When it comes to playing the Super Smash Bros. series, it seems everyone has their favorite character. Some choose their character based on speed, others on combo ability, some on special attacks and some on weapons choices. And of course, some players just can’t seem to stray far from the character who starred in all the video games they grew up with. And with the release of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate in December 2018, there are even more characters than ever to choose from, different modes and new fighting techniques.
But what if it were not really about the characters themselves, but the attacks and how you use them? This is a comprehensive look at the specific attacks available in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate in terms of power and their efficacy. When executed correctly, some have the ability to inflict an almost unfair damage percentage to opponents. On the contrary, there are just some attacks that shouldn’t really be used at all because of how ultimately ineffective (or even self-damaging) they can be.
Now, before we go any further it’s important to note that having more powerful attacks does not necessarily mean one character is more likely to win over another. As experienced players know, what makes one character superior is actually a combination of the character’s speed and agility, recovery time, damage potential, attack range, etc. And of course, the most important factor of all is going to be the player’s personal skill. In the meantime, this list is merely a helpful guide that goes over a selection of both the most powerful and the most useless attacks across Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and their potential to inflict damage to opponents. While we're at it, it's also worth noting that while the potential damage percentages are listed here for each attack, the actual results can vary based on the distance between targets, shields used and follow-up combos.
Ready to Fight! Here’s Super Smash Bros Ultimate: The 12 Most Powerful Attacks (And 8 Completely Useless).
20 Powerful: King Dedede - Dash Attack
Arguably no character has a more powerful dash attack than King Dedede. The character overall was improved in terms of speed and power for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, but his dash attack is particularly noteworthy for being highly threatening to opponents even when not delivered perfectly. Though the move is actually only capable of inflicting 16 in damage, this is still a higher damage percentage than most other characters’ dash attacks, and the damage is still usually above 10 regardless of whether it's hit clean or late.
Now, like many of the more powerful attacks in the game, this move does leave its character briefly exposed and vulnerable immediately after. That said, a successful dash attack can be enough to inflict a KO and can knock opponents off a platform if positioned correctly. Basically, we think that this makes what little risk there is with King Dedede's dash attack well worth it. To use it, target left or right and hit A.
19 Powerful: Samus/Dark Samus - Charge Shot
Fired through her arm cannon, this is Samus’ most well-known attack. That said, it can also be her most powerful, not to mention one of the most damage-inflicting in the game. While players can still cause plenty of damage to their opponents through basic charge shots, the arm cannon is a powerhouse when it is allowed to fully charge. And while the attack was plenty powerful in previous Smash Bros. games, Ultimate takes things to the next level by giving Samus the ability to start charging up for it while in mid-air and still keep it going as she dodges or shields other attacks.
Maximum damage is 28, and no shield is safe. And as many players are already well aware, Samus and Dark Samus share pretty much the same attack arsenal. To use this attack, press B to start charging, then press again to shoot.
18 Useless: Mega Man - Metal Blade
This is Mega Man’s neutral special move, and while it starts out promising enough (a circular saw blade that can be thrown in eight different directions and even thrown on the ground for later use? Sounds good!), the latest version of it is really not all it’s cracked up to be. In fact, it’s pretty darn disappointing in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
If used in a direct attack, it only causes 5 percent damage, and this goes down to 3 percent if the blade is thrown as an object. So really, why bother? Though not the most powerful character nor the most agile, there are still plenty of better Mega Man attacks that the players who insist on playing as him can use to their benefit. But for those who still want to use it, hit B and hope you'll do some damage.
17 Powerful: Ganondorf - Warlock Punch
Ganondorf is still as slow and lumbering as ever in Ultimate, but he more than makes up for it by having some of the most damaging moves. This move is easily one of the most powerful attacks ever seen in the game, and the players who know how to use it right can deliver between 30 and 37 percent damage to their foes. That said, it is still quite tricky for being a neutral special attack.
To execute it, players need to make Ganondorf accumulate dark energy in his fist, then release it all via a direct forward punch. Once it is released, however, the wait will feel well worth it. To use this attack, hit B to release the havoc upon your opponents.
16 Powerful: Ganondorf - Up Tilt
Again, Zelda's greatest villain is not the fastest or even the easiest character to play as in the Super Smash Bros. series, but he nevertheless has a lot of hidden power available to those willing to go for it. For those who don’t have the patience for the Warlock Punch to charge up, Ganondorf’s Up Tilt is a far better route to take, and it comes out faster than ever in Ultimate. Also known as the Volcano Kick, this attack inflicts a devastating amount of damage at 24 percent.
The move is also super convenient in that it actually sucks nearby characters in while it is charging, only to have Ganondorf slam his leg down and blast them all into oblivion. Players will know it is charging if Ganondorf’s leg is up in the air, but fortunately, the trapping vortex is strong and fast. Surrounding opponents are left with no choice but to struggle quickly to escape or shield themselves. Unfortunately for them, this powerful attack can shatter shields! To use the Up Tilt, hold the control stick up and press A.
15 Useless: R.O.B. - Grab Attack
This character actually has five different Grab Attacks, and while a couple of them do deal some quantifiable levels of damage (between 8 and 12 percent), the others barely do anything at all. The robot’s first grab, for example, only inflicts 1.3. percent damage, making it pretty pointless to use. The down grab likewise is not much better, inflicting only 5 percent damage. Worse still, these low-damage grab attacks cannot be combined very quickly with other simple assaults. This is confusing because most grab attacks are meant to be done in succession, seeing as they normally don't inflict high levels of damage all on their own.
But in R.O.B.'s case, it actually makes one wonder why these attacks were even included in Ultimate or any of the Super Smash Bros. games. Then again, R.O.B. is not actually a video game character so what’s he (it?) really doing in the game in the first place? Did he get lost from the set of Wall-E? Nevertheless, for those who don't care about any of this and simply must try R.O.B.'s Grab Attack, press L to grab and follow with A to attack.
14 Powerful: King Dedede - Side Smash
Once again, King Dedede makes the list. At one point in time he was just a villain in the Kirby game series, but now he has grown to be a serious player in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. But again, this largely depends on the attacks selected by those playing as him. The side smash is a perfect addition to his gameplay. While it is a powerful move for a lot of characters in general, the Side Smash from King Dedede is a particularly menacing because it inflicts a ton of damage at once to just about everyone around him without the need to have great precision.
Those directly targeted receive between 25 and 35 in damage, while those just caught in the blast of the surrounding tremor still suffer between 11 and 15.4 damage percentage points. What’s not to love? You can perform the Side Smash by fast tapping the control stick in the direction of your choice and pressing A (Hold A first to charge).
13 Powerful: Dr. Mario - Side Smash
As far as the world of Super Smash Bros. goes, Dr. Mario is essentially the stronger, enhanced version of Mario who despite this still manages to be slower than the classic plumber. Though he's actually still not as fast or even overall as strong as a lot of the other characters in Ultimate, Dr. Mario packs quite the punch (literally) with attacks like the side smash.
This powerful move doles out between 20.9 and 29.3 in damage percentage points and has great range. Another cool thing about it is that it requires relatively little charge time before reaching its maximum potential. The controls for Dr. Mario's Side Smash is, of course, the same as that of King Dedede-- fast tap the control stick and hit A, holding it to charge.
12 Useless: Little Mac - Grab Attack
Much like the case with R.O.B., Little Mac’s Grab Attacks are not recommended (the character himself isn't really recommended, but that's a whole other can of worms). They’re slow and very weak, with most just inflicting around 1 percent damage. Literally, the only thing even remotely impressive here is that they have some range when it comes to how far Little Mac can reach.
Players can then follow up the grab with a throw in a feeble attempt to get some more damage points, but only if their opponent is seized in exactly the right way (which is difficult because they can move at the last minute, and Little Mac isn't exactly the most graceful or fastest fighter). As most experienced players already know, Little Mac isn’t the most powerful character in the game in general, but at least his other attacks serve a bit more purpose than this one. For those who do still want to grab though, press L (follow with A to attack).
11 Powerful: Captain Falcon - Forward Air Attack
This is a powerful move from one of the overall most powerful characters in the game. The Forward Air Attack is a knee attack from Captain Falcon that knocks opponents straight back through the air, and if positioned right, off of platforms entirely.
The move can also dole out 22 damage percentage points with a successful direct hit. As if that weren't good enough, experienced players will find that they can easily make the Forward Air Attack even more powerful by throwing some combo moves at the end. To use the main attack, however, hit X, pivot right or left and hit A.
10 Powerful: Captain Falcon - Falcon Punch
How can any Captain Falcon attack be on this list at all without the inclusion of the Falcon Punch? This iconic move can be a little difficult to master at first (it requires some extra time to initiate and must be unleashed when the opponent is right in front of Captain Falcon), but man, when done right it is highly rewarding!
Players can get a powerful 25 in damage with a single forward Falcon Punch, but if unleashed at the last minute in the opposite direction, the move can get up to 28 in damage percentage. Count us in! The controls for the Falcon Punch are fairly simple, (hit B and hold for charge), but again, timing and positioning it correctly will take some practice.
9 Useless: King Dedede - Up Air Attack
Even though he’s got a lot of power in his arsenal, that’s not to say he doesn’t have some moves that are on the disappointing side. This Up Air attack, however, is just about useless. It can be powerful if done correctly (the potential for a succession of 1 times 7 in damage, followed up with a swift 5 percentage), but the catch is that opponents must be directly overhead.
They can all too easily get out of the way, and absolutely no damage is inflicted to anyone on the ground. And for some inexplicable reason, the move also can’t be combined with other attacks, at least not immediately following it. If you must use this attack, aim up, keep hitting A and hope that your opponent is exactly where you need them to be with no plans on moving (eye roll).
8 Powerful: Peach/Daisy - Frying Pan Side Smash
As most players are already aware, Peach and Daisy have the same moves, and they are unique in the fact that they have three different weapons in their arsenal: a golf club, a tennis racket, and a frying pan. In fact, one of the cooler things about playing as either of them has been their unique weapons selections that nobody else has. Now, in previous versions of Super Smash Bros., the weapon they end up with during the fight was just left to chance.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate takes things up a notch by giving players the ability to select the weapon of their choice during actual gameplay and switch it out at will. The Side Smash is already a formidable attack for these two characters, but when done with the frying pan, it’s among the most powerful attacks in the game, inflicting between 18 and 25 in damage. Angle the control stick up to select the frying pan, then tap it and hit A for the Side Smash.
7 Useless: Toon Link - Up Smash
Okay, so this attack is not completely useless, but it does leave Toon Link easily exposed to opponents and doesn’t even have that much range, to begin with. In fact, this attack may as well be useless seeing as the Up Tilt attack is easier to use, targets foes in the same area, is safer, can be paired in succession with other moves, etc.
The Up Smash can deliver 13 in damage, which makes it tempting, but ultimately it’s just not worth the risk. For players who are nevertheless willing to go for the temptation, the Up Smash can be achieved with a fast tapping upward on the control stick and hitting A.
6 Powerful: Marth - Side Smash
As some of the most effective yet simple plays in the game, is it really any surprise that there are so many Side Smash attacks on this list? Now, this attack generally delivers 18 in damage percentage points to its victims, which naturally makes it among the more powerful attacks of the game but still doesn’t seem like anything that special. Don’t be so quick to judge though.
Marth’s attack speed makes this one of the fastest side smash attacks in Super Smash Bros. by far. Furthermore, opponents who are hit directly with the tip of Marth’s sword can suffer an instant KO. To use it, aim and tap the control and punch A.
5 Useless: Meta Knight - Grab Attack
This is a great character overall, particularly when it comes to skilled players who know how to set up combo attacks. However, Meta Knight’s grab attack is easily the area in which he is most lacking. First of all, Meta Knight has extremely short arms, causing those playing as him to have to get dangerously close to opponents in order to even attempt the grab.
On the off-chance it is achieved, it only inflicts a measly 1 damage percentage point, and it’s difficult to combine it with successive attacks. If you must try it out though to see how bad it is, hit L and follow up with A.
4 Useless: Luigi - Green Missile
A lot of players enjoy a good challenge, which is exactly what the Green Missile provides due to its inefficiency. For those who play to win, this attack is one that should be avoided. Luigi will fizzle out and won’t attack at all if this attack is held too long in its charging state. If players do manage to launch the attack, they’re not in the clear just yet if there happens to be any kind of structure in Luigi’s path (which can be difficult to gauge depending on the arena).
Yes, the classic character can actually become stuck in a surface or object that gets in the way, leaving him vulnerable to attacks from opponents. Now, if the attack is executed successfully, there’s still an extreme variance in just how much damage it can inflict (making it dangerously unpredictable), and there’s a following recovery time to boot. No thank you. Use Side + B for this essentially useless move.
3 Powerful: Luigi - Super Jump Punch
Obviously, Luigi is far from being useless overall, and if the Green Missile is his rock bottom then the Super Jump Punch is definitely his redemption. This is a highly powerful attack from the classic character. The super jump punch involves Luigi erupting straight up with an explosive punch, inflicting up to 25 in damage.
Nevertheless, it’s important to note that there’s a catch. If the targeted opponent is off-center or a bit too far out of range, the super jump punch will hardly deliver any damage (as low as 1 damage point or nothing at all). So, it’s vital that players have great aim and range judgment before using it. For the Super Jump Punch, tilt upwards and hit B.
2 Useless: Duck Hunt - Down Air Attack
On paper, this attack actually looks okay— a combination of 5 and 10 damage? Sure! But wait, there’s more. The Down Air Attack is a bit slow to below average, and there are much faster moves to choose from with Duck Hunt. The range is also not that great, so unless there are opponents almost directly in line with the Duck and the Dog butting their heads on the ground (seriously, that’s all it is), there’s not going to be much of an effect here.
Oh, and the recovery time is much higher than the average attack. The point is, there’s really not much use for this attack at all. Still, for those who want to attempt it, hit X while pivoting down and press A.
1 Powerful: Kirby - Hammer Flip
At its core, the hammer flip is an ultra-fancy (dare we say, ultimate?) side smash attack. It’s a risky move for sure, but it is also one of the most powerful of all. Delivering between 19 and 35 damage percentage points to foes on the ground and between 16 and 28 in damage to those in the air, Kirby proves to be one of the most difficult characters to play against when this move is busted out.
Also setting it apart from other powerful attacks, Kirby can actually move around and jump (albeit slowly) when charging up for the hammer flip. This is Kirby's side special attack, and it can be achieved with pivoting the left stick either left or right and hitting B.
What do you think about these character attacks from Super Smash Bros? Let us know in the comments!