In Smash 4, Lucas was considered inferior to Ness; his kit simply was not as well-suited to competitive amiibo matches. In Ultimate, the tables have turned: not only is Lucas stronger than Ness, he’s also one of the strongest characters in the entire game thanks to the introduction of off-stage play.
Changes from Super Smash Bros. 4
Lucas seems to outclass Ness in almost every way, making him the superior EarthBound series representative. Lucas’ PK Fire doesn’t trap opponents and his back throw isn’t quite as powerful, but he lacks the AI flaws Ness has gained in this iteration and has an improved recovery. As a result, Lucas’ off-stage game is much stronger – in fact, Lucas is almost always the winner of any off-stage exchanges – and this confirms that Lucas is at a much higher power level than most other characters. Almost all of his moves have been buffed from the previous title; his neutral aerial is a devastating damage-racker and his grab can throw the opponent off-stage where he reigns supreme.
Stats & Spirit Effects
In terms of stats, using a balanced spread (2100 / 2100) or a fully defensive one (0 / 4200) are both fine options that work well with Lucas. As long as you go with one of these, the amiibo will yield results.
As with most fighters, Lucas is most effective when equipped with Armor Knight and Move Speed ↑. The reduction in air speed barely affects his excellent recovery which makes this setup a no-brainer.
With Lucas’ quick, cheap-KO playstyle, there aren’t really any bad builds out there. Armor Knight and Move Speed ↑ is without a doubt the best build to use, but some other options include PSI Attack ↑, Air Attack ↑, and Strong Throw.
An amiibo becomes strongest if it is mirror matched all the way to Level 50 with its Learn button switched on. Playing a best-of-five match (configurable via the rules menu) will cause it to level up much faster.
Lucas gets most of his KOs by gimping opponents. Off-stage play is incredibly important to the character’s success and should be heavily prioritized during training. Simply put, if the opponent is off-stage, Lucas should be too; using back and down aerials is the easiest way to intercept an enemy’s recovery. Below is a complete breakdown of Lucas’ moveset and which attacks to focus on during training.
- Neutral attack: A trio of weak kicks that serve as Lucas’ fastest interrupt. Good to throw out to intercept moves with high startup.
- Forward tilt: A small burst of PSI that can be angled. Has a sweetspot in the center of the diamond. The AI is very good at spacing it and landing the sweetspot.
- Up tilt: An upward PSI-powered kick that can juggle opponents depending on their weight and damage. Good for hitting opponents on platforms when an up smash is too risky.
- Down tilt: No PSI, but at lower percents it can combo into itself, especially at the ledge. Follow up with a forward tilt or forward smash.
- Dash attack: A slow PSI attack that deals more damage at its tip than at its base. Its ending lag makes it risky to use, so avoid it.
- Forward smash: Deals more damage at the tip and serves as a decent KO option. Gimping is generally a more reliable kill strategy, but forward smash suffices on-stage.
- Up smash (PK Smash Geyser): Lucas’ strongest attack. Don’t use it at all, as its startup and ending lag make it too risky to be worth anything.
- Down smash (PK Blow): Three PSI blasts that increase in range and decrease in power with each consecutive hit. Another viable on-stage kill move that can even KO at the edge.
- Neutral aerial: A solid approach option that can trap opponents with small PSI bursts. It can lead into an aerial and should be used fairly often.
- Forward aerial: A PSI-powered kick that can make space or KO at high percentages. Definitely an important one to teach; can be used off-stage or out of a short hop.
- Back aerial (PK Meteor Kick): A nasty and satisfying spike and one of Lucas’ premier off-stage gimps. Go off-stage and use this constantly to try and intercept the enemy’s recovery.
- Up aerial: A short-ranged headbutt that inflicts respectable damage and knockback. Can be used occasionally as a situational kill move.
- Down aerial (PK Foot Stomp): Another one of Lucas’ premier off-stage gimps. Both back and down aerial can spike enemies, so use them both aggressively against recovering opponents.
- Forward throw: One of the strongest forward throws in the game that can KO at high percentages. Use it when close to the edge.
- Back throw: A powerful throw that can KO opponents at the ledge. Even the heaviest of characters are killed before 150%.
- Up throw: Another viable kill throw. Works best on Battlefield-form stages at the highest available platform.
- Down throw: It can combo into a neutral aerial at low percentages, but its ending lag has increased from Smash 4.
- Neutral special (PK Freeze): Do not use this attack at all. The AI does not use it properly: not only will it learn to spam the move, but it always uses it uncharged. Avoid PK Freeze at all costs to prevent this from happening.
- Side special (PK Fire): Lucas’ go-to zoning tactic. Use it from a distance, rack up damage, and then toss the opponent off stage with a throw.
- Up special (PK Thunder): Use it for recovery purposes only, as Lucas’ PK Thunder projectile is far too slow to catch up with faster opponents.
- Down special (PSI Magnet): It can absorb energy-based projectiles to restore health. Don’t use it as an attack, as the AI will then spam it against characters without projectiles to absorb.
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