Samus (サムス, Samus) is a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. She was suggested to appear in the then-unnamed Ultimate's announcement trailer, and was officially confirmed in the gameplay trailer on June 12, 2018 during E3 2018. Samus retains her modified Metroid: Other M design from Smash 4 and is classified as Fighter #04.
Samus is a heavyweight unique among others. She is a floaty character with slightly below average walking and dashing speeds, average air speed, above average air acceleration, high jump height and slow falling speed. These attributes grant her an easier time chasing aerial opponents and forcing air dodges, yet also cause her to be juggled rather easily. When combined with her few reliable landing options and slow falling speed, opponents will also have more time to punish Samus as she attempts to return to the stage.
Samus' moveset consists of playing defensively, as she uses her projectiles to space, rack up damage from a distance and pressure shields. Charge Shot is her most consistent KOing option out of her special moves when fully charged, due to its speed and power. Missile is mostly used for spacing, due to both its Homing and Super variants being extremely inefficient at KOing, while Bomb grants Samus various mix-ups and can aid her recovery. However, Missile and Bomb also possess valuable utility, in that they can guarantee a shield break when used in conjunction with a sufficiently charged Charge Shot or a sweetspotted back aerial. Lastly, Screw Attack is a decent out of shield option, a KOing option near the upper blast line and a viable combo finisher from aerial combo strings.
In addition, Samus has a strong air game. The changes to air dodges have benefitted her overall, as they notably improve her ability to edgeguard (especially with moves such as forward aerial or her renowed Charge Shot), while she isn't hindered as much due to her fast air speed, the ability to stall mid-air using her Bombs, and her Grapple Beam tether recovery's long range. All of Samus' aerials have no more than 20 frames of landing lag, and her back aerial is one of her best moves courtesy of its power, damage output, speed and range. Her down aerial can be a powerful meteor smash, forward aerial is a good pressuring tool due to its long duration, and up aerial is an excellent combo option. Lastly, her neutral aerial is a viable KOing option. When coupled with her high jumps, Samus' air game is also potent while she is off-stage, as she can recover from nearly anywhere on the stage, stay in position for longer periods of time due to her floatiness, or bait the opponent by stalling in the air and punishing edge-guard attempts.
Samus' grab game is also somewhat useful, as her Grapple Beam has impressive range, doubles as a tether recovery and has very little landing lag. Down throw is very useful for starting combos that deal respectable damage and can be used with her neutral, forward and up aerials at varying percentages. Many of her combos can rack up more than 30% and when using platforms to her advantage, or string together multiple times and then be finished with Screw Attack, leading to a KO or dealing 40%-50% at the very least. Up throw has decent to good KO power, becoming Samus' strongest throw. Lastly, forward and back throw can KO earlier at the ledge.
However, Samus has noticeable flaws. Samus' ground game is mediocre overall as her smash attacks are punishable, with only her forward smash being a fairly reliable KOing option due to its quick start-up lag. Her neutral attack is very mediocre, which is noticeably exemplified in its inability to connect at high percentages and thus limits Samus' anti-pressuring ability. Due to this and her average dashing speed, most Samus players will often find themselves in the air, where her strengths lie.
Samus also has issues with her recovery. Her grab aerial has very long range, her jumps are among the highest in the game, Screw Attack is fast and hard to punish, and Bomb jumping provides infinite horizontal recovery, but they are all offset by Screw Attack's only average distance, Bomb's high ending lag in the air and Samus' only average air speed and reliance on her grab aerial to grab ledges from a distance. Altogether, this results in her recovery being slightly slow, linear and predictable.
Overall, Samus is a character that performs best when using her projectiles and grab aerial for spacing in order to set up combos and either finish off pressured opponents off-stage, or KO them outright with Charge Shot. Unlike the majority of veterans, Samus' optimal playstyle is highly unorthodox; as she falls short in regard to zoning-exclusive or melee-exclusive offense, success with Samus requires careful and strategic use of her various tools to keep momentum in her favor. As such, she is a character that is hard to master, but greatly rewards patient and calculated play.
Changes from Super Smash Bros. 4
Samus has historically been a lower-ranking character in the Smash Bros. series, with most of her incarnations (except Melee and post-patch SSB4) infamously considered low tier in their respective games. Even after being heavily buffed via patches, at the end of SSB4's metagame, Samus ended up as a mid tier character (tied with Robin for 37th out of 55). Likely as a result of this, Samus has been significantly buffed overall in the transition to Ultimate.
Samus' largest buffs come from the improvements made to her grab game and her repertoire of projectiles. Historically considered among the most lackluster grab games despite her grabs' long range and her down throw's excellent combo ability, all of Samus' throws have increased utility on top of dealing more damage and knockback; up throw is now her strongest throw and a viable KO option at high percents, down throw has increased combo potential due to its lower ending lag, and both forward and back throws can KO easier when close to an edge. Adding to this, Bombs explode earlier on contact with enemies, Missiles deal more damage and have less ending lag, while Super Missiles deal more knockback and stall for a longer time before flying forward, greatly improving their use for trapping; and most notably, Charge Shot can now be charged in the air, used as a combo tool due to Samus' improved mobility and its lower ending lag, and deals greater damage and knockback, which gives Samus more opportunities to charge up her most threatening move. In bulk, all of these changes have significantly strengthened her zoning and punish game. Other buffs to Samus also include many of her up-close moves dealing more knockback, most notably her down tilt, dash attack and down smash, improving her KO ability; and her previously slow and punishable roll was also notably increased in speed, making it more usable as an escape option.
Samus also benefits considerably from the universal changes to the engine. The reduced landing lag and weakening of shields makes her aerials safer to use for approaching despite their lower shieldstun. As with most other veterans, her mobility has been improved, which coupled with the ability to the ability to use any attack out of a run, the miscellaneous buffs to her standard moves and their relatively fast frame data, and the increased shieldstun, grants her a much safer close quarters game. The changes to air dodges have benefitted her overall, as they notably improve her ability to edgeguard (especially with moves such as forward aerial or her renowed Charge Shot), while she isn't hindered as much due to her fast air speed, the ability to stall mid-air using her Bombs, and her Grapple Beam tether recovery's long range. Finally, the universal changes to grabs have beneffited her likely the most of any character, as not only do her grabs now have less ending lag relative to the rest of the cast, but her standing and pivot grabs now have less ending lag as well, which further improves her grab game.
However, Samus has received nerfs that, while fewer in comparison to her buffs, have drastically affected her playstyle. The most notable is her dash attack; previously an excellent combo tool and often considered her best move, it has received higher ending lag and a more horizontal angle that prevent it from comboing, in lieu of its significantly increased power, thus repurposing it into a generic KO move with more situational use and removing her best close quarters offensive option. Furthermore, her neutral attack, infamous for its inability to connect both hits at most percents, has been made even worse by the lower knockback on the first hit and its slower transition into the second hit, removing its most reliable setups at higher percents and rendering the second hit nearly useless. Her up smash, infamous for its usual inability to connect all hits reliably, has less range, higher SDI multipliers, and no longer has set knockback, making it more inconsistent. Finally, her up aerial has increased landing lag and its looping hits inflict lower hitstun, almost completely removing the move's combo and setup potential.
In terms of indirect changes, Samus is one of the characters to be hindered the most by the nerfs to rage; not only does the lower total multiplier make it slightly harder for Samus to close out a stock if she is able to endure a hit, the fact rage doesn't apply to set knockback removes her ability to KO at very early percents by setting up a Screw Attack with high rage (which was a commonly exploitable tactic in conjunction with her dash attack). Lastly, of further note is that some of Samus' most noticeable weaknesses from previous games remain, such as a lackluster close quarters game in comparison to her spacing and zoning games, her moveset's high ending lag leaving her prone to punishment, her susceptibility to being juggled, and a vulnerable recovery despite her access to a tether option.
Overall, Samus' changes and buffs have improved her playstyle's most noticeable attributes in her zoning and long-ranged options, and her heightened offensive power and the changes to gameplay mechanics give her more opportunities to take advantage of this playstyle, though because of the nerfs to her more polarized offensive options, Samus now relies on a more patient playstyle than before. Regardless, her changes have allowed her to veer closer to a balanced, long range-based "mighty glacier" similar to Link, with potent KO ability, generally well-rounded attributes with a high endurance but below-average mobility overall, and a focus on hard-hitting punishes and combos at both long and mid-range while having difficulty dealing with rushdown and disjoints, which evokes her very projectile-heavy fighting style in her home series. Additionally, she is even stronger in doubles, where a teammate can take advantage of her projectiles and trapping. Together with her Echo Fighter Dark Samus, Samus's results have developed more rapidly than they did in SSB4, with players such as Joker, Parme and quiK achieving respectable results with her at the high and top levels of competitive play. Samus is therefore considered to be better relative to the cast than in SSB4, and is near-universally considered to be a high-mid or high-tier character, much like her incarnation in Melee.
Throws and other attacks
Aside from glitch fixes, Samus has received a mix of buffs and nerfs via game updates, but has been buffed overall.
Update 2.0.0 increased Missile's range, which allows her to space better and deal damage at safer ranges. However, it also received more ending lag when used in the air, which standardized it with Dark Samus' version. Additionally, grounded Bomb is less laggy, which allows her to act out of it more effectively and reduces her chances of getting punished.
However, update 3.0.0's near-universal nerf to projectiles' shield damage outputs hindered Samus more so than most other characters, as it noticeably worsened Charge Shot's shield pressuring potential. Following this, update 3.1.0 improved up smash's linking hits as part of a near-universal buff.
Update 7.0.0 would later provide Samus with substantial buffs. Up smash, down smash and up throw each gained considerable increases to their knockback, which noticeably improved their KO potentials. On a similar note, early dash attack deals 3% more damage: this makes it functionally identical to the clean hit, and thus improved dash attack's consistency as a situational, yet viable KO option. Aside from these improved KO options, aerial Grapple Beam's damage output and hitbox duration were increased, which slightly improved her spacing game. Lastly, Samus' shield was enlarged as part of a near-universal buff.
For a gallery of Samus' hitboxes, see here.
Note: All numbers are listed as base damage, without the 1v1 multiplier.
In competitive play
Initial impressions of Samus in Ultimate were negative: players pointed out how she lost the combo potential of her dash attack, one of her most useful tools in Smash 4, along with her general lack of mechanical changes compared to fellow veterans such as Link. Her unsafe jab, seemingly unchanged from Smash 4 and once again acknowledged in in-game tips, became a common point of mockery. This viewpoint, however, quickly changed as the metagame progressed. Players cited her improved projectile game and KO potential, as well as her terrifying shield-break potential with Charge Shot as one of her primary strengths. While patches have nerfed the latter, Samus retained most of her previous strengths and benefited from the nerfs to some of her most difficult matchups such as Wolf, Olimar and Pichu. Furthermore, both Samus and her echo fighter Dark Samus, who is preferred by some players due to her marginally better hitboxes and roll, continued to see success in tournament: players such as Joker and quiK have placed highly at several national tournaments, including 17th at The Big House 9 for the former and 2nd at Syndicate 2019 for the latter. As a result, most players agree that the Samuses are at least a high mid-tier character; with some professionals ranking the character higher, especially following their buffs in version 7.0.0.
Most historically significant players
Classic Mode: Another Planet, Another Bounty
The opponents Samus faces are akin to the battles that she has faced throughout the Metroid series. In addition, all of the battles take place on stages from the Metroid universe.
Character unlock tree
Samus' Classic Mode character unlock tree includes the following characters in order:
Each character can be unlocked by clearing Samus' Classic Mode, or the Classic Mode of any preceding character, if all preceding characters have been unlocked. Once all the above characters are unlocked, clearing Classic Mode with any of them will default to Mario's character unlock tree, starting with Sonic.
Role in World of Light
Samus was among the fighters summoned to the cliffside to fight an army of Master Hands.
During the opening cutscene, Samus was present when Galeem unleashed his beams of light. Samus attempted to fight back against the beams by shooting them with her arm cannon, but to no avail. Samus was vaporized and placed under Galeem's imprisonment alongside the rest of the fighters (except for Kirby).
In gameplay, Zero Suit Samus has a separate awakening battle from Samus.
Samus can be found blocking the path of the bridge once engulfed in light and a location reminiscent of Pac-Maze. Defeating her is necessary to progress through the story, making her an obligatory unlock.
Samus is later seen among several other fighters, making their last stand against Galeem and Dharkon. She also shows up in the ending where Galeem emerges victorious against Dharkon, witnessing Galeem engulf the world in light.
Samus's fighter spirit can be obtained by completing Classic Mode. It is also available periodically for purchase in the shop for 300 Gold. Unlocking Samus in World of Light allows the player to preview the first spirit below in the Spirit List under the name "???". As a fighter spirit, it cannot be used in Spirit Battles and is purely aesthetic. Her fighter spirit has an alternate version that replaces it with her artwork in Ultimate.
Additionally, Samus makes an appearance in various primary and support spirits. Note that Zero Suit Samus' fighter spirit is not listed here due to her status as a separate playable character (despite the fact that she is the puppet/possessed fighter who represents Young Samus).
In Spirits Battles
As the main opponent
As a minion
Fighter Showcase Video