Pyra (ホムラ, Homura) is a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. She was confirmed as a playable fighter alongside Mythra during the February 17th, 2021 Nintendo Direct, and were released as part of Challenger Pack 9 on March 4th, 2021 in Fighters Pass Vol. 2. Pyra is classified as Fighter #79.
In all regions, Skye Bennett reprises her role as Pyra in English and Shino Shimoji reprises her role in Japanese, both with all new voice clips.
Pyra is the stronger Blade of the duo, possessing vastly superior kill power, damage output and (in most cases) range. In character attributes, she is a middleweight fighter with very slow mobility, possessing the sixth slowest run speed of any character, below average walking speed and slightly below average air acceleration (although her air speed is above average). However, compared to other fighters in and around her weight class (such as Mario or Cloud), her overall character type is similar to that of traditional heavyweights, possessing a plethora of hard-hitting attacks. Altogether, despite being the same weight as Mario, Pyra can be seen as a "ranged powerhouse" character similar to Ike.
While Pyra's power is perhaps her most dominant strength, her range is also very formidable. Almost all of her sword attacks involve wide swings that hit in arcs with good coverage, making approaching Pyra surprisingly tough. This also means that with proper spacing, her aerial moves are hard to punish on shield at maximum distance, allowing her to easily break shields with simple air-to-ground combos. However, Pyra's range also means that with her forward smash, which is one of the longest-reaching in the game, she can bypass counterattacks more effectively than most other characters at maximum distance.
The majority of Pyra's offensive utility comes from her grounded moveset. Her neutral attack comes out on frame 3, making it her fastest attack overall as well as a decent close-range pressure option. Despite dealing less damage than other heavyweight non-infinite jabs, her jab combo is very strong overall, being able to KO starting at 195% from the center of Final Destination. Her forward tilt has very good coverage in front of her and has strong KO potential, while her up tilt hits all around her and KO's very early at 130% from ground level, while also having surprisingly low end lag for its power. While her down tilt is her weakest tilt attack, its speed enables it to work as a poking option and combo tool, while it also hits low enough to hit certain characters hanging on edges. Her smash attacks are her primary finishers, while they all share a balance of range and power; her forward smash is surprisingly fast for its power and range at only 20 frames of startup, while it can KO as early as 75% from center stage uncharged. Her up smash is similar to Lucas's equivalent move in that it has a very good range overall along with equally strong KO power. Her down smash is her weakest smash attack, although also her fastest, and unlike other "sweeping" down smashes, provides excellent coverage in front and behind due to hitting both sides at once for both hits.
Pyra's aerial game also provides other offensive options. Her neutral aerial, despite its slow startup, hits all around her much like Ike's equivalent move, and can KO starting at 155% from ground level. Her forward aerial is very fast despite her generally slow frame data and has roughly the same KO power as her neutral aerial. Her back aerial covers a very wide arc behind her and KO's extremely early at 115% from ground level despite its vertical knockback, allowing it to be used as a niche (albeit slow) option if used in a reverse aerial rush. Her up aerial hits in a very wide arc above her and autocancels in a full hop, while her down aerial is a meteor smash that can KO and start combos, being able to lead into KO confirms depending on the opponent's weight and falling speed.
Lastly, Pyra has an overall versatile set of special moves apart from her down special. Flame Nova, her neutral special, acts a spinning move much like the Links' Spin Attacks, in that it hits in front in behind and can be charged for more damage. Blazing End, her side special, is a projectile that functions like the Links' respective Boomerangs, dealing damage while moving forward (although it cannot move vertically). Prominence Revolt, her up special, is similar to a Mii Swordfighter's Stone Scabbard, being a rise-then-fall attack that acts as her recovery option, while it works exceptionally well as an out of shield option due to its range and power, and can sweetspot edges on the way up. Lastly, her down special, Swap to Mythra, transforms her into her faster and weaker counterpart, while granting some invincibility during the transformation, allowing to switch playstyles on the fly.
However, Pyra has glaring flaws that are enough to balance out her range and power. As mentioned earlier, her overall mobility is very slow to compensate for her large, powerful attacks. Despite her long range, said speed ironically renders her approach limited even against characters with less range, such as Pit and Sonic, and even other weapon wielders like Joker (especially with his own running speed). This also translates thoroughly into her moveset, as while her moves are more frame-flexible than other similar characters such as Ganondorf, they are still punishable due to their high end lag, meaning that a single mistake can easily allow opponents to get close to her.
Her special moves also carry certain flaws as well. Flame Nova has some considerable startup (unless uncharged), while the move does not protect her from above, meaning that characters with good aerial mobility and frame data (such as Falco) can easily approach her with little risk, making the move unsafe if used repeatedly. Blazing End puts Pyra in a state where she is unable to use any other moves until the Aegis Sword returns to her hand, during which she will briefly enter a 20-frame state where she will stop in place. Lastly, Prominence Revolt has very little horizontal distance potential; this when combined with the move's mainly vertical recovery angle makes the move likely to self-destruct if Pyra is too far from the ledge. Moreover, Prominence Revolt's descent also has a significantly weaker meteor smash than similar moves such as Aether, making the move easier to challenge directly and ill-suited for attempting sacrificial KOs.
Pyra also has a poor disadvantage state, as her average weight, frame size and below-average frame data make her susceptible to combos, while she lacks safe options for interrupting enemy combos. This means that she is also very vulnerable to high-damage combos that end with semi-spikes, as the damage accumulated may be enough for the finishing blow to keep her sufficiently away from the ledge, which is further exacerbated with Prominence Revolt's aforementioned low horizontal distance; although swapping to Mythra can remedy the latter flaw somewhat, due to her superior aerial mobility, it is not a failsafe strategy as Mythra's recovery options are also somewhat mediocre all around.
Lastly, Pyra has an overall weak grab game. While her pummel is tied with other characters as the third-most damaging in Ultimate, her throws are overall weak with limited utility (especially her back throw), with only her forward throw dealing more than 8% damage. Her forward throw can KO at very high percentages at the edge, her up throw can position opponents for KO setups with poor DI/react time, and her down throw can force the opponent into unfavorable aerial positions, where she can follow up if the opponent does not properly react while being able to KO after 200%. However, since said throws are not as powerful as traditional KO throws, they are instead best used to position or edgeguard opponents.
Overall, Pyra is a heavy-hitting yet surprisingly versatile swordfighter who capitalizes on hard reads and strong punishes. She must be patient to look for openings due to her slow nature and poor disadvantage. She is best utilized when the pair have the advantage so as to hide her weaknesses and amplify her strengths, whereas it is considered best to switch to her counterpart to keep advantage due to Mythra’s sheer flexibility and vastly superior movement.
Not too long after they were released, professional players such as MkLeo, Sparg0 and Shuton have demonstrated very strong results with Pyra both online and offline alongside her counterpart Mythra, and their representation and results have further expanded since then; this has led many to believe they are top tier or even among the best characters in the game when skillfully used in tandem, though it remains to be seen how their representation will continue in the long run.
So far, Pyra has been slightly nerfed in update 12.0.0, with changes that are shared with her counterpart Mythra. These include increased hitstun on the second hit of her neutral attack, as well as reduced pushback against opponents while she is charging her forward smash, with the latter of the two being intended to prevent opposing attacks from whiffing against her during that state.
Overall, these changes are not expected to change Pyra's competitive reception in the long term, as her key strengths and weaknesses remain unaltered.
For a gallery of Pyra's hitboxes, see here.
Note: All numbers are listed as base damage, without the 1v1 multiplier.
In competitive play
Since their release, Pyra and Mythra have received very positive reception from competitive players. This is largely owed to Mythra's outstanding mobility and frame data, overall one of the best in the game, alongside her unique Foresight ability, though this is at the cost of her damage output being largely unimpressive. On the other hand, Pyra brings to the table overwhelming power and range, while losing out on mobility and, to an extent, frame data. Their polarized attributes overall complement very well and leave the duo with few collective weaknesses (most notably, an overall mediocre recovery). Although it is unclear how exactly they will fare in the long run due to their recent release and the still-ongoing COVID-19 pandemic making offline tournaments relatively sparse at the time of their initial release, thanks to their strengths and results from players such as MkLeo, Sparg0, and Cosmos, most people consider the character to not just be top tier, but one of the best characters in the current metagame.
Most historically significant players
Classic Mode: Shared Destinies
Referencing the duality of Pyra and Mythra, the pair's route features pairs of opponents who are the same or similar. This extends to Master Hand and Crazy Hand at the end, who are always fought together, regardless of intensity. The items that spawn are from the franchise the opponents are from (or in the case of Round 4, no items).
Role in World of Light
Despite their status as downloadable content, Pyra and Mythra do have a legitimate role in World of Light, as they appear in the base game as spirits in the Light Realm and the Final Battle respectively, meaning that they were vaporized by Galeem. The Pyra spirit can be purchased for 10,000SP in Anna's Emporium once Anna's spirit has been defeated. Purchasing this spirit does not unlock her and Mythra as a playable character; rather, they are unlocked after downloading them and freeing at least 10 other fighters from Galeem's control, just like other DLC characters.
Pyra's fighter spirit can be obtained by completing Classic Mode; however, Pyra must be the one chosen as the front on the character selection screen to get her fighter spirit. It is also available periodically for purchase in the shop for 300 Gold, but only after Pyra/Mythra have been downloaded. Unlocking Pyra/Mythra in World of Light allows the player to preview the second spirit below in the Spirit List under the name "Pyra (Fighter)". Her fighter spirit has an alternate version that replaces it with her artwork in Ultimate.
Additionally, Pyra has a support spirit as part of Ultimate's base game.
In Spirit battles
As the main opponent