You're not logged in | Login / Register | News Filter | Submit News

A two-in-one character where both characters are perfectly viable? Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Pyra and Mythra gameplay review

The two ladies from Xenoblade Chronicles 2 seem to work just fine both as a package deal but also separately on their own

Posted by Nicholas 'MajinTenshinhan' Taylor • March 8, 2021 at 7:46 p.m. PST • Comments: 14

The latest Super Smash Bros. Ultimate additions were added to the game just a few days ago and the internet has been all abuzz ever since with what the two characters are capable of, who's the better pick and of course the everlasting question for new characters — are they top tier?

While it's much too early to answer any such loaded question, I decided to team up with my colleague Justin "AdaptiveTrigger" Gordon and put some time into these new characters and share our impressions of how they feel so far. While I'm generally a more casual player when it comes to the Super Smash Bros. series, Justin is much more aimed at the competitive aspect so hopefully our two different approaches will answer any questions you may have about Pyra and Mythra and what their deal is in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

During Super Smash Bros. series director Masahiro Sakurai's official presentation detailing the two new Xenoblade Chronicles 2 fighters, he noted that while you can quickly and efficiently switch between the two characters on the fly, they designed them so that players should be able to pick either Pyra or Mythra and stick with them during the fight and see success as well.

With that in mind, I decided to go all in on Pyra since she's the character I'd been adamantly requesting at least since back in 2018.

Although I was expecting her to be a team fighter together with Rex, the main character of Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Sakurai did adequately explain during the presentation that while it's possible to do so with the Ice Climbers, the Xenoblade 2 characters are much too detailed to hope to bring something like that to life without any issues when playing something like 8-player Smash.

Now, without further ado, let's see how Justin and I found that our time with Pyra (and also Mythra, in Justin's case) in the newest version of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

Nick's Impressions

My first impression with Pyra was that I was surprised at her movement speed relative to my expectations. She isn't one of the speedier characters in the game, to be sure, but given that Mythra was billed as the fast option I was kind of expecting Pyra to feel a lot more sluggish, which actually wasn't the case at all.

Don't get me wrong — Mythra is clearly much faster in every way, but Pyra is no slouch. The reason I felt this way was most likely because of her air speed, with the air being where I spent most of my time due to her solid aerial buttons. Obviously, though, her most attractive trait is her firepower, though... Well, in regards to gameplay, anyhow.

Pyra has a lot of different moves with some serious K.O. power. While you're obviously going to be very opened up if you let a forward smash rip, she has some super effective aerials and tilts that will send opponents flying quite far as well.

Not only that, but if you're feeling especially frisky you can do some hard reads on your opponent with her Prominence Revolt (up special) which also has some serious knockback off of a clean hit.

Overall, finding the optimal areas to land her hits was quite the rewarding experience and while it's hardly anything special in the grand scheme of things, I actually found myself advancing to Elite Smash for the first time when using her. I don't play Super Smash Bros. Ultimate online much, so it's not like I've been actively striving for it, but it was still a neat little accomplishment to mentally file.

As I had made a conscious decision to avoid Mythra specifically to try out Sakurai's suggestion that it'd be perfectly possible to just use one of the two fighters, I was actively searching for glaring flaws with Pyra that might make her feel less viable, but even after a good deal of matches I found myself feeling like she was largely a solid fighter overall.

The one area where I feel like Pyra definitely did suffer was her horizontal recovery — vertically, she's fine, but she doesn't really have any move that carries her well horizontally. Given how fast switching between the two is, it's easy to simply go over to Mythra and use her Photon Edge (side special) to cover that flaw. Going back to Pyra afterwards is as easy as the press of a button, as they say... Quite literally so.

While I didn't really use Mythra myself I have seen videos of her usage as well as tried her moves out in training mode and the general impression I get from Pyra and Mythra as a swap character is that they're a second try at the experiment that Zelda and Sheik were back in Super Smash Bros. Melee which effectively uses all of the knowledge they gained from back then to avoid the same pitfalls.

It's no secret that Zelda was vastly inferior to Sheik in Super Smash Bros. Melee and the two characters have stayed separate on the character select screen ever since Super Smash Bros. 4. While they remain separate characters in Ultimate, Pyra and Mythra are actually doing the very same thing that the two used to, showing that it's more of a concious decision with Zelda and Sheik in particular to keep them apart from each other.

As a swap character, Pyra and Mythra make much more sense than the Triforce of Wisdom-bearers in that they have similar approaches, just different attributes. While Pyra and Mythra are comfortable at roughly the same ranges and excel at a fairly aggressive playstyle, Zelda and Sheik actually play pretty much opposite playstyles making the concept of a swap character featuring them confusing.

The reason I bring up Zelda and Sheik is because I feel like Pyra and Mythra are a successful implementation of the failed vision that was had for the former pair over 20 years ago. While that wasn't a swap character who worked well and eventually had to be separated in future entries, Pyra and Mythra feel like a much more well-oiled machine where you can seamlessly switch between the two and chain their strengths together effectively without having to switch your overall gameplan up too much.

As someone who did spend his game time practically exclusively on Pyra, my early impressions are that Sakurai's statement is indeed true. This is definitely a character where you can use just Pyra and still be successful, and I'd imagine the same goes for Mythra.

To truly unlock the character's full potential, though, you'd probably be best off juggling both of them and developing acute awareness of when a switch is necessary.

On a personal note, I'm extremely satisfied with the implementation of one of my most requested characters even though it was done differently than I had originally hoped. With any luck, Pyra and Mythra will be mainstays for the Super Smash Bros. series moving forward. They certainly deserve to be.

Justin's Impressions

The trailer and Sakurai's presentation didn't really do Mythra's speed justice. When I sat down to play Mythra for the first time, I was blown away at how fast she felt.

Mythra apparently has the 5th fastest run speed, while having the absolute fastest dash speed in the game. She's also quite speedy in the air as she has the 11th fastest air speed and the 6th fastest fall speed.

From what I'm able to tell, Mythra's insane attributes and frame data gives her access to crazy powerful tech chase options, vortexes and a dominant neutral game. While playing as and against Mythra, it really seemed like Mythra was capable of whiff punishing just about anything.

At first, it did feel kind of annoying to fight against both Pyra & Mythra with other characters since it felt like some opponents were mashing buttons and getting rewarded for it. While facing off against them, it's really important to pay attention to the player's habits or else you won't be able to pressure them properly.

While Mythra's frame data is crazy good, she does lack kill options without switching to Pyra. Of course, this isn't to say that she doesn't have ways to score knock outs. Good timing with Lightning Buster or a suicidal Photon Edge are both actually quite powerful. It's also fairly difficult to react to stage spikes that occur because of a well aimed projectile from the up special.

Despite being the faster of the two, Mythra's landing frame data doesn't really seem all that impressive at first. Nearly all of her aerials require double-digits in terms of recovery time while landing. This typically would be a bad sign that a character is not very good, but Mythra is really able to make up for this.

In many ways, Mythra feels like an amalgamation of Sheik, Fox and Chrom. It really seems like Mythra is able to juggle players for days with the right reads. Even with this comparison in mind, there are certain things that only Mythra can do in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate's 84-character roster.

Her rolls and dodges function similarly to Bayonetta's in that they have a "Bats Within" effect. Unlike Bayonetta, opponents get slowed down when Mythra's Foresight is triggered. Essentially, Mythra's Foresight is Bats Within and Witch Time put together.

Mythra's Foresight seemingly breaks multi-hitting moves, which is something completely unique to Mythra — not even Pyra can do this. On the down side, she's extra vulnerable to grabs because her rolls have extra frames attached to them. Foresight frames don't provide any invincibility against grabs, so don't be afraid to keep grabbing her when facing off against her.

Aside from Ness and Lucas, Mythra is also able to outperform every character in the game in terms of getting a lot of distance out of her directional air dodge. This along with her side special and faster air speed make her more ideal for recovering than Pyra. It's important to remember that Pyra is heavier than Mythra though.

While it's probably too early to place Pyra & Mythra on the tier list, I suspect that they may end up being high tier or top tier in the long run. It's usually a very good sign when a fighter has access to extremely good mobility in a Super Smash Bros. title.

Can a player use Mythra by herself without switching to Pyra? I personally think this is possible. In fact, I suspect that most players will use Mythra for the vast majority of the time, and then switching to Pyra towards the higher percentages of an opponent's stock.

While Mythra is probably solo viable (as is Pyra), it'll probably be more beneficial to have practice with both Pyra and Mythra. These two fighters complement each other in ways that the Sheik & Zelda duo were never able to in Melee or Brawl.

Despite being a reimagining of Sheik & Zelda's archetype from Melee and Brawl, Pyra & Mythra feel very unique. Overall, I think they're interesting additions that could potentially shake up Super Smash Bros. Ultimate's meta with the right player behind them. We'll just have to see if that ends up being the case.

Load comments (14)