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Friday, June 26, 2020

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate June 2020 Fighter Usage Stats: Last Before the Min Min Era!

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - The state of the online metagame before Min Min.

As revealed at the start of this week, Min Min from ARMS is going to be a part of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate at the start of next week. That will not only introduce Min Min, but there will also be balance changes. I'm looking forward to those, especially after the concern that patches wouldn't be implemented anytime soon due to the Chinese Communist Party Virus making it difficult for developers to work.

All of that means that the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate metagame—especially online—will change forever beginning on June 29–30, 2020. You should recall the existence of the official Nintendo-sponsored Super Smash Bros. Ultimate North American Online Open May 2020, with the majority of it taking place in June 2020. Right after that concluded, Min Min got presented. That makes it one of the last Super Smash Bros. Ultimate events before Min Min, and since there are a ton of available stats with a large sample size, it's interesting to see the last snapshot of the metagame.

Congratulations, by the way, to Sumgai (Pichu player from the Northeast USA/Region 7, and perpetual pwner/eliminator of me in these tournaments), The Mighty Dialga (Bayonetta player from Southeast-ish USA/Region 6), Nerysacio (Isabelle player from Mexico/Region 4), and Nessboy12 (Ness player from California/Region 2). Also, congrats to me for being appointed as the only non-tournament-staff moderator in the Discord server for the tournament series. That's a far cry from being banned from every other official Nintendo location ever made.

I'll talk more about my thoughts on the tournament later on in this article, but first, USAGE STATS. Who is being used the most of the cast? Who is being used the least? And how have those numbers changed since we last looked at them in March 2020? Take a look:


Super Smash Bros. Ultimate online metagame fighter usage choice stats May June 2020


This list is formatted this way: Relative character ranking (most-used to least-used), the number of games they participated in during the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate North American Online Open May 2020 (aggregated across all 8 regions), the percent they were used of all of the games, and their relative character ranking change on the list of 80 characters compared to the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate North American Online Open Spring 2020.

  1. Joker    5306    5.23%    0
  2. Cloud    5035    4.97%    1
  3. Bowser    3527    3.48%    -1
  4. King K. Rool    3208    3.16%    7
  5. Mario    3174    3.13%    3
  6. Banjo & Kazooie    2940    2.90%    -2
  7. Link    2932    2.89%    -1
  8. Terry    2886    2.85%    -1
  9. Ness    2822    2.78%    -4
  10. Hero    2762    2.72%    4
  11. Ganondorf    2691    2.65%    -1
  12. Kirby    2514    2.48%    0
  13. Donkey Kong    2448    2.41%    8
  14. Yoshi    2133    2.10%    -1
  15. Inkling    2072    2.04%    1
  16. Little Mac    1931    1.90%    1
  17. Byleth    1925    1.90%    -8
  18. Pikachu    1889    1.86%    1
  19. Sonic    1643    1.62%    1
  20. Captain Falcon    1615    1.59%    4
  21. Luigi    1591    1.57%    -3
  22. Pokémon Trainer    1581    1.56%    8
  23. Lucas    1581    1.56%    8
  24. Samus    1568    1.55%    -9
  25. Piranha Plant    1558    1.54%    -2
  26. Lucina    1520    1.50%    7
  27. King Dedede    1488    1.47%    -5
  28. Mr. Game & Watch    1431    1.41%    7
  29. Wolf    1428    1.41%    3
  30. Young Link    1345    1.33%    -1
  31. Zelda    1339    1.32%    -4
  32. Roy    1293    1.28%    -4
  33. Palutena    1211    1.19%    -7
  34. Toon Link    1192    1.18%    4
  35. Ridley    1168    1.15%    -10
  36. Ike    1141    1.13%    10
  37. Jigglypuff    1114    1.10%    -1
  38. R.O.B.    1050    1.04%    -4
  39. Greninja    972    0.96%    13
  40. PAC-MAN    909    0.90%    7
  41. Chrom    909    0.90%    -4
  42. Incineroar    862    0.85%    -1
  43. Mega Man    815    0.80%    15
  44. Corrin    803    0.79%    6
  45. Bowser Jr.    793    0.78%    0
  46. Shulk    751    0.74%    32
  47. Dark Pit    725    0.72%    -7
  48. Falco    689    0.68%    9
  49. Snake    684    0.67%    -5
  50. Zero Suit Samus    669    0.66%    -7
  51. Dark Samus    657    0.65%    -12
  52. Marth    653    0.64%    -1
  53. Isabelle    648    0.64%    3
  54. Bayonetta    632    0.62%    -1
  55. Dr. Mario    586    0.58%    24
  56. Mewtwo    581    0.57%    3
  57. Wii Fit Trainer    551    0.54%    -15
  58. Fox    539    0.53%    2
  59. Mii Swordfighter    523    0.52%    5
  60. Pit    495    0.49%    11
  61. Mii Brawler    476    0.47%    8
  62. Mii Gunner    456    0.45%    -7
  63. Ken    426    0.42%    -15
  64. Pichu    413    0.41%    -15
  65. Diddy Kong    372    0.37%    7
  66. Robin    355    0.35%    0
  67. Peach    331    0.33%    -13
  68. Meta Knight    326    0.32%    2
  69. Lucario    323    0.32%    -8
  70. Richter    300    0.30%    -2
  71. Wario    274    0.27%    -9
  72. Villager    262    0.26%    -9
  73. Rosalina & Luma    257    0.25%    -6
  74. Simon    244    0.24%    3
  75. Ryu    239    0.24%    -1
  76. Ice Climbers    205    0.20%    0
  77. Daisy    199    0.20%    -4
  78. Duck Hunt    173    0.17%    -3
  79. Sheik    153    0.15%    -14
  80. Olimar    92    0.09%    0
Looking through that list, there aren't any character shifts that really stand out. Joker is STILL number one. Shulk went up a lot (did everyone buy Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition as Heavy Lobster asked you to do, and then Shulk got a major popularity boost?), I guess.

While Bowser's percent is pretty much the same (3.49% last time to 3.48% this time), Cloud's percent went up a lot (4.97% from 3.42%). Cloud has become very popular in online play during the Chinese Communist Party Virus era for whatever reason (everyone appreciated his back-air at the ledge?), and that's reflected in these stats.

Since there isn't an interesting story with these stats to tell (and I can guarantee you that Min Min's inclusion, and any other balance patch adjustments, will result in a dramatic change in these stats, though Joker has been #1 the entire time of his existence), I have some thoughts on the tournament itself.

I mostly just want to rant about the circumstances around Nintendo's June 5 decision to delay Regions 5 and 6 for one week out of respect for the Black Lives Matter protests, part of an overall point of view that fun isn't allowed during protests. Well, rather, that specific weekend (June 6), since Regions 7 and 8 went the weekend before (May 30), and Regions 3, 4, 5, and 6 went the weekend after (June 13), despite the protests making no societal progress and the protests occurring on all of those weekends. They're going to continue into this weekend, too.

What was the point of the delay, then?

Here were the results of it. Regions 7 and 8 had 61.20% and 62.61% participation (meaning that many players played a game out of everyone who registered). In Spring 2020's tournament, that was 56.55% and 56.80% participation, respectively. It was an improvement, and there were many more players that time, making it one of the biggest tournaments in Online Open history. Regions 5 and 6, on the other hand, had an absolute series low of 35.16% and 34.97% participation. Compare that to 49.00% and 54.25% from Spring 2020. Those are horrific numbers.

The reason for many players not participating that otherwise were going to is because they set aside their weekends just to participate in the tournament, so moving the tournament date (and it was initially an indefinite move instead of people knowing right away that it was a one week delay) ruined people's plans. Some folks even planned their use of the Nintendo Switch Online free 7-day trial around thinking the event would occur on the weekend that it was supposed to, and then were left screwed once it got delayed. There was also more communication that the tournament would be delayed than communication stating when it would be playable, as if Nintendo felt guilty that they were going to let players have some fun during a time of turmoil.

The data also shows that this uncertainty extended towards Regions 1, 2, 3, and 4, despite them occurring on schedule. They had 42.88%, 41.52%, 43.08%, and 45.15% participation rates in June 2020, respectively. In the Spring 2020 tournament, those same regions had 68.00%, 62.83%, 62.21%, and 61.67% participation rates.

Just to summarise, Regions 7 and 8 were having increased participation rates versus the last tournament, and then Regions 5 and 6 got delayed. Regions 5 and 6, once played, had the lowest participation rates of Nintendo Online Open history, and the rest of the regions also then saw decreased participation rates versus the last tournament.

It's pretty clear to me that the delay got Nintendo no additional good will (the only people who notice and care about this sort of thing were directly screwed by the tournament delay), and only sabotaged the administration of their own tournament. Still, I don't think it impacts the integrity of the data set you see above. There were still tons of statistically significant data, and the fact it was so similar to the data from two to three months ago demonstrates that the metagame SHOULDN'T be changing that much when the game hasn't had any more balance patches since then. But next time we have a tournament, it'll all be different.


If you would like to see the May/June 2020 stats for yourself, click here for Ludwig's spreadsheet. Feel free to comment if you have any interesting insights you've spotted in the data that you'd like to share, or if you have any questions about it.

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