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Is Kazuya top-tier? Super Smash Bros. pros weigh in on Ultimate’s new character

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate‘s next to last DLC character, Kazuya Mishima from the Tekken series, was just released — and players are in love with his promising and unique move set. As in the past with DLC characters, series director Masahiro Sakurai went all-out in terms of presentation and combat decisions. That’s reflected by a wave of positive reactions from the Smash Bros. community. Many are astounded by the amount of moves Sakurai was able to bestow on this guy, leaving them even more excited for the final DLC character joining the cast.

True to Tekken form, Kazuya is jam-packed full of attacks and abilities that perfectly represent the move sets of his original series. He features tons of command normals, along with special abilities, such as smash attacks that put him in Devil form and grant him super armor. He brings his crouch dash from Tekken to Smash as well, and players have already found a way to turn it into a “wavedash.”

Wavedashing is a technique that is familiar to fans of Tekken, Super Smash Bros. Melee, and the Marvel vs. Capcom series. It entails a special movement that makes a character glide across the ground thanks to repeating a forward movement skill. It’s one of the many high-level moves that separate casual players from professionals, which makes Kazuya especially appealing to the latter.

If you do an extended dash with down on cstick (set to tilt attack) you get an easy wavedash

— GimR (@VGBC_GimR) June 30, 2021

As with every new character added to Smash, or any other fighting game for that matter, fans are immediately asking just how good Kazuya and his extensive move list is. According to pro players, Kazuya is already shaping up to be the best — and most complex — character in the game.

You have to be on point — Nairo

While streaming six hours of Kazuya matches to learn the character, all-star Smash player Nairo stated that Kazuya is one of the most precise and tiring characters to play.

“Kazuya’s definitely draining for sure. You have to be on point at all times,” Nairo said on stream.

We doin footstool combos now

Through his matches, the constant awareness it takes to play an optimized Kazuya is definitely on full display. The character needs to space correctly and constantly use the right moves to stay safe and get the KO. Nairo said he definitely has good tools and great damage, but he doesn’t see himself playing Kazuya in tournament due to just how tiring he can be compared to the other top-tier characters in the game.

Kazuya is the hardest character in the game — Riddles

Riddles, another top player, shares the same thoughts on Kazuya as Nairo. He believes Kazuya is the hardest character in the game: While every other character is playing Smash, Kazuya is still playing Tekken.

“You have to try hard on movement, combos, etc., not like any other Smash character,” tweets Riddles. “It’s like you’re playing Tekken except your opponents aren’t following the same rules … In the end, it leads to an exhilarating but also tiring character to play as.”

— Riddles (@Riddlesmk) July 1, 2021

Whether that difference in rules will be Kazuya’s competitive downfall has yet to be seen, but I believe the character will be a force to be reckoned with once a character specialist like Riddles or Takera devotes the time to him.

“He’s arguably the best fighting game character in the game — Mew2King

As always, Mew2King went over the character in a new guide, breaking down his entire move list and giving his opinion on what’s good or not. In the end, he concludes that Kazuya is entirely viable in the competitive scene and is arguably the best “FGC” (Fighting Game Community) character in the game, depending on how capable a player is at pulling off his signature special, Electric Wind God Fist (EWGF).

He focused on how powerful Kazuya’s rage mechanic is and how important it is to master the EWGF, as it’s going to be his go-to move in combo, just like in Tekken.

I thought he was going to be broken — MKLeo

MKleo is seen as one the best Super Smash Bros. Ultimate players in the world. He’s also one of the only pro players that I’ve seen say that Kazuya doesn’t really seem that good. Upon seeing the character in action, he felt he was going to be one of the strongest in the game. However, once Kazuya actually joined the fray, Mk thought much differently based on what players were finding with him in training mode.

“I thought Kazuya was going to be broken, but everything I’ve seen looks so fake besides the invincible dash,” he tweets. “I don’t know, man … I’ll wait until someone proves me wrong”

This man has killed careers day 1

— S+ (@SmugLore_yt) June 30, 2021

While there are many players that believe Kazuya is going to EWGF his way to the top of the tier lists, others feel that the hype just hasn’t been earned just yet. It’s obvious that only time will tell exactly where he’ll end up, but no matter what, he’s definitely one of the most entertaining characters to watch and one of the most fulfilling to play.

Strangely enough, he also makes a level nine CPU (computer player) look legendary, as the community recently found out. Many clips from different players have surfaced showing the CPU pull off some crazy technical skill. While it’s expected for a level 9 A.I. to kick butt, no one thought we’d be seeing high-level combos and mix-ups like we’re seeing from Kazuya. If only it was possible to enter an A.I. player into a big-time Smash tournament. Since it probably isn’t, I’m just glad we get to see these computer-controlled Kazuyas unleash havoc on a smaller scale.

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DeAngelo Epps
De'Angelo Epps is a gaming writer passionate about the culture, communities, and industry surrounding gaming. His work ranges…
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