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.
Kirby is voiced in all regions once again by Makiko Ōmoto, 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 subpar in the air and only average on the ground, giving him a mediocre mobility overall: he has the twenty-first slowest walking speed, fortieth 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 five midair jumps, his recovery is average at best: despite his midair jumps and Final Cutter granting decent distance, his slow air speed combined with his low jump height means that he is extremely vulnerable to offstage edgeguarding.
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, possessing among the fastest tilts in the game, while his slowest 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 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, making him hard to hit, which combined with his very low crouch, allows him to avoid almost all grabs and several attacks. As a result, Kirby has a strong ground game, and a very useful defensive game thanks to his crouch, requiring opponents to be careful when approaching him in a neutral state.
The usefulness of Kirby's ground game also extends to his grab game. His grabs have short range but are 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, leading into aerial attacks from low to mid percentages. Back throw can be followed up by a back aerial at 0% on certain characters, 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, thanks to the versatility of his aerial attacks. Neutral aerial has a long duration, decent knockback on the clean hit, very low landing lag, and good coverage make it a safe landing option. Additionally, it can serve as a follow-up for combos and can be used as a KO move at high percents. 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 a fairly quick auto-cancel window, allowing for many potential follow-ups and even opportunities to KO. Back aerial has decent range, and is Kirby's fastest and strongest aerial, making it one of his most useful options overall. 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.
Kirby's special moveset, while volatile, can provide some unique strengths. Inhale is his most notable example; it 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 inhale projectiles, allowing him to heal himself, while certain ones (such as a fully-charged Charge Shot) can be stored in his mouth, enabling him to spit them out. The former, depending on what character he inhales, can give Kirby a move that helps him in matchups to various degrees, such as useful projectiles to counter-camp his opponent (Needle Storm, Charge Shot, Wolf's Blaster), powerful punish options (Giant Punch, Homing Attack), a reflector (Nayru's Love), or other massive benefits (Monado Arts). In addition, Kirby's version of the opponent's neutral special also has a 1.2x damage multiplier. Since he can spit certain inhaled projectiles, Inhale gives Kirby a reflector; however, this has limited practical utility due to only working against a limited amount of projectiles, as well as the combined lag of inhaling and spitting the projectile, which is considerably slower than traditional reflectors. It can also be used to Kirbycide or put the opponent offstage, although mashing out fast enough will free the opponent. Hammer Flip is very powerful, especially when fully charged, and Kirby can move and jump while charging. However. its high startup and endlag, along with its short range, makes it situational and difficult to land outside of a shield break or occasional two-framing. Final Cutter is Kirby's primary recovery move, granting good vertical distance and decent horizontal distance, as well as protection in front of him 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 shortly after Kirby begins his descent, although these benefits are limited by its slow startup and ending lag, and Kirby is still vulnerable to grabs while transformed.
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. This imposes as a risk in approaching opponents in the air, while also preventing Kirby's aerials from being used effectively out of disadvantage state, often forcing him to rely on his jumps or neutral aerial to escape and return to the ground or ledge, while also making him vulnerable to pressure.
Another big flaw is Kirby's poor approach. Characters who have fast mobility or can camp with projectiles can wall out Kirby, which includes examples such as Greninja, R.O.B., and Samus. Kirby's lack of reliable burst options makes his approach in these matchups problematic and sometimes predictable. In addition, characters with long disjointed hitboxes such as Ike, Chrom, and Mr. Game and Watch can outrange and wall out Kirby since his range is short relative to the cast. Final Cutter's projectile has decent range, but is very slow due to requiring Kirby to perform the entire rising and falling portions of the move beforehand, and he lacks other projectiles outside of spitting inhaled projectiles or opponents or using a copy ability. Despite having a great air acceleration, Kirby's air speed is also too slow for him to take advantage of it, hindering his aerial approach and recovery despite possessing five midair jumps. Kirby also has several KO moves, but most of them are hard to land without a setup due to their short range and Kirby's lack of setups into them. 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. Lastly, his shield is easy to poke, leaving him vulnerable to characters that have good shield pressure.
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 challenging for him due to his poor approach. As such, Kirby functions 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 character, and was thus ranked as the 6th worst character in SSB4's most recent tier list (50th out of 55). In the transition to Ultimate, Kirby has been granted a mixture of buffs and nerfs, but has been noticeably buffed overall, albeit initially to a lesser extent prior to later updates to the game.
Kirby's buffs lie in the increased utility of his ground and aerial moveset. 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 useful and versatile move overall than his previous dash attack. His smash attacks are stronger punish options, with forward smash having an increase in range, up smash having reduced start-up, and down smash regaining its semi-spike 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. The landing lag in his aerials, already among the lowest in SSB4, was reduced even further and noticeably benefits him, making his aerials not only safer, but now capable of leading into followups, with forward air's first two hits now being able to follow up into forward smash, while his neutral aerial, one of his most situational attacks, has more range, more knockback and much less ending lag, making it safer and more reliable for pressuring, edgeguarding and KOing. In addition, Kirby's neutral and up aerials had their startup reduced. Many of Kirby's attacks, such as up tilt and all his aerials except for up aerial also have more range, partially reducing one of his weaknesses from SSB4. Inhale has received a large number of of significant improvements: it has noticeably reduced startup, reduced ending lag, more range, a much longer grace period in which Kirby cannot lose his Copy Ability, and a lower probability of losing said ability after this period has ended. Furthermore he can now eat the projectiles he swallows to heal himself (and store certain ones in his mouth as well, enabling him to spit them out as stars) and his neutral special receives a 1.2× multiplier compared to his opponent, albeit without a corresponding increase to knockback, giving him a greater incentive to Inhale opponents. Lastly, Stone has super armor during its start-up, making it more difficult to interrupt Kirby out of the attack, as in previous Smash games, he could be interrupted even when he fully transformed.
However, Kirby has also 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 (although following up neutral air and forward smash can alleviate this issue), while back throw has lost its combo potential. Altogether, this 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, although the clean hit now lasts for 3 frames instead of 2. Lastly, his down aerial, one of his most reliable combo starters in SSB4, has more range on the looping hits, but slightly less on the final hit and is less advantageous on landing due to the removal of frame canceling, reducing the effectiveness of its follow-ups since its landing lag was not reduced enough to compensate properly.
Overall, while Kirby has been improved from SSB4, he still retains many of the same issues (mediocre range, sluggish aerial mobility, down and forward air having noticeable startup, 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 Pac-Man, Falco, Wii Fit Trainer, and King Dedede. 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. As of now, his overall viability remains questionable.
Throws and other attacks
Kirby has been noticeably buffed via game updates. Update 2.0.0 improved his ground game by reducing the ending lag of his forward tilt, along with granting it increased base knockback, giving it newfound KO potential at very high percentages, while also boosting its safety at low percents. Dash attack's clean hit was also given a larger hitbox, and its damage output was increased overall. 3.0.0 improved the duration of up smash's clean hit, making it easier to land on aerial opponents, and reduced the ending lag on neutral aerial. Inhale's Copy Ability grace period was also extended, allowing Kirby to safely keep his abilities for longer, and the probability of him losing them when receiving damage was also reduced. Furthermore, his down throw's damage-racking capabilities were improved, and his Final Cutter can grab ledges earlier, making it safer for recovery.
Update 6.0.0 granted Kirby some of his most significant improvements. Both neutral and up aerials had their startup reduced and their knockback increased, improving their combo and KO potential. Inhale had its startup reduced as well, and the grace period for Copy Ability was further increased, along with a further reduction to the probability of losing his abilities. Up smash's sourspot had its knockback increased, improving its consistency, and neutral attack's startup was reduced by 1 frame. As such, he stands noticeably better in comparison to release.
For a gallery of Kirby's hitboxes, see here.
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, in spite of the mechanics suiting him better in comparison to SSB4. As a result, his representation in regionals and nationals has been minimal, with his reception being negative across the community. Players would deride on his subpar aerial game, poor range, slow aerial frame data, as well as platforms potentially negating all follow-ups should he start a combo with a forward throw. Throughout Ultimate’s metagame, many considered him a low or even bottom tier, with some going as far as putting him as the worst character in the game due to these weaknesses and his sparse results and representation outside of locals.
Patch 6.0.0 eventually gave Kirby some of his biggest improvements. While his neutral aerial and up aerial not only have more KO power and versatility, but also his ability to follow-up on platforms partially restored, players still have a poor view on his viability. Even with his results slowly improving over time, with players such as Jesuischoq and Ferretkuma earning bigger impacts in comparison to release, he is expected to be ranked low, especially if he fails to obtain more notable placements/future buffs from patches.
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