Wolf (ウルフ, Wolf) is a playable fighter in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. He was announced on June 12th, 2018 and is classified as fighter #44.
Jay Ward reprises his role in the English version from Brawl with new voice clips, matching his portrayal of Wolf from Star Fox Zero and Starlink: Battle for Atlas. In the Japanese version, Kosuke Takaguchi, Wolf's Japanese voice actor from Star Fox 64 3D and Star Fox Zero, now voices him, and also voices Falco, replacing Mahito Ōba from Brawl.
How to unlock
Complete one of the following:
With the exception of the third method, Wolf must then be defeated on Lylat Cruise.
Wolf's attributes and moveset give him a versatile gameplan, somewhere in the middle ground between Fox's focus on pressure and Falco's focus on punishes. This is reflected in his attributes, which include a slow dashing speed (though his initial dash is quite fast), an above average walking speed, the 11th fastest falling speed and high gravity, most of which are not uncharacteristic of the Star Fox characters. Unlike the other space animals, however, Wolf has the 6th fastest air speed in the game. This grants him mobility that is fairly average overall, but relatively balanced compared to the other spacies. Additionally, Wolf is also significantly heavier than them, as he is a middleweight (tied with the Ice Climbers, Lucario, and Villager). Though his special moveset and vertical mobility are derived from his brethren, the similarities end there, with Wolf's being the most unique of the trio.
Wolf's Blaster is the centerpiece of his neutral game. With the lasers causing higher knockback (and therefore hitstun) than the average projectile, and having a long duration with transcendent priority, they grant him the ability to disrupt opponents' approaches, even when their grounded mobility is superior to his own, and its unique close-range hitbox on the bayonet give it some utility in close combat, dealing substantial damage if it connects. Lasers can often force opponents to jump over them, leaving them vulnerable to Wolf's fast aerial attacks; these are comprised of a fast neutral aerial that has a lingering hitbox with a powerful clean hit, a disjointed forward aerial that can combo into itself and his other aerials, a back aerial with moderate startup offset by its high power, an up aerial with fast startup and a wide arc well-suited to juggling, and a down aerial that consistently meteor smashes opponents. While he can apply pressure from a distance, Wolf's close range options are not lacking either. Forward tilt and down tilt are decent poking tools, the latter which can trip at low percents. Forward smash has slow startup, but deceptively low ending lag, while up smash deals high damage, covers a wide area around him, and has decent knockback. His neutral, forward, and back aerials are quite fast and difficult to punish even if shielded, while his standing grab is tied for the fastest in the game. Further augmenting his strong neutral game are his dash attack and Reflector, the former which is useful for punishing aerial approaches and KOing at very high percents, and the latter which allows him to deal with opposing camping while also having a close range hit that can be followed up with aerials.
Once Wolf has won the neutral exchange, he has several options to rack up damage. Forward aerial can combo into itself and other aerials, and into a grab at very low percents, from which up throw can lead into another forward or up aerial until mid-high percents, and down throw can lead into a dash attack at low percents. Should an opponent air dodge in an attempt to escape pressure, Wolf's aerial mobility allows him to chase them down and punish them, usually with an up tilt or up aerial to continue juggling them, or with a back aerial to send them offstage. Once the opponent has sustained a lot of damage, Wolf possesses several KO options. The most reliable one is his back aerial, as its quick autocancel and decent range allow it to be spaced safely, and it can KO relatively early if sweetspotted (at around 110% from center stage), while still possessing respectable power with its sourspots. His side special, Wolf Flash, can either meteor smash or semi-spike opponents at the end of the dash depending on which hitbox connects, both of which are noticeably powerful, while his up special, Fire Wolf, deals deceptively high knockback with its last hit as well. Other notable finishers are his forward smash and down smash, the former due to its low ending lag making it safe on shield and potentially even on whiff, and the latter due to its powerful sweetspot, which can KO at percents as low as 50% at the edge and is an effective 2 frame punish. At higher percents, several of his other moves become threatening, with his forward tilt, up tilt, dash attack, and neutral aerial or back throw near the edge all gaining KO potential.
However, Wolf does possess noticeable weaknesses. Though he is not short of finishers, he frequently has difficulty landing his most powerful ones due to their slow startup (with back aerial and all his smash attacks having more than 12 frames of startup) and his below-average run speed, in addition to lacking guaranteed methods to set up into them. In the case of Wolf Flash, although he possesses true setups into the move, such as from his forward aerial or down throw at medium percents, they are very risky to pull off, as he can either end up offstage after its use and self-destruct (since it causes helplessness), or miss the sweetspots and end up vulnerable due to its high landing lag. Like his Star Fox counterparts, Wolf is highly susceptible to combos, due to his tall frame, high falling speed, and compared to them, his higher weight and lack of quick enough options to escape pressure, with his fastest aerial attacks coming out on frame 7. Most critically, however, his recovery is among the worst out of the cast. Wolf Flash and Fire Wolf are both linear and offer below-average distance compared to other recoveries, and unlike Fox and Falco, both of them cause helplessness, restricting him to one option offstage and leaving him with a much shorter recovery distance overall. This leaves Wolf highly vulnerable to gimps and edgeguarding, with meteor smashes in particular being deadly against him even at low percents, to the point exploiting his recovery offsets the increased horizontal endurance his higher weight would otherwise provide.
Overall, Wolf is a non-traditional glass cannon. He sacrifices the power of other glass cannons such as Mewtwo for sheer versatility, due to his combination of an effective projectile for disrupting and forcing approaches, fast approach options of his own, and abundance of combo and KO moves, which allow him to keep up the pressure on his opponent even after winning the neutral game. As such, he is able to adapt to nearly any playstyle. However, due to his vulnerability to combos, poor recovery and trouble securing KOs, Wolf must also be well aware of his opponents, as a single mistake can cause him to sustain heavy damage from combos and end up in a position where he can easily be KO'd.
Changes from Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Wolf received some of the most noticeable changes of any returning veteran, similarly to Link and Mr. Game & Watch. Being a last-minute addition in Brawl, most of his moveset has been reanimated to look more polished and further differentiate from Fox. As a result, Wolf received a mix of buffs and nerfs in his transition from Brawl, but has been considerably buffed overall.
Like most of the returning veterans, his initial dash is much faster, while his run and air speed have been slightly increased. In addition to this, however, his fast falling speed is significantly faster, no longer providing the smallest falling speed increase out of the cast by a considerable margin, greatly enhancing his aerial approach and landing ability. Coupled with his superior mobility are the buffs to his Blaster, already an effective projectile in his previous appearance, and his new dash attack; the former's lasers deal more damage and knockback, while the latter covers much more horizontal range and is stronger, both of which improve his neutral game. His aerial attacks have also seen improvements: his new neutral aerial gives Wolf a vastly more effective approach option, his forward aerial has become an excellent combo starter due to its reduced ending and landing lag, and his back and up aerials have had their knockback noticeably increased (most notably the former). Wolf's grab game also received some noteworthy buffs, now having a KO option in his back throw, and useful combo starters in his up throw and down throw. Finally, Wolf Flash and Fire Wolf are far stronger, giving him two more powerful, if risky, KO options; the former in particular can now be aimed up or down, slightly improving his horizontal recovery and making the clean hit easier to land.
Wolf also heavily benefits from the changes to gameplay mechanics. The new air dodge mechanics, as well as the changes to hitstun canceling, allow him to combo and juggle his opponents for a longer period of time, especially paired with his improved mobility; he has gained not only several more ways to start combos (such as with a landing up aerial, or a down aerial on grounded opponents), but also KO setups into his powerful Wolf Flash. The drastic weakening of momentum canceling allows his moves to KO earlier and overall put his survivability more in line with the cast. Lastly, the new ledge mechanics and the removal of chain grabbing and meteor canceling also significantly improve his survivability, while the latter change makes his down aerial and Wolf Flash more effective for KOing offstage.
However, Wolf has received a few significant nerfs as well. Some of his moves have received increased lag in all aspects, such as his forward smash, down smash, and his renowned back aerial from Brawl, in exchange for more power; the latter two are particularly noteworthy due to their previous speed and already decent power. Because of this, he has a more difficult time scoring KOs as his finishers are much harder to land in general, forcing him to either time them precisely or lure the opponent into them; while he does possess KO setups into Wolf Flash offstage, they are extremely risky, as Wolf will self-destruct more often than not and the opponent can DI to avoid them. Additionally, several of his moves have reduced range to various degrees, most notably his new forward smash, which no longer travels a considerable distance forward, and his forward aerial, which has lost its deceptively large disjoint. His already poor recovery has been made worse, as both Fire Wolf and Wolf Flash have decreased distance, making him more susceptible to edgeguarding than in Brawl. His neutral and forward aerials, while possessing greater combo ability and safety, are now weaker, with the former also having slower startup, and the latter no longer being a reliable KO option. Finally, his new down throw is less effective for tech-chasing and setting up edgeguards because of its higher launch angle.
Despite Ultimate's new mechanics heavily benefiting Wolf, he has also seen a few nerfs from the changes to the mechanics, most notably the removal of DACUS which hinders his grounded approach. Lastly, his lower weight worsens his survivability, especially horizontally (which is also hindered by the changes to momentum canceling), while he remains an easy combo target due to his high falling speed and the changes to hitstun canceling.
Overall, Wolf's nerfs are offset by the new game mechanics and the buffs he has received, which has currently allowed him to fare better than he did in Brawl during Ultimate's early meta. So far, he has managed to achieve excellent representation and results thanks to Zackray winning multiple Japanese majors with the character, as well as numerous other top players such as MkLeo and Tweek placing favorably with him in tournaments. However, Wolf's results have become worse overtime as Zackray who was his strongest player dropped him in favor of Joker while MkLeo has done the same. However Tweek has continued to use him alongside Wario and Pokemon Trainer. As such, Wolf's viability has been questionable as players are debating on whether Wolf is as good as originally imagined. Regardless, he still has above average results and is widely agreed to be significantly better than he was in Brawl.
Throws and other attacks
Wolf has received a mix of buffs and nerfs via game updates. In 3.0.0, on top of the universal shield changes which hinder Blaster's shield damage, the sweetspot of his down smash's front hit, infamous among the community for its extreme power especially near edges, was made slightly weaker. An exploit that allowed Wolf to reduce Wolf Flash's landing lag with a directional air dodge was also removed. These nerfs, however, were negligible as he still retained all of his positive traits and continued to perform very well in tournaments.
Wolf was once again nerfed in 3.1.0, which slightly weakened his down smash's frontal sweetspot a second time, reduced the range of Fire Wolf's last hit, and most significantly increased the ending lag of Blaster, previously notable as a safe neutral tool that could counter approaches with relatively low risk. However, this update also brought some buffs to Wolf: his neutral attack and Fire Wolf connect more reliably, the former no longer causing the third hit to miss characters at high percents, and Reflector is overall faster by one frame. It is unknown how these changes will affect Wolf in the long run, as while the nerfs are more impactful than in the previous update, he has also received noteworthy buffs.
For a gallery of Wolf's hitboxes, see here.
Note: All numbers are listed as base damage, without the 1v1 multiplier.
In any victory pose, there's a chance Wolf will say "Playtime's over, Star Fox!" (遊びは終わりだ、スターフォックス！, Playtime is over, Star Fox!) if Fox or Falco were present during the match.
In competitive play
Initial opinions of Wolf were mixed before the release of Ultimate, with players noting the loss of his renowned back aerial and powerful DACUS, reduced invinciblity from Reflector, alongside Wolf Flash still causing helplessness, which was a big detriment compared to Fox and Falco's respective side specials. However, players began to realise the effectiveness of Wolf's buffs past the game's release, as it gave him a powerful projectile courtesy of his Blaster, effective combos due to his modified physics, and a notorious edgeguarding tool in down smash, which kept its high power even despite being nerfed twice through game updates. This caused Wolf to gain a renowned, controllable neutral game, allowing him to dictate the flow of battle through use of his Blaster, overall speed, and combo ability.
As a result, Wolf has consistently been a very popular pick in competitive play during Ultimate's early lifespan; he has been the most used character in many competitive events, including Pound 2019, EVO 2019,  and Valhalla III. In addition, many professional players have attained strong results with the character, and players in general have agreed that Wolf is potentially one of the best characters in the game. However, Wolf's weaknesses have become more exploitable as the meta evolved, with his strongest mains either dropping him (Zackray) or moving to other characters (MkLeo and Tweek). This has put his current standing in the meta in question, although it is agreed that the character is a solid high tier at worst.
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: Reunited Roster
Wolf's opponents, like himself, are characters who are once again playable after previously being absent from Super Smash Bros. 4. Despite the title referring to formerly cut characters as a whole, formerly cut characters Dr. Mario, Mewtwo, Lucas, and Roy do not appear, due to their appearances in Super Smash Bros. 4. The boss of the route, Galleom fits with this theme because he did not appear in Smash 4 either.
Role in World of Light
Although Wolf does not appear in the World of Light opening cutscene, he was vaporized and later imprisoned alongside the rest of the fighters (except for Kirby) when Galeem unleashed his beams of light.
Wolf was one of the many fighters that fell under Dharkon's control upon Galeem's first defeat. He is unlocked in the Mysterious Dimension in the Dark Realm. The player must defeat the Andross (Star Fox 64 3D) spirit, which is the answer to a given question ("Who among these Spirits is a scientist?"), to reveal a path leading to a wrecked airplane. His unlock battle is on the plane's tail (just to the left of the Krystal spirit).
Wolf's Fighter Spirit can be obtained by completing Classic Mode. It is also available periodically for purchase in the shop for 500 coins. Unlocking Wolf 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.
In Spirit Battles
As the main opponent
As a minion
Character Showcase Video