Who is Byleth? Meet the new Smash Ultimate character

Byleth joins Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
(Image credit: Nintendo)

Byleth, the hero from Fire Emblem: Three Houses, is coming to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. The game's fifth downloadable fighter is hitting the Nintendo eShop on January 28th, and like other fighters, they'll set you back $6.

Byleth will mark the eighth character from the Fire Emblem series in Smash Ultimate — though they're the first from the latest entry, Three Houses, which came out last summer. Similar to Robin and Corrin, the playable protagonists of Fire Emblem Awakening and Fates, respectively, you'll be able to choose either a male or female version of Byleth in Smash.

Fire Emblem is traditionally a turn-based strategy series, where characters have the ability to wield a number of different weapons, depending on their class. Byleth's equipment comprises four Hero's Relics — all-powerful weapons of divine origin that they and they alone can wield.

Depending on your direction of attack, Byleth will use a different weapon. Side inputs will utilize a spear, attacks in a downward direction employ an axe, neutral moves use a bow, and flurry and dash attacks feature a sword that can also double as a whip, depending on the context.

Masahiro Sakurai, the director of Smash Ultimate, called Byleth a "distance demon" in the character's live video reveal. Given the character's gamut of attacks — some of which cover incredibly long distances, like the bow and spear — the description seems accurate. On the flip side, Byleth's mobility is low, so they won't be ideal for players who prefer a faster, closer style of fighting. You'll have to keep your distance to maintain an advantage.

Fire Emblem: Three Houses fans will notice that many of Byleth's costume variations actually represent other primary characters from the game. In this case, they're the leaders of the story's titular houses: Edelgard, Dimitri and Claude of the Black Eagles, Blue Lions and Golden Deer, respectively. It's a cool, yet totally unnecessary, touch, but that's just par for the course for Smash.

As is the case for all Smash DLC fighters, Byleth comes with a new stage pulled from their title. Called Garreg Mach Monastery, the stage references the hub location where players interact with and train their fellow officers. In Smash, it's a dynamic stage that cycles through several areas of the monastery throughout a match, much like the Delfino Square level from Super Mario Sunshine.

Byleth is part of the $25 Fighters Pass bundle that also includes the four other DLC characters released so far: Joker, Hero, Banjo-Kazooie and Terry Bogard. If you already have the pass, you won't have to purchase Byleth separately. However, new DLC characters that come out from this point forward will not be included in the existing pack.

Adam Ismail is a staff writer at Jalopnik and previously worked on Tom's Guide covering smartphones, car tech and gaming. His love for all things mobile began with the original Motorola Droid; since then he’s owned a variety of Android and iOS-powered handsets, refusing to stay loyal to one platform. His work has also appeared on Digital Trends and GTPlanet. When he’s not fiddling with the latest devices, he’s at an indie pop show, recording a podcast or playing Sega Dreamcast.