Top 10 Best Smash Ultimate Characters for Beginners

Smash Ultimate Beginner Characters
In this game, it's eat or be eaten.

Top 10 Smash Ultimate Beginner Characters That Rock!

Is Smash Ultimate your first foray into Nintendo’s colorful character crossover? Are you overwhelmed by the sheer enormity of it’s roster? Don’t fret, we’re here to help guide you, young Padawan.

Here you’ll find ten options that’ll be easy to get into, depending on what you’re looking for. Find the right starter for you, and you’ll be smashing faces and taking tags before you know it!

(Note: Almost every character in this game has to be unlocked when you’re just starting out, but that’s okay; many of the ones in this list are available from the beginning!)

#10 - Mario

Mario in Smash Ultimate

Would you believe Nintendo made their lead mascot easy to pick up?

You gotta love the classics. In practically every spin-off game he’s ever been in - and boy does he boast a metric butt-ton of ‘em - Mario has always been designed a very certain way; balanced enough to suit most people’s needs and with as little a learning curve as possible. Smash Bros. is no exception and we can confirm the intent pays off nicely here.

  • To put it simply, he’s simple. Not to say he can’t do interesting things with enough experience, but you certainly don’t need to think about any tricky mechanics when you’re playing Mario. He’s perfect for learning the fundamentals of Smash.
  • He ain’t light, he ain’t heavy. (He’s my brother!) Like the perfect batch of porridge, he’s just right. You won’t have to worry about being launched too easily or falling too fast, and he’s comfortable to move around with right off the bat.
  • He has a strong forward smash that doesn’t take too long to come out, and has a solid range to it. Like everything else about him, it’s balanced and meant to be easy to pull off. And when you’re just getting into Smash, what else are you gonna wanna do but… well, smash?
  • His cape (Side+B) allows him to send projectiles right back at whoever dared send them his way. Being bombarded with blasts can be real difficult to figure out how to deal with for a newbie, but Mario makes that a lot simpler.
  • Another interesting bonus is that once you’ve gotten the hang of him, if you so choose, you can then move onto Dr. Mario or Luigi. The Doc is a slightly heavier, harder hitting version of this character, and Luigi is basically made to be a far more complex answer to Mario. They have a higher learning curve, but big payoffs, and Mario acts as a fine gateway to them.

Character Guide

#9 - Donkey Kong

Donkey Kong in Smash Ultimate

This stunt was performed by a trained professional, please don't try this at home.

The best starter for you depends entirely on what you’re looking for out of Smash. And if you’re looking for a big bruiser with megaton punchies, it’s hard to go wrong with the Kong. Big strong boys in fighting games always have a fair few natural downsides, but you’ll be feeling them a lot less with DK than you would with a Ridley or a Dedede.

  • Aside from his stylish, minimalistic dress sense, Donkey Kong’s long arms have to be his greatest asset. He not only packs a wallop, but he has a lot of range to unleash it with. This helps make up for the startup lag on his smash attacks; if they’re close enough to punish a whiff, they’re likely to also be close enough to eat that fist.
  • He might have the best overall batch of throws in the game. His back throw is great for kills near the edge, but his unique forward throw is what’s made him famous in Smash. It sees him carry his opponent on his back, and he can walk and jump with them in his arms before he tosses them, something that’ll give other newbies fits.
  • While his recovery (Up+B) might be lacking vertically, it can go a nice distance horizontally. This means as long as you can keep yourself relatively high up off-stage, you should be able to find your way back to the ledge. And since he’s swinging his arms the whole time, most fellow beginners aren’t going to risk going out there and messing with you as you do it.
  • Fun as he is casually, he’s also fairly viable on the competitive level, considered by many to be the top Super Heavyweight around. This means he’s not only one that you can get into early, but one with some hellacious potential as you gain mastery. Get that head start now and before you know it, it’ll be on like a copywritten catchphrase.

Character Guide

#8 - Palutena

Palutena in Smash Ultimate

It's good to be a goddess.

Now, full disclosure: Palutena probably has a higher learner curve than anyone else on this list. But if you’re the type to hang back a bit and you like the idea of sniping from afar with projectiles, the full-time Goddess and part-time poledancer is a very strong option. In addition to having one of the best projectile games going, she’s also far from defenseless if the opponent does manage to get close.

  • Her Neutral+B sends three energy waves towards the opponent, after locking in with a red targeting reticle. While this does give them a chance to see it coming, a projectile that you don’t have to aim at all is a rare and valuable thing in this game. The attack can be used to get in on opponents on-stage, as well as mess with them off of it.
  • Palutena has a great array of Smash attacks. All of them have really nice range and do solid damage and knockback. Her wing attacks even bring a little wind to the fray, so even if they miss slightly, they’ll still push the opponent back, which can be useful in edgeguarding.
  • Her neutral aerial (the move done by simply pressing the attack button in mid-air without tilting the stick) is considered by some to the best of it’s kind. It’s a fairly safe and relatively damaging multi-hit attack that has seven max shots, and hitting one tends to bring the opponent closer so they can eat the rest of them. It’s an easy move to hit that can even be combo’d into itself, likely the first thing you’ll want to be trying out.
  • One thing you’ll want to be careful with is her Up+B. Depending on where you tilt the stick after hitting it, it teleports her into any of the cardinal directions. It’s a fine recovery move, and also one some like to use to take opponents by surprise, going sideways to teleport behind the opponent; but be mindful of the range if you want to try this, as it’s an automatic SD if you accidentally go off the stage with it.
  • Proven to be quite competitively viable in Ultimate, she’s one with a very high ceiling if you find yourself really getting into the game with her.

Character Guide

#7 - Captain Falcon

Captain Falcon in Smash Ultimate

Somebody should maybe let him know that his hand is on fire.

If you’re a pure offense-minded type when it comes to games like this, I believe we have the man for you. As usual, Captain Falcon brings more than just memes, although yes he will always bring memes… a wicked blend of speed and power, Falcon can dole out some serious justice. Just try not to fall into the usual beginner’s temptation of spamming that Falcon Punch…

  • Cap isn’t quite uncontrollably quick, but rather about the speed you’d want with a quicker character. Moreover, he’s probably the fastest in his weight class. So if you’re looking for someone who can close gaps in a hurry, and don’t wanna worry about being sent flying by the slightest lovetap, he’s a very sound choice.
  • The flashy Falcon has some seriously dangerous moves on both the ground and in the air. He’s one of the most balanced in this way, as either area is pretty suitable for him. This should allow you to comfortably explore all his movement options.
  • When he’s airborne, his Forward Aerial, the Knee of Justice is likely to be your best friend, a classic killmove. On the ground, his Up+Smash is one of his best tools, hitting twice and kicking high enough to go through platforms on the Battlefield stage type.
  • If you’re a daring sort, you should know that Douglas here has one of the game’s top spikes. That is to say, an attack that sends an opponent careening downwards, something that can kill at low percentages if you catch them off-stage with it. Just make sure you don’t go too low as you do this, as his vertical recovery is pretty average.

Character Guide

#6 - Peach/Daisy

Peach and Daisy in Smash Ultimate

Look at 'em, trying not to look bitter about having to share a spot.

Okay, so if you look deep enough, you’ll see Peach’s echofighter isn’t 1000% the same as her in battle, but the difference takes a fine tooth comb to see and I think it’s fair to say anyone just getting into the game isn’t going to notice. So with that said, here we have the only joint entry on the list, ‘Paisy’ as some refer to them as… since, yannow, ‘Deach’ just doesn’t sound as pretty.

These floaty gals definitely handle differently from the others on this list, but if that kind of character is your speed, they’re undeniably the best options in Ultimate. They’re the easy to learn, difficult to master types. Plenty of fun casually, but if you are one of those who can truly perfect their game, you’ll be a huge threat to anyone online.

  • A lot of characters might be considered floaty, but in Paisy, you have the only ones who actually float. Jump up and hold the button and you stay airborne on that same level for a good few seconds, during which you can move left to right and attack without descending. This is a huge tool for her, great for recovery, barrages from above or below, gimping off-stage, headgames, baits… and all you have to do is hold a button.
  • In usual competitive rules, items being banned isn’t even something that needs to be discussed, but Paisy has a bit of a loophole on that one. Her Down+B usually has her pick up a turnip with random expressions, some more powerful than others; stitch-faced turnips are the most dangerous. But there’s also a small chance you’ll pull up either a Bob-Omb or a Mr. Saturn, and for those who don’t know, a tossed Mr. Saturn will automatically break a shield.
  • In addition to her general graceful air movements, her Up+B amplifies it even further, as her parasol (which incidentally makes for a surprisingly effective attack) has her fall at the speed of a leaf. While the lack of an airspeed can be an issue, she’s easier to control in the air than anyone else, meaning she’s maybe the least likely character to ever SD with.

Character Guide

#5 - Falco

Falco in Smash Ultimate

This, uh, isn't how you're supposed to handle a dogfight...

In spite of what you may have heard, that is indeed Falco. And if you’re looking for a balanced fighter that’s a bit more interesting than Mario, this bird’s got a lot to offer. Just keep in mind you’ll have to put up with a lot of sass.

He’s fairly mobile, and as you’d maybe expect, has some incredibly mad hops. He can do plenty on his feet, but from what I’ve heard, he has a personal preference for the air.

  • It’s always nice to be able to do damage without actually putting yourself in danger. Falco’s blaster, as with the bulk of his moveset is harder hitting than Fox’s and faster than Wolf’s. A screenwide projectile is a handy thing to have when facing off with a fellow beginner, as they won’t always know what to do with this, and that damage can rack up faster than you think.
  • Falco has a reflector, one of the more fun ones to use. Because he throws it forward rather than let it shield himself, it tends to redirect projectiles back a lot earlier than people expect, and can also be used to ruin their days on the outside as it shoves them back a fair bit. It does have less defensive capabilities than others, but as long as you can keep your opponent in front of you, it should do the job nicely.
  • He may not literally fly, but he’s very dangerous in the skies, having a very complete arsenal of aerial attacks. His neutral air comes out very quick and hits four times, his forward air is an intimidating drill that can gimp recoveries, his back air is among the strongest out there and his down air corkscrew kick is one of the sneakier spikes in the game. Don’t be afraid to jump with Falco, is what we’re saying.
  • Like Mario, Falco is also a gateway character, perhaps the best one; in Ultimate he’s more or less designed as the middleweight counterpart to Fox’s light, and Wolf’s heavy. So he may not be as fast as the former or as hard hitting as the latter, but he’s easier to control than either of them. Both of them are higher tier, so depending on how you find yourself playing Falco, you can choose another space furry to transition to from there.

Character Guide

#4 - Kirby

Kirby in Smash Ultimate

Definitely edgy American boxart Kirby right there.

There was a brief instant during Ultimate’s demo phase where many screamed to the mountaintops that Kirby was the best character in the game. That… feels like an extremely long time ago now, and perception-wise he’s since settled into basically the same spot he’s usually in. But of course, that’s on the competitive side of things; the same buffs that had people talking that way in the first place will no doubt make him a fun character for a newcomer.

It’s true that he’s not quite as fast as most characters in his weight class, but where Kirby shines is the sheer fun factor. If you’re just in it to have a good time, he’s a strong first choice. And even if you do care about winning, he can definitely take someone for a ride if they don’t know what they’re doing.

  • Kirby has a whopping five jumps in mid-air. Combine that with a really good Up+B recovery and, unless your opponent is particularly keen at the off-stage game - and most other newbies won’t be - it’s safe to say you’re probably making it back to solid ground.
  • His signature inhale move allows him to copy one of his opponent’s special moves, usually their strongest one. Everybody has specific ‘match-ups’ where strengths and weaknesses collide, but Kirby is literally a better character against some than others, which is an interesting thing to play around with. Plus it gives him cute l’il hats!
  • Of course, that’s how his inhale works if you press down after getting that succ. You can also opt to just keep your opponent in your mouth and, similar to DK, walk around with them before spitting them out, even going off-stage to do it. And as we established, Kirby has no trouble getting back up to the stage, so it’s a lot safer to do this with him than with Donkey Kong.
  • His other specials are fun too; his Side+B is a hammer with decent range that you can charge into a fiery, powerful attack. (Just don’t charge too long, as it starts burning the l’il puffball eventually.) And his Down+B has him turn into a random heavy object that crashes to the ground at high speeds and can do big damage from above, a type of move that I can confirm newbies love to use.

Character Guide

#3 - Pikachu

Pikachu in Smash Ultimate

Stop telling me what to do, Red!

Do you feel the need; the need for speed…? Are you itching to get the kinda character that can zip around the stage like nobodies’ business? I’m that type myself and I can tell you it’s very fun, but risky, as many of them are SD-prone and so light that killing them is child’s play, not to mention that they rarely have much in the way of fire power.

Pikachu is a wonderful chubby-cheeked answer to all of these concerns. The off-the-clock detective covers a lot of ground for it’s size, but it’s recovery is good enough to ensure you shouldn’t be losing control. And his strikes can be just as stinging as they are swift; fittingly, he fights like a lightning bolt come to life.

  • You will need to try it a couple of times to understand how Quick Attack - his Up+B - works, but it’s actually pretty simple; basically you have two jolts to work with, but only if both of them go in different directions. Usually when off-stage, you’ll want to go up, and then diagonally towards the ledge. It’s easier to get the hang of than you think, and makes for a fantastic recovery, swiftly covering a lot of distance,and it’s a struggle for people to punish because it’s, well… such a quick attack..
  • Pikachu’s Forward Smash is among the best in the game, always a plus for a rookie. The ‘mon fires a static jolt that deals big damage and has some impressive range, certain to fry the competition.
  • Few moves are more fun to use than Pikachu’s Thunder attack, a Down+B that sees it summon a huge lightning bolt from the heavens to come crashing down on it in a big splash of discharge. It’s been entertaining since the ‘ol Smash 64 days, but it’s become significantly more useful with time too. Getting your opponent with the last hit of the discharge sends them flying, the strongest attack Pikachu can muster, and hitting them with the thundercloud while they’re above you by design actually sends them careening down into that very discharge!

Character Guide

#2 - Lucina

Lucina in Smash Ultimate

By the power of Grayskull!

In case you weren’t aware, sword-wielders have absolutely taken over Smash’s competitive scene, especially the lower level quickplays. In particular, Fire Emblem characters have pretty much never been more popularly used online and above them all stands Lucina. And yes, she may be considered a Marth echofighter, but she has this spot all to herself, as she’s the most standout of any of the clones.

The thing that makes her identifiably better than Marth competitively is the same thing that makes her significantly more beginner-friendly. Marth’s attacks are all stronger when the tip of the blade makes contact, whereas Lucina’s deals consistent damage regardless of how the strike lands. So while her max damage output isn’t as high, getting that max damage is much easier to pull off.

This lack of ‘tipper’ effects a lot of other parts of her game in subtle ways, but to put it succinctly, she’s the Easy Mode version of Marth, a character that’s already considered very good in his own right.

  • Sword characters are popular for a very simple reason… they have, well,a sword. A lengthy weapon that can hit their opponents from a relatively safe distance, something that’s extremely hard to deal with if used with good spacing, which is a crucial fundamental in Smash. And there’s no one better to learn spacing with than this simple swordswoman.
  • Lucina’s Neutral+B is called Shield Breaker, and you’ll never guess what it does... okay, so it doesn’t necessarily break the opponent’s shield by default. But even an entirely uncharged shot does massive damage to one, and a fully charged one can shatter an untouched shield fullstop. And in case you’re not familiar, once a shield is broken, the victim is stunned for an unGodly long time, it’s the most vulnerable position you can possibly put someone in.
  • Her Down+B is a counter, which is the perfect thing for frustrating other newbies with. Beginners always tend to be overly aggressive, which means you’ll have no shortage of opportunities to make them regret it. This can be used in other interesting ways as well, particularly in edgeguarding, when you’re dealing with someone who’s trying to use an attacking move to get back onto the stage.
  • The Dolphin Slash Up+B might lack horizontal distance, but it’s vertical distance is nothing to sneeze at. And it’s real strength is how impossibly fast you soar with it, making it extremely tough for anyone to edgeguard you.
  • You will face a lot of Lucina players online. While this means that people are likely to be used to fighting her, it can also be a plus for you, as a good mirror match will go a long way to teach you the strengths and weaknesses of your character.

Character Guide

#1 - Yoshi

Yoshi in Smash Ultimate

There's evil intent in those eyes...

He may not pay his taxes (allegedly!) but Yoshi’s certainly paid his dues in Smash. For the longest time, the little dino with the big nose was a difficult character to do anything with, even for experienced players, let alone newcomers. But he’s become a little easier with every installment and now, he’s a fascinating one to try your hand with.

T. Yoshisaur Munchakoopas (yes, that’s his actual full name) might seem like a bold choice for the top spot. But his list of unique strengths is about as long as his tongue. And lemme tell ya, that tongue can really go places…

  • He has the best shield in the game, quite definitively as it’s the only truly unique one, with him retreating into his egg rather than making a barrier. Yoshi’s shield doesn’t shrink, which makes it harder for the opponent to know when it’s going to break, but the much bigger benefit is that there’s no attacking around it. Every other character has to worry about people attacking high or low as the shield shrinks towards the center, and thus angle their shield appropriately, but Yoshi simply doesn’t have to think about this.
  • He also has the single best lone mid-air jump in the game, bar none. His impeccable flutter jump allows him to clear huge distances, both vertically and horizontally. And now that his Up+B actually sends him upwards, he has one of the most reliable recoveries out there, a must for any beginner.
  • His attacks see his head and feet cartoonishly expand in size, and thanks to this and his tail, he tends to have more range on his hits than you’d expect. His tail in particular is surprisingly powerful, with his back aerial dealing serious damage and knockback when hit cleanly. Deceptively dangerous!
  • Thanks to the use of his Gene Simmons-esque oral appendage, his grab has a lot more range than most. And with all of his throws being universally buffed, you have a lot more reason to put people in your mouth then you ever would’ve before.
  • He’s not a common choice, which means most players around your skill level will not be familiar with fighting him, and a lot of of his offense is prone to taking people off-guard if they aren’t used to dealing with it. In particular, the Egg Lay (Neutral+B) maneuver sees Yoshi’s ever-useful tongue gobble the opponent up and turn them into an egg behind him. Do this to them off-stage when they’re at a high enough percentage, and odds are they won’t react quickly enough to mash out of it in time to save their stock.

Character Guide

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Geek born and geek bred, and when I die I'll be geek dead... but not for long; I'll have a ton of extra lives! I live to tell stories, and I believe video games to be the ultimate storytelling medium.
Gamer Since: 1999
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Currently Playing: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
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