According to Sakurai, Cloud is the most played Smash Ultimate character and King K.Rool was never imbalanced.

● Masahiro Sakurai, Game Director of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate posted a column on this week after being given permission by Nintendo to reveal online stats involving character win rates and popularity.

@NE_Brian of posted an English translation (provided by Nico Thaxton) that revealed a series of interesting remarks and insights into character balance in Ultimate.

● Key insights include Cloud as the most popular character online, Ganondorf as the character with the lowest Elite Smash win percentage, and the community feeling that King K.Rool is overpowered to be unsupported by win percentage data.

●Sakurai cites the "No Fair!" feeling players experience when facing King K.Rool as a likely reason for his inflated sense of power.

Today, a translated column from was posted on The column was written by legendary Game Director Masahiro Sakurai and details various statistics, insights, and trivia regarding Super Smash Bros. Ultimate character usage and balance Concerns.

The column can be found here

Sakurai Insights

With over 70 characters in Ultimate, Sakurai considers the strength of the characters as "fairly close to each other". According to his column, the lowest 1 vs. 1 character win percentage in Elite Smash (the games competitive online mode) is at 43.7% while the highest win rate is at 56.8%.

He goes on to include that, when you take into consideration matches outside of Elite Smash, 90% of the characters played in a 1 vs. 1 setting have a 45% win rate.

Sakurai then casually calls into criticism subjective tier lists created by players, remarking how Nintendo's data is free from bias:

These records are unique in that they’re completely free of bias; from time to time you may see a player-created estimation of each character’s strength, but in reality, those differ pretty greatly from our records. There are characters that tend to be given a lower rank in the grand scheme of things, but truth be told, they sometimes end up coming close to surpassing even the highest ranked characters. This was also the case in previous entries in the series. Ultimately, I wonder if it’s the people who don’t play by the book and can come up with countermeasures to what they face that end up being strong – and thus end up winning.

-Sakurai on Nintendo's Internal data vs. player created estimations.

While Sakurai has infinitely more insight on the state of character win percentages on a large scale due to his access of Nintendo's data, the community-driven tier lists have no such advantage and instead rely on pro-player opinion and tournament results. Who is to say which method is more useful in determining which characters are the strongest, but Sakurai seems in favor of big data.

▲ While the data may disagree,  a large portion of players still can't help but feel that King K.Rool is an exceedingly powerful character.

Sakurai ends by asserting that no character is "too overpowered or underpowered" and that it boils down to player skill in the end.  A likely message from a games director known for taking both personal responsibility and pride in his games character balance.


What do you think?

Who do you think are the most powerful characters in Smash Ultimate? Let us know in the comments below!

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