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Esports Fighting Games

How Final Smashes could be competitive

Every Smash Bros. game has features that are never seen in competitive play. Among these includes the likes of Final Smashes. What allows a character to perform a Final Smash is a Smash Ball. Since this is an item, however, it is unused in competitive play. But that hasn’t stopped people from discussing the possibility of Final Smashes being in competitive play in future games.

Final Smashes
Image: Liquipedia Smash Wiki

In June of this year, Alex Carducci, known as “RelaxAlax” released a video discussing what the next Smash game could be, which you can watch here. There are many great ideas and points raised in Carducci’s video, but there was one in particular that really resonated with this author.

In the video, Carducci collaborates with other individuals in the competitive Smash scene. One of these collaborators includes D’Ron “D1” Maingrette, who discusses something quite intriguing. Maingrette discusses a situation where competitive matches would be three stocks.

If one player still has all three stocks and the other only has one stock and is at high percent, the disadvantaged player is given a Final Smash to assist them to even the odds a bit. What makes this idea so intriguing? Let’s discuss it.

Final Smashes can provide spectacle

Simply put, having powerful and flashy Final Smashes be present in a select handful of matches would be exciting to watch.

There’s a fair amount of spectacle in Melee and Smash 4 when we see fluid combos, punishes, and spikes. But seeing a super attack be used to help even the odds in a two-stock difference match would be unlike anything else that we see in competitive Smash. Seeing the over-the-top, large-scale Final Smashes would be a treat in competitive play.

final smahes
Final Smashes could provide great spectacle to matches that may uninteresting otherwise. Image: Gameranx

That said, Maingrette’s point about Final Smashes only being available in a two-stock difference is a key factor. Spectacular attacks can be great to see, but if they’re in every match, they’ll quickly lose their luster. The component of having a “pity” Final Smash to help the player behind two stocks will make seeing Final Smashes common enough to see in a few matches, but rare enough not to present in most matches.

Moreover, if future Smash games allow stocks to be taken as quickly as is possible in Melee, then Final Smashes bringing down differences of two stocks to only one could make for positively invigorating matches.

Final Smashes could allow for otherwise less exciting matches to become far more entertaining to watch. In the long run, this Final Smash factor could keep viewers invested in matches they may not find themselves as engaged with otherwise.

The Balancing Component

Final Smashes
Could transformation Final Smashes such as Lucario’s remain intact if Final Smashes were part of the meta game? Image: Smashpedia.

Of course, if Final Smashes were to become a larger competitive gameplay element, then they would clearly brings up the question of balancing. While there are many Final Smashes that can easily take off a stock (Marth, Cloud, Bayonetta, etc.), other characters have less directly effective Final Smashes. Rosalina’s Final Smash is widely considered to be one of, if not the worst Final Smash in the game since it struggles to kill any combatants due to it having limited range and power.

But Rosalina is one of the best characters in Smash 4, which leads into a balancing questions. Should Final Smashes be balanced depending on the strength of the base character? Should weaker, less competitively strong characters (Kirby, Zelda, etc.) be given stronger, more effective Final Smashes to compensate? And should stronger characters (Bayo, Sonic, Mario) be given weaker Final Smashes?

Another question to be consider is in regards to Final Smashes that involve transformation. Sonic, Charizard, and Lucario are three examples of characters that transform into a stronger form of themselves for their Final Smash. These can result in ending one stock and doing damage to the next stock. These types of Final Smashes have a significant advantages over other Final Smashes in the game. Most Final Smashes are single attacks that can end one stock, but doesn’t inflict damage onto the next stock. This would make transformation Final Smashes the most advantageous in the game. So should they remain as they are, or should anything be fair game for Final Smashes?

An interesting future to consider

Is the “pity” Final Smash a likely component of future competitive Smash? Maybe, and maybe not. Regardless, discussing the possibilities of components of the metagames of future Smash games is important. It makes us consider what we like about playing and watching competitive Smash. It also makes us consider how we think competitive Smash could be made more fun to watch for spectators.

Seeing Final Smashes occasionally in competitive play could make for interesting matches. It could lead to an interesting future for Smash – one where a lot of initially uninteresting matches suddenly become exciting thanks to the Final Smash offering a comeback factor.

And now, we bring it back to you. Would you like to see Final Smashes in competitive play? What would you prioritize to make them balanced? As always, join the conversation and let us know!


Featured image courtesy of Nintendo via

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