King K. Rool (SSBU)
King K. Rool (キングクルール, King K. Rool) is a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. He was announced as a newcomer during the August 8th, 2018 Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Direct. King K. Rool is classified as fighter #67.
Instead of using the voice of Toshihide Tsuchiya, who has voiced the character since 2007's Donkey Kong Barrel Blast, King K. Rool bellows like a real crocodile, similar to how Bowser, Donkey Kong, and Diddy Kong emit realistic animal sounds.
How to unlock
Complete one of the following:
With the exception of the third method, King K. Rool must then be defeated on Jungle Japes.
King K. Rool is a character that ostensibly fits the mold of a super-heavyweight, being the second-heaviest character in the game to Bowser and possessing a large array of powerful attacks, along with below-average mobility. However, he has some characteristics that notably set him apart from his heavyweight peers; he has a wide variety of moves that serve multiple utilities, a great recovery, and other valuable techiques that aid his playstyle, focusing on punishing mistakes and zoning against horizontal approach.
King K. Rool's greatest strength is the immense utility of his moveset. Though many of his attacks are typical of super-heavyweights, he also has attacks that lack brute strength in exchange for unique attributes that contribute to his punish-focused playstyle. This is best shown through his character-specific perk, Belly Super Armor: attacks with this property gain short periods of this super armor, which can block incoming attacks during their duration. This mechanic gives him an advantage that allows him to win more exchanges than he would normally, as it can grant him an immediate opening during an otherwise vulnerable state (such as while being juggled). Additionally, it affects a large amount of his moves, granting more safety on his forward tilt, up smash, down smash, dash attack, neutral aerial, up aerial, and down aerial. As a result, Belly Super Armor heavily helps his approach and defense.
Alongside the utility of his Belly Super Armor, King K. Rool has effective tools for ground offense. His neutral attack has good range and speed, making it reliable as a quick spacing option. This is especially useful out of a foxtrot, as it is incredibly quick and is in fact faster than his normal dash speed (effectively replacing his dash in most circumstances). His tilts are very effective: his forward tilt has good range and kill power, and uses belly armor. This makes it one of the best pivot cancel options in the game. Up tilt comes out very quickly, has decent knockback especially at the beginning, and has enough range to hit platforms above K. Rool. This can also be used to anti-air or prevent approaches from characters such as Lucina and Marth. It is also the most reliable move out of down throw, becoming a true combo from around 90% and killing at around 130% on most characters. Down tilt can bury opponents or KO airborne ones, making it a potent punishment option. It also works at the ledge as a 2-frame and can send the opponent into a Blunderbuss Kannonball.
All of his smash attacks are incredibly powerful, and coupled with their unique traits and the belly armor on his up and down smashes, allow for very effective punishment. Forward smash deals heavy knockback on the glove sweetspot, especially if angled upwards. It also confirms out of down tilt at 70%, usually killing the opponent. Up smash functions as a quick anti-air, has a small spike hitbox and a third hitbox that punishes ground foes. However, only the first is really useful as the other two are extremely weak and slow. It also uses belly armor; while this grants it safety, it also means that if his belly armor breaks, K. Rool will be sent catapulting off-stage due to how it raises him off the ground. Down smash deals massive shield damage and lifts K. Rool's entire body off the stage, allowing it to dodge most ground-hugging moves and makes it his best hard punish option. Overall, his smash attacks are all formidable for hard punishes.
His aerials are also fairly unique in their utility. Neutral aerial grants the longest duration of belly armor in K. Rool's moveset, making it a reliable combo-breaker or landing tool to prevent juggling. Neutral and forward aerials also act as sex kicks, making them effective for edgeguarding in a variety of situations. Up aerial has good start-up and decent kill power while also working as niche platform movement out of short hop. This is most effective when platforms are low, such as on Battlefield; it can also be used as a situational third jump while recovering, stalling K. Rool in the air while allowing it to potentially cancel out projectiles thrown at him. Down aerial and back aerial are meteor smashes, with the former coming out relatively fast, while the latter is very slow, but is also one of the strongest meteor smashes in the game. His up and down aerials utilize belly armor, but their utility is situational due to their hitboxes being separated from K. Rool's belly. King K. Rool's neutral, forward and back aerials are also safe on shield, which is unusual for a super-heavyweight character.
His special moves have a wide array of uses as well, with several efficient projectiles; the Blunderbuss is useful for edgeguarding purposes (such as forcing a situation where the opponent has to recover low, allowing for a down aerial) and throws out a Kannonball that can be sucked back in and aimed in a few directions. The Blunderbuss can also act as a command grab, sucking in opponents and shooting them out in different directions, with the forward shoot in particular sporting very high knockback. The suction of the Blunderbuss is an effective ledge trapping tool, especially on stages with platforms. Since K. Rool can drop through platforms while still being able to move slightly, he can limit the opponent's options to get out of the ledge. The vacuum animation can also be delayed and is very quick to come out if a Kannonball is in play, allowing K. Rool to easily mix up the timings. Crownerang covers a large distance and grants him heavy armor in the early frames of the move, and the late hit can set up combos into numerous moves. The pick-up animation also has some ways to be cancelled, such as with other attacks, or a jumpsquat to use the crown again for significant coverage of a stage (although the latter can be difficult). It can also cause K. Rool to slide a bit if he dash dances into it, which is referred to as Crown Sliding by the playerbase.
Furthermore, King K. Rool has immense survivability: between his extremely high weight, above-average falling speed, and armor on numerous moves, King K. Rool has some of, if not the best longevity in the game, as it is not uncommon for him to live past 200%. Additionally, his recovery move, Propellerpack, goes a remarkable distance for a heavyweight and is infamously hard to intercept vertically due to its respectable hitbox. This can be used to poke opponents on the ledge, then jump up with a forward or up aerial to regain advantage. It can also situationally be used to catch opponents near the ceiling to steal a stock, most notably on high recovery routes.
K. Rool has a very strong grab game: his grabs have very long range and all have 3 active frames, and his throws are also very strong and versatile. His up throw has him performing a jump and land over the highest platform over him, although unlike other similar up throws he doesn't go over the top blast line; it is the second most damaging throw in the entire game, and while it has unimpressive KO potential, especially without the aid of an high platform, it can put opponents in hitstun for a long time, and can also lead into up tilt if the opponent doesn't jump. His back throw has reasonably solid KO potential near the ledge or otherwise puts the opponent into a position primed for a Crownerang. This throw can also work with a crown thrown backwards, hitting the opponent during the animation. At higher percents, his notorious down throw can lead into semi-guaranteed tilts, aerials, or possibly even smash attacks if the opponent doesn't mash out fast enough, with it being borderline guaranteed with an up tilt at 125%+ on middleweight characters. While his forward throw is his least impressive throw as a whole, it does decent damage, can help put an opponent offstage and in a disadvantageous position, and lead into a dash attack or his forward tilt through pivot cancelling at very low percents. The latter option here can also be used as a tech chase. All of this is made even more effective with the Roll Cancelled Boost Grab; combined with his effective initial dash, this can allow for a string of grabs that strongly deters shielding.
King K. Rool has access to a large amount of advanced techniques. He has a total of 7, all centered on his Crownerang and Blunderbuss. These techniques assist with movement, mixups, and even enable combos. As a result, he is a rather technical fighter that can be rewarding to a player looking for a character with a learning curve. They are all somewhat practical and reward creative use, allowing players to build interesting playstyles of their own. This makes him easily accessed at a low level, while still being usable on a higher level of play. As long as the player is aware of the options that the design of these techs provide, King K. Rool will reward them for it.
However, King K. Rool's numerous advantages are also met with their downsides, and he has several glaring and exploitable weaknesses. His below-average speed spells trouble for him in certain matchups, and can make him easier to zone than others, despite his projectiles. Blunderbuss is laggy and its Kannonball is slow and very easy to avoid, while Crownerang is also slow and can backfire very hard when missed, since the crown is a fairly powerful item that opponents can use to rack up damage very quickly. Gut Check is generally inferior to other counters due to having a hitbox only on his stomach, while having significantly higher endlag than most reflectors (around 30 frames if it fails), making it unreliable for countering projectile camping. This endlag makes it almost meaningless against some projectiles, such as Falco's lasers.
His massive weight and very large hurtbox size makes him extremely vulnerable to combos, and while his Belly Super Armor can help alleviate this, it is not foolproof: if K. Rool takes approximately 28% of total damage to his armor over a short period of time, he will suffer a pseudo-shield break and be rendered immobile until his belly armor recovers. It also recovers at just .3% per second, making abuse quite difficult. Its limited HP punishes abuse of this mechanic if used frequently, and competent opponents can actually take advantage of it by forcing K. Rool to use up his armor so he runs out during more desperate times; certain opponents such as Bowser and Joker with Arsene active, which have very high damage outputs, can even break the belly of a careless K. Rool in a single hit. However, its effectiveness varies depending on whether clashing against his attacks are worthwhile. Additionally, due to their brief duration, his belly armor attacks are more reliable on quick, single-hit moves than long, multi-hitting attacks.
While K. Rool's ground game is decent and his grab and throw game is very good, his overall aerial game is quite poor in comparison. Despite having interesting attributes, including two meteor smashes, a lot of his aerials suffer from high ending lag, making many of them somewhat situational (especially up aerial). His down aerial is weaker than the comparable moves of other super-heavyweights despite its high ending lag and his up aerial has extreme ending lag, the highest of all aerials in the game, preventing King K. Rool from acting even after a jump. His neutral aerial, which is his only aerial that comes out fast without having high ending lag, has poor range. While his back aerial is very strong and has a lingering hitbox, it has very high start-up lag. Its sourspot is also relatively weak, failing to KO until very high percents. None of King K. Rool's aerials autocancels in a short hop and his back air requires a full hop double jump to autocancel, while up air does not autocancels at all. The high ending lag of his aerials makes fastfalling them offstage extremely risky, as it is possible to self-destruct before even getting a chance to recover, which makes edgeguarding with K. Rool sometimes committal and predictable. Due to the high overall lag of his aerials, K. Rool is unable to juggle effectively and his aerial game is mostly constrained to a reactive playstyle. K. Rool's low air speed and overall poor aerial mobility further hampers his aerial capacity, giving him a poor aerial game.
King K. Rool's recovery, while effective in theory, is very exploitable by many characters. Propellerpack is very linear, and a knowledgeable player can edgeguard him for long periods of time. It is immensely slow, and moving around with it reduces the vertical speed and leaves strong momentum, which can lead to a self-destruct if not accounted for. The hitbox doesn't cover him horizontally, and as he cannot cancel the animation, he has to commit to it. He is usually forced to recover low, which is extremely dangerous due to how many characters have meteor smashing aerials. Moves from characters such as Piranha Plant and Villager have projectiles (Ptooie and forward smash respectively in this case) that can also counteract the vertical hitbox. It also leaves him very vulnerable to a stage spike, as running off and simply using a back aerial is enough to stop him from coming back. The move can be angled to try and prevent this, but any player who knows the matchup will have a very easy time stopping him from coming back. K. Rool also has very few ledge options; his only unique one is forward aerial, which to requires frame-perfect precision to ledgesnap. Other than this, his ledge options are very limited—even Crownerang is too laggy to be used from the ledge reliably—and thus characters like Ness, Simon, and Richter can keep him there for a long time before finally killing him.
Though a lot of his moves have decent start-up, especially for a super-heavyweight, an equal amount of them suffer from very high endlag, which means that King K. Rool gets easily punished if he fails to connect his attacks. While his belly armor gives him a lot of safety, it also makes certain moves less safe, especially against characters with very strong moves that can break his belly armor in just a few hits, such as Ganondorf or Little Mac. This means that if his belly armor is used too much, it effectively removes his moves from the game for a while. Finally, despite the wide array of tools he has at his disposal, K. Rool lacks many moves that can simply be thrown out quickly, as many of his attacks are punishable or force him to use up his belly armor. This ironically makes his approach ineffective despite the sheer amount of different, fast attacks he has; few of his attacks can maintain pressure without being exploited, or otherwise reset to neutral. However, his foxtrot can alleviate this slightly. King K. Rool is also vulnerable to being pressured and rushed down due to a poor out of shield game; his up smash is nearly unusable out of shield due to the plank hitboxes being weak and slow to come out, while his neutral aerial is relatively slow out of shield and has poor range, especially behind him. As a result, K. Rool is particularly vulnerable to characters that can crossup his shield easily, since he effectively has no option to punish this kind of approach and has to resort to retreating more often than not.
Due to these aforementioned flaws, King K. Rool struggles with maintaining an advantage; it usually leaves him in an awkward situation where he is forced to return to neutral. His speed makes it difficult to follow up while the opponent is landing, and he is unable to effectively juggle, requiring him to keep the opponent in front of him. The player is often forced to utilize his bait-and-switch playstyle, restricting creativity and thus making said player more predictable. King K. Rool's advantage position, due to these flaws, will often end as quickly as it comes. Due to this, his playstyle requires a lot of situational awareness to remain unpredictable by using grab mixups or tech chases as the opponent lands or tries to defend.
Crownerang is both King K. Rool's best and worst move. If an opponent picks up the crown after it has been thrown, it leaves him without one of his best tools. The crown can actually be used to edgeguard against Propellerpack, or it can be thrown up to keep it from respawning. It is also very possible for opponents to combo with the crown, or pick it up again after throwing it, with very little counterplay available. The player must adopt an entirely different playstyle while the crown is on the field, or else risk losing a stock. This is worsened by the fact that Gut Check, even at maximum throw range, doesn't allow K. Rool to pick up the crown—he is completely defenseless against an opponent who has it. As the pick-up animation takes 17 frames to complete, this also means that it can interrupt crucial combos, leading to the opponent getting away and resetting to neutral. While this is alleviated slightly through the Crownless Bounce tech, it is still difficult to come back from this.
All in all, King K. Rool’s weaknesses outweigh his strengths. King K. Rool is an extremely resilient, neutral-based character that excels at keeping opponents out while punishing mistakes extremely hard. He enjoys playing a unique bait-and-switch playstyle, being a zoner that can switch to aggression when there's an opening, alter his pressure on an opponent to force a reaction from them, and net a substantial punish before returning to neutral. This ability to force reactions from his foe makes him unlike any other character in the cast, and creativity rewards the player with a decently versatile character. However, just like how he capitalizes heavily on mistakes and confusion, his own openings can be heavily punished as well, requiring him to play patiently.
Despite his numerous strengths, King K. Rool's competitive reception is generally negative. Early on considered to be a potential high/top tier character and "broken" especially by casual players, King K. Rool's severe, heavily exploitable downsides have resulted in most top professionals ranking him as a low-tier character, with many of them even going as far as ranking him as one of the worst characters in the game. This reflects in his tournament results, as they are practically non-existent in North America and Japan, especially on national levels. However, thanks to dedicated players like Ben Gold and Muk, their results in Australia and Europe respectively are significantly better. Ben Gold in particular managed to win Battle Arena Melbourne 11, the biggest SSBU major so far in Australia. In addition, patches have given K. Rool a good variety of helpful buffs. Although his competitive reception still remains negative, his true viability remains to be seen.
King K. Rool has received a mix of buffs and nerfs during patches, but has been noticeably buffed overall.
Update 2.0.0's changes were a mixed bag: Blunderbuss's vacuum duration was reduced from 5 seconds to 2.5 seconds, his Propellerpack's hitbox was slightly reduced horizontally, and his down throw's bury time scaling was changed, being less effective at low percents but more effective at high percents. While the former two are direct nerfs, they do not significantly impact his playstyle. In addition, King K. Rool arguably benefits from the changes to his down throw, as they make certain kill confirms reliable (up smash) or even guaranteed (up tilt or dash attack at 130%).
Update 3.0.0 directly buffed King K. Rool, with his forward aerial's sweetspot being much easier to land, while his forward tilt gained new sweetspot hitboxes on his gauntlets, which allow it to hit buried opponents it previously wouldn't (such as Diddy Kong). Gut Check and up aerial, previously notorious for their endlag, had their ending lag reduced, which makes them slightly safer, albeit still risky. Like most projectiles, Crownerang had its shield damage reduced in update 3.0.0; however, this doesn't affect the move much as it already had low shield damage and was often used in order to facilitate dash grab approaches. Additionally, the nerfs to the projectiles of other characters, coupled with a slightly safer Gut Check, have somewhat improved his matchup against characters that are more dependent on projectiles, such as Samus.
After remaining unchanged for some time, update 6.0.0 gave King K. Rool more significant buffs. Neutral aerial's landing lag was noticeably decreased, forward aerial's clean hit was made stronger and easier to land, and his up aerial received a much longer hitbox duration with a stronger clean hit. Two of his specials were improved as well, with Blunderbuss having less startup, dealing more knockback with Kannonballs, and shooting vacuumed Kannonballs faster, and Gut Check having more range and less ending lag upon a successful counterattack. These changes greatly improve King K. Rool's neutral game and punishes compared to previous updates, though how they will affect his viability remains unknown.
For a gallery of King K. Rool's hitboxes, see here.
Note: All numbers are listed as base damage, without the 1v1 multiplier.
K. Rool's idle pose resembles his idle from Donkey Kong Country.
In competitive play
Upon Ultimate's release, many players noted King K. Rool's numerous strengths that were never seen before on a super-heavyweight character, namely two projectiles, his unique Belly Super Armor mechanic, down throw that in theory leads to very early kill confirms, rather good startup on many moves, and a very long-ranged recovery. This, in addition to his other strengths more typical to his weight class, caused the majority of top professionals to consider King K. Rool a potential high or even top tier character, while also getting a notorious reputation of being "broken" among less experienced players.
However, it quickly became apparent that King K. Rool wasn't nearly as good as players thought, as he also has some of the nastiest downsides in the entire game to counter his strengths. This includes a gigantic hurtbox, little options to break out of disadvantage, and high endlag on his moves to offset their "unchallengeable" startup and exploitable mechanics on many of his strengths, namely his extremely slow and predictable recovery; linear, laggy projectiles; his Belly Super Armor being surprisingly breakable and not scaling with the 1v1 multiplier; and his down throw being easy to mash out until higher percents, rendering seemingly "broken" kill confirms not true until higher percents. While he can use mash deterrents and reads to "game" the system, these are inconsistent by nature and very unsafe if they fail. In addition, his two best players at that time, Ito and KOSSismoss, both went inactive from tournament play soon after release. Compounding this, King K. Rool got nerfed in patch 2.0.0. This made his already negative perception even worse than before. Because of all of this, almost every top professional saw him as one of the worst characters in the game.
King K. Rool later received small but helpful buffs in patch 3.0.0, although they weren't significant enough to address his significant flaws, and his competitive reputation remained poor. Nevertheless, it improved his representation. While still typically ranked very low, players such as Ben Gold. KirbyKid, and Muk began to earn results that would question his reputation as a low/bottom tier character. This is evident when Ben Gold managed to win a B-tier tournament at Battle Arena Melbourne 11 with solo King K. Rool. Finally, his more impactful buffs in 6.0.0 have also further shifted his opinions to a more positive side, as it alleviated some of his weaknesses. How much better he is, however, remains to be seen. While players like Opana are now taking interest in him, his two best players, Ben Gold and Muk, either co-main him with another character to alleviate King K. Rool's numerous downsides or have relegated him to a secondary respectively.
Classic Mode: Super Heavyweight Class
All of King K. Rool's opponents are the heaviest characters in the game, with most of them being antagonists. The boss of this route is Galleom, likely a reference to his hulking proportions and his postures being similar to the archnemesis of King K. Rool, Donkey Kong. Additionally, "Galleom" is spelled similarly to "Galleon", a reference to the song most associated with King K. Rool, Gang-Plank Galleon.
Note: When fighting Charizard, the Pokémon Trainer is absent.
Role in World of Light
King K. Rool was among the fighters that were summoned to fight against the army of Master Hands.
During the opening cutscene, King K. Rool was present on the cliffside when Galeem unleashed his beams of light. He was vaporized offscreen and placed under Galeem's imprisonment along with the other fighters, excluding Kirby.
King K. Rool was one of the many fighters that fell under Dharkon's control upon Galeem's first defeat. He can be found on a ship in the Mysterious Dimension sub-area, guarded by the spirit of fellow pirate, Risky Boots. To reach his location, the player must defeat the spirit of Trevor C. Belmont, the right answer to a quiz question of which Spirit assisted Alucard in defeating Dracula.
King K. Rool's Fighter Spirit can be obtained by completing Classic Mode. It is also available periodically for purchase in the shop for 500 coins. Unlocking King K. Rool 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. Each Fighter Spirit has an alternate version that replaces them with their artwork in Ultimate.
Additionally, he makes an appearance as a few Primary Spirits under his alter egos from the Donkey Kong Country series.
In Spirit battles
As the main opponent
As a minion
Character showcase video