In neutral, Kirby excels in two areas, defense and cqc. However, due to his poor range, speed, and lack of tools to force an approach, Kirby struggles when approaching. That forces Kirby to either be super aggresive, or super defensive. The goal of a good Kirby should be to get the opponent in his golden range, right in front of him, where Kirby can make use of his good frame data and small size to safely pressure the opponent. Kirby can do that by baiting the opponent to approach him, or by running in and forcing interactions. This however leaves him vulnerable against playstyles not afraid to play non-interactive against Kirby since Kirby doesn't really have a solid answer to non-interactive play.
Due to Kirby's poor airspeed, generally Kirby should stay on the ground, but his falling aerials are amazing so it's not very rare to see Kirby play a bit more air-based
Notable Neutral Tools
- Crouch - forces many opponents to use specific moves and/or timings just to hit you, making it easy to parry
- Shield - Kirby's oos's aren't top tier, but they are fast and strong(and the forward facing ones are combo starters). Running in with shield is extremely effective.
- Fair - In contention for Kirby's best neutral tool, it does everything you need, from starting combos, to applying safe pressure, it even kills.
- Utilt - Amazing tool for catching landings and catching shorthops. It's not super safe on shield, but it's fast and it starts combos. Utilt is disjointed so even if the opponent tries to land on you with an aerial, Utilt will usually just beat it out.
- Dtilt - Other move in contention for Kirby's best neutral tool. When kirby uses dtilt, he low profiles frame 1, making him hard to hit. Even without the low profile, spaced dtilt is pretty safe on shield. Along with that, dtilt has around a 30% chance to trip. If dtilt trips, you basically get a punish for doing next to nothing. At high percents dtilt stops tripping but it will eventually start setting up tech situations which can be used to kill.
- Ftilt - Ftilt has around the same range as dtilt, if maybe a bit more. The advantage of ftilt is that it's safe, fast, causes tech situations around 30 which can possibly lead to death, and can be used out of a pivot cancel(dtilt won't slide out of a pivot cancel)
- Nair - Nair is generally used to land on people with and beat out projectiles(and some other stuff like power geyser). The strong hit of nair combos at early percents and kills at later percents. The weaker hits are useful for setting up combos and kill confirms at later percents.
- Bair - Safe on shield, decent range, strong hit starts combos at low percents, kills at high percents. Bair is useful for rars, catching people in the air, and can be used to land with. Against character with low range, it can be used to wall characters out.
- Uair - used to catch people in the air. Landing uair has very little endlag, is pretty safe on shield, and is an amazing combo starter at mid-percents(It can even combo into final cutter)
- Dair - autocancel/fullhop dair is useful for calling out jumps when close to the opponent. Beware the landing hit, it is a very bad combo tool, it's not safe on shield, and you get better combos if the landing hit doesn't come out
QUICK NOTE KIRBY'S LANDING DAIR IS AWFUL, DO NOT USE IT. Landing dair does not true combo into anything(except jab at 0). Sure landing dair can cause interesting scrambles, but you could just use a move like nair, which is safe on shield and just true combos into stuff. When Kirbys say dair is bad, they are usually refrencing landing dair.
- Grab - Grab works well since a lot of kirby's options condition shield. At arround 0, fthrow leads to a combo that should deal around 50-80 depending on the character. Otherwise, dthrow for damage, bthrow for positioning, and uthrow for a kill(especially under plats).
- Final Cutter - Generally used to call out jumps. It is very commital, easy to punish, and the reward kinda sucks even if you hit it, so don't use it too much. The projectile is transcent so it can be used to throw off people. You can finagle it to where the blade hits but the projectile doesn't which can lead to some niche strings if the opponent doesnt jump.
Based on your opponent's playstyle, Kirby will need to approach the match differently.
Sword/Zoner/Walling Character - The goal is to break into your opponent's zone, and get into your range(the afformentioned Golden Zone). Kirby can do this a few ways
- Force the opponent to misspace on your shield by making your positioning ambigiuous
- Use crouch to force the opponent to choose a specific time and/or a specific move to attack you
- Make use of Final Cutter(up b) to outrange them or to swat them out of the air
- Make the opponent think you will stay grounded with crouch, jump and land on them with a falling aerial(that isn't dair)
- Get under them and catch their landing
- Take the copy abilty
Some abilities(like shulk) can make breaking into the opponent's zone easier.
Projectile Zoners - Basically everything from the pervious section applies, with a few more details
- Use nair to go through projectiles that aren't transcendant
- Crouch under projectiles
- Parry projectiles
(It's almost never worth it to try to inhale projectiles, Kirby will auto-swallow small ones, which has a lot of endlag and only heals 1%. Kirby can reflect the bigger ones, but its's a huge commitment and generally not recommended.
- Try to time final cutter to break the projectile on the way up or on the way down
Non-interactive play - Try to corner the opponent or force them to land on you. Other than that, not much kirby can do.
Trap Characters - Description goes here
Brawlers - Description goes here
Tips and Tricks
• Controls • FAQ •
• Movement • Offense • Defense •
Detailed & Advanced Information
• Damage/Knockback • Frame Data Explanations • States of Play • Universal Strategy • Esoterica •
• Patch Notes • Tier Lists • Alternate Resources • Discords •