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Is Bayonetta a problem in Smash 4?

Frostbite 2018 concluded this past Sunday, and it was another thrilling tournament that definitely delivered many hype moments. Lately however, no Smash 4 tournament comes without a bit of controversy and Frostbite was no exception. In a tournament that had over 900 entrants we saw a top 8 that featured 3 different Bayonetta players. These players absolutely shined and eliminated key top players, giving more ammunition to Bayonetta detractors. Even with free agent Samuel “Dabuz” Buzby taking 1st place playing as Rosalina; most of the talk after the tournament was about Bayonetta. Once again bringing up the question, is Bayonetta a problem in competitive Smash 4?

Skilled or Broken?

One mistake can lead to an early stock for Bayonetta

It’s no secret that Bayonetta is the best character in Smash 4, she has the best options out of any other character and the best tools in disadvantage. Her kit is filled with tools that can end your stock at any percent and when you combine this with Smash 4s rage mechanic, things can get janky very fast.


Upon her release as the final DLC character for the game back in early 2016 she quickly shot to the top of the tier list; she was broken. Developers at Nintendo noticed this and sent out the final balance patch for the game in May of 2016, where she got nerfed hard. Many of her zero to death combos were now gone and it was now possible to escape her combos. The community thought that this would be the end of her reign but it was only the beginning.

Bayonetta players took the nerf on the chin and optimized her to the point of it barely affecting them. While not as good, Bayonetta is still the best character in the game but this is all because of Bayonetta players overcoming the nerf and optimizing her combos. Many may still look at Bayonetta as a broken character who requires no skill to play, but doing so really discredits the many skilled players who put in the work to truly unlock her potential.

Changing with the times

Patch notes from the Bayonetta nerf

Smash 4 is a much different game now almost 4 years in. DLC characters, and balance patches made this the most dynamic game in the franchise. These factors mean that the games meta will change much more frequently than other smash games. Simply put smash 4 is changing again and players have to adapt. The top 4 players of Frostbite 2018 featured 3 Bayonetta players, (one using her as a secondary) but this isn’t a bad thing. Just as players adapted to make Bayonetta the best, they can adapt to beat her. Meta shifts happen all the time and currently we are in the midst of a very pivotal time in the meta. Bayonetta isn’t dominating the competitive scene, but she is definitely on the rise.

Last year we saw more and more Bayonetta players rise up the PGR, and they plan to stay. But this doesn’t mean players of other characters aren’t adapting as well. Top players have been hard at work finding ways to consistently beat Bayonetta and it has been successful. While it is impossible to never lose, or play perfect, there are tools that help play around Bayonetta’s kit. Practicing SDI, (Smash Directional Influence) baiting out her attacks, and most of all patience. Patient play is key to beating Bayonetta and top players have been applying this. Sure she is the best character in the game now, but that could change this year. Smash 4 has many great characters and it’s only a matter of time before one claims the top spot.

Keeping focus

Samuel “Dabuz” Buzby, winner of Frostbite 2018

Bayonetta hate is nothing new in the smash 4 community so it’s no surprise that people were a bit angry at frostbites top 4. Bayonetta players got so much hate last year and Sunday brought it back to light. No player deserves to be targeted, or threatened because of the character they play. At the end of the day we all love smash 4 and enjoy watching it. We want to see a good competition and a hype tournament, and Bayonetta is not getting in the way of that. Instead of hating the character, we should celebrate the players finding ways to beat her. Just as we should be celebrating Bayonetta players overcoming such a big nerf.

Lastly I want to congratulate Dabuz on winning Frostbite 2018 with his tried and true Rosalina. In the midst of all of this Bayonetta controversy, we took the shine away from the actual winner of the tournament. Dabuz is currently a free agent and the 6th best player in the world. He worked hard to get 1st place and didn’t lose a single set along the way. Bayonetta is a great character and is rising up even more in the meta. But that shouldn’t take the shine away from one of smash 4s most consistent performers.


What do you think of Bayonetta in smash 4? Join the conversation in the comments below and tell us what you think.


Featured image courtesy of Smashpedia.

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