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Monday, September 30, 2019

The Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Characters Used The MOST and the LEAST In September 2019!

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - I'M BANJO, WHOAAAAAA!

Earlier this month, Nintendo and Battlefy announced and then held the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate North American Online Open September 2019. I participated in it, and you can read the tragic story of how I actually performed in the comments section of that announcement article.

(But congratulations to Epic Gabriel [for winning two of these in a row...Region 6, Florida, R.O.B.], Tearbear [Region 2, California, Banjo & Kazooie], King Chris [Region 8, Manitoba, Zero Suit Samus], and Grayson [Region 3, Texas, R.O.B.] for getting a flight, hotel stay, gift card, and ticket to The Big House 9 tournament taking place this weekend in Detroit.)

One of the things I was most looking forward to was the usage statistics of the fighter characters in September vs. August, particularly how the Version 5.0 update at the start of September that added Banjo & Kazooie and some new Mii costumes (the fighter adjustments aren't worth discussing) would affect people's behaviour. I published the usage statistics from the Online Open August 2019 over here, so how did they change in September?

First, some caveats. One, the September tournament had significantly less entrants and players than the August one, so the sample size is much less and the capability of outliers affecting the total is greater. There were only 3,509 people who registered across all of North America, and only 1,953 actually played at least one set. There were 26,114 games played by those people. That's around a 71% overall decrease in activity month-to-month no matter what stat you look at. There's several reasons for why that is. Two common ones are that people would rather go to Japan (August's prize) than Detroit (September's prize), and Nintendo didn't promote this tournament through the Switch News application.

Second, the Battlefy character-selector (which exists for statistics purposes) didn't have Banjo & Kazooie as an option until a little over two hours into the event, for a four-hour event. They apparently forgot. This dramatically under-represents Banjo & Kazooie's usage. If it's double the amount than what's shown under Banjo & Kazooie's names, that would actually change the results quite a bit. Banjo & Kazooie players still had to pick someone, so that inflates other fighters’ numbers.

See for yourself in pie chart format, and then text format:


Super Smash Bros. Ultimate September 2019 fighter usage stats picks

Here are the relative placements, name, total games played, the percentage of all games played, and their change in placement compared to August. Positive number means they went up in usage compared to other characters, while negative means they fell off relative to other characters. I've colour-coded notable changes:
  1. Joker    3346    6.41%    0
  2. Bowser    1869    3.58%    2
  3. Hero    1636    3.13%    -1
  4. Inkling    1597    3.06%    3
  5. Ganondorf    1488    2.85%    0
  6. Link    1401    2.68%    -3
  7. Ness    1390    2.66%    -1
  8. Cloud    1261    2.41%    0
  9. Samus    1238    2.37%    6
  10. Mario    1192    2.28%    1
  11. Pokémon Trainer    1166    2.23%    -1
  12. Yoshi    1126    2.16%    -3
  13. Lucas    1017    1.95%    5
  14. Captain Falcon    1008    1.93%    5
  15. Palutena    1003    1.92%    10
  16. Banjo & Kazooie    1000    1.91%    N/A
  17. King Dedede    932    1.78%    7
  18. Ridley    908    1.74%    10
  19. Snake    868    1.66%    11
  20. Zelda    856    1.64%    0
  21. Little Mac    826    1.58%    -8
  22. Bayonetta    818    1.57%    19
  23. Piranha Plant    804    1.54%    -1
  24. Donkey Kong    801    1.53%    -10
  25. R.O.B.    790    1.51%    2
  26. Chrom    787    1.51%    10
  27. Ike    772    1.48%    2
  28. Wolf    761    1.46%    -5
  29. Mr. Game & Watch    754    1.44%    9
  30. Kirby    747    1.43%    -14
  31. Roy    731    1.40%    2
  32. King K. Rool    708    1.36%    -20
  33. Lucina    674    1.29%    -16
  34. Young Link    667    1.28%    -13
  35. Sonic    650    1.24%    -4
  36. Bowser Jr.    638    1.22%    18
  37. Luigi    632    1.21%    -5
  38. Mega Man    625    1.20%    -3
  39. Toon Link    600    1.15%    -5
  40. Zero Suit Samus    593    1.14%    5
  41. Falco    585    1.12%    -1
  42. Pikachu    583    1.12%    -16
  43. Incineroar    567    1.09%    0
  44. Shulk    562    1.08%    9
  45. Duck Hunt    508    0.97%    26
  46. Jigglypuff    480    0.92%    -7
  47. Mii Gunner    449    0.86%    19
  48. Ken    404    0.77%    9
  49. Greninja    402    0.77%    -12
  50. Wii Fit Trainer    401    0.77%    1
  51. Corrin    398    0.76%    -2
  52. Mewtwo    380    0.73%    -2
  53. Dark Samus    368    0.70%    -9
  54. Isabelle    353    0.68%    -8
  55. Rosalina & Luma    341    0.65%    18
  56. PAC-MAN    331    0.63%    -4
  57. Dark Pit    307    0.59%    -15
  58. Lucario    307    0.59%    6
  59. Fox    298    0.57%    -12
  60. Mii Swordfighter    282    0.54%    -2
  61. Villager    276    0.53%    0
  62. Pichu    266    0.51%    -3
  63. Dr. Mario    258    0.49%    -1
  64. Richter    251    0.48%    -8
  65. Peach    246    0.47%    -10
  66. Marth    246    0.47%    -18
  67. Wario    235    0.45%    6
  68. Robin    223    0.43%    -8
  69. Mii Brawler    199    0.38%    -4
  70. Pit    196    0.38%    0
  71. Simon    162    0.31%    -8
  72. Daisy    145    0.28%    -5
  73. Diddy Kong    118    0.23%    -4
  74. Ice Climbers    106    0.20%    1
  75. Meta Knight    97    0.19%    -7
  76. Ryu    82    0.16%    0
  77. Olimar    70    0.13%    0
  78. Sheik    66    0.13%    -4


Both Bayonetta and Duck Hunt went up dramatically, and my theory is that much of that is actually Banjo & Kazooie before the 2-hour mark. The Battlefy staff instructed Banjo & Kazooie players to pick whomever they wanted while his character icon wasn't selectable. I believe Bayonetta was picked because she's the first character in alphabetical order (path of least resistance, since the characters were presented alphabetically), and Duck Hunt because... well... they're pretty thematically similar to Banjo. Just ask Banjo & Kazooie's announcement trailer. Bowser Jr. might have gone up for a similar reason to Bayonetta, but I'll deny it and attribute it to my own increased play of Bowser Jr. (...specifically Ludwig) in the tournament, which proceeded to inspire a continent-wide wave of Koopa participation. That's why Bowser is #2 as well, right?

A lot of other things I don't have an explanation for, other than things like “more people are realising that Little Mac (unfortunately) sucks, and so does King K. Rool.” I can, however, explain that Mii Gunner must have gone up by 19 places because of a certain skeleton-faced Mii Costume. Unfortunately, Team Rocket Grunts actually got Mii Brawler to fall.

Olimar is no longer the least popular character! That goes to Sheik. Though it's really close. Many regions featured multiple characters with 0 games played. Shout-out to Meta Knight for basically being unknown in most regions. Those 97 games almost all came from Regions 6 and 8. Huge drop from Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

The most surprising thing is that Joker is still dominating the stats. More DLC characters have released, but Joker hasn't fallen. Hero has a bit, and Banjo is quite possibly more used than Hero. But not Joker. Why is that? It's not because Joker's game is popular with Switch owners. It's because Joker is the best character in the game, and there is a large number of Super Smash Bros. players who think that if they play the best character in the game, it'll increase their own chances of victory compared to playing as their actual favourite characters. 

Take comfort in this: Based on fellow masked swordsman/knifer Meta Knight, Joker will probably be unused by the seventh Super Smash Bros. game... if he's even in there at all.


You can check out the spreadsheet in Google Sheets over here with regional breakdowns and the raw stats. This isn't meant to be a monthly series or anything, and Ludwig won't do an October one if there's no October tournament series to get information from, and he hopes there isn't one because they obviously need time to get a decent prize (not Detroit) and promotion plan so there isn't another 71% participation drop. Region 5 would have their whole region be Top 32! Feel free to comment any of your own observations.


There wasn't an October tournament, but there is a November one.
Here are the usage stats for that November tournament! Is Joker still #1?

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