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Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: Version 10.1 Thoughts, and Challenge Cup December 2020 Results

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - I'm featured in the results, so of course I'll brag about those.

While Sephiroth has been available to any paying customer for several days now if they've completed the Sephiroth Challenge (and my personal best Very Hard record is 11.85 seconds with King Bowser by forward-airing Sephiroth multiple times off stage, though I'm well aware one can do it much faster with the likes of Mii Brawler, Mr. Game & Watch, and Hero), yesterday night marked the release of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate version 10.1.0, which made Sephiroth available to all paying customers without having to do anything for it, along with a few fighter adjustments that mostly fixed multi-hit moves (the Captain Olimar part is also a bug fix, even though it reads like a whole new move was added), an update that fixed a music selection issue that was the subject of a KoopaTV investigation (and as far as I know, we broke the news first), and a new DLC Spirit Board featuring Final Fantasy VII characters.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate FINAL FANTASY VII DLC Spirit Board Chocobo Moogle Ifrit Bahamut Shiva
Moogle is a cute little White Kirby.
While Bahamut ZERO is a Giant Ridley. (As opposed to the standard TOO BIG Ridley.)

As for Sephiroth himself, he isn't for beginners to the game. Sephiroth isn't a gimmicky character like Min Min or Steve. You need to have a firm grasp of the fundamentals, which includes appropriate spacing and using safe moves, only taking calculated risks. While his Masamune sword is huge and can cover a big space and keep foes out, it's slow to swing around, and slow to do follow-up actions. Same goes with his Flare (neutral B) projectile. Sephiroth's fast moves are his jab, his neutral-air finger snap, and his down-tilt slide move. A good Sephiroth player will try to condition their opponent to making a mistake or a miscalculation, like thinking it's safe to hold down shield (such as to block a Shadow Flare) when the Sephiroth can break the shield with a Down Smash, or run in for a grab.

Eventually, people will learn whether or not it's safe to try to edge-guard Sephiroth. Blade Slash/Octaslash can take a while to charge up, but you don't want to be in a situation where you get hit by Octaslash, since it's quite damaging. (But if Sephiroth lands on the stage or against someone's shield, they're basically stuck in cooldown lag for a whole second, which is an eternity.) We'll eventually also figure out if Sephiroth's hard-to-use nature will pay big rewards, or if he's just not worth it.

Even though I'm pretty good at Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (and I'm going to offer evidence of that in a moment), I find Sephiroth quite difficult to use for myself, since he's so unlike the characters I'd normally use. It took a lot more effort than I was budgeting for to get him into Elite Smash.

The night before my birthday, Nintendo held the in-game Challenge Cup December 2020 tournament, based on their idea of how one should celebrate the Super Mario Bros. 35-year anniversary. Which, of course, means it was for a limited time as recent Nintendo celebrations are (three hours), which in this case, was far too long. The NintendoVS Challenge Cup December 2020 was an exercise in luck-based torture. It was filled with randomly spawning and size-changing Super Mushrooms, Poison Mushrooms, and Lightning bolts; and invincibility-granting Super Stars, at the most inopportune times, like right before the finishing blow of a combo. (Both receiving and giving, which can and did affect the outcome of matches.)

I don't know how the “casual” crowd is supposed to have fun playing matches where the outcome is out of their own control, and it's not a reflection of what they put into it. Well, that's not totally true... very skilled players still made it to the top of the rankings, and people who have no idea what they're doing (and don't know how items work, either) didn't.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate NintendoVS December 2020 Challenge Cup Results
Unlike the September 2020 Challenge Cup where I was one match away from Top 100, I not only got in the Top 100, but the Top 50!
And people notice. I got multiple Discord friend requests due to this with people wanting someone skilled like me in their server. So far, I've declined.

Note: The Top 35 got a prize, so I wasn't in that. Anyway, I originally proposed that the top spots would see a lot of Peach/Daisy players because of their overpowered Final Smash, which is even better in the format. Turns out that didn't happen. Here's a distribution of the Top 100:
Character Name
Usage in Top 100
Mario 19
Luigi 6
Peach/Daisy 3
King Bowser
Dr. Mario
Bowser Jr./Koopalings
Rosalina & Luma
Piranha Plant
Donkey Kong
Diddy Kong

Peach and Daisy were the least-used characters, besides Wario and Diddy Kong that weren't used by any of the Top 100, perhaps because it's dubious whether they should even be allowed into the tournament to begin with. Especially Diddy Kong. Note that the results page only shows one character per entrant. For example, I used Lord Bowser for many matches, but it only shows myself. Maybe it knows I used myself the most. (I don't know if that's true; I wasn't keeping track.)

Also note that several players used variants of #FreeMelee and #SaveSmash as their tags, and Nintendo displayed that on the results screen. They could've not allowed that. (The rules say that players with inappropriate game names, as determined by Nintendo, may be disqualified... and yet, there they are.) Something for people to consider.

I want to close the article by reiterating what a stressful and awful tournament experience the NintendoVS Challenge Cup December 2020 was. You don't even know how well you're doing while playing it because of how the Tourney Score system works. It's the one thing that made me in an even worse mood than getting one year older.

There's an in-game event tourney (which is just the normal online tourney mode but with a theme) coming up and Sephiroth is featured. Those are fun. Maybe I'll write about it on Christmas. Not like anyone is expecting hard-hitting commentary on Christmas, anyway.

One thing Ludwig didn't mention in the body of the article is how great it is that Final Fantasy VII stages now have more than two songs to choose from. Both One-Winged Angel and its Advent Children version are in the game, which is enough, but there's other songs, too, including new remixes. Good stuff. Let Ludwig know what you think of Sephiroth and the Final Fantasy VII content, or the limited patch adjustments (he knows a Toon Link fan that's pretty happy with it), or that awful tournament.

Speaking of tournaments, as of publishing, Nintendo still hasn't paid out the gold points for their out-of-game Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tournament they hosted back in October.
Here's that in-game event tourney article on Christmas: Sephiroth's Dark Reunion.
The next NintendoVS Challenge Cup is happening November 2021.


  1. Makes me feel so special that I have you as a Discord friend if you are refusing others.

    1. To clarify, I'm accepting their friend request, but I'm rejecting their server invites.

  2. Wow! Congrats on making it to the top 50! That's impressive!

  3. This honestly reassures me. I mean, I'm not Elite Smash good by any stretch, but I'd hardly call myself a beginner so I figure there's hope for me using Sephy.

    BTW, Merry Christmas.

    1. ...
      I mean, if I'm Elite Smash good and I'm having trouble with him... <_<

      Merry Christmas!


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