Ness (ネス, Ness) is a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. He was revealed along with all other previous veterans on June 12, 2018 and is classified as Fighter #10.
Makiko Ōmoto's portrayal of Ness from Super Smash Bros. 4 was repurposed for Ultimate. This makes Ultimate the only installment where Ness does not receive any new voice clips.
How to unlock
Complete one of the following:
With the exception of the third method, Ness must then be defeated on Onett.
Ness is a very peculiar character in that he doesn't fit in any single stereotype. Although Ness has low gravity, a below-average falling speed and air speed as well as average weight, he has above average jump height and his air acceleration is among one of the best in the game, which benefits his powerful aerial combos. His walk speed is quite slow, and his initial dash and dash speed are a bit below average.
Some of Ness's most useful tools are his PSI moves, PK Flash, PK Fire, PK Thunder, and PSI Magnet. PK Flash is a relatively slow move that deals more damage the more it is charged. Since it no longer puts Ness into helplessness, PK Flash can be used to knock opponents away from edge guarding Ness or even combo into moves like up air. PK Fire is infamous for being a spammable move due to its relatively low landing lag, and the move itself is able to help set up combos, trap opponents for a grab, or simply rack up damage. PK Thunder is Ness's most useful special, as it can be used to gimp opponents off-stage or KO them from the upper blast zone. Ness can also send the tail into himself, causing him to fly forward; "PK Thunder 2" can be used to recover or to take an early stock from an unsuspecting opponent. Finally, PSI Magnet allows Ness to absorb energy projectiles to heal himself. It also has an active hitbox that deals weak knockback, allowing Ness to use it to extend combos or potentially leading into a Smash attack.
Ness has an amazing air game. His aerials are fast, have big hitboxes, can combo into each other, can KO opponents and all of them autocancel in a short hop. First, his neutral aerial comes out frame 4. It's useful for breaking combos and getting out-of-shield. It has decent knockback, making it a good edgeguarding and KOing option at higher percents. His forward aerial is good for combos, edgeguarding and approaching, his up aerial has good KO potential and is a multihit attack that deals very high damage and is great for juggling, back aerial is one of the strongest in the game if it's sweetspotted and down aerial is a slow but powerful meteor smash that can assist in combos.
Ness's grab and throw game are outstanding and among the best of the cast, with a fast grab and throws that have a high damage output and can combo and KO. His back throw is the strongest in the game along with Incineroar, Shulk (with Smash Monado Art), Dr. Mario, and Zelda, and down throw is a very good combo starter, while forward throw is useful for edgeguarding and up throw is good for juggling and pressuring with PK Thunder.
Ness's ground game, while inferior to his aerials and throws, has some perks too. His forward tilt and dash attack are strong enough to KO at high percents and the latter has significant range, making it good for approaching. His up tilt is a good combo starter at low percents and can even KO at higher percents. His down tilt is fast and spammable. It's able to do good damage, trap opponents at the ledge, two-frame, and confirm into a grab. His forward smash, which uses his baseball bat, deals high damage and the sweetspot on the tip is among the strongest forward smashes, while his up and down smashes use his yo-yo and can deal damage during their charge, are excellent for edgeguarding and have KO potential. If Ness uses his yo-yo on shielding opponent at the ledge, he can possibly break their shield. Ness is very good at edgeguarding thanks to his yo-yo smash attacks, forward aerial and PK Thunder.
However, Ness isn't without his flaws. PK Fire does good damage, but it's very easy to DI out of, laggy, and punishable on shield. While his attack hitboxes are big and powerful, they have very short range. As such, he can be heavily and easily outspaced by characters who have long disjoints, such as Shulk, Chrom, or Lucina. Aside from his poor range, Ness's below-average run and air speed, as well as his lack of a quick, long-ranged projectile, renders him relatively prone to camping. This is especially true if the character utilizes many projectiles that are not energy-based, such as Mega Man or Simon. Another noticeable issue that Ness has is his ability to get juggled rather easily. Coupled with the removal of multiple air dodges and his low falling speed, Ness is very susceptible to being juggled by quick, powerful aerials such as Palutena's up aerial, or by wide, disjointed aerials such as Ike's up aerial. Arguably the most glaring weakness of Ness, however, is his recovery. His recovery, while traveling a good distance, is extraordinarily exploitable. If he is hit while in PK Thunder 2, the distance will drastically shorten, potentially ending in a gimp. Many characters with quick aerials can even hit Ness while he is in the startup lag of PK Thunder, before he even begins to launch himself. Furthermore, PK Thunder 2 is liable to many counters, and, if struck by one, will essentially guarantee Ness's death due to its immense power.
Changes from Super Smash Bros. 4
Ness has been significantly buffed in his transition to Ultimate. Several of his moves are stronger and more useful in combos, with his forward tilt and dash attack becoming reliable KO options at high percents, his up tilt having increased combo potential, and his down tilt racking up damage much more effectively. One of his most significant buffs is his yo-yo smash attacks (up smash and down smash), not only have they regained their charging hitboxes, but can now also hang below edges, which is augmented by the ability to hold smash attacks for a longer time in Ultimate. This noticeably improves his edge-guarding ability, especially due to his up smash having drastically increased KO ability at high percents. Ness's approach and zoning tools are more effective as well, with his down aerial having more range and regaining its ability to autocancel in a short hop, PK Flash charging much more quickly and no longer causing helplessness, PK Fire having reduced lag, PK Thunder dealing more damage and knockback, and PSI Magnet gaining an offensive hitbox while maintaining his horizontal momentum.
On top of his direct buffs, Ness benefits significantly from the universal changes in Ultimate. All of his aerial attacks have drastically less landing lag, especially compared to other characters, with his neutral and down aerials having less than half their previous amount of landing lag. Combined with all of his aerials except neutral and back aerial dealing more damage and down aerial regaining its ability to autocancel in a short hop, this allows him to approach, pressure, and combo opponents far more effectively, especially with his new up aerial's ability to drag opponents down and his down aerial's stronger meteor smash, improving his already great air game. Additionally, he is one of the characters that benefits the most from the changes to air dodge mechanics. The ability to only air dodge once allows him to proficiently pressure and edgeguard opponents offstage with PK Thunder, and his directional air dodge grants him more distance than all other characters, an attribute he shares with Lucas; it not only renders him less vulnerable to juggling, but it noticeably improves his recovery by granting him a reliable mixup in place of PK Thunder 2, making him less vulnerable to being edge-guarded, which was one of his biggest weaknesses in previous Smash games.
However, Ness did recieve some nerfs, although minimal compared to his buffs. His new up aerial has less horizontal range and requires landing all hits (which start from behind and above Ness) to deal considerable damage, hindering Ness's ability to punish and juggle opponents when transitioning from air to ground; however, it may be used as a drag-down aerial as recompense. His grab game has also been moderately nerfed, with a slower, more standardized pummel that cannot rack up damage as effectively, and a down throw with more ending lag that worsens its combo potential past low percents. Lastly, his yo-yo smash attacks now only receive half as much of a power increase when charged, and PK Flash, in exchange for its much faster charge, is significantly weaker when fully charged.
Because his neutral game, punishes, edge-guarding, and recovery have become much stronger in the face of the few minute nerfs they received, Ness has become a far more dangerous fighter than he was in previous games in the series. His tournament representation in Ultimate's early metagame has been generally stronger than in Smash 4, with several players such as FOW, BestNess, Gackt, and Awestin achieving strong results with the character.
Throws and other attacks
Ness has recieved a mix of buffs and nerfs. Update 2.0.0, increased autocancel frames for up aerial matching the ending lag of the move and his down aerial deals more damage while keeping the knockback the same. Update 3.0.0, nerfed yo-yo charging smash attacks which was infamous for breaking shields easily. He also received buffs such as PK Flash having a larger hitbox, and physics changes to the yo-yo that improved its potential as an edge guarding tool. Update 3.1.0 reverted the yo-yo physics back to its pre-patch state, and his neutral attack connects more reliably.
Note: All numbers are listed as base damage, without the 1v1 multiplier.
Ness teleports onto the stage with PSI Teleport, ending in an explosion leaving him covered in soot which he then shakes off his body.
In competitive play
Upon the release of Ultimate, Ness was considered to be a low-high or upper mid tier character at best and that he was on par with his Smash 4 counterpart. This was seen due to the game's most popular characters being swordfighters who have mostly been some of Ness's hardest matchups throughout the Smash series. On top of this, many players believed that the loss of him being able to airdodge multiple times and his up air having a smaller hitbox gave him a much harder time at landing and ultimately much worse than in Smash 4.
However as the metagame began to develop, it was proven that Ness has become significantly better than he was in Smash 4. The overall mechanics of Ultimate and the changes made to his aerials and specials have given Ness a significantly better neutral, advantage state, punish game, and approach options. On top of this, many of his hardest matchups from Smash 4 (most notably Rosalina & Luma and Corrin) were nerfed and are considered to be less troublesome for Ness in general. Due to him having much more frightening and versatile options, Ness has obtained great results due to BestNess and Gackt, with many professional players such as ESAM, ZeRo and Dabuz consider him to be a high tier character.
Any number following the Smasher name indicates placement on the Spring 2019 PGRU, which recognizes the official top 50 players in the world in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate from February 1st, 2019 to July 7th, 2019.
Classic Mode: Home to Onett!
Note: Every stage plays a track from the EarthBound universe, no matter what universe the stage originates from.
Role in World of Light
Although Ness does not appear in the World of Light opening cutscene, he was vaporized and later imprisoned alongside the rest of the fighters (sans Kirby) when Galeem unleashed his beams of light.
Ness can be found in a pink cloud area reminiscent of Magicant.
Ness's Fighter Spirit can be obtained by completing Classic Mode. It is also available periodically for purchase in the shop for 500 coins. Unlocking Ness in World of Light allows the player to preview the spirit below in the Spirit List under the name "???". As a Fighter Spirit, it cannot be used in Spirit Battles and is purely aesthetic. Each Fighter Spirit has an alternate version that replaces them with their artwork in Ultimate.
In Spirit battles
As the main opponent
As a minion
Character Showcase Video