King Dedede (SSBB)
King Dedede (デデデ, Dedede), also known as Dedede, DDD, and D3, is a playable character and a newcomer in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. He was confirmed on October 25, 2007 on the Smash Bros. DOJO!! site. King Dedede is voiced by Kirby creator, former HAL employee, and director of the Super Smash Bros. series, Masahiro Sakurai, who also voiced him in Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards.
King Dedede is ranked 12th on the tier list on the top of the mid-high tier, nevertheless his best placement in his series. King Dedede's most notorious attribute is his amazing grab and throw game; Dedede possesses the longest reaching non-tether grab that is also among the fastest grabs, and he possesses one of the best sets of throws. His down throw is a notorious chain throw that can infinite nearly two thirds of the cast against a wall (and can infinite a select few characters without a wall) due to its set knockback, and is an effective tech chase move on those it can't chain throw. King Dedede is also notoriously difficult to KO; his great weight, the fastest falling speed, and the second-best vertical momentum cancelling abilities give him by far the greatest vertical endurance. Yet, he also excels horizontally due to possessing fearsome edge-guarding capabilities, great horizontal endurance, and one of the least gimpable recoveries in the game (which consists of four midair jumps and his main recovery move, Super Dedede Jump, providing armor during the ascent, a meteor smash hitbox during the descent, and good horizontal and vertical distance). Additionally, King Dedede boasts tremendous reach and power throughout his moveset (with his forward tilt being a long-ranged spacing tool, and his up tilt being a quick anti-air attack), a strong aerial game (with his back aerial being considered one of the overall best attacks in Brawl), and a versatile projectile in his Waddle Dee Toss.
However, King Dedede is one of the largest, slowest-moving characters with terrible mobility, being on par with Ganondorf for the worst in Brawl. Dedede possesses the third-slowest dash speed and the slowest air speed, giving him general difficulty keeping up with fast and/or small characters, and he also relies much more on reading them. While Dedede's camping abilities are decent, he has significant trouble breaking through opposing camping due to being such a large and slow character. Waddle Dee Toss is also too laggy (startup and ending-wise) to help him outcamp strong projectile campers like Falco. Additionally, Dedede's weight and falling speed make him quite vulnerable to chain throws and combos (though his only moderate falling acceleration saves him from being affected as severely as other fast fallers are). This overall results in strong, yet polarizing matchups (Dedede counters a large portion of the cast, while he is also countered by several top/high-tier characters), along with excellent tournament results (especially in Meta Knight-banned tournaments).
King Dedede has the usual attributes of heavyweight characters: high KOing power, slow mobility/attacks, high range, fast falling speed (the fastest in the game), and large size. His tilts and smash attacks, which are largely disjointed hitboxes, combine with one of the more versatile projectiles in the game, Waddle Dees, for devastating effect. Dedede's recovery combines four midair jumps with an up special move that gains great vertical distance, has armor, and delivers a powerful meteor smash upon its descent when not canceled. Even though his recovery is predictable due to the Super Dedede Jump's slow speed and inability to grab the ledge at all unless canceled, his overall recovery is much harder to gimp compared to other heavyweights' recovery. He is easy to hit offstage but he can still almost always make it back. Although he is the fastest faller in the game, his falling acceleration is not very fast so it is more beneficial than harmful. As such, this makes King Dedede less vulnerable to chain throws and allows him to pull off two back aerials in a single short hop. King Dedede is also the fourth heaviest character, with the fastest falling speed, giving him the best vertical endurance in the game (noticeably longer than the second most resistant vertical KO character, Snake). He is also great at momentum canceling; Link is the only character in the game that has a more notable benefit from vertical momentum canceling (though Dedede's vertical endurance is still notably better). Even though his basic horizontal momentum canceling is rather poor, the Super Dedede Jump can be used as a difficult but effective horizontal momentum canceling technique (but because of King Dedede's very slow air speed and the fact that he can't use his jumps or aerials after, jumping is generally a safer momentum canceling in most cases). Due to the large amount of horizontal momentum it negates, it gives Dedede the fourth best maximum horizontal endurance in the game. This, combined with his far and very hard to gimp recovery, can make him a dangerously tough match-up for many characters that lack reliable KO moves with high knockback scaling.
Dedede is good at keeping pressure on the opponent, despite his very slow movement in the air and on the ground (third slowest dash speed and worst air speed). Dedede has reach, power, favorable hitboxes, and attack speed mixed throughout his entire arsenal — with arguably his best attack, the back aerial, possessing all four attributes. Despite being a super heavyweight and having good KO moves, KOing can be difficult at times due to his KO moves either having slow start-up/ending lag, being forced to have the opponent in the air, being predictable, and/or having low horizontal reach. This can be one of his biggest problems, as almost every attack Dedede uses has some sort of lag. However, his up tilt, arguably his best finisher, has great vertical reach with a very large and long lasting hitbox, with great vertical knockback (it is the third strongest up tilt in the game and KOs at percentages similar to that of Snake's). While it is a great KO move in some situations, on platform-less stages such as Final Destination, it can have difficulty KOing without setting up as its hitbox doesn't extend that far from Dedede's body.
Despite this, he excels at edge-guarding and gimping. He is a versatile edgeguarder, with many edgeguard options. He can edgeguard with a back or forward aerial wall of pain, both of which are powerful aerials that reliably KO under 150%. He can gimp recoveries with thrown Waddle Dees, his forward tilt, and his down tilt. His forward smash is especially deadly on recovering opponents, often KOing any recovering opponent above 25%. Even his dash attack can be used for edgeguarding due to its hitbox having far horizontal reach and having long duration. A crafty Dedede can even fool an opponent into a KO at 40% by using his forward smash, although this is risky as his forward smash (the strongest uncharged smash in the game) is extremely laggy despite its reach (which includes a shockwave slightly in front of the hammer). From a distance, Dedede can prod his opponent with his quick forward tilt, the furthest reaching standard attack in the game, or he can use his Waddle Dee Toss to toss living projectiles at the opponent, which are capable of attacking of their own accord and absorbing projectiles to defend Dedede. Waddle Dee Toss can not be properly reflected (excluding Gordos). The danger of the odd Gordo is also an excellent pressure, as they are extremely strong KO projectiles. Dedede can also perform Dededecide, or Regicide, easiest when King Dedede is offstage for punishing characters close to the edge or edge guarders, though these are not very useful used onstage because it gives the opponent a long time to escape from Inhale even when they are at high damage. Although Dedede can keep pressure on opponents well, he himself is very susceptible to projectiles (although Waddle Dees can block projectiles), air camping by characters like Wario, (though with his huge defense it can be hard to approach and get the lead), and meteor smashes (though he can recover from them easily if not KOd by them given his great vertical recovery) due to being a slow, large target. That means he can be tough to get close for damage without high damage risks because of his amazing grab game, but because of his very slow mobility and lack of a good enough projectile to be used to force or stop approaches it forces the opponent to camp very hard against him. As a result of the opponent being forced to camp, King Dedede matches tend to take a long time against many characters.
Where Dedede really shines is in his ability to transition defense into a powerful offense. With versatile throws and among the best chain throws in the game, many characters can be easily punished while approaching Dedede. His down throw can chain throw many characters regardless of damage percent due to having set knockback, and he is capable of infinitely chain throwing Donkey Kong, Bowser, Wolf, Samus, Mario, and Luigi (though in the last three cases, he has to pummel after 5 throws to refresh it so the stale-move negation doesn't remove the infinite, and because of his very slow pummel, it is possible to mash fast enough to escape from the pummel until about 120%). He can also chain throw anyone weighing 85 (Marth or heavier) infinitely against a wall. Dedede's forward throw ends chain throws that have reached the edge with significant damage, with the added bonus of putting opponents into a recovery situation, where Dedede can begin utilizing his amazing edgeguard game which is deadly against characters with a bad recovery like Link and to a lesser extent, characters with a slow recovery like Snake. His back throw is very strong, both in knockback and in damage (16%, the most damaging throw in the game), and can KO at higher percentages when performed from the edge. Dedede's grab game, which is augmented by the longest non-tether grabbing reach in the game and an easy shield grab, is also complimented by his excellent range all around. Dedede also has two very quick, powerful moves to get the opponent off him while in close, outside of grabbing: his horizontal-knockback down tilt and the aforementioned up tilt.
While a Dedede player must be wary of their weaknesses, in the end, they can use his excellent defensive game, survivability, range, power, pressure ability, and grab game to overcome them against most characters.
In competitive play
According to the current SmashBoards matchup chart, King Dedede's matchup spread has the ninth highest unweighted rank, and eleventh highest weighted total. King Dedede has overall very positive matchups. He is hard countered in two matchups, countered in three matchups, and soft countered in three matchups. He has five even matchups, and soft counters six characters, counters eight, hard counters eight, and has one close to unloseable matchup which is Bowser. King Dedede's matchups are very polarized, however, as he has seven disadvantageous matchups and three advantageous ones against top and high-tiered characters, and seven disadvantageous and four advantageous against characters higher-tiered than him. Conversely, King Dedede has only one disadvantageous matchup and five even matchups against characters lower-tiered than him, and he harshly counters lower tier characters moreso than other top/high tier characters do besides Meta Knight. King Dedede tends to have advantageous matchups against characters he can chain throw with his down throw, and tends to have disadvantageous matchups against characters who can overwhelm him with fast attack speed, such as Meta Knight and Fox, as well as characters that can outcamp him and force him to approach, such as Falco and Olimar. King Dedede hard counters several characters due to his down throw chain throw; King Dedede can perform a small-step and/or infinite chaingrab on Wolf, Donkey Kong, Bowser, Mario, Samus, and Luigi, that can deal very heavy damage. King Dedede can also perform a standing infinite ground-release-chaingrab on Ness. King Dedede goes even with mid tier characters such as Kirby and Mr. Game & Watch because they are too light for him to chain-grab. King Dedede is hard countered by the Ice Climbers due to lack of safe options to approach without getting grabbed.
Tier placement and history
In the early Brawl metagame, King Dedede was seen as among the best characters in the game, being ranked as high as 3rd on the first tier list. This was due to his strong down throw chain throw and back aerial, which were effective against many top-tier characters at the time, including Snake, Wario, and R.O.B., and gave him a strong presence at tournaments of the first years of Brawl's lifetime. Dedede was also known as one of the best counters to mid and low tiered characters, as his bair was highly effective agaist these characters, who lacked the variety of options compared to top tiers. However, the characters he did well against steadily lost their foothold on the Brawl metagame; Snake was no longer considered the second best character in the game, Wario fell to the high tiers, and R.O.B. plummeted to mid-tier viability. In addition, as character diversity declined, the mid and low tiers that Dedede countered became increasingly rare in the tournament scene. Meanwhile, faster characters who cannot be reliably chain thrown, such as Meta Knight, Olimar, and the Ice Climbers, have climbed to power and dominated tournaments. Dedede saw his own gradual fall on the tier list, first dropping into the high tiers, then falling to as low as 12th in the upper mid tier as of April 2013. His decline on the tier list, combined with the fact that his best players, such as Mew2King, Atomsk, CO18, and Coney, became inactive in the Brawl scene or stopped using him in favor of other characters, has resulted in a large decrease in tournament play and earnings.
Although King Dedede was eventually considered a non-viable character due to his severe matchup difficulties against Meta Knight and the Ice Climbers, the two most dominant characters in tournaments, he was still popular as a pocket character due to being relatively easy to play and having strong matchups against nearly every lower-tiered character, as well as several top-tiers; he notably has strong matchups versus Snake and Wario, and is the only character along with Meta Knight who has a winning matchup versus Marth. His most prominent player, Atomsk, usually played King Dedede only in favorable matchups or against lower-tiered characters, and used Meta Knight against most top tiers. Vex Kasrani, however, became known as a solo King Dedede main late in Brawl's competitive lifetime, and was able to defeat Vinnie, ADHD, and numerous top Meta Knight players in NY/NJ, despite the perceived matchup difficulties.
Role in The Subspace Emissary
It is revealed on the official website that King Dedede was unintentionally involved in helping the takeover of the battleship Halberd by the Subspace Army. During this time, Dedede learns of Tabuu's Off Waves and spends the rest of the story preparing for them.
He is first seen during the epilogue of The Battlefield Fortress. The first time King Dedede is shown, he uses his Waddle Dees to ambush Luigi and turn him into a trophy. Then, as Wario approaches on his Cargo carrying two trophies (the princess that was not saved from the arena and Ness), he tries to take the new Luigi trophy and is suddenly ambushed by a herd of Waddle Dees who throw Luigi into the cargo. King Dedede then steals the cargo with the trophies in tow. Later, Dedede rides past Mario, Link, Pit and Yoshi. King Dedede originally tries to steal Mario and Pit/Link and Yoshi as trophies, but Kirby rescues them and King Dedede rides off, trying to escape them. Seeing that King Dedede has apparently kidnapped their friends, the party gives chase to Dedede's castle. Once inside, King Dedede is seen treating the trophies with surprising kindness. He takes out two Dedede Brooches and places them on Luigi and Ness. He goes to put the last badge on the princess, but finds he does not have enough, and ends up using the brooch he made for himself on the princess, another of his moments of kindness. He then intends to make another brooch for himself. The badges' effects are not immediately seen, which may be confusing to some viewers (one might be led to believe that he may have done this simply to mark them as his property). As King Dedede looks proudly at his trophies, Bowser and his minions break open the ceiling. The falling debris knocks King Dedede out cold turning him into a trophy and buries him, Ness and Luigi under rubble. Shortly afterwards, Bowser steals the princess trophy and two R.O.B.s arm and detonate a Subspace Bomb outside of the castle, trapping King Dedede and his friends in Subspace.
Eventually, Luigi and Ness are revived thanks to the Dedede Brooches. Ness makes the connection that King Dedede was the one who created the brooches and therefore revived them, so he revives the King. King Dedede's role in The Subspace Emissary, appearing to be evil at first but turning out to have good intentions in the end, is very characteristic of his roles in the Kirby games. Glad to see that they are okay, and that they revived him, King Dedede sets out with his two companions to save everyone from Subspace. Eventually they encounter Bowser's trophy, and King Dedede revives Bowser, but the Koopa King attacks him. King Dedede fights him alone and wins the fight, then revives Bowser again, but when Bowser tries to attack again, King Dedede stops him by batting the Koopa's nose. He then points out a defeated Master Hand lying on the ground and the staircase leading upward, telling him that they should fight Tabuu instead of each other. King Dedede also finds his rival, Kirby (who incidentally had swallowed one of the badges earlier), but is actually very happy to see him alive (giving him a big hug when he sees him, then literally drags him off to Tabuu's residence). While King Dedede is walking up a staircase, Wario attacks him (probably payback for stealing his ride). However, Wario backs off when he realizes that two characters he turned into trophies, Luigi and Ness, can aid King Dedede, outnumbering Wario. Wario then stops messing with them physically, but messes with them by riding his bike up, showing off the fact that he can get up there faster. Wario casually joins the group after they show him where Tabuu is. King Dedede joins the rest of the characters for the rest of the story.
King Dedede makes several cameo appearances before finally becoming playable. He first appears during the epilogue of The Battlefield Fortress. He appears once again in The Lake Shore, and The Path to the Ruins where he is crushed by the falling rubble from Bowser crashing into the castle from its roof, and turned into a trophy.
The following stickers can only be used by a few characters including Dedede:
In Event Matches