Sonic (ソニック, Sonic) is a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. He was confirmed as a playable character on June 12th, 2018. As in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, he is unlockable, instead of being available from the start. Sonic is classified as fighter #38.
As in SSB4, Roger Craig Smith's portrayal of Sonic from Sonic Generations and Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games and Jun'ichi Kanemaru’s portrayal of Sonic from Brawl were repurposed for the English and Japanese versions of Ultimate. Alexandre Gillet, Jonathan López, Marc Stachel and Renato Novara's portrayals of Sonic from various Sonic games used in Smash 4 were also repurposed for the French, Spanish, German, and Italian versions, respectively. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was also the last game that Jonathan López voiced Sonic in Spanish before passing away in 2020.
How to unlock
Complete one of the following:
With the exception of the third method, Sonic must then be defeated on Green Hill Zone.
Sonic is a lightweight who, staying true to his home series, has incredibly fast mobility. He unsurprisingly possesses the fastest dashing speed in the game by default (surpassed only by Hero under the effects of Acceleratle), the 7th fastest walking speed, the 12th fastest air speed (tied with Mario, Donkey Kong, Little Mac, and Inkling), and the highest traction in the game. When combined with his above average falling speed and jumps, this allows him to move across the stage at the speed of quick, despite having average gravity and slow air acceleration. As a cherry on top, he can even wall jump.
Sonic's special moves are quite useful. Spin Dash and Spin Charge allow him to not only move across stages at varying speeds, but also do damage on contact, and both can follow up into an aerial attack or uncharged Homing Attack. Despite their very similar-looking appearances in functions, they both have different strengths and uses for various different situations.
Spin Dash allows Sonic to jump around the stage while charging or holding the charge of the move and can be released in the air, and the hop at the start of the move allows Sonic to "spinshot" on ground as well as in the air, with it being the side special making it more ideal for aiming the spin shot to recover. The initial jump can also help Sonic avoid certain things like projectiles by hopping over them, it, however, loses this initial hop if fully charged. Spin Dash also has a moment of intangibility on startup. Due to the number of branching choices Sonic has when starting Spin Dash, it is his most reliable attack in neutral and one of his best approach options overall. From jumping into cancellation, charging it to alter its timing, switching directions after releasing, and utilizing the spin shot, Spin Dash plays an extremely important role when attempting to play mind games versus Sonic's opponent.
While Spin Dash is a one-hit move that mostly knocks opponents into the air, Spin Charge, on the other hand, hits multiple times, carrying the opponent, and moves a little faster, making it a good alternative for dashing. Jumping out of Spin Charge also has Sonic hop while spinning, making him a jumping hitbox. Also, due to charging up by pushing the Special Move button repeatedly, it can be charged up to full power faster than Spin Dash. Spin Charge can also perform a "spinshot", although it can only be done while airborne.
Both give Sonic additional protection when recovering and combo into other moves. The mobility of both in tandem with Sonic's already impressive speed makes him capable of quickly adding on damage to unprepared opponents from anywhere on the stage, and they can clank and cancel out the effects of certain moves, such as Snake's C4 or Yoshi's Egg Roll. Both moves can be blocked by shield, making them a bit unsafe and committal or predictable, as Spin Dash can only be canceled with a jump and Spin Charge can only be canceled by jumping or stopping pressing the Special Move button. However, they can bypass shields if fully-charged.
Homing Attack deals a varying amount of damage, homes in on the nearest opponent and is good for punishing laggy moves and edge-guard breaking. Its uncharged state also has the potential to combo and its charged state has a small amount of KO potential at higher percents. Spring Jump is a useful recovery that grants intangibility at the start, goes very high, and is one of few recovery moves that do not cause a helpless state, enabling Sonic to attack and dodge during his descent and even extend his recovery with a directional air dodge. The spring that is dropped can be useful both on-stage and off-stage by allowing him to pressure and gimp opponents, respectively.
Sonic also has a powerful air game. Neutral aerial is a great combo starter when SHFF'd, as a result of its long-lasting hitbox, low landing lag, and launching angle. Forward aerial is useful for edgeguarding and, in certain instances, it can combo into itself on-stage at low percentages, thanks to its generous auto-cancel window and Sonic's fast air speed. Up aerial possesses KO potential near the upper blast line and is great for combos, while its auto-canceling window makes it deceptively safe. Back aerial's clean hitbox is very powerful, making it one of his few reliable kill moves like his up aerial, and coupled with its strength within Sonic's kit, also makes it his best aerial finisher. Lastly, down aerial is a stall-then-fall; although it is Sonic's least effective aerial, it has noticeably less ending lag compared to other stall-then-falls, and its initial hitbox meteor smashes aerial opponents.
Sonic's neutral attack, tilts, and throws have decent damage outputs and good speed, making them hard to punish. His grab game is decent overall: While none of Sonic's grabs excel in speed and each of them has average ranges, they are still fairly easy to land thanks to his outstanding speed. Sonic's pummel is also quick and has an average damage output, allowing him to rack up a fair amount of damage before throwing an opponent. Down throw is a semi-spike that has high base knockback, which makes it excellent for setting up edge-guards and tech-chases. Back throw also has high base knockback and KOs much earlier than his other throws, especially if it is used while near the edge. It also moves Sonic backward, which makes it useful for setting up an immediate edge-guard attempt. Up tilt can be reversed on startup and hit opponents through platforms above Sonic, and his Forward Smash has a bit of a deceptively large range due to him stepping forward during the punch.
Up throw is a reliable combo starter, having decently damaging combos beginning at 0%, as well as Spring Jump-assisted aerial combos beginning at medium percentages. It also has KO potential, although it only KOs reliably at very high percentages when used on high platforms, such as Battlefield's top platform, as well as stages with low upper blast zones. Lastly, forward throw is his least useful throw, as its primary utility is for forcing the opponent away from him. Like up throw, it can also function as a KOing option, albeit only when used on the edge at very high percentages.
Mastering Sonic's running game is crucial to Sonic's ability to perform at higher levels and is one of the factors that makes him so difficult to play competitively. Sonic users take advantage of a variety of dash or dash-related techniques that are seldom used by other characters. Dash-dancing can be extremely useful for mind games in Sonic's gameplay, such as by running in one direction and then quickly turning the other way around to bait an opponent or catch them off-guard. It is often regarded by Sonic players that it is better to run away from the opponent and run back than to use roll-dodges to avoid opponents. This allows the player to avoid damage, not be as easily punished, have more control over their actions, and be able to punish their opponent's attacks. Dash-dance pivots (consisting of fox-trotting away from the opponent, then quickly dash-dancing backward) are particularly effective for this, as they can cause almost immediate turnarounds and then grabs can then be used to punish opponents. In general, Sonic has the easiest time winning neutral exchanges due to his unmatched speed and maneuverability on-stage, and attacks that not only come out fast but can also be used to approach with.
Sonic has some weaknesses however, the most noticeable being his KO potential. It is held back by his best kill moves (his smash attacks and clean back aerial) requiring good positioning and having noticeable startup and ending lag. His forward and up smashes are also burdened with low base knockback, which forces them to be used for KO attempts later instead of earlier, and his down smash, although it has decent startup, has high ending lag, making it easy to punish if missed. While Sonic’s damage-racking ability is formidable, his actual ability to take stocks is among the worst in the game, which oftentimes results in his opponents surviving beyond 150% and even 200%. Despite his outstanding mobility, Sonic may struggle to land due to his very slow air acceleration, leaving him susceptible to juggling.
Sonic can also have difficulty dealing with camping, since any ground-level projectile can severely limit his movement options. While Homing Attack and Spin Dash are his best options in getting through said projectiles, they can be reacted to and even predicted. Some of his attacks are also very punishable should they miss, and thus allow openings for opponents to punish him. His recovery is also predictable with Spring Jump as his only vertical recovery option, as its linearity makes him susceptible to gimps even at relatively low percentages. Finally, Sonic can be susceptible to early KOs due to being a lightweight.
Much like in Brawl, Sonic's matchups are difficult to define, as they vary greatly from player to player, possibly more so than for any other character. Depending on the playstyle of the Sonic, he can have a decent matchup against almost any character in the game, even at competitive levels. Because of his prowess for mindgaming and switching up tactics, as well as the inherent strengths and weaknesses of each style of play, some Sonic mains argue that he has no truly disadvantageous matchups as a character and that his matchups are much more heavily influenced by playstyle than his actual attributes.
In all, Sonic has a great offensive play, a strong neutral game, a good off-stage presence, and can very rapidly damage his opponents, but like other characters of his archetype, has some trouble killing.
Changes from Super Smash Bros. 4
Like most other top-tier characters, Sonic was often regarded as one of the most potent characters in Smash 4, which was reflected in its latest tier list (tied with Fox for 7th out of 55th). His phenomenal ground movement and Spin Dash not only granted him a powerful neutral game, but also encouraged a borderline oppressive hit-and-run playstyle, to a point where Sonic players would often utilize time out strategies after having a stock/percentage lead to win games. Likely as a result of this, Sonic was given a mix of buffs and nerfs in his transition to Ultimate, but has been nerfed overall.
Several of Sonic's key strengths and moves from SSB4 have been toned down considerably. Arguably his biggest nerf was towards his Spin Dash: it can no longer be shield canceled and can no longer go through shields unless it is fully charged; this noticeably hinders Sonic's infamous camping ability and mind games from Smash 4, and now requires Sonic to rely more on his pure speed to play defensively. Up aerial, known for its status as a strong KO option off of moves like Spring Jump and Spin Dash, has received angle and knockback adjustments to the first hit that worsen its ability to connect into the second hit as reliably, no longer managing to follow Sonic's momentum when he jumps and hindering its effectiveness and consistency for combos. This is further compounded by up throw's nerf; known for being a potential finisher due to its ability to combo into Spring Jump-assisted setups, it now has increased endlag, effectively removing most of Sonic's Spring Jump-assisted combos off of it. Lastly, Spring Jump's spring now sends opponents at a more horizontal angle, toning down its edge-guarding potency, and has much less intangibility frames, making it easier to intercept Sonic during his recovery. His much lighter weight and increased falling speed also worsen his disadvantage state, making him easier to combo and KO if the opponent is able to catch him.
However, Sonic has been granted notable buffs as well, particularly towards his less impressive attacks. Homing Attack has been significantly buffed, now having faster startup, less endlag upon hitting an opponent, better homing capabilities, and the ability to be charged for longer; this has lead to the move becoming a much more viable combo tool as well as a potential option in the neutral game. Down tilt now launches opponents at a higher angle, granting the move combo potential. All his smash attacks were improved, with forward smash gaining more range, and up and down smash have increased KO potential. Additionally, some of Sonic's already stronger moves have been buffed in various ways. Despite having been worsened overall, Spin Dash now has the ability to be jump canceled, alleviating some of Sonic's potential mix-up options, albeit they remain less effective than previously. Spring Jump now grants Sonic slightly more distance, buffing his already impressive recovery. Several of Sonic multi-hitting attacks (sans up aerial) now link into each other more reliably, including Spin Charge, up smash, forward aerial, and forward tilt.
Sonic also benefits incredibly from Ultimate's universal mechanic changes. Known for having high landing lag on his attacks in Smash 4, Sonic now possesses much less landing lag on all of his aerials, although still above average relative to the cast; this grants neutral aerial increased combo potential, improves back aerial's safety as a spacing option, and makes down aerial a slightly safer (albeit still unsafe) landing option. Sonic's already unmatched ground mobility has been improved even further, with his initial dash now being among the fastest in the game, heightening his camping abilities via simply running away. The ability to use any attack out of a run allows Sonic to take advantage of his phenomenal ground movement more than most other characters in Ultimate, granting him powerful mix-up options he previously didn't have access to. Finally, the changes to air dodge mechanics improve Sonic's edgeguarding game while not compromising him much thanks to his great recovery, while the reintroduction of directional air dodges allows Sonic to gain a little extra distance after using Spring Jump.
Overall, while Sonic still retains his powerful attributes and combo game, several of Sonic's most powerful tools from SSB4 have either been worsened or have been removed altogether. This has lead to a generally less effective character than in SSB4, as Sonic is now forced to make greater use of his standard moveset instead of relying on Spin Dash and Spin Charge to compensate for his underwhelming attacks, and must now take advantage of Ultimate's reworked mechanics and gear towards a more creative and offensive playstyle than in SSB4. Regardless, although Sonic initially had a below-average perception, it has become more positive over time, with smashers like KEN, Sonix, Sonido and Wrath achieving some solid results in tournament play, albeit not to the same degree as in SSB4. In the end, in spite of his initial mediocre perception, Sonic remains a viable, high tier character in competitive play once mastered, and he is one of the few SSB4 top tier veterans to keep placing well in tournament play in Ultimate, alongside Mario, Fox, and Zero Suit Samus.
Throws and other attacks
Sonic has been slightly buffed via game updates.
For a gallery of Sonic's hitboxes, see here.
Note: All numbers are listed as base damage, without the 1v1 multiplier.
In competitive play
Upon Ultimate's release, Sonic was initially seen as a far less viable character comparative to Smash 4 due Spin Dash no longer being able to be shield canceled, Spin Charge no longer crossing up shield without a full charge, up air failing to connect at times and Spin Charge's inconsistent ability to knock opponents upward with the jump, with the former being arguably his worst change. This has led to a mixed reception of him, and he was seen as a mid tier character in general, with some top players even ranking him as far as low tier.
However, he retained his superb mobility, long distanced recovery and combo game, along with a potent set of KO moves. The character has amassed notoriety for his hit-and-run playstyle, allowing multiple top players to resort to time out strategies due to the difficulty of intercepting him. As a result of capitalizing on these strengths, Sonic saw a rise in results across the Fall 2019 PGRU season, having notable placements in majors such as Frostbite 2020 and EVO Japan 2020, courtesy of players like Sonido, Wrath, and KEN. Despite his overall viability still being up for debate, the general perception of him has become significantly favorable, with many professional players arguing that he's a solid high tier at minimum.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic forcing competitive events to be held online, Sonic saw a boost in tournament performance. The online environment of Ultimate arguably benefits Sonic more than any other character due to increased input lag, rendering it harder to contend with Sonic's campy playstyle and intercepting his already powerful burst options. This has caused a controversial perception of Sonic in competitive play, as many players have been critical of how effective his play style and ability to time players out are, with some even going so far as saying he should be banned. While the general consensus has been that Sonic is not worthy of a ban, many have argued for stricter rules in terms of camping and timing players out. Sonic's competitive results were also partially bolstered by non-US players and Wi-Fi warriors such as Sonix being able to compete more, who is currently ranked second in the Wi-Fi Warrior Rank v5.
Overall, Sonic is one of only four Smash 4 top tier veterans (the other three being Mario, Fox, and Zero Suit Samus) who continues to earn great representation and consistently places well in tournaments.
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: At the Speed of Sound
Sonic's opponents in Classic Mode are a mix between the game's fastest characters as well as references to characters in other Sonic titles. The references to his games in Sonic's Classic Mode go in chronological order from each console generation starting from the 4th (Sega Genesis) to the 8th (Wii U).
Note: Every stage other than the final round plays a track from the Sonic universe, no matter what universe the stage originated from.
Role in World of Light
Sonic was among the fighters summoned to the cliffside to assist in defeating an army of Master Hands.
During the opening cutscene, Sonic was present on the cliffside when Galeem unleashed his beams of light. While attempting to run away, Sonic noticed Pikachu doing the same and reached his hand towards Pikachu in an attempt to save it. However, he and Pikachu were vaporized and placed under Galeem's imprisonment.
Sonic was one of the many fighters that fell under Dharkon's control upon Galeem's first defeat. He appears in the Sacred Land sub-area as one of the fighters that block the Master Sword, making him one of the obligatory unlocks. His location could potentially be a reference to Sonic & the Black Knight and/or the Zelda-themed level in Sonic Lost World.
He is later seen standing next to Mario, as the heroes prepare their last stand against Galeem and Dharkon.
Sonic's Fighter Spirit can be obtained by completing Classic Mode. It is also available periodically for purchase in the shop for 500 coins. Unlocking Sonic 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, Sonic makes an appearance in a few Primary Spirits in other forms.
In Spirit battles
As the main opponent
As a minion
Character Showcase Video