As all Super Smash Bros. Ultimate players will know, things are a little different this time around. Replacing trophies and stickers with spirits was quite a controversial move, particularly as they no longer come with a little flavor text describing the character they represent. Smash Bros. is all about celebrating gaming’s past, after all. On the plus side, spirits have gameplay utility, which is something completely new. You can equip various combinations of these characters to your fighter, making for all kinds of unique custom loadouts.
The question is, though, which spirits do you pick? There are over 1300 of them in Ultimate, after all! Let’s take a look at the Boss, Shine Sprite, Soma Cruz and the other essential spirits you’ll want to be shooting for.
10 Calamity Ganon
Well, I mean, look at this beast of a creature. Calamity Ganon looks like it could use the average apartment building as a chew toy. Is it any surprise that it’s darn powerful?
This legend-class spirit goes all out with its stats, falling just shy of 5000 at level 1. In terms of raw numbers alone, it’s one of the best out there, but its outrageous power comes at a cost. The Calamity Ganon spirit has no secondary slots, meaning that you can’t equip support spirits to it. If you’re not looking for specific abilities and just want the raw strength, though, it’s a very solid pick.
In its home series, Celebi isn’t the greatest of legendary Pokémon. It’s very versatile, but its type combination (Grass and Psychic) leaves it with some of the most weaknesses in the whole game.
As a legend-class support spirit, on the other hand, Celebi is an excellent choice. It requires three full slots, so you’ll need to watch out for that, but grants you Great Auto Heal. This is a quick and regular regeneration of health (or removal of damage percentage, depending on the mode you’re playing), which is handy in a range of difficult battles. You can’t rely on it too much, though, as the regeneration won’t prove to be enough if you’re really under pressure.
8 Soma Cruz
You’ll have to go through quite the rigmarole to unlock Soma Cruz. He’s acquired only after defeating Dracula in the World of Light mode. This grants you the Dracula spirit, which you can then enhance at level 99 for Soma.
For your trouble, though, you’ll get a fantastic powerhouse. Soma Cruz has high offensive and defensive stats, no weaknesses (as a neutral spirit) and the super-useful ability Giant Killer. This ability allows you to deal extra damage to giant-sized enemies, which make for some of the trickiest fights on the spirit board. In Castlevania, Soma boasts the ability to consume souls and use their powers as his own. In Smash Ultimate, he’ll certainly be claiming opponents’ souls as well.
7 Omega Ridley
Now, the spirit battle against Omega Ridley is not a fun time for anybody concerned. A furious metal Ridley on the awkward lava-prone platforms of Norfair, with its constant curry breath thrown in to prevent you from approaching? Ouch.
It’s worth the trials and tribulations, though. Omega Ridley is a great offensive spirit, and it offers something quite niche and unique: the Weight ability. This makes your character slower but heavier, allowing you to come up with some interesting builds. Stacking survivability on an already-heavyweight character? Dang. In general competitive play, speed and combo potential tends to win out, and heavies suffer. Outside of that, though, those who like to play Bowser, Donkey Kong and the like can pull off some amazing things with Omega Ridley.
Here’s another legendary Pokémon (Mythical Pokemon, if you really want to get technical about it) that will rarely steer you wrong as a legend-class spirit. Another support option, Victini offers the valuable Hyper Smash Attacks ability. This grants you heightened attack speed and faster charging on your smash attacks. This is more of a general offensive spirit, and may not serve you as well as something more specialized. It’s also important to note that Hyper Smash Attacks is also an ability you can unlock for yourself via the skill chart.
All of this might explain why this one didn’t make it into our previous rundown of the game’s best (and worst) spirits. Nonetheless, Victini is an excellent ‘filler’ sort of spirit, especially for the modest cost of a single slot.
5 Dark Emperor
3DS owners will probably remember this menacing foe from Streetpass Quest (ah, Streetpass, how I miss you). It was there, essentially, as a roadblock and attack sponge ensuring that your last encounter would not be a quick one.
In Smash Ultimate, appropriately enough, it’s a shield primary spirit. The Dark Emperor doesn’t have the highest stats out there, instead giving you three slots for support spirits. It’s kind of the antithesis to Calamity Ganon; sacrificing a little in terms of raw numbers in order to allow the player more versatility.
In the World of Light and Spirit Board modes, where all kinds of shonky novelty rulesets crop up, this will tend to be more useful overall. This way, you can negate some of the more irritating conditions (such as high winds or reversed controls).
4 Shine Sprite
As you’ve probably noticed by now, the legend-class spirits tend to be the very best in the game. That’s important consolation when you consider how infuriating some of the battles to unlock them can be.
Here is another legend spirit, Shine Sprite. This supporter has an effect that’s one of my very favorites: upping the power of all your special moves. How useful this proves to be will be dependent on a player’s preferred characters and style (some are much more reliant on special moves than others), but it’s an essential pick for me. Keep in mind, after all, there are some spirits that only power up particular special moves (neutral B or down B, say), and Shine Sprite only costs one slot.
3 Latias and Latios
I know, friends. I hear you. The so-called ‘Eon Twins,’ Latias and Latios, make for a spirit that’s far from essential. What do these two Dragon/Psychic Pokémon offer? Something very niche, yet very valuable.
Immunity to high winds, that’s what. If you’ve spent a lot of time on the Spirit Board and World of Light map, you’ll know that high winds are often a factor in battles, and (in my opinion) one of the worst darn ones to deal with. As such, Latios and Latios won’t be a permanent part of your spirit team, but almost certainly one that’ll be switched in quite often. Horrible, horrible things happen when you aren’t prepared for those high winds.
2 Skull Kid And Majora’s Mask
Skull Kid and Majora’s Mask is another spirit that’s going to take a little legwork to get the best use out of. Firstly, you’ll need to max out Skull Kid’s level, before enhancing him to this form.
As easy as this is to do with snacks and/or training, it’s no trouble at all. Most importantly, it’s completely and utterly worth it. Skull Kid and Majora’s Mask is an excellent spirit, leaping from two-star to four-star after being enhanced. Not only is it very powerful, but it gives you the Lifesteal ability. Healing on hit? Not just with smash attacks, as with other abilities, but any hit? Yes please.
1 The Boss
You’d better believe it. As you’ll know if you’ve played Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, they don’t call this lady The Boss for nothing. She brings all of her effortless strength and stamina to Smash Ultimate, boasting some of the best stats available on a grab-type (green) spirit.
In keeping with that whole CQC theme, she also bestows more powerful throws on the fighter she’s equipped to. This is another ability that you’ll get much more or much less out of depending on your character and playstyle. Even if you’re not much of a grappler, her excellent stats and versatility (yep, three slots) makes her an all-round winner.