Samus (サムス, Samus) is a playable character that appears in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. She was revealed at E3 2006. Samus can now transition into Zero Suit Samus through a variety of methods, similar to how Zelda can turn into Sheik.
Samus is ranked 32nd out of 38 on the tier list, placing her in the F Tier, a significant drop from her position in the Melee tier list, where she was ranked 10th out of 26th. Her ranking in Brawl is also her worst placement in the series. Samus has relatively fast attacks such as her tilts and her smash attacks, as well as aerials with nearly no landing lag. Along with this, Samus has her trademark bevy of projectiles, far reach in most of her attacks, and great horizontal survivability (possessing both strong horizontal endurance and a good recovery). However, Samus's KO potential has been significantly nerfed in almost every area from Melee; Samus' strongest finishers don't start reliably KOing until beyond 125%, and none of her potential finishers are especially effective. Her KOing problems are exacerbated by her difficulty in racking up damage on opponents; despite having a decent combo game thanks to the low knockback of her aerials, most of her attacks deal low to mediocre damage, and she has rather slow attacking speed (combination of slow movement and her attacks being ending lag heavy). Her projectiles were also nerfed; her Super Missiles take longer to fire as well as travel slower and being unable to KO until near sudden death percentages, her bombs no longer explode on contact, and a fully charged Charge Shot cannot KO reliably until 124% fresh (and it is rarely fresh as Samus players must often use it to keep opponents at bay). This has resulted in terrible matchups against characters beyond low tier, and terrible tournament results.
Samus has a wide array of both projectiles and physical attacks, which can be used in promising combinations. She is a heavyweight and possesses average dashing speed. Her tall height, however, is both a blessing and a curse: while this grants her more range in some of her moves, this also makes Samus easier to hit (a common problem amongst most heavyweights). For a heavyweight, she has very low KO power and high floatiness. This also applies to her falling speed, which is the third-slowest in the game, behind Peach and Jigglypuff. On the upside, her floatiness can be used to bolster her aerial game. Staying in the air longer allows Samus to follow-up with other aerials; given that many of her moves have low knockback, she can create a versatile amount of low-to-moderate percentage attacks while bolstering her above-average recovery. On the downside, her slow fall speed also makes her recovery predictable and fairly easily edgeguarded, while also being vulnerable to being juggled. Her floatiness additionally renders her momentum canceling to be poor and makes her survivability merely above average vertically despite being one of the heaviest characters in the game.
Her ground moves, while weak in terms of knockback, can deal decent damage. Her jab is quite fast and can lock on opponents, which can enable follow ups. Her forward tilt is a flexible move, especially at higher percentages, which can be angled to suit how she can approach the opponent. Up tilt can juggle certain opponents and be a threatening KO move at higher percentages, capable of KOing heavyweights at around 120%. Down tilt is her slowest but strongest tilt, being threatening against floaty characters while still offering decent setup opportunities against heavyweights.
Samus can evade foes with projectiles like Bombs, or she can take a more aggressive approach by using her surprisingly long Grapple Beam to keep away opponents. One of the most valuable uses of her slow falling speed is successfully meteor smashing an opponent who has no ground on which to land and still being able to recover easily. She also has the largest ledge sweetspot in the game. Her neutral special, Charge Shot, does great knockback at higher percentages and is a deadly projectile for edgeguarding when fully charged. Samus has two kinds of Missiles: the Homing Missile homes on opponents and deals 5% damage; and the Super Missile moves in a fast, straight line and deals 10 % damage and noticeable knockback. Her up special, Screw Attack gives her decent vertical height, is a good out of shield option and can trap opponents for damage racking. Her down special, Bomb, makes Samus shift into morph ball mode and lays a bomb, which will explode after a set time period. Her grab has great range, but it is laggy if she fails to grab an opponent (although performing a dash grab can remedy this). In the air, her Grapple Beam can damage opponents and can be used as a tether recovery.
Samus works best when transitioning well from the air to the ground. None of Samus's aerials have landing lag, with her forward and up aerials having no knockback except at the final hit. Samus can capitalize on this by canceling into more powerful moves like her forward smash and down tilt, or by using a fully charged Charge Shot in the event the opponent is a bit too far away. Missiles also factor into the air to ground transition; landing immediately after the missile has been fired negates the significant firing lag, so one can immediately follow up with another missile (of either kind). This lag negation allows for a "double missile" effect where Samus can fire one missile, land, and almost immediately fire another. These missiles can also stop opponents' recoveries, such as Pikachu's Skull Bash, Luigi's Green Missile, Jigglypuff's Rollout, Ike's Quick Draw or Wolf, Fox, or Falco's side special recovery, setting them up for an immediate meteor smash. A Missile Charge Shot combination is an excellent combo, but can sometimes be predictable, so Samus mains must learn to launch them unexpectedly. Her aerial Grapple Beam ("zair") actually acts as a move to complement this strategy, stunning opponents from far away with high speed; the move also cancels immediately upon landing, which can combo into a down tilt or smash. Coupled with the Charge Shot's potency, Samus has no problem frustrating opponents from a safe distance, chipping away at her opponent's approach to best suit her. Although Samus has three different projectiles, she still lacks a reliable way to deal with opponents' projectiles especially since her shield roll is very slow (slowest in the game).
Samus' major problem lies in her extreme lack of finishing abilities. Her quickest KO move is her down tilt, though with its small hitbox and lack of stronger KO options, she has trouble KOing opponents before around 130% and is recommended to not be used until the right time as to not devalue it with stale-move negation. Her forward smash is quick and deals high damage, but doesn't KO properly before around 130%. Her only way to KO at lower damage percentages is through edgeguarding. Unfortunately, her primary options, back aerial telegraphs itself, has a tiny sweet spot, and requires good setup, while the down aerial is rather slow and has a sweeping hitbox that also needs good placement, despite its fairly large hitbox. Even a fully-charged Charge Shot doesn't tend to KO until at least 124%, making it one of the least KO-capable charged specials in the game, however it is still a good move for edgeguarding. While her weight and height aids in her staying power and reach in her attacks, this also means that she is very susceptible to being chain grabbed, which is especially problematic given how popular characters like Falco and Ice Climbers are in executing this technique. Finally, given Samus' problem with KOing and opponents' difficulty in KOing her, high-level matches involving Samus tend to last longer, making time limitations a detriment with her difficulty in approaching mixed with her lack of viable and fast options to turn matches around.
All in all, Samus capitalizes a zoning playstyle with her wide array of projectiles and good longevity. However, to avoid being overwhelmed, she must play as conservatively as possible, and capitalizing on aggressive approaches. Samus also has to diversify her utility options as optimal as possible, as excessive dependence on her more powerful moves will render her moves to be weaker and her playstyle to be predictable.
Changes from Melee to Brawl
When making the transition from Melee to Brawl, Samus has received a mix of buffs and nerfs but was heavily nerfed overall. Her most useful benefit is being able to transform Zero Suit Samus, allowing her to pivot out of difficult matchups. As for Samus' more direct buffs, her mobility has improved in the air, although the removal of wavedashing does hinder her ground movement. Her multi-hit moves are also more reliable and her grab aerial has been significantly improved. In addition, it now travels in a straight consistent arc, it has a stronger sweetspot, it has more favorable knockback and it now has minimal landing lag making it an excellent spacing and combo tool.
However, she has received some significant nerfs to both her overall damage output and knockback. Her projectiles, such as her Super Missles, are significantly weaker, making her overall zoning game less effective. Many of her other moves, such as her neutral aerial, have been nerfed to the point where they are largely unviable KOing tools outside of extremely high percents. One of Samus' strongest KO options is her back aerial (and even it is weaker than in Melee and it still requires the sweetspot to hit in order to reliably KO). Samus' frame data has been toned down, with many of her useful advanced techniques such as her Extended grapple and Super Wavedash being no longer applicable in Brawl.
As such, her buffs do not make up for the more severe nerfs she received, making her a significantly less effective character than in Melee.
Grabs and Throws
If a player rapidly alternates the up and down taunts, Samus will transform into Zero Suit Samus in mid-match. However, this is risky, as Samus must undergo the lag after the Power Suit disengages.
In competitive play
Samus has a poor matchup spread overall. She only hard counters Ganondorf, counters 2 characters, soft counters 3 characters, has 8 even matchups, gets soft countered by 6 characters, countered by 11, and hard countered by 5. Samus does well against characters she can zone out with her projectiles, such as Bowser and Ganondorf, and has decent matchups against some mid tier characters, such as Peach, Toon Link and R.O.B. However, Samus struggles against characters who can reflect her projectiles, like Fox and Falco; and characters who can chain grab her, like King Dedede and the Ice Climbers.
Tier placement and history
Samus's significant nerfs severely compromised her ability to viably compete since the very beginning of Brawl; her inability to rack up damage quickly and effectively finish off stocks proved to be a fatal combination. As such, Samus has perpetually been a low tier character, who has sometimes even dropped into the bottom tiers. Throughout Brawl's time as a competitive game, Samus never made any significant rises on the tier list due to her lack of any successful tournament results or significant metagame advancement.
Despite this, Samus's competitive prospects are slightly better than other low tier characters. Unlike them, she can camp to some degree and keep opponents zoned away, which has favored her as Brawl has turned more defensively based. She also has better survivability compared other low tier characters, being a heavyweight with a good and hard to intercept recovery. However, while this will secure Samus from dropping further in placements, it's very unlikely she will rise out of low tier, as while she competes well with other low tier characters and many lower middle tier characters, she still fares poorly against any characters above said point, and it is extremely unlikely that there will ever be a breakthrough that would allow her to viably compete with such characters thanks to Brawl's metagame becoming highly stagnant.
Role in The Subspace Emissary
Samus begins the Subspace Emissary in her Zero Suit, infiltrating a trap-riddled laboratory. After making her way through it, she encounters Pikachu trapped within a strange device that harnesses its electrical energy to provide power to the complex. Seeing that the device causes Pikachu pain, Samus breaks the machine. In thanks, Pikachu helps Samus continue through the lab. The pair eventually find Samus' Power Suit within a tank, guarded by two clones of Samus, wearing the purple Gravity Suit, prompting Samus and Pikachu to battle. When they are defeated, an alarm begins to wail, and the R.O.B. Squad approaches. Samus regains her Power Suit and blasts her way through them along with Pikachu.
As they attempt to escape the complex, Ridley strikes without warning, snatching up Samus and grinding her viciously against the wall. Pikachu electrocutes Ridley to free Samus and the two face off against Ridley. After escaping from the facility, Samus and Pikachu come upon a factory mass-producing Subspace Bombs. The two enter it, and after fighting their way through, discover the Ancient Minister in a room filled with Subspace Bombs. The allies prepare to battle, but the Ancient Minister does not seem to want to fight them. Donkey Kong, Diddy Kong, Captain Falcon, and Olimar then break into the room, and all of them, including Samus, witness the Ancient Minister defy the holographic Ganondorf's commands. As a result, the R.O.B. Squad fires upon him, burning off his robe and revealing him as a R.O.B. as well. It turns out that all of the R.O.B.s had been forced to work with the Subspace Army, with the main R.O.B., the Master Robot, as their leader. The rest of the R.O.B.s activate all the Subspace Bombs in the room, prompted by Ganondorf's override, forcing our heroes to escape. As they rush to the exit aboard Captain Falcon's Falcon Flyer, Meta Ridley races after them, furiously seeking revenge on Samus and Pikachu. The group defeats the space dragon once more, and escapes just before the Isle of the Ancients is engulfed in Subspace.
Samus and posse meet up with the rest of the Smash Bros. heroes aboard the Halberd. The Halberd is destroyed by the Subspace Gunship, but Samus boards her own Gunship and continues the assault on Subspace. Upon entry to the Subspace, Samus and friends are unfortunately reduced to trophy form by Tabuu's Off Waves.
In Event Matches