It really is the end of an era for Super Smash Bros. All twelve DLC characters have been revealed and the game is coming to its end in its development cycle. Every character reveal leading up to the initial launch of the game brought so much hype. Then the post launch content came, making fans eager with every Nintendo Direct. Now that the dust has settled, let’s take a look back at all the DLC character reveals in Smash Ultimate and rank them based on who made the best debut. This will include even the Piranha Plant pre-order DLC.
Ranking the 12 DLC characters in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
12. Byleth (Fire Emblem: Three Houses)
Byleth was definitely the weakest new inclusion of the 12 DLC fighters. People were tired of the oversaturation of the “swordies”, let alone, Fire Emblem characters in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. While they have a unique style of using Relic weapons, it was already too little too late to also add yet another “avatar” character in the game. Perhaps it would have been a bit more well-received if the Fire Emblem rep was a more popular and original character like Dimitri or Hector.
11. Min Min (ARMS)
Min Min was a bit expected to have a reserved spot in Smash Ultimate. If it wasn’t Spring Man, Ribbon Girl, or Twintelle, it had to be her. She isn’t a bad pick per se, but she is one of the newer Nintendo characters who people may not be aware of.
Arms is one of the newer Nintendo IPs that heavily made use of the Switch’s JoyCons and their motion controls. Translating the moveset of a character who essentially uses their extendable arms to punch opponents from afar was an interesting task for the development team for Smash Ultimate. What came out was one of the more unique characters who a lot of competitive, top-tier players complained about, which was pretty awesome.
10. Pyra and Mythra (Xenoblade Chronicles 2)
Pyra and Mythra were also another pair of first party reps who were really no surprise to be included in Ultimate. The Xenoblade franchise is one of Nintendo’s more popular first party RPGs. Shulk’s inclusion in Super Smash Bros. for the 3DS and Wii U was really awesome, but of course he needed another character to rep the Xenoblade franchise.
Pyra and Mythra fit just that. Sure, the argument can be made that Rex would have been the better choice, but the duo are a perfect fit. They’re a 2-in-1 deal; they’re like the modern-day Zelda/Sheik from previous games. They complement each other in terms of going from heavy to light fighters. While they aren’t my cup of tea, Xenoblade fans were more than happy to see more of the game being represented in one of the biggest celebrations of video games yet.
9. Hero (Dragon Quest)
Remember when the leaks started running wild just a bit after Joker’s inclusion in Ultimate? The Luminary was apparently leaked, alluding to the Hero of Dragon Quest XI. Oh that seemed cool, but it just sounded like another swordie, what gives? Nope. It turns out while that leak had some validity, Nintendo hit it out of the park by adding in him and three other heroes from previous Dragon Quest games as alternate costumes and ultimately calling that slot “Hero”.
Their inclusion in the game was really where people were celebrating their inclusion, but at the same time, tryhards were raining on their parade because the character was considered cheap. Yes, they essentially have some busted items implemented into their move set, but at the end of the day, Smash Bros. is a party game and all the Heroes add in this huge roster is just more hectic hilarity and clippable moments.
8. Terry Bogard (Fatal Fury / King of Fighters)
Chances are, if you’re a person born at the very beginning of Gen Z and before, you have definitely heard about Terry Bogard or at least know about the SNK fighting games that were all over laundromats, bodegas, and mostly defunct local arcades. As someone who grew up playing fighting games like Street Fighter, Tekken, and all the crossovers in between, Terry’s inclusion is more than “just another old fighting game rep for Smash Ultimate.”
What’s unique about him is that, along with the Shotos— Ken and Ryu— Terry has the mechanic where he is always facing his opponent. He also makes heavy use of the 8-way directional system for move execution. He has the Z-motion inputs, the quarter circles, and half circles, adding an extra layer of uniqueness and greater skill ceiling and more depth.
7. Kazuya (Tekken)
Wow, talk about a greater skill ceiling and depth in a fighting game character. Kazuya’s inclusion in Super Smash Bros. was also long overdue. The Tekken series is a staple in fighting games, especially with the overwhelming success of Tekken 7. Kazuya’s addition to Ultimate gives Pac-Man another Bandai Namco Rep so he isn’t completely alone.
While there are many other notable characters in Bandai Namco games, Kazuya is just the perfect fit to add onto the huge roster in Ultimate. His translation as a character from a 3D fighting game with limited vertical mobility was quite seamless when it came to his development. Tekken characters also have extensive movelists for each character, so it was not an easy task to keep Kazuya’s moveset as faithfully accurate to his original series.
6. Banjo and Kazooie
Imagine, a Microsoft rep in a Nintendo game? Blasphemous! Here we are, with perhaps the more iconic duo when it comes to Microsoft’s line of characters. Banjo and Kazooie being included in Smash Bros was also long overdue. They fit right at home, too. While their playstyle seems very conventional and similar to a standard character like Mario, it’s just fascinating to see how ambitious this crossover came to be.
5. Steve/Alex (Minecraft)
Minecraft is bigger than life. Anyone who has ever played video games has heard about Minecraft in some capacity. Everyone has a younger sibling, a kid, a niece, nephew, or friend who has kids who has probably played the game. Adults play it, too. It was basically Fortnite before that became a thing. When Steve from Minecraft joined the Smash world, it was just greatness from here on in.
We already had Banjo and Kazooie lead the charge as Microsoft reps, so Steve’s inclusion was the cherry on top. Sakurai’s vision of Steve stayed so true to his original game. It was godlike to see the man work and create a character who just builds, mines, and picks off zombies to become a full-fledged Smash Bros character.
4. Piranha Plant (Super Mario Bros.)
People might be really divided for Piranha Plant’s inclusion in the game, but every fighting game needs some kind of wacky, gimmicky, joke character. Piranha Plant fits that in every way possible. They’re not even a legitimate character in the Super Mario games; the closest we have is Petey Piranha, which is conveniently part of this character’s moveset via Final Smash.
Somehow, a potted Piranha Plant running around and taking stocks in Super Ultimate is peak fanservice and creativity. The inclusion of this character brought a rise to the very committed #PlantGang movement which people still like to rep to this day.
3. Sephiroth (Final Fantasy VII)
We all thought that Square Enix was being really “stingy” with their intellectual properties given the lack of Final Fantasy content in Smash Bros. Then come around to the Game Awards 2020, Sephiroth’s trailer came out, surpassing expectations that have been tempered from previous DLC reveals. Some people thought he’d be imbalanced because of his Masamune and the ridiculous range it has. Others thought his inclusion would be redundant because there are already a handful of sword characters in the game.
You can’t have Cloud Strife without his arch nemesis in the same battlefield, let alone one of the most popular villains in video game history. What better way is there to take on the One-Winged Angel than to settle it in Smash?
2. Joker (Persona 5)
Joker was the character who literally came out of nowhere. Say what you want about him being obscure and more popular in Japan. Before all the tiring waves of hype and speculation, his inclusion to “steal the show” at the Game Awards 2018 was truly spectacular. Joker is the character who wasn’t on a lot of people’s Smash Ultimate DLC wish lists, but has definitely become a favorite to many of the players to this day.
His inclusion in the game essentially set a higher bar for new characters after him in terms of passives and meter. Sure, he is just another speedster character with good neutrals, a projectile, and a counter, but his Arsene mechanic really upped the ante for newer characters to come (and it showed).
1. Sora (Kingdom Hearts)
They said it could never be done. “Disney would never let Sora in. He’d be a licensing nightmare!” Well, look who’s laughing now. The most popular character requested to be in the Smash Bros. franchise took the very last invitation. At the time of writing this, he isn’t out, but his whole reveal was fanservice at its greatest.
Sora joining the huge roster in Smash Ultimate is definitely a dream come true for long-time Smash and Kingdom Hearts fans. While he may be just another swordie to the naysayers out there, the fact that Sora even saw the light of day in this game is mind-blowing. His inclusion also brought the game’s trailer cycle in full circle. Boiling down to the initial fiery Smash insignia, Sora freed the cast from being trophies. It truly is a sincere sendoff to make Sora the final pick, so thank you dearly, Masahiro Sakurai.
It’s a bittersweet moment to see that this is the end of the line for Smash Bros Ultimate. The many characters, iconic matchups, the broken character controversies, the memories created along the way. We’ll just have to patiently see what’s next in store, though that might be an extremely long time from now.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is out for the Nintendo Switch. Sora from Kingdom Hearts will be playable on October 18. 2021. As stated, he will be the final character added to the game.