Is Ridley still too Big for Smash?!
Yes, we know that’s a tired meme, but you can’t talk about Ridley and not revive it!
Ridley in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was one of the most surprising additions to the roster when the game was released in 2018. To this day, “Ridley too big for Smash” memes are referenced whenever the Metroid villain is mentioned.
He is a major staple to Nintendo, can’t deny that! While he hasn’t gotten much competitive attention in this iteration of Super Smash Bros., he can be a significant difficulty in the right hands. Ask Samus; she knows all about him!
Where does Ridley stand in Smash today?
Panda’s Plup is the best Ridley now, and he has made a name for himself using Ridley, with Megaman as a secondary. Ridley floats between high-mid to low-mid tier from creator to creator, and it probably has to do with his performance by other players.
As Plup is one of the only professional players who main him, we have yet to see his true potential in the competitive scene.
Before we get into what makes Ridley “Ridley,” we have to talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to him as a character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
- Great range on aerial attacks
- Neutral Special is amazing off-stage pressure tool
- He is heavy, so most attack options kill at relatively low percentages
- Stellar recovery; two extra jumps and a from-out-of-screen Up Special
- Forward-B is broken (even with poor recovery)
- Few options to deal with zoners
- Huge hit box, so combo food (nom-nom Mario Bros.)
- Fake-heavy (Yeah… Like, he’s as heavy as Ike; no clue why he isn’t as heavy as Bowser)
- Down-B is a dead move at high-level play
- Tilts aren’t very rewarding and space awkwardly in neutral
Don’t think too hard about the pros and cons as they are in place to assess whether or not you believe the good outweighs the bad when playing Ridley. For now, we can take this time to learn the best practices of Metroid’s main antagonist in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
At the end of this guide, you will feel confident to try your luck in Elite Smash with The Cunning God of Death himself, Ridley.
Super Smash Bros. has always been a very simple game to play. However, that’s what makes it so difficult to master. To learn Ridley’s best options, you need to know the complexities of his moves and how they exist with Smash logic.
Ridley has a lot of great moves, but these are the ones you’ll be doing the most in a typical match. Here are a couple honorable mentions before you read the list:
- Neutral Special: Plasma Breath
- It’s one of the most disrespected moves in the game, and it’s phenomenal for covering the low-recovery option, which sets up to attack their high-recovery reaction with a Back-Air or Forward-Air. Unfortunately, it’s lengthy to start and has very little utility in neutral (ironically).
- He turns into a giant hurt box with a powerful sweet spot upon release and an annoying, lingering sour spot capable of covering about 80% of the rosters’ recovery options. It’s one of those moves that become a crutch, so be careful spamming it.
There is no secret that most characters’ Back-Air is their strongest aerial. However, Ridley’s has it all! It’s quick, it’s “Heavy” strong, and best of all, it has range – like, crazy range. The only bad thing is it’s an advanced move that takes a little bit of analog and C-stick manipulation to optimize while in neutral, but a nice backward leap off-stage to cover recovery options is still a powerful tool.
Forward-Special: Space Pirate Rush (Intermediate)
We’d consider very few moves in the game to be “broken,” but this is absolutely one of them! Okay, don’t worry; we’re exaggerating, but not even that much! This move is a command-grab similar to Ganondorf’s Forward-Special. However, it has significantly more range and drags the opponent to the other side of the platform doing more damage the more prolonged the slide lasts.
Some stocks close as early as 95% and are guaranteed higher percentages, which is phenomenal for an unblockable attack! Survivors are put in a “disadvantage state,” which is dangerous at any percent against Ridley. What makes this move closer to advanced is how punishable it is. You lag for almost a full second if you miss this attack. Unless you’re sure to close the match, don’t do this at high percentages lest you be punished for whiffing!
All the Smash Attacks. Yeah… Every Smash Attack! (Basic)
Ridley’s smash attacks are all amazing — just use them in every scenario, and you will get kills. They’re all super strong, and their speeds and ranges are amazing! Here are some specifics:
- Up-Smash covers entire platforms on Battlefield, Small Battlefield, PS2, and other tournament legal stages.
- Down-Smash is a giant wing slam that covers roll-get up when done at the ledge, which is devastatingly intimidating.
- Forward-Smash has dumb range, dumb recovery, and dumb strength. Dash away to Forward-Smash is an excellent spacing tool because it’s safe (hard to punish) and deceiving (people just run into it because of the surprising range).
Everyone has bad moves, but Ridley’s bad moves are virtually unusable, probably to make up for the absolutely amazing ones he has. Here are some (dis)honorable mentions:
- All the tilts…
…okay, these moves aren’t bad, but they aren’t great either.
- Up-Tilt has a weird angle, so it’s awkward to hit. However, it combos into itself and other attacks, so it’s still okay.
- Forward-Tilt doesn’t have that great of a range, so spacing with it – while it seems logical – doesn’t work often. However, there is little end lag, which makes it more valuable.
- Down-Tilt might be the best of the three since it has a bit more range and combos into Forward-Air at low-mid percentages. However, it’s slower than some of the better Down-Tilts in the game, making it unsuitable for poking.
This move is terrible. We out that word in above, and we just had to put it here again. Let’s just be blunt: there is no reason you will want to use this move on stage or offstage. The only utility for this is a surprise fast-fall from above stage when you get knocked high. However, as an attack, you are going to want to avoid ever using this move.
Down-Special: Skewer (Impossible)
Okay, let’s be clear. This move isn’t a “bad move.” It is visually one of the best things to look at in the game – WHEN YOU LAND IT, that is. It’s visceral, and the damage is like 50-60% from the one attack. Getting hit by it puts you in a frenzy of panic unlike any other, and it sets up for a surprisingly effective Forward-Special kill if you punish the roll away that will most definitely follow. How…unbelievably…ever, this attack is virtually impossible to land.
The spacing for the tipper is more strict than Marth’s, and when you miss, it just tickles them lighter than Falco’s shot, putting them in the perfect place for a punish. 95% of your time playing with Ridley, you will use all the other moves he has and then randomly remembering you have this move, using it, missing it, landing the sour spot, and then going back to typical Ridley moves.
Winning with a Ridley Lightning Round
- Down-Throw to Short-Hop Forward-Air is a great 0% combo. It gives about 27% and leads to another one if the opponent isn’t ready, totaling a devastating 50+% to start the match!
- Watch for the air dodge after this combo to catch their landing if they learn that’s what you’re doing.
- Also, if done at the ledge, you can carry most characters straight to the blast zone (Grab>Down-Throw>Short-Hop>Forward-Air>Second Jump>Forward-Air>Third Jump>Forward-Air>Side-Special towards the ledge and Up-Special for recovery after this combo.)
- Although Ridley is one of the lightest heavy-weights in the game, he is combo food because of his large hitbox, so you have to be a bit more passive with him than you would with Bowser or King Dedede. His dash attack is fast but should only be used for certain punishes. Advancing is risky.
- Edge guarding with Ridley is free. Always go off the ledge because you have so many resources to get back to the stage.
- Up-Special returns from out of the screen most times and has a massive hurt box in front of it.
- Side-Special refreshes upon taking damage, so feel free to use that before you use up your jumps.
- Neutral-Special is perfect for covering low recoveries, but only before they get to a certain point. As soon as you knock someone off the stage, start charging your Neutral-Special at the ledge to cover their low recovery option. Then, you can react to and punish a high recovery.
- Forward-Special is going to be your main kill option. The move is borderline broken, and at high percentages, it’s a guaranteed stock closer.
Balanced and Incredibly Fun to Play
You will have rough matches online because Ridley suffers the same difficulties as many other Heavies do. Mario, Luigi, Falco, ZSS; any character who can rush you down and rack up tons of damage off one throw will be your worst nightmare.
However, there are still ways to get around those playstyles. Plus, with a phenomenal offstage presence and a stock-closing command-grab, Ridley is a character you should start playing with if you enjoy passive-aggressive, punishing, “edge-guardy” manners of play in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Hopefully, this guide finds you victorious in Elite Smash or even your local or Wi-Fi events. Let us know in the comments if you play Ridley or if you’ve been considering picking up the character.
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