Character archetype is the defining term for a character's general strategy and gameplay style. In fighting games, it is common to see certain recurring archetypes that compose and evolve the metagame.
Archetypes are universal: they can be applied to nearly every kind of game, be traditional board games, sports games, among others. The purpose is to inform the player what type of opponent they might encounter, and how to apply a plan of attack against said archetype.
There are multiple types of archetypes, and each of them have different variations to specific kinds of strategy, and because of that, characters can fit into more than one archetype due their mindgames and gameplay style.
List of archetypes
Also known as balanced, they are usually easy to learn, with very balanced stats overall, being average at every function. Usually have both short range and long range attacks, as well as reliable KO moves, as well not having any major weaknesses; they do not really excel in anything, but are prepared for everything. With that in mind, they can do very well in both offensive and defensive play.
Fast characters that specialize in close range combat and combos/juggling. Purely offensive, sometimes with no projectiles, but even if they use some long range attacks, they are always on the offense. Many of them are fast-fallers with good aerial speed.
Hit and run
Fast melee characters that excel on getting in and out of their opponent range. While they might not have many powerful attacks, with the few they do have requiring good precision, they are quick enough to keep their distance and approach as fast as they retreat, punishing their opponent's mistakes.
These characters excel at close range ground combat, having superior priority and/or speed on their attacks while on ground. They tend to be less combo oriented than Rushdown characters, but boast from superior attack power.
These characters have some of the most powerful attacks in the game, but at the expense of having very low defensive capabilities. They can dish out damage very fast and often have superior range. However, aside from lower defenses, they also usually have some kind of heavily exploitable weakness, such as slow attack speed, short range attacks, and/or low priority, being easily outmatched by characters that can outperform them.
They focus on controlling the stage, mostly with tools and projectiles that outrange opponents. They sometimes lack speed and power to fight, focusing on wearing down opponents from a distance.
Bait and punish
These characters are usually good with multiple or all moves that pressure their opponents and manipulate their behaviour, allowing them to punish mistakes effectively. They also have the tools for close range combat in order to take them down. On the other hand, they can be purely melee oriented characters that use their superior speed and/or power to create openings and exploit opponents. These characters usually face towards opponents and get close in order to deal heavy amounts of damage.
A combination of zoners with some bait and punish tactics. These characters are utterly defensive, tending to avoid opponents and lure them with traps that apply a lot of pressure. They tend to have a lot of indirect options to constantly keep their opponents on their toes. They differ from zoners in that they can attack while facing away and evading their opponents. They also excel in multi-tasking, usually stringing combos with their traps and their close range moves. They are considered much more difficult to use than zoners as they rely heavily on using a lot of pressure and mind games.
These characters use their grabs as a large part of their play style, with many also being Bait & Punish specialists. There are no true grapplers in Smash Bros. due to its gameplay aspects differing from most fighting games. These characters are usually forced into defensive play because of their slow speed, large size and/or inferior jumps, but make up for it with very powerful moves, and high hitstun. They essentially wait for their opponents to get in close to punish them for it.
Alternatively, grapplers can also be fast characters that not only have many setups and combos from grabs, but also good variety of moves to mix up their play; they are actually more offensive than defensive. While being quite agile, they lack the speed to be Rushdown characters, and the long-range to be all-rounders or zoners.
List of characters
|This section is incomplete.
|Character||Main archetype||Secondary archetype|
|Isaac||Zoner||Focuses on mid-long range|
|Marth||Zoner||Focuses on spacing|
|Mega Man||Focuses on neutral|
|Mr. Game & Watch||Grappler||Zoner|
|Sonic||Hit and run|
|Waluigi||Trapper||Bait and Punish|