Wario (ワリオ, Wario) returns as a playable character in Super Smash Bros. 4. He was officially confirmed on October 3rd, 2014 alongside Ness and Falco, coinciding with the North American and European release of Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS. This time around, he is unlockable, as opposed to being available from the start in Brawl.
Wario is ranked 41st out of 55 on the tier list. This is an enormous drop from his 10th out of 38 position in Brawl resulting as his worst placement in the series so far. Like in Brawl, Wario surprisingly possesses great aerial mobility and good overall mobility for a heavyweight, with great aerial attacks and a strong ground game to complement such. He has great setups with most of his aerial attacks and his signature Wario Bike, as his aerials have low ending lag and can be used help score KOs.
Wario's power has been buffed overall; his forward and up smashes now deal more damage, while his Wario Bike is safer than ever; combined with its ability to now be used once lost and no longer having the risk of throwing him off, Wario's overall neutral game has become safer. Corkscrew now covers more distance and can sweetspot ledges (along with his double jump), allowing Wario to get back onstage with fewer moves. With these buffs, Wario boasts a very effective recovery.
However, Wario's flaws have now become far more significant, especially in comparison to his Brawl incarnation. Wario's buffed smash attacks have received more startup and ending lag to compensate for their buffs, while his other KO options have been nerfed in said regards as well. With this, Wario's overall KO potential is very problematic, especially for his weight class.
Due to his lack of a proper projectile and disjointed hitboxes, Wario's range is also unremarkable. These two traits work greatly against him, which not only leave him vulnerable to effective spacing against characters like Marth, but also opposing camping against characters such as Mega Man or Villager. Wario also has no effective method of dealing with camping, which further compounds this weakness.
While Wario has had a few high placings at tournaments, including a fifth place finish from Reflex at MLG World Finals 2015, his tournament representation has been poor for a character of his tier, with other characters near him on the tier list generally commanding larger playerbases and slightly better tournament results. Furthermore, a number of his best players, such as Abadango, have dropped him as a main in lieu of characters deemed more viable. Despite this, Glutonny still maintains strong results with Wario, placing 1st at Albion 2 and Valhalla, and being ranked 70th on the Panda Global Rankings 100.
How to unlock
Wario must then be defeated on WarioWare, Inc.. Defeating him will unlock both him and the stage.
Wario must then be defeated on Gamer.
Wario is a short, heavyweight character with a deceptively good air game and an excellent amount of recovery options. Wario boasts the fifth-best air speed in the game, in addition to well-above-average air acceleration, which grants him some of the best aerial mobility of any character; however, his dash and walk speeds leave a lot to be desired, with the former being slightly below average, and the latter being the fifth slowest in the game. Using his high mobility and versatile aerial attacks, Wario is able to dip in and out of the fray to bait attacks and punish. In spite of its poor speed, Wario has a formidable ground game as well, with many of his attacks being rather fast with setup potential while also dealing good damage, outside of his smash attacks.
Wario's special moves are very unorthodox, and demand practice to use at their highest potential. Chomp is one of the best command grabs in the game, having deceptively long range and almost no startup or ending lag. It can effectively cover certain edge recoveries, negate certain attacks such as Spinning Kong, and absorb many projectiles, often with the benefit of healing him and slightly increasing the charge of his Wario Waft. Wario Bike gives Wario a solid approach option that covers for his low ground speed, and continues to move forward and hit enemies after he dismounts it. It also respawns very quickly when destroyed or lost, giving him a large and fairly reliable pseudo-projectile which can apply pressure when used effectively. Ending a wheelie with the Wario Bike will cause great knockback to an enemy it hits, as well as dealing a considerable amount of shield damage. When in the bike, pressing the special or jump buttons will have Wario jump off. As a result, this move can provide Wario with a literal third jump if his double jump had already been used, and this can be further extended with a corkscrew, making Wario's recovery exceedingly above average.
Despite his array of unusual attacks, Wario has overall lackluster reach and lacks a true projectile, thus he must first close the distance between him and his opponent in order to land an attack. Because of this, Wario struggles most against characters who make frequent use of disjointed attacks, such as Shulk, Cloud, and Link. This, combined with his relative lack of reliable KO moves, especially compared with other heavyweights, means that Wario must play unpredictably, relying on deception and mindgames to earn a KO on an unsuspecting opponent, and also forces Wario to trade blows with opponents.
Wario's lack of a true projectile brings about his susceptibility to camping. Wario is not capable of reflection, nor is Wario Bike an effective "projectile" on its own, which leaves him with almost no method of reliably counteracting camping, with his aforementioned unimpressive range. As a result, Wario is at a major disadvantage against characters such as Villager, Mega Man, and Samus.
With custom moves turned on, Wario gains a number of solid options. Speeding Bike allows for easy follow-ups after a successful hit due to its high speed being able to overtake an opponent who's been launched by it, along with being even better for recovery; however, it can be stuffed by enemy attacks easily due to its low durability. Burying Bike, while offering little for recovery, is extremely durable and can act as an effective shield against projectiles, helping to alleviate Wario's range problems. Rose-Scented Waft, while much weaker than its standard counterpart, possesses a gigantic hitbox that can make it nigh-unavoidable in the hands of a competent player, and can tack on a huge amount of damage if the opponent doesn't commit to button mashing to shake the flower off. Quick Waft, meanwhile, is decidedly stronger than the Rose-Scented Waft, charges almost four times faster than the standard, and executes faster than the other versions, giving Wario a more readily available KO option in exchange for the massive power of the standard. Corkscrew Leap offers a good deal of extra distance and speed in exchange for the damage of the standard, which leaves Wario more vulnerable during recovery in exchange for allowing him to go deeper for edgeguards than before.
Overall, Wario is a capable character with a bevy of unusual, yet useful attacks. However, Wario must keep his opponent guessing to see his full potential, lest his opponent end up seeing through his strategy.
While Wario does not have a significant amount of competitive representation, his few tournament results have been impressive, with players such as TheReflexWonder and Glutonny utilizing advanced play tactics and Wario's unconventional combo potential to reasonable effect.
Changes from Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Wario received some buffs that address some of his former flaws in Brawl, but has also received several nerfs that differentiate him significantly from his Brawl incarnation, nerfing him overall. He has been given multiple improvements to his recovery, being able to use his more versatile Wario Bike to recover more reliably. Many of his attacks deliver much more knockback, such as his new forward smash and the Wario Waft. Wario's ground game has been slightly improved, with many of his attacks having less start-up lag and the Wario Bike being much stronger and more reliable. Once dismounted, the Wario Bike is now equipped with traveling hitboxes, granting Wario an armored projectile of sorts. Wario's poorer aerials have been improved, with his forward and back aerials delivering increased knockback. Some moves also have less endlag, such as his down tilt.
Despite many of these changes being beneficial to Wario, he has received heavy nerfs to many of his previously effective options. One of the more noticeable nerfs was the reduction of his air speed and more significantly, his air acceleration. Wario has a harder time weaving in and out of the air and with the cast generally having increased range as well as the introduction of many sword characters, it is easier for multiple characters to wall him out in the air. He also is significantly harmed by the removal of DACUS as it hinders his grounded approach and removes his Gatling Combo preventing him from making great use of his newly improved up smash. Although some of his moves have less ending lag, others have much more, such as his forward smash, which is much less consistent due to now being slower and lacking transcendent priority and armor. Some of Wario's moves also have had their KO potential reduced most notably his up aerial and his half charged Wario Waft. Wario Bike has also lost some of its utility as its tires can no longer be picked up and used as projectiles.
The changes to Smash 4's mechanics helped and hindered Wario in various ways. Being a heavy character, Wario does gain some benefit from the rage mechanic present in Smash 4, being able to deliver increased knockback when at a high percentage. However, without his arsenal of moves that could reliably KO, Wario's reliance on racking up an opponent's damage leaves him even more vulnerable to the increased knockback delivered by adversaries under the influence of rage. He benefits from the removal of edgehogging, as it makes Corkscrew a much more advantageous recovery option. Wario also significantly benefits from the changes to aerial grab release mechanics as he can act out sooner from an aerial grab release preventing almost all followups his opponents used to have on him. In addition to this, Wario's notorious grab release that plagued him in Brawl was also fixed in patch 1.0.4 although even before the patch, his grab release was significantly less exploitable by most characters than in Brawl due to the new grab release mechanics.
As for the nerfs he received from the mechanics, the aforementioned removal of DACUS hinders his ground game. While he was not the most prominent user of DACUS in Brawl due to his up smash being rather poor, it nevertheless harms him in Smash 4 especially with the change to his up smash. The changes to hitstun canceling are also not highly beneficial to him as the removal of momentum canceling hinders his endurance and while it does improve his combo potential, it also makes him significantly easier to combo especially when combined with his higher falling speed.
Overall, Wario is a noticeably less effective character than in Brawl although he has still seen some instances of success from players such as Glutonny.
Wario has only received very minor buffs in the game's updates. The only real significant buff he received was in 1.0.4, which fixed his notorious grab release which allowed multiple characters to combo him out of a release. Changes to the shield mechanics in 1.1.0 and 1.1.1, however, seem to favor Wario slightly due to the high hitlag his attacks have when mounting the bike.
For a gallery of Wario's hitboxes, see here.
In competitive play
Tier placement and history
Wario was at first considered to be a character around the same potency as in the Brawl metagame, with players pointing out the changes to the game's physics had benefited him more than worsening him, most notably the addition of rage, plus his KO options were improved in general. Despite his below average playerbase, players such as Abadango, Glutonny and TheReflexWonder started to demonstrate his capabilities in competitive play by adapting to a more deceptive playstyle. Even so, players would soon realize he had also lost the great potency on his aerial game, now being just slightly above average. His well-regarded status would also drop after Abadango dropped him in favor of Meta Knight. Regardless, and after an extremely solid 5th place at MLG World Finals 2015 from Reflex, Wario was eventually placed at 21st on the first 4BR tier list.
However, Wario's tournament representation and results have remained rather scarce, in particular due to the majority of the mid- and low-tiered characters eventually outperforming him in several tournaments, and the changes to the game's physics having also demonstrated they had reduced a lot of his potency at camping, to the point he had to rely much more on baiting and KOing a careless opponent with his slower, albeit more powerful moves. Eventually, Wario dropped to 34th place on the second tier list, the second largest drop (tied with Luigi) between the first and second tier lists. He then saw another very slight drop to 36th on the third tier list and, despite Glutonny's good placings throughout Europe, he has dropped to 41st on the fourth and current tier list.
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