Do you use certain characters as tools?


Smash Ace
Jun 30, 2013
Lurking in the darkness.....
Are there any characters that you use to help you get better at certain parts in the game or help you learn something? Or perhaps do you use a certain character to help you calm down + be happy because you were getting stressed out with another character? Also other questions like that.

For some examples for me, here's a spoiler for 1 time learning stuff from each character that I wouldn't have to learn again.:
I learned Smash off of :linkmelee:Link and :marthmelee:Marth in Melee. So I could get a general feel of Smash. Though the reason for picking them was a silly one (yay swords!), using these characters made me get very used to the importance of spacing and using safe attacks, especially since the only tough opponents I could fight were level 9 CPUs which perfect block constantly.

I played Brawl for a very short time, but :snake: Snake helped me learn to focus on using tilts more since his Smash attacks are too slow to reliably hit anything. Before I didn't use tilts because the speed and power in Link + Marth's tilts were very similar in their smash attacks and I can use aerials as well. :4samus:Samus in Smash 4 (who was a reliable main alongside Link until I forced myself to use Meta Knight) is who forced me to use tilts on all characters after that because Samus's Smash attacks are just too slow to defend Samus. Smash 4 :4samus::4link: Samus and Link taught me how important projectile play can be as well.

:4metaknight:Smash 4 Meta Knight taught me how important the %of the opponent can be since the ladder combo was the one of the most talked about things for him in that game.... Which I only did successfully once in a match..... Against a Donkey Kong.... Still, with that realization it helps me link combos better at all %s because I had a much more solid grasp on how knockback is effected at different %s.

:4sheik:Smash 4 Sheik taught me how to play with faster characters better. Before I played Sheik, Meta Knight was my worst character in Smash 4 as I struggled with him more than any characters, even ones I never played. After playing Sheik (despite never performing amazing with Sheik), Meta Knight just clicked and then he became my best character and I was absolutely destroying just about everyone I met. I'm sure such things can happen with other characters.

:4zelda:Smash 4 Zelda taught me the importance of making sure you optimize your punishes. She can deal some nice damage per hit sure, but if you take the time to learn how to do some of her devastating combos, she can be very scary and you need to do that because she's pretty garbage in most other ways.

:4pikachu:I'm sure there's characters that are far better examples, but for me Pikachu was the one that made me realize that some gimmicks of characters will require you to play very different from other characters. Quick Attack is just so incredibly versatile and is rather important in Pikachu's moveset since you can be aggressive with it, be passive, play some mind games, and so on and so forth.

:4lucario:Speaking of gimmicks. I didn't really like the aura mechanic for a while because I felt like it was carrying me, and that playing Lucario was like a coin toss. However overtime I learned that sometimes you just need to change your perspective to enjoy certain mechanics more. So I now look at Lucario's Aura mechanic as something that makes you have to adapt constantly and it's incredibly difficult to adapt to % changes compared to other characters. Which later led me to realize that I need to get the most % on the opponent when low aura so I can KO them more reliably when at high aura. Which led me to focusing for the entire duration of a match. Which now leads Lucario into a must-play status. Such things can happen with other characters as well. All you need is just a shift in perspective so you will want to play that character. They don't have to be a main of course, but it is useful to be able to enjoy playing all characters so you can play them enough to know their options so you know what they plan to do when you fight them.

:4mario:If you have a strong understanding of a character and of Smash in general, then it will be easy to play that character despite never playing them before.... I fought a lot of Marios in Smash 4 and saw the many ways people played mario. Mario probably has the best win/lose ratio in Smash 4 because he just was so natural to use. Like I never had to practice him.

:4cloud:Even if you are in a horrible matchup, it can still be easy for you to defeat the opponent in the superior situation if you know what they are going to do. I played a bunch of Cloud at the start of Smash 4 because he looked fun. He was the easiest character to use for me in Smash, so I decided to try learning other characters, but I never got back to him. So when I did use characters that were low on the tier list/a bad matchup against Cloud, I could generally read them like a book and makeup for the fact that my character wasn't good and I was still learning how to use a character leading to Cloud being one of the easiest characters for me to fight in Smash 4.

:ultwolf:Wolf taught me that sometimes it's best to not use the best strategy all the time, especially when trying to improve. I played Wolf before his blaster got nerfed so i don't know if it still applies for people trying him out now. Thing is with Wolf I could pretty much spam the blaster, and stay away from the opponent, and just punish them with an attack if they got too close. Sometimes leading into matches where I'd get like 80% of my damage just from my blaster, and I wasn't really learning how to do anything with the character. So I handicapped myself to stop using the blaster, and I was learning how to use the rest of Wolf much better which helps to have more options. Experiment, don't just stick to using the dominant strategy because eventually you'll run into people that know how to avoid it. It will also help you know your character better.

:ultsnake:Snake taught me that sometimes a simple solution is the effective solution. I haven't played snake seriously, but I have fought quite a few Snakes. They were all clearly far better players than me because they could absolutely decimate people I was having trouble with and doing very technical stuff. Despite this, I don't ever have a problem fighting them ever because I'm not intimidated by their grenades. I remember one match where one snake was messing around with grenades constantly on the other side of the map trying to keep me walled out when I was Lucario at almost max aura. I'm usually a rather passive player, but tired of his shenanigans I just started charging straight at him from across the stage, he through a grenade at my face and I continued to run because it takes a second for them to explode. He already pulled another grenade and dropped it at his foot, but I force palmed him and KO'd him and avoided the explosion before that grenade went off. If he just used any of Snake's quick KO options I would've been killed long ago since I often don't respect Snake's CQC attacks as much as I should. This is a recurring problem I've faced fighting every Snake player, but less severe cases like this happens with other players/characters. Basically you should just use the right strategy for the type of player you are fighting.

:ultrob:Similar to Wolf, R.O.B. showed me the importance of having multiple options to attack, also match up unfamiliarity is effective. It helps make you more unpredictable so you can punish/approach the opponent easier. I do very well with this character despite not playing him much. Even against players that can usually kick my butt even when I use my mains.

:ultdarkpit: Dark Pit made me learn that it's very nice to have a reliable quick kill confirm on a character so the opponent doesn't live to high %s. Also you need to be very aware of these options when fighting characters that do have them.

:rob::4rob::ultrob::sonic::4sonic::ultsonic::mewtwomelee::ultmewtwo::samusmelee::samus2::4samus::ultsamus::metaknight::4metaknight::ultmetaknight::4ganondorf::ultganondorf::marthmelee::marth:- Just because you hate playing a character now, doesn't mean you'll hate it later in newer games and vice versa. They could feel better/worse in the next game enough to make or break that gameplay style for you.

:4lucario::4metaknight::4samus::4sheik: vs :4charizard::4cloud2: - Even in the same game, some characters feel horrible to play at first, but feel much better later on after getting over the learning cliff. Other characters feel amazing at first, but feel worse as you try to progress. You can't really accurately know who is your main by randomly playing characters. Also having motivation from outside of smash helps to get past the initial barrier to a character. After all Meta Knight was my worst character for a very long time, he was very hard for me to get used to, but I forced it because I loved the character. Lucario had a similar issue but to a much lesser extent.

Here's some characters I still use occasionally right now to be tools to help me so I don't revert back to playing poorly overtime:
:4myfriends::ultike: Ike - Focus on the opponent - Ike's gameplay style is so incredibly basic that you won't be distracted by trying to control your character at all because there's nothing tricky about him. So if you're having an off-day, your mind will automatically focus on the opponent because there's nothing else to focus on. Very good if you are trying to get better with another character, because while you should focus on how your character is doing things, focusing too much can lead you to ignoring what the opponent is doing. So you aren't adapting and learning how to use the tools of your character to counter the current situation. Ike a good warm up character if I haven't played Smash against tough players in a while.

:ultlucario:Lucario - Try your hardest for the whole match. Also :GCB:B reverse practice - Due to Lucario's Aura, I have to always focus and try my best to fight because at lower %s I have to hit the opponent much more often, and at higher %s I could die at any moment if I'm not paying attention to their KO options. Making it easier for me to focus for the entire duration of a match. Whereas all other characters in Smash, I tend to get overconfident if I absolutely wreck someone starting a match, or start to panic if I'm doing too poorly. So playing Lucario helps me stay in a calm competitive mindset when I swap to another character. Also Lucario helps a lot with techniques involved :GCB: specials because his aura sphere helps him with mixups and mobility using turnaround b, b reverse, and wavebouncing. Things all characters use, but Lucario is significantly effected by it.

:ultlittlemac:Little Mac - Ground game practice- If I start staying in the air too much with characters, playing a bit of Little Mac helps me remember how good grounded options can be. In Smash 4 I was forcing myself to use :4metaknight:Meta Knight for a while. This led to me being in the air more than I probably should have because his multi-jumps are such an easy way to bait the opponent, and I was terrible at walking, and felt uncomfortable with using tilts, and didn't sidestep/shield nearly enough. Playing Little Mac forces you to play with such options. So my Meta Knight's ground game was significantly improved once I used Little Mac, leading to a more balanced Meta Knight playstyle. Also Little Mac and :ultcloud: Cloud are good options to force you to pay attention to your double jump because it's so important in their recovery. Helping you recover more efficiently with other characters. I love being in the air in all games I play so eventually overtime I start staying in the air for too long. Little Mac helps keep me grounded since every character has to touch the ground eventually.

:ultsamus::ultdarksamus: Samus/Dark Samus - Know the time to strike. Also reminder that you can influence the opponent's decisions - They will force you to wait until the perfect time to strike because if you miss that charge shot, the enemy will not be threatened as much. Samus and :ultganondorf:Ganondorf are very good at showing the effects fear can have on the opponent as well (though I saw these effects strongly in Smash 4 :4ganondorf:Ganondorf, I don't know if it still applies as much in Ultimate since I don't use him much in Ultimate since he's easymode in Ultimate). This is important because you need to remember that you are not fighting perfectly tuned computers that play 100% efficiently all the time, you are playing humans trying to make decisions and they can be influenced by certain things, emotions just being one example. In Smash 4, people used to switch to :4fox::4falco:Fox and Falco specifically to reflect the charge shot back at my Samus even if they were a clearly better player than me.... I never lost a single match against Fox+Falco with my :4samus:Samus because I would almost never use the charge shot because I forced myself to have some restraint from shooting it at any seemingly good moment. Which lead me into getting easy combos and kills using Samus's lesser options because they were expecting a charge shot. Which did help me learn that just having the threat of a move is good, even if you basically never use it in a match. Similarly to :4metaknight:Meta Knight's Down+B, but you still have the option of using the move to get a stock if they ever forget. :4sheik:Sheik's needles are a similar example in effecting an opponent's gameplay despite not getting used constantly as it forces an approach.

:ultridley::ultpichu: Ridley + Pichu - Sometimes you need a character to cheer you up so you keep playing - Whenever I play Pichu, I feel this overwhelming sense of joy (unless I'm playing someone like :ultincineroar: Incinceroar where it's a game of cat+mouse running for my life from their long fast hard hitting range until I can find an opening "He's so big and scary!"). It's fun being a small speed character that can combo. However, since I don't have all the time in the world to play Pichu is a little too difficult to learn how to play. However, Ridley is simplistic without being too simplistic. I enjoy Ridley casually, and competitively so it helps me slip into the more competitive mindset, because playing close competitive matches is one of the best things in life. Ridley is just so perfect all around, even if he feels awkward to use at times. He's only a pain to play if I play against a really good pikachu player I know, or if I get hit with slingshots/lemons constantly. These are the 2 characters I like to play when I'm too tired to think properly, or just trying to cheer myself up, or getting bored with smash. It helps keep me interested in playing the game when some other game is asking for my attention, or there were some annoying matches that question why I play the game. I think everyone needs a "for fun" character so they don't quit smash.
TL:DR for people who don't like walls of text:
I use the following to help me:
:ultike:Ike - Focus on the opponent
:ultlucario:Lucario - B-reverse practice, and always trying your hardest
:ultlittlemac:Little Mac - Ground game practice
:ultsamus::ultdarksamus:Samus/Dark Samus - Controlled timed attacks, and reminder that you can influence your opponents
:ultridley::ultpichu:Ridley+Pichu - For fun so you don't quit the game

I look forward to seeing what characters you use to help you to keep you playing well, or what things you may have learned from certain characters.
Top Bottom