|“||In this mysterious world, the unspeakable happens, many beloved characters lose their physical forms. All of them, except the fighters, are turned into spirits, unable to return to the real world. This is a Spirit.||”|
|—Masahiro Sakurai, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Direct 11.1.2018|
Spirits are a feature and new collectibles introduced in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and are a replacement of trophies and stickers, to bring more representation of numerous game series in Ultimate. These representatives will affect battles by providing either power and/or various different effects. They are similar to the stickers in Brawl.
Types of spirits
- Primary Spirits: These spirits can be equipped by the character to increase their attack power, and they mimic the characteristics of the spirit's character in special spirit matches. Only one can be equipped by each character. Each primary spirit has one of four types: Attack, Grab, Shield, and Neutral: Attack is strong against Grab, Grab is strong against Shield, Shield is strong against Attack and Neutral is balanced against all types.
Primary Spirits can be upgraded through consuming Snacks or Cores, leaving them at the Gym or simply playing with them in your spirit team. They start at level 1 and max out at level 99. They can also be trained at the Dojo to modify their stats.
Apart from giving the character attack power, defense and shield strength, they also determine how many Support Spirits they get to use. Opposite the level indicator at the lower left side of the Primary's image there will usually be a number of empty hexagons. These indicate how many slots the Primary Spirit has that can be filled with Support Spirits. Also, some Primaries have an extra ability that help/hinder the player that uses them (e.g. Jump ↑, Fire Weakness, Weight ↑...).
Some Primaries are enhanceable: this means that, once they reach level 99, you can choose to enhance them from the Level Up tab. Enhanceable spirits never have an extra ability. Instead, where the description for said ability would be, it will display "Can be enhanced at level 99". Enhanceable spirits also have a silver ring around their type indicator, indicating that they have yet to evolve into their final form. Enhancing a spirit means it will grow into a stronger form but get reset to level 1. A spirit that has been enhanced will go up one or two ranks (e.g. a Novice spirit that got enhanced can either become an Advanced or Ace spirit) and will always gain an extra ability that a Support Spirit could have (see Support Spirit Abilities). This ability's description has a black background and a golden border instead of a border and background of the spirit's type's color, although this is just cosmetic. The ring around the type indicator will also become golden. Legend spirits are never enhanceable as they are already the highest rank.
- Support Spirits: These spirits give additional effects to the characters and are equipped alongside a primary spirit. They cannot be equipped without a Primary Spirit. They are especially useful to grant immunity to certain conditions, like lava floors or poison clouds.
Depending on how many slots the Primary Spirit has available, more or less Support Spirits can be selected, from a minimum of 0 to a maximum of 3 slots. At the lower left side of the Support's image are a certain number of filled-in hexagons. These indicate how many slots the Spirit occupies when used in your team. For example, if your primary spirit has three available slots, you can equip either three single-slot Supports, one two-slot and another one-slot or a single three-slot Support (although the latter are rare), if your Primary Spirit only has one available slot, you can only equip one one-slot Support Spirit and if your Primary has no slots, you cannot use Support Spirits.
- Fighter Spirits: These spirits are based on the fighters' other appearances of itself, which also include some of their palette swap costumes. They are obtained from beating that fighter's Classic Mode route. They cannot be equipped and are just there to enjoy the artwork, but they're part of the Spirit Collection nonetheless. They can be swapped between the original and SSBU artworks by pressing X.
- Master Spirits: They also cannot be equipped by the player. Rather than that, they run other services that help the player's spirits to do various activities. For example, some run shops where you can buy items, others run dojos where you can send your spirits to train and still others run expeditions you can send your spirits on to obtain rewards.
Spirits are sorted out in 4 classes depending on their strength:
- Novice: ★
- Advanced (Hope in Japan): ★★
- Ace: ★★★
- Legend: ★★★★
Note that, despite the ratings being usually accurate, Novice Support Spirits can still be much worthwhile to keep, as they are almost always one-slot Supports and can help to give your team a little boost if you only have one slot remaining and your best Support spirits use more than one slot.
Spirits can be used to aid in spirit battles by raising the fighters' attack power or providing passive effects like providing an item or resistance to a spirit battle's stage hazards. Equipping spirits will also raise a stat called Team Power. This stat has no effect on the battle and is there to give the player a rough idea as to how strong their team is.
In single-player spirit battles, the characters will simulate their respective spirit's characteristics. For example, to acquire the Lakitu & Spinies spirit, you have to fight Iggy with several small red Bowsers.
Spirits can also be used to summon other spirits by dismissing them to the real world, which will leave spirit cores that are used to summon the spirits. They can also be used to power up any amiibo compatible as a figure player, leaving spirit cores behind, and can be sent at expeditions to collect items, spirit points and snacks.
Spirits can be acquired as the main reward from defeating spirits in the Spirit Board and World of Light. After a spirit is defeated in the Spirit Board, the player must win in a minigame in which they must shoot the fighter that is being protected by a rotating shield to free the spirit.
They can also be earned as awards for completing Classic Mode or challenges or by buying them from shops. Spirit cores can be used to summon spirits. Some spirits can also be levelled up to the maximum to evolve them into their enhanced forms. Scanning specific amiibo of any series can summon the spirit of the respective amiibo's character.
In Adventure Mode
Spirits are considered as characters who lose their physical form due to Galeem's destructive light. He forces the spirits to infuse themselves on the fighters' trophies to become puppet fighters, while still retaining some of their characteristics. Once defeated, they are ready to assist the fighters.
List of spirits
Main article: List of spirits
Spirit Fight Conditions
Most individual Spirit Fight will involve some sort of condition that is themed after the Spirit that is possessing the puppet fighter. Only three conditions will be shown in the lower left corner, and there is no information on the main fighter's minions, meaning part of the conditions may be unknown to the player (for example, the conditions might not mention that the enemy is giant or that the minions start with a Beam Sword).
Stat Buffs & Nerfs
Either the player, enemy puppet fighter or both will have their stats increased or decreased during this specific fight. For example:
- The enemy’s neutral special has increased power.
- All fighters have reduced move speed.
- The enemy has super armor and is hard to launch or make flinch.
- The enemy's melee weapons have increased power.
- You constantly take minor damage.
- You get decreased defense after a while.
Repeating Temporary Powerup
The enemy will have a powerup that automatically activates and deactivates throughout the match after several seconds such as. For example:
- The enemy is temporarily invisible.
- The enemy is occasionally metal.
The fighter will spawn with an item automatically equipped. If the fighter loses that item, a new one will spawn on the stage to compensate. For example:
- The enemy starts the battle with a Killing Edge.
- The enemy starts the battle with Home-run Bat.
- The enemy starts the battle with a Lip's Stick.
- Hostile assist trophies will appear.
- Only certain Pokemon emerge from Poké Balls.
- Normally this is a specific individual or set of Assist Trophies.
- The enemy reflects projectiles (a.k.a. The enemy starts the battle with a Franklin Badge.)
The enemy mimics the personality of their Spirit by mimicking their fighting style. The AI will commit to this rule with occasional exceptions. For example:
- The enemy favors neutral specials.
- The enemy favors side specials.
- The enemy loves to jump.
- The enemy loves to taunt
- The enemy tends to avoid conflict.
- Here the enemy doesn't "tend" to avoid conflict: it constantly runs away and never attacks.
- The enemy is easily distracted by items.
Not all fights will involve the standard stock or timed match: instead, they will include a special rule that will affect how the fight is played. For example:
- Stamina Battle.
- Timed Stamina Battle.
- Defeat the main fighter to win.
- Certain items will appear in large numbers.
- The enemy is giant.
- The enemy is tiny.
- The enemy is invisible.
- You are giant.
- All fighters are easy to launch.
- You are easy to launch.
- You are hard to launch.
- You cannot swim.
- No one can swim.
- Take your strongest fighter into this no-frills battle!
- Galeem and Dharkon are tied with the highest power (13,640 at lv 99).
- Akuma has the highest Attack stat of any spirit (3,176 at lv 1) and the highest power of any Spirit without an ability.
- Absolutely Safe Capsule has the highest Defense stat of any spirit (4,886 at lv 1; 10,000 at lv 99) but is the only spirit with 0 Attack stat (at any level). This attack stat cannot be increased.
- Dan Hibiki has the lowest total power of any Spirit (378 total power at lv 1). Dan also has the lowest Defense stat (189 at lv 1). He, however, is the fastest Spirit to level up as he requires less experience to do so.