Zero Suit Samus (SSBU)
Zero Suit Samus (ゼロスーツサムス, Zero Suit Samus) is a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, officially confirmed on June 12th, 2018. Once again, Zero Suit Samus is unconnected to the standard playable Samus, although she temporarily transforms into the latter during her Final Smash. Zero Suit Samus is classified as Fighter #29.
How to unlock
Complete one of the following:
With the exception of the third method, Zero Suit Samus must then be defeated on Brinstar.
Zero Suit Samus is a tall, lightweight character, similar to Zelda and Rosalina, which alongside her low weight (tied with Meta Knight for the seventh lowest) gives her poor endurance. However, much like other rushdown characters of her playstyle, her mobility is among the best in the game; she possesses the 2nd fastest initial dash in the game, the 7th fastest run speed, the 9th fastest air speed, the 15th fastest air acceleration, and the 3rd highest jump height overall. Altogether, this combination of traits gives her an excellent hit-and-run playstyle.
One of her biggest strengths is her outstanding air game, considered among the best in the cast. While her neutral aerial has noticeable start-up, it is decently disjointed and sends at an excellent angle for combos. This makes it one of her main tools in the neutral and is notable for having several KO confirms into some of her finishing moves. Her forward aerial is also a great combo starter due to its low lag and can be useful for edgeguarding, while it has some KO potential offstage. Her back aerial is fast and has good KO power and can be combo'd into from a neutral aerial at high percents, making it one of her main KO options. Her up aerial is one of her fastest aerials and can be combo'd into itself repeatedly, making it a great juggling tool, namely into Boost Kick. Her down aerial is a stall-then-fall aerial with a meteor smash hitbox; while it is her slowest aerial and easily her most unsafe to use offstage, it can nonetheless be used as a situational KO move. Finally, she is one of the only characters in the game with a grab aerial, which like most other grab aerials has long range and low lag overall, giving her a good approach against aerial foes, while also giving her a niche recovery option.
While her ground game isn't as powerful as her aerials, it still has decent utility. Her neutral attack is notable for coming out instantly on frame 1, making it a reliable anti-pressure tool despite its poor damage output and range. Her forward tilt has good range as well as low lag and can set up tech-chase situations and can trip at low percents when angled downwards, her up tilt is the fastest of its kind at 3 frames of startup and can be used as an anti-air, and her down tilt lowers her hurtbox and is useful as a ranged poking option while also being a decent combo starter. Her down smash has decently sized hitboxes with low ending lag and is an effective combo tool starting from lower percentages while at higher percentages, it can lead into KO moves such as Boost Kick or up smash; however, unlike most other down smashes, it only hits in front of her, meaning it can miss. Lastly, her up smash has impressive vertical range overall, deals high hitstun, has low enough ending lag for some combos at low percentages, and has decent KO power, easily making it one of the best up smashes in Ultimate.
Zero Suit Samus also has a decent grab game, as her grab has a very long range, while all of her throws deal at least 8% damage. Her forward throw can be used for tech chasing, while her back throw can force opponents into unfavorable offstage situations or even lead into her infamous Flip Jump meteor smash. Her up throw is a very strong KO throw (which KO's starting around 170%), and while her down throw is ironically unsuitable for combos unlike other down throws, it can still follow up at low percentages if she acts fast enough.
Finally, her special moveset has strong utility overall. Paralyzer, her neutral special, has a very fast charge time compared to other chargeable projectiles, and starting at mid percentages, will stun opponents long enough for her to be able to follow up. Plasma Whip, her side special, is a long-ranged attack with very strong utility: tapping the button will cause the move to become a multi-hitting KO option that KO's starting at 140% if fresh, while holding the button will cause the move to hit once and knock foes upward. While this version is less suited for offense and has more lag, it still has utility for setting up combos. Boost Kick, her up special, travels a short distance overall for a lightweight, but compensates with having many options that follow up into it (such as neutral and up aerials, Paralyzer and Flip Jump's burying sweetspot), while the last hit is strong enough to KO earlier than her forward smash. Finally, her down special, Flip Jump, is a 45 degree acrobatic jump that does not render her helpless in the air, while its followup kick can meteor smash foes in the air or bury them on the ground, and is fast enough that it will often leave slower characters (such as Ganondorf) in disadvantageous situations.
Zero Suit Samus is not without flaws, however. Perhaps her most infamous flaw lies in her defense: while her recovery is among the most effective in Ultimate due to her abundance of recovery options, her fast air speed and high jumps, her aforementioned weight and tall frame give her very poor endurance, while her recovery options (except for Flip Jump) give ironically short distance on their own, which can make her recovery predictable. This flaw is further stressed with her fast falling speed, as it is easy for characters with sufficiently fast combo attacks (including Mario and Pichu) to perform combos on her (although her frame 2 air dodges can somewhat alleviate this issue).
Her ground game, despite its strengths, is also flawed. While her tilts have passable range, and her up and down smashes are good for followups and KO confirms, her forward smash has high end lag for an attack of its kind and is not strong enough to KO reliably, making it arguably her worst move. Her dash attack is also slow and does not reliably combo unless the opponent DIs incorrectly due to its ending lag, and her down smash, despite its followup potential, is unsafe on hit at low percentages due to its low hitlag and knockback, meaning that the paralyzed opponent(s) can act before she can follow up.
Zero Suit Samus's out-of-shield game can also be rather problematic. While Boost Kick is very fast at frame 6 and can KO very early at the ledge, it lacks sufficient range in front of her and has a very hard time punishing cross-ups out of shield. While the aerial version has more range, it also costs 3 extra frames to start up (due to her jumpsquat) and makes it less reliable for punishing as such. Her up smash acts as a decent out of shield option as its first hit has decent horizontal range but is still frame 10, which while fast for an up smash, is only average startup for an out of shield option. Her rather high short hop also causes her aerials to be unviable out of shield outside of forward aerial on certain characters, and her grab by default is very slow. As such, ZSS's out of shield game suffers immensely if the opponent spaces against her shield well.
Finally, while her grab game has some utility, it is still with flaws. As her throws only deal passable damage at best, while her up throw is her only KO throw, they are only generally used to deal damage if other close-range moves stale. Her grab in general is also very laggy in startup and end lag, meaning that despite its long range, it is easy to punish from any sufficiently fast attack if it misses. Lastly, the nerfs to her down throw, which was easily her best throw from Smash 4, make her grab game more suited for direct offense instead of damage racking strings, giving it limited utility overall.
In the end, Zero Suit Samus retains much of her playstyle from Smash 4, being a hit-and-run character with a strong punishment game, while the transition from Smash 4 to Ultimate has improved her overall mobility and combo tools at the cost of KO power.
Changes from Super Smash Bros. 4
Although being considered a dominating top tier character throughout the lifetime of SSB4 (6th out of 55 characters), Zero Suit Samus has received a mix of buffs and nerfs in the transition to Ultimate, slightly nerfing her directly, but making her one of the few SSB4 top-tier character to be in a similar position overall thanks to the new mechanics.
She has received some significant direct and indirect nerfs, especially directly, and the most notable ones were to her outstanding combo and punish game, which while still potent, have been toned down overall. Her down throw has more knockback and more ending lag, and thus can no longer combo as reliably as in the previous game past very low percentages, losing almost all its combo potential, her up aerial has more ending lag and both her down smash and Flip Jump, especially the latter, have less hitstun and knockback, worsening several of her setup moves and making it more difficult to capitalize on them and on KO confirms. Furthermore, the changes to the knockback physics make it more difficult for her to string her moves into the other. Zero Suit Samus's recovery, previously one of the best in the game, was also nerfed, as Plasma Whip takes much longer to grab an edge and has reduced tether range. Lastly, her forward smash's new sourspot and nerfs to forward aerial's power, and back aerials and Boost Kick's hitboxes and the latter's reduced knockback, make it harder for her to score KOs, reducing her KO ability.
However, Zero Suit Samus does significantly benefit overall from the universal changes to gameplay mechanics. The faster movement speed further enhances her already excellent mobility (now possessing the 2nd fastest initial dash in the game and a good dash-dance), improving her approach and as such, her "hit and run" playstyle. The reintroduction of directional air dodging improves her juggling capabilities, and the universally reduced landing lag allows her to retain some of her combo game while improving on her mediocre neutral game - one of her most notable weaknesses in Smash 4. She has also directly received some useful buffs: her down tilt, arguably her worst move in SSB4, has reduced ending lag that gives it combo potential. Aside from her lost ability to string lengthy and devastating punishes off of a down throw, Zero Suit Samus' grab game has been improved as a whole; her grab, previously one of the laggiest in the game, has been sped up, making it less risky to use, and her up throw has increased knockback, granting her a new KO move, and forward throw sends opponents in a lower angle, granting it the ability to set up tech-chasing. Finally, her special moveset has seen many improvements, as Paralyzer charges and fires shots faster, while Plasma Whip can now send opponents towards her for new setups if the button is held, and has restored some of its lost KO power from Brawl. Zero Suit Samus also indirectly benefits from a less threatening competitive environment, with most other top-tiers having been nerfed considerably allowing her to further keep her very high position relative to the cast.
In the end, Zero Suit Samus remains a high-risk, high-reward character whose learning curve is even higher than in SSB4, with a wider and more intricate array of neutral, combo and punish options, as opposed to her more polarized kit in SSB4 that necessitated a more linear gameplan. Much like Mario, Fox, and Sonic, and in contrast to how other former SSB4 top tier characters were nerfed much more dramatically, Zero Suit Samus continues to be an effective character; while Juice and even moreso Marss have been highly successful with ZSS in the Western tournament scene, her perception is even more favorable in Japan, with multiple players including Choco and Kuro finding notable tournament success with her. Due to Marss' dominance with the character, Zero Suit Samus is widely regarded as a top-tier or upper high-tier character once again, and has been one of the most successful fighters in Ultimate relative to her low representation. This is taken even further in Japan, where she is frequently regarded as one of the best characters in the game, if not the best.
Throws and other attacks
Zero Suit Samus has received a mix of buffs and nerfs via game updates. Patch 2.0.0 nerfed her forward smash by adding a sourspot at close range while her Flip Jump has reduced base knockback, hindering her ability to KO aerial opponents at an early percentage from a back throw. Patch 3.0.0 nerfed her Flip Jump further as it travels a less horizontal distance, hindering her recovery.
However, her buffs in patch 2.0.0 allow her to grab ledges earlier when using forward aerial and up aerial while patch 3.1.0 allows her Plasma Whip to connect more reliably. Her Flip Jump has been reverted to how it was before patch 3.0.0, improving her recovery. Patch 7.0.0 would then reduce Flip Jump's knockback scaling on the burying hit, nerfing its confirm into Boost Kick, to the point where sufficient mashing will result in it being very difficult to get the followup at high percents although still possible if the player acts fast enough. Patch 11.0.0 increased the landing lag of Neutral Aerial and increased the startup time for Boost Kick. This reduces her safety on shield, and it weakens Boost Kick as an out of shield option and makes ladder combo kills using the second hit of Boost Kick significantly harder. The increased lag on both moves make her combos have a tighter window but are still doable and she remains a highly viable character.
For a gallery of Zero Suit Samus' hitboxes, see here.
Note: All numbers are listed as base damage, without the 1v1 multiplier.
In competitive play
When Ultimate was released, Zero Suit Samus was considered to be moderately nerfed from her last appearance, where she was a top-tier character. Many of her tools were watered down, most notably her throw combos and ladder setups. This resulted in her being viewed as a mid-tier character at best while having low tournament representation in the West, although her representation and reputation in Japan were much higher to begin with.
As the meta advanced, many dedicated players such as Kuro, Choco, Juice, and Marss have achieved outstanding tournament results with her, which was helped by nerfs to her most difficult matchups such as Pichu and Olimar. Particularly, Marss has dominated with the character, defeating players such as MkLeo, Samsora, Nairo, Dabuz, Light, ESAM, and Maister, while also being able to consistently make it to Top 8 at premier tournaments, even winning GENESIS 7. As a result, Zero Suit Samus' reception has been considerably better, being a top-tier character in the general consensus, as stated by professionals such as ZeRo, Mew2King and Dabuz. Maister even claims she is the best character in the game. Zero Suit Samus' representation is very strong in Japan, so a large number of top Japanese players consider her to be the best as well.
Any number following the Smasher name indicates placement on the Fall 2019 PGRU, which recognizes the official top 50 players in the world in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate from July 13th, 2019 to December 15th, 2019.
Classic Mode: Grapplers! Whips! Claws!
Zero Suit Samus's opponents are largely characters who use tether grabs or recoveries. The only exception is Little Mac, who represents the theme of "wires" by using his wireframe outfit.
Role in World of Light
Although Zero Suit Samus does not appear in the World of Light opening cutscene, she was vaporized and later imprisoned alongside the rest of the fighters (sans Kirby) when Galeem unleashed his beams of light. Zero Suit Samus' awakening battle is separate from that of Samus, who is vaporized in the opening cutscene.
Zero Suit Samus's fighter spirit can be obtained by completing Classic Mode. It is also available periodically for purchase in the shop for 500 coins. Unlocking Zero Suit Samus in World of Light allows the player to preview the spirit below in the Spirit List under the name "???". As a fighter spirit, it cannot be used in Spirit Battles and is purely aesthetic. Each fighter spirit has an alternate version that replaces them with their artwork in Ultimate. While Samus herself appears in a number of spirits, including an unarmored "Young Samus" spirit portrayed by a Zero Suit Samus puppet fighter, the Zero Suit itself only appears in Zero Suit Samus' fighter spirit.
In Spirit battles
As the main opponent
As a minion
Character Showcase Video