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Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Be the Best Byleth? Super Smash Bros. Ultimate North American Online Open February 2020!

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Or be the best of any number of buffed, nerfed, or untouched characters in 7.0.0!

Tonight, while I type these words, the world... nay, the universe, is waiting for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate to enter Version 7.0.0. All I can do while I wait is write this article and play Ring Fit Adventure. This update promises the addition of Koopaling-wannabe Byleth, some Mii Costumes, and patch notes with balance changes. That last bit is most exciting, ESPECIALLY because we will be able to IMMEDIATELY track how it affects the metagame.

That's right. Returning from November 2019 is the online Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tournament series that's a collaboration between game publisher Nintendo and eSports platform Battlefy: The Super Smash Bros. Ultimate North American Online Open February 2020! (Register at that link.)

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate North American Online Open February 2020 Battlefy logo
Now in a snazzy black-and-yellow logo.
(I like the blue one better.)

The rules are simple, and the same as November 2019 (with the exception of banning those Québec scoundrels). When you come to your region's tournament page (and that's based on where you'll be playing from) on your tournament day (regions 1–4 are February 1 at 10 AM Pacific time, and regions 5–8 are February 2 at 11 AM Eastern time), you'll see a red search for match button. For three hours after the start time, you're in a ladder round. That means you keep playing matches trying to get the best win-lose rate, and as you play more, you'll be matched with people closer to your skill level. You need to be in the top 32 of contestants in terms of win rate (with a minimum of 8 best-of-3 matches played) by the end of the three hours to qualify for the single-elimination bracket round. If you're a top-2 finalist in that, you get to join the other three regions on that tournament day for a top-8 bracket. If you're in the top-2 of that, you get the prize, which is...

...A fully paid-for competition ticket, round-trip flight, and hotel to FROSTBITE 2020, taking place in Detroit from February 21 to 23. ...Yeah, Detroit isn't great at this time of year from a climate perspective (hence the name of the tournament), and Detroit arguably isn't great at ANY time of year. It's a city filled with urban decay, poverty, and crime. Fortunately, you don't have to live there. Oh, and you also get a $350 prepaid card.

The matches themselves are no-items, 3-stock, 7-minutes, and random stage between the nine legal stages outlined on the registration page. (They're generally good stages.)

After the tournament, KoopaTV will be your one-stop-shop for the aggregated usage stats for all of the fighters used during the tournament for all regions, just like we did for the November one. In previous tournaments that came right after big patches, we've seen that the patch notes details affect character usage fairly dramatically.

And what's in the patch? Well, Byleth is released as of writing this, but the patch notes are not. ...Well, after quite some time waiting, here they are. None of my characters got anything, BUT Joker finally got nerfed with his Gun and with his Arsene duration, which I've been calling for for many months now. I predict that Joker will FINALLY no longer be the most-used character, after he has been so for all of the previous tournaments.

Also, Piranha Plant's “lips [were made] briefly invincible after deactivating shield.” 

You should join the tournament. Ludwig will be playing, after all. For the link again, click here. It's free to enter, as long as you can play Super Smash Bros. Ultimate online. And you have a high-speed Internet connection. When the tournament occurs, Ludwig will be posting his progress and rank in the comments section below.

Was Ludwig's prediction correct? Find out in the February 2020 usage stats!
The next tournament is a mere month later... Spring 2020! With a better destination.


  1. You have no concept of how little travelling I'm able to do. If the prize was an all expenses paid multi-day tour of the CIRCLES OF HELL I would still want it. However, I simply can't be bothered to "git gud" at Smash.

    1. Well, Dante had a good time with it!

      I'm worried that I'm worse at Smash now than I was in November. >.>

  2. Match 1: VS. a guy named BOLD. I'm using Jigglypuff. He's a Captain Falcon. On Yoshi's Story. I did a fantastic job edgeguarding him and won two-stocks. I feel confident staying as Jigglypuff, and he's staying as Falcon. Second game is in Smashville. Again, it looked like I was gonna two-stock him, but he did a fantastic up-tilt and spiked Jigglypuff on my second stock. But I closed it out by two-framing him with Jigglypuff's down-smash. Falcon really struggles to recover vs. Jigglypuff.
    Match 2: Vs. Bmm404040... WITH A PICHU? Haven't seen those in a while, not since they haunted me back when these tournaments had items in, like, Feb and March. The Pichu utterly pwned me, getting weird Thunder combos against my Jigglypuff on Final Destination. I got two-stocked after missing a Rest combo. Well, let's try Ludwig... On Smashville. I was losing the entire time, but somehow clutched it out with 150% on my last stock. Pichu had like, over 100% more damage given than I gave it. People complain about Bowser's Whirling Fortress being where if you touch Bowser's shield you get pwned. Well, Pichu is the same way with its aerials. Pichu's neutral air is also 6 frames out of shield. Anyway, game 3. SWITCHING TO BOWSER. If the key is knocking out Pichu early, Bowser's the guy. ...Annnnd Bowser was NOT the guy. I got three-stocked on Yoshi's Story, including getting Thunder Spiked at 17.4% (after the Thunder hit). Ugggggh. Here's the thing. Ludwig couldn't win that either, because Ludwig can't win on Yoshi's Story. I'm not sure how I could do it. If I'm above Pichu it spikes me with Thunder. If I'm below Pichu it spikes me with down-air. It's half an hour in now, and I've only played two matches. That's quite behind schedule. I need to get over my Pichu PTSD and keep playing...
    Match 3: VS. Baul Plart. I'm not going Bowser again right away. Not after that. Ludwig was promising. Sort of. If only by fluke. No, it was pure skill on my part. ...But he's going with Joker and I'm NOT doing Ludwig vs. Joker because I just lose to his Rebel's Guard. Alright, Bowser it is. Bowser's my designated anti-Joker guy. Pokémon Stadium 2. Fortunately, this guy has exactly the Joker habit I thought he'd have, which is to land with down-b. Predictable and very punishable with Bowser. Game 2, he switches to Ganondorf. I zero-to-death'd him on his first stock (got a Bowser Bomb while he was shielding next to the ledge) and on his third stock. He Ganoncided the second one, which was silly. Anyway, that was a good way to feel better.
    Match 4: Vs. Arcane AJ, in-game name Arcturus. His arena allows for amiibo... But he's not using them. He's using Mii Swordfighter (not based on any character; I assume it's an idealised version of himself) and I'm using Ludwig. That could be dangerous if his Mii has a reflector... Stage is set for Town & City. I three-stocked him because his Mii's moves are set to Gale Strike, Gale Stab, Skyward Slash Dash, and Power Thrust. In other words, not Mii Swordfighter's optimal stuff. And he kept spamming it. He switched his up-b to Stone Scabbard... and kept doing his special move spam. Like, he did his Gale Stab WHILE I WAS HOLDING SHIELD from the other side. I three-stocked him as Ludwig, again, on Final Destination. I gave him tips afterwards to...try using A moves next time, and stop doing highly-telegraphed attacks. Quite frankly, because I had that Pichu loss, the ladder system is probably matching me with players with bad records.

    1. Match 5: Vs. DevilsFire. He has a Captain Falcon avatar, so I'll go back to Jigglypuff. ...Except he's a Banjo & Kazooie player. Not really sure what the best match-up is against him. Stadium 2. I three-stocked him since he was, like, side-b-ing off the stage (really early in the match instead of saving it) and couldn't come back. He switched to bumblebee Ness, his actual main, so he could side-b as much as he want. Unfortunately for him, we played on Yoshi's Island Brawl, which can be difficult for him to PK Thunder back to the stage. I three-stocked him again. It's 12:09 PM Eastern and I've played 5 matches and won 4. I'm doing this at a much better pace.
      Match 6: Vs. a guy named Mr. Hecker. His arena's name is "Butthole" and he put his password as "69". I highly doubt this guy is mature. At first he gave me the wrong arena code (to some guy's 4-player arena) and told ME I put it in wrong. Anyway, he's a Wolf player. I'll keep using Jigglypuff... on Town & City. Unfortunately for me, this guy actually knows what all of the buttons do, so I got one-stocked after initially having the lead. It was a good match-up for me, too, since the size of the stage prevented effective Blaster Spam. I switched to Bowser for game 2 and got to the Kalos Pokémon League and two-stocked him. He crumbled to Bowser. Next match was in Lylat where he tries to spam Blasters at me while protected by platforms from above, but Bowser wasn't having it, especially since Flame Breath beats Blaster. I two-stocked him again, and then he kicked me out of his arena and didn't even say good game or anything.
      Match 7: Vs. Striker. His arena music has Jump Up, Super Star, so he has good taste. He's using Wedding Mario, so... he has bad taste and scares me. Uh... I'll try Ludwig but if I get caped I'm switching to Bowser. In Battlefield. It was EXTREMELY CLOSE. He had the lead for most of the game, but then I figured out that... he doesn't really approach. He will Cape a cannonball and a Mecha-Koopa every time, including pre-emptively instead of on reaction. And if he misses his forward-smash, he will always spot-dodge. I used those learnings to clutch out a win when I had 150% left on my last stock. I told him "brb washing claws" (they're sweaty) and then he wrote, "u play so lame", told Battlefy that I won a second match against him, and then he kicked me out of his arena. Typical Mario player, am I right?
      Match 8: I need 8 matches before I'm given a real ranking! There's 76 minutes left in the tournament now. I'm playing against "nhfabn". The guy had his arena set to "Choice" and I told him it has to be set to "Random" and he said "its not" but I made a (correct) arena anyway. He's a Terry player. I'm still using Ludwig. And he two-stocked me because Lylat is awful for Ludwig... and Power Geyser is scary, whoa. I told him to "have fun!" and he replied, "if ur playing this game for fun your playing for the wrong reasons". I asked him, "Are you okay?" He didn't get it was a Terry reference. In that case, I'll switch to Lord Bowser to Stadium 2, which I won somewhat closely. His jab combos into Buster Wolf, which is messy. Game 3, still Bowser, now on Smashville. At his last stock, he just spammed POWER GEYSER over and over, so I jumped over it, went behind him, and Flying Slammed for the win. He was very content in staying away from me to spam his projectile while I was on a platform, but this was right after I Fire-Breathed him and waiting for that to be restored to full strength anyway.

      I have 7 wins, 1 loss. I'm ranked 45. Not in the top 32 so far. 28 minutes left.

    2. Wait I'm dumb it ends in 55 minutes. Half hour off.

    3. Match 9: Vs. Striker. Again. (He's the guy from Match 7) He reported the match to the admins upon seeing me for the second time. Well, I know he knows I have a Ludwig and he has Mario. This time I'm using Bowser.... and he changed to Joker. Yoshi's Story. He lost and suicided his last stock because he said screw it, I guess? He switched to Donkey Kong and I switched to Ludwig just to screw with him. Yoshi's Story again. He.... suicided twice after his first stock disappeared and I had about 40% on my first stock. He told me "wasnt having fun anymore". Then he kicked me out of his arena. Um, alright. I asked him if he wanted to talk about it, but he disappeared. Now I'm Rank 41. 32nd place right now is a 9 win, 2 loss record, so if I win another match, I should be able to break that.
      Match 10: Vs. Hareta. He's Rank 17 right now. He has a 10–2 record. He's R.O.B. I'll pick Jigglypuff. Lylat. I won the first match, clutching it with an UP-SMASH at the end. R.O.B. is surprisingly hard to edgeguard, since it can alternate between his Up-B recovery, Up-Air, and then keep Up-B-ing after. In game 2, we played on Final Destination. He got the beyblade thing early and had a lead from the start. I never figured out, by the way, how to pick up his down-b disks. I also thought Jigglypuff could rest from being down-throwed but no. I also lost Game 3 and that one wasn't close. ROB's Side-B beats out Pound and Rollout. (Well, Rollout loses to everything). Now I'm down to rank 58. I just want to add that, since Brawl, I never learned how to safely pick up ROB's Gyros.
      Match 11: Vs. "R U OK??" He's MY FIRST Byleth of the day. (Edelgard-coloured Byleth) And the first one I've ever seen actually cancel their Failnaught B charge. They then switched to... naked Shulk after easily losing on Yoshi's Story. Second game on Kalos. They SD'd on the first stock by going Speed Shulk, immediately running to my side of the stage with a jump, going too far, and being unable to recover. I beat them with Jigglypuff simply, and they said it's the worst match they've lost so far. There's 8 minutes left. Rank 51. Better stop talking and play.
      Match 12: Vs. Shady. Gotta do this fast so picking Bowser. They chose Lucina. Bowser's my best vs. Lucina anyway. Stage: Stadium 2. Three-stocked her. They changed to Wario, who is uncommon. Still picking Bowser. I anticipate many bikes. I two-stocked him and he didn't even fart. 30 seconds left to find next match.

    4. ...Unfortunately, it didn't find a match in that last 30 seconds, so I'm unable to be grandfathered in. To be grandfathered, you must queue a match AND find one. I only queued it.

      With 10 wins and 2 losses.
      I got to rank 37. Not Top 32.
      Oh well...


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