Snake (スネーク, Snake) is a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. He was officially confirmed on June 12th, 2018, with his appearance exclaiming "Everyone is Here!" with the rest of the returning roster. Snake is classified as Fighter #31.
David Hayter and Akio Ōtsuka's portrayals of Snake from Brawl were repurposed for the English and Japanese version of Ultimate respecitvely, with the former initially confirming on Twitter that he would be reprising his role as Snake.
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Snake is a tall heavyweight character, being tied with R.O.B. and Banjo & Kazooie as the 18th heaviest character. Much like several other heavyweight zoners, Snake has poor overall mobility; while he has above-average traction, falling speed, and fast falling speed, his dashing speed, initial dash, walk speed, air speed, and gravity are all below-average, his jumps are among the lowest in the game, and he is also tied with Simon and Richter for the lowest air acceleration in the game. As a result of his mobility, Snake is highly reliant on zoning and trapping with his projectiles in the neutral.
One of Snake's biggest strengths is his moveset: similarly to a few other characters, such as Young Link, the overall utility provided by Snake's moveset is so considerable that he lacks a single "bad" or "useless" move. An example of this would be his ground game. His neutral attack comes out quickly and is a good anti-pressure tool with good mixup potential. His forward tilt is a 2-hit attack with fast start-up (frame 4) and a decently sized hitbox. It also has high knockback, allowing it to KO at high percents. His up tilt is often considered one of the best in the game due to its deceptively fast start-up (frame 6), very strong KO power, and disjointed hitbox. It is also infamous for being able to be confirmed into by his down throw, which is a true combo at high percents (around 160%). His down tilt is one of his best poking tools, having fast speed (frame 6) and a great disjoint that goes beyond Snake's feet. It also puts Snake into his crouch position on the first frame of the move, making it a great way to evade certain attacks. Lastly, his dash attack comes out very quickly (frame 5) and is a useful approaching option due to its good knockback which even allows it KO at the ledge at very high percents, while it also crosses shields, grants Snake arm intangibility, and has a reasonable amount of ending lag, giving him one of the game's best burst options and making it arguably the best dash attack in the game.
Snake's smash attacks offer a unique set of options. His up smash shoots a missile upwards and the height at which it travels can be increased by charging the move. This makes it great for edgeguarding, ledgetrapping, and as an anti-air. The launcher also has a hitbox that comes out on frame 11. His forward smash, while extremely slow, is incredibly strong and is decently safe on shield due to its relatively low endlag and large hitbox, making it great for hard reads or if the opponent rolls in Snake's direction. Its large hitbox also reaches beyond the ledge and allows it to 2 frame punish opponents. His down smash is fast, has good KO power (especially with the second hit), possesses a disjointed hitbox on both hits that goes beyond Snake's feet and makes it a good tool for 2-framing and edgeguarding, and is relatively safe on shield if its second hit connects.
While Snake's air attributes are poor, his aerials by themselves have lots of utility. Neutral aerial is strong and deals very high damage, making it great for edgeguarding. Its first three hits can also setup into other moves if Snake lands as quickly as possible after connecting one of the hits. Forward aerial is a very powerful meteor smash with great horizontal and vertical range. Down aerial is often considered Snake's best aerial, as it comes out very quickly (frame 3), has decent range and knockback, and deals high damage, with all the hits combined dealing 20% in a short hop. The move also gives Snake a small vertical boost in the air and autocancels in a short hop. Due to its aforementioned speed, it is useful for racking up damage and is a very effective out-of-shield option. Up aerial is relatively quick, has strong vertical power, and a large disjointed hitbox that extends far beyond Snake's legs. Finally, back aerial is fast, deals high damage with powerful knockback, and has long disjointed range along with a high amount of active frames, making it a reliable landing option and a way to escape juggles as well as a potential KO move.
Snake's grab game is also fairly versatile. His dash grab goes a surprisingly long distance thanks to him sliding forward during it. His throws, however, are where his grab game shines. Down throw is unique in that it has the down effect: while this makes it unsafe at low percents, as the opponent can react before he can, it gains enough hitstun at high percents to allow Snake to follow up reliably, with up tilt being renowned as a guaranteed KO confirm at 160%. It is also useful for tech chasing, as Snake can predict his opponent's tech option and potentially rack up more damage or possibly even KO the opponent if the player makes the correct read. His up throw can combo into his up tilt at low percents as a solid damage racker, and his back throw can combo into his dash attack at low percents as well as C4 at mid to high percents. Lastly, his forward and back throws have decent knockback scaling, making them great for setting up edgeguards or, to a lesser degree, KOing at very high percents.
Lastly, Snake's special moves allow for many fantastic options. His neutral special, Hand Grenade, is arguably one of the best projectiles in the game for many reasons. It is infamous for starting on frame 1, which lets Snake instantly escape combos once he is out of hitstun and also makes it to where opponents must be cautious when trying to combo or juggle him in an effort to not get hit by his grenades. Grenades are also very useful for zoning and as defensive options, as Snake can shield while holding one to make pressuring his shield dangerous. They are also very useful for stage control, ledge trapping, setups, and as camping tools. His side special, Remote Missile, is his best edgeguarding tool, thanks to its controllable movement, strong knockback, and low commitment, as Snake can edgeguard opponents with ease without leaving the stage. His down special, C4, is a remote activated bomb with strong power. It can also be difficult to see at times due to its small size and is among the best trapping and stage-controlling tools in the game thanks to how it essentially puts certain parts of the stage "off-limits" and forces opponents to move in a different part of the stage where Snake can continually pressure them. Additionally, Snake can attach it to the opponent if he is close enough, which gives him an opportunity to deal high damage or potentially KO at high percents, especially if used as confirm out of his back throw. It can also be used to extend his recovery by placing one down in midair and detonating it immediately. Lastly, his up special Cypher is his main recovery move and goes a considerable distance and doesn't leave him helpless. It also provides Snake with some damaged based armor, and a useful lingering hitbox that can cover his air dodge to the ledge.
In spite of his strengths, Snake still has noticeable weaknesses, one of which being his frame data. While he does have several moves with remarkably quick start-up (jab, down aerial, back aerial, Hand Grenade, down smash, and all of his tilts), the majority of his moveset has very high endlag, making them easy to punish if missed. While his aforementioned forward aerial and forward smash are quite strong, they have the highest startup lag of their types in the game. His reliance on explosive projectiles in the neutral can be a downside in matchups against characters with energy-absorbing moves, such as Ness, Lucas, or Mr. Game & Watch.
His recovery can also be very vulnerable at times. Though the Cypher does have positive attributes, it can be rather slow and easy to catch. Many moves can hit right though the armor, and if it gets destroyed without Snake taking damage, he will become helpless. This situation can easily lead to a lost stock when recovering low. There is also a period of time after the Cypher is deployed in which it can not be acted out of. These issues lead to Snake favoring a very high recovery in most situations. Unfortunately, getting back to stage from so far up offers the opponent a large window of time to chase down his landing. To evade a good opponent, the Snake player must consistently mix-up his landing with different movement options and attacks. Mastery of Snake's explosives, falling aerials, air dodges and reverse specials is required for a safe and consistent return to the stage.
Snake also has a notoriously poor disadvantage state. As a heavy character he is still vulnerable to combo strings and juggling. Grenade somewhat mitigates this issue as it can be used as a frame one combo breaking tool. However, this tactic does have downsides. If the grenade activates, Snake will receive damage and knockback. At higher percents, he may end up at a greater disadvantage or possibly lose a stock. Some characters can also hit Snake without ever triggering the grenade. Carelessly thrown grenades can also be used by opponents, who will often have better follow-ups at their disposal than Snake. Finally, none of Snake's aerial moves offer limb intangibility and can be punished due to their noticeable landing lag if they fail to hit an opponent.
Snake can also struggle to kill. Snake's two most reliable killing options (up tilt and down throw) can be rather predictable at times. This is especially true for down throw. High level players know that reaching 159% means a 100% guaranteed death to Snake's next grab. Though Nikita missiles are strong for edgeguarding, many characters have a variety of options to deal with Nikita. This issue can be partially mitigated by shield canceling it after the missile gets hit to activate a secondary hitbox. However, this tactic significantly reduces the damage and knockback of the Missile.
Overall, Snake is a zoning and stage-trapping oriented character with versatile specials and projectiles for forcing the opponent to move into a disadvantageous position. However, this doesn't necessarily mean he is required to stay at a distance to be most effective. He possesses several fast and strong melee attacks, which can easily rack up damage, and keep the opponent off of him. Throughout the first year of Ultimate, Snake achieved impressive results thanks to players such as Ally and MVD. However, after Ally quit competing in Ultimate at the national level, Snake's results have dwindled over time. Nevertheless, he is still generally considered by most players to be a top tier character.
Changes from Super Smash Bros. Brawl
In Brawl, Snake was considered among the best characters in the game thanks to his extreme damage output and knockback, huge disjointed hitboxes, excellent endurance due to a combination of very high weight and great momentum canceling, an excellent projectile and zoning game with his explosives, and a chain grab with his down throw which he could tech-chase. Due to his top-tier status in Brawl (placed 6th out of 38 characters), Snake received a mix of buffs and nerfs in the transition to Ultimate. When it comes to direct changes, Snake has seen significant nerfs to many of his strengths, like his incredible power and large hitboxes, being noticeably toned down. Despite this however, none of the nerfs removed his most important traits that made him one of the best characters in Brawl. Furthermore, Snake also greatly benefits from the universal changes which compensates for most of the heavy nerfs he received, along with buffs given to his projectiles. As a result, he was only slightly nerfed overall.
Directly, Snake has suffered from several critical nerfs to his moveset. His damage output and KO power from Brawl has been toned down, as his neutral attack, forward tilt, down tilt, dash attack, forward smash, and all of his aerials have decreased damage, knockback, or both. As a result of these changes, his damage racking ability and KO potential, while still above average, has been substantially weakened. Additionally, while he still possesses large disjoints in his attacks, his range has been significantly nerfed, as the infamously large hitboxes on his attacks are now much smaller or have been completely removed; his up tilt in particular is the primary example as its controversially large disjointed range has been drastically reduced. Furthermore, all of his explosions can now be absorbed, worsening his matchups against characters with absorption based moves such as Ness, Lucas, and Mr. Game & Watch, and due to his new down smash no longer involving Snake placing a landmine, this removed one of his main tools for stage control. Lastly, Snake's weight is much lighter, now being a heavyweight character instead of a super heavyweight while Cypher can now be destroyed by opponents if their attack is powerful enough, weakening his offstage presence.
Some of the indirect changes have also been detrimental for Snake. The removal of chain grabbing and DACUS have altered Snake's playstyle: the former hinders his down throw's damage racking and tech chase potential which is further compounded by down throw's reduced damage, while the latter eliminates one of his best approaching options. Finally, due to the removal of momentum canceling, as well as Snake's reduced weight and Cypher's vulnerability to being destroyed, his overall endurance has been dramatically crippled, which is further exacerbated by the changes to teching, as this hinders his bomb recovery by making techs impossible to perform at high enough percents. Altogether, Snake is much easier to KO, especially since the changes to hitstun canceling makes him much more susceptible to combos.
However, Snake immensely benefits from the universal changes to Ultimate's game engine. Similar to the rest of the veterans, Snake has had his mobility improved in all aspects, although it is still below average, and decreased landing lag in all of his aerial attacks, giving him landing options. Most importantly however, Snake benefits the most from the universal 3 frame jumpsquat as his jumpsquat is no longer the slowest in the series, massively improving his ground to air transitioning as well as his out of shield game. Additionally, while the removal of chain grabbing hurts his down throw's tech chasing potential, it more importantly improves his endurance as he is no longer vulnerable to highly damaging chain grabs from certain characters, most notably Pikachu and King Dedede. The changes to air dodges and hitstun canceling benefit Snake as well: the reintroduction of directional air dodges improves his recovery by allowing him to get additional distance to the ledge after using Cypher, and the lingering hitbox on Cypher can cover his air dodge, while the changes to hitstun canceling also allow him to utilize his projectiles as setup tools into his attacks much more effectively. Finally, the shield changes and increased shieldstun (especially for tilts) makes his moves safer on shield and harder to punish despite many having lowered damage.
Snake has also received some direct improvements to his toolkit. Down tilt has lower ending lag and increased damage, making it safer as a poking and shield pressuring tool, up tilt has slightly increased KO potential on both the clean and late hit with the clean hit having a longer duration, and his dash attack has both increased base knockback and a lower angle on the clean hit, with the clean hit also having a longer duration, allowing it to setup edgeguard opportunities and making it far more effective as a burst option despite its reduced knockback scaling, especially at lower percents. Snake's aerials have received enhancements as well: his neutral and down aerials' multihits have reduced startup and better linking angles, significantly improving their consistency and potential as follow ups, while down and back aerial can now autocancel in a short hop and full hop respectively. Due to the direct improvements it has received along with Snake's significantly faster jumpsquat, down aerial is much more effective and reliable as a fast and highly damaging out of shield option. Additionally, his smash attacks have also received notable buffs: forward smash has decreased ending lag which makes it harder to punish and safer on shield when combined with the shield changes, up smash has increased KO and ledgetrapping potential, and his new down smash is much faster than its previous incarnation, giving Snake another edgeguarding tool as well as a more reliable way to punish rolls. Furthermore, while down throw is less useful for tech chasing and deals less damage, it immobilizes opponents on the ground for a specific amount of time depending on their percent before the throw, giving Snake guaranteed KO setups at high percents including a KO confirm into up tilt once the opponent is at 160%. Lastly, his special moves have also been given improvements: Hand Grenades have less lag when they are generated and explode faster (the latter can be both benefical and detrimental depending on the circumstance), while C4 detonates faster and has less ending lag in all aspects. The most crucial upgrade however, was to Remote Missile: it is easier to control and much more maneuverabile, reaches its top speed faster, and has less ending lag both when canceled and upon hitting the opponent, vastly improving its utility and granting Snake one of the best edgeguarding tools in the game.
In the end, the changes Snake received has toned down almost all of his strongest traits that are deemed as overpowered, such as his impressive endurance, notoriously high damage output, and most infamously, his disproportionately large hitboxes. However, while the direct nerfs Snake has received are of greater quantity than his buffs, the direct changes have also improved his strengths in specific areas, most notably his edgeguarding, while the changes to universal mechanics has nevertheless improved his most severe flaws in Brawl, such as his aerial game and mobility (both of which were considered to be amongst the worst in Brawl). Snake also retained most of his key traits from his Brawl incarnation: while most of them are much weaker in Ultimate, they remained very respectable comparing to the majority of the cast. Due to this, while Snake theoretically fared much worse than his Brawl incarnation, he remained as a very viable choice in tournaments with players such as MVD, Salem, ScAtt, and Shogun, achieving very strong results with him. His reception has mostly been extremely positive, especially during the game’s initial release, where he was considered to be a top-tier character, with some even considering him to be the single best character in the game. In more recent time however, Snake’s results has somewhat diminished as the meta progresses, due to his best player Ally no longer competing in Ultimate’s national level, and his other best players’ results has become somewhat inconsistent. Furthermore, as the meta progresses, more players have learned to effectively exploit his weaknesses. Regardless, Snake remains as a top-tier contender, similar to his placement in Brawl, and has continued to be a popular choice across all levels of play with great success.
Throws and other attacks
Snake received a mix of buffs, nerfs, and glitch fixes via game updates, but nerfed slightly overall. Update 2.0.0 buffed his already powerful up tilt by increasing the clean hit's hitbox length and reducing the late hit's hitbox. Update 3.0.0, however, was a mixed bag for Snake. His back aerial's knockback was increased, but his up smash gained slightly more ending lag. Hand Grenade and Remote Missile were also nerfed, with the former dealing less shield damage (though this change also buffs Snake, as it is much safer for him to block his own Hand Grenade) and the latter received a smaller hitbox during its descent. Update 3.1.0 improved his neutral attack's consistency, while update 4.0.0 made up throw's collateral hitbox blockable. Lastly, update 7.0.0 enlarged Snake's shield as part of a near-universal buff, and granted brief intangibility to his head when he activates his shield.
Overall, Snake fares mildly worse than he did at the launch of Ultimate, although he remains a very dominating character in the metagame.
For a gallery of Snake's hitboxes, see here.
Note: All numbers are listed as base damage, without the 1v1 multiplier.
In competitive play
Snake has been a very popular character in Ultimate's first year; the PGStats team found that within over 3000 PR ranked players worldwide, Snake was the most popular character . The character’s multiple strengths, including a frame 1 option to break combos, great edgeguarding tools, and guaranteed kill setups at higher percents, enabled mains to develop a vibrant metagame. Through the early stages of the competitive scene, he was widely considered to be a top three character in the game, as characters did not develop proper defensive countermeasures. Following Ally's ban and a slightly slower pace of the game, however, Snake mains were unable to match the same successes as prior. MVD has gotten multiple 49th place or lower placings at majors, Salem has had inconsistent placings and primarily used Hero in bracket, and Shogun held relatively few tournament placings outside of Japan, while his domestic results are not as strong as his international placings. Additionally, players began to discover matchups that he struggles in, such as Mega Man, Zero Suit Samus, and Inkling. Players have also developed more counterplay to his lacking disadvantage state and mobility by respecting his strong arsenal of projectiles and playing more patiently.
In the return to offline competitive play, Snake has been seeing a lot more results than in the months prior to the pandemic. Snake mains, such as MVD, ApolloKage, Ronnichu, and AlanDiss, have been placing consistently well in recent tournaments, with the former winning SWT: NA West Ultimate Regional Finals, as well as placing high in Super Smash Con: Fall Fest and Low Tide City 2021. Due to these results and his strong matchup spread, Snake is widely considered to be a top tier character, or potentially top 10 in the game.
Most historically significant players
Any number following the Smasher name indicates placement on the Fall 2019 PGRU, which recognizes the official top 50 players in the world in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate from July 13th, 2019 to December 15th, 2019.
See also: Category:Snake professionals (SSBU)
Classic Mode: Weapons and Equipment OSP
Snake's opponents all use projectile weapons. Additionally, all the items that spawn are either projectile weapons or explosives, to go with the theme of the route. OSP stands for On-Site Procurement, which is the condition for many of Snake's missions in the series. The boss of his route, Galleom, fits with the theme due to it using explosive projectile weapons.
Note: All stages except for the final round will play a song from the Metal Gear series, no matter what universe the stage originates from.
Role in World of Light
Snake was among the fighters that were summoned to the cliffside to fight against the army of Master Hands.
During the opening cutscene Snake was present on the cliffside when Galeem absorbed the Master Hands and unleashed his beams of light. While the other fighters were attempting to deflect or dodge the beams, Snake hid in his cardboard box; this obviously proved useless, as a beam of light vaporized him and his box, placing him under Galeem's imprisonment along with the rest of the fighters, except for Kirby (humorously, the box itself is also a spirit that can be obtained in World of Light).
Snake's fighter spirit can be obtained by completing Classic Mode. It is also available periodically for purchase in the shop for 300 Gold, but only after Snake has been unlocked. Unlocking Snake in World of Light allows the player to preview the spirit below in the Spirit List under the name "???". As a fighter spirit, it cannot be used in Spirit Battles and is purely aesthetic. His fighter spirit has an alternate version that replaces it with his artwork in Ultimate.
In Spirit battles
As the main opponent
As a minion
Fighter Showcase Video