Confirmed on the Smash Bros. DOJO!! website on July 24, 2007, Yoshi (ヨッシー, Yoshi) is a returning veteran in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Yoshi is once again voiced by Kazumi Totaka, albeit with recycled voice clips from Yoshi's Story, SSB64, and Melee.
Yoshi currently ranks 27th on the tier list at the last spot of mid tier, a vast drop from his 12th position in Melee, and his worst placement in the series. Yoshi is a unique character; he is a heavyweight with the fastest air speed in Brawl, possesses a recovery that revolves around the best midair jump in Brawl, and possesses a unique shield that does not shrink, making him completely immune to shield stabbing. Yoshi in general has great all around movement speed (possessing a fast walking and dashing speed to compliment his air speed), and fast attacks throughout his moveset. Additionally, Yoshi possesses grab release options on several characters (which include chain grabs on nearly half the cast and a forward aerial meteor smash follow up), which is complimented by one of the best pivot grabs. Yoshi also has among the best horizontal survivability with above-average vertical survivability due to his heavyweight status and average falling speed, good reach all around, a great get off move in his jab, and a great anti-air projectile in Egg Throw. Yoshi has some strong flaws however, the most major of which being his abysmal out of shield options, as he is unable to jump out of shield (the only character with this hindrance), which combines with his slow standing grab and poor roll dodge for one of the worst close up games (resulting in Yoshi being easy to pressure). Yoshi also has an over-reliance on his double jump to recover, making footstool jumps, meteor smashes, or certain special grabs very dangerous to him (although he can air dodge during his second jump to gain invincibility). Other flaws include his slow and laggy standing and dashing grabs and an awkwardly large hurtbox on his nose that makes it easier to hit and space Yoshi. He also has poor KO power, since outside of his forward smash, up aerial and neutral aerial, he lacks other effective finishers, since his up and down smashes are among the weakest and back aerial cannot KO reliably. Overall, this has resulted in average matchups and average tournament results for Yoshi.
Yoshi is a rather heavy character, tied with Wario in weight, but rather small and fast for his weight. He is very maneuverable in the air with a slow falling speed and the fastest air speed in the game, which are not usually attributes found in heavyweights. His moves generally have decent speed (although not as quick as several characters), and his range is good for non-disjointed moves. His Flutter Kick (down aerial) can hit for 35% if used correctly, making it among the most damaging attacks in the game (although this can be escaped with SDI). Arguably the most notable aspect of Yoshi's moveset is his midair jump, which is the farthest-reaching in the game, and gives him limited knockback resistance during the ascent. As long as Yoshi has his double jump, he can also be an effective edge guarder, either finishing enemies off with his meteor smashes, or using his neutral aerial at the right time to knock them back even further. This also allows Yoshi to perform a pseudo-wavedash, known as the Dragonic Reverse, which allows him to move and attack somewhat spontaneously. However, it is very difficult to execute, so its actual usage is limited.
One significant flaw with Yoshi is that, because of his minuscule third jump, Footstool Jumps, grabs (such as special grabs that can catch in the air), and attacks with enough knockback to cancel his midair jump's resistance can be devastating to Yoshi should they be performed while he is in his second jump. He is quite speedy on the ground, but he has few effective ways to advance on the opponent. Yoshi's standing grab range has lots of start up lag, and his dash grab is very punishable, with both being relatively short for tether grabs. However, Yoshi arguably has the best pivot grab in the game. His specials are largely situational due to a mix of poor range and speed. Egg Throw, for example, is an effective projectile attack that can help change directions in midair and can help recovery, but it can be hard to use because it travels in an arc, which can make it hard to hit with. Although his shield gives him immunity to shield stabbing and lasts slightly longer than others, it has a long exiting animation (taking 17 frames to shield drop instead of 7 frames for anyone else) and it cannot be jumped out of, giving him arguably the worst out of shield options in the game when considering his very slow standing grab, making him have a near impossible time punishing the opponent for hitting Yoshi's shield. His roll is also poor, though he has one of the best spot dodges in the game.
Yoshi's major advantage is in his grab-release on a large number of cast members. He has a grab-release on at least nineteen cast members, and he can grab-release-spike seven of those.
Yoshi is a character with very clear advantages and disadvantages. Many of his advantageous match-ups stem from his grab-release or other tricks he can pull off, but his relatively short and laggy grab can be an impediment (though he can pivot grab to remedy this). Yoshi's extremely high learning curve and difficulty in using his chain grabs on some characters means that only dedicated Yoshi players can do very well with him.
Changes from Melee to Brawl
Yoshi has received noticeable buffs, such as a much better grab game due to his new air release option on a large portion of the cast and his new effective pivot grab, his superior mobility especially in the air, a majorly improved recovery due to him now performing a small jump when using Egg Throw and he was initially considered to be overall greatly buffed in the transition from Melee to Brawl due to him being thought as a low tier character, or even among the worst. However, as Yoshi's metagame in Melee developed, he is now considered much better that he was thought to be before, while the changes caused by the transition to Brawl caused him to be significantly nerfed.
Yoshi has received several big direct nerfs, and the new mechanics introduced in Brawl overall plauged him. His KO potential was drastically reduced, as the severely decreased knockback to many of his attacks, most notably his smash attacks, sweetspotted forward aerial and Yoshi Bomb and damage to his down air removed down smash and Yoshi Bomb's KO potential and up smash is now among the weakest, leaving him capable of KOing reliably only with his now weak forward smash, his neutral aerial and his up aerial, while Egg Roll no longer gives him horizontal distance, making it useless for recovering and removes its utility outside of momentum canceling, and the drastic changes applied to his double jump and worsened comboing ability due to the loss of double jump canceling and the addition of the hitstun canceling have harmed Yoshi very significantly. Yoshi's biggest nerf however is his already abysmal shield. His shield is significantly worse going from being different but still useful in Melee to being almost unusable compared to the rest of the cast. He still cannot jump out of shield and has lost all his advanced techniques out of shield, which is an exacerbated problem in Brawl's defensive play, where a character's out of shield game is much more important. This is made worse by the fact that Yoshi now suffers from the same amount of shieldstun as the rest of the cast. His shield grab while improved from Melee is still among the slowest in the game and is extremely situational at best. The only positives his shield has are the fact it still cannot be shield poked and that he possesses one of the best spot dodges in the game which has had its invincibility increased from Melee. This causes him to have the worst defensive game in Brawl, with terrible out of shield options and the loss of all his advanced techniques.
As such, his buffs are too minor to compensate for the intensity of the nerfs he received, making him a much less effective character than in Melee.
Chain grab list
The following characters can be chain grabbed through an air release by Yoshi, though some are harder to chain grab than others:
In competitive play
Yoshi has average matchups all around. He is hard countered by one character, Falco, countered by four characters, soft countered by eleven characters, has 10 even matchups, soft counters five characters, counters three characters, and hard counters two characters. Yoshi struggles against characters who can shut down his approach options, such as Falco and Olimar. On the other hand, Yoshi does well against characters that can be chain grabbed through an air release, such as Bowser and Ganondorf.
Tier placement and history
Opinions on Yoshi's viability have greatly fluctuated throughout SSBB's metagame. During the initial release of SSBB, Yoshi was very flawed due to his shield being notoriously bad, low knockback on his moves, and poor out of shield options. As a result, Yoshi was considered to be one of the worst characters in the game due to his poor matchups and poor tournament results, leading him to being ranked 32nd on the first tier list. Due to his low tier placements on tier lists, many smashers predicted that he would fail to rise out of low tier and he wouldn't do well in the future.
However, players such as Poltergust started to gain good tournament results with Yoshi, notably WHOBO 3, where he placed 17th, as well as 2nd in Brawl low tier singles using only Yoshi. Because of this, Yoshi then rose into mid tier on the sixth tier list (July 2011), where he ranked 28th place. Yoshi also jumped up two places in the seventh tier list (April 2012), his highest placement so far. He is currently ranked 27th in mid tier in the eighth and current tier list, as of April 2013. His current placing is, however, debatable by the community: there are some players that think Yoshi should be slightly higher, while some players think Yoshi should be even lower.
Role in The Subspace Emissary
After removing the Master Sword from a pedestal in a forest, Link encounters Yoshi, who is sleeping on a tree stump. However, the passing Halberd drops Shadow Bugs, which in turn form Primids. Peaceful sleep is now impossible, so Yoshi teams up with Link to fight them off.
Yoshi's next role in the story depends on which princess Kirby saved at the stadium. If Peach was rescued, Yoshi and Link battle against a Shadow bug clone of Peach (who was recently trophied by Bowser), who was trying to trophify an unsuspecting Mario and Pit until Link sliced the cannon in half. After the battle, the trophy disintegrates. Thinking that they killed the real princess, Mario and Pit attack Link and Yoshi. If Zelda was saved, then Mario and Pit would fight a Shadow Bug clone of her instead, and Link and Yoshi would attack Mario and Pit. Either way, both teams fight each other. After Link and Yoshi/Mario and Pit defeat the opposing characters, King Dedede passes by in the cargo and snags the trophies with a metal arm, while Link/Mario notices the real trophy of Zelda/Peach in the back. After King Dedede raises his fist in triumph, Kirby jumps onto the cargo and performs a Final Cutter, severing the arm and reviving the trophies. Pit/Link quickly hits the cargo with an arrow as it passes by, damaging it. Kirby, Link, Yoshi, Mario, and Pit then team up to find Dedede's castle. After going through a set of caves, they arrive at the castle, only to find it in ruins from an ambush by Bowser. They only find a hole in the wall and they venture through a second set of caves until they catch up to Bowser at a cliff. They try to stop him from taking Zelda/Peach, but fail. Bowser then takes the princess' trophy up to the Halberd.
Later on, they find the Ancient Minister setting off a Subspace bomb, and see the real regret that he feels in this deed. As the bomb goes off, Yoshi carries Mario to safety by running really fast, while Pit, Kirby and Link fly overhead on a warp star. Yoshi carrying Mario in this SSE cutscene reflects on how Yoshi was used for transportation for Mario (most notably in Yoshi's Island and Super Mario World).
Yoshi joins his companions when they reinforce Marth's team in the Canyon. Later, he joins the heroes in the battle against the Subspace Gunship and again against Tabuu. After being trophied by Tabuu's Off Waves, Yoshi is revived by Kirby, and afterward, joins Sonic and the others against Tabuu and successfully defeat him to end the Subspace Invasion.
In Event Matches