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. His name is somewhat of a misnomer in regard to his size: while Mac is rather small in relation to the majority of realistically proportioned characters, he is of average size among the entire cast. 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 8th fastest walking speed, the 3rd fastest dashing speed, and above-average traction, granting him effective out of shield options. He also has the 2nd fastest initial dash, which has a long duration of 15 frames, giving him a long pivot and an excellent dash dance that is surpassed only by Zero Suit Samus'. His sidestep and rolls are tied with Fox, Sheik and Zero Suit Samus' for the fastest in the game, with the latter also being long-distanced, making it easy for Little Mac to punish grounded attacks and giving him excellent defensive options. He also has below-average gravity and fast falling speed (tied with King Dedede for the 2nd fastest), which collectively give him good vertical endurance in spite of his lightweight. Aside from his great air speed (tied with Mario, Donkey Kong, Sonic and Inkling's for the 12th fastest) and his wall jump, which is the 4th highest, the rest of Little Mac's aerial attributes are notoriously poor: his jump is tied with Ryu and Ken's for the 5th lowest, his double jump is the 3rd lowest, his air acceleration is tied with Ganondorf for the 6th lowest, and his directional air dodge travels the least amount of distance. These attributes effectively force Mac to stay on the ground as often as possible, but in terms of mobility, he is among the fastest characters in the game.
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 and its minimal ending lag and angles allow it to not only jab lock but also make it the only attack in Ultimate that is capable of jab canceling reliably. Despite his somewhat light weight, Little Mac boasts superb KO potential: his forward tilt, dash attack and smash attacks boast high damage outputs and knockback scaling, yet are also fairly fast. 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 sweet spot also deals a lot of shield damage. Finally, down smash is a semi-spike with a 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. 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 - meaning devastating attacks such as Mr. Game and Watch’s Judge 9, Falcon Punch, Warlock Punch, can all be punished. These traits make him arguably the most difficult opponent to directly challenge on the ground for every other character in the roster, including himself.
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 withstand weak attacks before retaliating immediately afterward. As such, it is an effective tool against most rapid jabs and multihit moves 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. This makes it great defensively against characters with low damage output or with reliance on multihits, such as Sheik or Meta Knight, but it won't help against opponents with high damage output or on single-hit aerials. 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 has a very fast startup and the fact that it doesn't lose power in the air, is also quite potent out of shield and for scoring aerial KOs. 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 slide 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 end lag 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 decent 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, poor damage output, and awful KO potential. 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 can compensate 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 disadvantaged 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 and blockable, although it still has KO potential. 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 if 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 end lag if unsuccessful is likely to result in Mac self-destructing or getting gimped by the opponent if used at a low enough altitude. These traits result in Little Mac having more difficulty with recovering than most other characters, meaning his recovery is 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 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 be predicted 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 has a strong ground game, 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 shield stun, 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 end lag. 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 has some ending lag and 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 effectively at higher percentages outside of Jolt Haymaker or Rising Uppercut. His player also must be careful and know when to attack and play defensively, or else Little Mac could lose the neutral game.
Overall, Little Mac's playstyle is akin to 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, similarly to his fighting style in Punch-Out!!. He can be difficult to utilize effectively despite his straightforward fighting style, as his weaknesses outweigh his strengths. Because of his weaknesses, players must reach a higher skill level than normal to use Little Mac effectively on the ground.
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. While he has received good improvements both directly and from game engine changes, he also received heavy nerfs to his damage and combo potential. As a result, he is considered to be nerfed overall, and he also is mostly harmed by the universal engine changes, compared to most of the cast who benefit from said changes.
Little Mac's 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. His higher weight not only improves his endurance, but also allows him to benefit from rage more effectively despite its weakening, making him harder to KO when combined with his longer recovery.
Among other buffs, some of Little Mac's ground moves have been improved: his neutral attack is even faster, can jab cancel with more ease, and can now jab lock. His forward tilt connects better on opponents in the air, and 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 blind spots, and up smash has more active super armor frames. Straight Lunge now gains damage while charging, can now be shield-canceled, can be turned around if needed, and deals a consistent 30% when fully charged. Aside from its helpless state being removed, Jolt Haymaker also has significantly improved safety on hit. The aerial version of KO Uppercut also has more knockback, allowing it to KO reliably. His grabs have also received much more range and have lost their previous blind spots, making them much more reliable. Some of his attacks also no longer have a sour spot on Little Mac's arm, causing them to deal consistent damage and knockback.
Little Mac also benefits heavily from some of the universal changes: since the alterations to grounded movement have returned some of the aspects of dash dancing, this grants Little Mac one of the game's best dash dances. The ability to dash cancel into any grounded attack and the introduction of spot dodge canceling arguably benefit him more than any other fighter, as not only he now has access to all his grounded options at any time, he is able to avoid most laggy punishment options and retaliate immediately with his strong grounded game; both of these changes improve his hard punish game. The changes to shieldstun make it easier for him to punish aerial approaches out of shield and make his grounded attacks safer, benefitting his ground-based playstyle, while this is complemented by the universal nerfs to grabs and shield grabs, which now make him more difficult to punish out of shield without a sufficiently ranged move. The nerfs to defensive options (shielding, air dodges, rolls, and spot dodges) further improve his pressure ability and punish game, while he still possesses some of the best defensive options of the cast. Finally, the changes to jostle mechanics now make his attacks much harder to whiff up close, such as Straight Lunge's infamous whiffs at point-blank range in Smash 4, although it very rarely can still happen.
However, the nerfs Little Mac has received to his strong grounded game and Jolt Haymaker is harsh enough to eclipse his useful buffs. His best moves for racking up damage are weaker as his neutral attack, the infinite and uptilt all deal less damage (with the latter being less safe at low percents), and the former no longer has anti-rebounding priority, while his down tilt has more ending lag, reducing its combo potential, especially beyond low percents; the latter nerf is especially notable since it weakens or outright removes most of his damage racking abilities and kill confirms. His weaker up tilt also makes it less likely to out-prioritize attacks (since it offers anti-rebounding priority). Down throw has altered and increased knockback, making it better for combos at low percentages, but worse at high percents. As a result of these changes, Little Mac's grounded game has actually become worse despite his much easier access to his options, as he now has to deal more hits and his moves have less followup potential, while he still lacks useful moves to edgeguard or attacks offstage opponents with, apart from the newly buffed Jolt Haymaker and down smash. His recovery has also ironically become less consistent than before, as Jolt Haymaker can now only be used once before landing, making misuse or interception of it usually fatal for him.
In addition, despite some of the universal changes improving Little Mac, other indirect changes have harmed him as much. The increased damage on edge attacks (since they now deal more than 8% throughout the cast) means Straight Lunge's armor can no longer withstand them, removing a mind game option. Since defensive options have been nerfed to become stale if overused, while Little Mac can punish opponents more easily, his defense is more exploitable since his awful aerial game makes him reliant on dodges and shielding. The limitation to a single air dodge until a character gets hit or lands on the ground, as well as the higher ending lag on one, is especially notable, as this makes him even more susceptible to juggling if his air dodge is misused, and much more susceptible gimping despite his improved recovery, as combined with the ability to use Jolt Haymaker once before landing makes it difficult to fully extend his recovery. The changes to jostle mechanics, while making his moveset more consistent, make it easier to corner Little Mac and read his fairly linear approach. However, the removal of perfect pivoting, the universal reduction of jumpsquats and landing lag are the changes that hinder him more than any other character; the former changes eliminates his extremely strong micro spacing tactics, while the changes to dash-canceling do not fully compensate for this. Meanwhile, the latter two changes benefit his terrible aerial game far less while strengthening most of the cast's aerial games to varying degrees, making him more vulnerable to combos and aerial rushdowns, which limits him more to shielding a move or directly contesting them by making use of his smash attacks super armor to muscle through them, which can be risky.
Overall, despite some changes to Little Mac's awful recovery and the ability to dash cancel moves, Little Mac has lost many of the tools that made him effective in the previous game. He performs worse than in Smash 4 and is one of the most nerfed characters in the transition. Little Mac's perception within the competitive community has been negative since the game's release. He has several dedicated mains (including Kwaz and Tarakotori) who consistently meet respectable results with him at regional tournaments and some outstanding placements in nationals, but his representation is virtually non-existent in comparison to almost all other characters. As such, while some top players have ranked him above dead last in their personal tier lists, most maintain that Little Mac is a bottom-tier character and arguably the worst in the game.
Throws and other attacks
Little Mac has been buffed via game updates. Although update 2.0.0 granted inconsequential buffs to his neutral and up aerials, update 3.1.0 noticeably improved his ground game. Neutral attack was heavily improved in three distinct ways. Its hits connect better thanks to improved ranges and, more notably, its first and second hits had their ending lag reduced to the point that it and Mr. Game & Watch's neutral attack are currently the only ones in Ultimate that are 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 increased 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 noticeably 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 Little Mac's most useful 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.
In update 7.0.0, Little Mac was among the numerous characters whose shields were enlarged, which decreased his vulnerability to shield stabbing.
Overall, Little Mac's buffs have expanded the utility of his moveset by granting him more potential set-ups, improving his consistency, and making his offense slightly safer. 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 remains to be seen.
For a gallery of Little Mac's hitboxes, see here.
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. Inflicting damage or receiving damage 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, and is unblockable. This only applies to the grounded version, as the aerial version is significantly weaker and blockable, KOing opponents at above 80%. Can be used as a last-resort recovery option, but this is ill-advised as KO punches high endlag does not let little mac snap to ledge.
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.
He walks onto the stage while throwing a series of punches before tossing his hooded sweatsuit off. If either of his sweatsuit alternate costumes is 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 be detrimental some of his best tools, especially his ground game, while his weak aerial game, notoriously the worst in Smash 4, was made even worse. With this, his perception dropped significantly, with the general perception of him being not only a bottom tier, but the worst character in the game.
Patch 3.1.0 granted Mac several useful buffs: his neutral attack, down and forward tilts, and decreased lag from his special attacks revamped his ground game to be more daunting than before. As such, his representation and results slowly improved over time thanks due to dedicated mains such as Kwaz and Tarakotori, most notably in Japan. Despite this, Little Mac's most critical weaknesses remain unaltered.
Patch 4.0.0, however, reverted Little Mac's biggest buff: as a result of the fixing of an unintentional mechanic, his manual gentleman jab no longer combos into itself or any KO moves, hindering his combo ability. This change, however, has gone relatively unnoticed by many pro players due to Mac’s lack of competitive presence and therefore has little effect on his already negative perception. His cons are considered too detrimental for him to be viable in the current metagame, and his multitude of buffs, which improve him at a quality-of-life level, have not made enough impact to shift Mac from being considered the worst character overall. Because of this, he is expected to remain ranked as a bottom-tier, especially if he doesn't receive further buffs from future patches. Despite his shortcomings, they haven't stopped Little Mac from gaining some impressive results thanks to the works of Kwaz, Tarakotori, and Mr.Newport.
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