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Thursday, February 6, 2020

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: Version 7.0.0 (February) Fighter Usage Stats!

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - The weekend after Byleth releases, are they the most popular choice?

I posed a prediction to the Internet in last week's article promoting the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate North American Online Open February 2020
“I predict that Joker will FINALLY no longer be the most-used character, after he has been so for all of the previous tournaments.” 

My basis for this prediction was that the version 7.0.0 balance patch nerfed Joker, introduced Byleth, and buffed several other characters, with specific notable boosts to Samus, Dark Samus, Sheik, Zelda, Dr. Mario, Young Link, Toon Link, Ryu, Ken, and Cloud. Besides Joker, Zero Suit Samus and Palutena also got nerfed. My basic hypothesis is that the player base pays attention to patch notes and changes their behaviour accordingly. The major buff recipients from 6.0.0 back in November all got usage bumps afterwards.

Was I correct in my prediction? First of all, congratulations to King Chris (Zero Suit Samus player from west Canada), Frawg (Bayonetta player from Nevada), Pelca (Snake player from New England), and Wrath (Sonic player from Georgia) for winning the tournament and getting trips to Frostbite 2020 in Detroit later this month. But thousands of other players—including me, and you can see my very detailed journey and results in last week's article's comments section—also joined the tournament, and thousands less (but still thousands—this tournament actually had the highest players-to-registrant ratio since I've been tracking them) showed up to participate. Collectively, the following usage stats are aggregated from nearly 39,000 games, and I believe it's a representative sample of the metagame that you're likely to encounter while playing Super Smash Bros. Ultimate online as of publishing:

Super Smash Bros. ultimate version 7.0.0 fighter character usage popularity Byleth Joker most used

That pie chart is a bit difficult to maneuver through, so I've converted it into a fully searchable text list. It shows the relative placing of the character (in terms of popularity), the character's name, the number of games they've played, their usage % (1.25% is supposed to be the average with 80 characters), and their placement change since November. Highlighted list items are ones I want to talk about.

  1. Joker    4522    5.80%    0
  2. Byleth    4265    5.47%    N/A
  3. Banjo & Kazooie    2801    3.59%    1
  4. Link    2331    2.99%    1
  5. Bowser    2242    2.87%    -2
  6. King K. Rool    2180    2.80%    8
  7. Ness    2014    2.58%    0
  8. Terry    1984    2.54%    -6
  9. Cloud    1977    2.53%    0
  10. Captain Falcon    1965    2.52%    15
  11. Mario    1917    2.46%    -3
  12. Ganondorf    1847    2.37%    -6
  13. Inkling    1789    2.29%    -3
  14. Donkey Kong    1555    1.99%    -2
  15. Lucina    1548    1.98%    15
  16. Yoshi    1519    1.95%    2
  17. Kirby    1481    1.90%    -4
  18. Hero    1456    1.87%    -7
  19. Samus    1436    1.84%    2
  20. Piranha Plant    1369    1.76%    -1
  21. Young Link    1263    1.62%    8
  22. Lucas    1194    1.53%    4
  23. Palutena    1192    1.53%    -3
  24. Wolf    1113    1.43%    3
  25. King Dedede    1110    1.42%    3
  26. Luigi    1109    1.42%    8
  27. Ridley    1104    1.42%    -5
  28. Pokémon Trainer    1100    1.41%    -12
  29. Pikachu    1069    1.37%    -14
  30. Sonic    1053    1.35%    1
  31. Little Mac    1045    1.34%    -14
  32. Roy    1036    1.33%    0
  33. Zelda    997    1.28%    -10
  34. Mr. Game & Watch    961    1.23%    3
  35. Snake    952    1.22%    -2
  36. Jigglypuff    914    1.17%    5
  37. Ike    854    1.09%    -2
  38. Toon Link    816    1.05%    -2
  39. Mega Man    747    0.96%    15
  40. R.O.B.    744    0.95%    -16
  41. Zero Suit Samus    709    0.91%    -1
  42. Bowser Jr.    670    0.86%    13
  43. Bayonetta    627    0.80%    4
  44. Chrom    620    0.79%    -5
  45. Wii Fit Trainer    618    0.79%    -1
  46. Greninja    613    0.79%    12
  47. PAC-MAN    607    0.78%    10
  48. Marth    561    0.72%    -10
  49. Incineroar    559    0.72%    -3
  50. Mewtwo    538    0.69%    1
  51. Robin    517    0.66%    -2
  52. Dark Samus    514    0.66%    -10
  53. Fox    512    0.66%    -3
  54. Shulk    492    0.63%    -9
  55. Corrin    430    0.55%    -7
  56. Dr. Mario    415    0.53%    12
  57. Falco    414    0.53%    -14
  58. Isabelle    408    0.52%    6
  59. Pichu    405    0.52%    7
  60. Dark Pit    393    0.50%    -8
  61. Mii Gunner    389    0.50%    -5
  62. Mii Swordfighter    343    0.44%    0
  63. Rosalina & Luma    319    0.41%    8
  64. Lucario    309    0.40%    -1
  65. Mii Brawler    306    0.39%    0
  66. Villager    285    0.37%    -6
  67. Richter    275    0.35%    -8
  68. Sheik    274    0.35%    5
  69. Ken    258    0.33%    -16
  70. Diddy Kong    251    0.32%    4
  71. Meta Knight    247    0.32%    -1
  72. Ice Climbers    237    0.30%    7
  73. Wario    216    0.28%    2
  74. Peach    209    0.27%    -13
  75. Daisy    176    0.23%    -8
  76. Simon    172    0.22%    -4
  77. Pit    172    0.22%    -8
  78. Ryu    158    0.20%    -2
  79. Duck Hunt    120    0.15%    -2
  80. Olimar    84    0.11%    -2

Quite frankly, the results are confounding. This is far from the simple buffed character→greater usage; nerfed character→reduced usage model that I was promoting. Joker is still the most used character. Yes, his lead over the second-most used character, in this case Byleth, is much less than in November. In fact, even with another character added, Joker's percentage-most-used went slightly UP. Many characters that got buffed actually dropped dramatically, such as Ken, Zelda, and Dark Samus (slightly off-set by Samus herself going up). Some characters barely budged, like Cloud. That's the opposite of common sense.

And then other characters that weren't touched fell anyway, like Little Mac (who should fall because he can't win tournaments like this) and Pokémon Trainer (and I don't know why they'd fall because they have plenty of representation at the highest levels of play). As for the likes of Hero, Terry, and Mii Gunner (despite the Cuphead outfit), their novelty appeal wore off, and so they fell. Banjo & Kazooie, much like Joker, is sticking around. Why? I don't know. Maybe that's tied to how much people actually wanted to play as them before they got in.

I'll note that in the majority of individual regions, Byleth was the most-used character—Regions 1, 5, 6, 7, and 8. Joker was the most-used character in 2, 3, and 4. The Joker-Byleth deficit is driven primarily by Region 4 (Mexico), which adores Joker and is apparently less thrilled about new DLC.

I wouldn't mind Joker getting another nerf, though I feel like the nerf to Arsene's duration makes Joker's presence significantly more healthy than before.

The next tournament is coming up (which'll be the subject of another article in February). The popular opinion for Byleth is that they aren't very competitive. My opinion is that they're nothing compared to the Koopalings, which may be why Bowser Jr. (and Koopalings)'s usage went up, too!

Lastly, Captain Olimar being in last place isn't new for him. Props to Sheik for climbing out of dead last compared to just a few months back.


If you would like to see the underlying data/spreadsheet, especially per region, then you may consult this Google Sheets over here. If you have theories on why Ludwig's theories were wrong, please feel free to comment about them. Keep in mind that, especially among the less-popular part of the usage stats, the presence (or lack thereof) of one or two dedicated character-specialists may shift that character's position dramatically. He needs to develop a new theory!


The next tournament to pull stats from is the one a month later for Spring 2020. How much will Byleth plummet? You can affect the course of history!

2 comments :

  1. What's the significance of the highlight colors? The ones that are highlighted at all are the ones you wanted to go into more detail on, sure, but what does red/yellow/green mean?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Green = They went up since November
      Yellow = They stayed put since November
      Red = They dropped since November

      Delete

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