Tier List Speculation

Juushichi

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even though its somewhat infrequent, i generally find that i learn the most about the game when i go deep into the tank with @Dakpo and we've had a few conversations similar to this, since i think GAW and sheik are both fairly misunderstood.

for the last year or so since i got to and started playing in texas, i get unfathomable levels of trash talk for being a bad player, how my character is broken and carries me, how she takes no skill, whatever. now let me get this out of the way- if you are a mid level player or worse, sheik can be absolutely stifling to play against and is probably the best in the game, S Tier by herself. at mid level, you have two people flailing at each other that are mildly informed on what being good means, so you have an educated guess on how to flail but ultimately it is still flailing- in this environment, sheik is basically just going to do what other characters do but with better frame data. at top level play, she actually balances out nicely as her weaknesses become more apparent: poor combo weight, no aerial drift (can't avoid juggles), very exploitable recovery, difficulty beating good CC use, approaches are easily pigeon-holed into forcing her to go for grab as her only conversion tool. and then she just has a bunch of matches where you have to tech chase at low % because you dont have a reliable combo (fox falco wolf falcon mk diddy lucas roy, the latter 4 you can throw combo around 20%, the prior 4 never). sheik is still really good at tech chasing, but ultimately its never going to be as good as something that just_works and you could make a fair argument that a character like ike has a throw game of similar quality.

now don't get me wrong, i'm not complaining about my character, sheik is obviously amazing and everyone puts her in the top 10 (i have her at exactly 9th), but the point is she has quite a few game plans that can negotiate her and is still generally overrated by swaths of mid level players or biased higher level players. sheik is very far from autopilot because her general gameplan is defensive/reactive due to her weak approach tools, which means she must generally know the MU well, and must constantly play around the opponent. in my experience, the braindead characters tend to be the ones that are aggressive/proactive because you just do your thing and force the opponent to negotiate you instead of the opposite. see: melee falco. again, at mid level and below you can throw this all out, sheik can just steam roll people.

anyway at this point whenever people say anything like "sheik is broken" i pretty much just agree with them because its easier to be dishonest and feed into that mentality than it is to candidly explain the nuances as to why sheik is more or less fine in the bigger picture. so yeah, sheik carries me and takes no skill and if you meet me IRL i'll probably say the same thing in person.

---

dakpo and i had a talk about GAW after MrLz won paragon, concerned that GAW was a mindless character that carried him, so he branched out to falco. after a couple months we went deep and started talking about marginal win rate. i and many others agree that falco is better than GAW, but falco very easily loses on the margin since he is forced to play nearly flawless the entire event and is very unforgiving in the face of more clever opponents who understand this and play the long game in an effort to make you punt rather than playing you heads up. so which one is better for a real bracket? well, the dirty answer is "it depends", because if you can bracket magic your way into dodging characters with disjoints, GAW allows for more error over a long event, and it wasnt surprising to see MrLz winning playing zero marth players, whereas falco makes it super easy to punt on the big stage.

in the end, you can't really say that either character is braindead or carries you over a real event, because like sheik you still have to negotiate the holes that other people will find over X rounds. are some characters easier than others? yes, absolutely, and it can be tempting to pull the escape clause and say "why am i just not playing that character?". but its generally best to not do it. regardless of how good you are, when you switch you are effectively restarting over at mid level and as you get better you will start seeing more and more holes that people can get you on, and suddenly your new character has just as many issues as your old one except you could have spent all that time labworking your old character instead looking for answers rather than running from them. this is the abridged version as to why dakpo shouldnt switch to falco, or IPK to fox, or ripple to samus, etc. and its also why i more or less dropped marth
Nice post. This is generally why I have stopped playing other characters in singles other than Sheik. MK is really pushing my ****, but I know there are some things I can work on for sure.
 

Life

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I would assume it's decreased a bit, as Ike's presence was at a peak back then thanks mostly to Ally IIRC.

Ike feels like top half of the cast material to me, and a few other Ike players have been doing decently, but like... there are too many characters that arguably deserve that 9th place spot.
 

_Chrome

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I don't think Ike is even close to being in the Top 15, let alone number 9 (which I presume was Ripple's point). Ike is good, but I think it's pretty easy to say that he isn't in the top half of the game right now. Me and my nooby opinion that no one cares about have Ike probably capped at 24-25.
 
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I wanted to ask one question about this, and it kinda bugged me for a while. What qualifies a top-tier in Project M? What does a character need in order to be considered top-tier? Sorry if this question is not so related, but I'm really curious how players define a top-tier, especially in PM since everyone is viable. Almost 20 characters that can make into top 10, all viable, etc.
 
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Top tier is just... the best characters in the game, by definition.
XD. What I mean is just what criterias does a character need in order to considered top-tier? Examples:
1) Does this character have good mobility?
2) Does this character have good frame data?
3) Does this character have many options in any given situations? Is the character consistent in the neutral? etc.

It's those criterias that I'm referring about.
 
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Cox Box

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What

Ike is irrevocably amazing
Like did I miss something or did he stop being top tier
I still have this crazy theory that Ike is the best fire emblem character, but he's not developed enough to show it yet. Marth isnt getting any better, but most Ike mains don't use even a fraction of his cool ATs. Quickdraw is amazing and he has the biggest sword in the game, how can he possibly be in the bottom half of the cast?
 

shairn

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Tiers are completely relative placements, so for example Jiggs, a melee top tier, is at best a mid-tier in PM because the characters she can't reliably edgeguard or outplay on stage or just generally struggled against are much better than they were in Melee, or didn't exist in Melee at all.

So what you should be asking is "Does this character have severely better options than most other characters?"
If the answer is yes, they're probably a top tier or at worst a high tier. Some top tiers are lacking in certain areas(Melee Sheik for example, good but predictable recovery, very short DD) but their strengths outshine their flaws in a way that they don't affect how efficient they are in tournament.

Basically, the "top tier" is the X characters with the best relative matchup spread (IE how good they are against relevant characters). Since matchups are a complicated affair and often exploit different facets of every character, you can't really build a checklist of what makes a character X or Y tier.
 
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Life

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And there really isn't an agreed-upon tier list.

Most people cite some combination of Fox, Wolf, Diddy, and MK as the top few characters, usually with assorted others tacked onto the end of their tier which vary a bit more; and most people cite Bowser as the worst in the game. Everything else is in flux, and will be for the foreseeable future--and even those things I just said aren't necessarily guaranteed. Nobody's really certain what the metagame in three years will look like.

And even then, the best character to win a national might not be the best character to win your local, which might not be the best character to win doubles alongside your best friend's Luigi or whatever, and maybe none of those three characters fit the way you want to play the game so you're better off picking someone else entirely.

I usually think of a top-tier character as one that is likely to give you more agency over the outcome of the match than your opponent does.

For example, Fox has a very complete set of tools: long-lasting hitboxes to cover many options, a frame 1 jump-cancelable attack and plenty of mobility that make his offensive pressure relatively safe, lasers to tack on a little free percent which prevents the opponent from hard camping him out, and little trouble making it back to the stage provided his DI is on point. His weaknesses include being very fragile thanks to his fall speed and low weight, though Fox doesn't have much business getting caught out in the first place; a high technical ceiling (tech floor is a matter of debate), which makes it more difficult to keep up optimal Fox play over the course of a tournament; the fact that if you're good enough to win money playing Fox, you might as well do it in Melee; and not having a sword.

Designing a character that could hard counter Fox without being dramatically overpowered would be nearly impossible. That's what I mean when I say he has a complete set of tools. The closest character I can think of would be a buffed Dedede. D3 has a relatively good Fox matchup (Ripple says he wins--ask him about the matchup if you're curious--it's really the only claim to a winning Fox matchup from a player noteworthy enough that I believe them), but gets badly destroyed by a whole lot of characters (Ivysaur and Diddy Kong come to mind).

So because of this set of tools, a Fox player's results at a tournament are much more in the hands of the Fox player than they would be in the hands of a Dedede player. The Fox player will by and large run only into matchups where the matchup is even (and thus decided by player actions) or where Fox wins by some margin (where the matchup augments the player actions), and even in his worst matchup, Fox still has a decent chance of overcoming the matchup disadvantage.

Meanwhile, the Dedede player can still win big given the right bracket, but occasionally they'll end up in the same pool as Junebug and Sothe and then what are they to do? By choosing to play a character that can be hard countered, Dedede players are accepting the risk of being screwed over by bad seeding even if they're very good at the game--much like Olimar players accept the risk of pulling many useless Pikmin in one game and losing for it. They're giving up some agency over their final result in exchange for the privilege of playing Dedede, who they probably enjoy very much, and getting to wreck Marth players on the good days.

TLDR, picking a top tier character means it's generally your fault for losing the tournament, because they have the best tools to win with. A low tier character doesn't have as good a set of tools, which means their players will sometimes just run into matchups that are, if not necessarily unwinnable, still very uphill, which in turn means they'll lose to unfortunate seeding sometimes.

Of course, this is just one way of looking at things. Some people are super matchup-oriented, meaning they see character tiers as a pesudo-mathematical ranking of which characters have the overall best matchup spread. Others are very results-oriented, meaning they'd like to determine character tiers based on who wins major tournaments. Maybe there are more I can't think of off the top of my head? Each approach has its advantages.

(Edited to hit the enter button a couple more times.)
 
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Idostuff

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Here is the cliff notes version of why Ike isnt a top tier. He's slow, both in movement speed and frame data. "Oh, but what about QD" you ask. Anything Ike does out of QD, marth can do out of a run while retaining all of his options and not hard committing to anything. Ike's only fast attack is bair, so the rest of his moves are very punishable on both startup and whiff. Ike is also part of what I call the "human weight" being the worst combo of weight and fallspeed allowing him to be combo'd into oblivion by most of the cast.

What Ike has going for him relative to the rest of the FE cast is his recovery, which is very good, and by extension, his edgeguarding, which is amazing.
 

1FD

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and he can carry people across stages for days and start combos from safe things and has a real jab and and and
apples and oranges here might as well compare ike to ics or something

also marths recovery probably plays just as big a factor in edgeguarding as ikes does since it's tough to be an instant quick upb to regrab ledge
it's kind of a big part of why him and shiek and pika and friends like that are so volatile at the edge when peeps like DK with sick distance recovery and Bair are balls at it
 
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Soft Serve

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Well it's a nice back air

What about it
in Melee SH bair doesn't auto cancel for fox, only falco. Its a PM only fox thing thats ridiculously good
It ACs in PM

but it's frame perfect, so I guess people don't deem it smart to try implementing it yet?

Its frame perfect in the sense that you aerial on the first frame airborne, which is easy and everyone does it already for all their characters. put it in perspective and its the same timing as a wavedash.
 

shairn

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Is it faster than SHFFL bair?
Is it good on shield or is the bair too high?

If the answer to either of these is no then who cares
 

Jolteon

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Frame advantage on block isn't really the point it's just ridiculously good when you have positional advantage and in neutral. Should be obvious when you think about the implementation of Falco's AC bair. <_<;
 
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Cox Box

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Ike's Nair is so good. He's got so much going for him as a character that I really think his strengths more than balance out his weaknesses.

Strengths:
  1. Longest range in the game on most moves (Dedede's f-tilt is the only move he loses too, move for move)
  2. QD movement options, including the only true dash grab in the game
  3. Top 5 recovery, in my opinion anyway. Being able to mix up your recovery on reaction instead of preemptively is quite powerful.
  4. Grab and throws leading to mixups, guaranteed follow-ups, and overall great combo game.
  5. Never having to deal with Marthritis because Bair, Uair, Fair, or F-tilt can kill at highish percents
Weaknesses:
  1. He's slowish. Except for Nair and Bair, his moves are all fairly slow too.
  2. He has an easy to combo weight and fall speed.
  3. He's not as well developed by players as Marth (or Roy, honestly).
I honestly think that 5 years from now, if we're still playing this game, that Ike is going to be higher on tier lists than Marth. If you think I'm wrong, that's fine, but I'd appreciate it if you'd address all my points before telling me I'm wrong. Ike is high tier, at least.
 
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Apollo Ali

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Ike's recovery is nowhere near top 5. it's like barely in the top half of the cast even. Off the top of my head like 15 characters with better recoveries: Mewtwo, Game and Watch, Puff, Peach, Snake, DDD, Pikachu, Squirtle, Rob, Toon Link, ZSS,Mario, Luigi, Climbers (I think), Kirby, Diddy Kong.
 

Journal

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Ike's recovery is nowhere near top 5. it's like barely in the top half of the cast even. Off the top of my head like 15 characters with better recoveries: Mewtwo, Game and Watch, Puff, Peach, Snake, DDD, Pikachu, Squirtle, Rob, Toon Link, ZSS,Mario, Luigi, Climbers (I think), Kirby, Diddy Kong.
The problem with a few of the characters you mentioned is that they're easily edge guardable. Edgeguarding Luigi is as easy as having lasting hitboxes, edgeguarding Rob is basically just juggling until the jumps are gone, Diddy Kong isn't too difficult to edgeguard either. Ike's huge disjointed sword makes edgeguarding against his up-b difficult for a lot of characters.

That being said, his recovery is only really great when you've got walls so I guess he's probably not top 5 or anything.
 

Apollo Ali

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The problem with a few of the characters you mentioned is that they're easily edge guardable. Edgeguarding Luigi is as easy as having lasting hitboxes, edgeguarding Rob is basically just juggling until the jumps are gone, Diddy Kong isn't too difficult to edgeguard either. Ike's huge disjointed sword makes edgeguarding against his up-b difficult for a lot of characters.

That being said, his recovery is only really great when you've got walls so I guess he's probably not top 5 or anything.
Every single character I mentioned has multiple, non-committal recovery's that allow them to react, mixup and live for a long time with good DI and through multiple edge guard attempts. Ike has to commit to one of two options unless he's on a wall-jump stage and at least one (side-b) is pretty predictable and gets him killed in one hit. ROB, who you mentioned, is linear but he can cover his options through several edge guard attempts on his way back to stage with aerials, air dodges, etc. I agree each recovery mentioned has a flaw, but saying Ike's recovery is top 5 is a huge exaggeration. I know I play DDD but I feel most characters with disjoint or back-airs can just use ledge invcinbility through his stuff and kill him with one hit.

TL;DR I used to be on the Ike's recovery is busted train until I learned to edge guard him and noticed he actually gets gimped a lot compared to most PM characters
 
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Strong Bad

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why does no one talk about this
would be more applicable if it weren't a 1-frame window. committing yourself to attacking as soon as possible any time you want to be safe is why ac aerials are only so good, and why sheik's fair is ridiculous. if fox could do it later, it'd be a much more powerful tool. i could see this being used in a neat upper-level optimization in a combo (dash sh ac bair into dash stuff), but as far as neutral, fox is a fast character and staying more or less in place is not the way you should be playing.
 
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