Snake is categorised as a heavy character, having similar characteristics as Banjo & Kazooie. Like many others in this range, his mobility is limited. But what he lacks in terms of twitchy action he more than makes up in his excellent kit and powerful range options. Although most certainly not a character for new players, Snake is one of those specialist figures that will be somebodies pick of the pool when it comes time to pop off.
How to Unlock Snake
As with any non-DLC character, you can unlock Snake in 3 different ways, playing versus matches, as he is the 39th character to be available. Find him in the World of light, hint that he is in “The Base” area within the military zone. Or finally, through classic mode, he is right after Meta Knight.
Key Strengths & Weaknesses
Snake excels at one thing above all else, putting damage into his opponents. He has an extensive set of movies that provide him with the necessary tools to place opponents in challenging situations where choices lead to clutch escapes from Snake’s zoning or horrible defeat.
Like other projectile-oriented characters, Snake enjoys moves that are generally always good to pull out. You will have many options on the table, and only rarely will some of them be strictly wrong. However, that is not an invitation to start mashing all your neutrals and smash attacks hoping to land a good hit. Methodical play is rewarded while spamming out is not. Lesson number 1, make sure you know your goal with a combo or move.
As a Skane player, you will enjoy excellent versatility with your projectiles since many are aimed or manipulated to land in certain areas. You can begin to use grenades to great effect if you practice enough, thanks to the various throwing options and the calculated 2.5 seconds before detonation.
Make sure to keep your feet planted on the stage. Although Snake has good aerial attacks, they are not great, and they certainly don’t benefit from his mobility, of which there is little as a heavy. You are better off using those aerial attacks as opportunities to deal high damage instead of moving around the screen.
Given the heavy nature of the character, you will have to be mindful of combos. The scaling of knockback on Snake will mean that combos that might have been escapable at mid percentages are not more difficult or require the percentage to go even higher. A good opponent can, and likely will, know how they can extract the maximum amount of damage out of their combos in these types of situations.
Frama data will be another area where Snake players will need to sit down and read through the notes. Many of his moves benefit from quick start-up frames, but many more have long periods of end lag, making whiffs a lot more punishable.
|Neutral Jab||A normal combo of punches, similar to the original series CQC and is very quick||Low||Low||3|
|Forward Tilt||An advancing Knee attack with an overhead in the end. The second hit is disjointed and extends a fair distance away.||Medium||Low||4|
|Up Tilt||A vertical kick that works as one of Snake's best KO options||High||Medium||6|
|Down Tilt||Prone poke kick with decent damage and fairly quick too.||Medium||Low||6|
|Dash Attack||At low percentages, you can combo it into itself and it can help with some edge-case KOs||Medium||Low||5|
|Forward Smash||RPG-7, massive damage right in front of Snake, easy to KO above 60% but very unsafe||High||High||41|
|Up Smash||Snake's fires a mortar, by charging the damage does not change but the distance and speed of the shell do.||High||Medium||11-36|
|Down Smash||Two quick low sidekicks, if they connect they will launch opponents in a near spike trajectory.||High||Medium||8-20|
|Neutral Air||A set of quick kicks in the air for low damage except for the final one, which makes it an interesting proposal for some KO set ups||Low||Medium||10-36|
|Forward Air||A meteor type attack in the air, takes a long time to start and the knockback is not great, but it does have great reach and damage||High||Medium||23|
|Back Air||A nice quick startup side drops kick with good damage if you hit the sweet spot right at the feet.||High||Medium||7-10|
|Up Air||A dropkick into the air that has a disjointed hitbox that extends beyond Snake's feet, unfortunately, it has plenty of ending lag making it risky.||High||Low||10-13|
|Down Air||A quick succession of kicks right below Snake, like his Neutral air, the fourth kick packs an extra punch.||Low||Low||3-25|
|Grab||A rather slow grab but the profile of the animation makes it possible to dodge certain hits||-||-||8|
|Pummel||Choke them Snake!||Low||-||1|
|Forward Throw||Twisting their arm, Snake pushes their opponent forward launching them a little bit and dealing good damage||Medium||Medium||21|
|Back Throw||Smashes his opponents into the ground with very little ending lag, allowing for combos and potentially C4 plays.||Medium||Low||20|
|Up Throw||At low percentages, this move can be helped with up tilts afters||Low||Low||22-23|
|Down Throw||It puts opponents in a downed state reminiscing of the original games. Opponents will stay down for more time depending on their damage||Medium||-||35|
|Neutral Special||Hand Granade, explodes after 2.5 seconds, can be dropped, grabbed and there can be two on the stage at any time||Medium||Low||1-10|
|Side Special||Remote Missile, Launches a player-controlled missile that can be let go to, at which point it will continue in its trajectory bu deal less damage||Medium||Low||42|
|Up Special||Cypher, one of Snakes only recovery tools, is a small drone that slowly hovers upwards. Although it can deal damage, that is rarely a utility.||Low||Low||7|
|Down Special||C4, it goes boom. It can be attached to opponents, the floor, walls, and detonated by Snake. but it will despawn after some time.||High||Medium||16-25|
Best Snake Moves
Considered one of the best projectiles in the game. This one frame startup lets snake escape tough situations while bringing in some distance between him and opponents. Another defensive element of this move is that Snake can hold a grenade, and effectively cook it while holding shield, meaning that pressuring him while shielding can be a dangerous bet. But its true value in competitive games comes from its offensive uses for zoning and edge guarding opponents.
It's important to remember that taking damage will make Snake drop the grenade at this feet, if you want to that intentionally you can shield right after pulling the pin to force Snake to drop it. Thanks to its one frame startup it can protect against most disadvantaged situations. Furthermore, if you drop the grenade you can pick it up again.
As a final piece of information, there can be two on-screen at any given time, so think well about what traps you can make by forcing opponents out of certain areas and into more dangerous ones.
There really is nothing quite as striking as the RPG-7 launcher. This smash attack is among the most damaging ones in the game. It will KO opponents at anywhere below the 80% mark almost guaranteed. To counter its power, it is also an extremely slow attack. Nevertheless, worthy of a shot if opponents truly do not expect it or if you can find a proper read on what they want to do, especially on the ledges of the stage.
Prone Spin Kick
A high damage poking attack that can open up opponents to follow-ups is a great tool to have when Snake’s enemies begin to adapt to his projectile supremacy. Since it's only six frames startup, it falls right under many attacks that could be used to punish it. The final pro of this move is its hitbox, which extends a little bit up and out from Snake’s leg, giving it a bit more range than you might initially expect.
Ways to Punish
Snake is one of the characters where a punishing first playstyle does not play nice with the rest of his move set. You will be better off creating setups that force opponents to take damage either way or require them to perform to their best.
This also means a common struggle among Snake players is that proficient opponents who have practised the matchup can quickly come up to speed and know how to navigate the plethora of projectiles thrown their way. What you can do to mitigate this is to mix in more CQC attacks that rely on fewer frames to hit.
Snake Core Combos
- Neutral Special, Neutral Air
- Back Throw into Dash Attack
- Up Throw into Up Tilt and Up Air
- Forward Air, Up tilt
- Neutral Air close to the ground, Down Tilt and Dash Attack
Playing Against Snake
The best way to deflate a snake player is to play a counter. Obviously, comfort picks will beat most picks made in the heat of the moment, so take a look at the list below to see which of them fits in your roster already.
Beyond that, make sure to punish Snake’s moves. The best one has enough end lag to open opportunities for you to punish him. Avoid just running into him constantly, since he will be able to get away from those types of encounters. You want to stave him of space and ideally force him off stage so he is forced to use Cipher, which makes him an easy target.