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Smash Ultimate: Why Metered Final Smashes Will Never be Tournament Legal

Super Smash Bros Ultimate is only a few weeks away. Let that sink in. It seems like just yesterday we saw the E3 reveal and instantly fell in love. Fast forward to today and we now have loads of footage of the game from promotional tournaments. These events have given us the most in-depth look at the game yet, but my eyes, among many others, were drawn towards one particular aspect.

These promotional events were run by Nintendo, so they weren’t using the typical competitive ruleset. This means that not only were there items present for some of the matches, but we also got a good look at the new Final Smash Meter. The footage gathered from these events are undoubtedly the smoking gun that will end the debate surrounding their proposed legality. Although it may seem like a fun addition to the game, Metered Final Smashes will never tournament legal, and here’s why.

See for Yourself

Let’s look at this from the most objective viewpoint possible. If the Smash community were to seriously consider using metered Final Smashes, they would be thrown out almost immediately. Most of them kill way too early and are either unblockable or put your opponent in a really bad spot. We hadn’t seen enough of the cast’s weaker Final Smashes until last week’s events, when the tournaments’ combatants completely shut the door on the argument.

The following video is from a tournament in shows matches between Daisy and Zelda with the Final Smash Meter on. In these matches, almost every stock taken was from a Final Smash, they absolutely dictated the pace of the matches. If these moves just did a bit of damage here and there it wouldn’t be a big problem, but they do much more than that.

Daisy’s Final Smash literally puts you to sleep at the press of a button. Regardless of her opponent’s location on the stage, Daisy’s opponent enters a slumber that leaves them wide open for a fully charged Smash attack, which will certainly take a stock at later percents. It also spawns three healing items for Daisy to use that recover a total of 60% of damage. Imagine miraculously surviving at high percents only to have your opponent hit the sleep button, take your stock, and recover most, if not all of their damage. This exact scenario took place in the video above. The Zelda player was completely defenseless, having zero available options for stopping the Final Smash.

Zelda’s Final Smash isn’t too shabby either. Hers sucks you in from a pretty decent distance, dealing 33 percent and killing at somewhere around 60 percent. Both of these Final Smashes are unblockable and devastating at mid to high percents. Now that you’ve seen the footage, let’s talk about it.

“Fair and Balanced”

Since its announcement, many have wondered about the competitive viability of metered Final Smashes. That wonder is now turning into a rejection. // Image: YouTube

Final Smashes are a fun, if intentionally overpowered addition to the franchise. However, as the above example illustrates, the metered Final Smashes, while certainly a fun addition for casual play, will likely no longer be in the competitive conversation for the game.

Final Smashes are clearly too overpowered in a competitive setting, most often leaving players defenseless and/or punished for a single attack that can be too unfair and/or difficult to avoid. In a last hit situation, how is it fair for a player to be able to put your character to sleep at the press of a button? In a situation like that, it’s a win button, plain and simple. The fact that most of the stocks were taken by their Final Smashes is proof enough that they’re a bad idea for tournaments.

They would absolutely dominate the meta. The meter fills up from both giving and receiving attacks, so it’s no big accomplishment to gain meter. In a three stock match, each player will likely get their Final Smash at least twice. Matches would devolve into whose Final Smash is better and who gets it first.

Looking at these moves objectively, they’re completely unfair. At their worst, they will dominate the meta and make this game unbearable. At the least, they’ll seriously promote camping, which the video partially illustrates. Final Smashes are designed to be immensely overpowered attacks that dominate the battlefield – something that clearly isn’t intended to be be used in a serious, competitive context. Unlike other fighting games that use metered special moves, there isn’t any way to counter Final Smashes reliably, making metered Final Smashes unfair.

Banning specific Final Smashes isn’t fair either because that would give characters who get to use their Final Smashes an unfair advantage. Either we keep them all, or we ban them all, and given the problematic nature of the overwhelming bestowed by Final Smashes, perhaps it’s best to leave metered Final Smashes out of consideration for any competitive play.

The idea of spicing up the gameplay and adding interesting new elements is an admirable one. However, that’s what side events are for. Metered Final Smashes will be a great side bracket event to enjoy, but it has no place in the official ruleset.


Featured image courtesy of YouTube.

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1 comment

Anonymous November 12, 2018 at 7:29 pm

Zelda’s kills at exactly 100%, after adding the Final Smash damage.

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