Luigi (ルイージ, Luigi) is a playable character in Super Smash Bros. 4. As part of Nintendo's Year of Luigi, his return to the series was announced during the Nintendo Direct on August 7th, 2013. Traditionally, Luigi has always been an unlockable character revealed after an installment of Super Smash Bros. had been released. However, SSB4 is the first installment to break that tradition, as he was both revealed before release and is now a starter character. Charles Martinet reprises his role as Luigi's voice actor, albeit through voice clips recycled from Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
Luigi is currently ranked 29th out of 58 in the tier list, placing him at the bottom of the D tier and directly in the middle of both the mid-tier and the overall tier list. This is a vast improvement over his placement in Brawl, where he was ranked 28th out of 38 ranking in Brawl, and his best placement in the series since Melee, where he was ranked 13th out of 26. Luigi's most notable strength is the utility of his moveset: he is difficult to punish due to his overall fast attack speed, his very potent air game is supplemented by several of his grounded moves' favorable launching angles, and he has numerous moves that boast outstanding combo potential. Luigi's recovery is also unpredictable and long-distanced, with Green Missile and Luigi Cyclone being risky to intercept.
However, Luigi retains his overall slow mobility, with his slow air speed and low traction being the attributes that most significantly hinder his movement, punishment ability and out of shield options. His recovery is also very slow, making edgeguarding detrimental to him. Finally, his range is very limited, which prevents him from racking up damage from a safe distance and making him prone to camping, despite having Fireball as a projectile.
Overall, Luigi tends to run hot-and-cold like in previous installments. While his representation remains average, his results in tournaments are better than ever before, thanks to the efforts of professionals such as Mr. ConCon, Boss, J.Miller, and Elegant.
Luigi is a middleweight whose attributes differ noticeably from other characters of the same weight class. While he has average walking speed, he has slightly below average dashing speed and the lowest traction in the game. Luigi's aerial attributes are also quite different from a typical middleweight: he has very slow falling and air speeds, low gravity, above average air acceleration, and the fourth highest jumps. As a result of these attributes, Luigi has slow mobility overall and is floaty.
Much like his older brother, Luigi can be very difficult to punish, since all but two of his regular moves (forward smash and down aerial) come out before frame 10. This, in turn, is supplemented by the immense utility of his overall moveset. His neutral attack deals respectable damage overall, has decent range and can be jab canceled. His tilt attacks also have their own perks: forward tilt can be angled, has decent range and is good for spacing beginning at 55%, up tilt has excellent combo potential up to high percentages and can KO at very high percentages, and down tilt can potentially trip grounded opponents and hinder aerial opponents that attempt to grab the edge due to using the Sakurai angle. Luigi's smash attacks are strong enough to KO at reasonable percentages, but his up smash and down smash also have some utility. Up smash has set-up potential from 0%-5% and is a very reliable follow-up from down throw beginning at 0%. Down smash is largely similar in comparison: it is a reliable follow-up from down throw beginning at 0% (albeit only against heavyweights/fast-fallers) and its front hit has set-up potential from 0%-5%. However, it is also useful for punishing rolls and damage racking due to its damage output, range and being his fastest smash attack.
Luigi's aerial attacks are also very useful: each of them have respectable damage outputs, can be autocanceled from a short hop, and possess specific perks. Neutral aerial's clean hit deals strong vertical knockback, which makes it both a great combo breaker and a situational KOing option near the upper blast line, whereas its late hit's weak vertical knockback makes it a very useful combo starter when fast fallen. Forward aerial is the fastest of its kind and is very useful for approaching, edgeguarding and combos. Back aerial is very powerful and has long range, which enable it to function as a safe KOing option or as an approach option when used as part of a reverse aerial rush. Up aerial is useful for combos and has the lowest amount of landing lag out of his aerial attacks. Lastly, down aerial is the third fastest of its kind, surpassed only by Meta Knight's and Little Mac's respectively, and is able to meteor smash.
As a semi-clone of Mario, Luigi has two special moves that are derived from his older brother, yet his versions deviate in noticeable ways. Fireball is a projectile that is useful for pressuring as well as limiting an opponent's approach, recovery or edgeguarding attempt like Mario's, but is unaffected by gravity like his. Super Jump Punch has very quick start-up like Mario's, but consists of a sweetspot and sourspot unlike his, which makes it function much differently in comparison: the sweetspot boasts devastating power, which makes it a very potent punishment option, yet it is very risky due to its ending lag and extremely weak sourspot. Aside from these, Luigi's other special moves are completely distinct from Mario's. Green Missile deals damage and grants Luigi horizontal recovery, both of which can be increased thanks to its ability to be charged. However, it is also possible for Green Missile to misfire; in this case, it becomes even stronger than the fully charged version and it covers about 60% of Final Destination. Lastly, Luigi Cyclone can function as an approach option, a KOing option near the upper blast line and, with enough button mashing, a vertical recovery option. While difficult to perform, it can even gimp recoveries as well.
Finally, Luigi's grab game is among the best in the game. His grabs are among the fastest in the game, while his pummel is tied with Mr. Game & Watch's as the third most damaging in the game. His forward and up throws have minimal utility, but they are quick and deal respectable damage, with the former being a capable edgeguard set-up. His back throw, although weakened since Brawl, is just as strong as Lucas' and can KO at high percentages. His down throw, however, is by far his most useful throw. Although update 1.1.1 altered its knockback to the point of considerably nerfing its combo potential, it remains one of the most versatile throws in the game. At low percentages, it can be followed up by forward tilt, up tilt and any smash attack, while it can then be followed up with any aerial attack, Luigi Cyclone and Super Jump Punch up to medium percentages. Even at medium to high percentages, it can reliably set up an up aerial. These combos vary between floaty characters and fast-fallers, but his versatile aerial attacks can still rack up large amounts of damage regardless.
However, Luigi has noticeable weaknesses, with the most significant one being his recovery. Green Missile is slow and can be stopped by opponents willing to endure its hitbox, while Luigi Cyclone requires an extreme amount of button mashing to be effective without prior momentum. Lastly, Super Jump Punch is the least effective recovery option in his arsenal, due to it lacking any sort of horizontal movement as Luigi ascends. This means he is overly reliant on his double jump to recover, as his slow air speed will make it very difficult to return to the stage, making his long-distanced recovery slow and easily gimped. Most of Luigi's attacks and all of his grabs have very short ranges, making it very difficult for him to fight opponents with disjointed hitboxes, especially in the air. His plentiful and effective out of shield options are also usable only sporadically, since he gets pushed back very far when shielding due to his very low traction, while his lack of a reflecting move leaves him vulnerable to camping.
As in previous installments, Luigi's mobility prevents him from approaching quickly, especially from the air. This results in him having significant trouble keeping up with faster opponents, such as Sheik, Zero Suit Samus and Sonic, which in turn weakens his otherwise excellent neutral game. As a result, Luigi is must either use short hopped neutral, forward and back aerials to approach, or use Fireball to force approaches. However, there are a few methods that, at varying degrees, alleviate Luigi's problematic traction. Shield-stopping negates his dash's noticeable skid, improving his approach's safety. Fox-trotting enables Luigi to dash while only enduring a slight slide rather than the skid, making it slightly risky, yet allowing him to go on the offensive more reliably and even enabling him to play mindgames, particularly baiting. The last method is simply walking: although Luigi's walking speed is average like his dashing speed, it is not as glaringly susceptible to his slippery traction like his dash is. When coupled with proper usage of Fireball, this method can also enable him to maintain stage control. A notable user and proponent of the walking method is J.Miller.
Luigi has a number of useful custom moves. His most notable custom moves are Floating Missile and Quick Missile. Floating Missile propels Luigi in a perfectly straight line and is weaker, but charges in less than a second, making it much riskier to intercept. Quick Missile travels much farther and moves much faster, much like how Green Missile functioned in Melee, but it has less power, no traction and considerably more ending lag. Luigi also has a few other custom moves that are rather useful. Ice Ball has slower movement speed, yet has more range and can momentarily freeze opponents, completely disrupting their approach. Burial Header grants more height, descends faster, has much less landing lag and buries grounded opponents, at the cost of having a weaker sweetspot. Mach Cyclone covers almost no horizontal distance and it possesses windboxes instead of looping hitboxes, but it grants a tremendous amount of vertical distance and its lone hitbox is stronger, making it great at edgeguarding. However, the rest of his custom moves have advantages that are situational at best, making them generally not worth using.
Overall, Luigi can be a force to be reckoned with as long as his significant flaws are circumvented. While his representation in the competitive scene has lowered somewhat since update 1.1.1 due to said update considerably nerfing his down throw's combo potential, he has achieved great results in tournaments regardless.
Changes from Brawl
Luigi has been significantly buffed in the transition from Brawl to SSB4. His neutral and combo games have been improved, with the latter being among the most effective in the entire game. Additionally, he is more agile overall, which further supplements these improved traits. However, Luigi did receive a number of nerfs. His recovery was moderately worsened, some of his moves (including all of his KOing options) had their power weakened, and most of his moves have lower damage outputs. Nonetheless, he has still been established as one of the most successful characters in tournament play.
Luigi has received a mix of buffs and nerfs via game updates, though his buffs outweighed his nerfs until update 1.1.1. While said update brought about only two nerfs, the nerf to his down throw was considerable enough to counter the numerous buffs that the updates gave him. The changes to shield mechanics also indirectly nerf Luigi, as it is even harder for him to punish out of shield and his best moves do not have noticeable hitlag. As a result, Luigi has become a slightly less effective character than he was during the initial release of SSB4, although he is still viable despite his most notable strengths (his combo and punishing games) being toned down.
In competitive play
Tier placement and history
Since SSB4's release, Luigi's placement was a topic of debate, as his buffs were quickly acknowledged in his transition from Brawl and saw him perceived as a mid-tier character. Players took into account his combination of a strong combo game, good projectile, and quick frame data, yet noticed the retention of his poor mobility and predictable recovery. Positive opinions on Luigi, however, saw a sudden rise from early to mid-2015, as players recognized the potency of his combos and KO set-ups from his down throw. Additionally, he was noted for having an even matchup against Diddy Kong, who was considered the best character at the time, due to multiple high-profile cases of a Luigi defeating a noteworthy Diddy Kong player in tournaments. The most notable instance of this was Mr. ConCon achieving a bracket reset against ZeRo. These traits resulted in Luigi achieving niche status as a strong main and counterpick, and even a position as a top-tier character in the eyes of the community. Despite having fairly limited usage at high-level play, he was quite common at low-level and mid-level play, and many of the players who abandoned Diddy Kong following his nerfs in updates 1.0.6 and 1.0.8 moved on to Luigi.
However, Luigi underwent a noticeable drop in perception after update 1.1.1, due to the update bringing about changes to shield mechanics that made it harder for him to punish out of shield, and nerfing his down throw to the point of heavily altering his powerful guaranteed follow-ups and removing his down throw's guaranteed KO set-ups. However, Luigi's down throw still managed to maintain highly damaging combos at low percentages and, when coupled with his impressive performances up to update 1.1.1, he was ranked 16th on the first tier list. This placed him at the top of the D tier and became his best ranking in the series at the time.
Despite this, many players who mained Luigi dropped him for other characters due to the intensity of the nerfs from update 1.1.1, which was further compounded by the release of the DLC characters Corrin and Bayonetta, two matchups considered unfavorable for him. By the time of the second tier list, Luigi's ranking saw a considerable downturn, as he dropped 13 spots to his current ranking of 29th. Although he remains in the D tier, his drop is the second largest between the first and second tier lists, in addition to resulting in him going from being the third highest ranked mid-tier character to the middle of the mid-tier. While Luigi's current placement is roughly similar to where he was according to popular opinion during the very early months of SSB4's lifespan, it is tied with his placement in Melee as his best placement in the series to date.
In Event Matches