Luigi (ルイージ, Luigi) is an unlockable character in Super Smash Bros. Melee. Luigi is markedly similar to Mario, though his moveset and attributes (such as traction and aerial mobility) are different in many ways, making him a semi-clone.
Charles Martinet reprises his role as Luigi in Melee, albeit via Mario's voice clips from Super Mario 64, but more high-pitched.
Luigi currently ranks 13th on the tier list, in the D tier, placing him two places above his older brother Mario as well as being in the middle of the entire tier list. This is a drastic improvement from his previous ranking in the original Super Smash Bros., where he was ranked 12th out of 12 at the very bottom of the tier list. Luigi is notable for having some of the best aerials in all of Melee; they are very fast, very powerful and have very low ending and landing lag. Luigi's wavedash is the longest in the game, taking him nearly half the distance of Final Destination at a high speed (only slightly slower than Captain Falcon's dash). Luigi also has a wide array of efficient combo and KO moves both in the air and on the ground. Luigi's traction is the lowest in the game; while it gives him an excellent wavedash, it also limits some of his approaches on the ground if he's not wavedashing, as well as his out of shield options (as he often gets pushed too far away for fast follow-ups when his shield is hit). His approach options are generally poor; he struggles to approach on the ground despite his excellent movement due to his short range and lack of disjointed hitboxes, while his aerial approaches are hampered by his high short hop and slow falling speed (giving him one of the worst SHFFLs in the game) and his extremely poor aerial mobility (the worst in the game). This problem is compounded with his difficulty in forcing opponents to approach (mainly as a result of his very poor projectile). Additionally, his recovery is easy to edgeguard, being very linear and slow despite covering a large distance.
However, Luigi's pros are on par with his cons, and he is considered a decent character in competitive play, with a solid matchup spread with above average results.
How to Unlock
To unlock Luigi, the player must clear the first level of Adventure Mode with a two as the second digit of the seconds portion of the clock. (XX:X2XX). After this requirement is met, a cinematic plays when the player finishes the level, showing Luigi replacing Mario in the level to battle alongside Peach. The player must then defeat Luigi within one minute. After Adventure Mode is completed, the player will face off against Luigi.
Alternately, playing 800 versus matches will also give the opportunity to unlock Luigi.
When fought against, Luigi appears in Mushroom Kingdom II.
While Luigi may initially appear to be a clone of his older brother Mario, similar to Dr. Mario, Luigi is a semi-clone of Mario who exchanges mobility for extra power, despite the inverse being true in the Mario games. Many significant differences are present between their ground, aerial, and special attacks, and Luigi possesses several unique moves. Luigi's attributes can also wildly vary from Mario's; Luigi's air speed, dashing speed, and traction are amongst the lowest in the game, whereas Mario's are about average. Luigi's jumps are also much higher than Mario's. Luigi has the longest wavedash in the game as a result of his low traction.
Luigi's primary advantage in this regard is his impressive ground movement. Luigi's wavedash functions as his primary method of approaching and movement on the ground, allowing him to traverse large distances very quickly and with a great deal of maneuverability. Luigi can combine his excellent wavedash with a variety of powerful smash attacks to produce some of the best wavesmashes in the game. His down smash is highly versatile, acting as combo starter due to its completely vertical knockback, as a juggling move, or as a KO move at high percentages. His forward smash has extremely high knockback scaling (135; the highest in the game), making it a powerful KO move (if a risky one due to its high ending lag). His up smash has intangibility on his head and is effective at KOing on the upper blast line and on floaty opponents, in addition to outprioritizing attacks from above Luigi.
Luigi also has a variety of powerful attacks in his arsenal; all of Luigi's aerial attacks are extremely solid. His neutral aerial is extremely quick, coming out on frame 3, and has high, completely vertical knockback, making it excellent for both starting, breaking and continuing combos. His forward aerial has quick startup and high knockback (at the Sakurai angle; 45° against aerial opponents), making it a useful attack for both KOing and edgeguarding. In addition to these, Luigi's down aerial is among the most flexible attacks in the game. While it has slightly slower startup than his forward air, it launches at the same angle yet has less ending and landing lag. At lower percentages, the forward aerial has more knockback than down aerial. The upper hitbox of the d-air (near Luigi's hips) is a meteor smash, although it is difficult to land and generally more situational than the regular hit. His back aerial has good range and works well for setting up edgeguards, while his up aerial is useful for hitting opponents above him and has low knockback which allows it to combo effectively into more aerials (such as a down or neutral aerial) on floaty opponents, and also works as a somewhat situational edgeguarding tool. Luigi's up special can act as a powerful vertical finisher if sweetspotted, though it leaves Luigi in a helpless state and is very laggy; it is very punishable if the sweetspot is missed or the opponent avoids the attack (such as by shielding it). As a result, its use is often restricted to punishing very laggy moves (such as Sheik's Vanish) unless it can be edge cancelled.
Luigi's grab game is also good. Although his grab range is merely average, it is still much longer than Mario's and his aforementioned long wavedash allows Luigi to extend its reach. His throws have many varied uses. Both his down throw and up throw function as combo starters, leading into juggles with moves like up tilt, neutral air, and down smash; fast fallers such as Fox and Falco are generally more susceptible to up throw, while down throw is more suitable for floaty characters like Marth. Up throw is also a viable chain grab on fast-fallers at low percentages. His forward throw and back throws can set up a variety of edgeguards, with his back throw having sufficiently high knockback to function as a kill move at high percentages.
Luigi's strange variety of attributes, however, acts as a double-edged sword. Despite a highly effective wavedash, Luigi's movement without wavedashing is poor; while his moonwalk is decent, his dash is slow and his short initial dash animation gives him a very short dash-dance. Additionally, Luigi's projectile, Fireballs are poor; they have low hitstun, travel slowly, and have high ending lag, making them some of the more situational projectiles in the game. In addition, Luigi's air game, despite his powerful aerials, lacks much needed synergy with his stellar ground movement due to his low air speed. Furthermore, it, along with his low falling speed, leaves him highly vulnerable to juggles, as he cannot reach the ground effectively to escape them (this is one of the major factors in his poor matchup with Marth, who is capable of both starting and maintaining juggles on Luigi very effectively). A very high short hop and a low falling speed also gives Luigi among the worst SHFFLs in the game, even with his low-lag aerials. Finally, his low falling speed is what makes him vulnerable to being KOed off the top blast line (especially by characters with powerful vertical finishers, like Fox and Ganondorf).
Luigi's two primary recovery moves, Super Jump Punch and Green Missile have decent range (and Green Missile can be used repeatedly when recovering high), they are extremely linear in trajectory; Super Jump Punch does not move Luigi horizontally at all and Green Missile moves him horizontally and then causes him to fall significantly during the high ending lag. The slow and linear nature of these moves make is recovery easy to edgeguard on reaction, undermining his otherwise relatively long recovery. His Super Jump Punch also makes for one of the poorest meteor cancels in the game. He can also recover using the Luigi Cyclone, which gives vertical and horizontal distance. However, the Cyclone needs to be "charged" before it allows Luigi to rise while using it. The move becomes charged when it is completed or is interrupted while Luigi is touching the ground; the charge will be lost if the move finishes while Luigi is not touching the ground. If the charged Cyclone is interrupted in the air it remains charged. Sometimes Luigi begins with the flying cyclone "charged" and sometimes it needs to be charged before use. This is determined by a combination of stage choice, character choice of your opponent, and having lower port priority than your opponent. Also the flying cyclone can be performed from the ground; if Luigi is doing his teeter animation at the edge of a platform he can execute a flying cyclone from that position. This cyclone has different properties for input than a standard flying Cyclone, as it seems to have a similar difficulty level to Mario's flying Tornado. If this rising cyclone is executed from the ground then it must be charged before executing another aerial cyclone unless the one from ground lands on a platform. Additionally, if the cyclone is executed on the ground, other than from a teetering animation, pressing B again will cause Luigi to do a small hop off the ground while still doing the cyclone animation. It also requires intense button mashing to rise; many Luigi players must hold the controller in a different way to normal (such as balancing it on their leg) to be able to press the B button fast enough to utilize the Cyclone as an effective recovery move.
The Fireball is also a potent recovery tool. When knocked off the stage into the range at which Green Missile is effective for grabbing the ledge, Luigi can double jump and aim a fireball at the stage. This will allow him to safely reach the ledge with Super Jump Punch. Depending on which edgeguarding option the opponent uses, there are many different options for aiming the fireball. Aiming at the opponents shield stalls their timing due to shield stun. If they attempt an edgeguard with an aerial or ground based physical attack it is guaranteed to beat the fireball if it does more than 15% damage. Aiming at the corner of the stage will disrupt an opponent who has taken the ledge or is stalling near the stage attempting a gimp. This option greatly enhances Luigi's recovery, but it is still very situational as the opponent can simply avoid, absorb, or deflect the projectile, which may sometimes result in a gimped recovery in the lattermost case.
Luigi also suffers from being a character that requires a somewhat large amount of technical skill and relies heavily on situational attacks; a majority of Luigi's attacks have to timed properly with a wavedash to be at their most effective. Additionally, Luigi is over-reliant on wavedashing; a highly effective Luigi player must have perfect control over his wavedash distance. Using a long wavedash does him little good for offensive purposes up close, and a short wavedash hampers safe retreat. Furthermore, the frequency with which a Luigi player needs to wavedash can increase the number of errors involving jumping or airdodging compared to other characters, which increases the number of opportunities for the opponent to punish. Despite his mobility, Luigi has lacks many particularly safe approaches on the ground, and his aerial approaches are very poor, which generally leaves him vulnerable to characters with good zoning ability.
Changes from Super Smash Bros.
Given that Luigi was considered to be the worst character in Smash 64 being ranked at the lowest position on the latest tier list at 12th, Luigi was significantly buffed from his transition from Smash 64 to Melee. Luigi greatly benefits from Melee's new mechanics most notably wavedashing. Wavedashing immensely improves Luigi's otherwise poor grounded mobility and it now gives his low traction an advantage rather than it only being a huge detriment. Luigi also benefits from the inclusion of up and down throws as it gives him a powerful chaingrabbing game. A wide variety of his moves have also seen improvements to their speed and some moves such as down smash and neutral aerial have gained combo potential.
However, Luigi has also seen some significant nerfs. Despite gaining some new KO options, many of Luigi's attacks have reduced KO potential including his up smash, back throw and Luigi Cyclone (which is also slower). His recovery is also worse. While his new side special Green Missile grants him an extra recovery option, it is very slow and predictable and it can easily be challenged most of the time. Luigi Cyclone grants less height and it now needs to be charged on the ground before it can be used in the air for recovery purposes and Super Jump Punch covers much less distance especially horizontally. In addition, Super Jump Punch is both slower and much weaker especially the aerial version and it is a lot more difficult to combo into. Despite gaining new combo options, he has also lost one of his most valuable combo options in the form of his up aerial which now has increased startup lag, a worse auto-cancel window and it no longer sends opponents vertically significantly hindering its combo and juggling potential (no longer leading into Super Jump Punch) although it now has less ending lag and higher edgeguarding potential.
Overall, while Luigi's direct changes do not significantly buff him, the changes to the game's mechanics (mainly the inclusion of wavedashing) have immensely helped him pushing him into the mid tiers. It also helps that his damage output and auto-cancel ability are greater relative to the cast making him shine in those areas more than he did in Smash 64.
For a gallery of Luigi's hitboxes, see here.
In Competitive play
Luigi's matchup spread is above average. He soft counters 6 characters, counters 6, has 3 even matchups, is countered by the top 5 characters and is soft-countered by 5. Luigi does well against characters who lack options to challenge his amazing air game or punish him due to his fast attacks, or are vulnerable to his combos. He also does well against the Ice Climbers because he can separate Popo and Nana easily and his wavedash make him harder to grab, although he can be chaingrabbed. However, his poor mobility outside of wavedashing and subpar range puts him in disadvantage against projectile users like Samus or disjointed characters like Marth, while Marth himself, Sheik and Jigglypuff can edgeguard him easily due to his linear recovery. Overall, Luigi has decent matchups and is considered viable in competitive play, although he has troubles against most of the top and high tiers.
Tier placement and history
Luigi was once ranked quite high on the tier list, hovering around positions 6 to 9 for about the first year of Melee's metagame. He then saw a large drop to 12th, which can be attributed to his low traction leading to slippery movement, predictable recovery, and short reach, which many players of top tier characters began adapting to and countering in their own metagames, resulting in worse matchups for Luigi; he was also seen as outclassed by both Dr. Mario and Mario, who either had more power or a less risky combo game, respectively. He then fell to the top of low tier for many years to come. However, with excellent performances by dedicated professionals such as Eddy Mexico and Abate showing Luigi's extremely quick mobility and approach with the wavedash and waveland, as well as his great aerial game and KO power despite his poor reach, opinions of Luigi began to change. In recent tournaments such as EVO 2013 and The Big House 5, Luigi players have placed relatively high with lacking similar performances by Mario, resulting in Luigi pulling ahead back into the middle tier, two spots above Mario in 13th place. Today, Luigi is still a solid middle tier character who has a relatively small, but strong, player base, and he makes decent impressions in large tournaments.
In Classic Mode, Luigi can appear as an ordinary opponent, an ally in team and giant battles, alongside Dr. Mario, Link, or Yoshi in a team, a giant opponent, the sole member of a multi-character battle, or a metal character. In all appearances, he either appears on Mushroom Kingdom or Mushroom Kingdom II with the exception of the metal battle and when on a team with Yoshi, where he will fight the player on Battlefield or Yoshi's Story, respectively.
Luigi can appear in the Adventure Mode if the player finishes the first stage, Mushroom Kingdom, with the number two anywhere in the seconds meter (ex. 3:42:35) , a cutscene will occur which will show Luigi taking Mario's place in the upcoming battle (unusually, it does not count if there is a two in the tens column, but not the ones column: ex. 3.25:35 will not count). The player will then have to battle a team of Luigi and Peach. Of note is that Luigi can appear in the Adventure Mode without being unlocked; encountering him in the Adventure Mode prior to unlocking him is actually one of two criteria the player can meet to unlock him.
Luigi and his allies are fought on Mushroom Kingdom.
Luigi is featured in the following event matches:
In addition to the normal trophy about Luigi as a character, there are two trophies about him as a fighter, unlocked by completing both Adventure and All-Star modes respectively with Luigi on any difficulty: