Read on for tips and tricks on how to use each fighter in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS. With so many choose from, we'll be updating this list as we continue delving further into the first handheld version of Nintendo's long-standing fighting franchise. Don't forget to read our review of the game here.
Click a name in the list below to jump to that character if you know who you're looking for or just scroll through for the full list. If any of the characters below aren't linked, it's because we haven't provided tips for them yet. Check back soon as the list will be completed quickly.
Characters: Mario - Wii Fit Trainer - Donkey Kong - Robin - Pit - Yoshi - Kirby - Rosalina - Olimar - Toon Link - Bowser - Bowser Jr. - Captain Falcon - Charizard - Dark Pit - Diddy Kong - Dr. Mario - Duck Hunt - Falco - Fox - Ganondorf - Greninja - Ike - Jigglypuff - King Dedede - Link - Little Mac - Lucario - Lucina - Luigi - Marth - Mega Man - Meta Knight - Mii Fighters - Mr. Game & Watch - Ness - Pac-Man - Lady Palutena - Princess Peach - Pikachu - R.O.B. - Samus - Sheik - Shulk - Sonic - Animal Crossing Villager - Wario - Princess Zelda - Zero Suit Samus - Samus
Mario’s attacks should be standard for anyone who has played a game in Nintendo’s fighting franchise in the past. Specifically, you should remember he can reflect attacks with a flip of his cape thanks with forward and the special attack button. Also, try to do heavy damage on groups of players above Mario with the character’s now standard coin-block move. Toss fireballs from a distance and try to close the gap for a smash attack when an opponent has a lot of damage.
Nintendo’s fitness mascot from its balance-board-equipped exercise game offers a few really graceful moves for catching opponents off-guard. First, she can charge up an energy blast though you shouldn’t expect this to end any single opponent as it seems less powerful than Samus’s charge blast. Use her mobility to get a good angle on an opponent and then go for a smash attack. More often than not you’ll find Wii Fit Trainer’s mindful motions have great reach and speed whether you’re charging the attack or not.
DK can still charge up a punch and deal damage to any enemies surround him with a swift up and special attack where he spins with fists at an angle. I like to think of this as the ultimate attack for any human being but I think DK does it better and doesn’t look like one of those flappy waving arm people when he does it. Try to deal heavy damage with smash attacks but don’t forget that a throw in reverse can win a match in an instant. If you’re feeling brave, you can take an opponent down with you by grabbing them, pushing down, and then walking right off the level.
Robin’s magical blade offers up a variety of standard attacks that might actually become mainstays in a few of your favorite combinations. Technically speaking, his magic attacks will do more damage at a distance, especially as you can charge up a Thundara attack by standing and holding the special attack button for a little bit. Try to play spacing games with Robin more than anything else. He’ll get in close and unleash a flurry of damage, though it’s the ring-out you really want and knowing when to draw nearer to an opponent will go a long way.
The hero of Kid Icarus comes with high-flying wings and a few really strong blade combos that won’t take very long to learn. Ultimately, you want to catch opponents either in mid-air or on the ground with a few good swipes. Once you’ve dealt plenty of damage with the standard attacks, try to knock your sparring partners off the stage with a special attack. Don’t be afraid to take big risks with Pit as his up and special attack gives him a great vertical boost either to recover ground or to escape an enemies attack should any be waiting for you to land.
Mario’s dinosaur pal has a lot of room to jump around a stage thanks to his flutter kick, so just remember not to rely too much on his up and special attack if you’re hit by a particularly powerful opponent. One good strategy to use with Yoshi in order to build up a lot of damage on any enemy fighter standing in your way is to try to knock them off balance with one of his eggs. After this, close the gap by transforming in a large, tumbling Yoshi egg, and then finish your target with a smash attack at the edge of a stage. Doing so will almost always guarantee a point on the board, should you have weakened an enemy.
While you can always default to using Kirby’s down and special attack to transform into a heavy object and smash opponents into the sky, it’ll more effective to launch an opponent with his up and special attack blade-leap and then use a down and standard attack to deal even more damage on the ground. Kirby has excellent stage recovery so make sure to give yourself space above all else. If you can’t keep opponents away, try flying up and away before returning to the battle.
As one of the two combo-characters in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS, Rosalina has excellent attack range, variation, and combo opportunities though her special attacks are a little difficult to use if you’re just picking up the game. For one, Luma might seem like dead weight if you don’t understand how to manipulate the star into the right position. Once you’ve got a handle of Rosalina and Luma’s movements, you’ll find that the standard attacks often lead into even more powerful finishes where an enemy with 80% or more damage often go flying off the stage.
Pikmin’s plucky little space cadet comes with up to three of the little plant creatures at his side, offering combatants the ability to toss each at an opponent, deal some damage, distract, and eventually close in for a smash attack. Olimar, like Kirby, has fantastic recovery height so push up and the special attack button in order to get a big lift from Pikmin 3’s flying Pikmin. Once you’ve started the move, you’ll have to hold the special attack button down to get maximum height though canceling out of it will offer players a few options for combo attacks or even redirects so you can control the flow of each opponent on the stage.
Hyrule’s less than realistic looking character shares many attacks with the Link that comes standard with most Zelda games, though his diminutive size makes spacing and speed priorities for any player that wants to maintain a high damage ratio while defending themselves from ring-outs. Because Toon Link is smaller, it’s easier for an opponent to lift and throw him. Try to cancel this by maintaining a vertical advantage and landing hard with a down and standard attack sword-plant. Once you’ve interrupted any incoming damage, you can toss a bomb, a boomerang, or deal damage from afar with his bow and arrow.
Mario’s relationship with Bowser has been strained over the years, though players will quickly find that the big lizard king constantly hiding all the princesses deals heavy damage with even a few attacks. Still, his size means he moves slowly and you might want to take a more defensive fighting stance than you would with the other characters in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS. Luckily, jumping and attacking from the air will often catch some of your opponents off guard and open them up to a ring-out opportunity with a smash attack or Bowser’s up and special attack which brings him in his shell and spins with spikes at the ready.
Super Smash Bros. fans should be used to Samus's strong attacks and charge-beam, even with the addition of Final Smash attacks that give the power-suited heroine an incredible force that can clear stages for lucky players. Right from the outset of a match, I'd say it's a good idea to charge up her arm canon and then wait for the opportunity to strike. It's one of the most powerful charge attacks in the game, meaning there'll be no chance for a heavily deamaged opponent to survive. Make sure to deal repeating damage with a leaping forward standard attack too. It's a good way to make it from one end of the stage to another.
Pikachu has excellent speed and the little critter's attacks snap like no other, so make sure to play running games with your opposing Smash Bros. players. Doing so will not only ensure that Satoshi's little buddy doesn't take much damage, it'll also guarantee a few good smash attacks if you can switch from standard smashes to special attacks like the down and special attack thunder blast. While the portable Nintendo 3DS controls mean you might lose control of Pikachu thanks to its great speed, you'll likely get a handle of it through repeated matches.
Fox is another character in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS that retains excellent speed and a wide-variety of standard attacks for almost any situation. For one, Fox can give a flying kick from a dash that does heavy damage, and mashing the standard attack button will also lead Fox into a combo opportunity for a lot of damage. Try to give Fox an opening to use his down and special attack reflector when standing right next to an opponent. It will almost always catch them off guard, do decent damage, and open up room for more damage before a charged up standard attack smash.
Little Mac is a brand new character for the Super Smash Bros. franchise and his punches pack a wallop if you can chain them together. While he was previously available as an assist trophy, using Little Mac in combat may require more finesse. Should a player raise Little Mac's power bar (located above his damage percentage) it'll likely result in an instant one-hit knock-out. Try to pay attention to that meter and don't wait around for an opportunity to strike once is filled.
Mario's younger, taller brother has a few interesting twists to the Mushroom Kingdom moveset that'll likely become standard given that Mario, Luigi, and Peach all remain well-rounded characters in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS. While Mario's up and special attack hits opponents for a lot of repeating damage, Luigi has a running forward and standard attack that operates much the same way where he flails his arms to catch opponents. Doing this near the edge of a stage won't send Luigi wandering off the platform, so don't be afraid to start combos with it. Make sure to follow up flying Luigi head-butts with a smash forward and special attack to send an opponent into the atmosphere.
Hyrule's hero has plenty of backup from Sheik and Princess Zelda (now two separate characters) though his moveset remains fairly similar to Toon Link. This Link's bombs don't cause as large of an explosion though his sword attacks prove more poewrful and effective at knocking enemies off of stages. If you can work an opponent into a corner or catch one off-guard with either a down and standard attack or an up and standard attack, you'll likely open up an opportunity to chase and do more damage.
From Master_Craig: Use the Gale Boomerang to bring an enemy closer to you and then hit with a smash attack to send them flying. Sure, the boomerang itself doesn't do much damage but if you can manage to connect with a charged spin attack you'll pack a punch on the next attempt at a ring-out. A lot of Link's special attacks are ranged attacks so remember this and then try to use sword attacks when an enemy has high damage.
Capcom allowed Nintendo to include the blue bomber in Super Smash Bros. for the first time in this latest iteration and I think he fits in perfectly. While his standard attack fires energy blasts just like you'd expect, they don't do much damage and they don't go very far either. Use them to start combos by running towards the opponent and then dealing heavy damage with a smash standard attack either up or down. Also, when using Mega Man's final smash attack, you'll only catch one opponent in the vortext that opens, so don't expect to win matches with it though you'll likely dig yourself out of a deficit if timed correctly and you move on to smash another opponent right away.
The latest and potentially greatest Pokémon added to the Super Smash Bros. roster comes in the form of the fully evolved generation one starter with fire breath and great throws to compliment appropriate speed. Try to get in and deal damage with standard attacks before grabbing an opponent as Charizard's throws are some of the most effective in the game.
Diddy Kong's speed proves his greatest asset in battle, particularly as his peanut gun doesn't do much damage and can't hold a charge like other characters do with standing special attacks. In fact, if you hold the special attack button too long, Diddy will incur damage so make sure to fire the weapon quickly either to interrupt an opponent or to guard the edge of a stage.
Fox McCloud's wingman, literally, offers many of the same moves as the leader of the Great Fox crew so if you're familiar with that character, try the other to see which suits your play style better. I like Falco's slightly more technical style, though his standing special attack laser moves much slower and therefore does worse chip damage. Try to use it to prevent an opponent from making it back to the stage after a throw or smash attack.
Kirby's famed foe comes with slightly similar mechanics whereby repeated jumps offer repeated vertical lifts and excellent stage recovery. Dedede also has great reaction times such that it's easy to interrupt attack with a spin of his mallet. Dedede can also suck enemies up and deal damage, but try to do so near the edge of a stage so you can spit an enemy off and then edge-guard your way to a victory.
This new Pokémon, available for play in Super Smash Bros. for the first time, offers cunning players the opportunity to deal fast damage while also escaping with perfect timing. In this particular fighting game, that makes all the difference both in stage-recovery and in making sure you don’t get hit with a smash attack to begin with. Use Greninja’s charge up standing special attack to your advantage by feinting with it as much as possible. Charge the attack up in order to attract an opponent, then once they come within range, either unleash it at half-power (it doesn’t do much damage anyway) or hit left or right on the circle pad to roll out of the way and unleash a combo for high damage. More often than not you’ll interrupt or dodge incoming damage and do enough for a throw opportunity.
This Fire Emblem favorite moves slower and hits harder than his counterparts, though Super Smash Bros. aficionados may want to pay attention as the added damage can result in a lot of points. Where Ike suffers is in stage recovery. For example, Ike’s up and special attack, normally reserved for great heights suited for stage recovery in every other character, actually tosses his large sword up into the air and brings it down with great force. That won’t help you make it back from being flung off-stage, but it does offer great interrupt when faced by an opponent’s incoming combo damage.
This Pokémon also comes with a charge attack when using pressing and holding the special attack button while standing still. Lucario’s does a bit more damage than other characters, though not as much as Samus in her power suit. If you can use Lucario’s speed to create unique match-ups on each stage, you’ll more often than not keep the higher ground thanks to his quick, moderately-powerful attacks. Try to learn Lucario’s move set in a deep way, rather than a surface level understanding of all the Pokémon available in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS. Doing so will give you a leg up on the competition.
The daughter you never knew you had from Fire Emblem: Awakening will challenge you once you’ve won a match with Marth, though the Ferox Arena where she challenges you may intimidate with such an audience. One thing players will want to learn with Lucina is that her sword strikes do a lot of damage though her small frame can be thrown or smashed off a stage very easily. Try to use finesse in both navigating a crowded battlefield and intelligence when deciding how to strike. Don’t be afraid to deal damage and retreat to higher ground if you’ve already incurred a lot of hurt yourself.
Marth is yet another Fire Emblem character that fans may recognize from previous versions of the game, though you’ll want to experiment with his highly technical move set before taking the character online for battle. For one, Marth’s forward and special attacks chain together depending on whether or not they connect with an opponent and whether or not your button presses are properly timed. The full combo will deal a ton of damage and may result in a smash attack that nets a ring out, but that doesn’t mean it’ll work every time. The combo is circumstantial, so what you can to position Marth properly and then attack such that you can cancel out when needed.
Kirby’s friend-or-foe will-he-won’t-he counterpart in the Super Smash Bros. roster offers similar stage recovery to King Dedede and the pink puffball himself, though fans will discover that his sword attacks pack a lot more damage and each puff of air actually leaves Meta Knight faster, resulting in less opportunity for floating back to safety. Try to use this awareness of weight to your advantage and attack opponents at medium to heavy damage. Meta Knight can close the gap between what could be a bad matchup and a surefire ring out with a few attacks, though the center of the stage will offer the greatest protection from throws and the like.
I like Ness’s home run bat a lot. It’s one of the most powerful smash attacks in the game and while the Earthbound hero’s psychokinetic special attacks require some deft handling, you can’t go wrong with his uniquely graceful jumps and backflips. Try to play mind games with opponents and ensure that they don’t really know where and how Ness will hit next. What ends up doing a lot of damage to one opponent may not have the necessary oomph to defeat him or her outright. Super Smash Bros. has always relied on the damage rating at the bottom so be sure to remain on top of those figures and deal damage when appropriate and smash attack everyone above 90% damage.
Lady Palutena’s move set offers fantastic range, so use the Kid Icarus lady to keep opponents at bay. This may make things more difficult when you go for a ring out, but Lady Palutena’s throws also offer great range even at low damages. I particularly like using her up and standard smash attack to deal a bit of damage and juggle any opponents foolish enough to stand on a platform above her. Since Lady Palutena is so tall, she can typically reach even those platforms that rotate and change vertical height on a stage. Try not to get caught in a combo though as her reduced speed makes escapes difficult.
I like Peach’s ability to manage vertical stages in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS a lot. While this means that players online or those who choose random at the stage select screen don’t see the benefit, you’ll undoubtedly find a few highly technical opportunities to uses those strategies even on a flat plane like Final Destination. Super Smash Bros. doesn’t offer a lot of opportunities for pick-up moves that don’t explode to do a lot of damage, but Peach’s ability to use a root vegetable or other item with down and special attack means you can guard an edge and ensure an opponent falls after you’ve thrown them or hit them with a smashing umbrella attack.
As many Super Smash Bros. fans know, Sheik used to be an alternative transformation for the Princess Zelda character though I like that the two versions have been made distinct in this release of the popular brawler. Try to use Sheik’s speed in a controlled way as it can be incredibly easy to dash right off a stage and suffer a point loss all on your own. Sheik’s teleport ability also offers interesting opportunities for redirecting enemies, so do everything you can to use the stage to Sheik’s advantage when fighting. With her attacks dealing significantly less damage than others, it’s important to focus on opportunity rather than creating new ones for yourself. A smash attack on a highly damaged opponent is far more valuable to your score than a lengthy combo on a newly respawned opponent.
The ruler of Hyrule can often dish out plenty of magical damage, but some of Zelda's attacks are so technical that you might want to practice in single player before going online. Princess Zelda is also lighter than other characters so getting caught in a grab could put you in a dangerous position. Try to play mind games with her special attacks and then issue a smash attack to anyone who comes in range looking to do heavy damage with a combo.
Samus remains one of my favorite characters thanks to her versatility. She can be quick, though her smash attacks pack a wallop even from a standing position or when using the up and standard attack that spews fire from her arm cannon. As with other Super Smash Bros. characters that can charge up attacks, use the charging animation to your advantage and roll out of the way with a tap of the circle pad left or right when an opponent chases you. From here, you can use a standard attack or push forward and special attack to fire a missile. Samus does a lot of damage when issuing a combo attack in pursuit of an enemy, either leaping towards or running towards them and landing with a shoulder charge. Don’t be afraid to use that grappling beam either.
When you hear the words "Falcon Punch" it means there's a heavy damage attack fcoming at you with little room for error and a large chance that you'll land a point based on the smash attack that results from that standing special input. In the end, the F-Zero hero that's managed to keep his playable status through every version of Super Smash Bros. requires a skilled hand when played on Nintendo 3DS. For one, the circle pad won't let you smash quite as emphatically so try to use his specials and combos with delicate precision.
Dark Pit plays a lot like the standard Kid Icarus hero available to players from the start. His attacks can pack a wallop, but with his speed comes a need for balance. You don't want to rely exclusively on smash attacks with Dark Pit because his specials will do good combo damage from any of the light standard attacks you input. Try to lead into a special attack by tapping out standard attacks without putting in a direction with the circle pad.
The villain of Hyrule deals heavy magic damage with his down and special attack so try to play spacing games with the way it fires sharply down at the ground with precision. If an opponent is trying to close the distance and hit you with a combo, try to leap away and use it to cancel their plans for attack. When you use his up and special attack, remember it doesn't work the way Captain Falcon's does. Falcon's up and special grabs and holds while Ganondorf primarily hits opponents away. Use his power and range of moves to your advantage as he moves a lot slower.
Wario's got a lot of Mario-style attacks though his combos are easier to mess up in the way they can be easily dropped. Be extremely careful when holding opponents as dropping them opens Wario up to a lot of damage in response. One thing I noticed when unlocking Wario was that the computer tended to dash in with his motorcycle. Try to remember that it works best as a lead into attacks, rather than an interrupt or a means of defending against an opponent's smash attack when you've already incurred a lot of damage.
Dr. Mario has some excellent alternatives to the kind of attacks that Mario comes equipped with in his standard set of moves. For one, Dr. Mario can still reflect attacks, but I've found that the follow up damage increases the likelihood that you'll connect with a smash attack that sends the opponent flying. Try to use more of his standard attacks when you first get control of the character since his special abilities lend themselves to better finishers than they do openers to combos and the damage that brings, allowing for smash attacks.
Pac-Man proves one of the most entertaining characters to play in the latest version of Super Smash Bros. on 3DS because his special moves actually move him more accurately and more quickly under the right circumstances and so long as you remember your spacing given a forward and special attack will eventually leave you off the stage if you're not careful.
For most Nintendo fans, Sonic and Mario represent mortal enemies who have always been at odds with each other. In Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS, Sonic actually presents a lot of cool options for players who would trade speed and style for reliability. Try Sonic's special moves, both from a standing position and from the air as each offers slight honing-in to the opponent. Be careful not to use his spin-dash move and fly right off a stage, only to score more points for your opponent.
Shulk, of Xenoblade fame, has a few interesting special moves. For one, Shulk has a lot of speed and his blade moves in a few unique ways. A forward dashing standard attack does a decent sweep, but his speed forces the player to ensure delicate handling of the attack, or else you'll dash right past your target. Try to give your opponent a little room, or stop short and use a standing special attack to finish the job. Try to keep moving with Shulk or he'll lose the battle thanks to his light weight.
Previously, Samus needed to use the Final Smash attack to transform into her Zero Suit style moveset, though that is not the case in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS. Instead, you can pick her Zero Suit form from the outset and unleash a flurry of attacks that end up giving her good power to compliment the kind of speed she'll have with guns for heels. It can seem a little frustrating at first given that many of her special attacks require loads of finesse. Still, learning how to manipulate her alternate gun and her unique moves goes a long way.
Most players will recognize the red-shirted hero of Animal Crossing, though his moveset proves one of the most unique and complicated to use in the game. For one, the villager's special attacks often summon odd objects that can either do a lot of damage or simply misdirect the opponent. If you get a handle of these special moves, both from the standing, running, and leaping positions, you'll eventually find Villager can do a ton of damage under the ideal circumstances. Look for openings when your opposition has a lot of damage, though make sure your attacks are precise.
Mii Fighters allow you to customize a fighter in your likeness and take it into any of the game modes available in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS. When creating your personal Mii Fighter, take your time and ensure that the weapon set, moves, and overall playability fit your personal style. Sword fighting Mii characters will be able to dash in and hurt with combo damage, brawlers will be able to grab and throw farther than others, and players who choose the beam weapon-style Mii Fighter will find that they have improved range over the other types. Just remember to stick with your fighting style for a little while before switching, or you'll get frustrated. Don't be afraid to create multiple Mii Fighters to play with because each can offer different options and you can choose from any you have created before a battle.
Bowser's little pup can pack a wallop thanks to his special airship that manages to not just keep him nimble, but averse to throws as well. Where Bowser's weight keeps him on most Super Smash Bros. stages, Bowser Jr. uses quick dashes and a lot of overhead maneuvers to keep opponents at bay. Bowser Jr. can leap and cancel incoming attacks if one of his connects with the opponent so players facing Bowser Jr. or hoping to unlock him should try mid-size characters with even weight and powerful smash attacks. Once damage on Bowser Jr. exceeds 100%, even he can't withstand an all out smash attack.
For a character as old-school as Mr. Game & Watch, Nintendo fans will find that this guy can out meneuver most characters and deal heavy damage with even a single smash attack. It may sound silly, but the standing standard attack that allows Mr. Game & Watch to throw sausages out of his pan proves incredibly effective in this game. Try to interrupt incoming attacks or projectiles with a sausage when you've gotten Mr. Game & Watch into high damage, and therefore highly dangerous, territory.
For longtime Nintendo fans, I don't think there's a character more obscure given the fact that R.O.B.'s games now sit decades in the past. Still, the robot proves extremely effective in both aerial attacks and at range with a few strong laser attacks. Try to use overhead attacks to interrupt your opponent and then combot with a down and special spinning robot attack. You'll get combo damage and set your opponent up to be smashed off the stage if you can pull this two-move combo off at the right time.
When you first get Super Smash Bros. for either Wii U or 3DS, you'll likely want to unlock the bird and dog duo that harken back to the days of NES light gun games. Once you do, try to lean heavily on the acrobatic moves the two pull off together. Where other characters need to create their opportunities on a flat ground battlefield, Duck Hunt, as a pair of characters, actually launch into moves together. You aren't controlling one or the other independantly like you would have in the past, particularly since Duck Hunt makes it known to players almost immediately that one foot follows the other. Make sure to close distance between yourself and an opponent with the intent of dealing damage.
You don't expect this Pokémon to do much damage, but if players get in close and use the right combination of attacks, Jigglypuff may be the most dangerous character in the Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U roster. Jigglypuff's standing special attack hits extremely hard and can result in ring-outs so try to avoid this fighter when your damage is already high. Don't count Jigglypuff players out after you throw them either because its stage recovery works a lot like Kirby's with repeated jumps.