SSBU Icon.png

Ness (SSBU)

From SmashWiki, the Super Smash Bros. wiki
Jump to navigationJump to search
This article is about Ness' appearance in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. For the character in other contexts, see Ness.
Ness
in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Ness SSBU.png
EarthboundSymbol.svg
Universe EarthBound
Other Smash Bros. appearances in SSB
in Melee
in Brawl
in SSB4
Availability Unlockable
Final Smash PK Starstorm
NessHeadSSBU.png

Ness (ネス, Ness) is a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. He was revealed along with the fellow EarthBound fighter Lucas and all other previous veterans on June 12, 2018 and is classified as Fighter #10. As in the original Super Smash Bros., Super Smash Bros. Brawl, and Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS, he is unlockable, instead of being available from the start.

Makiko Ōmoto's portrayal of Ness from Super Smash Bros. 4 were repurposed for Ultimate. This makes Ultimate the only installment where Ness does not receive any new voice clips.

How to unlock[edit]

Complete one of the following:

  • Play VS. matches, with Ness being the 1st character to be unlocked.
  • Clear Classic Mode with Kirby or anyone in his unlock tree, being the 1st character unlocked.
  • Have Ness join the player's party in World of Light.

With the exception of the third method, Ness must then be defeated on Onett.

Attributes[edit]

Ness has a unique moveset that features elements of various archetypes. While his three projectiles allow for some zoning, he truly excels at short distances, where he can overwhelm opponents with fast aerials, steady shield pressure, and punishing throws. Ness' overall mobility is rather one-sided: on the ground his walking speed, initial dash, and dash speed are below average, but his aerial movement shines thanks to his excellent air acceleration, decent air speed, and above-average jump height. Moreover, Ness' low gravity and low falling speed allow him to perform multiple aerials in one short hop, and all of his aerials can be auto-canceled. Despite his small stature, Ness is a middleweight, tied with Lucas, Mii Brawler, and Inkling.

Ness enjoys a versatile set of special moves. His neutral special, PK Flash, is a large projectile that travels in an arc above Ness, gaining strength the longer the input is held. Because it has low ending lag and freezes opponents briefly when successful, PK Flash has great utility as a combo starter and juggling tool. It can also be guided with the control stick and no longer sends Ness into helplessness, making it useful for knocking opponents away from the ledge while Ness is offstage. Ness' side special, PK Fire, is a tiny projectile that travels horizontally a short distance and bursts into a pillar of flames on contact with an opponent, dealing multiple hits. The move is infamously spammable and can set up combos, condition opponents to jump, or simply rack up damage itself. Notably, when used in the air, PK Fire has a diagonal trajectory and decreased landing lag, bolstering its effectiveness on platforms. Ness' up special, PK Thunder, doubles as a versatile projectile and Ness' primary recovery option. The move sends a ball of electricity upward from Ness' head that can be guided with the control stick, costing Ness his mobility while active, but granting him the ability to pressure deep offstage, juggle opponents repeatedly, or at times KO into the upper blast zone. Ness can also send the lightning into himself at any angle, launching him in that direction for an extremely powerful PK Thunder 2 attack which also allows Ness to recover from deep offstage. Ness' down special, PSI Magnet, creates a psychic field around Ness that absorbs energy-based attacks and heals Ness a proportionate amount of percent. This is particularly effective against characters such as Pikachu, Wolf, and Snake, who tend to rely on energy-based projectiles in neutral. PSI Magnet also has newfound offensive utility in Ultimate, as it now features an active hitbox with set knockback. The aerial hitbox can confirm into several of Ness' normal aerials, while the grounded hitbox places opponents in perfect range for a sweetspotted forward smash, making it practical in jab lock situations. PSI Magnet also alters the momentum of Ness' double jump, a form of double jump cancelling that makes for a unique aerial burst option and a stylish way to start or extend combos.

Ness' signature strength is his amazing aerial game. All of his aerial attacks are disjointed, are useful for both comboing and KOing, and can autocancel from a short hop. His neutral aerial activates on frame 5 and functions well as a combo-breaker and out-of-shield option. It also sets up jab lock and tech chase situations at middle percents and has decent knockback at high percents, making it a viable edgeguarding and KO option. His forward aerial has a large disjoint and is quite active, making it excellent for starting combos, edgeguarding, and approaching. Ness' new multi-hit up aerial is strong and great for juggling, and its drag-down properties allow Ness to set up grabs, combos, and KOs. Ness' back aerial is very strong when sweetspotted, and his down aerial is a slow-but-powerful meteor smash useful for edgeguarding or starting vertical combos.

Ness' grab and throw game is also outstanding and among the best in the cast. His grab is relatively fast, and all of his throws have useful applications. Ness' down throw is a solid combo starter that will often lead into multiple forward airs, and his forward throw has very high base knockback, allowing Ness to reliably set up edgeguarding situations or even KO opponents at very early percents on some stages. Ness' up throw, while not as practical, is a solid mix-up that can set up juggling with PK Thunder or PK Flash. Most notorious, however, is Ness' back throw, which remains the most consistent kill throw in the game.

Ness' ground game, while limited compared to his air game, also has strengths. His forward tilt and dash attack are fast and strong enough to KO at high percents, and the latter has improved range. His up tilt is a good combo tool at low percents and can even KO at higher percents. His down tilt, which is very fast and highly spammable, can be used to two-frame, jab lock, pressure shields, confirm into a grab, or deal immense damage if the opponent is trapped at the ledge. His forward smash (baseball bat) has high start-up and ending lag, but deals very high damage and knockback, especially when sweetspotted with the tip of the bat. Excluding items, the bat is also the strongest reflector in the game, with a damage multiplier of 2.0 and a speed multiplier of 2.5. Ness' up and down smashes (yo-yo) have significantly improved knockback, deal damage while charging, and can hang below the stage, making them some of the best and easiest-to-use edgeguarding tools in the game.

Ness' strengths are balanced by notable weaknesses. Grounded PK Fire does good damage, but is punishable on shield and easily escapable with good DI, making it generally less useful than its aerial counterpart. While Ness' hitboxes are large and powerful, he can still be stuffed out by characters with even larger disjoints, especially swordfighters such as Shulk, Marth, and Lucina. Moreover, Ness' below-average run and air speed, as well as his lack of a quick, long-ranged projectile, render him slightly vulnerable to camping. This is especially true if Ness' opponent utilizes projectiles that are not energy-based, such as Link's arrows and boomerang. Ness is also vulnerable to juggling given his floatiness and lack of reliable landing options, as well as the removal of multiple air dodges. Powerful, disjointed aerials such as Palutena's and Ike's up aerials are particularly effective against Ness. However, Ness' most glaring weakness remains his recovery. Despite traveling a good distance, his PK Thunder 2 is quite exploitable: if the attack makes contact with an opponent or projectile mid-flight, its distance will be halved, often resulting in a gimp. Furthermore, opponents with good timing can hit Ness with a powerful attack or fall into PK Thunder 1 before he can launch himself. Because of its enormous knockback, PK Thunder 2 is also susceptible to many counters, and opponents who time their counter correctly will almost always kill Ness. Conversely, opponents who mistime an edgeguard against Ness will often die for it.

Overall, Ness is somewhat of a "glass cannon" character who excels in most offensive aspects of the game, including comboing, KOing, edgeguarding, ledgetrapping, and juggling, but suffers in certain defensive situations, especially when put offstage or high above his opponent. He also struggles against characters who can outrange his disjoints, though this is less of a problem than in previous games. As a result, Ness has a mixed matchup spread, with even or favorable matchups against many top-tier characters, including Pikachu, Snake, Wolf, and Joker, and poor matchups against others, particularly Lucina, Palutena, Shulk, and Mr. Game & Watch.

Changes from Super Smash Bros. 4[edit]

In SSB4, Ness was considered a low high-tier character (28th out of 55 characters). Nevertheless, Ness has been heavily buffed in his transition to Ultimate. His forward tilt is now a viable KO option, and his dash attack has increased knockback and range. His up tilt has decreased ending lag and is useful for starting combos, while his down tilt racks up damage much more effectively, especially near the ledge. Among Ness' most significant buffs are the changes to his yo-yo smash attacks (up smash and down smash), which not only regained their charging hitboxes, but now hang below the ledge to set up easy edgeguards against most characters. His up smash especially has dramatically improved knockback, making it a viable KO option for the first time. Many of Ness' other tools are more effective as well: his down aerial has more range, can once again be autocanceled from a short hop, and has a much stronger meteor smash effect; his new up aerial has drag-down properties, enabling him to set up combos; his PK Flash charges much more quickly and no longer causes helplessness; his PK Fire has reduced lag (especially landing lag, making it far more useful when used in the air); his PK Thunder deals more damage; and his PSI Magnet now has a hitbox that helps Ness extend combos or set up kills.

Ness has also received indirect buffs via the universal changes in Ultimate, especially the new air dodge mechanics and general buffs to aerial attacks. The return of directional air dodges benefits Ness tremendously, as Ness' directional air dodge travels further than that of any character (aside from Lucas), providing a reliable recovery option aside from the notoriously exploitable PK Thunder 2. The removal of multiple air dodges also enables Ness to pressure opponents in the air with PK Thunder more consistently. Furthermore, Ness' already great aerial game is even better, as his forward, down, and up aerials deal more damage, and all of his aerials have drastically less landing lag, even compared to other characters. Most notable in this regard are Ness' neutral and down aerials, which have less than half their previous amount of landing lag.

However, Ness did receive some nerfs. His new up aerial has less horizontal range, decreased KO power, and requires landing all hits (which start from behind and move in an arc above Ness) to deal considerable damage, hindering Ness' ability to juggle opponents. His grab game has been toned down, as his slower, more standard pummel cannot rack up damage as effectively, and his down throw has more ending lag, hindering its combo potential past low percents. Lastly, the power of his yo-yo smash attacks now only increases by half as much when charged, and PK Flash, in exchange for its much faster charge, is significantly weaker when fully charged.

Overall, the buffs to Ness' neutral game, punish game, edgeguarding, and recovery outweigh the few nerfs he received. His main weaknesses, such as lack of range and an exploitable recovery, are still present, but generally to a lesser extent than in previous Smash games. Therefore, Ness' incarnation in Ultimate is typically considered his strongest in the Smash series. His tournament representation in Ultimate's early metagame has been stronger than in Smash 4, with players such as FOW, BestNess, Gackt, and Awestin achieving strong results with the character. As such, Ness is commonly considered a high-tier character.

Aesthetics[edit]

  • Change Due to the aesthetic used in Ultimate, Ness' model features a more subdued color scheme, now more closely resembles his sprite in EarthBound. The detailing on his clothes and weapons are more prominent, such as the stitching on his socks.
  • Change Ness faces the foreground at an angle, instead of facing directly forward. In addition, he always faces the screen regardless of which direction he turns, causing all of his animations to be mirrored while altering some, such as his dash animation.
  • Change Ness' idle animation has been altered: he keeps his arms to his side rather than swinging them around.
  • Change Ness, like many other characters, has been made much more expressive. He is much angrier when attacking, such as using his tilts. His eyes bulge and grow more circular when he is hit or frozen. His eyebrows are much more prominent when attacking or stunned.
  • Change Ness' PSI graphic effects have been changed: both rings are thinner and are colored magenta instead of just the smaller circle, closely resembling the appearance of Hypnosis in Mother 3.
  • Change Air dodge animation has changed.
  • Change Ness' victory poses have been slightly altered:
    • His left-inputted victory pose now shows Ness with a more astonished expression.
    • His up-inputted victory pose now shows Ness skipping into the victory area instead of hopping in place.
    • His right-inputted victory pose now has Ness swing his bat only once instead of multiple times.
  • Change Ness has a new victory theme; it is an arrangement of the last two out of the Eight Melodies from EarthBound Beginnings.

Attributes[edit]

  • Buff Like all characters, Ness' jumpsquat animation takes 3 frames to complete (down from 5).
  • Buff Ness runs faster (1.46265 → 1.609).
    • Buff Ness' initial dash is much faster (1.3 → 1.826).
  • Buff Ness walks slightly faster (0.8635 → 0.907).
  • Buff Ness' air speed is higher (0.9588 → 1.007).
  • Buff Ness' traction has been significantly increased (0.0546 → 0.131), going from average to being tied for the fifth highest traction in the game.
  • Buff Ness jumps higher.
  • Buff Forward roll has less ending lag (FAF 31 → 30).
  • Nerf Forward roll grants less intangibility (frames 4-17 → 4-15).
  • Nerf Back roll has more startup with less intangibility (frames 4-17 → 5-16), and more ending lag (FAF 31 → 35).
  • Buff Spot dodge has less ending lag (FAF 28 → 26).
  • Nerf Spot dodge grants less intangibility (frames 3-18 → 3-17).
  • Buff Air dodge grants more intangibility (frames 3-28 → 3-30).
  • Nerf Air dodge has significantly more ending lag (FAF 34 → 60), being one of the slowest.
  • Buff The reintroduction of directional air dodges benefits Ness more than the rest of the cast, as his directional air dodge grants more distance compared to other characters' (a trait he shares with Lucas), and it provides him with a reliable recovery mixup to avoid leaving himself vulnerable by using PK Thunder.

Ground attacks[edit]

  • Neutral attack:
    • Buff The first hit drags opponents towards Ness with the farthest hitboxes (361° → 180°), and the second hit uses a different angle throughout (70° → 361°). Both hits also have altered knockback (8 base/50 scaling → 30/20 base/25/15 scaling (hit 1), 30/20/25/20 (hit 2)). This allows for the full neutral attack to connect more reliably.
    • Buff Consecutive uses of the first hit are faster (9 frames → 7).
    • Buff The first hit transitions faster into the second hit (frame 7 → 5), which transitions faster into the third hit (frame 7 → 6).
    • Nerf All hits have a higher hitlag multiplier (1× → 1.7× (hit 1), 1.2× (hit 2), 2× (hit 3)), giving opponents more time to SDI each hit and DI the last hit.
    • Nerf The second hit deals less damage (2% → 1.5%).
    • Nerf The third hit has a shorter hitbox duration (frames 6-9 → 6-7).
  • Forward tilt:
    • Buff Forward tilt has drastically increased base knockback (12 → 35), turning it into a viable KO option starting at around 155% from the center of Final Destination.
    • Buff It deals more damage when not angled (9% → 10%), no longer dealing less damage than the angled versions, and thus making its KO ability consistent.
    • Nerf The hitboxes have been moved slightly inwards (X offset: 0.7u/2.9u → 0.6u/2.7u), marginally reducing its range.
  • Up tilt:
    • Buff Up tilt has less startup, with the sweetspot having a longer duration (frames 7-8 → 5-6 (sourspot)/5-8 (sweetspot)), and less ending lag (FAF 32 → 29). This improves its combo potential and allows it to function more effectively as an anti-air.
    • Buff It deals more damage (7% → 9% (spark), 5% → 7% (body)) with knockback not fully compensated (42 base/126 scaling → 46/113), improving its KO potential, without worsening its combo ability due to its reduced lag and Ness' faster jumpsquat.
  • Down tilt:
    • Buff Down tilt deals more damage (4%/2% → 4.5%/3%).
    • Buff It can be interrupted earlier by actions besides another down tilt (FAF 14 → 12).
    • Buff Its base knockback and knockback scaling have been reversed (3/6 base/20 scaling → 20/3). This increases its safety on hit at low percents so that opponents in range can no longer shield in-between hits, improving its reliability for racking up damage.
    • Buff The increased shieldstun for tilts allows down tilt to repeatedly hit and keep opponents locked into their shields until they get out of the move's range or are shield stabbed, improving its offensive utility.
    • Nerf It no longer has a bonus trip chance, removing its guaranteed setups.
  • Dash attack:
    • Buff Dash attack's second hit extends backwards (Z offset: 16u → 13u-16u), improving its ability to hit opponents next to Ness.
    • Buff The last hit deals more damage (4% → 6%) and knockback (80 base/104 scaling → 85/113), significantly improving its KO potential, despite launching at a lower angle (80° → 70°).
  • Yoyo (up smash and down smash):
    • Buff Up smash and down smash once again have their charging hitboxes from Melee and Brawl, hitting opponents repeatedly for 1% damage per hit. Unlike in those games, however, charging these moves still increases their damage, making the charging hitboxes far more useful. The yo-yo can also hang below the ledge, improving Ness' edgeguarding abilities significantly.
    • Nerf They have a lower maximum damage multiplier (1.4× → 1.2×) and cannot be held as long as most other smash attacks.
    • Change The text on the yo-yo reads "SUPER NINTENDO 2018 MOTHER".
  • Up smash:
    • Buff Up smash has less ending lag (FAF 56 → 53).
    • Buff It no longer possesses an early hit that deals 9%, allowing it to KO more consistently.
    • Buff It has considerably more knockback scaling (60 → 79), significantly improving its KO potential.
    • Nerf It has more startup (frame 6 → 10), no longer hitting behind Ness during its first active frames.
  • Down smash:
    • Nerf Down smash deals one hit less at both sides, increasing its startup (frame 10 → 12) and reducing its total damage (12% → 11%).

Aerial attacks[edit]

  • Buff All aerials have much less landing lag (18 frames → 8 (neutral), 20 → 12 (forward), 17 → 10 (back), 14 → 8 (up), 28 → 12 (down)).
  • Neutral aerial:
    • Change Ness emits PSI from his hands when using the move. It also uses a magic effect and SFX, rather than a neutral effect with punch SFX.
  • Forward aerial:
    • Buff Forward aerial deals more damage (1% → 1.5% (hits 1-3), 4% → 5.5% (hit 4); 7% → 10% (total)), with knockback scaling not fully compensated on the last hit (150 → 128), improving its KO potential.
  • Back aerial:
    • Buff Back aerial's outer hitbox has been moved outward and down (X offset: 2.7u → 3.7u, Y offset: 0u → 2u), improving its horizontal range and better matching the inner hitbox in height.
  • Up aerial:
    • Change Ness has a new up aerial: he waves his hand in an overhead arc while emitting PSI from his index finger. It is a multi-hit move, dealing up to five hits.
    • Buff Up aerial has a longer hitbox duration (frames 8-11 → 8-14 (hits 1-4), 15-16 (hit 5)), and more disjointed vertical range above Ness.
    • Buff It has less ending lag (FAF 42 → 34). Coupled with its longer duration and multi-hit nature (guaranteeing opponents are launched during the latest active frames), this allows it to combo into itself in the air from low to mid percents.
    • Buff The first four hits use the autolink angle (366°). This allows Ness to drag opponents down to the ground with the move and combo into several others, which is further complemented by its lower landing lag.
    • Buff It deals more total damage (13% → 2.5% (hits 1-4), 5% (hit 5); 15% total), with knockback compensated on the last hit if the damage from the previous hits is added (13 base/109 scaling → 40/180). Combined with its increased combo potential, this overall drastically strengthens its damage racking ability.
    • Nerf Up aerial has drastically decreased horizontal range, hindering its use for landing and approaching directly.
    • Nerf It auto-cancels later (frame 27 → 34), matching its interruptibility.
    • Nerf The last hit launches at a more horizontal angle (85° → 73°). While this allows it to combo better into other moves at low percents, such as neutral and forward aerial, it greatly hinders its KO potential, as it is vulnerable to LSI.
  • Down aerial:
    • Buff Down aerial has less startup (frame 20 → 18) and ending lag (FAF 60 → 53).
    • Buff It deals more damage (12% → 14% (clean), 10% → 12% (late)) and knockback (20 base/70 scaling → 37/74 (clean), 70 scaling → 74 (late)), making it a significantly stronger meteor smash.
    • Buff It has a longer duration (frames 20-21 (clean)/22-25 (late) → 20-22/23-26).
    • Buff It auto-cancels earlier (frame 50 → 41), allowing Ness to auto-cancel it in a short hop like in earlier Smash titles.
    • Buff The clean hit has a much larger hitbox (3.9u → 6u), making it easier to land.
    • Buff The removal of teching for grounded meteor smashes, coupled with down aerial's immensely decreased landing lag and better auto-cancel window, significantly improve its combo potential onstage.
    • Change Down aerial uses a kick SFX instead of a magic SFX on hit.
    • Change Its animation was reversed to make Ness face the screen. The landing animation was also tweaked.

Throws and other attacks[edit]

  • Change Ness grabs and pummels his opponents using PSI, with accompanying sound effects.
  • Change Forward, back and up throws are no longer weight dependent.
  • Grabs:
    • Nerf Standing grab has increased ending lag (FAF 35 → 38).
    • Nerf Dash grab has more startup (frame 8 → 9) and ending lag (FAF 43 → 46), and slightly less horizontal range (Z2 offset: 10u → 9.8u).
  • Pummel:
    • Buff Pummel deals slightly more damage (1.2% → 1.3%).
    • Nerf It has less startup (frame 3 → 1) and ending lag (FAF 10 → 7), but deals much more hitlag (4 frames → 14), drastically increasing its effective duration. This hinders its damage racking ability, no longer being one of the fastest pummels in the game.
    • Change It uses a magic effect, rather than a neutral effect.
  • Back throw:
    • Nerf Back throw has an altered animation. Due to this new animation, Ness releases the opponent closer to himself, slightly reducing its KO potential.
  • Up throw:
    • Buff Up throw deals more damage (10% → 12%) with no compensation on knockback, allowing it to KO middleweights at around 180%.
  • Down throw:
    • Buff Down throw's first three hits have a lower hitlag multiplier (1× → 0.5×), allowing it to execute faster.
    • Nerf Ness launches the opponent from it earlier (frame 30 → 27), and it has slightly increased ending lag (FAF 50 → 51), reducing its combo potential.
    • Change While the move's total damage is unchanged, it deals four hits before the throw instead of five, which have redistributed timings (frames 10/14/18/22/26 → 6/10/14/27) and damage values (0.6% (hits 1-5) → 0.5% (hits 1-3), 1.5% (hit 4)).
  • Edge attack:
    • Buff Edge attack deals more damage (7% → 9%).

Special moves[edit]

  • PK Flash:
    • Buff PK Flash has less startup (frame 44 → 40), travels faster, and reaches its full charge much quicker (frame 150 → 117).
    • Buff It has less ending lag (uncharged: FAF 70 → 62).
    • Buff It can travel through soft and semisoft platforms. It also no longer dissipates immediately upon making contact with hard platforms, allowing its full charge to be unleashed on the ground by simply holding the button, much like in Melee.
    • Buff The explosion has a longer hitbox duration (1 → 4 frames) and is larger (size multiplier: 0.9× uncharged/1.43× fully charged → 1.05×/1.8×).
    • Buff It no longer causes helplessness when used in the air, allowing Ness to hit opponents near edges from offstage without self-destructing.
    • Buff It has much more base knockback (10 → 50), with knockback scaling barely compensated (70 → 65), strengthening it at lower charge levels. Combined with its lower ending lag, and the increased hitlag in Ultimate, which effectively lengthens the move's frame advantage on hit due to its projectile properties, it can also start combos at low to mid percents if the opponent is hit close enough to Ness.
    • Nerf It deals significantly less damage when fully charged (37% → 27%), hindering its KO potential despite its increased knockback values.
    • Change PK Flash has a more aquamarine color and emits its respective EarthBound graphic (specifically the "α" form) upon detonating.
  • PK Fire:
    • Buff PK Fire has less startup (frame 21 → 18), with its total duration reduced as well (FAF 59 → 56).
    • Buff It has significantly less landing lag (30 frames → 12), improving the aerial version's zoning ability.
    • Buff The spark is bigger and deals more damage on its initial hit (4% → 6%).
    • Buff Due to the universal nerfs to roll intangibility frames, PK Fire can catch rolls more effectively.
    • Change The flame pillar has a faster rehit rate (11 → 7), but no longer has a hitbox that deals more damage (2%/1% → 1%). As a result, it cannot deal as much damage, but it is more consistent overall.
    • Change PK Fire pushes Ness back slightly, similar to Lucas's PK Fire.
    • Change Ness uses one hand to fire the projectile while emitting a red spark from his index finger. Diamond-shaped PSI energy also rises up within the fire pillar, resembling PK Fire γ's graphics from EarthBound.
  • PK Thunder:
    • Buff PK Thunder deals more damage (8% → 11%) and has increased knockback scaling (50 → 55), allowing it to KO near the top blast line at high percents.
    • Buff The new air dodge mechanics significantly improve its edgeguarding ability, allowing Ness to pressure opponents more reliably and force them to spend their air dodge, leaving them open to punishes.
    • Change PK Thunder emits yellow hexagon-shaped PSI energy, which more closely resembles its appearance in EarthBound.
    • Change It has an angle indicator when the ball of lighting moves close to Ness. While this allows for the player to more accurately determine the trajectory Ness will travel during PK Thunder 2, it also makes it more predictable to opponents.
  • PK Thunder 2:
    • Buff PK Thunder 2 travels further.
    • Buff In addition to its full intangibility during frames 1-9, it grants intangibility on Ness' head during frames 10-32, improving its safety for recovery.
    • Buff The window for using PK Thunder again after bouncing off a wall is much bigger. In addition, Ness enters the rebound animation when bouncing against the ground, instead of being knocked down, allowing him to use PK Thunder a second time.
    • Nerf When hit by PK Thunder 2, the opponent is always launched in the horizontal direction Ness is facing. This makes KOing at very low percents much less likely if the opponent gets hit behind Ness.
    • Change The clean hit triggers Special Zoom upon hitting an opponent.
  • PSI Magnet:
    • Buff PSI Magnet begins absorbing projectiles faster (frame 10 → 7), and has less ending lag (FAF 30 → 25).
    • Buff It no longer halts Ness' horizontal momentum in the air, functioning as it did in Brawl, improving Ness' movement options.
    • Buff It has gained a hitbox close to Ness from frame 7 onward, which deals 4% damage with weak set knockback, and can rehit opponents every 10 frames. This grants the move offensive utility, and alongside the changes above, allows it to be used in combos. The lingering hitbox can also destroy weak projectiles, improving its safety when used for absorption.
    • Change PSI Magnet emits pink diamond-shaped PSI from the center, more closely resembles its appearance in EarthBound. It also features a visible suction effect around the magnet.
  • PK Starstorm:
    • Change PK Starstorm summons slower meteors that spread out over the stage, similar to its Brawl iteration, but can still be aimed horizontally like the Smash 4 iteration. Paula and Poo accompany Ness during the move. PK Starstorm particle effects from EarthBound accompany each meteor, and the Sound Stone's background pattern appears in the stage's background.
    • Buff Ness no longer sinks downward while channeling PK Starstorm while airborne. In addition, if this Final Smash was initiated while in the air, Ness is propelled upward a moderate amount at the conclusion. This can assist in recovery.

Update history[edit]

Ness has received 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.

However, Ness has received a number of buffs in 9.0.0. Up tilt, dash attack and up throw deal more damage, though with knockback adjusted for the former two. In addition, down aerial and PK Flash have less start-up lag. Overall, Ness remains a strong character who can compete well with the rest of the cast.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate 2.0.0

  • Buff Up aerial autocancels earlier.
  • Buff Down aerial deals more damage (12%/10% → 14%/12%) with its knockback compensated.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate 3.0.0

  • Nerf Up smash and down smash are automatically unleashed from charging state earlier and hit less often while charging (rehit rate: 3 → 4).
  • Buff PK Flash has more range.
  • Buff The physics of Ness' yo-yo string are stiffer. This improves the consistency of up smash and down smash at the ledge.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate 3.1.0

  • Buff Neutral attack 2 has more range and the hitbox is moved forward, causing it to connect into neutral attack 3 more reliably.
  • Nerf The physics of Ness' yo-yo string have been reverted back to their pre-3.0.0 properties.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate 9.0.0

  • Buff Up tilt deals more damage (7% → 9% (spark), 5% → 7% (body)), with knockback compensated (42 base/140 scaling → 46/113).
    • Nerf However, the knockback was slightly overcompensated, and the sweetspot now KOs slightly later.
  • Buff Dash attack's third hit deals more damage (4% → 6%) without full compensation on knockback (80 base/133 scaling → 85/113), improving its KO potential (KOing middleweights at around 150% with no DI, and 190% with the most optimal DI, down from around 175% and 220% respectively).
  • Buff Down aerial has less startup (frame 20 → 18), with its total duration reduced as well (FAF 55 → 53).
  • Buff Up throw deals more damage (10% → 12%) with no compensation on knockback, allowing it to KO middleweights at around 180%.
  • Buff PK Flash has less startup (frame 44-121 → 40-117), with its total duration reduced as well (FAF 66-143 → 62-139).

Moveset[edit]

  • Ness possesses a special jump. When jumping in midair, Ness will ascend in a floatier, curved trajectory. The upward momentum of Ness' double jump can be affected through various actions if timed correctly, such as aerial attacks, air dodges or special moves. This trait is shared with Mewtwo and Lucas.

For a gallery of Ness' hitboxes, see here.

Note: All numbers are listed as base damage, without the 1v1 multiplier.

  Name Damage Description
Neutral attack   2% Two punches followed by a front kick. The first and second hits can lock.
1.5%
4%
Forward tilt   10% A roundhouse kick that can be angled. Surprisingly good power, KOing at around 120% at the ledge.
Up tilt   7% (spark), 5% (body) Jumps and attacks with an upward double palm thrust that produces a PSI spark from his hands. Has a sourspot located on his body that deals 5%. A decent anti-air and juggling tool.
Down tilt   4.5% (foot), 3% (toes) A swift shin kick. Extremely spammable and can be used to lock. Has a sourspot located on the tip of his foot.
Dash attack   4% (hit 1), 7% (hit 1 aerial), 2% (hit 2), 4% (hit 3) A double palm thrust that 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. The disjointed hitboxes go very far, giving it impressive range for a dash attack. The first hit is more damaging on opponents in the air.
Forward smash Batter Up! 18% (low), 20% (mid), 22% (tip), 2× damage (reflected projectiles) Swings his bat. It can reflect incoming projectiles with a high multiplier and is one of the strongest forward smashes in the game, killing most characters around 50% by the ledge. However, its lag is considerable and makes it easy to punish up close.
Up smash Around the World 1% (charge), 13% Sends his yo-yo forward and performs an "around-the-world", hitting first in front then above and behind. It has a hitbox while charging and can hang from the ledge, but can only be held for an additional half of a second instead of two, and has a max charge damage multiplier of 1.2×.
Down smash Walk the Dog 1% (charge), 10% Sends his yo-yo backward and performs the "walk-the-dog" with it, hitting first behind then in front. It has a hitbox while charging and can hang from the ledge, but can only be held for an additional half of a second instead of two, and has a max charge damage multiplier of 1.2×. Might have troubles linking correctly if the opponent is at the furthest point of the back hit.
Neutral aerial   11% (clean), 7% (late) Spins diagonally in the air with his arms outstretched, emitting PSI from his hands. Quick, coming out on frame 5 and acts like a sex kick. Rather useful to break combos and as an out-of-shield option. Autocancels from a short hop. It has decent knockback, making it a good edgeguarding and KOing option.
Forward aerial   1.5% (hit 1-3), 5.5% (hit 4) A double palm thrust that generates a stream of PSI sparks from his hands. Comes out on frame 8, making it tied with up aerial for the second fastest out of Ness' aerials. Decently safe on shield if Ness backs away during the attack, and it's useful to start and continue combos. Autocancels from a short hop. Can chain into itself multiple times at low percentages, making it a useful wall-of-pain tool.
Back aerial   15% (clean), 8% (late) A dropkick that produces a PSI spark. Comes out on frame 10. The clean hit is very strong, being his strongest aerial overall. Autocancels from a short hop.
Up aerial   2.5% (hits 1-4), 5% (hit 5) Waves his finger in an arc above his head while generating PSI sparkles, hitting up to 5 times. Autocancels from a short hop. A great combo tool, as its linking hits and last hit's vertical angle combine to make it a great combo extender. It can also KO well near the upper blast line at high percentages since the final hit has extremely high knockback scaling. Overall great power.
Down aerial   14% (clean), 12% (late) Twirls before kicking down into the air, producing a PSI spark. The clean hit can meteor smash, and can be used to start combos on-stage fairly reliably if landed against grounded opponents. Autocancels from a short hop. Ness' slowest aerial, coming out on frame 20.
Grab   Grabs with both hands. A fast grab with a slight amount of ending lag.
Pummel   1.3% Attacks the opponent with a discharge of PSI energy.
Forward throw PK 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, or KO'ing an opponent early on if near the blastzone.
Back throw Reverse PK Throw 11% Psychokinetically swings the opponent over his head before sending them off backward, in a diagonally upwards motion. It is the opposite of his forward throw, possessing very low base knockback but incredibly high knockback scaling, making it one of the strongest back throws in the game, and considered the most versatile KO throw overall, as it can KO much more reliably anywhere onstage at higher percentages than most other back throws at its level of strength like Incineroar's or Dr. Mario's, due to its much higher knockback scaling.
Up throw   12% Psychokinetically spins the opponent above his head before sending them up. It leaves the opponent in an unfavorable position where they can be juggled, most commonly by PK Thunder.
Down throw   0.5% (hits 1-3), 1.5% (hit 4), 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% Sweep kicks in front of and behind himself.
Floor attack (back)   7% With one hand planted on the ground, sweeps his leg behind and in front of himself.
Floor attack (trip)   5% Kicks behind and in front of himself with both legs.
Edge attack   9% Flips onto the stage and does a sweep kick.
Neutral special PK Flash 11%-27% A light blue sphere of light appears above Ness and flies forward in an arc if charged. The arc it travels can be controlled, and the projectile is able to go through soft and semisoft platforms and will not dissipate upon contact with hard platforms.

The longer the special button is held, the stronger the explosion will be.

Side special PK Fire 6% (bolt), 1% (fire) Fires a yellow lightning-bolt shaped projectile, pushing back Ness slightly.

If used on the ground, it travels in a slight downward angle until it vanishes by itself or touches the ground (disappearing into a puff of smoke) or an enemy, making it explode into a quick-hitting pillar of flames.

If used in the air, it fires at a downward 45° angle.

Up special PK Thunder 11% (PK Thunder), 1% (Thunder's tail), 25% (PK Thunder 2 initial hitbox), 21% (PK Thunder 2 late hitbox) Creates a fast-moving ball of thunder that can be aimed into opponents to deal damage and launch them in the direction they got hit from, or into Ness to turn him into a very powerful human projectile.

This is referred to as PK Thunder 2. The Rocket portion of the attack has invulnerability from frame 1 to 32 and is constituted of an early and late hit. Making contact with something during PKT2 will shorten the distance traveled, and slamming into a wall allows Ness to perform another PK Thunder if the player is sufficiently quick enough.

The tail of the thunder projectile can be used to disrupt opponents recovering.

Down special PSI Magnet 4% per hit Surrounds Ness with a purple energy field, allowing him to absorb energy-based projectiles (such as Mario's Fireball, Fox's Blaster or Samus's Charge Shot or explosions (including all of Snake's explosives) and heal for 1.6× the damage he would have taken, but only at a maximum of 30% damage per projectile.

It possesses a hitbox on startup if held, and will also slightly push back opponents on release. Upon absorption, the magnet can be canceled with a jump, roll or spot dodge. Can also be used as a Fall Break to stall Ness' vertical momentum slightly in the air.

Final Smash PK Starstorm 8% per hit Paula and Poo join Ness, assisting him in summoning a shower of falling stars to attack his enemies. The comets will rain down over the stage and can be slightly aimed left and right.

On-screen appearance[edit]

  • Ness teleports onto the stage with PSI Teleport, ending in an explosion leaving him covered in soot which he then shakes off his body.

Taunts[edit]

  • Up taunt: Turns toward the screen and nods while saying "Okay." The pose is similar to that of his clay model from EarthBound.
  • Side taunt: Swings his bat out in front of him and strikes a pose, similar to how baseball players use it to indicate they are hitting a home run.
  • Down taunt: Waves his hand in an S motion while emitting a stream of PSI from his finger.

Idle poses[edit]

  • Look to his right, then to his left.
  • Places his finger to his forehead before pointing it forward.

Victory poses[edit]

  • Left: Walks in then looks around with a surprised expression, before rubbing the back of his head while smiling (his "character chosen" animation in Super Smash Bros., albeit much more subtle).
  • Up: Skips into the victory screen, then nods slightly, holding a pose similar to his official clay model, up taunt, and official Brawl render.
  • Right: Swings his bat once, then strikes a pose similar to his side taunt.
A flourished combination of the final two out of the Eight Melodies in Mother / EarthBound Beginnings.

In competitive play[edit]

Upon the release of Ultimate, Ness was considered an upper-mid to low high-tier character, roughly on par with his Smash 4 counterpart. Despite his improved recovery and various buffs, Ness remained limited by the popularity of swordfighters, who can effectively stuff out Ness' trademark aerials. Furthermore, the loss of the ability to airdodge multiple times before landing and the smaller hitbox of Ness' up air led players to believe that landing would be more challenging for Ness than in Smash 4.

However, Ness' results in the early metagame of Ultimate have been stronger than in Smash 4. The overall mechanics of Ultimate and the changes to Ness' aerials and specials have greatly bolstered Ness' neutral, advantage, recovery, and movement options. In addition, many of Ness' hardest matchups from Smash 4 (most notably Rosalina & Luma, Cloud, and Corrin) were nerfed and are considered far less troublesome.

Ness' position in the current metagame remains up for debate. Although top players such as Dabuz still regard Ness merely as a mid-tier character, he has fairly strong representation in tournaments and appears to enjoy even or slightly favorable matchups against some of Ultimate's best characters: ESAM considers Ness one of only two losing matchups in the game for Pikachu, and MkLeo prefers to face Ness with a secondary rather than his signature Joker. Overall, Ness is a potent but balanced character at high level, with his overwhelming offensive kit and edgeguarding prowess offset by his limited recovery and landing options. Ness is not usually seen as a top-tier character, but has achieved results on par with a high-tier and had two representatives on the Fall 2019 PGRU: Gackt from Japan and BestNess from the United States. FOW, S1, and Awestin have also achieved strong results with Ness in their respective regions.

Notably, Ness is considered an even stronger character in Ultimate's online mode, as the presence of increased input lag ostensibly benefits him more than other characters, making his already fast aerials even safer and his recovery more difficult to challenge. These perceived advantages, while traditionally dismissed as meaningless in high-level competition, gained unforeseen significance as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has temporarily relegated all major tournaments to an online format. Ness' strong online results include impressive first-place finishes by BestNess at The Quarantine Series: Minor Tournament 1 and The Box, the latter of which featured a $10,000 prize pool and the largest bracket of any Smash tournament (online or offline) to date.

Notable players[edit]

Numbers in parentheses denote a smasher's placement on the Fall 2019 PGRU, which recognizes the top 50 players in the world in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate from July 13th, 2019 to December 15th, 2019.

Active[edit]

Inactive[edit]

Classic Mode: Home to Onett![edit]

Ness' congratulations screen.

Ness fights opponents largely based on his journey in EarthBound in reverse from Magicant to Onett.

Round Opponent Stage Music Notes
1 NessHeadBlueSSBU.png Ness Magicant Magicant (for 3DS / Wii U) The opponent has his 5th alternate costume equipped, referencing Ness' younger self that he encounters in Magicant. If the player is using the 5th alternate costume, NessHeadSSBU.png default Ness will appear as the enemy instead.
2 LucasHeadSSBU.png Lucas New Pork City You Call This a Utopia?!
3 ROBHeadPurpleSSBU.png R.O.B. (x3) Fourside Fourside A reference to the Sentry Robots fought in the Monotoli Building.
4 SheikHeadSSBU.png Sheik Gerudo Valley Bein' Friends A reference to Dusty Dunes Desert.
5 ToonLinkHeadBlackSSBU.png Toon Link (x2) Luigi's Mansion Unfounded Revenge / Smashing Song of Praise A reference to the zombies fought in Threed. When used, the only Assist Trophy summoned will be Jeff.
6 VillagerHeadSSBU.png Villager and IsabelleHeadSSBU.png Isabelle Onett Onett Theme / Winters Theme A reference to the Sharks and the dogs fought in Onett. When used, the only Assist Trophy summoned will be Starman.
Bonus Stage
Final Master Hand Final Destination Master Hand (Less than 7.0 intensity)
Master Hand / Crazy Hand (7.0 or higher intensity)
Crazy Hand teams up with Master Hand on Intensity 7.0 or higher.

Note: Every stage plays a track from the EarthBound universe, no matter what universe the stage originates from.

Credits roll after completing Classic Mode. Completing it as Ness has Smiles and Tears accompany the credits.

Role in World of Light[edit]

Finding Ness in World of Light

Although Ness has been absent from the World of Light opening cutscene, he was vaporized and later imprisoned alongside the rest of the fighters (minus Kirby) when Galeem unleashed his beams of light.

Ness can be found in a pink cloud area reminiscent of Magicant, and to access him the player needs to defeat the Flying Man spirit.

Fighter Battle[edit]

No. Image Name Type Power Stage Music
10
Ness SSBU.png
Ness
Attack
Attack
7,500 Magicant (Ω form) Magicant (for 3DS / Wii U)


Spirit[edit]

Ness' 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[edit]

As the main opponent[edit]

Spirit Battle parameters
No. Image Name Series Enemy Fighter(s) Type Power Stage Rules Conditions Music
307
SSBU spirit Slugger & Green Glove.png
Slugger & Green Glove Yoshi Series Ness NessHeadYellowSSBU.png
Lucas LucasHeadGreenSSBU.png
Grab
1,500 Yoshi's Island •Item: Beastball •The enemy starts the battle with a Home-Run Bat Obstacle Course - Yoshi's Island
565
SSBU spirit Ninten.png
Ninten EarthBound Series Ness Team (×4) (NessHeadWhiteSSBU.pngNessHeadYellowSSBU.pngNessHeadGreenSSBU.pngNessHeadBlueSSBU.png)
Grab
13,700 Magicant (hazards off) N/A •The enemy's PSI attacks have increased power
Stamina battle
•The enemy's FS Meter charges quickly
Bein' Friends
571
SSBU spirit Starman.png
Starman EarthBound Series •Metal Ness NessHeadWhiteSSBU.png
Grab
4,200 Lylat Cruise •Assist Trophy Enemies (Starman)
•Item: Stars
Stamina battle
•Hostile assist trophies will appear
•The enemy is metal
Unfounded Revenge / Smashing Song of Praise
579
SSBU spirit Ramblin' Evil Mushroom.png
Ramblin' Evil Mushroom EarthBound Series Ness NessHeadBlueSSBU.png
Grab
1,600 Distant Planet •Item: Ramblin' Evil Mushroom •The enemy starts the battle with a Ramblin' Evil Mushroom Humoresque of a Little Dog
1,087
SSBU spirit Nico Fire.png
Nico Fire StreetPass Mii Plaza Series Ness NessHeadGreenSSBU.png
Fox FoxHeadBlackSSBU.png
Sonic SonicHeadPurpleSSBU.png
Attack
1,500 Big Blue •Uncontrollable Speed •All fighters move faster and can't stop quickly Wii Sports Resort
1,116
SSBU spirit Pitcher & Batter.png
Pitcher & Batter Baseball Ness NessHeadBlueSSBU.png
Lucas LucasHeadRedSSBU.png (×2)
Grab
1,700 Pokémon Stadium 2 (hazards off) •Item Tidal Wave
•Item: Sports
•The enemy favors side smash attacks
•The enemy starts the battle with a Home-Run Bat
•Certain items will appear in large numbers
Baseball (Training)

As a minion[edit]

Spirit Battle parameters Inspiration
No. Image Name Series Enemy Fighter(s) Type Power Stage Rules Conditions Music Character
566
SSBU spirit Ana.png
Ana EarthBound Series Villager VillagerHeadPinkSSBU.png
Ness NessHeadWhiteSSBU.png
Grab
9,200 Magicant (hazards off) N/A Stamina battle
•The enemy heals over time
Pollyanna (I Believe in You) Ninten
570
SSBU spirit Flying Man.png
Flying Man EarthBound Series Mii Brawler Team MiiBrawlerHeadSSBU.png (Moveset 2122, Flying Man Hat, Flying Man Outfit) (×5)
Ness NessHeadYellowSSBU.png
Attack
9,100 Magicant (hazards off) N/A •Defeat the main fighter to win
Stamina battle
Magicant Ness
572
SSBU spirit Paula.png
Paula EarthBound Series Villager VillagerHeadPinkSSBU.png
Ness NessHeadWhiteSSBU.png
Shield
13,300 Onett •Sudden Final Smash •The enemy will suddenly have a Final Smash
•The enemy's PSI attacks have increased power
Stamina battle
Smiles and Tears Ness
576
SSBU spirit Ness's Father.png
Ness's Father EarthBound Series •Clear Snake SnakeHeadChartreuseSSBU.png
Ness NessHeadBlackSSBU.png
Shield
13,500 Onett N/A •Defeat the main fighter to win
•The enemy is invisible
Humoresque of a Little Dog Ness
1,156
SSBU spirit Girl from Hajimari no Mori.png
Girl from Hajimari no Mori Hajimori no Mori Villager VillagerHeadGreenSSBU.png
Ness NessHeadWhiteSSBU.png
Shield
2,300 Duck Hunt (Battlefield form) •Hazard: Fog •The stage is covered in fog
•The enemy favors down specials
Yūyūki Medley Protagonist of Hajimari no Mori

Alternate costumes[edit]

Ness Palette (SSBU).png
NessHeadSSBU.png NessHeadWhiteSSBU.png NessHeadYellowSSBU.png NessHeadGreenSSBU.png NessHeadBlueSSBU.png NessHeadBlackSSBU.png NessHeadCyanSSBU.png NessHeadPurpleSSBU.png

Gallery[edit]

Character Showcase Video[edit]

Trivia[edit]

  • Ness was the only one of the four original unlockable characters from Super Smash Bros. 64 to be playable in the E3 demo.
    • Ness is also the only one to appear on the box art. However, Captain Falcon is featured in the full group artwork.
  • Although most characters from the original Super Smash Bros. are numbered by their debut game's original release date, Captain Falcon and Ness can be considered an exception; F-Zero was originally released in 1990, four years before EarthBound. Additionally, in Super Smash Bros., Captain Falcon will always be fought first if the unlock conditions for both him and Ness are met simultaneously. However, it is also possible that Ness is numbered per the 1989 release of Mother, which is also how he is ordered in Brawl's All-Star Mode.
  • Ultimate marks the first time since Melee where Ness' artwork depicts him holding his baseball bat.
  • Ness's "PK Freeze!" voice clip is the only clip from SSB4 to not return in Ultimate, due to custom specials being absent.
  • Ultimate is the first Smash game in which Ness has a greater number of aerials which use PSI than Lucas, being 5 to 4 as opposed to 2 and 3 to 3 in Brawl and Smash 4 respectively.
  • Ness being unlocked by clearing Classic Mode as Kirby could be a reference to Ness being unlocked on Dream Land in the original Super Smash Bros., that both are voiced by Makiko Ōmoto, or that both are from games developed by HAL Laboratory, Inc.
  • As of Ultimate's release, Ness has had more different victory themes than any other character, receiving new ones in Brawl and Ultimate, in addition to his original one from the first two games.
  • Ness' official artwork resembles a hoax that claimed he would appear in Super Smash Bros. 4 before he was actually revealed.
  • Ness is one of the only two unlockable characters in Ultimate who can be the first character unlocked in more than one way. These being through VS. Matches and through Kirby's Classic Mode. The other character who shares this distinction is Villager.
  • Despite the fact that Ness's PSI Magnet can absorb Bob-omb explosions, Ness cannot absorb explosions from the Bob-ombs that drop from the sky during Sudden Death.