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Ness (SSB)

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This article is about Ness' appearance in Super Smash Bros.. For the character in other contexts, see Ness.
in Super Smash Bros.
Ness SSB.png
Universe EarthBound
Other playable appearances in Melee
in Brawl
in SSB4
in Ultimate
Availability Unlockable
Tier C (10) (North America)
? (5-6) (Japan)
Ness's head icon from SSB.

Ness (ネス, Ness) is one of the main characters from the EarthBound franchise and appears in Super Smash Bros. as one of the four unlockable characters. He is voiced by Makiko Ōmoto, who would go on to voice him in later iterations.

Ness ranks 10th on the tier list, the third lowest ranked character. He is well-known for his unique recovery and second jump: he, along with Yoshi, can double jump cancel, allowing him to use quick aerial and special attacks. Not only does this give him one of the best combo abilities in the entire game, but also one of the easiest to use consistently. He also doesn't face too much trouble against projectiles due to his forward smash being able to reflect them and PSI Magnet absorbing them and healing him. He also has disproportionate KO power for a lightweight character, courtesy of his forward smash, back and down aerials and both of his throws. His PK Thunder also gives him one of the longest distanced recoveries in the game.

Although his weaknesses are few in number they can be easily exploitable. His long distanced recovery is hindered by being predictable and at times unreliable, leaving him among one of the easiest characters in the game to gimp. His approach is also easy to predict and read due to the lag on both of his projectiles (PK Fire and PK Thunder), the short range on his attacks, and his slow movement speed (his dashing speed in particular being the slowest alongside Luigi). This leaves him at a disadvantage against small, quick characters like Pikachu. His short range also gives him trouble at KOing despite his great KOing ability. As a result, despite his great strengths, he has poor matchups and low tournament representation and results. Conversely, Ness is ranked 5th on the Japanese tier list because he is much stronger in the Japanese version, rather than the international release, in which he was nerfed.

How to unlock[edit]

Complete 1P Game on normal difficulty or higher with three stocks or less without continuing. Ness then must be defeated on Dream Land.


Ness's ending picture in Super Smash Bros.

Ness has a number of attributes that help him overwhelm the opponent. Ness is one of the lighter characters in the game. He has very high power compared to most other light characters, similar to Kirby. His forward smash has only decent range, but high power. Ness's forward and back throw are the strongest of their kind. They are his most reliable finishers, and can be used for edgeguarding someone with a poor recovery, like Link.

Ness has two projectiles in PK Fire and PK Thunder. PK Fire, if it hits, traps the opponent in a pillar of fire, allowing follow ups from almost any move. PK Thunder, while situational, can be used to hit opponents far away. Due to the banning of Hyrule Castle, this is nearly impossible to do in competitive play. Ness can deal with projectiles easier than other characters. His forward smash reflects projectiles, though it's hard to do. PSI Magnet can absorb projectiles and restore his health.

Ness's combo ability is not only among the best in the game, but easy to use as well. His ability to double jump cancel allows him to perform many combos with his forward aerial, up aerial, and down aerial. Ness also boasts potent combo enders in his down aerial and forward smash.

Ness does have many flaws, however, that are responsible for his low tier placement. His range is overall short compared to the rest of the roster, which harms his combo ability and KOing ability. His projectiles are highly flawed as well; PK Fire has long startup as well as endlag and short range for a projectile. PK Thunder, due to its slow speed and the vulnerable state it leaves Ness in, is almost useless as an attack.

Ness's recovery, distance-wise, is one of the greatest in the game due to PK Thunder 2 sending him a very far distance, coupled with his long double jump, second in distance only to Yoshi's, with its maneuverability also making it difficult to attack Ness out of it. However, he is disadvantaged by PK Thunder 2 being easy to gimp, due to taking some time to complete and having to go in a semicircle around Ness; if anyone touches the thunderbolt, Ness will become helpless. Even projectiles such as Pikachu's Thunder Jolt and Fox's Blaster or Reflector can gimp the move easily. A "solution" to this, used by many Ness players, is to use the double jump away from the stage, and then use PK Thunder. At this distance, it is difficult for most of the cast to follow up with an edgeguard, as it will likely be too far for them to recover safely. However, even then, there are a few characters who can recover from that distance, such as Kirby, Pikachu, or another Ness.

On a competitive level, Ness was originally rather dominant, being ranked 3rd in the S tier on the first well-known international Super Smash Bros. tier list. In the second tier list, he dropped to 8th place, and dropped again on the third list. When scaled to accommodate for the difference in roster sizes, this is the largest tier drop of any character in the series. Ness's strong points are his excellent combos and air game, but his poor range gives him big problems facing excessive range such as Captain Falcon's up smash, or Kirby or Pikachu's up tilt. Ness's approach is also easily read, with his two projectiles being slow and predictable. Ness overall has below average international (except Japan) matchups, with an especially terrible matchup against Pikachu, and only two advantageous matchups (against two bottom tier characters). Ness has better matchups (being 5th) in the Japanese version compared to the international versions. This is mainly because Ness is stronger in the Japanese version and was nerfed in the international versions.

Differences between game versions[edit]

Ness was noticeably nerfed in his transition to NTSC-U. His disproportionate KO power was weakened, his moves deal less damage and the higher presence of SDI makes his DJC combos easier to escape. As a result, he is noticeably worse than in the Japanese version.

Ground attacks[edit]

  • Change The second hit of neutral attack now has a small punch sound instead of a small kick.
  • Nerf Up tilt deals less damage (8% → 7%).
  • Nerf Up tilt has increased base knockback (70 → 80), hindering its combo potential, especially when it is stale.
  • Buff Up tilt launches opponents at a slightly lower angle (96° → 100°).
  • Nerf Forward smash deals less damage (20% → 18%) and has decreased knockback scaling (67 → 65).
  • Buff Forward smash has an increased reflection multiplier (1.5x → 1.8x).
  • Nerf Up smash's clean hit deals less damage (19% → 17%) and sends opponents at a less favorable angle (105° → 110°) hindering its KO potential despite its increased base knockback (0 → 20).
    • Buff However, these changes improve its combo potential.
  • Nerf Mid and late up smash deal less damage (17% (mid)/14% (late) → 15%/13%) with the mid hit also sending opponents at a less favorable angle (90° → 78°).
  • Nerf Down smash deals less damage (21% → 19%).

Aerial attacks[edit]

  • Nerf Up aerial deals 2% less damage (17% → 15%) and has decreased knockback scaling (120 → 110) hindering its KO potential.
    • Buff However, these changes improve its combo potential.
  • Nerf Up aerial has a smaller hitbox (190u → 175u).

Special attacks[edit]

  • Buff PK Fire deals more damage (2% (fire & pillar) → 7% (fire), 3% (pillar), 16% → 25% (total)).
  • Nerf PK Fire travels a shorter distance.
  • Nerf PK Thunder 2 deals less damage (35% → 30%) and knockback (50 (base), 100 (scaling) → 40/84).
  • Nerf PK Thunder 2 has a smaller hitbox (200u → 150u).
  • Nerf PK Thunder 2 has a shorter duration (frames 1-28 → 1-18), less invincibility (frames 1-17 → 1-9), and more landing lag (30 frames → 42).


Image of Ness from official site of Super Smash Bros.
Ness' aerial attacks.
  Name Damage Description
Neutral attack   2% Two fairly fast punches, followed by a kick. Very similar to Mario's and Luigi's, but it has short range.
Forward tilt   11% Kicks in front rapidly, his body moves with it, giving it minor ending lag. Decent close-up spacer.
Up tilt   7%, 8% (NTSC-J) Two-handed open-palm uppercut. Thrusts both his hands directly upwards above him, which is a great aerial setup, especially because of its good speed and decent power.
Down tilt   3% Does a fast kick while crouching, which can chain into itself, or a grab.
Dash attack   12% (clean), 9% (late) Puts both of his hands in front of him with good duration. Usually launches foes in front of him.
Forward smash   18%, 20% (NTSC-J) Home-run swing. Takes out a bat and swings it, making a pinging sound if it connects. Good speed, range, and power. Can also be used as a reflector.
Up smash   17% (clean), 15% (mid), 13% (late), 19% (NTSC-J clean), 17% (NTSC-J mid), 14% (NTSC-J late), Does an "around the world" yo-yo swing, which acts as a good anti-air move. Strange hitbox, does not hit short characters on ground. Above average speed.
Down smash   19%, 21% (NTSC-J) Ness does a "walk the dog" yo-yo swing. Extremely low hitbox, though it has extremely long range and an extremely long duration. Longest horizontal range of all down smashes.
Neutral aerial   14% (clean), 11% (late) Does a falling Split Kick, somewhat similar to Jigglypuff's. The hitbox is Ness's entire body. Has similar properties to a sex kick. Good spacing move.
Forward aerial   12% (clean), 10% (late) Similar to his dash attack, puts both hands in front of him for good damage and knockback. Quick attacking move, though the range is restricted to his small opened hands.
Back aerial   16% (clean), 10% (late) Thrusts his feet backwards for tremendous KO power.
Up aerial   15%, 17% (NTSC-J) He does a quick and short ranged headbutt above him with good power. Good for juggling. Ness's head is invincible during this attack.
Down aerial   15% A stomp kick. Comes out extremely quickly and is a powerful meteor smash, though lacks range. With double jump cancel, it can be used to rack up extremely high damage, in some cases being used in zero-to-death combos.
Forward throw   16% (throw), 10% (collateral) Takes foe, lifts them with PSI, and twirls them whilst launching them forward for great power. High knockback.
Back throw   16% (throw), 10% (collateral) Similar to his forward throw, only he takes the foe and launches them behind him.
Floor attack (front) 6% Gets up and twirls around with his foot extended.
Floor attack (back) 6% Gets up and twirls around with his foot extended.
Edge attack (fast) 6% Lunges upwards and twirls.
Edge attack (slow) 6% Gets up and punches slowly.
Neutral special PK Fire 25% maximum, 16% maximum (NTSC-J) Fires a lightning-bolt shaped fire projectile that, if it hits, traps the opponent in a multi-hitting pillar of flame. If it does not hit either of the aforementioned objects within a few feet or hits a wall, then it dissipates. If used in midair, travels downwards at a 45 degree angle.
Up special PK Thunder 6% (PK Thunder head), 3% (PK Thunder tail), 30% (PK Thunder 2), 35% (NTSC-J PK Thunder 2) Creates a stream of thunder which is controlled using the Control Stick (Ness cannot do anything while the thunder stream is on the screen). The thunder must be aimed into Ness so that he can launch in a direction (recovery move, referred to as PK Thunder 2. If the thunder hits an opponent or a wall, it will disappear and Ness will become helpless, meaning that the thunder can be jumped into to cancel out Ness's recovery. Ness is also extremely vulnerable to aerial attacks and meteor smashes when controlling the thunder. This is one of the main reasons why Ness dropped severely from the first tier list to the second.
Down special Psychic-Magnet 0% The PSI Magnet is not an attack. Rather, it heals 2.0x damage if an energy or electric projectile hits it.

On-screen appearance[edit]

  • Uses Teleport and crashes onto the stage.
Ness' opening animation in Smash 64.


  • Says "Okay!" while turning to his right, then nods his head while putting hands on hips.

Crowd cheer[edit]

English Japanese
Description Go Ness! Ne-su
Pitch Crowd chant Crowd chant

Victory poses[edit]

The final four Sound Stone Melodies from EarthBound. They also play in the game's credits, Smiles and Tears.
  • Trots in place, then stands with hands on his hips, nodding confidently.
  • Looks over shoulders and scratches head grinning (also his character selection animation).
  • Swings his bat twice to the sides, then poses.
NessPose1SSB.gif NessPose2SSB.gif NessPose3SSB.gif

In Competitive play[edit]

Notable players[edit]

See also: Category:Ness professionals (SSB)

Numbers in brackets indicate position in 64 League Rankings 2017


Tier placement and history[edit]

Ness used to rank very high at 3rd place on the first SSB64 tier list, just only below Pikachu and Kirby. With double jump cancelling, Ness was a dominant force in the SSB64 metagame, as his DJC'ed aerials can rack up a huge amount of damage, and can be used to perform deadly zero-to-death combos. However, Ness became less effective as the metagame progressed. His short range in his attacks made his DJC combos lose recognition and effectiveness, and Ness' recovery, despite covering a great distance, can be exploitable due to it being predictable. This caused Ness to drop from a top tier 3rd place to a low-mid tier 8th place by the second tier list and dropping again to 9th in the third tier list and by the fourth tier list, to 10th. This is also currently the proportionally largest tier list drop of any character in any Smash Bros. game. Ness is currently 5th of the Japanese matchups, he is in a higher position due to the fact he is stronger than the international versions.


Double jump cancel[edit]

Main article: Double jump cancel
A Ness combo performing DJCs.

DJCing is a glitch-technique that can be used by Yoshi and Ness. It involves using an aerial or a special move just after starting a double jump. This cancels the momentum of the double jump and allows quicker movement within the attacks, while also being able to speed up short hops, making short hopped DJC'd aerials especially effective when Z-cancelled. It can also help with aerial comboing. DJCing a special move cannot be Z-canceled.

Double jump landing[edit]

Nangoku performing the Nesslevator then quickly attacking Nintendude.

Double jump landing (also dubbed the Nesslevator) allows Ness to cancel his air momentum with an aerial attack while horizontally moving in midair. This results in a quick and smooth landing back onto a platform akin to wavelanding in Melee.

Double jump rushing[edit]

Albeit extremely difficult to do outside TAS, Ness can move incredibly quickly on the ground by cancelling multiple double jumps while moving horizontally. This is due to his second jump having very high horizontal movement during its initial frames. Demonstrative video here.

Dash turnaround ledgegrab[edit]

Ness is the only character in the game along with Fox who can use the turnaround animation of his full sprint to grab a ledge. This is due to his turnaround animation changing the faced direction before the character "brakes".

Edge sweetspotting[edit]

Main article: Edge sweetspot

Along with Pikachu, Ness can sweetspot the ledge using PK Thunder 2 if he grabs the ledge at the right angle and from the right distance, allowing him to act very quickly after grabbing the edge.

Special ledge cancel[edit]

Ness can grab the ledge while using his PK Thunder move or his PSI Magnet. This makes edgeguarding harder to perform for opponents. Also, these moves cancel his double jump, making them useful for ledge stalling or to refresh the invincibility frames granted by the ledge.


Ness was a seemingly-average kid from Onett, but in truth, he was destined for much more. When a strange meteorite landed near his hometown, the little boy with psychic powers set out to save the world. Little has been said of Ness' character, and much remains hidden.


Alternate costumes[edit]

Ness Palette (SSB).png
Ness's head icon from SSB. NessHeadYellowSSB.png NessHeadBlueSSB.png NessHeadGreenSSB.png


  • This is Ness's only appearance on the Nintendo 64. The only other playable character to share this distinction is Samus.
    • This also marks the first appearance of Ness in three-dimensional format. This quality is shared with Kirby and Samus.
  • On the Character selection screen, Ness's portrait greatly resembles his artwork from EarthBound.
  • Ness's congratulations screen is the only one in Smash 64 to feature characters who are otherwise not present anywhere else in the game.
  • Prior to Ultimate, this is the only game in the Smash series where Ness's back throw is not the strongest back throw in the game.