Peach is currently ranked 19th out of 38 at the very center of the Brawl tier list, higher than any other Mario character (not including the spin-off universes), in the bottom of the high-mid tier, though her ranking in Brawl, technically her worst placement in the series, is considered a downgrade from Melee, as she noticeably dropped from her high tier placement of 6th out of 26. Her item-based Turnip projectiles are effective at keeping opponents as bay when camping, and by using glide tosses can also aid her approach. Her aforementioned floating ability can be used in a number of ways, including aiding her recovery and allowing her to use aerials repeatedly without landing or having to jump between attacks, or when holding throwable items. She also has one of the best horizontal recoveries in the game, and is also good at edgeguarding, comboing, and damage racking, and she has a strong aerial game as a result of her floating. However, she is hindered by having difficulties in KOing opponents, despite possessing many moves with high KO potential, due to the fact that they either have difficult to land sweetspots, possess low base knockback, or have low knockback scaling. Her Turnips also cover shorter distance than most projectiles when thrown, which, when combined with her slow movement, allows higher tier characters to camp better than her. She also has poor endurance and momentum cancelling, especially vertically, and is a tall character. She also suffers from a poor ground game with short reach, weak ground attacks, and mediocre throws; and the worst air dodge with 30 frames of ending lag, which, when combined with her floaty falling speed, makes it difficult to defend against juggling and aerial followups. In spite of this, she has mostly above average matchups, including a winning matchup against the higher tier Ice Climbers, and Wario. Overall, Peach has above average tournament results.
Peach is suspended somewhere between a light and medium hitter in terms of knockback, but as an in-close brawler she excels. She has plenty of ways to rack up damage on her opponents, but getting the KOing blow can be difficult. At low damage percentages, Peach is fantastic against her opponents, wielding the deadly combination of her down throw, down aerial, and floating ability to easily build damage on foes. Though Peach does have problems scoring KOs when her opponents reach higher percentages, her best KO move is her forward aerial, and can be easily used in conjunction with her floating to give her the ability to retreat or approach multiple times while using her forward aerial. Though the move has noticeable start-up lag, this can be remedied with timing it properly. Outside of her forward aerial though, Peach does have an issue with attack range, relying on glide tossing Vegetables to approach. Peach's slow dash speed also hurts her approach. Often it is advisable for Peach players to pull turnips throughout the match regardless of attack necessity, simply to increase the chance of pulling a deadly "stitch-face" turnip or any of the other unique items Peach has a chance of summoning, each of which are powerful in various ways. In general, Peach can pull turnips quickly enough to have three in the air at any given time, provided that she throws them straight up, giving her both the chance at better items and providing potential setups for turnip traps, where enemies will bounce off of turnips both falling and being immediately thrown at them.
As mentioned, Peach has a number of attacks with large hitboxes, including her forward aerial crown slap, her down aerial foot stomping, and her high-speed jab, all of which allow her to break through the attacks of many other characters. Like a number of characters in Brawl, Peach doesn't have much of a problem returning to the stage, and can easily use her up special repetitively to stall at the edge, thus making her the only character that can come in and out of her helpless state after using her special jump, as it is difficult to find an opening while she is doing so. Despite having an excellent horizontal recovery, her recovery is very predictable and isn't very good vertically due to having the shortest second jump in the game and the poor vertical distance on Peach Parasol. Should the opponent try to recover, she has the option to use her down smash or the odd hitbox of her down tilt to spike. The down smash will simply stage-spike instead of being an actual meteor smash.
Peach has a few main flaws. Firstly, she has a very poor air defense; her air dodge actually has more lag (30 frames) than invincibility frames (frames 4 to 19). Being light, floaty, and having by far the worst air dodge in the game, she can easily get juggled. Her down aerial can help a bit, but only against attacks with less range. Secondly, she can have problems with KOs. With only her forward aerial to turn to for reliable KOs, and it being a good move in normal combat, Peach has a hard time finding a solution for finishing off her enemies. The knockback of her forward smash varies unpredictably, her down-smash has been downgraded to near uselessness outside of interrupting attacks, and her up smash must be sweet-spotted at the top of her hand to actually send the opponent far. What it comes down to is that enemies will be expecting the forward aerial at high percentages, and thus it is relatively predictable despite being such a good move.
Changes from Melee to Brawl
Although she received some buffs, Peach was significantly nerfed overall from Melee to Brawl, with several of her once-dominating advantages removed in the transition. Her aerial game has seen various downgrades. Her air speed is slower and her double jump is drastically lower. She also lost access to double jump canceling and float canceling and all of her aerials have increased ending lag. Her dash attack and down smash (previously her best grounded moves) have been altered making them far inferior to their former counterparts. Her grab game has also seen some nerfs. Her forward throw is much weaker and her up throw can no longer chain grab opponents. Her kill power has been severely reduced as many of her KO moves have decreased power. The general changes to Brawl's mechanics also hinder her overall. The introduction of hitstun canceling greatly limits her combo potential while it gives her limit benefits compared to other characters due to her poor air dodge and weak momentum canceling. The removal of crouch canceling also greatly hinders her especially when combined with the changes to her down smash.
She did receive some buffs. Her grounded mobility has overall improved as she dashes faster and she covers much more distance from a glide toss. Peach now has multiple techniques to further improve the utility of Vegetable along side her aforementioned glide toss. Despite the nerfs to her aerial game, her aerials did also receive some buffs. All of her aerials have decreased landing lag somewhat compensating for the removal of L-canceling and her air acceleration is higher making it easier for her to weave in and out in the air while floating. As for her individual aerials, she can now connect both hits of neutral/back aerials, forward aerial has increased range and now instantly auto-cancels and her down aerial connects more reliably with its final hit being considerably stronger improving the latter two's spacing potential.
Overall, her buffs do not make up for her nerfs and the game's new mechanics hinder her overall. Despite this, she still maintains some of her previous strengths and overall remains stronger than various other characters although she significantly struggles against some of the top tier characters and her learning curve is rather high in comparison to most other characters.
In competitive play
According to the current SmashBoards matchup chart for Brawl, Peach's matchup spread is overall average. She is hard countered by two characters, countered by two, soft countered by six, has 12 even matchups and she soft counters five, counters eight and hard counters Ganondorf. Peach mainly does well against characters who she can overwhelm with her aerial game and her projectiles. She notably has a winning matchup against Ice Climbers as her float is an incredibly effective tool to separate the Ice Climbers making her one of their most difficult matchups. She also does well against Wario as she can challenge him in the air and she can abuse his aerial grab release to KO him early. Peach however struggles against characters who she has difficultly killing while they can easily kill her in return (most notably Snake and Lucario with Snake being extremely heavy and having highly powerful attacks while Lucario has a strong aerial game much like her and it can build up Aura and kill her early). She also has a lot of difficulty against characters who can easily outrange her and nullify her aerial game with their disjointed attacks (mainly Marth and Meta Knight who possess fast sword attacks she has trouble spacing around).
Role in The Subspace Emissary
At the start, she and Zelda are watching a friendly match between Mario and Kirby. After the Halberd appears, she and Peach rush from offstage after the stadium is attacked by the Primid. The player can choose out of the four to fight off the Primids. When the Ancient Minister appears and drops a Subspace bomb, Mario is blasted away by a cannonball when he tries to stop it. Zelda and Peach are captured by Petey Piranha. The player, as Kirby, must save either Peach or Zelda by destroying one of their cages.
If Peach is saved, she joins Kirby as they both escape from the stadium on a Warp Star, while Zelda is captured by Wario via Dark Cannon. They are pursued by the Halberd, and land on top of it. Soon they fall off and reach the ground, fighting along through hordes of Subspace foes. Later on, Kirby leaves Peach behind, and Bowser appears from the sky and turns her into a trophy.
The Shadow Bugs that came along with Bowser make a clone of Peach that proceeds to ambush Mario and Pit with a Dark Cannon. However, Link destroys the Dark Cannon and he and Yoshi fight and defeat her. When the clone is defeated, Mario witnesses her trophy disintegrating into Shadow Bugs and, believing it was the real Peach, proceeds to attack both Link and Yoshi with Pit’s help. When they are defeated, Kirby makes a return after Dedede races by and snatches Mario and Pit's trophy. He slices the handle off of the crane and revives Mario and Pit. The heroes Mario, Pit, Yoshi, Link and Kirby chase after Dedede. In his castle lair, Dedede plants a button on Zelda, Luigi and Ness before Bowser attacks and takes Zelda.
Once in possession of Zelda, Bowser retreats back to the Halberd where Peach is already a prisoner in trophy form.
If Peach was not saved, Wario appears whilst she is trapped under her wrecked cage. He blasts her with a Dark Cannon and turns her into a trophy, before fleeing the stadium with her. She is later captured by King Dedede when he ambushes Wario and steals his Cargo along with Ness. As he passes Mario and company, Mario spots her on the back of the Cargo, and Link shoots the Cargo, slowing it down so that they can pursue Dedede.
King Dedede puts his own Dedede brooch on her, but when Bowser attacks his castle, he finds her trophy and takes it. However, he is pursued by Mario and Pit, and when Pit fires an arrow at Bowser, the Dedede brooch falls off and is found by Kirby. Bowser escapes in the Koopa Clown Car and takes her trophy up to the waiting Halberd.
At a later part of the story, Zelda and Peach are discovered by Lucario, Snake and Meta Knight in cages aboard the Battleship Halberd, stuck in their trophy form. Shadow Bug clones of the princesses then fight the trio. After being freed, Snake tells both Zelda and Peach to stay in the room that they were being held captive in.
However, Peach and Zelda (disguised as Sheik) strike out on their own to investigate the matter themselves. They make their way to the Halberd's top deck, just as Fox attacks the ship, again in his Arwing. Peach calmly walks in during the fire-fight with her parasol, but when some of the Arwing's blasters nearly hit her, Sheik forces Fox to eject by breaking through the cockpit. As the two begin to fight, Peach stops them by offering them tea, which they both accept.
Meta Knight, Snake, and Lucario discover that the Halberd is being piloted by Mr. Game & Watch clones, which Snake knocks out the window and onto the deck below. The clones revert into Shadow Bugs, which transform into a boss named Duon. Fortunately, Peach, Zelda, and Fox are joined by Snake and Lucario, along with Falco. When Duon is defeated, the real Mr. Game & Watch's trophy is left behind as the Shadow Bugs float away. Fox prepares to blast the trophy, but Peach casually walks over and revives him, scolding him when he awakes. Peach then gives him her parasol as a token of friendship, which fascinates Mr. Game & Watch. Meta Knight then regains control of his ship.
Reunited with the rest of the heroes, including Mario and Kirby, Peach and allies use the Halberd to travel to the Subspace portal left behind by the Isle of the Ancients. The Halberd is attacked and destroyed by the portal's cannon defense systems, but the heroes escape on a variety of smaller ships whilst Kirby destroys the defenses via the Dragoon. Traveling through Subspace, the heroes encounter Tabuu, ruler of Subspace and mastermind of the story's events. Peach and the others are reverted into trophies by Tabuu's power and scattered across the dimension, while Tabuu proceeds to create a massive dungeon out of their memories to protect himself. If her trophy is gathered in the Subspace by Kirby, she is able to assist in the fight against Tabuu.
Peach can use upward wind in the Subspace Emissary to great effect, and her double jump gives more vertical distance in the Subspace Emissary than in other modes.
Peach's attacks are all scattered; in each category of tilts, smashes and aerials, each one has at least three types. Primarily, Weapon, Arm and Leg attacks are the most relevant, as this covers all attacks barring up tilt, down smash, back aerial, Peach Bomber and two throws. Out of these the Body/Spin attack stickers covers all but the up tilt, which is powered by Magic stickers. Her down smash, the tip of her forward tilt (her foot), and the Peach Parasol when open are powered by Slash stickers. Weapon stickers will cover all three variants of her forward smash, forward aerial, Vegetable and Peach Parasol.
In Event Matches