Robin (ルフレ, Reflet) is a playable newcomer in Super Smash Bros. 4. He was confirmed during a live stream, alongside Captain Falcon and Lucina, on the official Super Smash Bros. website on July 14th, 2014. Like in his home game Fire Emblem Awakening, players can select either male and female versions of Robin, similarly to Wii Fit Trainer, Villager, and Corrin. In the English version, David Vincent, who is male Robin's first voice option in Awakening, reprises his role, while Lauren Landa voices female Robin in place of Michelle Ruff from Awakening. In the Japanese version, both Yoshimasa Hosoya and Miyuki Sawashiro reprise their roles as the voice actors for the male Robin and the female Robin, respectively.
Robin is ranked 37th out of 55 on the tier list, placing him in the D tier and tied with Samus. Robin's tomes give him a strong zoning game: Thunder is a versatile projectile due to having varying effects at each level of charge, Arcfire is a strong tool for area denial and combo initiation, Elwind provides a highly damaging neutral infinite and is capable at edgeguarding due to being a strong meteor smash at point blank range, and Nosferatu is self-healing grab. Robin also boasts high damage-racking capabilities and KO power due to the strength of his Levin Sword, as well as his depleted tomes and broken Levin Swords, provided the player can track them correctly.
Robin is primarily held back by his poor mobility, due to having the slowest dashing speed (when discounting customizable characters such as Mii Fighters) and below average airspeed, alongside a very poor defensive game, due to a lackluster grab, poor landing options, a lack of notable combo breaking options, and very low disjointed range in comparison to other swordsmen. Robin's durability system can also negatively impact him, as the loss of any of his tomes strongly impairs his ordinarily strong zoning game and can even impair his recovery, and the loss of his Levin Sword removes almost all of Robin's KO options.
As a result, Robin requires players to play with extreme precision, as to avoid wasting any uses of his weapons, as well as know how to play around the opponent when any of his weapons are broken. While Robin has previously seen use in numerous tournaments, primarily due to Nairo and Salem formerly maining him after the game's release, Robin's high learning curve and technical playstyle has given him limited tournament presence in the years following Smash 4's release. There are, however, a few notable smashers who main him, such as Dath and Mr.II, who defeated top-level players such as Larry Lurr and Nairo, respectively.
Robin has a much different playstyle compared to his fellow Fire Emblem characters. Wielding both tomes and swords, he can keep opponents at a distance with his magic while punishing them with his Bronze and Levin Swords. However, his tomes and swords adhere to a unique durability system. When this is coupled with his dashing speed being the slowest in the game, a poor grab range with excessive ending lag, and a lack of melee range and movement speed that his fellow swordsmen have, Robin thus functions best like in his home game Fire Emblem Awakening: a Tactician whose optimal playstyle involves thoughtful and tactful pressuring and zoning with his tomes while capitalizing on his opponent's mistakes with powerful magic or sword attacks.
Robin's tomes provide a myriad of spacing, pressuring, and additional damaging capabilities. Both his Thunder and Fire tomes have capabilities for disrupting opponents, racking up damage, and opening up windows to chain attacks together. Thunder and the slightly stronger Elthunder peppers at mid-range or shorter, while Arcthunder travels for longer and has trapping capabilities for pressure, combos and set-ups, and Thoron pierces through opponents and deals considerable knockback. Arcfire produces a trapping, multiple hitting pillar of flame that is instrumental for approaching or disrupting approaches, pressuring, and chaining together attacks. In addition to his Fire tome, Robin's neutral attack involves his Wind tome: the former tome generates a singular explosion of fire magic that deals strong diagonal knockback, while the latter tome generates a neutral infinite consisting of wind magic that deals high damage and concludes with a blast of wind magic that deals strong vertical knockback. Elwind provides respectable vertical recovery and its first hit can be used to punish aerial and post-recovery opponents by spiking them at point-blank with the first hit. Lastly, Nosferatu is a self-healing move which heals Robin, especially if cast from behind and while having a higher damage percentage than his opponent, while it also cannot be shielded due to functioning like a grab. However, it is tricky to use, as the opponent must be at almost point-blank range to land it, although Arcthunder's trapping ability can help Robin land it easier.
Aside from his tomes, Robin's Levin Sword is a potent weapon in its own right. It is a powerful, fairly long-ranged, and electrically-charged sword that functions as a terrific offensive tool due to its excellent pressure capabilities, its impressive combo potential and its high KO power. Robin whips this out for his smash and directional aerial attacks when a smash input is inputted. It can be swung eight times before it breaks. Despite being vastly inferior to the Levin Sword in regards to KO potential, the Bronze Sword has combo potential due to its weaker knockback. His neutral aerial covers both his front and back successively, which can be useful for spacing in the air. His down tilt can keep away grounded opponents in front of him.
Once Robin's tomes are depleted and his Levin Sword is broken, they can act as throwable items that deal immense damage, shieldstun and knockback. Properly managing Robin's discarded weapons is crucial for optimal play, as the opportunities they can potentially grant are significant. Outside of his magic and sword attacks, Robin has two useful throws: his back throw is a viable KOing option near the edge, while his down throw is a reliable combo starter.
However, as previously stated, Robin suffers from numerous weaknesses, such as being the slowest runner in the game. Furthermore, he lacks defensive options and has trouble brushing off opponents, especially those who are directly below him, making him susceptible to rush-downs and juggles. His tilts generally have short range, making it difficult for Robin to fight at mid-range outside of the use of tomes. Many of his moves, specifically his smash attacks and special attacks, have significant ending lag, which leaves him wide open for punishment proceeding their execution. Elwind leaves him vulnerable and interceptable after use, and when not properly managed or kept track of, can run out at critical times. Lastly, Robin's durability mechanic limits his offensive options when either the Levin Sword or tomes are exhausted.
Robin benefits little from his custom moves, with his only notable options being the Thunder variants. Thunder+ has highly increased power across all charges, the projectiles have more range, and both Elthunder and Arcthunder use up a very slightly smaller amount of durability. However, it charges slower, and has only half the durability of the original, with Thoron immediately exhausting the tome regardless of how much durability is left. Speed Thunder is, unsurprisingly, faster across all charges, regarding both the projectiles' speed and charging, but the projectiles have less range and noticeably less power. Robin's remaining custom moves have very situational advantages, to the point that they usually fail to compensate for their disadvantages.
Overall, Robin is a tactically-based character with varied spacing, damage-accumulating and KO options that must be used wisely and opportunely. At the same time, his lack of mobile and defensive options leave him vulnerable to pressure and combos. With this, Robin players must keep track of their weapons' durability, intelligently respond to their opponents, and take precise offensive action for success in battle.
Robin has been noticeably buffed via updates, especially in update 1.1.0 with increased damage outputs, decreased ending lag, and larger hitboxes for certain attacks. The knockback and ending lag on his down throw were also reduced, which consequently improved its combo potential. Update 1.1.3 increased his down aerial's damage output, decreased the lag for his down smash and all of his aerials, and increased the sizes of the hitboxes for a few of his moves, most notably his forward tilt. Robin also benefits from the changes on the shield mechanics in brought about by updates 1.1.0 and 1.1.1, with the high hitlag on his Levin Sword-based attacks becoming more useful and safer on shield. However, update 1.1.5 slightly nerfed Robin's neutral attack, an extremely important part of his neutral game, by having its base knockback increased. This results in his neutral infinite becoming nearly useless when the opponent properly uses directional influence at low-mid percentages, while his neutral attack's first two hits' ending lag results in it failing to chain into from another neutral attack or a grab. To slightly compensate, Nosferatu comes out 1 frame faster, grabbing at frames 15-16, and has 2 less frames of ending lag when broken out of.
Robin has a unique mechanic: true to the Fire Emblem series, where items break after being used too many times, Robin's tomes and Levin Sword do the same if they are used too often, with each weapon having a unique durability value. If Robin attempts to use an attack that uses durability-affected weaponry and is interrupted by an attack while attempting to use it, then that will count as one use of the weapon, even if no damaging hitbox is produced. Robin always carries the last weapons he used in his hands, provided they are not depleted. As an additional visual indicator for durability, weapons that have been depleted by two-thirds will flicker. Once a depleted weapon is restored, Robin will perform a unique animation of the weapon appearing in his hands with a flash of light, provided that he is standing completely still; tomes appear in his left hand as he holds it up in the air, while the Levin Sword reappears in his right hand as he flicks it in a manner similar to one of his idle poses.
If Robin fully depletes a weapon, he will throw it away behind him. In the case where Robin is sent flying by knockback immediately after depleting a weapon, he will drop the used weapon on the spot before getting knocked back himself. They disappear almost immediately after hitting the ground once, but they can also be picked up and thrown; the Levin Sword deals 15% when smash thrown, while his tomes deal 18% when smash thrown, making both attacks potent surprise KOing options due to their high base knockback. If Robin does not have the proper tome for corresponding special the move and tries to perform it, Robin will perform the animation but will not produce any hitboxes. For his Levin Sword, all such attacks will instead use his Bronze Sword, which cannot break, but has shorter range, deals considerably less damage and knockback, and also lacks the Levin Sword's lingering electrical hitboxes. Weapons restore gradually after they have been depleted, with their restoration times varying on their type. When Robin scores a KO, it reduces the respawn timer for all currently-regenerating weapons by a small amount. Respawn times are unaffected by custom movesets.
Durability points for weapons do not replenish while Robin is using a tome, and the only way to replenish a weapon is to get a new copy of it. Respawning after being KO'd also replenishes all weapons, as does Pair Up, though only if it is used successfully.
In competitive play
Tier placement and history
Opinions on Robin's viability have fluctuated during SSB4's metagame. At first, he would be considered a high-tier character due to his strong projectile and keep away games, as well as high KO power thanks to the Levin Sword and his back throw's immense power. Even so, a small number of players argued against him that his mobility was too slow for him to accomplish a lot, combined with his poor grab game, weak projectiles that took too long to charge and could be cancelled out by pretty much any other projectile, mediocre recovery, and having a limit to how many times he could use many moves before becoming virtually helpless, he was considered a low-tier character, and many smashers would slowly start to drop him in favor of another character (such as Xzax with Mario and Nairo with Zero Suit Samus). Eventually, the latter opinion would slowly start to become more prominent, until game updates notably buffed Robin over the course (particularly 1.1.0 and 1.1.1, which granted Robin better shield pressure and a combo throw). This, combined with slow improvements to his metagame, and decent results from a small number of dedicated smashers such as Dath, Jerm and Mr.II, opinions on Robin would improve slowly, and they would eventually break with the consensus of being a low-tier character after a player managed to beat ZeRo's Sheik (the best SSB4 player in the world using what was considered to be the best character in the game) in a tournament using Robin, with him being ranked at 31st on the first 4BR tier list, assessing him as a mid-tier character.
Despite his results remaining below average, as well as the introduction of Corrin and Bayonetta, Dath would place 3rd at Shine 2016, which was notable enough for Robin to maintain his ranking of 31st on the second tier list. Even so, Robin has lately seen worse results, and was thus ranked 34th on the third tier list, and his lack of a relatively large playerbase in comparison to other mid-tier characters, such as Bowser, has significantly deterred him from rising any further on the tier list, rather dropping to 37th on the fourth and current tier list, sharing the spot with Samus. When coupled with his high learning curve, it is unknown how Robin's tournament representation will fare in the long run, particularly due to his tournament success dropping after summer 2016 to this day.
In Event Matches
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