Yoshi (ヨッシー, Yoshi) is a playable character in Super Smash Bros. 4. His return to the series was announced during a Super Smash Bros. Direct on April 8th, 2014, making him the last of the "perfect-attendance crew" to be announced. He was also among the first wave of amiibo figures. Kazumi Totaka reprises his role as Yoshi's voice actor, albeit via recycled voice clips.
Yoshi is currently ranked 34th out of 55 on the tier list, placing him in the D tier. This is a moderate improvement from his placement in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, where he was ranked 27th out of 38. As in previous installments, Yoshi boasts excellent aerial mobility: he has the fastest air speed in the game by default, while his double jump is the second highest in the game and grants him nearly 70 frames of armor. Yoshi's grounded mobility has also been improved, as his already fast dashing speed is now considerably faster.
Another of Yoshi's strengths is the utility of his moveset: neutral attack and up tilt are very useful combo starters, down tilt can be used for tech-chasing, neutral aerial is very useful for approaching and edge-guarding, Egg Lay is a command grab, Egg Roll can force approaches or escape from pressure, Egg Throw is a projectile that has recovery and mindgame potential, and Yoshi Bomb is strong enough to KO outright and heavily pressure shields. Yoshi's shield is also fairly useful, as it is completely immune to shield stabbing and, for the first time since Super Smash Bros., enables him to jump out of it.
However, Yoshi has noticeable flaws. His grab game is still infamously poor: all of his grabs are among the slowest in the game, while his throws have almost nonexistent utility. Yoshi's defensive presence on the ground is also surprisingly lacking for a few reasons. His rolls and sidestep are among the unsafest, and he has the dubious distinction of being the only character who is unable to shield platform drop. By extension, Yoshi's shield is the smallest among the cast, while his very low traction significantly hinders his out of shield options.
Yoshi's KO potential is also problematic for a heavyweight: although his smash attacks, up aerial, and grounded Yoshi Bomb are powerful, each of them are burdened with very short durations and punishable amounts of ending lag. Lastly, Yoshi has a very short vertical recovery outside of his double jump, as his primary recovery move, Egg Throw, grants minimal vertical distance and deteriorates when used consecutively without landing on the ground.
Overall, Yoshi's strengths outweigh his weaknesses, yet his tier placement is heavily debatable. Despite being initially perceived as an impressively well-rounded character, and having achieved instances of tournament success even at the national level, Yoshi's placement has dropped throughout SSB4's lifespan. This is largely because of his results waning in lieu of his metagame stagnating. When coupled with many characters that were previously considered inferior to him (such as Mewtwo, Marth, and Mega Man) having attained vastly greater viability thanks to more consistent success and/or expanded metagames, Yoshi's current ranking is viewed by some players, such as ZeRo, as too high.
Yoshi is a heavyweight that noticeably deviates from his weight class' archetype. This is most obvious with his air speed, which is the fastest in the game by default, though it is surpassed under certain conditions (Giga Mac, Wario-Man, the lightest possible Mii Brawler, and a fully Limit Charged Cloud). By extension, Yoshi has the second highest double jump in the game (surpassed only by Mewtwo's), which also grants him 68 frames of armor that can withstand a maximum of 120 units of knockback. Yoshi's other attributes also deviate from that of a typical heavyweight, albeit not to the degree as his air speed and double jump. He has slightly above-average walking speed, above-average dashing speed and air acceleration, below-average gravity, among the slowest falling and fast falling speeds, and the fourth lowest traction. Lastly, Yoshi is capable of crawling. Overall, these attributes collectively grant him excellent aerial mobility and great grounded mobility, yet do not render him frail or susceptible to juggling.
Yoshi's greatest strength is the utility of his moveset. His neutral and tilt attacks are all very fast, leaving him exposed only very briefly. They additionally launch opponents either vertically or horizontally, which makes them reliable as set-ups for combos or edge-guarding. Yoshi's dash attack has high base knockback and long range, which allows for easy cross-ups and make it useful for punishing rolls or techs. His smash attacks possess decent power, with his forward smash being the strongest among them. However, each of Yoshi's smashes also have certain perks. Forward and clean up smash grant intangibility to his head and legs, respectively, whereas down smash is a semi-spike like his down tilt.
Yoshi's air game is also versatile and synchronizes very well with his attributes. Due to it hitting on frame 3, neutral aerial is the second fastest of its kind; when coupled with its sex kick properties, it is useful for edge-guarding, stopping approaches and breaking out of combos or juggles. Forward aerial can either meteor smash or powerfully launch opponents diagonally, and is capable of auto-canceling with a short hop. Up aerial is one of Yoshi's most viable KOing options: due to it hitting on frame 5 and possessing a respectable damage output, very high knockback growth and disjointed hitbox, it can quickly and reliably KO any opponent of any weight while near the upper blast line. Back aerial is excellent at edge-guarding, as its first two hits launch opponents at the auto-link angle, whereas its third hit has extremely high knockback growth. Lastly, Yoshi's renowned down aerial hits repeatedly and is the most damaging aerial in the game. By extension, it can strongly pressure shields to the point of potentially breaking one if it is auto-canceled with a jump and followed by Yoshi Bomb.
The respectable utility of Yoshi's moveset also extends to his special moves. Egg Lay is a command grab that immobilizes opponents and thus allows for free hits. If opponents do not break out of the Yoshi Egg while near the edge, they also face the risk of being unable to recover. Egg Roll functions similarly to Spin Dash, as it can be used to approach or retreat quickly. Egg Throw is a projectile that can be used to stop approaches, allow Yoshi to close in on the opponent and, when continuously B-reversed in the air, keep the opponent guessing as to where he is going to go next. Although it is not a traditional recovery move, it nevertheless grants minimal vertical recovery upon its first use in midair. Lastly, Yoshi Bomb is useful for pressuring shields thanks to it dealing considerable shield damage, while its grounded version's respectable damage output and deceptively low start-up lag make it one of Yoshi's most viable KOing options.
However, Yoshi has noticeable weaknesses, with his main one being his vertical recovery. Although his attributes allow for long horizontal recovery, Egg Throw grants only minimal vertical distance. By extension, Yoshi is overly reliant on his double jump for recovery, and will be unable to reuse it if he is hit out of it. As such, Yoshi is heavily susceptible to meteor smashes and footstool jumps, as a single opening he makes off-stage could potentially prove fatal.
Another very glaring weakness is his grab game, which is widely considered to be among the worst in the game. Yoshi's pummel is the only positive trait of his grab game, thanks to its quick speed, average damage output, and its release being a useful set-up into his neutral attack. Outside of this, his grabs' good ranges are offset by their very punishable amounts of start-up and ending lag. Yoshi's forward and back throws are his fastest and most damaging throws, but their average damage outputs, below average base knockback and low knockback growth make them unreliable for scoring KOs or starting combos. His up and down throws are also unable to KO reliably and, despite having low damage outputs, lack combo potential because of their slow speeds. Yoshi's ability to escape pressure is also limited, as his rolls and sidestep are short-distanced, among the slowest in the game, and have some of the lowest amounts of intangibility frames. By extension, his shield is the smallest in the game, and he is the only character who is unable to perform shield platform dropping.
Lastly, Yoshi's KO potential is problematic for a heavyweight. Although his smash attacks, up aerial and grounded Yoshi Bomb are his most reliable KOing options thanks to their respectable power, they are burdened with very short durations and punishable amounts of ending lag. However, forward smash, down smash and Yoshi Bomb also suffer from other particular flaws. Forward smash has noticeable start-up lag, down smash's back hit is more effective for KOing than its front hit, and Yoshi Bomb's short range makes it best suited from out of shield. While Yoshi's neutral, forward and back aerials also possess KO potential, their very low base knockback makes them best suited for doing so while near the left or right blast line.
Yoshi gains noticeable benefits from his custom moves. Lick is effectively his best custom move: it is a semi-spike that is powerful enough to KO reliably, yet can also provide function as a horizontal recovery option, thanks to it slightly boosting Yoshi forward. Egg Launch deals more damage and launches opponents away, which can be used as a potent way minimize their chances of recovering. Heavy Egg Roll is slower, but deals much more damage and has armor throughout its duration. Conversely, Light Egg Roll has more power and moves higher and faster, but ends after its bounce. High Jump covers noticeably more distance, but in turn removes Yoshi's only projectile. Star Bomb has less power, but its stars are larger and more damaging. Conversely, Crushing Bomb is strong enough to easily KO opponents of any weight, yet is punishable because of its much slower speed and lack of stars.
Overall, Yoshi is effectively a heavyweight version of the all-rounder archetype, thanks to his lack of glaring issues against the majority of the cast. Due to his strengths and low learning curve, Yoshi has managed to achieve respectable placings at all levels of play, thanks to the likes of Raptor, Sky, Papa Wall, Poltergust, Kamikaze, Seth, Snoop, and Ron. However, Yoshi's easily exploitable weaknesses have nevertheless resulted in his representation remaining below average in competitive play.
Changes from Brawl
Yoshi has been buffed significantly in the transition from Brawl to SSB4. Many of his attacks have more speed and utility, which improve his combo game and grant him new KO set-ups. For the first time since SSB, Yoshi can jump out of shield, which removes his main weakness in Brawl. However, the removal of chain grabbing significantly nerfed his damage racking ability and his already poor grab game. Many of his attacks also deal less damage, while most of his aerials have higher landing lag. Overall, Yoshi's buffs largely outweigh his nerfs, and have resulted in him being noticeably better than in Brawl.
Unlike the majority of the cast, Yoshi's most notable changes from game updates have been fixes to glitches associated with him. Although game updates also granted him buffs and nerfs, the majority of them did so ambivalently. Update 1.0.4 granted Yoshi partial intangibility in certain situations, yet increased the lag of his dash attack, down aerial and Egg Lay. Updates 1.0.6 and 1.1.0 followed similar formats, as they each granted a single buff and a single nerf to his forward smash and back aerial, respectively.
The changes to shield mechanics brought about by updates 1.1.0 and 1.1.1 also indirectly buffed and nerfed Yoshi: they enable his down aerial and Yoshi Bomb to wear down shields much better than before, yet hinder his out of shield options because of his very low traction. Lastly, update 1.1.4 shortened the duration of his invincibility he receives after tripping or during any trip follow-ups aside from his floor attack.
In competitive play
Tier placement and history
Yoshi's perception has been positive since SSB4's release, as players pointed out how his buffs restored his status as a viable choice in competitive play. Despite this, his tournament representation and results have not been high as other characters, with very sparse results from professionals, such as Papa Wall placing 13th at 2GGT: Mexico Saga. As a result, Yoshi was ranked 15th on the first tier list, which resulted in him becoming the second highest ranking mid-tier character after Captain Falcon.
Although Yoshi has achieved more tournament success since then, his continually sparse results negatively affected his tier status in subsequent tier lists. He would be ranked 23rd on the second tier list, but because of tier restructuring and Captain Falcon being reassessed as a high-tier character, Yoshi serendipitously became the highest ranking mid-tier character.
By the time of the third tier list, Yoshi was ranked 29th, which was largely owed to the debut of both Cloud and Bayonetta, both of whom are widely agreed upon as being his most challenging matchups. In addition to resulting in Yoshi losing his status as the highest ranking mid-tier character, this tier drop was tied with Kirby and Pit's for the second largest between the second and third tier lists. As of the fourth and current tier list, Yoshi is ranked 34th, with this tier drop owing to both his results and metagame stagnating.
In Event Matches
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