Little Mac (SSBU)
Little Mac (リトル・マック, Little Mac) is a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, officially confirmed on June 12th, 2018. Little Mac is classified as fighter #49.
Kōsuke Toriumi reprises his role as Little Mac in the game, albeit via reused voice clips from Smash 4.
How to unlock
Complete one of the following:
With the exception of the third method, Little Mac must then be defeated on Boxing Ring.
Little Mac offers a simple yet polarized fighting style, performing well on the ground, but poorly in the air. Fittingly, Little Mac is of below-average size, especially compared to other realistically proportioned characters. This can make him somewhat difficult to hit, but also means that most of his moves have short range, which makes spacing crucial for avoiding punishment. Little Mac is a lightweight with the eighth fastest walking speed, the third fastest dashing speed, and above average traction, granting him effective out of shield options. He also has the second fastest initial dash, which has a long duration of 15 frames, giving him a long pivot and an excellent dash dance, only losing to Zero Suit Samus. His sidestep and rolls are also among the fastest in the game, with the latter also being long-distanced, making it easy for Little Mac to punish grounded attacks. He also has below-average gravity and fast falling speed, which gives him good vertical endurance for a lightweight. Aside from his great air speed (tied with Mario, Donkey Kong, Sonic and Inkling for the 12th highest) and his wall jump, which is the fourth highest, however, the rest of Little Mac's aerial attributes are notoriously poor: his jump is tied with Ryu and Ken for fifth lowest, his double jump is the third lowest, his air acceleration is tied with Ganondorf for the sixth worst, and his directional air dodge travels the least distance. These attributes effectively force Mac to stay on the ground as often as possible.
Little Mac's greatest strength is his potent ground game. None of his grounded moves have more than 15 frames of start-up, whereas only his up smash has more than 30 frames of ending lag. Only five non-special moves (forward smash, back air, up smash, down smash and forward air) become active after frame 9, and only the former two after frame 10. His neutral attack in particular is tied with Zero Suit Samus' for the fastest in the game, activating on frame 1. Despite his low weight, Little Mac boasts superb KO potential, as his forward tilt, dash attack and smash attacks have high damage output and knockback scaling while being somewhat fast despite their power. Forward smash can be angled, with the downward variant dealing immense shield damage and the upward variant being one of Mac's most effective vertical KO options on the ground. Up smash's coverage allows it to serve as an effective anti-air, and its sweetspot also deals heavy shield damage. Finally, down smash is a semi-spike with fairly long range, allowing it to tech chase as well as edge-guard easily against careless or vulnerable recoveries. Besides their speed and strength, Little Mac's grounded moves are also difficult to interrupt, which combined with his high dashing speed gives him an excellent punish game, similarly to Zelda. His tilt attacks boast anti-rebounding priority; this prevents them from clanking with opposing ground attacks provided they're within priority range, allowing Mac to punish opponents very quickly due to his own attacks' high speed. While his smash attacks have normal priority, they instead boast super armor during their use. This offers Mac a unique way of punishing attacks by tanking the hit while immediately retaliating. These traits make him arguably the most difficult opponent to directly challenge on the ground.
Little Mac's special moves also have fairly respectable utility. Straight Lunge gains distance and power as it charges, deals heavy damage, and boasts light damage-based armor while charging, allowing him to tank through weak attacks before retaliating immediately afterward. As such, it is an effective tool against most rapid jabs even while uncharged. The move can also be canceled by shielding, giving it utility for escaping certain combo moves such as Witch Twist, and it can be turned around when released, offering decent mix-up potential and a way to get out of combos. However, Straight Lunge's considerable ending lag limits its offensive utility as it can be easily intercepted or punished, while it's defensive utility depends on the character and the attack. Jolt Haymaker propels Mac forward with a leaping punch that travels a fair distance, can be unleashed on command, grants brief intangibility during start-up, and does not lose power when used in mid-air. This makes it useful for tech-chasing, repositioning, and escaping or punishing laggy moves or projectiles, and making it Mac's only useful KO option while in the air and off-stage. It also does not leave him helpless, making it a much less dangerous recovery move when compared to Little Mac's Smash 4 iteration. Rising Uppercut grants brief intangibility on start-up and travels fairly high when used on the ground. This makes the move an effective combo breaker; combined with the last hit's high knockback scaling, it is also quite potent out of shield and for scoring aerial KO's and KO's close to the upper blast line. Slip Counter is an extremely fast counterattack, making it useful for escaping pressure, especially aerial combos. It's also one of the few counters that slides forward before attacking, allowing Little Mac to get close to his opponent or even recover horizontally in response to an edgeguard attempt.
Lastly, Little Mac has a unique mechanic in the Power Meter. Shown over the damage meter, the Power Meter charges by dealing 333% or receiving 100%. When fully charged, Straight Lunge is replaced by the KO Uppercut, which can KO any character before 40%. KO Uppercut is also unblockable (barring Witch Time), boasts fast startup, and leaps slightly into the air (allowing it to catch opponents on low platforms such as Battlefield's); combined with its immense power, this can quickly turn the tide of a match or further secure a lead if used successfully. However, Mac loses the KO Uppercut if tumbled after a 4 second grace period (not including footstool jumping), forcing him to use the move quickly. KO Uppercut also has considerable endlag regardless of whether it hits or not, and its short leap can cause Mac to fall off the stage if used while next to an edge. As a result, it is unarguably one of the riskiest, yet most rewarding attacks in the entire series.
Despite his incredible strengths, Little Mac is held back by a slew of exploitable weaknesses, with the most notorious being his deliberately ineffective air game. His air attacks have some perks; neutral aerial is the fastest aerial attack in the game, making it a decent combo breaker, and it can combo into itself; forward and back aerials are semi-spikes, with the former being effective for combos or edgeguarding; up aerial is a fast anti-air; and down aerial is an extremely fast meteor smash. However, his aerials all have short range and minimal damage output, and while his neutral and down aerials can auto-cancel from a short hop, his forward, back, and up aerials cannot. This leaves Mac incredibly vulnerable in the air, as he has no means of properly defending himself beyond point-blank range without exhausting any of his special moves. The low power of his aerials also makes them ineffective for flinching opponents, and Mac's only aerial KO options are indeed his special moves, which are highly likely to result in sacrificial KOs if misused off-stage. This also means that Mac is more severely affected by stale-move negation than most other characters, as he is effectively limited to using little more than half of his moveset in most situations, although his variety of powerful finishers compensates for it to a degree. Mac's weak air mobility and high falling speed make him incredibly susceptible to gimps from meteor smashes, semi-spikes, and even footstool jumps, especially if he doesn't have his double jump. Compounding this, his directional air dodge has the least distance, and his air dodge's ending lag is only average relative to the cast due to the universal changes to air dodges, since now the ending lag depends on the character's falling speed and gravity. Thus, it is not only a situational option while in a disadvantage state, but also poor as a normal recovery move. Mac can grab the ledge by using a directional air dodge if he is close enough, however, allowing him to cover the remaining distance to the ledge, making it very useful if combined with his double jump and special moves.
His special moves are also considerably less effective while in the air. Straight Lunge loses much of its power when used in midair, and its long charge time makes it impractical for recovery. Aerial KO Uppercut is also significantly weaker, only KO'ing around 150%, and is also blockable. While Jolt Haymaker and Rising Uppercut are Little Mac's most effective aerial KO options, they are very poor for recovery, offering poor travel distance, small edge sweet spots, and minimal intangibility. Jolt Haymaker does not cause helplessness, allowing Mac to follow up with a wall jump, directional air dodge or Rising Uppercut; however it travels a mediocre distance and can only be used once before landing or grabbing the edge, leaving Mac one of the most vulnerable characters to edgeguarding as he is unable to use it again of he gets hit. Rising Uppercut loses roughly half its travel distance when used in midair, and while aerial Slip Counter can be a good response to an edgeguard attempt, it loses its intangibility, can be predicted, and its endlag if unsuccessful is likely to result in Mac self-destructing if used at a low enough altitude. These traits result in Little Mac having more difficulty with recovering than most other characters, resulting in his recovery being commonly cited as one of, if not the worst overall. While his below-average gravity and high falling speed grant solid vertical endurance for a lightweight, they also make him very vulnerable to combos and juggling. Additionally, the super armor granted by Mac's smash attacks still causes him to take full damage, and must be timed carefully to avoid being punished. These traits make Mac extremely prone to momentum shifts; his lacking air game and overall frailty allows opponents to easily combo or even zero-to-death him after one mistake, even if Mac was otherwise dominating the match.
Because of these issues, his neutral game, while decent, is very predictable, and while he has a good approach due to his excellent mobility, Mac relies more heavily than most other characters on his shield and dodges for avoiding damage and general positioning, both of which can predictable and easily punished if overused. His short range can be problematic against characters with long or disjointed attacks. He also has trouble dealing with camping; while his super armor and special moves provide options for dealing with projectiles, he is still forced to approach as he lacks projectiles of his own. His short jumps and weak aerial attacks also leave Mac especially vulnerable to platform camping, arguably more so than any other character in the game. While Little Mac's strong ground game helps to compensate, it has some flaws of its own. Besides his downward angled forward smash and sweetspotted up smash, none of Mac's other moves deal extra shield damage and also lack shieldstun, making his jab, up tilt, and dash attack especially unsafe against opponents who shield frequently, due to their short freeze frames despite not having a lot of endlag. Compounding this is Little Mac's mediocre grab game; Mac's pummel is among the fastest, but his grabs while having average range, have moderate startup lag and noticeable ending lag, and the ending lag and collateral hitboxes for his throws limit their ability to KO or start combos. However, they still have some uses: his down throw can combo into Rising Uppercut, but it's susceptible to DI; his back throw has decent power and can KO at around 130%, but its collateral hitbox weakens it; up throw can combo into Jolt Haymaker at low to mid percents, and forward throw can tech chase at the same percentages. While Mac is very effective at tech chasing due to his high ground speed, forward throw and wide, semi-spiking down smash, his combo potential is otherwise underwhelming, which combined with his linear neutral can sometimes make it difficult to safely rack up damage despite his attacks' high damage output. As a whole, Little Mac's poor combo game and lack of true KO confirms require him to win neutral exchanges more often in order to succeed, especially when trying to close out a stock since his most reliable KO options cannot be comboed into at higher percentages.
Overall, Little Mac's playstyle is like that of a real boxer, with a defensive bait and punish style: keeping constant control of the middle of the stage, capitalizing on the opponent's mistakes, staying on the ground as much as possible, and utilizing his excellent ground mobility to his advantage, similar to his playstyle in Punch Out!!. He can be difficult to utilize effectively despite his straightforward fighting style, as his weaknesses outweigh his strengths.
Changes from Super Smash Bros. 4
Despite being a lower mid-tier character in Smash 4, Little Mac has received a mix of buffs and nerfs in the transition to Ultimate, but he was nerfed overall. While he has received good improvements both directly and from game engine changes, he received heavy nerfs to his damage and combo potential. He also is mostly harmed by the universal engine changes in Ultimate compared to most of the cast who benefit from said changes.
His biggest buff involves his notoriously poor recovery: it has been extended and has greater mixup potential due to readdition of directional air dodges, Jolt Haymaker no longer causing helplessness while traveling more distance, and KO Uppercut granting recovery distance in midair. His attributes have also been modified, as he now has a considerably faster air speed which helps him recover easier, higher jumps which no longer make him as vulnerable to platform camping (while also improving his recovery), and the second highest falling speed which makes it easier for him to return to the ground.
He also benefits heavily from some universal changes: the readdition of dash dancing grants him one of the game's best dash dances, the universal nerf to grabs and shield grabs makes him more difficult to punish out of shield, the changes to shieldstun make easier for him to punish air approaches and making his grounded attacks safer, benefitting his ground-based playstyle and dash cancels give him arguably the biggest benefit of any fighter, as he now has access to all his grounded options at any time. Some of his ground moves have been improved: his jab is faster and can now both jab lock and jab cancel, his forward tilt connects better on opponents in the air, down tilt has more range to the point it outranges some swordfighter's down tilts, such as Meta Knight or Ike, all versions of forward smash have lost their blindspots, while Straight Lunge gains damage while charging, can now be shield-canceled, can be turned around if needed, and deals a consistent 30% when fully charged. Also, many of his attacks no longer have a sourspot on Little Mac's arm, causing them to deal consistent damage and knockback. The aerial version of KO Uppercut also has more knockback, allowing it to KO reliably. Lastly, his grabs have also received improvements: in SSB4, they had terrible range due to having a blindspot that covers Mac's hand and most of his arm, and in Ultimate, they have much more range and have lost their blindspot, making his grabs much more reliable.
However, Little Mac has received significant nerfs. Many engine changes have removed some of his strongest ground advantages: the inability to run past shields make it easier to corner Little Mac and read his fairly linear approach, the removal of perfect pivoting eliminates his extremely strong microspacing tactics, and Straight Lunge's armor can no longer withstand edge attacks due to them now doing more than 8% throughout the cast. He has also been nerfed directly: grounded KO Uppercut KOs very slightly later, his best damage-racking abilities are weaker as neutral attack, neutral infinite and up tilt all deal less damage (with the latter being less safe at low percents), while his down tilt is slower and has lost many of its combos outside of low percentages, removing most of his damage racking abilities as well as kill confirms. His weaker neutral attack and down tilt also make them less likely to out-prioritize attacks (since they offer anti-rebounding priority). As a result, Little Mac's ground game has actually become worse, as he has to deal more hits and has less followup potential, while still lacking useful moves to edgeguard or attack offstage opponents with (apart from Jolt Haymaker and down smash).
In addition, despite some of the universal changes improving Mac, other indirect changes have significantly harmed him. Since defensive options (shielding, air dodges, rolls, and spot dodges) have been nerfed, Little Mac's defense is more exploitable since he is extremely reliant on dodges and shielding, and the limitation to a single air dodge makes him even more susceptible to juggling and gimps despite his improved recovery. His recovery has ironically become less consistent than before, as Jolt Haymaker can now only be used once before landing (making misuse or interception usually fatal for him), and the ending lag of directional air dodges makes it difficult to fully extend his recovery. Finally, the universal reduction of jumpsquats and landing lag benefits him far less while strengthening most of the cast's aerial games, making it even harder for him to contest against aerial rushdowns.
Overall, despite some changes to Little Mac's notorious recovery and the ability to dash cancel moves, Little Mac has indirectly lost many tools that made him effective in the previous game, making him perform worse than his iteration in Smash 4. As a result of this, his early reception within the competitive community was extremely negative, which extended to the point where he was almost unanimously considered the worst character in the game (which included professionals such as ZeRo). This has been reflected in his tournament representation, as it is almost non-existent at national level tournaments; however, he still has several dedicated mains to his credit, including Sol, who continues to attain respectable results with him at the regional levels and a few noteworthy placements in nationals. In addition, patch 3.1.0 heavily improved his grounded kit, and has granted him a more formidable neutral attack, down and forward tilts, as well as specials having decreased lag. As a result, his representation and results have gradually improved even in national tournaments. While some professionals maintain that Little Mac remains a bottom tier, many professionals have reevaluated their opinions on Little Mac, considering him to be a low tier rather than a bottom tier character, thanks to his more versatile and more reliable combo tools and improved results, albeit not enough to go higher due to his very poor aerial game and recovery still being mediocre and inconsistent. As such, his viability remains up for debate.
Likely because of his widespread perception as one of the worst characters in the game, Little Mac has been buffed by game updates. Although update 2.0.0 granted inconsequential buffs to his neutral and up aerials, update 3.1.0 significantly improved his ground game. Neutral attack was heavily improved in three distinct ways. Its hits connect better, thanks to improved ranges for and, more notably, its first and second hits had their ending lag reduced to the point that it is the only attack in Ultimate that is capable of jab canceling reliably. Forward tilt connects much better against airborne opponents, which was a notorious flaw that remained unaddressed throughout SSB4's lifespan. Down tilt's range was improved, to the point that it is actually on par with Mii Swordfighter's and out-ranges Ike's, while the duration of up smash's super armor was increased.
Jolt Haymaker received a new hitbox that increased its vertical range, thus allowing its grounded version to hit opponents on Battlefield's low platforms. KO Uppercut, Slip Counter and uncharged Straight Lunge had their ending lag reduced by varying amounts. Lastly, Little Mac indirectly benefits from the update's changes to shield damage for projectiles, as they make it somewhat easier for him to handle camping.
However, update 4.0.0 removed one of, if not Little Mac's best, combo option. Update 3.1.0 introduced an unintentional mechanic that decreased the ending lag of neutral attack's third hit by 10 frames if it was inputted manually. This gave his neutral attack the ability to combo into itself (via dash-canceling), forward smash, grab, or Jolt Haymaker at low to medium percents. The sheer effectiveness of this technique even saw Sol, a pioneer of Little Mac's metagame in SSB4, christen it the "Dreamland Express" as proposed by his Twitch chat. Despite the loss of this option, it is not enough to eclipse the other buffs that update 3.1.0 granted Little Mac in the first place.
Overall, Little Mac's buffs have heavily improved his kit, granted him new potential set-ups, and slightly improved his defense. Sol has notably viewed the buffs as sufficient enough to render Mac better than he was in SSB4, although he made this statement before the Dreamland Express was removed. However, how these buffs will affect him the long run is yet to be known.
Note: All numbers are listed as base damage, without the 1v1 multiplier.
Power Meter and KO Uppercut
Little Mac has a unique mechanic known as the Power Meter, which is permanently shown above his damage meter. Dealing damage or receiving damage from opponents will charge the meter; when full, Little Mac's neutral special (Straight Lunge) is replaced by the KO Uppercut. Of note is that the meter is also charged if Little Mac hits a shield or invincibility and if he is hit while in shield or invincibility. KO Uppercut has multiple perks: it can KO almost the entire cast around 35%, has very fast startup, grants super armor right before the hitbox appears, is unblockable, and cannot be countered. This only applies to the grounded version, as the aerial version is significantly weaker and blockable; however, it grants good recovery distance.
KO Uppercut will replace Straight Lunge until it is used, Little Mac is KO'd, or if he is sent tumbling 4 seconds after he gains a KO Uppercut.
Walks onto the stage while throwing a series of punches before tossing his hooded sweatsuit off. If either of his sweatsuit alternate costumes are being used, he will still perform the tossing animation while keeping his sweatsuit on.
Little Mac wears a Champion belt in all three of his victory poses.
In all of Little Mac's victory poses, Doc Louis will say one of the following quotes random depending on which pose is selected and which costume is used:
In competitive play
From Ultimate, hopes were high on Little Mac when the game was released, due to improvements to his notoriously awful recovery. However, the game’s mechanics proved to downgrade some of his best tools (such as his ground game) while his aerial game’s weaknesses were only further worsened. As such, the changes to the game's mechanics proved to harm more than help him. With this, his perception underwent an overwhelming decline, with the general perception of him being not only a bottom tier, but extended to the point that he could be the absolute worst character in the game. Patch 3.1.0 granted Mac useful buffs. This revamped his ground game to be more daunting than before, which includes reworking his neutral attack, down and forward tilts, as well as diminishing lag from his special attacks. As such, his representation and results slowly improved over time, due to dedicated mains such as Kwaz and Tarakotori. Players started to recognize the significance of his gameplay, citing that his placement is inaccurate and believe he should be ranked slightly higher. However, Little Mac is still hindered by his abysmal air game and terrible recovery, resulting in him suffering poor matchups against most of the cast. While some professionals say that he is no longer the worst character overall, some still consider his cons to be too detrimental to allow him to rise any higher. In Patch 4.0.0 however, the biggest buff to Little Mac was reverted. His manual gentleman jab no longer combos into itself any more significantly hindering his ground game and damage output. This change, however, has gone relatively unnoticed by many pro players due to Mac’s lack of competitive presence and therefore done little affect his negative perception.
Classic Mode: Friendly Sparring
Little Mac fights fighters that are close range martial artists. During the battles, every item except the Sandbag is disabled. As such, the Sandbag can be hit but will only spawn visual confetti.
Role in World of Light
Although Little Mac does not appear in the World of Light opening cutscene, he was vaporized and later imprisoned alongside the rest of the fighters (sans Kirby) when Galeem unleashed his beams of light.
Little Mac can be found near a city area blocked through a door. To reach him, the player must first complete the Power Plant sub-area so the door can open.
Little Mac's Fighter Spirit can be obtained by completing Classic Mode. It is also available periodically for purchase in the shop for 500 coins. Unlocking Little Mac in World of Light 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, Little Mac makes an appearance as a Primary Spirit as Giga Mac.
In Spirit battles
As the main opponent
Character Showcase Video