Mega Man (SSB4)
Mega Man (ロックマン, Rockman) is a newcomer in Super Smash Bros. 4. He was announced at Nintendo's E3 2013 Direct Conference presentation for the game, becoming the first-revealed of the six third-party characters in the game along with SEGA's Sonic and Bayonetta, Bandai Namco's Pac-Man, fellow Capcom character Ryu, and Square Enix's Cloud. He does not widely use hand-to-hand combat, instead relying on the large arsenal of ranged weaponry he has amassed by defeating boss characters in his own games. His sound effects are reused from the vast number of retro Mega Man games he has appeared in.
Mega Man currently ranks 15th on the SSB4 tier list, in B tier and in upper high tier. Mega Man's most prevalent advantage is that he has among the best projectile games in Smash 4, with his wide array of projectiles being able to keep opponents away. He excels in pressuring as a result, with his Crash Bomber able to pressure shields easily. This is made more effective once combined with Mega Man's grab game; his grabs are among the fastest in the game, with his down throw being a decent combo starter while his back throw is a decent option for racking up damage and KOing after 155%.
His overall endurance is also above average, being the heaviest mediumweight (alongside Shulk) with high falling speed; this allows him to take many vertical hits before being KOed, while also having a strong, long-distance recovery move in Rush Coil which does not leave him helpless, along with the unique ability to be able to use his recovery again should he be reversed by characters like Mario. He also excels in racking up damage, with his dash attack, up smash, up aerial, back aerial and back throw being useful for inflicting high amounts of damage. Mega Man also boasts a surprising amount of raw power, as many of his attacks are among the strongest of their kind: he has the second strongest up tilt and third strongest down smash. Finally, Mega Man is tied for the highest air acceleration and possesses the highest air friction in the game, which grants him extremely fluid control in the air (including the ability to zig-zag while jumping).
Despite these advantages, Mega Man is not without flaws. His grounded mobility is comparatively low, with his dashing speed in particular being the 13th-slowest in the game. This leaves Mega Man at a disadvantage against characters with better mobility such as Sheik and Fox. Mega Man's melee attacks also have short range overall despite their extensive utility, causing him to struggle up close against characters with long and/or disjointed range like Marth, Link, Shulk, and the high ending lag on his attacks puts more stress on this flaw. Mega Man's above average weight and falling speed also works against him in that it causes him to be an easy target for combos and juggles. Ironically, Mega Man's strong, projectile-heavy playstyle also serves as his most obvious flaw; powershielding, reflectors, absorbers, and other such anti-projectile tools will quickly shut down both Mega Man's approach and defense if used properly.
Overall, however, Mega Man is a strong contender in the Smash 4 metagame, although his high learning curve lends itself to a rather low amount of tournament representation compared to other high-tier characters. Mega Man also has plenty of results to back up his tier placement, with both Kameme placing 2nd at EVO 2016 and ScAtt placing 5th at Super Smash Con 2016 with him, the largest and third largest Smash 4 tournaments to date respectively. This has resulted in him having the third highest improvement from the first tier list to the second tier list (at 13 spots, with Marth at 22 spots and Mewtwo at 27 spots), effectively going from the middle of the tier list to one of the most viable picks in competitive play.
As in his home series, Mega Man's moveset relies heavily on various projectiles, giving his attacks unusual functions and characteristics. This extends beyond his special moves and into his standard moveset. For his neutral attack, he fires shots from his Mega Buster, and for his forward tilt, he fires shots from his Mega Buster while walking. His up tilt, the Mega Upper, is a jumping uppercut, and his down tilt is a forward slide.
Despite having an unusual set of moves, Mega Man shines in approaching while spacing opponents at midrange and disrupting any approaches, for he is blessed with two projectiles that can cause opponents to react predictably: Metal Blade's ability to be thrown in eight directions and trapping opponents in high hitstun makes it a fantastic mindgame and shield-baiting tool, while Crash Bomber can cause panicky opponents to run towards Mega Man or shield the explosion. Both projectiles easily lead to a grab punish as Mega Man owns a great grab combo ability, having a fast grab and many of his attacks connecting reliably after a throw. This allows him to rack up damage easily once he grabs an opponent. He does not have much trouble KOing once his opponents are damaged either, for he has many finishing options: from his lightning-fast up tilt to his projectile based forward smash which can be used to edgeguard. His other projectiles are terrific, notably his aerials; up aerial can KO early if an opponent is high up, and his down aerial is one of the safest meteor smashes in the game. To top it all off, Mega Man is a fantastic spacer: his jab is a fast and useful projectile (that can be used while moving and jumping) which interrupts most attacks and weak projectiles at a safe range, and when combined with Metal Blades and Crash Bombs makes Mega Man difficult to approach. Due to his amazing pressuring ability and grab game, characters without a projectile or with low reach can have trouble approaching without being severely punished. Even if he does get knocked around, Mega Man is a heavyweight character, weighing only slightly less than Captain Falcon, meaning he is more likely to survive potentially lethal blows that could KO a lighter character, especially with proper DI and his good recovery move, Rush Coil.
Regardless of his good grab game and punishing options, Mega Man still has some flaws to counter his strengths. Since his projectiles are imperative in initiating combos, he suffers against opponents with reflectors or other methods to render his projectiles ineffective, such as the Villager's Pocket. His low speed and ending lag on his non-projectile moves significantly limit his approach. He lacks options in keeping away foes up close, with no actual melee jab or quick standard attacks to knock them away. Because most of his strongest attacks suffer from either noticeable startup or ending lag, Mega Man works best at mid-range where his attacks can connect safely, though at the cost of giving opponents a good amount of time to react to any of his attacks, somewhat making his finishers predictable.
Mega Man gains various additional options from his custom moves. Shadow Blade and Ice Slasher are good for immobilizing opponents and are less susceptible to being used against Mega Man himself. Hyper Bomb and Danger Wrap are harder to land, but deal much more damage and knockback. Tornado Hold has more offensive value due to it dealing damage and granting Mega Man new combo potential. Plant Barrier does not last as long as the default Leaf Shield, but can deal and absorb more damage. Skull Barrier lacks a hitbox when circling Mega Man and deals less damage when thrown, but it reflects projectiles when orbiting and cannot be destroyed, giving it a more defensive value than both Leaf Shield and Plant Barrier lack.
In essence, Mega Man is a very versatile, medium-ranged projectile fighter who has no trouble spacing opponents, though KO attempts can be risky for him as he suffers slightly at close range due to the lag of his attacks. He has to use his effective spacing and grab punish options to rack up damage at medium range while keeping his distance until the opponent is weak enough to risk using one of his slow yet powerful finishing moves.
Mega Man has been slightly buffed in the game's updates. He initially only received very minor buffs to his Leaf Shield since 1.0.4, but in update 1.1.1, he has had the speed of his Ice Slasher and Hyper Bomb custom specials slightly improved as well, along with a slight increase to Hyper Bomb's power and splash damage. However, the changes to shield mechanics make some of his projectiles, most notably his forward smash, less safe on shield due to their low hitlag.
In competitive play
In Event Matches