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Official Competitive Character Impressions 2.0

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Sucumbio

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Kinda hoping Sparg0 will give it another shot. Or step up his Aegis which he could easily do.
Aegis should be the answer. He's got some practice to do.

On a side note what did anyone if anyone think of MKLeo's comments about being un-impressed with the likes of Sparg0 and others I'm like ha hope that's a misunderstanding...
 

Frihetsanka

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He did. Sonix adapted to the Cloud and won. In fact the Cloud didn't win a single game against Sonix in Grands. The Corrin was what took a game.
It might be worth mentioning that he went Corrin vs Wrath in the same tournament and won 3-1. Granted, Sonix is the best Sonic player in the world, but it's hard to wonder what would've happened if he had trusted in his Corrin a bit more.
 

st0pnsw0p

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Aegis should be the answer. He's got some practice to do.

On a side note what did anyone if anyone think of MKLeo's comments about being un-impressed with the likes of Sparg0 and others I'm like ha hope that's a misunderstanding...
He said that he's not as impressed with them as he is with Gluto because their playstyle is "mashier", but he acknowledges that their brand of mashing is the playstyle this game favors and that he needs to adapt to this reality; he just doesn't value that playstyle the same as more "traditional" smash.
It's not the first time he's had something to say about "mashers" either. See this clip from a few years back where he trash-talks Roy players.


Edit: Speaking of Leo adapting to the meta, I don't believe it's been brought up here yet that he's planning on using ROB (not sure if as a main or co-main with Joker, a la Zackray), citing the cheese factor as a reason for it.


He also went full ROB at a smaller tournament recently, which he won with no set losses.

https://www.reddit.com/r/smashbros/comments/18kbc5g
 
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The_Bookworm

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If :ultsephiroth: was the exact same except he was a middleweight character, would he be the single best character in the game?
Likely not. He would definitely be better, especially when it comes to abusing his powerful One-Wing mechanic more often, but the character still has to contend with his dismal frame data, tall hurtbox, and deceptively precise hitboxes.
 
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Emblem Lord

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ESAM is going to be playing more :ultbrawler: in tournament and is focusing less on :ultpikachu:. He doesn't like how Pikachu has to play more passive in this current metagame because he doesn't enjoy playing campy.
He's playing the wrong game if he has issues with playing campy.
 
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NairWizard

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Camping is so important to this game; it makes a huge difference to a host of matchups.

For example, Cloud vs. Lucas is -1 for Cloud if Cloud spaces against the Lucas. Lucas will combo Cloud offstage and then PK Freeze and win stocks early.

If Cloud just d-air camps on a platform, though, the matchup becomes +1 for Cloud.

Huge swing just because Cloud refuses to engage. Many matchups are like that. If you're getting destroyed in a matchup, usually the answer is just to run to the other side of the stage and hide under or on top of a platform, and wait for something to happen.
 

The_Bookworm

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A common thing with most fighting games is greater defensive play in response to a more optimized punish game. As Smash Ultimate's punish game across the cast becomes more optimized, playing a more defensive game to make sure the opponent doesn't get The Hit™. We are now past the 5 year mark of this game existing (getting close to Brawl's competitive lifespan length of 6 years), thus the punish game across the cast has been fined tuned to an astonishing degree and getting pushed further as more players apply more punish-game oriented tech. Applying footstools to one's punish games has been rapidly been discovered and players are beginning to apply it to their gameplan. If SSB4 went on for longer, it would be likely that a similar thing involving footstools would've happened to that game too.

However instead of ending up making games faster on average, it resulted in forcing players to play more defensively/campy to avoid getting touched. Powerful punish game oriented characters like Steve and Kazuya getting introduced facilitate this change, but this is the inevitable direction the game was heading, especially since certain base game characters are catching up rapidly to their degree of punish game. Ok, nothing will admittedly touch Kazuya's punish game outside of maybe Peach, but the character also has significant weaknesses to help counterbalance such a dominant punish game. We are coming to the point that neither Steve or Kazuya are that old anymore, Kazaya came out over 2 years ago, and Steve came out over 3 years ago, meaning that we have spent more time playing Ultimate with Steve in the game than with him not in the game.

The most extreme example of this is Smash 64; in that game, almost every character in the roster has access to reliable 0-death combos off of an easy-to-obtain touch, or at least put the enemy in a position to die easily offstage, as most characters in the game have godawful recoveries. It is also the Smash game with by far the most undercooked defensive options in the series; shields are terrible, and both spotdodges and airdodges straight-up do not exist in this game. Despite all of these factors that indicate a fast paced game, which is additionally reflective with the game typically being 5 stocks long, Smash 64 players typically play each game defensively, only moving in when they see an opening, due to the fear of a 0-death combo. Non-tether grabs being near lagless and leading to said 0-death combos further facilitate this.

One unpopular opinion I do have is that playing Melee in its most optimal setting involves playing far more defensively/campy than they are right now. It is just that most Melee players simply choose to not play that way.
 

NairWizard

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More specifically it's that fadeback options have huge reward in this game. If my opponent gets a lot of reward for dashing back and using PK Fire, then yeah of course I'm going to go camp the platform and not get hit by that.

Conversely, if my reward for getting past Samus Charge Shot zoning is... having to deal with Samus screw attack mixups and grab that leads to ledgetrapping, yeah, I'm going to counter-camp that, I'm not going near it. The reward for getting through zoning is often... nothing.

If you want the game to be less campy, you just need to make whiff punishing matter more, and fadeback options should be weaker.

Or buff parry.
 

Rizen

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Dabuz and MuteAce both did tier lists. First one is Dabuz's.
CDN media

This is what I'm talking about when I say Ike's the most underrated character in the game. How the heck can Dabuz have Ike in the very bottom tier? Ike has a lot going for him: huge hitboxes, good power, a comboing Nair that's enormous, and an above average recovery for a swordsman. If Ike charges sideB back to stage it's very difficult to punish. IMO Ike's as good as Corrin; he just needs the right player to break out.
 

NairWizard

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Ike has to swing preemptively and he gets rocked both for jumping pre-swing and for whiffing post-swing. You can just get hit by his aerial side-b and kill him sometimes. He needs a lot of space to land or combo-break and most characters won’t give him that space. up-b callouts have disproportionately bad reward relative to other characters’ callouts.

what matchups does Ike do well into besides Olimar? Game and Watch destroys Ike, that MU is not hard like Maister used to believe. At best Ike is even against Cloud.

Roy, Palutena, Wolf, Kazuya, Steve, Corrin, Sonic… almost every relevant character I can think of beats Ike.

I also don’t think Corrin is that good though, so I don’t entirely disagree with you. I just think Ike struggles in this meta and doesn’t really have much to be developed either in neutral or in advantage.

I wish Ike had a really good kill confirm because I love the character more than any other in the game.
 

Rizen

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Ike has to swing preemptively and he gets rocked both for jumping pre-swing and for whiffing post-swing. You can just get hit by his aerial side-b and kill him sometimes. He needs a lot of space to land or combo-break and most characters won’t give him that space. up-b callouts have disproportionately bad reward relative to other characters’ callouts.

what matchups does Ike do well into besides Olimar? Game and Watch destroys Ike, that MU is not hard like Maister used to believe. At best Ike is even against Cloud.

Roy, Palutena, Wolf, Kazuya, Steve, Corrin, Sonic… almost every relevant character I can think of beats Ike.

I also don’t think Corrin is that good though, so I don’t entirely disagree with you. I just think Ike struggles in this meta and doesn’t really have much to be developed either in neutral or in advantage.

I wish Ike had a really good kill confirm because I love the character more than any other in the game.
Ike's recovery is one of the better recoveries in the game. It's not fantastic but it's better than most sword characters. It's very hard to challenge if you don't have a counter, although counters do screw up his upB pretty hard. His Nair's a good landing option in the same way ROB's Nair is: it's huge. 8 frames landing lag is not bad and he can combo off it. UpB got buffed and is a kill move now. It's not bad.

I disagree G&W destroys Ike, MKLeo counterpicked Ike and beat Maister pretty bad. (IMO Miya's skill is inflating opinions of G&W's MU spread. I think Maister's results are more realistic to what an average player could expect to do when picking him up but to be fair this applies to several characters). Ike's good against zoners like Young Link who don't have good burst options in disadvantage to escape his big hits. As a Wolf player I think the MU is even. I'm not saying Ike's a top tier but probably top 35ish. Kind of lower high tier. He's certainly not bottom tier like Dabuz has him.
 
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NairWizard

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(IMO Miya's skill is inflating opinions of G&W's MU spread. I think Maister's results are more realistic to what an average player could expect to do when picking him up but to be fair this applies to several characters). I
This an interesting take. I think this is where I disagree the most, so I'll focus on this part.

The top player of a character is great to look at when you want to know about matchups because people generally try to emulate the top player over time, and get closer to that skill level. Some of the things that Leo joker was doing in 2019, Jokers are doing today on WiFi. Non-tournament Jokers! Not all of it is reproducible, but sorting out which parts are is how you arrive at the theoretical "truth" of a character, and separate it from player skill.

We've always known that Game and Watch can juggle, ledgetrap, and edgeguard, but these three things often left the opponent at a high percent without taking the stock. Maister's GnW thus had the issue that it could be zoned out and then couldn't get the kill, so Maister had to use a lot of up-smash in neutral to try to win stocks.

Miya has shown us that with a few tweaks, the ledgetrapping, juggling, and edgeguarding can be stitched together into death. Miya has innovated the advantage state with a improvements that Maister hasn't been donig consistently, which is why you see characters get touch-of-deathed by his GnW.

People have tried to counterpick Maister with Ike in recent months, and it hasn't gone well. This is mostly because Ike is really bad against the new GnW advantage state, as it strings together almost flawlessly against him, the only real issue being Quickdraw to a platform that can reset. It's for similar reasons that ROB doesn't do well, because ROB doesn't have landing tools against GnW up-air. Once you find a way to take that up-air juggling and transition it to ledge, where you can take the stock, the main advantage Ike has in the MU (being able to get a Rage kill with his disjoints after taking a bunch of juggling percent) goes away, and then the matchup swings.

Character metas have evolved in this way to string together very strong advantage states at the top. Ike's meta has not kept up, so that's why Ike is getting lower on people's lists. It makes sense, really.
 

Rizen

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This an interesting take. I think this is where I disagree the most, so I'll focus on this part.

The top player of a character is great to look at when you want to know about matchups because people generally try to emulate the top player over time, and get closer to that skill level. Some of the things that Leo joker was doing in 2019, Jokers are doing today on WiFi. Non-tournament Jokers! Not all of it is reproducible, but sorting out which parts are is how you arrive at the theoretical "truth" of a character, and separate it from player skill.

We've always known that Game and Watch can juggle, ledgetrap, and edgeguard, but these three things often left the opponent at a high percent without taking the stock. Maister's GnW thus had the issue that it could be zoned out and then couldn't get the kill, so Maister had to use a lot of up-smash in neutral to try to win stocks.

Miya has shown us that with a few tweaks, the ledgetrapping, juggling, and edgeguarding can be stitched together into death. Miya has innovated the advantage state with a improvements that Maister hasn't been donig consistently, which is why you see characters get touch-of-deathed by his GnW.

People have tried to counterpick Maister with Ike in recent months, and it hasn't gone well. This is mostly because Ike is really bad against the new GnW advantage state, as it strings together almost flawlessly against him, the only real issue being Quickdraw to a platform that can reset. It's for similar reasons that ROB doesn't do well, because ROB doesn't have landing tools against GnW up-air. Once you find a way to take that up-air juggling and transition it to ledge, where you can take the stock, the main advantage Ike has in the MU (being able to get a Rage kill with his disjoints after taking a bunch of juggling percent) goes away, and then the matchup swings.

Character metas have evolved in this way to string together very strong advantage states at the top. Ike's meta has not kept up, so that's why Ike is getting lower on people's lists. It makes sense, really.
As a counterpoint to this, look at Corrin. You could say the exact same thing about Corrin's meta as Ike's. Corrin had close to no representation and meta growth. But then a few players picked up Corrin and got some pretty good results out of nowhere. It snowballed and now even top players like Spargo are using Corrin successfully. I do believe flavor of the month can be a thing but Corrin had to be at least a certain level of good for things like this to happen. I'd been saying Corrin was high tier for a long time. I think that in a game as balanced as Ultimate, any character can be a threat in bracket but also find it very unlikely that a low tier like say Mac or DK will achieve that kind of result. The point is character usage is not always a good indicator of how good a character is. I think characters are often overshadowed by better characters in their archetype: why use Ike or Corrin when Aegis and Cloud do what they do with better mobility, frame data and perks?

As for relating Corrin to Ike, they share a lot of the same strengths and weaknesses: big sword hitboxes but held back by mediocre mobility. Like I've said, I think swords are very powerful in the meta. Being able to bully the opponent by throwing out big attacks safely is a huge boon. Big attacks means good option coverage and advantage state and the meta is heavily leaning towards spammy playstyles. Look at Spargo's Cloud; he throws out attacks like it's nobody's business. Everything is super safe. Obviously there are some exceptions but in general most characters can and should be throwing out attacks. Ike can be successful in the same way Corrin and Cloud are but to a lesser extent. Good discussion.
 

NairWizard

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As a counterpoint to this, look at Corrin. You could say the exact same thing about Corrin's meta as Ike's. Corrin had close to no representation and meta growth. But then a few players picked up Corrin and got some pretty good results out of nowhere. It snowballed and now even top players like Spargo are using Corrin successfully. I do believe flavor of the month can be a thing but Corrin had to be at least a certain level of good for things like this to happen. I'd been saying Corrin was high tier for a long time. I think that in a game as balanced as Ultimate, any character can be a threat in bracket but also find it very unlikely that a low tier like say Mac or DK will achieve that kind of result. The point is character usage is not always a good indicator of how good a character is. I think characters are often overshadowed by better characters in their archetype: why use Ike or Corrin when Aegis and Cloud do what they do with better mobility, frame data and perks?

As for relating Corrin to Ike, they share a lot of the same strengths and weaknesses: big sword hitboxes but held back by mediocre mobility. Like I've said, I think swords are very powerful in the meta. Being able to bully the opponent by throwing out big attacks safely is a huge boon. Big attacks means good option coverage and advantage state and the meta is heavily leaning towards spammy playstyles. Look at Spargo's Cloud; he throws out attacks like it's nobody's business. Everything is super safe. Obviously there are some exceptions but in general most characters can and should be throwing out attacks. Ike can be successful in the same way Corrin and Cloud are but to a lesser extent. Good discussion.
Corrin has a few nice things that are causing her to excel in this meta but are probably being overlooked in favor of the obvious (advantage state/sword/etc.). One thing is that when Corrin jumps, her jump animation is ambiguous: you don't know which direction she's drifting. The Corrins have started using this ambiguous jump to empty hop in neutral and mix up with grab and pin. Using this as a basis, Corrin has developed a whiff-punishing style that is very different from the way most swordies play the game.

The typical swordie gameplan is to hit your shield with a safe aerial and then call out your next option to get damage. This is how Sparg0's Cloud plays the game today. But top-level Corrin doesn't aim for this. Corrin aims to bait you into hitting her because you think she's vulnerable when she jumps, but oops, what you thought was a drift-in jump was a fade-back jump and now you're getting hit!

She also has learned to do the 2019 Roy of going on to and off of platforms using fast aerial mixups. Pin gives her a few extra yomi layers of platform transitioning. If Corrin is standing on a platform, you don't know if she's going to fall through n-air or up-air, or jump d-air, or Counter. And if she's on the edge of a platform, she has b-air and n-air and pin, which is a large enough variety of options that you can't cover everything consistently no matter what character you play.

2023 Corrin plays more like Joker than Cloud or Ike in the current meta. She's a squirelly "you can't hit me" kind of character. Except much slower than Joker and doesn't have spammable projectiles, so of course the counterplay to this will develop pretty fast, which is why I anticipate a downward swing for Corrin in the long term.

Ike would love something similar (ambiguity of jump) to prop up his meta. As of now, if it exists, it's undiscovered, so it's hard to say that Ike would be any better than low tier, which is where Dabuz and Muteace and others are coming from. I have some trouble seeing what Ike could even develop to stay ahead of the meta. He's such a commital character, kind of the opposite of Corrin.
 
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Idon

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Ignoring the rest of the argument here, but I just had to clarify as an Ike main and follower of Ike players and all that.

Ike's recovery is not good, not even decent, especially not his up B, his worst possible recovery route. Every flaw attributed to Chrom's bad up B can be applied to Ike's if not worse so due to his terrible air speed. Aether is a very scary looking move, but in practical terms it is by and large one of the easiest to gimp, counter not even included.
It's very similar to something like Mythra's Side B in that while it looks like it could hit in a million different places, the actual hitbox is puny and leaves an incredibly large blind spot.

Here is the actual apex of the move. Ike is locked into this position for a very reactable amount of time and does not grab ledge until he's done, leading to the freest spike this side of sephiroth down air vs fox up B.
1703460081180.png


This is why if you look at Ike sets, they try to never up B back. Their primary recovery options are always airdodge to ledge or attempt a sideB mixup (high, middle, ledge) which of course have their own flaws but are significantly safer and more variable.

In general, Aether, despite being every Ike players dream to land, is kinda a gimmick for low/mid level crutch as more skilled players can exploit its surpsingly large amount of flaws. Now side B though? THAT is a good move and you can get a pretty good grasp of how good an Ike player is based on how well they use it and how little they rely on Aether.
 

Rizen

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Ignoring the rest of the argument here, but I just had to clarify as an Ike main and follower of Ike players and all that.

Ike's recovery is not good, not even decent, especially not his up B, his worst possible recovery route. Every flaw attributed to Chrom's bad up B can be applied to Ike's if not worse so due to his terrible air speed. Aether is a very scary looking move, but in practical terms it is by and large one of the easiest to gimp, counter not even included.
It's very similar to something like Mythra's Side B in that while it looks like it could hit in a million different places, the actual hitbox is puny and leaves an incredibly large blind spot.

Here is the actual apex of the move. Ike is locked into this position for a very reactable amount of time and does not grab ledge until he's done, leading to the freest spike this side of sephiroth down air vs fox up B.
View attachment 382117

This is why if you look at Ike sets, they try to never up B back. Their primary recovery options are always airdodge to ledge or attempt a sideB mixup (high, middle, ledge) which of course have their own flaws but are significantly safer and more variable.

In general, Aether, despite being every Ike players dream to land, is kinda a gimmick for low/mid level crutch as more skilled players can exploit its surpsingly large amount of flaws. Now side B though? THAT is a good move and you can get a pretty good grasp of how good an Ike player is based on how well they use it and how little they rely on Aether.
His overall recovery is good due to sideB though. Side B goes far and is very difficult to punish. If you jump out and take the hit he can upB after (correct me if I'm wrong). I played an Ike who won over $200 getting third in a regional all the time and Ike can recover fine. He'd frequently go high. People don't value the ability to recovery high enough. It bypasses the ledge disadvantage state.
 

Idon

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His overall recovery is good due to sideB though. Side B goes far and is very difficult to punish. If you jump out and take the hit he can upB after (correct me if I'm wrong). I played an Ike who won over $200 getting third in a regional all the time and Ike can recover fine. He'd frequently go high. People don't value the ability to recovery high enough. It bypasses the ledge disadvantage state.
Yeah Ike's side B is the saving grace of his recovery due to being able to have variable heights, but it does have flaws that better players and characters can and will exploit though, namely interrupting the charge, either via projectiles or characters that can just go offstage and tap him out of it and others can just throw out a large lingering hitbox to check it as it travels.

It's definitely underrated to most players, but not to the extent that it would push him significantly higher on a tier list IMO.

Regardless, the main point still stands that Aether is a pretty terrible recovery and Ike struggles to recover against anyone semi-knowledgeable about him.
 

Arthur97

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Bit of a tangent/aside, but Christmas thought based on the above discussion: if Chrom had Ike's side-be he'd be top 3 free.
Reminds me of the Chrom would be one of the best in the game with Blazer (or some non fire variant). Not sure if true though I've never seen a fighter brought down so hard by one move.
 

NairWizard

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It's just how much his up-b sucks.

Actually, when I really think about it, every "bad" or "mid" character in the game could be viable at top level with a better recovery.

I just look at all the lower-tiered characters like Richter, Kirby, Ganon, Robin, KRool, and so on. While their primary issue is not always recovery, if you buffed any of their recoveries to make it fast and hard to intercept like a Marth or Lucina up-b or something, all of those characters would be pushing high tier, and some might push top depending on how much you buffed recovery.

Ridley is a great example. Ridley is a great character, with tons of great moves with disjoints and a solid neutral based on dashing. He even has great edgeguarding and ledgetrapping. But Ridley is pretty mid or below; some of his matchups are almost unplayable. There are many ways to fix it, but if you just made his recovery (which is already not terrible by itself) better, you'd make him top tier pretty convincingly.

Even characters with already decent recoveries like Banjo or Piranha Plant would shoot up the tiers with a better recovery.

It really matters.

It also goes to show you how bad Pikachu's base kit is, because even with a top-tier recovery he isn't top tier.
 

Emblem Lord

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A common thing with most fighting games is greater defensive play in response to a more optimized punish game. As Smash Ultimate's punish game across the cast becomes more optimized, playing a more defensive game to make sure the opponent doesn't get The Hit™. We are now past the 5 year mark of this game existing (getting close to Brawl's competitive lifespan length of 6 years), thus the punish game across the cast has been fined tuned to an astonishing degree and getting pushed further as more players apply more punish-game oriented tech. Applying footstools to one's punish games has been rapidly been discovered and players are beginning to apply it to their gameplan. If SSB4 went on for longer, it would be likely that a similar thing involving footstools would've happened to that game too.

However instead of ending up making games faster on average, it resulted in forcing players to play more defensively/campy to avoid getting touched. Powerful punish game oriented characters like Steve and Kazuya getting introduced facilitate this change, but this is the inevitable direction the game was heading, especially since certain base game characters are catching up rapidly to their degree of punish game. Ok, nothing will admittedly touch Kazuya's punish game outside of maybe Peach, but the character also has significant weaknesses to help counterbalance such a dominant punish game. We are coming to the point that neither Steve or Kazuya are that old anymore, Kazaya came out over 2 years ago, and Steve came out over 3 years ago, meaning that we have spent more time playing Ultimate with Steve in the game than with him not in the game.

The most extreme example of this is Smash 64; in that game, almost every character in the roster has access to reliable 0-death combos off of an easy-to-obtain touch, or at least put the enemy in a position to die easily offstage, as most characters in the game have godawful recoveries. It is also the Smash game with by far the most undercooked defensive options in the series; shields are terrible, and both spotdodges and airdodges straight-up do not exist in this game. Despite all of these factors that indicate a fast paced game, which is additionally reflective with the game typically being 5 stocks long, Smash 64 players typically play each game defensively, only moving in when they see an opening, due to the fear of a 0-death combo. Non-tether grabs being near lagless and leading to said 0-death combos further facilitate this.

One unpopular opinion I do have is that playing Melee in its most optimal setting involves playing far more defensively/campy than they are right now. It is just that most Melee players simply choose to not play that way.
I had this convo with my friend recently. We were Power Ranked in our time with Melee years ago. He said current optimal Melee is alot of dash dancing and crouch canceling to deal with the crazy neutral the strong characters have.

Crouch Cancel is cancer imo. Imagine getting punished for winning neutral. Disgusting.
 

Sucumbio

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Steve is the same way. It's hard enough to get in on Steve but if you do definitely don't expect to follow up with much because he's just gonna press a button and either reset or combo you lol.
 

san.

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Since people are talking about Ike, just going to throw out a few points.

Ike's air speed is good. It's 1.134, upper half of the cast. It's not as good as Chrom's 1.302, but only the top characters will vastly outspeed Ike's full drift if they're both in the air.

They methodically nerfed a lot of Ike's kit. Aether is the most prominent example of course, since that move needed the sword to go through the stage to be a viable recovery. Now, it doesn't even hit people who are at the very edge. In my opinion, it was dumpstered in a way that only something like DK's recovery can replicate. I was quiet about speaking that opinion when the game first game out since other recoveries were nerfed, but there wasn't a need to nerf balanced recoveries from prior games. Ike does have a few options, where reverse aether and mixing up timing can prevent spikes, but the hitboxes are too small to really "finesse" with a precisely placed aether like previous games.

His recovery overall I still feel is OK since Quick Draw is just that good of a recovery, but the nerfs can be difficult to deal with.

Ike doesn't have to swing pre-emptively since he has bair. Of course there's a caveat, since the hitbox was neutered compared to previous games. The timing is much more strict when hitting low, and it points downwards now, so it can also be tough hitting someone above you at max range, so you're more constrained in your timing. It's still possible, though, to work around this by adjusting your drift to properly space. He can also use the 5-frame super armor of aether at any point during a dash, or reactively use Side-B or run up dtilt or jab to reactively whiff punish. If the opponent jumps over Ike's jab, he may have time to reactively get to jab3 as an anti-air as well.

Nerfed moves in terms of hitbox sizes:
  • Jab1 - Range destroyed, hitbox doesn't cover arm hurtbox from vertical attacks
  • Jab2 - The character used to shift forward when jab2 began. Now, the character shifts backwards. Hitboxes also seem reduced
  • Dtilt - The hitbox comes out when the sword is at an angle, noticeably reducing the hitbox to be smaller than attacks it comfortably outranged in 4
  • Utilt - sourspot hitbox is much smaller, hitbox behind him was removed for both sweetspot and sourspot
  • Bair - Hitbox shrunk considerably. No armpit hitbox, so it is easy to whiff grounded characters up close and aerial characters when spaced
  • Fair - Generally shrunk from S4, range is barely greater than nair
  • Nair - Back hit noticeably reduced in size, making it tougher to space
  • Dsmash - Hitboxes shrunk considerably
Jab, dtilt, and bair hitbox nerfs were pretty big blows to his neutral, since he needed his faster moves to have reliably big hitboxes. You can play around them, but they leave some holes in his play by relying on riskier options. The holes became more apparent after nair was dumpstered since he could no longer easily dispose of stocks. The only silver lining is that they made bair's hitbox so thin that it is now a reliable shield poke tool.

Even with all of the nerfs, though, I think Ike's sideB is very under-utilized. It has good hit detection and has a lot of potential uses with B-reverse and wavebounce, leaving a good amount of potential for setting up baits. A partial charge is -19 to -20 on shield while still outranging grab (a larger charge will get grabbed), so the risk:reward isn't so bad if mistimed.

Aether also has many more offensive applications than what we have seen. The sword riding up the side of the stage can be aimed to stay in the 2-frame area, getting consistent punishes or spikes. It can also be used as an anti-air in certain scenarios when the opponent is recovering high.

I doubt we'll see much of this, though, since the Ike playerbase doesn't really focus on tech beyond combos and kill confirms. With just optimized combos and confirms, that's still a lot the character has going for him, since he has easy access to 30-60 damage combos until around 50%. Back hit uair also outranges most aerials in the game with low landing lag (with the caveat that it can't easily hit grounded characters, of course).

He also has a strong theoretical ledge trump game. Bair is fast and strong, he can jump onstage and nair if the opponent buffers roll into a potential confirm, and he has plenty of ways to punish ledge regrab. If he grabs the ledge early, he can ledge release and double jump nair back onstage without many issues.

I think theortical high+ level Ike play involves not throwing out nearly as many hitboxes, using back hit uair, reactive + preemptive bair, much more grounded movement, and using B-reverse quick draw for baits. Either optimal combos or setplay into combos and confirms. Ike is still very strong in many different positions, since nair is omnidirectional and reduces his hurtbox size, while his other moves are situationally stronger elsewhere.

It really is interesting to me how so many of his moves were methodically nerfed over the games. Brawl Ike in Smash 4 would've been pretty great, and Smash 4 Ike (with the global changes) would've been pretty great as well. It feels like the game physics become more favorable for him, but then they nerf the moves that would've most benefited from them. Also, to be clear, I think Ike is mid tier until the aforementioned tech becomes commonplace. But yeah, not too great when big sword guy gets big hitboxes nerfed everywhere.

Edit: Overall, I think Ike is a more technical/precise character masquerading as a different archetype, which isn't great on a character with no projectiles.
 
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NairWizard

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Thanks for the post on my favorite character.

Ike doesn't have to swing pre-emptively since he has bair.
can you talk about the yomi layers for me here? Having a tough time visualizing how this works in an actual game outside of at ledge. You jump and wait for them to be in b-air-able range, and then if they move in too close, you land turn around d-tilt or grab? And side-b as a mixup sometimes? What other situations does this lead to?
 

san.

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Thanks for the post on my favorite character.



can you talk about the yomi layers for me here? Having a tough time visualizing how this works in an actual game outside of at ledge. You jump and wait for them to be in b-air-able range, and then if they move in too close, you land turn around d-tilt or grab? And side-b as a mixup sometimes? What other situations does this lead to?
Yeah, sure thing. There are two different scenarios that play out whether Ike is in the air or on the ground. What I was talking about earlier was primarily done from the ground after baiting the opponent to anti-air, such as a jump in, dash back + shield to look for aggression. Afterwards, you will throw it out if the opponent has been baited to anti-air, reacting to their dash or jump quickly against the better characters. It is mostly used somewhat preemptively, though, with retreating or RAR bair, but it's a fast option that's generally available.

In terms of what it leads to:
  • At low %, a falling bair combos into itself if the opponent is in the air, grab at 0%, and dash attack at ~15%. At mid% +, it likely leads into tech chases, ledgetraps or edgeguarding
  • A rising bair doesn't lead into anything guaranteed at 0%, but he has a slight frame advantage on hit and the opponent needs to land. That can lead to a landing trap or pressuring the opponent to double jump or air dodge.

Not many moves in the game are frame 7 and offer as much horizontal range, disjoint, and power without being too laggy. They just nerfed the verticality from previous games, so you need to be more precise. Ult's short hop buffer also makes the desired option, retreating rising bair, tougher to input.

Advantage state is self-explanatory, it's a faster aerial that lets you position yourself and wait for the opponent's options in disadvantage first.
Ex: 14m 00s

I'll be using more timestamps from this stream since it's a good example for using bair, though the stream/audio quality may not be the best.

In the air, it plays out similarly to what you said. Ike has these options if his back is to the opponent:
  • Aerial
    • Reverse uair has the most range by far, but you need to be frame perfect to hit low to the ground. hits ~frame 17-18 at max range, so it's slow. You use this option to check the space in the air, or on the ground against non-small opponents. At low %s, combos into itself and other moves. Most of the time, you want to use this move neutral or retreating in the air.

    • Reverse nair is equivalent to uair, but against grounded opponents, though it can sweep upwards.

    • Bair - Allows for safer jump ins. You don't really want to use it once the opponent has prepped for it outside of shield damage. Once you do get shield damage, it opens up other options, since rising bair will shield poke a decent amount of the cast, and also allows for more mixups.

    • Quick draw can be used if you expect them to dash back. If you are jumping towards them, you can b-reverse if you think they will use an aggressive option. If you're jumping away, you can B-reverse to cover the distance and whiff punish.
  • Empty land - Important when gauging how much the opponent respects your range. Using no aerials has the least amount of lag when landing (4f)
    • Punish shield
      • Jab (1 or 1-2, use jab3 only on reaction to jump) Grab, dtilt(spaced).
    • Expect whiff punish or unsure
      • shield or flicker, dash back, jump
    • On reaction to aggression
      • aether
    • You use the threat of your range to gauge what your opponent is looking for.
  • Evasion - Same as Empty Land
    • Double jump (backwards+drift in is the safest, while other combinations of dj direction and drift are more aggressive outside of full drift back)
    • Air dodge, niche, but may rarely be used
    • drift in B-reverse quick draw

On the ground
Retreating rising bair or RAR bair once the opponent has been conditioned to aggress. Retreating bair (and occasionally rar bair) can be used as a conditioning or offensive tool as well.

For example, 57m 45s

16m 55s is another good example, spacing with fair and covering the empty space with bair

Not dash shield -> reactive bair like I mentioned above, but this player uses bair quite extensively in all of the sets on stream.

More rambling, but hope I provided more info regarding the point I was trying to make.
 

Cheryl~

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Seeding for Umebura SP#10!

1704321819656.png


Some notable out of region entrants not seeded for top 64 include VoiD at seed 65, Spectral at seed 78, Homika at seed 130, and top EU Steves Artsnif and Susu at seeds 134 and 161, respectively.
 

NairWizard

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One thing that strikes me is how some people say we overlooked how strong Game and Watch was in the early Ultimate meta.

But they forget that the early meta was very different before balance adjustments. Pre-nerf Palutena, ZSS, Joker, and Wolf were way harder for Game and Watch than today's top characters. If those characters were still around, there's no way that Game and Watch would be anywhere near top tier.

Today, he has to deal with the likes of Steve, Snake, and ROB, which are not only more manageable but actually arguably all winning for him.

That is a pretty big difference!
 

Rizen

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Tracking back to when someone mentioned Ridley, the player to watch is Smub. I've seen him in several grand finals of little events. Here he is playing against Elegant. The other Ridley to watch is Creepooba.
 

DougEfresh

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Those two are great players that definitely show off what the character can do. Mezcaul from France is also a very good Ridley. Here's a set of him playing against Sisqui from an EU tourney early last year:

 

True Blue Warrior

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Since people were talking about Ike's recovery, I think a good buff would have been extending the frames of super armour on Aether until he descends.
 

Rizen

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This Light/ Smug set is shenanigans
Yeah, I've always said when I play Ridley "if you're not winning you need to Nair more". Ridley's Nair is weak but HUGE. It covers so many options and is free to throw out.
 

Rran

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Yeah, I've always said when I play Ridley "if you're not winning you need to Nair more". Ridley's Nair is weak but HUGE. It covers so many options and is free to throw out.
Hah I was actually referring to the numerous technical issues that occurred :p

But yeah, I was surprised by how much Smub was able to achieve w/ that one move: it's a quick, massive hitbox which overcame a lot of what Light was dishing out.
Also--and feel free to alert the press about this one--Ridley's f-tilt is very good.

Come to think of it... this character has quite a few really strong options in his toolkit: pretty much all tilts and aerials (well, minus dair lol) seem to play an integral role in offsetting the space dragon's less than desirable traits, not to mention championing two of the strongest smash attacks in the game (both in power and general utility) with f/up-smash.


EDIT: also, what the heck@ Skyjay taking Sonix to game 5...
 
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NairWizard

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If Skyjay can take Sonix to game 5 with Incineroar, then Aegis players can definitely beat all of the characters they're losing to. Aegis-Diddy is not worse than Sonic-Incineroar, come on now.
 
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