A Statistical and Completely Unbiased Ranking of Super Smash Bros (N64) Characters


May 22, 2014 by srbaldauf

So here we are. It seems I may have miscalculated with my last post. (Which you should read here and comment on).

First, I’m one day past Step 1. It was 7 hours long. It was terrible. Don’t do it. My brain is still questionably rattled from it.

Second, I have six more days until I have to take COMLEX. Which is 8 hours.


Fuck me.

Third, this punishment idea works. I’m terrified of being punished after discussing Brett’s options. Which is why I’m definitely getting this in on time. Which, fuck, brings us to the next point.

(Fourth,) I thought my next post wasn’t until NEXT thursday–when I will be finished with boards. This was probably due to my being a week behind with that post in the first place. So when I said no more mailing it in–I meant it!

So here we go.

I spent today ranking every N64 Super Smash Bros character on 7 different metrics out of ten. Then I took the average of those scores. Then I ranked them. The metrics are as follows:

Melee/Smash Attacks (M/S): In other words, the A button attacks. How powerful are they? Easy or hard to pull off? You get the picture.

Speed: Self-explanatory.

Recovery: How good is the character when it comes to getting back to the edge?

“Show Me Your Moves!” (Moves): Yes, that was the Captain Falcon taunt. Hopefully it played in your head when you read it, because I can’t make the computer do that. These are the B attacks.

Throws: Also pretty self-explanatory. Speed of the grab, distance of the throw, etc.

Intangibles: Okay, this is basically a subjective category I included for each character. Mostly so I can say fuck you to Mario again. (I’ll explain later).

Difficulty: The easier they are to use, the higher the score. You could feasibly flip this around and argue that a more difficulty character to use is more rewarding and therefore better. I won’t disagree. But I went back and forth on it and arbitrarily decided to do it this way.

These are listed as worst to first. Because I hate a rankings list that starts with #1. Why would I read any further!? Where’s the suspense!?

I mean, come on, who wouldn't want to follow that face?

This enrages me way more than it should.

Sorry, got sidetracked. Let’s try this again.

Sorry Jigglypuff, but you just aren’t better.

#12. Jigglypuff — 4.1

M/S: 4  Speed: 5  Recovery: 8  Moves: 2  Throw: 6  Intangibles: 2  Difficulty: 2 

I don’t actually mind playing as Jigglypuff. But she (it?) isn’t that fast. The melee attacks get the job done but there’s nothing all that powerful. Her moves can be powerful but are ridiculously difficult to pull off. Plus rest is basically asking someone to kill you. Flying is useful, but mostly in a stay away until everyone is dead kind of way. Plus it’s a big pink ball. And not a cool one like Kirby.

#11 Luigi — 5.0

M/S: 5  Speed: 5  Recovery: 5  Moves: 5  Throw: 7  Intangibles: 2  Difficulty: 6

Let’s be honest. Luigi is pretty much worse than Mario in every way. Which means he was also hurt by my dislike for Mario. He doesn’t do anything particularly poorly. But he doesn’t do anything particularly well either. I do like his up-jump attack better than Mario’s, but it’s harder to pull off. Otherwise, he’s just kind of middle of the pack. Which unfortunately led to a low ranking without anything to pull him up.

With all the baby characters, why do we never get Baby Yoshi? This would be all I use in Mario Kart.

#9 Yoshi — 5.7 (tie)

M/S: 7  Speed: 6  Recovery: 6  Moves: 6  Throws: 8  Intangibles: 4  Difficulty: 3

This one hurt a little. I like Yoshi. His numbers aren’t even bad! But they just didn’t add up to a higher ranking. Yoshi lacked a really strong category to pull himself up. Good smash and melee attacks. Pretty decent speed. Solid recovery, but it’s really hurt by the lack of an up-B move to help him. Moves are okay but not great. Down-B is solid and the up-B egg throw is useful, but tricky to get the hang of. His throw is quite good. Intangibles hurt Yoshi though. I mean, how many people really went out of their way to pick Yoshi? Maybe if you’re  2 random characters choice (in our knockout tourneys–ask for rules) were Yoshi and Jigglypuff. But it wasn’t usually going to be Yoshi. Difficulty hurt Yoshi too–it is not an easy path to be good with Yoshi.

#9 Mario — 5.7 (tie)

M/S: 6  Speed: 6  Recovery: 6  Moves: 5  Throw: 8  Intangibles: 2  Difficulty: 7

I hate Mario (in this game). Is this due to a completely irrational childhood perception that the game favored Mario (as Nintendo’s keystone franchise character) and would unfairly give him a slight edge? Or does it have to do with him being Kyle’s go-to character as a child, when there was nothing worse then the game totally fucking you over so that Mario AND Kyle could win? Or that this also lead to me be constantly grounded for a summer due to an inability to play without swearing at or around my little brothers? Oh, all of them? Okay. 

Nick Pillow

The summer of 2001. (Probably? I don’t know when that was anymore.)

So yeah, intangibles may have hurt Mario. All things considered, I feel like I was pretty fair.

#8 Link — 6.3

M/S: 7  Speed: 5  Recovery: 5  Moves: 6  Throw: 6  Intangibles: 9  Difficulty: 7

This one hurts the most. Link is my go-to character. Damn you (arbitrary-and-in-no-way-based-on-fact) statistics. Melee and smash were solid. Speed was pretty slow actually. Recovery was one of the weaker ones. Moves were good but not great. Throw was decent but slow. Overall, Link is an accessible character and generally a solid choice. But he can’t compete with good players using better characters.

#7 Ness — 6.4

M/S: 7  Speed: 6  Recovery: 6  Moves: 7  Throw: 7  Intangibles: 8  Difficulty: 4

Ness is good. Don’t let the ranking fool you. But he is NOT easy to be good with. His recovery relies on your ability to zap yourself, which is no easy task. But his attacks are good. His speed isn’t great but his roll is pretty good. High intangible scores–I mean, he uses a bat, a yo-yo, and fire. And a baseball hat! Wish you were higher Ness!

Don’t google image Samus. You’re disturbing, internet.

#6 Samus — 6.6

M/S: 6  Speed: 5  Recovery: 5  Moves: 8  Throws: 7  Intangibles: 8  Difficulty: 7

An all-around solid choice. Little bit slow though, which holds her back. And her recovery isn’t great. Samus’ moves are excellent though–spin attack for days. Similar throw to links but it at least electrocutes them. Not great, but good enough to crack the top half.

#5 Donkey Kong — 7.1

M/S: 9  Speed: 3  Recovery: 7  Moves: 8  Throw: 10  Intangibles: 6  Difficulty: 7

Donkey Kong is the original tank character. He can take a ton of damage and he’s very powerful. He’s surprisingly fast when he needs to be (basically for throws) but overall he’s pretty slow. It’s a long time to get an attack in and he’s so big it’s difficult to roll away from people. But high attack scores and one of the best throws in the game help make up for his weaknesses.

Seriously, where’s the true follow up sequel? Still one of my favorite flying games.

#4 Fox — 7.6

M/S: 8  Speed: 9  Recovery: 7  Moves: 6  Throw: 7  Intangibles: 8  Difficulty: 8

Fox is very good. With his speed, he’s very difficult to beat. But he’s held back by a weak move set. The gun is basically worthless. I mean, Link’s boomerang at least knocks them down. And the reflector, while extremely useful at times, is still worthless in some situations. Not sure anyone else has a move that is only useful in a certain situation. (Okay, Ness’ health reflector thing and Jigglypuff’s rest). And while the up-B is good for getting back, it seems a little underpowered for attacking. Outside of the moves though, Fox is easily one of the best.

#3 Kirby — 7.7

M/S: 8  Speed: 6  Recovery: 9  Moves: 8  Throw: 8  Intangibles: 8  Difficulty: 6

I actually expected Kirby to come out on top of all this, so I’m a little surprised to find him at number three. Really, he’s only held back by his speed. Which isn’t bad, but it just isn’t quick. M/S is actually quite good in terms of power and speed. Flying is incredibly useful since Kirby, unlike Jigglypuff, has the attacks to take advantage of it. Very tough to beat and always a good option. Just not quite the best.

Speaking of much needed sequels… What the fuck are you doing Nintendo?

#2 Captain Falcon — 7.9

M/S: 8  Speed: 8  Recovery: 6  Moves: 9  Throw: 7  Intangibles: 9  Difficulty: 8

Falcon is a beast. Very fast, right up there with Fox, but with the moves to back it up. Falcon Punch is one of the most powerful moves in the game (although slow). Falcon Kick is a great quick attack. His up-B is fantastic (or incredibly frustrating if you’re on the wrong side of it). Solid melee/smash. The only thing he’s lacking is a better recovery. The double jump and up-B, while not bad, just don’t quite cover enough distance. Also who’s cooler than Falcon? I mean, he announces his moves as he’s doing them!

#1 Pikachu — 8.0

M/S: 7  Speed: 9  Recovery: 9  Moves: 7  Throws: 10  Intangibles: 6  Difficulty: 8

Part of why Smash Bros has had such enduring popularity is due to it’s solid balancing. There really isn’t much separating most of these choices. But Pikachu came out on top.

First, the speed. While Pikachu might not have the running around speed of Captain Falcon, no one gets a move off quicker than Pikachu. The moves are solid, with the Thunderbolt being even better than Falcon’s up-B (also more frustrating). Melee/smash are reasonable. Recovery is excellent with agility. But let’s talk about the throw.

It’s honestly unfair how quick Pikachu’s throw is. Plus it electrocutes. And it’s powerful. And the forward throw can clear out other enemies. It might be the best move in the game. Or the cheapest.

Really, the only downside to Pikachu is that you have to play as Pikachu.

Tennant Bye

Which totally weren’t arbitrary.

Feel free to argue/yell at me in the comments! But you can’t argue with the numbers.


17 thoughts on “A Statistical and Completely Unbiased Ranking of Super Smash Bros (N64) Characters

  1. kbaldy15 says:

    Your bias has clouded your judgment. There are none superior to Mario when used by the right hands. Also, YOU’VE STOLEN MY SIGN OFF GIF!! KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF OF TENNANT!


  2. Sam Sande says:

    I have to disagree with jigglypuff being worst. For reference on how great she can be look for videos of the pro smash Bros player Ken playing as her. The flying is much more than just evasion.


  3. baldaufbr says:

    I also expected Kirby to come out on top. Pikachu is my second, though, so, all things considered, both of mine are in the top three.

    And if you don’t have Falcon yet I’m the top two!


  4. BuckBran says:

    I didn’t originally have a problem with your list, but I can not take this list seriously for one HUGE reason… You are trying to tell me that falcon, fox, DK, mario, and yoshi have equal or better recoveries than Ness. That is insane, if you took difficulty in performing the recovery into account maybe, but you can’t take difficulty into account if you have a completely separate section for difficulty. I would argue Ness has the greatest recovery because I’ve seen him at the bottom of the screen when starting the PK and still make it back onto the ledge. I don’t even know if Kirby could make some of the recoveries I’ve seen Ness make. I am very biased toward Ness as he is my favorite and I am the most comfortable with him, but there is no way Link gets a 5 and Ness gets a 6 in recovery.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. SmashSquad says:

    While I agree with your 7 categories as the major notes to analyze, it shines that you have not learned to master each character. You didn’t mention that yoshi has the most powerful attack in terms of causing damage percentile in the entire game with his in air down A attack (Upwards of 35-40 percent damage). Sadly mistaken with your ranking of link due to your underestimation of the degree’s and range his A attacks cover (almost all are 180 degree’s of coverage ><A and down A). To add to link's case (and if you can't tell I'm extremely biased) links in air down A is one of the hardest moves in the game to time and beat out in direct combat (only things I've seen work 9 out of 10 times is Samus up B). Let me address the surface area that wasn't mentioned in terms of how much more donkey kong there is to hit than Link. Not to mention if you don't say anything about the potentiality of the bomb or boomerang then you definitely haven't mastered the way Link was meant to be played in this game. These two items buy you time to get in and execute the power moves or achieve the grab which is the maximum benefit of playing with Link. Also they are insane for edge guarding if done properly. Standing and tapping up A is a 180 shield essentially from an onslaught of attacks and can be performed more rapidly than any of links other attacks besides tapping just A really fast. You can trap someone in this up A until about 60-70 percent damage, then they are high enough in the air to recover and get out of the way, but by that time you should have easily combo'd a smash and ended any chance of their existence. Yes his recovery is sub par and he isn't the fastest but his multitude of attacks, the range they cover, protection they offer, combo potentiality and damage they cause, surely would earn Link a ranking higher than where you put him. Pikachu's recovery is good… unless Pikachu goes flying. Pikachu having a 9 recovery certainly doesn't factor in recovery from being hit when your damage is approaching 90% which most of the time a smash attack is a kill shot at this damage with pikachu and recovery has less of a life span in a sense when you're unrecoverable. Also pikachu's recovery offers zero defense other than its speed. Essentially you can predict where your pikachu opponent will land and set yourself up in that spot before they get there or hit pikachu with an in air attack, in which case, if you're using pikachu, and you have to use up B to get back on, chances are your damage is high enough for another solid move to send you off the map. I won't argue the value of the speed or grab. While the smash is a little on the slower end its also very powerful. Jigglypuff will forever be last. Worthless character. Sorry people that like this character.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Love your description of link because I couldnt agree more. Link is a BEAST if you understand how to use him. Still put Ness and Kirby at #1a, 1b. Theybare all so good if you kniw how so its hard to say


  6. Ty says:

    Samus is my favorite because I’m a Graber and thrower and with her, I have perfect timing with the grab and ph not never lose!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. vivek s says:

    what about fox!the fastest,greatest man of all!(actually a fox not man).Once You learn how to control him,others are a piece of cake!


  8. Ling Ho says:

    i may be biased towards kirby because i only use him, i agree that that kirby is slower than most of the ssb characters, but i think his difficulty should be an 8 or 9 for how easy it is to maneuver with him. he can easily repel/counter most enemy attacks and special attacks with a simple forward smash and with enough experience playing him, most likely counter dk’s spin, repel samus’ charge shot, predict and neutralize falcon’s down special kick’s, and negate pikachu’s annoying thunder jolt.


  9. Blisstex says:

    Pretty good list. There’s a big competitive community around smash64 and the most recent tier list matches this one pretty closely. Here’s the link: http://www.ssbwiki.com/List_of_SSB_tier_lists_(NTSC)


  10. Rjsizzle says:

    Yoshi had the best up b in the game I’m a fucking sniper with that shit and his jump of used right is not Spike able he’s also fast only downside is if you use both jusmos and get hit off the map your screwed


  11. I have to disagree with a few. Albeit you did make mention of it in your analysis of ness but every character has strong suits that make them worthy of top ranking, if of course you understand the geometry behind super smash. Timing is everything [my two best characters, although I am solid with all are Ness and Kirby] using combinations and movement and angles can make both of those two unstoppable. And Ness up down spike combo is ruthless if you can predict your opponents roll


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