Smash is very unique,in that it doesn't follow the traditional face-to-face, life bar depleting formats that many other fighting games have.
In considering these differences, when we attempt to bring the game into the competitive realm,
there can be a lot of... issues.
So in today's video, I'm going to discuss why, and how certain things,
ranging from overpowered techniques, to modified controllers,
are considered ban worthy in tournament play.
First off, this topic is quite subjective.
It's almost impossible to find a rule that every single person is happy and agrees with.
You want three stocks?
Well... she wants two.
You like playing on Delfino Plaza?
Well... he doesn't.
The best way we can do is try to give solid reasons to support a rule, or a ban.
The driving point behind a ban, is when the gameplay or metagame centralizes around one powerful tactic, character or strategy,
meaning doing anything else will likely result in a loss.
Which in turn, forces everyone to use this one thing to win.
When these situations arise, a ban is usually put in place.
Take Poké Floats, from Melee, as our first example.
Believe it or not, it used to be tournament legal in the earlier years of competitive Melee.
At a glance, it looks like an absolute frenzy, as if you're playing some kind of Smash Brothers, and Pokémon Snap mashup.
Though in reality, there's actually nothing random about it.
The Pokémon are programmed to move exactly the same way, every time,
and there are no stage hazards.
So as a counterpick, it seemed okay.
That is, until something like this happened.
Turns out if Fox ran away the whole match, while carefully camping with lasers,
it was an extremly uphill battle for the opponent.
Coupled with a super low ceiling, this was the golden strategy,
among many other advantages Poké Floats gave him.
Now remember what said I earlier, something could be considered for a ban, when the game centralizes around one thing.
If a player wanted to win on Poké Floats, using Fox became almost a necessity,
unless they wanted to waste a stage strike against every Fox main.
Because of this and other reasons, this stage was eventually banned.
Besides Poké Floats, if you've ever looked at the legal stage list of any Smash rule set,
you'll notice that there's a rather disappointingly small selection to choose from.
I mean, is there really that much problems?
Short answer is... yeah.
Each banned stage has a property that causes a certain strategy to be over centralizing.
These properties include:
permenant walls, which allow for easy infinites;
walk-offs, which allow you to carry your opponent off the stage,
along with camping along the sides for quick kills;
and big stages, that encourages circle camping. Or in other words, playing catch me if you can.
Characters who can capitalize on these tactics the most, ends up dominating on the stage.
On the other hand, stages with frantic transitions and stage hazards, are also banned,
since the game becomes a stage versus player, rather than, player versus player.
As you can see, when a tactic proves to be overpowered on a stage, we can simply ban the stage to solve the issue.
But, what happens when a tactic proves to be overpowered, and works on any stage?
Let's look at a very extreme example of such a tactic.
Meta Knight's, infinite, Dimensional Cape.
In Brawl, this technique allows Meta Knight to disappear for as long as his heart desires.
Using nothing but down special, and the C-stick.
Anyone in their right mind can see why this is banned.
But for the sake of painting a clear picture, let's assume it's not banned.
What would the metagame look like?
Well, hypothetically speaking, every match would boil down to essentially Meta Knight versus Meta Knight.
The Meta Knight player who succesfully gets a percentage lead will play extremely defensively,
with the infinte Dimensional Cape.
And after slowly dwindling down the opponent for the remainder of the match,
In this example, it's obvious to see how the game can be over centralized around this one powerful tactic.
Which in turn, rightfully deserves a ban.
This was a very black and white example,
but now let's look at another example, which lies in a much greyer area.
Ice Climbers wobbling, and chain grabs.
In Melee and Brawl, if Ice Climbers grabbed you at practically any percent, they have the ability to end your stock.
Over the years, there has been huge debates on whether it should be banned or not.
Players supporting the ban usually claim losing an entire stock for falling into a single grab is too harsh of a punishment.
On the other hand, players against the ban often tell them to play more carefully, and don't get grabbed.
Both sides raise reasonable points.
Yet, Ice Climbers' chain grabs remain largely legal to this day.
Why is this?
Well, it's the same reason, except the other way around.
Ice Climbers' chain grab do not over centralize the game.
Looking at tournament results, the duo don't dominate the top spots.
Despite how powerful the idea of one grab equals one stock is,
top players have demonstrated that it's completely possible to outplay those dreadful eskimo kids in competitive play over and over again.
Playing around Ice Climbers' grab definitely requires careful spacing and smart plays, among other things.
Which may be out of a lot of players' comfort zone.
But heck, if it works, it works.
Despite wobbling being universally legal now, it wasn't for a period of time in the past.
This opens up an issue.
In that is what happens when a powerful tactic is prematurely banned?
Now, what I mean by prematurely is, maybe there's actually a counter?
But not enough time was given for the community to discover and apply it.
In these cases, we risk twisting the metagame away from it's natural path.
To help you understand how the metagame normally evolves, is first, someone uses an effective tactic.
Then someone else finds a counter to this effective tactic.
Then a counter to this counter is found.
So on and so forth.
Same thing can be applied to the chain grab example.
First, Ice Climbers uses chain grab.
Someone counters it by spacing very carefully.
The Ice Climbers players then counters the careful spacing with smart desyncs to get the grab.
Someone then counters a smart desync with a new way to gimp Nana.
Then, Ice Climbers find a counter to that, and so on.
There's definitely much more to the Ice Climbers meta than this,
but I simply set up this example to demonstrate my point.
When we ban something too early, we skew the metagame to our wants, rather than a what the game intended.
Only when a tactic's counter is to use the tactic itself, should we consider to ban it.
No doubt, fighting something effective and powerful can definitely feel infuriating sometimes,
whether it be Bayonetta's Witch Time, Fox's shine combos, or Ice Climbers' chain grabs.
To tell you the truth, I personally hate fighting careful and campy Sonics.
It's bloody annoying, and makes me want to pull my hair out after like five minutes.
But I would never wish for it to be banned, cause I know it's not unbeatable.
Thankfully, newer games like Smash 4 are able to receive patches and fixes, directly from the developers.
Which highly reduces the need for the competitive community to ban potentially overpowered things ourselves.
A rule you need to Smash in the FGC, is the rule against stalling.
The act of stalling is when you put yourself in a position where you either can't be reached, or attempting to do so is practically suicide.
Traditional fighters don't have this problem, simply cause there's no where to run away forever.
With the large terrains players are given in Smash, some characters actually have the ability to do just that.
I'm sure it's obvious to you why this rule as put in place.
I mean, if it didn't, the game would boil down to whoever gets the lead first, and will stall until the timer runs out, for the win.
This rule exists even in real sports, like basketball.
Without an anti stalling rule up, a player could technically hold the ball, or pass it among their teammates,
until the timer runs out, to win the game.
Provided there were leading in points.
To prevent indefinite stalling, a shot clock rule was put into place,
where upon possesion of the ball, a team has limited time to attempt a shot to the basket.
So far we've covered a number of bans within the game, but how about outside the game?
Namely, what we use to control our characters.
A big challenge of any fighting game, besides the mental game, is the physical execution.
Do you have the dexterity to pull off consitent multi shines with Falco?
How about pressing a button fifteen to twenty times a second to rise with Luigi's cyclone? Without a jump.
Or, how about parrying every hit of Chun Li's super, then pulling off a finishing combo in 3rd Strike?
These things require a great amount of skill to pull off.
But with the existence of controller mods in the form of turbo buttons, and macros,
it can become as easy as the press of a button.
So, in order to preserve the test of dexterity in competitions, these kind of mods are banned.
Of course, regular controller mods that don't include automatic inputs are usually fine.
Like extra grip pads, or a joystick swap.
What I really wanted to accomplish in this video analysis is to help everyone understand the criteria behind why things get banned.
So hopefully I was able to get my point across in this video.
As always, a big thanks to my Patrons for their support.
SylveonBae, Brook Meade, Pikamaxi, Ethan Stephenson, Austin Lao, Ahmed Alowais, and many others for your support.
And thanks to everyone for watching, and I hope you enjoyed.
With that said, I'll see you again soon.