Little Mac Moveset Analysis

Venks Dunson | February 17, 2014

You think you know about Little Mac? Get serious kid. I've examined every frame of this newcomer's video to reveal the secrets behind his gloves. You want to step in the ring with this champion? Then you've got a lot to learn.

Side Tilt

Little Mac is a short contender in the ring, but his championship belt ain't no joke. The first attack we see from the newcomer's moveset on an opponent is a one-two punch combination. The first hit locks Dedede in hit-stun and the second blow sends the penguin away. One step of his dash followed by a shield roll closes the distance and puts Little Mac on the opposite side of his victim. While the attack is powerful and comes out very fast, it has a bit of recovery afterwards. Little Mac relaxes and returns to a neutral position before dashing after Dedede.

Neutral Attack

Jab, jab, punch, punch, punch! Little Mac starts off with a swift jab followed by another. All the punches after the first two turn into a flurry of rapid blows that seem continuous like Kirby, Captain Falcon, or Fox's Neutral Attacks in Brawl.

It appears that Little Mac's rapid punches are difficult to escape and even worse for his impromptu punching bags, he can cancel the punches into an uppercut which looks to be his up smash. This is definitely an interesting first for the Smash Franchise. Normally, when a character wants to do an attack out of their jabs, they either have to crouch or shield to cancel their jab combo and go into something else. Little Mac on the other hand can do his one-two jabs, go into his multi-hit jabs, and finish with his up smash. If you thought you could take a few weak, quick jabs from this guy, then you are in for a surprise.

Side Special

Is that a giant projectile in the way of our speedy champion?

Nope. Little Mac has a special attack which allows him to lunge through the air and move through projectiles. It looks very similar to Captain Falcon's side special attack, only with the added projectile invulnerability. If this is the case, then the move probably travels a fair distance, but stops short if someone is foolish enough to be standing in Little Mac's way. The move does differentiate itself though in the fact that it pushes the victims slightly away from Little Mac rather than sending them upwards or downwards. This will be a great move to utilize against all projectile users, but more than likely the move will be unsafe on block. So in some instances, it might be better to approach by dodge rolling or dashing.

Dash Attack

One such instance of approaching against projectiles without using the side special would be dashing in against Mario's fireballs. Little Mac is already a small guy, but when he dashes he brings himself very low to the ground and can thus duck under some attacks. This dash looks pretty quick and is probably one of the fastest just behind Sonic the Hedgehog.

The attack out of the dash looks just as swift and has Little Mac performing an overhead hook. This attack appears to be very similar to his side special but looks to send the opponent a bit further away from Little Mac. It seems to have a bit of recovery time afterwards, so it's not a move to miss.

Up Tilt

Here we have an attack with armor. Little Mac leans downwards as Samus uses her flamethrower just above him. One of the bursts of flame hits the little guy as he starts to raise his fist from the ground. Samus's attack deals damage to Little Mac, but it does not knock him back or interrupt his attack.

Little Mac can truly feel the burn as he knocks Samus into the air. The move seems to have a bit more recovery time than his forward tilt, but it still doesn't take very long for him to return to his idle state. This move looks to be the boxing champion's answer to aerial attacks. Not only can he absorb an attack, but due to how low he eans for this attack, he can effectively dodge aerial assaults from full-jumping opponents. Short-hopping against Little Mac, while still vulnerable to an armored retaliation, are his opponents' best bet.

Side Smash

Little Mac turns back for a brief moment and then lunges forward thrusting his fist straight and true. Again, we can see here that Bowser has landed a hit on Little Mac before the newcomer lands his own. This is another attack with super armor, and thus, Little Mac absorbs the blow and continues on with his attack.

The Punch Out veteran moves forward alongside his attack giving it a bit more range. Like most of his attacks, this one also sends the victim straight forward, away from Little Mac. The attack comes out pretty fast but has a bit of recovery time, more so than either of his tilts as you would expect. Though again, his recovery is still decently fast and nowhere near as slow as other heavy hitters.

Down Special

Now Little Mac doesn't have any tricks up his sleeves. Well, he doesn't have any sleeves actually. He fights with his fists while shrugging off blows. This special attack right here is a counter much like Marth and Lucario's down specials in Brawl. Our favorite boxing champion glows purple and white for a small moment, and when struck, a heart beat monitor goes off. I assume this attack works like other counters. Unlike his armored attacks, he can use this move to trade blows without taking damage.

When Little Mac strikes, he moves his fist in low and raises it high while taking a good step forward. The move seems to move a tad more forward then his side smash and hits further away than his up tilt. It's hard to tell how well this would work as an anti-air attack, but it looks great for making up for this boxer's lack of range. Samus's sideways kick gives her much more range than what Little Mac normally has at his disposal. But by using this counter, he can use Samus's range to her own disadvantage. The move also has a nice amount of knock back away from this newcomer. Perhaps at higher percents it will be a solid KO move.

Up-tilted Side Smash

Little Mac's Side Smash has three different variations. These are executed by tilting up or down after performing the side smash. The down variation is supposedly the most devastating and doesn't blast opponents away. I'm assuming this means the move causes a crumple or stun state. Let's forcus on the up-tilted version we have seen.

Link tries to hit Little Mac with his sword spin technique, but our boxer is too fast and dodges away to safety. Not wanting to give the Hyrulian time to breathe, Little Mac lunges forward and uppercuts the Hero of Time. The forward movement on this smash attack is very impressive and looks to move even further then his side smash.

It seems Little Mac didn't get that uppercut in without taking a blow himself. From the looks of it, this attack also has super armor on it. Or, as the newcomer's coach would say, "The punch is mightier than the sword."

Up Special

So mighty in fact, that after Little Mac uses his uppercut, he combos into his up special. This attack is a rising, spinning punch that hits multiple times. The fact that he can go straight into this move after performing his up smash is another example of how Little Mac can output a lot of damage in a small time frame. Though this move is a recovery move, so using it leaves the small boxer vulnerable until he hits the ground.

Even though the move is technically a recovery move, it isn't exactly a good one. Little Mac falls to his doom here even though he's barely away from the stage. Even heavy weight characters could have recovered where Little Mac has failed.

Forward Air Attack

Boxers flying in the sky. Little Mac jumps up and tries to strike Wii Fit Trainer, who neatly dodges out of the way. The belted champion's pose is not quite as elegant as his adversary. Coach Doc says it himself: "You ain't no air fighter Mac. Quit fooling around up there." We don't get to see Little Mac's aerial attack strike in the video. But based off the way the video is presented, it seems that Little Mac is ground based and doesn't have much to offer off the stage. It's also worth noting that Little Mac's fist rises when he tries to attack Wii Fit Trainer. So, unlike characters like Mario and Donkey Kong, it appears Little Mac's forward aerial attack is not a spike that can send opponents downwards. As his side special doesn't cause a bounce state when striking a grounded opponent, that move more than likely doesn't spike either. It would not be surprising if this character was completely without an attack with spiking properties.

Neutral Special

This punch looks to be the most powerful move in Little Mac's arsenal. Bowser hits Little Mac twice as the boxer is charging and each time an arrow is gained.

After absorbing the two blows Little Mac stops charging and thrusts forward with a straight punch much like his forward smash, only this attack moves much further and probably provides more super armor. Here, we can see Bowser has taken on 13% damage from this attack, so it does deal decent damage.

Now the thing is, this attack gets a special effect when Little Mac's special bar is fully charged. Although it's visibly evident the belted champion gets the first two arrows by taking damage while charging his special punch attack, it isn't exactly clear how he gets the rest of his bars as it happens off screen.

In this picture here we can see Bowser is very high in percent. 231? That's way above the normal knock out percentage in Brawl. My guess here is, in addition to absorbing blows, Little Mac also gains special bar by dealing out damage.

In Super Punch Out for Super Nintendo, that was very much the case for the blond version of Little Mac. By punching your opponent or counter attacking, you could gain arrows for your special bar. Though also, in this game, if you took a hit to the face, you also lost your special bar.

When Little Mac fully charges his neutral special, the attack is quite devastating. If that shiny effect is anything to go by, then Little Mac has massive range on this attack. Do you see what Mega Man is doing? He's attempting to spot dodge out of harm's way.

But as you can see here, Little Mac still lands his attack on both Mega Man and Bowser. This move is an instant KO and thus isn't dependent on how much damage the victims have. It would probably be ideal for Little Mac to build his special meter on his opponent's first life and knock them out with a normal smash attack. Once they come back, our favorite boxer can use his instant KO attack to send them straight back from where they came. Fully charging this attack and landing it at the right time can give him a significant edge over an opponent.


I won't be covering this attack, which looks like a down tilt, or Little Mac's final smash as there isn't really enough information to draw from. So let me conclude this with what I think of this new character.

I honestly think Little Mac is going to be a very difficult character to play. He's only slightly taller than Pikachu and is very likely a light weight character. At low percents, it will be easy to knock Little Mac off the stage and his poor recovery will not always be able to save him. Also, while Little Mac has a lot of super armor which makes most attacks trade in his favor, I do believe he will have a lot of trouble with grabs. No amount of armor will stop a grab attempt unless the attack itself is invulnerable. Also, it would seem that Little Mac has little going for him in the air.

On the ground though, I think Little Mac has a lot going for him. Anyone silly enough to attack our champion boxer in close quarters will either take on a super armored hit or end up getting countered. Little Mac's dash is also incredibly fast and prevents his adversaries from keeping their distances. The fact that his dash and some of his attacks allow him to duck under enemy attacks is also a huge plus. Lastly, the combo potential from his jabs and up smash is amazing. Even if Little Mac gets knocked out early, he definitely has the potential to make a come back.

I'm really excited for Little Mac and the rest of the Smash Bros roster and I can't wait to see what character gets revealed next. A lot of time and thought is being put into this game to increase its balance as a fighter. With so many good characters to choose from, it's hard to decide who to play. I guess only time will tell.

What do you think of Little Mac in Smash Bros? Who else would you like to see join the franchise? Let me know in the comments below!

Note: I've done a second article to go into some of the moves I haven't covered thus far. Thanks to the Smash Direct footage there is so much more to talk about! Check that out here.

Tags: Gaming Discussion

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