Smash Bros. Ultimate 9.0 update buffs the 2 best online fighters

The most annoying fighters in online play just got even better.

Sonic in Smash Bros. Ultimate with a black butterfly between his hands

A new Super Smash Bros. Ultimate update was released on October 13 alongside the game's latest DLC fighter: Steve from Minecraft. While the update's main purpose was to introduce this new character, it also brings several balancing changes to the game.

This patch made several characters like the Ice Climbers and Simon Belmont more powerful, but there are two characters in the roster that were already highly ranked in online play that also received major buffs. When playing over wifi, they just might feel game-breaking.

The official patch notes were listed on Nintendo's support page for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate following the update's release Tuesday night, and among the many balancing adjustments, the buffs to Ness and Sonic could have a major impact on online play.

One data-driven tier list from August based on pick and win rates for characters listed Ness as 1 of 14 top-tier characters and Sonic as 1 of 6 "God Tier" characters. So for these two to receive significant buffs is pretty noteworthy.

Ness using his psychic powers to cast PK Freeze.


Here's a look at the specific move changes made to Ness:

  • Dash Attack: Increased power of the third attack and extended launch distance.
  • Up Tilt Attack: Maintained the launch distance and increased power.
  • Down Air Attack: Increased attack speed.
  • Up Throw: Increased power.
  • Neutral Special: Increased attack speed.

And here's every adjustment made to Sonic:

  • Dash Attack: Maintained the launch distance and increased power. Reduced vulnerability.
  • Up Tilt Attack: Reduced vulnerability.
  • Up Smash Attack: Increased attack speed. Increased the amount of time invincibility lasts before and after becoming round. Made it easier to hit multiple times.
  • Up Air Attack: Made it easier to hit multiple times.

Overall, it's clear that both of these characters only saw drastic improvements to their movesets. The attack and speed of many of Ness's attacks have been increased, making him a more deadly threat online in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate than ever for players that know how to use him.

Meanwhile, the modifications made to Sonic's moveset not only increase his attack power and speed like Ness, but they decrease his vulnerability. This is pretty vital for a small, light character with a mediocre recovery who can be easily knocked off the stage at relatively low damage.

For pro players that know how to take advantage of mere frames of invincibility or online players using Sonic's speed to counteract the lag, these changes should make Sonic even harder and more annoying to beat.

The Inverse Analysis — Online play in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is notorious for having a ton of input lag, especially for those that are playing over wifi and not an ethernet connection. Because the developers opted not to include advanced lag-cutting techniques like rollback netcode, characters that require more precision are tough to use online.

That's why characters that don't require much precision, like Ness and Sonic, end up becoming the best choice for those playing Super Smash Bros. Ultimate online over wifi. These buffs make the characters even better, so they are likely only going to become more frequent online in the weeks following update 9.0.

If these characters already annoyed you, it definitely doesn't seem like they will go away anytime soon.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is available now for Nintendo Switch.

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