This obscure character originates from Mother 2, a game originally released in Japan but given a western release in 1995 as “Earthbound”. Despite his little-known status, Ness has appeared in every Smash Bros. game since the original on the N64. He has come a long way since, with ridiculous air mobility and combo potential this character has enough depth to get any fan excited!
The name of the game for Ness is in his throw combos and following aerial strings. At low percent down throw combos into most aerials and at high percent back throw is one of the strongest kill throws in the game. Forward air has a huge hitbox with plenty of priority; at low to mid percent it can even combo into itself. Up air has a similar effect and can be used to juggle the opponent while racking up decent damage. Back air on the other hand is one of Ness’ main kill options able to kill in the low 100’s if hit near the ledge.
Ness’ depth comes from the unique ways he can use the majority of his kit. His side special is PK Fire. This is your main zoning tool as well as a combo starter. If you can hit the opponent with this they will be stuck in hit stun for a considerable amount of time.
Ness’ down special is PSI Magnet. It is a very unique move as it has both a hit box and functions as a projectile absorber, healing Ness when any energy-based projectile comes into contact with it. PSI Magnet can also be used to stall Ness’ falling speed, allowing his less than stellar recovery to be much less predictable.
His neutral special, PK Flash while having potent kill power is not a viable move option due to it being easy to avoid and having a long charge up time. This move should generally be avoided except for in very specific situations.
PK Thunder, Ness’ up special, is a steerable ball of lightning that can hit either Ness or his opponent. Hitting your opponent, a great way to harass the enemy when off-stage. Using the ball to hit yourself is the main way you’ll recover as Ness, and if you manage to catch the opponent with your subsequent flying ball of Ness it will likely lead to a kill.
If PK Thunder and PK Fire aren’t enough to stop your opponent getting back to stage, charging down smash while at the ledge (facing inwards) causes the yo-yo to stall there, effectively preventing the enemy grabbing the ledge.
A good combo to get you started is as follows: PK Fire into a grab and then down throw. Immediately follow up with a string of rising forward airs to knock the opponent offstage.
This deals around 60% and gives you significant stage advantage right from the get go.
I would place the boy from Onett solidly in mid tier. He has outrageous potential in the neutral with high priority moves and relatively high kill power (see forward smash), however his exploitable recovery leaves him in a tricky situation against anyone with a counter or a reflector. If you’re looking to learn more, I recommend checking out Jtails on YouTube. Happy Smashing!