Luigi (ルイージ, Luigi) is a playable character in Super Smash Bros. 4. His return to the series was announced during a Nintendo Direct on August 7th, 2013, which coincided with the announcement of Mario & Luigi: Dream Team and commemorated the Year of Luigi. Charles Martinet reprises his role as Luigi's voice actor, albeit via voice clips recycled from Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
Luigi is currently ranked 26th out of 58 in the tier list, placing him in the C tier. This is a considerable improvement over his placement in Brawl, where he was ranked 28th out of 38, and is his best proportional placement in the series. Luigi's most notable strength is the utility of his moveset: his overall fast frame data makes him difficult to punish, his combo game is both varied and highly effective, his very potent air game is supplemented by a number of his grounded moves having favorable launching angles, and his Fireball is a useful projectile. Luigi's attributes have also been improved: he dashes much faster, while his air game and aerial mobility benefit from his much faster fast falling speed, higher gravity, lower short hop, and higher jump. Lastly, Luigi's recovery remains unpredictable and long-distanced, as Green Missile and Luigi Cyclone are both risky to intercept.
However, Luigi has retained his noticeable weaknesses from previous installments. Luigi's mobility is still slow and awkward in spite of its improvements: his faster dashing speed is slightly below-average at best, while his low traction and slow air speed still largely hinder his out of shield options, punishment ability, and the variability of his recovery. Despite having Fireball, the majority of Luigi's range is still short, which prevents him from racking up damage from a safe distance, especially against characters that have disjointed hitboxes and/or projectiles.
Overall, Luigi tends to run hot-and-cold like in previous installments. He initially had a large playerbase and excellent results, such as J.Miller winning B.E.A.S.T 5 with him. Although update 1.1.1 nerfed Luigi's combo game to the point that his results and playerbase decreased, he has continued to achieve excellent results at local and regional tournaments, and respectable results at national tournaments. This has been most evident with Elegant, whose consistently good results have caused Luigi's current tier placement to become somewhat debatable.
Luigi is a middleweight whose attributes differ noticeably from other characters of the same weight class. Although 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 very atypical for a middleweight: he has very slow falling and air speeds, low gravity, above-average air acceleration, the fourth highest jump, and the seventh highest double jump. As a result of these attributes, Luigi has overall slow mobility and is floaty.
Like his older brother, Luigi can be very difficult to punish: all but two of his regular moves (forward smash and down aerial) hit before frame 10, which results in his frame data being the fastest in the game in regard to start-up lag and when excluding special moves. This, in turn, is supplemented by the immense utility of his overall moveset. Luigi's neutral attack deals respectable damage, has decent range, and can be jab canceled reliably even at high percentages. His tilt attacks also have their own perks: forward tilt can be angled, has decent range and is useful 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 hinder aerial opponents that attempt to grab the edge. 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 from 0%-10%. Down smash is largely similar in comparison: it is a reliable follow-up from down throw at 0%, albeit only against heavyweights and fast-fallers, and its front hit has set-up potential from 0%-5%. However, it is also useful for punishing rolls and damage racking, thanks to its speed, damage output, and range.
Luigi's aerial attacks are also very useful, as each of them can be auto-canceled with a short hop, and possess specific perks. Neutral aerial is a sex kick and, like in previous installments, the only sex kick that launches opponents vertically, which benefits its clean and late hitboxes: the former is a great combo breaker and a situational KOing option near the upper blast line, whereas the latter is a very useful combo starter when SHFF'd. Forward aerial is the fastest aerial of its kind and is very useful for approaching, edge-guarding and combos. Back aerial has long range and a very powerful clean hitbox, which enable it to function as a safe and reliable 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 and Little Mac's respectively, and is able to meteor smash.
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 fourth most damaging in the game. Luigi's down throw 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. Although Luigi's back throw has weakened since Brawl, it is just as strong as Lucas', and is therefore a reliable KOing option at high percentages. Lastly, his forward and up throws have minimal utility, but are quick and deal respectable damage, with the former also being a capable edge-guard set-up.
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, hindering an opponent's approach, or acting as a set-up option. Unlike Mario's Fireball, Luigi's is unaffected by gravity, which makes it somewhat less effective at hindering an opponent's recovery or edge-guard attempt. 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 because of its extremely weak sourspot and very high ending lag. Aside from these, Luigi's other special moves are completely distinct from Mario's. Green Missile deals damage and covers horizontal distance, 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 covers approximately 60% of Final Destination. Lastly, Luigi Cyclone can function as an approach option, a KOing option near the upper blast line and, with sufficient button mashing, a vertical recovery option. While difficult to perform, it can even gimp recoveries as well.
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, owing to its lack of any sort of horizontal movement as Luigi ascends. This results in him being overly reliant on his double jump to recover, similarly to Yoshi. Unlike Yoshi, however, Luigi has slow air speed, which in turn makes his long-distanced recovery slow and very susceptible to gimps. The majority of Luigi's moveset has short range, making it very difficult for him to fight opponents with disjointed hitboxes, especially in the air. Although Luigi has a number of effective out of shield options, they are usable only sporadically, since he gets pushed back very far when shielding because of his very low traction. Conversely, 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 hinders 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, with his most notable ones being Floating Missile and Quick Missile. Floating Missile is much riskier to intercept because it propels Luigi in a perfectly straight line, charges much faster, and is only slightly weaker than Green Missile. Quick Missile travels much farther and moves much faster, similarly to how Green Missile functioned in Melee. However, it is slightly weaker, while its considerably higher ending lag and lack of traction upon landing on a stage or platform make it much more punishable. Luigi also has a few other custom moves that are rather useful. Ice Ball has a slightly lower damage output, slightly higher start-up lag, slightly shorter range, and travels slower. However, it momentarily freezes opponents beginning at 50%, while its slower speed enables Luigi to fire multiple Ice Balls in immediate succession. True to its name, Burial Header buries grounded opponents, but also covers significantly more vertical height, descends much faster, and has much less landing lag. However, it deals significantly less damage and lacks KO potential. Mach Cyclone covers almost no horizontal distance, and possesses a windbox and a concluding hitbox instead of multiple hitboxes. However, it covers a tremendous amount of vertical distance, while its lone hitbox is very powerful, making it very useful for edge-guarding. Aside from these, the rest of Luigi's custom moves have advantages that are situational at best, which makes them generally not worth using.
Overall, Luigi can be a force to be reckoned with as long as his significant flaws are circumvented. Although his representation in the competitive scene has lowered somewhat since update 1.1.1 because of said update considerably nerfing his down throw's combo potential, he has achieved great results in tournaments regardless.
Changes from Brawl
Luigi has been buffed significantly in the transition from Brawl to SSB4. His neutral and combo games have improved, with the latter being among the most effective in the game. Luigi's overall mobility, particularly his dashing speed, has also improved, which in turn supplements his neutral and combo games. 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. Despite these nerfs, he has still been established as one of the most successful characters in tournament play.
Luigi has been nerfed via game updates. Although he received a number of buffs from them, update 1.1.1 nerfed his down throw's combo potential to the point that it offset them. The changes to shield mechanics brought about by updates 1.1.0 and 1.1.1 also indirectly nerfed Luigi: they make it even more difficult for him to punish from out of shield because of his very low traction, and they do not benefit his offense because the majority of his moveset does not have a noticeable amount of hitlag. Although these nerfs have resulted in Luigi becoming somewhat less effective than he was during the initial release of SSB4, his viability has remained largely intact.
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 then considered the best character in the game, due to multiple high-profile cases of a Luigi player 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 dropped Diddy Kong following his nerfs in updates 1.0.6 and 1.0.8 moved on to Luigi.
However, Luigi's perception underwent a noticeable drop after update 1.1.1 brought about changes to shield mechanics that made it harder for him to punish out of shield, and nerfed his down throw to the point of heavily altering his powerful guaranteed follow-ups and removing his down throw's guaranteed KO set-ups. Despite this, Luigi's down throw retained its ability to perform combos even up to high percentages. When coupled with his impressive performances up to update 1.1.1, he was ranked 16th on the first tier list, his best ranking in the series at the time.
Although Luigi's combo remained largely potent, many players who mained him dropped him in favor of other characters because of the intensity of his nerfs from update 1.1.1. This, in turn, 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 was ranked 29th, resulting in him going from being the third highest ranked mid-tier character to the middle of the mid-tier, and being roughly tied with his placement in Melee. While respectable, Luigi's placement was nevertheless a considerable downturn, as his drop was tied with Wario's for the second largest between the first and second tier lists.
However, Luigi's consistently strong results in some regions resulted in him rising to 26th on the third and current tier list. Incidentally, this placement is roughly similar to where he was viewed as being in accordance to popular opinion during the very early months of SSB4's lifespan. This would continue to last until Elegant notably got 2nd at GameTyrant_Expo_2017 while exclusively using Luigi. A performance like this was unspoken of for Luigi after the nerfs he received and many people are once again debating if Luigi should once again gain his former status as a top tier due to this.
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