Official Competitive Character Impressions 2.0

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Arthur97

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One one hand. In Smash 4 and in Ultaimte characters that have both very poor mobilty and very stubby range have always suffered abd never could escape lower-tier I.e Kirby and Doc..

UNLESS the character, despite those flaws has some nutty combos and jank that could allow them to basically steal stocks when they actullay could get in i.e Luigi.

Steve does look like he can fit into the latter category from what we have seen. With soek examples looking at least somewhat practical. But so far I think we have to see one player really be able to fully Grasp Steve and use him to his full potential to see how good he is
Yeah, but even Luigi isn't top tier.
 

Ziodyne 21

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Yeah, but even Luigi isn't top tier.
I never said I thought Steve would be top-tier. I just think that he has enough good things going for him not to be in bottom-tier.

In Smash 4 even post-patched Luigi was generally considered high-tier. In Ultimate the thing that is likey keeping him from being as good is that his recovery is now considerablly worse.
 
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Lacrimosa

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Remembering the kinds of matches I've had with :ultdoc: against the likes of :ultpalutena: and :ultwario: where I'd get circle camped on Battlefield due to the mix of poor range and mobility makes me worry for Steve in these kinds of situations. I don't know where he'll be considered in the long run, but I doubt he'll be top tier considering we've already figured out how many characters will give him a lot of trouble.
I don't know about that since Doc doesn't have an option to boost his mobility but Steve does have Minecart.
We'll have to see how it'll pan out but I wouldn't compare his mobility to Doc's.
 

SwagGuy99

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One thing about Minecart that I don't see too many people talking about is how Steve can be grabbed out of it. I think :ultluigi: and :ultsamus: will benefit a lot from this since they have potential to get a lot of reward off of landing a grab. Something else that I think is worth mentioning is that characters with small crouches like :ultluigi::ultjigglypuff: and :ultkirby: should be able to low profile his grab depending on how close to him they are, and his grab in general seems very committal to throw out compared to the faster tether grabs like :ultlucas:. Up-tilt may suffer from similar issues on crouching characters or characters that are short in general.
 
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MrGameguycolor

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Nathan Richardson

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The issue with minecart is that it's a ranged command grab/burst option that Steve can use in any situation regardless of character choice. I can't tell you how many times I got faked out by a minecart grab then steve just comes over and finishes me off with an usmash as soon as I pop out with there being nothing I can do about it. Minecart is SCARY!
 

Hydreigonfan01

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Aaron's thoughts on the character, he actually believes that the character does best against rushdown and struggles against zoners, which is interesting as a lot of people (ESAM, people on this thread etc) seem to think differently.
 

Krysco

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I'm personally interested in seeing how Steve will handle being camped out by high mobility characters. Camping lets him mine to get stuff like gold/diamond tools and redstone but if he can't get up to hit you then he's not that big of a threat, similar to Incineroar, just replace diamond tools with potential Revenge buffs. He has minecart for horizontal movement and pressure but it can't be spammed due to taking up resources and it's linear in where it goes too and then Steve can use blocks to make up for his short jumps but that takes time to set up (not a lot but still) and his jumps off said blocks are still short. I'm here thinking, what does he do against a Sonic or ZSS with a lead that just doesn't feel like approaching. It'll matter on some stages more than others but Steve also needs to factor in avoiding stages that make mining for him more difficult, although to my knowledge that's really just Lylat. I'm not sure if getting a large amount of wood from SV and T&C is a good or bad thing for Steve.
 

SwagGuy99

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Dabuz's Week 1 Impressions of Steve:

Here's also the Twitch vod with his explanations: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/774617357 (begins at 1:21:30)
I actually think this seems fairly accurate. Steve's kit seems overall lacking in a lot of areas and he struggles against a lot of difference archetypes, so I think that his matchup chart is bound to be odd, but overall mediocre. He gets rushed down, outcamped, edgeguarded, outranged, outboxed, his disadvantage is bad, etc. A lot of characters can exploit at least some of those weaknesses really well or (in the case of a handful of characters like Falco, ZSS, or Pika) they do all of those things really well.

I'd say based on this, he's a lower mid tier probably. Dabuz's opinions aren't necessarily 100% accurate, but I struggle to see that many things on Dabuz's chart that seem unrealistic.
 

Frihetsanka

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Dabuz's matchup spread is almost exactly what my preliminary thoughts are. Like, dead on.
Y'know what's funny? I think it might be a tad optimistic. Many of those in Even are probably -1, and some of the -1 (Like Corrin) seem likely to be -2. It is very early in his meta though so I suppose time will tell. The character does not look very good though, which is not surprising seeing how he has some of the worst mobility stats in the game.

Yet ESAM thinks that Steve is high tier. I wonder if ESAM is seeing something other people (like IzAw or Dabuz) aren't seeing?
 

Ziodyne 21

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So it's looking more and more like the inital reaction to Steve was the same as Hero. People seeing the unique stufand potential jank they could with thier gimmicks and calling them broken before they were actullay realased. Only to find when they did come out that yeah. .prehaps it all was all a bit overblown. The general community really does never learn

But to be entirely fair. Steve's block edgeguarding abilties were toned down in the time between the gameplay trailer and his actual release . That was the main thing everyone was losing their minds about
 
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TCT~Phantom

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So it's looking more and more like the inital reaction to Steve was the same as Hero. People seeing the unique stufand potential jank they could with thier gimmicks and calling them broken before they were actullay realased. Only to find when they did come out that yeah. .prehaps it all was all a bit overblown. The general community really does never learn

But to be entirely fair. Steve's block edgeguardong abilties were toned down in the tike between the gameplay trailer and his actual release .
I think it is a bit different from Hero tbh.

Hero's hyperbole was more so due to the RNG fiesta of his moveset, while Steve seemed to have some genuinely scary attributes. The blocks for edgeguarding looked strong in the demonstration and his frame data is nutty. I think part of it is the character has not been truly optimized yet. We still have only had Steve for less than a week. Give it a month or so and I think we can get a stronger grasp.
 

SwagGuy99

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Yet ESAM thinks that Steve is high tier. I wonder if ESAM is seeing something other people (like IzAw or Dabuz) aren't seeing?
Based on the video ESAM made explaining his (early) thoughts on Steve, there really isn't a huge difference between their opinions on him funnily enough. ESAM and Dabuz seemed to have similar enough thoughts on Steve's strengths and weaknesses overall. I think the main difference is that ESAM doesn't seem to think Steve's weaknesses hold them back to the extreme degree Dabuz does.
 
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Thinkaman

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Y'know what's funny? I think it might be a tad optimistic. Many of those in Even are probably -1, and some of the -1 (Like Corrin) seem likely to be -2. It is very early in his meta though so I suppose time will tell.
Yeah, I was mostly referring to the spread--which characters are problem matchups vs. fine. The actual numbers are kind of whatever, though I don't find Dabuz's overall preliminary conclusion disagreeable.


I believed :ultlucario: was the objective worst character in the game before this patch, and I'm unsure how much the needle moved for him. The jab upgrade is pretty big, and buffing every move (>65%) has to have some impact. (Remember my game of pulling up a VOD and counting every time a top Ness or Sonic player used a buffed move? Don't try that with Lucario, lol.)

We can debate if the Belmont changes actually helped them much or not. I don't think anyone can claim Lucario's changes weren't meaningful, but nor do they appear massive and it's anyone's guess where that puts him.


We're still overlooking the actual elephant in the room, which is the projectile parry fix. This is bad for anyone who relies on a predictable projectile at medium range. Like, take :ultvillager:. It's probably not going to hurt his dash attack (when is he doing that against shield?) nor his slingshot (an extra 2 frames isn't going to open up a punish). But it will limit certain Lloid Rocket approaches some.

:ultmario:, :ultpikachu:, and :ultwolf: jump to mind, but :ultpacman:, :ultsimon:, and :ultpeach: can't be too happy about this either. People with more control over hitbox activation, like :ultduckhunt::ulthero::ultwiifittrainer:, won't mind as much. :ultdiddy:is probably a wash, not sure how much :ultsnake: cares.

The biggest winner is probably :ultganondorf: followed by other heavies. :ultincineroar: cares less than you might expect; he's slow, but the sort of projectiles most affected by this were already Revenge bait. (Still, it's strictly an improvement for the cat.) :ultlittlemac: and perhaps :ultfalcon::ultsonic::ultfox: like it, due to their high-mobility punish game meaning that 2f goes a lot longer with them than anyone else. (And Mac has few anti-projectile options besides parry.)

Edit:
Let's put it this way--if Thunderjolt was nerfed to have 2 less frames of shieldstun, everyone would be talking about it.

And well, that more or less literally just happened.
 
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SwagGuy99

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The biggest winner is probably :ultganondorf: followed by other heavies. :ultincineroar: cares less than you might expect; he's slow, but the sort of projectiles most affected by this were already Revenge bait. (Still, it's strictly an improvement for the cat.) :ultlittlemac: and perhaps :ultfalcon::ultsonic::ultfox: like it, due to their high-mobility punish game meaning that 2f goes a lot longer with them than anyone else. (And Mac has few anti-projectile options besides parry.)
:ultluigi: is also a huge fan of this change as a lot of his losing and even matchups are against projectile users. This change could potentially improve matchups against Samus, the Links, and other projectile users. (This is a comparison from before the patch compared to how it was in only training mode)
 
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Thinkaman

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Luigi is actually probably the most split case. He absolutely hates projectiles and has the frame data to make every frame count, but he himself depends on projectiles to approach.

Luigi is obviously worse in matchups against non-projectile users, but I think it's very reasonable to asser that he comes out ahead against the Marios and Pikachus of the world.
 

The_Bookworm

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Aaron's thoughts on the character, he actually believes that the character does best against rushdown and struggles against zoners, which is interesting as a lot of people (ESAM, people on this thread etc) seem to think differently.
From my personal experience, I think Steve does ok against rushdowns. I think Steve has the frame data and burst options to keep them in their toes.
He does ok against most zoners, but certain ones like YLink and Min Min can be rather annoying.
Swordies, however, is were I think Steve struggles the most, especially the quick ones. With Steve's limited mobility and range, it is hard to get in against them.

Dabuz's Week 1 Impressions of Steve:
Yikes. This is a matchup spread of a low tier character. Heck, this seems like a bottom 5 character matchup spread.

I personally don't think Steve's matchup chart is this bad, but I am also growing more pessimistic on Steve's viability in the top level play.
If he does rise in the meta, it is likely going to be a late-meta character.

Which is a shame, because the character has a lot of amazing tools in his toolset, including amazing frame data, edgeguarding, set-ups, and even combos, as well as a very solid recovery. A.k.a. stuff that makes up the bulk of top tiers in most Smash games.
However, he is just so slow in mobility and lacking in range.
At the very least, in comparison to Dr. Mario, he has even faster frame data, the ability to move around while throwing out his attacks, burst options with Minecart, and a much stronger offstage game, though at the cost of a traditional projectile and being slightly less explosive.
I also find his neutral game to be rather awkward, and there are moments where Steve can develop a little bit of Marth-itus. He also has to consistently keep track of resources. At least in the case for Robin and Hero, their resources come back naturally. Steve has constantly choose when to mine materials at all times. Granted that this isn't much of an issue, especially with dedicated Steve players moving forward, but it is a issue regardless.

Edit:
In the end, it is too early to tell where Steve truly is, but the character is proving to be more polarizing than initially seem.
This seems to be a trend lately with DLC characters, which I will cover soon with a long, detailed post about newcomer progression in general in Ultimate.
 
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Thinkaman

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The thing is, you don't have to have a lot say, Doc experience to fight Doc. You seemingly will absolutely have to have some serious Steve experience to fight Steve, and how many mechanically sufficient Steves are going to be out there giving people practice? It's hard to have enough practice against an opponent who is literally character #77.
 

SwagGuy99

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Edit:
...the character is proving to be more polarizing than initially seem.
This seems to be a trend lately with DLC characters, which I will cover soon with a long, detailed post about newcomer progression in general in Ultimate.
Not all that important, but on average, most newcomers in Ultimate seem to have been lackluster in terms of viability. I think this is partially due to how polarizing they are (in terms of their strengths and weaknesses) when compared to the best Smash 4 newcomers (at least in terms of viability). This is something I've noticed for a while, and it's continued with the DLC. Almost all of them are very polarizing in some way with the exception of Joker.


Joker: :ultjoker:

Low Top Tier/Solid High Tier: :ultinkling:(:ultchrom:)

Mid to Low High Tier: :ult_terry:(:ultken:)

Mid Tiers and low tiers: :ulthero::ultisabelle::ultkrool::ultminmin:ultpiranha::ultsimon::ultridley::ultincineroar::ultbyleth::ultbanjokazooie: (probably Steve as well, but maybe not)

It feels like overall, a lot of the Ultimate newcomers were designed with weaknesses that are much easier to exploit than most of the top and high tier Smash 4 newcomers were, even Inkling and Chrom. This has led to them being less viable overall in the competitive meta. It's an interesting trend I've noticed that's been consistent for pretty much all of Ultimate's newcomers with the exception of Joker,
 

Nobie

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One thing I'm curious about is how anti-Steve combos will develop. When he gets hit, he doesn't contort his body into a prone position, and I've noticed that his "stay straight up while flailing" animation changes how combos work against him, and how he interacts with the stage while getting juggled. For example, Mewtwo's down tilt at low percents will cause Steve to land on platforms before the fair follow-up that would otherwise true combo on similar characters. It's thrown me off, but I feel that it's gotta be exploitable once players optimize against Steve.
 
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SwagGuy99

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One thing I'm curious about is how anti-Steve combos will develop. When he gets hit, he doesn't contort his body into a prone position, and I've noticed that his "stay straight up while flailing" animation changes how combos work against him, and how he interacts with the stage while getting juggled. For example, Mewtwo's down tilt at low percents will cause Steve to land on platforms before the fair follow-up that would otherwise true combo on similar characters. It's thrown me off, but I feel that it's gotta be exploitable once players optimize against Steve.
Yeah. Things that should normally consistent don't work as well on him, and I'm guessing a few characters may not have easy ways to work around it.

Some combos have already been labbed out for him by Luigi mains that can replace the usual combo routes on Steve since they aren't as consistent. Granted, not every character is going to have this kind of freedom when it comes to adapting to his weird hurtbox, but some will.
 
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The_Bookworm

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My viewpoints/observations on Ultimate's DLC, as well as Ultimate's newcomers as a whole.

Steve pretty much demonstrates how cautious the dev team is with Ultimate's DLC characters. They could've easily made Steve one of the most devastating DLC characters in the game, but they definitely put a lot of constraints. I will go over later on the specifics, but here is the context on my observations.

We all know how powerful SSB4's DLC characters are. :4bayonetta::4cloud: are two of the best characters in the game, with :4mewtwo::4corrinf::4ryu: being strong characters in their own right themselves. Bayo in particular became one of the most hated characters in Smash history. I noticed that characters being annoying can often inflate people's perspective on how powerful the character actually is (I am looking at you Ultimate Pika).

The SSB4 DLC character dilemma, combined with now infamous MkLeo vs Plup match in the Ultimate invitational, where MkLeo Bayo combo'd Plup with a harsh negative crowd reaction, is where I think the dev team really started to make constraints with their newcomers as a whole.

If we look at all of Ultimate's non-echo fighter newcomers, with the exception of :ultinkling: and up until :ultjoker:, do you notice something?
:ultridley::ultsimon::ultkrool::ultisabelle::ultincineroar::ultpiranha:
You can probably tell what I am getting at. Sure, the Belmonts was viewed much more positively back then (mostly due to being the first of his archetype) and Ridley isn't quite as weak of the others, but as you can see, all of these characters are quite lacking in some way.
:ultkrool::ultisabelle::ultpiranha: in particular entered the game as three of the worst characters in the game, and these three are still quite lacking to this day.


:ultinkling:, funnily enough the first newcomer introduced into Ultimate, is a strong exception. She was one of the strongest early meta picks, and was commonly considered to be potentially the best character in the game during the early meta. Even after the "best character" title wore off from her, for a long time, she was considered one of the game's best characters, and one of the prime candidates for the Smash community to clamor for nerfs.

She has since then fallen off the meta, and has been relegated to simply a very solid high tiered character and not nerf-worthy, but her impact in the early meta, combined with what would come next, would have an everlasting impact on future DLC characters.

Everything changed when :ultjoker:, the second DLC character and the first character of Fighters Pass 1, was released. His impact on the competitive scene wasn't immediate, but when the gears were turning, the character rose quickly to one of the game's elite. It came to the point where many players were clamoring for nerfs to Joker. Granted that this is the Smash community's natural reaction to anything strong in Smash games, especially in a patch cycle, but this is still scarily a reflection of the SSB4 top tier dilemma.

Joker did eventually receive some small, but notable nerfs, that makes him a little bit easier to deal with, but he is still one of the best, if not, the best character in the game.


Lets stop for a second and think: when two of your newcomers became characters people clamor for nerfs, despite all of the heavy constraints you put on the newcomers, how would you react?

I think Joker is where the Smash dev team finally got scared of the impact DLC characters can have in Smash Bros, thus they became extra cautious on designing DLC characters, while trying to not make them as pathetically weak as their base roster newcomers. While Joker is no where near Bayo/Cloud craziness (or most SSB4 top tiered characters for that matter), he definitely showed to be a ghost of SSB4 past, at least to the eyes of the devs. I think most of the DLC characters that came out afterwards suffered because of that.


Now lets take a look at the things that make :ultinkling::ultjoker: very viable characters: very mobility, great frame data, and potent combo game. Afterwards, these two branch off in terms of strengths (Inkling has recovery and damage output, Joker has Arsene buttons and KO power, etc.).

Now here are the DLC characters released so far: :ulthero::ultbanjokazooie::ult_terry::ultbyleth::ultminmin (Steve)

Here is a common trait with the DLC characters released after Joker: they all have some semblance of sluggish mobility, which is something Inkling and Joker excels at.

Hero has a solid dash and initial dash speed, but have sluggish air speed and below average air acceleration.
Banjo has pretty great dash speed and average air acceleration, but with the 7th-8th worst initial dash and the 11th worst air speed.
Terry has average dash speed, but with 5th-6th worst initial dash and mediocre air speed, and below average air acceleration.
Byleth has the 8th-9th worst dash speed, below average initial dash, the 10th worst air speed, and below average air acceleration.
Min Min has a below average dash speed and initial dash, but the 6th worst air speed and below average air acceleration.
Steve has not only the worst first jump in the game, but also the 10th worst dash speed, the weakest initial dash, the 7th worst air speed, and rather poor air acceleration as well.


However, each character, in addition to having at least some semblance of limited mobility, have other things limiting them.
:ultbanjokazooie: In addition to their poor initial dash and air speed, the character in general has a lack of anything standing out. Almost all of their moves are ok at best, and a lot of them are directly inferior to a similar move by another character.
Down throw buries? Well K. Rool has the same down throw but with a much longer bury duration. Vertical up tilt? Literally Snake's, but cannot touch grounded opponents that well. Spinning neutral air? It is literally Pit's neutral air (exact same hitboxes), but much slower in terms of startup lag and landing lag. Rolling dash attack? Well it is DK's dash attack, but with a shorter hitbox and a weaker sourspot. You get the point.
The only real "gimmick" of the character is Wonderwing, but even that is limited and exploited. Zoning is annoying with the character (and quite literally what the character has to resort to due to his meh normal buttons), but they don't really do it much better than other specialized zoners.
Banjo is more of a casualty of questionable moveset design, than actually the devs giving the character undesirable traits to balance out their "gimmick". There will be more on that later.
They was initially seen as mid tier, maybe lower-high tier, but as time goes on, this character really dropped off imo once their numerous limitations are seen.

:ultbyleth: Byleth's design choice isn't really due to the new tradition of adding restrictions to new characters, but more of them building up and evolving the "distance demon" archetype. I covered this and Byleth as a character, extensively during my analysis on Min Min, and my points and viewpoints have not changed much since then. The overall gist is that after the Belmonts missed the mark with the archetype, and Byleth is their next attempt in doing so. While Byleth improves a lot of what the Belmonts fell short, which is still very much the case despite the Belmonts (rather miniscule) buffs in 9.0, Byleth still possesses some of the same glaring issues.
I do find it funny that Sakurai tries to point out the character's weaknesses directly from the direct, which is what probably lead to his mediocre competitive reception pre-release. He also pointed out a poor grab, but from my experience playing Byleth, I never found his grab to be that bad (at least by Ultimate's standards). It is certainty better than Hero's grab. :p
Anyways, I personally think Byleth is a bit better than some people give credit for, especially after MkLeo's recent performances with him, but he is still not too great. He still resides in the lower-mid tier/upper-low tier areas of the tier list imo. I think he is better than most DLC characters, but that is not entirely a high bar to clear.



Two characters, however, really suffered for this, and it is directly from the extra caution.
:ulthero: Hero was the talk of the show when he first came out. Seemingly absurd spells, random critical hits, crazy side effects via Hocus Pocus, the character seemed utterly ridiculous and borderline game breaking. He became insanely popular in low/mid-level play when the first month was released, and is still popular in low-level play to this day. However, the character is one of the least performing characters in high-level play, with one of the smallest playerbases, rather lacking results from that playerbase, and like Das Koopa pointed out, a hilariously poor upset ratio (or something like that, I forgot what it specifically was).
When looking at his moveset, it becomes crystal clear why. The character possesses some awkward air mobility, terrible frame data on especially his aerials, middling range-at-best on his faster moves, a very poor grab (his dash grab grabbox doesn't even cover his entire hand), the need for MP to gain access to his best moves, and reliance on RNG. Some of his frightened spells, such as Thwack and Magic Burst, was also discovered to be too situational / rather easy to avoid.
He does have his strengths, and he does have the distinction on having a few niche higher tiered matchups due to his special set of tools, but he suffers against a lot of the cast. While he doesn't entirely lose horribly against higher tiered characters, other low tiered characters have tools to work around Hero's toolset (unless you are one of those niche characters). I personally think Hero is a rather weak character in competitive play, with the 7.0 and 8.0 buffs to lower tiered characters further boosting this.
Hero overall is one of the biggest casualties of the dev team intentionally adding deliberating undesirable traits to a character to balance out their gimmick. There was a reason why Sakurai was so casual on showcasing the absurdity of some of Hero's spells. They knew that the character would have many other traits to counterbalance this.

(Steve) Disclaimer: we don't quite know how exactly good Steve will be in top level play. He is a very complex character, and will likely be character specialists that will push the character's meta, similar to characters like Pac-Man. Additionally, he is a character were you likely need to know the matchup to have a good time in. Lack of matchup knowledge, and technical Steve players can mess you up.
However, it is hard to deny that shades of Hero is starting to show up with the character: initially seen to be absurd, but with his numerous undesirable traits discovered afterwards.
As we all know, the character has some powerful traits. He has amazing frame data across the board, some burst options to work with (Minecart), powerful edgeguarding/ledgetrapping, numerous techs to break shields and activate combos, and a solid recovery. I can't wait to see how Steve players optimize this.
However, the character possesses quite a bit of weaknesses. One of which is possessing one of the worst overall mobility stats in the game, poor overall reach, an awkward neutral game, cases of Marth-itus at some points, and the need to build up resources. The end result is that the character, on paper at least, has trouble dealing with certain character archetypes, many of which populate the higher tiers.
Steve's results are not really popping-off online, like with Min Min on/after release, which makes sense since the character is even more complex, but the character's flaws are becoming more apparent because of this.
I personally don't really know where Steve is going to be on the tier list, but the way things are swinging right now, the character is not really looking too hot in high-level play.
This is another example of the dev team intentionally putting deliberating limitations on the character to counterbalance some of their absurd tools/mechanics. The low first jump and lack of range are shown off in the demonstration, but they also decided to drastically lower the block placing boundaries since the demonstration, just to make extra sure that the character will not be busted.

I do find it funny that the two biggest examples of the dev team being extra careful with DLC characters, also happens to be the two characters with a strikingly positive reception prior to launch, and is often considered to this day to be very "fun" characters to play, thus these two are popular in low-level play (at least from what I have seen from Steve so far).


Thankfully, there are two lucky survivors of this.
:ult_terry: Similar to the Shotos, Terry possesses some lackluster mobility specs, and his disadvantage is arguably even weaker than them (weaker in some areas, stronger in others).
However, thanks to possessing many similar advantages to the Shotos, as well as some unique strengths, such as a stronger neutral game overall, invincibility frame shenanigans, the "GO" meter, and stronger aerial combo game, the character has been a powerful threat since his release. Being a Shoto-like character, he doesn't have a big playerbase, but the players that have mained the character have done some really great stuff in high level play, even in the online environment.
As such, the character is a very solid high tier character, and the second-best DLC character imo.

:ultminmin Min Min by design seems to be as polarizing as the lower-tiered DLC characters. However, while there are some polarizing aspects of the character, she more than makes up for it for her great advantages, as well as her many ways to circumvent her weaknesses.
She is the evolution, and the current highest point, of the "distance demon" archetype. She fires off very long reaching arms attacks, with their own distinct advantages that she can switch instantaneously, while being able to move around while throwing them out. Spacing and edgeguarding with these tools are amazing. However, she also possesses pretty good close range options, including her amazing up smash, allowing her to patch up some of the biggest flaws that plague the Belmonts and (to a lesser extent) Byleth.
She does still have her disadvantages. She does possess some notably limited movement, especially in the air. Due to having a stand-then-fall down air, her disadvantage in general is often unfavorable, and her recovery is the most limited out of DLC tether recovery moves. Her frame data on the arm attacks are also not the best (though still solid for their reach), while also bouncing off of people's shields.
All of this is reflected in her online results, being pretty good in USA thanks to the counterpick/secondary efforts of ESAM, Dabuz, and Salem, but she was absolutely dominant in the Japanese online scene, and her offline results still seems to be good there.
Overall, I think she is a high tiered character as well, as the third best DLC character.
I think that Min Min is the primary example of the dev team indeed intentionally putting out deliberating limitations to counterbalance her strengths, but these limitations not being nearly enough to counterbalance her strengths. Remember this: it could've been worse. They could've given her Dhalsim hurtbox extensions. It worked well with SSF2 Luffy, right?



So yeah, the dev team really wants to make sure that the SSB4 DLC dilemma doesn't happen again, and Joker's release was a jump-scare moment to make sure this doesn't happen.
The end results is most of the Ultimate's DLC characters being rather lackluster characters. The tier gap between :ultjoker::ult_terry::ultminmin vs :ultbyleth::ultbanjokazooie::ulthero::ultpiranha:(Steve) is frightfully big.
Hopefully, top Steve players can prove us wrong and show that the character may break the mid, even high tier barrier, but I think the dev team is being a bit too cautious on the DLC characters (as well as Ultimate's newcomers in general).


-------------------------------------------------

On a side note: we now need Steve stock icons.
 

Minix0

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I believed :ultlucario: was the objective worst character in the game before this patch, and I'm unsure how much the needle moved for him.
...Wha...what? Like, you're allowed to your opinion, and Lucario is def not a good character, but how is Doctor Mario, a character with a bottom 3 recovery, horrible mobility, lacking combos, a character like Little Mac who doesn't even have aerials, Ganondorf (no kill confirms, ironically struggles with finishing stocks, weak neutral, weak advantage, horrendous disadvantage, bottom 3 recovery), Isabelle, a lackluster zoner, Jigglypuff, etc?

Idk man I know Lucario has faults, but he has a usable recovery, some combos, a kill confirm (I think?), solid defense, good ledge trapping, etc. This is pre patch even. Low tier pre patch, sure, but I don't see worst. I guess you could argue that he has no winning match ups but lets be real who doesn't win against Doc, Little Mac, and Ganondorf?
 

MrGameguycolor

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...Wha...what? Like, you're allowed to your opinion, and Lucario is def not a good character, but how is Doctor Mario, a character with a bottom 3 recovery, horrible mobility, lacking combos, a character like Little Mac who doesn't even have aerials, Ganondorf (no kill confirms, ironically struggles with finishing stocks, weak neutral, weak advantage, horrendous disadvantage, bottom 3 recovery), Isabelle, a lackluster zoner, Jigglypuff, etc?

Idk man I know Lucario has faults, but he has a usable recovery, some combos, a kill confirm (I think?), solid defense, good ledge trapping, etc. This is pre patch even. Low tier pre patch, sure, but I don't see worst. I guess you could argue that he has no winning match ups but lets be real who doesn't win against Doc, Little Mac, and Ganondorf?
From what I've gathered, it's cause :ultdoc:'s results aren't too bad for a low tier.
Though to be fair, not many mid and high level player are prepared to fight a good Doc, so eh...

I'd say most agree that :ultganondorf: & :ultlittlemac: are weaker.
 
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Thinkaman

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I think :4mewtwo:as part of a pattern is a bit of a reach, in that he was pretty underpowered on release and only came into his own with some rather large buffs.


Also, I think :ulthero: can't be characterized as that bad, and I say this as one of the most historically pessimistic people on Hero in this thread. For the longest time, Hero was being propped up by Salem and splashes of secondary success among various top players that seemed unlikely to be sustained--with very little "grassroots" support underneath them. But now Akakikushu has stepped up to really develop and take point on the character, playing him at a level that seems far more robust than any of the secondary tricksters in the past.

I had a long-standing prediction that :ultbanjokazooie: would overtake :ulthero: in OrionRank within a year, and he was weeks away from doing so before COVID hit. But fast forward 6 months, and this might not happen--between the seeming stagnation of Banjo's playerbase and Akakikushu's single-handed results, Banjo is probably the weakest non-Plant DLC character today.

...Wha...what? Like, you're allowed to your opinion, and Lucario is def not a good character, but how is Doctor Mario, a character with a bottom 3 recovery, horrible mobility, lacking combos, a character like Little Mac who doesn't even have aerials, Ganondorf (no kill confirms, ironically struggles with finishing stocks, weak neutral, weak advantage, horrendous disadvantage, bottom 3 recovery), Isabelle, a lackluster zoner, Jigglypuff, etc?

Idk man I know Lucario has faults, but he has a usable recovery, some combos, a kill confirm (I think?), solid defense, good ledge trapping, etc. This is pre patch even. Low tier pre patch, sure, but I don't see worst. I guess you could argue that he has no winning match ups but lets be real who doesn't win against Doc, Little Mac, and Ganondorf?
Man, I've made a lot of posts defending Doc and Mac in particular.

:ultdoc: is the anti-Pikachu. Everyone is just adamant he is awful, with... nothing but "theory" to back that up. (Theory that consists of merely listing his weaknesses, and leaving the rest of the proof as an exercise to the reader.)

Doc has results. Before COVID, he was at #58 on OrionRank. #58 is pretty mediocre, but it is way above #74 or whatever people are constantly trying to peg him at. And what's more impressive, he managed #58 in spite of:
  • His 7.0.0 buffs not covering much of the sample period
  • A HUGE substitution effect with Mario
  • Social media frequently dumping on the character--one of the least encouraged characters to play
Look at Marth, the only bigger substitution effect. Lucina is at least an upper-high-tier character. Marth is at least a lower-high-tier character. Marth has 0 points on OrionRank and is ranked #76 because Lucina exists. But most people can see that Marth would be around at least #35 or so if Lucina disappeared.

Doc is similar. Why play Doc when Mario exists? Doc's results would more than double if there wasn't a generally superior nearly-top-tier alternative. Yet instead of interpreting this as Doc obviously being better than his results indicate (like Marth), people instead round them down to zero. Because recovery, or something.

Tsumusuto is the best Doc in the world. He got 2nd at Sumabato SP 13, losing only to Kome. (And Shulk is generally regarded as Doc's worst matchup.) What does he think?


One player's opinion does not define the reality of how good a character is, but the best Doc in the world seems pretty convinced the character is a solid mid-tier. And there's lots of footage out there. Lui$ plays Doc less now, but there's great footage of his Doc too--even before the buffs, which were quite meaningful.


:ultlittlemac: is a more complicated case. Unlike Doc, :ultlittlemac: does not have a consistent baseline level of top-level results. However, there are 3 giant caveats that have to be considered:

First, there are numerous good Little Macs in Japan, who intermittently get respectable placing at well-attended events. These placings would ordinarily be nothing too noteworthy--any character or player of sufficient skill is going to get a lucky bracket or have a good day eventually. But quite the contrary, Tarakotori and pals actually have lots of wins over some really formidable opponents, disproportionate to the overall average ranking.

Second, until possibly Steve, Mac is the most sensitive character to stage. Under Smash 4 stage lists, his life was... manageable. But virtually ever Ultimate Stage list is massively worse for him. Kalos, Yoshi's, and PS2 are all worse than any legal stage in Smash 4. Plus, the new Town & City has gone from being a great Mac stage to a mediocre one. With our current ban counts, Mac has no good counterpicks even in a Bo3.

This doesn't make Mac better. If Mac is artificially bad under tournament rules, then that's the same outcome as him being bad. But it has to be recognized in discussing Mac that this is a situation of our own creation:
  • It would not be true if we played only on FD, Battlefield, Small Battlefield, or any combination thereof.
  • It would not be true if we played on vastly more stages, especially if Mac could counterpick something as crazy as walk-offs.
  • It would not be true if we didn't have stage bans, or merely had 1.
  • It would not be true if we used a different tiebreaker/timeout procedure than our forced-approach community homebrew policy.
I am not advocating for any of these things. I'm just pointing out that Little Mac is vastly better under literally any stage/timeout ruleset than the exact one we use, and it's thus more than a little weird to stick to said ruleset and take it as self-evident that Mac is just inherently flawed. Various imbalances exist across the roster (in both directions) for various other rulesets one could pursue, especially when diverse stages and Final Smashes get involved. This is nothing new or unique to Mac, it's just that his case is the most relevant to the world closest to us.

Third, what Little Mac lacks in consistent top-level results he makes up for in overall tournament usage. Little Mac is used more than virtually all "low tier" characters in the competitive scene. People vote with their controller, and raw tournament usage is strongly correlated with character strength.


:ultganondorf: is similar to that last point, but cranked up to 11. Ganondorf's tournament usage is quite high, top 25 last I checked. And yet all these Ganon aren't going 0-2; they have around a 50% average win-rate. So they are clearly entering events and doing at least decent, yet there's also clearly some sort of cut-off that leads to basically 0 top-level Ganon results.

We see this sort of relationship with characters as diverse as :ultbowser::ultdk::ultness::ultzelda::ultyoshi:, but Ganon exhibits it the most in Smash Ultimate by far. If you remember, we were told that Ganon was the #1 most used character within Elite Smash following the game's release. There seems to be a level of play, somewhere between 95th to 99.9th percentile, where Ganon is really good, possibly even a contender for best character. And this level isn't your kid cousins mashing on each other--again, these Ganons are showing up in tournaments en mass, and averaging 2-2. They just are never placing in the money.

A complicating factor is Ganon's historic dominance of Free-For-All formats. This applies to other heavies as well, but Ganon with his uair, wizkick, and huge smashes is a FFA monster. This is mostly a factor in terms of "why hasn't Ganon been buffed yet", and is probably little consolation to competitive Ganon players. But, like Mac and his stage situation, it is probably wise to keep in mind the broader contexts outside our little competitive mountain top when evaluating characters as if discerning some sort of universal truth.


:ultlucario:, for constrast, has poor results, no one playing him, no justification for either, and is uniquely disadvantaged by 35 other characters becoming better at killing this year. He is worse with items, worse in FFAs, worse in teams in Ultimate, and really has no context going for him outside of ludicriously large stages. He was in the sharpest performance decline since the game's launch of any character.

Hopefully, these 9.0.0 buffs let him at least keep up with the Jones.
 

bc1910

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Not all that important, but on average, most newcomers in Ultimate seem to have been lackluster in terms of viability. I think this is partially due to how polarizing they are (in terms of their strengths and weaknesses) when compared to the best Smash 4 newcomers (at least in terms of viability). This is something I've noticed for a while, and it's continued with the DLC. Almost all of them are very polarizing in some way with the exception of Joker.


Joker: :ultjoker:

Low Top Tier/Solid High Tier: :ultinkling:(:ultchrom:)

Mid to Low High Tier: :ult_terry:(:ultken:)

Mid Tiers and low tiers: :ulthero::ultisabelle::ultkrool::ultminmin:ultpiranha::ultsimon::ultridley::ultincineroar::ultbyleth::ultbanjokazooie: (probably Steve as well, but maybe not)

It feels like overall, a lot of the Ultimate newcomers were designed with weaknesses that are much easier to exploit than most of the top and high tier Smash 4 newcomers were, even Inkling and Chrom. This has led to them being less viable overall in the competitive meta. It's an interesting trend I've noticed that's been consistent for pretty much all of Ultimate's newcomers with the exception of Joker,
I agree with you on this as I’ve had similar thoughts before. I’d also throw in the fact that most of Ultimate’s newcomers have pretty shoddy mobility stats with the exceptions of, guess who, Joker, Inkling and Chrom. Mobility isn’t exactly the be all and end all trait that it used to be and you don’t need to be ZSS level fast to be top tier (characters like Mario, ROB and G&W get on just fine without the best raw mobility stats) but there’s still an undeniable correlation between mobility and effectiveness in this game. Many of the newcomers are simply too sluggish to avoid having the faster existing characters run rings around them.
 

StrangeKitten

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Playing Steve more has only cemented my feelings on him being far from the worst character. I'm finally beginning to use Create Block well in disadvantage and it's a bacon-saver. You can lay some blocks while you're in the air and you open up tons of landing options. If you've got some fresh blocks around, you literally have a wall or ceiling to tech against instead of losing your stock. You can use them to aid your recovery, which is a strong one when you also factor Minecart and Elytra in. I'm open to Steve being low tier, but there's no way this character with all his options is worse than Little Mac or Ganondorf.
 

Cap'n Jack

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As a :ultbanjokazooie: main I disagree with some of the comments listed here, but then again,:ultbanjokazooie: does not garner a lot of respect, and I’ve come to terms with that.
 

NotLiquid

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:4bayonetta::4corrinf::4ryu: didn't have great mobility stats either but it didn't stop their tools from seeing them through.
You're not necessarily wrong here, but both Bayonetta and Corrin largely compensated for their overall mobility traits with strong burst options. Bayonetta didn't need to move fast or jump fast herself when Witch Twist and Afterburner Kick did that for her, and Corrin's Dragon Lunge back then was the kitchen sink in terms of giving Corrin safety, damage and movement.

And while there's a decent argument with Ryu I feel there's a half decent counterargument to be made that he was violently overvalued early on by the 4BR and certain other players who won't be named here, the residual of which still persisted somewhat in the twilight hours of the game. People generally latched onto the sentiment that he had to be considered a top tier even when his results languished in the face of other characters starting to pick up the slack. The better example of a top tier in 4 that lacked any "great" mobility was Rosalina, yet she didn't so much compensate her lack of mobility in other traits as much as she levied an extremely strong gimmick.

Even when Smash 4's engine valued defensive play, less safety on moves, and more pronounced rage, there's only a few characters in the game's top 20 who are not known for having decent mobility options, and that number gets cut down further when you exempt characters who rely on fundamentally gaming the mechanics (e.g. Lucario).
 
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Firox

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Aaron's thoughts on the character, he actually believes that the character does best against rushdown and struggles against zoners, which is interesting as a lot of people (ESAM, people on this thread etc) seem to think differently.
As a :ultgreninja: main, I can tell you I have ZERO problems dismantling Steve. The shuriken poke mitigates his mining and my crazy good mobility gets me in and out of attack range with ease. My recovery mixup options cancel out most of his edgeguard game as well.
 

Frihetsanka

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:4bayonetta::4corrinf::4ryu: didn't have great mobility stats either but it didn't stop their tools from seeing them through.
They're not nearly as bad as Steve/Incineroar/Ganondorf, characters that all seem to be held back by their poor mobility. It's also worth remembering that Ryu in 4 had slightly better mobility, relatively speaking, Ken stole his speed buffs for Ultimate. Also, his airspeed is pretty good (though bad air acceleration). Still, overall Ryu's mobility is much better than Steve's. Steve seems to be more comparable with Incineroar and Ganondorf, although he does have his Minecart as a potentially good burst movement option. Also blocks, I guess. Anyway, right now several top players claimed that Steve isn't good, and not that many seem to think he's good? ESAM and Ryuga, who else?
 

Firox

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They're not nearly as bad as Steve/Incineroar/Ganondorf, characters that all seem to be held back by their poor mobility. It's also worth remembering that Ryu in 4 had slightly better mobility, relatively speaking, Ken stole his speed buffs for Ultimate. Also, his airspeed is pretty good (though bad air acceleration). Still, overall Ryu's mobility is much better than Steve's. Steve seems to be more comparable with Incineroar and Ganondorf, although he does have his Minecart as a potentially good burst movement option. Also blocks, I guess. Anyway, right now several top players claimed that Steve isn't good, and not that many seem to think he's good? ESAM and Ryuga, who else?
ESAM is just bitter that Steve killed Pika.
 

SwagGuy99

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...Wha...what? Like, you're allowed to your opinion, and Lucario is def not a good character, but how is Doctor Mario, a character with a bottom 3 recovery, horrible mobility, lacking combos, a character like Little Mac who doesn't even have aerials, Ganondorf (no kill confirms, ironically struggles with finishing stocks, weak neutral, weak advantage, horrendous disadvantage, bottom 3 recovery), Isabelle, a lackluster zoner, Jigglypuff, etc?
I personally believed :ultlucario: to be bottom 3 prior to this patch, with only :ultlittlemac: and :ultganondorf: and potentially :ultincineroar: below him. His mobility is solid and some of his normals are good, but his awful matchup spread and the fact that he had to rely a lot on Aura to net early kills held him back a lot. :ultdoc: (in comparison to all 3 of them) has a neutral at least on par with Lucario, a large amount of fast kill moves, a better advantage state, a great set of normals overall, and he generally has a much more well rounded kit than all 4 of the previously mentioned characters, it's just that his weaknesses are very exploitable for some of the cast, particularly those with large disjoints (:ultbowser::ultsimon::ultpalutena:) or swords (:ultchrom::ultike::ultlucina::ultmarth::ultcloud::ultshulk:). Characters with extremely strong mobility pose a problem for Doc as well, with the biggest example being :ultsonic: and a handful of the characters I listed above as well.

Speaking of Doc, I do think that people tend to overlook that Doc's matchup spread in comparison is much better than you'd expect for a bottom 3 character. It's not amazing or anything, it's definitely mediocre, but it could be a lot worse. Has close to even matchups with :ultpikachu: and :ultfox::ultluigi:, goes even with :ultdiddy: and :ultmario:, and he may potentially beat :ultpichu: slightly. Tea also thinks he slightly beats :ultpacman: which I have some trouble picturing, but I could see it being an even matchup.

Currently I don't know where :ultlucario: stands. It's most likely still bottom 10, but I do think his buffs did matter to some degree. Aura being better starting around 65% (at least based on what I've heard that's about when the changes start to become noticeable) means that he will start feeling the impacts of these changes before his stock has been taken most of the time. I think his changes (barring this one) weren't all that significant, but this change may have been enough to elevate his position on the tier list, if only very slightly.

Edit:

Look at Marth, the only bigger substitution effect. Lucina is at least an upper-high-tier character. Marth is at least a lower-high-tier character. Marth has 0 points on OrionRank and is ranked #76 because Lucina exists. But most people can see that Marth would be around at least #35 or so if Lucina disappeared.

Doc is similar. Why play Doc when Mario exists? Doc's results would more than double if there wasn't a generally superior nearly-top-tier alternative. Yet instead of interpreting this as Doc obviously being better than his results indicate (like Marth), people instead round them down to zero. Because recovery, or something.
This is something I've thought about Doc for a while. His reception is skewed negatively because there's barely any characters where there's any legitimate value to using him over Mario. :ultlucario: and :ulticeclimbers: are really the only two where I can see a legitimate gap between how well Mario does in the matchup verses how Doc does. There are matchups they do about the same in compared to each other, but there's really no reason for most players to play Doc over Mario unless they heavily prefer Doc's playstyle over Mario's (or unless they're in Japan where Doc doing comparable to Mario or better in some matchups isn't all that uncommon of an opinion).

If Mario didn't exist, Doc would probably have better results, and maybe an overall positive reception as well. It likely wouldn't be nearly as big of a jump in results compared to what you're saying with Marth if Lucina didn't exist, but I think it would still be at least somewhat noticeable.

I also don't think the overall negative impressions that most top players give of Doc does any favors towards improving everyone else's perceptions of him either. Dabuz and Player -1 are the only top American players I've seen who seem to have some faith in Doc and don't just write him off as Bottom 10 like everyone else.
 
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