Meta Knight (PM)
Meta Knight is a playable character in the Brawl mod Project M. He was first confirmed as returning Brawl veteran for the mod in his own surprise reveal trailer on July 16th, 2013, a day before the release of Project M: Demo 2.6.
Meta Knight is currently ranked 1st out of 41 on the current official tier list, placing him in the S tier. This is the same as his placement in Brawl, where he was notably ranked 1st out of 38, albeit not in a dominating fashion like his Brawl counterpart.
Meta Knight has an unusual character blend of character archetypes. He boasts multiple double jumps, an above average walking speed, the fourth fastest dashing speed, average air speed, the sixth fastest falling speed, and the ability to glide. He is also tied for the fastest jump squat, giving him a quick, albeit short, wavedash. He is small character, and is the fourth lightest character (being surprisingly heavier than Fox). These traits give Meta Knight above average mobility compared to most characters of his size and weight.
One of Meta Knight most positive strengths is his overall frame data; most of his moves have little start-up and ending lag, notably his down tilt. Though his overall reach is average, his sword Galaxia, gives him a useful disjointed range, especially in relation to his size, as he is the only small character who wields a sword. These factors make him difficult to punish, and in turn allow him to pressure his opponents.
His speed also gives him a versatile moveset and combo game. His down tilt can either be used to start combos up close, or be used for spacing or edge-guarding from a distance, thanks to its long reach. His neutral aerial has fast start-up, decent reach, high power, and a long duration, allowing it to be used as an out of shield option, an effective edge-guarding move, or a decent combo move. His forward aerial can be used as effective wall of pain move, especially on characters with poor horizontal recoveries such as Roy. His up aerial has quick start-up, and low knockback, giving it very potent combo potential, notably on stages with low ceilings, where it can combo into itself multiple times, and finish with Mach Tornado, Shuttle Loop, or even Dimensional Cape for early KOs. His grab game is also notably effective, despite his average grab range. His forward throw is very quick, making it difficult for the opponent to react to. His back throw is good for setting up edgeguards and sending opponents off-stage, and can KO lighter characters at very high percentages. His down throw can follow-up into a variety of moves at low percents, has tech-chasing capabilities, and can even chain grab certain characters at low percentages. Meta Knight also has good KOing options for his weight class. His forward smash has high knockback for a character his size, and has low ending lag, making it relatively difficult to punish despite is slow start-up. His down smash has notably low start-up, allowing it to be used as a quick escape option, and a combo finisher. Finally, his back aerial and down aerial have very high knockback and reach for their speed; down aerial also semi-spikes opponents, making it almost guaranteed to gimp characters with poor recoveries, even at low percents.
Finally, Meta Knight's recovery is often considered to be among the best in the game, due to the amount of recovery options he has relative to the cast, as his midair jumps and special moves allow him to cover long distances off-stage. Mach Tornado can be used from nearly any point off-stage, and has good protection due to the hitboxes surrounding Meta Knight. Drill Rush is his quickest recovery move horizontally, and punish edge-guarders who wait near the edge anticipating Meta Knight's return. Shuttle Loop covers the longest horizontal distance due to it transitioning into a Glide, and is also useful for vertical recovery, as if Meta Knight reverses the move at a certain point, he will instantly land back on the stage. Finally, Dimensional Cape is the most unpredictable of his recovery moves, as Meta Knight is invisible during the move, it can punish opponents with the attack proportion of the move, which has very high knockback, and can even be executed earlier by flicking the C-Stick.
However, Meta Knight also has notable flaws. His main flaw, similar to the space animals, is his frailty; his light weight combined with his very high fall speed make it so that he is KO'd fairly easily horizontally. Though his high fall speed gives him a long vertical endurance for his weight, it also makes him vulnerable to many combos and chain grabs despite his light weight; combined with the harsher environment of Project M, this makes approaching risky when he is at high percentages, and thus, having to wait for an opportunity to punish. Despite Meta Knight having potentially the best recovery in the game, it is limited when his options are missing, due to the fact that if he were to get hit out of any of his specials, he would lose all of his midair jumps, and is forced to use only his special moves until he returns to a safe position. His aforementioned fall speed also makes him vulnerable to meteor smashes and spikes, even if he were to meteor cancel.
Outside of edge-guarding, Meta Knight can also have difficulty KOing despite his good options, as many of them either have difficulty hitting due to slow start-up and/or poor reach, or are prone to stale-move negation. His lack of a projectile also makes him susceptible to camping strategies against characters with a strong projectile game, such as Snake or Falco. Finally, if Meta Knight is down a stock, he has difficulty getting the lead back due to his aforementioned frailty, and the fact that many of his combos that have the potential of doing high damage or pressure to his opponent are relatively difficult to perform, as many of them are based on reading the opponent's directional influence.
Overall, Meta Knight stands as a "high-risk, high-reward" character. His high learning curve means he must be able to perform his combos consistently, and because he is a glass cannon, he also has to make careful decisions of his every action. Despite Meta Knight's notable weaknesses, his quick movement and attack speed, strong recovery, and formidable combo game, are enough to make a threat to the rest of the cast. Because of this, Meta Knight is viewed by the Project M community as a viable character (placing 5th on the Project M 3.02 preliminary tier list and 11th on the finalized one). Though his tournament presence had gone down after the significant changes he received in transition to version 3.5, it did not significantly impact his viability when compared to other characters such as Zelda and Mewtwo, as his current 1st place ranking shows, courtesy of the buffs he received in version 3.6b and 3.6.
Changes from Brawl to PM
Meta Knight was universally considered to be the best character in Brawl due to many reasons such as his amazing frame data, aerial game, large amount of disjointed attacks with transcendent priority, his un-contestable recovery/edgeguarding and his insanely oppressive specials (mainly Mach Tornado and Shuttle Loop). These factors resulted in Meta Knight heavily dominating Brawl's metagame with numerous players seeing him as broken. As a result, Meta Knight has received both buffs and nerfs from the tranistion from Brawl to Project M, but was moderately nerfed overall.
He had some of his overwhelming advantages weakened in the transition from Brawl to Project M. His aerial game, recovery and edgeguarding have all taken a hit. Meta Knight now only has 4 jumps instead of 6 and his gliding has seen a huge nerf. Meta Knight can now only access gliding via Shuttle Loop and he can only glide for 80 frames. In addition, he gains much less height when gliding up. As for his aerials, his up and down aerials have seen a huge decrease in their speed making them far less oppressive. His notorious Mach Tornado, and Shuttle Loop have also been significantly downgraded. Unlike most of Meta Knight's moves which have lost their transcendent priority, Mach Tornado has actually gained transcendent priority. This is a detriment as Mach Tornado now loses to every hitbox in the game rather than nullifying a majority of moves. Mach Tornado also has a shorter duration and travels slower. As well as the aforementioned nerfs to Meta Knight's gliding, grounded Shuttle Loop is weaker and has lost its invincibility while the aerial version no longer sweetspots ledges, suffers from extreme landing lag if he lands with it during its startup and the sweetspot is harder to land and has lost its edgeguarding potential.
Despite these nerfs, Meta Knight has received some buffs that continue make him a threat to the rest of the cast (albeit to a lesser extent). His already impressive ground speed was increased further and his previously awful air speed has been greatly increased. Many of Meta Knight's moves have increased KO power such as his forward smash, down aerial and back aerial (which now only consists of a single hit making it more reliable). Some of his attacks also have decreased ending lag and the reintroduction of L-canceling makes his aerials safer than ever on shield.
Overall despite his sizeable nerfs, Meta Knight remains one of the most dominant characters and he was even ranked 1st on the latest Project M tier list. Despite this, he is nowhere near as dominant as in Brawl with the rest of the cast having a better chance facing off against him and his strong tournament results/representation are less prevalent.
Up to date as of version 3.6.
In competitive play
Meta Knight has gained two new costumes. One is based off of his evil Mirror World counterpart, Dark Meta Knight, from Kirby and the Amazing Mirror; the other is based off of early concept art of the character seen in the collectible book that came with Kirby's Dream Collection: Special Edition, where he had a more stylized mask and armour, and resembled a butterfly. This design would be used for Morpho Knight in Kirby Star Allies.
The Morpho Knight costume received a makeover in 3.6, giving Meta Knight white eyes and a new sword to brandish.