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Little Mac
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Little Mac Guides

Little Mac embodies a tale as old as time. An underdog boxer laser-focused on becoming the best fighter he possibly can. And thanks to the help of friends, he, one by one, makes his way through the circuits to claim his world title.Know more

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Little Mac Guide

There are not so many fighting games characters in Smash — those who originate in the same genre. Most of the roster represents the variety of titles, by Nintendo and beyond. Little Mac is among those few who have the fighting spirit in their source adventures (ok, let’s name the others: Ryu, Ken, Terry, and Min-Min.)

As a Smash fighter, Little Mac is not a simple one. On the one hand, his style is pretty straightforward with many effective grounded attacks. But at the same time, he has some significant disadvantages, such as his weak air game and poor recovery.

To play Little Mac on a decent level, you should adapt your personal game habits to have a classic boxer in an SSBU environment. This guide will give you all the information to develop essential skills, so that will be up to you to bring the theoretical tips into the practical dimension of Smash fights.

Who’s Little Mac?

Did you ever play video games from the early 1980s? Original Punch-Out!! is typical for that era. You control the main hero during boxing matches and use dodges, blocks, and hits to get victories. That hero is Little Mac, and his opponents bring different fighting styles to the scene. It’s not a traditional fighting game, strictly speaking, and you should mostly react to the actions of the other boxer. The goal is to make Little Mac a champion.

The same formula is used in other games of the series: Super Punch-Out!! for SNES and the Punch-Out!! reboot for Wii. The NES and SNES versions are now available through the service Nшnteno Online on Switch.

That’s it! The story of Little Mac is one of a young boxer who trains hard to win tournaments. Wait a moment! Isn’t this a recipe for your success in Smash?

Little Mac in the Super Smash Bros. series

As Nintendo is the creator of the Punch-Out!! franchise, it’s quite natural to see Little Mac making it to the Smash games.

First, he was an Assist Trophy in SSB Brawl. Players could summon Little Mac, and the boxer delivered a few damaging hits.

In Super Smash Bros. 4 (for Wii U and 3DS), Little Mac became a playable character. He’s fast and has good grounded attacks. Still, some weaknesses force Little Mac to somewhere in the mid-level of Tier Lists.

The guy returns to Smash Ultimate as an unlockable fighter.

How to Unlock Little Mac in SSBU?

There are a few ways to get this character into your game.

  • If you play Smash Mode, Little Mac will be 20th to join the fun.
  • Play Mario in Classic Mode, and Little Mac will be 3rd to get unlocked.
  • Unlock Little Mac in World of Light.

Playstyle

You can easily divide the fighting style of Little Mac into two dimensions: grounded and aerial. To be honest, the grounded one is the only one worth concentrating on. Little Mac is a typical boxer, so he suffers substantially in the air.

On the ground, Little Mac is fast and has a variety of effective punches. Concentrate on his quick jabs to build the basic damage. Feel free to use Smash attacks as their startups are relatively short — but be aware of the long end-lags.

In general, Little Mac is a straightforward character. Still, he has some interesting tricks in his pocket.

First of all, let’s highlight his KO Uppercut. It’s a one-hit killing tool that has to be charged by dealing or receiving damage. The Power Meter is located right above the damage percentage. When it is filled, the Neutral Special of Mac is replaced with KO Uppercut. This miraculously strong attack might disappear quickly, so avoid getting hits.

KO Uppercut is a risky move, so it would be better to use it in a combo. The attack combos from Down Tilt and Up Tilt. It is also possible to link KO Uppercut after Forward Air and Up Air. The opponent’s shield is not secure against KO Uppercut — be ready to deliver it!

To make the miracle of KO Punch work and get that instant killing, your opponent should have at least some damage. The numbers vary from character to character, and it’s around 6-8% for very light fighters to around 25-30% for super heavy ones.

Another interesting attack in Little Mac’s arsenal is Straight Lunge, which is also Neutral B but without Power Meter. It’s a very strong, chargeable punch. It has light armor, so hits with low damage (up to 8%) do not affect Little Mac during the charging process. Knowing this feature, you can bait opponents and trigger a stronger attack from them — which usually have long startups. Cancel Straight Lunge with the Shield button and use a quick punch instead.

Playing Little Mac requires specific balance in your actions between his strong and weak sides. It’s not a character to be blindly offensive. Pay attention to the opponent’s actions and wait for proper moments to bring those punches to the table. Time and effort are needed to start feeling Little Mac in Smash Ultimate and to build your in-match strategy with this guy.

Little Mac is not among recommended characters for beginners in Smash Ultimate.

Best Buttons

To get the max out of Little Mac’s moveset, try to keep him on the platforms as much as possible.

Best Neutrals

  • Jab of Little Mac is very fast, having 1 frame of startup. Press it rapidly to activate a stream of quick punches that finishes with an uppercut. The range is not very good, so you have to come close to the opponent. If you press Jab one after another, you can activate Up Special after the second punch. Use this Neutral Attack to interrupt the pressure of your opponent.
  • Forward Tilt is strong and fast. It’s a one-two combo with a good knockback effect that can KO at high percentages.
  • Down Tilt is a very good combo starter. You can follow it with Smash Attacks, Dash Attacks, or Up Special. At low percents, Down Tilt combos into other Tilts, or, at mid percents — into Side Special.
  • Up Tilt is a good anti-air and anti-overhead tool. The attack is quick and covers a big ark over Little Mac. Up Tilt is a combo starter.
  • Dash Attack is rather situational. Little Mac rushes toward the opponent and lands a powerful hit. The attack is punishable due to its long end-lag. Still, the dash itself might become a very effective tool to be swift on the platform.

Best Aerials

  • Forward Air — as the aerial moveset is a weakness of Little Mac, we can mention only FAir in this section of his best buttons. The boxer performs a hook in the air that launches the victim downwards. The damage is low, but you can use this trick on recovering opponents to prevent them from reaching the platform.

Best Smash Attacks

All Smashes of Little Mac are relatively quick and very powerful. They have a super armor effect and thus come through many clashing attacks. The whole arsenal of Little Mac’s Smash Attacks is essential for playing the character and winning with him.

  • Forward Smash has three variants, which depend on the directional input on the control stick: Up, Forward, and Down. Traditional Forward Smash has the most usage in the fights. It’s pretty powerful and has a significant knockback effect. Therefore, this is one of the best KO options for Little Mac. If you direct the stick a bit upward, the boxer performs an uppercut and launches the opponent up. It’s not very strong, but the hitbox is huge, so you have good chances to successfully land the attack. Use it as an anti-air tool. After pressing the stick a bit downward, you get a hook with the same direction. The knockback of this variant is not big, but the damage is impressive. The most common use for the Down-Angled Forward Smash is as a shield destructor.
  • Down Smash might be used for edgeguarding. It hits on both sides and reaches pretty far.
  • Up Smash is an effective anti-air with extensive coverage. It might be a good KO tool, but the long end-lag makes Up Smash punishable. Also, pay attention to the directions where Little Mac actually hits his opponents: in front and above him. The animation of this attack looks like those behind are also affected, but it isn’t so.

Best Special Moves

Like the whole moveset of Little Mac, his Special Moves are whirling around boxing punches — with various features.

  • Neutral Special — Straight Lunge. Little Mac gains the power to deliver one devastating hit. It’s a chargeable attack that pushes the fighter forward. The damage is consistent, so the distance between Little Mac and the opponent depends on the in-fight situation. Straight Lunge has two awesome properties. It has light armor, and Little Mac is invulnerable to attacks with up to 8% damage. You can use Neutral B to stop tilt strings, for example. Also, Straight Lunge is cancelable — press the shield button to punish some heavy but slow intentions of your opponent. Little Mac’s Neutral Special has significant KO potential.
  • Side Special — Jolt Haymaker. It’s another excellent KO tool for Little Mac. The boxer delivers a solid damaging punch with a strong knockback effect. Thanks to the movement forward, Jolt Haymaker can be used for horizontal recovery in the air. Spacing is pretty important for this attack as Little Mac jumps over close-standing opponents.
  • Up Special — Rising Uppercut. Little Mac shoots himself up and lands a series of hits. The attack can be used for vertical recovery, but notice the lack of proper horizontal movement. It’s better to use jumps out of stage first. Also, Rising Uppercut is good as an out-of-ground attack. It has a decent hitbox and a very good knockback effect. Thus, Up B is your other KO option.
  • Down Special — Slip Counter. It has a specific usage within the game, so you might need some practice with Little Mac’s Down B. Catch an attack of your opponent and give them a robust response. The boxer moves forward and performs an uppercut. It’s easy to whiff this attack, so Slip Counter is rather a risky defensive tool. Still, it might be helpful.

Final Smash — Giga Mac Rush

With his Final Smash, Little Mac transforms into a huge monster from the Wii version of Punch Out!! and performs a series of powerful punches. You can not control the character within this period. If Giga Mac lands the first punch, the opponent is caught and has to suffer all the sequences. 

It’s a highly damaging Final Smash with strong knockback and KO potential.

Strengths and Weaknesses

The power of punches is the main advantage of Little Mac. He has many strong attacks to build damage, and he has a variety of KO tools to win a round. 

On the ground, his moveset is one of the best in the entire game. The movement speed makes the character even more threatening — but only on the ground.

The aerial game is an obvious disadvantage of Little Mac. His best options in the air are Up and Side Special. Those bare air moves are not effective at all, so it would be better to avoid unnecessary jumping. In addition to that, Little Mac’s recovery is poor and unreliable.

To succeed with the boxer, you should think strategically and balance your offense and defense. 

Little Mac’s Combo

  • Down Tilt -> Side B
  • Up Tilt -> Up B
  • Up Tilt -> Up Tilt (low percents)
  • Up Tilt -> Up Tilt -> Up B (low and mid percents)
  • Up Tilt -> KO Uppercut (low and mid percents)
  • Down Throw -> Up B

How to Play Against Little Mac

Try to exploit his biggest weakness, the aerial game. Jump a lot and bait the opponent to do the same.

You should know Little Mac’s moveset to understand how to deal with those attacks. It is valid for every character, but for the boxer, such an approach is even more beneficial. For example, you need to know what hit can break his Straight Lunge to not get tricked or avoid the damaging hit. Or, if you know how far Little Mac’s Up Smash and Up Special can reach, you will avoid standing on a platform above him.

Long-range attacks might also be difficult for Little Mac to deal with.

SSBU Matchups for Little Mac

In Smash Ultimate matches, the boxer has just a few favorable matchups and a lot of unfavorable ones. Let’s take a look at some examples!

Unfavorable Matchups

Favorable Matchups

These lists are totally incomplete, they are just examples.

Little Mac is a tricky character that requires quite a lot of time and effort to master and start winning high-level matches. But the good news is that his weaknesses are apparent only to skilled and experienced players. If you have no plans for an esports career, Little Mac might be that super character you enjoy the most.

He is really a fun fighter to play. And who knows, his boxing style might be that exact thing you were looking for in SSBU. While having fun, you might develop proper skills with him and surprise the whole community with your victories (who cares about those SSBU Tier Lists?). Good luck!