Discussion of Stage Legality in Smash Bros. Ultimate

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Sorry no, the 3-2-1 system is faster, easier and allows for more options.
Early discussions favoured this system, but it just seems to have totally gone away for some reason.
It doesn't sound bad to me, although it would mean giving the winner only one ban. Perhaps loser suggests 4 stages, winner bans 2, loser picks one? This would, however, basically be the same as winner bans 2 and loser picks one except it gives the winner a position, so that's not great... So nevermind!

3-2-1 vs 2 bans: 3-2-1 would reduce the risk of "wasting" a ban and it might add mind games. On the other hand, 2 bans would give the winner more bans: In 3-2-1 the winner will play on his second worst stage, while 2 bans 3rd worst stage.

Can't say I feel strongly about either system, both seem fine to me.
 

Untouch

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It doesn't sound bad to me, although it would mean giving the winner only one ban. Perhaps loser suggests 4 stages, winner bans 2, loser picks one? This would, however, basically be the same as winner bans 2 and loser picks one except it gives the winner a position, so that's not great... So nevermind!

3-2-1 vs 2 bans: 3-2-1 would reduce the risk of "wasting" a ban and it might add mind games. On the other hand, 2 bans would give the winner more bans: In 3-2-1 the winner will play on his second worst stage, while 2 bans 3rd worst stage.

Can't say I feel strongly about either system, both seem fine to me.
I personally think 4-2-1 or 5-2-1 would be better since there's less of a potential of suggesting 2 stages no player likes to force the 3rd one.
 
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Buuuuuuut no stage striking at all is even simpler, and removes why a lot of (totally fine, legal) stages is a complex issue. :O
Let's say there are 10 legal stages, With bans, you could ban 1 or 2 stages and play on your 3rd worst stage. With no bans, you're going to have to play on your worst stage when you win. It puts too much emphasis on stages, and besides, it's not hard to just ban one or two stages when you win.

Why do you want it?
 

Akiak

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We're probably not going to have 15 stages, but I do see your point. One alternative could be: Loser proposes 3 stages, winner picks one of those. That's similar to 2 bans but makes it harder for the winner to overlook one stage (like forgetting to ban Lylat vs Corrin or something). If we have something like 9 or 10 stages I think it should be easy enough to just go with 2 bans and then loser counter-picks.
Very much in favor of this. 3->1 seems like the best option as it gives both players 2 bans (with 5 starter stages).

Whereas 3-2-1 gives one player 3 bans and the other 1 ban. I think it's pretty obvious which one is better? Unless I'm missing something?

Edit: I think I'm mixing up match 1 and match 2+

As previously said match 1 isn't an issue imo, even just keeping 1-2-1 would probably be fine.

For CPs, I still think 4-2-1 (loser picks 4, winner bans 2 etc.) is the best option, except that's with 14-ish stages.

With less stages (say 11-ish), it could be reduced to loser picks 3, then either winner picks 1 (loser's 3rd best stage), or winner bans 1, then loser picks (loser's 2nd best stage).
 
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nebulark

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About this 3-2-1 System: Why is it important that the loser can pick from 2 Stages in the end? Wouldn't it be simpler for the loser to suggest 2 stages and the winner decides which one to play on? In my opinion this would lead to the same outcome and remove a needless step.

If the loser wants to play one of two stages, he will get it with either system. The difference with 3-2-1 is, that it conceals which two stages the loser wants to play on. In my opinion this adds nothing. It only tests the skill of the winner to indentify the losers best stage, which not the kind of skill a tournament should test in my opinion.

Going further: A ban should essentially ban your opponents best stage (or your worst if have trouble on a particular one). So depending on the number of bans we want to simulate the loser should choose N Stages, where N is the number of bans + 1. Then the winner would pick one of those.

Loser choosing 3 Stage and winner picking which one to play one fits the pattern, for the case for 2 bans, so I see no problem there.

But for the case of 3-2-1, 4-2-1 or 5-2-1 I don't see why we should do those needless steps.
 
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Very much in favor of this. 3->1 seems like the best option as it gives both players 2 bans (with 5 starter stages).

Whereas 3-2-1 gives one player 3 bans and the other 1 ban. I think it's pretty obvious which one is better? Unless I'm missing something?
The way the discussion from TOs is going right now, I'd expect many scenes would start with something like 13 stages and eventually cut down to 9-10. There's a discussion whether there should be 9 starters or 5 starters.

The argument for 9 starters: More variety. Downside: Takes longer to strike. Scenes might potentially start with 9 starters to test more stages quickly, and then go to 5 starters.

My guess is we'll end up with something between 8-11 stages or so, maybe 12. People seem willing to test up to 13-14 stages but not much more than that. 15+ does not seem very likely aside from maybe some local scene.
 

TheBuzzSaw

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In friendlies, sure! In tournaments, when playing for thousands of dollars, I don't think they want to leave anything up to chance.
I'm a former competitive player and TO. (Not asserting authority. Just framing my discussion.)

I used to hold the stance that every ounce of randomness should be squeezed out of competitive Smash, but I've since reversed course on that stance. I'm sure it's been discussed to death (either here or in neighboring threads), so I'll summarize: there are good forms of random and bad forms of random. There are fair uses of RNG and unfair uses. I'm not proposing injecting randomness just for the sake of it (for the lulz), but I do miss the day when Melee tournaments started with a randomly selected neutral. The entire point was that the neutrals were similar enough to in no way/shape/form abruptly trigger a loss for someone.

I 200% agree with removing random factors that introduce jank or suddenly hand the victory to one player. (Hence, items are out particular since they explode.) However, I feel that good factors are ones that force players to lightly adjust their strategy. Also, now that Smash is a huge spectator sport, this becomes a bigger factor. As long as players have a fair opportunity to respond to such randomness (i.e. seeing the stage pick before picking a fighter), it's not as harmful as the competitive community makes it out to be.
 

Kleric

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Let's say there are 10 legal stages, With bans, you could ban 1 or 2 stages and play on your 3rd worst stage. With no bans, you're going to have to play on your worst stage when you win. It puts too much emphasis on stages, and besides, it's not hard to just ban one or two stages when you win.

Why do you want it?
Because it removes the convolution of people needing to ban "similar" stages all at once, Is that not where your argument against "similar" stages is rooted? The fact that it'd be convoluted during the banning process (Having to remember what all stages are grouped together and the arguments on whether they should be or not? Surely if stage striking is a thing, I'd agree with you in removing similar stages from the process, but my point of discussion is why stage striking is so needed?

Why is it an inherent problem to put more emphasis on stages? I'd have no issue playing on my worst stage if I won. I could at the very least choose a different character to better suit that stage, now that you choose the stage first.
 
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TheBuzzSaw

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Why is it an inherent problem to put more emphasis on stages? I'd have no issue playing on my worst stage if I won. I could at the very least choose a different character to better suit that stage, now that you choose the stage first.
This is a complex part of the discussion because it comes down to community culture and values. The goal (for many) is not to make use of as much of the game as possible; it's a list of priorities. At the top of that list is allowing players to use any fighter he or she wants. In order to defend that value, stage selection suffers by necessity. It's kind of sad when you learn just how many Melee stages are banned basically because of Fox alone, but the win is that the entire roster is fair game. If stages are moved up that priority list, something eventually has to give. Are we prepared to ban characters who are too good in very specific scenarios?
 
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The entire point was that the neutrals were similar enough to in no way/shape/form abruptly trigger a loss for someone.
I don't think this would really work with the current Ultimate lists discussed, there are too much variety, which potentially means giving a slight advantage to one player. Striking is easy enough anyway so there's no real need to do this. It won't trigger an insta-loss but might make it a 55-45 or 60-40 advantage to one player, which isn't good.

Because it removes the convolution of people needing to ban "similar" stages all at once, Is that not where your argument against "similar" stages is rooted?
If I understand your argument correctly, it is the following: We should allow similar (what I call "redundant" or "echo stages") stages and not have any bans (or, I assume, Dave's Stupid Rule) at all. That way having redundant stages won't be a problem. Is that correct?

Why is it an inherent problem to put more emphasis on stages?
TheBuzzSaw explained it well above, but anyway: I'd be willing to guess that most tournament players think stages should play a small part of the game, and should be fairly neutral overall. This is one of the reasons why we mostly want hazards off. This is not inherently so but I do think wanting stages to play a lesser role is good for the competitive health of the game.

I could at the very least choose a different character to better suit that stage, now that you choose the stage first.
You already chose the stage first when counter-picking. I don't really care for this argument since learning more than one character is more than most Smash 4 players could do well, and I don't think Smash Ultimate will be different in that aspect. Even many top players were put at a disadvantage when switching to a secondary (there are some notable exceptions, such as Tweek and MkLeo, but they are just that, exceptions).
 

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This whole thing about stages needing to serve a purpose to the meta reminds me a lot of that huge mvci controversy with combofiend defending its lackluster roster by basically saying that characters are just functions.
 
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TheBuzzSaw

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I'd be willing to guess that most tournament players think stages should play a small part of the game, and should be fairly neutral overall.
This is the piece I wish I could change minds on. While I agree that emphasis should be placed on fighter selection and direct utility of the selected fighter, I don't like that stages are being diminished in importance because that is half the magic of Super Smash Bros. I was so bored of traditional fighters where the stage is always flat, and the only reason to pick a stage was the scenery. The fighters are forced to face each other and pummel each other. Smash broke those chains and set fighters free. You can move anywhere you want. Naturally, this leads to interesting stage design to give that freedom some meaning.
 

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IMO an easy fix for random selection in Ultimate is giving each player a couple of opportunities to call for a reroll of the dice. If you're a Mac main and the game RNGs to a stage with high platforms, you can reroll up to two times until you get a more favorable stage.

Alternatively, roll five random stages and run 1-2-1 striking on those stages. This is functionally equivalent to pure RNG + 2 rerolls, in some ways. The benefit of RNG-1-2-1 is that it's more fair, and it's more likely that the players will arrive at a balanced stage for the matchup. The benefit of RNG-rerolls is that it's among the quickest and simplest possible systems, which has its own benefits.

Overall, though, I think that RNG-1-2-1 is optimal, while perhaps banning gentlemans to stages outside of the selected five*. The only hurdle is that practically, it almost requires a third-party tool such as a web app, which is definitely feasible to implement. Everybody in a tournament will have a smartphone to run a stage randomizer on, and for online tournaments, the options only increase.

*The reason I suggest this is twofold.

- A noticeable problem right now in Smash 4 is that a decent chunk of the time, players will gentleman to Smashville instead of going through the actual striking process. This is bad for stage variety, so banning full-list gentlemans would help ensure stage variety – when paired with the randomized starter list. Notably, you CAN still gentleman to any of the five RNG stages, just like many rulesets only allow gentlemans to legal stages.

- If the stage selection system is balanced around a randomly-selected list of starters, then it gives an unfair advantage to a player who convinces his opponent to gentleman to a stage outside of that list. Using Smash 4 terms, if I'm a Sheik main and convince you to go to Smashville even though it's not on the RNG list, I get an advantage.



On a different note, screw this whole "improving the metagame" talk tbh. The metagame for Ultimate does not exist yet. Nobody knows how it will play out. For that reason, banning stages for "not contributing to the metagame" is ridiculous IMO. Add everything that's not obviously broken, see how the meta actually plays out, and then we can talk about negative effects on the meta. In the meantime, I have no reason to believe that the majority of discussed stages wouldn't contribute anything.



RE: Frihetsanka Frihetsanka 's Arena Ferox video, I don't see how situational teching is bannable.

Lozjam Lozjam TheBuzzSaw TheBuzzSaw Hard agree with everything y'all've said so far. A repeat of Smash 4 is the last thing I want to see from this stage list.
 

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If stages are moved up that priority list, something eventually has to give. Are we prepared to ban characters who are too good in very specific scenarios?
I believe characters would still be the priority regardless. If a stage really favors certain characters to the point of degenerate, unfun and unchallenging gameplay, then still the stage should be the one to take the ban. I'm not sure how removing stage striking changes that. If rules with stage striking kept those types of stages regardless, the root issue of that stage being unfair is still there, and instead of playing on it, it would still take away someone's striking vote as it would be deemed absolutely necessary to limit that stage for them.

If I understand your argument correctly, it is the following: We should allow similar (what I call "redundant" or "echo stages") stages and not have any bans (or, I assume, Dave's Stupid Rule) at all. That way having redundant stages won't be a problem. Is that correct?
Yeah that's about the gist of it. For the sake of variety (It really seems like a waste), and also complimenting simplicity for the sake of TO's. I think it's healthy to start rethinking the rules from scratch, it really seems like a lot of people are stuck thinking inside the box they're used to, and it's creating complications with the changes in ultimate, making unnecessary sacrifices.
 
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WritersBlah

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I don't think this would really work with the current Ultimate lists discussed, there are too much variety, which potentially means giving a slight advantage to one player. Striking is easy enough anyway so there's no real need to do this. It won't trigger an insta-loss but might make it a 55-45 or 60-40 advantage to one player, which isn't good.
All current Smash stagelists already do this, especially with how common auto-gentlemanning to Smashville has become. Smashville is not nearly as balanced a stage as most people claim it to be, and can easily create 55-45 and 60-40 matchups already. This is discounting Battlefield and Final Destination, which are even more polarizing. You may argue that by creating a larger stagelist, this issue would end up being excacerbated, but I personally don't buy that argument. Recall that with Brawl, it was the banning of Rainbow Cruise and Brinstar that created the competitive menace of the Ice Climbers, and this was in an attempt to nerf Meta Knight so that his stage advantage wouldn't be so lopsided. I don't expect a repeat of the Meta Knight situation in Ultimate, but this is why ultimately, if you're interested in maintaining relative stage balance, cutting out traditional counterpicks with more dynamic elements is a bad thing.
 

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Akiak

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Definitely think 5 is a better option: BF, FD, PS2, Smashville/Yoshi's Brawl, Lylat.

I think Lylat is better than WW for starter, unless there's some weird stuff with the ledges that we're unaware of. WW's blastzones might be really small.
 

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I used to hold the stance that every ounce of randomness should be squeezed out of competitive Smash, but I've since reversed course on that stance.
This (and the summary) accurately charts the evolution of my thinking as well, to a T.

Part of it was long term disillusionment with the skills being tested. Seeing which player could execute laboriously-practiced techs better became quite dull, while seeing which player could adapt to a new circumstance remained interesting. Part of that adaption comes from having a wide breadth of viable characters, and a healthy scene with many opponents. But I find it more enjoyable as both a player and a spectator when adaption is emphasized further.

You see this in Chess. In 2018, deterministic, traditional Chess is... sort of a horrible game to play at high levels? The game is sufficiently partially solved, that meticulously memorized opening books and endgame mate algorithms dictate a bigger percentage of a player's skill each year. An increasing number of talented chess players I know are turning their time to randomized formats or Bughouse, both of which promote mid-game adaption to unique problems over brute force memorization.

In retrospect, it seems pretty clear that my old revulsion to randomness was childish ego-defense--I was on a God-given mission to prove that I was better at video games than other humans, and anything that made that task harder or more complex was heretical. Then one day I just stop caring how big my **** was, and that was that.
 

ParanoidDrone

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This (and the summary) accurately charts the evolution of my thinking as well, to a T.

Part of it was long term disillusionment with the skills being tested. Seeing which player could execute laboriously-practiced techs better became quite dull, while seeing which player could adapt to a new circumstance remained interesting. Part of that adaption comes from having a wide breadth of viable characters, and a healthy scene with many opponents. But I find it more enjoyable as both a player and a spectator when adaption is emphasized further.

You see this in Chess. In 2018, deterministic, traditional Chess is... sort of a horrible game to play at high levels? The game is sufficiently partially solved, that meticulously memorized opening books and endgame mate algorithms dictate a bigger percentage of a player's skill each year. An increasing number of talented chess players I know are turning their time to randomized formats or Bughouse, both of which promote mid-game adaption to unique problems over brute force memorization.

In retrospect, it seems pretty clear that my old revulsion to randomness was childish ego-defense--I was on a God-given mission to prove that I was better at video games than other humans, and anything that made that task harder or more complex was heretical. Then one day I just stop caring how big my **** was, and that was that.
I've been entertaining the thought that Smash is starting to get too sterile, for lack of a better term, but you managed to phrase my feelings better than I ever could. Get out of my head.

Emphasizing (or wanting to emphasize, I guess) adaptation is why I have zero problems with the earlier-posted clips of K. Rool getting a followup on Richter rebounding off a small wall on Rainbow Cruise, or Zelda pulling off a clutch tech on Arena Ferox's slanted platform. Small irregularities like that promote on-the-fly thinking instead of turning everything into muscle memory.
 

Amazing Ampharos

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Well first some sad news. Hazardless Spirit Train has a lot going for it, but it seems to have a camping nook:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KjS7HBtecvA

See Dark Samus just stand on the front of the train? That wouldn't be too big of a problem from what we've seen of Dark Samus (frankly she looks bottom tier), but it's pretty likely characters who aren't bad will be able to do that too. Spirit Train was probably not going to be the easiest argument to win anyway, but it at least had a ton of potential so this makes me kinda sad. It is what it is though; I think we should still seriously look at the stage, but this takes its probability for me from "unsure" to "seems unlikely" in terms of whether it will deserve to be legal.

I'm going to say this about the concept of having legal stages in general. So the single most important thing to realize which is also important to getting better at Smash in general is that there is no such thing as a "neutral" stage. Every stage all of the time in every match-up is inherently helping one side and hurting the other unless it's a ditto I guess (Even then, Brawl with its 55-45 Snake dittos taught us many things...). In 4 a lot of people held Smashville on a pedestal, but then look at it. It was a remarkably good Sheik stage, probably her best. It was basically unplayable for Little Mac; the platform height was so thoroughly wrong for him that you needed Duck Hunt/Kongo Jungle in your legal stage list to have a stage worse for Mac legal at your tournament. Some characters control platforms very well and love Battlefield (as a Rosalina main, I knew a thing or two about that). Some did ladder combos and wanted every bit of lower ceiling they could get (Town and City in conservative tournaments, Halberd at events that had it). As with the Little Mac example, sometimes it went the complete opposite direction. Platforms weren't a positive at all for Sonic's mobility parameters; he hated Battlefield. Just remember that every stage is always skewing everything, and there is no "neutral" baseline.

What does this have to do with variety? Well think about the game's global balance. If you play on a very small stage list, then most likely your meta will settle down to one or two stages as basically the core of the meta. In 4 it was the two Animal Crossing stages, and the biases of those stages became the biases of the entire metagame. With diversity you average things out a lot more and the game's "true" balance can shine through. This is why you want big and small stages, stages with platforms and without, stages that move and ones that don't, etc.. You want to be as open minded as possible because different characters care about different things and a difference that may be meaningless to one character may make all the difference in the world to another. This not only is almost assuredly actually more balance than a restrictive stagelist can produce when you average it all out, but it maintains the integrity of events by assuring that the winning players win because they're better at the game as a whole and not because the rules were stacked in their favor.

Naturally there's a balance here too. Smash has many pretty poor stages. We have the obviously degenerate stages like Temple with simple optimal strategies that remove interesting gameplay. We have a lot of less obvious but still gameplay crushing situations like I was worrying about above for Spirit Train. While all stages are polarizing to some extent, not all stages are equally polarizing; Kongo Jungle in Smash 4 was a good example of a stage not really broken in any way but that was just very, very polarizing and almost assuredly made the game worse if you had it legal. In reality, the game "works" to at least some extent with anywhere from 1-60 legal stages probably. The best game is probably in the neighborhood of 30 based on our current knowledge of the mechanics of the stages in Smash Ultimate; the details are still breaking as we speak and will continue being uncovered for at least the first six months of the game's lifespan if not longer.

I also think we can learn a lot from our history if we care to actually look at the past. Here are a few important things to keep in mind:

-In the entire history of the community, we've never unbanned a stage. Even bans done for "temporary" reasons like the boat clip on Wuhu Island were not considered for legality again after the issue was patched. That being the case, it's VERY important to start liberal. Inevitably some stages from such a list will be banned with time, but it's just an unrealistic outcome to start conservative, discover you have too few stages, and then start adding. That's not how the community works, and if we put ourselves in that situation, we're probably just stuck for the game's entire lifespan playing a sub-optimal game.

-Objectively the starter-counterpick dichotomy does not work. I've said it until my face turned blue and then kept saying it, but I'll say it again. It's about how player strategy and rulesets ultimately intersect. Strategically you need to plan to only play on starters if you want to win sets 2-1 on starter stages instead of lose them 1-2 on counterpick stages. Since all the strong players understand this at least instinctively if not explicitly, starter stages are the only ones actually chosen in high level play. This causes play on counterpick stages over time to grow to be very sloppy due to poor stage knowledge which causes people to resent the presence of the stages which causes them to be banned. A counterpick stage is a "soon to be banned" stage; let's not waste everyone's time with those this time around please.

-The community does not really have a good track record of game design. We banned almost every stage in Brawl to allegedly nerf Meta Knight, and not only did his tournament performance not decline at all (it held quite steady), we created a monster in Ice Climbers who were suddenly #2 in the game but totally degenerate to play against with the handful of stages we had left. We basically argued and culturally legislated three whole characters out of the game in Smash 4 in the form of the Mii Fighters. The idea of us designing a narrow stage list that somehow is just the best possible assumes a collective competence on our parts that is frankly completely unrealistic, and it's not even that the Smash community is dumber than average so much as it's just a fact that large groups of people do not collectively perform quality design work. Our best hope is to avoid game design as much as possible and, wherever we can, defer to the wisdom of Sakurai and team in making the game the way it is for a reason and just accepting that wherever it leads us.

-Most of the community for Smash Ultimate is not currently playing competitive Smash. Most of them will be new players who will only begin to get into the scene after the game comes out; that has been what has happened with every game. In that sense, tradition is actually a lot less meaningful than you probably instinctively think; familiarity hardly matters when most of the real community won't be familiar with anything to start. We should focus on doing what's best for that reason; it's not just or even mostly about those of us here now.

-In the past a lot of the toxicity in the community has come from us fighting over the various problems games have given us and our inability to agree on how to play them. That toxicity has been a constant source of embarrassment for the community (we're pretty well detested in the broader FGC), and I can tell you from experience that it drives people out way more than it draws them in. Smash Ultimate for perhaps the first time in series history has really gone out of its way to make this easy. We have hazards off to give us variety and a certain tameness so everyone wins here. I think if you're a stage conservative, looking at the situation as "well this makes it even easier to have exactly what I want; let me force things that way as much as I can" is not a productive viewpoint toward growing the community. A viewpoint that will probably produce much better long term results is "now everyone can have the things they want most with all of us having to give up less than ever to get along". Let's take advantage of this golden opportunity generously given to us by the main dev team instead of squandering it by refusing to compromise with people who actually look at things differently at all.
 

Narr

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a few people were saying this the last couple pages and i wanted to address it: FoD does not play like battlefield. it may in theory, but in practice, the changing heights of the side plats wildly change how the stage is played. i do agree that the stage is redundant if hazard toggle is on, but i still hold firmly that universal hazard toggle off is a bad decision to jump the gun on before we even have the game in our hands.
 

Untouch

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Hazardless Info...

https://youtu.be/j0cp1c8fZb8?t=233
Garden of Hope -> Middle Bridge doesn't spawn. Crab never comes in, the building never spawns. Platforms spawn but are static. (This stage is absolutely massive, maybe even too big for doubles somehow.)

https://youtu.be/j0cp1c8fZb8?t=534
Find Mii -> Cage is static. Demon never spawns.

https://youtu.be/fGcMNT5CjYI?t=228
Golden Plains -> Coins don't spawn, neither do the switches.

https://youtu.be/l2LHU6JxM70?t=399
Dracula's Castle -> Platforms are static. Monsters and items never spawn.

https://youtu.be/O9IP06T3cEE?t=329
Wrecking Crew -> Bombs never spawn, and thus the stage is static.

https://youtu.be/EQBXt5PNMD0?t=284
Mushroom Kingdom II -> No logs appear, Birdo and Pidgit doesn't appear.

The stages with the most potential that we don't know about right how are...
  • Big Blue
  • Magicant
  • Pictochat 2
  • Windy Hill Zone
  • Midgar
 
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PoptartLord

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Hmm, AA beat me to a few points but I'm going to type this all out anyway (no fair posting while I'm eating dinner!)

What's this I'm reading about a 3-2-1 system? That sounds like it's part of a starter-counterpick dichotomy. Spoiler: the starter-counterpick system does not work.
The starter-counterpick system doesn't work!!
Here's the short of it - every counterpick stage was eventually removed from the legal list. Which means it's not a list of starter stages and a list of counterpick stages but really a list of "the only legal stages" and "stages we pay lip service to before banning them". Here's my sources: Melee, Brawl, Smash 4. This is history, not conjecture; why would anyone think Ultimate won't end up this way if Ultimate starts off this way?

Frihetsanka said:
There's quite a few words in this post but you're saying very little of substance. It kind of reads like you're holding a motivational speech under the guise of a debate article. I can do that too.
And do that you shall! Let's explore:

The "we might as well ban half the Smash characters" is a ridiculous argument and you know it is, and you also know no one here has advocated for it. Please don't create ridiculous, irrelevant arguments that have little to do with the conversation and only acts to create a straw man.
Yet in literally the same post one can spot your own straw-man argument:
Variety for variety's sake is not valuable. If it were, then Halberd and Delfino Plaza would still be legal in Smash 4, yet they aren't (and shouldn't be). Adding stages that are similar to current stages (such as stages similar to Battlefield, like Dream Land or Fountain of Dreams) would actually reduce variety: Instead of having only one Battlefield, we might end up with 4-5 stages that play like Battlefield, thus reducing variety.
in which you bring up a case against the addition of stages increasing variety by choosing the most obvious candidates for a stage grouping rule. Yes, there are several stages with a tri-platform layout; nobody to almost-nobody wants five tri-platform stages to count as their own slot. Try arguing that a stage like Norfair doesn't add variety (but it does, so...).
Also, your comments about Halberd and Delfino are either incredibly misleading or flat-out wrong. Halberd was removed because of a combination of having a low ceiling and specifically Smash 4 having several strong characters with an emphasis on vertical killing power, leading to earlier-than-average kills. Delfino was removed because there were transition points that created low ceiling moments. Variety had nothing to do with it. The whole statement reeks of a willful ignorance of how proponents of larger stage lists are putting stages under a microscope looking for a litany of non-competitive traits.

Our current system for choosing stages is fine, and it's not producing some sort of "miserly result".
Except the current system aims for ~13 max, out of 103. Where 30 is super easy to hit. My personal ideal list easily breaks 40. So yes, 13 to start off with and then the counterpicks disappearing leaving ~7 is indeed a miserly result.

Variety is not enough, by itself, to improve the metagame. Pokéfloats would add variety but it would be a terrible stage to add, for instance. A stage would both have to add some variety and useful gameplay, and at some point there's diminishing returns for variety (going from 5 to 10 adds more than going from 10 to 15, for instance).
Yeah, this just confirms my previous suspicions (see above). I could quote a few more of these gems, but the point has been made.

we could spend a few weeks or even a month (or maybe longer) testing stages that are borderline viable. If they turn out to be fine, then perhaps we'll add them to the list
No. This does not happen. No stage has ever been added to the stage list once removed. Sources: every single Smash game to date.

......what, seriously?! This shows how you either have ZERO idea what you're talking about or are so hell-bent on your crusade to find reasons to ban stages you're creating fictitious reasons. Zelda was launched into a platform and teched it. It's the same thing that happens when you get hit into the underside of a stage, or a wall, or get spiked onto a platform. Good on the Zelda player for making that tech - the camera was not their friend for that one.


https://youtu.be/j0cp1c8fZb8?t=233
Garden of Hope -> Middle Bridge doesn't spawn. Crab never comes in, the building never spawns. Platforms spawn but are static. (This stage is absolutely massive, maybe even too big for doubles somehow.)
Out of all the ways that stage could have gone, I was not expecting that configuration. The balance scale no longer balances, which is good. The first stock was taken in under 50 seconds (from being launched into a blastzone, not gimped), so it might not be that bad. Filing this one under "to test" (also if the platforms are good camping spots, especially the right one)
 

Munomario777

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Akiak

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Have read a few posts regarding alternatives to starter-counterpick so more aware of the full picture now.

Having one large stage list seems fine imo and would indeed promote variety across all matches. I don't think it's that big of a deal really if Match 1 is played on, say, Frigate Orpheon. Maybe even every match of the set on FO if that's what the players want? The long-term benefits are also obvious.

Anyways, moving on to stage selection, although I am not a fan of the striking system, I'm not sure if there are healthy alternatives for match 1.

I think Amazing Ampharos Amazing Ampharos might've hit the nail on the head with the modified FLiPS ruleset. However I'd like to take a closer look at it.

The idea is essentially that the first two matches are played on both players' counterpicks, while the third match, if it happens, will be played on a 'neutral' stage.

The first question which arises is this. Let's say match 1 is played on P1's counterpick, but P1 loses. Is it still appropriate to play match 2 on P2's counterpick? Or should it be played on another P1 counterpick? Or maybe a neutral?

I suppose the obvious answer is that P2 has already sacrificed match 1 to P1's counterpick for no real reason, so he should be entitled to match 2's counterpick despite the win. Still though it's worth bringing up as this is a fairly new way of thinking about sets.

Moving on, I personally think that 16~ is a much more realistic estimate of our legal stage pool. I also think there are some obvious advantages to being conservative with stages, simply because it shifts the focus onto characters and playstyles, as opposed to stage-specific strategies. The BF and FD forms are also there to offer visual and auditorial variety. However, I'm thinking for the long-term, and I understand the sentiment of being as liberal as possible at the start to give every stage a fair chance.
So given 16 stages, here's how it could go:

For match 1, each player bans 1-2 stages, then they both pick their respective counterpick.

In the match 3 scenario, the bans are still in effect, and the stages from the first two matches are removed. We now have 10-12 stages. Each player can ban 1-2 more stages, and the stage is then randomly picked.

I don't have a problem with this, although the random selection at the end might be controversial for some. I would try to think of an alternative, but I'm pretty burnt out atm.

One other thing I wanted to bring up. Given a more standard system (start with neutral, proceed with counterpicks), I'm just wondering if we're doing things the right way. P1 wins match 1 on a neutral stage, P2 wins match 2 on their counterpick. The score is 1-1. Match 3 is played on P1's counterpick. But technically, isn't there an argument to be made for playing on a neutral stage again? The score is 1-1, after all?

I'm just wondering if maybe we should both start and end, on a neutral pick.

Edit: I understand that the idea is, looking at the entirety of the set once it's over, guaranteeing that both players have been equally favoured. So maybe it's a moot point, idk, make of it what you will. :p
 
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kendikong

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What's this I'm hearing about stage striking stage archtypes being too difficult? Someone bans battlefield, the other player can't pick another battlefield-like stage. What is so hard about that exactly and why are we dismissing this idea so easily?
 
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Zekersaurus

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Statements/ideas that annoy me.

1. It's too similar to battlefield

WE GET IT. This argument started back in smash 4. That does not warrant a stages exclusion competitive play. I get that there are now a massive amount of potential stages to choose from, and there is a need to narrow down our choices. However, the only significant thing YS, FOD, and DL have in common with BF is the 3 platform layout (unless, of course this changed in ultimate). The size, blast zones, and nuances of each stage can have a big impact on a game. You could do it like this: When you strike/ban BF, you strike/ban all similar stages. When you select a bf esq stage, you can choose the one of your preference. If you win on a "BF" stage you can't go back to it. JUST AN EXAMPLE

2. Let's take a neutral stage and turn hazards off to make it more neutral.

No. The floating platform on Smashville is not a hazard. It does not hurt you. Its movement's are consistent and easy to track. The wind on DL telegraphs itself and can be used to your advantage. The rising and lowering platforms on fountain don't break the game. Randal runs on a timer. He's not some deus ex machina. Some arguments could be made for counter picks to be sure, and SOME neutrals, maybe, but don't go ham with the Hazards Off Hammer.

3. We should ban this stage because it has transformations.

No. Stages with transformations have proven themselves to work it the past. It really just depends on if the stage itself it fair and balanced, not stage transformations as a whole.

4. We should ban this stage because it has walk-offs or walls

Again. It depends on the stage. If we have walk-offs or walls 100% of the time then no, but if the stage has other transformations that are fair and balanced, then maybe.

I've come up with a possibly starting stage list to work off of. We don't have much info on a lot of the hazardless stages, but this is my best take from what I know/ have seen so far.
Thoughts anyone?? *121 striking
I am kinda ok with this. Though they are all pretty much neutral. Lol. I don't know about Frigate Though.
 

StingArt

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If two players want to gentleman to Smashville then they should be allowed to do so. Making up arbitrary rules that forbid players to gentlemen into Smashville is asanine.

Smashville is played so much because it is by far one of, if not the best, competitive stage available to us. To hate on it is to go against the spirit of competitive play.
 
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Hazardless Info...

https://youtu.be/j0cp1c8fZb8?t=233
Garden of Hope -> Middle Bridge doesn't spawn. Crab never comes in, the building never spawns. Platforms spawn but are static. (This stage is absolutely massive, maybe even too big for doubles somehow.)

https://youtu.be/j0cp1c8fZb8?t=534
Find Mii -> Cage is static. Demon never spawns.

https://youtu.be/fGcMNT5CjYI?t=228
Golden Plains -> Coins don't spawn, neither do the switches.

https://youtu.be/l2LHU6JxM70?t=399
Dracula's Castle -> Platforms are static. Monsters and items never spawn.

https://youtu.be/O9IP06T3cEE?t=329
Wrecking Crew -> Bombs never spawn, and thus the stage is static.

https://youtu.be/EQBXt5PNMD0?t=284
Mushroom Kingdom II -> No logs appear, Birdo and Pidgit doesn't appear.

The stages with the most potential that we don't know about right how are...
  • Big Blue
  • Magicant
  • Pictochat 2
  • Windy Hill Zone
  • Midgar
I’m not hopeful for Magicant but I’d love for it to be legal. Big Blue is the most interesting one
 

Munomario777

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If two players want to gentleman to Smashville then they should be allowed to do so. Making up arbitrary rules that forbid players to gentlemen into Smashville is asanine.

Smashville is played so much because it is by far one of, if not the best, competitive stage available to us. To hate on it is to go against the spirit of competitive play.
To me, the spirit of competitive smash as a platform fighter is, among other things, stage variety. Most other fighters lack this compelling trait. Gentlemanning to smashville every set goes against that, so I'm personally not opposed to it at all.

That aside, the important thing is we're not talking about banning gentlemans at the point where smash 4's meta is, where it's already developed and smashville is already a favorite. The reason gentlemans matter is because, at this early phase in ultimate's meta, it's important to test every stage adequately. For this reason, right now, having a stage selection system which promotes stage variety is incredibly important. Gentlemans go against that by undermining any variety that a selection system would have, in favor of perpetuating preexisting biases.

Gentlemans are a hurdle for large-scale stage testing in tournament.
 

Thinkaman

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The only risk with gentlemen agreements is an experienced player socially manipulating/coercing an ignorant newer player into going to a stage they don't actually want. And this can happen with any system.

If two experienced players actively want the same stage, then any selection algorithm outside of large-list-random will lead to that stage. That is, after all, literally the entire point of the exercise...
 
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