Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (SSBU)

Ness Guide: Matchup Chart and Combos

July 2022 Major Tier List Update!
13.0 Best Character Tier List

Patch Notes and Updates
All Update and Patch Note History
Ver. 13.0.1 Patch Notes and Balance Changes

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Ness Guide

This is a guide to Ness in the game Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Everything about Ness, including how to unlock them, bread and butter combos, frame data, alt costumes and skins, as well as Ness matchups and counters, can be found here.

Ness Tier and Overview

Stats and General Info

Ness Image
Game Series EarthBound (Mother)
Smash Bros. Debut Super Smash Bros. (64)
Fighter Number 10
Unlock Order 1
Number of Jumps 2
Weight 94 Units (48/87)
Dash Speed 1.609 (57/87)
Air Speed 1.007 (57/87)
Fast Fall Speed 2.096 (79/87)
Special Attributes None

Tier List Placement

SSBU Ness Icon A Tier Tier

A character with strong aerials and a kill throw

Ness in Smash Ultimate has powerful kill options in his aerial attacks as well as his back throw. This allows him to rack up damage using PK Fire (his side special) and his aerials (Fair and Uair), then KO opponents with Bair, Back throw, etc. All of his aerials are quick, and have a use in battle.

His largest weakness is his recovery, which is both difficult to navigate, and easy for opponents to exploit. Since you have to aim PK Thunder (Up B) at Ness for him to recover, the movement is somewhat easy to mess up, and leaves Ness vulnerable. Additionally, Ness has somewhat poor range, meaning he often struggles against characters with large disjointed hitboxes, such as swordies.

See Our Tier List Here!

Ness's Strengths and Weaknesses

Strengths ・Has a kill throw (Back Throw)
・Very powerful aerial attacks (esp. Bair, Fair, and Dair)
・Useful projectiles for zoning opponents (Side Special / Up Special)
・Very good at edgeguarding (Down Smash)
・Several powerful combos
Weaknesses ・Poor recovery (Up B)
・Poor range, often losing to swords or other projectiles
・Poor mobility, with low ground and air speed

Ness Matchup Chart

Matchup Chart

Ness Image
LucinaMarthMr. Game & WatchPalutenaShulk
ChromCloudCorrinGreninjaIkeLinkPeach/DaisyPokemon TrainerRosalina & LumaRoySonicVillagerYoung LinkZeldaZero Suit Samus
Banjo & KazooieBayonettaBylethCaptain FalconDiddy KongDuck HuntFalcoFoxHeroIce ClimbersInklingIsabelleJokerLucasLuigiMarioMega ManMeta KnightMewtwoMii BrawlerMii GunnerMin MinOlimarPac-ManPit/Dark PitR.O.B.RobinRyuSamus/Dark SamusSephirothSimon/RichterTerryToon LinkWarioWolfYoshi
BowserBowser Jr.Donkey KongDr. MarioJigglypuffKenKing DededeKing K. RoolKirbyLittle MacMii SwordfighterPichuPikachuPiranha PlantRidleySheikSnakeSteveWii Fit Trainer

Notes About Matchup Chart

1. -2 = Disadvantage. -1 = Slight Disadvantage or Even. 0 = Even. +1 = Slight Advantage or Even. +2 = Advantage.
2. The matchup chart was based around both the opinions of professional players of each character, as well as our own experience through playing Ness.
3. Characters within each tier are unordered
4. Pokemon Trainer's individual Pokemon (Squirtle, Ivysaur, and Charizard) as well as Echo fighters with no significant difference than their regular counterpart are not shown.
5. For other characters who are not shown here, we are still investigating the matchup.

Ness Combos

Beginner Combos
Side Special→Side Special→Side Special
Side Special→Down Throw
Up Tilt→Up Tilt→Up Air
Advanced Combos
Down Throw→F-air→F-air
Down Special (Air)→B-air

Ness Beginner Combos

Combo 1
Combo 2
Combo 3
Side Special→Side Special→Side Special
This combo is for opponents with lower percents. If you dash towards the opponent and launch another side special, it will be harder for them to escape, allowing you to rack up more damage.
Side Special→Down Throw
This combo is easier for opponents with lower percents. Grab the opponent while they are caught in PK Fire and perform a down throw.
Up Tilt→Up Tilt→Up Air
This combo is easier for opponents with lower percents. This can be a good counter for an opponent who throws many down airs.

Ness Frame Data and Moveset

Best Out of Shield Options

Move Frames
Neutral Air 8 Frames
Shield Grab 10 Frames
Up Smash 10 Frames
Jump > Down B 10 Frames

Ness doesn't have the best out of shield options, with his fastest option at 8 frames (neutral air), meaning that many moves will be hard to punish from shield. Depending on the situation, you will want to use the best option available, such as grab or up smash, but for safer moves, you best option will be to roll away and reset, as you may be unable to punish shielded moves.

Jab (Neutral Attack)

1v1 Damage (%) Startup Frames Active Frames Cooldown Frames
Jab 1
2.4 3 1 16
Jab 2 1.8 3 1 16
Jab 3 4.8 6 2 22


With quick startup, Ness's jab is used as a get-off-me tool, such as against an opponent trying to punish his landing.

Dash Attack / Tilts

1v1 Damage (%) Startup Frames Active Frames Cooldown Frames
Dash Attack Hit 1
(Dash + A)
4.8 8 1 31
Dash Attack Hit 2 2.4 15 2 23
Dash Attack Hit 3 7.2 23 2 15
Forward Tilt
(← or → + A)
12 7 4 24
Up Tilt
(↑ + A)
10.8 5 2 22
Up Tilt (Lingering) 8.4 7 2 20
Down Tilt
(↓ + A)
5.4/3.6 3 2 7

Dash Attack

With its long lasting hitbox, Ness's dash attack is a good approach tool. It has a little bit of endlag, so overusing it can get you punished however.

Forward Tilt

Ness's forward tilt is pretty quick and can send opponents away. It is mostly used for putting space between you and an opponent.

Up Tilt

Ness's up tilt is a quick move that is a decent combo starter at low percents.

Down Tilt

With its fast startup, down tilt is a good get off-me-tool to put some distance between Ness and an opponent. It can two-frame opponents, and can combo into other moves like forward tilt.

Smash Attacks

1v1 Damage (%) Startup Frames Active Frames Cooldown Frames
Forward Smash
(Smash ← or → + A)
21.6/24/26.4 21 2 32
Up Smash
(Smash ↑ + A)
15.6 10 - -
Down Smash
(Smash ↓ + A)
1.2 12 4 30
Down Smash Hit 2 12 17 2 27
Down Smash Hit 3 1.2 23 3 20
Down Smash Hit 4 12 31 2 13

Forward Smash

Ness's forward smash has a pretty slow startup and considerable endlag, but it deals good knockback on opponents, so it can be used to KO at higher percents (and is one of the strongest smash attacks when hitting an opponent with the sweetspot). It also has the added ability of reflecting projectiles, which will increase the damage they deal upon return.

Up Smash

Ness's up smash is pretty quick, and can be used at the ledge to try and cover jump. Typically down smash is better to use for edgeguarding, so up smash can be used when you didn't have time to set up down smash.

Down Smash

By charging down smash at the ledge, Ness has a very powerful edgeguarding option that prevents opponents from recovering.


1v1 Damage (%) Startup Frames Active Frames Cooldown Frames
Neutral Air
(A + no direction while airborne)
13.2 5 8 23
Neutral Air (Lingering) 8.4 13 3 20
Forward Air
(Hold ← or → in the direction you are facing + A while airborne)
1.8 8 11 21
Forward Air (Finishing) 6.6 20 2 18
Back Air
(← or → Opposite of the direction you are facing + A while airborne)
18 10 2 24
Back Air (Lingering) 9.6 12 7 17
Up Air 1
(↑ + A While Airborne)
3.0 8 7 19
Up Air (Finishing) 6.0 15 2 17
Down Air
(↓ + A While Airborne)
14.4 18 3 32
Down Air (Lingering) 12.0 21 4 28

Neutral Air

With its quick startup, Ness's neutral air is good approach for whiff punishing opponents. It can also be used to counter reckless aerial approaches from opponents, giving it a lot of versatility. It is also safe on shield (-4/-5)

Forward Air

Ness's forward air has a long lasting hitbox, and is powerful against opponents who like to jump a lot. It is a good combo tool as well, and against large characters, Forward Air → Fast Fall → Forward Air should combo.

Back Air

Ness's back air deals great knockback on the initial hitbox. It's also -5/-6 on shield, so it is difficult for many characters to punish, and can be used to apply pressure and finish off an opponent's stock.

Up Air

Up air has good knockback, and a long hitbox. Use it for juggling and to drag down opponents for a combo, or to KO when they are high enough in the air.

Down Air

Ness's down air has a meteor hitbox at the tip, so it can be used to spike opponents. It has a pretty big hitbox, and little lag for a meteor, so it's a great move to use offstage. It is -7/-8 on shield.


1v1 Damage (%) Startup Frames Active Frames Cooldown Frames
Neutral Special (B) - PK Flash (No Charge) 13.2 40 5 17
Neutral Special (B) - PK Flash (Fully Charged) 32.4 117 5 17
Side Special
(← or → + B)
1.2 18 20 18
Up Special - Front/Tail
(↑ + B)
13.2/1.2 20 120 -
Up Special - Body Hit 30 1 10 46
Up Special - Body Hit (Lingering) 25.2 11 22 24
Down Special
(↓ + B)
4.8 7 6 12

Neutral Special (PK Flash)

Although very slow, this move is incredibly powerful. It can be charged and sent horizontally to detonate, so it is mainly useful for edgeguarding.

Side Special (PK Fire)

An essential part to Ness's gameplay, PK Fire is a powerful projectile that will create a pillar of fire after making contact. If it hits an opponent, they will have a hard time breaking free, so it can be used multiple times, or followed up with a smash attack while they are stunned.

Up Special (PK Thunder)

PK Thunder is used for racking up damage, edgeguarding, and so Ness can recover. It can be freely controlled, making it a no-risk way to deal with opponents offstage.

It is somewhat difficult to use as a recovery, so it is important to practice if you plan on using the character. To recover, Ness needs to redirect the thunder so that it hits him and boosts him toward the stage. If Ness uses PK thunder on himself and launches into an opponent, it will deal significant damage and knockback.

Down Special (PSI Magnet)

Ness's down special is an energy absorber that can absorb energy based projectiles and weak explosions to recover HP. Using it in the air will also slightly knockback opponents, making it a good move to use against opponents trying to catch your landing. Additionally, it can be used to combo into other moves.

Grabs and Throws

1v1 Damage (%) Startup Frames Active Frames Cooldown Frames
Pummel 1.56 1 1 18
Grab (Normal) - 6 2 30
Dash Grab - 9 2 35
Pivot Grab - 10 2 29
Forward Throw (Throw) 13.2 27 1 25
Back Throw (Throw) 13.2 27 1 25
Up Throw (Throw) 14.4 36 1 19
Down Throw Hit 1-3
(↓ While Grabbing)
0.6 6/10/14 4 41/37/33
Down Throw Hit 4 1.8 26 4 21
Down Throw (Throw) 4.8 27 1 23

Forward Throw

Ness's forward throw does not combo or KO, so it is mainly used for gaining stage control, or to put an opponent offstage.

Back Throw

Ness has a very powerful back throw, which can KO opponents when used near the ledge.

Up Throw

Up throw puts opponents up into the air, and is mainly only good against opponents with poor disadvantage, so that they can be juggled.

Down Throw

Ness's down throw knocks opponents slightly upward so he can combo into an aerial. You can follow it up with multiple forward airs in some cases, so it's a great combo starter.

Final Smash

Attack Name How to Use Effect
PK Starstorm Press B after obtaining the Smash Ball Sends multiple stars down from above, which deal heavy damage on impact.

Ness Balance Changes

Version 3.1.0 Balance Patch

Neutral Attack 2 Increased attack range and moved it forward. Made it easier to hit multiple times when continuing with Neutral Attack 3.

Version 3.0.0 Balance Patch

Neutral Special Increased the attack range.
Down Smash Attack Shortened the charge time.
Reduced the amount of time hit detection lasts while charging.
Up Smash Attack Shortened the charge time.
Reduced the amount of time hit detection lasts while charging.

Version 2.0.0 Balance Patch

Up Air Attack Shortened the landing time after using the move.
Down Air Attack Increased attack power and maintained launch distance.

Major Changes From Smash 4

Up Aerial
(↑ + A While Midair)
Multi hits were added in. Doesn't KO anymore = Nerf.
Down Aerial
(↓ + A While Midair)
Endlag decreased, and now slightly better at spiking opponents. Buff.
Side Special
(← or → + B)
Hitbox was made much larger. Buff.

How to Unlock Ness

Unlocking Via Smash Mode
1st Fighter Unlocked
Unlocking via Classic Mode
Clear Classing Mode 1 time using Kirby.
Unlocking via World of Light
Magicant Land

There are three ways to unlock Ness. Completing any of these, then defeating Ness when they appear in the “a New Challenger Appears” screen will allow you to use them afterward.

How to Unlock Characters Fast

Ness Alt Costumes and Skins

Ness Reveal Trailer

Smash Ultimate Character Guides

List of Fighters
Tier List
Tier List
Unlocking Characters
Unlocking Fighters

Character Stat Lists

Character Stats
Weights of All Characters Run Speeds of All Characters
Air Speeds of All Characters Fast Fall Speeds of All Characters


6 Anonymousover 1 year

So I'm now a combo master lmao

5 Anonymousalmost 2 years

Play on training and use the big gap in it to practice controlling it and try Lucas Spence his is closer to himself


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