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Monday, January 20, 2020

Learn in 7 Seconds Why Byleth Isn't An Interesting Choice in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Byleth brings no new mechanics.

There are a whole lot of people out there who took the announcement of Byleth as the fifth Fighters Pass character from last week as, “Oh, great, now Fire Emblem has eight characters or 10% of the entire Super Smash Bros. Ultimate roster.” I'm not one of those people.

I do, however, remember things that Masahiro Sakurai has said about characters. One thing he said right after he introduced Byleth is that, “Right from the start, we intended to make the most out of new gameplay mechanics. [...] When we add a new fighter, we don't simply make their attacks or their movements a little different. Instead, we try to offer you a whole new style of play.” He also said with Terry's stream, “Whether or not the character is fun to play as, is more important than whether the character is new or old, or whether the character is recognizable to everyone.”

I asked, in my live reaction log, what new gameplay mechanic was introduced with Byleth? Was Byleth added to be more than being a new recognisable character from the latest hit Nintendo Switch game? Well, according to Byleth fans, it's the whole real-time weapon change. If you press a button and a direction, it'll use a different weapon than if you pressed a button and another direction, or no direction at all!

The Nintendo UK VS Twitter account makes this argument as well, claiming that Byleth is no ordinary sword user:


Here is my official video response to that video:


There are two aspects to weaponry:
  1. Their flavour value. This means the visual distinctions between weapons (axes have different models and animations required than swords)
  2. Their game mechanic value. All swords are disjointed hitboxes (hitboxes that don't overlap with the character's hurtbox) with long range, and they should have a fair amount of start-up lag too (takes more time to swing the sword than it does to throw a punch). In this respect, weapons like axes and lances are treated the exact same way as swords. They're all slower ranged disjointed hitboxes. Swinging an axe might be a little slower than swinging a sword, and a little more powerful, but it's why there isn't much difference between Byleth's axe-based down-smash and Ike's sword-based down-smash. It's why Corrin has flavour value in using dragon limbs to attack, but it's mechanically identical to another sword

You see, the Koopalings (and that loser Bowser Jr.) have been using completely different weapons with different inputs for years. You got wands, ball-and-chains, drills, boxing gloves, forks, tongues, Eekhammers, cannon balls, Mecha-Koopas, and more! Those weapons share the whole disjointed part, but they have many differences than swords, lances, and axes. The drills and tongues are all multi-hit moves. They have pretty different end lag properties. While Byleth uses more weapons than other Fire Emblem characters (and are the only Fire Emblem character with a spinny multi-hit neutral air), they still use far less weapons than we do. We're total masters of real-time weapon change, and we have far more things to keep track of.

We're also far more fun and approachable than Byleth. I mean, I have tons of dialogue. Byleth is basically a mute, has no emotions, and is kind of creepy. He's surrounded by interesting people, but I gotta say, I felt really bad for Dorothea that she ended up marrying Byleth on my first playthrough. And I felt bad for Ashe on my second playthrough for the same reason!

Meanwhile, the only Koopaling that you'd feel bad for marrying is probably Morton. And if you want a more topical reason given what day it is today, look no further than this Morton Koopa Jr. speech.

Anyway, Morton is still a better choice than Byleth. At least Morton will tell you how he feels, even if it's incoherent. Byleth will just give you a blank stare, and maybe cut you down with one of four weapons. Morton's got a lot more than four!


Ludwig is a master weapon-changer, and he has better mobility than Byleth does. Ludwig has much better blue hair than Byleth, and if you want a Koopaling that suddenly changed their hair to green overnight, you can even play as Iggy! If you disagree, you're free to explain yourself in the comments section.


It's entirely possible that Sakurai forgot Ludwig even existed. Wouldn't be the first time that's happened recently.

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