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Ness (SSB4)

From SmashWiki, the Super Smash Bros. wiki
This article is about Ness's appearance in Super Smash Bros. 4. For the character in other contexts, see Ness.
in Super Smash Bros. 4
Ness SSB4.png
Universe EarthBound
Other Smash Bros. appearances in SSB
in Melee
in Brawl
in Ultimate
Availability Unlockable (3DS)
Starter (Wii U)
Final Smash PK Starstorm
Tier C (28)

Ness (ネス, Ness) returns as a playable character in Super Smash Bros. 4. Ness was officially confirmed on October 3rd, 2014, alongside Falco and Wario, coinciding with the Western release of Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS. As in every previous Smash Bros. installation, Ness is voiced by Makiko Ōmoto, who has now recorded new voice clips for both versions of the game.

Ness is ranked 28th out of 55 characters on the tier list (tied with Lucas), placing both him and Lucas as the lowest C tier characters and the lowest high tier characters. This is a vast improvement from his 26th out of 38 in Brawl, and his best placement relative to previous Smash Bros. games. Ness no longer suffers from having 10 extra grab release frames, which was a huge detriment to his survival. Besides that, Ness possesses arguably the best grab game among the entire cast (competing with Mewtwo's and Luigi's), with his forward and up throws leaving opponents in very unfavorable positions, his down throw being a great combo starter at lower percentages and his back throw being the most powerful throw in the game, on top of being difficult to DI properly. Other notable strengths include an effective projectile game with PK Fire and PK Thunder, a formidable air game courtesy of his powerful aerials, and a versatile combo game thanks to his throws and aerials. Despite being a middleweight, he also has high raw KO power and high damage output, a prime example being his aerials, forward smash, PK Flash and PK Thunder 2. Finally, due to the strengths above, Ness possesses very useful options to cover getups from a ledge or on the ground.

However, Ness has rather sub-par mobility and range, which often forces him to be methodical with his approaches, or play defensively in order to gain the lead, which can leave him at a disadvantage against characters with greater range on their attacks such as Cloud. Lastly and the most problematic is his recovery. Despite being greatly improved, PK Thunder remains quite gimpable as the lightning bolt can clang with other attacks, while opponents can forcibly push Ness out of the way or even take a hit from the lightning bolt, making his recovery fail.

Currently, Ness's tier placement is debatable. While Ness has poor matchups against several characters that were ranked higher than him, particularly Rosalina & Luma, Marth, and Corrin, Ness has achieved good representation and above average results thanks to top players such as FOW, BestNess, S1, The Great Gonzales, Gackt, and NAKAT.

How to unlock[edit]

Complete one of the following:

After completing one of the two methods, Ness must then be defeated on Magicant.

In Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, Ness is playable from the start.


Ness is an unusual blend of character archetypes, being a short, projectile-heavy character with a lot of versatility with his moves. Ness's weight is average and his falling speed is rather slow, giving him no disadvantage with weight alone. His walking speed is slow while his dashing speed and air speed are both sub-par, but his air acceleration is very high.

Ness possesses three projectiles: PK Flash, PK Fire, and PK Thunder. PK Flash can be used as an extremely powerful punishing or edge-guarding option, dealing huge knockback which can KO even Bowser, the heaviest character, under 70%. PK Fire possesses a good amount of range and holds opponents in it when it hits them (due to being impossible to SDI out of), granting Ness guaranteed follow-ups (such as grab, an additional PK Fire, or a forward smash to finish the opponent) as long as he acts quickly enough. Also, it can be used off-stage against characters with more linear recoveries to combo into down air. PK Thunder is one of the more unique projectiles in the game. When used, the player will lose control of Ness and instead take control of a large thunder ball for a few seconds. PK Thunder can essentially be used to knock opponents towards Ness for follow ups, to mindgame opponents into a PK Thunder 2 trap to finish them, to edgeguard, and to juggle opponents. The knockback it provides can also hit an opponent over the upper blast line (especially light and floaty characters), allowing it to be used as a situational KO move as well. His down special move, PSI Magnet, provides a psychic shield that can heal him when hit with an energy based attack, making it extremely effective against characters with slower projectiles such as Samus or the Mii Gunner. PSI Magnet has fast start-up and end-lag, this allows Ness to cancel his double jump momentum and allows him to reverse himself mid-air more reliably, making it effective for avoiding vertical attacks such as Mario's up smash when Ness is on the air.

Ness's biggest strength is found in his superb aerial game. Most of Ness's aerial moves can be used to either space, combo, or KO. All aerials, excluding down aerial, are capable of auto-canceling out of a short hop. His neutral aerial possesses very little startup and ending lag, and hits on both sides of Ness, making it a useful out of shield option. His forward aerial has quick startup, a disjointed hitbox, and traps opponents, essentially allowing it to chain into either itself or another move. It is a powerful spacing tool and is helpful in approaching opponents. His up aerial, one of the strongest in the game, can be used to combo at lower percents and KO reliably at higher percents. It possesses a large hitbox and little lag, making it low risk, high reward. His back aerial is another reliable KO move that possesses low lag. His down aerial can occasionally be useful in edgeguarding, although it has significant startup in comparison to his other aerials. Down aerial has a large autocancel window, giving Ness the ability to decrease the length of his shorthop, as Ness extends his hurtbox by using the move. Ness can use this property to Tomahawk much more effectively, buffer landing options, mix up his platform movement, and occasionally avoid techchase situations. Thanks to his floatiness, Ness can perform a neutral aerial or up aerial after a short hop air dodge, allowing him to jump through moves with invincibility and whiff punish.

While Ness's aerials make him a formidable fighter at close quarters, he can struggle to pressure from afar. His dash attack has an exceptionally long range and is a decent approach, but leaves him vulnerable to landing aerials and is only safe if properly spaced. PK Fire covers a lot of ground and can be used to perform a PK Jump, a technique that allows Ness to approach or retreat by inputting the move 1 frame after double jumping. If Ness buffers an airdodge after double jumping, he can increase the height of his double. If Ness uses PSI Magnet then PK Thunder by the ledge, he will snap immediately, rather than stalling as he would normally. By combining these two traits together, Ness can often recover without having to use PK Thunder to travel, alleviating one of his biggest weaknesses.

Ness's grab game is also very potent. His standing grab has slightly below average range and is fast. His pivot grab is surprisingly disjointed and his dash grab gives him a substantial speed boost. As mentioned earlier, Ness can trap opponents with PK Fire or PK Jump in order to set up for a grab. Ness possesses one of the fastest pummels in the game, allowing him to deal a decent amount of damage before throwing. His down throw neatly sets up for aerial attacks, leading into a forward air chain at lower percents or an up air at higher percents. Ness's forward throw has very high base knockback and can set up edgeguards. Up throw can be used to play situational mindgames with PK Thunder. Ness's infamous back throw is the strongest throw in the game; while it has very low base knockback, it has extremely high knockback scaling and is often regarded as his most effective and commonly used KO option.

Ness is far from perfect, however. He possesses below average speed in both the ground and the air, making it hard for him to chase most opponents. His ground game is also generally weak as he possesses short-ranged tilt attacks. His up and down smashes are also somewhat situational. While his up smash can be used as an out of shield option and his down smash as a useful edgeguarding option to two-frame opponents, both KO considerably later than his other KO options in a neutral situation, and his forward smash, while extremely powerful, possesses both high startup and ending lag, making it easily punishable if it misses. Ness's biggest flaw, however, is his recovery. While there have been various buffs to his recovery that make it much more reliable and viable than in previous Smash games, it is still easy to gimp if Ness is not careful enough with his double jump offstage. Characters with multiple jumps, such as Jigglypuff, Kirby and Meta Knight, with counters, such as most of the Fire Emblem characters, or with moves that reflect or absorb, such as Rosalina, Villager, and Pit can force Ness into disadvantage when offstage.

Custom moves can give Ness great advantages and brand new options. PK Freeze can freeze opponents, allowing free follow-ups, especially with PK Fire. PK Fire Burst has more range and power and always goes straight, making it a spacing tool rather than a combo tool. Lasting PK Thunder goes right through opponents and moves slower, allowing for better control. Recovery with PK Thunder 2 is also longer, significantly improving Ness' offstage survivability. Rolling PK Thunder travels much slower but is much stronger. While the recovery with PK Thunder 2 is mediocre due to the drastically decreased distance of it, the move is also significantly stronger, which allows it to KO even earlier than normal PK Thunder 2. Forward PSI Magnet is the same, but has a semi-spike hitbox in front of Ness, functioning similar to Fox's Reflector. Finally, if the opponent has no energy projectiles, PSI Vacuum is the optimal choice, as it draws opponents in and is the strongest of Ness's down special moves damage-wise.

Overall, Ness is viewed as a viable character in tournament play, due to his good combo game and extremely potent kill options. Despite this, he is believed to have a somewhat volatile matchup spread; he is especially vulnerable to characters that can abuse his poor mobility and low range to zone him out. Characters such as Rosalina and Luma, Marth, and Corrin are seen as especially troublesome matchups for Ness.

Changes from Super Smash Bros. Brawl[edit]

Ness has been heavily buffed in the transition from Brawl to SSB4. His grab-release animation with 10 extra frames of ending lag, which was one of his most detrimental flaws, has been removed, and many of the other flaws he had (mainly his recovery) have been addressed. Ness also greatly benefits from the general changes of SSB4, as the new edge-trumping mechanic makes his recovery much harder to gimp, and the changes to hitstun canceling allows him to combo with his moves much more efficiently while the weakening of SDI makes his multi hit moves more reliable. The introduction of rage also benefits him as it improves his KO potential when he's at higher percents. He also greatly benefits from the removal of chain grabbing which was one of the main reasons why his longer grounded grab release was so exploitable.

As for direct changes outside of the length of his grounded grab release animation, he has seen a mix of buffs and nerfs. Ness overall has greater mobility, his smash attacks are stronger and his down smash can now be used as a powerful edgeguarding tool as Ness can now charge to close to a ledge and it now semi-spikes opponents.

However, Ness has seen more direct nerfs overall. Ness' damage output is overall lower and a variety of his moves have smaller hitboxes. His aerial game has seen some downgrades as his forward aerial deals less damage, has more landing lag and has much smaller hitboxes making it a less effective spacing tool while his down aerial has less range, is considerably weaker and it has lost its extremely lenient auto-cancel window making it no longer auto-cancel in a short hop and making it a much worse move overall. His down throw also has considerably increased knockback hindering its setup potential at higher percents.

Overall, Ness is significantly better than he ever was in previous Super Smash Bros. games due to the general changes to the mechanics greatly benefiting him overall and he has also seen solid tournament representation and greatly improved results due to his vast improvement.


  • Change Ness has a brighter color palette, and has lost the blushes on his cheeks and the purple hue in his eyes. He is also slightly taller and thinner, with a smaller and more proportionate head, and a smaller backpack. He also lacks the partial yellow stripe that he had at the bottom of his shirt.
  • Change Ness is more expressive.
  • Change All of Ness' PSI-based attacks now use a graphic effect similar to Lucas's attacks (forward aerial, up smash, etc.) instead of using the same graphic effect as his double jump.


  • Buff Ness walks faster (0.86 → 0.8635).
  • Buff Ness dashes faster (1.39 → 1.46265).
  • Buff Ness' grounded grab release has much less ending lag (FAF 41 → 30), now matching the rest of the cast, and making him significantly less vulnerable to grab release follow-ups especially when combined with the removal of chain grabbing. The changes to air releases also benefits him as he is far less susceptible to air release followups.
  • Buff Air dodge has less startup lag (frame 4 → 3) and ending lag (FAF 49 → 34).
  • Change All of Ness's electric attacks except for his specials are now a magic effect.
  • Change Ness' gravity is higher (0.0711 → 0.077).
  • Buff Rolls have less ending lag (FAF 32 → 31).
  • Nerf Rolls have a shorter duration (frame 4-19 → 4-17).
  • Nerf Spot dodge has more startup lag, a shorter duration (frames 2-20 → 3-18) and more ending lag (FAF 26 → 28).
  • Nerf The changes in shieldstun makes some of his attacks slightly less safe on shield compared to the cast.

Ground attacks[edit]

  • Neutral attack:
    • Nerf The first hit of neutral attack deals 1% less damage (3% → 2%) and all three hits have smaller hitboxes (3u/3u/2.5u → 3u/2u (hits 1 & 2), 4.5u/4u/3.8u → 4u/2.4u (hit 3)).
  • Forward tilt:
    • Nerf Forward tilt deals less damage (12%/11%/10% → 9% (unangled)/10% (angled)).
  • Up tilt:
    • Buff Up tilt now involves Ness releasing a PSI spark from his hands, increasing its vertical reach.
    • Nerf Up tilt has slightly higher startup (frame 5 → 7) and its old hitbox is now a sourspot that deals 2% less damage. Its hitboxes are also smaller (7.2u/7.2u → 6.5u/4.0u) to compensate the increased vertical range.
    • Change Up tilt's animation is more similar to that of Smash 64, and its sweetspot now has a magic sound effect instead of a punching sound effect.
  • Down tilt:
    • Nerf Down tilt now has a sourspot at the end of Ness's foot that deals less damage (4% → 2%) with its base knockback only slightly increased (3 → 6). Down tilt also has smaller hitboxes (4.32u/2.88u/3.36u → 2.5u/2.5u).
  • Dash attack:
    • Buff Dash attack now launches in front of Ness instead of behind him (100° → 80°), making followups easier. The final hit also deals more knockback (70 (base), 100 (scaling) → 80/104) and has a bigger hitbox (5u → 6u).
    • Change The first hit of dash attack no longer deals consistent damage (5% → 4%/7%/3%). This makes it better against aerial opponents, but worse on grounded ones. Dash attack also has more intense lighting effects.
    • Nerf The second hit of dash attack deals less damage (4% → 2%) and as the first hit no longer deals consistent damage, dash attack as a whole no longer deals consistent damage (13% → 9%/11%/13%).
  • Forward smash:
    • Buff Forward smash deals drastically more knockback (50 (base), 62 (scaling) → 70/67) (now having the same knockback values as its Japanese Smash 64 counterpart), going from a forward smash of below average power in Brawl to one of the most powerful forward smashes in Smash 4. Its reflector now has a speed and power multiplier, drastically improving its punishing utility.
    • Nerf Forward smash's strongest tipper hitbox has been completely removed, so that its maximum damage potential when uncharged has been lowered (24% → 22%). Its other hitboxes are also smaller (2.9u/3.6u/3.8u/4.099983u → 2.3u/2.6u/3.0u) and its reflector now has a limit, where if he tries to reflect a projectile that is too strong to reflect, Ness will experience about 300 frames (5 seconds) of ending lag.
  • Yoyo:
    • Buff Both up smash and down smashes are now properly affected by smash charging making them deal more damage when charged.
    • Nerf Yo-yo smashes are charged while still in Ness's hand, removing their pre-charge hitboxes.
    • Change Yo-yo is colored green instead of yellow.
  • Up smash:
    • Buff Up smash has much less startup lag with a longer duration (frames 10-34 → 6-30).
    • Nerf Up smash has more ending lag (FAF 55 → 56).
  • Down smash:
    • Buff Down smash has less ending lag (FAF 62 → 46).
    • Buff Down smash is now a semi-spike (55° → 28° (front), 33° (back)), greatly improving its edgeguarding ability.
    • Nerf Down smash's main hit deals less damage (13% → 10%) and its knockback was not fully compensated (90 (base), 60 (scaling) → 60/80 (front), 50/80 (back)).
    • Change Down smash now has weak initial hits before its front and back hits which deal 1% damage and low knockback; linking into the main hit. It hits four times at the front and two times at the back.
      • Buff Because of this, the front hit deals more damage overall (13% → 14%).
      • Nerf However, the back hit deals less damage overall (13% → 12%).
    • Nerf Down smash is no longer constantly active (frames 10-33 → 10-15/17-18/23-25/26-29/31-32).

Aerial attacks[edit]

  • Neutral aerial:
    • Nerf Neutral aerial has a shorter duration (frames 5-24 → 5-15).
  • Forward aerial:
    • Buff Forward aerial's looping hits have a decreased SDI multiplier (1.5x → 0.8x) which along with the weakening of SDI makes forward aerial significantly more difficult to escape from.
    • Change The looping hits' angle has been altered (361° → 366°).
      • Buff This allows them to connect more reliably (with the move now being able to reliably chain into itself) improving Ness's comboing and damage-racking capabilities.
      • Nerf However, this also removes their ability to lock opponents removing Ness' most reliable aerial locking tool at higher percents.
    • Change The final hit has increased knockback (24 (base), 145 (scaling) → 32/150) improving forward aerial's edgeguarding potential but hindering its ability to chain into itself.
    • Change Forward aerial a higher hitlag multiplier (0.5x → 1x (loop), 1.5x (final)).
    • Nerf Forward aerial deals less damage (2% → 1% (loop), 11% → 7% (total)), has smaller hitboxes (8.1u → 5u/1.5u (loop hits), 9u → 8u (final)) and the final hit has a shorter duration (frames 20-21 → 20).
    • Nerf Forward aerial has increased landing lag (12 frames → 20) and auto-cancels later (frame 30 → 33).
  • Back aerial:
    • Nerf Back aerial has increased landing lag (12 frames → 17).
  • Up aerial:
    • Nerf Up aerial has increased landing lag (12 frames → 14).
  • Down aerial:
    • Change Down aerial now has an extra spin in its animation, with Ness facing at a different orientation as he kicks downward with his toes instead of the stamp of his foot.
    • Buff The new special effect at his toes gives its hitbox more vertical range, along with having its sourspot deal slightly more damage (9% → 10%). The removal of meteor canceling also improves its reliability.
    • Nerf Down aerial's clean and late hits have smaller hitboxes (6.54u/6.54u (clean/late) → 3.9u/6u), a shorter duration (4 frames → 2 (clean), 5 frames → 4 (late)), and have drastically decreased base knockback (90/90 (clean/late) → 20/30), with both hits now being incapable of KOing at realistic percentages. Down aerial also auto-cancels significantly later (frame 29 → 50) removing its ability to auto-cancel in a short hop. As a result, the meteor smash is much harder to hit with, and the move is now generally inferior to his other aerials.
    • Change Down aerial uses the magic sound effect on hit instead of a punch sound effect in prior games.

Throws/other attacks[edit]

  • Buff Pivot grab's range is now large and disjointed.
  • Nerf Pivot grab has more startup lag (frame 6 → 10) no longer being the fastest in the game. It along with dash grab also have more ending lag (FAF 36 (both) → 43 (dash), 41 (pivot)).
  • Pummel:
    • Buff Pummel deals slightly more damage (1% → 1.2%).
  • Down throw:
    • Buff The changes to hitstun canceling significantly benefits down throw, as Ness can now use it to set up into his aerials much more effectively at lower percents when combined with its lowered base knockback (90 → 70).
    • Change Down throw has less fire graphics.
    • Nerf Down throw's fire hits deal less damage (1% → 0.6%) reducing its total damage output (9% → 7%). It also has much more knockback scaling (30 → 80) hindering its combo potential at higher percents.

Special moves[edit]

  • PK Flash:
    • Buff PK Flash travels faster. It travels even faster and gains even more distance if directed behind Ness. Turning around before using this move might prove useful, depending on prediction.
    • Change PK Flash is now a much darker green.
  • PK Fire:
    • Buff PK Fire travels slightly farther.
    • Nerf PK Fire has slightly more ending lag. It now travels much farther back to Ness if reflected rather than petering out after traveling its set distance.
    • Change PK Fire's effect after hitting an opponent produces darker colored flames and more smoke.
    • Change When interrupted whilst starting up PK Fire, Ness stops reciting the attack's name.
  • PK Thunder:
    • Buff PK Thunder travels faster, has less ending lag, much larger hitboxes, deals much better knockback, travels in a drastically tighter arc and goes through opponents until the tail disconnects from Ness with 1% more damage, making him less susceptible to being gimped. PK Thunder 2 is much faster and when Ness bounces off a wall while recovering with it, he can initiate PK Thunder again during the bounce.
    • Change PK Thunder is now light blue like in Melee.
  • PK Thunder 2:
  • PSI Magnet:
    • Buff PSI Magnet has significantly less ending lag, with Ness now being able to act out of it much quicker. The magnet is also larger, increasing its range.
    • Nerf PSI Magnet swirls projectiles around it, causing a slight delay until Ness can actually be healed. If Ness were to drop PSI Magnet and/or be launched, the absorbed projectiles may take even longer to reach him, but they will still heal him eventually.
    • Change The swirling of captured attacks by PSI Magnet utterly nullifies even projectiles that would continue past Ness, including Thoron and Pikachu's Thunder.
    • Change PSI Magnet is now light blue like in Melee.
  • PK Starstorm:
    • Change PK Starstorm now fires a thin, aimable line of meteors from the top-center of the stage, similar to how Aura Storm functioned. This enables it to deal damage more reliably at the cost of having blind spots.
    • Change PK Starstorm now has a flame effect, instead of an electric effect.

Update history[edit]

Ness has been slightly nerfed overall in game updates. His most notable nerfs are the reduced damage output to his down throw and PK Fire having slightly more endlag. The changes to shield mechanics also hamper him slightly due to the majority of his non PSI-based moves having a rather low damage output. Ness has also got some other useful buffs, however, such as a faster PSI Magnet and his down aerial having a bigger hitbox and lasts one more frame (though it's still his least useful aerial), and while the buffs do not truly compensate for his nerfs, he remains a strong character.

Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS 1.0.4

  • Buff The period Ness can be at his maximum fall speed before using hard landing lag has been lengthened: 4 → 5 frames.
  • Nerf PK Thunder and all custom variations have 6 frames more ending lag.
  • Buff Down throw's five hits have gained additional hitboxes, allowing them to hit Mr. Game & Watch.
  • Nerf Down throw's five hits before release deal less damage: 1% → 0.6%.
  • Nerf Down throw's release has increased knockback: 90 base/30 growth → 70/80, hindering its combo ability at high percents.

Super Smash Bros. 4 1.0.6

  • Change Forward smash's has an updated sound effect when reflecting projectiles.
  • Change Down throw's screen shaking effect is more pronounced.

Super Smash Bros. 4 1.0.8

  • Change The PK Starstorm trophy adds "Ness" in parentheses once Lucas is downloaded, as Lucas's trophy is also named "PK Starstorm"
  • Nerf PK Thunder 2 has a greater deceleration rate (0.072 → 0.08), making it cover less distance.
    • Buff PK Thunder 2 has a lower deceleration rate after hitting an opponent (0.072 → 0.064), making it cover the same distance after hitting an opponent despite the previous change.
  • Buff PSI Magnet and its custom variants' minimum hold time has been decreased (30 frames → 18 (PSI Magnet), 26 frames → 16 (PSI Vacuum), 36 frames → 20 (forward PSI Magnet)).
  • Buff PSI Magnet absorbs projectiles faster (20 frames → 6).

Super Smash Bros. 4 1.1.0

  • Buff Down aerial's meteor smash hitbox size increased: 3.5u → 3.9u and duration increased.
  • Nerf PK Fire's ending lag increased.

Super Smash Bros. 4 1.1.1

  • Buff Rising PK Flash has less startup lag when it is detonated (frame 8 → 6).
  • Buff Rising PK Flash deals more damage (2% → 4%) and knockback (80 (base)/30 (scaling) → 50/80), improving its KO potential.
  • Buff Rising PK Flash's range increased (10 → 13).
  • Nerf Rising PK Flash's first hitbox's duration decreased (3 frames → 2).
  • Nerf Rising PK Flash has a smaller size multiplier (2.2x → 2x).
  • Change Rising PK Flash minimum charge increased.
  • Buff PK Freeze range increased (10 → 11).
  • Buff PK Freeze has less startup lag when it is detonated (frame 15 → 8).
  • Buff PK Freeze deals more damage (8% → 10%) and has a larger damage multiplier (0.11x → 0.16x).
  • Nerf PK freeze has more landing lag (25 frames → 30).
  • Buff PK Fire Burst deals 1% more damage: 1%/8% → 2%/9% and hits earlier.

Super Smash Bros. 4 1.1.3

  • Nerf PSI Magnet heals halved damage from absorbing teammates' projectiles.


For a gallery of Ness's hitboxes, see here.

  Name Damage Description
Neutral attack   2% Punches twice, then kicks. The first hit can lock at low percents.
Forward tilt   10% A roundhouse kick. Can be angled, making it deal 1% more damage. It can also lock at low percents.
Up tilt   7% (arms) 5% (hands) Pushes upward with both hands that produces a PSI spark. Has a sourspot located on his hands that deals 5%.
Down tilt   4% (foot), 2% (toes) A swift shin kick. Extremely spammable and can be used to jab reset. Has a sourspot located on the tip of his foot. Has a chance of making the opponent trip.
Dash attack   4%/3% (hit 1), 7% (hit 1 aerial), 2% (hit 2), 4% (hit 3) Sends three PSI sparks out in front of him with the third spark knocking the opponent up into the air. The first spark deals more damage to aerial targets. Good to set up juggles and pressuring from afar. Difficult to punish on shield if only the last hit connects.
Forward smash   18% (low), 20% (mid), 22% (tip), 2× damage (reflected projectiles) Swings his bat. It is the second strongest forward smash in the game when sweetspotted at the tip of the bat and still one of the strongest forward smashes when untippered, but it has some start-up and ending lag. The bat itself will reflect incoming projectiles when he swings it. However, reflecting a projectile that is too strong to reflect will result in Ness experiencing five full seconds of ending lag, although this is uncommon since it requires a strong projectile to be reflected multiple times.
Up smash   9%-13% Sends his yo-yo forward and performs "around-the-world" over himself. A decent anti-air and a good out of shield option. It is more powerful if the opponent is behind Ness, but it's still the weakest up smash in the game, not KOing until roughly 137%.
Down smash   1% (hit 1, front and back) 1% (hit 2, front and back) 10% (hit 3, front and back) Sends his yo-yo backwards and "walk-the-dog" with it before pulling the yo-yo back. Covers get up options well, but cannot connect well if the opponent is at the longest range of the move.
Neutral aerial   11% (clean), 7% (late) Spins diagonally in the air with his arms outstretched. Quick, and acts like a sex kick. Can be followed-up after a down throw. Rather useful to break combos and as an out of shield option. Autocancels from a short hop.
Forward aerial   1% (hit 1-3) 4% (hit 4) Sticks his palms out, sending a stream of PSI sparks in front of him. Decently safe on shield if Ness retreats during the attack, useful to start and continue combos. Autocancels from a short hop.
Back aerial   15% (clean), 8% (late) Ness kicks out backwards with both feet. The initial hit is immensely strong, KOing at 125% onstage and even lower at the ledge. Autocancels from a short hop.
Up aerial   13% An upwards headbutt. It is considered one of Ness' best aerials, due to its rather quick startup, power that makes it effective for comboing at low percentages and KOing at high ones, starting at 115%. Autocancels from a short hop.
Down aerial   12% (sweetspot), 10% (sourspot) Pulls his legs to his body before stomping down into the air, producing a PSI spark. This attack can meteor smash on the first frame. It has slow start up, as it comes out on frame 20 and has lots of landing lag (28 frames). It only autocancels before the hitbox comes out, making it useful to cancel the tumble animation when Ness is near the ground.
Grab   Grabs with both hands. Fast, but below average range.
Pummel   1.2% Headbutts the opponent. A fast pummel.
Forward throw   11% Psychokinetically swings his opponent in a small circle in front of himself before sending them off forward. Very high base knockback, but incredibly low knockback scaling, which gives it little to no KO potential even after Sudden Death percentages. It is useful for setting up an edgeguard, however.
Back throw   11% Psychokinetically swings the opponent over his head before sending them off backwards, in a diagonally upwards motion. Possesses very low base knockback but incredibly high knockback scaling, making it the strongest throw in the entire game, KOing even the heaviest characters with optimal DI at 122% near the ledge without rage.
Up throw   10% Psychokinetically spins the opponent above his head before sending them up. Leaves the opponent in an unfavorable position where they can be juggled, most commonly by PK Thunder.
Down throw   0.6% (hits 1-5), 4% (throw) Throws the opponent onto the ground and scorches them with PK Fire. A strong combo starter, having guaranteed follow-ups into neutral aerial, forward aerial and up aerial.
Floor attack (front)   7%
Floor attack (back)   7%
Floor attack (trip)   5%
Edge attack   7% Flips onto the stage and does a sweep kick.
Neutral special Default PK Flash 9%-37% A green plasma-like energy projectile appears above Ness. As the special attack button is held, the sphere moves downwards and increases in power, until the attack button is released or until it is fully charged, it explodes. Can KO as low 37% fully charged.
Custom 1 Rising PK Flash 8%-24% A magenta colored PK Flash that keeps rising, hence the name. Has minimal control and deals less damage, but has a larger hitbox.
Custom 2 PK Freeze 10%-19% Inflicts less damage, but freezes opponents. Works like Lucas's neutral special, except with the same movement as PK Flash. His voice clips also changes.
Side special Default PK Fire 4% (lightning), 2% (fire) Fires a yellow, lightning-bolt shaped projectile, that travels in a straight line until it hits an enemy or destructible portion of a stage, at which point it explodes into a gradually-fading pillar of fire, making said enemy vulnerable. Fires at a downward 50 degree angle if used in the air.
Custom 1 PK Bonfire 2% (lightning), 3%-5% (fire) The lightning-bolt doesn't travel as far, but the flame pillar is stronger and it sticks around longer. Has much less combo potential due to its increased ending lag and knockback.
Custom 2 PK Fire Burst 2% (lightning), 9% (fire) Releases a single flame when it hits and knocks opponents farther. It will always travel horizontally even when used in the air, similar to Lucas's variant of PK Fire. It also travels further distance.
Up special Default PK Thunder 8% (PK Thunder), 1% (Thunder's tail), 25% (PK Thunder 2 initial hitbox), 21% (PK Thunder 2 late hitbox) Creates a stream of lightning that can be aimed into opponents to deal damage with the head and stun with the tail. Aiming the head into Ness himself will launch him in a trajectory opposite to the side he was hit on, which is referred to as PK Thunder 2. PK Thunder 2 has invincibility frames during the first half of the move. Ness' recovery move, but it can be easily gimped during startup.
Custom 1 Lasting PK Thunder 7% (PK Thunder), 1% (Thunder's tail), 1.5% (PK Thunder 2, each hit), 10% (PK Thunder 2, last hit) Functions identically to Lucas's counterpart, with tighter turning and both the projectile and Ness piercing enemies. Deals less damage, but launches Ness further.
Custom 2 Rolling PK Thunder 12% (PK Thunder), 1% (Thunder's tail), 30% (PK Thunder 2) Creates a slower, yet larger PK Thunder. Both the projectile and Ness do more damage and knockback. However, the distance Ness moves with PK Thunder 2 is significantly shorter, making this a high-risk, high-reward move.
Down special Default PSI Magnet 0% A purple energy field around him which allows him to absorb any energy-based projectile (like Samus' Charge Shot). It can be held in order to use it repeatedly. Heals 1.6× the damage Ness would have taken, but only heals a maximum of 30% damage.
Custom 1 PSI Vacuum 10% Ness draws opponents in, releasing an explosion that damages nearby foes when the move is released. It cannot absorb projectiles.
Custom 2 Forward PSI Magnet 9% The magnet appears in front of him, just like Lucas's version. It damages an opponent inside the magnet when the move is released.
Final Smash PK Starstorm 8% per hit Summons stars to fall from the sky to annihilate his enemies. The comets descend in a straight line over Ness and can sweep the screen with directional inputs to the left and right.

On-screen appearance[edit]

  • Ness teleports on the screen using PSI Teleport. He then shakes the ash off of his body.


  • Up taunt: Turns to the screen and nods his head while saying "Okay".
  • Side taunt: Takes his bat out and points it in front of him.
  • Down taunt: Releases a wave of PSI from his finger.
Up taunt Side taunt Down taunt
NessUpTauntSSB4.jpg NessSideTauntSSB4.jpg NessDownTauntSSB4.jpg

Idle poses[edit]

  • Looks around curiously.
  • Closes his eyes and places his fingers on his forehead, concentrating his PSI, and then points it forward.
NessIdlePose1WiiU.jpg NessIdlePose2WiiU.jpg

Crowd cheer[edit]

English Japanese
Description Su-per Ness! Ness! Ness! Ness!
Pitch Group chant Group chant

Victory poses[edit]

A flourished remix directly from Brawl. It is a sped-up remix of a portion of the title theme from the original MOTHER for the Famicom.
  • Skips in place and then nods similar to his up taunt.
  • Looks to his sides quickly before facing the screen, putting his hand on the back of his head.
  • Swings his bat multiple times, then points it forward.
NessPose1WiiU.gif NessPose2WiiU.gif NessPose3WiiU.gif

In competitive play[edit]

Official Custom Moveset Project[edit]

Character Custom sets available
NessHeadSSB4-U.png Ness 1112 1121 1122 1311 1312
1321 1322 1212 2111 1113

Notable players[edit]

Any number following the Smasher name indicates placement on the PGR 100, which recognizes the official top 100 players in Super Smash Bros. 4 of all time.



Tier placement and history[edit]

Opinions on Ness' competitive viability have been controversial throughout the game's lifespan. During the early life of SSB4, smashers immediately noticed the vast buffs made to Ness. Many smashers recognized that Ness no longer have the 10 extra frame grab-release animations, his combo game has been markedly improved, and his recovery is much harder to gimp by the addition of a new edge-trumping mechanic. From these initial buffs, Ness was widely considered to be a prominent high tier or even a top-tier character. From possessing arguably one of the best throw games in SSB4, a highly versatile aerial game, alongside excellent KO power and damage output, Ness's expectations continued strong, leading to great tournament representation. His results had been splendid throughout 2015-Early 2016 thanks to likes of FOW and Shaky. With FOW's 7th placement at EVO 2015 and 5th place at GENESIS 3 and Shaky's 7th placement at CEO 2015 and 9th placement at GENESIS 3, it solidified Ness into 13th position on the first official 4BR tier list.

After the first tier list, his results slightly fell from the slight inconsistency from FOW and the sudden inactivity from Shaky. While Ness made a slight decline, the release of Bayonetta, the significant buffs to Mewtwo and the increased representation of Mega Man drop Ness even further. Despite this, Ness' results and representation went on strong and would drop slightly on the second tier list, placing at 16th.

Over time, Ness' flaws came to be more apparent, with players noticing that his subpar mobility, mediocre ground game, and notably gimpable recovery made him struggle against high and top tiers, despite his buffs. As a result, opinions on Ness began to fall off drastically. His results would become stagnant, as many of his players became significantly inactive (Specifically after EVO 2016 to 2GGT: ZeRo Saga). During the period of stagnation, Ness had been rivaled against his fellow EarthBound semi-clone, Lucas. While Lucas was initially considered inferior to Ness in the Smash community, over time, the community questioned about Ness' and Lucas' viability. Lucas' buffs received from patches and his commendable results thanks to Taiheita slowly led the community into believing that Lucas is superior to Ness. At the same time, some of his previously not so troublesome matchups such as Marth and Lucina would also gain a large spike in popularity and viability, and prove to now be worrisome matchups for Ness. Despite again gaining results on Winter 2016 and 2017, most noticeably FOW's 17th placement in 2GGT: ZeRo Saga and S1's 5th placement in B.E.A.S.T 7, it didn't compensate the loss of his stagnant results he had suffered from mid to late 2016. This resulted in a much larger tier drop to 24th on the third tier list, being tied with Pac-Man for the largest between the second and third tier lists.

Throughout 2017, several mains began to return to the scene, with FOW briefly coming out of retirement to place 13th at 2GGC: Nairo Saga and 25th at 2GGC: Civil War respectively. NAKAT, despite using Ness as a secondary in favor of Fox in 2016, began to co-main Ness. With his Ness, NAKAT placed 3rd at Smash Factor 6, 13th at EVO 2017, 17th at GameTyrant Expo 2017, and 17th at 2GGC: FE Saga. The Tristate Ness main, The Great Gonzales, placed 5th at Royal Flush and 17th at Smash 'N' Splash 3 respectively. Most recently, a Japanese Ness player, Gackt, made a breakout performance at The Big House 7 by claiming wins against ANTi, Locus, Mistake and secured 17th place. Regardless of these improved results, opinion from Ness worsened and many Smashers, including ZeRo, Dabuz, MkLeo, and Nairo, widely believed that Lucas is superior to Ness, despite Ness' accomplishments. From this, Ness dropped once again on the fourth and current tier list, at 28th, now sharing the spot with his Earthbound representative Lucas though due to the expansion of the tiers, he is now considered a high tier character rather than a mid tier character.

Fortunately, opinions from Ness began to improve for the first time as he continues to net above average results thanks to Gackt, BestNess, taranito, and S1 earning notable results in their regions, and even in some major tournaments such as BestNess getting 25th at GENESIS 5 and 13th at The Big House 8, S1 placing 5th at Midwest Mayhem 11 and almost causing a huge upset vs CaptainZack, taranito placing 17th at EVO Japan 2018, and Gackt placing 2nd at Frostbite Ursa Minor 2 and taking sets off of komorikiri, dyr, and Ned. These results have even been more impressive than some of the characters ranked above him such as Greninja, Villager, and Bowser. While Ness continued to grow, his fellow EarthBound representative, Lucas (Who is currently tied with Ness for 28th on the current Smash 4 tier list) dropped in quality from his declining results in Japan and the absence of Taiheita, leading Dabuz to say that Ness is the superior character. On top of this, FOW recently confirmed his return to the Smash scene and has had decent placings such as 2nd at Expand Gong 3. Because of these notable results and his continuous rise, it is unknown whether Ness will continue to stay as a mid to high tier or if he will regain his former glory. Regardless, Ness is still viewed as a viable character in tournament play and can even achieve favorable placements in national level when solo-mained. However, he may require to have secondaries on certain matchups.


Ntsc Hailing from Onett, a small town in Eagleland, this young boy's ordinary looks hide his psychic powers. Ness fought against the evil Giygas in Earthbound, and in Smash Bros. he unleashes some of the same PSI moves. Watch out for PK Thunder, a guided attack that can also launch Ness like a rocket!
Pal From Onett in Eageland comes this young lad. He may not look like much, but he has powerful psychic abilities, and they really come in handy in EarthBound. They come in handy in this game, too. Did you know you can control his PK Thunder bolt? Aim it at Ness himself to send him flying, absolutely clobbering anyone in his path!
SNES: EarthBound -- 06/1995
GB Advance: Mother 1+2 -- 2003 (JP)
Ness (Alt.)
Ntsc Ness may have psychic powers, but that doesn't mean he shies away from getting physical. His side smash packs a real punch if you hit enemies with the end of his bat, and it can even deflect projectiles! His up and down smashes also have a lot of range - Ness can land his strikes with ease!
Pal Ness may have psychic powers, but that doesn't mean he shies away from getting physical. His side smash packs a real punch if you hit enemies with the end of his bat, and it can even reflect projectiles! His up and down smashes have a lot of range, meaning when you play as Ness, it's always easy to land hits on your foes!
SNES: EarthBound -- 06/1995
GB Advance: Mother 1+2 -- 2003 (JP)
PK Starstorm
In EarthBound, this PSI ability belonged to Poo, the Crown Prince of Dalaam and one of Ness's friends. Ness must have learned it especially for Smash Bros.! The attack makes a shower of meteors fall onto the stage, damaging any foes it hits. While the attack's in progress, Ness is invincible and can adjust the meteors' trajectory.

In Event Matches[edit]

Solo Events[edit]

Co-op Events[edit]

Alternate costumes[edit]

Ness Palette (SSB4).png
NessHeadSSB4-U.png NessHeadWhiteSSB4-U.png NessHeadYellowSSB4-U.png NessHeadGreenSSB4-U.png NessHeadBlueSSB4-U.png NessHeadBlackSSB4-U.png NessHeadCyanSSB4-U.png NessHeadPurpleSSB4-U.png



  • Ness and Palutena are the only characters in SSB4 with different voice clips for custom moves; in Ness's case, he has a unique voice clip when using PK Freeze.
  • Ness's amiibo description on the North American amiibo website is based on his trophy description from Melee.
  • Ness's yo-yo in this game reads "SUPER NINTENDO 2014" and "MOTHER", in reference to his console of origin, SSB4's year of release, and his home series.
  • Ness's custom special PK Freeze is one of only three custom specials in the game that have a preview image featuring a non-silhouetted character besides the user of the attack (alongside Mega Man's Ice Slasher and Lucas's PK Freeze). This is likely due to the characters being frozen.
  • Ness and Jigglypuff are the only original 12 characters to be excluded from newcomer poster art.
  • One set of Ness's custom moves reference Lucas's moveset in Brawl (and as later included in Smash 4).
  • Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS is the only game where Ness and Captain Falcon do not have the same availability.