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Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Tips, Tricks, and Insider Information to the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate North American Online Open August 2019

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Read this, and you'll be well-prepared to perform excellently this Saturday.

Have you joined the thousands of people across Mexico, the United States (except territories and Puerto Rico), and Canada (except Quebec) in the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate North American Online Open August 2019? If you haven't, you can join here. If you have, you may have some questions. KoopaTV, through interviewing the tournament administrators at Battlefy (they like us enough to send me a shirt, which in no way biases my coverage) and reading the rules for you—plus having a lot of experience in the prior tournaments in this series—is here to help with some answers.

What you're about to read are the basics of the tournament, such as the prizes, rules, and tournament structure... and then my tips on how to win and take full advantage of those rules for your benefit. You'll also read some undisclosed insider information I managed to get from interviewing a Battlefy representative.

The Basics: August Open Prizes, Rules, and Tournament Structure

The Super Smash Bros. Ultimate North American Online Open August 2019, unlike Nintendo's other partnerships with Battlefy this year, will feature NO ITEMS in ANY round of play. It's a best-of-three (first to two won games wins the set), three-stock, seven-minute format. The stages are the same mixed bag from the June Open: Final Destination, Battlefield, Smashville, Yoshi's Island (from Super Smash Bros. Brawl), Pokémon Stadium 2, Castle Siege, and Frigate Orpheon. All stages have hazards off, and your Battle Arena will need to have the stage selection set to Random.

This is the ruleset for the entire duration of the tournament, which begins and ends on August 17, 2019. It begins at 9 AM Pacific/12 PM Eastern, and continues for four hours in the Ladder Round. After that's done, there's the single-elimination Bracket Round for the 32 best players in each region for a 256-person bracket which begins at 2 PM Pacific/5 PM Eastern. Expect to play for a while.

To make my point more clear, I created this picture of the tournament structure:

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate North American Online Open August 2019 tournament structure bracket ladder
There's eight regions. They all participate in a Ladder Round. The top 32 from each region enter the Bracket Round.

The Ladder Round, Explained

For the first four hours of the tournament, you will be placed in the Ladder Round with a potentially unlimited (no entrant cap, hence XXXX entrants in the picture) number of competitors. On your region's tournament page on, select the red Search For Match button. The system will pair you up with people with similar results as you (so if you've lost a lot, you'll get paired with lesser-skilled players, and vice-versa). Once paired, you'll be brought to a match screen with you and your opponent, and one of you makes the Battle Arena with the correct ruleset. You play the best of three, and the winner reports the scores (and the characters that each player used) in the Battlefy system. Then you go find another match.

In this respect, the Ladder Round is a lot like a Splatfest, which lasted a long time to grind for the best ranking while matching you up against opponents with your skill level the more and more you played. Much closer to a Splatfest than Nintendo's themed event online tourneys.

Throughout this process, the public ladder rankings will be public and visible, so you'll know where your win-lose record stands against everyone else. For each match you win, you get one point. For each match you lose, you lose one point. You can lose as many times as you can and still get to play more.

Four hours after the ladder ends, the top 32 players in each region who have played at least 8 games will move on to the next round. Players who have a tied score will move on based on criteria such as number of total games played (12 games won and 4 games lost will beat a tie versus 8 games won and 0 games lost).

The Bracket Round, Explained

The Bracket Round is a 256-player single-elimination bracket. As you can see in the picture, even though all 8 regions will be in the bracket, it will be seeded to have each region still play against players within that region until the Top 8. The within-region brackets may or may not be seeded according to the ladder results, depending on if the Battlefy team has enough time to seed them. (There is a one-hour break between the Ladder Round and the Bracket Round, but the Ladder Round can keep going past its time limit because games started one minute before conclusion will be played out to their conclusion if they will affect that region's Top 32.)

In the Top 8, players will receive special instructions from Battlefy to make their Battle Arenas be able to fit more than 2 players. According to my Battlefy contact, Nintendo representatives will enter each of the 4 Top 8 Battle Arenas and record the matches for unknown purposes. (Probably for highlight reels.) The 4 winners then immediately move on to...

Update August 17: It turns out that Battlefy did NOT seed the tournament so it's still every region keeps Smashing within themselves, but they seeded it via unknown method and everyone fights everyone else, such as Region 7 vs. Region 4. (Northeast USA vs. Mexico.) The reason for this change from plan is unknown. The bracket is located here.

The Grand Finals Round (AND PRIZES) Explained

There will be four grand finalists. One from Regions 1 or 2, one from Regions 3 or 4, one from Regions 5 or 6, and one from Regions 7 or 8. At this point, a Battlefy representative will be making the Battle Arenas and they/Nintendo will be recording the matches, still with the same ruleset as before. There aren't plans to livestream the matches, but with the recordings they may be available as videos-on-demand later.

There are three matches in the Grand Finals round. Two of them are semi-finals matches, and the last is to determine third place. (The losers of those two semi-finals matches.) There is no match that's the winner of the two semi-finals matches, so I guess those two players are free to recreationally play against one another.

All four players in the Grand Finals get a prize. All four get a roundtrip to Kyoto, Japan. Everyone but the loser of the two-losers-fight match get to compete in the October 12–13 Nintendo Live tournament against Japanese and European teams. (Probably Oceania too.) The prize of THAT tournament is unknown, but there's likely a trophy or medal involved. Super Smash Bros. series producer Masahiro Sakurai is also known to attend that tournament in the past, so players may meet him. All four grand finalists get six nights worth of lodging from October 10 to October 15. All four also get a $450 Visa gift card, presumably so they don't starve to death while in Japan. There seems to be a lot of time to be able to explore Japan, especially if you're the fourth place guy who doesn't have to compete in the Nintendo Live tournament unless one of the top three people get sick or something. Personally, rewards without pressure is what I like, so fourth place is my goal and much better than top three.

If you're under 18 (a minor), the prize will also include you being able to take one parent/guardian with you to Japan. They also get their lodging and flight paid for, but they do not receive an additional gift card. They need to be with you at all times.

Tips, Tricks, and Insider Info

My number one tip is to take advantage of the real-time time limit in the Ladder Round. Be aware of your opponent's placement on the ladder before playing with them. They may become more desperate—and play sloppy and aggressive—if the four hours is nearing a conclusion and they aren't in a comfortable Top 32 spot yet. They'll feel a lot of external pressure. If you play defensive and campy, you can bait and punish them for an easier win than if you played without exploiting their fractured mental state.

In that same vein, Sudden Death is settled in the ruleset by playing through Sudden Death mode, rather than the competitive eSports way of whomever has the lowest damage percent at the end of the match (if the stock count is even) wins. Keep that in mind.

It may be in your best interest to enter a match at 3:58 PM (Eastern) right before the Ladder round ends and keep the match going by very defensive play to prevent the Battlefy staff from seeding the bracket, in the event that you'd be seeded at 32nd and don't want to go up against the 1st place ladder finisher. I'm sure the staff won't like you, though...

There will likely be a lot of people trying to use Joker or Hero. As an aside, there are no character limitations, so you can use Joker, Hero, and any combination of Miis you wish. You may also switch characters between games, and even before games. That means you can see who your opponent will select in the Battle Arena, press B to cancel, and pick a more preferable character.

Depending on the state of the ladder rankings—and you should be checking them throughout the four-hour period—it may be to your advantage to stop playing. Say, if you win all eight of your matches. The state of the competition, if you keep winning, will be more and more difficult as you keep playing. The risk of losing may not be worth it, so stopping may be the best option.

However, it's actually possible that you may be able to game the ladder by purposefully losing your first match or two so it matches you up with lesser-skilled players. Then you can win more easily, and be in a stronger position to keep winning throughout the hours because you won't ever be matched with the top-most players that never lost. Top 32 means there's room for you even with a loss or two. Maybe more.

In the Ladder Round, remember that there is a limited number of games that one can possibly play and finish within the time period. 

This tournament is likely to attract more experienced professional players than the previous tournaments, because this one lacks items and professionals feel more comfortable with that. However, it's also likely to attract a bunch of wannabe try-hards who like to think they're really good at the game and don't want to play with items, but they're really not that great. I think it's a wash overall, but if you did participate in the previous Battlefy-Nintendo tournaments, expect the top echelon of players to be more tough.

Also, stay hydrated, eat food, get good sleep, and most importantly... WASH YOUR HANDS. Slimy hands and claws will make your play worse. You don't have to use the Search For Match button until you're physically and mentally ready for another fight.

There might be a lot less time in-between games than in previous tournaments, and the time period to play is substantially longer, but Ludwig will try to keep a record of all of his matches in this article's comments section on tournament day. Hopefully he'll get to play in the Bracket Round. He encourages you to enter the tournament as well. It's free, at least. Assuming you already have a Nintendo Switch and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Nintendo Switch Online. If you don't have Nintendo Switch Online, there's a seven-day free trial available that you can extend to nine days! Also, if you have any remaining questions about the tournament, feel free to ask them in the comments section, or in your region's support channel on the official Discord server for this tournament. Once more, Ludwig was in no way influenced by the Battlefy staff in his coverage of the event.

Ludwig aggregated the results of this tournament for your benefit.
Soon after, they announced there will be a September 2019 tournament to get into The Big House 9!
The winners of this event ultimately had their prize cancelled due to a typhoon.
Whether you're in a big tournament or not, you should still wash your hands in-between matches or game sessions.


  1. This certainly does seem much better organized than the last Smash thing wrote about on here. Err, has there been an article previous with more information about this "Battlefy" organization?

    1. There's been previous articles linked in the first paragraph about the previous tournaments Nintendo has done with them this year, but I haven't written an exposé on the organisation itself.


    Set 1, VS. Tyler. I played as Bowser vs. his King K. Rool on Pokémon Stadium 2 and won... and then played as Bowser vs. Dark Samus on Castle Siege and also won. Never was really threatened with a loss here. I was one of the first five people to finish a set... apparently because everyone else is having some kind of bug issue with Battlefy.

    Set 2, vs. Ca. It was two Bowser vs. Ness games. First on Yoshi's Island, which actually was nice because the weird ledges blocked his PK Fires. The second on Smashville featured him doing some weird off-stage Ness throw combo but he couldn't make it back (but I could) so that was an early deficit for him that he never came back from.

    Set 3, vs. SANS. Even though this guy is named after an Undertale character, he was pretty nice. He got demolished in Castle Siege and Yoshi's Island vs. my Bowser. He played as Joker... and, like, there's a lot of those running around so I know how to bait him to down-b. Then I command grab him.

    Set 4, vs. Blue. He's a Hero main, using Blue-alt Hero. He didn't spam random spells at me, but used his A moves. My Bowser barely won Game 1 on Stadium 2 by a hail mary forward-smash from his missed grab, but I was behind the whole game. In game 2, we went back to Stadium 2, and I tried Bowserciding him but he could recover with his Up-B, so... it was 1 stock each and he got a Kaboom to win. However, in Game 3 we went to Smashville and he just decimated me, ending my last stock with a very early down-air spike. OOF.

    Set 5, vs. Flavortown. He went Piranha Plant vs. my Ludwig on game 1 at Final Destination. So many DLC characters... anyway, my Ludwig traps were way too good for him and he got wiped out. On Game 2, he went Simon Belmont on Stadium 2, and he pretty much only used the B button, dash attack, and down-air to land. Sometimes he mixed up his down-air with an air dodge away. Although the Belmonts are always annoying, he was pretty predictable, so I won.

    Set 6, vs. Chipping: He was also 4–1 so far, like me. He's a Zelda main. He won game 1 (Battlefield, I used Pokémon Trainer and it was a disaster), I won game 2 (Castle Siege, I switched to Bowser), and he won game 3 (Smashville vs. my Bowser). Our game 3 was very even at 1 fresh stock each, then he did a throw combo into a back-air and it just went downhill with the edgeguarding. Critical moment was me missing my back-air and he forward-smashed for KO. That Phantom can do some weird things with stage geometry and hit where you don't expect it to.

    Set 7, vs. Vinylic. (VinylicDot). First game is my Jigglypuff vs. Green Kirby. It was Frigate Orpheon, and he got a lot of damage from the wall with the right-moving platform. I kept trying to contest his down-air and it didn't work well at all... and he was fine up-smashing when contesting him from above. Poor Jigglypuff. Second match, chose Ludwig. After a very close game where he had 169% on his last stock, I lost. Dude uses Kirby's tilts in a way I've never seen Kirby do it (why can't Jigglypuff do that?), and he's great at drifting his aerials and stuff and I don't have a way of contesting it really besides throwing forward-smashes. Doesn't help my Mecha-Koopa actually saved his stock at one point. He said he's been playing Kirby since Brawl. (I've been playing Jigglypuff since 64 and have nothing to show for it.)

    Set 8, vs. Beast. I played as Bowser vs. his Pokémon Trainer on Yoshi's Island and JV-2-stocked him after Bowserciding his Ivysaur. In game 2, I swapped to my Pokémon Trainer and he went Roy of Pherae. I spiked him with Ivysaur's down-air and took advantage of his desperate Counters to win the game.

    That's the minimum 8 games and I have 5 wins and 3 losses. I need to play more, since that puts me at around rank 156. Far from 32.

    1. Set 9, vs. SBK. He's a Joker main. I'm going with Lord Bowser. We were on Yoshi's Island and I two-stocked his Joker. Dude filled up an empty Arsene metre by down-b-ing one smash attack. So dumb. Second game on Castle Siege. He was going to win until he down-b'd and then I side-b'd him for the win.

      Set 10, vs. Bob. His arena had amiibo set to on so I made my own arena 'cause no way. He used Purple Captain Falcon. I went Bowser 'cause I dunno what Falcon match-ups are even like. I 2-stocked him with 0% after I Bowsercided and failed 'cause he wall jumped from Yoshi's Island's wall, but in general he didn't seem to know about Bowser's Tough Guy property since he kept jabbing. But I guess he does know the Bowser match-up somewhat since then he swapped to Palutena. I'm not doing Bowser vs. Palutena so I swapped to Jigglypuff. We went back to Yoshi's Island, and while the first stock was bad, I two-stocked his Palutena once I stopped running in to his back-airs. Happy that Jigglypuff accomplished something.

      Set 11, vs. Xeletrix. Xeletrix is a regular on the Battlefy Discord server for this tournament, so we've played many times together, including recently in a crew battle when we were on the same crew. (We easily won the entire crew battle beating all the other crews in round robin.) He plays Jigglypuff, Lucina, and Yoshi. He has a lot of trouble vs. my Bowser, so of course I'm using him. I screwed up my first stock because I Bowser Bombed and didn't grab ledge. >.> But I won by forward-airing Jigglypuff's stocks very early on Pokémon Stadium 2. Xeletrix tried multiple times to Sing Bowser, but as a Jigglypuff player I know to hold down Shield and wait it out. But he tech'd my Bowser Bomb punishes. Game 2, we went back to Stadium 2. He didn't try the random Sings, but he did incorporate jab-lock Sings. He just didn't get KOs or even Rests off of them. I beat him and now I'm in top 100 with 8 wins and 3 losses.

    2. Set 12, vs. Toasty. He played Wolf vs. my Bowser on Yoshi's Island. I got a miracle Up-Smash to close the stock but he was winning the whole time. >.> I also got a Bowser Bomb spike on him the 2nd time I tried it. The first time he somehow beat it out with his Shine? Second game I went Trainer. Back to Yoshi's. That was a bad choice and I got 2-stocked. I went back to Bowser and we got a little more favourable stage in Pokémon Stadium 2, but I still struggled dealing with Wolf and got spiked for a finish, never being in the lead.

      Set 13, vs. LemonyBard and his Meta Knight. Won game 1 on BF with Ludwig. Won game 2 on Yoshi's Island with Ludwig, too.

      Set 14, vs. gooby100. He played Ganondorf and I played as Ludwig. I won game 1 on Final Destination and game 2 on Smashville. No real comments. It's a Ganondorf. They're all the same.

    3. I had 10 wins and 4 losses, which put me at 87th place in my region, of 870 people who played in the ladder.


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