Yoshi (ヨッシー, Yoshi) is a playable character in Super Smash Bros. 4. His return to the series was confirmed during the April 8th, 2014 Super Smash Bros. Direct, making him the last of the "perfect-attendance crew" to be announced. Additionally, he was among the first wave of amiibo figures. Kazumi Totaka reprises his role as Yoshi's voice actor, albeit via voice clips recycled from earlier installments of Super Smash Bros. and every game Yoshi has spoken in since Yoshi's Story.
Yoshi is currently ranked 23rd out of 58 on the tier list, placing him at the top of the D tier and making him the highest ranking mid-tier character. This is a vast improvement from his placement in Brawl, where he was ranked 27th out of 38. Yoshi sports a healthy mix of speed and power, as well as impressive aerial mobility for a heavyweight. He boasts one of the fastest air speeds in the game (which is surpassed only by Cloud's Limit Break status, the lightest possible Mii Brawler, Wario-Man, and Giga Mac) and a double jump that grants both the farthest distance out of any double jump in the game and nearly 70 frames of armor. Altogether, these traits make Yoshi difficult to contend with in the air.
Another of Yoshi's strengths is the utility of his special moveset: Egg Lay is a command grab, Egg Roll can force approaches, Egg Throw is an effective and versatile projectile that also aids his recovery and has mindgame potential when B-reversed multiple times, and Yoshi Bomb can KO and heavily pressure shields. Another valuable trait is his shield, which is completely immune to shield stabbing and provides many out of shield options should the opponent be stuck in lag. Yoshi is also able to jump out of his shield (which was previously possible in SSB), which further improves its reliability.
Yoshi has also gained a nimble and improved combo game, courtesy of his neutral attack, dash attack and tilt attacks. When coupled with his very quick frame data, Yoshi can rush in and deal heavy damage to an opponent with his highly damaging moves so long as he can find an opening. These factors make Yoshi not only a challenge to intercept, but can force the opponent to play cautiously, as a single mistake on their part can be all it takes for Yoshi to turn the tide and regain momentum in his favor, regardless of the opponent's damage.
However, Yoshi also 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 little to no utility due to their unimpressive knockback and glaring inability to initiate combos. His defensive presence on the ground is surprisingly lacking despite his dependable shield, as his rolls and sidesteps are short-distanced, among the slowest in the game, and have some of the lowest intangibility frames in the game. As such, Yoshi can be susceptible to shield pressure should the opponent close the gap between them.
To add further stress on his struggle with shield pressure, his traction, which is the third lowest in the game, significantly hinders his otherwise useful and versatile out of shield options. This makes his out of shield game rather underwhelming, if not poor, as these factors limit the amount of times he can attempt an out of shield punish without getting punished himself. This makes close quarters combat against characters with better out of shield games, such as Little Mac, rather risky and unrewarding. Yoshi's KOing ability is also noticeably unimpressive for a heavyweight: his smash attacks have short ranges, punishable ending lag and very short durations, his up aerial's duration is only 1 frame long, and his neutral, forward and back aerials are best suited for edgeguarding.
Lastly, Yoshi has very minimal vertical recovery outside of his double jump, as his primary recovery move, Egg Throw, offers little vertical momentum and deteriorates in distance when used consecutively without landing on the ground. Despite his excellent air speed, these traits make Yoshi very vulnerable to aggressive edgeguarding should his double jump not be available.
Overall, Yoshi's strengths are widely considered to outweigh his weaknesses. Thanks to his impressive mobility, fast frame data, and his moveset's utility, as well as his fairly low learning curve, Yoshi can be a force to be reckoned with when mastered. Despite having these positive traits and a playerbase of respectable size and skill, his rather exploitable weaknesses have resulted in a minimal presence at national tournaments. However, Yoshi has nonetheless achieved varying degrees of success: Firefly and Nikes have won a few local tournaments in both singles and doubles play, DIO has achieved a few top 10 and top 50 placings at the regional level, and Raptor, Sky and The Wall have achieved a few top 50 placings at the supernational level.
As in previous installments, Yoshi is a heavyweight that noticeably deviates from his weight class' archetype. He possesses slightly above average walking speed, average air acceleration, above average dashing speed, and the fastest air speed. However, he has among the slowest falling and fast falling speeds, below average gravity, and the third lowest traction. These traits give Yoshi excellent aerial mobility and great ground mobility, yet do not leave him frail or susceptible to juggling. Additionally, he has the ability to crawl.
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, allowing follow-ups or edgeguarding opportunities, with his up tilt being a reliable combo starter into itself, neutral aerial, up aerial, or up smash at low percentages. His dash attack has decent knockback and a lot of momentum, which allow for easy cross-ups and make it tricky to punish. His smash attacks possess decent speed and ranges, as well as fairly high power, with his forward smash being his most reliable out of the three in regard to KOing. His down smash is a semi-spike like his down tilt, but possesses much more power in comparison, which also makes it good at edgeguarding.
His air game is also versatile and synchronizes very well with his attributes. His neutral aerial has a lasting hitbox and comes out very quickly (on frame 3, making it the second fastest neutral aerial in the game), making it great for stopping approaches and breaking out of combos or juggles. His forward aerial can either meteor smash or diagonally launch opponents with high knockback, and is capable of autocanceling from a short hop. His up aerial is his strongest aerial, as it can easily KO opponents of any weight class near the upper blast line, and also possesses disjointed range. Yoshi's back aerial is excellent at edgeguarding, because the first two hits launch opponents at the auto-link angle and the third hit has high base knockback. Finally, his renowned down aerial hits repeatedly and is the most damaging aerial in the game, as it can deal a maximum of 32% and strongly pressure shields. It can even be followed up by a Yoshi Bomb for a shield break if it is autocanceled from a full hop and the opponent still has their shield up by the end.
Yoshi's special moveset is also very useful. Egg Lay immobilizes opponents and allows for free hits. If opponents do not break out of the egg while near the edge, they will also be KO'd or unable to recover. Egg Roll can be used instead of dashing as a retreating option and deal some damage in the process. Egg Throw gives Yoshi a dependable projectile that can be used to stop approaches, allow Yoshi to close in on the opponent and, when in the air and continuously B-reversed, trick the other player as to where Yoshi is going to go next. Lastly, Yoshi Bomb can be used from out of shield as a surprise KOing option due to its power, or even as an alternative to fast falling.
However, Yoshi has noticeable weaknesses. His main weakness is his vertical recovery. While his attributes alone allow for long horizontal recovery, Egg Throw grants only minimal vertical distance. Even though he has the highest midair jump with a certain amount of launch resistance, he is overly reliant on it to recover, 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 made by Yoshi off-stage could potentially prove fatal.
Another very glaring weakness is his poor grab game, which is often considered to be among the worst in the game. His grabs, despite having good ranges, have 14 frames of start-up and high ending lag, making them very punishable if missed. His pummel is the only positive trait of his grab game, thanks to its quick speed and decent damage output. Yoshi's forward and back throws are his fastest and strongest throws, but they cannot KO until 270% and have only three follow-ups (dash attack, up smash and forward aerial), with none of them being guaranteed. His down throw is too slow and its base knockback is too high to combo effectively. Lastly, his up throw is too weak to KO even well past 350%, yet too strong to combo and too slow for pressuring. Finally, Yoshi's ability to escape pressure is limited, since his rolls do not grant much distance and, along with his sidestep, are among the slowest in the game.
Lastly, Yoshi also has trouble in regard to his KOing ability. Despite having speed and versatility, his KOing ability is outmatched by most of his fellow heavyweights, such as Captain Falcon, Wario, or Link. His smash attacks and up aerial are often the most effective at finishing off his opponents, while his neutral, forward and back aerials are best suited for edgeguarding. However, his smash attacks and up aerial have very short durations, while his smash attacks are further burdened with short ranges and punishable ending lag.
Yoshi gains noticeable benefits from his custom moves. Lick can act as a potential KOing option thanks to its high knockback. Egg Launch deals more damage and can launch opponents off-stage, thus minimizing their chances of recovering and giving Yoshi some space. Heavy Egg Roll is slower, but deals much more damage and has launch resistance throughout. Conversely, Light Egg Roll has more power and moves higher and faster, but ends after the bounce. High Jump gives more distance, improving vertical and horizontal recovery, but at the cost of Yoshi's projectile game due to no eggs being thrown. Star Bomb has less power, but the stars are larger and more damaging. Conversely, Crushing Bomb is slower and emits no stars, which make it easily punishable. However, it has much more power, as it can KO as low as 80%.
Overall, Yoshi fits the all-rounder archetype, much like Mario and Pit. As a result, he has no glaring issues against the majority of the cast, even though his weaknesses are easily exploitable. However, his tournament results and representation have remained below average in competitive play since the game's release, with few professionals such as Poltergust, Raptor and The Wall achieving good tournament results with him.
Changes from Brawl
Yoshi has been significantly buffed in the transition from Brawl to SSB4. Many of his attacks have more speed and utility in addition to improving his combo game. He also has less trouble KOing with some of his attacks thanks to his new KO set-ups and his KOing options having been strengthened. Yoshi can now jump out of shield, removing his main weakness in Brawl. However, Yoshi received sizable nerfs to his damage racking ability. Many of his attacks also deal less damage, most of his aerials have higher landing lag and he can no longer perform his powerful air release chain grab. In addition, his fastest grab (pivot grab) has more ending lag. Despite these nerfs, Yoshi's buffs have had a significantly greater impact, leading to him being a better character than in Brawl.
Game updates have brought Yoshi a few slight buffs and nerfs. These include an increased to the start-up lag of Egg Lay in update 1.0.4 and his forward smash's range being decreased in update 1.0.6. However, he has also obtained a few buffs that help compensate. Yoshi also benefits from the changes to shield mechanics brought about by updates 1.1.0 and 1.1.1, which allow his down aerial and Yoshi Bomb to wear down shields much better.
In competitive play
Tier placement and history
Yoshi's perception has been positive since SSB4's release, as players pointed out his abundance of buffs had led him to become once again a viable choice in competitive play. Even so, his tournament representation and results have not been high as other characters, with very few professionals making good impressions with Yoshi, with one example being The Wall placing 13th at 2GGT: Mexico Saga. As a result, he was ranked 15th on the first tier list, placing him in the C tier and making him the second highest ranking mid-tier character. He then saw a drop on the second tier list, now being ranked 23rd and being placed at the top of the D tier. Despite his lower ranking, Yoshi is now the highest ranking mid-tier character due to the restructuring of the tiers.
In Event Matches