Discussion of Stage Legality in Smash Bros. Ultimate

GamerGuy09

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#1
In the E3 Treehouse Stream today it was officially confirmed that there will be a Hazard Toggle in the final version of the game. This might be the most dramatic change to have ever come to experiencing Smash Bros. at a competitive level. Just to show how insane this change is in the grand scope of competitive smash, let's look at the stage legality of previous installments.
Smash 64 (1 Stage):
  • Dream Land
Melee (4 Starters; 1 Counter-Pick)
Starters:
  • Battlefield
  • Dream Land N64
  • Final Destination
  • Fountain of Dreams
  • Yoshi's Story
Counter-Picks:
  • Pokemon Stadium
Brawl (6 Starters; 4 Kinda Trash Counter-Picks)
Starters:
  • Battlefield
  • Final Destination
  • Lylat Cruise
  • Pokemon Stadium (Melee)
  • Smashville
  • Yoshi's Island (Brawl)
Counter-Picks (Barely):
  • Castle Siege
  • Delfino Plaza
  • Frigate Orpheon
  • Halberd
Smash 4 (5 Starters; 1 Counter-Pick)
Starters:
  • Battlefield
  • Final Destination
  • Lylat Cruise
  • Smashville
  • Town & City
Counter-Picks:
  • Dreamland 64
As you guys can see, the maximum number of competitive stages we have ever had was 10 and that was in Brawl where some stages had hazards! With Smash Ultimate, the possibilities for stage selection has risen to an absurd level. Taken from the list on Smash Wiki.
Smash Ultimate (11 Starters; 9 to 11 Counter-Picks):
Starters:
  • Battlefield
  • Final Destination
  • Yoshi's Island (Brawl)
  • Lylat Cruise [Hazardless if it stops Tilting]
  • Pokemon Stadium 2 (Brawl) [Hazardless if it stops transformations]
  • Unova Pokemon League [Hazardless]
  • Kalos Pokemon League [Hazardless]
  • Castle Siege [Hazardless, if it doesn't change from first stage]
  • WarioWare, Inc. [Hazardless]
  • Smashville
  • Town and City
Counter-Picks:
  • Yoshi's Story
  • Frigate Orpheon [Hazardless]
  • Dream Land 64
  • Halberd [Hazardless]
  • Pokemon Stadium (Melee)
  • Prism Tower
  • Magicant [Hazardless]
  • Arena Ferox
  • Reset Bomb Forest [Hazardless] (Maybe)
  • Duck Hunt (Maybe)
  • Wily Castle [Hazardless]
As you can see, this list is massive in comparison to the other games. I made some liberties like considering Reset Bomb Forest despite the pit in the middle, Lylat Cruise potentially not tilting, and Duck Hunt being considered as possible legal stages. But without those this is looking to be an absolutely massive stage list.
With Stages being picked before Characters in Smash Ultimate, I hope we can find a way that we can incorporate the most amount of stages in competitive without ruining the integrity or slowing the Stage Striking process by too much. Because out of everything that was shown, this is what is really getting me excited for Smash Ultimate.
 
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Joined
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#2
This was one of the hypest things to hear about for sure. It's true. The potential for a large increase in legal stages has shot up. The idea of watching competitive play on Wily Castle, Arena Ferox, Magicant, Prism Tower, Frigate Orpheon, and WarioWare sounds so exciting.
 
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Amazing Ampharos

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#5
No matter what happens, the worst possible decision is to have "starter" and "counterpick" stages. There should only be two types of stages: legal or not legal. The reason is basic strategy. If some stages are only semi-legal, it's strategically inferior to practice them or make them part of your general winning strategy. Strong players only learn the game one stages and always counterpick the game one stages when given a chance and that way guarantee they can win sets with only those stages. Eventually they get annoyed at sometimes losing game twos to players who don't "get it" and make the "wrong" choice and keep picking the cp only stages and just push to ban all the counterpick stages. I see no merit in having stages that will just be banned in a year or whatever especially since it comes with a lot of hurt feelings, and if you think about it, there's no real logic in some stages being "fair enough to play on but not in game one". Since stage selection now always happens before character selection it's not even that tough here. Here's how you do things the easy way:

Hit the stage hazards off button and have generally a lot of legal stages. Like really 30+, whatever, just do it. Don't get all crybaby over something like Delfino either that I think deep down we all know isn't really egregious at all; just let it rock. The flipside is you also don't get crybaby over things like Battlefield and Yoshi's Story being super similar; that's just two chances for that type of stage and it's just how the game is. For game one, just pick a random stage from any of your legal set, maybe give players a random redo like old Melee rules but either way 100% lock in the stage before any characters are picked then just double blind character pick. Game one is 100% fair already on stages; it's 100% the player's fault if their character is at disadvantage on that stage because they picked that character knowing full well what they were getting into, and in a game with 66+ characters if you're so one dimensional you can't deal with every stage with your stable of characters, that's your weakness as a player.

Then for game 2+ you just let the game's natural systems rock. Loser counterpicks stage and then you're at neutral on the character select screen. Just double blind character pick again, and your "advantage" for losing a game is being able to go to a stage you like with no real edge on your opponent character wise. The really nice thing is that this is basically the default way the game works so it's not really imposing any rules on it beyond that one simple stage list we started with, but even that aside, it's a super fast, super fair way to do things that is incredibly close to the base game mechanics. There's pretty much no chance to screw your opponent over with some checkmate character-character-stage match-up since character choice is always simultaneously informed by the stage and double blind.

It would be premature to post lists because we don't know all the details of how hazards off works. Like we know the definition is looser than just things that hit you because it also stops Frigate Orpheon from flipping (Frigate Orpheon obviously should be legal, incidentally) but we don't know everything it means. Do the Pokemon Stadiums still shift? Do the traveling stages still travel? Does PictoChat still draw? What does hazards off even mean for a stage like Great Cave Offensive or even more if we get something like Rumble Falls back? You gotta know all this stuff before you actually make a list, but with a hazards off switch, a huge roster, and a guarantee you always know the stage before picking a character there's not a great argument not to make a good effort to be inclusive. It's obvious this game is making a specific effort to make more of its content work in competitive play so let's use it!
 

Luigi player

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#6
It really looks like that this time there could be a really big stagelist.

I really want to know if the hazards off-button will disable stage transformations... it stops Fregate from spinning, so maybe.
That would make Pokemon Stadium 2, Wario Ware, and maybe even more possibly very viable.

Here's a list I made before I looked into this thread:

Very good
1 Battlefield (& forms)
2 Final Destination (& omega forms)
3 Smashville
4 Lylat Cruise
5 Fregate Orpheon
6 Pokemon Stadium 1
7 Town and City

Probably okay
8 Prism Tower
9 Yoshis Island Brawl (maybe ghosts won't appear to make it even more viable)
10 Dreamland 64 (very similar to BF)
11 Midgar (extremely similar to BF)
12 Yoshis Story Melee (moving cloud could be annoying)

Maybe?
13 Brinstar (blastzones could be too close at the sides)
14 Jungle Japes (people might dislike the side platforms and top blastzone distance)
15 Pokemon Stadium 2 (if it keeps its standard form)
16 Wario Ware (if it keeps its standard form)
17 Halberd (if top blastzone isn't too close)
18 Norfair (platform layout and ledges might be annoying)
19 New Super Mario Bros U (might be too big)
20 Kalos Pokemon League (if it doesn't transform)
21 Wuhu Island (if it stays its normal form)

Added after seeing them in this thread (add to maybes, since it depends on how the hazards off would function for them):
22 Arena Ferox (if it stays its initial layout (without solid platforms))
23 Unova League (if it stays its initial form - it would be similar to Pokemon Stadium 2 but with walls)
 
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#7
No matter what happens, the worst possible decision is to have "starter" and "counterpick" stages.
Even though I strongly agree, I can see other people trying to force a "starters" & "counterpicks" system because they'll say some stages are "jank" or questionable (or because they're only used to / like starters and counterpicks). Here's an example: Brinstar won't have acid with the stage hazard toggle (and I think it'd be a neat stage), but I'm sure people will argue against it saying the breakable parts make the stage "jank" without actually being specific and going into detail about what makes the stage ineligible for legality (I'm personally assuming that Brinstar might have breakable parts).
EDIT: Can't hit parts of a stage with hazard toggle on

Even if we have a plethora of stages to choose from, I think people will try to adapt a stage list that follows & mimics Smash Wii U's stage list. (I know I'm being a downer and negative about this but I do genuinely hope that when the game comes out that the community decides on how to run the stage ruleset in a good way).

With stage hazards removed, this is a super rough draft I put together.
View attachment 148225
O is something I'm cautious of.
Okay, here's what I think the stage hazard toggle means for Smash:
  • Stages that cause damage to players will have those parts removed
  • Stages that completely change the main layout / main platform of the stage will remain entirely static but that doesn't mean that other smaller / separate platforms are static (looking at Frigate Orhpeon as an example).

With that in mind, here are some stages in that picture that'd be legal, banned or ambiguous:
Legal
  • Wuhu Island (no transistions)
  • Castle Siege (no transistions)
  • Mario Kart 8 Circuit (no transitions)
  • Arena Ferox (no transformations)*
  • Magicant (it's just 3 platforms)
  • Brinstar (can't hit the stage)
  • Jungle Japes (rushing water would be considered a hazard since it can KO, so it'd be removed)
  • Lylat (I don't think it will tilt actually, just a guess based on Treehouse footage of other stages)

Banned
Great Plateau Tower (During the Treehouse Gameplay, the giant part above the stage is still there with hazard toggle on). It has permanent "cave of life"
Skyworld (On the Treehouse, the platforms didn't move and couldn't be hit, but this means there's a permanent "cave of life")
Summit (same as Skyworld + people hate slippery ice)
Distant Planet (you didn't mark this one, but it has a permanent walk-off)
Gaur Plain (same as Distant Planet + it's giant)

Ambiguous
Umbra Clock Tower (I see it as legal but since it's banned on Wii U, that ban might transfer over for no real reason)
Duck Hunt (Same reason as Umbra + no z-axis or something)
Kongo Jungle (I see it as legal, but people heavily camp the rock. I don't know if it'll still be an issue moving forward)
Halberd (I see it as legal, some argue that the top blast zone is too close to the stage)
Pilot Wings (same reason as Lylat BUT, the underside has two platforms that some characters can easily camp and others can barely reach it)

Something else to note: Unfortunately, Wily's Castle didn't have platforms with the stage hazard toggle enabled during the Treehouse footage
EDIT: Moved Arena Ferox to legal
 
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Doctor Jans

Smash Rookie
Joined
Jun 17, 2018
Messages
2
#8
In the E3 Treehouse Stream today it was officially confirmed that there will be a Hazard Toggle in the final version of the game. This might be the most dramatic change to have ever come to experiencing Smash Bros. at a competitive level. Just to show how insane this change is in the grand scope of competitive smash, let's look at the stage legality of previous installments.
Smash 64 (1 Stage):
  • Dream Land
Melee (4 Starters; 1 Counter-Pick)
Starters:
  • Battlefield
  • Dream Land N64
  • Final Destination
  • Fountain of Dreams
  • Yoshi's Story
Counter-Picks:
  • Pokemon Stadium
Brawl (6 Starters; 4 Kinda Trash Counter-Picks)
Starters:
  • Battlefield
  • Final Destination
  • Lylat Cruise
  • Pokemon Stadium (Melee)
  • Smashville
  • Yoshi's Island (Brawl)
Counter-Picks (Barely):
  • Castle Siege
  • Delfino Plaza
  • Frigate Orpheon
  • Halberd
Smash 4 (5 Starters; 1 Counter-Pick)
Starters:
  • Battlefield
  • Final Destination
  • Lylat Cruise
  • Smashville
  • Town & City
Counter-Picks:
  • Dreamland 64
As you guys can see, the maximum number of competitive stages we have ever had was 10 and that was in Brawl where some stages had hazards! With Smash Ultimate, the possibilities for stage selection has risen to an absurd level. Taken from the list on Smash Wiki.
Smash Ultimate (11 Starters; 9 to 11 Counter-Picks):
Starters:
  • Battlefield
  • Final Destination
  • Yoshi's Island (Brawl)
  • Lylat Cruise [Hazardless if it stops Tilting]
  • Pokemon Stadium 2 (Brawl) [Hazardless if it stops transformations]
  • Unova Pokemon League [Hazardless]
  • Kalos Pokemon League [Hazardless]
  • Castle Siege [Hazardless, if it doesn't change from first stage]
  • WarioWare, Inc. [Hazardless]
  • Smashville
  • Town and City
Counter-Picks:
  • Yoshi's Story
  • Frigate Orpheon [Hazardless]
  • Dream Land 64
  • Halberd [Hazardless]
  • Pokemon Stadium (Melee)
  • Prism Tower
  • Magicant [Hazardless]
  • Arena Ferox
  • Reset Bomb Forest [Hazardless] (Maybe)
  • Duck Hunt (Maybe)
  • Wily Castle [Hazardless]
As you can see, this list is massive in comparison to the other games. I made some liberties like considering Reset Bomb Forest despite the pit in the middle, Lylat Cruise potentially not tilting, and Duck Hunt being considered as possible legal stages. But without those this is looking to be an absolutely massive stage list.
With Stages being picked before Characters in Smash Ultimate, I hope we can find a way that we can incorporate the most amount of stages in competitive without ruining the integrity or slowing the Stage Striking process by too much. Because out of everything that was shown, this is what is really getting me excited for Smash Ultimate.
Question so then all the other stages that will still be illegal even with their hazards off (example flatzone 2, coliseum), would they be legalized if they were in Battlefield form? I know omega forms in the past were banned and most likely will be here in Ultimate.
 
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Messages
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#10
From the footage I've seen, Hazards off means the base stage is what you get. For example, in Skyworld, not only are the platforms unbreakable, but the one platform on the chain doesnt move an inch. In addition, the bonus platform that travels below never appears to my knowledge. In addition, Frigate Orphion never flips. Taking both these instances into account, we can conclude the following:
  1. Breakable terrain will become static and uninteractable
  2. Timed or random platforms, such as Randall or the strange things from Yoshi's Island DS will not appear
  3. Transition stages will never change or will keep "travelling" for eternity. (Halberd may be a special case where start in the air already) EDIT: Debunked!
  4. Stage events, like rising lava in Norfair, Acid in Brinstar, boss battle appearances, will no longer occur.
Now most of this would be considered great, but may stages would play very differently. For example, Town and City would never shift from the Town segment, Delfino Plaza would never land, Ducks and Duck Hunt himself would never appear. Hazards off for all stages may in fact make some stages illegal, like in Duck Hunt's case. This does raise the question of what happens to stages that are random by design like Mario Maker and Gamer, but Im not even sure if either are confirmed yet.

Also something to keep in mind while talking about all of this is that Stages are picked before characters are this time around, so picking the stage correctly is more important than before. Now instead of character choice influencing stage picks, stage picks will now influence character choice. Wouldn't this change how we ban stages in itself? For Example...lets say someone picks Congo Jungle. Before, it was banned because several character would have a hard time getting around and being able to be outcamped, and someone would purposefully pick it to take full advanatage but now, its completely different. You will know ahead of time where you will be going and will be able to pick a character accordingly. Now its your own fault if you get camped because you had the choice to pick something better suited for the environment. And with 84 stages and counting, its going to be a looooooot of decision making going into this. Either way, as more footage comes to light and we see more about hazards off, we can get a better grip as a community to decide some stages's fate.
 
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QrowinSP

Smash Journeyman
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Messages
231
#11
"I see no merit in having stages that will just be banned in a year or whatever especially since it comes with a lot of hurt feelings, and if you think about it, there's no real logic in some stages being 'fair enough to play on but not in game one'".

This is a mentality I agree with, but there are some issues. First is that no one wants to strike 30 whole stages. Second is that ideally, for striking, you want 1+4n stages (5,9,13,17, etc.). Let's say the most we can get people to be alright with striking is 13 stages. Well, the rest would have to be counterpicks. I could get behind leaving things that are very similar to the strike stages as counterpicks. For example, if you have battlefield on the strike list, you would put all other 3 plats like yoshi's story and 64 dreamland on counterpick.
 
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webbedspace

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Messages
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#12
I just read the original post and I want to sadly declare: Magicant will NOT be legal because even without hazards it still has a tiny platform directly underneath the main platform, which is basically camping central. Consider why Duck Hunt is banned in Smash4 and why Kongo Falls is banned in Melee.

Also, I'm 90% certain Prism Tower will also not be legal because its first transformation is a walk-off, and that hazard-toggle probably won't remove it (I'll be amazed if it does).
 

Bolshoi

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#13
Weird question regarding stage legality in general. Since you now choose the stage before the characters, would that open up more stage options? I think the reason for banning some stages is because some characters either do too well or too poorly on those stages, but since you now know what stage you're going to before you pick the characters, is that still an issue? If you know you're going to a campy stage, you can pick a character that deals well with campers rather than cutting the option off entirely.
 

Zero Soul

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#14
Let's talk about Umbra Clock Tower, I'm worried it might get reviewed and eventually become legal because it's layout isn't that bad and it really wasn't tested properly last game but...
It's not a problem for most people, but if I watch my opponents character like I'm supposed to, I get nauseous here (even just watching this video lol) and I'm fairly certain it's because of the stage's shaking as you can see in the video above (not just the background, the central platform appears to vibrate as well or at least gives off the visual effect that it is) since I have never gotten sick because of Final Destination/Lylat Cruise/Other stage with a flashy background, and I know there's other people who had the same problem. Which makes me wonder, wouldn't that be a problem if the stage were to be legal, since those of us who get sick from the stage would always have to waste their bans on it, regardless of character picks? Or would that not be a big enough thing/group of people to worry about, and should it not factor at all into it's legality?
 
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#15
Now most of this would be considered great, but may stages would play very differently. For example, Town and City would never shift from the Town segment, Delfino Plaza would never land, Ducks and Duck Hunt himself would never appear. Hazards off for all stages may in fact make some stages illegal, like in Duck Hunt's case. This does raise the question of what happens to stages that are random by design like Mario Maker and Gamer, but Im not even sure if either are confirmed yet.
Gamer and Mario Maker might have standard layouts with hazards off. Obviously Mom would be eliminated entirely.

It's not a problem for most people, but if I watch my opponents character like I'm supposed to, I get nauseous here (even just watching this video lol) and I'm fairly certain it's because of the stage's shaking as you can see in the video above (not just the background, the central platform appears to vibrate as well or at least gives off the visual effect that it is) since I have never gotten sick because of Final Destination/Lylat Cruise/Other stage with a flashy background, and I know there's other people who had the same problem. Which makes me wonder, wouldn't that be a problem if the stage were to be legal, since those of us who get sick from the stage would always have to waste their bans on it, regardless of character picks? Or would that not be a big enough thing/group of people to worry about, and should it not factor at all into it's legality?
Does the Omega form vibrate in 4? Because I'd like to float the possibility of hazardless Umbra Clock Tower not vibrating.
 

Octorockandroll

Smash Apprentice
Joined
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Messages
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#16
Weird question regarding stage legality in general. Since you now choose the stage before the characters, would that open up more stage options? I think the reason for banning some stages is because some characters either do too well or too poorly on those stages, but since you now know what stage you're going to before you pick the characters, is that still an issue? If you know you're going to a campy stage, you can pick a character that deals well with campers rather than cutting the option off entirely.
Its ultimately a community decision but since the community will generally agree to prioritize character variety over stage variety I can guarantee what you're suggesting will not happen.
 

Zero Soul

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#17
Does the Omega form vibrate in 4? Because I'd like to float the possibility of hazardless Umbra Clock Tower not vibrating.
Yeah, the omega version doesn't shake, only the background changes but the central platform doesn't have that vibrating, so if a hazardless version of the stage followed suit and removed the vibrating as well I imagine people getting nausea because of it wouldn't be a big concern for the stage anymore since the main thing that caused that would be gone.
 
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ATH_

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#19
personally i'm a firm believer that for tournament efficiency and balance 7 starters with 4 counterpicks is a perfect number.

if every stage from the previous games returns then i'd love to see a list like this:

STARTERS (7):
Smashville
Battlefield
Final Destination
WarioWare Inc (Hazardless)
Yoshi's Island (Brawl)
Dreamland 64
Unova Pokemon League (Hazardless)


COUNTERPICKS (4):
Fountain of Dreams
Town and City
Frigate Orpheon (Hazardless)
Halberd (Hazardless)

possible substitutes:
Lylat Cruise
Wily Castle (Hazardless)
Kalos Pokemon League (Hazardless)

having a million stages on a stagelist would make tournaments longer and more complicated than they need to be. we might as well stick to a list large enough to be well-balanced but small enough that it only contains truly good stages.
this is just my take on it though!
 
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MaestroDavros

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Messages
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#20
Honestly, if all the Battlefield & Omega stages end up sharing the same/99.9% similar dimensions and blast-zones, and if like previous games have a random stage on/off options screen where you can choose which stages can be entered into a random pool, then Battlefield & Omega mode stages should be legal as options for Battlefield and Final Destination. An ideal way to do this is to, if a player wants to play on Battlefield, instead of choosing that particular stage, select the random option with a cursor set on Battlefield mode, Same procedure for Omega mode in cases of Final Destination. This would give some much needed visual variety, especially for audiences. Also how "busy" the stage is visually should be meaningless, because in my mind, if SFV is able to get away with the vast majority of their stages containing busy background activity, so can Smash.

I'm just genuinely concerned that SSBU will be another "Smashville/Town & City" fest. After 2 straight games of this, and speaking as a non competitive smasher who does admire and enjoy the competitive side as much as the casual, I think audiences in general would appreciate a much wider range of legal stages so long as it's feasible. It makes things both more interesting for audiences, and hopefully presents more strategic matches that are outside of the box at times without being gimmicky or unfair. I do agree with some here that a new stage selection system might be nesesary, and a priority should be made towards preventing around half of the matches going to the exact same 1 or 2 stages. I get that Smashville is a great stage (and it is) but it isn't the only kind of tournament friendly stage that Smash has to offer.
 

Amazing Ampharos

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#21
"I see no merit in having stages that will just be banned in a year or whatever especially since it comes with a lot of hurt feelings, and if you think about it, there's no real logic in some stages being 'fair enough to play on but not in game one'".

This is a mentality I agree with, but there are some issues. First is that no one wants to strike 30 whole stages. Second is that ideally, for striking, you want 1+4n stages (5,9,13,17, etc.). Let's say the most we can get people to be alright with striking is 13 stages. Well, the rest would have to be counterpicks. I could get behind leaving things that are very similar to the strike stages as counterpicks. For example, if you have battlefield on the strike list, you would put all other 3 plats like yoshi's story and 64 dreamland on counterpick.
This is why I said don't do stage striking. Stage is selected before characters which is actually a major game changer here; just rely on random and give each player a random veto like old Melee rules (the Melee rules from the mid-2000s for those who have memories going that far back). I guess I'll explain the principle ideas here in a bit more detail.

Stage rules have three main goals. One is to be fair; this means both giving each player and equal chance to win and not introducing undue random variation in the match outcome. Two is to include as much of the game's content as possible; this is both most "pure" in terms of sticking to the game as it is and also gives the game as long of a lifespan as possible (the more stuff you have legal, the longer it will take the community to fully solve the metagame). Three is to make tournament administration as practical as possible; this means it needs to be as easy as possible to explain the rules and all procedures should work as quickly as possible. Stage striking was largely a compromise solution to deal with the fact that the stages were super divergent from each other and what was picked game one was drastically changing outcomes, and this solution worked out to be a major sacrifice to ideal 2 and a bit of a hit to ideal 3 for this purpose. A hazard toggle promises to avoid the stages intrinsically messing things up to the same extent (we'll still have some classes of stage to ban but honestly I could easily imagine 50 legal stages if the hazard toggle works like I think it will), and a game with an absolutely huge cast where basically all the strong players will have several mains and the stage is selected before the characters means that the match-up implications of which stage is picked frankly just don't matter as much (presumably the abuses of the Brawl days are going to remain gone too so you don't have the fear of most of the cast fighting someone like ICs on Final Destination). With problem 1 solved without stage striking, you can just take the massive gains on points 2 and 3 and have a procedure that does include this insanely large stage list and actually takes far less time than striking ever did even striking from a tiny handful of stages. This also solves the other striking issue which is that in effect more than half of the players just agreed to Smashville because they found striking tedious which was a pretty dull way for tournaments to go; the random solution will actually be used by all of the players since it's actually faster than agreeing to Smashville. The veto thing isn't even truly necessary but just makes things more palatable for most players, allowing them to avoid their least favorite stage or two for game one.

To get at what a stage list might look like more now that I've had more time to think, a few things are pretty basic automatic stage bans. Permanent walk-offs, caves of life, hard loops, overly strong camp points, or excessive size are all instant ban conditions. Just notably poor geography may require a few more bans that are more case by case; I see right away that Moray Towers is probably going to need a ban even though it doesn't really violate any of the simple rules. I don't think touring stages just on principle need banned if hazards off preserves the touring (but it might not, and if it doesn't, we accept that), and I don't think touring stages that visit forms that have a problem or two is necessarily that bad (I'm very much pro-Delfino, pro-Castle Siege, pro-Skyloft assuming it doesn't hit you while moving here). If a stage like Tortimer Island still has a random lay-out but every possibility is fair we also just rock with it. Obviously I don't know all the details here but I think with hazards off we're probably looking at something close to this. I'm just going to assume every stage other than Miiverse is going to return (Miiverse is just Battlefield anyway) and that hazards off probably works like you'd expect, maybe preserving touring but removing everything really disruptive and everything that could possibly ever hit you (we know it removes Frigate's flips and Lylat's tilts so it can be pretty comprehensive). I'd also say something like Duck Hunt that just one or two characters auto-lose on is fine; stage is always picked before character so if you play one of the very small number of extreme characters like Little Mac that can't compete on every stage you just gotta be ready with another character (any reasonably competitive player in a game like this will have multiple mains). Also obviously we have no ability to judge any new stages other than the two we've seen in detail.

Legal (40):

Arena Ferox
Battlefield
Brinstar
Castle Siege
Delfino Plaza
Dream Land (64)
Duck Hunt
Final Destination
Fountain of Dreams
Frigate Orpheon
Garden of Hope
Halberd
Jungle Hijinxs (reasonable to assume never transitions to the back)
Jungle Japes
Kalos Pokemon League
Kongo Jungle (64)
Lylat Cruise
Mario Circuit (Wii U) (assuming it unconditionally does not hit the player)
Midgar
Mushroom Kingdom U
Mute City (Melee)
Norfair
Peach's Castle (64) (the bumper is presumably gone)
PictoChat
Planet Zebes
Pokemon Stadium
Port Town Aero Dive
Prism Tower
Pyrosphere
Skyloft
Smashville
Tortimer Island
Town and City
Umbra Clock Tower
Unova Pokemon League
WarioWare Inc.
Wily Castle
Wuhu Island
Yoshi's Island (Brawl)
Yoshi's Story

Depends (17/18):

Big Blue (if hazards off removes all of the cars/the road below and stops movement it's fine, but most likely it will either have a loop or still be hazardous)
Corneria / Sector Z (if hazards off removes the gun platform completely and if walls aren't terribly abusable in smash u it's fine, but either point could force a ban)
Find Mii (need to test if the side platform is a big problem for camping, stage's previous awfulness precluded experimenting)
Gamer (need to test if hazards off precludes cave of life/hard loop formations)
Great Plateau Tower (need to see how strong the cave of life effect is; I'm optimistic this stage will be able to be legal)
Green Greens (camping positions most likely a problem but gotta see how it plays out without bombs)
Mute City (3DS) (honestly hard to guess what this stage is even like with hazards off, ranges in possibility from obviously legal to obviously banned)
Orbital Gate Assault (like the previous stage, just don't even know what this stage will be without hazards, huge range of outcomes)
PictoChat 2 (depends on how they handle this stage's many generally bad transformations)
Pirate Ship (needs testing without the bow insta-kill, significant worry it will be a camping stage)
Pokemon Stadium 2 (depends on whether hazards off deals with the general nonsense of wind and electric forms)
Rainbow Cruise (this stage was always borderline okay; if it stays on the boat with hazards off it's only an issue if walls are an issue in smash 5)
Rainbow Road (I don't even remember this stage beyond being bad well enough to make an informed statement)
Reset Bomb Forest (if it stays in the first form)
Spirit Train (hard to guess how this will work without hazards, some possibilities acceptable)
Super Mario Maker (need to test the range of possibilities with hazards off; if it prevents all walk-off/hard loop formations, it's okay)
Yoshi's Island (64) (depends on whether the far camping cloud is gone without hazards)

Not Legal (57-59):

3D Land (walk-offs)
75m (excessive size)
Balloon Fight (walk-offs)
Big Battlefield (excessive size)
Boxing Ring (walk-offs)
Bridge of Eldin (walk-offs)
Brinstar Depths (camping positions)
Coliseum (walk-offs)
Distant Planet (walk-offs)
Dream Land (3DS) (walk-offs)
Flat Zone (in general) (walk-offs)
Fourside (camping positions)
Gaur Plain (at least three reasons)
Gerudo Valley (walk-offs)
Golden Plains (walk-offs)
Great Bay (loop)
Green Hill Zone (walk-offs)
Hanenbow (size, generally awful lay-out)
Hyrule Castle (size, camping, cave of life, probably "close" but almost certainly not good enough)
Icicle Mountain (no clue how it will work without hazards but near 100% chance it's bad)
Kongo Falls (Melee) (camping position)
Living room (walk-offs)
Luigi's Mansion (cave of life, probably actually worse without hazards since you probably can't break the mansion)
Magicant (that lower platform completely ruins it; in the unlikely event it goes away, move this to legal)
Mario Bros. (walk-offs)
Mario Circuit (Brawl) (walk-offs)
Mario Galaxy (walk-offs)
Moray Towers (honestly just the worst layout of any smash stage I've ever seen that doesn't fit an easy insta-ban category)
Mushroom Kingdom (64) (walk-offs)
Mushroom Kingdom (Melee) (walk-offs)
Mushroom Kingdom II (walk-offs)
Mushroomy Kingdom (walk-offs)
New Pork City (size)
Onett (walk-offs)
Pac-Land (walk-offs)
Pac-Maze (loop)
Palutena's Temple (size)
Paper Mario (probably a walk-off, niche chances they do something to fix this)
Peach's Castle (Melee) (camping)
Pilotwings (camping)
Poke Floats (if it just stays on Squirtle it's a camp haven; if it goes through all the stuff there are other problems)
Rumble Falls (no clue how it will work without hazards but near 100% chance it's bad)
Saffron City (camping)
Shadow Moses Island (remarkably terrible lay-out)
Skyworld (cave of life)
Spear Pillar (loop, legal if they just get rid of the bottom area completely though)
Summit (loop)
Suzaku Castle (walk-off)
Temple (size)
The Great Cave Offensive (size)
Tomodachi Life (lay-out is pretty terrible)
Venom (camping)
Wii Fit Studio (walk-offs)
Windy Hill Zone (size/camping)
Woolly World (walk-offs)
Wrecking Crew (lay-out is pretty terrible)
Yoshi's Island (Melee) (walk-offs)
 
Joined
Mar 13, 2015
Messages
47
#23
You know me, I'll always say to be as inclusive as possible. And that my 'inclusive' is more inclusive than most others' 'inclusive'. I only got to try out the World of Nintendo Store demo (no Ridley, boo!) so my firsthand experience with most of the list is nonexistent, therefore I won't comment on individual stages at this time. Not only was there no hazard toggle there was no option for alpha/omega variants. Or if there was then nobody mentioned it and I saw nobody playing on them.

I would like to expand upon something Amazing Ampharos mentioned. I also believe it's worth discussing moving away from the current striking paradigm, but I'll propose a different implementation.

Assumptions: 1) There will be a large list of legal stages 2) The final game build will keep stage selection before character selection
Have the whole stage list open from the start. The decider picks a stage and the opponent can draw from their pool (3-5?) of 'no's to reject it. This goes on until a stage is agreed upon or the 'no' pool runs dry. The pools/bans reset every match.

Why do this: It will be much faster stage selection process than traditional striking and each ban will be more meaningful given the large stage list. If we were to keep the strike first model then that would be what, over 10 bans in a 40 stage list? More? And for every match.... that adds up to a huge time sink that isn't even guaranteed to pay off. The stages the opponent likes could easily fall outside your list. Now consider my proposed method - it's my turn to choose the stage, I make one decision and choose Peach's Castle (64). You now have one decision to make, saying 'yes' or 'no'. If 'no' you just used a limited ban in a meaningful way. If 'yes' then we saved all the time not spent on striking 10+ stages.
A side benefit is that there's no memorizing the growing 10+ strike list. The fewer ephemeral things to remember the better!
 

Amazing Ampharos

Balanced Brawl Designer
Joined
Jan 31, 2008
Messages
4,477
Location
Kansas City, MO
#24
There are two major problems with that method, one of which is unsolvable and the second of which is solvable but requires a legal stage list which undoes one of your proposed benefits.

Problem 1 is that inevitably only one player will have any real control here. If the decider is static he can easily force the game to his favorite 3-5 stages; in a game with this many stages, no reasonable number of nos will be enough to prevent me from getting an outcome counterpick level good. If the decider alternates, whoever goes second is the only one who has a real say since he can just say automatic no to anything proposed (really the fact that his opponent would suggest it is a good reason to say no even if he otherwise likes the stage). So if you have 40 legal stages, you guarantee that game 1 happens on the 3rd to 5th most desired stage of one of the players, and somehow you have to pick which player that is which will be a contentious point of randomization to say the least. This is a strictly worse outcome than if you pick random which should on average be on the 20.5th most favorable stage to either side (and the per side veto further helps shift things to the middle). Yes, there's an asymmetry of how players value stages that can come into play, but an aggressive stage selector will always consider anything about a stage that his opponent likes as a hidden downside of that stage and will probably scout that player's other matches to learn his favorite stages to appropriately shift them down in the desirability ranking (and counterpoint to see his opponent's least favorite stages and rank them up). We had a guy in our region who would ask a large percentage of the people he played what their favorite stage was and, if it sounded like a real answer, he'd immediately announce his stage ban was that stage; don't think people don't do stuff like that. Stage striking kinda works because it goes through all the stages and can't help but meet near the middle. If you try to cut out pieces of it but retain player choice, you're really cutting out the middle stages and guaranteeing an extreme outcome since extreme outcomes are the only incentive players have to pursue. This problem is not solvable. I don't see a solution other than sticking with striking and having single digit legal stages in a game with 40+ candidate legal stages (totally gutting the game) or just allowing a neutral third party to decide which I'm proposing is the overly simple random button.

The second problem is that if you don't have a stage list there are plenty of unplayable garbage stages, and let's be real that most players have a general sense of where they rank on the skill tree. If I think I'm totally outmatched by an opponent and I have control of the stage situation, I can give myself a greatly helped chance by changing the match from a "real" smash match into a Sonic ditto on New Pork City or something to that effect as my only goal in stage selection isn't to pick a fair stage but just to pick a stage that removes skill from the equation as much as possible and turns the game into something more degenerate at which maybe I have a coinflip shot at coming out ahead. You can solve this by banning all the stages that let me do stuff like this, but at that point, the proposed benefit of removing the memorization of a long stage list is diminished. I don't think you get around the need to, at some point, have a stage list that people will benefit from knowing (a good TO will have printouts and will have every console set up right so people can just check the random stage setting in-game as well to help). It would be nice to be able to somehow be pure enough not to ban anything and play the whole game as it is, but it just doesn't seem realistic.

I don't mean to be down on creative thinking, but I gotta call it how I see it... My experience of years of being in and out of the smash community has totally convinced me that simpler has a chance of succeeding in this community and complicated really doesn't too; definitely the main goal of what I suggested was keeping it as simple, quick, and easy to explain as possible.
 

Galgatha

Smash Apprentice
Joined
Mar 5, 2012
Messages
192
Location
With my wonderful wife!
NNID
SinChill
#25
This is why I said don't do stage striking. Stage is selected before characters which is actually a major game changer here; just rely on random and give each player a random veto like old Melee rules (the Melee rules from the mid-2000s for those who have memories going that far back). I guess I'll explain the principle ideas here in a bit more detail.

Stage rules have three main goals. One is to be fair; this means both giving each player and equal chance to win and not introducing undue random variation in the match outcome. Two is to include as much of the game's content as possible; this is both most "pure" in terms of sticking to the game as it is and also gives the game as long of a lifespan as possible (the more stuff you have legal, the longer it will take the community to fully solve the metagame). Three is to make tournament administration as practical as possible; this means it needs to be as easy as possible to explain the rules and all procedures should work as quickly as possible. Stage striking was largely a compromise solution to deal with the fact that the stages were super divergent from each other and what was picked game one was drastically changing outcomes, and this solution worked out to be a major sacrifice to ideal 2 and a bit of a hit to ideal 3 for this purpose. A hazard toggle promises to avoid the stages intrinsically messing things up to the same extent (we'll still have some classes of stage to ban but honestly I could easily imagine 50 legal stages if the hazard toggle works like I think it will), and a game with an absolutely huge cast where basically all the strong players will have several mains and the stage is selected before the characters means that the match-up implications of which stage is picked frankly just don't matter as much (presumably the abuses of the Brawl days are going to remain gone too so you don't have the fear of most of the cast fighting someone like ICs on Final Destination). With problem 1 solved without stage striking, you can just take the massive gains on points 2 and 3 and have a procedure that does include this insanely large stage list and actually takes far less time than striking ever did even striking from a tiny handful of stages. This also solves the other striking issue which is that in effect more than half of the players just agreed to Smashville because they found striking tedious which was a pretty dull way for tournaments to go; the random solution will actually be used by all of the players since it's actually faster than agreeing to Smashville. The veto thing isn't even truly necessary but just makes things more palatable for most players, allowing them to avoid their least favorite stage or two for game one.

To get at what a stage list might look like more now that I've had more time to think, a few things are pretty basic automatic stage bans. Permanent walk-offs, caves of life, hard loops, overly strong camp points, or excessive size are all instant ban conditions. Just notably poor geography may require a few more bans that are more case by case; I see right away that Moray Towers is probably going to need a ban even though it doesn't really violate any of the simple rules. I don't think touring stages just on principle need banned if hazards off preserves the touring (but it might not, and if it doesn't, we accept that), and I don't think touring stages that visit forms that have a problem or two is necessarily that bad (I'm very much pro-Delfino, pro-Castle Siege, pro-Skyloft assuming it doesn't hit you while moving here). If a stage like Tortimer Island still has a random lay-out but every possibility is fair we also just rock with it. Obviously I don't know all the details here but I think with hazards off we're probably looking at something close to this. I'm just going to assume every stage other than Miiverse is going to return (Miiverse is just Battlefield anyway) and that hazards off probably works like you'd expect, maybe preserving touring but removing everything really disruptive and everything that could possibly ever hit you (we know it removes Frigate's flips and Lylat's tilts so it can be pretty comprehensive). I'd also say something like Duck Hunt that just one or two characters auto-lose on is fine; stage is always picked before character so if you play one of the very small number of extreme characters like Little Mac that can't compete on every stage you just gotta be ready with another character (any reasonably competitive player in a game like this will have multiple mains). Also obviously we have no ability to judge any new stages other than the two we've seen in detail.

Legal (40):

Arena Ferox
Battlefield
Brinstar
Castle Siege
Delfino Plaza
Dream Land (64)
Duck Hunt
Final Destination
Fountain of Dreams
Frigate Orpheon
Garden of Hope
Halberd
Jungle Hijinxs (reasonable to assume never transitions to the back)
Jungle Japes
Kalos Pokemon League
Kongo Jungle (64)
Lylat Cruise
Mario Circuit (Wii U) (assuming it unconditionally does not hit the player)
Midgar
Mushroom Kingdom U
Mute City (Melee)
Norfair
Peach's Castle (64) (the bumper is presumably gone)
PictoChat
Planet Zebes
Pokemon Stadium
Port Town Aero Dive
Prism Tower
Pyrosphere
Skyloft
Smashville
Tortimer Island
Town and City
Umbra Clock Tower
Unova Pokemon League
WarioWare Inc.
Wily Castle
Wuhu Island
Yoshi's Island (Brawl)
Yoshi's Story

Depends (17/18):

Big Blue (if hazards off removes all of the cars/the road below and stops movement it's fine, but most likely it will either have a loop or still be hazardous)
Corneria / Sector Z (if hazards off removes the gun platform completely and if walls aren't terribly abusable in smash u it's fine, but either point could force a ban)
Find Mii (need to test if the side platform is a big problem for camping, stage's previous awfulness precluded experimenting)
Gamer (need to test if hazards off precludes cave of life/hard loop formations)
Great Plateau Tower (need to see how strong the cave of life effect is; I'm optimistic this stage will be able to be legal)
Green Greens (camping positions most likely a problem but gotta see how it plays out without bombs)
Mute City (3DS) (honestly hard to guess what this stage is even like with hazards off, ranges in possibility from obviously legal to obviously banned)
Orbital Gate Assault (like the previous stage, just don't even know what this stage will be without hazards, huge range of outcomes)
PictoChat 2 (depends on how they handle this stage's many generally bad transformations)
Pirate Ship (needs testing without the bow insta-kill, significant worry it will be a camping stage)
Pokemon Stadium 2 (depends on whether hazards off deals with the general nonsense of wind and electric forms)
Rainbow Cruise (this stage was always borderline okay; if it stays on the boat with hazards off it's only an issue if walls are an issue in smash 5)
Rainbow Road (I don't even remember this stage beyond being bad well enough to make an informed statement)
Reset Bomb Forest (if it stays in the first form)
Spirit Train (hard to guess how this will work without hazards, some possibilities acceptable)
Super Mario Maker (need to test the range of possibilities with hazards off; if it prevents all walk-off/hard loop formations, it's okay)
Yoshi's Island (64) (depends on whether the far camping cloud is gone without hazards)

Not Legal (57-59):

3D Land (walk-offs)
75m (excessive size)
Balloon Fight (walk-offs)
Big Battlefield (excessive size)
Boxing Ring (walk-offs)
Bridge of Eldin (walk-offs)
Brinstar Depths (camping positions)
Coliseum (walk-offs)
Distant Planet (walk-offs)
Dream Land (3DS) (walk-offs)
Flat Zone (in general) (walk-offs)
Fourside (camping positions)
Gaur Plain (at least three reasons)
Gerudo Valley (walk-offs)
Golden Plains (walk-offs)
Great Bay (loop)
Green Hill Zone (walk-offs)
Hanenbow (size, generally awful lay-out)
Hyrule Castle (size, camping, cave of life, probably "close" but almost certainly not good enough)
Icicle Mountain (no clue how it will work without hazards but near 100% chance it's bad)
Kongo Falls (Melee) (camping position)
Living room (walk-offs)
Luigi's Mansion (cave of life, probably actually worse without hazards since you probably can't break the mansion)
Magicant (that lower platform completely ruins it; in the unlikely event it goes away, move this to legal)
Mario Bros. (walk-offs)
Mario Circuit (Brawl) (walk-offs)
Mario Galaxy (walk-offs)
Moray Towers (honestly just the worst layout of any smash stage I've ever seen that doesn't fit an easy insta-ban category)
Mushroom Kingdom (64) (walk-offs)
Mushroom Kingdom (Melee) (walk-offs)
Mushroom Kingdom II (walk-offs)
Mushroomy Kingdom (walk-offs)
New Pork City (size)
Onett (walk-offs)
Pac-Land (walk-offs)
Pac-Maze (loop)
Palutena's Temple (size)
Paper Mario (probably a walk-off, niche chances they do something to fix this)
Peach's Castle (Melee) (camping)
Pilotwings (camping)
Poke Floats (if it just stays on Squirtle it's a camp haven; if it goes through all the stuff there are other problems)
Rumble Falls (no clue how it will work without hazards but near 100% chance it's bad)
Saffron City (camping)
Shadow Moses Island (remarkably terrible lay-out)
Skyworld (cave of life)
Spear Pillar (loop, legal if they just get rid of the bottom area completely though)
Summit (loop)
Suzaku Castle (walk-off)
Temple (size)
The Great Cave Offensive (size)
Tomodachi Life (lay-out is pretty terrible)
Venom (camping)
Wii Fit Studio (walk-offs)
Windy Hill Zone (size/camping)
Woolly World (walk-offs)
Wrecking Crew (lay-out is pretty terrible)
Yoshi's Island (Melee) (walk-offs)

I actually agree with your method of stage choosing for Ultimate when it comes to tournament play.

Given that we have a stage hazard toggle, and almost every stage in Smash's history returning, we have a possibility to have a rather large list of legal stages. Also, adding that the stage is chosen FIRST before you chose your character, there is no reason for the striking of stages any more.

I do believe that, to give each player some sense of "control", each round give each player 1 stage ban (2 to the person who lost the match), then select random and get the stage that you will be playing on. The game would also have to show the players what stage was selected as random prior to them choosing their characters however.

Assuming that we get the Random stage list again, each tournament would start with only the tournament legal stages selected as ON on the random list. Game 1, each player would go into the list and turn 1 of the legal stages from on to off each, then select random, chosen stage is shown, then character select. Game 2, winner turns off 1 stage while loser turns off 2 stages, then they chose random again. Rinse and repeat until the set is over and then reset the Random stage list real fast by turning all legal stages back to ON, and continue.

It would still provide some level of control to each player through stage bans, yet it would still provide the entertainment of almost always ending up on a new legal stage during matches. It would be so much fun to watch, and it would be faster than stage striking IMO because it's a simple switch toggle on the Random list.

Personally, I think this is the best option moving forward with tournaments. And if the community at large chooses this, I will be one happy Falco :p
 

Funen1

Smash Journeyman
Joined
Nov 2, 2008
Messages
361
Location
Bloomington, IN
NNID
Funen1
#26
The hazard toggle is one of the biggest things to happen to Smash in a while imo. With such a large number of stages that should be considered unequivocally legal, and thus too many for traditional stage striking to be feasible, I also think the stage selection system needs an overhaul. Previously I thought about players selecting stages from a larger list to make a "pool" of sorts for a single set, but Amazing Ampharos Amazing Ampharos makes a good point about making sure things don't become overly complicated.

Random stage selection is indeed an interesting idea, and for the most part I can get behind it. However, I fear that people will end up differing on what constitutes "undue" random variation (independent of whether their reasoning actually holds up), even if we assume that strong players will have enough characters to cover every kind of stage. When money is on the line, I sense that players are instinctively gonna want as much control as possible over their situation, which may lead them to push back against something like this. Don't get me wrong, I'd absolutely love to see cooler heads prevail, but this scene honestly doesn't have a very good track record with approaching ruleset construction reasonably.

On a side note, if turning hazards off makes a traveling stage like Prism Tower stay on a phase that has a blatant issue (permanent walk-offs in Prism Tower's case), couldn't we opt to turn hazards back on after the stage is chosen so it can still be used as a legal stage? Hopefully getting to the hazard toggle won't end up being too complicated in the full game lol.
 

Galgatha

Smash Apprentice
Joined
Mar 5, 2012
Messages
192
Location
With my wonderful wife!
NNID
SinChill
#27
Random stage selection is indeed an interesting idea, and for the most part I can get behind it. However, I fear that people will end up differing on what constitutes "undue" random variation (independent of whether their reasoning actually holds up), even if we assume that strong players will have enough characters to cover every kind of stage. When money is on the line, I sense that players are instinctively gonna want as much control as possible over their situation, which may lead them to push back against something like this. Don't get me wrong, I'd absolutely love to see cooler heads prevail, but this scene honestly doesn't have a very good track record with approaching ruleset construction reasonably.
I actually completely forgot about this aspect of competitive play. Maybe I just like playing Smash too much and don't care about money? (Or, I'm just not good enough to win money playing the game).

I do hope that we can have a serious look at this concept though, because I feel like it would be a great boost to competitive Smash as well as increasing the enjoyment of Smash as a spectator of competitve play.

Now could you imagine if Nintendo made their own tournament legal stage list (without hazards) and implemented THAT into FG instead of just Omega form stages? @_@ That would be some serious online battling.
 

dav3yb

Smash Journeyman
Joined
Dec 7, 2014
Messages
315
#28
Do we know if stage hazard toggle is an all or nothing thing? I assume in the current build it is, but if it ends up being a toggle for each stage, that could change some things.

I think as of now hazards off also seems to remove any stage transitions on those that alter their layouts, and instead uses a base/default form. If this is the case, some stages could come off the list, things like arena ferox which might not change its layout at all if hazards are off would basically be a FD. And you could probably consolidate some stages like midgar into Battlefield type stages.

I'd be all for a random selection of some sort to streamline the process. Stage striking is genuinely my least favorite thing to deal with as far as playing or even TOing is concerned.

I know when smash 4 was still using a larger list of stages (15 to 20), i had suggested grouping stages into sets of about 5, and players would strike a set of stages in the first step, then individually strike on the remaining set. It worked well enough, but I feel the stage list for Ultimate might be too large even for something like that.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jan 26, 2008
Messages
3,952
Location
Baton Rouge, LA
#29
It sounds petty of me, but one of my motivations for supporting a large stage list is simply because I'm sick to death of Smashville. Variety is the spice of life, you know?

I think Amazing Ampharos Amazing Ampharos 's idea to pick a stage at random has merit. Since character select comes second now (and won't that take some getting used to, just from sheer habit) you can think of it as counterpicking a character for a given stage, as opposed to counterpicking a stage for a given character. A bit of a paradigm shift but the basic idea seems similar enough.
 

Galgatha

Smash Apprentice
Joined
Mar 5, 2012
Messages
192
Location
With my wonderful wife!
NNID
SinChill
#30
It sounds petty of me, but one of my motivations for supporting a large stage list is simply because I'm sick to death of Smashville. Variety is the spice of life, you know?

I think Amazing Ampharos Amazing Ampharos 's idea to pick a stage at random has merit. Since character select comes second now (and won't that take some getting used to, just from sheer habit) you can think of it as counterpicking a character for a given stage, as opposed to counterpicking a stage for a given character. A bit of a paradigm shift but the basic idea seems similar enough.
I like the way you put that. True, the very fact that 1) We select a stage before we select a character and 2) Stage Hazard toggle is now a thing, this can drastically change how tournaments are done in the competitive Smash scene.

Hopefully the TO's will pick up on this and we can finally get rid of stage striking.
 
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#31
Interestingly, it seems that Sakurai had the exact same reasoning in mind. From Sourcegaming:

Players now select the stage before selecting their characters. This allows them to consider a fighter’s compatibility with the field of battle. If you set the rules so that the loser picks the next stage, this makes for a fairer competition.
 

DaDavid

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#32
I get that it's exciting, but until we know what exactly is toggled for each stage, I'd say it's a bit early to start making lists.

I do wonder though if this will allow us to get rid of counter-picks. I've never liked the idea that some stages are only kind of legal.
 

Das Koopa

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#33
I suppose I might as well respond to some of the stage suggestions listed.

Garden of Hope comes to mind as a stage that probably should not be legal. We appear to have an idea of how breakable elements work within stages in hazardless Ultimate, in that they don't break but still exist. The new Zelda stage's ceiling doesn't break and Skyworld's platforms don't break, meaning it's a reasonable assumption to make that the bridge, bowl, and stock present on GoH don't break, making it a stage with multiple walls alongside it being a very large stage.

I also do not agree with Tortimer Island being legal. It only retains a single ledge on the dock, while the other pit has no ledge and its location is heavily obscured by the water, where the start of the water does not equate to the start of the ledge. It is an FD clone otherwise meaning it has very little value beyond its unique element of only one grabbable ledge, something that inherently disadvantages characters with poor recoveries.

Stages that lack suitable central platforms also strike me as stages not suited for competitive play. I had considered Reset Bomb Forest, but it is very scattered about and has a pit at the center that would likely result in very campy gameplay. Find Mii at least has a central platform with its pit extending off to the side.

Duck Hunt still has the issue of being an excessive camping enabler and I don't really see a reason for a stage of its size to exist with a platform that high when alternatives of similar size such as Pyrosphere or Kingdom U (debatable in their own right, but clearly less polarizing in terms of design) also exist. Albeit, all of them suffer from being stages that enable very campy gameplay due to their excessive size.

Furthermore, I think the idea of certain redundant stages being legal is a bit silly because it's multiple of the same layout with few to no differences. I can at least say, for example, that Dreamland 64 has small blast zones and has whispy as an element compared to Battlefield, while stages like Miiverse and Midgar are functionally the same.

This is most apparent with Final Destination, as the potential outcome of many hazardless stage is to be that of effective Omega stages, thus redundant. Wily's Castle, for instance, loses its platforms alongside Yellow Devil. But this would logically apply to Pictochat's 1 & 2 (or a hypothetical Pictochat X if it were to follow Flat Zone's standard)

It applies to;

-Aero Dive
-Mute City
-Rainbow Road
-Arena Ferox
-Umebra Clock Tower
-Prism Tower, potentially

I support a fairly liberal stagelist size for Ultimate, mind you, but I don't know if I can extend that liberal mindset to certain stages because better stages already exist that lack as many elements that are divisive. Certain stages were only legal in Smash 4, Brawl, or Melee for a period of time due to a lack of better options. Duck Hunt, for example, was a good case of a stage that would never have remained legal (largely due to elements like the tree that have more implications than just "Little Mac") had better alternatives like YI (Brawl) or Frozen Stadium or Frozen Warioware or even Frozen Castle Siege existed. As a result, with a myriad of better stages, I see no reason to go back to old illegal stages unless their hazardless variants offer something new like Siege or Delfino, assuming the pan out as transitionless.

my criteria is;

-ban camp-heavy stages
-ban excessively large stages
-ban walk-offs as it removes critical elements of gameplay
-ban most/all stages with walls, all stages with CoL
-ban stages with bad central design that force players to occupy surrounding platforms due to the central platform being too cramped or nonexistent (e.g. Bomb Forest, Norfair, Balloon Fight, etc.)
-ban redundant stages as they simply crowd the stagelist (mostly FD/BF variations)

This still leaves around 20-30 good stages and we can plan from there.
 

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#34
So, I decided to try and do a break down of what stages I could possibly see being made legal given that we now have the Stage Hazard Toggle, Stages are chosen before choosing your fighter, and how the random stage + ban would work for tournaments IMO. (Similar stages I have grouped together due to the lack of gameplay difference between them)

First, from what we know about how the Hazard toggle will effect stages, and what we assume. We know that the toggle will turn off stage changes (As shown with the ZeRo vs MKLeo fight on Frigate Orpheon where it never flipped), turn off hazards (as shown on Willy Castle and no platforms or yellow devil), and turns off breakables (as shown on Skyworld with ZeRo vs Leffen). With this information, we can assume that means that 1) Stages that transition or change will probably stay in their initial layout even while traveling, 2) Annoying stage hazards like Jungle Japes rushing water or perhaps Norfair's lava will be turned off and disappear, 3) Some stages with breakable platforms now create permanent Caves of Life like Skyworld or Luigi's Mansion.

So, keeping this in mind, on to the list of possible legal stages from what we know so far:

Battlefield (Including Miiverse, Midgar, Yoshi's Story)
Final Destination (Possibly including Arena Ferox and Willy Caslte [unsure if walls will disqualify])
Dreamland
Yoshi's Island [64] (If Stage Hazard removes the lingering clouds, or makes them untouchable)
Brinstar [Melee] (Assuming no acid and no breakable parts of the stage)
Green Greens [Melee] (Assuming no breakable blocks drop, leaving gaps between the platforms)
Jungle Japes [Melee] (Assuming no rushing water or random fish underneath platforms) *Yay, my favorite pasttime stage could be tournament legal!*
Pokemon Stadium [both 1 & 2]
Castle Siege [Brawl]
Frigate Orpheon [Brawl]
Lylat Cruise [Brawl] (Please let there be no tilting!)
Norfair [Brawl]
Smashville [Brawl]
Warioware Inc [Brawl] (Assuming that no mini-games don't appear)
Yoshi's Island [Brawl] (Assuming platform clouds don't appear)
Find Mii [3ds] (Assuming the Dark Emperor never shows up)
Reset Bomb Forrest [3ds]
Unova Pokemon League [3ds]
Kalos Pokemon League [Wii u]
Mushroom Kingdom U [Wii u]
Town and City [Wii u]
Wuhu island [Wii u]
Skyloft [Wii u]

*Would be legal if they are confirmed*
Delfino Plaza [Brawl}
Fountain of Dreams [Melee]
Rainbow Road [3ds]
Jungle Hijinxs [Wii u]
Pyrosphere [Wii u]

That gives us an amazing 23 legal stages for Ultimate (Not counting similar gameplay stages like Midgar from Battlefield, they are grouped as 1 stage)! I did not include stages like Halberd that used to be legal due to the toggle switch. Assuming the stages stay as they initially start, Halberd would have walk-offs. I also did not include Magicant because, as others have stated, it is highly unlikely that the toggle would remove the very bottom platform, which could cause for easy camping.

This also doesn't include the Omega and Battlefield versions of stages since that is just an insane amount now.

With random stage pick + ban, the rounds at a tournament would go as followed. All illegal stages are turned off from the random stage switch, stage hazard is toggled off. Match 1, Players open up the random stage switch and each pick 1 legal stage to turn off (banning that stage), close random stage switch, and select random. Random legal stage is selected, players chose their fighters and start. Match 2, Players open up the stage switch again, winner selects 1 legal stage to turn off (aka ban), loser selects 2 legal stages to turn off (same rules apply in the event of a 3rd match), select random to chose a stage, chose their fighters and start.

In a typical best of 3 set, out of the 23 legal stages, either 5 stages will be banned (match ends 2-0) or 8 (match ends 2-1). Following the same rules above, in a best of 5 Grand Finals, either 8 stages will be banned (3-0) 11 stages (3-1) or 14 stages (3-2), leaving at minimum a whopping 9 stages still legal come the final match of a tournament. Current rule set in Smash 4, we only have 6 legal stages period. This is a very nice jump in legal stages.

Also, unlike how the stages reset in a current Smash 4 tournament set (after each match, players re-stage strike which often means they just re-strike the same stages over and over), each ban is permanent for the duration of that set. So, for instance, say player 2 bans Town and City during that banning process of game 1. Town and City would remain off for the rest of their set. This adds more weight to their ban choices.

Of course the random stage switch would be reset after each set, once again having all 23 legal stages toggled on and all illegal stages toggled off.
I am open to suggestions, but I feel like this is a good formula. It greatly increases the amount of tournament legal stages, decreases the time between matches in a set (a quick ban instead of stage striking) while still giving players some sense of control on where they don't want to fight, and it provides the flair of stages being randomly chosen each match.
 

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#35
If I could get Arena Ferox, Unova Pokémon League, and Wuhu Island all as legal stages, I'd be thrilled.
 

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#36
If I could get Arena Ferox, Unova Pokémon League, and Wuhu Island all as legal stages, I'd be thrilled.
The last 2 I think would be sure-ins as legal given what we assume the Stage Hazard Toggle turns off. Arena Ferox I believe would act as a Fina Destination close if the Toggle works how I think it would.
 

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#37
The last 2 I think would be sure-ins as legal given what we assume the Stage Hazard Toggle turns off. Arena Ferox I believe would act as a Fina Destination close if the Toggle works how I think it would.
Would the toggle remove the pillar holding it up? If not I don't think it'd be an exact clone due to helping wall jumpers and whatnot.
 

dav3yb

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#39
The last 2 I think would be sure-ins as legal given what we assume the Stage Hazard Toggle turns off. Arena Ferox I believe would act as a Fina Destination close if the Toggle works how I think it would.
There are probably more that could be grouped up in the list as well. Willy Castle, if it doesn't have it's platforms showing up (really wish hazard toggle would only turn off YD here), it really could just be lumped in with FD. Same thing with dreamland just acting as BF if hazards off means no blowing wind.

I didn't think to look at it in any of the gameplay videos, but once a stage is selected, are you able to actually see what stage you're going to on the character select screen? I would assume you can tell somehow, but it would be quite a bit less effective if you couldn't tell which stage it randomizes to before actually launching into the match.
 

Zero Soul

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#40
There are probably more that could be grouped up in the list as well. Willy Castle, if it doesn't have it's platforms showing up (really wish hazard toggle would only turn off YD here), it really could just be lumped in with FD. Same thing with dreamland just acting as BF if hazards off means no blowing wind.

I didn't think to look at it in any of the gameplay videos, but once a stage is selected, are you able to actually see what stage you're going to on the character select screen? I would assume you can tell somehow, but it would be quite a bit less effective if you couldn't tell which stage it randomizes to before actually launching into the match.
Yeah, if it turns out we can't see the stage, that sounds like it'd be a problem if we actually go through with the random stage selection, it doesn't sound very fair if a Little Mac main gets randomly transported to Duck Hunt with no way of knowing that they'll be playing on Duck Hunt.
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Not sure if there was a modified build or not for the other places that have had the demo but the one they played on Treehouse and at E3 does not have any stage icon or anything like that before a match begins. This doesn't rule out random showing us what stage it picks on the stage screen though.
 
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