Falco's Stage Tier List

Your favorite stage to play on as Falco?

  • Battlefield

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Final Destination

    Votes: 2 100.0%
  • Smashville

    Votes: 1 50.0%
  • Pokemon Stadium 2

    Votes: 1 50.0%
  • Delfino's Secret

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Green Hill Zone

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Wario Land

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Dreamland

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Fountain of Dreams

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    2

Nohbl

Smash Journeyman
Joined
Jul 20, 2017
Messages
357
Location
Chicago, Illinois
#1
As of yet there is no official opinion on how well Falco does on each stage. The consensus appears to be that he does well on every stage, which I think is wrong. While I do not think that Falco has unwinnable stages, I do believe there are stages that put him at a heavy disadvantage against most opponents and that there are other stages which better play to his strengths and cover his weaknesses, and that stage counterpicking should be taken more seriously than it evidently is currently. (Falco's strengths can be considered his commanding neutral game, decent punish game if you master the fundamentals and can adapt on the fly, his vertical survivability, and powerful kill options, as opposed to his weaknesses of the difficulty of following up into those kill options, short recovery, low horizontal survivability, and usual inability to combo for long chains of attacks)

After analyzing many many Falco sets, I'm confident in releasing an initial tier list for discussion and consideration that can be used as the basis for an evolving understanding of the character and his match-ups as the 3.6 meta progresses. I will first present the list, and then go through my reasoning for each stage.


A Tier
Pokemon Stadium 2 (PS2) (Starter)
Final Destination (FD) (Counterpick) / Fountain of Dreams (FoD) (Counterpick)

B Tier
Wario Land (Wario's) (Counterpick) / Delfino's Secret (Delfino's) (Starter)
Green Hill Zone (GHZ) (Starter)

C Tier
Smashville (Starter)
Battlefield (Starter)
Dreamland (Counterpick)


PS2
I doubt this pick of best stage is contentious at all. Falco's biggest strength in neutral is his laser, but he needs room in order to exert pressure most effectively., because that means mixing up his use of laser shots between advancing and retreating, and other movement options like dashdancing and wavelanding. PS2, like FD and Delfino's, give Falco lots of room to play his neutral game.

However, unlike FD, PS2 allows Falco to do more to approach than just advancing laser or full hop down onto the opponent because of the presence of platforms, which he may use in any number of ways, including as before mentioned wavelanding onto it, or edge-cancelling Phantasm; these platforms also provide the opportunity to mix up Falco's recovery. Unlike Delfino's, the platforms do not provide much safe haven to opponents wishing to avoid being laser'd, as their static placement allows Falco to occupy the opposite side of the stage safely and take the opposite platform himself (via a quick waveland) to continue the laser pressure on the second level, or use Phantasm or his full hop in order to approach the opponent. Additionally, the height of the platforms allow Falco to attack the opponent from below, as his up smash and his short hop up air will both reach through the platform, in further contrast to Delfino's platforms.

The blastzones of the stage are fairly low at the top and close on the sides, which allows Falco the opportunity to get some kills off the top, while his fall speed complements his survivability off the top despite its height, and allows him to get earlier kills off the side with moves like fsmash or bair while his own recovery is not hampered much, despite the deceiving camera angle. The distance between the blastzone and ledge allows Falco to have a decent number of recovery options when not too far from the ledge, including Phantasm'ing on the platform, or shortening Phantasm to go for ledge, or Fire Bird'ing to ledge.

The primary disadvantage of PS2 is the potential to be pineapple'd by the lip of the stage, from which it is nearly impossible for Falco to recover. Whether he is pushed there by the opponent or DI's himself incorrectly, being underneath the stage and not at least in line with the ledge usually spells death for Falco. While Falco's own recovery can be tricky on this tage, the opponent can also be a little tricky using the side platform. Another disadvantage is in comparison to FD, where the platforms do still allow the opponent to avoid being laser'd on the main level of the stage. And finally, up-throw chain grabs, should you wish to perform them, will be cut short on this stage due to the platform placement and height.

Overall, this should be Falco's preferred starter stage and usual counterpick if initially banned but then left open later, except under circumstances like when the opponent benefits just as greatly or more from PS2, such as perhaps Wolf.


FD & FoD
It's not clear at this point which is the better stage for Falco. Both stages have something to offer Falco, and it may come down to just a matter of style or preference, or the character matchup that decides which stage is more advantageous for him.

FD gives Falco lots of room to play neutral. FoD lets Falco initiate the punish game more quickly. FD allows him to combo undeterred by platforms. FoD allows him to use platforms in his combos without them significantly getting in his way. FD allows him to ride up the sides of the base stage while Fire Bird'ing, while FoD also allows this, in addition to giving him a wall from which to jump and further mix up his recovery.

FD allows Falco to up throw chain grab, laser pressure, and pillar combo with nothing to get in the way of his doing so. On the down side, the blastzones are further out which makes recovery more difficult for him, and the lack of platforms hampers his ability to get kills off the top, in addition to the taller (I think) blastzone. The opponent can also take advantage of the stage's bottom slant, which may make punishing recoveries with stuff like rising dair less easy. And the enlarged blastzones on all sides may aid the opponent's survivability depending on the character, such as King Dedede who is much heavier and resistant to launch than the average opponent, has 3 jumps, a very high up special, and the ability to glide toss. And the lack of platforms also makes it easier to combo Falco himself, with no platforms to escape to either whilst being combo'd or after being sent off-stage.

FoD is Battlefield+ for Falco. The lower platform height on the side platforms not only allows him to pressure from below more effectively, it also: often allows him to pressure from the sides even, when the platforms get low enough; pressure from above, as he can ascend to the top platform and threaten a dair from above; and removes the opponent's threat of descending onto Falco from platform heights that Falco cannot reach without committing too much.

The fact that most of the time, one side platform will be missing, gives Falco a GHZ or Smashville feel of being free to play neutral safely in the corner, as the opponent has no approach options except advancing straight forward or trying to come in via the top platform, both of which can be easily read and reacted to. And Falco can use the platforms to his advantage as he would on Battlefield or Wario Land when combo'ing with his Reflector.

The blastzone arrangement is also favorable to Falco, as the decently high but not too high top blastzone aids Falco's survivability while allowing him to get off the top kills; the side blastzones are a little farther out than they would be ideally when it comes to horizontal kills, but still small enough for Falco to establish a doable edgeguard or get a kill outright, in addition to being just the right size for his own short recovery; and again, the presence of the wall allows him to ride up with Fire Bird for easier sweetspots, or wall jump from it and Phantasm or air dodge onto the stage, as he can do on GHZ. The bottom blastzone height does allow the opponent second chance at life after a weak dair, but the presence of the wall forces them to be either in line with Falco on ledge, or farther out from ledge than may be ideal for them. Edgeguarding on FoD will potentially be easier there than on any other stage.

However, FoD the other parts of the match will work against Falco, as the awkward height of the platforms can provide the opponent cover from Falco trying to come in from above with dair if he fails to land dair on descent. The platform height also obviously can interfere with short-hop lasers, causing Falco to accidentally land on a platform instead of the base stage if it is low enough at the moment. And finally, Falco's fall speed prevents him from being launched very high, so that he often falls unto the low side platforms before he has a chance to jump out, or even buffer a tech, which allows the opponent to get nasty, lengthy combos off him, especially when techchasing him on the platform.

I have yet to consider character matchups in relation to these two stages, but my impression gathered from the analyses concerning what Falco himself is capable of on either stage assesses that aggro Falco's may prefer FoD due to the reduced amount of space for either character to play neutral and the layout of the platforms aiding shine combos, while patient Falco's may prefer FD due to the ease of weaving in and out of and prolonging neutral as desired and the ability to chain grab and techchase. These two advantages are more or less present on PS2 which is why it should be considered the ideal Falco pick in most situations. However, given that both FD and FoD are counterpick stages rather than starter stages, Falco will not be able to press an early advantage against his opponent via stage choice.


Wario's & Delfino's
This is another potential toss-up that I haven't fully worked out yet. Again, both stages come with advantages and disadvantages that more or less balance the scale, so it may come down to preferred playstyle or character matchup.

Wario's is a very high risk high reward stage. I think that despite its age, Grand Finals of Summit with Weon-X's Falco facing off against Ally's Ike on game 3 is a good demonstration of the potential of this stage.

Wario's is a small stage horizontally, with small horizontal blastzones—small blastzones all around, in fact. This means that Falco's horizontal survivability is hampered, and his horizontal neutral game is nigh eliminated, as he lacks room to dash dance and laser pressure as effectively as he would elsewhere. However, what is unlocked for him is a sort of vertical neutral game, where he can jump, fall through, and waveland up and down the 2 vertical platforms on each side to confuse the opponent and mix them up, as he can prevent himself from being level with the opponent and avoid them, while preparing for himself to shark from below or swoop in on the opponent from above.

The advantages and disadvantages of Wario's is plain to see. Falco is easier to kill off the top and off the sides due to the shrunken blastzones. He is also easier to kill from the bottom even as his options below the ledge are fairly predictable for the opponent, especially when Falco chooses to hug the wall, and generally not risky to react to due to the wall being there to help the opponent recover after performing an edgeguard requiring them to leave the base stage. However, the camera can work in Falco's favor, as both Phantasm and Fire Bird can cover a deceptively long distance, so what seems like death for Falco turns out to not be so. Falco can use the platforms easily to mix up his recovery; above ledge, recovery for Falco on Wario's can perhaps be the trickiest of any stage for the opponent to edgeguard.

Obviously, horizontal kills and vertical kills are also much easier for Falco. Death on this stage for either character is an inevitability. This becomes a question of how well the Falco player can convert an opening into a lengthy punish, despite the high technical execution requirement that comes with needing to quickly and perfectly waveland and fall through platforms as needed, or react to techs and mistechs both expected and unexpected. Falco's punish game has the potential to be the best of any stage on Wario's, as the low bottom blastzone allows for dair to kill early and consistently even at lower percentages (which can be done with the standard shine-dair combo, or a dair-case / "double-dipping" through the platforms, or rising dair off ledge), the top blastzone and platform arrangement allowing for upsmash on platforms, down tilt, and even Fire Bird (which becomes less of a guessing game about where the opponent is going to fall in order to land it) to become much more viable kill options.

Again, killing on Wario Land will potentially never be easier, but that applies to Falco just as well as the opponent. But to make the most of this stage, the player needs to be on point with their technical execution, reads, and reactions (some elements of the game do matter less here; precision, I think, is not as important on Wario's). The stage is suited to players who want very high paced matches, as there is not much room to survive nor for the opponent to escape from Falco, or who prefer to "dash dance" vertically as opposed to horizontally. Falco's high jumps come much in handy here for navigating the stage.

Delfino's on the other hand has the potential to host much longer matches than usual. The blastzones are large and the platforms plentiful for the opponent to exploit. Not only do the platforms allow the opponent to make themselves un-level with Falco and avoid his lasers, they are often too high for Falco to pressure with low commitment from below, and they are often arranged all along the stage so that Falco is never not threated by approaches from above. However, Falco may also use the platforms to aid his own approach, but unlike other stages, there is little guarantee of trapping the opponent; they will more or less always have somewhere to retreat to, given the smallness of Falco's hitboxes and his low speed.

The platforms will sometimes arrange favorably for Falco to combo with; and other times they will arrange favorably for the opponent; and yet more times they won't come much into play for either character's punish game. Delfino's is definitely suited to the long-game. It rewards patient play and chess like maneuvering, as the window of opportunity for big punishes is often brief and rare; the ability to take advantage of one's position relative to the stage's current arrangement is highly important, and requires the big brains. Delfino's Secret forms an antithesis to Wario Land's ideal game.

The presence of a wall does not help Falco as much here as on other stages, as he will likely often be sent too far off stage to utilize it. Perhaps if the player is good at teching stage spikes, they will find it useful. But there is a large number of the cast, including Snake, for example, who can make far greater use of the large bottom blastzone and tall wall than Falco can in their recovery. Getting kills on this stage with Falco should be expectedly hard.

To summarize, Wario's rewards fast-pace gameplay and solid punish games, while Delfino's rewards patient play more and solid neutral games. Still, Wario Land is a counterpick stage, and Delfino's Secret is a starter stage, so these two will not be comparable options before game 2.


GHZ
This is Falco's least worst stage option, but his second best starter stage pick. It is a mixture of FoD and Wario's, yet is still worse for him.

Like Wario Land, Green Hill Zone has walls that extend all the way down to the bottom blastzone, and can be used in Falco's recovery at any level of height Falco finds himself off stage provided he is close to it. The horizontal blastzones are also still small, which means earilier death for Falco but earlier kills for him too, and the deceptive camera angle which can aid recovery. However, unlike Wario's, GHZ does not have side platforms Falco can use to help him recover, so his recovery is much more predictable here.

The sole platform of the stage moves, but most of the time is not in any position that can benefit Falco's recovery. In fact, the platform is not much good for Falco at all. He can use it wait out an opponent's spawn invincibility if the platform comes into its apex when they respawn; he can use it to mix up an approach if the platform is close to the center of the stage. The platform introduces an element of unpredictability that Falco cannot take much advantage of, especially when it comes to the punish game. Although the stage is mostly a flat stage like FD or Smashville, which allows for good pillar combos, the platform can swing into play at any time to catch the opponent or catch Falco in mid air.

The opponent can also use the platform to avoid laser pressure, even if temporarily, and get an approach on Falco from above. Falco will usually not be in a position to use the platform to get a kill off the top, except for the rare Fire Bird.

The opponent can use the wall themselves to make it easier to go off stage and gimp Falco and still recover, such as Ike and Sonic. However, Falco can anticipate the opponent staying close to the wall, such as is possible on Fountain of Dreams, and punish accordingly with rising dair, down smash, back air stage spike, or whatever. I have also seen Phantasm meteor smashes occur fairly frequently relative to other stages due to the opponent underestimating Falco's ability to recovery while level or above ledge.

Overall, Green Hill Zone is another fast-paced stage, but Falco does not have as many movement options, nor as many recovery options, nor as many combo options. Falco will benefit most here from stray hits that launch the opponent off stage and set up for edgeguard sequences, rather than being able to play a solid neutral game or a solid punish game. As long as the player can avoid being launched far off stage, can recover well when they are off-stage (which includes knowing when to use the wall), and can rake up a good amount of damage from whatever combos they can muster, they will be able to focus on what really matters on GHZ, which is, again, edgeguarding.


Smashville
I consider Smashville to be the least worst option for Falco when picking a Starter stage, or any stage, but whether Smashville or Battlefield really deserve this spot might just depend on yet unexplored character matchups.

Smashville is often thought of as a decent stage it seems to me, and is an apparent favorite of top Falco player GVS | Silver (Alloy). On paper it's okay, but I've seen Falco's lose many times on this stage for some easily identifiable reasons.

First, its advantage is being mostly flat and long-ish stage, which lead to a nickname of "mini FD", aside from the lone platform which moves horizontally back and forth across the stage. This shape allows Falco to play the neutral game relatively unhampered. The platform sometimes helps Falco with his approaches, and sometimes helps his opponent. When punish game is considered, the platform can get in the way of Falco's combos, but it's easier to plan and account for than GHZ's platform, and can be much more useful when purposefully taken advantage of.

A supposed extra benefit of the platform is in Falco's recovery, which to some extent it does possess. When Falco is too far off stage but has the platform nearby, he can Fire Bird onto it rather than toward ledge, air dodge onto it, or mixup Phantasm by shortening it and landing on the platform or using the full length and going past the platform, which prevents the opponent from just straight-up knowing how the player will recover. However, aside from Phantasm, the opponent has an easy time predicting what Falco will do, and setting themselves in a position to react with the proper punish.

When Falco is below ledge, the platform will not be of help to him at all, being unable to reach it, whereas his opponent, such as Lucas, may have the platform as an option even when they are below the ledge due to the greater reach of their recovery, making Falco's edgeguards difficult. Edgeguarding here is more difficult and risky for Falco too. The shape of the bottom of the stage threatens being pineapple'd if Falco messes up a dair edgeguard, or just gets hit while on ledge. The same goes for his recovery. Falco can get hit beneath the stage, from which he cannot recover. He does not have a wall to wall jump from or ride so sweetspotting is tougher and more predictable for the opponent. As far as the blastzones go, I do not have much to say. They do not benefit Falco in any notable way.

Overall, although Smashville does not detriment Falco's punish game too much, and plays to his neutral game fairly well, the severe lack of recovery options for himself and the the additional recovery options for his opponent puts Falco at a heavy disadvantage on this stage. This stage offers Falco no bonuses while providing him with penalties. As a starter stage, it has use only if Delfino's and PS2 are banned, and the player for whatever reason doesn't like playing on GHZ. Otherwise, this should be one of Falco's starter stage bans.


Battlefield
Battlefield is FoD but without a good wall, blastzones that extend too far horizontally, and platforms that get in the way of Falco's pressure.

I've seen some successful combo'ing with Battefield's platform layout, which is to be expected; it's not awful in that regard. However, the platform layout and size of the stage essentially eliminates the possibility of a neutral game with Falco, as the opponent can easily camp platforms, run away from Falco and descend from any height they want to get in on Falco. The side platform height here does not make it as easy to punish campers either on the platform or beneath it as on FoD, and the fact that they never go away means that Falco will always have to deal with the possibility of an unpredictable approach from the opponent. Falco lacks good / many options to cover opponents above him, so the arrangement of the platforms and height work against Falco here.

Falco's survivability on Battlefield is better than on Fountain of Dreams, due to the enlarged blastzones, but those same enlarged blastzones on the sides make his recovery more difficult at higher percents. While he can use the side platforms to potentially mixup recovery, in my opinion, they are less useful than the wall FoD provides, as Falco will not be able to easily wall jump nor will hugging the stage while Fire Bird'ing be as easy due to the need to avoid getting caught beneath the stage.

Battlefield is not unwinnable but there are far far better stages for Falco for whatever the player's needs are, as this stage offers almost no advantages while giving Falco a decent number of disadvantages.


Dreamland
Easily the worst stage for Falco. There is no contest. Should pretty much always be banned.

The enlarged blastzones make it harder for him to kill and make it harder for him to recover. The high top blastzones offer Falco no sweet deal considering that his fast fall speed gives him all the vertical survivability he needs. The wall won't matter when Falco is deep off stage and getting blown further by Wispy.

The platform height and layout is atrocious. The opponent avoids lasers for free by camping platforms and can't be punished without making a big commitment given that Falco's moves will not reach through platform here when he is low to the ground. Neither the fact that he can reach top platform easily himself nor the long length of the base stage make this stage worth consideration for even a moment.

This stage is garbage for Falco and serves no better purpose than as a willing handicap to the player.


That's all I have to say for now. I think what work is left to do is to figure out which stage picks are advantageous against which characters and against which playstyles the opponent prefers, such as where to go against Wolf or Fox, or in the ditto against a Falco that's super laser happy yet impatient in neutral. I'll be keeping my eyes open for these answers both in my own play as well as we watch the meta progress one uploaded VoD or stream match at a time.
 
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