In previous games from the Super smash Bros. Series, you used to collect trophies, and in Super Smash Bros. brawl, you also collected stickers. In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, they replaced Trophies for another collectible, called "Spirits". It's like a better version of the stickers from brawl. Spirits are characters and things from various game series (represented by Artworks or renders) that makes your fighter stronger by increasing your Power and defense, and also giving a bonus ability or item.
Once you start the game, you'll automatically receive a weak spirit just so you can have something. But there are other Spirits you can get for free for having save data from certain other games:
- If you have save data from Pokémon Let's Go, Pikachu! and/or Pokémon Let's Go, Eevee!, you can get the Partner Pikachu and/or Partner Eevee Spirit, respectively. They're both Ace class Spirits, so it's good to have them at the start. But don't worry if you don't like Pokémon, they are also available at the Shop or the Spirit Board since Update 2.0.0 (January 2019).
- If you have save data from Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age - Definitive Edition, you will get the Tockles Spirit. It's also an Ace class Spirit, so it's good to have it at the start, though its also available to get through some other ways, having been added to the Dragon Quest Spirit Board as of Update 6.0.0 (November 2019).
- If you have save data from Persona 5 Strikers, you will get the Sophia Spirit. It's also an Ace class, but there's no demo for Persona 5: Strikers, so you have to buy the game if you want to start with this one. It became available regularly as of Update 12.0.0 (June 2021); however, it appears on the regular Spirit Board instead of the Persona one.
- If you have save data from Ghosts 'n Goblins Resurrection, you will get the Arthur Spirit. It's the same thing as the Sophia spirit, in which there's no demo so you need to buy the game. It also became available regularly as of Update 12.0.0.
- If you have save data from Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin, you will get the Razewing Ratha Spirit. It's another Ace-class primary Spirit. While the game has a demo available, only save data from the full version will unlock it. The spirit can also be obtained by scanning the Razewing Ratha amiibo.
- By having 5000G or more, you finish one of the Challenges of the game, and the prize is the Yakuman Spirit. The thing is, if you bought either or both Fighter's Pass DLCs, you will automatically finish two Challenges. One is for having a certain number of songs, for which you receive Gold as a reward. With the Gold you get, you will automatically finish the other challenge and receive the Spirit.
How to get spirits?
- Fighting Spirit battles is the main way. They can be fought in Adventure Mode or in the Spirit Board; not all spirits appear in the former, so the latter is a good place to look when you miss a character. As of Update 8.0.0 (June 2020), once you have won a Spirit battle (regardless of whether you still have the Spirit or not), you can head to Collection > Spirit List > Inventory to challenge them again at any time for a high score by pressing or upon any such Spirit (they are identified by an orange bar with the Spirits icon at the bottom of their portraits). It's good for training if you are new to the game, but you will not receive the challenged Spirit through this method. Spirit fights will be explained in more detail soon.
- You can also buy them in the shop. The stronger the Spirit, the more expensive it'll be (500G for Novice spirits, 1000G for Advanced spirits, 6000G for Ace spirits and 15000G for Legend spirits).
- Summoning them. By dismissing a Spirit, you lose it but receive its core. You can summon spirits by mixing cores; mostly specific character cores are required, but in some cases any core from a type (Attack, Grab, Shield and Neutral cores from primary Spirits, or Support cores from support Spirits) can be used.
Spirit battles are essentially a replacement to Event Matches from previous games. In a Spirit battle, you'll fight characters that have similarities to the Spirits they are being possessed by in some way, through the use of different palettes and special battle conditions reflecting the Spirit.
If you want to stand a chance to many of the fights you need to equip the spirits you have. There are two types of equippable spirits: primary and support. All of them boost your character's overall power, with primary Spirits directly affecting their offense and defense through a numerical Power value, while Support spirits grant the character different skills, such as improving specific types of attack or defense, having an item at the beginning of the match, or preventing the adverse effects of battle conditions. There are four Spirit ranks:
- ★ Novice: the weaker spirits with easy battles
- ★★ Advanced: a bit stronger and harder than Novice class
- ★★★ Ace: Challenging fights for strong spirits
- ★★★★ Legend: The hardest and strongest spirits of the game.
Each character can only equip one primary Spirit and up to three support Spirits, depending on how many support slots a primary Spirit allows. Some primary Spirits can also grant perks similar to those from the support Spirits. Having more than one spirit with the same skill stacks its effect.