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Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Battle Arena Etiquette: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - They don't teach this in school.

It may be true that Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has been released for a year now, but it's Christmas! There are always new and more people buying the game.

There are three ways to get match-made online in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate—Quick Smash (Elite Smash), Battle Arenas, and Online Tourneys. The most important and enjoyable of those methods is the Battle Arena, which is the only way to play with specific people such as those on your friend list (which you can set as private rooms). You can also enter public rooms. Creators of public rooms (owners) have the powers to set the battle rules of the room, activate or deactivate voice chat through the Nintendo Switch Online app (which no one uses), and kick people.

I often make Battle Arenas and am amazed by the nonexistent or even negative level of basic etiquette displayed by players. I'll spell out the rules everyone should follow, and then get into some specific intricacies for my arenas. Following these will prevent a drop in your personal reputation and should provide a more smooth game experience:

  1. Don't start the match until everyone in the room who isn't obviously away-from-keyboard is in a position to spectate. (More on this later in the article)
  2. Battle Arenas do not allow you to change characters, stages, or look at the rules without losing your space in the line/leaving the fight area. Therefore, don't immediately begin another battle... leave a few seconds so people can make those adjustments. This also means if someone prevents a battle from starting by pressing the cancel button, don't be obnoxious and immediately try to start it again
  3. If someone leaves to change their character/stage and they lose their place in line, the arena participants should kindly allow that person to reclaim their spot
  4. Don't disconnect because you lost. It No Contests the match (ruining it for other participants) and makes you look like a total twit
  5. Check the rules of the Arena before you play in it. Most importantly, if it's a Teams-based Arena, please be aware that it's Teams (meaning the objective is to attack the people not on your team) and see if Team Attack is on or not
  6. If there are other people in line, and you should assume there are, don't stall the game to satisfy some sadistic urge of yours. Other people want to play

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Battle Arena guide to spectating matches
This image explains a lack of etiquette in action.
If you press the begin-a-battle button while someone is in the purple “No spectating” zone (top screenshot), they won't be able to watch.
(If they move to a spectate zone in-between the battle preparing and the battle starting, they still won't be able to watch.)
And depriving them some form of entertainment while in the arena is RUDE.

Version 6.0 added messages accessible via the R button. You should use them to communicate your intent (such as if you're taking a break), and say nice things like hello and bye-bye when you leave. You should also read the messages other people send to you. Just... don't spam it.

Here are rules... unique to my arenas:
  1. Picking a Mii and giving them any piece of the Sans Mii costume and/or purposefully picking a stage with the MEGALOVANIA music selected will get you kicked. Being a decent person and being an obsessive Undertale fan are mutually exclusive
  2. Don't act like a disrespectful asshole (taunting repeatedly/crouching repeatedly)
  3. It's better to have someone in the spectator stands watching a 1 vs. 1 than have a three-for-all, which are rarely fun because it ends up being a 2 vs. 1, or one player just avoids combat until the end and they win
  4. Share Stock in team matches should be done for the benefit of your team's chances of winning, not for your selfish desires
In my experience, people who exhibit good etiquette tend to be more aware and better players. People who lack social graces tend to be fools and have poor performance in battles. There are likely explanations for this, similar to how BOOYAH!-ing back is a sign of many positive traits in Splatoon 2, or maybe better players will just be more likely to want to play with you, which helps you become a better player by having better sparring partners.

You could say that all of this etiquette is a matter of having empathy and being able to base your actions on how they affect other people. You'll know how they'll affect other people because the same things that happen to you will happen to them. A lot of players haven't internalised that's how it works.

Ludwig will keep this article as a tab on the site navigation whenever he has a Battle Arena up, since they typically are named “Visit” and the etiquette tips will apply. Best to make it accessible. Do you have other bits of etiquette that Ludwig should add to the article? Express them in the comments section!

A guest poster was inspired by this etiquette guide and wrote her own specifically for Super Kirby Clash!


  1. This is nice to know that you open your arena for everyone. Always get too shy to randomly join these without asking if it is not known it is made to be public. Then again I should have tried joining to see if it was password protected or not to let me know if it was made public or private.

    Would you personally ban Sora if and when he gets released so the arena can be inclusive for me?

    1. It'll tell you if it's password protected with the little lock symbol, and next to that you can tell if it's friends-only or public.

      As long as you're well-behaved and know how to play the game—that's another rule I've always maintained, that you should know how the controls work before going to online multiplayer—you're welcome!

      I wouldn't ban Sora, though. I'd want to ban Chrom and PAC-MAN and Red Plumber first.

  2. I have 3 things to say about this:
    1) Wait, you can spectate while in line? The last time I tried an Arena I don't think that was the case.

    2) This is definitely just me, but if I lose my place in line, I'm going to be GLAD to stall my turn, because I really am a coward when it comes to online Smash battles. Or Smash PvP in general. Being maybe one level removed from a filthy casual in Florida's mainstream Smash community can do that to a guy.

    3) Liking Megalovania and being obsessed about Undertale are not mutually inclusive. For one thing, it was associated with other things before Undertale was even a thing. For another, it's just a really cool song. Personally I'd more draw the line at picking it REPEATEDLY.

    1. I have less than 3 things to say about your 3 things:

      1. You can definitely spectate while in line, as long as you're in line at the time of the battle preparation being started. Go to your local Arena with a line and test that out for yourself.

      3. You have to specifically pay money to have access to MEGALOVANIA (via buying the Sans Mii costume), which SHOULD mean that you're obsessed about Undertale. (Either that, or they priced it too low and/or Smash fans buy anything.) Why else would you pay for an optional something you don't really care about? Anyway, reminder that your music choice is associated with your stage choice. There are two ways to produce MEGALOVANIA:
      3.1: Pick a random stage, which automatically will pick random music. The random stage happens to be one where MEGALOVANIA can play, and it does. You would have to go out of your way to set MEGALOVANIA's chances of appearing in My Music before this. The next time you fight, it'll pick another random stage and another random music.
      3.2: Pick a MEGALOVANIA-compatible stage, with random music. It'll pick different music every time, in accordance with your My Music settings. You would have to go out of your way to set MEGALOVANIA's chances of appearing before this.
      3.3: Pick a MEGALOVANIA-compatible stage and specifically choose MEGALOVANIA as the music that plays. It will always play when that stage is selected until you go out of line and change your stage again.

      In my experience, MEGALOVANIA is only picked by people with Mii costumes. I don't know what its default My Music setting is across its compatible stages, but probably low or zero. That means if it plays, it's a conscious choice somewhere.

    2. Oh...yeah. Smash DLC costs money. I guess I was so incensed about that happening in the first place that my capacity for denial reached unprecedented levels by now. Or maybe I thought the sans costume and Megalovania was part of some package instead of specifically buying it.

      Also, I get the feeling I should be glad you had nothing to say about Point 2.

    3. It's the only Mii costume to come with a song!
      (For now. If only the others did that... I'd definitely buy a song associated with Zero or Team Rocket.)


  3. another rude thing is stalling when the game is about to start. i dont know how they do it or how to get out of it. its like a false start thing.
    but nice article.

    1. Thank you!

      Uh... You'll have to specify a bit on that.

      I know people get 15 (or was it 10?) seconds to press GO on the Preparing for battle screen. I don't think it's rude to take some time with that. They can cancel out of it by waiting for that time to pass, or pressing the B button, which will kick them out of line.
      Sometimes everyone presses GO and the game just stalls and doesn't start the gameplay for a bit. That's an indicator that there is gonna be a lot of lag or someone disconnected.

  4. Might I ask, what do you think is the best mode to be on? 1v1, 4 player, 3 player or team? And also, is planet popular good musico?

    1. 1v1 or Team. Team cycles more people through the Arena line and is more fun in my opinion, but 1v1 is the most popular.

      Planet Popular? You mean Planet Popstar? I think it'd make your Arena waiters very antsy and eager to start a fight.


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