King Dedede (SSBU)
King Dedede (デデデ, Dedede) is a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. He was confirmed as playable along with Rosalina & Luma and the rest of the veterans on June 12th, 2018. King Dedede is classified as Fighter #39.
How to unlock
Complete one of the following:
King Dedede is tied for the third heaviest character in the game alongside Donkey Kong, making him a super heavyweight. King Dedede shares some typical attributes with other heavyweights, such as a high damage output, high KO potential, great endurance, quick falling and fast falling speeds (both tied for second and third fastest respectively), overall sluggish mobility, large size and a high susceptibility to combos. In addition to having an average initial dash and the thirtieth highest gravity, he has the twenty-eighth slowest walking speed, eleventh slowest dashing speed, the worst air speed in the game, and the fourth slowest air acceleration. To counteract these flaws, however, King Dedede is gifted with four midair jumps.
As a super-heavyweight, King Dedede has immense endurance, both vertically and horizontally. His massive weight makes him difficult to launch, and his incredibly fast falling speed lets him return to the ground quickly. Despite having the worst air mobility, his four midair jumps and Super Dedede Jump, the latter of which travels a very long vertical distance and has super armor during its ascent and descent, gives him great recovery for a heavyweight. Super Dedede Jump also has a meteor smash hitbox during its descent, making it risky to intercept if he recovers high. His tech rolls are unusually long-distanced for a character of his size, making him difficult to tech-chase. Finally, King Dedede's trademark hammer grants him a long disjoint in many of his attacks, allowing him to safely space his opponents, especially if they are slow and have worse range than him.
True to a super heavyweight character, King Dedede is gifted with an abundance of finishers. King Dedede's dash attack is a notable example, as it deals huge damage, and reliably KOs under 100%, while being able to KO as low as below 60% near the ledge. King Dedede's smash attacks all possess great power, great disjointed range, and transcendent priority, while having their own perks: forward smash can reliably KO from 60% and below in most situations, has deceptively short ending lag for an attack of its power, while also being able to deal severe shield damage; up smash reliably KOs from anywhere on-stage around 100ish% without rage, while covering a large space all-around Dedede; lastly, down smash is his fastest smash attack in his arsenal and covers significant horizontal distance around both sides of Dedede, while easily KOing below 100% near the ledge and around 125% from center.
The rest of King Dedede's grounded moveset comes with merits: neutral attack can be useful for racking up damage, while the finisher's unique vertical knockback allows this move to KO at 150% under rage. King Dedede's forward tilt sports good range and startup lag, while its multiple hits are effective for dealing damage and starting combos, while also trapping rolling or floor-bound opponents; up tilt has quick startup lag and good range, allowing it to combo into itself while dealing good damage and leaving King Dedede's body and head intangible; lastly, down tilt deals good damage and has good range, being able to pursue opponents or retreat from them.
King Dedede's aerial game is also decent, thanks to his multiple midair jumps which allow him to stall and bait reactions from opponents. Neutral air is his fastest aerial due to coming out on frame 7, which can disrupt enemy combos, and its late hit can also set up combos for Dedede himself, such as up tilt or up air. Forward air has a lot of range in front of Dedede, which is good for spacing with its decent startup speed, and can wall of pain at lower percents. Back air is a potent kill option with a good range behind Dedede, which is also a good option for spacing and landing. Up air can beat out a lot of down aerials thanks to its long-range, and it also has strong KO potential. Down air, when sweetspotted, is a powerful meteor smash offstage, but its use in general is limited due to its slow startup and small awkward hitbox.
King Dedede's grab game has perks of its own. Although his grab has merely average range, this problem can be mitigated by dash grabbing. His pummel is good for racking up on damage, due to its quick speed, which is especially deadly at high percentages; forward throw has good edgeguarding potential, being able to follow up with Gordo Toss; back throw is Dedede's strongest throw, dealing the most damage and knockback while having limited degrees of damage racking and edgeguarding potential; up throw can also be used to launch opponents into previously thrown Gordos, and can follow up with an up aerial; lastly, down throw's low damage and knockback lend it great combo potential, easily stringing into itself, and initiating combos with Dedede's neutral, forward, and back aerials.
King Dedede's special moves have decent utility as well. Inhale acts as a strong command grab that can be B-Reversed for landing options against shielding opponents on the ground or on platforms above Dedede. The spit can force opponents into a recovery state by sending them offstage or even spit them under the stage, which is perhaps where Dedede is strongest. Inhale also doubles as a reflector, allowing him to contest against projectile campers. The Gordos from Gordo Throw act as powerful stage control options with KO potential in their own right at 140% and above and can set up deadly ledge traps. Lastly, Jet Hammer is an effective punishing tool with heavy armor that does very high damage and knockback, and with a max charge, it can break full shields.
In spite of these strengths, King Dedede still has noteworthy drawbacks. King Dedede's biggest problem is his approach, which is among the worst in the game. His mobility is sluggish, especially in the air, giving King Dedede immense difficulty catching up to or retreating from his opponents. King Dedede's below-average dashing speed also makes him over-reliant on fox-trotting to cover grounded distances, which itself is somewhat predictable.
Although King Dedede's fast falling speed allows him to easily return to the ground, his slow air speed, large hurtbox, heavy weight and lack of fast-enough escape options renders him vulnerable to combos and juggling. King Dedede's recovery is further hampered by his aforementioned slow air speed and fast falling speed, often forcing him to use his Super Dedede Jump to return onstage. Super Dedede Jump itself, in spite of traveling high, also causes King Dedede to descend very quickly; this, coupled with its limited horizontal maneuverability, renders Super Dedede Jump unreliable for recovering at certain distances offstage.
King Dedede's other specials can work against him as well. Inhale has high ending lag, allowing other characters to easily punish him after he finishes the move. Gordo Toss's Gordos can be reflected back at King Dedede from any attack that does 2% or higher, dealing immense damage to him and potentially resulting in a self-induced KO, requiring him to exercise caution or utilize Inhale on his reflected Gordos. Jet Hammer also takes a long time to charge, leaving King Dedede susceptible to attack, and its high ending lag leaves him vulnerable to punishment from his opponents.
Overall, King Dedede's high weight, endurance, range, and power allow him to punish his opponents with relative ease and survive for a very long time, but his poor overall mobility makes King Dedede's approach somewhat abysmal and renders his recovery somewhat predictable and overly reliant on Super Dedede Jump. Dedede players should be careful to not make a mistake, or else they might potentially risk getting heavily punished.
Changes from Super Smash Bros. 4
King Dedede was infamous for being one of the worst characters in SSB4, owing to a large number of considerable nerfs he received both at SSB4's launch and via game updates while not receiving a single buff in return, and his large amount of weaknesses, including notoriously poor frame data, his moveset's lack of power despite being a super heavyweight, and his special moveset's lack of utility outside of Gordo Throw. Possibly as a result of his poorly regarded status, King Dedede has been buffed overall in the transition from SSB4 to Ultimate.
Among King Dedede's biggest buffs are those to his ground game. Neutral attack's KO power was significantly improved, and it has undergone adjustments that make it harder for opponents to fall from the move as easily. Forward tilt connects much better overall, allowing it to deal its maximum damage more frequently, whereas up tilt has increased KO power (now having power comparable to its Brawl incarnation, especially with rage) and down tilt's angle was positively adjusted while its hitbox was fixed, which when combined with the changes to jostling allows it to connect much more frequently. Dash attack now deals significantly increased knockback and has had its hitbox fixed, now making it a usable (albeit still rather slow) punish option. His smash attacks are also more useful, with both forward and up smash dealing more damage and knockback, and his forward smash is now slightly faster.
King Dedede's aerial game has been improved overall as well. The universal reductions to landing lag improve King Dedede's limited combo and set-up ability, making his neutral aerial a more potent combo starter, and giving his up aerial's looping hits the capacity of starting drag-down followups. Particularly, his up aerial now deals significantly increased knockback, turning it once again into a reliable KOing option despite its angle rendering it more vulnerable to LSI. Forward aerial has also increased knockback, improving its ability to edgeguard. His grab game has been slightly buffed as well, thanks to his grabs lasting for one more frame and his standing and dash grabs reaching further, in spite of all his grabs receiving slightly increased startup and increased ending lag.
King Dedede's special moveset has also received several miscellaneous buffs, giving him options that either he previously lacked or were outclassed. Inhale has a much larger grabbox and has gained the ability to spit out inhaled projectiles with a one-time increase to their damage, effectively giving him a reflector, which helps alleviate his vulnerability to projectile camping. Gordo Throw's hitboxes are larger and more accurate and the move has less ending lag after a Gordo has been thrown. Additionally, Inhale's new ability to suck in projectiles to spit them out combines well with Gordo Throw, giving King Dedede another way to throw or re-launch Gordos at a faster speed, which gives the projectile much more utility. Lastly, Jet Hammer now deals more damage and knockback, has shield breaking potential, and it now has heavy armor before the move comes out that resists up to 14%, improving the move as a hard punish option.
Aside from direct changes, King Dedede also benefits from a few changes to universal gameplay mechanics. The universal increase to mobility has buffed his abysmal horizontal mobility (although it still remains among the worst across the series), while the streamlined jumpsquats and the new limitations to air dodge mechanics have increased the effectiveness of his aerial moveset, by giving him additional landing options when combined with the reduction on landing lag, and improving his edgeguarding ability, now making the latter more formidable. The changes to air dodging also don't affect him as much as other characters, thanks to him still boasting multiple jumps and a long-distanced recovery move.
However, King Dedede is not without a few nerfs. His back aerial, despite having a visually more accurate animation, has smaller hitboxes, slightly decreasing its range. His neutral attack and up tilt deal less damage, making the former a less reliable option for racking up excess damage. He has also received some nerfs in game updates, such as his forward smash not breaking shields at once. Despite this, most of his nerfs have all been minor in comparison to his more useful buffs.
Altogether, King Dedede's entire kit has been noticeably improved from SSB4, and while this doesn't change his core playstyle significantly (aside from Inhale becoming a reflector), it allows him to play to his strengths better thanks his moves gaining improved consistency and utility, allowing King Dedede to utilize his strengths better. However, it is important to note that, due to this, King Dedede still retains most of his core weaknesses from the previous game, such as slow movement speed, a lackluster disadvantage state, a vulnerability to some forms of camping, and a high susceptibility to rushdown and combos. Although King Dedede was initially considered among the best super heavyweights in the game, and remains a decent choice across all levels of play, his representation remains lackluster at top level, despite efforts from players such as ZAKI, Atomsk, and Peli achieving solid results in nationals and regionals. His vulnerabilities are also compounded by most top-tier and high-tier characters, such as Mario, Palutena, and Pikachu, among others. As a result, players have debated on whether King Dedede is as effective as originally imagined, with the current general consensus being that he is somewhere around mid-tier to low-tier, since his improvements from SSB4 haven't fully addressed his weaknesses. In the end, King Dedede's true viability remains questionable.
Throws and other attacks
Aside from glitch fixes, King Dedede has received a mix of buffs and nerfs via game updates, but has been buffed slightly overall. The most notable nerfs were to Gordo Throw: update 2.0.0 shrunk the Gordos' hitboxes, while update 3.0.0 both lowered their shield damage output and removed the Gordo-boosted Super Dedede Jump. Moreover, this same update further toned down King Dedede's ability to pressure shields by removing forward smash's ability to hit grounded characters twice, which removed its ability to instantly break shields.
Following these nerfs, update 7.0.0 would mark the first time King Dedede was buffed in Ultimate, as his shield was enlarged as part of a near-universal buff. Update 8.0.0 continued this trend by buffing some of King Dedede's moves, primarily in regard to KO potential. Up tilt's damage output was increased noticeably, and down tilt's launching angle was lowered. As a result, both moves now function as strong, yet reasonably fast KO options when they are sweetspotted, which King Dedede was sorely lacking up to that point. Forward aerial and especially up aerial gained higher knockback: in addition to improving their KO potentials, with down throw to up aerial now being a KO confirm, this also improved forward aerial's edge-guarding potential.
In addition to his improved offense, King Dedede's defense was improved slightly, thanks to Inhale's decreased start-up lag and enlarged grabboxes making it more reliable at catching projectiles and approaches. Most recently, update 11.0.0 further improved King Dedede's defense by buffing Gordo Throw in a few ways. It became safer thanks to its decreased ending lag and Dedede's faster reflection timing, while its edge-guarding potential was improved thanks to the Gordos' increased chance of sticking to edges.
Overall, King Dedede fares slightly better than he did at Ultimate's launch, yet not as much compared to other tepidly received characters that have also been buffed via updates. Although Dedede retains a lot of his fundamental flaws, his buffs have nevertheless improved his KO potential and, to a lesser degree, his defensive potential.
For a gallery of King Dedede's hitboxes, see here.
Note: All numbers are listed as base damage, without the 1v1 multiplier.
In competitive play
At the beginning of Ultimate's metagame, many players noticed how, despite retaining some of his weaknesses, King Dedede was overall buffed from Smash 4 thanks to improvements to Gordo Throw and stronger KO options, as well as retaining his resilient endurance and disjointed range. This perception would further improve thanks to players such as ZAKI and Atomsk, both of whom made notable impacts at major tournaments, with the former placing 2nd at Sumabato SP 2 and the latter placing 25th at Pound 2019. As a result, King Dedede became a more popular choice when compared to his Smash 4 incarnation, most notably in local and regional tournaments, and the general perception casted him as an upper mid-tier character, with potential to be high-tier.
However, as the metagame progressed, updates removing King Dedede's shield break combinations and shrinking the Gordos' hitboxes started to hurt his perception. Both ZAKI and Atomsk saw a decline in results while other players either dropped the character in favor of others (Big D) or relegated the character to a secondary (Peli). Due to the decline, King Dedede's representation has significantly dropped, with most players reconsidering him to be a low-tier character. In addition, King Dedede's poor disadvantage state, inconsistent KO potential, and laggy frame data have caused him to struggle against most top-tier and high-tier characters, including Palutena, Mega Man, and Fox. Although King Dedede is widely considered to be better than his previous incarnation, his true viability in Ultimate remains to be seen.
Most historically significant players
Classic Mode: Royal Rumble
King Dedede faces off against characters with royal titles such as kings and princesses.
Role in World of Light
King Dedede was among the fighters that were summoned to fight against the army of Master Hands.
During the opening cutscene, King Dedede was present on the cliffside when Galeem unleashed its beams of light. He was vaporized offscreen and placed under Galeem's imprisonment along with the other fighters, excluding Kirby.
Dedede can only be accessed in a sub-area themed after the Gourmet Race minigame from Kirby Super Star, where the player must collect exactly 11 pieces of food for him to appear on the podium.
King Dedede's fighter spirit can be obtained by completing Classic Mode. It is also available periodically for purchase in the shop for 300 Gold, but only after King Dedede has been unlocked. Unlocking King Dedede in World of Light allows the player to preview the first spirit below in the Spirit List under the name "???". As a fighter spirit, it cannot be used in Spirit Battles and is purely aesthetic. His fighter spirit has an alternate version that replaces it with his artwork in Ultimate.
Additionally, King Dedede makes an appearance as a primary spirit under his Masked Dedede alter ego.
In Spirit battles
Conditions in italic aren't listed on the Spirit Battle preview screen.
As the main opponent
As a minion
Fighter Showcase Video