It's happening. A new Smash Bros. is around the corner. You have your Switch and your parents' old plasma television ready, and you've already taken time off work so you can dive in once the game launches. But do you seriously plan on playing Super Smash Bros. Ultimate with Joy-Cons? No, that simply will not do. You need to prove to all your friends — and the middle schoolers at the local GameStop — that you can destroy them. Before you jump into Ultimate, make sure you have these accessories ready to up your game.
Super Smash Bros. has been built around the GameCube controller ever since Super Smash Bros. Melee, which is why Nintendo continues to support GameCube controllers on its modern consoles. But not all GameCube controllers are equal. If you're itching for the best GameCube controllers on the market, you'll need to comb through lots of hard-to-find ones made in the early to mid-2000s.
But if that seems overwhelming, your best bet is to buy the brand-new Smash controller released for Ultimate, a broken or heavily used old GameCube controller, and a tri-wing screwdriver. You can essentially combine the front of a new controller and the back of an old one, hodgepodging together the best of both worlds. The L and R buttons on heavily used GameCube controllers from the early 2000s have the best feel and include a metal bracket that the new controllers do not. Meanwhile, the sticks, buttons and cord tend to last longer on new units.
But if hunting down specific controllers from certain years is too much for you to deal with, you could turn to custom GameCube controller modders that can take orders and ship you a ready-made, quality product. Not only will modders like Top Notch Controllers and Battle Beaver Customs ensure you receive something of perfect competitive quality, but they can also customize your controller with see-through shells, braided cables and LED lights.
Credit: Battle Beaver Customs
While it's strongly recommended that a GameCube controller be used for Smash, there are other input options that will get the job done. Both the Switch Pro Controller and the PowerA Wireless Enhanced Controller/Wired Controller are high-quality units that are great for casual play. Do be wary of wireless options, as there will be lag of four to six frames. These controllers might not become the competitive standard for aspiring pros, but they're comfortable, affordable and more than reliable enough for folks keeping the action in their living rooms.
This one is a no-brainer. To use a GameCube controller on Switch, you'll need an adapter. Nintendo sells these for $19.99. Your old Wii U adapter as well as third-party units will also work.
Smash, like Street Fighter or Tekken, requires frame-accurate responsiveness for optimal play. Don't believe me? Jump from your regular television to a gaming monitor and feel the difference.. If you're looking for a good lag-free monitor that won't break the bank, the RL2460 for $220 is a solid buy. It utilizes a 1920 x 1080 TN LCD panel that runs at 60Hz, the correct speed for console games. If you want something more multifunctional — something that will work well with PC first-person shooters like Counter-Strike or Overwatch — we'd recommend upgrading to a monitor like the Zowie XL2540, which offers a 144-Hz refresh rate at 1920 x 1080.
Finding the right GameCube controller is already a challenge. If you have to spend over $100 on a custom modder only to have the stick break because your little brother threw it down the staircase, that's a significant amount of money lose. Top Notch Controllers, Battle Beaver Customs and Controller Chaos all make cases for around $20 that can protect your expensive controllers from damage. Light Shield, a minimalist controller case that was Kickstarted by Melee player Max Chung, is also a solid option. Granted, the Light Shield currently sells for $130, which might be a price too high for many to throw down.
Credit: Controller Chaos
Internet lag can make a huge difference in any online fighting game, and Smash is no exception. Granted, when playing online, all players will need to adjust to dealing with lag. But using an Ethernet adapter means that you're doing everything in your power to ensure you're playing with the optimal hardware. Smash Ultimate even tells you which players are on Wi-Fi and which are on Ethernet. So, do you really want to be the person causing problems for everyone because you're bumping off your neighbors Wi-Fi? There are a bunch of options on Amazon, ranging from $10 to $30.