Yoshi is voiced by Kazumi Totaka, who had previously voiced him in Yoshi's Story, albeit via recycled voice clips from the game of the same name.
Yoshi currently ranks 5th in the tier list and places him in the A tier, all while being his best placement in the series. Yoshi is known for having unique properties compared to the other characters in the game: his shield—which is an egg rather than the standard energy bubble—doesn't shrink, making him completely immune to shield stabbing, allowing parrying techniques, and also lasts slightly longer than the normal shield. In addition, his midair jump gives him a type of armor throughout its duration, allowing him to escape combos and even hit back. Yoshi's stats are rather unique as well; despite him having above average weight, he has decent dashing speed and the fastest air speed in the game. Yoshi's down aerial is the most effective damage racking move in the game, dealing a maximum of 56% damage, while landing the move is made even easier using the double jump cancel technique, which can also be applied to his other useful aerials. His forward aerial is an effective meteor smash with very quick startup yet high power, along with the ability to combo into it with moves such as forward tilt. Yoshi has useful combo options outside this, including a versatile up tilt that can juggle fastfallers or heavyweights at any percent due to having set knockback, and lead into an aerial or up smash, with a late-hitting neutral aerial being able to followup with another up tilt to continue the combo.
However, Yoshi's above average weight and size make him rather easy for quicker characters (such as Pikachu and Fox) to combo. In addition, his grab is very slow and punishable, yet having limited range compared to other tether grabs. Yoshi also lacks a rising up special to recover, forcing him to use his double jump, meaning that if he flinches out of his double jump, he will be unable to recover. Yoshi's biggest problems, however, are his huge difficulties dealing with pressure, especially shield pressure, as well as lacking reliable approach options with considerable range, making it very easy for characters with disjointed moves (most particularly Kirby's up tilt) to simply outspace him constantly.
Yoshi's properties give him balanced matchups, with his matchup spread having an average of 50:50. He generally has trouble against higher tiered characters, but can do well against lower tiered characters, though he has a handful of even matchups against characters near or below him on the tier list. However, because of the results and representation other characters have had, as well as Yoshi being buffed on international releases of the game, he is ranked 10th in the Japanese tier list, where he has mostly below-average matchups, though unlike the NTSC version, he is considered a hard counter against Luigi.
Yoshi is a surprisingly heavy character (third heaviest character in Smash 64), yet is relatively quick, with the fastest air speed in the game, with a moderately fast dashing speed and fast walking speed to complement this. He has an average falling speed and fast falling speed. Unlike other characters, Yoshi's shield is not a bubble, but a Yoshi egg, which lasts slightly longer than other shields. It is also immune to shield stabbing due to the shield covering his whole body and not shrinking (rather, it becomes darker to indicate how close it is to breaking). However, it takes slightly longer to get out of than other shields. Yoshi has a rather sluggish roll, limiting his OoS options (though he can jump out of his shield, unlike in Melee and Brawl). Yoshi lacks a third jump, but his double jump is very large and also gives him a special type of armor during most of the animation. The unique properties of his double jump allow him to "double jump cancel counter", which enables him to escape combos and counterattack.
Yoshi has many KO moves, such as his forward smash and forward aerial (the latter of which can meteor smash). He has a huge amount of combo moves, such as his forward tilt and up tilt. The former has high hitstun and can easily combo into itself or a forward aerial. The latter hits opponents vertically with set knockback, allowing it to easily lead into aerials such as back aerial and up aerial. This is also an effective KO setup at higher percentages. His up tilt can also juggle fastfallers at any percentages, which can also be done in conjunction with an up aerial. Yoshi's down tilt also has set knockback, and sends opponents on a semi-spike trajectory, making it a useful gimping move. Yoshi can use a well-known glitch-tactic called double jump cancel, allowing him to use aerials quicker and combo with aerials more reliably. It's especially effective with his down aerial, which can rack up a huge amount of damage (maximum of 56%) somewhat quickly. Yoshi can parry attacks by timing a shield correctly (within 4 frames of being hit), which allows him to use an attack out of his shield immediately; and while the foe still has freeze frames to endure. In high level play, Yoshi is known for being able to break shields quickly using his Z-cancelled neutral aerial while using DJC. This is known as a shield break combo. His DJC'd down aerial can also break a shield if used correctly.
Yoshi also has a projectile in his up special move, Egg Throw. It is difficult to control, however, due to the arc that it travels in, and it is too slow and short-ranged to be as effective as some of the other projectiles in the game. The explosion does have good range and power, though.
Yoshi has a number of weaknesses, however. He has a lot of trouble dealing with pressure, especially from characters tiered higher than him. While his recovery can travel a decent distance due to his very high air speed, getting hit out of his double jump basically leaves him helpless, as he lacks a third jump to use. Even weak projectiles such as Fox's Blaster can cause Yoshi to lose his double jump. Yoshi's grab is slow, laggy and lacks range compared to other ranged grabs (Link and Samus's grabs). Yoshi is also fairly vulnerable to some combos due to his tall size and heavy weight. In addition to this, his reliable approach options lack range, giving him large trouble dealing with moves like Kirby's up tilt.
Differences between game versions
NTSC-J to NTSC-U
Yoshi was buffed overall in his transition to NTSC-U. His air and falling speeds are faster, both of which help significantly his combo ability with the former also aiding his recovery and his ability to escape aerial pressure along with his increased double jump armor. His down smash is also a more reliable KO and edgeguarding move. However, Yoshi also received indirect nerfs, due to the removal of momentum sliding and the higher SDI presence. Nevertheless, Yoshi is much better than in the Japanese version, which is reflected in his tier position.
NTSC-U to PAL
Yoshi was negligibly buffed in his transition to PAL due to the reduction of the landing lag on his forward aerial.
For a gallery of Yoshi's hitboxes, see here.
In competitive play
Most historically significant players
Numbers in brackets indicate position in 2019-2020 Smash 64 Power Rankings 2017
Tier placement and history
In the early metagame, Yoshi was just seen as an average character, who had troubling matchups against the majority of the characters ranked above him with a few even matchups. Due to his matchups and tournament presence looking to be average at best, Yoshi was ranked 8th on the first tier list in middle tier. However, Yoshi's tournament presence increased and his strengths were shown, which resulted in his increase to 6th of B tier on the second tier list. By the third tier list, Yoshi would stay at 6th, but would move to C tier, still being seen as a mid tier character.
In the time between the third and fourth tier list, Yoshi's tournament presence was greatly increased and with the look of his matchups appearing to become more favorible as time went on. Yoshi would see a lot of tournament success due to the abudance of strong and deciated Yoshi players in Wizzrobe, Prince and Kurrabba. Their knowledge of Yoshi and how he works allowed for difficult matchups, like Fox and Pikachu, appear to be even. Due to their success and the changing thoughts on Yoshi matchups, he would rise to 5th of A tier, where he is now seen as a high tier character. In the years since the last tier last was posted, Yoshi would go on to have more success, with him now being considered to have surpassed Fox as this point and might be 4th on the next tier list.
Double jump cancel
Main article: Double jump cancel
DJCing is a glitch-technique that can be used by Yoshi and Ness. It involves using an aerial just after starting a double jump. This cancels the momentum of the double jump and allows quicker aerials, while also being able to speed up short hops, making short hopped DJC'd aerials especially effective when Z-cancelled. It can also help with aerial combos, particularly against floaty characters (who he can DJC repeatedly against with the various aerials), and can be used in conjunction with moves such as up tilt and manoeuvres such as soft platform dropping while performing a DJC up aerial on fast fallers.
Main article: Parry
By shielding at the precise frame a move hits, Yoshi can drop his shield immediately and attack out of it.
Double jump cancel counter
Main article: Double jump cancel counter
The unique properties of Yoshi's double jump allow him to use the armor to power through an opponent's attack, while using an aerial with fast startup (preferably a neutral aerial) to counterattack.
In Single Player
Yoshi appears as an opponent in the second stage of Single Player mode. The stage takes place on Yoshi's Island without cloud platforms and pits the player against a team of eighteen Yoshis. The first six Yoshis have different alternate costumes from each other, as do the next six and the final six. If the player manages to defeat them in the order they appear, they will be awarded the 50,000-point bonus Yoshi Rainbow.
From the Game
Yoshi is the friendly dinosaur of Yoshi's Island. He began as Mario's partner, but has since built his own identity, and now appears in many games. He uses his unique ability to turn whatever he swallows into an egg as his foremost attack. Yoshis come in a rainbow cloud of colors and are said to have a high IQ from a very early age.