An analysis on Ridley and why I believe this character is good (and slept on)


Smash Journeyman
Oct 20, 2015
Paris, France
Hello, I have been labing for 3 days and have played a good amount of online matches with Ridley, and I came here to talk about my thoughts on this character.
I'll write an analysis on him, talk about his weaknesses, but mostly his strenghs because I think this character doesn't have any really, really flawing weakness.


Ridley's neutral game is very interesting. First off, as you know, Ridley is extremely fast on the ground, with one of the fastest run speed, and a decently fast walk speed. Ridley also posseses 3 jumps, allowing him to shark and bait shields for exemple. I think his best tool on the ground is down tilt, it has a deceptively long horizontal (and vertical) range, and is RIdley's best combo starter. This move can be followed up on almost the entire cast with Forward Tilt or a dash grab. Speaking of grabs, grab also has a good combo starter in his down throw, which can lead to down tilt (on fast fallers), forward tilt, SH Fair and even FH Bair at higher percents. Ridley's up throw is also interesting, as it can combo with Up air at low percent, albeit unreliably because of the throw's low hitstun and Ridley's Up Air having a very small hitbox.
Another one of Ridley's best options on the ground is also his Forward Smash, which is a ridiculously good move. It has a massive hitbox, very high damage, and is strong enough to KO lightweights from the middle of the stage at the 70%s, but this move's amazing perk is that it has almost no endlag, being very spammable when pivoted, and also an incredibly good option for dash to crouch cancelling, as it also has very short startup.
I mentioned above that RIdley can shark in the air and either wall people out with his disjointed Fair, but it can also allow you to force the opponents into shielding, which can lead to tomahawks or using his amazing Command Grab; this move is actually very, very good, the fact that people can mash out of it isn't even a problem at lower percents since that won't put you in disadvantage. It's very, very reliable kill move as well, and it is quite hard to react to, despite it's rather sluggish startup.

/Edgeguarding and offstage shenanigans

My favorite part. Ridley is an absolute god offstage. Ridley can almost wall of pain some characters with his Fair if they dont react fast enough, which is very easy to do if you get a down throw or down tilt near the ledge, both of which true combo into Fair. Now, when the ennemy is far offstage, this is where Ridley absolutely shines.
Plasma Breath is a mediocre projectile in Neutral, but Ridley can place himself at a certain distance from the ledge so that his Plasma breath will go down the stage and completely cover the ledge, which can lead to gimps, and if not, very high damage, but the worst part for opponents is that if they're already at high-ish percents (80-100), they cannot camp the ledge and avoid the Breath with the invincibility because of a fully charged Plasma Breath having a plethora of hitboxes. This is very hard to deal with, as opponents canot neutral get up, roll on stage or attack to avoid the attack, and will keep being pushed offstage and struggle to grab the ledge again. Jumping is the best option against this tool, which can easily be punished by Ridley.
Another extremely strong edgeguarding tool i've been labing with is Dair. Ridley's down air is a fast Stall-Then-Fall I like to call "The Feet" that has high endlag and can lead to SDs if used offstage. However, it is possible to use the move offstage after using one full hop, and Ridley can actually then recover to the stage with his remaining jumps and Up B. Ascending down with this move will cover all low recoveries, either spiking the target, or sending them far horizontally with the non-spiking hitbox.
Other edge guarding options of course include bair to stage spike, or Side B+Early release to stage spike. If they don't tech those, they're dead.


I don't understand why people say Ridley's recovery is bad. Recovering with Ridley is easy once you understand how is Up B work, having 4 different angles, including one that allows you to come back to the ledge after using multiple Fairs on targets offstage.
When sent flying far away from the stage, my favorite way of recovering is using Side B first, then either Directional Airdodging to the ledge or recovering low.
The only real weakness in Ridley's recovery is the fact that it has very long startup with no hitbox that can be spiked, for exemple. Watch out for stage spikes as well if you're recovering low.

TLDR; Ridley is very fast, has very strong bread and butter combos, high damage output, an incredibly strong and fast finishing move in FSmash, one of the best bait and punish shields game thanks to his multiple jumps and his command grab, powerful and annoying edgeguarding tools, and above average surviviability.

Do I think Ridley needs buff? Surely. Ridley is good at slowly racking up damage and getting foes offstage which is where he really shines at, but I still think that some of his moves could use some endlag reductions, especially Fair and Bair. His Up Air could get some kind of buff. Other than this, I think Ridley is a solid character in the right hands, with frightening potential. You may be asking yourself why you would pick Ridley over even faster and heavier characters like Bowser, and I hope this short analysis can inspire you to lab with and explore this character.
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