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.
Like in the majority of his games and spin-offs, Mario is intended to be 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. 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 repurposed into a fairly 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. 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 decent, 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 Pichu having better comboing ability, Simon having a more effective projectile game, Captain Falcon having greater mobility, Ganondorf having higher attack power right off the bat and Ike having larger reach. In particular, the latter two are his main weaknesses: his KOing ability is largely inconsistent, with very few guaranteed KO set-ups, and all of them being hard to confirm. While much of his moveset can get the job done, there is a noticeable gap in power between his strongest moves and his other ones, with this meaning he'll usually have to rely on his sweetspotted forward smash, up smash, down smash's back hit, or back throw to score kills, which are all further compounded by the poor reach of his attacks. As such, he cannot afford to get predictable, especially with the existence of stale-move negation. His lack of reach also prevents him from fighting at a safe distance and consistently forces Mario to approach characters. This leads into having some difficulty against characters with large or disjointed reach.
Lastly, his recovery is rather limited. He has a fast air speed, a high jump, and a very fast and safe up special in Super Jump Punch. However, Super Jump Punch does not travel a very long distance and is fairly linear, making it easy to predict. His other options also are unreliable, as Cape and F.L.U.D.D. each travel very little momentum and are extremely easy to edgeguard, F.L.U.D.D. being useful only to substitute for his air speed, and Cape only to guard break edgeguarders or wait them out. This necessitates that Mario returns to the stage quickly, as a single opening offstage may be fatal for him. Nevertheless, Mario's recovery provides serviceable distance, but caution must be exercised when offstage.
Overall, Mario has many clear strengths, and very few glaring weaknesses. 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.
Changes from Super Smash Bros. 4
Comparatively to other fighters, Mario has received very few major direct changes in his transition from SSB4 to Ultimate, possibly less than any other fighter. However, changes and overhauls to pre-established mechanics from SSB4 to Ultimate have impacted Mario to a higher degree, resulting in a mix of buffs and nerfs 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 endlag 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 percents. 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 run 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 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.
Lastly, Mario has received a few direct noteworthy buffs as well. His forward tilt is much more effective as a spacing option due to its higher base knockback, lower ending lag, and the increased shieldstun for ground attacks besides smash attacks. Furthermore, Fireball and F.L.U.D.D. have slightly less ending lag, making them safer options at longer distances.
Overall, Mario hasn't truly been buffed or nerfed from Smash 4, as both his buffs and nerfs impact him to a similar degree. Nevertheless, he has amassed highly strong results in the early metagame of Ultimate, and is currently represented by notable players such as Prodigy, Dark Wizzy, Zenyou, MastaMario, and Super Dan. This indicates that Mario is still a viable character due to his representation, but it is unknown how strong he is compared to other fighters.
Note: All numbers are listed as base damage, without the 1v1 multiplier.
In competitive play
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 Japanese title and overall concept are also similar to Super Mario Odyssey, where Mario would travel to different kingdoms.
Credits roll after completing Classic Mode. Completing it as Mario has "Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels Medley" accompany the credits.
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.
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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