Tier lists are a very subjective part of the Fighting Game Community that differ greatly between players and personal matchups, but even just looking at the data doesn’t give you a perfect representation of how strong a character is.
Twitter user LoopBarnard is someone who delves deep into the data and analysis side of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and helps the Panda Global Stats seeding team. While working on other things, Barnard broke down the average placements of every character in the game based on the performance of the top players who play them.
He broke it down into using only the top five players who mainly use each character, based on player results and representation. The results used were taken all the way from Jan. 1 2019 to March 15 this year, when physical events started getting canceled because of COVID-19.
As expected, some characters are carried by one or two players, but there are a surprising amount that have solid overall performances with all five of the players used for data collection.
Most avid players and fans of the Ultimate competitive scene probably could have predicted the top two characters being Wario and Joker in some form, considering the top two players, MKLeo and Tweek, main them. Inkling being in the same tier, however, shows that breadth of talent and high placements is just as good as having one player dragging up the average.
Here is the breakdown for the top three, who were the only characters to reach the 10.99 or higher mark on the ranking based on player placement.
- Wario: 8.17
- Players – Tweek, Gluttony, Abadango, Kameme, Noah “Ismon” Gray
- Joker: 10.26
- Players: MKLeo, Zackray, Seima “Eim” Tomonoh, Wishes, Taylor “Lemmon” Webb
- Inkling: 10.36
- Cosmos, Abadango, Space, Santiago “Chag” Perez, Bedgar
Throughout the next two tiers, you will find most of the other top tier representation, with Palutena sitting just behind Inkling and both Pokémon Trainer and R.O.B. not too far behind.
Because the ranking encompasses most of Ultimate’s competitive history, it does give a more accurate representation based on the entire competitive scene. However, characters like Sheik and Zelda would likely see big bumps if the data was more recent based on buffs to the characters making them more viable.
Only two characters were excluded from the list because not enough data has been gathered for them. Byleth because they are the newest DLC fighter and didn’t get to see a lot of use in pre-COVID events and Marth, because most of the players who use him don’t actually main him in those tournaments, like MKLeo.
Barnard notes that, while this project took a long time, this data is being used for a bigger project that will be revealed in the future.