Mario (マリオ, Mario) is a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. He was suggested to appear in the then unnamed Ultimate in its first teaser trailer at the end of the March 8th, 2018 Nintendo Direct, and officially announced in Ultimate's E3 2018 trailer on June 12th, 2018 alongside the rest of the returning roster. Mario is classified as fighter #01.
Mario is a middleweight staying true to the majority a balanced character in terms of attributes, possessing average walking, dashing and falling speeds, air acceleration, gravity and weight. However, he also has high air speed and jump power in exchange for poor range. These balanced stats do not give Mario the edge when it comes to overall movement, but they nevertheless make him adept at most situations where a key attribute is needed to gain the advantage, which when combined with his very quick frame data, grants Mario a very effective neutral game. As a result, despite his attributes implying a jack-of-all-trades type of character, Mario is more of a rushdown character in practice.
Thanks to his incredibly quick attack speed, Mario shines in close-quarters combat. His fast attack speed allows him to consistently apply pressure to the opponent, and he is capable of quickly racking up damage once he gets the momentum, which is easy to do so on characters that cannot match his attack speed without getting heavily punished for it. Excluding his forward smash, forward aerial and special moves, all of Mario's moves have fast startup and low ending and landing lag (the latter in the case of his aerial attacks). All of his grounded moves are prime examples of his quick frame data: his neutral attack is his fastest move and an overall effective way to rack up damage, along with handy combo capabilities, while his up and down tilts are effective combo starters that can help rack up plenty of damage, and the former chains into itself at low percentages. All of his smash attacks are excellent KO options, as they can reliably KO at high percentages without being endlag-heavy; his forward smash has the highest power of all of his smash attacks when sweetspotted, down smash is a semi-spike, making it useful for forcing opponents offstage, and up smash is very hard to punish due to its speed, power and the fact it grants intangibility on his head.
Mario's aerial attacks are also very useful in many cases. Neutral aerial is a sex kick that can be useful in edgeguarding or for breaking combos. Back aerial has the longest reach and the highest knockback of Mario's aerial moves, allowing it to space effectively and reliably KO offstage. Up aerial's extremely quick startup, vertical launch angle and lack of sourspots let it combo into itself or other moves, on top of letting it easily break combos and setup the aforementioned. Mario Tornado, which is Mario's down aerial, is a great anti-juggling move that can also KO if used near the upper blast line. Finally, his forward aerial is a meteor smash with high base knockback for one, making it great for gimping all but the farthest-reaching of recoveries.
His special moveset is highly varied and has plenty of uses. Fireball is a projectile with decently long range. It can be useful in the neutral game or in edgeguarding, thanks to its disruptive knockback, along with very useful chances to disrupt direct approaches. Super Jump Punch travels in a controllable diagonal direction and grants moderate distance, making it good at recovery. It also has intangibility upon startup, allowing it to be used out of shield very effectively. Due to its extremely quick startup, it is also a useful combo finisher, especially near the blast line. On the other hand, Cape reverses opponents, with the induced disorientation often being enough to allow a free hit or efficiently gimp a recovery, which aids in edgeguarding opponents. It is also a powerful reflector, making it highly useful in matchups against projectile-heavy characters, such as Simon or Young Link. F.L.U.D.D. is a mechanism that shoots water, pushing opponents away, which compliments his Cape. Though situational, it can occasionally be used to give Mario some breathing space. As a result of his Cape, F.L.U.D.D. and his fast aerials, Mario also boasts a versatile edgeguarding game.
Another valuable strength of Mario is his grab game. Even though his grab reach is only average, his grabs are fairly quick, and his pummel can rack up some damage before throwing the opponent. His forward throw sends the opponent at a disadvantageous position, where Mario can capitalize on their mistakes. His up throw has been re-purposed into a very useful combo starter at lower percentages, comboing far more reliably into his up aerial or down aerial compared to the previous installment. His back throw is by far his strongest throw and can reliably KO at around 160% near the ledge on any character, and even earlier with rage, killing at 107%. Finally, his down throw is a somewhat useful combo starter, though not as useful as before due to up tilt's decreased range.
Finally, and due to the favorable angles his moves send at, his tremendously quick frame data and his extensive amount of combo starters, Mario's combo ability is fantastic, and it is also worth noting that several of Mario's moves can lock, including his neutral attack. This makes it almost always imperative for Mario's opponent to tech all attacks at low percentages when needed; otherwise, Mario can capitalize on the opportunity, and tack on unavoidable massive damage in the process.
Despite Mario's numerous strengths, he is not flawless. Mario's attacks, while well-rounded, are not particularly exceptional, and most characters are able to outperform him in various areas: notable examples include Ness having a more versatile edgeguarding game, Peach having better comboing ability, Link having a superior camping game, Zero Suit Samus having greater mobility, Bowser having higher attack power right off the bat and Shulk having drastically larger reach. In particular, the latter is his main weaknesses: His reach is very poor.
His lack of reach prevents him from fighting at a safe distance and consistently forces Mario to approach characters on his own. This leads into having some difficulty against characters with large or disjointed reach, particularly swordfighters like Shulk and Lucina. As such, he will need to rely on close-quarter combat in order to fight decently against characters with disjoints. This also means he will also need to rely on his back aerial for spacing, but that won’t be enough to space well against a swordfighter with disjoints.
While strong, Mario can have some difficulty in landing his KO moves. Comparatively to Kirby and Fox, Mario is a strong character with a hefty amount of kill moves: forward smash, up smash, down smash, forward aerial, back aerial, down aerial, Super Jump Punch, and back throw. These moves can kill, but Mario will have at least some difficulty in executing these. It’s further compounded by Mario’s poor reach, excluding forward smash and back aerial. His kill moves can have more difficulty when landing them except for its reach. For example, down aerial and Super Jump Punch will need to be effective at the upper-blast line, and Mario will need to juggle the enemy first. Back throw requires a grab, and Mario’s grab range is just average. This means Mario needs to use specific kill moves, which limits his KO power. As such, he cannot afford to get predictable, especially with the existence of stale-move negation.
Lastly, despite being known for his jumping ability, hence his nickname, Jumpman, Mario's recovery is easy to gimp and is quite predictable. Despite his fast air speed and high double jump, Super Jump Punch, while relatively safe, travels a mediocre amount of vertical and horizontal distance. This means that if Mario is knocked off stage without his double jump, he is extremely vulnerable to edge-guarding and one hit could end his stock. This also leaves Mario very vulnerable to semi-spikes, as at high percents it is actually not possible to get back on the stage if knocked far enough. To make matters worse, magnet hands were removed from the game, indicating Mario must always be in a closer distance from the ledge. Aside from Super Jump Punch, Mario has no other recovery options aside from utilizing Cape’s momentum cancel as a mix-up. Nevertheless, Super Jump Punch still offers a serviceable amount of recovery ability, and can get the job done if used properly.
Overall, Mario has many clear strengths, and very few glaring weaknesses, resulting in his strengths outweighing his cons. Despite being intended as a jack-of-all-trades character, his very quick speed overall and largely reliable combo ability allows him to get the edge easily against most characters, as it is hard to escape from him once he gets to combo the opponent, while being easy for him to escape and regain the advantage. However, because of his low range, Mario must almost always fight in close quarters. Mario has to be very careful off-stage as well in spite of his viable edgeguarding game, as a single vent in his defenses can cause him to be unable to recover. Throughout the course of Ultimate's metagame, Mario has seen promising results. Despite dropping the character in favor for another fighter, Ally has received powerful results, winning Pound 2019 while also using Snake. Other Smashers like Dark Wizzy, ANTi, Zenyou, and more have amassed impressive results.
Changes from Super Smash Bros. 4
When compared to most other fighters, Mario has received very few major direct changes in his transition from SSB4 to Ultimate, possibly the least out of any returning veteran. However, the more drastic changes he has received stem from the universal changes made to the game's engine, which has inadvertently lead to a higher learning curve in between games. As a result, Mario has undergone a mix of buffs and nerfs in his transition to Ultimate - both direct and indirect - but has been slightly nerfed overall.
One of the biggest detriments to Mario's toolkit was the universal nerfing of grabs; infamously known for his potentially devastating throw combos in SSB4, the increased ending lag of all grabs have affected Mario more negatively compared to other fighters. Furthermore, up tilt, one of his most pivotal moves previously, has had altered hitbox placements resulting in not only a range reduction, but it also significantly hinders its use as a reliable follow-up from his down throw at any percent against most characters. His dash attack can also no longer serve as a reliable 2 frame punish that leads into a stage spike, due to its late hit's angle being altered to send opponents away from Mario. On top of this, because of the changes to rage, Super Jump Punch is much less effective for taking out stocks off the upper blast line below high percents.
However, changes to Ultimate's mechanics have also benefited Mario; his already strong set of aerials has been improved even further as a result of the universal changes to the landing lag of aerials. This not only makes them safer on shield, but it also allows for more reliable combos and even devastating KO setups, such as up air into forward aerial. Mario also benefits from universal faster walking, dashing, and air speeds, since his higher mobility allows him to string attacks together more effectively and close in on opponents more effectively. Lastly, the added ability to dash-cancel with any ground attack has improved Mario's ground game further given his strong set of tilts, with up tilt and down tilt serving as reliable combo starters. The universal 3-frame jumpsquat and decreased landing lag across the cast also give him greater combo opportunities, with his up throw in particular becoming a much more effective combo starter.
Moreover, Mario has received a few direct noteworthy buffs as well. His special attacks - Fireball and F.L.U.D.D. - have improved considerably. Fireball has reduced endlag, a larger hitbox, and inflicts more hitlag on opponents, significantly improving its safety and follow-up potential. F.L.U.D.D. has reduced ending lag and a stronger pushback effect as a result of its increased set knockback, allowing Mario to disrupt and edgeguard opponents with it more effectively. A few of his standard attacks have received buffs as well; forward tilt is much more effective as a spacing option due to its higher base knockback, lower ending lag, and the increased shieldstun for tilt attacks. Additionally, his down aerial connects more reliably than before and deals increased damage and knockback, improving its damage-racking capabilities and KO potential. Lastly, forward smash now deals consistent damage across all angles, and in the case of an upwards and downwards forward smash, has increased knockback scaling, improving its already impressive KO potential even further.
Overall, Mario retains all of his strengths from SSB4: His oppressive combo ability, impressive frame data, good camping ability with his Fireballs, serviceable recovery with a high jump height and air speed, and excellent optimization. However, his playstyle is fundamentally different due to Ultimate's reworked mechanics, requiring different strategies to achieve the same level of effectiveness that his previous incarnation was capable of. This results in a slightly higher learning curve and a somewhat less potent competitive presence.
While he received a generally mediocre reception during the early metagame of Ultimate, he has achieved increasingly strong results by notable players such as Dark Wizzy, Prodigy, Zenyou, MastaMario, ANTi, and Teb, with notable placements including Dark Wizzy placing 13th at both Pound 2019 and MomoCon 2019, ANTi placing 2nd at DreamHack Dallas 2019, Teb placing 17th at 2GG: Prime Saga, and Prodigy placing 13th at both GENESIS 6 and CEO 2019 and 2nd at Crown. Due to this, Mario has earned a significantly stronger competitive reception over time; players such as ZeRo, Samsora, Dabuz, ESAM, and VoiD all place him as a solid high tier character with long-term potential, with Mew2King going as far as claiming that Mario is a top tier as in the previous game. This is largely up for debate, though, as many lower-ranked characters in Smash 4 have received more drastic improvements, such as Pikachu and Wario. Regardless, Mario is one of the few SSB4 top tier characters alongside Fox and Zero Suit Samus to consistently place well at tournaments overall, albeit with a slightly less dominating presence.
Throws and other attacks
Mario received a mix of buffs and nerfs, but he was buffed overall via game updates. His dash attack’s launch angle is lowered, which means it is essentially better for edgeguarding, further supplementing his already excellent edgeguarding that’s among the best. Though slightly nerfed from Smash 4, his already remarkable combo ability has slightly improved thanks to Cape no longer putting enemies into hitstun in ledge return vulnerability. Being considered as one of the worst final smashes in the game, Mario Finale has seen some buffs as well. Mario has only received one nerf, but it doesn’t affect his status as a viable character. The universal nerf of projectiles affects Mario possibly the least of any fighter, as Fireball wasn’t meant to destroy shields.
It is currently unknown how these changes will affect Mario, as he is still considered a high tier from most professionals.
Note: All numbers are listed as base damage, without the 1v1 multiplier.
Jumps out of a Warp Pipe punching his right fist in the air while shouting "Let's-a go!".
In competitive play
Upon the release of Ultimate, Mario was seen and regarded as simply an average mid-tiered character. This was seen through his poor range, which was impacted more in the game due to swordfighters or any other character with disjoints being reworked. Swordfighters were among the best characters in the early meta, especially Chrom, who was considered one of the best characters in the game. This caused a mediocre reception for Mario. Players also looked at his nerfs, noting that it ultimately impacted Mario in the long run. The nerf to his combo game made it seem to affect Mario, as that was his best toolkit in his arsenal.
However, Mario has grown more results from professionals below. This caused a significantly better reception among professionals, as he’s regarded as a high-tier character. Due to his better reception, Mario’s nerfs weren’t so drastic anymore, and all his great tools from Smash 4 were retained, such as his excellent combo game, fantastic frame data, good camping ability, good recovery, and great optimization. He has seen to grow more success overtime, which resulted in almost every professional calling him a solid high-tier that is viable.
Classic Mode: Let's-a Go!
In a similar fashion to the Classic Modes of past games, Mario's opponents are groups of fighters from various universes fought on a home stage from that universe. The overall concept is also similar to Super Mario Odyssey, where Mario would travel to different kingdoms; this is reflected by the Japanese title (世界をまたにかけて), which roughly translates to "Go Around the World".
Character unlock tree
Mario's Classic Mode character unlock tree includes the following characters in order:
Each character can be unlocked by clearing Mario's Classic Mode, or the Classic Mode of any preceding character, if all preceding characters have been unlocked. Once all the above characters are unlocked, clearing Classic Mode with any of them will default to Donkey Kong's character unlock tree, starting with Bowser. Furthermore, Mario's tree can also be accessed by completing another starter character's unlock tree, then clearing Classic Mode with any character within, or with any DLC character.
Role in World of Light
Mario was among the fighters that were summoned to the cliffside to fight against the army of Master Hands.
During the opening cutscene, Mario was present on the cliffside when Galeem unleashed his beams of light. Mario was then destroyed by Galeem's light attack offscreen and imprisoned alongside the rest of the fighters, with the exception of Kirby.
Mario is later seen under Galeem's imprisonment during the opening cutscene, where a puppet fighter of him is cloned from him to contain the spirit of a Smoky Progg. He is always the first character to be unlocked in this mode.
When the fighters make their last stand against Galeem and Dharkon, Mario is seen leading the charge. He is also prominently featured in both of the bad endings. If Galeem defeats Dharkon, Mario watches in trepidation as Galeem unleashes a wave of light and is ostensibly vaporized with the rest of reality. If Dharkon defeats Galeem, Mario is seen lifelessly slumping over as the world is engulfed in darkness.
Mario's Fighter Spirits can be obtained by completing Classic Mode. They are also available periodically for purchase in the shop for 300 coins. Unlocking Mario in World of Light allows the player to preview the first spirit below in the Spirit List under the name "???". As Fighter Spirits, they cannot be used in Spirit Battles and are purely aesthetic. Each Fighter Spirit has an alternate version that replaces them with their artwork in Ultimate.
Additionally, Mario makes an appearance in various Primary and Support Spirits.
In Spirit battles
As the main opponent
As a minion
Character Showcase Video
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