Top 10 Smash Ultimate Best Recovery Characters

Smash Ultimate best Recovery Characters
You can always eat your way to the top...

Get back in the fight with Smash Ultimate's best recovery characters!

The potential for recovery in Smash Bros. can truly make or break a character; all apologies to any Little Mac mains who might be triggered by that sentence.

Struggling to get back on the stage is a huge detriment to anyone trying to get into a character, putting a big learning curve on them as one of the most basic elements of Smash becomes a big hurdle. Conversely, an excellent recovery makes characters easy to get into, as not having to stress about this allows you to get comfy with them right away.

Today, we’ll be looking at not only the typical Up+Bs, but every facet of what allows someone to get back to the stage. Their airspeed, the mad hops they’re rockin’ or any unconventional tool they might have will also be considered. Narrowing this down to ten wasn’t easy; honorable mentions go out to Kirby, Meta Knight, Inkling and Shulk with his Speed and Jump Monado Arts.

And just so we aren’t bogged down by similar entries, note that when two or more characters have nigh on identical recoveries, the one who edges the other out will get the spot on the list. With all that outta the way, let’s go!

#10 - Wario

Wario's recovery in Smash Ultimate

Greed over gravity.

Right off the bat, we’ve got a rather unusual case. You wouldn’t necessarily expect the portly biking plumber (or is he a plumbing biker?) to have the best time in the air. And indeed, his recovery isn’t the easiest to pull off on this list, but with a little patience and understanding, two things Wario is oh so famous for, the recovery potential is as strong as his breath.

He was a real underdog for making it onto this list, no doubt, with his lackluster double jump and rather average air speed. Even his Up+B is far from the best, but that’s okay… his Side+B does pretty much all the work here.

  • Wario’s Side+B sees him rev up his motorcycle and ride on without a care in the world. While this makes perfect sense on the ground, he’s also amazingly able to somehow make this work in mid-air as well, giving him strong propulsion forward. This alone makes for one of the game’s best horizontal recoveries.
  • But that’s not all; if you press the jump button while you’re on the bike, you’ll spring upwards with a much higher hop than Wario can usually muster. Best part is, it’s treated like a jump from the ground since he had something to hop off of, meaning he still has a mid-air jump after this. And he can still use his Up+B after that, at which point it should be more than enough to get you back to that ledge.
  • In addition, the front of his bike - which is the side that will usually be facing your opponent - has a rather large, and very active hurtbox. Which is to say that touching it will give the foe some real ouchies, and is pretty dangerous down there near the blast zones. This makes it a little intimidating to try and go out to challenge, which helps mitigate the predictability.
  • The move does have one pretty significant drawback however, and without it, this would probably be much higher on the list. If Wario dismounts his bike on-stage, it will lay there on the ground, and the game will treat it like an item. And until it’s destroyed or tossed off-stage, Wario won’t be able to use Side+B again, putting him at serious risk; this is something that can be controlled though, and any good Wario player will be wary of letting it happen.

#9 - Fox

Fox's recovery in Smash Ultimate

He will burn himself alive to get to that damn ledge.

The fiercely fast furry fox named Fox is famed for his mobility and fairly light weight. His airspeed and relatively slow fall already helps him immensely and always has. But in the first three games, his Up+B, the showy Fire Fox (Mozilla lawsuit pending) wasn’t always that helpful, not taking him particularly high up.

It’s been buffed significantly in the games since then though, rounding out a nice arsenal of recovery tools. Of course, if he wanted to, he could just summon his Arwing and fly back up in that, but I suppose that wouldn’t be playing very fair… note that Falco has a very similar kit and better basic movement in the air, but Fox barely edges him out here with more range on his specials.

  • The true strength here lies in his Side+B, as, like with Wario, it can be combined with his Up+B to give both horizontal and vertical coverage. The Fox Illusion is a lightning quick dash that zips him through the air and can get him to the ledge in a heartbeat. It’s damaging as well, and difficult to punish even if you do see it coming.
  • This can then be followed up with Up+B, which now goes high enough that it can make it back to the ledge on Battlefield or Omega styled stages from off-screen. And while people can go down and challenge you while it charges if they want, if they get too close they’ll be caught up in the fire.
  • This means he has basically all the strengths Wario has in his recovery, but with simpler execution, higher speed, more hurtboxes and no need to worry about circumstance. A rangey spike can ruin Fox’s day when he’s firing up, but other than that, he’s golden.

#8 - Sonic

Sonic's recovery in Smash Ultimate

If he could really just summon those at will, his games would be a lot easier.

Speeding into eighth place, Sonic’s mobility and lightweight nature of course help him out immensely. He may not be as fast in the skies as he is on the ground, but he’d be quick to tell you himself that he isn’t slow in any area. And that’s only part of the equation.

As far as pure Up+B recoveries go, Sonic has one of the very best ones going. And it’s pure vertical range isn’t the only reason why…

  • The Up+B sees a spring suddenly materialize under Sonic, which has him bouncing up through the air. This has you soaring pretty high right off the bat, enough to allow you to grab the ledge from off-screen like Fox before him.
  • The real key here however is that it doesn’t put you in freefall, and doesn’t limit your follow-up near as much as practically everyone else’s equivalent does. You can’t use special moves or a mid-air jump after a spring jump, but that’s about it, his other options are still open. (And of course you should’ve already used your mid-air jump by this point anyway...)
  • This means he can attack from it, which can help him deal with folks trying to edgeguard him. But more importantly, he’s able to airdodge after the leap as well, giving him a little bit more quick distance from side to side or straight upwards. You’d be amazed how often this makes the difference in him getting back to the stage.
  • While it’s not gonna be useful for recovery in most situations, if used on the ground the Spring Jump also leaves the spring facing upwards on the floor. You can then bounce freely off this, and use Up+B again whilst up in the air, effectively doubling the already huge vertical distance. This would only be able to save you in particularly odd stages, but it’s a nifty trick.
  • Finally, if cancelled with a jump at the correct time, his Side+B can also be useful for clearing horizontal distance, making up for the Up+B relatively lacking in this. However, this isn’t the easiest thing to pull off, and you’re likely to SD with it if you do it wrong, keeping it from giving Sonic too many points.

#7 - Yoshi

Yoshi's recovery in Smash Ultimate

Pictured: Yoshi feverishly fleeing from tax collectors.

Yoshi has come a long way from having one of the most frustrating Up+Bs in Smash history in the earlier installments. Sure his double jump was always great, but on those occasions where it didn’t quite make the mark, his Up+B doing nothing but tossing an egg in vain felt like a real slap in the face.

Fortunately that’s a distant memory now. For the past few games it’s actually had a really nice vertical boost and that’s only been buffed in Ultimate. Yoshi is now one of the easiest characters to recover with.

  • As previously mentioned, his double jump is amazing. No other character has a mid-air jump quite like Yoshi’s, with his flutter kick allowing him to clear huge distance, both vertically and horizontally. In most situations, that alone will get you back to the stage.
  • And on the occasions where it doesn’t, his Up+B is quite reliable for making up the difference. The launched egg can be directed with the control stick, but it’s default angle has a nice arc for hitting an opponent who’s trying to edgeguard you. This in addition to it sending Yoshi a short ways upward, about equivalent to an upwards air dodge.
  • But that’s not all... the Up+B is also unique in that it doesn’t cause any helplessness whatsoever. You can follow up with anything you want, including another Up+B! It’s the only one in the game that can be spammed, and on the first few uses, will continue to bring him higher each time!

#6 - Pikachu

Pikachu's Recovery in Smash Ultimate

Traveling at lightspeed can really change a 'mon...

Like many on this list, Pikachu is a speedy little thing. He can zip through the air with ease and falls pretty slowly by default, giving him a solid fundamental base for recovery. Combined with his specials, the lightning rod rodent should have no trouble getting back onto the stage to continue the zapfest.

  • Pikachu’s Quick Attack makes for one of the most versatile Up+Bs going. It’s a swift two-pronged dash attack, where the control stick must be tilted in a different direction to use both dashes. Not being able to go in the same direction twice might seem like a flaw, but going up and diagonal or vice versa will be more than enough for most situations.
  • This is not only lightning quick, pardon the pun, but because of the alternate ways you can use it to get to the same end point, this makes it unpredictable as well. These factors, coupled with it’s hurtbox being a lot more effective these days, make it extremely hard to challenge. There’s practically no point in trying to gimp Pikachu.
  • Pichu’s Up+B has the same function, but Pikachu’s l’il sibling uses Agility instead of Quick Attack, which is a non-damaging move from the games. True to form, it doesn’t do any damage in Smash either, making his recovery status slightly more perilous, thus Pikachu takes the spot in the list.
  • And if you’re too far out horizontally to use Quick Attack, don’t fear. Once again, a Side+B saves the day, as Pikachu’s Skull Bash sees it fling itself forward with a launched headbutt. This can also be charged for greater distance, and doesn’t put you in a helpless state, so you can follow up with Up+B, allowing Pikachu to recover from basically anywhere.

#5 - Isabelle

Isabelle's Recovery in Smash Ultimate

Daintily floating back to the warzone.

We’re starting to move into the OP recovery realm now, but atleast we have a nice, cute pup welcoming us to this cold, cold place. Isabelle’s recovery is as frustratingly effective as it is adorable. Her airspeed isn’t much to write home about, but it’s kind of a non-factor for her in all honesty.

  • Her Up+B sees her ride a little swing lifted up by two balloons. With this, she can gently soar to ridiculous heights and move slowly from left to right. Even from the very edge of the blast zone, this move can bring you back to the stage without any strife.
  • It’s lack of speed is a drawback, meant to tie into it’s intended weakness. You’re supposed to be able to gimp it by simply popping the balloons and leaving the user helpless… but that’s a lot easier said than done. Unless you attack very precisely, you’re liable to hit Isabelle in the process, and any knockback dealt whatsoever will allow her to simply use Up+B again.
  • And in the very unlikely event that she ever really needs it, she also has an alternate means of getting back, as her Side+B functions as a tether grab. That is to say, her fishing rod can latch onto the ledge, allowing her to zip right back up.
  • Said Side+B is a quicker means of returning to the stage and can be a nice mix-up. It’s also what gives her the edge over the similar Villager, though he/she too has a rather unnecessary alternate recovery option with Side+B. But Isabelle’s rod outpaces this, and frankly, tether grabs are just cooler.

#4 - Snake

Snake's recovery in Smash Ultimate

Nyuh, time for a salty runback.

Snake’s recovery is a weapon to surpass Metal Gear! Which is funny when you consider that it’s not much of a weapon at all, and that’s pretty much the only saving grace the opponent has when it comes to dealing with it. Just to make this perfectly clear, if the opponent doesn’t go out of their way to stop you, Snake should be getting back to the stage from any situation, period.

  • Even by itself, Snake’s Up+B has some crazy vertical range. He grabs onto Cypher, a floating drone camera, to elevate himself to safety. He can move left or right slowly, in a manner not unlike Isabelle or Villager; just like them, it may not do damage but it can get you back from just about anywhere.
  • What sets it apart however is one simple thing… if Snake can hit himself with an explosion in mid-air, which is fairly easy to do with his Down+B, he can re-use his Up+B. And then he can cancel, cause his explosion again, and continue rising with a third Up+B, etcetera, etcetera. In other words… he’s packing an infinite recovery.
  • Even with it’s lack of damage output (aside from a minor hit after you let the drone fly at the every end) and slow speed, this recovery might still be #1 if not for one key setback. The explosions Snake uses aren’t as weak as the ones that various forms of Link might use for the same purpose. At higher percentages, he can absolutely kill himself with these, particularly if the user isn’t adept at stage techs.

#3 - King K. Rool

King K. Rool's recovery in Smash Ultimate

This move is as crazy as he looks.

Amazing seeing such a big boy on this list isn’t it? Smash super heavyweights are infamous for being bad when it comes to recovery, with their lacking airspeed, swift falls and typically underwhelming Up+Bs. But King K. Rool bucks that trend in a big way.

There’s nothing fancy or hard to master about K. Rool’s primary recovery option. Hit Up+B and you’re probably making it back to the stage.

  • Said Up+B makes use of the Propellerpack, turning the bug-eyed croc into a scalebound helicopter. This sees him rise to immense heights, and while in it you can steer him left or right, similar to the last couple of entries.
  • What makes it identifiably better than Isabelle or Snake’s however is it’s speed. By comparison it’s much faster, which not only obviously helps him get to the ledge quicker, but also means he can clear a lot more horizontal distance before the propellers peter out.
  • In addition, it also sets itself apart from the other two by having an active hurtbox. Turns out, touching spinning helicopter blades is rather painful! The placement of this makes spiking and gimping him surprisingly difficult, and no other Up+B in the game goes near this high whilst also dealing consistent damage.

#2 - Pac-Man

Pac-Man's recovery in Smash Ultimate

A retro revolution!

This is likely to be contentious for being so high, but you just gotta love the versatility and uniqueness of Pac-Man’s specials. The ever smiling giant head with arms and legs has a surprising amount of function to his kit as well. If you ever wondered why he was so cheerful, it’s because getting back to the stage is no issue for him whatsoever.

  • This time we’ll actually just go ahead and start with the Side+B. It sees him deploy a power pellet, which is followed by a trail of 8-bit Pac-Dots, and you can alter the trail with the control stick. Letting go of Side+B or letting it extend to it’s max will then see Pac-Man munch on those pellets and gain a deceptively nice bit of distance in whichever direction you choose.
  • In addition to having both horizontal and vertical recovery potential, the fact that Pac-Man’s chowing down the whole time means active hitbox city. It does some solid knockback to anyone trying to mess with you on the outside, making it a nice tool for resisting gimp attempts.
  • And of course, you can then parlay this into your Up+B if needed, which will summon a trampoline that Pac-Man bounces off of. Uniquely, the trampoline stays there for a while, allowing three bounces, each one taking you higher. Even it if takes every bounce, you’re getting back to that ledge eventually!
  • These bounces also see Pac-Man unleash an active hitbox of biting fury, aimed upward this time. And since the trampoline stays there for a bit even after you get back onto the stage, it means you can theoretically recover again with it if needed, without even using the Up+B a second time!

#1 - Piranha Plant

Piranha Plant's recovery in Smash Ultimate

On my way to steal your girl, and your stock.

Plant Gang turn up! Yes, that’s right, this bizarrely cool head on a stem is the cream of the crop. We’ve gone through a litany of supporting Side+Bs, a tether grab and even an infinite… but in the end, the winner is a simple Up+B.

Granted, it’s almost definitely the best Up+B in the game overall. He may not have any real alternative options, but he genuinely doesn’t need them in the slightest.

It just goes to show, you can’t beat sheer simplicity sometimes. And there’s nothing simpler than recovering with this big-mouthed boy.

  • Behold, the Piranhacopter. The beloved plant spins it’s petals rapidly, creating a helicopter effect that allows it to clear simply ridiculous distances. There’s not a blast zone low enough for this to fail from, period.
  • This also has an active hitbox that does multihits and drags you along with the plant. This makes spiking him very difficult, and makes going after him out there in general pretty dangerous, as it has unique kill potential near the side blast zones.
  • Effectively, it’s a lot like King K. Rool’s Up+B, except with significantly more horizontal mobility. This not only helps him further recover from virtually anywhere, but also makes it easier to weaponize those lethal leaves, again, making challenging him very difficult and risky.

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Geek born and geek bred, and when I die I'll be geek dead... but not for long; I'll have a ton of extra lives! I live to tell stories, and I believe video games to be the ultimate storytelling medium.
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