Smash 4 is hard to play

This past Saturday I entered a Super Smash Bros. Wii U (Smash 4) tournament. Being primarily a Project M player and being part of the competitive Smash scene in general, there’s a lot of hate against Smash 4 for its “easy” play in terms of technical ability.

But dammit Smash 4 is hard! I play Mario, one of the more aggressive characters in the game, and it’s painful sometimes how hard it is to get in on another good player. In Project M I can rush down someone with Meta Knight’s great pressure tools and feel relatively safe near someone’s shield. I don’t feel safe at all when I’m near someone’s shield in Smash 4, and it’s so stressful when you’re trying to space around it!

Really, I think it’s harder than the technical barrier Melee/Project M have for new players. Sure, you can pick up and play Smash 4 easily, but to be able to get in on someone good, especially a more defensive player/character? That’s not gonna happen for a while. At least in Melee you can Nair someone’s shield with Fox and be almost completely safe as long v as you L-Cancel and Shine. That kind of input skill can be committed to muscle memory and performed without even a second thought after like two weeks of practice. Obviously it gets a little harder during an intense, heart-pounding match, but I think that can apply to really any game that has even a tiny amount of technical skill involved.

Maybe it’s just harder for me to play Smash 4 than it is Project M. Maybe it’s just more stressful because during a combo in Melee/Project M you can relax yourself for a moment (at least, I do). I dunno. All I know is that Smash 4 is hard to play.

Just sayin’.


Loop Knight

My apologies for missing Thursday’s entry, but I wanted to write about Brawl once more and there was simply no better time than to after attending my local scene’s tournament series, Don’t Blink ~After Story~, which occurred last Saturday.

Overall, I’m a little disappointed in my performance, so I’ll be putting in a lot more work from now on to get myself back to where I was before.

But enough about me, let’s talk about a character that was recently banned (and is being hotly debated about whether he should be unbanned already), Meta Knight.

In my previous entry I said I was for the MK ban only because of his staggering over centralization. My stance still stands, but there is one move I think is truly broken that is a part of Meta Knight’s arsenal of fantastic moves.

Shuttle Loop.

Yes, Shuttle Loop (or, for those who don’t know where the name comes from, Meta Knight’s Up+B Special (recovery) move). I think this move is leaps and bounds above all other moves, and while his Mach Tornado shuts down a slew of the cast, Shuttle Loop shuts down all of the cast’s recovery moves, gives Meta Knight insane mobility, and works as a dragon punch (a dragon punch is defined as a move that is invincible on startup but is (usually) easily punishable when blocked).

I firmly believe that, without Shuttle Loop, Meta Knight wouldn’t be nearly as good as he is right now.

Shuttle Loop is the reason many characters can be gimped at 50% or lower. I’ve seen someone killed at 45% because of a mistake DI’ing. It’s disgusting for a game where the earliest kill percentage is around 80%. Anytime someone hits MK’s shield he can use Shuttle Loop to counter it. He can use it, and even if he messes up it’s relatively safe. Why? because he can cancel it into a lagless landing and use a defensive maneuver. It puts him in a glide state so he can glide over his opponent if he so chooses, and if he touches ground (say, a platform), while at the peak of his move he lands laglessly.

Just watch Nairo vs Otori from Apex 2012 and you’ll get a good sense of what I’m talking about.

MK is relatively slow in the air, and while his moves are fast, certain characters can shut him down when playing properly. But when your perfectly spaced aerial or tilt is interrupted by a 100% safe Shuttle Loop, you come to realize that nothing can stop the move except for baits, and that’s dipping into player territory (where MK’s Shuttle Loop isn’t as powerful, but still ridiculous.)

Obviously, a lot falls to the player, but on paper, where we’re talking strictly moves, Shuttle Loop is dominating.

What do you think? Is Shuttle Loop MK’s only truly broken move? Or do you think his entire arsenal is a little too good for your liking? Let me know!

It’s funny because, even without Shuttle Loop, his recovery is stellar.

Just sayin’.


Apex 2012: Meta Knight’s Last Hurrah

I would have posted this entry yesterday, but my head decided to transform into an anvil for a cold to strike down upon. I was sick three days before Christmas, and now, 17 days later from yesterday, I’m sick once again.

The other reason was the bracket for Apex  2012 had yet to be completely updated, which is what I’ll be writing about today. In the world of competitive fighting games, Super Smash Bros. has never really received a lot of attention (at least from I’ve seen. I could be wrong here). That ended last weekend when Over 1,300 entrants for both Brawl and Melee came (around 50 of those being international players) to attend Apex 2012, Smash’s biggest tournament in history.

While I wasn’t in attendance (I compete in Brawl), watching the stream was a lot of fun. I watched both Melee and Brawl, with a little bit of SFIV: 2012 and UMvC3 (two of the more traditional fighters that were also being played at Apex 2012). The highlight for me was Nairo vs Otori (Apex 2012’s Brawl champion). I usually don’t enjoy MK dittos due to most players not being too aggressive, but these two put on a show of skill souped up with flash, and it was very, very exciting.

If you’d like to see most of the videos from Apex 2012 (including Brawl, Melee, SFIV: 2012, and UMvC3), the links to those channels will be below!

Now, let’s get into one of the more interesting topics that I felt Apex 2012 really brought to the table: America‘s ban on MK.

Let me catch those who don’t know up. MK is the best character in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. As such, a lot of players use him, and a lot feel that he is too good a character. Ever since I joined the Smash community a year and a half ago the debate for MK has been strong, and it had only continued to escalate in the past couple of months. After pages upon pages of debate, a consensus was reached: after Apex 2012, MK would be banned from all URC-run (Unity Ruleset Committee) tournaments.

Now, at Apex 2012 we had two Japanese players in Grand Finals for Brawl: Nietono, an Olimar player, and Otori, a MK player. While Otori plays MK, Nietono ran through many of America’s top MK players. I realize that Nietono is only one player, but this still brings a big question to the front lines of the ban debate – is the ban really the best choice?

I think it is, but not because of how good MK is. I’ll admit, I hate playing against MK, and all around me I saw players put in the work and beat him while I continued to lose to him. Apex 2012 gave me some new insight into how much work you need to put in to be the best of the best, and so I withdrew my stance that MK should be banned because of how good he is. Clearly, he can be beaten. You just need to put in the work. The Japanese have proven that.

However, I still support the ban because of how over centralizing he is. That’s simply it. A lot of players use MK. I believe over half of the players in America either main MK or use him as a secondary. And I believe that’s poisonous to a meta game in itself. I like variety, so I’m hoping there’ll be a lot more variety of characters now. I’m crossing my fingers that everyone doesn’t pick up Olimar.

What are your thoughts on Apex 2012? On the MK ban? Let me know!

Oh, and I think double MK is actually too good in doubles. One MK per team would be brilliant.

Just sayin’.

Link to apextournament:

Link to Jaxelrod: