles. Fox Illusion is one of his two recovery moves, covers a good horizontal distance and doesn't leave him helpless. It can be used to start combos or even KO outright at really high percentages with the grounded version. Fire Fox covers great distance, can be angled and deals high damage if all of the hits connect, and with the high knockback, it can stage spike reckless edge guarders. Reflector is quick, reflects projectiles and is one of the only reflectors that can be held indefinitely. It has intangibility and a hitbox on startup, which can help with breaking out of combos or gimping weak recoveries offstage. It also reduces Fox's falling speed, giving him landing or recovery mix-up potential.
Fox has good KO potential despite his attributes. Fox's up smash has quick startup, high knockback on clean hit, good range and even has setups into it, making it his primary KO move. Forward smash, while fairly weak at lower percentages, has decent knockback growth and end lag. It's best used for punishing the regular ledge getup because of the good range and lasting hitbox. Down smash is his quickest smash attack, which makes it useful for covering rolls. It can also 2-frame punish the opponents, all while sending them at a semispike angle. Up aerial deals high knockback and can KO at reasonable percentages if the opponent is above the ground. Back aerial, while noticeably weaker compared to his fellow Star Fox characters Falco and Wolf, still has decent knockback and launches at a semi-spike angle, and is his safest KO move.
However, Fox has several notable weaknesses. His primary weaknesses are endurance and recovery. He's the fifth lightest character in the game, in addition to being taller than other characters in his weight class (though still relatively small) and has the highest falling speed and gravity, which makes him extremely susceptible to combos and getting KOd early, which gives him a terrible disadvantage state and one of the worst survivabilities out of all the cast. His recovery, while covering a great distance, is nonetheless linear and predictable. Fox Illusion can't be angled and can only change the drift after the hitboxes end, which can be intercepted with most moves. Fire Fox has very slow startup and is linear, which makes him very vulnerable to stage spikes and meteor smashes and causes him to get KOd extremely early offstage. Reflector can only stall once, which lessens the mix-up options. His air dodges have among the shortest distances in the game, making them ineffective for the recovery, and coupled with the falling speed, air dodging below the stage is almost always fatal.
Despite possessing moves with high knockback, he can struggle KOing the opponents. Up smash has high-end lag and is hard to land without a read or setup. Neutral aerial, which is used to KO confirm into up smash, can be predictable and only true combos at certain percentages without tumbling the opponent, unless it gets stale, while down aerial has high landing lag and can sometimes send the opponents at a different angle. Forward or down smash are also hard to land and deal unimpressive knockback at mid-high percentages, and the latter has low reach. Up aerial is predictable, has narrow hitboxes, can stale if used frequently and the second hit can sometimes even miss after hitting with the first one. Back aerial has a small hitbox, short duration, and is angled somewhat high, making it hard to land, especially on short characters. All of his KO moves deal unimpressive shield damage, and because the moves can stale on shield, this can make the opponent shield more often and cause his moves to KO even later. Fox Illusion stops on shield, which can make it punishable if used predictably. In addition, none of his throws are viable KO options, which further exacerbates the unreliability of KOing. Since he has high falling speed, high-end lag on his aerials and slow vertical recovery, edge guarding with Fox is risky and can put him in an even more vulnerable position. In addition, while rage can help with KOing to a certain extent, he doesn't benefit from it as much as heavier characters, who can usually survive for much longer and gain more rage in return.
Overall, Fox is a glass cannon character. He can approach the opponents with his proficient movement and attack speed, which allows him to quickly deal high damage to opponents and KO them with several of his finishers. However, the player must stay unpredictable and not let himself get punished, otherwise, he can suffer from high damaging combos and get KOd very early.
Changes from Super Smash Bros. 4
Possibly because of his top tier status in Super Smash Bros. 4 (7th out of 55th tied with Sonic), Fox has received a mix of buffs and nerfs in his transition to Ultimate, but was nerfed overall. His moveset has been revamped in several ways that, while leaving his core playstyle relatively unchanged, alter the way he has to execute said playstyle, and the revamped engine further compounds this, causing him to be a more polarized character.
Fox's buffs primarily come from his moveset's improved versatility. Blaster's shots travel farther and the move has less endlag, granting him a far better camping tool. His primary KO options in his forward and up smash, as well as Fire Fox, now have increased knockback, which has overall further improved his KO power. Down tilt had its knockback and angles altered, whereas dash attack has less ending lag, making both much more viable combo starters overall. In addition, Reflector's startup has been cut in half and grants him intangibility (reminiscent of his Melee incarnation), allowing him to escape combos easier and edgeguard more safely.
Fox also greatly benefits from many of the changes to Ultimate's gameplay mechanics. The universal increase to horizontal mobility has especially improved his previously lackluster air speed, while making his grounded speed even faster. The ability to use any attack out of a run drastically benefits his boxing game and further improves his grounded moveset's utility and combo ability, giving him far more options than he had to pressure the opponent on the ground. The universal reduction to landing lag also improves his aerial game's combo ability by giving him, but most importantly, it improves his already great safety on shield -despite the reduced shieldstun on aerial attacks-. Finally, the revamped air dodge mechanics notably benefit his powerful juggling options.
However, Fox has also received many glaring nerfs as well, the most significant ones being to his survivabilty, the ability to combo into his finishers, and the ability to easily cross-up; many of the changes to gameplay mechanics further compound these issues. Fox is lighter and his gravity now matches that of his Melee incarnation, worsening his already bad endurance, while both Fox Illusion and Fire Fox travel a shorter distance and Reflector now only allows stalling once, making him easier to edgeguard. All of this, combined with the ability to use only one air dodge before landing or getting hit, the smaller sizes in stages' edges, and the fact enough downwards velocity now causes opponents to be KOed faster from the bottom blast line, means Fox's survivability is much worse than before. Conversely, while Fox's KO potential was improved, he has also lost several KO confirms due to his moveset's worsened combo potential outside of down tilt and dash attack; forward tilt's altered knockback reduces its combo and KO potential and almost completely removes its locking potential, one of down tilt's hitboxes that could lead into up aerial at high percentages was removed, and up tilt can no longer lead into KO setups as easily due to its altered knockback and its altered hitbox placements rendering it unable to hit opponents hanging on an edge or during their 2-frame vulnerability. Finally, the removal of frame canceling and the changes to reeling animations no longer being untechable have drastically worsened his down aerial's combo ability.
Fox's dash attack, despite being faster, is now almost unable to cross-up opponents (unless they're small or thin) due to its higher shieldstun and the changes to jostling mechanics, and Fox Illusion can no longer bypass shields, making it much more difficult for him to recover back on-stage by crossing the opponent up, and instead making it much easier to punish him. Other nerfs also include the worsening of his already poor grab game, with his grabs having even less range, back throw being worse for edgeguarding, and the faster knockback physics completely removing down throw's combo potential when combined with its unfavorable angle and Fox's slower initial dash. Up smash's animation was also made faster with the hitbox duration unchanged, which while making it easier to hit opponents behind him, it also makes the clean hit slightly harder to land; the move also no longer grants intangibility to Fox's head during startup, making it a less effective anti-air.
Lastly, the changes to perfect shielding both benefit and hinder Fox. He arguably benefits from the revamped perfect shield the most, because of possessing very quick moves like up tilt or up smash, while perfect shield is ineffective against quick multi-hitting attacks like his down aerial. In contrast, it also it easier to retaliate against otherwise hard to punish moves, like his neutral aerial, forcing Fox to use his staple landing moves less predictably.
Overall, Fox is a more polarized glass cannon; most of his tremendous strengths and advantages remain, and some of his moves have increased utility, but his key weaknesses are also significantly more exploitable, and he has an even harder time getting out of disadvantage; all these changes result in Fox's moveset having many more and versatile options, but also mean he now has to play more carefully in order to gain or retain the advantage, and the revamped mechanics compound both points. Like in SSB4, Fox continues to have a high amount of representation in the competitive scene, having achieved noteworthy results thanks to the efforts of notable players including Light, Paseriman, Lui$, ZD, and Eon. Because of this, his competitive reception has remained positive, as many players consider him as a top or high tier character, just like in SSB4. As a result, Fox is one of the few top tier veterans from said game alongside Mario, Zero Suit Samus, Sonic, and Cloud who have been consistently placing well in tournaments so far.
Throws and other attacks
Aside from a single nerf to his hitstun animation in update 6.0.0, Fox has been buffed slightly via game updates. Update 3.1.0 improved his neutral attack's consistency, while update 7.0.0 made him less susceptible to shield poking by adjusting his shielding animation. Update 10.1.0 granted Fox his most worthwhile buffs, as his forward and down aerials became noticeably more consistent via hitbox and knockback adjustments.
Due to his buffs, Fox fares slightly better than he did at Ultimate's launch, and he continues to be generally seen as a top/high-tier character.
For a gallery of Fox's hitboxes, see here.
Note: All numbers are listed as base damage, without the 1v1 multiplier.
In competitive play
In stark contrast to pre-release Ultimate, where it was speculated that Fox would be an unviable character and possibly even one of the worst characters in the game, Fox has seen a positive reception due to all of the indirect benefits he received from the game's engine as well as phenomenal results from professionals such as Light, Lui$, Paseriman, and ZD. Light especially was a top 10 player in the first year of Ultimate and had consistently made top 8 at national tournaments. In the early metagame, most players believed that Fox was a top-tier character, with some arguing that he was a top 5 character.
In more recent times however, Fox's results have steadily dropped as players have either gotten worse results with him such as Light, completely dropped Fox such as Larry Lurr, or have picked up other characters to cover Fox's bad matchups such as Eon. Fox's placement has been a huge topic of debate in more recent times, with some players such as Dark Wizzy, MKLeo, Tweek and ESAM continuing to rank him as a top 10/15 character while others such as Marss, Dabuz, and even Light himself claiming that he's "overrated" and believing that he is high-tier at best. On the other hand, Fox's perception in Japan is more optimistic as most of their top players rank him among the top 10 in the game, with Zackray ranking him 7th and Paseriman ranking him as high as 4th.
In the current online metagame, characters that require precision and strict reaction times are considered less viable. Due to this, Fox's results have dwindled significantly as all of Fox's best players have either temporarily dropped him or have not attended online tournaments at all. As such, Fox's metagame has been very stagnant and, despite buffs to his inconsistent multi-hit attacks in patch 10.1, it is unknown whether his representation will improve before offline tournaments resume. Nevertheless, Fox is still considered to be a strong character with amazing results and solid representation throughout Ultimate's lifespan. He is considered to be one of the four top-tier veterans in Smash 4 (with the other three being Mario, Sonic, and Zero Suit Samus) to place well in Ultimate despite his nerfs from Smash 4.
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: Spaceborne Smash
Fox's opponents are all space travelers. Every round plays music from the opponents’ home series, except for Round 4, which plays music from Star Fox.
Character unlock tree
Fox's Classic Mode character unlock tree includes the following characters in order:
Each character can be unlocked by clearing Fox's Classic Mode, or the Classic Mode of any preceding character, if all preceding characters have been unlocked. Once all the above characters are unlocked, clearing Classic Mode with any of them will default to Mario's character unlock tree, starting with Sonic.
Role in World of Light
Fox was among the fighters that were gathered on the cliffside to defeat the army of Master Hands.
During the opening cutscene, he was issuing orders to the other fighters while pointing his blaster at Galeem's Master Hand army, telling them "Don't let a single one [of the Master Hands] get away." ("今日こそ決着をつけてやる!") Fox was also present on the cliffside when Galeem unleashed his beams of light. He was vaporised offscreen and was placed under Galeem's imprisonment alongside the other fighters (excluding Kirby). A puppet fighter cloned from him is later seen along with ones cloned from Simon, Mario and other fighters.
Fox is unlocked near a heart-shaped lake. The player must defeat Nyna's spirit to access his unlock battle. Unlocking Fox will allow the player to access the red switch which opens the red gate leading towards the Temple of Light sub-area as well as clearing a path blocked by rocks. This makes him one of the few mandatory fighter unlocks.
He is later seen again alongside Mario and several other fighters, making their last stand against Galeem and Dharkon. In the bad ending where Galeem emerges victorious against Dharkon, Fox is among the fighters witnessing the world becoming engulfed in light, with Samus and Bowser by his side.
Fox's fighter spirit can be obtained by completing Classic Mode, depicting his Star Fox Zero artwork. It is also available periodically for purchase in the shop for 500 coins. Unlocking Fox 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.
Additionally, Fox makes an appearance in a support spirit.
In Spirit battles
As the main opponent
As a minion
Character Showcase Video