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Banjo & Kazooie

  • Banjo will often try to keep Palutena out of his space with his projectile specials, Rear Egg and Breegull Blaster. Palutena has the movement required to outmaneuver these, especially considering Banjo's aerial movment is relatively poor - just choose your positions carefully to slowly work your way in.
    • Don't waste time and movement by trying to Counter/Reflect the projectiles, as they're not very powerful and will likely just get interrupted by another incoming projectile.
  • Banjo's recovery is very linear - if he is recovering he must do it either from directly below or to the side of the stage. You cannot challenge Wonderwing, but simply dropping from the ledge and Nairing is very reliable at catching his low recoveries.
  • Due to his bad air speed, Banjo is pretty weak to Palutena's juggling. If he's in disadvantage in the air, try to track his position and strike with Uairs to keep resetting the juggle. Just make sure to watch out for the occasional Rear Egg he will drop from above.

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  • A strange matchup that can force Palutena to play much differently than usual. Bayonetta has some of the best aerial combo starters in the game via her specials Afterburner Kick and Witch Twist that can lead to very damaging combos at any percent. Because of this, it becomes much more risky for Palutena to threaten aerial space like she usually does. Neutral should be played slower and safer, focusing on capitalizing on the Bayonetta player's mistakes rather than trying to rush her down and oppress her with aerials.
    • If one of these specials is whiffed near Palutena, she can likely start a punish, including with her own combo aerials. Make sure to understand and respect Bayonetta's threat range when possible.
  • If Bayonetta is forced to recover from below the ledge, her up special Witch Twist can very often reach past the ledge before she grabs it. This is vulnerable to Dtilt and even Up Smash.
  • Bayonetta's Bat Within mechanic allows her to negate knockback from moves if she is hit during the early frames of her roll, spotdodge, or airdodge. This can allow her to escape many combos that have small gaps in between their hits, including many of Palutena's Down Throw combos. Be aware of this and prepare to punish airdodges from Bayonetta players who are trying to escape after getting thrown.

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  • Bowser's weight and size are very favorable for Palutena, giving her access to tools like Nair OOS and allowing her to combo him especially well. Being the heaviest character, however, means it will be difficult to kill Bowser off the top (or in general). Getting a handle on edgeguarding Bowser effectively will finish off many of his stocks without having to worry about him living to ludicrously high percents.
    • Bowser while offstage is often forced to be somewhat predictable and vulnerable while recovering. Aerials like Nair and especially Bair are excellent at contesting this recovery and resetting the edgeguard situation.
    • 2-framing Bowser's up special Whirling Fortress with Palutena's Dtilt is very consistent, and successfully doing it will almost always result in a combo of Dash Attack or Bair. This is an incredibly useful tool for Palutena in the matchup.
      • The Bowser player will likely try to avoid this Dtilt by waiting longer than usual before using Whirling Fortress or recovering high. Be aware of these mixups and punish accordingly when possible.
  • Palutena can hit Bowser out of shield relatively easily due to his size allowing Nair OOS to connect, but pressuring Bowser's shield is dangerous as well - his up special Whirling Fortress OOS is particularly fast and reliable for him. Bair and Fair can escape this punish if spaced.

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Bowser Jr.

  • Many of Bowser Jr's approach options can be contested and beaten with Bair, which means it is up to the Bowser Jr player to find and make openings of their own. Trying to mix up Bair with empty hops and other approaches in neutral can be oppressive for Bowser Jr if done well.
  • One of Bowser Jr's main tools for approaching and closing space is his side special Clown Kart Dash, which if prepared for can be reacted to with Bair to beat it out. Aside from that, virtually all of Bowser Jr's approaching tools consist of his aerials, which generally can be beaten with Palutena's.
    • Bowser Jr's Fair and Bair can outrange Palutena's Nair and Fair, but are slower. Again, mix up your approaches and try to catch Bowser Jr preemptively - right after he jumps, but before he can use an aerial.
  • Trying to 2-frame with Dtilt can be dangerous, as not only is it inconsistent in this matchup, Bowser Jr players have a trick where they use their up special to recover, then airdodge past the ledge to try to catch an edgeguarding opponent unaware with the follow-up hammer attack.

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  • Compared to the rest of the cast, and especially someone with Palutena's above-average mobility, Byleth is very slow both on the ground and in the air. However, many of Byleth's normals can make up for this by attacking at a distance with respectable strength and size. As Palutena, understanding where Byleth can strike at any moment and weaving around that range will allow for the neutral wins needed to take stocks.
  • All of Byleth's aerials are very formidable and need to be respected. Their Fair and Bair are excellent long-range horizontal pokes, and Uair is a large multihit that juggles well and will kill. And of course, Byleth's Nair is very safe and an excellent combo starter and filler... does any of that sound familiar?
    • Luckily, despite Byleth clearly taking some pages from Palutena's playbook, Palutena has the tools to work around their very solid aerial game:
      • Byleth's Fair and Bair are likely the things to watch out for the most; they will outrange any of Palutena's aerials and are quite strong. However, the hitboxes are somewhat thin vertically, and Palutena can take advantage of that. Approaching Byleth from a diagonal angle will help with this, and unlike Byleth, Palutena has the air speed and jump height to position herself in that position frequently.
      • Palutena can't directly contest Byleth's Uair from above, so you will need to be careful to avoid it (as well as their up special Sword of the Creator, which is a hitgrab that also cannot be directly contested). Again, Palutena has the mobility to do so, and it will likely be up to the Byleth player to find reads to take stocks while juggling.
      • Byleth's Nair is actually prone to getting beaten out by Palutena's own. Since Byleth will likely be trying to use it in a similar way to Palutena - shorthopping near and around their opponent - trying to pre-empt their Nair with your own can work out well.
  • Byleth can be deceptively tough to edgeguard - their up special tethers to the ledge from very far away, allowing them to mix up their recovery, and because it's a tether it will be virtually impossible to Dtilt at the ledge. If Byleth is forced to recover from directly below the ledge a falling Nair will likely hit and reset the edgeguard, but other than that it may be best to stay onstage and take advantage of Byleth's poor movment by focusing on ledgetrapping.

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Captain Falcon

  • Usually a relatively straightforward matchup. Captain Falcon has the speed and tools to force his way in and start combos, but Palutena has the same. Palutena can play the spacing game a bit better than Falcon, but it's necessary to know when to switch to overwhelming him and playing aggressively, as comboing Falcon can result in a lot of damage due to his size.
  • None of Falcon's moves are disjointed or intangible, meaning Bair will beat out anything if timed and spaced properly.
  • Edgeguarding Falcon can be valuable due to his linear recovery, but always be aware of the risks of challenging his recovery specials Falcon Dive and Raptor Boost.

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  • A fast-paced, volatile matchup. Chrom's speed and disjoints can actually contest and overwhelm an unprepared Palutena in neutral, both on the ground and in the air. Palutena must strike preemptively to effectively gain advantage. Try to get an understanding of how the Chrom player prefers to approach, particularly how they move in the air. When possible, catch Chrom trying to jump in with an aerial with a preemptive Nair or Bair, or catch his landing with a well-timed Dash Attack.
  • Chrom is infamously vulnerable offstage, and Palutena has a particularly easy time directly edgeguarding his recovery special Soaring Slash due to the windboxes on her Fsmash and Dsmash.
    • Proficient Chrom players will perform every mixup possible in order not to get gimped after getting knocked offstage. Refrain from getting too eager with edgeguards and try to react to what Chrom is doing to properly gimp him and take his stock.
  • All of Chrom's normals are fast, disjointed, and either strong or combo starters. Being aware of his threat range and defending against it (by staying just outside of it, by parrying, or by preempting it) is very important in this matchup.

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  • Both Cloud and Palutena want similar things in the matchup - spacing with large aerials and trying to keep the other in disadvantage as long as possible, particularly by juggling. Cloud's aerials, especially Bair, are relatively safe and should be prepared for. Like when fighting similar characters, Palutena will find success in neutral by trying to catch Cloud as he jumps with Nair or Bair, rather than trying to directly contest him afterward, and by catching landings with Dash Attack.
    • That isn't to say it's impossible to contest Cloud in the air - his approaching aerials have weaknesses against Palutena in the air-to-air game. Fair is slow to start up, meaning Palutena has a more generous window to catch Cloud with a move before it comes out. Dair can be parried and punished on reaction. Bair is fast and safe but will lose to Palutena's own Bair with good timing... but it may be safer to not contest Bair in particular, as it's very low-risk for Cloud.
  • Get comfortable with parrying Cloud's aerials. Parrying Fair, Nair, or Dair will usually allow for a punish, and parrying Bair is a good way to prevent yourself from giving up space when in neutral, but it will likely still be safe unless spaced poorly.
    • The last hit of Cloud's side special Cross Slash, both regular and powered up with his Limit Gauge, can be parried with good timing after shielding the rest of the attack. If done successfully Palutena has a true punish with a buffered Fsmash to take a stock or gain positioning, or Dash Grab to start a combo if percents are lower.
  • Cloud has a very potent OOS option in his up special Climhazzard, and when pressuring his shield you must be prepared for this option. All of Palutena's aerials can be punished with Climhazzard OOS with the exception of Fair and Bair, only if spaced as far as possible.
  • Taking stocks by gimping, 2-framing, or edgeguarding is one of the aspects of the matchup that is strictly better for Palutena.
    • Offstage Nair or Bair, or even standing on the ledge and using Autoreticle are all options Cloud players will be forced to work around by trying to mix up their recovery. Don't overextend carelessly, however, especially if Cloud still has a double jump or a charged Limit Gauge.
    • 2-framing with Dtilt has some nuance in this matchup. Cloud can force the upwards hit of Climhazzard to hit an edgeguarding Palutena and likely beat a Dtilt attempt by recovering past the ledge. If Cloud can't afford to do this, Dtilt is much more likely to hit, and will reset a potent advantage state.
      • Spacing a Dsmash or Fsmash to hit Cloud with its windbox will gimp him if he recovers too high.

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  • Corrin is a character on the slower side, but they make up for it with a respectable burst option in their side special Dragon Lunge as well as several long-reaching aerials that are either quick combo starters or - in the case of Bair - a safe, strong spacing option and kill move. As with a lot of other disjoint-wielding characters, try to understand their threat range and play just outside of it while using pokes to create openings when possible.
  • Almost all of Corrin's combos begin with falling aerials - mostly Fair, Nair, and Uair, all of which are large, relatively safe on shield, and begin upwards combos that lead into juggles. Expect a lot of air-to-ground pressure from Corrin and prepare to work around it by parrying or using Dash Attack to beat it out directly.
  • Corrin's most reliable OOS tool is rising Nair, which is fast at frame 6 but will likely not kill or start any combos since it must be done rising OOS. After parrying, however, they can punish some moves with Dragon Lunge which can potentially be deadly. Watch out for these options and pressure carefully.

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Diddy Kong

  • A matchup that requires patience, precision, and awareness from both sides. Diddy Kong is quite a well-rounded character, and possesses many tools that can be difficult or annoying to deal with as Palutena. Be aware of what moves Diddy likes to use and situations he likes to set up, and understand what moves Palutena can use that prevent those while staying safe enough to avoid getting hit with his Banana Peel.
  • Always be aware of Diddy's side special Monkey Flip, where Diddy players like to use it and where you may be vulnerable to it.
    • Diddy players tend to use Monkey Flip when recovering high above the stage to mix up their horizontal position. Palutena has the jump height to contest this on reaction if you're prepared.
    • When put into a tech chase situation, Monkey Flip is a popular punish. Mix up and delay your tech timings to prevent getting hit and being put into disadvantage.
    • Monkey Flip is an ever-present threat, particularly if you're cornered or on a platform. Diddy is great at threatening space in order to get you into one of these positions, so be aware of your stage positioning and contest space when you can.
  • When pressuring Diddy's shield, be very careful about potential punishes on unsafe or poorly-spaced aerials. Directly out of shield Diddy has one of the fastest Up Smashes in the game at frame 5, and if Diddy catches onto your timing and begins to parry consistently, this could result in a Dtilt combo starter or a Banana Peel throw, both of which are very undesirable to get hit by. Mix up spaced, safe aerials with empty hop approaches to apply consistent pressure.
  • Diddy players have a 2-framing trick where they drop off the stage and throw a Banana Peel at the corner, leaving it lingering to catch recoveries before comboing into an aerial. Be prepared to tech to avoid getting stage-spiked by Fair or Bair, or mix up and delay the timing of your recovery to avoid this trick altogether.
  • Diddy's aerials are fast, but none of them are disjointed and they all lose to Bair. Focus on spacing and walling Diddy out if he attempts to approach actively.
  • If Diddy is forced to recover from far away, he must either use Monkey Flip or Rocketbarrel Boost, both of which are relatively linear and are vulnerable to a lingering Nair from the ledge. In general, be aware of when you can extend your advantage state, but be careful not to overextend or use unsafe options too regularly.

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Donkey Kong

  • Donkey Kong is a character that possesses many weaknesses that Palutena excels at taking advantage of, yet will still steamroll careless players who don't know what to watch out for. A Palutena player who is comfortable with her gameplan will likely find themselves in an advantageous position, but a good Donkey Kong player will doubtless have prepared extensively for this matchup.
  • Palutena's combos are at maximum effectiveness on a character as big and heavy as Donkey Kong. Get comfortable with the timing of Palutena's bread-and-butter combos as Donkey Kong will almost certainly eat more Nairs and Uairs during a normal combo than the vast majority of the cast.
    • This applies even further due to Donkey Kong being susceptible to Nair OOS from Palutena on everything but extremely well-spaced aerials or tilts. Use this to your advantage as much as possible to make the Donkey Kong scared of touching your shield more than you are of touching his.
  • Palutena's edgeguarding is also extremely effective against Donkey Kong - his slowness in the air combined with the very reactable nature of aerial Spinning Kong means he's susceptible to easy Bairs, Nairs, or even Dairs offstage. Not only that, but Dtilt 2-framing is remarkably consistent on DK - keeping him offstage long enough will almost guarantee a stock.
  • Don't get too overeager to hit DK - misspacing something on his shield, or just near him in general, will result in a damaging grab combo or kill confirm. Try your best to make him come to you and react to his approaches accordingly.
  • Donkey Kong's Bair, funnily enough, is also one of the best in the game, and is fast enough and long enough to contest Palutena's Nair as well as air-to-air her in neutral. Again, try to focus on reacting to his approach options rather than trying to get too eager with your own.

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Dr. Mario

  • Dr. Mario is a heavy trapped in a midweight's body - that is, he hits hard, moves slowly, but also doesn't have the giant hurtbox that most heavies come with. Palutena plays this matchup similarly to how she plays against heavies, and likewise must watch out for Dr. Mario's surprisingly potent kill confirms.
  • Dr. Mario's biggest weakness is his (lack of) speed, both grounded and in the air. He has several good, multipurpose moves in his normals and specials, and is quite a decent character if allowed to be right next to his opponent. Palutena has the ability to prevent this, both via her own respectable speed as well as her aerials doing a great job of walling Dr. Mario out, particularly Bair, as expected.
  • Keeping Dr. Mario in the air, whether by juggling him or keeping him offstage, is very beneficial for Palutena. His recovery and landings all tend to be reactable and none of his aerials are long enough to contest Palutena's own with any degree of consistency. Palutena's Uair and Bair are devastating tools that Dr. Mario will have to go to great lengths to deal with while he's in disadvantage.
    • 2-framing Dr. Mario's recovery with Dtilt is very consistent, and far easier than that of his counterpart Mario due to its shorter distance and lack of a multi-hit.
  • Watch out for Dr. Mario's kill confirms. Dtilt is a fast, low-risk normal that confirms into his up special Super Jump Punch for a powerful kill, but if Palutena is keeping out Dr. Mario well then the real confirms to be worried about start with his neutral special Megavitamins, which have set knockback and a surprising amount of hitstun, meaning that even a slow character like Dr. Mario, if he is running alongside the Megavitamin as it travels, can confirm into basically anything in his kit. Make sure to be aware of the Megavitamins at all times.
  • Super Jump Punch is a powerful frame 3 OOS option that remains a constant threat throughout a match. A well-spaced Bair or Fair will prevent an OOS punish but this is still an option that must be kept in mind when pressuring his shield.

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Duck Hunt

  • Duck Hunt is an unorthodox, trap-based zoner with several tricks up his sleeves(?), but consistent, solid gameplay from Palutena's part will go a long way to beating him.
  • Stay patient and slowly work your way in through his projectiles and zoning tools. Palutena has the mobility to do so, and Bair and Dash Attack may help in a pinch to directly beat options out.
    • After you make your way in, Palutena's tools are quite effective at dealing damage to Duck Hunt and keeping him in disadvantage. His aerials other than Dair are decently fast at either frame 6 or 7, but his close-quarters combos are lackluster and Palutena will likely be able to overwhelm him. Keep in mind that the duck, which is used for all his tilts and aerials (other than Nair), is not a disjoint, meaning Palutena's Bair will beat them out very consistently.
  • Similarly to Snake, Duck Hunt's neutral special Trick Shot is active on frame 1. While you must stay aware of this when it comes to non-frametight hit- and kill-confirms like Dthrow -> Bair, getting used to the timing of Palutena's aerials will still provide plenty of true combos at lower- and mid-percents.
    • Keep in mind a couple things about Trick Shot: Duck Hunt can control the can at any time (even while getting hit or recovering) by tapping the special button, and if the can happens to be in play already then he cannot use the frame 1 combo breaker until the can is destroyed. In general, it's important to always be aware of this move when playing against Duck Hunt.

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  • Falco's high jumps and multipurpose aerials make him a threat in the air in a similar way to Palutena, and his notorious Utilt can start combos that lead into these aerials for high damage or kill confirms. His aerial speed and acceleration are both only slightly less than Palutena's, meaning the air-to-air game swings much less in Palutena's favor compared to many other characters. Palutena should play this matchup closer to the ground, focusing on remaining patient in neutral safe during pressure to avoid getting Utilted and focusing on exploiting defensive habits to win neutral and push Falco into disadvantage.
    • Utilt is not disjointed, but is still respectably large, and fast at frame 5. If you're trying to land on Falco, Bair will beat out his Utilt but this is more of a safety measure than something to reliably fish for since his Utilt is so rewarding on hit.
    • When playing patiently, you'll likely be facing down the barrel of Falco's neutral special Blaster frequently. This can be annoying, but the purpose of the move is to goad you into getting impatient and approaching Falco sloppily so he can get an Utilt. Keep a cool head and work your way in slowly. If he tries to jump above you to escape incoming pressure, he's putting himself in disadvantage, and Palutena's aerials are great at keeping him there.
  • Falco is a fast faller, and a relatively tall one at that. Palutena's combos will be very effective on him - make sure you're capitalizing on your neutral wins (including opportunities to use Nair OOS). Using her combos to push Falco offstage will put him at his most vulnerable.
    • Falco's recovery options are both linear, with both Falco Phantasm and Fire Bird requiring him to literally travel in a straight line. Make sure to take advantage of these when possible, likely with a falling aerial, but keep in mind Falco's aerial mobility is good enough for him to mix up his recovery if you're too eager to throw yourself offstage for the edgeguard. Stay patient and try to react to what he's doing to punish his disadvantage effectively.
      • Similarly to Fox, Dtilt 2-frames are decently reliable against Falco's recovery, but both of them can mix up their timing and will often be watching out for your Dtilt to avoid it.

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  • Fox is a volatile matchup for Palutena that will have both players constantly trying to force the flow of the game in their favor. Fox is known for his mobility and speed both on the ground and in the air, and Palutena has the tools to deal with this but needs to have a good understanding of where to use them, as well as of Fox's threat range in general, to win neutral with any sort of consistency.
  • If you suspect a grounded approach from Fox, be very aware of where he can be and try to dash back just outside of his range. His Dash Attack in particular is a common option that can be punished on whiff with good reactions and spacing by a grab, or by landing a short-hop aerial to counter it and start your advantage.
    • If you feel like you want to cover space in front of you without committing too hard, Dtilt is a decent option with deceptively low lag. Keep in mind that Fox can likely beat this option if he has already chosen to approach in the air.
  • In the air, Fox has a lot of tools that can facilitate his approaches, particularly his safe, combo-starting Nair. If this hits your shield, you can't grab or jump if Fox is ready to deal with those options, so don't be too eager to escape pressure if he finds his way in. Try to parry his approaching aerials for more reliable punishes or positioning.
    • If Fox is becoming too reliant on jumping in with Nair, Palutena's Utilt will actually beat it cleanly if done early enough. Like all her tilts, it's punishable on whiff and if shielded but will reliably counter Fox's approaching aerials.
    • If Palutena catches Fox with a preemptive aerial, it likely will lead to a respectable punish due to Fox being the fastest faller in the game, allowing for longer combos. Palutena's Bair will beat out all of Fox's aerials, and Nair will, at worst, trade with them. Since Fox and his aerials are so quick, be sure to use aerials early to catch jump-ins if you want to make the Fox player a little more scared of approaching aggressively.
  • At extremely low percents (like 0-10), specific combo options will uniquely not work on Fox. After landing a Nair at these percents, another aerial will not connect and you have to either grab or end the punish with a Jab or Dash Attack. Dthrow will also not lead into anything at these percents.
  • Avoid becoming reliant on Autoreticle in neutral unless you are certain Fox will hang back. As with many characters, especially faster ones, if they are in the process of dashing forward while Autoreticle targets them, they will simply run under it and Palutena will be vulnerable to a punish.
  • Similarly to Falco, Dtilt 2-frames are decently reliable against Fox's recovery, but both of them can mix up their timing and will often be watching out for your Dtilt to avoid it.

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  • Ganondorf is a slow, heavy character whose redeeming qualities mostly come down to his high-damage, high-knockback moves. Palutena has the capabilities to run circles around Ganondorf when necessary as well as take advantage of his poor recovery and disadvantage to take stocks often much earlier than his heavy stature would imply.
  • Despite Ganondorf's flaws, his aerials - particularly Nair and Uair - are genuinely good moves that must be respected, even by Palutena. Ganondorf's neutral strategy in this matchup will likely consist of many short-hop Nairs to attempt to stuff out Palutena's jumps and suffocating aerial presence. Dashing back a short distance to whiff punish a Nair, or preempting Ganondorf's own preemptive jumps with a Nair of your own to start a combo will work well in the matchup.
  • Ganondorf's recovery is infamously very exploitable, even more so when approached by a character with the aerial mobility of Palutena. A simple drop-off Nair is often enough to kill a Ganondorf recovering low, and if he's capable of recovering high his slow nature will likely allow for Palutena to react and retaliate.
    • Watch out for an aerial side special Flame Choke and be prepared to tech his up special Dark Dive on the corner of the stage in case of an earlier than expected recovery.
  • In general, Palutena can outmaneuver Ganondorf both on the ground and in the air, and while running at him blindly will likely lead to getting hit hard, understanding his better options in neutral can lead to devastating combos from Palutena when she finds an opening.
    • Nair OOS is a great option for Palutena in the matchup, and will punish mostly anything Ganondorf touches her shield with, except Jab or well-spaced aerials.

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  • Greninja has a lot of traits Palutena doesn't like to fight against in a character - mostly, he's small and slippery. Watch out for his fast, grounded combo starters in Dtilt and Dash Attack, and be on guard for quick ground-to-air approaches with his extremely high jumps. Proper conditioning of well-spaced landing aerials alongside empty-hop grabs may help deal with Greninjas who stick to the ground.
  • As mentioned, Dtilt and Dash Attack from Greninja are extremely good, quick combo starters that can do a particularly good job of catching Palutena while trying to land. Make sure to space around them, or try to predict what a Greninja player likes to do to catch landings.
    • Both moves are shield-grabbable, but Dtilt is easy to space well and even Dash Attack pulls Greninja's leg in a surprising amount during its later inactive frames. Make sure you're spaced well enough to grab these moves if they hit your shield.
  • Greninja's aerial stats are pretty good - including the 2nd highest jumps in the game as well as decent air speed and acceleration - and he has quick aerials in Uair and Bair to complement this. Watch out for fast aerial approaches with these moves, and try to stay aware of your position relative to Greninja's, as well as the direction he's facing while in the air in order to prepare for the correct aerials. His Fair is much slower than Bair (frame 16 rather than 5), but is a more dedicated kill move.
    • When you're on the ground, Greninja will likely be landing with a weak Nair or spaced Fair as both are good options in their own ways and both are very safe on shield. Parrying these moves may help mitigate some of this safety, particularly for Fair which can also be spaced as it's a big disjoint. Stay aware of Greninja's aerial options to fight against him effectively.
  • This is a matchup in which Palutena must capitalize on catching her opponent in the air, either preemptively by catching his jumps or by keeping him in the air during juggles. Greninja doesn't have a very reliable or fast OOS option (nor are any of his aerials generally used while rising) so using Palutena's Nair around his shield to catch jumps while remembering to grab a conditioned shield may take you far in the matchup as a basic gameplan.
    • Watch out for an Usmash from Greninja if you get too reliant on Nair, as with the right read on his part it's very easy for Greninja to dash under a Nair from Palutena to connect the move.

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  • All of Hero's aerials are either slow or short, meaning that despite having a sword he is outclassed by Palutena in the aerial game almost completely. If Hero is in the air Palutena can usually always feel safe challenging with a Bair - and will more often than now be able to challenge with Nair to start combos.
  • Despite the above, the majority of Hero's neutral is defined by his fantastic side special (particularly the first two charge levels, Zap/Zapple) and, of course, the spells from his down special Command Selection. These options are usually used either strictly grounded or while landing, meaning more often than not Palutena can avoid them and punish by approaching from the air due to her superior jump height.
    • Some reading of Hero's Command Selection menu is recommended, though, due to some particular spells - Flame Slash and Kacrackle Slash - being fast, powerful disjoints that cover lots of space around and above Hero. Plenty of other spells such as Kaboom, Snooze, or Sizzle could lead to trades and lots of damage to Palutena as well in this situation, since Hero's spells tend to become active quickly in general.
    • Keep in mind that Hero's side special is not a projectile and cannot be reflected using Palutna's down special Reflect Barrier.
  • It may be tempting to use Palutena's down special when Command Selection is used to reflect any incoming projectiles, but the interaction tends to swing in Hero's favor without a hard read on the timing of the spell.
    • Hero can of course release the spell at any time, meaning he can easily wait for Palutena's counter to finish, or simply choose another option like a buff without risk. At the range Hero will be using projectiles, a reflected projectile will likely run out of active time and disappear before it reaches Hero as well.
    • Also, the fact that Sizzle is unreactably fast while Kaboom is not (at longer range) means there is either an inherent mixup in the situation or a necessity to take time to read the Command Selection menu - time which could be spent approaching Hero while he's unable to move, or time that could be taken advantage of by Hero himself.
    • Hero also has an idle shield similar to Link that will block projectiles directly in front of him.
    • Palutena's Reflect Barrier can still be useful in the matchup, of course - while landing, Kaboom's explosion is often long enough to catch airdodges, meaning that if you're scared of a potential Kaboom while landing (or, again, if you have a read on the timing of a spell), Palutena's down special is a viable option.
      • Hero's up special, Woosh/Swoosh/Kaswoosh is actually a projectile and can be reflected as well - if you suspect Hero has to charge the move fully to recover, Palutena may have enough time to drop down and reflect the Kaswoosh, damaging Hero and requiring him to recover again. This will leave Palutena offstage below Hero, though (meaning she has to recover and is also likely to get hit by Hero's next up special), so this is more often a disrespectful option than a useful one.
    • Hero's neutral special, Frizz/Frizzle/Kafrizz is often reactable, particularly at longer range, so Reflect Barrier becomes more useful against that move.
  • When Hero is under the effects of Acceleratle, he becomes extremely fast and will often take the opportunity to overwhelm his opponent with an approach. Stay patient during this state and try to react to potential approaches with long-lasting, safe aerials like Nair.
  • Funnily, the Snooze projectile is a single hitbox and will cancel its effects (but not its animation) if it hits any hurtbox, including invincible ones like Palutena's Bair and Dash Attack. This means that Palutena can Dash Attack directly through a Snooze and it will appear like the projectile simply passes through her to no effect.

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Ice Climbers

  • The Ice Climbers are most known for their devastating desync setups, but they have a handful of specific moves that actually are quite threatening at all stages of the game, not just after landing a grab. Palutena has the speed and hitboxes to beat out some of these moves and does relatively well in neutral against the Climbers, but it's recommended to stay patient in both neutral and disadvantage due to the power of their setups as well as the usefulness of their aerials.
  • Squall Hammer, their side special, is an incredible move for the Ice Climbers in neutral, as it covers them in a hitbox, is controllable, and can even be autocanceled if performed correctly (they must start the move on the ground, mash the special button to rise slightly into the air, then land after the hitboxes are finished). Landing Bair and Fair from Palutena will do a good job of directly contesting this move while staying safe enough to avoid a whiff punish.
    • Watch out when punishing this move right after it's finished, as there is a desync setup that allows a single Climber to act afterward. Commonly, they will throw out a down special Blizzard to protect the area directly in front of them, so if you can't punish Squall Hammer before it ends try punishing it from above.
  • Pressuring and overwhelming the Climbers with aerials and forcing them to remain grounded is a reliable approach to the matchup. The Climbers have little effective range on the ground, even possessing the shortest grab range in the game (perhaps fitting due to the potential reward). Palutena's landing Fair and Bair will outrange effectively everything the Climbers can do while standing, but as with every matchup be careful of getting too predictable and eating a whiff punish.
  • While in disadvantage above the Climbers, Palutena must watch out for their fast disjointed Uair as she cannot challenge it directly below herself. It will likely be necessary to attempt to land to their side, or even drift offstage and recover to the ledge to avoid repeated juggling. When landing directly on top of them, their Utilt is disjointed and long-lasting, but only reaches directly above them. As a rule, stay to the side of the Climbers when in the air instead of directly above them.
  • This matchup is a rare instance where you must be conscious of the fact that Palutena has no hitboxes on her throws - that is, when grabbing either Climber you will be unable to hit the other one away while throwing - Mario's Bthrow, for example, has a hitbox on the opponent that will knock others away while he spins them around. Palutena has no such throw, and while this means you should be careful while grabbing the Climbers, it doesn't mean you should avoid it altogether, as empty-hop grabbing is a valuable mixup in any matchup. Keep these interactions in mind:
    • During the animations of a throw you are invincible and cannot be damaged until the opponent is thrown.
    • When grabbing Popo, Nana will be controllable by the player until Popo travels a certain distance away, at which point Nana will not attack you and will run towards Popo. If you believe the Ice Climbers player will not react to getting grabbed right away (perhaps as the result of an empty-hop grab mixup) it will usually be a fine option to grab Popo and throw him immediately, as by the time the opponent reacts to the grab they will only be able to influence Popo.
    • When grabbing Nana, the player-controlled Popo will be right next to you and controllable, and you must succeed in a mixup to avoid getting punished. Try to time your throw invincibility with the attack Popo will likely throw out (usually an uncharged Fsmash). When in doubt, your Fthrow and Dthrow are your fastest throws (44 frames and 45 frames respectively, which are not particularly fast in general) to end the interaction as soon as possible, and Dthrow provides the most invincibility (25 frames).
    • Pummeling is generally a bad idea against either Climber as it will give them more time to react to the interaction.

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  • Ike is a straightforward character, relying heavily on landing aerials to start combos and hit kill confirms, and using this fact to bait out his opponent's shield to land grabs. His moves are generally strong, if a bit on the slower side, but still must be respected. Unfortunately for Ike, Palutena tends to outclass him in the aerial game, despite her shorter range, and knowing how to take advantage of this can lead to a frustrating matchup for Ike.
  • First and foremost, the vast majority of Ike's combos and confirms begin off of his landing Nair. This means a couple things - while you should always be aware of this option, you can also expect it and preemptively punish it using Palutena's own aerials. If both Palutena and Ike jump at the same time, for example, not only will Palutena's Nair come out first at frame 5 compared to Ike's frame 10 Nair, but Ike's rising Nair will very rarely lead into anything significant other than a potential juggle situation. Palutena's Bair is also a good, non-committal option to throw out against a jump-happy Ike player looking for a combo starter.
    • Parrying Ike's Nair is often a surefire punish with either a Nair of your own, an instant Dash Attack to knock him away quickly, or a Grab if you're close enough.
    • Watch out for over-usage of Palutena's Nair, as landing the last hit on shield is unsafe and Ike may be able to punish with his armored, long-range up special Aether out of shield.
    • Ike's Uair and Bair are also tools to watch out for, as his Uair is a slow but strong kill move that can even lead into some combos if done landing, and his Bair is a very fast (7 frame) kill move that hits directly behind him, can be autocanceled, and is quite safe on shield. It's these aerials in particular you'll have to keep an eye out for if Ike is punished too much for Nair, so be aware of them and respect them accordingly.
  • When grounded, Ike has a few moves to watch out for and respect that are tough to directly challenge. His Dtilt in particular is a great spacing tool that can lead into powerful hit- and kill-confirms into his fast and strong Bair, and his Dash Attack is a slow, but devastatingly strong burst option that is unsafe on shield but will nonetheless kill at very respectable percents, and may also catch you if you are trying to jump away. Ftilt is a combination of these two moves; an in-place spacing tool that will kill.
    • Trying to be in the air directly above Ike may make it hard for him to use any of his grounded tools - Palutena will likely be able to punish (often on reaction) with a landing aerial such as Bair or Fair.
      • Ike has a couple tools to try to deal with this, namely his Utilt and up special Aether. His Utilt is decently strong but slightly slow at frame 11, and can also be reacted to and punished on whiff. Aether tends to be a bit of a tool to catch unaware or predictable opponents, as it's armored and very strong, but obviously can be punished quite hard if it whiffs. Palutena can even react and Counter it on landing (although there are definitely harder punishes to go for) - or, if the scenario is right, use her Fsmash to blow him off the ledge to an early death.
  • Ike's recovery is notoriously linear. He has two recovery specials in Aether (up special) and Quick Draw (side special), and both - while being vastly different in their utility - generally serve one use each while recovering: Aether goes upward and Quick Draw goes sideways.
    • Aether in particular is quite easy to punish. At the ledge, just about any persistent hitbox (or a simple Counter) from Palutena will catch a poorly-spaced Aether, while a well-spaced Dsmash will usually catch even the most spaced-to-ledge one. Keep in mind that while Ike leaps up and spins around with his sword, he has no hitbox directly above him, meaning anything can challenge its hurtbox as long as it doesn't touch the hitbox in front of his body.
    • Quick Draw is more situational to punish, as the Ike player can choose when to release the move and, as such, can react to preemptive punish attempts accordingly. If the Ike player recovers above the stage with the move, an Usmash from Palutena is almost perfect for dealing with the move, as it's long-lasting pillar hitbox will catch Ike moving in every time. However, the Ike player can simply choose to sweetspot the ledge with the move (as well as hit a potential ledgetrapper with the hitbox if they're standing too close to the ledge); if you are confident they will do this then a Counter will intercept the move, as well as a very well-spaced Dtilt. Depending on their trajectory, an Autoreticle from Palutena may hit and guarantee a gimped recovery, but if it misses the Ike player will be free to recover onto the stage.
    • Keep in mind that any Ike player will have dealt with their recovery getting contested many times over and will likely have answers for preemptive or over-eager attempts at preventing them from returning to the stage. Don't assume that a single option such as a charged smash attack on the ledge while Ike is still far offstage will guarantee a hit, and instead wait and try to react to and understand their remaining options when recovering to punish accordingly.

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  • Being a heavy character, Incineroar is vulnerable to several of Palutena's most oppressive moves and valuable traits. However MANY of his moves are quite good for various reasons, even against someone like Palutena who on paper may seem to win the matchup with zero effort. That's not to say Palutena doesn't have plenty to do to deal with Incineroar - undoubtedly this is still a problem matchup for him - but there are several things Palutena will need to watch out for.
  • When you think of Incineroar, you likely think of his side special Alolan Whip, an approaching, powerful command grab that any character must be aware of when playing against him. Fortunately for Palutena, she has the mobility and air stats to stay far away from it and punish it if it's thrown out recklessly. If you are in disadvantage, particularly getting off the ledge, or simply just playing grounded neutral, you must always keep Alolan Whip in mind.
    • When the grab from Alolan Whip triggers on an opponent, Incineroar will gain armor as he actually grabs them. With poor (or even average) spacing or timing, Palutena's aerials (including Bair) will actually trigger this armor and get grabbed instead of knocking Incineroar away. When trying to anticipate or punish Alolan Whip, make sure you're doing so either late enough into the move or from far enough away.
  • Palutena will likely spend a lot of time in the air in this matchup - as she should - but Incineroar's Uair is very large, decently fast, and slightly disjointed, and does a great job at resetting a juggle situation. Don't be too stubborn about landing on top of Incineroar and try to use your superior aerial mobility to maneuver around him.
    • For that matter, all of Incineroar's aerials other than his strong Dair spike are decently fast, including a frame 5 Nair of his own. Palutena's Bair will help with directly contesting most of these, but stay aware of his threat range in the air and don't underestimate his aerials.
  • Incineroar's down special Revenge will absorb any hit and power up his next move that he hits, which can lead to absurd damage. That aside, Revenge is very fast at frame 3, which is very good for Incineroar and can quickly turn some disadvantageous situations for him on their head. Aside from simply getting countered for throwing out moves recklessly, Palutena has to watch out for Revenge during her Down Throw followups. Depending on Rage or DI, there are often situations where Incineroar will be able to Revenge out of Palutena's Down Throw -> Bair, for example, which will get him out of disadvantage temporarily and could result in disaster if he gets a hit in return. Always keep Revenge in mind in general, and when using Down Throw at potential kill percents, watch out for the option - if you suspect it's coming, you will be able to delay your followup and punish similarly to an airdodge.
  • Incineroar's disadvantge is extremely exploitable for Palutena in this matchup. Being a large character with limited air mobility, he is particularly vulnerable to juggling - keeping him in the air above Palutena is a surefire way to build up damage. Remember Incineroar can throw out Revenge if you are being too predictable with your aerial timings, be sure to watch out for it while keeping him in disadvantage.
    • Incineroar is also very vulnerable offstage and when recovering. Be aware of where his recovery options - side special Alolan Whip and up special Cross Chop - can travel and react to them accordingly with aerials that send him back offstage. The moves themselves are linear, but he doesn't enter helpless fall after either one of them, which allows him to mix up his recovery better than some other characters with poor recoveries, and to recover higher above the ledge/stage than you might be expecting. Don't be too overeager to throw yourself offstage to intercept his recovery, as he may still have options to get back around that.
      • Cross Chop has damage-based armor on its startup that will power through Palutena's attempted aerial edgeguards. Stay aware of this and don't try to contest the startup of the move, as at best you will get armored and hit on your way back to the stage, and at worst you will get spiked by the second hit of the move and die. If you're uncertain, it may be best to stay onstage and try to 2-frame with Dtilt.
      • Dtilt 2-framing with Palutena is pretty consistent, particularly if Incineroar is recovering directly to the ledge with Alolan Whip. Hitting Cross Chop is slightly less guaranteed but still good to go for. Watch out for the Incineroar player holding down to extend Cross Chop above the ledge to hit you, or using the move early.

Opponent's Overview | Advanced Stats | Inverse Matchup Return to the top







King Dedede

King K. Rool



Little Mac



Marcina (Marth & Lucina)



Mega Man

Meta Knight


Mii Brawler

Mii Swordfighter

Mii Gunner

Min Min

Mr. Game & Watch








Piranha Plant


Pokemon Trainer

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Opponent's Overview | Advanced Stats | Inverse Matchup Return to the top

Aegis (Pyra/Mythra)

Belmonts (Simon & Richter)




Rosalina & Luma












Toon Link



Wii Fit Trainer



Young Link


Zero Suit Samus




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