Yoshi (ヨッシー, Yoshi) is a starter character in Super Smash Bros. Melee. He was announced as a playable character at the E3 2001. Like most of his appearances, he is voiced by Kazumi Totaka, albeit via his recycled voice clips from Yoshi's Story.
He is currently ranked 12th out of 26 on the current tier list, placing him in the D tier. This is a slight drop from his previous placement in Smash 64, where he was ranked 5th out of 12. Yoshi has outstanding combo ability with his double jump cancelling (especially against fast-fallers like Fox), a great aerial game (coupled with the third most powerful meteor smash in the game), and some decent approach options. He can also play mindgames and extend combos with his unpredictable Egg Throw, and has a very reliable finisher in his down smash, which has almost no start-up lag, outstanding reach and knockback, and a very favorable launch angle that is hard to DI against or recover from. Yoshi also has very unique mechanics, such as a knockback reduction armour active during his double jump, which he can use to tank hits or create counter punch opportunities by double jump cancelling out of it. However, his lack of a "true" third jump means he can be vulnerable when hit out of it, or after cancelling it. His high falling speed also makes him a target for combos. Yoshi's shield is also very unique. He cannot jump out of it once in the egg, but cannot be shieldstabbed, and suffers no shieldstun, meaning situations involving his shield play out very differently that they do for the rest of cast. On the other hand, his shield startup animation has invincibility frames, and can be jumped out of -the mechanic known as parry- giving him unique punish opportunities when an opponent hits him during that startup animation.
Yoshi has long been considered to have some of the worst matchups all around, with five matchups considered nearly unwinnable, and only one being considered favorable against Kirby; he also has the dubious distinction of being one of only two characters that have an even matchup against Bowser. However, due to large innovations in Yoshi's metagame by aMSa, as well as strong tournament placements by him, Yoshi's matchups have been debated in the Melee community, and his placement has greatly improved in the most recent tier lists. Yoshi has also seen a significant increase in his playerbase in recent years, thanks to aMSa.
Yoshi does not fall into an specific character archetype, due to a large amount of strongly varying characteristics. Yoshi has among the highest jumping prowess in the game, as well as a very high air speed, fast falling speed, low traction, and fast dashing speed. As a result of these properties, Yoshi has the fifth longest wavedash. He is also a heavyweight, giving him great survivabilty all around, and when combined with his super armor on his double jump, it's somewhat common for Yoshi to survive at over 200% damage.
Among Yoshi's greater strengths is his air game. His high air speed and a highly maneuverable midair jump, as well as fast, low-lag, sometimes multi-hitting aerials, aid his comboing game; the addition of a meteor smash via his forward air also gives him a viable combo finisher. Adding to this, Yoshi's small short hop, above average falling speed and low-lag aerials give him a good and useful SHFFL. Additionally, Yoshi's aerial attacks themselves can be of significant power; his neutral and up aerial have KO potential, as does his forward aerial due to its meteor smash potential. Yoshi's down aerial is also one of the most damaging attacks in all the game; if all hits connect, it can deal 53% (38% in PAL) on the outset, aided by a variety of weak meteor smash hitboxes. Adding to this rather strong aerial game, Yoshi can also double jump cancel, leading to a variety of interesting possibilities and mind games in his combos.
Yoshi's ground approach is also good, due to a variety of ground-based tactics. In addition to a down tilt with semi-spike and fixed knockback properties, Yoshi has among the most flexible projectiles in all the game; Egg Throw is a powerful spacing tool as the eggs can be aimed in nearly limitless trajectories, allowing them to aid in camping on the ledge, playing mindgames against opponents, disrupting enemy recoveries, and extending combos. Yoshi's grab game is also good; in addition to a ranged grab, Yoshi's up and down throws can lead to a variety of combos, and his forward and back throws can force edgeguarding situations.
Historically, people considered one of Yoshi's biggest flaws to be his lack of a true third jump, which was thought to make his recovery game rather polarizing. His midair jump was known to have its advantages; it is the longest-traveling jump in the game, goes a considerable distance due to his good air speed, and comes with armor frames, which makes edgeguarding Yoshi a surprisingly difficult ordeal unless the edgeguarder has extremely powerful attacks or Yoshi is at a very high percentage. However, if Yoshi does end up interrupted during his recovery, he will often be knocked back far enough to where he cannot recover with a directional air dodge, sending him to his doom. While this remains true to a certain extent -Yoshi does have offstage situations where he will be extremely vulnerable and characters that have quick kill setups at low %- his recovery options are not as limited as they were thought to be. Yoshi is notable for being the only character in the game lacking an up special recovery, as Jigglypuff's Sing can now be used if jumped and directly below ledges.
Yoshi's shield is unique in that it is an egg that completely protects his body, leading to an impossibility of shield stabbing and it also has the unusual property of randomly perfectly shielding attacks, including grabs. Additionally, when Yoshi is light shielding and is hit by an enemy, he will slide an abnormally far distance away, especially if the attack has a great deal of knockback; this property of Yoshi's shield allows him to keep himself safe. While his spot dodge and rolls are decent, he is notably unable to jump out of his shield. This limits his punish or escape options in some situations when put on the defensive, as he is unable to wavedash or do a short hopped aerial out of shield to capitalize on an enemy's mistakes, and slow grab is slow can be outspeced, making it mostly impractical to punish an attack on his shield with a shield grab. However, to make up for this, Yoshi's shield also has the unique property that it suffers no shieldstun, meaning that Yoshi can act out of shield when hit faster than any other character, giving him access to exclusive punish and escape options on block.
Changes from Smash 64 to Melee
Yoshi received a mix of buffs and nerfs but was nerfed overall. His out of shield game has been nerfed due to the fact he can no longer jump out of his shield making his already poor out of shield game even worse as well as giving him a significant disadvantage while in shield compared to the rest of the cast. In addition to this, his shield grab is slower and his throws are much weaker. His damage output and KO potential have also been considerably decreased making it harder for him to close out stocks. His combo game is also worse in some aspects as some of his moves (such as up tilt) have been altered to give them less combo potential and the introduction of DI and the reduction of hitstun have also made his combo game less consistent. The introduction of meteor canceling has also significantly harmed him as it hinders the reliability of his forward aerial and it does not make him much less vulnerable to meteor smashes himself due to him only having one double jump and his Egg Throw not granting him any extra height.
Yoshi has also seen some buffs. Yoshi's comboing ability remains strong due to the much faster falling speeds, as well as retaining the ability to double jump cancel. Despite the nerfs Yoshi's out of shield game received, his shield no longer suffers from shieldstun and he can still parry out of shield giving him unique options the rest of the cast does not have. Yoshi also benefits from the introduction of directional air dodges as they give him an extra recovery option and allow him to wavedash. As for buffs to his moveset, some of his moves are slightly faster either in terms of startup lag, ending lag or both and his new side special Egg Roll gives him an addition recovery option.
Despite his nerfs, he is still seen as a viable character although he struggles against most of the top tier characters.
Like other characters, Yoshi received some changes in the PAL version of Melee which buffed him overall.
For a gallery of Yoshi's hitboxes, see here.
In Competitive play
According to the most recent character matchup chart, Yoshi has terrible matchups all around. He was thought to only have an advantageous matchup against one character, Kirby, while he was hard countered by five characters (three of which are in the top tier), countered by ten characters, and soft countered by three characters. He was thought to have even matchups with only six characters, most of whom were in the low tier. With new innovations in Yoshi's metagame, however, the vast majority of these matchups are now considered completely inaccurate, based on community consensus, tournament results, and aMSa's own opinions on Yoshi's matchups:
According to aMSa's incomplete matchup spread, Yoshi has good matchups. From Fox to Young Link, he gets soft countered by 6 characters, has 4 even matchups and soft counters 5. Yoshi tends to do well against characters who have limited ways to combat Egg Throw spacing and do not have the attributes to properly challenge his parry, such as Luigi, Mario, and other lower-tiered characters. Ganondorf has the strength in his aerials to break Yoshi's double jump armor, which was one of the reasons that he was originally viewed to beat Yoshi. However, Yoshi's platform movement, good ground and air movement, strong combo game and strong edge guarding game on Ganon allows for him to stay out of Ganon's range while also being able open him up. He also wins the Ice Climbers matchup because he can easily separate and KO them with attacks such as his forward aerial, back aerials and down smash, and even immobilize one of the pair with the otherwise situational Egg Lay. His unique properties also work against the usual strengths of some top-tiered characters as well. The Yoshi matchup is notoriously difficult for Marth in practice; Yoshi has an even matchup against him because Marth has significant trouble edgeguarding and KOing him because of his double jump armor, somewhat low falling speed compared to the rest of the cast and high weight, which removes many of the advantages he usually has in other matchups.
On the other hand, Yoshi does worse against characters who have the tools to harshly punish him or are able to work against his strengths. Even against characters still considered to beat Yoshi, he can still aggravate most of them with his double jump cancel combos. Fox and Captain Falcon, however, can punish Yoshi just as harshly, and are able to use their superior mobility to avoid Yoshi's openings. Fox even has a multi-hit down aerial that breaks through Yoshi's parrying, removing a key component of his defensive game. Peach is arguably Yoshi's worst matchup, as she is not even susceptible to Yoshi's punishes due to her floatiness, breaks through his armor easily with her hard-hitting aerials and down smash, and can crouch cancel down smash many of his approach options at low percentages.
Overall, Yoshi is considered to have decent matchups in the modern metagame, having at least a fighting chance against the strongest characters in the game with several high-tier matchups even considered to be in his favor.
Tier placement and history
Yoshi has historically been viewed as borderline nonviable for high-level play. He was often accused of having a terrible shield game, slow attacks, and an inflexible recovery, all of which many top and high-tiered characters could easily exploit. Yoshi's advantageous properties, such as his deadly double jump cancel combos, ability to parry, and flexible projectile, were not fully developed and written off as gimmicks. Initially starting as a mid-tiered character in the first tier list, Yoshi's standing consistently fell, with only Fumi and Bringer of Death making any significant impacts with him. By the ninth tier list, Yoshi had dropped to 22nd place on the tier list, firmly within the bottom tiers and the fifth worst; by this point, Fumi and the other Yoshi professionals retired from Melee, leaving Yoshi's metagame relatively abandoned in the competitive scene.
Several years later, players such as V3ctorman began to use Yoshi in tournaments, revitalizing and innovating Yoshi's previously stagnant metagame. They pushed Yoshi's punish game, becoming much more consistent at double jump cancelling than professionals in the past, and also showed more uses of Egg Throw, developing it as a zoning and edgeguarding tool. Despite these developments, when the tenth tier list was out Yoshi only rose by one spot, and as a result, he failed to rise out of the bottom tier, and eventually, even V3ctorman suffered from declining tournament placings as more people in his region learned the Yoshi matchup. The only top-level representation for Yoshi was arguably Leffen, who never actually mained him and later dropped him in favor of Fox, thus leaving Yoshi's meta game stagnant once again.
In late 2012 to early 2013, however, aMSa made his professional debut in Japan, taking top 8 in a Japanese tournament with only Yoshi. He later finished 25th place in EVO 2013, sweeping his pools and taking a game off of Mew2King, a placement that convinced the Melee Back Room to move Yoshi up 3 places on the tier list following said tournament, making him a low-mid tier. aMSa later reappeared with Yoshi in several future tournaments, including Apex 2014 and Republic of Fighters 3, and, to the surprise of many, placed 5th at Apex 2015, defeating several renowned players of top-tiered characters, namely Lucky, Silent Wolf, Fly Amanita, and SFAT. aMSa's use of Yoshi was considered completely unique from those of Fumi, Leffen, and other previous Yoshi mains; he showed the use of parrying and spacing that was previously never seen before and demonstrated that Yoshi's ability to punish errors made by opponents was far greater than expected. While the Melee community has not yet updated the matchup chart in response to these developments, Yoshi has risen 6 places in the twelfth American tier list and 8 places in the third PAL Tier List, the best improvement on Melee's tier list, making him a solid mid-tier character.
Yoshi's placement in the current tier list has been on a topic of debate since then. Throughout aMSa's earlier years in the scene, many noted his tendency to perform better overseas than in Japan, suggesting that he won mainly through matchup inexperience. However, in recent times, aMSa's performance has gradually gained momentum; not only has he begun to dominate his region, showing that he has erased any reliance on matchup inexperience from his game, he has been able to continue placing well at majors, placing 9th at GENESIS 5, 9th at GameTyrant Expo 2017, 7th at Full Bloom 4, 7th at Smash Summit 6, 5th at Get On My Level, and 4th at EGLX 2018 while defeating the likes of players such as Hungrybox, Plup, Mew2King, Axe, Wizzrobe, SFAT, and many others. To top all of that, aMSa is currently ranked 9th on the 2018 MPGR, becoming the first top 10 player to main a mid-tier character beside Axe since Shroomed's Dr. Mario in 2014. aMSa's astounding achievements led many professionals such as Mew2King and Armada to believe that Yoshi should be ranked higher, even ranking him around or above top 10. Overall, thanks to aMSa, Yoshi has achieved great results, increasing representation and his metagame developed, causing him to be in reality much better than people thought.
In Classic Mode, Yoshi can appear as an ordinary, giant, metal opponent, or teamed up with Ness or Luigi as well as an ally in team and giant fights. In his appearances in one-on-one fights, he either appears in Yoshi's Island or Yoshi's Story.
Yoshi's appearance in the Adventure Mode occurs halfway through the first stage of the Mushroom Kingdom stage. Once the player reaches an elevated platform, a team of 10 Yoshis will appear, who must all be defeated to continue.
Yoshi and his allies are fought on Yoshi's Story.
Yoshi is featured in the following event matches:
In addition to the normal trophy about Yoshi as a character, there are two trophies about him as a fighter, unlocked by completing both Adventure and All-Star modes respectively with Yoshi on any difficulty: