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 short middleweight with relatively balanced attributes, possessing above average walking speed, air acceleration, dashing speed and weight, whereas his falling speed and gravity are below average relative to the cast. He also has a very fast air speed (tied with Sonic, Donkey Kong, Little Mac and Inkling for the 12th fastest in the game) and excellent jumps, but in exchange has poor attack range and moderately low traction. His moveset in general is also of average power. 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 him a great neutral game. As a result, despite his attributes implying a jack-of-all-trades type of character, Mario is somewhat 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, except for his aforementioned forward aerial). 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 decent KOing options, as they can reliably KO at high percentages and have low ending lag; his forward smash has a powerful sweetspot located on the fiery explosion that he emits from his palm and possesses the highest power of all of his smash attacks, 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 slight disjoint due to the intangibility it grants 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 or set up combos. 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 and being an extremely effective KO option offstage.
His special moveset is highly varied and has plenty of uses. Fireball is a projectile with a decently long range. It can be useful in the neutral game or in edgeguarding, thanks to its disruptive knockback and downward trajectory, and is very useful for disrupting 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. 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 Samus. 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 is fairly quick. His forward throw sends the opponent at a disadvantageous position, where Mario can capitalize on their mistakes. His up throw is a useful combo starter at lower percentages, comboing into his up, down, and back aerials. His back throw is by far his strongest throw and one of the strongest of its type in the game as well, as it can reliably KO at around 160% near the ledge on any character, and even earlier with rage, is capable of killing at 107% in said situations. Finally, his down throw is a great combo starter that can lead a vast amount of combo opportunities, most notably his up and forward aerials.
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 to mid 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. His attributes, while well-rounded, are not exactly exceptional, as many characters outclass him in various ways. Notable examples of this include Pikachu having a more versatile edgeguarding game, Luigi having better comboing abilities, Hero having a superior camping game, Sonic having substantially faster mobility, Bowser having significantly stronger attacks, Snake having a much more effective recovery, and Shulk having drastically larger reach. In particular, the last one is his main weakness: his attacks generally possess unimpressive range.
His lack of reach prevents him from fighting at a safe distance and consistently forces Mario to approach characters on his own. This leads to having some difficulty against characters with large or disjointed range, particularly weapon users like Link and Byleth. As such, he will need to rely on close-quarters combat in order to fight decently against characters with disjoints. While back air is Mario's most effective spacing tool, it too suffers from a mediocre range that limits its utility against disjointed attacks.
Mario can also have some difficulty in KOing, as he has few strong and reliable finishers and has difficulty in landing them, further compounded by his short reach, which limits his options, and a notable lack of KO confirms: outside of forward smash and up smash, none of his other moves are very reliable and consistently effective for KOing: his down smash can KO reliably only with its back hit and is unsafe on shield, while his aerials and Super Jump Punch can only KO at very high percentages or close to the blast zones, and while his back throw is strong, is very slow and easy to DI, and forward aerial is slow and must be sweetspotted (mid hit) in order to meteor smash, while the early hit and late hit (first and last active frame, respectively) have too much ending lag to be used as a combo extender while still being unreliable for KOing due to their rather low knockback. Because of this, Mario tends to rely too much on his forward and up smashes or reads to score a KO, and his inconsistent KO ability is further worsened by the changes to rage, which hinders him more than other characters, as it doesn't increase knockback as much as in SSB4, and since it no longer affects set knockback, he can't use his Super Jump Punch as a KO confirm at low percents anymore if he has high rage, similarly to Samus's Screw Attack. Because of this, he must keep his forward and up smashes fresh and be careful to not get predictable especially with the existence of stale-move negation. While his forward and up smashes are considered among the best of their type, they have their flaws too: the former has a sourspot located on Mario's arm, which, while very difficult to hit with, it outprioritizes the sweetspot and has rather mediocre power, while the latter has poor range in front of him, and thus it can have trouble in hitting small or crouching characters.
While his Fireball is useful in the neutral game for stopping approaches and is a decent edgeguarding tool, it's relatively weak for spacing and has noticeable ending lag, making it rather situational in comparison to other projectiles. Lastly, despite being known for his jumping ability (hence his original 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 fast and relatively safe, travels a merely average amount of vertical and horizontal distance. This means that if Mario is knocked off stage without his double jump, he is extremely vulnerable to edgeguarding, and one hit could be all it takes to kill him. This also leaves Mario very vulnerable to semi-spikes, as they will likely launch him too far to recover at high percentages. Aside from Super Jump Punch, Mario has no other recovery options aside from utilizing Cape's momentum stalling as a mix-up. Nevertheless, Super Jump Punch still offers a serviceable amount of recovery ability and can get the job done, should it be used properly.
Overall, Mario has many clear strengths and very few glaring weaknesses, resulting in said strengths outweighing said weaknesses. All in all, his above average mobility and largely reliable combo ability allows him to get the edge easily against most characters, as it is hard to escape from his wrath once he gets the advantage, while it is also easy for him to escape from his opponents’ wrath and regain the advantage. However, because of his low range, Mario must almost always fight in close quarters, and he often relies on reads to secure KOs. Mario has to be very careful off-stage as well in spite of his respectable edgeguarding game, as one exploit of his defenses can cause him to be unable to recover. Throughout the course of Ultimate's metagame, Mario has seen amazing results from players like Dark Wizzy, Prodigy, ANTi, MastaMario, Lui$, Teb and others, and as a result, he’s widely agreed to be viable.
Changes from Super Smash Bros. 4
Mario has undergone a mixture of buffs and nerfs in his transition to Ultimate, but despite being overall directly nerfed, the indirect changes to the game's engine drastically benefit his playstyle, plus the helpful buffs to his underwhelming moves causes him to be in a similar position overall.
Mario has received a few direct noteworthy buffs. Fireball has reduced endlag, a slightly larger hitbox, and inflicts more hitlag on opponents, greatly 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. As a result of his buffed specials, Mario's approach and already oppressive edgeguarding ability have been improved. 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. Forward smash also deals consistent damage across all angles, and when angled up or down, has increased knockback scaling, slightly improving its already-impressive KO potential even further.
Mario also benefits heavily from the changes to Ultimate's mechanics. His already strong set of aerials has been improved even further as a result of the universal reduction to landing lag; this not only makes them safer on shield despite the reduced shieldstun on aerial attacks, but it allows for more reliable combos and even devastating KO setups, such as up aerial into forward aerial. This is complemented by the universal 3-frame jumpsquat, with his up throw in particular becoming a much more effective combo starter as well. The universal increase to mobility further improves Mario's approach and allows him to string attacks together more effectively and close in on opponents more effectively. Lastly, the changes to air dodging further improve his excellent edgeguarding ability, and give him a situational recovery alternative to his predictable Super Jump Punch.
However, Mario has also received noteworthy nerfs. A notable detriment to his toolkit is the universal nerfing of grabs; while his throws' excellent utility and his potentially devastating throw combos from SSB4 remain, the increased startup on his dash and pivot grabs, the increased ending lag of all of his grabs and the reduced range on his dash grab make it harder for Mario to make use of his bountiful grab game. Furthermore, his neutral game, while still solid, has been toned down due to changes to some of his best moves in neutral. For example, his up tilt, one of his most pivotal moves, has had altered hitbox placements with much shorter horizontal range, which significantly hinders its use as a reliable follow-up from his down throw at any percent against most characters, worsening both their combo potential and Mario's punish ability, as this was considered his most effective damage racking option, although this is partially compensated by up throw's improved combo potential at low percents. His dash attack can also no longer serve as a powerful 2 frame punish that leads into a stage spike, due to its late hit's angle being altered to send opponents away from Mario rather than towards him, the new animation gives him less protection overall and his forward tilt has lost its locking potential. On top of this, Super Jump Punch takes longer to grab edges, to the point of causing Mario to land on the stage and become much more vulnerable if he doesn't use it at a far enough distance, and due of the changes to rage, it is much less effective for taking out stocks off the upper blast line below high percents. In combination with the changes to air dodging, this acts as a double-edged sword for Mario, becoming more vulnerable to edgeguarding himself just as he can edgeguard opponents more effectively.
Overall, Mario retains all of his strengths from SSB4: his extreme combo ability, impressive frame data, serviceable recovery with a high jump height and air speed, and excellent edgeguarding ability. 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, which results in a slightly higher learning curve. So far, Mario has earned a competitive presence that is just as strong as in SSB4, with increasingly strong results by notable players such as Dark Wizzy, Prodigy, Zenyou, MastaMario, ANTi, Teb, and Lui$, and many notable players all place him as an upper high tier or even top tier character as in the previous game, though this is largely up for debate as many characters ranked lower than Mario in SSB4 have also received more drastic improvements than him, such as Greninja, Mega Man, Pikachu, Palutena, Roy, R.O.B., and Wario, so he is considered about the same as the previous game. Regardless, Mario is one of the few SSB4 top-tier characters alongside Fox, Zero Suit Samus, Sonic and Cloud who continues to earn great representation and has been placing consistently well at tournaments overall.
Throws and other attacks
Mario has been buffed overall via game updates. Dash attack's launch angle has been lowered, improving its ability to set up edgeguards. His Final Smash has also seen some slight buffs as well. Although Fireball was affected by the near-universal nerf of projectiles' shield damage outputs, this has a very minimal effect on Mario's competitive viability.
For a gallery of Mario's hitboxes, see here.
Note: All numbers are listed as base damage, without the 1v1 multiplier.
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 many top professionals, such as Dark Wizzy, Prodigy, MastaMario, Zenyou, Lui$, and Zackray. Dark Wizzy, in particular, has consistently placed in Top 8 at many large national tournaments at a streak, including Shine 2019, Glitch 7, Let's Make Big Moves, Glitch 8, and GENESIS 7. Also Prodigy has recently upset MkLeo at Frostbite 2020 in a 3-0 fashion, nearly triple two-stocking him. This caused a significantly better reception among professionals, with Mario considered a high-tier character. Due to his better reception, Mario’s nerfs did not affect him in the long run and were not 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. His matchup spread is also great, with doing well against meta-relevant characters like Pikachu, R.O.B., Pac-Man, Inkling, Fox, Wolf, and Wario. He has seen to grow more success overtime, which has resulted in most professionals calling him an upper high tier or even top tier character, with some going as far as calling him top 10.
Any number following the Smasher name indicates placement on the Fall 2019 PGRU, which recognizes the official top 50 players in the world in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate from July 13th, 2019 to December 15th, 2019.
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". In this case, Mario's route emulates the idea of him traveling to different lands and meeting their local denizens, as in Odyssey.
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 Spirit can be obtained by completing Classic Mode. It is 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 a Fighter Spirit, it cannot be used in Spirit Battles and is purely aesthetic. His Builder and Wedding outfits have Fighter Spirits of their own, available through the shop, and in the Wedding outfit's case, can be obtained by scanning the Wedding Mario amiibo or by completing a challenge (Games & More: As Luigi, play solo All-Star Smash and deal damage with a taunt 3 times). 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