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 from Yoshi's Story, SSB64, Melee, and Brawl.
Yoshi is 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 national-level tournament success, 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 ranking is viewed by some top 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; fast dashing speed(the fourteenth fastest) and above average 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 and make him somewhat floaty despite being heavy, 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. Outside of this, 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. However, they have average damage outputs; below-average base knockback; and low knockback growth, which 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 lag. 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 Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Yoshi has been buffed overall in the transition from Brawl to SSB4. Many of his attacks have more speed, are stronger and have more utility, while the issues that plagued him in Brawl were fixed: thanks to the changes to hitstun canceling, his combo game has improved to the point of granting him new KO set-up, and his smash attacks while dealing less damage are stronger. Yoshi's biggest buff however was to his shield game which was previously the main issue that plagued him. Yoshi's shield grab is faster and for the first time since Smash 64, Yoshi can jump out of shield. The other issues which plagued his shield in Brawl such as his longer shield drop, his inability to powershield cancel and his inability to throw items out of a roll were all fixed, making his out of shield game much better; no longer being the worst in the game by a huge margin (although his out of shield game is still rather poor). The only new disadvantages Yoshi has while in shield is that he cannot shield platform drop and his spot dodge is significantly worse (going from one of the best to being fairly mediocre) but the buffs to his shields far outweigh these nerfs.
However, Yoshi has also received some noticeable nerfs. Yoshi's grab game was made even worse. He can no longer air release his opponents while he is pummeling them and the general changes to air releases hinder him more than almost any other character as he has now lost all of the followups he had out of an air release and the removal of chain grabbing further exacerbates this issue. His previously excellent pivot grab is also much laggier making it far less spammable and much easier to punish. His damage output is also lower and his forward and up tilts are laggier making them worse spacing tools and his down tilt is much weaker. His aerial game has also seen various downgrades. His air speed is lower, neutral aerial lingers for a shorter amount of time, forward aerial is weaker and has a stricter auto-cancel window, up aerial is weaker and down aerial has less edgeguarding potential. Back aerial while connecting more reliably and having a stronger final hit, it only has three hits making it weaker and it has drastically reduced combo potential as the first two hits have higher knockback and altered angles and the move has much higher ending and landing lag while also being unable to auto-cancel in a short hop which also greatly hinders its safety and spacing potential. The eggs from his Egg Throw also deal less damage and Yoshi can no longer edge cancel Egg Toss hindering its camping potential when used at the ledge although Egg Throw is faster.
Overall, Yoshi's main issue from Brawl was fixed resulting in him being stronger overall especially when relative to the cast although the general changes to Smash 4's mechanics do not benefit him as much as other characters. While Yoshi was initially regarded highly when Smash 4 was first released, his perception overtime decreased as many characters were buffed significantly more than he was and the inclusion of Bayonetta and Cloud proved to be problematic for him. When combined with his overall low representation, he is now generally agreed upon to be a mid tier character.
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 many considered him to be as one of the best characters in the game with Japan putting him at 2nd on their 3DS tier list. Players pointed out how his buffs made him an extremely threatening character with "A lot of potential". Despite this, his tournament representation and results was never as high as some of the 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 with some smashers still claiming that his spot is debatable.
Although Yoshi has achieved more tournament success since then, his continually sparse results negatively affected his tier status in subsequent tier lists. On top of this, the additions of Cloud, Bayonetta and Corrin hurt Yoshi as they proved to be very troublesome matchups. Marth and Lucina were also buffed durring patch 1.1.4 and they also proved to be difficult matchups for Yoshi. Yoshi's flaws such as his terrible grab game, poor range, being prone to edgeguarding, and lackluster landing capabilities became much more apparent. 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 as well as his results continuing to be inconsistent and not as impressive as other mid- and high-tier characters. 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 with some smashers like ZeRo claiming that he should be even lower. Other smashers such as ESAM however think that he is slightly underrated and that he should be ranked fairly higher with ESAM putting him above some characters ranked above him such as Link, Ness, Lucas, Pit and Dark Pit
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