Tier Shift: Equipment Balanced Meta

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ivanquote
#1
In the Pokemon Competitive Battling scene, there are several types of niche Metagames that exist along the standard Singles and Doubles formats. One of these is Tier Shift. The essence of this Meta is to boost up lower tier characters to have more viability along the most common characters. This has been done by adjusting the lower tier Pokemon's stats (no stat buff for Tier 1, +10 to every stat in Tier 2, +20 to every stat in Tier 3, etc.)

In Smash 4, Equipment was introduced as a means of altering each character's stats. What I am proposing is that as an alternate Meta, the essence of Tier Shift can be achieved through use of Equipment. For example:
S-A Tier (Bayonetta through Ryu): No Equipment Attached
B-C Tier (Corrin through Lucas): +5 Atk / +0 Def / +5 Spd
D-E Tier (Duck Hunt through Palutena): +10 Atk / +0 Def / +10 Spd
F-G Tier (Pac-Man through Jigglypuff, includes Guest Mii Fighters 1111): +20 Atk / +0 Def / +20 Spd

The numbers for the equipment bonuses can be adjusted with tournaments in practice as these numbers are just conjecture at the moment. The reason in this pitch I am suggesting +0 Defense is that for most characters in Smash, damage dealt doesn't vary with the defending character. In other words, it would be more beneficial to both the characters and pace of the tournament on the whole if a character's offenses were improved over defenses. In addition, with Smash Ultimate on the horizon Smash 4 needs to bring something to the table that Smash Ultimate lacks to survive in the competitive scene. As of late October 2018, it does not appear that Smash Ultimate will be having equipment or custom moves implemented. While it is still too early to tell due to the dearth of information about the game leading up to release, it is not unreasonable to think that these features will not be brought back due to lukewarm reception. If this is the case, Smash 4 will have this method of balancing to set it apart from other entries in the series. If Smash Ultimate does in fact include equipment similar to that of Smash 4, then Smash Ultimate could very well benefit from having subsidiary equipment based rulesets as well.

Naturally there are downsides to this Meta. Unlike Smogon and Pokemon Showdown Simulators, there is no easy way to simulate exact stat changes in Smash 4. Also addressing the largest elephant in the room, the means of getting equipment is random. Unlike the similar Smooth Lander Heavy Gravity Metagame, which relies in exact pieces equipment that are always given out via checklist challenges, there is no easy way in the natural game to get specific equipment needed for specific stats. This also makes fine tuning the Tier Shift stats cumbersome, as it will require a new set of equipment pieces to get the different stats. Once a given console has the necessary equipment however, it will be easy if not time consuming to transfer the equipment sets to other consoles as needed. While this works fine for locally organized tournaments, this leads into the next major problem: Online Tournaments. In online tournaments, each given participant/console would need the necessary equipment to reach the necessary Tier Shift Stats. Depending on the player's choice of mains, this work may not be as cumbersome as one would expect, as they would only need to get equipment for the tier bracket of their mains. Lack of moderation is also a giant downside. As we've seen from the infamous 0.9x Launch Rate incidents at Genesis 4 last year, the smallest changes to a character's stats can have large impacts on how matches play out. Online, there is no good way outside of screen sharing all participants to check whether or not say a +1 Def was added to a set to improve survivability by that much. It is simply too easy to take advantage of the trust of other players.

Despite these downsides, I believe that the usage of equipment to create different Metagames is a viable means of extending the life span of Smash 4. Please feel free to discuss the viability of an Equipment-based Tier Shift Meta below.
 

War Anvil

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BattlingIronItem
#2
Tough to pull off given you can't easily find the exact spread, but if you can mod your custom equipment, go for it!

On the other hand, I feel bigger benefits could be given if you separate characters' boosts per tier by equipment rank (B-C gets normal Brawn Badges, D-E gets Supers, and F-G gets Rares), along with letting B tier and downward get Defense boosts.
 
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ScarletJile
#4
I think "extending the lifespan of Sm4sh" is ultimately a meaningless endeavor when the new game is a month and change away.

If you want to play a more competitive version of Sm4sh (or won't have access to a Switch), mods are where it's at. Like this one, for instance.
 
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ivanquote
#5
It’s a stretch given I don’t know how mods work, but mods can actually help supplement this mode by hacking in specific equipment pieces to circumvent the grind needed to get the specific stats. Given that equipment is already in the game, I would think it’d be easier than modding character attributes like PM or Brawl Minus for a balanced experience.

What is "equipment"?
Equipment is a set of badges that you can equip to characters to change their stats. You get equipment pieces by doing the various single player modes in both versions of Smash 4. Some just give straight stat buffs while others can give special effects, such as gaining a hitbox while running, shortening landing lag, recovering damage when shielding attacks, and more. Due to its nature, it has been ignored in competitive play, but with it on a timer until Ultimate releases I’m suggesting bringing it in to help shift or create new types of Meta for Sm4sh to give it its own identity.
 
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