Ike (アイク, Ike) is a newcomer appearing in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. He was revealed in the Smash Bros. DOJO!! on August 1st, 2007. Ike is voiced by Michihiko Hagi in the Japanese version and by Jason Adkins in the English version, both of whom voiced the character in the respective versions of both Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn.
Ike is currently ranked 23rd on the tier list in mid-tier. Ike possesses extreme power throughout his moveset, with some of the strongest attacks in Brawl, and nearly all of his attacks can KO under 150%. In addition to being one of, if not the strongest character overall, Ike possesses arguably the greatest average reach in Brawl, made better by nearly every attack having disjointed reach and transcendent priority. He also has great endurance thanks to his high weight and strong momentum cancelling abilities, as well as fearsome edge guarding capabilities. Ike's biggest boon is his amazing jab, which is fast, possesses great reach for a jab, deals high damage and knockback, and can jab-cancel to create highly damaging combos and setups into KO moves (such as up tilt and back aerial). Despite these strengths, he also has severe weaknesses, which are perhaps intent on counteracting such advantages. Most of his attacks have incredibly high startup and ending lag, making his overall attack speed arguably the slowest in Brawl. As a result, he is highly reliant on reads and spacing to land even a single hit when his opponents are outside his jab range. Additionally, his recovery is linear, predictable, and highly susceptible to gimping, with semi-spikes being especially deadly. His recovery is also exacerbated by his very fast falling speed and low double jump. Finally, Ike lacks any projectile, which combines with his large size and subpar mobility to make it difficult for him to break through opposing camping, as well as being completely incapable of camping or forcing approaches from characters. Overall, this results in average matchups (with remarkably few counters for a mid-tier character, plus even matchups against three top/high tier characters, though his especially terrible matchup against Meta Knight is problematic), and Ike has achieved above-average tournament results.
Ike is a moderately heavy character with very slow but powerful attacks. Although Ike himself is also slow, his attacks will surprise opponents when hitting from maximum range. Most of his attacks possess high damage, great knockback, and outstanding range, giving Ike excellent KO potential at low damages. Ike is also one of the best characters to crouch-cancel a jab with, as the move can accrue upwards of 20% on opponents when crouch-canceling the original hit into another jab a few times. Ike works best when playing the range game, best maximized by using his forward and back aerials whenever retreating. His forward aerial has the distinction of having the most horizontal attack range of any normal aerial in the game. Using the attack to effectively approach depending on the situation, Ike can pursue follow ups such as more forward aerials, his far-reaching dash attack, or an attempt at outwitting the foe into his Quick Draw side special. However, all three of these moves have high ending lag and are quite punishable if they miss. At a distance, one can even use Quick Draw to punish floor recoveries and floor attacks because of the move's ability to be held indefinitely.
Should Ike have to deal with opponents close in, he can easily use his competent jab to either put the spacing back on or to transfer to a throw, with either the back or forward variants capable of putting the opponent in a vulnerable position should they be at the edge. Though more effective as a KO move, Ike's back aerial has very fast startup (especially when considering its power) and can catch opponents off-guard but has high ending lag, should the player be in a position to chase or attack in-close. If the close-in war is being waged at the edge, Ike can be an effective edge guarder, having his long-ranged forward aerial, his down tilt meteor smash, his Aether special, and his deadly down aerial meteor smash or back aerial as options to harass the opponent (as well as the aforementioned jab/throws). Ike is also one of the game's deadliest air-dodge/roll trappers, given his far-reaching forward smash and its tremendous power; it is a useful move so long as Ike is never predictable with it. Up-smash can be also be used in this fashion due to its similarly wide sweeping motion, and is preferable to Ike's down-smash for punishing excessive rolling and also giving him the ability to have a surprisingly long hyphen smash considering his dash speed.
However, Ike definitely has his drawbacks. His dash speed is fairly slow, and he is a somewhat tall target. His counter is quite slow, requiring some prediction to use effectively (it takes approximately six frames longer than Marth's counter compared to Marth's which takes only four frames for the counter frames to start). On the other hand, Ike's counter frames end six frames later than Marth's (both of their counters last for about 59 frames, 23 of them being counter frames), making him less vulnerable afterwards. His throws do low damage. Ike's recovery is also somewhat predictable, because he has a short double jump and only two main recovery moves (Quick Draw and Aether) which have limited trajectories and cannot both be used in the same recovery. Quick Draw needs to be charged to get far, and is easily blocked by anyone willing to get hit by it before Ike can reach the ledge, making him extremely vulnerable to low-angle attacks and edge guarding. Aether is very predictable but also difficult to guard against by any character with short ranged attack, due to the knockback resistance the move grants and the fact that Ike's sword reaches the ledge long before he does. Still, he is vulnerable to edgehogging as it does not grab the ledge until he is descending with the attack and most characters have at least one attack that can knock Ike out of Aether. It is also vulnerable to gimps from moves that push others away (e.g. Mario's F.L.U.D.D. or Squirtle's Water Gun). Also, Ike lacks a projectile, and is himself extremely vulnerable to projectile camping from characters such as Falco and Pikachu. His attacks can generally be avoided/dodged easily because of the massive starting lag on all of his attacks. Additionally, he is one of the easiest characters in the game to punish a missed move due to the extreme ending lag on his attacks and extreme unsafeness on his moves when shielded. Because he is a large heavyweight with fast falling speed, he is susceptible to chain grabs and walls of pain.
In the end, Ike must rely on careful prediction and spacing of the opponent to even land a single attack, much less win the match, but when effectively doing so, smart Ike players can end or mostly obliterate a stock within a matter of seconds. Still, Ike cannot handle many high-level match-ups, due to his lack of fast aerials and slow speed overall that forces over-reliance on the opponent's mistakes.
Tier placement and history
Ike initially placed 25th on the first tier list for Brawl, with most noting that his below-average speed with his high raw power made him a solid middle tier character. The changing metagame of Brawl, however, began to favor characters that had either superb camping prowess or the mobility to counter it, which were two things that Ike lacked. As a result, Ike began to consistently fall on the tier list; on the fourth list, Ike had fallen to 29th place, and it was widely assumed that he would eventually fall into the bottom tiers. At this point, Ike was frequently derided as a "noob character" in the competitive Brawl community who relied far too heavily on abusing opponents' errors to KO.
The sudden appearance of San, however, caused Ike's perceived viability to immediately reverse. At Apex 2010, a tournament that was known for hosting some of the best smashers at the time, San's 9th place finish with Ike in a pool of over 63 other smashers was an upset to the community, and his continued dominance at low tier tournaments also caused a revitalization of Ike's metagame. San pioneered the use of Ike's surprisingly flexible and powerful jab in his metagame, as well as demonstrating that Ike's aerial and spacing powers were more powerful than previously thought. As a result, Ike jumped four places to the 25th spot on the fifth tier list. He currently ranks at 23rd in the game, higher than any of his previous placings; while he is still unable to consistently win against more powerful characters, Ike is currently seen as a solid mid-tier character, as evidenced by a surprising fifth place finish by Ryo in WHOBO 4, as well as continued strong showings in mid-tier tournaments.
Role in The Subspace Emissary
Ike's first appearance is at the Battlefield Fortress, helping out fellow Fire Emblem hero, Marth, and his new partner, Meta Knight, by halting the Ancient Minister's escape with his trusted Aether move (though he says Great Aether), which also destroys the Subspace Bomb (making Ike the only character in the Subspace Emissary to successfully disarm a Subspace Bomb). He then teams up with the two swordsmen.
Ike's team is later seen in The Wilds, tracking a tank. The three then chase after it, only to find that it is the Subspace robot, Galleom. Galleom is defeated, but jumps off the cliff and into The Ruined Hall, where Lucas and the Pokémon Trainer defeat it once more. Upon its defeat, Galleom grabs the two and attempts suicide with its built in Subspace Bomb. Fortunately, Meta Knight rescues Lucas and Pokémon Trainer, and brings them back to Marth and Ike.
Ike is briefly seen at the Glacial Peak level when they see the battle between the Halberd and Great Fox, in which at that point, Meta Knight leaves the party. The Ice Climbers, who have fallen off the mountain, join Ike's group just in time for a large battle with the Subspace Army. Luckily, Mario and Link's team arrive to help out, after which they join up.
Ike's next appearance is at the Entrance to Subspace level, where he can be used. Ike is one of the many to be turned into a trophy by Tabuu's Off Waves. His trophy can be picked up at the first Subspace level. Once he has rejoined the team, he is available for use in The Great Maze, as well as in the Tabuu battle.
These stickers can only be used by Ike or by a select few including Ike.