Samus (サムス, Samus) is a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. She was suggested to appear on the then-unnamed Ultimate's announcement trailer, and officially confirmed in the gameplay trailer on June 12, 2018 during E3 2018. She retains her modified Metroid: Other M design from Smash 4 and is classified as Fighter #04.
Changes from Super Smash Bros. 4
Samus has historically been a lower-ranking character in the Smash Bros. series, with her Super Smash Bros., Brawl and pre-patch SSB4 incarnations infamously considered among the worst characters in their respective games. Even after being heavily buffed via patches, at the end of SSB4's meta game, she was tied with Robin for 37th place out of 55 characters - putting her in the lower part of the mid tier. As such, Samus has received a mixture of buffs and nerfs in the transition to Ultimate, but has been generally buffed overall. She greatly benefits from the universal changes, most notably the reduced landing lag and weakening of shields, making her aerials safer to use for approaching. Her mobility has been improved, with her previously slow and punishable roll having been significantly increased in speed, making it more usable as an escape option. Her grab game has also been considerably strengthened, with her grabs having less ending lag relative to the rest of the cast, and all throws dealing more damage and knockback; in particular, her up throw is now her strongest throw and a viable KO option at high percents, while her down throw has increased combo potential due to its lower ending lag. Adding to this, her repertoire of projectiles has been further improved, as Bombs explode earlier on contact with enemies, Missiles deal more damage and have less ending lag, Super Missiles stall for a longer time before flying forward, and most notably, Charge Shot can be charged in the air, used as a combo tool and deals far greater damage, leading the way to devastating (albeit situational) shield break combos. This gives Samus more opportunities to charge up her most threatening move, and strengthens her zoning and punish game, evoking her very projectile-heavy fighting style in her home series. Lastly, her dash attack, down tilt and down smash all deal noticeably more knockback, improving her KO ability. With her heightened offensive power, Samus' playstyle now more closely veers towards a balanced "mighty glacier" similar to Link, with potent KO ability (particularly through her Charge Shot), below-average mobility, and generally well-rounded attributes.
However, Samus has received some nerfs that, while fewer in comparison to her buffs, drastically affect her playstyle. The most notable is her dash attack, previously an excellent combo tool and often considered her best move, which has received higher ending lag and a more horizontal angle that prevent it from comboing, instead being repurposed into a KO move with much more situational use. Samus is also one of the characters hindered the most by the nerfs to rage, removing her ability to take off stocks 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. 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. Because of the nerfs to her more polarized offensive options, Samus now relies on a more patient playstyle that revolves around shield pressure and threatening foes with her improved Charge Shot.
Overall, Samus is a walking tank among the "all-rounder" characters like her Power Suit would suggest, with high endurance and focusing on hard-hitting punishes and combos both at long range and mid range, but having difficulty dealing with rushdown and disjoints. Together with her Echo Fighter Dark Samus, Samus's results are developing more rapidly than they did in SSB4, with successes such as Vorst placing 17th in Full Bloom 5 exclusively using Samus, ESAM using her as an occasional secondary and reaching 13th place in Glitch 6, and most notably Joker, who has placed highly with her even at national-level tournaments such as Low Tier City 7 and 2GG: SwitchFest 2019. Samus is therefore considered to be better relative to the cast than in SSB4 and is near-universally considered to be a mid-tier character, making Ultimate her second-best iteration in the series (next to Melee) in a similar vein to Link in the Smash 4 era. Additionally, she is stronger in doubles, where a teammate can take advantage of her projectiles and trapping; Joker has attained multiple first-place finishes with his brother Meme while primarily using Samus.
Throws and other attacks
Samus has received a mix of buffs and nerfs via game updates.
Update 2.0.0 increased the range of Samus' Missile, which allows her to space better and deal damage at safer ranges, though the move has increased ending lag when used in the air (no longer being faster than Dark Samus' version). Additionally, Bomb is less laggy when grounded, which allows her to act out of it more effectively, and reduces her chances of getting punished.
However, the nerfs to the shield damage of various projectiles in update 3.0.0 affect Samus more negatively than most other characters, as she can no longer use her Charge Shot to apply shield pressure as effectively as she could in previous versions, reducing its potency.
For a gallery of Samus' hitboxes, see here.
Note: All numbers are listed as base damage, without the 1v1 multiplier.
Arrives from a Save Station.
In competitive play
Initial impressions of Samus in Ultimate were very negative, primarily because she had lost the combo potential of her dash attack, one of her most useful tools in Smash 4, along with her general lack of aesthetic or 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, was a common point of mockery). This led players to believe that Samus had stagnated from her Smash 4 incarnation, and many pre-release tier lists ranked Samus as one of the worst characters in the game (or even the single worst) based on initial impressions.
However, as the game launched and time went on, Samus began to amass some results and improve her reputation more quickly than in Smash 4, largely due to her improved projectile game and KO potential; until her nerfs in version 3.0.0, many people cited her terrifying shield-break potential with Charge Shot as one of her primary strengths. While said nerfs have made shield breaks more difficult to pull off using the character, Samus retained her other previous strengths and weaknesses and benefited from the nerfs to some of her most difficult matchups such as Wolf, Olimar and Pichu, causing her loss of shield break setups to only become a slight nerf in the long run. As such, Samus' results continue to be moderately successful for her low representation, particularly when combined with her Echo Fighter Dark Samus, who is preferred by some players over the original Samus due to her marginally better hitboxes and roll.
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 500 coins. 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. Each Fighter Spirit has an alternate version that replaces them with their 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
Character Showcase Video