Kirby (SSBM)

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This article is about Kirby's appearance in Super Smash Bros. Melee. For the character in other contexts, see Kirby.
Kirby
in Super Smash Bros. Melee
Kirby SSBM.jpg
KirbySymbol.svg
Universe Kirby
Other Smash Bros. appearances in SSB
in Brawl
in SSB4
in Ultimate
Availability Starter
Tier G (26) (North America)
H (25) (Europe)
KirbyHeadSSBM.png
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.

Attributes[edit]

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.

Attributes[edit]

  • Nerf Kirby walks slower (0.35 → 0.85).
  • Nerf Kirby dashes slower (48 → 1.4).
  • Nerf Kirby's already low air speed has been decreased even more (28 → 0.78), hindering his recovery, edgeguarding and ability to escape aerial pressure.
  • Change Kirby is slightly heavier (68 → 70), improving his endurance but making him easier to combo.
  • Change Kirby's falling speed is higher (48 → 1.6).
  • Change Kirby's gravity is higher (2.4 → 0.08).
  • Nerf Kirby's fast falling speed is lower (76 → 2).
  • Change Kirby's traction is higher (1.4 → 0.08) going from the third lowest out of 12 characters to the 7th highest out of 26.
  • Change Kirby's short hop is lower.
  • Nerf Kirby's full hop is lower.
  • Nerf All of Kirby's mid-air jumps grant less height.
  • Nerf The changes to pivoting have considerably hindered Kirby's grounded approach particularly with his up tilt.

Ground attacks[edit]

  • Neutral attack:
    • Buff The first two hits of neutral attack have less ending lag (FAF 18 → 16 (hit 1), FAF 20 → 17 (hit 2).
    • Buff The second hit launches opponents vertically (361° → 70°) improving its ability to lead into the rapid jab.
    • Nerf The second hit of neutral attack has a shorter duration (frames 3-5 → 3-4).
    • Nerf The loop hits have more startup lag (frame 8 → 9).
    • Nerf The loop hits only hit five times instead of six.
      • Buff However, this decreases the move's ending lag if it is not held (FAF 45 → 38).
    • Buff There is a shorter gap between the first loop hit and the second loop hit (4 frames → 2).
    • Nerf The loop hit's ending animation is slightly longer (9 frames → 10).
  • 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:
    • Change Up tilt's clean hit's angle has been altered (96° → 92°).
    • Nerf Up tilt deals significantly less damage (14% (clean)/10% (late) → 8%/6%) without full compensation on its knockback (30/20 (base), 100 (scaling) → 40/(118/114)) hindering its KO potential.
      • Buff However, this improves its combo potential at higher percents.
    • Nerf Up tilt has a shorter duration (frames 4-5 (clean)/6-11 (late) → 4/5-7).
    • Nerf Up tilt has more ending lag (FAF 18 → 24).
    • Nerf Up tilt's infamously disjointed hitboxes have been made much smaller with the move now only being slightly disjointed.
    • Nerf The universal decrease to hitstun combined with the introduction of DI and its increased ending lag have significantly hindered up tilt's combo and juggling potential.
    • Nerf The move's lower damage and higher ending lag combined with the general reduction to shieldstun/shield damage have drastically hindered the move's shield pressuring potential with the move going from giving Kirby a rather significant frame advantage on shield to now being fairly punishable on shield.
  • Down tilt:
    • Buff Down tilt deals more damage (9% → 10%).
    • Buff Down tilt has increased base knockback (0 → 40) making it safer on hit at lower percents.
      • Nerf However, its knockback scaling is much lower (110 → 30) greatly hindering its KO potential.
    • Nerf Down tilt has a shorter duration (frames 4-10 → 4-7).
  • Dash attack:
    • Change Kirby has a new dash attack: he lunges forward in a fiery spiraling headbutt.
    • Change Dash attacks can now travel off ledges.
    • Nerf Dash attack deals less damage (10% (clean)/8% (late) → 8%/5%) and shield damage (1 → 0).
    • Nerf Dash attack has more startup lag (frame 5 → 9).
    • Nerf Dash attack has a longer total duration (FAF 41 → 60).
    • Nerf Dash attack launches opponents vertically (361° → 105°) hindering its KO potential and removing its edgeguarding potential.
    • Change Dash attack has altered knockback (10 (base), 100 (scaling) → 70/66 (clean), 50/66 (late)).
      • Buff This makes it safer on hit at lower percents.
      • Nerf However, this hinders its overall KO potential.
    • Buff Dash attack has much larger hitboxes.
    • Buff Dash attack has a longer duration (frames 5-8 (clean)/9-18 (late) → 9-15/16-43) which decreases its cooldown.
  • Forward smash:
    • Buff Forward smash's late hit deals more damage (12% → 13%).
    • Buff Forward smash can be angled now.
    • Nerf Forward smash has more startup lag with a shorter duration (frames 10-13 (clean)/14-23 (late) → 13-15/16-21) no longer being the fastest in the game.
    • Nerf Forward smash has more ending lag (FAF 40 → 50).
    • Nerf The clean hit deals less damage (17% → 15%) and significantly less knockback (20 (base), 120 (scaling) → 24/96), going from the strongest non-angled forward smash in Smash 64 to the sixth weakest in Melee.
    • Nerf The clean hit no longer deals extra shield damage (1 → 0).
      • Nerf When combined with its higher ending lag and the changes to shields, this significantly hinders the move's safety on shield going from giving Kirby frame advantage on shield to leaving him at a huge frame disadvantage on shield making the move easily punishable and naturally removing its use in shield break combos.
    • Nerf The late hit deals less knockback (12 (base), 120 (scaling) → 18/96).
    • Nerf The late hit now launches opponents vertically (361° → 75°) hindering its KO and edgeguarding potential while still not being a reliable combo starter.
  • Up smash:
    • Buff Up smash has less startup lag with a longer duration (frames 14-23 → 13-23).
      • Nerf However, the clean hit has a shorter duration (frames 14-17 → 13).
    • Nerf The clean hit deals less damage and has received a sourspot (16% → 15%/13%) without full compensation on its knockback (20 (base), 120 (scaling) → 30/(118/110)).
    • Nerf The clean hit sends opponents at a less favourable angle (90° → 75°) which along with its lower damage slightly hinders the sweetspot's KO potential despite its compensated knockback.
    • Change The clean hit now has a slash effect when the sweetspot connects.
    • Buff Up smash has received a mid hit which lasts two frames, deals more damage on its sweetspots (12% → 14%/12%) and has higher base knockback (10 → 20) compared to the previous late hit.
    • Change The mid hit launches opponents vertically unlike the previous late hit (361° → 88°).
    • Buff The late hit deals more damage on its sweetspots (12% → 13%/12%).
    • Nerf The late hit has much less knockback scaling (100 → 50) and sends opponents at a less favourable angle (361° → 50°).
  • Down smash:
    • Buff Down smash has less ending lag (FAF 56 → 50).
    • Nerf Down smash has a shorter duration (frames 7-10 (clean)/11-26 (late) → 7-9/10-22).
    • Nerf Clean down smash deals less damage (18% → 14%) although its sweetspot's knockback scaling was mostly compensated (75 → 100).
      • Buff However, the move's increased knockback scaling makes the late hit much stronger.
    • Nerf The clean hit's sweetspot now launches opponents vertically (34° → 76°) hindering its KO and edgeguarding potential.
    • Nerf The clean hit's sourspots' knockback was barely increased (30 (base), 75 (scaling) → 20/80) making it much weaker due to its lower damage.
      • Buff However, the sourspots launch opponents at a lower angle (35° → 28°) improving the late hit's edgeguarding potential.

Aerial attacks[edit]

  • Buff All aerials have less landing lag (16 frames → 15 (neutral), 30 frames → 20 (forward), 30 frames → 15 (back), 20 frames → 15 (up), 37 frames → 20 (down)).
  • Nerf All aerials except up aerial auto-cancel later (frame 31 → 38 (neutral), frame 29 → 38 (forward), frame 26 → 28 (back), frame 33 → 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 further exacerbated with the weakening of L-canceling.
  • Neutral aerial:
    • Change Kirby's previous up aerial from Smash 64 has been moved to his neutral aerial.
      • Nerf Because of this, neutral aerial's animation is significantly longer (49 frames → 79) increasing the amount of time Kirby cannot grab the ledge or use an airdodge/special after performing the move.
    • Nerf Neutral aerial has more startup lag with a shorter duration (frames 3-6 (clean)/7-30 (late) → 10-17/18-29/30-34).
      • Buff However, its total duration was unchanged giving it less ending lag.
    • Nerf Neutral aerial has much less horizontal range.
    • Nerf Neutral aerial deals less damage (15% (clean)/10% (late) → 10%/8%/6%) and knockback (30/10 (base), 100 (scaling) → 10/80) significantly hindering its KO potential going from one of the strongest neutral aerials to one of the weakest.
    • Buff Neutral aerial's hitbox has better coverage around Kirby, allowing it to hit opponents above him more reliably.
  • Forward aerial:
    • Change Kirby has a new forward aerial: he kicks three times in front of him, instead of drilling in front of him.
    • Nerf Forward aerial has more startup lag (frame 8 → 10).
    • Nerf Forward aerial has a shorter duration overall (frames 8-9/11-12/14-15/17-18/20-21/23-24/26-28 → 10-11/17-18/25-26).
      • Nerf As a result of this, forward aerial has more ending lag overall.
    • Nerf Forward aerial's new animation is longer (39 frames → 49) increasing the amount of time Kirby cannot grab the ledge or use an airdodge/special after performing the move.
    • Nerf Forward aerial deals less damage overall (2% (hits 1-7)/6% (hit 8)/20% (total) → 5% (hits 1-2)/8% (hit 3)/16.83% (total)).
    • Nerf Forward aerial has less range.
    • Nerf The knockback (0 (base), 100 (scaling) → 30/70) and angles (361° → 60°) for the first two hits have been altered which along with their higher damage, the wider gap between them/the final hit and the introduction of DI; makes forward aerial connect less reliably.
      • Nerf Altogether, these changes combined with the weakening of L-canceling have hindered forward aerial's combo potential.
    • Buff The last hit deals more damage (6% → 8%) and knockback (10 (base), 120 (scaling) → 30/130), improving its KO potential.
      • Nerf However, this also hinders its combo potential.
  • Back aerial:
    • Buff Back aerial has a shorter total duration (FAF 40 → 36).
    • Nerf Back aerial has a shorter duration (frames 6-9 (clean)/10-25 → 6-8/9-20) slightly increasing its ending lag.
    • Nerf Back aerial deals less damage (16% (clean)/12% (late) → 14/10%), hindering its KO potential.
    • Nerf Back aerial has a new animation which is longer than the previous animation (39 frames → 43).
    • Nerf Back aerial's hitboxes are smaller which makes the move cover less of Kirby's body (especially the late hit).
  • Up aerial:
    • Change Kirby has a new up aerial: a bicycle kick.
    • Buff Up aerial deals much more damage (10% (clean)/8% (mid)/6% (late) → 15%) and no longer has set knockback (10 (base), 100 (set), 100 (scaling) → 30/0/100), making it his best KO move (being as powerful as his previous neutral aerial).
      • Nerf However, this hinders the edgeguarding potential at lower percents.
    • Buff Up aerial has more vertical range.
    • Buff Up aerial has drastically lower ending lag (FAF 80 → 36).
    • Buff Up aerial auto-cancels much earlier (frame 46 → 17).
      • Nerf However, it can no longer auto-cancel while its hitboxes are still out.
    • Nerf Up aerial has more startup lag with a much shorter duration (frames 10-79 → 11-13) with its hitboxes no longer lasting the entire animation once they have been activated.
    • Nerf Up aerial has a smaller hitbox which along with its shorter duration, makes it much harder to land unless Kirby's opponent is above him.
    • Nerf Up aerial can no longer hit opponents below Kirby.
      • Nerf As a result of these changes, up aerial is significantly less safe.
  • Down aerial:
    • Nerf Down aerial only hits 6 times instead of 10 which in turn:
      • Nerf Makes it deal much less damage (30% → 16%).
      • Nerf Shortens its duration (frames 4-5/7-8/10-11/13-14/16-17/19-20/22-23/25-26/28-29/31-32 → 18-19/21-22/24-25/27-28/30-31/33-34).
    • Nerf The landing hit deals less damage (3% → 2%).
      • Nerf Due to the changes to L-canceling, the landing hitbox will now appear when the move is L-canceled (as well as naturally having higher landing lag) making it more difficult to combo with.
    • Change The landing hit has reduced set knockback (80 → 60).
    • Nerf Down aerial has much more startup lag (frame 4 → 18) as well as increased ending lag (FAF 50 → 55).
    • Nerf Down aerial's angle has been slightly altered (-90° → 270°) which when combined with the introduction of meteor canceling, makes the move much less reliable for edgeguarding.
    • Nerf The changes to shields combined with the weakening of L-canceling has significantly hindered down aerial's shield pressuring potential no longer being able to led into shield break combos.

Throws/other attacks[edit]

  • Grabs:
  • Buff As with all returning veterans, Kirby has gained an up throw, down throw and a pummel.
  • Nerf As with all returning veterans without a tether grab, Kirby's grabs have more startup lag (frame 6 → 7 (standing), 11 (dash)) and ending lag (FAF 16 → 31 (standing), 41 (dash)).
  • Nerf Kirby's new forward throw and back throw can now be escaped at any time before the animation ends, leaving Kirby vulnerable and wide open to a punish. This can also result in Kirby Sacrificing himself while his opponents easily survive.
    • Nerf As a result, this makes Kirby's forward and back throws completely useless; being easy contenders for the worst throws in the entire series.
  • Forward throw:
    • Change Kirby has a new forward throw: he suplexes the opponent forward. It is based on the Pile Driver from the Suplex ability. It is faster than his previous forward throw and can set up into a Kirbycide more reliably but it is also weaker.
    • Nerf Kirby now loses all of his jumps after using forward throw.
  • Back throw:
    • Change Back throw has been altered: Kirby now jumps up and moves slightly backwards.
      • Nerf Because of this, it can now be used as a Kirbycide although since the throw can be escaped, this hurts the throw overall.
    • Change Kirby releases his opponent from back throw later (frame 24 → 29).
      • Buff This gives the throw less ending lag if it connects.
      • Nerf However, this gives the opponent more time to DI or (more importantly) escape the throw.
    • Nerf Back throw deals much less damage (16% → 8%) and knockback (70 (base), 70 (scaling) → 80/50).
  • Up throw:
    • Change Kirby's previous forward throw is now his up throw.
      • Nerf In the process, it deals damage (13% → 10%) and base knockback (100 → 70) considerably hindering its KO potential despite it sending opponents at a higher angle (70° → 90°).
    • Change Kirby releases his opponent from up throw earlier (frame 58 → 51).
    • Nerf Up throw deals less damage to bystanders (7% → 6%).
    • Nerf Kirby now loses all of his jumps after using up throw.
    • Nerf Kirby's up throw can no longer land on platforms above him unless they are close enough to the ground (such as the lower platforms on Fountain of Dreams or Yoshi's Story).
  • Edge attacks:
    • Buff Edge attacks deal more damage (4% → 6%).
    • Nerf Edge attacks have less set knockback (100 → 90).
    • Buff Under 100% edge attack has slightly reduced ending lag (FAF 57 → 56).
    • Nerf Under 100% edge attack has more startup lag with a shorter duration (frames 15-24 → 19-23).
    • Change Kirby has a new slow edge attack: he does a split kick instead of a lunging headbutt. It has more horizontal range but less vertical range.
    • Buff Slow edge attack has less startup lag with a longer duration (frames 60-67 → 43-59).
    • Buff Slow edge attack has less ending lag (FAF 95 → 80).

Special moves[edit]

  • Swallow:
    • Change Vacuum has been renamed to Swallow.
    • Buff Inhale has less startup lag (frame 20 → 17).
    • Buff Kirby can now walk and jump after inhaling an opponent.
    • Buff Swallowing an opponent to obtain their copy ability deals more damage (6% → 8%).
    • Change After the opponent breaks out of Inhale, Kirby and his opponent will now go into a grab release state rather than both characters going into a tumble state.
    • Nerf A spat opponent now deals damage typically based on their 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 although the grounded version is slow while the aerial version can be escaped very easily.
  • Final Cutter:
    • Buff Kirby can now reverse Final Cutter.
    • Buff The rising hit has a longer duration (frame 23 → 23-24).
    • Change The rising hit has slightly lower set knockback (121/105 → 117/102).
    • Nerf Final Cutter travels less horizontal and vertical distance, hindering its recovery potential.
    • Nerf The falling hit's first hitbox has more startup lag with a shorter duration (frames 46-49 → 47-49).
    • Nerf The falling hitbox has significantly reduced set knockback (200 → 100) along with a slightly altered angle (-85° → 275°).
      • Nerf When combined with the introduction of meteor canceling, this significantly hinders its edgeguarding potential.
    • Nerf The wave deals much less knockback (70 (base), 50 (scaling) → 60/30).
    • Nerf The wave no longer does extra shield damage (1 → 0).
  • Stone:
    • Change As well as a Stone, Kirby can also change into a block, a spiky ball, a 100 ton weight or a thwomp when using Stone.
    • Change Stone's angle has been altered (50° → 70°).
    • Nerf Stone has more startup lag in the air (frame 23 → 29).
    • Nerf Stone has more ending lag when cancelled (FAF 30 → 32).
    • Nerf Stone can no longer be cancelled immediately when used on the ground.
      • Nerf This also means that Kirby can no longer laglessly use Stone at an edge or when respawning.
    • Nerf Stone deals less damage (20% → 18%) and knockback (70 (base), 70 (scaling) → 65/55).

PAL differences[edit]

Like other characters, Kirby received some changes in the PAL version of Melee, which slightly buffed him overall as he is faster, heavier and he overall has slightly more range and KO power. These changes however fail to properly address Kirby's flaws so while Kirby is less of a contender for the worst character in the game, he still remains one of the weakest characters overall.

  • Buff Kirby's weight has been increased (70 → 74).
  • Buff Kirby dashes faster (1.4 → 1.5).
  • Buff Forward tilt has increased base knockback (8 → 10).
  • Buff Up tilt's late hit's foot hitbox has been re-positioned (x offset: 4.8 → 5.6) giving it more range.
  • Buff 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 smash's hitboxes have been re-positioned (x offset: 1.2/3.2 → 2/4 (clean), 2/3.6 (late)) giving it more range.
    • Buff The clean hit has higher base knockback (24 → 32).
    • Buff The late hit deals more damage (13% → 14%) and base knockback (18 → 26).
    • Buff The late hit's angle has been altered (75° → 361°) granting it edgeguarding potential.
  • Buff Down smash's semi-spike hitboxes have increased base knockback (20 → 22).
  • Buff Forward and down aerials have less landing lag (20/10 frames → 18/9).
  • Buff Forward aerial's foot hitboxes have been re-positioned (z offset: 10.8 → 12) giving it more range.
  • Buff Back aerial's foot hitboxes have been re-positioned (z offset: -8.176 → -9.2) giving it more range.

Moveset[edit]

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.
4%
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.
Grab  
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.

Taunt[edit]

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

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
Cheer
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]

Matchups[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, which is very useful defensively against the cast when combined with his small size. He can also exploit the top tier characters's poor recoveries with his good edgeguarding game, as he 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)

Active[edit]

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

Inactive[edit]

Tier placement and history[edit]

Kirby has historically always ranked very low on Melee tier lists; compared to Pikachu, Kirby's nerfs 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, at the very bottom of the tier list. 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 playerbase have been notably better than other characters around him, which include Bowser, Zelda, and Ness. Armada also disagrees 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]

Trophies[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:

Kirby
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

Gallery[edit]

Trivia[edit]

  • 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]