Be honest, can all characters succeed at the HIGHEST LEVEL OF PLAY?

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#1
Spoilers: Still waiting until the day I finally get the game from my father.

Now, I know that skill is more important at low, mid, and even high levels of play sometimes. A bad player using Wolf will still lose to a good player using someone considered low tier like Bowser Jr. or Piranha Plant. But what about the absolute highest level? The level where we see top players compete like ESAM, MVD, Zackray, Nairo, Samsora, and more. Top tier characters like Peach and Pichu have the advantages of better options than almost everyone and almost limitless room for them to be optimized further. We have characters like Wolf, Lucina, and Lady Palutena who may not have that same optimization, but are just blessed with super strong options that keep them relevant while also being easy characters. (Wolf is an easy character right?)
Now, our perceived mid/low tier characters right now like Corrin, Robin, Zelda, Little Mac and my boy Pit suffer from things like weaker options or not much optimization left. The people pIaying these type of characters don't have a super top player to look up to like all the aforementioned characters. I know Nairo brought out Ganon at Collision and reverse 3-0'd Light, but Nairo doesn't play Ganon that seriously. Has he ever brought out Ganon in a big tournament again since Prime Saga? He didn't do it at Pound 2019. He hasn't done it at GOML 2019 so far and I doubt he'll do it again today in Top 16. Each of these characters might have hidden potential that no one has seen yet, but even if they are pushed to their limits, can they go toe-to-toe with the best characters when literal gods of Smash are playing? Can a character really limit your skills and results? If you have great talent, are you wasting it by playing a weaker character? Plus, it's gonna be hard to find the skill-ceiling for a character if we have no one yearning for it.
I'm asking this as someone who dreams of becoming a top-level player one day. I've always been mediocre at best when it comes to Smash, but I still dream big.

EDIT: After taking into consideration the questions I've been asked and the advice I've been given in this thread already, I did some more research concerning what it means to be a top player and the results of tournaments. I also thought about my own skill and how I see myself having fun with the game. I've decided to set more realistic goals for myself and focus on just becoming a good player you can't sleep on rather than one of the very best.
EDIT #2: I'll be more specific with what I think succeeding. Succeeding in my opinion means a character getting at least Top 16 at major/supermajor tournaments. They may have a secondary for a few really bad matchups, but can manage fine against most of the higher-tiered characters on their own. They need to able to beat some top highly-skilled players who are using these really good characters. Example: LeoN's Bowser defeating Cosmos' Inkling at Smash n' Splash 5 in Top 16 and forcing Cosmos to counterpick.
 
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Avokha

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#2
Spoilers: Still waiting until the day I finally get the game from my father.

Now, I know that skill is more important at low, mid, and even high levels of play sometimes. A bad player using Wolf will still lose to a good player using someone considered low tier like Bowser Jr. or Piranha Plant. But what about the absolute highest level? The level where we see top players compete like ESAM, MVD, Zackray, Nairo, Samsora, and more. Top tier characters like Peach and Pichu have the advantages of better options than almost everyone and almost limitless room for them to be optimized further. We have characters like Wolf, Lucina, and Lady Palutena who may not have that same optimization, but are just blessed with super strong options that keep them relevant while also being easy characters. (Wolf is an easy character right?)
Now, our perceived mid/low tier characters right now like Corrin, Robin, Zelda, Little Mac and my boy Pit suffer from things like weaker options or not much optimization left. The people pIaying these type of characters don't have a super top player to look up to like all the aforementioned characters. I know Nairo brought out Ganon at Collision and reverse 3-0'd Light, but Nairo doesn't play Ganon that seriously. Has he ever brought out Ganon in a big tournament again since Prime Saga? He didn't do it at Pound 2019. He hasn't done it at GOML 2019 so far and I doubt he'll do it again today in Top 16. Each of these characters might have hidden potential that no one has seen yet, but even if they are pushed to their limits, can they go toe-to-toe with the best characters when literal gods of Smash are playing? Can a character really limit your skills and results? If you have great talent, are you wasting it by playing a weaker character? Plus, it's gonna be hard to find the skill-ceiling for a character if we have no one yearning for it.
I'm asking this as someone who dreams of becoming a top-level player one day. I've always been mediocre at best when it comes to Smash, but I still dream big.
I suppose this depends on how you believe the top skill level works. It seems to me that much of the community has the philosophy that players can only become so good at the game, and cannot go any further once they reach that peak. Thus, when two players who have both achieved this peak play against one another, the better player isn't going to win, simply because in this scenario there is no better player. For two players under this theoretical skill plateau, the only deciding factor between who wins will be the characters/stages chosen and their counterpicks.

On the other hand, if you choose to not believe in the top level skill peak, then the better of the 2 players should win, and they should be winning due to the difference in skill, regardless of character pick. After all, if you are fighting a better player than yourself, you are at an inherent disadvantage against them because of that skill difference. A better player will more consistently outplay you than you will them, and if the opposite ends up occurring, then that shows that you are the better player instead.

Tl;dr: It depends on whether or not top level play operates under a 'peak' skill level that all top players are at.
 
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Nah

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#3
Your character choice does matter yeah. A good example of this would be Tweek in Smash 4. Originally, he was a Boswer Jr. main in that game, and he was little more than just a notable Bowser Jr. player during that time. Then one day he decided to switch to maining Cloud, and he quickly started doing so much better in tournament play, to the point where many people (at some point or another) considered him a top 5 player. So clearly, Tweek is a great player, but was being held back by his character choice. It's a bit of an extreme example, given that he went from playing a bottom tier character to playing the definitive #1 and #2 in the game, but it's still a valid example.

At the end of the day, we're all human, and so we have limits (as much as the species wants to think that it doesn't, it does). At non-top level play, your character choice matters less, since there is still significant amounts of room for you to grow compared to your opponents, so you can indeed find success with a lesser character in the face of better ones simply because it's possible to just be good enough to make up for your character choice. But at top-level play? You're approaching the limits of what humans are capable of, and so "just be a lot better than them" isn't so feasible. There's simply not enough room left to grow at that point relative to your opponents for that. So in order to even things out a bit, you have to pick an objectively better weapon in order to consistently do well in such a world.

but!

It also depends on what "successful" means to you. If it means to you consistently placing in top 8 at all the biggest, most stacked tournaments, then your only option is to play a top tier character or characters. But for some people, that's not what they're interested in. Maybe to them, success is just getting top 3 every once in a while and it doesn't bother them if they get like 64th most of the rest of the time. Or then there's people like Noble Sol, who just wish to see how far a character can go, fully aware of the limitations their choice brings (like, while Mac is not a good character by design in either game he's been in, Sol can still beat the majority of Smash players). And those aren't the only potential reasons/definitions either.

So the thing to ask yourself first is stuff like "why do you want to be a top-level player?", "what does being a top level player mean to you?", and "what do I consider being successful?". Or more broadly, for the entire playerbase, "what is your goal in playing this game?".

Once you answer those questions, then you can begin to see how much of the roster is an option for you.
 
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Sean²

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#4
Skill will almost always trump tiers until everyone involved is on a roughly level playing field. Top level play is the most noticeable and well-documented example of it, but the same would likely occur amongst local/regional players who commonly face each other, or a tight-knit group of friends who frequently play, if everyone keeps improving to being able to beat one another regularly.

Now whether it's worth learning X character(s) over Y character(s), depends on your most realistic goals. How far are you willing to go? Some people want to do well against friends, some want to just do well at local tournaments, some to be the best at whichever character they choose to use, some to get sponsored and be the best in the world, etc. - or any combination of the aforementioned reasons. What do you fall under?

It's my personal belief that you should just use whomever you enjoy to use, with the exception maybe being the last category (best in the world). People meme on Little Mac, but actual good, seasoned, non-WiFi-smash-spamming Little Mac players can be a terror to deal with, especially if you're not ready for it. But on the other hand, just about anyone with an internet connection knows how to fight Lucina or Wolf at multiple levels of play. I run into this regularly, and get beaten by characters I haven't seen since launch week, when they're fully ready for me. Am I studying up on the Rosalina matchup regularly? Absolutely not. That's a few-and-far-between character. Am I practicing against other perceived top and high tiers? It's inevitable, and a lot easier to find them across multiple facets. So matchup knowledge, or opponents' lack thereof, can carry you to an extent.

I'd recommend developing your preferred character as far as you can. Figure out the matchups and find which ones are favorable, which ones are somewhat unfavorable, and which ones it might be more worthwhile to choose another character for. If the last category is overwhelming the previous ones, and your goal is to continually win and make money, then maybe a better character would better suit that purpose. But I wouldn't force myself to learn another character I don't like to play for that purpose, because that just ruins the point of the game being a game. I've mained mid and low tiers in the past, and did my best to overcome the really bad matchups to play the character I had the most fun with. There were many points of questioning and doubt, but drudging on with them gave me a stronger foundation to build upon, and made me a much better player in the long run.
 
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Predatoria

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#5
I wish to display some hard stats on the subject.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1AJs-mj5TTdkmkl7nhj4twJymVPTLTUdT0MBToL1cxDs/edit#gid=0

This is a document that methodically catalogs each and every tournament for SSBU. It breaks down each tournament into character representation.

By "at the highest level," you'd likely be looking strictly at the character representations in Genesis 6, Frostbite, 2GG: Prime Saga, Umebura Japan Major, and Pound, from 2019. The category 4 tournaments may also be viable representatives of the highest level of play as well, and one may choose to include investigation of these.

This particular log of data does not allow filtering for tournament level, but it does heavily weigh in on which characters are participating in these tournaments given it grants so much weight to their results.

The answer seems to be a no, to be honest. There are virtually zero Kirby players participating at the highest level of play. There are virtually no Krool players, or Corrins, or Piranha Plants. The representation these characters do have are often restricted to local scenes where skill is more easily able to triumph over character advantage.

Also, as skill increases, the deficits that certain characters have over others become more and more apparent. Having a frame advantage, for example, matters more when players are playing closer and closer to frame-perfect in the aspects of gameplay where it really starts to count.

Fortunately for all of us here, this level of play is vastly beyond any of us. These tournaments represent such a small fraction of the total playerbase, it's very unlikely any of us will be going to win Evo, or even come remotely close to placing near the top, regardless of character choice.

In my personal opinion, you should play a character you want to play and ignore the tiers and the results of the tournaments like these. Make sure you keep realistic goals for yourself. Becoming a tip-top smash player is basically a full-time job, plus more. Do you really want to dedicate your life to trying to become a good Smash player? If the answer is no, you won't be placing in Evo. Play a character you like. Have fun at your local scene. Don't worry about tiers.
 
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#7
With a roster this large, I'd say no. There's only so much time that can be put into each character's move set, and some characters have better options than others. Each character can be improved over time, either with patches or new games. So far, I've yet to see a balanced SSB game where match-ups are 50:50 or 45:55.
 

ivean999

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#8
Basically, yes and no.
Due to the way fighting games work, some characters will always be better than others. Effectively, the 'best' character is the one with the highest amount of favorable matchups, and who has favorable matchups against those characters. So, taking Melee for example, Fox is the best character because he has answers to essentially any situation. Marth, in turn, is also top tier due to having a favorable matchup against Fox. This is a big factor in a character being played at top 8 levels.
But, that doesn't mean everything. aMSa is a great example. He plays Yoshi at a top-8 level. Yoshi is C-tier if you're generous. aMSa wins because of his knowledge of his character, despite his spot on the tier list.
Or, if you want another example, Rangchu is a top-level Tekken playr from Korea. He mains Panda, who at the time of his come-up was considered an absolute bottom tier. That didn't stop him from winning TWT Amsterdam.
All character can be played at any level. A tier list essentially tells you how much work comparatively you need to put in to make it to top-level play.
 

Love Tap

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#9
Your character choice does matter yeah. A good example of this would be Tweek in Smash 4. Originally, he was a Boswer Jr. main in that game, and he was little more than just a notable Bowser Jr. player during that time. Then one day he decided to switch to maining Cloud, and he quickly started doing so much better in tournament play, to the point where many people (at some point or another) considered him a top 5 player. So clearly, Tweek is a great player, but was being held back by his character choice. It's a bit of an extreme example, given that he went from playing a bottom tier character to playing the definitive #1 and #2 in the game, but it's still a valid example.

At the end of the day, we're all human, and so we have limits (as much as the species wants to think that it doesn't, it does). At non-top level play, your character choice matters less, since there is still significant amounts of room for you to grow compared to your opponents, so you can indeed find success with a lesser character in the face of better ones simply because it's possible to just be good enough to make up for your character choice. But at top-level play? You're approaching the limits of what humans are capable of, and so "just be a lot better than them" isn't so feasible. There's simply not enough room left to grow at that point relative to your opponents for that. So in order to even things out a bit, you have to pick an objectively better weapon in order to consistently do well in such a world.

but!

It also depends on what "successful" means to you. If it means to you consistently placing in top 8 at all the biggest, most stacked tournaments, then your only option is to play a top tier character or characters. But for some people, that's not what they're interested in. Maybe to them, success is just getting top 3 every once in a while and it doesn't bother them if they get like 64th most of the rest of the time. Or then there's people like Noble Sol, who just wish to see how far a character can go, fully aware of the limitations their choice brings (like, while Mac is not a good character by design in either game he's been in, Sol can still beat the majority of Smash players). And those aren't the only potential reasons/definitions either.

So the thing to ask yourself first is stuff like "why do you want to be a top-level player?", "what does being a top level player mean to you?", and "what do I consider being successful?". Or more broadly, for the entire playerbase, "what is your goal in playing this game?".

Once you answer those questions, then you can begin to see how much of the roster is an option for you.
Yes, humans have limits, but I think you're underestimating the capacity for growth, skill wise, when you consider the capabilities of the human brain applied to an endlessly creative game like super smash brothers. The brain is capable of storing 300 plus years of data and smash brothers is highly complex, you can almost compare it to chess, the skill cap for all intents and purposes is practically infinite. To say that tournament level play is reaching the cieling of what human beings are capable of seems like a gross mischaracterization considering that the meta of melee is still changing after what? 20 something years now?
 

S_B

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#10
There's something I like to call "The Dream of Balance™" when it comes to fighting games.

Can a roster ever be perfectly balanced, where characters are so close in potency that the greatest players in the world can choose any character and only the tiniest skill differences determine the outcome of the match?

Realistically, no, but that doesn't mean it isn't a noble dream worth pursuing.

I consider balancing the roster of a game like SSBU for 1v1 combat to be "Olympic level" game design: we're talking about the best designers in the world who understand that the tiniest tweaks can have a butterfly effect throughout the entire roster so they damn well better do it carefully.

SSBU is, for the size of the roster especially, PHENOMENALLY well balanced. We've not seen a clear top character in the game emerge as of yet and I don't think we will for a while.

I'm honestly surprised that Nintendo has yet to announce an official smash league of their own as of yet. Maybe they're waiting for the meta to mature a bit, but I'd be more shocked if they didn't bring one out in much the same way they did for Splatoon.
 
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Thinkaman

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#11
A much more pragmatic question would be:

"Be honest, can all players succeed at the highest level of play?"

(And the answer is no.)


Realistically for any game of a certain minimum level of balance, real-world top-level viability is as much a function of the individual playstyles and preferences of a handful of outlier humans as anything else. It's a question of surprisingly little relevance to much else, and often the focus of undue emphasis.
 
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#12
A much more pragmatic question would be:

"Be honest, can all players succeed at the highest level of play?"

(And the answer is no.)


Realistically for any game of a certain minimum level of balance, real-world top-level viability is as much a function of the individual playstyles and preferences of a handful of outlier humans as anything else. It's a question of surprisingly little relevance to much else, and often the focus of undue emphasis.
I think I get what you're saying. So a character's viability largely depends on if the very best players are playing them or not. Since they have their own preferences just like every human being, they'll naturally gravitate towards characters who fit those preferences the best AKA higher-tiered characters in their own eyes. Is that right?
 
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#13
I imagine that if someone like MkLeo or Tweek picked up a bottom 5 character they would still do fairly well, although worse than they're doing right now. That's the thing though, if you're a top level competitor, why limit yourself to a low tier when you could pick a high or a top tier and do much better? So while these characters still have the potential to do reasonably well (no one is nearly as bad as Brawl Ganondorf, after all) they're still weaker than the alternatives, which is one of the reasons why bottom 20 characters see very little representation at higher levels.

A 340 person tournament is not a major, and if you look at the top 8, you'll see very few top tiers, which indicates that the bracket might've been easier for him than it normally would've been.
 
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#14
What does succeeding even mean here?
Top 32? Top 16? Top 8? Winning an S-tier tournament?
Does it mean winning then the question is probably stated the wrong way as at that level of play, it's more likely that a set is lost because you as the player had a worse day than your opponent (to keep it simpl, but it's also the same in soccer when a team like Real Madrid plays against Liverpool). I've watched nearly all Fow (Ness) vs. Ven (Zelda) matches (two very good player in Ult) and it doesn't seem to me that it's character dependant of who wins but it just looks to me that Fow is a far more experienced player when something important is on the line. Maybe Ness is also the better character in this MU but it does look to me that Ven gets flustered when he's about to beat Fow (like, giving away a 2-stock lead).
So, I don't really think the character matters all that much when you are reaching "higher mid-tier", at least in this young meta: Not knowing certain MUs is still an argument at this point but not so much anymore when the game is out for 3 years. Some characters, like Mac or Plant are probably still unviable unless they get sighnificantly buffed but for now, I think it's highly player dependant and not necessarily character dependant, but there are some little exceptions
 

Browny

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#15
Good question, but the answer is unfortunately no. think of it this way.

People talk about matchups being 6:4, 55:45 etc but what do they really mean? Some believe that in 100 matches of 2 players of equal skill, one will win 40 and one will win 60. Some believe its just an arbitrary scale to define difficulty and you could simply prescibe colours to matchups for the same effect, so orange is 6:4, red is bad at 65:35 etc.

But when people actually decide to be honest with themselves, many matchups in this game are so brutally skewed, that in 100 games it might as well be 5:95 for many low tier characters. The idea that you can get someone like Zero to pick up Bowser Jr and expect him to win 30 games out of 100 vs someone like tweek with wario is nonsense. I would say that many low tiers in this game have matchup ratios more in the order of 15:85 or so. But now consider that most people in tournaments use high tier characters and to win a set, you have to win 2 games, so for you to progress past round 1, you need to beat a 15:85 matchup twice in a row, thats a 1/32 chance of you progressing. In a tournament of say, 8 rounds to grand finals, assuming you run into high tiers along the way, your given low tier, by chance, now has a 10 billion or so chance of winning.

Of course, skilled players aren't coming up against equally skilled played in round 1. If they were seeded #1, then their first matchup might swing like 60 points in their favour. But as the tournament goes on and matches get harder, the skill gap advantage becomes less than the character gap so while it may not literally be 1 in 10 billion, it is still ridiculously low, like 1 in 10,000. Many top pros might enter like 40 tournaments a year? So the game will be finished before they even got close to developing their character for long enough to pull it off.

Look at Axe in melee. It took him over 10 years before he finally won a major, and hes been at the top of his game for a long time. And this was with a mid tier. If he had picked any given character who had matchup spreads a mere 5 points worse on average, that could be the difference between 10 and 20 years to win a major. Sol has won big tournaments with Little Mac, but you can't begin to compare a regional in a relatively weak region, to 'the highest level' where the match for top 32 would be harder than that regionals grand finals.

When it comes to low tiers, its close to hopeless. They might get lucky and be pulled out in pocket like Nairos Ganon, but going solo is a gamble they will lose for almost the entire games lifespan.
 
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Avokha

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#16
Good question, but the answer is unfortunately no. think of it this way.

People talk about matchups being 6:4, 55:45 etc but what do they really mean? Some believe that in 100 matches of 2 players of equal skill, one will win 40 and one will win 60. Some believe its just an arbitrary scale to define difficulty and you could simply prescibe colours to matchups for the same effect, so orange is 6:4, red is bad at 65:35 etc.

But when people actually decide to be honest with themselves, many matchups in this game are so brutally skewed, that in 100 games it might as well be 5:95 for many low tier characters. The idea that you can get someone like Zero to pick up Bowser Jr and expect him to win 30 games out of 100 vs someone like tweek with wario is nonsense. I would say that many low tiers in this game have matchup ratios more in the order of 15:85 or so. But now consider that most people in tournaments use high tier characters and to win a set, you have to win 2 games, so for you to progress past round 1, you need to beat a 15:85 matchup twice in a row, thats a 1/32 chance of you progressing. In a tournament of say, 8 rounds to grand finals, assuming you run into high tiers along the way, your given low tier, by chance, now has a 10 billion or so chance of winning.

Of course, skilled players aren't coming up against equally skilled played in round 1. If they were seeded #1, then their first matchup might swing like 60 points in their favour. But as the tournament goes on and matches get harder, the skill gap advantage becomes less than the character gap so while it may not literally be 1 in 10 billion, it is still ridiculously low, like 1 in 10,000. Many top pros might enter like 40 tournaments a year? So the game will be finished before they even got close to developing their character for long enough to pull it off.

Look at Axe in melee. It took him over 10 years before he finally won a major, and hes been at the top of his game for a long time. And this was with a mid tier. If he had picked any given character who had matchup spreads a mere 5 points worse on average, that could be the difference between 10 and 20 years to win a major. Sol has won big tournaments with Little Mac, but you can't begin to compare a regional in a relatively weak region, to 'the highest level' where the match for top 32 would be harder than that regionals grand finals.

When it comes to low tiers, its close to hopeless. They might get lucky and be pulled out in pocket like Nairos Ganon, but going solo is a gamble they will lose for almost the entire games lifespan.
I have to confess that the idea that there are matchups that ridiculously awful in Ultimate of all smash games is pretty damn ludicrous. What MUs are as low as 15:85 or 5:95 and do you have empirical proof that those are their MU ratios?
 
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#17
I have to confess that the idea that there are matchups that ridiculously awful in Ultimate of all smash games is pretty damn ludicrous. What MUs are as low as 15:85 or 5:95 and do you have empirical proof that those are their MU ratios?
People on the internet exaggerate all the time, it's unlikely there's any MU's in the 75-25 rate at all.
 

Browny

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#18
I have to confess that the idea that there are matchups that ridiculously awful in Ultimate of all smash games is pretty damn ludicrous. What MUs are as low as 15:85 or 5:95 and do you have empirical proof that those are their MU ratios?
Be honest with yourself, if you give MKLeo his joker, and Tweek Bowser Jr, how many times will Bowser Jr win?

There's no way the guy who 3-0s many top 10 players who use peach, snake etc against him without breaking a sweat, is going to be dropping 1/4 of all matches to a bowser Jr. He's already rocking like a 80:20 matchup vs the top snakes in the world, do you think Bowser Jr is just as good?

This can't be a question of the skill disparity between the two, since they are the absolute peak of their characters meta. If you ignore the only data you are given, then you shouldnt bother debating anything.
 
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Flowen231

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#19
I feel like this topic has kind of split from the original topic of a yes or no question lol. The answer to said question is: Maybe, depending on your definition of success. Do you mean success as counterpics? Success as solo mains? And what level of play exactly? Depending on the situation the answer could be yes or no.

As far as the skill vs character part, theres a bit of truth to both sides. Any character can beat any other character as long as the person using the inferior/losing matchup can outplay their opponent enough to win. This is why you see some top melee players using bottom tiers in pools.

At the same time though, your character choice does matter a lot. If you use a bad character, you won't find as much success compared to if you had chosen a better character, and likewise people who are worse than you may do better or beat you simply because they chose a better/easier to use character if you aren't skilled enough to make up for that character gap.

Generally speaking though, if you want to compete, set yourself up for success. Use WHOEVER you want to use, consider a secondary that you also like that makes up for your weaknesses, practice using characters that give you a hard time to learn their weaknesses, and as long as you make the most of your practice you'll be one amazing smasher :)
 

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#20
Be honest with yourself, if you give MKLeo his joker, and Tweek Bowser Jr, how many times will Bowser Jr win?

There's no way the guy who 3-0s many top 10 players who use peach, snake etc against him without breaking a sweat, is going to be dropping 1/4 of all matches to a bowser Jr. He's already rocking like a 80:20 matchup vs the top snakes in the world, do you think Bowser Jr is just as good?

This can't be a question of the skill disparity between the two, since they are the absolute peak of their characters meta. If you ignore the only data you are given, then you shouldnt bother debating anything.
An attempt to appeal to feelings I may or may not have about a matchup does not constitute proof of any sort.

The fact that MKLeo goes 3-0 supposedly so easily against such players only proves that MKLeo (not Joker, just leo) is a more skilled player than any of them. Also, again, prove that joker/snake is an 80:20 matchup.

Their being "the absolute peak of their characters meta" is just a fanciful way of saying they're the best players of their respective characters, which does not necessarily mean they're equivalent in skill. If the only data I am given can't tell me anything coherent or useful, then it very well can be ignored until more, better data appears.
 
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Browny

Smash Hater
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#21
Also, again, prove that joker/snake is an 80:20 matchup.

Their being "the absolute peak of their characters meta" is just a fanciful way of saying they're the best players of their respective characters, which does not necessarily mean they're equivalent in skill. If the only data I am given can't tell me anything coherent or useful, then it very well can be ignored until more, better data appears.
People literally say this for years on end, never accepting it until a game dies because when the data smacks them in the face, they just go 'oh but that wasn't REAL data'. You are never going to find 2 people exactly equal in skill, so if that was your metric for determining matchups, you've already given up.

Do you know how for how many years we had to put up with people saying that their mid-tier character went 45:55 or 40:60 vs metaknight in brawl despite never actually winning tournament sets vs top MK players? When someone like M2K dropped a set to anyone other than a top tier, it was a BIG deal, you had to wait months for anything like it to happen again and M2K wasn't in a tier of his own in that game. Remember people like Salem had literally never beat M2Ks metaknight ever, except for the time that he won Apex (proving Salems spot at the top of skill), and he never did again after that while also regularly losing to lesser MKs. The absolute peak of ZSS:MK had a set count favour in the realm of 20:1. And this was still considered 45:55 btw.

When the peak of skill, and the peak of a character is only winning 5% of sets vs an equally skilled player also at the top, how can anyone come to the conclusion that the matchup is nearly even?

This mindset just continues and never ends. No matter how badly certainly characters get beat down over and over again, people will claim its close to even until the game is finished because its impossible to have 2 people of equal skill. So if you're planning to ignore that data until 'better' ones appear, then you're going to be waiting an awful long time.
 

StoicPhantom

Smash Journeyman
Joined
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Messages
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#22
People literally say this for years on end, never accepting it until a game dies because when the data smacks them in the face, they just go 'oh but that wasn't REAL data'. You are never going to find 2 people exactly equal in skill, so if that was your metric for determining matchups, you've already given up.
Zero was the unequivocally best player in Smash 4, going on a ridiculously long win streak, and was in a class of his own at points. It took long time friend and rival, Nairo, to finally end his streak, but even then, Zero still was the best. I remember at one point in time, he was at smaller tournaments using solo Lucina, to build her up as a secondary. He creamed all of these top tier mains, even some prominent ones like Ned's Cloud, only using his secondary. Lucina wasn't considered top tier, barely even top 15, yet he beat all these top ten mains. That just went to show that fundamentals above all else, is what carries a person. Since he was the best, it didn't matter what differences his character had with top tiers, he had the skills to overcome.

The inverse is also true. It doesn't matter what character you play, if you don't have top level skill, you very likely won't beat a top player. The fact that top level players can body the majority of the community on stream, while only half paying attention to the match, just goes to show how much the skill gap comes into play.

The point that is being made, isn't that you have to be equal in skill, but you need to be in the same class. Minor differences in skill doesn't matter much, there are too many variables that would prevent people being relatively equal in skill, consistently winning. If they are a cut above the rest however, it's unlikely you're going to consistently beat them. I don't mean to downplay top Snake players, but MKLeo is pretty clearly in a different class. Not only has he won a lot of high level tournaments, he's done so with multiple characters, over multiple Smash iterations.

You're using an extreme example to prove your point. It doesn't matter how good Salem is, if one character is that much better than the rest of the cast. The top MKs were also very good players, who went on to be very successful in other Smash games. You can't really use this as an example, because there's nothing to suggest a similar character gap in Ultimate. Character base skill, does play a significant part in Ultimate, otherwise we wouldn't be getting so many upsets, with previously considered bad characters like Game & Watch.

The original question was "can all characters succeed at the highest level of play?" My answer is no, but most of them can. Barring low tiers like Mac, there isn't a significant enough difference between most of the cast, to have every character be completely locked out. Bad MUs can be overcome, even against equivalent skill levels. Just at look at Smash 4 top players like Dabuz, and how he was able to beat top Clouds with Rosa, despite that being a bad MU for her, and Cloud being considered a better character.

Top players naturally gravitate to top tiers. Not because that's the only way to win, but the easiest. If a character loyalist managed to acquire top level skill, you'd probably see more high and mid tiers winning majors. If you look closely at Top 32 in most majors, you'll find a wide variety of characters, signifying their base needs more skilled players to crack the top, but they have the potential to win.
 

Browny

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#23
Zero was the unequivocally best player in Smash 4, going on a ridiculously long win streak, and was in a class of his own at points. It took long time friend and rival, Nairo, to finally end his streak, but even then, Zero still was the best. I remember at one point in time, he was at smaller tournaments using solo Lucina, to build her up as a secondary. He creamed all of these top tier mains, even some prominent ones like Ned's Cloud, only using his secondary. Lucina wasn't considered top tier, barely even top 15, yet he beat all these top ten mains. That just went to show that fundamentals above all else, is what carries a person. Since he was the best, it didn't matter what differences his character had with top tiers, he had the skills to overcome.
Lucina was always top 15 in Smash 4 after the patch that fixed her and Marth, it just took people a long time to realise it because they didn't want to risk losing while playing her when Marth was assumed better. Which of course MKLeo and Zero proved, was not true at all.
 
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DavemanCozy

Smash Photographer
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#24
Short answer: No.

But that doesn't mean you should play a character you don't have fun with.

Also being a top player is very difficult, I don't think everyone can do it either. That's a lot of time and dedication to a game, for not a lot of reward in the end unless you make it very big. The mentality required comes easier for some than others too.

Personally I think playing at locals and the occasional tournaments in my area is more fun.

Back in Smash4 the best players in my area mained Yoshi, and Ganondorf. Yes that's right, a Ganon player winning tournaments. That would never happen at EVO or wtvr, but some players don't care about that, they just want to go to their locals and have fun.

After all it's just a game. I don't stress over who's better than who anymore, cuz you lose sight of the game if you focus on that too much.

EDIT: for ultimate specifically my best friend mains Little Mac, universally considered the worst character in the game. And yet he frequently places in top 8 at my area, in locals full of 50ish people regularly and before 3.1 gave Little Mac some jab combo starters. That's the love and dedication to the character, and just generally playing to have fun and not worrying about how you place or where in the tier list they are or poop like that.
 
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Joined
May 2, 2019
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#25
Thank you for all your helpful replies everyone! I honestly wasn't expecting to get this many of them here. Now I feel comfortable just playing whatever character I choose. If I do ever decide to go that far later on in my life and become a top professional, I won't worry about that right now. I'll set my mind on becoming a good player in my local scene/region and improving my skills. Thanks everyone and I wish you all good luck in becoming the best you can be as well.
 

~?~

The Strangest Link Main
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#26
At a small locals, no, the character pick on average wont hold you back.
At a major, a character can hold you back, but depending on head count and who those names are, you could pull off upsets.
At a super major, your chances of taking grand finals with someone like Kirby or Mii Brawler are damn near 0%, especially if talent and large numbers of heads are in the building.

In short, the higher the level, the more the character choice matters. I'm not saying upsets don't happen, I'm saying that there is no reason to punch up the whole time you're playing. Tweek is a fine example of a top 5 player who was held back by his main during the smash 4 era. He recognized that while he was awesome with Bjr, the character was just too bad to really get him to the spot he wanted to be in.

No one playing at the top at super majors is playing a low tier in every game. At best, they use it in very specific counter pick match ups or they get sent home early. You wont see a kirby in top 16 in a super major, or a k rool, or a mii brawler. You might at a small major and it's totally reasonable to find them in different locals events, but I just don't see it happening at a super.
 
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GhostM

Limitless.
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#27
In my opinion I think it’s not entirely possible, but it comes specifically towards the players knowledge and skill of their character, and the crippling matchups against their character. You can easily out do people in locals but in major tournaments at higher levels it is a lot more difficult to do so, mainly because of how people play neutral and how your character performs. It is true that the bottom tier characters can win against top tiers, but against some of the more professional players who utilize top tiers against low tiers, it’s a very difficult task to do. Many of the low tiers simply don’t have as many options as high tier characters use, and in majors at high levels, people will often use high tiers because of their vast options.

You don’t necessarily have to play a high tier character just to enjoy the game, as their are players out there who utilize low tiers than can come in reasonably good placements all because of their love for the character. At the end of the day, just play whoever you want.
 

VodkaHaze

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#28
Going by your definition of success, can a low tier character do well at a major/supermajor? The answer is yes, but don't bet on it. As you go further down the tier list, the likelihood that you will see these characters place at Top 16 in a major decreases. This is because as you get better at the game by learning match-ups, combos, techniques, etc. it becomes more evident as to what the strengths and weaknesses of your character are. So the worse your character is, the more of an uphill battle it'll be against characters with favourable match-ups, especially if your opponent knows how to play the match-up.
 

Alicorn

The Fighting Dreamer ❤️
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#31
Yes all characters can the problem with it is not all characters play at high speed it wouldn't be as fun to watch a DDD play versus a Wolf player play, Starfox characters bring a sort of energic vibe on screen DDD does not.
 
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#33
But who is top tier? I’m trying to figure that out right now, but I can’t find any answers.
People's answers will differ, but some characters commonly considered top tier are Inkling, Palutena, Pikachu, Joker, Peach, Lucina, Pokémon Trainer (as of lately), Snake, Wolf. Some other potential top tiers are Wario, Hero, Fox, Shulk, Greninja, Chrom, Roy, Olimar.
 

Ziodyne 21

Smash Lord
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#34
People's answers will differ, but some characters commonly considered top tier are Inkling, Palutena, Pikachu, Joker, Peach, Lucina, Pokémon Trainer (as of lately), Snake, Wolf. Some other potential top tiers are Wario, Hero, Fox, Shulk, Greninja, Chrom, Roy, Olimar.

I think Wario has proven to be a top-tier character by now. Possibly even a top 5 character. Also there is ZSS as well. Other players besides Marss are starting to get decent results with her.
 

DeDeDIke

Smash Apprentice
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#35
People's answers will differ, but some characters commonly considered top tier are Inkling, Palutena, Pikachu, Joker, Peach, Lucina, Pokémon Trainer (as of lately), Snake, Wolf. Some other potential top tiers are Wario, Hero, Fox, Shulk, Greninja, Chrom, Roy, Olimar.
Pokemon Trainer is not a top tier, he's a high tier. I think Wario and ZSS are still high tiers. And to answer the question, no, only top tiers and high tiers will see success. Characters who are mid-tier or lower often don't even make it past the quatrefinals most of the time (unless the player playing them is a GOD at them).
 

Samurai C

Smash Cadet
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Mar 25, 2019
Messages
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#36
Characters who are mid-tier or lower often don't even make it past the quatrefinals most of the time (unless the player playing them is a GOD at them).
Well from my own tourney experience (using Bayo and Kirby) someone doesn’t really have to be a super amazing with a mid to low tier to do well. It’s just that top tiers have jank that others either don’t have or can’t deal with. Just like how my Kirby got 2 stocked by a wolf because of down smashes giant hitbox but as soon as I switched to Bayo the match was even (still lost though). But Kirby and Bayo both have strengths and drawbacks. Kirby being floaty (losing to stuff like palu nair and inkling up throw > up air), and Bayo not having enough kill power to make any kind of comebacks. This is why I usually start with Kirby because he has ways to outplay every character (except broken af Yoshi) and will switch to Bayo if she can do a better job against their character AND if I learned enough about my opponent. So short answer, solo maining a low tier usually isn’t the best idea ONLY because of unwinnable matchups. If you have another character that doesn’t completely lose to something you should be good. Just my opinion tho
 
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Call_Me_Red

Smash Journeyman
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#37
Well from my own tourney experience (using Bayo and Kirby) someone doesn’t really have to be a super amazing with a mid to low tier to do well. It’s just that top tiers have jank that others either don’t have or can’t deal with. Just like how my Kirby got 2 stocked by a wolf because of down smashes giant hitbox but as soon as I switched to Bayo the match was even (still lost though). But Kirby and Bayo both have strengths and drawbacks. Kirby being floaty (losing to stuff like palu nair and inkling up throw > up air), and Bayo not having enough kill power to make any kind of comebacks. This is why I usually start with Kirby because he has ways to outplay every character (except broken af Yoshi) and will switch to Bayo if she can do a better job against their character AND if I learned enough about my opponent. So short answer, solo maining a low tier usually isn’t the best idea ONLY because of unwinnable matchups. If you have another character that doesn’t completely lose to something you should be good. Just my opinion tho
While I don't agree about 'unwinnable' match ups, I do think at some level of skill it does come down to match ups and match up knowledge. When I think high tier, I think "This character has a winning match up against most of the cast". That's the problem with maining low or mid tiers, eventually you will play someone who is equally skilled as you, and they will have a favorable match up. It's not unwinnable, but it is more likely that you will lose.

TLDR low tiers have a lot of bad match ups and this will eventually catch up to you
 
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#38
I suppose this depends on how you believe the top skill level works. It seems to me that much of the community has the philosophy that players can only become so good at the game, and cannot go any further once they reach that peak. Thus, when two players who have both achieved this peak play against one another, the better player isn't going to win, simply because in this scenario there is no better player. For two players under this theoretical skill plateau, the only deciding factor between who wins will be the characters/stages chosen and their counterpicks.

On the other hand, if you choose to not believe in the top level skill peak, then the better of the 2 players should win, and they should be winning due to the difference in skill, regardless of character pick. After all, if you are fighting a better player than yourself, you are at an inherent disadvantage against them because of that skill difference. A better player will more consistently outplay you than you will them, and if the opposite ends up occurring, then that shows that you are the better player instead.

Tl;dr: It depends on whether or not top level play operates under a 'peak' skill level that all top players are at.
Yeah I'd say I agree. I believe that while there isn't a solid skill ceiling of "there's no possible way to get better than this", I'd say that there's a point where there are limits and it'd take a LOT to somehow get better.
 

dzee

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#39
Character is very unlikely to hold you back at any level, except the VERY highest as you approach the limits of the game

The skill ceiling of the game is the same as the skill ceiling of the best character, but no one has even gotten close to any potential skill ceiling for Ultimate, not that I even subscribe to the idea it exists.

In the case of Ultimate, I think that a truly amazing player could get top 8 with pretty much any character
 
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