One of the most exciting times of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate's lifespan was the days leading up to the game's release when the base roster was uncovered. In its final moments, a huge rumor came about that was known as the Grinch Leak, detailing various requested characters coming to the series as playable fighters. One of the characters, Ken, seemed to have given the leak a bit of credibility in his reveal trailer when he was officially announced. However, the character right after him would shut it down and become to be known as the Grinch Leak Killer: Incineroar.
Incineroar isn't your typical heavyweight character. Rather than focus on hard-hitting attacks, it focuses on combos and juggling to rack up damage. That isn't to say it's without any meaty hits, though. Here's a look at Incineroar's aspects and how you can deal with it a bit better.
Incineroar's greatest strength is its grab game. With a moveset based on a wrestler, Incineroar's grabs can be pretty devastating and useful for it, with its Up-, Back-, and Forward-Throw all dealing high amounts of damage and knockback. It even has a command grab in its Side-B that lingers for a while and offers great versatility out of the three possible outcomes. The Down-Throw is also a good combo starter, complimenting Incineroar's already impressive combo game with moves like Down-Tilt and Up-Tilt leading into aerial juggles.
Another upside is its high power. In addition to the previously mentioned throws and combo tools, Incineroar has many powerful attacks. A good example is its Forward-Tilt, being the strongest in the game in terms of damage and launch power if the sweetspot lands. His BAir is also quite powerful, being a very reliable kill option. All of its moves can be powered up by its unique counter Down-B, which can be stacked multiple times for even greater power in a single attack. Its all-around moves have great frame data and are able to catch most people off-guard when they land.
Last but not least is his ledgetrapping. Its moves are great for covering ledge options. A notable example is Down-Smash, a strong kill move that covers both sides of Incineroar and shifts its hurtbox to low crush moves, such as attacks from the ledge. Another is the Neutral-B, a move that hits both sides but starts up really quickly and is active for a while. Of course, if the opponent is at high percents and Incineroar has a rage on hand, most of its throws can do the job, punishing many options such as neutral getup or roll (as well as jump if Incineroar does an aerial Side-B).
Incineroar's biggest weakness is how bad its neutral game is, and the main culprit for this is the lack of mobility. Incineroar has the absolute slowest running and walking speed in the game. Its aerial mobility isn't great either, thanks to its heavy weight and fast fall speed. On top of those, its moves aren't great in terms of range, despite their generally large hitboxes. This leaves it little room to make mistakes in neutral, on top of no tools for escaping disadvantages that aren't punishable.
Its other weakness is its recovery. Its Side-B and Up-B are both recovery options, Side-B, in particular, being great for reversing edgeguards should they grab land. Neither of them put Incineroar in free fall either, so it can use either move one after the other. However, Side-B doesn't take it very far at all. Up-B, on the other hand, while having super armor on startup, sends Incineroar straight up before quickly sending it down at an angle. There aren't many positions parallel to or below the stage where Incineroar can make it back. These weaknesses are what cause him to be considered a low-tier character.
Strategy & Counterplay
Incineroar's neutral game is bad, so there's not a lot it can do to get things started that aren't very risky. On the other hand, it gets a lot of rewards for your mistakes as well — you just need to play carefully against them. Space out your attacks against Incineroar or opt for safe options. Wait for him to make a mistake in his game plan to capitalize on it.
Incineroar's kill potential at the ledge is one of, if not the best, in the game. Unless you're attempting to edgeguard or ledgetrap it, it's best not to fight it there. Incineroar has many tools that can spell your death if your back is against the wall. It also has his Side-B if he's the one getting cornered, allowing him to reverse the situation in his favor. Speaking of his Side-B, Incineroar can use it for jump callouts as well, so unless your character has a way to duck under it, be wary of that option.
Incineroar has very few favorable matchups. Characters it does well against are those that can be caught and comboed easily. This includes characters like Ganondorf, Little Mac, and Dr. Mario - other low tiers - as well as Kirby and Donkey Kong. While the rest of the characters aren't winning matchups, some of them that it has an easier time with are those that it can ledgetrap or exploit his Down-B against. This is mainly the characters with some slow projectile or poor ledge options, like Ice Climbers, Wolf, Snake, and Link.
The characters that Incineroar does worst against are those that can edgeguard it easily. This includes Joker, Palutena, Pikachu, Peach, and others. It also has trouble against those with a myriad of projectiles to keep it out, as well as those that can generally keep away from it. Consider using characters like Sonic, R.O.B., Young Link, Zero Suit Samus, and Min Min.