Rango’s Smash Column – Everyone Plays Wi-Fi Tournaments Now.

Wi-Fi Replaces Real Life Tournaments

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.

Local Scenes

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.

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!

Do you plan on entering online tournaments? If you’re entering or watching, let us know if you see any worth checking out!

Rango’s Smash Column – Post-CEO Dreamland, Roy, and New Matchups.

Smash Column 3/19/20 – Using New Characters

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.

Counterpicking

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.

-2 means heavily losing matchup while +2 means heavily winning matchup.

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!

CEO Dreamland: What You Missed at Orlando’s Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Tournament.

CEO Dreamland

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!

The Tournament

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.

The Venue

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.

Overall

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.

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.

Sunday, the Super Smash Bros. Melee and Ultimate tournaments, won by Hungrybox and Samsora respectively, concluded. After the event, Jebailey sent out one last video thanking the fans and attendees.

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

Rango’s Smash Column – The Status of Ike in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

The Radiant Hero.

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.

Not-So-Humble Beginnings

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.

Marss would later echo similar sentiments.

A New Beginning

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.

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.

https://www.smashtierlist.com/

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.

Final Thoughts

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.

Learning more characters will also help your understanding of the game.

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.