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.
How to unlock
Complete one of the following:
With the exception of the third method, Snake must then be defeated on Shadow Moses Island.
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, his dashing speed, initial dash, walk speed, and air speed are all below-average, and he is also tied with Simon and Richter for the slowest 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. 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 not as notorious as his other tilts, but it still has good range and speed. Lastly, his dash attack comes out very quickly (frame 5) and is a useful approaching option, while it also crosses shields and has a reasonable amount of ending lag.
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, edge trapping, and as an anti-air. The launcher also has a hitbox that comes out in frame 11. His forward smash, while extremely slow, is incredibly strong, making it great for hard reads or if the opponent rolls in Snake's direction. His down-smash is fast and has good KO power, while also hitting on both sides of him.
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. Forward aerial is a strong meteor smash with great horizontal 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. Due to its aforementioned speed, it can be used as a potent out-of-shield option. Up aerial and back aerial are both long ranged and strong, although due to Snake's playstyle and mobility, they aren't used quite as much as most of his other moves.
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. 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. 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 moveset allows 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 as zoning tools and 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, and just using them 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. 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, hit box that can cover his air dodge to 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 (down aerial, Hand Grenade, up tilt, forward tilt), 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 character 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, reverse specials is required for consistent, safe return to the stage.
Snake also has one of the worst disadvantage states in the game. As a heavy character he is still 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 knock back. 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. Finally, carelessly thrown grenades can be used by opponents, who will often have better follow-ups at their disposal than Snake. Finally, none of Snake's aerial moves offer disjointed hit boxes or limb intangibility.
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 edge guarding, many characters have a variety options to deal with Nikita. This issue can be partially mitigated by shield canceling it, after it gets hit, to activate a secondary hit box. However, this tactic significantly reduces the damage and knock-back 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 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 a top tier character or a high tier character at worst.
Changes from Super Smash Bros. Brawl
In Brawl, Snake was considered among the best characters in the game, and for a while, he was considered the second best, only behind Meta Knight. This was due to his extreme power and damage output, 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 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 been significantly nerfed overall due 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. As a result, he was only slightly nerfed overall and remains a force to be reckoned with.
The most notable buffs he received were to his previously slow mobility, no longer being among the slowest in the series, although it is still below average. The universal 3-frame jumpsquat and Snake's improved air speed give Snake better options when transitioning from the ground to the air, while the reduced landing lag on all of his aerials gives him landing options. In addition, many of his moves have been given reduced startup (e.g. neutral and down aerial's multi hits) or end lag (e.g. down tilt), or even both (e.g. down smash). His Remote Missile is significantly faster and more controllable making it a stronger tool against opponents who are off stage and his C4 is overall a faster and stronger tool. Finally, the removal of chain grabbing significantly benefits his endurance.
However, Snake also received many glaring nerfs as well. Due to Snake's very high weight being reduced to be more in-line with similarly sized characters, the removal of momentum canceling and given that Cypher can now be destroyed, his overall endurance especially while offstage is much weaker. In addition, while his ground game still remains strong, it has been nerfed in several ways; his neutral attack has less range and is significantly weaker, his forward tilt has less range, deals far less damage, the first hit has been altered removing its ability to trip and the second hit is slower and weaker. His up tilt's infamously deceptive horizontal range has been reduced, and the explosions from his explosion-based attacks can now be absorbed, worsening his matchups against Ness, Lucas, and Mr. Game & Watch. While he has seen some improvements to his aerials, they are all weaker (especially down aerial) and many of his attacks have much smaller hitboxes or the hitboxes were removed altogether, worsening his range, although he still possesses large disjoints in his attacks. As a result, his extreme power and KO ability from Brawl, while still above average, was weakened significantly, removing jab 3 and down tilt's KO potential and making almost all his attacks weaker. The removal of DACUS and the Gatling combo severely limit his approach options despite the aforementioned increase to his mobility. Lastly. while the removal of chain grabbing improves his endurance, it also means that he cannot chain grab with his down throw severely reducing its damage racking and tech chase potential.
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 Snake has not received many buffs in return, 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 has been able to exploit his weakness more effectively than before. Regardless, Snake remained as an top-tier contender, similar to his placement in Brawl, and has continued to be popular choice across all levels of play with great success.
Throws and other attacks
Snake has received a mix of buffs and nerfs through game updates.
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 has many obvious strengths, including a frame 1 option to break combos, great edgeguarding tools, heavy weight, guaranteed kill setups at higher percents, and so on. At some points, he was widely considered to be in contention for being a top 3 character in the game. Following Ally's retirement, however, Snake's results have noticeably dropped. MVD has gotten multiple 49th place or lower placings at majors, Salem has had inconsistent placings and primarily uses Hero in bracket, and Shogun has relatively few tournament placings outside of Japan, while his domestic results are not as strong as his international placings. Additionally, over time, further counterplay against Snake developed, and players subsequently began to discover matchups that he struggles in. Finally, due to Ally, the former best Snake player in the world, no longer being able to compete on the national level, the results and the potential of the character have stagnated. Currently, Snake is still widely considered a top tier.
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.
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 during his fight.
Note: All stages except for the final round will play a song from the Metal Gear series, no matter what universe the stage originated 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.
Snake's fighter spirit can be obtained by completing Classic Mode. It is also available periodically for purchase in the shop for 500 coins. 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. Each fighter spirit has an alternate version that replaces them with their artwork in Ultimate.
In Spirit battles
As the main opponent
As a minion
Character Showcase Video