Kirby (カービィ, Kirby) is a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. He was confirmed on June 12th, 2018. Kirby is classified as fighter #06.
Makiko Ōmoto once again reprises her role as his voice actor, using a combination of new voice clips and ones recycled from Super Smash Bros. 4, respectively.
Kirby is known for being a small lightweight, being tied for the eighth lightest character in the game. Despite this, Kirby's mobility is very poor in the air and only average on the ground, giving him a mediocre mobility overall: he has the twenty-first slowest walking speed, thirty-eighth fastest dashing speed, and a decently quick initial dash. He also has the fourth slowest air speed, fifteenth highest air acceleration, third lowest gravity, the fourth lowest falling and fast falling speeds, and above average traction. Due to these statistics, Kirby is a floaty character overall and has a hard time chasing opponents in the air. Although Kirby has 5 midair jumps, Kirby's recovery is average at best: despite his midair jumps and Final Cutter granting decent distance, his slow airspeed combined with his low jump height means that he is extremely vulnerable to offstage edgeguarding by those willing to challenge him offstage.
Kirby's greatest strength is his fast frame data and combo potential due to the versatility of his moveset. The majority of Kirby's moveset is characterized by speed, while his slower moves instead boast very high power as a trade-off, while also being quite fast for their power. Neutral attack and forward tilt are fast and have decent range, allowing Kirby to quickly fend off opponents. Up tilt's low knockback and fast speed allows it to combo into itself or an aerial attack. Down tilt's very low power is compensated by its very fast speed and it launching opponents at the Sakurai angle, which allow it to trip most opponents even over 80%. His smash attacks have good range, high power, and great speed, making them excellent at scoring a KO. Kirby is also very small, which combined with his very low crouch, he can avoid several grabs and many attacks, while his spotdodge and rolls are average in terms of frame data. As a result, Kirby has a good ground game and a very useful defensive game, also thanks to his crouch, while his good frame data makes him not easy to punish.
The usefulness of Kirby's ground game also extends to his good grab game. His grabs are shortranged but among the fastest, while his pummel's meager damage output is counterbalanced by its very fast speed. His forward throw, unlike most other forward throws in the game, has combo potential, and can lead into aerial combos. Back throw can be followed up by a back aerial at 0% on certain characters, tech-chase fast-fallers, and can KO at high percents. Up throw is his strongest throw and is able to KO almost all characters around 170%, or even earlier if it lands on a platform. Lastly, down throw is reliable for damage racking when no other throw can yield better results.
Kirby's air game is also serviceable, due to his aerials boasting versatility and less than 17 frames of landing lag. Neutral aerial has a long duration, decent knockback on the clean hit and its very low landing lag and good coverage grant Kirby protection and allows him to take full advantage of buffering and pressuring. Forward aerial is a powerful combo tool, chains fluidly and its first two hits can allow additional follow-ups due to its low landing lag. Up aerial has vertical knockback, low landing lag and has a good amount of autocanceling frames, allowing for many potential follow-ups. Back aerial has slightly disjointed range, a decently long duration, and is Kirby's fastest and strongest aerial, making it a very good all-purpose aerial attack. Lastly, down aerial has considerable startup, but drags opponents downward before meteor smashing them and has low ending lag, making it a deceptively powerful edgeguarding tool. In addition, it is an effective combo starter with guaranteed follow-ups on grounded opponents, even against floaty characters.
Kirby's special moveset is useful as well. Inhale allows him to either copy the neutral special move of any character he Inhales, or spit them out as a weight-dependent projectile Kirby can also spit some projectiles or eat them to heal himself. Since he can spit an inhaled projectile, this gives Kirby a reflector. It can also be used to Kirbycide or put the opponent offstage, although mashing out fast enough will free the opponent. The former, depending on what character he Inhales, can give Kirby a move that provides some assistance (Warlock Punch and Flare Blade), useful projectiles (Needle Storm) and (Charge Shot), a reflector(Nayru's Love) or other massive benefits (Monado Arts and Blaster). Kirby's version of the opponent's neutral special also has a 1.2x damage multiplier, encouraging him to rely on his Copy Ability. Hammer Flip is very powerful, especially when fully charged, and Kirby can move and jump while charging. However it has high startup and endlag, making it hard to land outside of punishing a shield break. Final Cutter is Kirby's recovery move, and a decent one at that, granting good vertical distance and decent horizontal distance, as well as protection during his ascent and descent. It also emits a shock wave upon landing, making it difficult to punish if not at point-blank range. Lastly, Stone causes Kirby to plummet straight down and ignore damage by any move that deals less than 25%. It is also very strong and can be canceled at any time, making it useful for playing mindgames.
However, Kirby has noticeable flaws, his most notable weakness being his poor endurance. Being light and floaty, Kirby cannot endure strong hits for long at high percents. He is also very vulnerable to juggling, due to his aforementioned slow falling and air speeds. Not helping this issue is the fact his only aerial with less than 10 frames of startup is his back aerial, which becomes active on frame 6. Not only does this make approaching opponents high up in the air risky, but also makes Kirby's aerials not very useful in a disadvantage state and is often forced to rely on his jumps to escape or return to the ledge, while also making him vulnerable to pressure.
Another big flaw is Kirby's poor approach. Characters who can projectile or mobility camp like Greninja, Samus, and ROB can zone out Kirby with little to no effort. Kirby's lack of burst options makes his approach in these matchups predictable. In addition, those with long disjointed hitboxes like Lucina, Chrom, and Mr. Game and Watch can outrange and wall out Kirby since he has generally mediocre range. Final Cutter's projectile is fast and has decent range, but is weak and Kirby lacks other projectiles outside of spitting some projectiles or opponents as a star or using a copy ability. Despite having a great air acceleration, Kirby's air speed is too slow for him to take advantage of it, although his mobility issues are not as bad as Luigi's. Kirby also has several KO moves, but most of them are hard to land without a setup due to his mediocre range. Rage further compounds these issues, as Kirby will be launched even earlier, while he will typically not endure long enough in order to take advantage of it.
Overall, Kirby tends to run hot and cold. He can inflict an impressive amount of damage if he gets close to his opponent thanks to his potent combo game, but doing so is difficult for him due to his poor approach. As such, Kirby does well with a bait-and-punish playstyle, although being unprepared for an opponent's approach can be hazardous due to his unimpressive survivability.
Changes from Super Smash Bros. 4
Near the end of SSB4's metagame, Kirby had been considered a low tier, and was thus ranked as the 6th worst character in SSB4's most recent tier list (50th out of 55). Most likely as a result of this, Kirby has been granted a mixture of buffs and nerfs, but has been noticeably buffed overall.
Kirby's buffs lie in the increased utility of his ground and aerial moveset. The first the first two hits of his jab can now jab lock, making them more useful for set-ups for downed characters, and the looping hits connect into the opponent much more reliably, albeit at the cost of reduced damage output. Forward tilt is a stronger neutral option, as its increased knockback gives it KO potential and its reduced ending lag makes it a harder move to punish overall. Dash attack has been completely reworked, reverting back to its Melee iteration - however, it is significantly stronger, dealing much more damage and knockback, has less startup compared to his previous dash attack in SSB4, can cross-up on shields, covers more distance, and is more reliable for catching opponents thanks to only consisting of one, long-lasting hit. These changes make it a stronger punish tool and a much more viable move overall than his previous dash attack. His smash attacks serve as stronger punish options, with forward smash having an increase in range, up smash having reduced start-up, and down smash regaining its semispike angle that makes it better for edgeguarding, similarly to one of its hitboxes in Brawl, and all three of have higher power, except for down smash, which has reduced knockback to compensate its lower angle, although it still KOs earlier close to the ledge. Landing lag buffs aid him as well, making his aerials not only safer, but now capable of leading into followups, with forward air's first hit now being able to follow up into forward smash, while his neutral aerial has more knockback and much less ending lag, making it safer and more reliable for pressuring, edgeguarding and KOing. Many of Kirby's attacks also have more range, partially reducing one of his weaknesses from SSB4. Inhale has reduced ending lag, more range, Kirby has a doubled time period during which he can't lose his Copy Ability, he can now spit projectiles as a star and his neutral special receives a 1.2× multiplier compared to his opponent, giving him a greater incentive to Inhale opponents, while also giving him a reflector. Lastly, Stone has super armor during its start-up, making it harder to interrupt Kirby out of the attack, as in previous Smash games, he could be interrupted even when he fully transformed.
However, Kirby has received a few noteworthy nerfs. The most notable were to his grab game: The universal changes to the ending lag of grabs makes Kirby's riskier to throw out, his already mediocre grab range has been worsened (most notably on his pivot grab), and his forward throw has him jump up higher after the throw, which runs the risk of possibly landing on top of a soft platform, negating all follow-ups when it happens too early. This worsens Kirby's combo game on stages with platforms, and when combined with the loss of back throw's combo potential, grants Kirby a less effective combo game off of his grabs overall. Additionally, Stone no longer hits twice against shielded opponents, reducing its shield pressure considerably, and back aerial, one of his primary KOing options in SSB4, deals less knockback. Lastly, his down aerial, one of his most reliable combo starters in SSB4, is less advantageous on landing due to the removal of frame canceling, reducing the effectiveness of its followups.
Overall, while Kirby has been improved from SSB4, he still retains many of the same issues (mediocre range, sluggish aerial mobility, noticeable start-up on aerials barring back air, susceptibility to being camped) that made him a poorly viewed character in SSB4. Additionally, a majority of the characters that were ranked on the same tier as Kirby or lower in SSB4 have received notably bigger improvements than Kirby, which includes characters such as King Dedede, Pac-Man, Falco, and Zelda. This, coupled with his very sparse tournament results, has garnered him an overwhelmingly negative reception across the Smash community; multiple competitive players including ESAM, Leffen, Tweek, VoiD, Dabuz, and Samsora view Kirby just as poorly as in SSB4 or even as one of the worst characters in the game altogether, with Mew2King going as far as to give Kirby his own tier below bottom tier, dubbed as the "Kirby Tier". However, he has earned some representation in all levels of play, with players such as Komota, Jesuischoq, SuperGirlKels, and Captain L. Jesuischoq usually does well in French majors, and Komota has achieved a few noticeable results in majors. As of now, due to Kirby's lack of representation outside of them, his overall viability remains uncertain.
Throws and other attacks
Kirby has been buffed via game updates, having his damage output, KO potential, and attack safety slightly improved. His forward tilt has less ending lag and deals more knockback, giving it newfound KO potential at very high percentages, while boosting its safety. Neutral and up aerials have less ending lag, with the former being able to auto-cancel earlier as well, aiding Kirby's aerial game. Dash attack deals more damage on all hitboxes, while its clean hitbox has wider range, enabling it to rack up damage more easily. In the 3.0.0 patch, Kirby has been buffed further, with improvements given to a few of his more generally lackluster attacks. Kirby can retain inhaled Copy Abilities noticeably longer and is less likely to lose his Copy Abilities after the initial threshold. His down throw's damage-racking capabilities are improved, and his Final Cutter can grab ledges earlier, making it safer for recovery. Up smash's clean hit now has a longer duration, improving its reliability as an anti-air option. Lastly, the universal nerf to projectile shield damage allows Kirby to overcome camping strategies better.
Note: All numbers are listed as base damage, without the 1v1 multiplier.
Kirby rides in on his classic warp star, followed by a small explosion while flipping off of it.
All taunts remove Kirby's copy ability, if he has one.
Note: Outside of team battles, Kirby's victory poses have three separate Kirbys, referencing the Kirby dances from his home series.
In competitive play
Since the release of Ultimate, many professionals immediately noticed Kirby's significant flaws from the previous installment have been retained, and that his improvements to his other attributes are considered to be too negligible to fix them. As a result, his representation in the national levels has been minimal, with his reception being notoriously negative across the community. Kirby does, however, achieve at least some results in the local and regional scene. Jesuischoq has won a few local Europe tournaments and got good results in French majors, while Komota has made several respectable regional placings in the United States, as well as a noticeable 65th place finish at Frostbite 2019 . Most notably, SuperGirlKels has effectively used him as a secondary, notably using him to place in the Top 8 in ICARUS V and managing to take out Exodia along the way by using a combination of her main, Sonic, and Kirby. However, despite respectable local and regional results from said players, and game updates helping him, most of the community doesn’t consider them significant enough to address his key weaknesses from SSB4.
Classic Mode: Gourmet Clash
Kirby's opponents are characters who, like Kirby, are known for their large appetites. For each battle, Kirby and his opponent each spawn with 35% damage and several food items appear on the stage as the match begins.
Character unlock tree
Kirby's Classic Mode character unlock tree includes the following characters in order:
Each character can be unlocked by clearing Kirby's Classic Mode, or the Classic Mode of any preceding character, if all preceding characters have been unlocked. Once all the above characters are unlocked, clearing Classic Mode with any of them will default to Mario's character unlock tree, starting with Sonic.
Role in World of Light
Kirby was among the fighters summoned to the cliffside to assist in defeating an army of Master Hands.
After Galeem absorbed all of the Master Hands during the opening cutscene, he began to unleash beams of light that vaporized all of the fighters and later imprisoned all of them. Kirby was the sole survivor after escaping on his Warp Star, barely warping away from the beams before they could engulf him. Despite being the sole survivor, Kirby is still seen as a puppet in a few areas of the mode. It was later explained that Galeem had analyzed Kirby at some point during the story and was able to make puppet fighters in his image without needing Kirby himself.
Kirby crash-lands in a canyon area, and begins his quest to save the other fighters as the initial starting protagonist.
He is later seen alongside several other fighters, as they make their final stand against Galeem and Dharkon.
Kirby's Fighter Spirit can be obtained by completing Classic Mode. It is also available periodically for purchase in the shop for 500 coins. Starting World of Light and play as Kirby 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, Kirby makes an appearance in various Support Spirits.
In Spirit battles
As the main opponent
As a minion
Character Showcase Video