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Should Smash Players “Just Pick a Top Tier?”

Character Loyalty is very prevalent in the Smash community. With Characters spanning decades of Nintendo history, Many players choose characters whose games they grew up with. But just because you grew up playing Kirby doesn’t mean that using him in tournament will get you into top 8.  It’s no secret that not all characters are created equally. Certain characters have much better options than others and this is often reflected in tournament results. Sometimes a players amazing skill at the game can be held back by the character they pick. It’s hard staying loyal to a character who hurts your results, especially when players of higher tier characters are doing much better. This may seem like an exaggerated scenario, but it does beg the question; Should Smash players just pick a top tier?

Who do you love?

First off, play who you want. At the end of the day Super Smash Bros is a video game, and you’re meant to have fun playing it. If you love playing a certain character, then play them. Win or lose, personal enjoyment should always come first. This also applies to top tier mains. No one should choose against a character they like because of pressure or ridicule from others. Low tier or top tier, play who you want. With this being said there are certain factors that need to be discussed.

Personal skill will always trump character choice. A bad player isn’t going to beat a skilled low tier main just because they pick a better character. However that same low tier main likely wont get far using a bad character when they have to face skilled high tier mains. This is the first dilemma. At what point should you swallow your pride and pick a better character?

Low tier mains often play with a chip on their shoulder, and look to deliver an upset. However sticking with a beloved low tier will almost always be an uphill battle throughout the course of a tournament. Some of the most skilled players often play lower tier characters, and even become character specialists. This however doesn’t always provide the best results in bracket. So what should they do?

Having fun?

No one’s having fun losing to Bayo

Lets say a low tier character specialist is having a particularly rough bracket. They barely made it out of their pool, all of their sets have been close and they’re now in losers bracket. The player finds themselves down 0-2, fighting for their tournament life. Their opponent is playing Bayonetta and is in firm control of the set. Our humble low tier main decides to swallow their pride and pick Cloud (a top tier), who they’ve been practicing. Our hero comes back and wins the set, leaving their opponent stunned. Here is where the second dilemma lies.

Which experience was more enjoyable for the player? Was it winning easily with the top tier character, or the hard fought victory with their tried and true favorite? These are the options a player must weigh when choosing a character in a high pressure situation. However this all ties into the greatest dilemma a low tier main must face.

The harsh reality

How many losses will it take to make a player switch?

The biggest dilemma of this admittedly exaggerated situation is facing the reality that your character may be holding you back. Players aim to get the most enjoyment out of the game, but losing isn’t very enjoyable. There are those players who live and die by their character choices and never switch from them. But if you choose a bad character every time and have lackluster results every time, you can’t act surprised or be upset about it. I’m a huge advocate for playing the character you want and not being pressured into switching by others.

However if you go into every tournament playing only King Dedede, and you repeatedly lose the same match-ups, to the same characters, and never improve your placing, you can’t complain about it. There’s no use in complaining about losing consistently with a bad character, when you go into each tournament knowing you’re at a severe disadvantage.

The reality is that no matter how attached someone is to their character, having an alternative is always an asset. This applies to every player but especially to low tier mains. Having a secondary character who can bail you out of a sticky situation or at least give you a fighting chance will always be an asset.. Every player needs a secondary and maybe even a third. Of course you shouldn’t switch your character if you have momentum on your side, but having a solid backup character in your pocket will always be a benefit. Players don’t need to just pick a top tier, but having a somewhat viable backup wouldn’t hurt.

Featured image courtesy of Shoryuken.

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