Hey all, I’m here today with a quick poll. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is due to release in six months, and before then, I’d like to tie up a few loose ends within the community. Here’s a big one: the equipment debate. Since the very beginning of amiibo training, players have gone back and forth between allowing all equipment, banning specific bonus effects, or banning all bonus effects. And it’s time we settle this ahead of time for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Allowing Equipment & Custom Moves
As a disclaimer, we don’t know if Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will include equipment or custom moves. That being said, for this poll, we will assume that Ultimate includes both. Equipment and custom moves aren’t balanced in the slightest: everyone knows that. Neither were intended to be used competitively: instead, they were envisioned as a fun gimmick that could be applied to players and amiibo fighters. If we choose to allow equipment and custom moves, we must allow all equipment and custom moves. Let me explain this one real quick.
In the earliest days of the metagame, the Critical-hit capability and Explosive perfect shield bonuses were allowed and encouraged. As a result, they were run alongside each other to great effect. Eventually, a small portion of the community grew tired of seeing them on every amiibo, and the decision was made to ban them from the metagame. That hasn’t fixed much – now, every amiibo runs Auto-heal capability and Lifesteal alongside each other. Furthermore, the ban of Explosive perfect shield has resulted in Marth and Lucina becoming dominant – they can both spam their side specials relentlessly and never get punished for it. Back when Explosive perfect shield was allowed, neither Marth nor Lucina were nearly as dominant: the first hit of their side special would be perfect shielded, and Marth and Lucina would take damage. As a result, their AI would deem Dancing Blade as a less successful attack.
I did go a bit off-topic there – but for good reason. I’ll reiterate my point: if we allow equipment and custom moves, we must allow all equipment and custom moves. Because once we start banning, there will be a never-ending cycle of frustratingly complicated bans and limitations.
There’s also the topic of equipment farming, a notoriously repetitive aspect of amiibo training that restricts the number of participants within our community. Simply put, allowing equipment will make it more difficult to train an amiibo: anyone who’s fed one equipment knows that balancing stats and bonuses is a pain. Some people don’t want to deal with that, and they won’t enter online tournaments due to the hassle of farming for custom parts.
One last thing – if we choose to allow equipment, the amiibo metagame won’t really be a metagame. It’ll be a casual hobby with room for fun and goofing off. Like I said before, equipment and custom moves aren’t balanced now, and if Ultimate includes them, they won’t be then, either. With that in mind, the amiibo metagame would just become the amiibo game. A casual and fun pastime, but one with no competitive value or stakes.
Banning Equipment & Custom Moves
Smash 4 never developed a vanilla amiibo metagame, and that’s partially my fault. I originally trained all of my amiibo fighters without equipment or custom moves, but eventually switched over to feeding them equipment when it came time to enter tournaments. As a result, once I started the Amiibo Dojo, all of the guides I wrote featured and included equipment. This meant that tournaments began adopting my writings as their default ruleset. Soon enough, equipment became the standard, and a vanilla metagame never had a chance to shine.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has the potential of giving a vanilla metagame a chance. Without equipment or custom moves to farm for, new players can jump right into the action and focus on their training rather than stat and bonus setup. This means an influx in tournament entrants, and a more balanced game.
Furthermore – and this is important – all amiibo fighters will be evenly matched. That is to say, the metagame will be as balanced as possible due to the lack of equipment. This means that the amiibo game can become more competitive, with high-stakes tournaments that rely on each amiibo fighter’s skill rather than their bonus combination.
All that being said, there is a downside to banning equipment and custom moves. Removing these elements removes a key trait that makes amiibo unique: customization. Sure, you can change your amiibo’s nickname and costume, but without equipment or custom moves, a lot of that customization is lost. Furthermore, low-tier characters struggle even more without equipment to take advantage of. Weighing the options, allowing equipment and banning equipment have their advantages and disadvantages – in fact, they’re about different.
Vote on the Future of the Metagame
Now that I’ve stated the case for both options, I’d like to hear from all of you! It’s time to vote – the poll can be found here. I’ll use the results to influence tournaments in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate according to the majority opinion. If you want to submit your written thoughts about the matter, fill out the contact form. Thanks so much for participating – the future of the metagame hangs in the balance!