The Ultimate Puff Tier List
February 13 2019
What do Super Smash Bros, League of Legends, Street Fighter, Dota 2, Tom and Jerry in War of the Whiskers, and Dragon Ball FighterZ all have in common? Tier lists. That’s right, all these games have tier lists that help guide their serious competitive scenes in creating the most optimal, highest octane, hypest matches possible.
With a brand new Smash game out in the world, it only makes sense that tier lists abound as players search for the strongest fighters. And yet, what is true strength? Is true strength a technical combo game? Is true strength a safe recovery? Is true strength a neutral air with less start-up time or a back air with invincibility frames? Is true strength victory, regardless of how it is achieved?
True strength is none of these things. True strength is Puff.
True strength is carrying your opponent off the screen with a string of back airs, your large green eyes and gentle smile not wavering in the slightest as they DI for their lives. True strength is erasing a two-stock deficit by passing out on your competitor twice. True strength is forcing the space animals to earnestly play neutral more than 6 times in a match.
This is why we have to forget what’s top tier and ascend to what is Puff Tier. What follows is a comprehensive tier list ranking all characters in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate based on their Puffhood.
Parameters of a Puff
Before looking at any other character, we have to look at Puff. More than just look at Puff, we have to examine Puff, understand Puff, and become Puff so that we can know the parameters of a Puff and who fits inside. A topic like this is incredibly scientifically complex and theoretical, but don’t worry. I’ve crunched the numbers and done the research for you, and I’ve distilled it all down to 1 easy number: the Puff.
Every character here is ranked from 0 to 100 Puffs based on how they resemble the one true Jigglypuff. If you’re wondering how I calculate a Puff, don’t. The theorem I used is so complex it could drive a person to madness. While I will give a snippet of the formula, I can’t divulge the whole thing for fear that it may fall into the wrong hands.
Instead, let’s focus on 2 easy categories: gameplay and appearance.
Just as important as resembling the Puff is being the Puff. The characters that approach true Puffhood feel and play like Puff. When considering the gameplay of a Puff, the pokemon series is mostly irrelevant. What matters is how Puff plays in Super Smash Bros. Melee and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. We don’t talk about Smash 4 Puff. We don’t talk about Brawl Puff.
That means a Puff is something that can soar through the air with ease, but has a bit more trouble on the ground. A Puff dies early (I promise) but also kills early. A Puff has a drill down-air a big back-air and a side-special that helps it annihilate opponents searching for a ledge of solid land in the middle of an off-stage ocean.
- When looking for Puff gameplay, I looked for the following:
- Strong aerial movement
- Multiple jumps preferred
- A powerful kill move
- CCs and set ups into the kill move preferred
- Doubling as a comeback mechanic preferred
- CCs and set ups into the kill move preferred
- Low weight
- Slower on the ground
- Similar tilts, aerials, and specials.
Jigglypuff’s appearance, at first glance, is a very simple matter. You have a pink sphere with small legs and arms, a dollop of what is either flesh or hair on the forehead, and large green eyes. Jigglypuff simplifies the Pokemon body to a point where legs, arms, and necks are not necessary. Still, there is nuance to the outer world of the Puff.
The biggest point of nuance is Puff’s cuteness.There is little question that Puff is cute, as most pink orbs are cute. Yet, as is all too often to the case with pink orbs, terror is equally important to Puff as cuteness. Puff’s large green eyes stay, for the most part, in a state of passive calm. A Puff’s demeanor suggests that it is always ready and content to carry someone off the stage and that not only does Puff not feel mercy when resting a sleeping opponent, Puff doesn’t feel anything at all.
The Puff truly feels when it loses a stock. If killed in a dramatic way, Puff might cutely yell, “Jigglypuuuuff!” Yet, if the death is sudden, Jigglypuff makes a deep, throat “Uegh!” sound that is full of disdain and anger. Jigglypuff is spitting this loss out so it can return to sing and then rest its opponent.
Like all Pokemon, Jigglypuff is also a wild animal full of raw survival instinct and a desire to leap out of tall grass and attack children. In this way, we should instinctively fear a Puff like we fear a Sumatran tiger.
- So, when looking for Puff appearance, I looked for the following:
- Pink skin or fur preferred
- Cute and terrifying simultaneously preferred
You might notice that being a Pokemon didn’t make the list. While Pokemon do share similar design philosophies, a Pokemon can be anything at this point. A Pokemon can be a chandelier or two swords or a palm tree or literally a pile of garbage. Being a Pokemon says only a little about a things appearance.
Also worth noting, I’ve chosen to use only default skins to measure appearance. I tried to factor the alternate skins into my equation and my life started to unravel. My mind filled with a nameless dread, for 24 hours all human speech sounded like the word Jigglypuff, my friends shunned me, and my entire extended family started playing Fox at locals. It may be possible to account for alternate skins but it is not wise. There are some truths we are not ready for.
Now, for the moment you’ve been waiting for:
The Puff Tier List
P(AKA Puff Tier): Jigglypuff [100 Puffs]
Q: Kirby [85.92 Puffs], Yoshi [80.21 Puffs], Wii Fit Trainer [78 Puffs] King Dedede [75.6 Puffs] Peach [72.64 Puffs] Metaknight [71.333 Puffs]
R: Daisy [67.7 Puffs], Pit [61.8 Puffs], Dark Pit [61.1 Puffs], Wario [59.66 Puffs], Mewtwo [56.22 Puffs], Isabelle [52.03 Puffs], Villager [52.03 Puffs], Snake [51.13 Puffs], ROB [51.01010000 01110101 01100110 01100110 Puffs]
S: Pac man [44.45], Palutena [43.8 Puffs], Luigi [43.3 Puffs], Pichu [41.172 Puffs], Mario [38.64 Puffs], Dr. Mario [37.64 Puffs], Mr. Game and Watch [36.2 Puffs], Dark Samus [35.313], Zelda [33.33 Puffs], Lucas [33.18], Samus [32.90], Ice Climbers [32.85 Puffs], Lucario [32.448], Ridley [32.187], Inkling [31.65], Ness [31.05], Rosalina & Luma [31 Puffs], Cloud [30.77 Puffs], Mega Man [30.11 Puffs],
T: Sonic [28.91], Pikachu [25.25 Puffs], Greninja [21.658 Puffs], Shulk [20.10], Toon Link [18.333 ], Bowser Jr. [18.1], Incineroar [17.727], King K. Rool [17.64], Donkey Kong [16.4], Ike [15.6 Puffs], Diddy Kong [14.26 Puffs], Olimar [13.6], Bayonetta [13.11], Ganondorf [13.03 Puffs], Corrin [12.81 Puffs], Lucina [12.75 Puffs], Marth [12.7 Puffs], Roy [12.6 Puffs], Bowser [12.56], Chrom [12.3 Puffs], Robin [12.1 Puffs], Zero Suit Samus [12.004], Little Mac [11 Puffs], Captain Falcon [9.60], Link [9.333 Puffs], Sheik [9.3], Simon [6.66 Puffs], Richter [6.66 Puffs], Ken [5.2], Ryu [2.1], Wolf [1.01 Puffs]
Keep these dirty space animals away from me and my children: Fox [0 Puffs], Falco [0 Puffs], Young Link [0 Puffs]
Disqualified: Mii Gunner, Mii Swordsman, and Mii Brawler
Whew boy! Get a load of that Puff! That is the genuine article, right there. This cute pink circle can hold 5 jumps, a wall of back airs, and one of the strongest kill moves in the game. This is the guardian of the ledges, the master of the air, the deadly napper, the wrathful rester, la muerte rosa, the one and only Jigglypuff. 100 Puffs.
With multiple movesets and costumes, how can the Miis properly be compared to Puff? With proper care, a Mii could approach Puffhood. Indeed, they could come closer to the Puff than many others. Yet, more likely they’ll be fashioned into many fan-favorite anime characters, few of which approach Puffhood. The Mii is truly the uncarved block of wood, the empty eisel, the stone with no etching, so if anything it’s closer to Kirby.
Q Tier discussion
Putting Yoshi up with the Kirby boys in the pufflike tier? It seems crazy, but it checks out. Yoshi might not be a pink circle like Kirby, but look closely and you’ll see some elements of Puff in this green dinosaur. Yoshi’s design is filled with circles and pretty rounded in general, which also gives it a friendly and cute appearance that is puffy in nature. Yoshi also has a design not far off from the Pokemon world and repeats its name a lot. Rename it Layaneg and it’s basically Lickitung’s strange cousin.
While Yoshi is cute and round, it still matches Puff in the terror factor. Each of Yoshi’s grabs involves being chewed on and his neutral special involves actual digestion. The damage accrued presumably comes from various digestive fluids and teeth. As if this isn’t nightmarish enough, Yoshi is a dinosaur that wears violently red clown shoes that is willing to throw its children at you to win a Nintendo party game.
In terms of gameplay, Yoshi and Puff diverge in form of number of jumps - 2 compared to 5 - but not in aerial mobility and power. Yoshi is the only character on the roster with a faster air speed than Puff and while his jumps are shorter, they last longer. Yoshi’s aerials are buffed to match, with a forward air that spikes, a down air drill (like Jigglypuff), a quick and strong up air, and a solid back air. Puff and Yoshi also share a spinning special move. While Yoshi’s projectiles and mouth-based attacks separate him from Puff, he’s puffier than one might think. 80.21 Puffs
The Kirby Blobs:
Jigglypuff and Kirby clearly shared design patterns from the start. They’re both cute pink orbs with a dark truth underneath, so it only makes sense Sakurai lumped them together. While Kirby and friends have some differences compared to Jigglypuff, the similarities are too many to put them in any other tier. The multiple jumps, the general roundness, the cuteness, put them close to Puffhood. King Dedede and Meta Knight don’t share nearly as many tilts and aerials with Puff as Kirby does, but they are all a kind of Puff. These are the store-brand Puffs you go to when you went over-budget trying to make your Mii Swordsman look like Isaac. Kirby: 85.92 Puffs. King Dedede: 75.6 Puffs. Metaknight: 71.3333 Puffs
Wii Fit Trainer:
I’m as confused by this as you are. I know that Wii Fit Trainer belongs in a lower tier - or at least I thought I knew. I’ve put this character into the equation several times, adjusting and tweaking the values. No matter what I do, it always calculates to a perfectly even 78 Puffs. This is so statistically unlikely as to be functionally impossible, but here we are. I asked a statistician for help with the matter and she told to me run as far as I could as fast as I could. I manually placed Wii Fit Trainer into a lower tier but I was beset by migraines until I placed them back up top. [78 Puffs]
Peach has incredible aerial mobility, super powerful aerial attacks, and lots of ability to kill either with strong moves or edgeguarding. Peach is also one of the pinkest characters in the game and is both cute and terrifying for her willingness to use her opponent’s heads as golf balls. [72.64 Puffs]
R Tier Discussion
“Why is Peach in a higher tier than Daisy?” I hear you ask. Because she’s not pink. That drops you down several Puffs and into a lower tier. 67.7 Puffs
You probably weren’t expecting Wario up this high. I wasn’t either. Wario certainly isn’t cute and is more gross than terrifying. He doesn’t have that many jumps either. However, Wario is surprisingly circular. He also has pink pants, making him pinker than most of the cast, and - most importantly - the waft. Wario’s waft, while different in key ways to rest, captures the immediate kill potential and the terror of Jigglypuff’s down-b better than most moves do. On top of that, Wario’s aerial game is solid, his recovery is good, and he can kill off stage. Even the data shows that Wario and Puff match in some ways, both having some of the fastest aerial speeds in the game and slower land speeds. Wario’s heavier weight, very big teeth, and ability to summon and eat an entire motorcycle keep him out of the highest tiers. 59.66 Puffs
Isabelle and Villager:
These two characters have an interesting aerial game that can make them good at defensive play and edgeguarding, a little bit like melee puff. On top of that, they’re very circular and round around the edges. Isabelle matches Jigglypuff in cuteness while Villager matches Jigglypuff in terror. 52.03 Puffs each.
Snake? Snake? Snaaaaake? While yes, Snake in no way, shape, or form resembles a Puff, he has some surprising overlaps in gameplay. Snake has a pretty strong aerial game and good recovery to boot. His uptilt functions a lot like Puff’s, coming out quickly and being a good kill option. Snake is also the only other character on the roster that puts people down for a nice little nap. What really puts Snake on a level with Puff is Nikita missile launcher, a tool that chases people off the stage like a little exploding melee-era Jigglypuff. 51.13 Puffs.
S Tier Discussion
Like Puff, Pichu is cute but also terrifying in a way that interlinks: would you be scared being comboed into oblivion by a baby rat? I know I would be. However, Pichu has some strong kill moves and does well in the air, but is too quick and combo-based too resemble Puff much in gameplay and so it falls to S tier. It does stay above its adult counterpart, Pikachu, since Pikachu suffers from the same issue but lacks the same terror factor. 41.5 Puffs
The High Fantasy Princesses:
Fighting in a dress in a Nintendo game means being able to jump high and float a little bit. It also means being able to do something vaguely magical. The high fantasy princesses all have some similarities to Puff that keep them out of the lower tiers. They tend to have solid aerial mobility and recovery abilities, some good aerials here and there, and a weirdly powerful move or two. Still, their high fantasy aesthetic doesn’t match with Puff and their gameplay often features projectiles or counters or other things alien to the Puff. Palutena: 43.8 Puffs, Zelda: 33.33 Puffs, Rosalina & Luma: 31 Puffs
Disjoints, poor aerial movement, and being two characters should put the Climbers lower on the list, but the legacy of the wobble as a kill move, Nana’s pink coat, the round shapes in their design, and the sheer terror held in their small, dead eyes bump them up.
Samus and Dark Samus:
Samus is slow and can roll into a ball. What’s more, her design is smooth and circular in lots of spots, so one could imagine her as made of many Puffs molded into a suit. Dark Samus receives a slight bump for its terror factor. Dark Samus: Samus:
T Tier Discussion
Sonic was tough to place as this hedgehog can choose to be one of the roundest members in the entire cast. He can also roll like Jigglypuff rolls and move around fairly well in the air. Yet, Sonic is simply too fast, too blue, and has too much nonsense in his canon to reach the upper echelons of Puffhood. If Sonic was as terrifying as some of his fanart, then we’d have a discussion on our hands. 28.91 Puffs
I wanted to put this character up higher because he has a great kill move, but I don’t know if this character can actually jump. While researching this article, I tried to do his aerials in training mode and my Switch crashed. 11 Puffs.
The Fire Emblem Swords:
Very anime, very sword, not very Puff. Ike: [15.6 Puffs] Robin: [12.92 Puffs] Corrin: [12.81 Puffs] Lucina: [12.75 Puffs] Marth: [12.7 Puffs] Roy: [12.6 Puffs] Chrom: [12.3 Puffs]
No Jigglypuff has ever thrown an axe in its life and if you even you dare argue this point with me I’m going to ban you from my Pokemon board for trolling. 6.66 Puffs each.
While Smash 4 Bayonetta did match Jigglypuff in carrying characters off stage and is pretty lightweight, Bayonetta was a lot quicker than and also shot guns with her feet and is a hair witch. The differences put Bayonetta in the lower tiers of Puffhood. Besides, could you imagine Puff being such a competitive force that it was in every grand finals, shutting other characters out, and lowering viewer numbers? Could you see a lot of players - even notable Fox players - starting to play Puff just to adapt? Could you envision a community full of adult human beings tearing each other down over Puff? Me neither. 13.11 Puffs
KTDSAAfMaMC Tier discussion:
He knows what he did. 0 Puffs.
If there is anything to be gained from this tier list, it’s that being a Puff ain’t easy. Most characters on the roster fell short of 50 Puffs. Jigglypuff is truly a unique character with a style all its own. Most characters don’t have a kill move like Rest, and even if they do it rarely functions the same way. Most characters can’t jump as much or as far, and even if they do they often still lack her aerial options. Most characters aren’t pink spheres, and if they are they’re named Kirby.
Perhaps the true lesson of the Puff is that uniqueness is strength. Maybe it’s not about forming a wall of back-airs or catching your opponent’s recovery. Maybe it’s about finding the path least taken and taking it because we can see the potential there, even when others can’t. Could it be that capturing Puffhood in numbers is ridiculous, because Puffhood is about the spirit, not the frame data? Could it be that everyone out there grinding it out on odd mains, walking the strange paths of the world, all have the spirit of the Puff?
No. True strength is about Rest confirms. Get out there and destroy all 75 other characters.