Zero Suit Samus (SSBB)
Zero Suit Samus (ゼロスーツサムス, Zero Suit Samus), often abbreviated as ZSS, 0SS, or Zamus, is a newcomer that appears in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. She is voiced by Alésia Glidewell, who also voices Krystal from Star Fox and the Assist Trophy Knuckle Joe.
Zero Suit Samus can be played as by using Samus' Zero Laser, inputting Samus' up and down taunt rapidly, or by holding the L/R button (Gamecube/Classic controller), Z button (Nunchuk), or the - button (with a name that sets the minus button as Shield) while selecting Samus. In The Subspace Emissary she can be selected over Samus in The Great Maze and the post-game by hovering over Samus' slot and pressing the aforementioned buttons. She also can transform back by using her Final Smash, Power Suit Samus.
Zero Suit Samus ranks 9th on the current Brawl tier list, placing her in the B Tier. She has an amazing aerial and juggle game, possessing very high jumps and low-lag aerial attacks that do good knockback and damage, with her back aerial being especially useful. She also has very fast mobility, noticeable especially in her jumps, and some of the game's most versatile recovery options, including her midair jump, side and up specials, and down special. Zero Suit Samus also has an effective spacing tool in her Plasma Whip (albeit not being very fast), powerful KO options, such as her back aerial, Plasma Whip, and Flip Jump, as well as a great combo starter and KO setup in her down smash. Her Power Suit Pieces, in addition, are among the most powerful items in the game, and at the beginning of a match are very effective at damaging and shutting down the opponent. However, she has a poor ground game, with her tilts and smashes doing below average damage and mediocre knockback (though some of her ground attacks are still effective for combos), and a grab that despite its range, is one of the laggiest in the game, even when used as a pivot grab (unlike some other tether grabs). Because of this, her out of shield and defensive game (outside of maneuverability) are poor, due to lacking safe options on shield (her grab is unreliable due to its heavy lag), making herself prone to heavy shield pressure, and despite her good air game, she lacks reliable options for enemies below her; this can make her vulnerable to juggling from characters such as Meta Knight. Zero Suit Samus is additionally reliant on tether recoveries that can be edgehogged, although her high jumps and Flip Jump make her suffer less from this than other characters with tethers. Her advantages lead to rather above average matchups across the board, but this also causes her to suffer against higher-tiered characters. Despite her flaws, Zero Suit Samus has achieved strong tournament results.
Zero Suit Samus is a tall lightweight who boasts excellent mobility overall. She has the fourth fastest dashing and walking speeds, tied with Bowser and Marth for the 11th fastest air speed, tied with Wolf and Sonic for the third highest traction, tied with Ness, Pikachu, and Zelda for the sixth fastest air acceleration, and tied with Diddy Kong for the third highest jump. Her falling speed and gravity are above-average (15th and 13th highest, respectively). She is also able to crawl and wall jump, much like in her home series. On the downside, she has only a few amount of reliable KO options, with only her forward aerial, back aerial, up aerial, Plasma Whip, and Flip Kick reliably KO'ing under 125%. This puts her in the "hit-and-run" archetype group.
She starts the match with a huge advantage over most characters in that she has readily throw-able projectiles that are extremely powerful and combo well with her glide toss. She can dash quickly, crawl, wall jump, combined with one of the highest initial jump and second jump, allowing her to reach characters that are higher. Many of her attacks have the advantage of coming out fast, and can combo most heavy weights with her aerials very easily.
Her side special has a huge sweetspot at the end (one of the biggest in the game, second to Zelda's side special) and the sour spot has the ability to push the opponent into the sweet spot, effectively KOing most characters around 110% if it's not stale. Her down smash has deceptively long range, and sets up many combos, as well as KOing ones. Zero Suit Samus is unique in the fact that many of her moves have large hit boxes and easy to hit sweet spots, this can devastate opponents as they are dealt a barrage of aerials and fast ground attacks. Her up smash is excellent because it has fast start-up and its great to stop incoming opponents from above and puts them in good position for juggling.
One of her few KO moves is her up aerial, a very fast flip kick that can KO as low as 90% if opponent is near the upper blast line and a very large sweetspot for such a powerful move. Both of her high jumps compliment this strategy. It is most often used to combo with a down throw or an up smash. She also has 3 meteor smashes, her flip jump kick, if hit when she sticks her foot out, will spike opponents hard (even without doing this, the kick is still somewhat powerful and can KO most characters at fairly moderate damage percentages with strong horizontal knockback), her up special, if hit at the tip, will meteor smash anyone it hits and her down aerial (although this is an unreliable spike). Both of these can be used for any situation, giving her multiple surprise KO methods.
Zero Suit Samus, if mastered, is extremely dangerous and many characters can find themselves down a stock or worse if they aren't careful. Her attacks and combos require a lot of precision which makes her a difficult character to learn and play effectively. The stale move negation can complicate her to get a KO, in spite of her having only a few KO moves and good edgeguarding skills. All of her tilts are quick (her up tilt has high ending lag), with decent range, and have the added bonus of launching her opponents into the air. She has a situational though passable out of shield game (making herself prone to heavy shield pressure). Her aerial game is powerful with lethal kicks and long-ranged attacks, but her very high short hop makes approaches with aerials difficult. Her projectile, the Paralyzer, can set opponents up for KO's and does a little bit of damage. However, it's slow and needs to be charged up to go far. Her tether grab has incredible range (tied with Olimar´s Red Pikmin, only losing to White and Blue Pikmin, although her grab possesses the longest range in aerial opponents), but it leaves her vulnerable if it misses which is dangerous for a such light character. Her smashes compliment her perfectly. Her up and down smashes are useful for their range. The down smash is perfect for set up KO's, and the up smash makes for an excellent launcher, and can stop opponents' midair combos, while her side smash is quite weak, in terms of damage and power, with high ending lag and considerable start-up lag, but with good range, even behind her. In terms of recovery, she can use her Plasma Wire and Whip as a tether recovery, but it can be stopped by edge-hogging, although due her air speed and second jump being fairly high and combining with flip jump she can usually come back to the stage without relying on her tether.
In competitive play
Zero Suit Samus is soft countered by six characters, has eight even matchups, soft counters thirteen characters, counters six characters, and hard counters three characters. Against other top/high tier characters, she has six disadvantageous matchups, two even matchups, and one advantageous matchup. According to the current SmashBoards matchup chart, her matchup spread has the eleventh highest unweighted rank, tenth highest total, and the eleventh highest weighted total. Zero Suit Samus tends to do well against characters who she can juggle and beat in the air easily, as well as characters who lack considerable range and ability to counter her great movement speed. However, she has trouble against characters with good projectiles, especially if they have a reflector to counter her Power Suit Pieces. This is perhaps most noticeable with Falco, who has both a very useful projectile and a ranged reflector. Zero Suit Samus also has a bit of trouble against characters who can space against her easily, such as Marth who can do so on the ground and in the air alike. She is one of only four characters (along with Meta Knight, Toon Link, and Peach) to have an advantage against the Ice Climbers, as she can outspace them with her Plasma Whip to avoid getting grabbed as easily.
Tier placement and history
Zero Suit Samus was originally a mid tier character, ranked 21st on the first tier list (September 2008). However, as Zero Suit Samus mains such as Snakeee and Nick Riddle showed how effective her aerial game and combo abilities are, she rose to 16th place on the second tier list (January 2009), then stayed at 15th until the fifth tier list (September 2010), where she jumped into the high tiers, at 13th place. She rose again to 12th in the sixth tier list (July 2011), and 10th in the seventh list (April 2012). Due to Salem winning Apex 2013 using only Zero Suit Samus, she rose to 9th place in the eighth and current tier list, as of April 2013. Some people even believe that she belongs in the bottom of the top tiers; whether her current position is accurate or should be higher has been disputed.
Role in The Subspace Emissary
Zero Suit Samus is first seen breaking into the base of the Subspace Army. Soon she comes across Pikachu being drained of its electrical power. Samus uses her whip to break the container the Pikachu is being held in, summoning a security force of R.O.B.s. Later, she comes across her Power Suit, but is confronted by two Shadow Bug clones mimicking the Power Suit.
After reacquiring her Power Suit, Samus and her new companion Pikachu come across Ridley. He grabs Samus and starts to drag her against the wall, until Pikachu returns Samus' favor and uses Thunder on Ridley, causing him to drop Samus. An infuriated Ridley attacks. Once they defeat him, the duo exits the base and come across a cave.
Samus and Pikachu make their way to the Subspace Bomb Factory and find the Ancient Minister with the R.O.B. Squad. They prepare to fight, but then realize that he looks very sad. Soon, Captain Falcon, Olimar, Diddy Kong and Donkey Kong find the factory and enter. A hologram of Ganondorf appears and orders the R.O.B. Squad to activate the Subspace Bombs in the factory. The Ancient Minister tries to stop them, but is set on fire when Ganondorf orders them to retaliate. After The Ancient Minister is revealed to be a R.O.B. himself, the characters set out and all join the quest.
Samus helps the others to fight Meta Ridley, flees the island, gathers with almost all the rest of the characters, enters the subspace, is defeated by Tabuu and revived by the King Dedede, Ness and Luigi. She can help to defeat Tabuu in the end.
After Zero Suit Samus reclaims the Samus suit, the players have the option to use her Zero Suit form in other levels.
Since Samus and Zero Suit Samus share the same trophy base, there are some cases in which certain stickers will not affect one of them. Since Smash Balls don't appear in Adventure Mode, if one transforms into Zero Suit Samus, they will be unable to change back until the end of the level (or, in The Great Maze, a save point). Aside from use of items, only Leg, Weapon, and Energy stickers will affect both characters. That said, all of Zero Suit Samus's moves consist of Leg or Weapon attacks barring the first hit of the jab, Forward Throw and Down Smash.
In Event Matches