- This article is about Ness's appearance in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. For other uses, see Ness.
Ness (ネス Nesu?) is an returning character in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. Ness was officially confirmed on October 3rd, 2014, alongside Falco and Wario, coinciding with the Western release of Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS.
He currently ranks 28th on the tier list. This is due to his amazing aerial game, and combo ability. He has a large midair jump, with some okay KO options. He is also capable of reflecting and absorbing projectiles. However, his poor ground game and recovery prevent him from getting into a higher tier.
How to Unlock (Nintendo 3DS Only)
Complete the following:
- Play 10 matches.
- Beat Classic Mode.
After completing either option, you must fight and defeat Ness in Magicant. In addition to unlocking Ness after you defeat him, you will also unlock Magicant for multiplayer use.
- PK Thunder is a very versatile ability; it can be used for both recovery and anti-recovery. If used on Ness and he hits an opponent, it will cause extreme damage and knockback. Good for airdodge reads. It can also be an effective juggling tool.
- PK Fire can stop combos and can also create opening combos for Ness and can setup tech chase situations.
- PSI Magnet absorbs energy projectiles and heals Ness, forcing energy-projectile users such as Samus to get into close combat.
- Has some of the best throws in-game, capable of killing at percentages where other throws are typically unable to.
- His attacks flow very naturally into each other, giving him one of the strongest combo abilities in the game.
- Has a very good aerial game due to his aerials' large range, ability to combo, juggle, kill and edgeguard and their high damage output.
- Ness being a middleweight and floaty gives him resistance to combos and dies at reasonable percents.
- Ness's small hurtbox makes him hard to hit.
- Neutral aerial is a fast move, and can set up for frame traps.
- Forward aerial comes out fast, is multi hit, has a big hitbox, maing it great for edgeguarding and allows followups into itself or his other aerials. Also great for keeping pressure.
- Back aerial is a phenomenal kill move as it comes out very fast, and when sweetspotted, has great knockback. Can also be used for frame traps due to its little to no endlag.
- Up aerial makes a great juggle move with its high damage output and a good kill move as it KOs rather early.
- PK Thunder is Ness's only recovery. PK Thunder is also guided by the player, which can lead to SDs if aimed improperly.
- In addition, if used as an offensive attack, should the projectile misses or Ness hits himself but fails to damage the target, he's left with heavy endlag, which gives the opponent an opportunity to punish.
- PK Thunder can also be reflected and/or absorbed, and can also be pocketed by Villager, making him fall if used to recover, causing a Self-Destruct.
- PSI Magnet is useless when facing physical-projectile users, reducing the amount of offense that he has in matches.
- Has a weak ground game with short ranged tilts and lag heavy smash attacks give him a bad ground-based approach.
- Lack of good landing options, due to them either being heavy on landing lag or being short ranged.
- Has a mediocre neutral due to the aforementioned range problems.
- Has a below average mobility, creating difficulties keeping up with faster characters.
- His double jump, while going higher than most of the other double jumps, is also slower than most of them, making it easy to interrupt.
- Down Air Attack is a slow move, being hard to hit with the spike hitbox and has very high endlag, making it situational and is now Ness's worst air attack.
Ness is a Mix-Up and Half-Grappler type of character, excelling in varying his combo options through his versatile attacks and grabs.
Ness has a small hurtbox, making it easy for him to avoid some attacks. His ground mobility is sub-par when compared to the rest of the cast, but has high air acceleration, making it an essential part of his fighting style.
Ness possesses a very powerful aerial game, with all of his moves capable of spacing, setting up combos, or in extreme cases KO'ing opponents. All of them auto-cancel in a short hop, giving Ness many follow-up options. They also possess low startup and end lag, making them extremely useful for juggling opponents. His forward and neutral aerials grant Ness a useful move for approaches, while his back, down, and up aerials can be combo'ed and used to land KO's.
Ness's other strength lies in his powerful grab game. Because his moves can trap opponents easily, it makes it easier for Ness to grab the opponent, as they possess good speed and range. His pummel is extremely effective due to its fast pace and damage output. Ness's throws are arguably the most effective, as they possess good combo potential and high knockback, particularly his forward and back throws.
Ness's Special Moves play an integral part of his playstyle. PK Flash is an extremely effective edgeguard and KO option due to its high power and knockback. PK Fire possesses decent range and quick damage racking capabilities, and can be used for many of Ness's follow-ups. PK Thunder is Ness's most versatile move, as it can be used to knock opponents away or edgeguard them, or alternatively be guided into Ness to propel him forward, going a decent distance while inflicting high damage and knockback. Finally, PSI Magnet is one of the most effective self-healers in the game, as it covers both sides and can be used as a counter against energy-based projectile users.
Ness is held back by many flaws however. His ground mobility is sub-par, making it difficult to directly approach opponents. In addition, while Ness's ground attacks are effective in setting up combos, they are ineffective in directly dealing damage due to their short range and low knockback, with the exception of his forward smash. Finally, Ness's recovery can easily be gimped, as driving PK Thunder into an opponent immediately renders Ness helpless, making it dangerous against characters with multiple jumps; in addition, PK Thunder can also be cancelled with characters with projectile absorbers or reflectors, therefore completely negating any chance of Ness recovering.
Overall, players must be wary of opponents capable of fighting up close or negating projectile usage, as the presence of these fighters can easily make Ness an ineffective fighter. Rather, they should keep their distance, utilizing Ness's grab, throws, and projectiles to pressure opponents and set up many of his aerials to land KOs.
Changes from Brawl
Ness has received major buffs, as well some few nerfs. Most notably, he no longer has extra frames from being grab-released. The changes in hitstun greatly grant Ness the benefit of comboing opponents more effectively. His Down and Up Smash attacks have greater utility, while his Forward Smash has greater knockback. However, his aerials deal less damage or have more landing lag, and his Special Moves have more ending lag.
Aesthetically, Ness's design is brighter, and has a more proportional and smaller head. Many of his attacks have new graphic effect. His voice is slightly higher-pitched than in Brawl.
- Faster ground and aerial speed.
- Slightly lower base jump.
- No longer suffers an extra 10 frames of grounded grab release animation.
- Many of air attacks now include PSI-based energy, serving as sourspots.
- Has PSI-energy on many moves, giving him larger range on some moves, and giving him some good disjointed hitboxes.
- Jab does 2% less damage.
- Forward Tilt has more range, and does 1% more damage with slightly more knockback scaling when angled in either direction.
- Up Tilt now has increased range, with the addition of a PSI spark coming from Ness' hands. It now has a sourspot.
- Down Tilt now has a 2% sourspot at the end of Ness' foot.
- Forward Smash now only has three hitbubbles in the attack. Its base knockback has been increased slightly but its knockback scaling has more than doubled. Its tipper hitbox now has different knockback scaling values than the other hitboxes. The maximum damage has been decreased by 2% and the move has slightly lower range.
- Up Smash now deals increased damage when charged at the sacrifice of losing its charging hitbox. The earliest hitbox on the move (behind Ness) now comes out slightly faster. It is stronger in terms of knockback.
- Down Smash now deals increased damage when charged at the sacrifice of losing its charging hitbox. It has many more hitboxes (although this could easily be called a nerf) and its sweetspot is stronger. It is faster and potentially stronger in terms of knockback (which is now horizontal instead of vertical) and reliability for KO'ing.
- Dash Attack has more range and has less ending lag, but now does 3% less damage to grounded opponents.
- Neutral Air Attack's sourspot, and therefore the whole move, now has a shorter duration.
- Forward Air Attack does 4% less total damage.
- Backward Air Attack has more range, however the sweetspot window has been shortened to one frame in the attack.
- Down Air Attack has a slightly different animation. There is a PSI spark in the move now. It has suffered the worst out of Ness' standard moveset in the transition between games. Although its startup and total duration are the same, its sweetspot (the Meteor Smash) window is now just a one frame window, making it much harder to land, the overall knockback is noticeably weaker and the autocancel window at the end of the move has been lengthened by a massive 21 frames (from frame 29 in Brawl to frame 50 in Smash 4), now making this move Ness' laggiest aerial and his worst overall aerial attack.
Grabs and Throws
- Grab has increased range.
- Down Throw now has PSI-based energy, and deals less damage.
- Up Throw's ending lag has been significantly decreased. It also has slightly higher base knockback.
- Pivot Grab comes out slower, but now has massive disjointed range.
- PK Flash is easier to control, has less startup and ending lag, and the projectile travels faster, but causes less damage.
- PK Fire travels much farther, almost as far as Lucas' in Brawl. However, the pillar of flames is smaller.
- PK Thunder is bigger, has a larger hitbox, with increased hitstun. It is also easier to control, and has intangibility at the beginning of the attack, which means it cannot be cancelled out by an attack or a hurtbox during that period. It can, however, be absorbed or reflected. Additionally, the electric field Ness generates around his body is larger, being able to trap opponents at very close range. He can also use this move to launch himself twice into a nearby wall.
- PSI Magnet is much larger and has less ending lag. Additionally, it has windboxes that "sucks" projectiles into it. The field can now absorb Link and Toon Link's Bombs.
- PK Starstorm can now be aimed, similar to Lucario's Final Smash in Brawl, Aura Storm. Ness fires a thin line of meteors from the top-center of the screen. However, it has lower duration and since the player must manually aim the attack, the player no longer can move Ness freely during the Final Smash.
- Standard Attack: Throws two punches and a kick, similar to Mario's. Two hits of 2%, then 4% for a total of 8%.
- Dash Attack: Hits three times with PSI-energy. Three hits of 4%, 2% and 4% for a total of 10%. The first hit does 7% to aerial opponents, so the maximum damage output is 13%.
- Forward Tilt: Kicks forward with a roundhouse kick. One hit of 9%, but 10% if it's angled up or down.
- Up Tilt: Thrusts upwards with his hands using a PSI-energy. The circle does 7% damage, however his hands have a sourspot hitbox of 5%.
- Down Tilt: Does a small thrusting kick. 2% if hit with the tip of his foot, and 4% anywhere else.
- Side Smash Attack: Swings his signature baseball bat. Has great launch power. It retains its projectile reflecting properties from previous Smash games. There are three hitboxes on this attack that will do 22%, 20% and 18%, starting from the tip of his bat.
- Up Smash Attack: Does an "Around the World" with his yo-yo. The yo-yo will first hit behind him for 9%, then does 13% for the duration of the move.
- Down Smash Attack: Does a "Walk the Dog" trick with his yo-yo. The yo-yo will first hit behind him, for two hits of 1%, then 10%, then in front of him for another two hits of 1%, then 10%.
- Neutral Air Attack: Spins around with arms outstretched. Very fast. 11% damage at the start of the move, and 7% for the late hit.
- Forward Air Attack: Gives a series of PSI-energy from his hand. Three weak hits of 1%, followed by a finishing hit of 4% for a total of 7%. Can also be used again if Ness double-jumps.
- Backward Air Attack: Kicks backward with both legs. Great launch power. 15% at the start of the move, then 8% after.
- Up Air Attack: Sweeps upward with his head. High priority for juggling and a powerful KO move. 13%.
- Down Air Attack: Charges for a moment, the unleashes a kick with psychic power downwards. The very start of the attack is a meteor smash. 12% at the start (meteor smash), then 10% after.
Grabs and Throws
- Pummel: Does a very quick headbutt. 1.2%.
- Forward Throw: Using PSI-energy, spins the opponent around before hurling them forward. A high base knockback move that scales very, very slowly. 11%.
- Backward Throw: Psychically hurls opponents backwards with psychokinesis. It's among the most powerful throws in the game. 11%.
- Up Throw: Spins opponent above his head with PSI-energy, then throws them up. Great for juggling. 10%.
- Down Throw: Hurls opponent beneath him and sets them on fire with PSI-energy. Five hits of 0.6%, then one of 4% for a total of 7%.
|Ness's Special Moves|
|Standard Special||PK Fire||PK Flash|
|Side Special||—||PK Fire|
|Up Special||PK Thunder|
|Down Special||PSI Magnet|
|Final Smash||—||PK Starstorm|
|Ness's Custom Special Moves|
|Custom 1||Custom 2|
|Standard Special||Rising PK Flash||PK Freeze|
|Side Special||PK Bonfire||PK Fire Burst|
|Up Special||Lasting PK Thunder||Rolling PK Thunder|
|Down Special||PSI Vacuum||Forward PSI Magnet|
- Up Taunt: Nods his head and says "OK".
- Side Taunt: Holds his baseball bat in front of him.
- Down Taunt: Gives off electric sparks from his hand.
- Ness puts a finger up to his forehead as if thinking.
- Ness turns his head to look from one side to the other.
In Competitive Play
Opinions on Ness' competitive viability has been controversial throughout the game's lifespan. During the early life of SSB4, players immediately noticed the buffs made to Ness. He was widely considered to be either a high, or even a top-tier character due to possessing arguably one of the best throw games in SSB4, a highly versatile aerial game, alongside excellent KO power and damage output. Ness's expectations remained strong, leading to great tournament representation and results, and securing the 13th position on the first official 4BR tier list. While his results slightly fell since the first tier list, as well as the release of Bayonetta, the significant buffs to Mewtwo and the increased representation of Mega Man having a strong impact on the metagame, he would drop slightly on the second tier list, placing at 16th.
However, Ness' flaws became more apparent as time passed, with players noting that his subpar mobility, mediocre ground game, and notably gimpable recovery made him struggle against high and top tiers, despite his buffs. As a result, opinions on Ness began to fall off drastically. His results would become stagnant, as many of his players became significantly inactive (Specifically after EVO 2016 to 2GGT: ZeRo Saga). Despite again gaining results on Winter 2016 and 2017, most noticeably FOW's 17th placement in 2GGT: ZeRo Saga and S1's 5th placement in B.E.A.S.T 7, it didn't compensate the loss of his stagnant results he had suffered from mid to late 2016. Some of his previously not so troublesome matchups such as Marth and Lucina would also gain a large spike in popularity and viability, and prove to now be worrisome matchups for Ness. This resulted in a much larger tier drop to 24th on the third tier list, this drop being tied with Pac-Man for the largest between the second and third tier lists.
Ness' ranking on the tier list became fair topic of debate due to several mains returning to the scene, with FOW briefly coming out of retirement to place 13th at 2GGC: Nairo Saga and 25th at 2GGC: Civil War respectively, NAKAT placing 3rd at Smash Factor 6, 13th at EVO 2017, 17th at GameTyrant Expo 2017, 17th at 2GGC: FE Saga, and 33rd at GENESIS 4 while mostly using Ness, The Great Gonzales placing 5th at Royal Flush and 17th at Smash 'N' Splash 3 respectively and, most recently, a Japanese Ness player, Gackt, placing 17th at The Big House 7, claiming wins against ANTi, Locus, and Mistake (although lost to Raito by 2-3). Regardless of these improved results, Ness dropped once again on the fourth and current tier list, at 28th, now sharing the spot with his Earthbound represenative Lucas, though due to the expansion of the tiers, he is now considered a high tier character rather than a mid tier character. To this day, Ness' tier placement remains a large topic of debate.
- Hailing from Onett, a small town in Eagleland, this young boy's ordinary looks hide his psychic powers. Ness fought against the evil Giygas in Earthbound, and in Smash Bros. he unleashes some of the same PSI moves. Watch out for PK Thunder, a guided attack that can also launch Ness like a rocket!
- Earthbound (06/1995)
- Ness (Alt.)
- Ness may have psychic powers, but that doesn't mean he shies away from getting physical. His side smash packs a real punch if you hit enemies with the end of his bat, and it can even deflect projectiles! His up and down smashes also have a lot of range - Ness can land his strikes with ease!
- Earthbound (06/1995)
- PK Starstorm (Ness)
- In EarthBound, this PSI ability belonged to Poo, the Crown Prince of Dalaam and one of Ness's friends. Ness must have learned it especially for Smash Bros.! The attack makes a shower of meteors fall onto the stage, damaging any foes it hits. While the attack's in progress, Ness is invincible and can adjust the meteors' trajectory.
- Ness, alongside Jigglypuff, Bowser Jr. and Ganondorf, are the only playable characters that are unlockables in the 3DS version and starters in the Wii U version.
- Some of Ness' custom moves are aesthetically (and in some cases functionally) similar to Lucas' special moves. This can be seen with PK Freeze, PK Fire Burst, Lasting PK Thunder, and Forward PSI Magnet.