Currently, Peach is 6th in the A tier in both the NTSC and PAL versions of the game, giving her the highest rank of any Mario character. Peach's float cancel and DJC give her a fantastic aerial game. She also has good chaingrabbing abilities, which is particularly useful against higher tiered characters. She is also the owner of Vegetable, one of the best projectiles in the game. Additionally, Peach's recovery is among the best in the game, with many options available to her, allowing her to recover at almost any angle. However, Peach's primary flaw is her light weight and floatiness, which makes her more susceptible to KOs, especially on the upper blast lines. Additionally, her slow dash and weak ground attacks, save for her down smash and dash attack, impair her approach while on the ground.
Peach does not fall into any specific archetype of a fighting game character; her attributes are quite varied, with average weight, a low falling speed, and among the slowest dashes in the game, alongside a high air speed. These attributes form the crux of Peach's combat: a focus on aerial combat while forgoing most of her ground-based options.
Arguably Peach's primary strength is her dominant air game. Despite a poor SHFFL due to a low falling speed and high jumping speed, Peach's unique ability to float gives her an enormous advantage in the air over other characters; in addition to allowing her to easily and effectively pursue characters she has knocked into the air, her midair jump's unusual properties allow her to utilize the Double Jump Cancel, a technique that allows her to quickly perform aerials in rapid succession. Outside of this, Peach's fast neutral and back aerials make them potent out of shield options. As a further benefit from her excellent aerial game, Peach's vegetables can become a powerful approaching technique compounded with her DJC.
As a result of her powerful aerial game, Peach owns among the most powerful, albeit specialized, approaches in the game. Against primarily ground-based opponents with poor aerial games, such as the Ice Climbers or Luigi, Peach can quickly overwhelm such opponents. Her vegetables can also allow her to easily camp against other characters, and due to their propensity to "bounce" upon striking other characters, they can be compounded with her DJC to combo either by themselves or with her aerials.
Regardless of her average grab range, Peach also owns a powerful throwing game. Her up throw can potentially chain throw characters with high falling speed, as well as lead into her other throws. Peach's down throw can also lead to a variety of options for herself, including another throw, a tilt, or a DJCed aerial. In addition, her forward throw and back throw can both be used as KO moves, with the former having the highest knockback for a forward throw in the game and the latter allowing her to easily segue into her powerful edgeguard game.
As a final, powerful benefit for Peach, she also boasts arguably one of the best recoveries in the game. With a high air speed, low falling speed, the ability to float, a long midair jump, the ability to recover with her side special and a long recovery special, Peach is extremely difficult to KO off the edges, even with her below average weight. Her fast neutral, up, and back aerials can also act as deterrents to edgeguarders, while her vegetables, if they are in hand during her recovery, can further aggravate such pursuers. Despite this powerful recovery, Peach's low falling speed and below average weight can also allow her to be easily KO'd via the upper blast line, and vertical finishers can more easily KO Peach than other top tiered characters.
Barring her grab and throw game, however, Peach suffers on the ground. Peach's side and down tilt attacks are slow, though good reads by players can potentially allow for her to use them as combo starters. Peach's smashes also suffer from similar problems, though her down smash can inflict significant damage to opponents and shields, while her up smash can potentially act as a potent KO move. A slow dashing speed (the second lowest in the game) also prevents her from easily pursuing opponents on foot, and her various attributes give her the shortest wavedash in the game, preventing her from taking advantage of wave smashing. Arguably Peach's best attack on the ground takes form of her dash attack; the attack can act as a useful combo starter, but barring this, the use of Peach's ground game for approaching should be avoided by players, and instead, they should be used to either continue combos or to finish them.
For a gallery of Peach's hitboxes, see here.
Note: According to the debug menu in Melee, Peach will always perform the idle pose listed first, then will randomly perform any of the idles poses listed below.
In competitive play
Peach has a very strong matchup spread when compared to the rest of the cast. She is soft countered by 5 characters, has 3 even matchups, soft counters 9 characters, counters 5, and hard counters 3. She does incredibly well against characters who she can easily edgeguard and space out with her aerials, such as Roy, Pikachu, and especially the Ice Climbers. Peach generally fares poorly against characters that can exploit her light weight and floatiness; in particular, Fox, Sheik, and Captain Falcon all have reliable KO setups against her because of these properties. She also fares poorly against characters who have such a superior ground game that her advantages in the air are neutralized, such as the aforementioned Fox and Captain Falcon, as well as Marth, who outranges and outspaces her and can stifle her aerial approaches with timely aerials of his own. Peach especially has trouble against characters who have a better aerial game than she does, such as Jigglypuff, who can easily edgeguard her and space her out with forward and back aerials.
Overall, Peach does well against almost every character in the game and has the tools to effectively fight the most of the cast, despite having trouble in some matchups in the top tier. Metagame developments since the creation of this matchup chart have suggested that Peach actually has an even matchup against Sheik and a close to even matchup with Marth, meaning that she fares slightly better in the present than she did in the past.
Peach's tournament viablity as a solo character, however, is crippled by a nearly unwinnable matchup against Jigglypuff, as Jigglypuff's disjointed back aerial beats out all of Peach's approach options, and it is almost impossible for Peach to edgeguard it. Most players consider the matchup to be at least 35-65 or worse in Jigglypuff's favor; this is supported by the fact that Armada was never able to take a single game off of Hungrybox's Jigglypuff from 2009 to 2013, even while Armada was a contender for best in the world and Hungrybox was only a top five player. Armada's losing record against Hungrybox resulted in him counterpicking with other characters, such as Young Link and Fox.
Any number following the Smasher name indicates placement on the Summer 2019 MPGR, which recognizes the official top 50 players in the world in Super Smash Bros. Melee from February 1st, 2019 to July 7th, 2019.
Tier placement and history
Due to Peach's great aerial potential and combo ability, she has been a character consistently ranking in the top tiers of the Melee tier list. However, she has generally been regarded as below the other top tiers in terms of tournament viability, due to her slow movement speed and floatiness. During the 2000s, several Peach players, including Sastopher, Cort, and DoH, were able to defeat top players and frequently, albeit inconsistently, place in the top eight at majors. However, Peach's tournament representation truly shined during Armada's reign of dominance from 2009 to 2013, where he placed 1st or 2nd at nearly every tournament he entered in the United States, defeating North America's top players with Peach.
However, Peach's tournament viability has always been held back by her nearly unwinnable matchup against Jigglypuff. Armada was unable to take a single game off of Hungrybox's Jigglypuff with Peach from 2009 to 2013, despite being considered a more skilled player at the time. He eventually gave up using Peach to try defeating Hungrybox, and switched to counterpicks such as Young Link and Fox, with which he had much greater success. He also brought out the Fox counterpick against other players, such as fellow Swedish player Leffen, whom he found it increasingly difficult to defeat with Peach. It is generally acknowledged that Peach's tournament success was largely due to Armada's incredible abilities as a player, rather than Peach being better than the other top tiers. This is supported by the fact no other Peach player besides Armada has been able to consistently place in the top sixteen of majors during the modern era. Following Armada's retirement from competing in 2018, Peach's representation in tournaments dropped significantly.
Today, Peach is generally considered among the least viable of the top tier characters, and is often seen as having the worst matchup spread among all the top tiers. Her lopsided matchup vs. Jigglypuff is considered the single hardest counter among any of the top tier matchups, and she is seen as clearly losing every other top tier matchup (with the exception of Falco). A 2019 community voted tier list placed Peach at 7th, below even Captain Falcon, who has often been considered a nonviable character. Nonetheless, she has remained a popular counterpick against Ice Climbers players, even as a pocket pick, especially when wobbling was legal and widespread.
Peach did not receive any changes from NTSC to PAL, but several characters that would years later be placed higher than her on the tier list did; Fox now has a harder time KOing Peach and gets edgeguarded much more easily, Sheik has no guaranteed followups with her down throw and relies more heavily on zoning, and Marth has slightly lower air speed and weight, improving Peach's chances in those matchups. Peach is still ranked 6th in the PAL tier list, but is notably placed in her own tier at B, where most European players can see a noticeable difference in viability between Sheik, Peach, and Captain Falcon.
In Single Player Modes
In Classic Mode
Peach can appear in one-on-one battles, as an ally, on a team with Bowser, Mario, Ness, or Zelda, or as a metal opponent. Peach is fought on Battlefield when on a team with Bowser or in the metal battle, at Onett when on a team with Ness, and on Temple when on a team with Zelda. In other cases, she is fought on either Princess Peach's Castle or Mushroom Kingdom II. Unusually, unlike every other Mario character (including sub-series), Peach does not appear as a giant opponent, making her the only Mario character overall that is ineligible for this battle type.
In Adventure Mode
Peach appears in the second portion of Stage 1 along with Mario or Luigi on Princess Peach's Castle.
In All-Star Mode
Peach and her allies are fought on Princess Peach's Castle.
In Event Matches
Peach appears in the following event matches:
In addition to the normal trophy about Peach as a character, there are two trophies about her as a fighter that are unlocked by completing the Adventure and All-Star modes on any difficulty with Peach.