Ness (SSBM)

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This article is about Ness's appearance in Super Smash Bros. Melee. For the character in other contexts, see Ness.
Ness
in Super Smash Bros. Melee
Ness
EarthboundSymbol(preBrawl).svg
Universe EarthBound
Other Smash Bros. appearances in SSB
in Brawl
in SSB4
Availability Starter
Tier F (23) (North America)
H (23) (Europe)
#default:
A psychic boy with a distinct midair jump.
—Description from Melee's manual.

Ness (ネス, Ness) is a default character in Super Smash Bros. Melee. Announced at E3 2001, he was originally going to be replaced by Lucas from Mother 3; the ultimate cancellation of the game for the Nintendo 64, however, caused Masahiro Sakurai to retain Ness.

He is currently ranked 23rd out of 26 on the tier list, placing in F tier. This is a very slight fall from his already very low placement in Smash 64, where he was 10th out of 12 characters. While still having fantastic throws and a great aerial game thanks to his double jump cancel, Ness has a poor approach on the ground due to significant range issues in most of his attacks; his recovery is also easy to intercept and edgeguard against, and he also has significant trouble KOing opponents, due to his surprisingly weak KO power and due to his aforementioned poor range. As a result of these significant weaknesses, Ness has very poor matchups, with six nearly unwinnable, one even (against Yoshi), and only three slightly favorable (against Bowser, Kirby, and Pichu). In addition, Ness currently ranks one spot away from the bottom tier in Melee, making him non-viable in tournament play.


Attributes[edit]

Ness is an unusual blend of character archetypes; many of his attributes are unique in comparison to other characters, such as his projectiles, his recovery and his midair jump. Ness has above average traction and a moderately low falling speed, giving him an above-average wavedash that is relatively quick. Ness is a projectile-heavy character, as he has 3 projectiles: PK Flash, PK Fire and PK Thunder, while also having a healing move in his PSI Magnet.

Arguably Ness's greatest strength is his combo game. Despite a poor SHFFL due to his high short hop and low falling speed, Ness has many ways to pressure and combo in the air thanks to his double jump cancel (often abbreviated DJC). By cancelling out of his midair jump with an aerial, Ness can quickly and efficiently use his multiple aerial attacks; this is especially important considering the utility of his aerial attacks. His neutral aerial and forward aerial attacks acting as potential combo starters (especially the latter) and his back, up and down air attacks serve as good KO moves. Due to this, his air approach is considered to be much better than his ground approach.

Although Ness has a poor ground approach, he still boasts two effective options: his grab game and the Yo-yo glitch. Ness' throws all have excellent utility; his forward throw has extremely high base knockback, making it ideal for starting edgeguards. His down throw is a decent combo starter, having potential to lead into his DJC'd aerials. His up throw is a decent chain grab and can be used in conjunction with PK Thunder to rack up damage or play mindgames. Finally, his back throw is the strongest throw in the game, making it a deadly KOing option. As for the Yo-yo glitch, Ness is the only character to have access to this technique. It is initiated through his up smash, and can be used to attack or grab with near limitless range or attach certain single-hitbox attacks to Ness's body. This can significantly increase Ness' range and options when performed properly.

Ness' greatest flaw, however, is his significant range problems. All of his attacks (especially his tilts) have little range or small hitboxes, making hitting an opponent very difficult. Although wavedashing can help out this problem somewhat, Ness' ground based options have too little utility overall to benefit noticeably. When combined with his somewhat slow movement, Ness has significant trouble approaching opponents. Thus, his dash attack is considered to be his only reliable ground approach option, due to its decent range unlike most of his other attacks. Also, Ness's grab has the second shortest range in all of the game (only to Pikachu), thus making it difficult for him to take advantage of his versatile throws, while his dash grab is extremely laggy and barely improves its range. Finally, against opponents with particularly good spacing games, most notoriously Marth, Ness can be easily overwhelmed in his attempts to approach opponents in the air despite the power of his DJC.

Assuming he can approach his opponents, Ness suffers from noticeable KOing problems, largely due to his poor power and range. His up and down smashes, are the weakest of their kind, and his forward smash needs to be sweetspotted at the tip of the bat to KO effectively. His back, up and down aerials are powerful, but their poor reach make them difficult to land, while his down aerial is rather slow. Finally, Ness' back throw is his most powerful finisher, but it is held back by his aforementioned poor grab range.

Ness' special moveset also has some problems: it is rather situational overall. PK Flash boasts extreme power when fully charged and is great for punishing poorly positioned opponents offstage, but it is limited to edgeguarding due to it being very slow and difficult to land. PK Fire can trap opponents and leave them open for follow-ups, and can even gimp fast-fallers. However, it has short reach for a projectile and is very easy to SDI out of, making it easy to punish. PK Thunder is Ness' most useful special move; it is unique for controlling a thunder ball which can be moved in any direction, allowing for mindgames, offstage gimps, and even a powerful KOing option in PK Thunder 2. However it has one critical flaw: the player loses control of Ness during the move, leaving him open to extremely powerful attacks if he can't hit the opponent quick enough. Finally, PSI Magnet can heal Ness and put him in a better position defensively, but it is rather slow and completely dependent on the opposing character, as it only absorbs energy-based projectiles.

Outside of his poor approach, Ness also suffers from an easily gimpable recovery. Ness's recovery has its merits; he has the second highest midair jump in the game (second to only Yoshi) and his midair jump has unusual properties in its trajectory; PK Thunder 2 also grants a rather long distance, with a moderately large sweetspot and a long period of invincibility frames. The move is also very risky to block due to possessing KO power that reliably KOs at 90%. Despite these benefits, however, Ness's recovery still is cited as arguably the worst in the game, in spite of its long length, due to possessing many notable flaws. If Ness uses an aerial to fend off edgeguarders, his double jump is cancelled and can prevent him from recovering if unable to act soon enough. PK Thunder's projectile instantly disappears upon hitting opponents, and this is very easily abusable by edgeguarders, further worsened by PK Thunder 2's slow startup. In the process of having to start PK Thunder 2, characters with good recoveries (such as Jigglypuff or Samus) can merely jump into the projectile and take minor knockback and damage, immediately sending Ness into a state of helplessness (however, this is extremely risky). Projectiles such as Link's Boomerangs and the Ice Climbers' Ice Shot can easily disrupt the projectile as well, and in these cases, damage is not even inflicted to the opponent. PK Thunder 2 also is difficult to angle correctly, and it can easily curve under lips of stages, most notably on Battlefield. Finally, its linear nature can make it easy to read and edgeguard for many characters, despite the invincibility frames found within it; attacks like Mario's Cape or Link's Spin Attack can easily intercept the attack as Ness charges to the stage.

Changes from Smash 64 to Melee[edit]

Ness received a mix of buffs and nerfs in his transition from Smash 64 to Melee. However, because his flaws were not properly addressed in the previous installment, he is considered to be nerfed overall.

Ness received a number of helpful buffs; his range was increased as a whole to help alleviate his main flaw from the previous game. His mobility has been drastically improved, possessing a much faster dashing speed and air speed, making it much easier for him to approach and chase opponents. His weight was also significantly increased, improving his on-stage endurance, while his slower falling speed makes him harder to combo. Ness also retains his powerful combo game in his DJC, despite being slightly weakened. However, he has new combo options as well; his forward aerial can now chain into itself and other aerials while his dash attack has many different follow-up options depending on where it hits, (while also having greatly increased range), and he now has an up and down throw, giving him two good setup and combo throws. The most notable buff that Ness received, however, was the addition of the Yo-yo glitch. When performed correctly, Ness has access to much greater range, as well as new mindgames.

However, Ness also received significant nerfs in other important areas. His down aerial, his most notable combo finisher, has drastically more startup, and the addition of meteor cancelling makes it significantly easier to survive against. This removes most of its KO potential and completely removes its use in shield break combos and DJC combos in general, significantly hurting his damage racking ability. Despite being known for his poor recovery, PK Thunder is even more unreliable due to its much shorter distance and new angling issues, while retaining its previous issues from Smash 64; this makes Ness' recovery arguably the worst in the game. Ness also has much lower power, especially in his smash attacks, as his forward smash requires sweetspotting while his up and down smashes have lost all of their KO power. Finally, while the overall range in his attacks has increased, it is arguably even worse relative to the cast due to the larger competition, and thus can still be easily and quickly overwhelmed when approaching opponents.

Because of these nerfs, the buffs Ness received have almost been nullified by the aforementioned nerfs and remains at a disadvantage among the rest of the cast in Melee and as a result, he is one of the characters that have been clearly nerfed alongside Yoshi, Pikachu, and Kirby.

Aesthetics[edit]

  • Change Ness's grounded jump is no longer psychokinetic.
  • Change Ness has new voice samples.
  • Change Ness's cap is turned right.
  • Change Ness's backpack is two strapped.
  • Change Ness now has a blue hue in his eyes.
  • Change Ness's default costume have been slightly changed (red cap has blue instead of purple, beige and blue striped shirt and blue shorts instead of yellow/purple and purple, blue cap has purple instead of violet, tan and purple striped shirt and purple shorts instead of yellow/violet and violet, and orange and brown striped shirt and green shorts instead of light green/orange and orange like Mario's team battle costume.)

Attributes[edit]

  • Change Ness is significantly heavier (81.818 → 94), which improves his endurance, but makes him easier to combo.
  • Buff Air speed (28 → 0.93) and dashing speed (40 → 1.4) were greatly improved.
  • Nerf Ness's walking speed is slightly slower (0.28 → 0.84).
  • Change Ness is significantly floatier (55 → 1.83), hindering his vertical endurance, but also makes him harder to combo.

Ground Attacks[edit]

  • Buff Forward tilt is much stronger.
  • Buff Down tilt is much faster and can now infinite.
  • Buff Dash attack is now a multi-hitting move that does more damage and has significantly more range, combo potential and overall utility.
  • Change His dash attack has become psychokinetic.
  • Buff Forward smash now has longer reach and is faster. All hitboxes also deal much more damage.
  • Nerf Forward smash's tipper hitbox is much weaker, KOing around 18% later, and it now has 3 drastically weaker sourspots on the base of his bat that can't KO until 150%.
  • Buff Ness now has access to the Yo-yo glitch.
  • Nerf His up and down smashes have less reach, deal drastically less damage and they have been drastically weakened to the point where the strongest hitboxes (the initial hitbox) can't KO until 200% while the swinging parts can no longer KO even well past Sudden Death.

Aerial Attacks[edit]

  • Change Ness has a new neutral aerial: a spin. It deals 3% less damage on both hitboxes, making it worse for damage racking. However, this change makes it combo better, when combined with its new hitboxes.
  • Buff Forward aerial does more damage, has more range and has much better combo potential as it can now chain into itself or other aerials from low to K.O. percents.
  • Change His back and forward aerial have become psychokinetic.
  • Buff Up aerial has more reach with a bigger hitbox.
  • Nerf Ness's head when doing his up aerial is no longer intangible.
  • Buff Down aerial has much higher base knockback, making it a deadly 0-death KO tool if not meteor-canceled.
  • Nerf Ness's down aerial deals 3% less damage, no longer deals extra shield damage and like most other meteor smashes, now has significantly more start-up lag. The addition of meteor cancelling, when combined with its much lower knockback scaling, makes the attack much easier to survive at higher percents. This drastically worsens the move's utility, removing its use in combos while being much more unreliable as a finisher.

Grabs and Throws[edit]

  • Nerf Forward and back throw deal 5% less damage: 16% → 11%. The former also has drastically lower knockback scaling and cannot KO reliably until well beyond Sudden Death.
  • Buff Ness has been given an up throw and a down throw, providing him with more options.

Special Moves[edit]

  • Change Ness now has a new neutral special: PK Flash. A chargeable green ball of light that increases in power and moves downward the longer the button is held. Once it reaches full power, it explodes, dealing huge knockback.
  • Nerf PK Fire travels a smaller distance, and it is now considerably easier to SDI out of.
  • Change PK Fire is moved to Ness's side special.
  • Buff Ness's PK Thunder travels faster and deals 2% more damage.
  • Nerf Ness's PK Thunder 2 travels a much shorter distance, damage when hitting an opponent is 5% less, is significantly weaker (now KOing in the 90% range), now has a drastically weaker late hitbox which deals 5% less damage than the normal hitbox and can't KO until roughly 135%, and has a lot more ending and landing lag, now having around 120 frames (or at least 2 seconds) of lag if he uses PK Thunder 2 on the ground or if he lands while in the middle of the animation of PK Thunder 2. As such, Ness's recovery is considered to be much worse overall.
  • Buff PSI Magnet is considerably faster, improving Ness's defensive game.
  • Change The color of PSI Magnet is now blue instead of green.
  • Change The crowd no longer cheers when Ness absorbs a projectile with PSI Magnet.
  • Change The crowd no longer gasps when Ness hits himself with PK Thunder.

Moveset[edit]

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

Ness's aerial attacks
  Name Damage Description
Neutral attack   3% Punches forward twice, then kicks.
2%
4%
Forward tilt   12% Does a roundhouse kick forward. Can be angled up or down.
11%
10%
Up tilt   7% Thrusts both his hands upward. Ness's head is intangible during the early part of the animation. Can combo into itself and DJC'd up aerials.
Down tilt   3% Thrusts his leg downward, then pivots his foot to hit the opponent. Can combo into itself by mashing the A button after the move is executed, and is an infinite against a wall.
Dash attack   5% (hit 1), 4% (hits 2-3) (≈12.28% total) Throws his hands forward, sending three sparks PSI energy in front of himself. Good, disjointed range. 1st hit powerfully semi-spikes opponents, 2nd hit does very weak vertical knockback and the last hit deals powerful vertical knockback.
Forward smash   18% (body), 20% (bat base), 22% (bat mid), 24% (bat tip) Swings his bat forward. Has high knockback and damage at the tip of the bat, but has very weak knockback for a smash attack when untipped and has a little bit of start-up lag. The bat can reflect projectiles.
Up smash   9% (startup), 4% (charging), 6% (attack) Does a variation on the "around-the-world" yo-yo trick, swinging his yo-yo above his head. Has good range and speed. Used to perform the extremely powerful Yo-yo Glitch, but doesn't have any utility outside of it. Like his down smash, this attack is incapable of K.O.ing unless his opponent is over 200%, and the swinging part even has almost non-existent knockback not K.O.ing until at least 500%. The attack has a hitbox while charging.
Down smash   11% (startup), 4% (charging), 7% (attack) Sends his yo-yo backwards and "walks-the-dog" with it before pulling the yo-yo back. Has good range and speed, however, this attack is incapable of K.O.ing unless his opponent is over 180%. More powerful than the up smash in terms of knockback, but still extremely weak. The attack has a hitbox while charging. The swinging part of the attack has barely any base knockback and can't K.O. until the 430% range.
Neutral aerial   11% (clean), 8% (late) Spins around, arms stretched out. Has good knockback and is very fast with high combo potential. Poor range.
Forward aerial   3% (hits 1-4), 5% (hit 5) (≈15.74% total) Throws both his hands forward, sending multiple sparks PSI energy in front of himself. Is a fast, multi-hitting move, with good range and high knockback on the last hit K.O.ing under 130% off-stage. Generally used as a spacing move and can chain into itself several times at low to high percents.
Back aerial   16% (clean), 10% (late) Thrusts both his feet backwards. If sweetspotted, it electrifies the opponent and semi-spikes them with extreme power. Is fast with very high knockback albeit poor range. The fourth most powerful back aerial in Melee.
Up aerial   13% Headbutts upward. Has amazing juggling potential when DJC'd and a good KO move with very low lag, but poor range. Unlike in Smash 64, Ness`s head is no longer intangible.
Down aerial   12% Pulls his legs to his body before stomping downwards. Is a meteor smash, and has a decent amount of start-up lag. Great range, extremely high knockback at 0% (most powerful meteor smash at 0% in Melee), but it also has very low knockback scaling, being unable to KO grounded opponents at even 200%, and is relatively easy to meteor cancel. It also has no IASA frames (being interrupted on the same frame as Mario's forward aerial, but Mario's seem slower compared to Ness's).
Grab
Pummel   3% Headbutts the opponent.
Forward throw   11% Psychically throws the opponent forward. Very strong base knockback, but very low knockback scaling.
Back throw   11% Psychically throws the opponent behind him. Has extremely low base knockback but very high knockback scaling. This is Ness's strongest throw and and by far the strongest throw in the game, KOing reliably at 90% and above.
Up throw   10% Psychically spins the opponent above his head and throws them upwards. Can chaingrab Fox, Falco and Captain Falcon at low % and has a decent amount of followups. Good knockback.
Down throw   1% (hits 1-5), 4% (throw) Slams the opponent to the ground and hits them with fire. Low knockback but allows a decent amount of followups, including being able to lead into an up aerial to KO.
Floor attack (front)   6% Punches on both sides whilst getting up.
Floor attack (back)   6% Gets up and does a sweep kick with both feet.
Edge attack (fast)   8% Somersaults onto the stage, and kicks upwards with both feet.
Edge attack (slow)   10% Slowly picks himself up and does a jump kick.
Neutral special PK Flash 11-36% A sphere of green light appears above Ness. As the attack button is held, the sphere moves downwards and increases in power and size, until the attack button is released or until it is fully charged, it explodes. Has transcendent priority.
Side special PK Fire 2% (lightning), 3% (pillar hit 1), 2% (pillar 2-7) 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 flames. The bolt has a hurtbox, which is what activates the pillar upon contact; the surrounding hitbox deals 2% and has minor knockback. The spawned pillar also has a hurtbox that slowly shrinks in size.
Up special PK Thunder 8% (thunder head), 1% (thunder tail), 25% (PK Thunder 2 clean), 20% (PK Thunder 2 late) 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 intangibility frames during the first half of the move. PK Thunder has transcendent priority.
Down special PSI Magnet 0%, heals 2.0x the damage of absorbed projectiles Creates a blue energy field around him which allows him to absorb all energy-based projectiles. It can be held.

Taunt[edit]

  • Turns to the screen and nods his head while saying "Okay".
Ness-Taunt-SSBM.gif

Idle pose[edit]

  • Looks from side to side.
Ness Idle Pose Melee.gif

Crowd cheer[edit]

English Japanese
Cheer
Ness Cheer NTSC Melee.ogg
Ness Cheer JP Melee.ogg
Description Ness Ness Ness! Ness Ness Ness!
Pitch Group chant Group chant

Victory poses[edit]

An orchestrated version of the final four Soundstone Melodies from EarthBound.
  • Looks to the left and right of him, then places an arm on the back of his head in a bashful manner.
  • Swings around his bat four times, then poses with it.
  • Jumps up and down twice, places arms on waist, and says "Okay!"
Ness-Victory1-SSBM.gif Ness-Victory2-SSBM.gif Ness-Victory3-SSBM.gif

In Competitive play[edit]

Matchups[edit]

Super Smash Bros. Melee Character Matchups
  FoxHeadSSBM.png FalcoHeadSSBM.png MarthHeadSSBM.png SheikHeadSSBM.png JigglypuffHeadSSBM.png PeachHeadSSBM.png IceClimbersHeadSSBM.png CaptainFalconHeadSSBM.png PikachuHeadSSBM.png SamusHeadSSBM.png DrMarioHeadSSBM.png YoshiHeadSSBM.png LuigiHeadSSBM.png GanondorfHeadSSBM.png MarioHeadSSBM.png YoungLinkHeadSSBM.png DonkeyKongHeadSSBM.png LinkHeadSSBM.png MrGame&WatchHeadSSBM.png RoyHeadSSBM.png MewtwoHeadSSBM.png ZeldaHeadSSBM.png NessHeadSSBM.png PichuHeadSSBM.png BowserHeadSSBM.png KirbyHeadSSBM.png Avg.
NessHeadSSBM.png -3 -3 -3 -3 -3 -2 -2 -3 -2 -2 -1 ±0 -2 -2 -2 -2 -2 -1 -1 -1 -1 -1 Mirror match +1 +1 +1 -2

Notable players[edit]

See also: Category:Ness professionals (SSBM)

Active[edit]

Inactive[edit]

Tier placement and history[edit]

Ness was initially viewed as low-mid tier character in the metagame, with a peak of 15th place on the second tier list. Following this, however, Ness's standing on the tier list constantly fell down to the lower tiers, with most players noticing that his nerfs from Super Smash Bros. severely impaired his KO power and his already poor linear, predictable recovery; this was especially noted in the earlier Smash 64 metagame, as Ness was initially viewed as a top-tiered character.

On the current tier list, Ness places at 23rd, in the F tier, and he is considered almost non-viable for tournament play. Dedicated Ness players are rare in the current metagame, with most Ness players often using him as a situational counterpick; Hungrybox only used Ness once in all of Apex 2013, in an attempt to counter Armada's Young Link, and he mostly used Jigglypuff for the rest of the tournament. Other players of Ness are semi-active and generally do not place very well with him.

In 1-P Mode[edit]

Classic Mode[edit]

In Classic Mode, Ness can appear as an ordinary opponent, as an ally or opponent in the team battles, alongside Yoshi, Peach, or Mewtwo, as a member of a multi-character battle, or as a metal opponent. In Ness's appearance, he appears on either Onett or Fourside (if unlocked) as a regular opponent and on Battlefield as a metal opponent. When on a team with Yoshi, he appears on Yoshi's Island.

Adventure Mode[edit]

Ness's appearance in the Adventure Mode is in Stage 9: Onett. In the stage, the player must fight against three computer players, each one being Ness, on Onett; in the fight, the only item that appear is Mr. Saturn. The player must defeat all three opponents within five minutes to continue.

All-Star Mode[edit]

Ness and his allies are fought on Onett.

Event Matches[edit]

Ness is featured in the following event matches:

Ending images[edit]

Trophy descriptions[edit]

In addition to the normal trophy about Ness as a character, there are two trophies about him as a fighter, unlocked by completing both Adventure and All-Star modes respectively with Ness on any difficulty:

Ness
Ness is a young boy who's mastered the psychic power known as PSI. Ness was living a normal life in the suburbs of Onett until a meteor crashed into a nearby mountain and sent him on a wild adventure. Believing in the ultimate powers of wisdom, courage, and friendship, Ness proves that some heroes come in small packages.
  • EarthBound 06/95
Ness [Smash]
The key to mastering Ness is controlling his unique midair jump, which makes up for what he lacks in speed. His PK Flash attack may seem weak at first glance, but it grows more powerful the longer you hold down the B Button. To do a lot of damage with PK Fire, try to burn your opponent as many times as possible.
  • B: PK Flash
  • Smash B: PK Fire
Ness [Smash]
Ness's mind is his best weapon. PK Thunder is a PSI missile weapon that can be guided using the Control Stick, and if Ness hits himself with it, he turns into a living missile capable of doing massive damage. This move can also be used for recovery. PSI Magnet turns energy missile attacks into health; try out certain Pokémon for stamina replenishment.
  • Up & B: PK Thunder
  • Down & B: PSI Magnet

Alternate costumes[edit]

Ness's alternate costumes in Melee

Trivia[edit]

The yoyo's texture.
The "Electric Ness" glitch being performed.
  • Ness is one of three characters whose neutral special changed during his jump to Melee, the others being Link and Jigglypuff. In the original Super Smash Bros., his neutral special was PK Fire; from Melee onward, he now uses PK Flash.
  • If one looks closely at Ness's Yoyo, he or she can see the words DOLPHIN LOOP, with it being made by HALLAB NINTENDO in 2001 (Melee’s release year). Dolphin being a reference to the Gamecube's codename, and the "makers" a reference to the developer and publisher of Melee respectively. His bat reads NETT SPORTS.
  • Hitting Ness as he's using PK Thunder can cause his body to constantly produce sparks afterward, though these sparks only provide a cosmetic effect. This glitch continues until he gets KOed, shields, or performs PK Thunder again.
  • Ness's amiibo description on the North American amiibo website is based on his trophy description from Melee.


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