There's no series that throws the collective Nintendo community into an absolute frenzy quite like Super Smash Bros. The question of "which new characters will join the roster?" has been on everyone's minds since we learned of the new game for the Switch, and we took a dive into our most anticipated characters with Part 1 not long ago. Capping off with K. Rool and Inklings last time, we move on to the final five of our top ten list!
5. BANDANA WADDLE DEE
"I'm not just a pretty face!"
- First Appearance: Kirby Super Star (SNES – 1996)
- Latest Appearance: Kirby Star Allies (NSW – 2018)
Masahiro Sakurai is renowned for fathering Super Smash Bros., but the famed game designer still holds a lot of love for his breakout IP at HAL Laboratory with Kirby. Representation in Smash has continued to grow with each new game with standout locales like Battleship Halberd, the Fountain of Dreams, and The Great Cave Offensive, but the Kirby fighter count has been stuck to three since Meta Knight and King Dedede were introduced in Brawl. There is one little guy in the running for spot number four, however, and that is Bandana Waddle Dee!
The adorable and surprisingly strong Waddle Dee formally debuted in Return to Dream Land as Dedede's loyal and capable spearman. Bandana Dee came through for Kirby on several occasions, such as assisting him directly in The Rainbow Curse, co-starring opposite to the pink puff in Kirby: Battle Royale, and tagging along as a Dream Friend in Star Allies. As his role in the series continues to grow, his well deserved inclusion in Smash would finally round up the RtDL crew, pay tribute to the most recurring Kirby NPC, and give Smash its very first spear-wielding fighter on top of it all.
From Return to Dream Land onward, the mainline Kirby games went the Super Star route for complete Copy Ability movesets. So, when it comes to Bandana Dee's moves, it's only a matter of assigning key moves to his Specials both from the Spear moveset, alongside a certain other Waddle Dee variant to round it up. Let's get the Spear ones out of the way first.
For his Standard, we have the Spear Throw: an easily spammable move that doesn't deal too much damage but would annoy other fighters. Just like in the Kirby games, you could also charge it up to toss multiple spears at once with a Triple Throw.
For his Up Special, the Spear Copter! This move doesn't go all that high but it does travel pretty far horizontally when completely charged up. Any who get caught in the move will rack up percentage quickly, however, as the Waddle Copter stops for no one.
With the Spear moves out of the way, all that leaves are the Down and Side Specials, which we will dedicate to the Waddle Dee race's most commonly used weapon of mass destruction: the deadly Parasol! In other words, Bandana Dee would roll into Smash with a hybrid Spear-Parasol weapon to better pay tribute to his roots.
Personally, I think the Parasol Drill works better as a Dash Attack, leaving the Circus Throw as an ideal Side Special. Trapped fighters will bounce atop Waddle Dee's twirling parasol, then get tossed forward or upward depending on the direction held. The thought of something as small as a Waddle Dee spinning someone as huge as Bowser atop a teensy little umbrella is both fittingly comical for Smash and so gosh darned cute.
To round it up with his Down Special, Bandana Dee could execute the Parasol Dive if in midair, or the Parasol Twirl on the ground, complete with spinning stars. Enemy combatants would get spun around Dee and thrown away as a bonus. The Dive is also useful in getting some minor horizontal recovery with its diagonal trajectory as well!
That just leaves the Final Smash, and I wasn't kidding about "impact." Some might recall that a Waddle Dee sporting a bandana first appeared in Kirby Super Star, in a little minigame called Megaton Punch. Yes, this little dude could literally crack Planet Pop Star in half with his stubby little hands alone. Kirby is an innocent child whose main concern is his next meal, while Dream Land continues to thrive because Bandana Dee allows it to.
So if you find yourself up against Bandana Waddle Dee... Well, I'll keep you in my thoughts.
4. CAPTAIN TOAD
"Ready for adventure!"
- First Appearance: Super Mario Galaxy (Wii – 2007)
- Latest Appearance: Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker (NSW/3DS – 2018)
It's a guaranteed bet at this point that every new Super Smash Bros. game will welcome new characters from Nintendo's flagship franchise. Now that it's more of a matter of which viable Mario character hasn't made the cut yet, there are few remaining standouts who would make excellent fighters in their own right, like the highly demanded Geno, the dastardly Waluigi, and the oft-mentioned Paper Mario. However, there is one character in particular who has been around since the very beginning of Super Mario that I feel is deserving of a position in Smash now more than ever.
The Toad subjects of the Mushroom Kingdom have often accompanied Mario on his journeys, and they've grown far beyond informing him that the princess was in another castle. Among them is one special Toad, a renowned leader of a Brigade of treasure trackers. Recognizable for his explorer's outfit, heavy backpack, and headlamp, there is perhaps no better representative of the Toad species than Captain Toad himself, as well as Archivist Toadette as an alternate costume.
Out of the entire cast, Captain Toad would set himself apart with said heavy backpack weighing him down, keeping him as a grounded fighter with weak jumping capabilities. While he can't jump at all in Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker and Super Mario 3D World, I can see him with some jump height in Smash, but it would definitely be the lowest out of the entire cast. That's not to say that Captain Toad won't have air game, but we'll get to that in a moment.
For his standard special, I look to his headlamp for a straightforward Flash. This move is typically attuned to handling Boos, but overclocking it for Smash could quickly stun and burn other fighters with a decent amount of percentage, perhaps with an additional charging effect for a higher damage output.
Next, Captain Toad's Side Special could be vehicular in nature, much like Wario Bike, Villager's Lloid Rocket, and Bowser Jr's Clown Kart Dash. The Toad Brigade leader would be able to summon a Minecart for a quick escape, but it would not be a viable recovery move as a result of its weight. However, I doubt any fighter would take too kindly to a minecart running them over or, when activated in midair, dropping down and burying them from above.
For his Down Special, we take a page out of Princess Peach's playbook and look to Toad's playable origins in Super Mario Bros. 2 for a Treasure Toss, plucking a randomized assortment of items out from the ground. These items would be pulled directly from Treasure Tracker, with Turnips as the most common ammo, occasionally switching up with Coins thrown in rapid-fire fashion, Super Gems, or a Super Pickax (which would operate like a weaker version of the Hammer item).
Then for his Up Special, Captain Toad has a few options that would share a common theme. These would be proportionally excellent recovery options that not only make up for Captain's terrible jumping but also allow Toad to access his air game. Going in, I envisioned the Propeller Mushroom from New Super Mario Bros. Wii: it would operate in Smash just as it would in its source material, providing Captain Toad decent horizontal and vertical recovery.
On the other hand, the good folks at GameXplain came up with a pair of options of their own, revolving around a moveset where CT can't jump at all because of his heavy backpack. One idea would've had Captain Toad use his own backpack to slingshot him to new heights. The other, paying homage to Super Mario Bros. 2, would see Captain Toad fly on his map just like the Pidgits fly their magic carpets. Braxton's Big Dig on YouTube also came up with a cohesive Captain Toad moveset of his own, which I invite you all to check out.
Now, the Final Smash! My ideal finishing move for Captain Toad would take heavy inspiration from Solid Snake's own Grenade Launcher from Brawl. Once active, CT would climb aboard the Starshroom from his first appearance in Super Mario Galaxy, and, by aiming with a target reticule while standing in front of the camera, fling Giant Turnips with deadly force like in Treasure Tracker. The Final Smash would wear off once either time or ammo run out, at which point the Starshroom flies off and Captain Toad returns to the stage.
It's been a long time coming for Toad to rise to Smash outside of being Peach's Counter. All but Toad from the original Super Mario Bros. main cast have made names for themselves as stalwart fighters. With the likes of Captain Toad adding a unique spin to the character, it could be just the boost this loyal servant needs to stand in the ring with the very best.
Until now, we focused on our favorite longtime Nintendo heroes and special guests for new fighters. From here on out, however, we're getting right into the good stuff as we approach the end and turn our attention towards new faces who made their big break in the last year.
3. REX, PYRA & MYTHRA
"We'll show you what me and Pyra are made of!"
- First Appearance: Xenoblade Chronicles 2 (NSW – 2017)
Shulk's inclusion in Super Smash Bros. 4 was a harbinger of great things to come for Monolith Soft's Xenoblade Chronicles, but I doubt even the Monado could help him foresee how much the series would've grown beyond a cult classic JRPG on Wii. Leading up to a million-seller sequel on the Nintendo Switch, you might say it salvaged the franchise? Eh? "Salvage?" Get it? ...okay.
In Xenoblade Chronicles 2, it is said that after mankind was banished from the bountiful paradise of Elysium, they migrated onto the backs of colossal beasts known as Titans. These majestic creatures roam the endless cloud sea on a slow march towards death, with fewer and fewer Titans remaining as ages pass, until a young salvager accidentally awakens a legendary weapon known as the Aegis and challenges his world's impending demise. Joining Super Smash Bros. Switch as a new face from Xenoblade, Rex charges into battle!
XC2 mixes up the original Xenoblade gameplay with the introduction of Blades (the sentient embodiments of weapons), and Drivers (those wielding the Blade's actual physical weapons). They act as partners, with Blades powering up their Drivers via buffs and other special effects. This key gameplay mechanic from Xenoblade Chronicles 2 would help Rex stand out from other fighters, as he would not be fighting alone. Wielding the Aegis, he would be accompanied into battle by the dual personalities of the fabled weapon: Pyra and Mythra.
Beginning with Rex's Standard Special, Aegis Shift would see Pyra and Mythra switch with one another (with the Aegis changing its respective form) and would operate similarly to Shulk's Monado Arts. In Xenoblade 2, Pyra's Battle Arts and Battle Skills buff up Rex's offensive capabilities to increase damage, while Mythra's main highlight—Foresight—increases his accuracy and evasion in turn. Rex would be capable enough in Smash on his own, but with Pyra boosting his damage output or Mythra heightening his speed for limited amounts of time, the tide of battle could change in Rex's favor pretty quickly.
For his Side Special, we'd draw attention to his job as a salvager with one of his own Battle Arts: Anchor Shot. This move is executed when Rex fires his anchor at an enemy from a distance and inflicts Topple. It would work similarly in Smash, with the first hit striking with sufficient damage before tripping up the targeted fighter. If you don't get up quick, you might find yourself on the wrong end of his Side Smash, the Double Spinning Edge. Additionally, his Anchor Shot could double as his Grab to draw in distant foes.
To recover, Rex could rely on his Rolling Smash Battle Art as his Up Special, a basic front flip before bringing down the Aegis hard with the added momentum. Give it some additional height for the jump, and boom! There's your recovery move, but watch out if you don't stick that landing over a pit.
His Down Special is where things start to get more fun. Depending on which form the Aegis takes, Rex's Down Special would take on two entirely different iterations. If Pyra is on the field, her Blade Art Flame Nova will take effect, summoning a ring of fire at a designated area; should Mythra take command, her Ray of Punishment would smite any poor fighter caught in the blast. We can take it a step further with Rex's Customs switching between higher level Blade Specials: Prominence Revolt/Photon Edge and Blazing End/Lightning Buster.
Naturally, his Down Specials would be much more compact compared to their more spectacular executions in the source material. Whichever one is used, though, Rex will be completely invulnerable while Pyra or Mythra pull in from the stage's background and unleash their special moves in his stead. That is not to say that damaging Rex in this state will be impossible, as his unique connection to the Aegis means that he, Pyra, and Mythra all share damage, unlike—say—the Ice Climbers, where attacking Nana yielded no additional percentage to Popo. Change your focus to the Aegis, and you'll be able to retaliate and rack up the pain all the same.
Now Rex has pulled off a ton of jaw-dropping finishing moves in Xenoblade Chronicles 2 that I'd love to highlight as his Final Smash, but some of these are borderline to explicitly spoilerific. So, we'll keep things simple and stick with Pyra and Mythra's Level 4 Blade Arts carrying over the same twist as before. Rex would have access to two Final Smashes and unleash one depending on which Aegis personality is dominant before breaking open the Smash Ball. With Pyra at his side, Burning Sword would incinerate other fighters with a focused pillar of flames; if Mythra is active, Sacred Arrow would rain down a storm of arrows to decimate the field!
I fully believe that Rex will make it into Super Smash Bros. Switch; it's only a question of how Sakurai and co. will pull it off. Come what may, it'd warm my heart to see not one, but two deserving Xenoblade characters join the fray, but if we could see one more from 2015's Xenoblade Chronicles X...
2. SPRING MAN
- First Appearance: ARMS (NSW – 2017)
When the Nintendo Switch live conference in January 2017 finally gave us our first in-depth look at the shiny new system and extensive previews of Super Mario Odyssey, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and Splatoon 2, we also got a peek at a unique take on the fighter genre in the form of ARMS. Featuring characters duking it out boxing-style with long-reaching noodle limbs and a bevy of gadgets with different effects for gloves, ARMS is just the kind of off-brand, quirky, unmistakably Nintendo fun that would be a perfect fit for Super Smash Bros.
With that in mind, I don't think I'd be wrong in saying that ARMS' poster boy Spring Man (and alternate costume Springtron) will surely make the cut. With a moveset revolving heavily around the use of his spring-like limbs and his standard ARMS, Spring Man would undoubtedly be the Smasher with the longest range, though his blows would come off as average and leave him vulnerable once launched.
His Specials are where each of his standard ARMS would come into play. For the Standard Special, Spring Man could send out a long-range jab with his Toaster at the push of a button—a second button press could send out his other ARM for a follow-up cross. His Side Special, the multi-shot Tribolt, would be quicker and cover a wider area than the Toaster, but it would also be the weaker of the two.
For his Down Special, we have the Boomerang, with a more straightforward execution compared to Spring Man's other ARMS. With its wide arcs, the Boomerang ARM could cover both Spring Man's front and back by arcing around him specifically. With Toaster, Tribolt, and Boomerang, you can mix and match your ARMS depending on which Special you unleash first then second: catch them with a Boomerang if they're in too close, then push them away with a Toaster for the other, or go in with a Toaster first and surprise them with a Tribolt!
While this variety would give Spring Man plenty of options, he'd really only be at his best when players could best take advantage of his Charge ability. ARMS has fighters' fists become supercharged for a short window upon landing from a jump, dashing, or blocking, and in Smash, skilled players could utilize this same effect to unleash Spring Man's full potential. There's also Spring Man's unique ability in ARMS, where his weapons gain a permanent Charge when he's low on health!
As such, either through skilled timing or a high enough percentage, Spring Man's moves could each gain their own elemental effect. Toaster would burn his opponent and deal a decent amount of damage as a result. Tribolt would not only stop his enemies in their tracks, but stun them in place too. Boomerang would unlock its Wind properties and use it to keep incoming foes at bay.
There's still his Up Special to consider, too. This move could have him punch the ground and bounce highly into the air then spin to deliver a devastating uppercut, in a move I'd like to call Spring for the Top. This is based off of one of his victory animations and would be an effective leap for him...if used off solid ground. While usually useless in midair, though, he could still propel himself off the backs of other Smashers, which could also double as a kind of footstool. And when Charged, on top of lingering flames from the ground punch, using this move on midair foes for an extra leap could turn that footstool into a bonafide Meteor Smash.
Of course, while Spring Man gets a permanent power-up on the field once passing a certain damage threshold, the weaknesses I spoke of before are still very much there. Weave past his incoming ARMS as they zoom in, counterattack once it's too late for him to pull back, and knock him off stage to secure your win!
Be warned, though. Should Spring Man break open the Smash Ball, then it's all over for you once you're within the reach of his ARMS: there's no defending against that Rush. As for Spring Man’s passive ability to parry incoming attacks when he dashes, this would be better off as a Dash Attack.
If Spring Man isn't alone, then I could easily see Ribbon Girl join Smash as a viable semi-clone. Her Specials could be executed similarly to Spring Man's with her own standard ARMS, each operating with their own Charged attribute: Sparky with electricity, Popper for wind, and Slapamander for fire. Also known to be light on her feet, "The Airess" is capable of jumping about up to four times and dashing twice, giving her air game and recovery potential unique to her, just as Spring Man's low health PermaCharge is unique to him.
Before we get to my #1 pick, I'd be remiss not to go over a few more Honorable Mentions. There were many more candidates I considered for this list but ultimately had to cut, be it by my own unfamiliarity with certain characters or because I just don't see them happening myself. Nonetheless, we'll go over a few more names with my quick thoughts on each:
- Wonder Red – The Wonderful 101. Haven't played the game much myself, but Wonder Red was one of the frontrunners in many fan-held polls around the time of the Smash Ballot, so I'm curious to see what kind of crazy Wonderful One moves Red could bring to Smash. Wouldn't mind giving W101 a try should Nintendo and Platinum Games manage to have a Switch port in the works!
- Midna – The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. There's no denying that Midna is one of the more popular Zelda co-stars in recent years, in part thanks to Hyrule Warriors and the Wii U re-release of Twilight Princess. While I'd personally love to see Midna as a fighter, she was only brought on board Smash 4 as an Assist Trophy. Chances are likely she'll remain as such, but I would love to be proven wrong. Hell, we'd sooner see a new Zelda character than a decloned Ganondorf anyway…
- Ridley – Metroid. HE'S TOO BIG. Okay, memery aside, I do feel Metroid is long overdue a new fighter. Much like I've expressed for K. Rool, Smash could really use more villains, and there are few remaining who fit the bill quite like Ridley. As I'm not too familiar with the character or franchise myself, however, I can't quite picture a cohesive moveset for the draconic Space Pirate leader, and I'm sure I wouldn't do him justice with what little I know. I'll leave that to you good readers!
- Isaac – Golden Sun. Not an inclusion I am against, but it unfortunately isn't one I'm expecting this time around. Neither is he a character I know much about personally. I don't think Nintendo has any inclination on bringing back Golden Sun anytime soon, and Sakurai previously noted that new characters with no future are unlikely to make the cut, but who knows? We saw Kid Icarus return with a vengeance in Uprising after Pit miraculously appeared in Brawl, so it's certainly still possible.
- Decidueye – Pokémon Gen VII. Smash releases typically introduce at least one new Pokémon from a recent generation, but the keyword there is "recent," as Gen III and Gen V were overlooked for more relevant Pokémon games at the times of Brawl and Smash 4. Now, not only is Gen VIII likely on the horizon, Eevee could very well be in the running as an honorary mascot with the recent confirmations of Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee! Decidueye might be seeing some stiff competition now that it isn't the only new Pokémon idea on the table, let alone a fresh one after Pokkén Tournament DX.
And now, without further ado, I would like to present my top prediction. She is a certain heroine who debuted on Famicom many years ago, a character I feel is an absolute lock for the new Smash. I would've been surprised if no one bothered mentioning her...if not for one often parroted objection that I'm sure I'm gonna hear:
"But Jeff, there are already too many Fire Emblem characters!"
It's almost as though Fire Emblem has, by Nintendo's own admission, become a major household name in recent years or something.
"If it is our fate to cross swords upon this day, know that I will give it my all!"
- First Appearance: Fire Emblem Gaiden (FCM – 1992)
- Latest Appearance: Fire Emblem Warriors (NSW – 2017)
There is perhaps no better indicator to the average Nintendo fan of how far Fire Emblem has come as a series than Smash. Thanks to the resurgence the franchise received with Fire Emblem Awakening and the then oncoming Fates, Fire Emblem saw a total of six representatives made up of new and returning fighters last time around. Now, with a new game expected to release on the Nintendo Switch this year, we'll likely be bracing ourselves for this mysterious new protagonist to join the fray, but I doubt they will be the only new fighter joining Smash if so.
In 1992 came Fire Emblem Gaiden, the second installment in the tactical RPG series. Gaiden told the tale of a continent divided between its conflicting founding dragons and their nations, before two children of fate would rise to restore peace to the land of Valentia. This Japan-only game would forever remain in obscurity, up until a complete remake came to the Nintendo 3DS family of systems worldwide last year under the name Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia.
And with that recent installment, I would definitely expect one of its lead heroes, Celica—née Princess Anthiese of Zofia—to join as a new fighter.
Celica is a remarkably powerful character who can use swords and magic right out of the gate, with her exclusive blade being the Beloved Zofia. While there is some overlap with Robin in the kind of magic she uses, we'll be focusing more on her unique traits emphasized in Echoes rather than make her a direct clone. Additionally, as Celica saw more of a focus on flashy swordplay when she appeared in Fire Emblem Warriors, our Smash moveset will instead look more into what she's capable of as a spellcaster.
Beginning with her Standard Special, Celica can unleash Seraphim, a mid-range holy spell unique to Gaiden and Echoes that deals significant damage to undead foes but is otherwise a basic magic attack that deals an okay amount of pain. In Smash, Seraphim would take a moment to charge before this angelic ball of white light is cast and sent off as a concussive blast.
For her Side Special, although we certainly want her to differ from other Fire Emblem reps in Smash, Dancing Blade (used by Marth, Roy, and Lucina in Smash 4) would be a perfect fit for her, as we see her wield her sword in a similar fashion to this move in Echoes. Within the game's 3D dungeons, Celica gracefully swings her blade with style, poise, and finesse in a series of five swings you can loop over on again without rest. Ergo, Dancing Blade!
For her Down Special, Celica can rely on her signature spell Ragnarök. In Echoes, Ragnarök is Celica's most powerful combat Art, where she unleashes a volley of fireballs on nearby enemies. Granted, a spell that strong also comes at a cost: in Echoes, combat Arts are powered by HP, and Ragnarök is one of the most health-draining spells she can use. In Smash, Celica's Down Special would be a double-edged sword that would add a fair amount of % on her for casting it.
For her Up Special, Celica has a wind-type spell she can use as a recovery move in the form of Excalibur. In-universe, Excalibur is a more potent magic than Elwind, which Robin happens to use as a recovery move in Smash 4, but its execution in Smash would functionally be more or less the same. To differentiate, maybe more Air Blades could assist her ascent rather than Robin's two?
Celica also has other spells in her repertoire, which would easily come into play as her Smash Attacks. Fire, her starting Art in-game, can ward off incoming enemies with a potent blast on the ground as a Down Smash. Thunder can electrify foes as an effective Side Smash. Finally, for her Up Smash comes Aura, a skill which could raise a tower of light rings around Celica from beneath her and send enemies flying.
Last but not least, Celica's Final Smash would make use of her own Ultimate Combat Art, Ragnarok Ω. Once her foes are in range, the scenery would change as the Brand of Mila on her right hand shines, and her palms would alight with raging flames. The five fireballs summoned from her standard Ragnarok would then surround her opponents before meeting in the middle for a massive explosion!
On that note, there is one more Honorable Mention I'd like to bring up, and that is Celica's Gaiden and Echoes co-star Alm. I hate to break up a pair of Fire Emblem heroes, but while I would personally love to see the other Heritor of Arcadia join Celica in Smash (after being unjustly snubbed from Warriors), I'm not so sure I can see it happening after further deliberation.
As to why, I see Alm being rejected for the same reason Chrom—who was once in the running as a playable character in Smash 4—was, and that is Sakurai likely chalking up the Jasper Lion as "another plain old sword-wielder [who] lacks any unique characteristics." Nonetheless, that didn't stop me from coming up with a moveset, which I'll quickly list:
- Standard Special: Hunter Volley
- Side Special: Double Lion
- Up Special: Lion's Leap
- Down Special: Subdue
- Final Smash: Scendscale
Even with Celica edging out Alm as the more interesting fighter, I would be a fool to ignore Sakurai's own remarks about Fire Emblem oversaturation in Smash and not feel a little apprehensive about my own prediction, hence why I implemented rule #3 for this list earlier on. Should no fighters be cut from the previous game, will there be enough new characters introduced from other major Nintendo franchises into Smash 5 to warrant a new Fire Emblem character? Or might we actually see some roster trimmings this time around to make room for the Zofian Princess?
Whatever the case, we might just find out as soon as this time next week.
Well, this list has been a lot of things while putting it all together: fun, exhausting, enlightening, and incredibly time consuming, to put it mildly, since I never wrote something quite this long before. But hey, whether I'm very right and happy that my favorites got in or very wrong but pleasantly surprised at fighters I never really considered, I know I'll still have an absolute blast playing the new Super Smash Bros. once it lands on Nintendo Switch later this year—regardless of which new fighters come in.
These are just my own predictions though, so what about yours? Which new fighter would you love to see in Smash that I haven't talked about? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.