Greetings, folks, and welcome back to The State of Smash 4. As stated in the initial volume, which covered October, this series will take a look into Smash 4’s competitive game and recap all the major events and developments of the past month. November has had plenty of interesting things occur in the Smash 4 metagame with many events occurring.
With no balance patch coming out for this month, and one seemingly landing in December, it was mostly furthering of character developments instead of actual changes to characters.
Cloud's splash text.
However, the one that has everyone talking is the character that no one can actually play yet, however, and that’s Cloud Strife! Square Enix’s most iconic protagonist will be joining the battle, along with the stage Midgar (a stage that's likely not going to be tournament legal, due to summons). At first glance, he might appear like a traditional, heavy-blade swordsman, he has an interesting mechanic in the form of Limit Breaks; after his limit meter is maxed out, he can upgrade one of his special moves. This is a bit similar to Lucario’s Aura mechanic in Project M, where the player is rewarded with an upgraded special move under certain conditions. Shortly after his reveal, VGBootCamp's GimR did a detailed breakdown of Cloud's trailer, going into excruciating detail.
With fewer major events bringing many top players together, it’s a bit hard to call a specific character the big winner of this month. However, a variety of surprise results and characters have come through.
Following Wario’s finish with TheReflexWonder back in October, KTAR XIV and Tipped Off 11 had Wario rising up in the ranks to hit Top 8 or higher positions, via Reflex and through a secondary with Tweek, respectively. Rosalina appeared in all 3 major US events’ Top 13s, with Dabuz taking 2nd at KTAR, Stringers with 13th at TO11, and Aphro ending his run at 5th in the iBUYPOWER eSports Day Tournament.
Ryu proved to be resilient for this month, however. On top of his attendance in high placings in US tournaments, Umebura Niconico Qualifiers saw 9B and Motsunabe place high with Ryu acting as their main/co-main. DJ Jack also made a splash after double eliminating ESAM at a local, resulting in him getting an interview on Smashboards.
A handful of bigger tournaments occurred this month. With major tournaments on the horizon and a small break occurring for Genesis 3, they have served as interesting yet slightly smaller events, occurring throughout the month. With no patch this month, and a future patch seemingly arriving in December, this month was exclusively under the same patch. Tipped Off 11, KTAR XIV, and the iBUYPOWER eSports day events will be covered for this month. On the international standpoint, Umebura Niconico’s Qualifier Event will be covered as well.
On November 7th, Tipped Off 11 began. It became the South's largest event in recent memory, welcoming Smash 4 to it’s lineup alongside PM and Melee. In addition, on the same day, KTAR XIV was held. Tipped Off is a series that prides itself on grassroots, and this year was no different. Following a successful donation drive with Smash.gg to get many players out to the event, Smash 4 had 244 singles entrants and 67 teams enter.
On the singles side, the talent pool was split- while many players entered KTAR XIV, others entered this one. TeamSoloMid’s ZeRo, Fatality, 6WX, Panda Global’s MVD and ESAM, COG’s Wizzrobe, TheReflexWonder, ScAtt, Vinnie and more were among those in attendance. The end results were a bit more predictable on this tournament, following MLG World Finals; ZeRo was in first, while ESAM was in second. ZeRo had a strong performance here, dropping a single game in Winner’s Finals against ESAM; meanwhile, ESAM dropped a few games to Vinnie (who ended up in third), but otherwise led a commanding performance. The real standout of this Top 8 is ScAtt and his Mega Man. Following his performance at MLG World Finals and making it to Top 8, he shocked the event by making it to 4th place. The Mega Man Master even had an interview on Smashboards.
On the doubles side, many different team-ups occurred. 6WX and Zero, MVD and ESAM, Reflex and Day, Fatality and Limbs, and more paired up to win. In the end, 6WX and ZeRo took the entire event, followed by the Panda Global combo of ESAM and MVD. Other teams of the TOp 8 include TheReflexWonder and Day, Kai and Stockfield, Ribs and Vinnie, and Fatality and Limbs.
As stated prior, on the same day, KTAR XIV ran. KTAR is a series of events held by Keitaro, longtime TO and Falco main (who also runs the SKTAR series). With only Smash 4 and Melee running, the event finished in a single day (unlike TO11, which was a 2-day event).
With Tipped Off 11 also running, some high level competition opted to enter that event. That being said, however, other top level competition entered here as well. Dabuz, Liquid’ Nairo, DKWill, False, Tweek, Angel Cortes, and more entered to have a shot at victory, with 178 total entrants in Smash 4 Singles.
At the end of Singles, it came down to Dabuz and Nairo, with the latter taking another victory against Dabuz. As seen in the past, Dabuz struggles often against Nairo. Interestingly enough, both Dabuz and Nairo pulled out their secondaries in this event (Nairo's Dark Pit and Dabuz's Villager, who showed their secondaries off during the entirety of Grand Finals). Followed behind Dabuz was an interesting array of characters: Donkey Kong, Ryu, Sheik, Bowser Jr, Wario, Kirby, Mewtwo, Sonic and Diddy Kong were more of the many characters that were close behind in Top 8; while not every character was solo mained, some of these names appearing in a Top 8 is especially surprising, such as Mewtwo or Kirby.
One week later, on November 14th, iBUYPOWER (a custom gaming computer and laptop company) held its inaugural iBUYPOWER eSports Day in California; this event was free for the public, but contained special tournaments for a variety of games, Smash 4 included. It was limited to singles, double elimination and had a player cap, running in just one day (with a few exhibition matches in addition.
Much akin to MLG World Finals, the short announcement caused for a bit of a smaller turnout (in addition to the player cap), but there was top competition in attendance. ZeRo, DKwill, Panda Global’s SS, SlayerZ, Tyrant and Mr. ConCon were among some of those in attendance; the majority of entrants came from Southern California due to the short distance.
In the end, the popular pick won this event, being ZeRo! Like with his dominating performance at TO11, he took control in this event, only dropping a single game. For this event, he pulled out his Diddy, Sheik, and even his Captain Falcon. Behind him was VoiD, who took a game off of ZeRo. More interesting, however, is another instance of an interesting character spread. Despite being a smaller event, and even after this patch’s changes, Mr.ConCon took 5th alongside Aphro. The Top 8 spread contained 8 characters in total, and the Top 12 contained 11 unique characters, including Luigi, Rosalina, and Meta Knight.
On the international spectrum, Japan’s largest Smash 4 event to date occurred, being the Umebura Niconico Eastern Qualifier. This was a special qualifier event held for the upcoming Niconico Championship in January, sponsored by Nintendo. The main prize of this event, of note, was automatic qualification for the upcoming event in January. Later on in December, the Western Qualifier will run.
320 competitors flocked over to attend this event (making it the largest event of the entire month, let alone Japan’s largest Smash 4 event of all time) on November 29th. Nietono, Choco, Some, Abadango, Komorikiri, Ranai, Rain, 9B, Shu and more appeared to take a shot at placing in the Top 3.
At the very end of it all, Ranai appeared with a dominating performance, taking out many different players convincingly and landing in first. Behind him was Choco and Shu. These three will automatically be qualified for the upcoming championship.
After a bit of a slump, 9B managed to make 5th, coming from previously lower results after Umebura F.A.T. Komorikiri landed in 4th. The rest of Top 8 was rounded out by Earth, Abadango and Nyanko. However, for a few other players, results weren’t as strong. Brood and Rain were out at 9th. Nietono fell hard, landing at 17th. Other notables, like Shogun, Shiki and Some, landed in even lower spots, being eliminated early on.
Some of these players will also be attending Genesis 3. While some of these players have traveled internationally before, like Nietono and Abadango, others, such as Ranai, Komorikiril, or Shimitake have been to very few US tournaments, or will be making their debut. It's very exciting to see these international players make the dedication to travel and face the best of what the US has to offer.
The beginning of an era that MLG marked was present this month as well; consistent results and a variety of characters, including Mega Man, Ryu, and other wildcards appeared and took high placing spots. Variety has become more commonplace, with characters being discovered and refined at a constant rate. With the potentiality of a major balance patch (in addition to characters), it’s possible that this next month could be another change in Smash 4’s metagame.
The Smash 4 Back Room
This month brought the announcement of what will likely be a pivotal group for Smash 4. On November 13th, the Smash for Wii U Back Room’s existence was announced, and members were recruited over the month. The group’s primary purpose, as of this time, is to construct a tier list for the game, and further enhance the Smash 4 metagame.
The logo of the Smash 4 Back Room, abbreviated to “4BR”.
A variety of players and leaders have come together on this project, including top level players, respected theorists, personalities, TOs and more (including the author of this series). With the group being designed and being managed by @Neo Zero (one of Smashboards’s Tournament Administrators), @TheReflexWonder (longtime Smasher and living database), and @Camalange (high level Sonic main who has heavily contributed to the development of the character as well as his community), the group is sure to add major contributions and further help the advancement of the Smash 4 meta.
Another month has passed for the community and many new announcements, sponsorships and major announcements have happened. Here’s some of the highlights from this month:
Like the last month, the Smash 4 Collegiate has continued to run its current season. The entirety of the first stage finished up at the end of this month following many different events finally taking place. For the second stage, the winners of each of the regional qualifiers would combat their other winners from each reason, eventually finding a top few or so in each of the 4 divisions. The full list of qualified schools can be found on their Twitter. The second stage is starting off next month, including KTAR XV holding the Eastern Divisional Championships.
On November 3rd, Team Detonate announced another player that would be signed by them. SuperGirlKels, a Sonic/Kirby player and tournament organizer for Uproar Tournament, caught the attention of Team Detonate’s Bomb Squad. She’s also joined the ranks of women who have taken a top 5 placement at a major tournament, earning that place at Canada Cup.
Just two days later, it was announced that Astral Authority would be picking up Angel Cortes, who solo mains Diddy. Notable for the famous Twitter post/callout earlier this year and the #EXPOSED tag, he’s gained quite a reputation. His next major event, Genesis 3, will be his first event under the team.
On November 7th, Arcane eSports officially announced that they would be picking up four players for their team. Myran, Feel Tension, Lyric, and Seagull Joe were all picked up by the team over this weekend; Lyric for Melee, and the other 3 for Smash 4. Seeing so many players getting picked up at once is fantastic news!
On November 12th, in addition to Cloud's announcement, a special broadcast was teased for December. It will exclusively focus on Smash. This is set to be the last dedicated event for Smash for Wii U / 3DS when it comes to presentations, so there's sure to be major reveals.
November 22nd brought the announcement of Smash N Splash 2! SNS was the largest event Illinois has ever had, with over 500 attendees and some very intense sets. Smash 4 is confirmed to return for this year, and it will no doubt be an amazing event.
On November 25th, Pound 2016 was announced. Following recent developments regarding Pound V, specifically the tournament payouts and a resolution to the lack of them a few years back, Plank, Nintendude and Tantalus will be helming the return of this esteemed tournament series. Smash Wii U will be present at this event, so it’s sure to be a spectacle!
So many developments and newsworthy occurrences have happened this month. Here’s some of the major highlights:
- Cloud was announced for Smash 4, and a “special Smash Bros. presentation” for December.
- The Smash 4 Back Room (often abbreviated to 4BR) was officially unveiled. A variety of community members, leaders, personalities and more are present.
- This month, no characters have broken out or caused much of a stir in placements. Instead, consistency was seen with other characters (Mega Man, Rosalina, Wario, Ryu, etc) who have been on the map for some time.
- Many players were sponsored for Smash 4: Seagull Joe, Feel Tension, SuperGirlKels are just a few of the many major names picked up this month.
- New tournaments were announced for next year, including Smash N Splash 2 and Pound 2016.
With December being the last month of this year, there’s bound to be some interesting events occurring for the holidays. Here’s a few things to look forward to:
- With the upcoming Smash Bros Presentation occurring this month, major reveals are bound to appear. With Cloud being the forefront reveal this month, who knows what might appear. Nonetheless, it will be the last dedicated presentation for Smash; there is no doubt that it will be a massive extravaganza of content and a patch is likely to follow.
- More and more events are occurring next month for Smash 4, even with Genesis slowly looming closer and closer. Next month, events like Texas Gaming Championships 5, KTAR XV, Umebura Niconico Western Qualifiers, and Armageddon will be occurring this month.
- With January on the way, the Smash 4 Collegiate is beginning to run to the end of its first season. The divisional round matches will be running through this month until the Final Four are found of each division.
Following the major news of October, November has had its own fair share of news and developments. From actual new content announced for Smash and more news on the horizon next month, to a variety of major events and record-breaking tournaments around the globe, Smash is still growing. November also saw the first anniversary of Smash for Wii U, and with that, we're beginning to see a new era of Smash 4.