The Hero's Guide to Success (Things to think about when using him)

Kienamaru

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So there's a lot of moveset analysis threads and videos out on this character, but I don't see any real guides telling people how they should use the Hero outside of things like "This move is probably good for spacing" and other obvious things like that. So here's my take on the character.

Understanding the Hero as a fighter archetype
Knowing how your character works as an archetype is one of the most helpful things you can learn. This is where you'll find your general strengths and weakness, though not all of them always apply. Think of Hero as a midrange zoner. His spells are powerful tools to be used for building damage or KOing, and he even has a few options that can't be reflected. Knowing this, it's important to keep opponents within his comfortable ranges. More often than not, you'll find yourself trying to make space between yourself and your enemy. He also has a shield that blocks incoming projectiles and a fast grab. With this understood, Hero's best matchups would logically be those who he can out speed naturally.

What are his strengths?
Zoning, applying pressure at all but close range. edge guarding, building damage, anti air (not quite juggling), frame traps.


What are his weaknesses?
Safe recovery, being juggled/comboed (disadvantage state in general), approaching, speedy opponents, slow kill options unless buffed, being attacked/approached from angles, enemies who benefit from platforms.


With all that out of the way, let's get into it.

How To Hero
Like Link or Robin, Hero players should always be on their toes. Likewise, he benefits from a very in and out style of play. To put it simply, projectiles should be used to keep opponents from getting close, or to pressure them toward the edge where he excels. Using BF as an example for his range, Neutral B fully charged goes across the entire stage, Half charged goes 3/4s, and uncharged goes halfway. Side B half charged covers 1/3 (Platform to platform), uncharged covers about 1/6 (a single platform). More often than not, these are the tools you'll use to keep people out, and to be as safe as possible. Management of Hero's MP is essential to staying in the fight, as his Sword attacks are average in most scenarios. I've found that in any scenario where I can catch a landing below kill percents, that grab is almost always my best option. Due to the way that Hero's MP works, pummeling at least twice is recommended before throwing your opponent. If you're ready to regain distance, front or back throw work. If you need more MP, up or down throw are better to try and catch an air dodge. Do NOT back throw at low percents as the move doesn't send opponents far and it's fairly laggy. In matchups against anyone faster than he is, the Command Menu will not be used often.

Conserve your MP
Using MP is essential to success, but you never want to be in a situation where you need it and don't have it. My experience playing as him has shown that you want to hold on to at least 40MP at all times, though you can afford to go lower if your percent is below 50%. Hero's best spells (best for killing OR damage) cost 42, 37, 36, and 30.

Command Menu, When and Why?
Knowing when to use the Command Menu (Down B) is one thing, knowing what to use on it is another thing entirely, and both are equally important. Against fast opponents, only use this when your opponent is offstage, when you're respawning, after a front or up throw, if your opponent is asleep at low percent, or if you're offstage and looking for a Zoom to recover. Also, it can't be stressed enough that jumping into or out of the Command Menu is advised. Think of it as how Link players will often full hop to pull Bombs. Be aware that the menu can be canceled by Shielding, Spot Dodging, Jumping, Grabbing, Rolling, or Air Dodging.

That said, these are the options you should be seeking depending on the scenario.

Universally good options: Oomph, Heal, Psyche Up
Anti Zoner/Speedster: Bounce, Acceleratle
To prevent intercept recoveries: Kaboom, Sizzle, Bang, Sizz, Snooze.
To cover ledge options: Flame Slash, Kacrackle Slash, Thwack, Snooze.
High Risk/Reward: Hatchet Man, Magic Burst, Kamikazee

The universal options are Hero's most sought after spells. If you see them, use them. Oomph turns even Hero's jab into something to look out for, as he can deal nearly 20% off of a frame 6 option. It also adds a small amount of shield safety. Heal on the other hand, 11% may sound small, but 22% goes a long way in a stock. Think of it as the difference between a meteor killing you or recovering from a single bad play. Psyche Up is a great intimidation tactic, as opponents will play more cautiously if they know you have the potential to break their shields. Don't rely on this too heavily, but use it if you see it. This lasts until you land an attack involving your body or sword. On top of these being good for damage building, they can stack with each other, though this isn't usually desirable until KO percents. (Around 90% to be safe). Psyche+Oomph gives Hero access to Up Tilt and Up Throw midstage, and Fthrow, Bthrow at the ledge as amazing kill options. If you only have time for one, Psyche Up is your better bet for the kill.

The anti Zoner/Speedster options are good against people like Pikachu, Young Link, Ness, Snake, Wii Fit, ROB, and Palutena, either making it easier to avoid them, or forcing them to approach you.

All of the intercept options will outright kill if they connect around 90% outside of snooze which needs to be mashed out of, or it kills or allows you to get a kill as they land asleep.

All of the cover options hit below ledge from about a Platform away, except for Snooze, which is slow enough to catch ledge climb invulnerability if they choose to do anything other than jump.

All of the High Risk/Reward options are just as they sound. Hatchet Man is comparable to a reverse aerial Warlock Punch. It'll break shields in one hit, and will kill below 40% if buffed. Magic Burst is an amazing tool with the most range of any move in the game and the highest damage if your MP is full. However, it is blockable, and you have no armor while doing it. This means if you space or time it improperly at the ledge, you can be ledge attacked and left with no MP. This is especially risky against projectile users who can ledge hop and snipe you out of it. Kamikazee is a last resort that can KO around 60% comfortably and can't be blocked. The downside is, it's slow to start up and can be dodged. Only use this if you have a stock lead, are already at KO percent, or you severely need a 'reset.'

With the good options covered, now for the bad options. These are the DO NOTs of Down B
Hocus Pocus
Kaclang
Metal Slash

All 3 of these options are likely to get you killed in one way or another. Hocus Pocus has a few good options but will generally use a random spell from your list which is possibly just a waste of magic. Otherwise you could get damage, lose your magic, or shrink. There are positives, but these outweigh them. Kaclang can be used to drop onto people, or to stall if you somehow manage to run a match down to time and have 5 seconds left. It's extremely punishable and shouldn't be used. Metal Slash shouldn't be used unless your opponent is a Kaclanged Hero. Otherwise, the best usage is throwing out a quick panic hitbox to stop an approach.

Reducing RNG by way of Spell Stacking
Hero has 21 spells in his Command Menu. Knowing that the previously seen 4 spells won't show up again, you should consider your options a 1/17 chance of finding what you want if you don't already see it. This chance can be reduced to a 1/16 by using both of your heals, reduced further to a 1/15 by having Psyche Up active, and reduced even more to a total low of 1/12 by having Bounce, Acceleratle, and Oomph.
THIS IS NOT PRACTICAL, but can be useful in the right scenario. Hero will end up with about 40MP remaining.

Your Normals Are Not Terrible
This is an important thing to know. Many videos out there claim that Hero has bad throws and bad normals. That's not entirely true. His normals are bad for fast aggression.

Grounded By Nature
Unlike most zoners, Hero's best options are usually his grounded ones. His jab is average speed but has good range and a decent amount of delay is possible. This isn't always the optimal punish, but it's a safe option that I use often. Due to the angle it sends at, it's safer than most as a punish tool, as it doesn't put the opponent much higher than a platform unless they double jump. This makes it reliable and easy to predict where they can land, which is great for a character who centers around frame traps to make the most of his kit.

Dash attack is Link's in nearly every way. You shouldn't use it often outside of hard reads. It isn't safe ever, and most attacks that it can avoid won't be coming at you if you're close enough to land the move. The only time this move is recommended is if your opponent is landing after an air dodge just outside of your dashing side smash reach and you don't have a Kazfrizzle ready to shoot. It DOES hit below the ledge however, so hanging opponents can be caught and killed early by it.

Side Tilts
This move deals decent damage and has a close angle to his Jab combo. That said, it's sluggish and I wouldn't use it much outside of having it Oomphed and using it as an out of shield option at the ledge. Still, Flame Slash is safer and stronger at ledge and Jab is safer in neutral. See this move as a fallback option when you're Command Menu edgeguarding and none of your kill options show up first cycle. It'll end stocks around 100 at the ledge if oomphed and around 120 if not. One thing to note, is that 2 part attacks are always safer to not commit with if the first attack is shielded. However, there are mind games to be had, and the delay can sometimes net a hit.

Up Tilt
This is your main anti air/shutdown attack. If you find people jumping on top of you or jumping to approach, this will serve you better than any aerial. Treat it as a weaker TL up smash unless buffed. If psyched up, this move becomes your only fast kill option around 100%. If Psyched AND Oomphed, expect to get kills in the 80s or 90s on most characters. Be warned that the back of this move does not hit as low as it looks. It can be crouched by normal sized characters.

Down Tilt
This move is a decent poke, and if you have to poke someone, it's what I recommend. It's not powerful and doesn't have low endlag so it won't combo or kill. That said, it hits below ledge and the angle will generally lead opponents who expect to be comboed to jump away, leading into some sort of frame trap, or worst case scenario, resetting neutral. Note that this move can be used to 2 frame ledges, and to low profile jabs of tall characters. Ganon's jab is an example.

Side Smash
Think Chrom but with more lag. The hitbox starts slightly above him, the move is slow to start and laggy to end but fairly powerful, especially once buffed. With Psyche up alone, this move will break shields at less than half charge. Even if you don't have an opportunity to charge the attack, if you're psyched, it's worth hitting a shield intentionally. The low shield health will often cause players to jump more or run away from you, which gives Hero time to charge Neutral B or allows him to catch a landing with it if it's already charged. It also means that his specials won't be blocked because the shield would break. Essentially, he gets a big potential reward for taking a small risk.

Up Smash
This is the worst attack in his kit. It's similar to Marth's but slower. The tipper kills early, and it does good damage overall, but you're better off using up tilt to cover any possibility of aerial movement and to be less punishable. DO NOT USE THIS MOVE. The only time this is viable, is if you're Psyched+Oomphed, and you have an opponent on a platform above you. It can shatter a shield IF it lands with a little charge.

Down Smash
Compare this to a weaker and laggier version of Toon Link's down smash unless buffed. It's his fastest smash to throw out, but shouldn't be used often due to the lag and unfavorable angle. This move can poke opponent's shields if you've whittled them down already before coming in with it. It's also great for catching rolls or if you're uncertain if your opponent will land in front or behind you after an air dodge or high recovery.

Air Assault
Nair
Comparable to Cloud's. It has smaller range, but it starts above him and hits all around. You can combo off of it rarely, usually at very low percents into things like Side Tilt or Jab, but more often than not, you'll throw this move out to hit enemies above you. The angle is nothing special, but at low percents (20sish or below) a followup with fair is usually possible.


Fair
Starts above and hits below him. It's good for walling out opponents and functions well as a move to use while retreating. If spaced properly, it's difficult for many characters to punish on shield.


Bair
Slow startup but covers his entire backside, has a low start with a high endpoint, deals high damage, and sends at a lower angle than most moves, making it good for putting opponents into more favorable positions.


Fair and Bair are best used for throwing out hitboxes and generally shouldn't be used as a means to approach, as they don't autocancel outside of a full hop.

Uair
This move is fast and relatively safe to land with, but the hitbox is tiny and the damage/knockback is low. I wouldn't recommend using it outside of Psyched and wanting a potential kill on an opponent over 110% who jumps a lot. I would call this his worst aerial, as it adds close to nothing to his kit. He can use it to pressure platform campers above him, and if your opponent isn't expecting it, you can potentially combo it into itself for a bit of damage racking.

Dair
Comparable to Cloud's dair but weaker outside of the meteor. It can be used to lock people who miss their tech, but shouldn't be used often onstage at all. Around 50% or so, dair's meteor will launch opponents a short distance into the air. This brings a mixup where Hero can charge Kazap either stationary or with a short hop. Either way, reading the dodge with a shorthop can end stocks early. The opponent can avoid this by simply jumping away instead of dodging, so it depends on reaction and conditioning. That said, if they jump away, neutral is reset so the only downside is your MP is now low.


Game of Grabs
I treat Hero similarly to Brawl Lucario, in that I grab often, pummel at least twice whenever I grab, and toss my opponent whichever way gives me more time to prepare for the next approach. In the case of the Hero, this section won't be as drawn out as his grabs are all relatively simple.

Front, Back, and Up Throw
These are viable kills when Psyched, and among the best kill throws in the game when Psyched+Oomphed.
With Hero's grab being frame 6, his Up throw becomes a nearly unreactable kill option around 100%.

Up and Down Throw
Up throw combos into nair and uair at low to medium percents, while Down throw combos into fair at low to medium percents, potentially high if Acceleratle is active. That said, These are the main throws you'll be using to keep the others fresh in case of a potential kill. Also note that Up Throw has higher base KB and can be used at low percents to offer a second to search the Command Menu. Down Throw with a platform above you can lead to a dashing Up Tilt followup if the tech is missed. Otherwise, Fair is always the optimal choice.


Specials and Frame Traps
I've said it often that Hero has a kit designed for frame trapping opponents. More often than not, your best moves for this will be Neutral B and Side B fully charged. These moves deal massive damage, linger, and cover large areas. This means that if you can bait an air dodge, roll, or tech, you're able to put your opponent in unavoidable situations.

Situations to look out for:
Opponent has a linear predictable recovery with no hitbox: Magic Burst near ledge, run off Kaswoosh
Opponent has a good vertical recovery with a hitbox but lacks horizontal range: Run off Kaswoosh, Kaboom from midstage, jump off frizzle, sizz/sizzle
Opponent has good horizontal recovery with a hitbox but lacks vertical range: jump off reverse Kaswoosh, Jump off Kazap, jump off Kafrizzle

Opponent rolls up ledge: Kazap, Kamikazee, Magic Burst
Opponent ledge attacks: Flame Slash, Kacrackle Slash, Zapple, Shield into Psyched Fthrow
Opponent has used an air dodge: Kafrizzle to catch the landing or to intercept, spaced Kazap to catch the landing
Opponent starts rolling: Kafrizzle or Pivot Kafrizzle depending on direction
Opponent jumps after a down or up throw: Empty hop to bait a dodge, Kafrizzle or Zapple the landing

There are more, but these are the most common and in my mind, the most useful.

Getting Around Bad Matchups
This is a section that I'll have to fill out with time. For now, I can only go so far as to say who I believe Hero struggles with based off of Tiers, Character Types, and my own experience. Currently, I feel that Hero only really loses to these 20 or so characters.

Mario- Combos and FLUDD are the main reason I think Mario wins here. He also has good air mobility. That said, Mario isn't great against swords and this could be in Hero's favor.
Link/Toon Link- Shield prevents Sizz, Sizzle, Frizz, and Frizzle from dealing damage. Can safely approach with boomerang at an angle and never has to play Hero's game. Even when Bounce is active, has faster aerials and can easily gimp Hero.
Fox- Combo monsters who have speed are generally going to be a problem for Hero. The reflector being reaction speed makes the matchup that much worse.

Pikachu/Pichu- Fast, speedy, and able to move before the projectile could be reflected back. Has great combos and confirms, and outpaces Hero in every scenario. Can easily kill and gimp Hero.
Ness- Able to put Hero in positions where he doesn't want to be. Massive combo game and quick out of shield options as well as the ability to heal massive amounts from Hero's Kafrizzle. Hero has no answer to PK thunder chains. Unless bounce is active. Furthermore, he can reflect with his side smash.
Roy/Chrom- Fast and able to do massive amounts of damage with combos on anyone who has bad landing options or no close ranged pressure tools. This might be 50/50, but if they get in, Hero is likely losing.
Pit/Dark Pit- The Pit's down and Side B are the reasons I think they have the advantage here. Upper Dash having reflect and armor means that Hero has to be careful with his Kafrizzle.
Zero Suit Samus- Similar to Fox's reasoning. ZSS is fast and great at reactionary play. She can also juggle which is something Hero can't get out of.
Wario- Combos, damage, great kill options, and he can eat every projectile Hero has.
Snake- Even without projectiles, Snake's ability to build damage with his normals is great. He also outranges Hero with some moves and has faster overall attacks. Not to mention, grenades and Nikita can block Hero's neutral B. This could potentially be 50/50 if Hero has bounce, but I doubt it.
ROB- Fast, great juggles, good kill options, really good range, and Gyro to stop Hero's projectiles. I see Hero losing this fight more often than not.
Wii Fit Trainer- Outmaneuvers and outcamps Hero even with buffs. Deals heavy damage and can attack from angles that Hero isn't comfortably able to fight.
Palutena- Potentially a 50/50, Palutena's speed, juggle game and Bair are why I think she wins this fight. Bounce works wonders against her specials, but she's never needed them to win.
Shulk- Shulk outranges the Hero and can use his sword to attack from angles that Hero can't easily fight. Furthermore, Shulk's combo game and gimp game are insane and he typically kills almost as early as Hero.
Inkling- Inkling's aerials are godly at building damage, combos, walling, and juggling. The projectiles and jab might not work against bounce, but Roller is still the only thing needed to secure a kill around 90.
Joker- Joker has pretty much everything he needs. However, This fight might be a 50/50 if Hero has bounce. Gun isn't a big deal and Arsen's enhanced specials can still be reflected. Joker doesn't have too many hard hitting gimp options either.
 
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HenryXLII

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Really great guide. The only gripe I have is Up air does have it's uses as a combo tool. It is also fairly safe on shield, albeit a bit hard to space.
 

Kienamaru

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Yeah, it's functionable, but I can't think of any reason to use up air multiple times when I can just use nair or fair once. As for the shield safety, it's putting Hero into a range where he's at risk. This guide is more of the way I play him, and I never want to be close enough to uair my opponent. I will edit that bit into there though, as another friend also mentioned it to me.
 
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shinhed-echi

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I still haven’t found any uses worth my time for Uair.

And this coming from an ex-Little Mac main who at least knew when I could use his aerials properly.
I have no idea what to do with Hero’s Uair. I think it kills at high percents. Or maybe that’s just with the buffs.

If I ever use it, it’s just for pure disrespect.
 
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Arrei

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It might be good for getting combos on platform stages. It has good combo properties, but its hitbox is too small and Hero's air speed is too slow to realistically approach with it... but he can run fast enough to limit an opponent's landing options and chase them towards a platform.
 

crazychase443

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This is a great write up, agree with everything here. Although with Zapples long charge time I havent been able to make much use of it.

I would also add more about using Zap. Its incredibly fast and works great for pushing off quick swordsmen. Its pretty much the bread and butter of my Hero playstyle
 

Arrei

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Incredibly fast is probably overselling it a bit IMO - with a 16 frame startup but good reach I see it as essentially a safer, weaker replacement for Hero's Fsmash. Zapple having 11 additional frames of startup but triple the reach makes its use a lot like a projectile, making it important to be sure your opponent won't jump over it when pulling it out.
 

shinhed-echi

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I still haven’t found any uses worth my time for Uair.

And this coming from an ex-Little Mac main who at least knew when I could use his aerials properly.
I have no idea what to do with Hero’s Uair. I think it kills at high percents. Or maybe that’s just with the buffs.

If I ever use it, it’s just for pure disrespect.
Just came to say that this didn’t age too well. Not after I found this.

https://youtu.be/zfvw3qiHaLk

Can someone for the love of god teach me how to embed? :( and on Twitter? It won’t show the video there. I’d greatly appreciate it.
 

whitesnake

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Now that hero has been out for a while... how often are people using his down B?
 
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