If you’re a die-hard Fire Emblem fan, no doubt you were over the moon to hear that the fifth and final Smash Bros fighter of DLC Pack 1 will be Byleth, the latest protagonist from the series. Byleth was introduced last summer in Fire Emblem: Three Houses, but a solid chunk of Smash’s fanbase didn’t know that. Instead they saw yet another sword fighter with a weird name and became enraged.
We should be fair to Sakurai, and acknowledge that he has responded to fan requests far more than anybody else at Nintendo. Banjo-Kazooie, one of the most demanded fighters for eons, was seen as a distant pipe dream until he made it happen. Personally, for just getting Banjo in there, Sakurai could introduce six variants on Piranha Plant and I would still feel satisfied with the lineup.
So if he wants to do something for himself and go to the Fire Emblem well for the billionth time, I feel he’s earned the right. Besides, there’s a whole new lineup coming in DLC Pack 2 over the next two years, so hope isn’t completely lost for Dante or Sora. (Give up on Goku — Sakurai says only characters that originated in video games are allowed.)
So yes, Byleth is a sword fighter, but what kind of sword fighter is he/she? They’re a long distance specialist. The character has low mobility and can’t jump or dodge all that well, but back far enough away and Byleth will charge their sword and unleash a deadly energy beam. This beam can be fired at any time while charging, or can be cancelled just as quickly.
However if the player keeps charging Byleth, they’ll enter a second charge state that creates a more powerful beam (this sucker does 30% damage when it connects). The caveat is that charging that second beam can’t be cancelled, leaving Byleth vulnerable. One more issue: if the other fighter pulls off a counter move upon impact, it’s Byleth that will receive the damage.
But Byleth has more at his/her disposal….three legendary gigantic weapons including an axe and a bow-and-arrow. They’re so huge that Byleth can attack fighters on platforms above you without jumping.
If you’re good at avoiding close combat, Byleth could be your new main. In a true melee with three or more fighters, though, Byleth could get lost in that brawl and be the first to go. We’ll see how the character truly handles when they arrive in Smash Bros Ultimate on January 28.