Kirby (SSBM)

From SmashWiki, the Super Smash Bros. wiki
SSBM Icon.png
This article is about Kirby's appearance in Super Smash Bros. Melee. For the character in other contexts, see Kirby.
in Super Smash Bros. Melee
Kirby SSBM.jpg
Universe Kirby
Other Smash Bros. appearances in SSB
in Brawl
in SSB4
in Ultimate
Availability Starter
Tier G (26) (North America)
H (25) (Europe)
A puff ball that floats through the sky and boasts a variety of moves.
—Melee's instruction manual

Announced at E3 2001, Kirby (カービィ, Kirby) is a starter character in Super Smash Bros. Melee. Although tier-wise, he was the second-to-top character in Super Smash Bros. topped only by Pikachu, in Super Smash Bros. Melee, he has been severely nerfed.

Makiko Ōmoto once again voices Kirby in Melee, with some voice clips recycled from SSB, but more higher pitched, along with some new additional voice clips.

Currently, Kirby is ranked 26th in the G tier at the very bottom, an extreme drop from his 2nd position in Smash 64 and his worst placement in the series. While he has several throw options into Kirbycide, a good ground game, a solid defensive game thanks to his crouch and small size and a decent edgeguarding game, Kirby's approach and KO ability are among the worst in the game; slow attacks, a low air speed, an ineffective projectile in Final Cutter, and numerous other flaws both on the ground and in the air prevent Kirby from easily approaching enemies, and he struggles against almost all characters as a result of this. Kirby currently has terrible overall matchups, with seven matchups that are near unwinnable, and only two positive matchups (against Bowser and Roy), and even these can be disputed at length.


Kirby acts as a light, weak character that is intended to outmaneuver opponents. While having an average dashing speed, he has a terrible air speed (being tied with Ganondorf as the 3rd worst in Melee), so his small size is intended to act as his primary way to approach. Owing to his low falling speed and high short hop, Kirby has a poor SHFFL, while his high traction gives him a short wavedash.

Despite his poor air speed, Kirby has a great edgeguarding game. With no one to edgeguard him, Kirby can easily recover due to his multiple midair jumps, while Kirby's back air can be used as a rather powerful edgeguarding technique, the Fence of Pain. Assuming Kirby can knock opponents off the edge, he should theoretically have little trouble keeping them from recovering.

Owing to his small size, Kirby also has an above-average defensive game. His small hurtboxes can potentially allow him to avoid attacks, while his small size also lends itself to a large shield, making Kirby relatively safe from shield stabbing. A low crouch also makes his hurtboxes even smaller, and it can be compounded with his down tilt as a potential camping and spacing tactic, as crouching makes him able to avoid most jabs.

Kirby also has above average tilt attacks as well, as Kirby's three tilts, while short-ranged, have a variety of practical applications; his forward tilt and aforementioned down tilt can act as spacing tools, while his up tilt can potentially be used as a combo starter. Kirby also has an above average grab range, allowing him to potentially use his powerful and unusual throws to his advantage; a notable application of his up, back, and forward throws involves Kirbycide, a specific type of Sacrificial KO that forces both Kirby and his opponent to lose a stock. This technique is able to KO opponents at any percentage.

Despite these benefits, Kirby's most fatal flaw, which is often cited as the reason for his bottom tier placement, is his nearly nonexistent approach. With a poor SHFFL, short wavedash, terrible air speed, short range, a laggy, predictable dash attack, and no viable projectiles, Kirby has extreme difficulty in approaching almost all of the cast; this is especially prevalent against characters with disjointed hitboxes (such as Marth) or powerful pressure games (such as Falco). The lack of a projectile can uniquely be rectified if Kirby uses Inhale on an opponent; doing so, however, is risky, due to the attack's start-up and cool-down lag, and some characters will either fail to give him a useful projectile (such as Ness) or a projectile in the first place (such as Captain Falcon). Kirby's small size can also make some attacks inferior to the original character; Fireball from Mario, for instance, has the Fireballs disappear more quickly than Mario's, as Kirby's lower height causes them to reach the ground faster and to have less kinetic energy when they finally hit the ground.

Assuming he can approach opponents, however, Kirby's various attributes also give him a lack of combo ability; a low air speed prevents him from easily pursuing enemies in the air, and almost all of his aerials (except for back air) either have long startup and cooldown periods (down and neutral air), high knockback (up air), or poor hitbox placement (forward air). Kirby's only noteworthy combos are his up tilt juggles and his Fence of Pain as mentioned earlier, and even the latter combo is inferior to Jigglypuff's Wall of Pain due to Kirby's significantly slower air speed, making it risky to use. Kirby's wild card is his aforementioned Kirbycide technique, and even this is unreliable; his up throw requires proper placement at the edge of a stage, and Kirby always loses when performed in a last stock situation. While his forward and back throws are much easier to perform and Kirby always wins when performed in a last stock situation, they are the only throws in the entire Smash series that can be potentially broken out of. As a result, if the opponent can button mash out of the grab and throw quick enough, they will remain unharmed while Kirby loses a stock. To make things worse, after Kirby uses his forward or up throw, he will lose all his midair jumps.

Outside of his abysmal approach, Kirby also has trouble KOing other characters. A majority of Kirby's finishers suffer from poor range, slow start-up (such as his Hammer), weak knockback (such as his forward smash) or have small sweetspots that make them unreliable (such as his Hammer and up smash). Arguably Kirby's only effective finishers are his down smash and his up and back aerials, which themselves require a proper read and correct timing from the player in order for them to be a low-risk attack.

As a final disadvantage working against Kirby, he has major survivability issues, with his endurance being on par with Mr. Game & Watch and Pichu for the worst in Melee. Having among the lowest weights in the game alongside a low falling speed causes Kirby to be easily KOed from both the upper and horizontal blast lines (Fox is especially notorious in the former category). Outside of this, Kirby's recovery is also slow, linear, and predictable, despite granting decent distance as a result of his multiple midair jumps; once again, Kirby is negatively impacted by his poor air speed, and Final Cutter grants almost no horizontal distance, coupled with being very easy to edgeguard against.

Changes from Smash 64 to Melee[edit]

Kirby was known as one of the most dominant characters in Smash 64, in part to his amazing power, attack speed, range and priority on his attacks, as well as the majority of them dealing very high shield damage. In stark contrast to this, Kirby was overwhelmingly nerfed in his transition to Melee: Kirby's nerfs primarily damaged his excellent finishers and good approach, courtesy of the previously fast attack speed he previously had, which was also slowed down, to the point of having some of the slowest moves in the game. Also, as a result of his slower attack speed, his already limited combo potential was also downgraded, and it is further compounded by the changes of L-canceling combined with the worse auto-cancel windows on his aerials. His attacks, while still pretty damaging, also deal less damage, and even though this nerf is shared between most veterans, it arguably hurts Kirby the most due to his aforementioned limited combo potential, despite his fast attack speed in the previous game. Several of Kirby's attacks have been also changed to reflect the series of games, though the majority of them was for the worse, prime examples being his dash attack, which has slower startup and can now make him fall off ledges and platforms, and his new forward throw, which alongside his back throw, can now be escaped during its animation (these are the only standard throws not just in the game but also the entire series where this is possible). Lastly, Kirby also suffers from a significantly worse survivability, as due to the faster falling speeds than in Smash 64, his recovery is worse than in the previous game when coupled with his slower air speed and Final Cutter gaining less recovery distance, making him easier to gimp and KO than in the previous game.

Kirby has got some other small, various buffs, such as the fact that he has greater access to his Kirbycide as he can move around when swallowing his opponents and his new forward and back throws are more reliable tools to Kirbycide with (although this is nullified by the fact that those throws can now be escaped from). A few of his moves are also either slightly faster or stronger, such as his new up aerial, which is much stronger and faster.

However, the buffs fail to address his lack of reliable combos and KO moves or significant survivability issues from the previous game, which makes Kirby not only the most severely nerfed character from Smash 64 to Melee but quite possibly the most nerfed character in all of the series. As a result, he is arguably the worst character in the entire game and he is non-viable in competitive play with Kirby players rarely making it into top 64 in major tournaments, let alone top 32.


  • Change Kirby is slightly heavier (68 → 70), improving his endurance but making him easier to combo.
  • Nerf His already low air speed has been decreased even more (28 → 0.78), making his recovery much easier to gimp.
  • Nerf Kirby's walking (0.35 → 0.85) and dashing speeds (48 → 1.4) are significantly slower, hindering his ability to keep with opponents.
  • Change His falling speed was significantly decreased (48 → 1.6), which hinders his endurance, but making him harder to combo and thus improves his recovery.
  • Change Kirby's short hop is lower.

Ground attacks[edit]

  • Neutral attack:
    • Buff The first two hits of neutral attack now have IASA frames giving them less ending lag (FAF 18 → 16 (hit 1), FAF 20 → 17 (hit 2).
    • Nerf The second hit of neutral attack has a shorter duration (frames 3-5 → 3-4).
  • Forward tilt:
    • Buff Forward tilt now deals consistent damage (11% up/10% non-angled/9% down → 11%) improving the non angled and angled down versions' KO potential.
    • Nerf Forward tilt has more startup lag with a shorter duration (frames 4-9 → 5-8).
  • Up tilt:
    • Nerf Up tilt deals significantly less damage (14% clean/10% late → 8%/6%) without its knockback being fully compensated (30/20 (base), 100 (scaling) → 40/(118/114)). It also has a shorter duration (frames 4-11 → 4-7), more ending lag (FAF 18 → 24), much less range (though it is still slightly disjointed), is a less reliable juggling move, and can no longer be used for shield break combos due to its lower damage output combined with the general reduction to shieldstun/shield damage.
    • Buff However, the lower damage and knockback generally improves its combo potential, especially at high percents.
  • Down tilt:
    • Buff Down tilt deals 1% more damage (9% → 10%).
    • Nerf Down tilt has a shorter duration (frames 4-10 → 4-7) and greatly reduced knockback (0 (base), 110 (scaling) → 40/30).
  • Dash attack:
    • Nerf Kirby has a new dash attack: he lunges forward in a fiery spiraling headbutt. It deals less damage (10% clean/8% late → 8%/5%), is much more laggy having more startup (frame 5 → 9) and ending lag (FAF 41 → 60) and no longer deals extra shield damage. It also launches opponents vertically (361° → 105°) removing its edgeguarding potential.
    • Change Dash attack has altered knockback (10 (base), 100 (scaling) → 70/66 (clean), 50/66 (late)).
    • Buff Dash attack has much larger hitboxes and a longer duration (frames 5-18 → 9-43).
  • Forward smash:
    • Buff Forward smash's late hit deals more damage (12% → 13%).
    • Nerf Forward smash has more startup lag, a shorter duration (frames 10-23 → 13-21) and ending lag (FAF 40 → 50), no longer being the fastest in the game, and the clean hit deals less damage (17% → 15%) and significantly less knockback (20 (base), 120 (scaling) → 24/96), going from the strongest forward smash in Smash 64 to the sixth weakest in Melee. It also no longer deals extra shield damage and the late hit also deals less knockback (12 (base), 120 (scaling) → 18/96).
  • Up smash:
    • Buff Up smash has less startup lag with a longer duration (frames 14-23 → 13-23).
    • Nerf Up smash deals less damage overall and no longer deals consistent damage (16% clean/12% late → 15%/13% clean, 14%/12% mid, 13%/12% late). The late hit also has less knockback scaling (100 → 50).
    • Change Sweetspotted up smash has a slash effect.
    • Buff It also has more base knockback (20 (base), 120 (scaling) → 30/118), improving its KO potential despite the lower damage.
  • Down smash:
    • Nerf Clean down smash deals less damage (18% → 14%) although its knockback scaling was somewhat compensated (75 → 100). Despite this, the clean hit now has sourspots with reduced knockback (30 (base), 75 (scaling) → 20/80). Down smash also has a shorter duration (frames 7-26 → 7-22) and the sweetspot now launches opponents vertically (34°/35° → 76°) hindering its edgeguarding potential.
    • Buff Down smash is now interruptible, reducing its ending lag (FAF 56 → 50).

Aerial attacks[edit]

  • Nerf All aerials except up aerial auto-cancel later (frame 30 → 38 (neutral), frame 28 → 38 (forward), frame 25 → 28 (back), frame 32 → 48 (down)). When combined with Kirby's lower short hop, this prevents him from auto-canceling neutral, forward and down aerials out of a short hop which is especially poor considering the weakening of L-canceling.
  • Neutral aerial:
    • Change Kirby's previous up aerial from Smash 64 has been moved to his neutral aerial.
      • Nerf As a result, neutral aerial has more startup lag with a shorter duration (frames 3-30 → 10-34), has much less range in front of Kirby, deals less knockback (30 (base), 100 (scaling) → 10/80 (clean)) and damage, as well as losing its landing hitbox (15% clean/10% late/3% landing → 10% clean/8% mid/6% late).
      • Buff Neutral aerial has less landing lag when not L-canceled and has a larger hitbox with better coverage around Kirby, allowing it to hit opponents above him, behind him or below him.
  • Forward aerial:
    • Nerf Kirby has a new forward aerial: he kicks three times in front of him, instead of drilling in front of him. It has more startup lag (frame 8 → 10), deals less damage (20% → 5% hits 1-2/8% hit 3/≈16.83%), has less range, and its hits connect less reliably.
    • Buff Due to dealing fewer hits, his forward aerial is a much more reliable combo tool. Its last hit also deals more damage (6% → 8%) and knockback (10 (base), 100 (scaling) → 30/130), improving its edgeguarding potential.
  • Back aerial:
    • Buff Back aerial has less ending lag (FAF 40 → 36).
    • Nerf Back aerial has a different animation, removing the hitbox in front of Kirby. It also has a shorter duration (frames 6-25 → 6-20) and deals 2% less damage (16% clean/12% late → 14/10%), hindering its KO potential.
  • Up aerial:
    • Buff Due to the changes to neutral aerial, Kirby has a new up aerial: a bicycle kick. It deals much more damage (10% clean/8% mid/6% late → 15%) and no longer has sourspot or set knockback (10 (base), 100 (set), 100 (scaling) → 30/0/100), making it his best KO move (being the same strength as his previous neutral aerial although it is much slower and harder to land). It also has much more vertical range and has drastically less ending lag (FAF 80 → 36) and auto-cancels much earlier (frame 45 → 17), keeping its ability to autocancel in a short hop.
    • Nerf Up aerial has more startup lag with a much shorter duration (frames 10-79 → 11-13), has more landing lag, cannot hit opponents below him, and is unusable for spacing.
  • Down aerial:
    • Nerf Down aerial only hits 6 times instead of 10 making it deal much less damage (30% → 16%). Its landing hitbox deals 1% less damage (3% → 2%) and the hitbox now appears even when L-cancelled, making it more difficult to combo with. The move is also much laggier with much more startup (frame 4 → 18) and ending lag (FAF 50 → 55) which when combined with the introduction of meteor canceling, makes the meteor smash much less reliable for edgeguarding.

Grab and throws[edit]

  • Buff As with the returning veterans, Kirby has gained an up throw, down throw and a pummel.
  • Nerf Kirby's grabs have more startup lag (frame 6 → 7 (standing), 11 (dash)) and ending lag (FAF 16 → 31 (standing), 41 (dash)).
  • Nerf Kirby has a new forward throw: he suplexes the opponent forward. It is based on the Pile Driver from the Suplex ability. It deals much less damage (13% → 8%) and knockback.
  • Nerf Kirby's new forward throw and back throw can now be escaped before the animation ends, leaving him vulnerable and wide open to a punish. This can also result in Kirby Kirbyciding while his opponents remain completely safe.
  • Buff New forward throw is faster.
  • Change Back and his new forward throws can now Kirbycide although this change is almost completely nullified by the fact that Kirby's opponents can escape the throws.
  • Nerf Back throw deals much less damage (16% → 8%) and knockback (70 (base), 70 (scaling) → 80/50).
  • Change Kirby's previous forward throw from Smash 64 has been moved to his up throw.
    • Nerf It was significantly weakened both in damage (13% → 10%) and knockback (100 (base) → 70) hindering its KO potential despite it sending opponents at a higher angle (70° → 90°). Kirby also now loses all of his jumps after using up throw (his new forward throw also has this issue).

Other attacks[edit]

  • Buff All ledge attacks deal more damage (4% → 6%) although their set knockback was compensated (100 → 90).
  • Nerf Under 100% ledge attack has more startup lag with a shorter duration (frames 15-24 → 19-23).
  • Change Kirby has a new slow ledge attack: he does a split kick instead of a lunging headbutt. It has more horizontal range but less vertical range.
  • Buff Slow ledge attack has less startup lag and a longer duration (frames 60-67 → 43-59). It also has less ending lag (FAF 95 → 80).

Special moves[edit]

  • Swallow:
    • Change Vacuum has been renamed to Swallow.
    • Buff Kirby can now walk after inhaling an opponent. Swallowing an opponent to obtain its copy ability also deals slightly more damage (6% → 8%).
    • Nerf A spat opponent now deals damage based on its weight rather than consistent damage independent of the opponent (17% → 8-19%), making it less reliable in doubles or free-for-alls.
  • Hammer:
    • Change As with all returning veterans, Kirby has gained a side special move: Hammer. Kirby takes out a hammer and swings it. It has a powerful sweetspot and can be used in the air also to quickly rack up damage after a forward throw.
  • Final Cutter:
    • Buff Final Cutter can now grab edges while Kirby is facing away from the ledge. Additionally, the move consistently meteor smashes throughout its duration and Kirby can now reverse it.
    • Nerf Final Cutter travels less horizontal and vertical distance, hindering Kirby's recovery. Both the hitbox while dropping (200 (set) → 100) and the wave also deal much less knockback. Additionally, the former is less reliable due to meteor cancelling, while the latter no longer does extra shield damage.
  • Stone:
    • Nerf Stone has more startup lag (frame 23 → 30) and deals less damage (20% → 18%) and knockback (70 (base), 70 (scaling) → 65/55).
    • Change Stone can change Kirby into five objects, as opposed to one.

PAL differences[edit]

Like other characters, Kirby received some changes in the PAL version of Melee, which slightly buffed him overall, but are not enough to heavily affect his tournament results.

  • Buff Weight increased (70 → 74).
  • Buff Dashing speed increased (1.4 → 1.5).
  • Buff A clean dash attack deals 1% more damage (8% → 9%).
  • Nerf Dash attack has decreased knockback scaling (66 → 50), making it slightly weaker despite its higher damage.
  • Buff Forward aerial has 2 frames less of landing lag (1 frame less of L-cancelled landing lag).


For a gallery of Kirby's hitboxes, see here.

Kirby's aerial attacks
  Name Damage Description
Neutral attack Vulcan Jab 3% Kirby jabs forwards with both hands, followed by a short series of fast punches. Based on the Vulcan Jab move he can perform with the Fighter ability in his main games.
1% (loop)
Forward tilt   11% Kirby does a quick roundhouse kick forward. Decent range. Can be angled. Very quick and powerful and good for hitting an opponent offstage.
Up tilt   8% (clean), 6% (late) Kirby thrusts his back leg upwards. Most useful if the opponent is behind Kirby. Was thought to be useless at one point, but is now considered to be one of his better moves. Can juggle opponents and lead to combos.
Down tilt   10% Kirby kicks forwards while crouching. Fast with decent range. Very useful since Kirby can crouch under most attacks.
Dash attack Burn 8% (NTSC clean), 9% (PAL clean), 5% (late) Kirby dashes forward with a fiery spiraling headbutt. Based on the Burn move from the Fire ability in his games. Uniquely, it can fall off ledges and platforms. This attack has transcendent priority. This move has high ending lag and is punishable if missed.
Forward smash Smash Kick 15% (clean), 13% (late) Kirby slides forwards, delivering a very large jump kick. Has weak knockback for a forward smash. Can be angled up or down. Based on the Spin Kick from the Fighter ability.
Up smash   15%/13% (clean), 14%/12% (mid), 13%/12% (late) Kirby does a bicycle kick. Deals more damage and knockback if the opponent is closer to Kirby's foot and the sweetspot has great knockback.
Down smash   14% (clean), 10% (late) Kirby does a split kick, hitting on both of his sides. Has decent knockback. Both of Kirby's feet are intangible during the early part of the animation. Great move to use with crouch canceling.
Neutral aerial Twinkle Star 10% (clean), 8% (mid), 6% (late) Stretches out and spins rapidly in a somersaulting spin. Has a long lasting hitbox. The move is supposed to have four hitboxes with the clean hit dealing 12% however, it is overlapped by the 10% hitbox as the 10% hitbox spawns before the 12% hitbox.
Forward aerial   5% (hits 1-2), 8% (hit 3) (≈16.83% total), 3% (landing) Kirby kicks forwards three times. Last hit has medium knockback. If not L-cancelled, it also has a landing hitbox that can stack up with the three kicks if timed perfectly. Good move to use off the edge and a decent approach move.
Back aerial   14% (clean), 10% (late) Quickly crouches in midair then kicks both his legs behind him. Can be used in the fence of pain. Good knockback. Great kill move and one of his best moves in general.
Up aerial   15% Kirby flips in midair, kicking upwards. Great knockback, possibly Kirby's best KO move and the sixth strongest up aerial in Melee. Sends opponents sideways and can set up an edgeguard.
Down aerial   3% (hits 1-6), 2% (landing) (≈18.47% total) Kirby spins around, drilling downwards with both his feet. Has a somewhat long start-up, but acts as a weak meteor smash. It also has a landing hitbox that has horizontal knockback, and can stack up with the six hits. Good move to stop recoveries, it even stops Fox's Firefox.
Pummel   3% A quick jab to the opponent, but contains more ending lag than most pummels.
Forward throw   8% Kirby does a suplex, hitting the opponent on the ground. Can be used to Kirbycide. Escapable during the throw. Based on the Pile Driver from the Suplex ability in Kirby Super Star.
Back throw   8% Kirby flips backward, hitting the opponent on the ground. Can be used to Kirbycide. Escapable during the throw. Based on the Backdrop ability from Kirby's Adventure.
Up throw Air Drop 10% Kirby jumps high up into the air, and comes back down, ramming the opponent to the ground by doing a suplex. Can be used to Kirbycide on certain stages. During the fall, it can also pass through soft platforms. However, this move will remove all of Kirby's jumps. Based on the Air Drop from the Ninja ability in Kirby Super Star.
Down throw   7% Kirby throws the opponent on the ground, then stands on the opponent, hitting the enemy with his feet. Despite the animation, only the final hit does damage. Send enemies vertically afterward. Based on the Quick Stamping from the Suplex ability in Kirby Super Star.
Floor attack (front)   6% Gets up and does a spin kick.
Floor attack (back)   6% Gets up, quickly kicking on one side, then the other.
Edge attack (fast)   6% Kirby does a flip kick onto the stage.
Edge attack (slow)   6% Kirby does a spinning split kick onto the stage.
Neutral special Swallow 8% (copy), 10% (spit), 8-19% (star collision) Kirby sucks up his opponent. He can exhale them as a star to deal damage, or copy their neutral special move. The star Kirby spits out acts as a projectile and hurts nearby foes. Damage of the star depends on the character's weight.
Side special Hammer Ground: 23% (sweetspot), 16% (sourspot)
Air: 4% (loop early), 2% (loop late)
Kirby swings his hammer. The sweetspot is located on the head of the hammer, while the sourspot is on the handle. In the air, Kirby does a vertical spinning attack that hits multiple times.
Up special Final Cutter 8% (rise), 2% (drop), 6% (wave) Kirby uses his Final Cutter attack. Kirby rises with a hitbox, then plunges down to the ground until a platform is hit. This move cannot be cancelled. Upon impact with the ground, the beam fires forward as a projectile.
Down special Stone 18% Kirby uses his Stone ability to turn into a heavy object and plunges to the ground, sliding on non-flat surfaces. While in this form, only grabs will affect Kirby. The attack will time out after a short period of time, and it can also be cancelled with another use of the move.


  • Waves and says his signature elongated "Hi!". The taunt's animation differs slightly, depending on what direction Kirby is facing.

Idle pose[edit]

  • Hops a bit to look back, then hops again returning to normal position.
Kirby Idle Pose Melee.gif

Crowd cheer[edit]

English Japanese
Description Kir-by Kir-by! Kiiirrr-by!
Pitch Group chant Group chant

Victory poses[edit]

The "Level Complete" music that originated in Kirby's Dream Land.
  • Moonwalks left, spins to the center, crouch slides to the right, spins back to the center, then holds his hand up.
  • Skids right while looking up twice, bounces across the screen, shakes away from the camera, bounces to the center, then holds his hand up.
  • Jumps to the right, spins across the screen, crouches twice, jumps to the center, then holds his hand up.
Kirby-Victory1-SSBM.gif Kirby-Victory2-SSBM.gif Kirby-Victory3-SSBM.gif

In Competitive play[edit]


Super Smash Bros. Melee Character Matchups
  FoxHeadSSBM.png FalcoHeadSSBM.png MarthHeadSSBM.png SheikHeadSSBM.png JigglypuffHeadSSBM.png PeachHeadSSBM.png IceClimbersHeadSSBM.png CaptainFalconHeadSSBM.png PikachuHeadSSBM.png SamusHeadSSBM.png DrMarioHeadSSBM.png YoshiHeadSSBM.png LuigiHeadSSBM.png GanondorfHeadSSBM.png MarioHeadSSBM.png YoungLinkHeadSSBM.png DonkeyKongHeadSSBM.png LinkHeadSSBM.png MrGame&WatchHeadSSBM.png RoyHeadSSBM.png MewtwoHeadSSBM.png ZeldaHeadSSBM.png NessHeadSSBM.png PichuHeadSSBM.png BowserHeadSSBM.png KirbyHeadSSBM.png Avg.
KirbyHeadSSBM.png -3 -3 -3 -3 -2 -1 -2 -3 -2 -2 -3 -1 -2 -3 -2 -2 -2 ±0 -2 +1 -2 -1 -1 ±0 +1 Mirror match -2

Kirby has one of the worst matchups spreads in the game. According to the 2010 matchup chart, he has two positive matchups (against Bowser and Roy), has two even matchups (against Link and Pichu), but is soft countered by four characters, countered by ten (the 2nd most out of any character, behind Roy), and hard countered by seven (2nd most behind Pichu). Even in the early metagame of Melee, Kirby suffered from his terrible approach, lack of KO ability, slow overall speed, and severe vulnerability to KOs. Although he still has useful tilts, a strong defensive game and a good edgeguarding game, he struggles in the neutral game and has inconsistent combos, and thus can rarely put his opponent into positions where they are susceptible to edgeguarding. Top- and high-tiered characters such as Fox, Samus, Marth, and Jigglypuff give Kirby the most trouble. Fox can KO Kirby vertically at very early percents in a multitude of ways and Kirby doesn't have many options to react; Jigglypuff, Samus and Peach all have great recoveries, stronger aerials, can easily edgeguard him and cannot be comboed by Kirby at all due to their floatiness; Marth can exploit his very poor approach and vulnerability to edgeguards.

Of particular note is Kirby's matchup against Mewtwo, one of the few true counter matchups among the bottom tiers. Kirby's movement is too sluggish to challenge Mewtwo's rolls well, making the matchup difficult as long as Mewtwo keeps a certain distance away from Kirby and uses its zoning tools such as Shadow Ball appropriately. However, this weakness can be alleviated somewhat by fighting on smaller stages which allows Kirby to catch up.

Current metagame[edit]

Due to this matchup chart being outdated, some of Kirby's matchups have changed for the better. He does surprisingly well against characters who can struggle to hit his small frame or are vulnerable to edgeguarding, most notably Sheik, Captain Falcon, and Ganondorf. These characters still win the matchup, and have the tools to defeat him should the opponent know the Kirby matchup well, but Kirby has many ways to aggravate them. Unlike other low-tiered characters, Kirby cannot be chaingrabbed by Sheik, and can crouch under many of these characters' attacks and almost all grabs in Melee. He can also exploit their poor recoveries with his good edgeguarding game, and can notably gimp characters like Captain Falcon, Ganondorf and even Fox and Falco at low percents with his down aerial due to their short or slow recovery. This is particularly notable because many other bottom-tiered characters have seen no success at all against the top- and high-tiers in the modern metagame, indicating that Kirby may be better than the characters around him and stronger than once thought.

Notable players[edit]

See also: Category:Kirby professionals (SSBM)


There are currently no notable active Kirby players in high-level Melee.


Tier placement and history[edit]

Kirby has historically always ranked very low on Melee tier lists; compared to Pikachu, Kirby's nerf from Super Smash Bros. was much more significant, removing almost all of the aspects that made him dominant in the original Smash Bros. and leaving him with considerably fewer options in both offense and defense. Players immediately noticed that Kirby was left with poor KOing power, a poor approach, and a severe vulnerability to edgeguarding and premature falls due to his light weight, low air speed and predictable, telegraphed recovery. Owing to Kirby's significant drawbacks, there have been only a few professional smashers that have developed his metagame for serious play, with a large number of them failing to place notably in large tournaments. While more prolific Kirby mains were active in the past, such as t1mmy and Omnigamer, there exist few such professionals in present-day competitive Melee, causing Kirby's metagame to remain highly stagnant. Additionally, even prior to the stagnation of his metagame, Kirby was seen as a fighter who relied too heavily on gimmicks and the opponent's severe lack of matchup experience to win matches.

As a result of this stagnancy and Kirby's numerous flaws, Kirby has consistently ranked as one of Melee's worst fighters. He is currently ranked last at 26th place on the current tier list, making him the least viable character in the current Melee metagame. However, some professional smashers, such as Kira, believe that Kirby is underrated and that he is not the worst character in the game, as his tournament results and player base have been notably better than Bowser, Zelda, or Ness. Armada also does not feel that Kirby should be at the bottom of the tier list, placing him at 24th on his own, citing Kirby's crouch, tilts, and aerials as having mild utility and versatility.

In 1-P Mode[edit]

Classic Mode[edit]

In Classic Mode, Kirby can appear as an ordinary opponent, as an ally or opponent in the team battles, alongside Pikachu, Jigglypuff, Pichu, or the Ice Climbers, as a member of a multi-character battle, or as a metal opponent. In Kirby's appearances, he appears either on Fountain of Dreams or Green Greens, and on a team with the Ice Climbers, he appears on Icicle Mountain.

Adventure Mode[edit]

Kirby's sole appearance is on Stage 5: Green Greens. He first appears in a one-on-one fight then 15 Kirbys appear each possessing a Copy Ability. If the single Kirby and the Kirby team are KO'd in less than 31 seconds, the player must also fight a giant Kirby.

All-Star Mode[edit]

Kirby and his allies are fought on Green Greens.

Event Matches[edit]

Kirby is featured in the following event matches:

Ending Images[edit]


In addition to the normal trophy about Kirby as a character, there are two trophies about him as a fighter, unlocked by completing both Adventure and All-Star modes respectively with Kirby on any difficulty:

A denizen of the far-off, peaceful planet Pop Star, Kirby became a citizen of Dream Land after defeating King Dedede. Even though he's only about eight inches tall, Kirby is an extremely skilled technician. He has the ability to absorb the powers of his enemies, and his elastic body makes him a versatile adventurer.
  • Kirby's Dream Land 08/92
Kirby [Smash]
Kirby's small size lets him dodge many attacks, but his light weight makes him fly far when struck. Using his ability to inflate, he can jump five times. His Swallow attack creates wild combos; not only can he copy foes' moves, but he'll also put on special hats and mimic their voices. His Hammer is unwieldy but powerful.
  • B: Swallow
  • Smash B: Hammer
Kirby [Smash]
Because of his light weight, Kirby is always in danger of being sent flying, but his ability to puff up and fly allows him to come back from amazing distances. His Final Cutter strikes on the way up and on the way down, and it sends out a beam of force upon landing. Kirby transforms into various objects and crashes down when he uses his Stone technique.
  • Up & B: Final Cutter
  • Down & B: Stone

Kirby is also the subject of five trophies that can be considered its own trophy series: the Kirby Hat series, with information about the powers Kirby gains when he uses Swallow on each opponent. The first three are "normally collectible" trophies that can be found during normal play and in the Trophy Lottery, but the last two are awarded once the player has unlocked all the playable characters involved on those trophies.

Finally, the character Kirby himself is depicted on some other trophies not related to gameplay: Ball Kirby, Fighter Kirby and Fire Kirby.

Alternate costumes[edit]

Kirby Palette (SSBM).png
KirbyHeadSSBM.png KirbyHeadYellowSSBM.png KirbyHeadBlueSSBM.png KirbyHeadRedSSBM.png KirbyHeadGreenSSBM.png KirbyHeadWhiteSSBM.png



  • Kirby's special moves from Melee are used in the game Kirby & The Amazing Mirror, through the use of the ability called Smash. The moves he gets are Twinkle Star (neutral aerial from Melee, although in this game it has much more range), Hammer, Final Cutter, Stone, and Vulcan Jab. He does not, however, receive Burning, which is his dash attack. He gets the ability from Master Hand, who is a boss in the game.
  • Kirby has the shortest taunt, followed by Mr. Game & Watch.
  • Kirby is one of the only two characters in the entire Super Smash Bros. series that has had escapable throws, the other being Olimar.
  • As the first nine hits of Kirby's down throw are meteor smashes, KO'ing an opponent with the move will earn the Meteor Smash bonus, even though neither the last hit nor the throw itself are meteor smashes.
  • A glitch exists where Kirby can dash attack off an edge, land on a different platform, and immediately perform a dash grab. This requires the player to use the dash attack within one or two frames of leaving the edge and then hold down a shield button until Kirby lands. The glitch likely exists because the game allows a buffer between "attack" and "shield" inputs to count as a "grab" input while dashing, which is not properly reset when Kirby attacks off the edge.
    • There is another glitch where if Kirby swallows an opponent and falls off the stage, the opponent will be KO'd and Kirby will not lose a life. With proper timing, a good Kirby player can even recover from a successful KO of this manner. This glitch exists due to the foe's hitboxes reacting to the blast zone before Kirby's, thanks to his small size relative to the rest of the cast.
  • Similar to Donkey Kong, Ness, and Samus, Melee is the final game where Kirby is the sole representative of the Kirby universe.

External links[edit]