Improvement in Smash 4 BONUS XVI – Reference Page

Hello everyone! It’s been a long, long time since I’ve written anything. Normally, I wouldn’t include an update post in my improvement series, but it’s basically about it so I thought I’d put it here. Around the summer, I got an offer to make money off of my YouTube videos of Paper Mario 64 and Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door. I post videos of me completing various challenge runs and the boss battles I had during those runs. Because this is something I’ve always dreamed of doing, I accepted the offer, and I very quickly became engrossed in that and stopped writing.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I still love to write, but I’m still trying to get a production flow for my videos going so I’ve been really busy with all of that, despite it being a few months now.

So, my improvement series is officially ending. I think I’ve covered almost everything I wanted to cover, and I think what I’ve written will be useful for anyone old or new to the series. The final list of the entire series’ entries will be posted at the bottom here.

As for this blog in general, I’ll start writing again once I get a good production flow going, so it’ll go on a short hiatus.

Thanks to everyone who still reads my stuff, and to everyone who supported me creating this improvement series in the first place 🙂

Also! I’m still available for coaching/analysis. You can check out that stuff here.

FULL IMPROVEMENT SERIES ENTRY LIST

I – Fundamentals
II – A Different Way to Look at Match Ups
III – Attitude
IV – Friendlies
V – Stages
VI – Preparing for a Tournament
VII – Training Regimens
VIII – Character Loyalty
IX – The Plateau
X – Practice Methods I
XI – Practice Methods II
XII – Practice Methods III
XIII – At a Tournament
XIV – Practice Methods BONUS IV
XV – Game Flow

Just Sayin’

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Choosing a Main in Super Smash Bros.

Thanksgiving is around the corner. That means you’ll be joining together with family and friends, and you know the relatives around your age are gonna want to play some Super Smash Bros.! So get ready to bust out your main and lay down some heat!

A “main” is something that anyone in a competitive fighting game can toss around – it’s the character you use the most; the character that you’re trying to win with; the character you have the most fun with. It doesn’t just encompass competitive play – even casual players have a “main” character that they’ll use amongst friends and challengers.

Picking your main is an important part of Super Smash Bros. This is the character you’ll be putting in most of your time practicing and playing with. It’s the character you’ll do research on, learn match-ups for, and try to win with.

So, how do you pick one? There are a lot of characters and a lot of different styles of play. I’m going to break this down, because finding a main happens even in casual play, and I’d like to address those players in this post as well.

The first thing I want to cover applies to every level, but especially competitive players, and that’s style.

I won’t go over this in too much detail (but I highly recommend you go look some of this stuff up or ask me personally to break it down further), but when I say “style” I’m referring to the style the character brings out. I’m sure you’ve heard the terms, “Aggressive Falco”, or “Defensive Mario”. Aggressive and Defensive are both styles of play. Let me give you a list of the common ones and a small definition of them:

Aggressive/Offensive: Focuses on applying pressure to win. Often will throw out many attacks.

Defensive/Campy: Focuses on defense and punishing. Tends to attack much less and throws out projectiles if able instead of running at the opponent.

Bait and Punish: Utilizes pressure and defense to fool opponent and punish them hard. Also likes to use frame traps to force 50/50 situations (you guess wrong you get punished, you guess right you’re safe).

Now, a player is not strictly one of these styles. I would say a player combines a blend of these styles but leans towards one more than the others.

So what does this have to do with picking a character?

Well, characters have certain styles that fit them better. Take the character I use: Kirby. Kirby doesn’t excel very well in the offensive department – he has slow ground and air speed and so doesn’t have the luxury of moving in and out quickly and just throwing out attacks. Kirby’s best played with a Bait and Punish style. He lures characters in and then punishes hard. If you lean more towards an Offensive style, Kirby might not feel right for you.

When you’re picking a character, you want to find one that fits ‘you’, the player. If you don’t feel comfortable playing a certain way, but that character begs to be played that way, I suggest you look for another character, or learn to play that style better. I actually lean heavily towards Offensive, but due to my experience I’m able to turn Kirby into a character that can be played my way. That takes a very long time – long after you’ve improved.

Okay, let’s dive a little deeper into the levels of play and how they should think about main selection.

Casual

If you’re playing at a more casual level, I highly recommend that your main be who you have the most fun with. Or, if you’ve got character loyalty, go ahead and continue being loyal. At this level of play, characters are pretty balanced. No one really understands the ways to abuse a character’s strong points and exploit their weak points.

Why would someone casual have a main? C’mon, Smash is still a competition, and people like to win. Even if you’re casual, there’s gonna be kids who want to challenge you. You gotta have a character to lay the smack down with. It’s definitely not as important, but identifying yourself with a character definitely helps you bond with other players (“Oh, you play Fox? Cool! I play Ike.”). That conversation happens a lot in any level of play.

Style is important, but really, your style isn’t as refined here, so you can get away with playing basically everyone.

Casual-Competitive

This is for the players who are casual but might be interested in joining the competitive scene or are just naturally competitive and play much more than their casual counterpart, or are players who are part of the competitive scene but don’t have a burning desire to improve (AKA ME).

At this point your style has been refined. You probably can recognize how you play and are able to pinpoint which characters suit your style. If you’re not worried about how you place or if you want to develop a character that’s not top tier, go ahead. If they suit your style, go for it!

The bottom line for this level and the other level is that you shouldn’t sweat who your main is. Pick who you like and who you have fun with! Try and further a character’s meta along. Who knows? That character might become the next top tier fad.

If you want to win and really improve results-wise, however…

Competitive

Pick a current high – top tier character. You want to win and to improve. You want results. If you don’t, you’re Casual-Competitive, and that’s okay. But for those that want glory, pick a character that’s high on the tier list and that fits your style. Don’t try to mold a character – pick one that flows with the style you lean towards naturally – you’ll improve much faster when you’re not battling your main’s preferred style. And don’t try to change your own style yet – wait until you’ve got some experience. You want a character that lets you lean towards your own style, which means you can utilize their tools effectively.

Characters like Mario and Sheik are all great characters to pick because they mesh well with basically all three styles of play and allow you to lean towards any style and not feel like you’re battling the character.

If your character falls out of favor and is deemed less than high tier? Stick with it for at least a year (as I mentioned in my improvement post about character loyalty) and then consider changing. At that point you’ve got enough experience to make a solid decision yourself, provided you’ve been improving often and not hitting a plateau.

———

Your main is a part of you. Don’t take picking one lightly, but also don’t put too much thought into it. It is just a character in a game after all. I suggest, for every skill level, you play around with the characters available to you and feel each one out. Then you can make an informed decision about which one you want to pick.

And if you’re competitive: stick to the main you’ve chosen. That means put in the appropriate time to pick one and not regret it.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone – have fun Smashing with family and friends! 🙂

Just Sayin’

My thoughts on the Super Smash Bros. Invitational

A few days ago, Nintendo posted a video about the Super Smash Bros. International, a tournament hosted by Nintendo at E3 this year to showcase the next installment of the Super Smash Bros. series. It will feature 16 players that receive an invite from Nintendo, and feature casting by well-known competitive Smash Bros. casters Prog, Scar, and D1. I think this tournament is awesome, and to see them including Prog and D1, my two favorite casters, is really cool. Really, the whole idea that Nintendo is trying to embrace competitive Smash Bros. is a good feeling. Other competitive games are usually supported by their creators; it’s nice to see Smash Bros. is finally getting some of that support.

I’m not going to dive into the players invited, but there are a lot of big names and I’m mostly happy with Nintendo’s choices. A lot of the players not only help with the community but are long-time players of competitive Smash Bros., with a few new names thrown in there that I don’t know at all.

Now, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of the Invitational: the rules.

Draft:

Basically, there are 20 characters and 16 players. Each player picks a number and then picks a character in the order of the number (starting with 1). The player’s aren’t allowed to switch characters – they must use the same character throughout the duration of the tournament.

Here’s a quick list of the characters (in alphabetical order):

– Bowser
– Donkey Kong
– Fox
– Greninja
– Kirby
– Link
– Little Mac
– Mario
– Marth
– Mega Man
– Pikachu
– Pikmin & Olimar
– Pit
– Rosalina & Luma
– Samus
– Sonic
– Villager
– Wii Fit Trainer
– Zelda
– Zero Suit Samus

So that means that 4 characters will be left out. That’s nice because then the last person still has characters to choose from rather than just being stuck with whichever character isn’t picked. I’m predicting that some characters like Mario, Pikachu, Link, Donkey Kong, Fox, and other old names will be less favored than the new characters. At least, I hope they choose the new characters over the old ones.

Gameplay:

– Single-Elimination
– 4 player Free-For-All (FFA), 4 stocks, 5 minute timer (top 2 advance)
– Winner is determined by score?
– A tie-breaker for second involves most KO’s, and if that’s a tie, then by a fan vote.
– Quaterfinals have Items on Medium
– Semifinals and Finals have Items on Low
– Grand Finals have no items.

And taken directly from Nintendo’s E3 website with the rules:

Grand Finals is a 4-stock, 8-minute, 1-on-1 match on Battlefield as an homage to the competitive Smash Bros. community.”

How cool is that? That’s a really big deal for me as a competitive Smash Bros. player.

So, the rules aren’t exactly crystal clear on how the winner is determined. Is it the last player standing, or the player with the most KO’s? I don’t know, but I’m going ahead and assuming it’s whomever is last standing. Also I have no idea whether or not the matches before Quarterfinals have items on or off. I’m pretty sure it’s on, all things considered, but we’ll see. The stages used will be shown off at the event, which I’m okay with.

There’s also this “Fan Favorite Bracket”, which is basically fans wanting their favorite players to play again in a separate bracket where the second place winner is determined by a vote. The Fan Favorite Bracket matches are timed FFA’s instead of stock, so the winner is the person with the highest score. Items are always on Medium.

All in all, the rules are looking good. I didn’t expect any kind of hyper-competitive rules, so the FFA matches are fine with me. I’m just happy they’re paying an homage to the competitive Smash Bros. community.

I’m very excited for this tournament. If you want to check it out, it’ll be streamed on Nintendo’s Twitch channel next Tuesday, June 10th, at 4 PM PT. I’ll be tuning in and probably updating my Twitter as I do, and I’ll (hopefully) be going to the Best Buy Smashfest in my area to write a post about my thoughts on it in the next couple of weeks.

Just Sayin’.

Link to Nintendo’s E3 website: http://e3.nintendo.com/

Link to the Super Smash Bros. Invitational Rules: http://e3.nintendo.com/invitational/info.html

The ebb and flow of Animal Crossing

I wanted to write about Smash today, but I didn’t do the research I wanted to, so I apologize for the late post. Instead, I’m going to write a small little blurb about Animal Crossing.

Two days ago, I got Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, and now I find that I don’t play Animal Crossing: New Leaf anymore. I love the AC series, but there’s one thing about it that always turns me off as I continue to play: there’s not enough to do.

I’ve upgraded my house to almost full completion, have almost 20 public works projects, all but one fossil, most of the fish and bugs, and my Nook store is one away from being the biggest expansion. In every previous AC game I’ve played, I’ve been able to “beat” the game by expanding everything to its maximum size and almost completing the museum (I could never get all those works of art…). And usually, games come out and I play them, but I was pretty rigorous in my routine to play Animal Crossing every single day until I had everything. Unfortunately, doing jobs for villagers, buying and selling stuff, digging for fossils, and farming bells on the island can only go so far. Even with multi player, the most you can do are tours and self-proclaimed fish and bug-catching contests. At some point, it gets boring (it would be helpful to point out that I am no artist, and so I have spent exactly 10 minutes making a flag design, and that’s it. I’m sure artists get way more out of the Able Sisters’ designing than I do).

Inevitably, though, my interest wanes. Everything becomes a little monotonous, and I eventually stop playing. Unlike in MMO‘s, where dev teams are constantly trying to update their game to keep players hooked alongside guilds forming and whatnot, Animal Crossing is a simulation game, so at some point it feels like you’re living life there, and not here. Or it would feel like that if there were more stuff to do. At some point, you only play for 5 minutes a day because there’s really nothing else you want to do in your town.

Now that that tiny complaint is out of the way, has anyone whom has experienced this notice that, after you’ve beaten the new games and have nothing to do, Animal Crossing suddenly becomes addictive again? It’s crazy how there’s almost a tide to my interest in Animal Crossing. Sometimes it’s very high and I enjoy it, and other times it feels like a chore and I eventually stop, only to come back months later with a fresh desire to play.

This is different than with MMO’s, which I tend to play heavily for a month and then stop completely. No, Animal Crossing somehow ropes me back in when I have nothing to do and becomes my new game of choice. There’s no real competitive value to it, no incentive for me to improve my skills (which there is little of) in the game, so why do I keep coming back?

Has anyone else ever felt this way about Animal Crossing?

Also, except a post about Smash or a review of something next Monday!

Just Sayin’.