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How to Beat Classic Mode 9.0 in Smash 4 Without Losing a Life

Jeremy enjoys gaming when not helping manage the college he graduated from.

The challenge grid

The challenge grid

Challenge Mode

Super Smash Brothers for the Wii U and 3DS sold millions of units thanks to its superb polishing, plethora of characters, and numerous game modes. One task is completing every mission in the challenge grid, the hardest of which ask players to beat Classic Mode on its highest difficulty without losing any lives (normally, players have two per match).

Sadly, the golden hammers you can unlock to auto-beat up to five challenges cannot be used for the final hurdle. You'll have to do this fair and square, and I won't sugarcoat matters: this is a tough trial. But don't fret, today we'll explore every advantage and strategy you can use to give yourself the edge and conquer the final grid mission of Smash 4!

You can tackle the challenge alone or in a team.

You can tackle the challenge alone or in a team.

Custom Characters/ Team Play

First thing first. Note that the wording of the challenge instructs you to beat 9.0 without losing a life, but custom characters aren't forbidden. This is key to victory, as you'll definitely want increased stats from custom equipment. You'll also have access to alternate versions of special attacks. Check out the table below for recommended equipment, but as a quick guide, emphasize attack and defense over speed and make sure you have a potent stage recovery move.

Likewise, tackling Classic in co-op is allowed, but if either player ever loses a life, you won't complete your task. Weigh this decision carefully; two players can inflict damage much faster, but you'll have to worry about your partner's survival as well as your own.


Characters can don up to three equipment at once.

NameStat ModificationsEffect

Max-Power Gloves

++Attack, -Defense


Rare Protection Badge

++Defense, -Speed


Air Attacker(prefix)


x1.15 damage in air

Auto Healer(prefix)


Heal 2 damage every four seconds

Picky Eater(prefix)


0.7x damage healed from food, but increases stats

You have dozens of abilities to select from when creating a custom fighter. Let's examine two particular builds to consider to prepare for 9.0 Classic:

Strategy 1: Boosted Stats

Simple and to the point, this setup provides no bonus effects but focuses on increasing your base stats. You won't have any healing to fall back on, but your increased offense, defense, and speed may help you vanquish foes before you need to heal.

Each equipment will improve one stat and detriment another; use gear where the gains are stronger, meaning you'll come out with an overall increase.

Negative Effects
A variation of the boosted stats build, negative effect gear follows the same principle of overall-stat boosts, but utilizes gear with negative effects. Why would a player do this? Well, equipment with hindering abilities tend to have fantastic stat increases, and many of the effects won't matter anyway. For instance, since we're going for a no-life lost run, using "Risky Respawn" equipment holds no disadvantages because the unwanted effect of less invincibility frames only triggers when a life is lost.

Equipment Screen

Equipment Screen

Strategy 2: Health Recovery

This build plays a longer game by using auto-heal equipment to heal over time and/or vampire gear to heal when you inflict damage. Continuous regeneration can really save your skin in long fights, particularly the final Master Core battle. Because life-replenishing duds tend to lower stats, use at least one equipment slot as a stat booster to offset any offense or defense decreases.

Character Selection

Everyone has their own favorite fighter, and you'll definitely want to use someone you're competent with. Don't forget that non-DLC characters have three variants of special moves that can tweak them towards your needs. For instance, Bowser's up+B can be modified to provide better recovery distance and counter his poor jumping.

Attributes to focus on are weight, recovery strength, ranged potential, and potent air attacks. Thanks to their girth, heavier characters can tank a few more hits during the difficult Master Core battle, and their often-lacking recovery moves can be altered. Quick and powerful air moves (like Ganondorf's) are also essential for the Core battle, and ranged attacks help you strike from safe distances in the earlier fights.

I'd recommend the following:

  • Cloud
  • Bowser
  • Ganondorf
  • Captain Falcon
  • Mario
  • R.O.B.

Rounds 1-5 (Normal Battles)

You've probably played Classic on lower intensities, and the basic setup remains the same. For the first five rounds, you're given a series of choices for which opponent to face next, some of whom offer bonus rewards. Considering our goal, ignore rewards and focus on what matches seems easiest. Decide which characters you're best at fighting and which stages you prefer, keeping in mind the following advice.


  • Go for simple 1 v 1 battles as often as possible, avoiding hectic free-for-alls (especially since the AI especially targets you)
  • Eliminate your rival early on to avoid dealing with them later down the road
  • Use items to your advantage and don't be afraid to retreat and heal

Remember, you can't lose a single stock. If you do, you'll need to restart to win the award, but you may way to continue on for practice against Master Core and to keep earned prizes. Rounds 1-5 aren't easy, but they should be the easiest matches in this challenge.

Fighting Mii Team Variant

Fighting Mii Team Variant

Round 6 (Fighting Mii Team)

Good, you've conquered the first five matches without dying. Your sixth clash will always be against 20 Miis (five at a time) on the Battlefield stage. You're outnumbered and space is limited, but keep your wits and you can win.

Items still spawn; try to grab and use them before the pesky opponents can. Your strongest smash moves may be able to KO the Miis in one blow (they have reduced defense). One potent strategy is to get below one of the side platforms and (assuming your character is tall enough) use an upward smash on any foes above. Basically, keep on the offensive when possible to avoid being swarmed, and you'll soon triumph without dying.

One last and incredibly trying foe remains...

Mario Vs Master Core

Round 7 (Master Core)

Good luck. Even with the right custom set, you'll probably need to battle this foe many times, and unfortunately, you have to redo the whole mode if you lose (continuing reduces the difficulty, preventing challenge completion). Master Core's fight is divided into several sections, and this time, no items will appear to help you. Tips are below, but the best way to win is to simply practice and get a feel for the timing of your dodges.

Master & Crazy Hand
Familiar faces (er, hands) return to battle you at the Final Destination stage. Don't be intimidated by the large health bar; you only need to deplete about 100 HP for this section. Move to the right to focus on the more-predictable Master Hand and use your quickest air moves along with dodges. This is an easier portion of the battle, so try to avoid hits (damage doesn't reset between battle phases).

Master Giant
My pick for the hardest form, Master Giant has deceptive, fast, and powerful moves. Aim for his head when you have the chance between dodges. Don't beat yourself up if you lose a stock here, but do your best to persevere. In particular, watch out for the arm-sweep technique, where the actual arm movement does no damage but the afterward slash does.

Master Beast
Four-legged form Master Beast often leaps into the background to rush forward with a bite. Thankfully, it's not too hard to dodge: jump, stay on the move, and evade if needed. Master Beast has other attacks to learn, but should fall relatively quickly because you can attack any segment of its body.

Master Core

Master Core

Master Edges
I'm back and forth between this and Giant for the hardest part. Edges is made of five swords with several wide-ranged moves, although its projectile attack can be reflected with abilities like Mario's Cape. Attack any of the blades when you can, and stay on the lookout for the swords grouping together to unleash a flurry of blows—after which they're briefly vulnerable.

Master Shadow
In the next portion, the boss copies your character (and custom equipment) and can be defeated by either falling off the stage or simply running out of HP. Since this is your character, you should have a pretty good idea of their capabilities. Don't underestimate your foe, but if you beat the the previous forms without dying, you can beat this one.

Master Fortress
An odd section where the boss essentially becomes a stage to traverse, Master Fortress requires you to destroy four weak spots after traveling through enemy-ridden paths. But don't fret: you also get a Heart Container to reset your damage, plus more time on the clock. Besides that, this is a good time to have auto-heal equipment since you have extra breathing room to wait around and recover.

Master Core
So easy a cavemen could beat it, just knock Master Core off the stage by repeatedly attacking it. As long as you vanquish it within 45 seconds (not hard by any means), it won't fight back—you've won.

Classic 9.0 Rewards

Congratulations! It may have take several hours, but consider yourself a Smash pro if you complete this challenge. The game only rewards you with a new custom equipment (and not a particularly great one): the Double Final Smasher Protection Badge.

But more importantly, you've earned bragging rights, a completed challenge grid, and can revel in the knowledge that you've achieved what few can. To any who have succeeded, well done, and to those who haven't, today's tips and some patience will do the trick. Eventually. After about three rage-broken controllers.

© 2017 Jeremy Gill

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