Mario (マリオ, Mario) is a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, who also appears in Super Smash Bros. Melee and the original Super Smash Bros. He is the icon of Nintendo and the Mario series. Charles Martinet reprises his role as Mario, now providing new voice clips, sounding more akin to his appearances from Super Mario Galaxy onwards.
Mario is ranked 31st out of 38 on the current tier list, the top position of F tier. This is a vast drop from his previous placement in Melee, where he was ranked 15th out of 26, and his worst placement in the series to date. Mario possesses fast, low lag attacks throughout his moveset, as well as strong comboing capabilities, with his up tilt and up aerial being especially good jugglers on their own that can set up additional attacks well. Additionally, Mario possesses a notable gimping and disrupting tool in his Cape, an effective projectile in his Fireball, and even an effective out of shield option in his Super Jump Punch. However, his inherited problems from his Melee incarnation have been further exacerbated. Mainly, he has poor reach with nearly every attack, giving him problems dealing with characters who have disjointed hitboxes (such as Marth) and is easily gimped due to his predictable and short recovery. Mario also still possesses poor KO potential: He only has a few mediocre finishers (all being smash attacks), while his back aerial has below average power, only KOing at very high percents, and his forward aerial, despite being a meteor smash, is slow and too weak for KOing unless sweetspotted. As a result, he has no other effective finishers outside of his forward and up smashes, which combined with the existence of stale-move negation, makes it difficult for him to score a KO, forcing him to not overrely on his forward and up smashes and keeping them fresh to take the stock. Lastly, his rather standard abilities are outshined by the abilities of most characters. This has resulted in poor matchups beyond low tier, and terrible tournament results. However, on the Japanese tier list, Mario is ranked 25th out of 36 in the top of D tier, where he is considered to be a mid tier character rather than a low tier.
Mario is considered a beginner character that people can learn with. This is due to him having no major size or speed flaws and is considered to be rounded in traits. Despite being an average-sized middleweight, Mario is one of those characters who King Dedede can infinitely chain grab without a wall, which is a significant problem at high-level play. Mario's biggest flaw is not a lack of KO moves, but rather in landing them. As mentioned above, although he has a number of powerful KO moves in his arsenal it can be difficult to land them. For example, his forward aerial is a meteor smash if sweetspotted, which helps him edgeguard, but it is not very reliable unless sourspotted, and it can be difficult to sourspot. His back throw, while one of the strongest throws in the game, requires grabbing the opponent, and Mario has a very short grab range. His side special, the Cape, allows him to turn enemies around and reflect projectiles. The cape also propels him forward a little when used in the air. Additionally, the cape reverses momentum and can be used to Cape Glide which greatly enhances his edgeguarding capabilities. His neutral special, the Fireball, is spammable and helps him control the enemy's approach, it can also be used to hinder some characters offstage. His down special, F.L.U.D.D., has to be charged up and deals no damage but pushes enemies back similar to Squirtle's Water Gun (but notably less powerful) and can also be used as an effective edge-guarding move on recoveries like Link's Spin Attack. This can make it difficult to recover for some characters, while for others, it is a mere hindrance. Also, it takes a long time to charge, meaning Mario must wait a good amount of time before it is effective, although it can be saved by shielding and rolling. Excluding F.L.U.D.D. and Fireball, Mario does not have many long ranged attacks. For his recovery, he can wall jump and use his Cape, along with his Super Jump Punch. Super Jump Punch, however, is a relatively poor recovery move in general and is easily edge-guarded due to its predictable trajectory, though it can be used as a decent out-of-shield option. F.L.U.D.D. can also be used to push him back horizontally. His smash attacks are quick, so he can execute them with little start-up lag without much fear of retaliation. He is also known for being a good juggler thanks to possessing quick attacks that can follow up decently.
Changes from Super Smash Bros. Melee
Mario has received a mix of nerfs and buffs from Melee to Brawl, but his buffs are flooded over by his more pronounced flaws from his previous incarnation, and the changes to Brawl's mechanics hinder Mario more than they help him. As a result, he was heavily nerfed overall. The removal of wavedashing hinders Mario's mobility and grounded approach, while the introduction of hitstun canceling limits Mario's combo game, and his up and down throws cannot chaingrab anymore because of that. His already mediocre KO power was reduced even further, almost completely removing his back throw's KO potential and his back aerial is still weak for its type, KOing opponents onstage only at very high percentages, forcing him to overuse his forward and up smashes to secure a KO, with the former being slower, and his smash attacks in general are less useful overall, with forward smash's sweetspot being weaker and is now outprioritized by a stronger sourspot while up smash and the front hit of down smash also deal less damage and knockback.
In competitive play
Mario has a very poor matchup spread, especially beyond low tier. He counters one character, Ganondorf, soft counters three characters and has seven even matchups, but is soft countered by sixteen other characters, countered by five and hard countered by four. The lack of real strengths outside of his fast attacks puts him at a disadvantage against most of the cast, with his combo game possessing less use due to the introduction hitstun canceling, which combined with his struggle in landing his KO moves, limit his offensive game and approach. Characters like Marth or Meta Knight can easily edgeguard him and exploit his poor range. To make things worse, all of his matchups he does well against are all considered non-viable.
Tier placement and history
Since the very beginning of Brawl competitive play, Mario has always been viewed by serious players as a low-tier, nonviable character; as such, he never enjoyed a period of positive competitive prospects. Although Mario's attributes were not significantly nerfed from Melee (where he is considered a relatively viable mid-tiered character), professionals quickly noticed that his comparatively standard abilities around the board could not keep up with the newer and better competition. These traits kept Mario far from being viable, even in the earlier, underdeveloped metagame of Brawl; as such, despite his still strong attacks and low learning curve, his apex of potential for most players reached nowhere compared to that of many other characters ranked higher than him. As the metagame for other characters developed, Mario never had any competitive breakthroughs or significant advancements in general, steadily driving him further and further down the tier list.
Ever since Brawl’s metagame stagnating, Mario has been consistently stuck in 31st place. It is unlikely that Mario's competitive viability will ever improve in Brawl, due to his usage stemming from very few players ever maining Mario and even fewer playing him at a high level (a trend that has proven), resulting in very low representation in standard tournaments. Despite this, Mario is a relatively common character at low tier tournaments; players can easily pick him up due to his low learning curve and play him to a reasonably competitive degree. Along with this, Mario performs reasonably well against other low tier characters, including a few positive matchups against those who are lower-tiered than him. While this cannot make Mario rise any higher, as he fares poorly against a majority of the cast ranked above him, it prevents him from possibly dropping any lower on the tier list.
Role in The Subspace Emissary
Mario is the main protagonist and the leader of the army of the heroes in The Subspace Emissary, and he is the first character to be formally introduced. In the beginning, trophies of Mario and Kirby are thrown into the Midair Stadium, where they come to life and have a friendly fight (a reference to the introduction in the first game of the series, where Mario and Kirby prepare to fight each other towards the end). The player chooses the one they want to play as, where the character not chosen is the opponent. After the battle between the two, the winner revives the loser, they shake hands, and wave to the crowd. Suddenly, ominous red clouds appear above the stadium, and the Halberd emerges from them. It releases Shadow Bugs which form into Primids. Peach and Zelda, who were watching the match, come to help, and after defeating all of the enemies, they are all confronted by the Ancient Minister. After seeing two R.O.B.s setting up a Subspace Bomb, Mario runs to try and stop it, only to be blasted out of the stadium and Star KO'd by a cannonball apparently fired by Petey Piranha. During his descent from Skyworld, Pit finds Mario's trophy and revives him. Once Mario recounts what happened, the two proceeded on their journey. When they reach the ground, they fight Primids across the Plain and attempt to stop the Ancient Minister from delivering another Subspace Bomb. Mario attempts to reach the Minister, but falls short; Pit also tries to get him by using a Footstool Jump on Mario, but he also fails. They then continue on their quest.
At the shore, Kirby chases after a menacing noise he heard, unaccompanied by Peach. The abandoned princess is turned into a trophy by Bowser's Dark Cannon. A false character of Bowser appears and dissolves, engulfing Peach's trophy. Brought to life is a cloned Peach which tries to fire a Dark Cannon at Mario and Pit. Luckily, Link destroys the gun using his Master Sword, and fights the princess with Yoshi. Mario notices them standing by Peach's trophy, which disintegrates. Enraged, thinking that it is the real Peach, Mario attempts to attack Link, but he dodges the attack. Link, Yoshi, Mario, and Pit get into a two-on-two fight. Afterward, King Dedede's cargo, stolen from Wario and already loaded with the trophies of Zelda, Ness, and Luigi (the former of which is noticed by Link), grabs Mario and Pit's trophies with its mechanical arm. Fortunately, Kirby appears from behind and severs the arm with Final Cutter while reviving Mario and Pit; Kirby had realized that the noise he heard was Dedede hijacking the cargo from Wario. King Dedede turns around and tries to get away, but Pit blows the cargo's tire with Palutena's Arrow.
The five follow Dedede across some plains and follow him into the Cave, where they see Dedede's castle in ruins from an ambush by Bowser. They pursue Bowser through a hole in the castle wall. Mario and the others then confront Bowser at a cliff. Mario jumps at Bowser, but Bowser uses Zelda's trophy as a shield, forcing him to miss. Pit fires an arrow; Bowser, while sidestepping to dodge the arrow, drops the Dedede Brooch attached to Zelda's arm. He loses footing and falls off the cliff into the Koopa Clown Car with the trophy of Zelda, where he laughs maniacally as he flies up to the Halberd.
At the shore, Kirby chases after a menacing noise he heard, unaccompanied by Zelda. The abandoned princess is turned into a trophy by Bowser's Dark Cannon. A false character of Bowser appears and dissolves, engulfing Zelda's trophy. Brought to life is a cloned Zelda which tries to fire a Dark Cannon at Link and Yoshi. Luckily, Pit destroys the gun with his Palutena's Bow and fights the princess with Mario. Link notices them standing by Zelda's trophy, which disintegrates. Enraged, thinking it is the real Zelda, Link attempts to attack Mario, but he dodges the attack. Link, Yoshi, Mario, and Pit get into a two-on-two fight. Afterward, King Dedede's cargo, stolen from Wario and already loaded with the trophies of Peach, Ness, and Luigi (the former of which is noticed by Mario), grabs Link and Yoshi's trophies with its mechanical arm. Fortunately, Kirby appears from behind and severs the arm with Final Cutter while reviving Link and Yoshi. King Dedede turns around and tries to get away, but Link blows the cargo's tire with his Hero's Bow.
The five follow Dedede across some plains and follow him into the Cave, where they see Dedede's castle in ruins from an ambush by Bowser. They pursue Bowser through a hole in the castle wall. Mario and the others then confront Bowser at a cliff. Mario jumps at Bowser, but Bowser uses Peach's trophy as a shield, forcing him to miss. Pit fires an arrow; Bowser, while sidestepping to dodge the arrow, drops the Dedede Brooch attached to Peach's chest. He loses footing and falls off the cliff into the Koopa Clown Car with the trophy of Peach, where he laughs maniacally as he flies up to the Halberd.
They later catch up to the Ancient Minister in a desert, and after failing to stop a Subspace Bomb from detonating, barely escape the blast. Mario then leads his team at the Canyon, saving Marth, Ike, Lucas, Pokémon Trainer and Ice Climbers from a horde of Primids. The ten of them camp out for a while, until Mario spots an enormous explosion of Subspace Bombs from the Isle of the Ancients. Shortly afterward the Halberd lands, which has been retaken by Meta Knight, Lucario, Snake, Peach, Zelda, Fox, Falco, and Mr. Game & Watch. Next to it is the Falcon Flyer, containing Samus, Pikachu, Olimar, Captain Falcon, Diddy Kong, Donkey Kong, and R.O.B..
Mario and company destroy the Subspace Gunship, enter Subspace itself and eventually reach Tabuu. Unfortunately, Tabuu turns all of the fighters into trophies using his Off Waves. Mario is later resurrected by King Dedede, Ness, and Luigi and helps the other heroes through the Great Maze. In Tabuu's Residence, Tabuu poises to unleash more Off Waves. However, Sonic appears and impedes this by damaging his wings. Mario joins the battle against Tabuu, eventually defeating him and ending the Subspace invasion.
Since Mario's primary attacks are kicks, Leg stickers have the widest effect, with Arm attacks as a secondary. Using a Head sticker will usually only affect Mario's up smash (since pummels cannot be used against most enemies), while a Flame one will affect both his Fireball and his forward smash's sweetspot. The Mario Tornado is considered a Spin attack, but as it's Mario's only Spin attack, using a Spin sticker will not have a very large effect. This also applies with Weapon stickers and his Cape.
The following stickers can either only be used by Mario, or can only be used by a select few, including Mario:
In Event Matches