Hello and welcome to Rango’s Smash Column! In this edition, I want to step back from the competitive scene and talk about one of the most fun aspects of Smash: Spirits and Trophies. The lore behind spirits and trophies details some of the finest aspects of the history of the series represented in Smash. Each Trophy and Spirit has a story to tell and invites you to their world.
With that being said, I’ve been doing a little bit of research into the Spirits and Spirit Battles of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. By connecting the dots, I wanted to compare the Spirits represented by other characters. To my surprise, I found some fascinating parallels among several of my favorites.
I can’t say that I’m a huge fan of collecting Spirits. Honestly, I buzzed through World of Light in a few days, cleared it 100%, and that was it for me. However, I still can’t help but appreciate the work it took to get thousands of characters into the game. Although the Spirits replaced the fully rendered Trophies from games before, I still appreciate the representation that went into them.
The Allure of Trophies
Trophies became a thing in Super Smash Bros. Melee in 2001. Originating from the character bios in Super Smash Bros. for N64, Trophies featured fully-rendered models of characters, stages, and items in Smash.
These not only included in-game references but those outside of Smash as well. That is to say, a multitude of characters and other references from Nintendo’s history appeared as unlockable trophies.
Players could decorate their collection, add background filters, or just spend minutes reading up on Nintendo lore. To be absolutely honest, the appeal of Trophies had me wanting to play dozens of Nintendo games. Metroid was among the many titles I badly wanted to play from reading Trophy lore.
While Melee offered several third-party trophies, such as the Proximity Mine from Rare’s Perfect Dark, Brawl began to take more cues from outside of Nintendo’s universe. Trophies from Sonic the Hedgehog and Metal Gear Solid debuted in Smash. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U was the first title to offer HD Trophies and brought some of the most beautifully rendered designs in Smash history.
The Appeal of Spirits
Unlike previous Smash titles, Ultimate does not include Trophies. The absolute multitude of having to design thousands of characters into fully-rendered Trophies sounds absolutely maddening. However, the Smash team still opted to give multiple characters representation detailed as images with custom passive abilities or stat boosts. The World of Light mode harbored Spirits across different worlds.
How about an entire area dedicated to Street Fighter II?
Despite the scaling back to Spirits, one of the most interesting facets is how many non-Nintendo franchises are included even in spite of previous third-party representations. Rayman, Shantae, Shovel Knight, Resident Evil, Octopath Traveler, Bravely Second, and the Mana series number among the many titles which received representation within Smash in some capacity.
One of the best things to happen to the Spirit Board came from Sephiroth’s inclusion in Smash Ultimate. Unlike Cloud’s inclusion in Smash 4, Square-Enix decided to compliment Sephiroth’s release with several new remixed songs and open the door for Final Fantasy VII Spirits as well.
Another interesting facet is how the Spirit correlates with its respective fighter. For instance, they represent Ike with other heavyweight swordfighters including Magnus from Kid Icarus, Sigurd from Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War, Hendrik from Dragon Quest XI, and Ephraim from Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones. Ike shares traits with these Spirits including their similar tank stats for HP, Attack, and Defense. Plus they all have something in common with their never-back-down personalities.
Another favorite, Cloud, represents two characters from Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and one from Astral Chain. While I already liked Kyle from Astral Chain, his intrinsic connection to Cloud only resonated with me further. Plus, I noticed Cloud was represented by Zeke even before meeting him in Xenoblade Chronicles 2. Despite this, Cloud and Zeke contrast heavily in personality!
If you’re interested in checking who represents who as Spirits, I recommend checking SSBWiki and searching for your favorite characters. The connections might surprise you and might even lead you to discover a new favorite character.
Spirits and Trophies always fascinated me. Even today, I’m discovering series I’ve never played before and learning new things about them. Trophies helped get me into tons of Smash series through their fascinating descriptions and Spirits continued the tradition.
I always found it fascinating how Sakurai would determine who goes with who. Like why Roy represents Garet from Golden Sun or why Chrom represents Matthew from the same series.
Smash has always been a museum of sorts for Nintendo history. It later gained its status as a massive library for gaming history with its addition of many third-party universes. It’s astounding to see how far it’s come and how many players discovered new franchises just because of a Trophy or a Spirit.
Do you have a favorite Trophy or Spirit? If these influenced your decision to try a new game series, share your story in the replies. As always, be sure to Like our page and follow our social media channels. Keep up with our quality gaming content and be sure to Like our main page!
Disclaimer: If you play competitive Smash in the state of Georgia and want to come to one of these tournaments, 4o4 esports is located at 6035 Peachtree Rd Suite C-220, Atlanta, GA 30360. Every Thursday, 4o4 esports hosts a Smash Ultimate tournament and adheres to the COVID CDC guidelines. Visit their page to learn more.
Welcome to Rango’s Smash Column and what a week it’s been! While I initially planned to write a column on salt, frustration, and how to deal with it, I feel a more pressing matter has come to mind: the return of Georgia Smash local tournaments!
While 4o4 esports has been hosting smaller-level local tournaments in an attempt to bring back the offline competitive Smash Bros. scene, last week’s April 29th tournament brought in 64 entrants and 720 viewers in its Twitch chat. Among those in chat included tournament organizers and talent across the country, including Benny, 2GG Strides, and Dabuz. Meanwhile, players in attendance included Fatality, LordMix, Kola, and Mugen (formerly known as HyperKirby).
You can watch the full tournament here.
What it Means for Tournaments to Return.
The most pressing part of this tournament comes from two factors. One, the return to offline tournaments in other regions draws nearer. Tournament organizers and players will surely take note of this successful event. Following COVID guidelines, such as wearing masks in the venue, other scenes across the U.S. will surely be able to run tournaments safely before long. Thanks to the rising availability of the COVID vaccinations, players should be allowed to attend and compete in tournaments sooner than later.
However, the more pressing and long-term consequence of this tournament comes from all the eyes on the stream. Years ago, during the Smash 4 era, the most prominent scenes in the country included Tristate (NY, NJ, PA), SoCal (Southern California), and Florida. The Midwest, NorCal, and Texas began to grow in strength over the course of Smash 4’s prominence and into the dawn of Ultimate. However, Georgia was considered a state with limited talent with the outside looking in. Save for the most prominent members of the Georgia’s Power Rankings (PR), Georgia had some talented players but was largely overlooked as one of the major threats in the Smash scene.
Georgia’s Rise to Prominence.
Although Georgia had incredibly daunting players, such as Fatality and ScAtt, the state’s talent quickly began to grow during the beginning of Ultimate. Kola (formerly known as SaltOne) and HyperKirby began to take out the state’s PR players. Among these also included Sonido who quickly rose in the ranks as a top Sonic main. Several of these players were either considered for the Panda Global Rankings or entered Area 51 which heralded the honorable mention section. Before long, numerous players across Georgia began challenging the top players of the state and landing upsets in the process.
Numerous players called the 4o4’s tournament stacked. After all, the bracket included 64 players including a number of proficient players. But perhaps even more pressing was the number of times I saw “Georgia is the best scene in the U.S.” While the state’s top-level talent has proven to show effective results in national tournaments, such as Fatality’s #2 placing at 2GG Civil War in Smash 4, these same players are laying it on the line against the new standard of competition within the state.
Long story short, Georgia’s talented players are constantly on the rise. The current PR extends to a Top 15 with an honorable mentions section. However, this only showcases the tip of the iceberg among the Georgia state talent. Previously, it was not uncommon for state scenes to have roughly 5 high-level players ranked before a skill gap separated them from the rest of their state’s talent. However, as time went on, players practiced the game, got better, and continued to enter competitions. Compared to the mid-to-late 2010s, Georgia is brimming with talented, high-level players.
Among the notable rising talent in Georgia includes Kevetex, a Chrom main, and Fallen Thunder, who mains Steve. Both of these players successfully eliminated Fatality in Winner’s and Loser’s bracket, respectively. Preem, an Inkling main, also made his way to Top 16 and took a game off of Mugen in Winner’s. Meanwhile, Dusk, a Roy main, brought his way to Top 8 before his elimination by Vivid, a Toon Link.
Despite the rise of new talent in the scene, both Winner’s Finals and Grand Finals featured Mugen vs. Kola. The two players that dominated the Ultimate tournaments in the first year of Georgia tournaments retained their reputation by making it to the final match in this tournament. Two of the greatest rivals in Georgia’s history, also quite possibly Georgia’s best doubles team, continue to pave the way forward for the rest of the state’s rising talent to follow.
However, Mugen and Kola only number two of the dozens of players rising up the ranks in Georgia. Among the many players that competed, worked their asses off, and achieved the highest results they have in their tournament careers, the crown is up for grabs. It’s anyone’s game and if there’s one thing Georgia players do well, it brings out the best in each other in competition. We love to compete and we hate to lose.
The Key to Victory.
As long as Georgia players continue to foster growth, we can become the greatest Smash scene in history. With the spark ignited by 4o4 esports’ tournament, this state could become a major hub with new eyes set on Georgia’s Smash events. As a competitor myself, I feel excited returning to tournaments as well.
Are you keeping up with Smash Ultimate tournaments during the pandemic? If you keep up with watching tournaments or compete in them, let us know in the replies below. Keep up with All Cool Things on social media to stay updated with the latest content. We’ll keep you posted on the Georgia Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tournament scene!
Earlier this month, Nintendo released Pyra and Mythra to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. As part of Fighter Pass 2, this duo-unit can swap on a dime akin to Zelda and Sheik in past Zelda titles. However, more in line with the Echo Fighters of Smash, Pyra and Mythra share a similar moveset albeit with major differences in frame data, properties, and their Special moves.
After a week to try them out, how do Pyra and Mythra fare in the competition? I’ve been playing them online against a number of players and I gotta say they handle incredibly well. As someone who generally favors swordfighters and melee-type battlers, I think this is one of the best DLC characters I’ve played as!
I’ve given myself a few days to work out their mechanics and understand the fundamental differences between the two. Overall, Pyra hits harder and launches much sooner. Meanwhile, Mythra moves faster, can combo off of nearly anything, and her recovery is marginally better. This is thanks both to her Side B, Photon Edge, moving across wide gaps while her Up B recovery moves can briefly launch her upwards.
Together, with her faster air speed, she’s the better choice when moving back to the stage from a disadvantage. But take note not to get launched as her weight is 92 compared to Pyra’s 98, making her easier to KO as a result. With that said, I want to take the time to cover my findings with you and show you a bit of what the latest Smash DLC fighters are capable of.
Mythra, the damage dealer.
The Aegis’ true form wields a light-elemental blade. Mythra boasts minuscule damage and KO power for an incredible combo game and her ability to get away with nearly every button press. Imagine Marth without a sweetspot but moves with Meta-Knight’s speed. Plus she has Foresight, a dodge-counter ability similar to Bayonetta’s Bat Within.
Mythra is most fond of staying up in the enemy’s face to rack up as much damage as possible. Her frame data all but ensures that she will get away with whiffs while stuffing most offense attempts with her priority. However, she won’t get a KO with anything but FSmash which, at best, kills around 90% on the ledge. While you can hit a Forward Throw tech-chase mixup into this, her KO ability feels quite limited.
In the early Mythra meta, players have found a way to use her Neutral B move, Lightning Buster, into mixups. She can use it to ledgetrap as well as followup from a platform hit. While this will boast her damage dealing a little more, Mythra is best suited to building up damage until she switches out to Pyra.
Pyra, the killer.
Whereas Mythra plays more akin to Marth and Meta-Knight, Pyra feels more comfortable to the Roy and Ike player. Her heavier weight, slower speed,and flame sword attacks will feel right at home to any players of Roy and Ike. It also goes without saying that her impactful KO game contends among them as well.
Pyra has better range on her flame sword and multiple ways to KO an opponent. Her Up Aerial can KO off the top while Forward Aerial is better suited to edgeguarding. Back Aerial can also KO off the top, as well as auto-cancel, while Down Aerial can spike opponents using a large sweetspot.
In neutral, Pyra can end matches with Foward Smash within 70%. Up Smash and Prominence Revolt, her Up B, can also end matches under 100%. Dash attack can punish landings at a distance and a charged Flame Nova will not only end stocks but break shields. In short, Pyra will end matches with among the most reliable KO ability in the game.
And that’s not to say her combo game isn’t without strength either. Pyra’s best starters come from Down Tilt and Down Throw. Plus her Side B, Blazing End, makes for a fantastic projectile. It starts relatively quickly and lingers for over a second making it ideal for camping and ledge-trapping. In the air, it will also KO around the 130% mark to punish landings.
Until I see their meta continue, I don’t think I’m going to switch over to them as secondaries, or at least not yet. They definitely give me everything I could ask for in a fighter, or pair of fighters rather. However, given that I have most of my bases covered with Pyra’s strength, Mythra’s speed, and a little of both with my current swordsmen, they’ll largely be my casual fighters to use online.
However, that’s not at all to discount their ability in competitive Smash. All DLC characters from Fighter Pass 2 have proven to be relevant choices in the meta. Pyra and Mythra, right now, I would place in A-Tier. The only things really barring them from S-Tier are their lackluster recovery. Now, while bad recovery hasn’t impeded strong characters in the past, such as Wolf or Smash 4 Cloud, Pyra and Mythra don’t have a Limit mechanic to improve their recovery either.
Pyra falls like a stone with a single vertical option which you can punish. Mythra, speaking of Cloud, does not auto-snap the ledge off of her Side B. Overshoot the ledge and you’ll land on the stage and die to a ledge-trap. Undershoot it and you’ll fall just shy of the ledge-snapping point.
Their strengths, collectively, come from their range and their incredibly useful Special move options. Their Side B moves, in particular, cover various options. Photon Edge can punish nearly anything while Blazing End functions as one of the strongest projectile damage-dealers in the game. Even though Pyra becomes unable to attack during Blazing End, she can evade enemy attacks and move freely.
I see them hitting Ike and Roy’s level being not-quite top tiers but good enough to contend with most of the roster. They might lack recovery and edgeguarding options but while Mythra deals damage without punishment, Pyra will put the competitive meta on notice with her ridiculous KO power.
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Earlier this week, Nintendo dropped the latest DLC characters for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: Pyra and Mythra. Hailing from the Nintendo Switch JRPG, Xenoblade Chronicles 2, these two can transform into each other akin to Zelda and Sheik from previous Smash Bros. titles. Utilizing a similar moveset, however, Pyra and Mythra feature notable differences in their abilities.
The latest release also features the 11.0.0 patch. This includes an update that allows you to disconnect stray wireless controllers. For players who participated in offline tournaments, this will be a godsend once the pandemic ends. Furthermore, the latest update included a number of character balance changes. You can read the full patch notes here.
Pyra and Mythra feature a new stage as well as numerous tracks from their home game. This includes 3 new remixes for Smash. You can also find some new Spirits from Xenoblade Chronicles 2 as well as spirits from two recent Nintendo Switch releases: Ghosts ‘n Goblins Resurrection and Persona 5 Strikers.
With that being said, let’s discuss the new fighters, shall we?
Pyra and Mythra
Showcased in February’s Nintendo Direct, this duo-fighter enters with a plethora of fast and powerful sword techniques. While the two largely share the same moveset, Mythra focuses more on speed while Pyra focuses more on damage and KO launch power. While this approach is akin to an Echo Fighter, they share a single slot!
Mythra focuses on speed sword techniques similar to Roy and Marth. Her Photon Edge is a fantastic horizontal punisher that sweeps across much of the stage. Mythra can also use Forward Throw to tech-chase into multiple options including a killer Foward Smash near the ledge at just under 100%.
Pyra, on the other hand, focuses more on powerful single strikes akin to Roy and Ike. While she’s far less mobile than Mythra, she’s effective at KOing at early percents. All of her Smash attacks can KO under 100% as well as her dash attack, Flame Nova, and Prominence Revolt. Finally, Pyra’s Blazing End serves as an effective projectile that deals tremendous damage.
How Mythra and Pyra Could Affect the Meta.
Mythra boasts incredible speed in the air and on the ground. She’s quite effective for dealing damage at early percents, punishing landings and whiffs with Photon Edge. I tend to use her at the start of the round to rack up damage while keeping a mobility advantage. She can soften up the foe a bit while avoiding damage and striking combos.
Pyra, on the other hand, comes out around the 60% mark, on average, to finish the job. To even consider KOing around such a mid-percent sounds insane at first. But when you use Pyra’s Forward Smash you’ll quickly see why she’s incredible. Take Roy’s Forward Smash, double the range, and lose the sourspot. While’s it’s a bit slower than the former, it makes up with its incredible range.
I’ve also found Pyra’s Down Smash to effectively break partially-weakened shields. Flame Nova, with a full charge, can also penetrate shields. Another thing is that, if you want to use Pyra throughout the match, throwing out Blazing End makes for an effective zoning tool that will force the enemy to approach. This makes up for Pyra’s lack of speed on the ground.
Mythra is overall great at approaching and her speedy attacks can often get the first hit on opponents. Her Up Moves, which include Ray of Punishment and Chroma Dust, can also edgeguard opponents. Try launching a foe, snapping the ledge, and using one of the two as your opponent attempts to recover.
On that note, I would now like to touch upon the most recent update.
Four of the top tiers, Palutena, Joker, Wario, and Zero Suit Samus. Palutena received nerfs to her dash attack, forward aerial, and standing grab. Joker also received endlag nerfs on both Eiha and Tetrakarn/Makarakarn, thus leaving him more susceptible to punishment on whiff. Meanwhile, Wario received shorter duration on his Up Tilt and several charge levels of his Waft ability. For players struggling with these characters in battle, surely this will come as a breath of fresh air. Finally, Zero Suit Samus is now more vulnerable when landing on Neutral Aerial, and Boost Kick starts slower than before.
On the flipside, several characters received buffs. Captain Falcon and Ganondorf can now act after using their respective Up B moves. Until recently, if they used their Up B against opponents offstage, they could tech the move and edgeguard Falcon/Ganondorf before they could react. Known as “rockcrocking” or “tech-checking,” this left them at a disadvantage. This recent patch will allow them to act faster to avoid the counterattack.
Furthermore, Pichu received minor buffs. He got intangibility on his ears for Neutral Aerial which will give him more attack range without getting punished up close. Plus his recoil damage was lessened considerably on several of its moves. While Pichu was initially seen as a top tier in the early meta, several nerfs brought him down a bit while Pikachu climbed to the top tier. However, perhaps these new buffs might close the gap between the two Pokemon once more.
But perhaps the most startling change involved Byleth. After a year since their release in Fighter Pass 1, Byleth’s Down Aerial and Down Smash, both of which use the axe Aymr, will launch opponents to the blast zone sooner. Down Aerial will also break shields sooner. These slow moves now feel less like “high risk, low reward” moves and will prove to be major tools thanks to their superior launching power. Byleth’s Up B, Sword of the Creator, will also KO sooner and starts up faster. You can use it to chain into Areadbhar.
Pyra and Mythra look like dangerous characters. They’re fast, strong, and when used in harmony, might turn the tide in the meta. As a fan of sword and melee characters, I’m looking forward to using them in battle more. I would love to see how they change up the current meta.
The nerfs to the top tiers were, as always, greatly appreciated. Anything to level the playing field for Ike is welcome in my book. Meanwhile, buffs for Byleth also make my day. I was using Byleth when he first came out and wanted to use him as a potential secondary. Sad to say he ended up being a lower-end character on the tier list. But these powerful buffs to Byleth’s toolkit might make the difference in his tournament performance and future tier placement.
I also cannot get over how great it is that we can now turn off Pro Controllers that aren’t being used. Anyone who hosted a tournament, or even participated, knows the frustration this would bring. The previous player’s Pro Controller, on a tournament setup, still being active yet could not be disconnected was a major inconvenience at events. Once the COVID pandemic ends and we can enter tournaments again, this will be one of the most appreciated changes in the patch.
I’ll be keeping the Smash Column updated and may get to add some of my Pyra/Mythra matches to the feature. Be sure to stay tuned for our updates. In the meantime, follow our social media links. Keep up with AllCoolThings as we follow Smash Ultimate into the last 2 entries in Fighter Pass 2.
Since I recently finished Sega’s Yakuza spin-off, Judgment, I immediately found myself going in to finish the next game I was closest to beating: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD for Wii U. While I was around 20 hours in some weeks ago, I can happily say that I’ve finished the game!
In the midst, I’ve also been playing my fair share of Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury. Nintendo’s latest hit for the Switch brought forth quite possibly the best Mario game in existence as well as an expansion to the title. Though Super Mario 3D World, originally released for Wii U, was good enough to release standalone, the Bowser’s Fury expansion definitely sweetened the deal.
As always, I’m still playing Smash, Fire Emblem Heroes, and even finally picked back up my copy of Final Fantasy XV after three months of neglect. With that said, what are you playing this month?
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD
Finishing The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD gave me clarity on an old favorite. Though I beat the original Wii release in 2006, I revisited the game on GameCube several years later. While I found the latter marginally better due to the controls, both releases of Twilight Princess featured a few glaring issues. Perhaps the biggest was that enemies barely damaged Link which trivialized combat throughout the game.
The HD remaster not only condenses these fetch quests immensely but gives you the option to bolster the enemy difficulty. Using the Ganondorf amiibo will double enemy damage. Playing on Hero Mode will not only boost enemy damage but also keep Hearts from spawning in the field. You could even quadruple the enemy damage by stacking the two if you like.
In one fell swoop, Nintendo not only managed to restore a classic in HD but fixed the most glaring problems the original title suffered from. Plus they even added the Cave of Shadows which is a new enemy gauntlet that you can tackle in Wolf form. You can view a list of changes here.
This remaster makes Twilight Princess HD the definitive version of the game and one that will hopefully come to Nintendo Switch later this year.
Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury
I might have said this before, but Super Mario 3D World is my favorite Mario platformer. Not counting the RPGs like Super Mario RPG and Paper Mario, it’s my favorite Mario game thanks to its incredible level of polished design. I honestly believe it’s on the same tier as Super Mario Galaxy and its sequel, all of which were designed by the same team.
Nintendo not only ported 3D World to the Switch but even added a few quality-of-life improvements. Perhaps the most stunning is that you now move at 1.5x speed which streamlines the levels even more than before. Plus you can now play online with friends!
But let’s talk for a moment about the expansion, Bowser’s Fury. This new mode marries Super Mario Odyssey’s open-world gameplay with Super Mario 3D World’s controls and powerups. This new quest introduces an awesome, powerful version of the titular villain known as Fury Bowser.
With 100 Shines to collect, Bowser’s Fury offers between 5-10 hours of gameplay in this fun little campaign on Lapcat Island. It also includes offline co-op allowing a friend to play as Bowser Jr. to aide you. Whether you enjoy the Super Mario Sunshine references, the new music, or Odyssey’s gameplay, you’ll have plenty of reasons to try this lovable new expansion mode!
Final Fantasy XV
I can’t believe how long it’s been since I’ve owned this game. I bought it in 2017 and have still only just cleared the first few chapters. Even worse is when I shelved it in November 2020 and only just started playing it again. Thankfully, re-learning combat wasn’t the rude awakening I was afraid it might be.
Right now, I’m about to storm an Imperial base to get the Regalia back. I finished the Ramuh trials and I’m looking forward to finishing this chapter as well. I’m honestly hoping to finish Final Fantasy XV before XVI comes out.
Super Mario Galaxy
Welcome to my guilty pleasure. I have already cleared 120 Stars on all three games of Super Mario 3D All-Stars. So why am I playing Luigi mode in Super Mario Galaxy? Either because I hate myself or because I love the game that much.
As I mentioned earlier, Super Mario Galaxy is one of my favorite games of all time. At the time of its 2007 release, one could argue that it was the greatest game Nintendo has ever released. Its Metacritic score speaks volumes about not just its quality but how well it has lasted throughout 14 years. 3D All-Stars remastered the title in glorious HD and it still looks and plays like a charm.
However, while I already enjoyed my run-through as Mario, Luigi mode is literally just the same game over again except you jump higher and skid on surfaces; a tribute to Super Mario Bros. The Lost Levels. In the end, you get 120 Stars and unlock the opening level once more to collect one more star each: once as Mario, once as Luigi, for a total of 242 stars. No Grandmaster Galaxy or any such reward exists for doing so, either.
Fire Emblem Heroes
I subscribed to Feh Pass. I’ve continuously apologized to myself for the past week for doing this. After a year of resisting, I finally caved. With the amount of time I spend on this game, despite being F2P, I figured I might as well treat myself to some of the quality improvements. I already love continuously auto-battling through Tempest Trials+ without having to check my phone every minute as well.
Onto other modes, though, as usual, I know nothing of what I’m doing. I still teeter on Aether Raids Tier 19-20 and Arena Rank 17-19. I seldom play a number of modes, like Hall of Forms and Pawns of Loki. I figure since I’m finally subscribing to Feh Pass for $10 a month, I may as well try to get a little better at the game, right?
Xenoblade Chronicles 2
My on-and-off relationship with Xenoblade Chronicles 2 began since getting it in 2017 when it first came out. Unfortunately, I’ve just left this one largely on the backburner. It’s not a bad game and I even beat and enjoyed the first Xenoblade on the Wii. But when it comes to prioritizing my backlog, this one has scarcely been on my radar.
Thankfully, I decided to pick it up and play it for real. After a quick romp of re-learning some of the mechanics, I think I got a handle on everything for the most part. Blades, Cores, and all that complicated mess you don’t get in your standard JRPG really add to the learning curve. After 20+ hours I finally finished Chapter 3 and you know what that means!
I’ll be starting Chapter 4 soon. I enjoy watching the plot pick up from here. Hopefully, I can get Zeke soon and add him to my party. He’s my favorite character so far.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
I’m still kicking around online. In addition to tormenting myself on Elite Smash, I’m also playing in Best 3 out of 5 sets against noteworthy players. For starters, I managed to beat a notable DK player from North Carolina and one of my longtime rivals, KDK, in a set 3-2 using Terry. I also battled Deluxemenu and won 3-2 against his Bowser, but I’ve also lost to his Min-Min in two sets. Mr. E won 5-3 in a First to 5 and I fought a close set with NickRiddle which he took 3-2.
On the bright side, I’m feeling pretty good about this win. I lost to his Sephiroth hard with Roy but Terry gave me three wins. Can’t be mad about that.
While I still don’t intend to enter online tournaments yet, I’ll still keep it in the back of my mind just in case. Right now, I enjoy playing with my friends and other high-level players in competitive sets. As long as I get to do that, I’m happy.
Oh, and before I forget, here are some clips I can finally share with you!
Here’s MY Falcon Punch!
I’ll follow you to your grave.
Finally, here’s an Ike mini-montage I made last year with Aether spike finishes. It’s the one thing keeping Ike viable in this meta!
That’s all for this week’s Game Corner! What are you playing lately? Share in the replies below!
As always, don’t forget to follow our social media links below. Stay tuned for next time’s Game Corner as I’ll surely, hopefully, have made some more progress and maybe a new game or two added in there.
Welcome to the Smash Column! Last time, I pondered the idea that Ike might be the weakest character I use. Despite being the most skilled with him, the realization that he might be a B-Tier character with more than a handful of losing matchups dawned on me. However, he works so well against the likes of Pikachu and Bowser that even if he wasn’t already my main, I wouldn’t drop him.
This week, I want to cover the opposite side of the spectrum. Whereas many tournament players swear by Wolf being one of the best characters in the game, I’m on the verge of dropping him. While I cannot deny Wolf’s results in tournaments, thanks especially to Zackray and Larry Lurr, part of me wonders if he’s for me.
Who suits you?
While this is a topic I’ve discussed extensively in the past, I’ve learned that, naturally, you do better with characters that suit you. Just because players swear that Pikachu, Peach, and Joker are the top characters in the game doesn’t mean you’ll get top results using them. You might be more naturally inclined to use Snake, Palutena, or Wario instead. Even then, who says you need to use a top tier at all?
With that being said, I love Wolf both in Smash and as a character in Star Fox. He’s a mercenary who answers to nobody but himself. Wolf O’Donnell is a total badass and one of the greatest rivals in gaming history.
In Smash, I love that he’s heavier than Fox and Falco, deals immense damage off his attacks, has one of the single best projectiles in the game, and KOs early off Smash attacks and his back aerial. With that being said, Wolf has been one of my secondaries since Smash Ultimate came out.
Okay, so why not use Wolf?
What’s wrong with me, right? Why not use a borderline top-tier character? Even Larry swears that Wolf is the among best characters in the game.
Truth be told, I’m kinda bad with him. I don’t exactly get Wolf. I’ve spent dozens of hours playing the likes of Roy, Chrom, Terry, and Bowser to know that they’re right for me. Likewise, I’ve spent dozens of hours playing Mario, Cloud, Lucina, and Incineroar to know they’re not right for me.
Even the few times I played Joker online, I realized that though he feels overpowered at times, I just don’t have as much fun using him as I do the rest of my characters. With that being said, I find Wolf more fun than Joker as well as the rest of the top tiers. Wolf has a fluid and flexible game with an overwhelming selection of options.
However, Wolf is not without his weaknesses. You do so much as miss a confirm and your opponent will survive to 150% or higher every time. Wolf’s approach to killing moves, however, comes from a rather linear and predictable path. You either get the early KO off of his powerful killing moves or suffer while your opponent survives to ridiculous percents and KOs you under 100.
All-in-all, I feel like I’m doing well enough using my current assortment of characters. I feel Ike, Terry, Roy, and Bowser cover each other’s bad matchups well-enough to handle the roster. Even up against a threat like Greninja or another Bowser, I don’t think it’s remotely out of Ike’s league to handle if they’re his -1 matchups. However, against the likes of Samus, Palutena, ROB, and others, I feel it’s wise to cover your bases.
On the flipside, it’s like I said before. I enjoy using Wolf. He’s incredibly fun and feasible. He’ll do well against the likes of Palutena, Shulk, Zero Suit Samus, and other problem meta characters. He isn’t perfect but he can definitely bring the heat.
Regardless, just as I continue to make the mistake of playing Incineroar online, I still enjoy using my casual characters from time to time. While I love playing Wolf online, as a tourney character, he’s teetering right now. Not because he’s bad but because he might not suit me as well as the others.
That’s all for this Smash Column. I hope you find these entries to be entertaining and informative. Hopefully, you can also glean some material to help step-up your game as well.
Finally, make sure to follow us on our social media links below. I’ll keep you updated on my Smash journey with next month’s column. Until next time!
Welcome to Rango’s Smash Column! This week I want to discuss the competitive meta regarding my main, Ike.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve continued to play online to keep my skills honed. While I prepare for tournaments to return, I go back and forth trying out which characters I like most. In essence, I’ve largely filtered out which characters I plan to use in the competitive long run over those I enjoy but might not fit me.
For example, I love using Mario and Wolf. They’re also both high-tier characters. However, I don’t find certain parts of their top-level play to comfortably fit my style. Even though they cover certain matchups, I feel like I’m more comfortable limiting my roster to six.
With that being said, I’ve picked up Roy and Chrom since they’re both incredibly fun. Roy predominately since he’s quite possibly a top tier character, insanely fun to use, and covers several detrimental matchups for Ike. Among these include ROB, Zero Suit Samus, Fox, and Palutena.
In particular, Ike is my main and always will be. I’ll save you the story of how this came to be. However, what I will address is that he might actually be my lowest-tiered character right now.
What happened to Ike?
Please keep in mind these are personal experiences from me and should not represent the competitive meta as a whole. This includes online play which, due to COVID, has eclipsed offline play without the availability of tournaments.
Ike initially started as a high-tier character in the Ultimate meta. He won an early wave of success when MKLeo won the Smash Conference United tournament, the first major, in January 2019. Ever since that win, however, Ike began to slip from the meta as more people learned his matchup and found stronger characters. As such, MKLeo dropped him in favor of superior top tiers such as Lucina and Joker.
However, last year, Ike received several prominent buffs in Version 8.0.0. While losing part of his important Neutral Air combo, he gained strengths in his Aether (Up B) and Forward Aerial as a prominent KO move. You can read the full patch notes here.
Unfortunately, one thing we’ve learned from buffs in Smash is that they only take a character so far. Without proper mobility fixes, buffed characters will still remain in their place. Incineroar and King K. Rool number among two who received buffs yet still play in the lower tiers. However, Cloud’s buffs may have pushed him to the high tier thanks to several key buffs to an already agile character.
Ike benefits from tremendous early KO power and reach. With his weight at 107, he can also survive vicious blows which can wipe out most of the roster. He also has recovery mixups to make up for his mediocre air speed. This allows him to recovery horizontally, vertically, as well as onto a platform and autocancel.
His range allows him to play keep-away using Neutral Aerials as well as heavily punish would-be approaches. Ike also does a surprisingly good job against a number of troublesome top and high tiers. Most notably includes Pikachu who many agree is among the best characters in the game.
Finally, Ike’s grab game is marginally more robust than that of most sword characters. His Down Throw can combo into Forward Aerial and Up Aerial. These combos work well until 80% on most of the roster.
Unfortunately, due to Ike’s slower mobility, he lacks proper approach options against faster characters as well as those who particularly specialize with projectiles. I’ve always found Roy and ROB to especially be among Ike’s worst matchups. You can look up my match history with HyperKirby and Benny on YouTube if you want to see how bad they can be.
Against Roy, he loses aerial exchanges to Roy’s own faster disjoints and can get juggled heavily in disadvantage state. Offstage, Roy can cripple Ike for free with Counter or easily punish his other recovery options. ROB, on the other hand, is a master of zoning and forces Ike’s approach. While Ike can win these matchups, they can become quite difficult and even more so against someone who knows the matchup.
I’ve also found Ike to struggle particularly against Marth and Lucina as well as Palutena, Pac-Man, Zero Suit Samus, Fox, and Peach. The latter are what I call the “-1” or “slightly losing” matchups. But the most recent threat comes from the latest DLC character, Sephiroth. This fighter not only cleanly outranges Ike with his Masamune blade but also excels at zoning using his two projectiles, Flare and Shadow Flare.
Moreover, his edgeguarding can bring Ike to his knees and Scintilla will act as a Counter against Aether while recovering. Finally, Sephiroth’s recovery, especially in One-Winged Form, makes Aether spike much more difficult to bring him down with.
How the Smash Team Could Buff Ike.
One thing I wish is that Ike had a bit more range on his sword, Ragnell. In the Fire Emblem series, this two-handed weapon is one of the largest swords. Yet I’ve found myself losing range battles against the likes of Marth who uses a one-handed Falchion. I don’t understand why a greatsword would lose a ranged battle to a smaller weapon. This would be like Cloud, who wields the Buster Sword, losing in exchanges against Roy for instance.
I feel unless Ike gets mobility buffs, he may find himself dangling in the mid-tier of the game again. His buffs helped remedy several issues but not the more pressing matters which come from his slower mobility against projectiles. Proper counterplay can practically cripple him when using a more effective matchup. As it stands, I place Ike in B-Tier or the upper-mid tier.
For the record, the S-Tier (top) and A-Tier (high) fighters tend to have only a small handful of losing matchups. A-Tier characters are borderline top tier characters, such as Wolf, who have a few weaknesses holding them back from dominating the meta. Wolf, Mario, Link, and Pac-Man sit in A-Tier while Peach, Joker, Pikachu, and Snake sit in S-Tier.
Note that all tier placements are unofficial and based heavily around theory, hearsay. Smash Ultimate is the first title to not have an official tier list from the Smash Back Room. As such, the roster’s high tiers, such as Chrom, Snake, and Wario, tend to dance around A-Tier and S-Tier depending on who lists them.
I once found Ike to be one of my best characters. However, I feel that he might be just a tier beneath the rest of the fighters I tend to use. Chrom, Roy, Bowser, Terry, and Cloud sit around A-Tier but I firmly believe Ike places slightly below their level now. Despite that, he’s my favorite character by a mile and there’s no way I’m dropping him. He was a low tier in Brawl and Smash 4 and completely unviable in top-level tournament play despite my persistence using him.
Keep in mind, however, that he can win any matchup in Ultimate. He isn’t the victim of -3 matchups like Diddy, Sheik, Cloud, or Bayonetta as he was in Smash 4 or against Meta-Knight in Brawl. His chances of winning stem from proper matchup knowledge, strong fundamentals, patience, and adaptability. Ike still outplaces the likes of Little Mac, Jigglypuff, Isabelle, and K.Rool in the current metagame.
Having Trouble With Your Main? Find a Counterpick.
In the event that your main becomes nerf or the meta evolves to the point that they become weaker, one of the smartest things you can do is find a secondary. While the most important thing you can do with your main is to learn their bad matchups, sometimes you might not want to climb that uphill battle against someone with a clear advantage.
Smash players have argued before that solo-maining is important. There is some truth to this. S-Tiers and most A-Tiers, like Pikachu and Roy, can generally get by without a secondary. Even Roy’s weakness against Pikachu can be circumvented with the right counterplay and matchup mastery.
Melee pro Armada explains an argument on solo-maining. You can watch it here.
There’s a nugget of truth here. If you’re growing as a player and still grasping the fundamentals, I cannot stress enough that learning one character competitively is incredibly important. Learning new characters best comes when you’re feeling more confident with your main but you still have a couple of struggling matchups that don’t get easier anytime you play them.
However, counterpicking has saved my bacon several times both in competitive tournament matches and money matches out of bracket. It’s every bit as important to know your main as it is to sort out your tools and find what works best for you.
Importance of Counterpicking
With that being said, if you’re looking to broaden your horizons, I strongly recommend learning a new fighter. At the end of the day, your approach to the game is what counts. If you feel like your main isn’t cutting it and you could do better with another character, you’re better off learning what you’re capable of than to continue doing what isn’t working.
In my case, I’ll go to Smashcords, find a character I’m struggling with, and look up their matchup charts. If I see consistently that my main is losing to that character, then I have reason to believe it’s better to find a counterpick. In such a case, I’ll see who wins against them and pick which character I like the most out of those selections.
No one I use counters Greninja. Therefore, my best bet is to learn the matchup as Ike.
However, I feel much more comfortable picking up other fighters. Not just to cover bad matchups but honestly because I no longer want to solo-main as I did in the past. I feel it’s wiser to sort out your bad matchups and find the tools that counter them. Smash is inherently a counterpicking game. Without any sole-dominating force in the meta to invalidate fighters like in past games, it’s worth picking up more than one character to fight against your bad matchups and cover your bases.
In Ike’s case, he does well against most of the roster. As an upper-tier character, I’ve seen him argued as an A-Tier fighter despite his weaknesses. He can KO incredibly fast thanks not just to his powerful launching strikes but his Aether spikes which KO at 0 and allow him to survive the fall first in most scenarios.
Ike is among the best at mounting comebacks from a stock deficit. While he works wonders against Pikachu, fights like Sephiroth, Marth, Lucina, Roy, and ROB put a damper on his potential. It’s up to you to find out what works and who you want to use to cover him if you choose to use Ike as well.
That’s all I have for this Smash Column. Be sure to follow our social media links below and stay up to date for the next Rango’s Smash Column.
Also, if you would like to learn more about my competitive history, please refer to my Smash Wiki page.
Earlier today, Momocon’s officials have canceled this year’s event. The annual cosplay convention, which celebrates gaming, anime, and other nerd culture, will miss its first event since its conception in 2005. Held in Atlanta, GA, Momocon takes place every year at the Georgia World Congress Center and the Omni Hotel.
Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 crisis, the convention will be canceled until next year. While Momocon previously announced the event would be postponed, this update outlines the full cancellation. If you signed up for the event or registered for anything, please refer to it for any refunds.
Momocon has brought forth a wide-variety of events, including panels and gaming tournaments. The convention also hosts a massive game room. Among its tournaments include various competitive titles, like fighting games, but perhaps its most prominent claim to fame is its series of Super Smash Bros. tournaments. Beginning in 2015, the Super Smash Bros. Wii U tournament, won by Fatality, would eventually bring in more players. Each year, Momocon would pay out pot bonuses for the Top 8 players. From 2016 onward, Momocon would be attended regularly by top players, such as Nairo. This year, Momocon would have hosted a $10k pot bonus.
In particular, Momocon has a history of hosting iconic moments in the Smash community. In 2017, Nairo faced Fatality in grand finals as both players won in 2016 and 2015, respectively. Nairo would win and become double-champion. Fatality, prior to the match, also defeated ranked #1 player ZeRo in bracket.
Momocon 2019 also became the first S-Tier tournament in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. With over 1,000 entrants, Momocon would receive the largest turnout in their own Smash history as well. The tournament would be won by MKLeo, the currently ranked #1 player, showcasing his Joker and continuing his reign of dominance.
Known as a Smash major tournament and Georgia’s largest Smash tournament, Momocon adds to a growing list of canceled tournaments. Due to its handling of multiple events, Momocon’s cancellation deals a blow to competitive gamers as well as anime fans and cosplayers looking forward to panels. Its unique focus on esports, anime, and cosplay focus brought in a record attendance of nearly 40,000 people last year. Unfortunately, as with many others, Momocon followed suit and canceled this year’s event.
Please make sure you follow procedures, stay indoors, and stay safe from possible contagions. In the meantime, continue following our news for updates on upcoming Smash tournaments, southeast cons, and updates on the Coronavirus. We’ll update you once gaming events are up and running again. We look forward to returning to conventions as much as all of you.
We’d like to hear your thoughts. If you’ve attended Momocon in the past, when did you start going? What brings you to Momocon and did you have plans to attend this year?
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
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!