Notice: We will be moving to a biweekly format after this edition of Rango’s Smash Column. Stay tuned for more tips and Smash news on AllCoolThings and be sure to follow our social media channels!
Hello and welcome to our weekly Smash column. This week, we’ll discuss the growing surge of online tournaments in the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate community. While the last offline tournament, CEO Dreamland, brought in over 600 competitors, it left many players wanting more. Unfortunately, due to the Coronavirus, many quarantines line the nation. As a result, these regions have all canceled their offline tournaments to avoid spreading the disease. This also includes major events, such as Momocon, which notably brought over 1,000 players to register at last year’s Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tournament.
Thus, the seeming “bane” of Smash – online play – now receives a second lease on life. Despite its notorious lag and netcode issues, competitive players still want to play Smash Bros. While online ladders and tournaments have always maintained a presence in the Smash community, only now have top competitive players garnered interest in the scene.
Nairo, noted player and streamer, has hosted the “Naifu Wars” WiFi series since Ultimate’s release. With the prevalence of online play, his latest tournament has already capped its maximum entrants. Notable commentators, such as EE and Hazmatt, will participate in the event as well.
The tournament begins on March 28th. You can check out the details here.
Just took a look and saw theres 471 players registered so theres only 41 spots left. Might hit the cap very soon!
Additionally, local tournament scenes have also begun hosting online tournaments. Some of them require players, of the tournament’s respective state, to enter. 4o4 Esports will continue hosting online tournaments in Georgia. Until the Coronavirus begins to clear up around the world, expect more online tournaments to appear over the next few weeks. In the meantime, we will keep you posted with news regarding the Coronavirus and its impact on gaming events. Stay up to date on AllCoolThings for more news every week in Rango’s Smash Column!
What does the future hold?
As it stands, there are no plans to host offline tournaments in the U.S. With the nation under quarantine, players will continue using online as a means to enter tournaments and win money. Most recently, YouTube star Alpharad hosted the Quarantine Series. This appears to be the first of a series of Smash tournaments. Note that Kola, who won Soaked Series and placed 2nd at CEO Dreamland, won this inaugural event.
Today was the first of many tournaments in the #QuarantineSeries ☢️ Thank you to the viewers who made this possible!! 💙
We have many more tournaments coming up and we'll be reaching out to many more community heads for the next ones.
Perhaps this serves as a successor to the Smash World Tour, which was put on hold due to the Coronavirus. However, please note the names in the chart. All of these players are currently on the fall PGR. With offline tournaments on hiatus, the top stars of Smash’s tournaments now use online to continue building their resume. Until the quarantine lifts for Coronavirus, expect to see more top talent rise up to online play while we see more online tournaments hosting big names and big prizes. As always, remember to check smash.gg to see the list of upcoming online tournaments which you can enter!
I meant, $10k, but yea 10 bucks is the grand prize
With the COVID-19 affecting many public gatherings and gaming events, people in the U.S. have been instructed to stay at home to avoid spreading the disease. While much of the internet has shown the most serious effects and repercussions of the Coronavirus, others have tried to lighten up the severity a little. In fact, some gaming websites have already taken their jab at the virus.
However, with Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ release on Nintendo Switch this past week, one can’t deny the impact it’s had across the country. While players are cooped up in their houses playing games, one of Nintendo’s single-most anticipated titles have swept the globe’s attention. Already reaching the #1 Best Seller status on Amazon, Twitter has also added several hashtags featuring emotes to celebrate the game’s release. Meanwhile, top gaming personalities have begun streaming the game. Among these include top competitive Super Smash Bros. Ultimate players who have been unable to attend tournaments due to multiple events being canceled.
Perhaps the most fitting thing about Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ release is its timing. For those quarantined in their house during this pandemic, many consider it to be a silver lining to the crisis.
Animal Crossing might not really be my thing, but it could not have released at a more perfect time.
All in all, this might be one of the single-most unifying events in gaming culture since the release of Pokemon Go. For anyone who remembers Pokemon Go’s release in 2016, the phenomenon involved bringing players together to venture outside, attend public events, and catch Pokemon together. In a similar vein, Animal Crossing unifies the gaming community, inviting players to join each other’s islands.
One primary feature of online play allows you to visit other people’s islands and vice-versa. You can set up online codes or invite friends to play together, on your island, as well as visit theirs. You can also use text chat to send each other messages.
New to the series is NookLink. While used as an in-game smartphone app, you can use NookLink on your own smartphone as well. Download the Nintendo Switch App and you’ll find connectivity to Animal Crossing: New Horizons within the app! Once you connect, you can check your friends’ statuses, access voice chat, and even download outfits and designs online! This features scannable QR codes where you can share outfits you designed or download those from others. You can find social media groups where you can share designs.
Be sure to check out Animal Crossing: New Horizons which is now available for Nintendo Switch!
Welcome to this week’s Smash Column on All Cool Things™! In this entry, I’ll be going over my time at CEO Dreamland and what I’ve learned involving character matchups. You can read about CEO Dreamland here.
Long story short, I lost to a Pichu and a Palutena in my bracket. After that, I challenged multiple players to money matches, which I won several while losing others. Moving forward, this helped give me a fresh start on what direction I should approach while picking my characters.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is a counterpicking game. One character alone will seldom win tournaments at high-level play. It pays to know your options and work on learning other characters. As an Ike main, I’ve made matchup charts looking over his best and worst matchups. This month, however, I learned – the hard way – that he actually has more struggles with more characters than I was willing to admit. Chalk that up largely to online experience. Without playing against high-level players, who use Palutena, Peach, Donkey Kong, and Zero Suit Samus, I was not ready for the top tier character meta.
Always keep in mind that matchup charts are neither gospel nor absolute. The meta evolves and character mains can learn new tech to stay in the game. These matchup charts are merely estimates of a character’s advantages and disadvantages against the roster. With that being said, I’ve used multiple secondary characters to counter Ike’s worse matchups. Most recently, I’ve been using Terry and Wolf. After CEO Dreamland, however, I made a chart on how I approach my matchups using which character.
I’ve used Terry to moderate success over the past few months. Since his release in November of last year, what I initially thought was a low-tier character ended up saving my hide from several of my bracket rivals. I’ve used him to counter ROB and Daisy while knowing they could seriously damage Ike and put me at a disadvantage.
Here’s an example of counterpicking in action.
However, after my matches at CEO Dreamland, I can’t say for sure that Terry is the right call to use against certain matchups. Even though his neutral game and high damage combos make him incredibly effective, his glaring weaknesses keep him from being up to par with much of the current meta. His lack of range, poor disadvantage state, and poor recovery render him an extreme example double edged sword. Either he wipes out stocks quickly or gets taken apart before he gets a chance to return to stage. Unfortunately, I couldn’t rely on Terry to take down some of my harder matchups after losing a round with Ike.
Roy’s Our Boy?
Meanwhile, Georgia’s #1 ranked player, Kola, has made impressive waves using Roy. Known as a high-tier character, Kola’s performance with Roy has helped him win a number of matches against high level players. His most recent placing includes taking 2nd place at CEO Dreamland, eventually losing to Samsora‘s Peach in grand finals. Going over my counterpick chart once more, Roy seems to cover a number of matchups already listed in Terry’s section, including ROB and Fox.
As I’ve been practicing Roy – and his Echo Fighter, Chrom – I’ve been considering using him as a counterpick choice. Much as I would hate to look like a copycat player, Roy suits my own playstyle well with his approach options, edgeguarding, close and mid-ranged combat, high damage combos, and high KO power. Plus, I can allocate some of those threats, such as Peach and Daisy, to Roy or Wolf if I must. One thing I learned from my opponents is how effective Wolf would be against some of Ike’s tougher matchups.
The Benefit of Counterpicking
My parting notes for players is to not be afraid to counterpick. Sometimes, Smash culture will involve players telling you to solo-main. If you’re losing to someone who knows your character matchup, repeatedly facetanking with that character will not help you improve. Learning new characters will help you improve as a player by opening your mind to new methods and techniques. Not only will this grow your knowledge of playing new character, but you may pick up on new methods which can affect how you play your main as well.
They say “you’ll never be ready” and that couldn’t be more true. If you feel like your first character won’t beat a tough opponent, not allowing yourself to switch to a different character means sticking to your main with a high possibility of losing. While some players feel comfortable solo-maining, the most adaptive and flexible players will surely seek new tools in order to secure their victory.
Learning a secondary character will definitely take hours of play. You’ll have to learn them online and at tournaments. Sometimes you’ll lose matches you could have won with your main. But that’s the price you might pay due to inexperience. Eventually, you’ll master that character and have a new tool to work with against tough opponents by throwing them a swerve. Don’t limit your potential when you can expand it with newfound knowledge.
If you enjoyed reading this article, leave a comment with your main and secondaries. Let us know how you’ve sorted your character choices!
For the first time since 2017, Community Effort Orlando (CEO) hosted its Smash and platform fighter-oriented event in Orlando this past weekend. I had the pleasure of attending the event and competing in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate singles. While I didn’t do as well as I’d hoped, I can’t deny I had a great time at the event. With the Coronavirus saturating the media, this was a nice excursion from the news, and I’m looking forward to sharing it all with you!
We arrived Friday night around the time Smash Ultimate doubles ended. Having only signed up for singles, I eagerly anticipated my singles pools (brackets) on noon of the following day. As I showed up, I got a few matches in with players before calling it a night.
Upon entering the venue, on Saturday, to begin my tournament rounds, I managed to win my first two matches. However, I lost to Rideae (2-1) and Geez (2-1), a Pichu and Palutena respectively. I’ve known Rideae for a few years now and I’ve known he’s been quite a capable player. But what caught me off-guard was the Palutena waiting for me in the loser’s round of our double-elimination bracket.
I hadn’t heard of Geez and ended up getting crushed in a matchup – which I was not familiar with – at high level play. I quickly learned why this character generally sits at the top of the tier list. Even after a recent balance update, the character still proved to be quite a threat. Overall, I took 97th. Not my best performance, but one I took as a lesson to learn more about the game. Even after my loss, my journey continued.
Outside of the Tournament
The time I spent throughout the weekend included “money matches,” or matches played with $5 on the line – winner take all. I challenged myself against many players, most of whom were, of course, from Florida. Among my matches, I fought tough players including LingLing, Shine, CPU, CD, and others. I learned I struggle against Palutena, Zero Suit Samus, Shulk, Donkey Kong, and Wii Fit Trainer, all of which were played by capable opponents. After each loss, I took the time to ask them about what went wrong and what I could learn from it. One of the best parts about this community is that players are always willing to instruct and educate. We’re all seeking to improve and our ability to help others grow means both as people and as competitors. Likewise, I happily explained my knowledge to willing opponents after my wins.
Many players said my ledgetrapping was one of my finest assets. I strongly suggest watching Poppt’s video on ledgetrapping and using that to improve your methods if you’re seeking to compete in Smash tournaments. Plus, I’ve begun sorting out my characters even further to compete in matchups more wisely. I’ll be training my Wolf, Roy, and Chrom along with my Ike for the future.
Held at the Wyndham in Orlando, FL, this venue holds a history of hosting CEO for the past decade. While the last two years were spent in Daytona Beach, returning to the Wyndham felt like a homecoming. The resort hotel is located right by Disney World, Universal Studios, and a plethora of restaurants in-between. Among those include a Red Robin and a BJ’s. Getting to go to the latter twice, I strongly recommend their Italian Market Pizza. I was quite convinced that was some of the best I ever had. We also stopped by Pollo Tropical, which blew me away with its amazing wings and chicken soup.
Days before the event, CEO Dreamland faced closure. In under a night, 600 attendees dropped out of the event due to the Coronavirus scares. Event organizer, Alex Jebailey, however, continued to run the event despite the looming threat of cancellation. During this time, he sent out his plea on social media and asked attendees for donations.
In Eleven years of event hosting I've never had to do this.
Since everything for #CEODreamland was ordered to make the event great already before a ton of COVID-19 refunds started to come in.
Players from all over the scene chipped in with what they could afford. For those who love CEO and feel at home within this community, the players responded with the type of love that you could only be proud of in the Smash and Fighting Game Communities.
Thank you Jacob and to everyone that has supported us with everything going on. The show must and will go on. Next week is going to be a long one processing everything but I'm hopeful everything will be ok & I won't have to cut way back on the standard/planning that is #CEO2020. pic.twitter.com/aJe5WK4suJ
When it’s all said and done, I couldn’t be more proud of my scene. I love watching our players come together and boost our scene up. Even in spite of this crisis, we will stand together. And when that time comes, we will be back when CEO and CEO Dreamland return. #CEOStrong
Due to the spread of COVID-19, also known as the Novel Coronavirus, E3’s event planners have canceled the annual, international gaming conference. Serving as a yearly bastion providing upcoming game previews, the fabled holy grail of gaming fans worldwide will miss its first event since its conception in 1995.
While Sony had already planned to not attend E3 for a second year in a row, they have been showcasing their State of Play to feature their upcoming games. Given the recent crisis, Sony’s contingency plan may have saved the company from a serious dilemma.
However, more than just E3 are being affected by the Coronavirus. With recent diagnosis affecting the U.S. as well, there has been cause for major concern regarding other international gaming events. While major national programs, such as the NBA, suspend their upcoming season indefinitely, gaming events are also in high concern for cancellation.
One event includes the upcoming fighting game tournament, CEO, which has run for over 11 years in Florida. Due to the Coronavirus, however, the annual fighting game event in June may face lower attendance or even a cancellation. While nothing has been said of the main event, this weekend features CEO Dreamland, a spin-off event of CEO, exclusively featuring Super Smash Bros. titles and other platform fighters, such as Rivals of Aether and Brawlhalla. This weekend’s Orlando tournament comes in the midst of the Coronavirus crisis as tournament owner, Alex Jebailey, has already issued refunds in regards to cancellations. Despite attendees canceling, however, Jebailey still plans to run CEO Dreamland in Orlando.
Reminder that I have no plans to cancel #CEODreamland next weekend but am still happy to give refunds to any concerned guests. Just shoot me an email to ceogaming at gmail.
If Disney World isn’t shutting down, nothing else in Orlando is.
Another event includes Atlanta, GA’s own Momocon. This international anime and gaming convention, which is held every May, brings in over 30,000 people as of the last few years. With international guests from the gaming and voice acting industry, Momocon is not only known for its cosplay and panels. It has also become one of the leading Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tournaments in the world. Featuring top level talent and nearly 1,000 players in attendance, the tournament pot bonuses number in the tens of thousands.
Multiple attendees continue to stress their concerns regarding Momocon potentially being canceled due to the Coronavirus. However, Momocon staff currently plans to host the event.
Smash World Tour
The recently announced Smash World Tour, an international tournament circuit, will be postponed due to the Coronavirus. Earlier today, Smash World Tour brought the attention to social media that Pound 2020, a major Smash tournament in Virginia, will be canceled this year. Moreover, several tournaments will also be postponed while others will no longer qualify for Smash World Tour points. Be sure to follow Smash World Tour on Twitter for more updates.
While the virus has largely been compared to the likes of SARS, Birdflu, Swineflu, and other subjects of mass-media scare, the World Health Organization (WHO) recently declared Coronavirus a pandemic. To better understand the importance of canceling events, please read more about the Coronavirus here.
Remember to practice hygiene and follow procedures set by the CDC and WHO. We will update you on the situation as we learn more.
Hello and welcome to our Smash Column. This week, we’ll be discussing the Radiant Hero of Legend, Ike. Known for his huge KO power and his great reach, Ike is arguably the strongest hitter out of any swordsman in the game. Despite having an incredibly strong start in the early meta, however, Ike’s weaknesses have become more apparent, pushing him away from the Smash community’s initial, more favorable impressions. In this column, we’ll be discussing Ike’s rise, his fall, and his current place in the meta.
Ike’s tenure in Smash Ultimate kicked off in January 2019 at Smash Conference United. This tournament would serve both as Ike’s first major victory in Smash as well as the start of MKLeo’s illustrious rise. Despite being considered a low-tier character in both Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Smash 4, Ike’s many buffs from the past game turned him into a monster character.
Some months later, another prominent player would pick up Ike in tournaments. Marss, a Zero Suit Samus main from Smash 4, began using him as a secondary. He would eventually gain success against Esam at Get On My Level 2019 (GOML).
The Fall of Ike.
As the meta progressed, however, Ike began losing status in the community. MKLeo began suffering losses at the hands of players, such as the beast, Light. MKLeo would eventually switch mains, switching Wolf, Lucina, and eventually, Joker.
The growing meta would establish Palutena, Snake, Pikachu, and others climbing over Ike in results. The Radiant Hero’s strengths included out-of-this-world KO power off several moves, including kill confrims. Ultimately, it would not be enough to save him from his poor recovery, fairly slow mobility, disadvantage state, or lack of options against certain zoner characters.
Even Ryuga, a prominent Ike player from the days of Brawl and Smash 4, would fight MKLeo using the latter’s former main. This loss, coupled with Ike’s less prominent appearances at tournaments, made a case that he was no longer relevant in the current meta.
Amidst other tournament results, the Ike main would share his mixed feelings about the character.
Yep and that’s the last time I rely on shit characters lol
While Ike began facing mid-tier status among the roster, not everyone was convinced that this was the end. One example includes San, a noteworthy Smash 4 and Brawl Ike main. Despite not appearing as much, in tournaments, throughout Ultimate’s lifespan, he would return to Frostbite and secure 65th place out of 1,280 entrants.
Another prominent example includes Ravenking, an Ike main from Illinois, would consistently maintain high placings at Chicago weeklies. Perhaps his most prominent success, so far, was taking 33rd which was also at Frostbite. Prior to the end of his run, he managed to take one game off of Tweek, the #3 ranked Smash player in the world.
A New Lease on Life?
Maister, a player from Mexico, recently made waves through innovating the Mr. Game & Watch meta. Going from a relatively unknown character into the Smash community’s latest pariah, Mr. Game & Watch has helped propel Maister through stardom over the last year. Most recently, this includes his grand finals set with MKLeo at Frostbite. Despite this, however, Maister has insisted that Ike is one of Mr. Game & Watch’s losing matchups. For players who fear the 2D Flat-Zone warrior, and potential top tier character, perhaps a certain mercenary might be their ideal counterpick.
Updated G&W MU Chart, after a BUNCH of traveling I think my opinions and thoughts on MUs are clearer now (: G&W is probably around top 15 if played right. Won't be answering questions since it's always a mess lol have fun in the comments. pic.twitter.com/HXwuIJJZzM
It stands to reason that Ike places around the upper tier placings, or the “B” Tier. In other words, he won’t place among the ranks of Pikachu, Roy, Olimar, or Palutena. On the flip side, he has a reasonable matchup spread good enough to take down most threats. My personal matchup chart can serve for reference. -2 means heavily losing while +2 means heavily winning.
In short, while I find Roy and ROB to be on the difficult end of the spectrum, the matchups aren’t guaranteed unwinnable. With that said, Ike does much better against the roster than he did in past Smash titles. Players may argue that Roy, Chrom, Lucina, or Shulk would be better choices for a sword user. But at the end of the day, it comes down to what playstyle is most comfortable with you. If you click better with Ike, forcing yourself to play as Lucina or Cloud won’t net you better results. Furthermore, having the right secondaries to back you up will change the tide in battle when you’re struggling. Smash is not a title where you can main one character and expect them to win all your matchups. As a result, it becomes imperative that every competing player learns more than one character.
No character in Smash is solo-viable. Even MKLeo has swapped out from Joker during bracket matches. It stands to reason that every player, including top players, benefit from learning multiple characters. Top and high tiers have a better chance against others due to their advantageous matchup spread. But in the end, even their players will find a time to switch out in order to survive against a capable opponent.
In this case, Ike is no exception. What started as the first character to win a Smash Ultimate major dwindled out of the top leagues. But, still maintaining consistency among his most dedicated players, Ike stands in an upper tier location; lower than high tier, but higher than mid tier. Unlike Marth and Lucina, he plays with a more aggressive combat style. And unlike Roy and Chrom, he has slightly better reach. Ike has plenty of strengths and plenty left in the tank. As the meta continues to develop over time, it’s just going to take the right hands to keep him consistent and continue to make big waves in tournaments.
Released nearly one year ago, Fire Emblem: Three Houses quickly became one of Nintendo’s most successful Switch titles. Breaking sales records and even winning Players’ Voice at last year’s Game Awards, Fire Emblem: Three Houses has celebrated a year’s worth of love from its ever-growing fanbase. While the series has maintained ebbs and flows of success since its western debut in 2003, Fire Emblem: Awakening began a massive climb to mainstream success.
Followed by Fire Emblem Fates, Nintendo would allow players to choose sides, marketing the choice function that would affect the plot and divide fans over which side they would fight for. Shortly thereafter, Fire Emblem Heroes, the free-to-play mobile game, invited thousands of newcomers to try the series. This in turn would lead them to try other games in the series, such as the final 3DS title, Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, in 2017.
With Three Houses, developer Intelligent Systems stepped into uncharted territory. Using new gameplay mechanics and exploring the story in a different wind, Three Houses maintains a new level of appeal evolving from the series’ history, but what elements make it so appealing to come back to? Even after 100 hours on one House playthrough, players are coming back to finish the story completely in all four routes.
The Four Routes Include Different Storylines
While the title is “Three Houses,” in truth there are four routes to play. In the Black Eagles route, one decision will change the direction of whom you side with. This in turn will change the timeskip route and your alliances in the process.
In a developer interview, Toshiyuki Kusakihara admitted his surprise that players would go through the game more than once. Despite largely playing through the same exact maps, but with different teams, the story would end with different twists, turns, and antagonists to fight. Theoretically, at least one playthrough should be sufficient to finish a game, such as the case of two highly successful JRPGs of this generation: Persona 5 and Dragon Quest XI. While one playthrough of Three Houses should suffice to clear a full game’s worth of story, you’ve still left many mysteries unsolved. The only way you’re going to unlock the full story is to clear the game three more times.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses features a New Game+ feature. This alone encourages a replay. In doing so, you can transfer over certain stats and abilities through the use of Renown. This functions similarly to the Grade Shop system in the Tales games. New Game+ modes allow you to transfer bits and pieces of your last playthrough over to your next one.
For the players who want a challenge, Maddening Difficulty was added in a post-release update. The Maddening Difficulty functions as the “Lunatic” or “Very Hard” mode of the game. With the New Game+ feature, players are encouraged to beat the game at least once so they can transfer over Renown and buff their characters as needed. Fire Emblem titles have allowed players to unlock more challenging difficulties for many years, dating as far back as Blazing Blade, if not sooner. Note that in Blazing Blade, players were encouraged to beat the game four times to play through every single difficulty level.
Bonding with Characters
Three Houses brims with personality across its entire roster. Typical for a Fire Emblem game, the title features many charming characters spread throughout the game. However, with the game split into four routes, each one will give you a chance to bond with different characters from their respective houses. Additionally, this will allow you to choose your partner over the course of four playthroughs
Fire Emblem: Three Houses brims with replay value and delight. It’s not a perfect game, but one that’s heavily enjoyable from start to finish. The gripping storyline and the choices you make will change with each playthrough. In order to uncover the true mystery of Foldan, Sothis, Seiros, Nemesis, and the motivations behind each Lord, you’ll have to play through it more than once. If your first playthrough is close to 100 hours then imagine sinking in roughly 400 hours when it’s all said and done. Plus, with the newly-released Cindered Shadows DLC, you’ll get an additional 8-10 hours worth of story content.
Normally, I clear games after one playthrough. If it has multiple endings or compelling extra content, like NieR: Automata, I’ll try and clear it 100%. As a longtime Fire Emblem fan, though, it’s hard for me not to clear this title and learn all of its lore. I’ve cleared multiple playthroughs of many games in the series, including all three routes of Fire Emblem Fates. Granted, this will take much longer than Fates ever did. But I would be lying if I said I wasn’t enjoying it.
How many times have you beaten Three Houses and what’s your favorite route? Let us know in the comments below.
Hello and welcome to my Smash Column. This week I’ll be discussing tips that can help you improve your Smash game! Whether you’re playing online or training for a tournament, you’ll want to make sure your strategy and tactics align with your methods. Here’s a few things you can do to step your game up and put the edge over your opponent!
Force Their Approach
One thing that separates characters on the roster is their ability to approach. The key to note here is their mobility and special moves. Some characters are quick on the ground and in the air. Others might have a special move that helps them gain ground quickly. Still others might not have either. And finally, you’ll have projectile characters who play defensive. They’re trying to force your approach instead.
Against a Dedede I fought online, I realized that he has no approach options. Due to his slow mobility on the ground, and in the air, I could keep distance and force his other options. Once he realized his projectiles, Gordo, were no longer working, I could keep my space and play neutral how I wanted to. Around 2:50, I decided to quit approaching for punishes and let him come to me.
The best time to force your opponent’s approach is when you have a stock advantage. Because of course that’s when they have to come to you. Otherwise they risk losing via time-out.
Being at Stock Disadvantage
If you’re behind, but want to play smart, the key here isn’t to force approaching your opponent. Rather, start cornering them. Take up the ground near them where they try and bait you out. Keep a safe distance and mind their burst options, or attack range. If they can’t hit you, you’re safe. Get space between the middle of the stage and the edge, perhaps cornering them and forcing them to pull out an option. If it’s unsafe, punish it. This is one way you can begin making a comeback even if you’re struggling.
The most important thing you can do, during a match, is to breathe. Remain in control and never feel overwhelmed by your opponent. If you feel your shoulders slinking or your eyes bulging, you may be losing control to your opponent. Remember to take deep breaths and remain focused. In through your nose, out through your mouth. Remaining calm and not getting heated means you maintain control through the end of your set.
Apply Methods to Your Strategy
Know the difference between strategies and tactics. Your strategy is “what” you’re trying to accomplish. Your tactics are “how” you’re going to do it or what method you’re choosing.
In this match, I know what I want to do: desync the Ice Climbers. In doing so, I force the player to chase and rescue his Nana in order to perform his combos. However, if he cannot get Nana in time, I can KO her. Likewise, the energy he spends trying to rescue her leaves him almost defenseless.
But my tactics and methods vary. For instance, if my goal is to desync the Climbers, I’ll grab one of them. If I grab Popo, Nana is too dumb to punish. If I accidentally grab Nana, Popo, controlled by the player, can smack me in retaliation. In turn, he’ll chase after Nana and gain the advantage.
Anytime they’re not syncing properly, and I notice their movement is off, I can go in. Nana doesn’t know what to do when the player flubs an input. Use a dash attack or something fast just to throw them off. This will force the player to make a choice: chase after Nana or defend themselves until she returns.
In this case, the strategy is desync. The tactic is to use dash attack, grab, or another fast move that generates decent knockback. Wait for your opportunity, and then strike. Charging headfirst into Blizzard or their disjointed aerials can end up costing you a stock. Make sure you breathe and stay mindful of your opportunities so you don’t feel overwhelmed.
The last thing I want to mention is being in disadvantage state. When you’re attacked by an opponent, you may fly away or you may fly upwards. If you fly away, you’re offstage and have to recover sideways. If you’re launched upwards, you’ll need to find a way to come back to the ground. Many players struggle with this for several reasons.
For one, some characters have a bad disadvantage state. Remember how I said some characters have good approach options while others don’t? The same applies to the disadvantage state. If you’re trying to land, some characters have speed moves, Down Aerials that come down quickly, or even teleports. Others are heavy, slow, and get juggled easily. That’s where you learn to save your airhop, airdodge at an appropriate time, and cross-up, or land opposite of your opponent’s direction.
If you’re launched offstage, you’ll have to recover to the ledge. Failure to do so means certain death. Getting edgeguarded means your opponent KO’d you offstage. Getting gimped means they used an attack that didn’t launch you, but stopped your recovery and all of your options.
In both cases, it becomes vital that you do not lose your mind over it. Everyone gets knocked into disadvantage state, even top players. It’s a natural process of getting hit. What you do to capitalize and return depends largely on your mentality, sense of control, and ability to adapt.
One video that helped me is from Poppt. Here’s a video explaining methods to get back to stage easier. If you like his content, be sure to subscribe to him for more helpful tips!
That’s all I have for this week’s Smash column. Be sure to stay tuned and follow AllCoolThings on Twitter for more updates on Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tips!
Did you learn anything from this column? What do you apply mentally when you’re struggling against an opponent? Let us know in the comments below!
As Super Smash Bros. Ultimate enters its second year, we’ve recently closed the chapter on one of its biggest tournaments: Frostbite 2020. Featuring 1,280 entrants, the supermajor (or international) tournament concluded with ranked #1 in the world, MKLeo, taking Maister 6-0 in Grand Finals.
However, aside from the Top 8 superstars who made it into the finals of the event, we’ll take this time to introduce some of the names made through pools. Some of these bracket-busters made huge waves using less familiar characters against some of the best players in the game.
You can view the full bracket here.
#1. Salem vs. Bonren
At the start of the set, Salem used Snake, the character he’s been using for most of his Ultimate career. Pitted against him was Bonren, a Texas Smash player using an infamous WiFi pariah, Zelda. Known for being a lower-tier character and driving people mad online, Bonren set out to prove this character was capable of standing against the best players offline. The result?
Bonren started off this set at a disadvantage until the middle of the first game. Making a comeback, he eventually pressed Salem with a well-timed back aerial, gaining a lead with a KO at only 92%. Bonren would then close out the first game with Din’s Fire on Snake’s lackluster recovery.
Perhaps one of the first matches to feature Zelda after the recent update, Bonren would stay with the Hylian Princess while Salem switched to Hero. However, without the use of Bounce to reflect Zelda’s projectile kit, Bonren would close out against Salem 2-0, once for Snake and once for Hero.
This match showcased that Zelda’s Din’s Fire buff, which received buffs during the last update, really made the difference. Overall, this match showed that, despite her seemingly-unreactable specials damning her as one of the most hated online characters, Zelda was now a threat in offline brackets as well.
#2. Hungrybox vs. RFang
“Upset” and “Hungrybox” don’t go together in the same sentence unless someone beats Hungrybox. Despite being the best player in Melee, however, Hungrybox had a wall to climb against the recent PGR inductee and #1 in South Carolina, RFang. Additionally, he had to fight his adversary using Jigglypuff, often looked down as one of the worst characters in the game.
And yet, in Game 1, RFang held a lead for the first part of the stock. Yet Hungrybox would not relent with his offense. He could not afford to keep Young Link at a distance. Yet Young Link’s small Kokiri Sword was small enough to clank, or even lose, to Jigglypuff’s long limbs. Using this to his advantage, he could not only take the lead, but even successfully edgeguard RFang several times.
Even after an SD at the start of Game 2, RFang managed to bring it back and maintain an even game. However, Hungrybox got exactly what he wanted: RFang on the ledge and vulnerable to edgeguards. Young Link’s Spin Attack recovery proved to be a deficit against Jigglypuff’s strong, wide Nairs. And with every time he was offstage, Hungrybox could garner damage with aerials or take the stock. At the end of the day, Melee’s Champion defeated the Beast of the Southeast, proving that he’s ready for his journey into Ultimate territory against its best players.
#3. ScAtt vs. Paseriman
Ranked 3rd in Georgia and 40th on the PGRU, Mega Man and Snake main, ScAtt, went up against Paseriman, a Fox from Japan. From the beginning of Game 1, Paseriman’s Fox kept the pressure on ScAtt. The latter could barely turn it around on the final stock when he was edgeguarded by Fox’s Nair offstage.
Switching to Snake Game 2, ScAtt could not keep the gap closed as well this time. Paseriman’s pressure and advantage state proved too much for the stealth veteran, leading him to 2-0 victory against Georgia’s Blue Bomber.
#4. Gackt vs. Grayson
Known largely as the best Ness in Japan and arguably the world, Gackt took on Grayson in pools. ROB, a character quickly gaining prominence in tournaments over the course of the last year.
Game 1 ended with Gackt already at a 91% deficit before Grayson would end the match with a USmash combo. Despite Gackt’s strong zoning with PK Thunder near the beginning, Grayson would quickly assert his dominance and own counter-camping through the use of Gyro and Robo-Beams before going in with heavy rushdown.
In Game 2, Gackt maintained a much healthier lead around the 2nd stock mark. Upon the last stock scenario though, Grayson once again asserted dominance at the ledge. Starting with a hefty ledgetrap, Grayson would catch Gackt heading into the other direction and deliver one last grab combo to take the set 2-0.
I’ve always believed Zelda was better than players gave credit for. She was looked at as a mid-tier throughout Ultimate’s current lifespan. However, talented players online have at least showcased an ability not found in tournaments. It took Frostbite and one Zelda main to stand forth against Salem and prove this character was viable. Moreover, the recent buffs would certainly cement that this character could stand a chance against the roster.
Living in Georgia, I’m familiar with ScAtt and RFang. In Georgia, we don’t have any Fox players. Matchup practice against this character is about as dry as the Gobi Desert. ScAtt definitely played well with his Mega Man against Perseriman. Perhaps that might prove the matchup is at least even in that regard.
As for Young Link, despite RFang’s loss in pools to Hungrybox, another player would take the mantle and drive the character to Top 8. Ohio’s own Toast, formerly from North Carolina, proved his dominance against a number of top level players to make it this far. Having not only bore witness to Hungrybox’s Jigglypuff on his stream, but also playing the man himself online, I could attest that I was not entirely surprised by his win over RFang.
Also, Grayson lives in Texas, the same state in which one of the best Ness mains in the U.S. lives: Awestin. While it’s only a theory, perhaps the matchup practice proved worthy for the ROB main at Frostbite.
Overall, one thing this tournament proved is that SSBU maintains a number of sleepers, which include players and characters alike. While Frostbite was full of upsets throughout the bracket, you could take a look at 4 of the more prominent pools matches that turned heads this past weekend. Be sure to check out more of the Frostbite VODs on the official VGBootCamp channel!
Did you watch Frostbite? Do you have a favorite player or match? Let us know in the comments below!
2009 began the renaissance of fighting games. With the release of Street Fighter IV, the gaming industry would see a drastic change in the approach to fighting games over the course of the next decade. That generation would see the first balance patches for fighting games, DLC, large numbers of players entering major tournaments, and even developers supporting their respective communities. Netherrealm Studios would sponsor $10,000 pot bonuses for tournaments while major figureheads and developers, like Tekken creator, Katsuhiro Harada, would attend EVO and Final Round.
SNK never had the following of Street Fighter, Marvel vs. Capcom, or Tekken, at least not in a America. Certain regions of Asia and Mexico value the King of Fighters as one of the most prominent fighting games. Meanwhile, many players in the west got their taste of SNK through the heavily successful crossover title, Capcom vs. SNK 2. Featuring Terry Bogard, Rock Howard, Kyo Kusanagi, and many others, CvS2 would introduce these players to SNK franchises for the very first time. Despite this, SNK would still maintain only a niche following in America.
The King of Fighters XIV released in 2016. Despite SNK trying to capitalize on the modern successes of fighting games, The King of Fighters XIV’s momentum never quite picked up in the U.S. Most prominently, the visual models were not considered appealing. From King of Fighters ’94 to King of Fighters XIII, all used animated sprites. XIV was the first to use 3D modeling. Even after SNK released a patch, the game had already made its impression on the players and would fade into obscurity. Also of note, EVO 2017 featured the game, but notably, only one American player made it into the Top 8. Compared to other games, the Top 8 of KOF XIV featured global talent with only one American player.
Most recently, however, SNK released Samurai Shodown for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The first Samurai Shodown title released in many years, it offers a unique gameplay style. Featuring slower combat, with hits that deal massive amounts of damage, it quickly gained a following. As a result, the title was featured as an event at EVO 2019. Despite the game’s poor online netcode driving many players away from online matches, it maintains a following for local tournament scenes. Furthermore, SNK will release the title on Nintendo Switch later this year.
But perhaps the single most prominent element of this topic is the inclusion of Terry Bogard in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Revealed as the 4th DLC character for Nintendo’s popular fighting game franchise, Terry Bogard brought with him not only his fighting style, but Terry’s King of Fighters Stadium stage with his DLC pack, many character models from the KOF series, and music from Fatal Fury, King of Fighters, Samurai Shodown, Athena, Psycho Soldier, Ikari Warriors, Alpha Mission, and even Metal Slug. Furthermore, Smash creator, Masahiro Sakurai, elaborated heavily on the importance of SNK in fighting games and even how much their games influenced Smash with its mechanics.
Point #1: Make a Visually Appealing Title
Samurai Shodown uses an art style similar to Street Fighter IV and V. They’re going with what has proven to work in the market. Bandai Namco has stuck with beautiful character models for SoulCalibur and Tekken, while Arc Systems Works sticks to its animated sprites featured in Dragon Ball FighterZ and BlazBlue Cross Tag.
Notably, Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite received heavy criticism over its character models. Among Dante, Chun-Li, and others, the game’s lack of visual appeal helped keep it away from EVO, among other reasons. Despite Marvel vs. Capcom being a longtime mainstay at the EVO championships, EVO 2018 was perhaps the first time the series missed out. Even though these character models would later be fixed, perhaps this was a case of, “too little, too late.”
SNK would benefit greatly from revamping their direction on visual models and animation. While one can argue “graphics don’t make a game,” these arguments help solidify that games that garner low reception for their visuals will not reap the benefits of its competition.
Point #2: Make the Netcode the Most Efficient Possible
As mentioned earlier, Samurai Shodown features less-than-stellar netcode. It’s bad enough that you’re likely to never find a random match online despite the game being out for only a year. Whatever keeps online fighting games active for years hasn’t worked for SNK thus far. Netcode is important for the online players who want to consider getting into competitive tournaments. Without reliable online play, players will give up on the game. If they have no local, offline scene, they will simply move onto the next game to play.
Keep in mind, however, that SNK has already begun using rollback netcode with thanks to Code Mystics for porting their games to modern systems. For a long story short, it’s better than the standard netcode used in online fighting games. With that being said, Code Mystics began updating their ports of classic SNK games for Steam and PS4. Garou, KOF 97, SamSho V Special, and The Last Blade 2 all feature rollback netcode.
Point #3: Capitalize on a Nintendo Switch Release.
Consider that Samurai Shodown is coming to Nintendo Switch. Now also consider that Terry Bogard is in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. For those unaware, Super Smash Bros. serves as a fantastic marketing tool for game franchises. Perhaps the most notable example would be the inclusion of Marth and Roy in Super Smash Bros. Melee. Despite the Fire Emblem series being exclusive to Japan at the time, fans demanded Fire Emblem come to America out of curiosity for these characters. Two years later, Fire Emblem: Blazing Blade would come to America. This would begin the series’ journey to the west with nearly every installment being released overseas. Moreover, it would continue the tradition of new Fire Emblem lords getting into Smash, most notably with the release of Byleth in Smash from Fire Emblem: Three Houses. Even Sakurai himself admitted that Byleth’s inclusion for Smash was part of marketing on Nintendo’s part to promote the game.
Another example of Smash marketing would be the release of Hero in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Immediately after showcasing the Hero trailer at E3 2019, Nintendo showcased a trailer for his home game, Dragon Quest XI S. This was timed purposely to garner interest among fans to try the next big game on Nintendo’s console. By marketing Hero, they market Dragon Quest.
The best possible thing that SNK can do is to capitalize on Terry’s inclusion in Smash. It goes without saying that this would include a brand new fanbase of Nintendo fans, many who are new to The King of Fighters, to try the latest release in the series. As Joker’s release in Smash even garnered prominent members of the Smash community to stream Persona 5, releasing King of Fighters on Smash’s console would not even necessitate players to get another console just to try the game. Now you have Terry players and curious Smash fans trying The King of Fighters and ensuring the game becomes successful.
I played Capcom vs. SNK 2 back in the day. I was never a competitive fighter, though. I just enjoyed the characters and stories. Eventually I tried The King of Fighters 2002 Unlimited Match on Xbox 360 and really enjoyed it. I loved the music and character animations. But the release of Terry completely caught my attention in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. I ended up using this character competitively in brackets and fell in love with his moveset. But I also became enamored by all the music and SNK lore that came with his inclusion. It prompted me to download several King of Fighters titles and even some of the titles included from Code Mystics’ ports on PS4.
I would definitely consider myself a newer KOF fan in that regard. But I would love to watch it succeed. I want SNK to capitalize on the foundation Nintendo has already given them through Smash. And I want the loud criticism from unsatisfied fans to help guide SNK into crafting the best fighting game possible. It’s a beautiful thing to know that they support local tournaments that host their games. But I would love to see their investment capitalize into a fresh start and introduce a new generation of fans to their stylistic character designs, battle mechanics, and fantastic music.
If you would love to see The King of Fighters XV come to Nintendo Switch, let us know in the comments below. What is your favorite SNK game memory?