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 ranks 27th on the SSB4 tier list, in C tier as a high tier character. 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, Metal Blade being an overall useful tool for forcing approaches, shield pressure and edgeguarding, and a useful mid-range spacing tool with his Mega Buster. This is made more effective once combined with Mega Man's grab game; his grab is among the fastest in the game, with his down throw being a decent combo starter, while his back throw is a decent damage racker and KO option at high percents. Mega Man also possesses above-average endurance due to his high weight and falling speed, which ties in with an effective recovery in Rush Coil that doesn't cause him to go helpless. Some of Mega Man's finishes are also among the strongest in the game, such as his up tilt and down smash. Finally, owing to his high air friction, Mega Man also has 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 poor, 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 disjointed range like Marth, Link, and Shulk, while the high ending lag on his attacks puts more stress on this flaw. Mega Man's above average weight and falling speed also makes him an easy target for combos and juggles. Finally, Mega Man's projectile-heavy playstyle is also his biggest weakness, as he is heavily affected by powershielding, reflectors, absorbers, and other anti-projectile tools, which can shut down both his approach and defense options.
Overall, Mega Man is a strong contender in the Smash 4 metagame, and he has placed well at some tournaments, with both Kameme placing 2nd at EVO 2016 and ScAtt placing 5th at Super Smash Con 2016 with him. Despite this, Mega Man's high learning curve has prevented him from attaining as large of a playerbase as other characters in his tier.
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. In 1.0.4, much like Wario, his grab release was altered to remove guaranteed combos several characters had on him out of an air release. Besides this, he only received minor buffs to his Leaf Shield, but in update 1.1.1, he 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.
For a gallery of Mega Man's hitboxes, see here.
In competitive play
Tier placement and history
Mega Man was seen as a very obscure and unorthodox character since the game's release. His strange playstyle mainly comprised of projectiles always saw a large topic of debate for him, though the general consensus was always of him being at least a mid-tier character. Alongside very limited tournament representation and tournament results, he would at first rank 28th on the first 4BR tier list. However, his popularity would become stronger after game updates nerfed Sheik, Zero Suit Samus and Bayonetta, and his tournament representation, while limited, saw strong results from smashers like ScAtt, Smasher1001, and most notably Kameme, who would travel to the USA to compete at EVO 2016 and get 2nd place at the tournament. This spike in tournament results allowed him to be seen much more favorably and allowed him to rank 15th on the second tier list, reassessing him as a high-tier character and gaining the third largest rise between the first and second tier lists.
Mega Man would later rank 16th on the third tier list, a very slight drop in favor of Marth claiming 10th place. Currently, however, due to his huge lack of consistent results, Mega Man is currently ranked 27th on the fourth and current tier list, suffering the largest drop between the third and fourth tier lists. Some smashers have said said that Mega Man should be higher due to his amazing projectile game and his matchup spread, while others like ZeRo think that Mega Man is overrated and that his placing is somewhat accurate.
In Event Matches