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, with most clips re-used from Super Smash Bros. 4.
Kirby is known for being a small lightweight, being tied for the eighth lightest character in the game. Kirby's mobility is average at best: he has the twenty-first slowest walking speed, thirty-eighth fastest dashing speed, a decent initial dash, 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. However, he is gifted with five double jumps, giving him an incredible vertical recovery.
Kirby's greatest strength is 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.
The usefulness of Kirby's ground game also extends to his grab game. His grabs are fast, 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 useful, 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, 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 has some interesting options. Inhale allows him to either copy the neutral special move of any character he Inhales, or spit them out as a weight-dependent projectile. The latter can be used to Kirbycide or put the opponent below the stage, almost eliminating their chances of recovering. The former, depending on what character he Inhales, can give Kirby a move that provides some assistance (Warlock Punch and Flare Blade) or massive benefits (Monado Arts and Blaster). Hammer Flip is very powerful, especially when fully charged. Its slow speed, however, makes it very difficult to use outside of edgeguarding or after 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 shockwave 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 prominent weakness is his endurance. Being light and floaty, Kirby cannot endure strong hits 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 it also prevents Kirby from being able to retaliate against foes in mid-air when in a disadvantage state and is often forced to rely on his jumps to escape or return to the ledge.
Despite a great and versatile moveset, Kirby's flaws go deeper, in his poor air mobility, which not only makes it difficult for him to approach and pressure opponents despite his high air acceleration , since his air speed is too slow for him to take advantage of his tools but also makes him susceptible to fast characters with strong camping tools like Greninja, characters with oppressive zoning games like Samus or those with disjointed hitboxes like Lucina and Chrom. This also makes him vulnerable to pressure. In addition, his recovery, although good, is very slow, making aggressive edgeguarding and gimp-oriented moves, such as F.L.U.D.D. or meteor smashes, especially threatening to him. Kirby's range is also average at best, and his strongest moves happen to be his slowest, making it difficult for him to KO opponents outside of edge-guarding or without a setup.
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 plays 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 noticeably buffed overall, albeit not enough to fix his significant flaws.
A majority of Kirby's ground moves and aerial moves have increased utility: the first two hits of his jab can now jab lock, making them much 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 and 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, 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 sending at a lower and more desirable angle for edgeguarding. 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. Many of Kirby's attacks also have more range, partially reducing one of his weaknesses from SSB4. Inhale has reduced ending lag and Kirby's neutral special receives a 1.2× multiplier compared to his opponent, giving him a greater incentive to Inhale opponents. 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, 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. Additionally, Stone no longer hits twice against shielded opponents, reducing its shield pressure considerably. Furthermore, his down aerial, which was 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 notably 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, including King Dedede, Pac-Man, Falco, and Zelda. This, coupled with his almost nonexistent 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 the "Kirby Tier". However, Kirby has garnered some representation at all levels of play in the form of players including Komota, Jesuischoq, SuperGirlKels, and Captain L, where the latter two keep him as a pocket character. As of now, Kirby's overall viability remains questionable.
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
From the beginning of the metagame, 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. In the local scene, on the other hand, Kirby often proves decent results, with Jesuischoq winning a number of local Europe tournaments, along with a surprising amount of money. Komota has made several respectable regional placings in the United States, while 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. 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