Masahiro Sakurai and his team have worked hard over the past few years to turn Super Smash Bros. Ultimate into the ultimate Super Smash Bros. experience.
While companies like Capcom are nickel and diming the fans at every step with Street Fighter V - the team behind Super Smash Bros. Ultimate brought back every character that had ever appeared in the series and added a bunch of new ones, so that current roster stands at seventy-four characters (or seventy-six if you count the Pokémon Trainer as three characters.)
It seems that Sakurai shouldn't have worked so hard, as a quick trip to the Quickplay online mode in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will show the same five characters being picked over and over again - Chrom, Inkling, King K. Rool, Pichu, and Pikachu.
It didn't take long for fans to realize how incredibly broken these characters are, which has led to them being mained en masse - in other words, everybody's playing them, because they're very clearly the best.
So, what is it about these characters that makes them so broken and is Super Smash Bros. Ultimate even more unbalanced than Brawl was?
5 & 4. Pichu & Pikachu
The two Pokémon are being bunched together due to how similar they are.
Pichu and Pikachu have insane off-stage potential, due to how their recovery moves can save them from even the very edges of the blast zone.
The fact that both characters are incredibly fast, hard to hit (especially the tiny Pichu), have amazing Smash attacks with a long range, a special that can attack from near the top of the stage, and a side-special with amazing edgeguarding potential has left the two yellow Pokémon with some of the best move coverage in the game.
Chrom isn't quite as fearsome as the other characters on this list, due to how he has a harder time against ranged characters, as his recovery options are abysmal.
When Chrom is on the ground and facing short-ranged fighters, he is almost unstoppable due to the speed, strength, and arc of his sword swipes. Chrom has some amazing combos and KO moves that are incredibly difficult for all but the fastest characters to defend against.
2. King K. Rool
King K. Rool has made the other heavy characters redundant (except for Donkey Kong) due to a range of moves that a heavy should never possess.
King K. Rool has super armor, a counter, a powerful ranged move with a wide arc in his Crownerang, a highly effective edgeguarding move with the suction of his Blunderbuss, a back air that also spikes, a recovery move that has an amazing vertical reach and also protects him from attacks from above, an attack that can bury opponents, and some of the most powerful smash attacks in the game.
The Inkling is easily the most broken character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and it's thanks to three moves - the Splattershot, the Splat Bomb, and the Splat Roller.
Inkling's Splattershot covers the opponent in ink, which multiplies the damage done by other attacks and takes a while to go away.
The Splat Bomb is a fast and powerful explosive which can KO at high percentages and is highly effective when tossed off the stage at foes using their recovery move.
The true star of the Inkling's move set is the Splat Roller, which can bury a foe in the ground and it takes longer for them to escape at higher percentages. If an Inkling hits you with this when you are over 100%, then they are almost guaranteed to have enough time to hit you with a charged smash attack and take a stock from you.
What Are The Pros Saying?
It's still early days for the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate competitive scene, but a few of the Super Smash Bros. 3DS/Wii U pros have weighed in with their thoughts.
ZeRo, the previous number one player of Super Smash Bros. 3DS/Wii U has ranked Inkling and Chrom as the two best characters in the game, with Pikachu also on the top-tier, though he doesn't rank King K. Rool and Pichu as highly as some players.
Leffen, who is one of the best Super Smash Bros. Melee players in the world has also weighed in and has ranked Inkling, Chrom, Pichu, and Pikachu as S-Tier characters, while also demoting King K. Rool to high mid-tier status.
Is Ultimate More Unbalanced Than Brawl?
The current online mode of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is dominated by a small selection of overpowered characters, but none of them compare to the might of Meta Knight and the Ice Climbers in Brawl.
The Brawl version of Meta Knight may still be the best overall character in Super Smash Bros. history and the Ice Climbers chain grabs and combos put them in the same league.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is nowhere near as balanced as Super Smash Bros. 3DS/Wii U were at launch, where the only real OP character was Diddy Kong and he was swiftly nerfed. Super Smash Bros. 3DS/Wii U only started to have a problem when it introduced pay-to-win DLC characters in the form of Cloud and Bayonetta, which may be a problem for Ultimate in the future.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate may have problems, but the fact that the game can be patched means that they need not be problems for long, unlike Brawl which couldn't be patched.
What Can Be Done To Improve Super Smash Bros. Ultimate?
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is crying out for a patch and there are a few changes that could balance things out.
Pikachu & Pichu need their recovery moves shortened and the arc of their downward spikes reduced in order to remove their off-stage dominance.
Inkling & King K. Rool need the time spent in the ground following their burial moves greatly reduced, in order to remove their guaranteed KO options.
Chrom needs the KO potential of his side-smash reduced and the arc of his jumping attacks reduced, in order to remove his near-endless combos and take away some of his safer options.
King K. Rool just needs some of the strength taken out of his attacks and the speed of his ranged weapons to be reduced, as he has far-too-many options for a character with so many built-in benefits.
Inkling needs to take longer to refill her ink, as it's currently so fast that it may as well not run out at all. The Splat Grenade should also use up more ink, to prevent it from being spammable, while the Splat Roller needs more startup time in order to prevent it from being used while close to the enemy and guaranteeing a bury.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is an amazing game but there are definitely issues with the balance of the online mode. We can only hope that Sakurai and his team are on the ball and will quickly address a lot of the issues in the game, so that the other seventy characters will finally see some play.