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Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: Character Philosophy

Most players follow their own personal philosophy when picking a character. In a game like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, there are 70 different characters available. This poses multiple challenges as people try to develop their game.

“How do I pick a main? Should I pick a top tier? Should I use multiple characters?”

These are frequent questions that veterans and new players alike ask themselves. It’s all because when competing, one must face the harsh truth that chosen character brings to the table.

At a low enough level of competition, any character is viable, but everything changes when elevating to higher level tournaments with accordingly higher stakes. Using a low tier is like climbing a rock wall without any equipment. It is possible to achieve victory even at the highest levels if the player plays perfectly, but is it really worth it?

This dilemma breeds character crisis as some players are emotionally attached to certain characters but have a burning desire to win. Let’s go over multiple philosophies on character selection.

Picking a Singular Main

super smash bros characters
Picking a main out of the 70 characters is a challenge – Image: SSB Wiki

Many players stick to one particular character and aim to become the greatest in their area. This leads them to move from game to game with the same character and develop a special bond. The experience they have stored up makes them a master at their craft, but their particular skill level may ground them. Knowing a character’s ins and outs is not enough without enough player skill.

Maining a singular character is a great method for beginners to improve the fundamentals and technical skills basic to the game. It can sometimes be tough, since learning all 70 different matchups can be a hassle.  Some can make the player feel helpless as the enemy character holds a sizable advantage over them.

Having a Secondary

Players with a singular main can pick up a secondary character. This character is normally simple-minded in execution and helps cover the weak matchups of the main character. Most of the times players keep the secondary in their pocket and only take him or her out when a dire situation lays ahead.


Maining two characters effectively can help ease players run through tournaments. The basic idea is to use one character to cover the other’s blindspot. This way when facing a tough matchups players can just pull out their other character with hopes of making effective runs. It poses more of a challenge because players have to reach a competitive level with both characters, something that’s easier said than done.

However, having a second character adds layers to the player. When venturing into these two different playstyles their adaptation and neutral game have to follow their characters rules. This means that they have to dish multiple playstyles in the same game.

As an example, a player can main both Captain Falcon and Simon Belmont. These two characters are completely different and require a completely different playstyle to succeed. This forces the player to improve on different areas of their game and benefit as result.

Jack of All Trades

Explaining the jack of all trades philosophy is clearer when providing clear examples of it.

super smash bros characters
Tweek embodies the Jack of All trades philosophy – Image: Liquipedia

The player in Smash 4 that embodies this style is Jason “ANTi” Bates. He played a multitude of characters that were pulled out depending on the matchup he was facing. His most frequented characters were Mario, Cloud, and Zero Suit but every once in a while he completely shocked the crowd with a different character selection. This kind of style allowed him to rise in the ranks and achieve key victories. It’s not a style meant for everyone, but it can definitively pay off.

Now moving on to Smash Ultimate, Gavin “Tweek” Dempsey embodies this character philosophy. He has won two different mayors where he has used three or more characters. During tournament run in Glitch 6, he pulled out a three-day Young Link that served him to defeat Nairo in the winner’s bracket. This means that his adaptability is insane.

Jack of all trades most of the time use a fixed character until they are threatened. Then they bust out their secret characters that serve to strike down their opponent. Nerfs also doesn’t affect them, because they can just replace their characters.

Pride vs. Tiers

super smash bros characters
King K. Rool is under no circumstance a top tier, but if the player desires to take him to the next level he definitively can – Image: Polygon

Smash is a game where people compete to try and win it all. The easier way is to use top tier characters because they are the better equipped of the cast. Their toolkits are optimal, and playing them guarantees a higher chance of beating the opponent. However, player skill still factors in.

Character pride develops when a player gets attached to a character. When this happens and the player is not achieving victor,y a character crisis may occur. These players come back to their character with a new mindset and stronger drive, but their curiosity of playing a top tier may cross their mind.

Everyone is playing to win. One style or another doesn’t guarantee victory. However, it can increase the odds of achieving victory. How to play is up to the player, so taking this information and personalizing it is necessary.


Featured image courtesy of Nintendo

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