So I’m now adjusting my placement of Lum to be at the very bottom, in a tier by himself. In retrospect, I feel like it’s actually fairly obvious that he’s the worst character in the game. Let’s go over the basic facts about Lum:
Lum’s defense is the worst in the game
I feel like this is totally inarguable. First, Lum has a big hurtbox, which is always a bad thing. Second, Lum is the only character in the game with zero moves that have any kind of invulnerability. Third, he does not have higher than average health to counteract this.
Lum’s non-item offense is the worst in the game
This is more debatable, but under basic inspection I feel that this is fairly clear. The biggest issue with Lum’s moves is that they generally have very slow startup. Air B has a ridiculous amount of startup, and ground B also has quite a lot if used from far away. This makes them very susceptible to counters and reversals. His A moves are also fairly slow, and none of his moves grant him an advantageous situation afterwards. Ground B doesn’t knock down, and bounces back on hit, making it difficult to apply pressure afterwards. Neutral A and Forward A are both heavily minus on block, and Forward A is even slightly minus on hit. Even his sweep, which does knock down and is plus on block, hits the opponent far away, so he can’t threaten much afterwards unless they’re in the corner. The only situation where he gets reliable pressure is after throw, and his methods of threatening throw are generally also not great.
When Lum does get a chance to throw an item, he doesn’t get guaranteed offense, he gets a CHANCE to have offense. Even if he gets the item he wants, his offense is not inordinately strong.
This is the most damning thing about Lum. As a character, he is all about items, but his items just aren’t that good. First, half his items have no effect if the opponent is more than midscreen away. His mini-lum is slow and easily hit by basically anything, and thus rarely does anything useful unless it hits a jumping opponent. Coin, lightning cloud, and bomb all do nothing if the opponent is more than midscreen away, and aren’t especially dangerous even at midscreen, generally only hitting if the opponent is caught in the middle of a jump. Worst of all, if the opponent is at midscreen, there is a chance he might throw them a cherry or cake, which actively hurts him through no fault of his own, and is so disadvantageous that it often makes not throwing any items at all the most attractive play. His best item, the firework, does not create all that much pressure outside the corner due to its slow activation and the fact that it can be avoided by scrolling the screen (Lum can attempt to lock the screen by pushing toward the back, but this prevents him from applying any pressure afterwards). The only really strong item is mini rook, but I believe this has only a 1% chance of being thrown (I’ve only seen it twice in about 50 matches, including many where both players were Lum). By comparison, all other characters get a guaranteed good situation when they are able to get into their optimal range and initiate the moves they want.
I feel like this leads to the inescapable conclusion that Lum is the worst, likely to the point of complete nonviability. He was clearly designed to have many weaknesses in order to offset the power of his items, but his items really just aren’t powerful enough to justify this. A lot of the issue is that his items generally don’t allow him to create threatening situations afterwards, which makes it fairly easy to simply block and wait for him to throw either a useless item or one that actively helps you. This also allows most opponents to play very patiently against him and wait until they get their generally superior supers, then use those to take control of the match.