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 currently 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; most of her attacks deal low to mediocre damage, she has rather slow attacking speed (combination of slow movement and her attacks being ending lag heavy), and has one of the worst comboing capabilities, with few attacks being able to set up. 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. Samus is a heavyweight and ranks in the middle of the speed-class. However, she is tall, which makes her easier to hit (a common problem amongst most of the game's heavyweights). She has very low KO power and high floatiness for her weight class. Samus can be awkward to fight effectively with against the game's faster, more graceful characters, but with a good combination of long and short-range attacks, she can be deadly. Samus has the third-slowest falling speed in the game, behind Peach and Jigglypuff. This is both advantageous and disadvantageous. 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 all sorts of continuous strings of low-to-moderate percentage attacks. More importantly, her floatiness allows her to have an above-average recovery game. On the downside, her slow fall speed also makes her recovery predictable and fairly easily edge-guarded (though, her floatiness makes her edgeguarding game easier and safer). Samus can also be easily juggled because her fast fall is still very slow and as a result of this her momentum canceling is poor and only makes her live slightly above average vertically despite being the 7th heaviest in terms of weight. Despite her ground moves being weak in term of knockback, they deal decent damage. Samus has much time to dodge attacks while throwing foes off with things like Bombs (and Bomb Jumping), or she can speed things up by using her surprisingly long Grapple Beam to zip to the safety of the edge. 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.
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, and 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. But with vertical knockback and a small hitbox, 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. Also, her forward smash is quick and deals high damage, but doesn't KO properly before around 130%. Her down smash has rather low knockback, and doesn't KO reliably before 150%. Her only way to KO at lower damage percentages is using either the down aerial for meteor smashes or juggling with her back aerial. Unfortunately, the 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.
All in all, Samus can be a character of good and bad situations with her wide array of projectiles and a fairly powerful meteor smash. A huge problem in competitive play is that Samus is easily chain grabbed due to her heavy weight and large size with the exception of chain grabs that are ineffective on very floaty characters, and can be infinite chain-grabbed by King Dedede.
Finally, given Samus' problem with KOing and opponents' difficulty in KOing her, high-level matches involving Samus tend to take awhile, making time limitations in a match a crucial factor as well.
Changes from Melee to Brawl
When making the transition from Melee to Brawl, Samus has received a mix of buffs and nerfs but was nerfed overall. She had inherited good buffs with the most obvious of these being the fact that she is now tied to Zero Suit Samus. She can either start of the match as Zero Suit Samus or the player can quickly input up and down taunt to transform mid match which allows the player to easily adapt to different matchups as Zero Suit Samus is superior to her regular counterpart in almost every way. As for Samus' more direct buffs, her mobility has improved especially in the air (although the removal of wavedashing does hinder her ground movement despite its improvements). Her multi hit moves are also more reliable and her grab aerial has been significantly improved. While it is less useful for recovering as with all grab aerials, this does not hurt her as much as Link. 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 more importantly, her KO power. Her projectiles are considerably weaker (especially her Super Missiles which are no longer a viable KO option at all) making her overall zoning game weaker. Many of her moves have also seen drastic nerfs to their power to the point where they are no longer a viable kill option at all such as her aforementioned Super Missiles as well as her neutral aerial. 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 is also worse and she lost many of her more useful advanced techniques mainly her Extended grapple and Super Wavedash.
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.
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 than other low tier characters, being a heavyweight with a good and not easily gimpable recovery. Finally, while her overall tournament representation is very poor, she still has a handful of renowned players dedicated to developing her, while many former players of other low tier characters have since dropped them. However, while this will secure Samus against ever returning to the bottom tiers, 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.
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.