Smash Opinions: New Ruleset
Super Smash Bros has become one of the most well-known esports games in the industry, in part due to the multiple personalities, close gameplay between opponents, ease of watching and joining the community, and a Meta that is still evolving to this day. While Smash 4 still contains untapped potential in terms of their evolution, Melee has become stagnant. After being on the market for over 15 years, Melee has reached the point where there is not much else to explore game-wise. However, their evolution has occurred outside of the main game, with many topics and rules to oversee, from Wobbling to mid-set coaching. Melee It On Me, or MIOM, was scheduled to have a stream discussing the new and improved ruleset for Melee…and they postponed the stream to a later date. With this, I thought I should give my take on what the ruleset should be. This is just my personal opinion, and I encourage all of you to share your opinions. Let us get started.
For those of you who are unsure of what Wobbling is, I will try to explain. One of the characters in the game, Ice Climbers, has a mechanic where you can achieve an infinite grab. While you only control Popo and Nana follows suit (like a mirror), you can de-sync Nana to the point where her commands are different from Popo. With this de-sync, you can grab your opponent with Popo and pummel them while Nana pummels on a different beat. If you can time your button inputs correctly, your opponent can never get out of this grab. Former player Wobbles made this mechanic infamous during his run at EVO 2013, where he placed second, which is where the term Wobbling was coined. This is where the debate to ban Wobbling really heated up. Even though the current ruleset states that a player can only Wobble their opponent up to 300%, all characters will die after reaching only about 170%, with many dying before this. The debate has really heated up with a combination of two things: the huge success of ChuDat in 2017, and the complaints from top players such as Hungrybox and Mew2King.
Despite this, however, I say not to ban Wobbling. This mechanic, while broken, does have flaws in my eyes. For one, you can avoid the situation by separating Popo and Nana. Fox, Peach, and Ganondorf can easily separate the Ice Climbers, which would make them susceptible to Nana’s death, which would mean no Wobbling. Also, this technique is the only reason why Ice Climbers are any good. They are very light, have a poor aerial, a recovery that is exploitable, and much of their power is lost when Nana dies. If any changes were to be made, I would say to lower the maximum percentage of Wobbling, but this would not change much. With so many ways around Wobbling, I see no point in banning this technique.
Honestly, I find difficulty figuring out why this is even being debated. The idea of a ledge limit surfaced from DreamHack: Austin, where Hungrybox abused the ledge and time limit to stall out ChuDat and win the tournament. The debate picked up when Mew2King defeated Westballz at Saints Gaming Live using the same tactic. People wanted to put a limit on how many times a player can grab the ledge in a given game. This was heavily-debated issue in Brawl, where characters such as Meta Knight and Kirby could abuse the ledge to win the game. Whether the players used the ledge defensively, as the case where Meta Knight would gain the lead and stall, or offensively, as the case where Kirby would be on the ledge until an opponent approached and would inhale and kill them, was neither here nor there. I am keeping this bullet point short since there is not much to talk about, but I do not believe that Melee needs a ledge limit at this time. Many players have multiple options that could keep their opponents from ledge stalling. Players, such as Mang0, never have this issue because the amount of offensive pressure they put on their opponents. Plus, we have not had this issue enough times to the point where a ledge limit is necessary. If the Meta changes to the point where players are abusing the ledge, then I would be open to a ledge limit similar to Brawl, but I do not think we need one right now.
Controller Mods (BOXX, Smash Box)
This topic is very interesting, to say the least. The idea of bringing a fighting arcade stick to the Super Smash Bros. franchise has always enticed me. The rivalry between the BOXX (Hax) and the Smash Box (Gravy) has become legendary in the Smash community. There have been uproars from figureheads of the community saying how these specific arcade sticks would be unfair because of the advantages a player would receive, such as more available angles than a regular GameCube controller. While there has not been much news recently, I see no problem with arcade sticks under one condition. Players should be allowed to use controller modifications and arcade sticks as long as said players are not given an advantage because of this. Using Hax as an example, he created his arcade controller because of severe hand issues which prevent him from using a standard GameCube controller. I have no problem with him creating his own product to help keep him in the Smash scene. However, the BOXX does have some glaring advantages that would make me cautious. The only way I see this coming to fruition, however, is if a third party creates the controller, such as HORI or Mad Catz, which is highly unlikely.
The biggest topic, in my eyes, is whether coaching will be allowed. There have been grumbles throughout the Smash community on this for months now. Many people feel as if there should be no coaching for a number of reasons, such as adaptability and who would be designated coaches, among others. There was also the huge debacle of EVO 2017, where Hungrybox was coached outside of pools, which is against the rules. After SFAT, his opponent, won the next game, G-Money walked up to the stage and mocked a coaching, not even giving advice to SFAT. Hungrybox won Game 3 and advanced, sending SFAT into Loser’s Bracket. After the tournament, an official from EVO stated that Hungrybox was issued a “yellow card.” The official then said that “Since both players violated the rules, the match will stand. Had only HBox violated the rules, he would have been DQed”. This was such a stupid ruling, in my eyes and of nearly everyone in the community. First of all, SFAT should have been given a yellow card as well if this were true. Second, the TO should have immediately caught this and disqualify Hungrybox. And just a couple of days ago, this official stated that the coaching rule is gone and a new rule was placed for anyone to trespass on the stage.
In regards to everything, I have a less-than-favorable opinion: I am actually okay with mid-set coaching. I understand that players should be able to adapt on their own in their own sets. However, growing up and playing sports that allowed mid-set coaching, I can tell you that your coach can tell you what they believe you should do to succeed. They are not holding the controller and playing; you are. It is up to the player to make these changes and win. If the player cannot adapt their own playstyle, with or without a coach, they are still more than likely going to lose. Therefore, I would allow coaching under a few rules. For one, a player can only use their coach one time per set. The 30 second time limit is fine with me. A player can also only have one coach per tournament. That means that Mew2King cannot have MacD be his coach in Winner’s Finals and then have Westballz be his coach in Grand Finals. When a player registers for a tournament, there should be an option to place who their coach should be. If a player does not wish to have a coach, that is fine. However, they have to go the whole tournament without a coach. The idea of having coaches on standby like a defendant would have a lawyer should they not be able to afford one, is still in the air to me. Tournament organizers will have to hire people who are not biased by any means to be coaches-for-hire for players to use.
That is my take on what the ruleset should be for Melee. Obviously, there are other minor things to discuss, such as a changes in game time. Hopefully, we will not have to wait long. Make sure to check back when the ruleset is released, where I will be going into full details about all of the new rule changes.
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