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Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Your Comprehensive Guide to the Super Smash Bros. NintendoVS US Fall Open 2021

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - I'm literally the foremost expert on these things, so I'll answer questions you didn't even know you had.

I am pleased to once again write about Nintendo of America and Battlefy collaborating to bring you a duo of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tournaments, collectively known as the NintendoVS US Fall Open 2021. They haven't had one of these since October 2020, and these haven't previously been known as an annual series of tournaments. In their heyday, they happened a lot more often. Still, for whatever the reasons there's been a gap, it's here now, so I'm going to write about it as the official* expert on how these Nintendo-sponsored tournaments work.

What is the NintendoVS US Fall Open 2021?

According to the official registration page, “The NintendoVS US Fall Open 2021 tournament features the popular best-of-3 sets and no items during the ladder round. Players in eight regions will have two opportunities to compete over two weekends: October 15 - 16, 2021 and October 29 - 30, 2021. The Four Grand Prize winners from each tournament weekend will be eligible to receive an epic prize package!” I should also note it's free to enter.

NintendoVS US Fall Open 2021 official logo Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
I... I'm not into this colour scheme. Sorry, Nintendo.
The black/purple one from October 2020 was really cool, though.

There is a lot to unpack with that statement, so that's what I'll do in the rest of this article. I'll be answering a lot of questions in detail (the answers to which can also be found in the official rules document), and feel free to ask your own in the comments section.

What is the ruleset for the NintendoVS US Fall Open 2021?

Although there are three phases of play in the NintendoVS US Fall Open 2021 (more on that below), they all have the same Super Smash Bros. Ultimate ruleset in common. Best of three (first to two wins between you and your opponent) games of three stock, seven minute matches. No items, no Final Smash meter.

Random Stage Selection is enabled in the Battle Arena, and it's between Battlefield, Small Battlefield, Final Destination, Yoshi's Story, Pokémon Stadium 2, Smashville, Kalos Pokémon League, and Town & City.

All characters are allowed (with the possible exception of Mii designs that violate Nintendo's code of conduct), and if the final Fighters Pass 2 character to be revealed next week is released by the tournament date, then that character will also be allowed. Update: That means Sora will not be in the October 15 tournament, but Sora will be in the October 29 tournament.

What regions are eligible to play in the NintendoVS US Fall Open 2021?

Super Smash Bros Ultimate North America Nintendo Battlefy tournament regions map 2021
I'll get more into what these regions’ bracket implications mean in the next question.

While previous Nintendo of America-Battlefy tournaments were called the North American Online Open, this one specifically has US in the name and no longer references the whole continent. That's because Canada and Mexico are excluded, which means the eight regions had to be changed. On the picture above is what the regions were in 2019 to 2020 when Canada and Mexico were invited, and what the regions are now in 2021 when it's just the United States. As you can figure out by yourself, they're very uneven. I mean, they were uneven in 2020 and they appear even more lopsided now.

The map above means the United States (including Alaska, Hawaii, and the District of Colombia, but excluding territories like American Samoa) is divided into eight regions. You can reach the exact tournament registration page for your region by scrolling through the overall event page on Battlefy and selecting your state.

The two different registration pages—and you are allowed and encouraged to enter both events for your region (October 15 and October 29)—have a countdown timer for when it begins. For Regions 1–4 (that's the west part of the USA), your Event #1 ladder begins at 6 PM Pacific on October 15 and your Event #2 ladder begins at 6 PM Pacific on October 29. For Regions 5–8 (that's the east part of the USA), your Event #1 ladder begins at 6 PM Eastern on October 15 and your Event #2 ladder begins at 6 PM Eastern on October 29.

How will the NintendoVS US Fall Open 2021 brackets work?

As I alluded to earlier, there are three phases: The ladder, the top 32, and the finals. Those phases are done sequentially... as in, you cannot skip the ladder. (But statistically, the vast majority of entrants won't be in the top 32 after the ladder ends!)

The ladder

You and everyone within your region will be competing for the 32 highest ladder scores within a three-hour play period. You can play whenever and however many matches you'd like, but you have to play a minimum of eight to qualify for the next phase... and since other people are playing, in practice, you'll want to check the publicly available standings (on Battlefy's Brackets tab) to know where you stand. Each set win will be +1 score, but each set loss will be -1 score. It's those top 32 highest scorers that move on.

You will press a big find match button whenever you'd like to search for a match with another player. Battlefy will match you up with someone else in your region searching for a match, and as you establish a record, it'll match you versus people with a similar win-lose record as you. That match will bring you to another Battlefy page between just you and your opponent. There is a match chat there, and with that you'll exchange Battle Arena information (ID and password—you don't have to exchange friend codes). That page will also allow you to submit the match score, as well as summon a Battlefy admin to assist you if something goes wrong... like if your opponent has unplayable lag or they cheated (like by submitting a false score). Be sure to check if your opponent's Battle Arena meets the tournament ruleset before playing. Notably, the stage selection must be set to Random and not Choice.

Shortly after three hours pass, the final ladder results will be known. And so comes the next phase happening the next day...

Top 32

The ladder round is basically a big exercise in seeding for the top 32. The person with the most points in the ladder will be seeded 1 in the top 32 bracket, while the person with the 32nd most points will get seed 32 and face off vs. seed 1. That means the top 32 is still entirely within your own region. There's a sleep break between the ladder and the top 32, since it happens the next day. (12 PM Pacific for Regions 1–4, and 2 PM Eastern for Regions 5–8.) That's new to this year.

Also new to the NintendoVS US Fall Open 2021 compared to the 2019 and 2020 versions is that the top 32 is a double elimination bracket. Before it was a single elimination bracket, still best of 3 games. Now the top 32 will be longer, but at least you won't be eliminated right away if you lose your first match.

Eventually, the top 32 bracket will end with a finals match, and the person who wins that advances to the finals round. The person who loses that (meaning second place within all of your region) will get a Second Place prize. More on prizing later in this article.


You may be wondering why Regions 1–4 and Regions 5–8 have been grouped. That's because the members of those groups converge on the finals. (And they want to minimise the amount of distance-based lag that will ensue.) The finals is a double-elimination (still best of 3 games) round with four total contestants: the finalist from Region 1 (or 5), Region 2 (or 6), Region 3 (or 7), and Region 4 (or 8)'s top 32 round. This round is scheduled to take place on the same day as the top 32 phase (October 16 or October 30, depending on which event it is) at 6 PM Pacific for Regions 1–4 and 7 PM Eastern for Regions 5–8. I don't know why Regions 5–8 have a five-hour difference between the top 32 starting time and the final round starting time but Regions 1–4 have a six-hour difference.

What are the prizes for winning the NintendoVS US Fall Open 2021?

If you come in second place in your region's top 32, you'll win 5000 My Nintendo Gold Points (equivalent to $50 in eShop credit), a Nintendo Switch Carrying Case, a Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Pin Set, a NintendoVS Badge, and a NintendoVS Lanyard. The total approximate retail value (ARV) for this “Second Prize” is 90 USD.

The “First Prize”, given to the people who reach the Finals round but are in the bottom two as opposed to the top two, is the same as the Second Prize but with 7500 My Nintendo Gold Points instead of 5000, for a total ARV of $115.

Finally, for the top two Finals round folks (in other words, you don't need to get first place in the Finals or even have a grand finals match), they'll give you that Nintendo Switch Carrying Case, a Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Pin Set, a NintendoVS Badge, a NintendoVS Lanyard, 10000 My Nintendo Gold Points, AND a backpack, a Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Jacket, a NintendoVS US Fall Open 2021 Trophy, a Gaming Headset, and a Gaming Chair. The total ARV here is $964. The trophy's ARV and the jacket's ARV is $100 less and $125 less than the ARVs for the Splatoon 2 Splatter Ladder Trophy ($250) and the Splatoon 2 Jacket ($200) given to the grand prize winners of July 2021's Splatoon 2 Splatter Ladder Nintendo-Battlefy tournament... for some reason. Maybe they're of markedly lower quality materials. I don't know what they'll look like.

Despite Nintendo claiming that they will notify winners for both events in a swift manner (within five days after October 30), there's no guarantee they'll do so, especially given their poor history actually awarding prizes. But maybe that's why they've chosen to not open this up to Canada or Mexico. To make shipping easier. (And they're just assuming no one from Hawaii or Alaska will win anything.) The Splatter Ladder, with its similar prize structure, also excluded Canada and Mexico.

Since you can compete in both events, if you happen to be a prize winner in both, you'll receive the better prize. That's why you won't hear about the first event's prizes until after the second event is complete.

What is the NintendoVS US Challenge Cup Fall 2021?

At the same time Nintendo announced the NintendoVS US Fall Open 2021, they also announced the similarly named NintendoVS US Challenge Cup Fall 2021. This is a completely different Super Smash Bros. Ultimate event that KoopaTV will publish an article about when we get closer to when it begins (closer to November). The Challenge Cup is 100% in-game with no external website or organisation involved. There will be items in that.

Once again, the link to register for the upcoming tournaments is here. Ludwig considers himself to be the official expert because no one else is documenting these like he does, and he's been recognised by Battlefy to the point where he's a “community moderator” on their Discord servers dedicated to the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate events, which is a lofty title when you consider that no one else has that position. (There's currently two servers: One for the North American Online Opens [which allow Canadians and Mexicans] that have had the server existing despite no official tournaments for a year...though plenty of community events and tournaments nonetheless; and one for this brand-new Nintendo VS US Fall Open.) Ludwig firmly believes that people who claim things like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will be dead following the release of the final DLC character are obviously wrong, given the existence of post-character tournaments and events, both officially sponsored by Nintendo and grassroots ones from the community. Ludwig plans to document in the comments section here about how his tournament experience actually went. He'll also publish character usage stats, though he's not sure if he should combine the two events or keep them separate.

KoopaTV published the character usage stats for Event 1 by itself, to mark the state of the metagame pre-Sora.


  1. Match 1: Vs MARIO, for I think the third time he's been my first match opponent in these official Nintendo tournaments? Took him 11 minutes to have a legal stage selection. He goes Mari0, I go Bowser. Kalos. I three-stocked him. Game 2 = Kalos. I three-stocked him in 51 seconds. Good.

    Match 2: Vs. Kengar Dongatron, another veteran of these. He's still playing King K. Rool. Town & City on game 1. I got two-stocked and played terribly. I played as Bowser thinking I was on a hot streak but I wasn't. Switched to Jigglypuff game 2 on Smashville and I did MUCH better and won. I then did… an uncharacteristic play and switched to Ludwig for Game 3 (Pokémon Stadium 2), thinking he was doing much better in the second half vs. my Jiggs than the first and I wanted to throw him off from downloading me. My plan worked and I won the game and the set. Half an hour has gone by total.

    Match 3: Vs. sop. This guy thinks arena names and arena IDs are the same. He also put his stage selection to Choice instead of Random. Unlike my prior two matches, this guy is a newbie (or at least hasn't played in an official Nintendo tour before). So I made an arena for him. The ID is "J6P00"… which seems inappropriate. Sop plays as Little Mac, I picked Ludwig. I easily two-stocked him on Kalos. He kinda stopped doing inputs after he lost his first stock for a while… Then I three-stocked him on game 2 on Yoshi's Story. Poor guy. Little Mac just can't do much on that stage. I can see why he'd want to slip a stage selection choice in.

    Match 4: VS Triple J. I made an Arena right away to get past that. My Ludwig is doing great so I'll keep with him. Erm, me. He's a Terry player. Final Destination. He two-stocked me because hell if I know what to do against jab jab power dunk. So instead I'm switching to Bowser, because I noticed he's very much a shieldy kinda guy and then jab jab power dunk. So having a command grab and a shield break option should be good, right? And Tough guy? Nah because he 0-to-deaths me on the first stock with a spike. It was Final Destination in both fights. Argh.

    Match 5: Vs. SquidNick. He's also a veteran though I don't personally remember him. Since I feel demoralised with both Ludwig and Bowser, I'm using… Pokémon Trainer? He picked Byleth. Stage: Kalos. I JV 2-stocked him. He really likes to double-jump as his option when he's in disadvantage state, like after being thrown or hit into the air. I then won game 2, still using Pokémon Trainer, on Small Battlefield. Remind me not to Flare Blitz vs. Byleth because being skewered by the lance upon recoil is baaad.

    Match 6: Vs. MrMcFly223. He's someone who was in Region 6 in prior tournaments but got moved with the region reshuffle. He picked Zelda (Hilda colours) and I picked Jigglypuff. Not sure wot to do vs. Zelda, really. Smashville. I won Game 1 but those Farore Winds are scary. He was using all of his B moves! Game 2, same characters but at Stadium 2. I also won that.

    5 wins and 1 loss so far, with half the time left to go.

    1. Match 7: Vs. DTFaux, an excellent Incineroar player and a former champion in these events. But he's using Kazuya. I picked Bowser and we went to Town & City. SOMEHOW I WON GAME 1. SO HE SWITCHED to his Incineroar Game 2 after complimenting my Bowser.
      DTFauxOct 15, 2021 7:33:42 pm
      I wanted to give Kazuya a fair shot, but he's not getting the job done as much as I'd hoped
      DTFauxOct 15, 2021 7:34:00 pm
      That said, your Bowser is rightfully good!
      Town & City. He won, easily edge-guarding me, too with Incineroar's lanky forward-airs. There's all sorts of janky Incineroar stuff where I don't know what happens in an interaction, like Flame Breath vs. the Cross Chop start-up. Game 3: Bowser vs. Incineroar still. Town & City again. He… kinda SD'd with Cross Chop on his second stock really early, so I… actually pulled out a win. Against DTFaux! WHOA

      Match 8: Vs. Sola… another very familiar face who I've faced many times in the past. …And lost. He pwned me a year ago in the last of these tournaments. We gentleman'd to Fountain of Dreams. Not happening again. Sola loves using Generic Anime Swordsmen, so not using Jigglypuff. But Sola two-stocked my Bowser on Smashville. Here's my problem Hero can wreck Jigglypuff. Easily. Bounce invalidates Ludwig. And Sola just crushed Bowser. What do I do? Let's try… Team Rocket Grunt Ludwig! (Because I was practicing with my Mii before the tourney doing the event tourney with Blast Boxes.) On Town & City. Unfortunately, I got three-stocked and that was a really bad idea.

      Well, with 8 matches, I'm now ranked on the leaderboard with one hour left to go: Rank 14!

    2. Match 9: VS. Mink. He's… Ranked 13. Eeek. Well, I'm not using Rocket Grunt Ludwig ever again, but I will use Koopa Clown Car Ludwig. Dude plays as FOX MCCLOUD. On Kalos. HE'S SO AGGRESSIVE AND COMBOING EVERYTHING INTO UP-SMASH. I switched to jigglypuff for game 2 because maybe she won't get as combo'd. Small Battlefield. HE DID A MELEE THING WHERE HE UP-AIRED ME THREE TIMES IN A ROW (including from a platform) AND I GOT STAR KO'D HE WAS LIKE A MELEE FOX. HIS AERIALS WERE LASER-FOCUSED I did get him to his last stock. But yeah I lost. Now I'm Rank 26.

      Match 10: Vs. MrMcFly223, again. He was the Zelda player. This time I'm going Bowser instead of Jigglypuff, since my Jigglypuff is TILTED. Small Battlefield. This was actually a lot smoother than using Jigglypuff with her. Game 2: Same characters. Smashville. I easily two-stocked him, including a zero-to-death upon a respawn. Up to Rank 21.

      Match 11: Vs. TripleJ. Again. This is a rematch I don't want, since I lost.
      Triple JOct 15, 2021 8:32:59 pm
      Hopefully this is the last time we see each other

      He doesn't wanna face me either! But he thought I was Mighty Medina (Alex2020) the Ike player, who he lost to twice. WELL, I'LL TRY USING IKE. And I got two-stocked easily. Somehow on Final Destination again. Switching to Pokémon Trainer to see what happens. FINAL DESTINATION A FOURTH TIME. I SD'd and he SD'd once. Game 3… Pokémon Stadium 2. Finally got non-FD. But I lost due to a failed Hail Mary Flare Blitz on the last stock.
      I'M RANK 33 HELP

      Match 12: Vs. OkamiFire. If I beat them, I'm in Top 32 and they're out of Top 32. If they win, I'm done. I picked Ludwig. He picked Banjo. In Smashville. It got to a last hit situation on last stocks but I got game 1 done.

      OkamiFireOct 15, 2021 8:55:12 pm
      Always happy to see some Koopa love
      OkamiFireOct 15, 2021 8:55:19 pm
      Love Bowser Jr myself

      Second match was on Battlefield. I 2-stocked him but he lost his last stock at 231%.
      And it's TIME! I'm Rank 23. He fell to Rank 40.

      And by the time all the matches were done, I got Rank 24.
      The Top 32 bracket is happening Saturday.

    3. ROUND 1, WINNER'S SIDE: VS. Christheheghog. He's a Pikachu main, and… historically I do very poorly against electric yellow rodents. And if you don't already know, Pikachu is a top tier in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Now, that doesn't mean Christheheghog is unbeatable: He's only Seed 9 and had a 9–3 record in Ladder. (Compared to my Seed 24 and 8–4 record.) He had beaten Triple J (Terry) and Mink (Fox), which I couldn't do, but lost to OkamiFire (Banjo) while I beat OkamiFire. So maybe he struggles against projectile spam?
      So of course I'm going Ludwig Game 1, as he goes Pikachu (with Jigglypuff's green bandana from Melee). The stage is Final Destination. I struggled tremendously on my first stock, but somehow turned it around and actually WON GAME 1. Game 2: Kalos. I got demolished and I don't know how to not get wrecked by his back-air loops. Game 3: T&C. I WON. AT A SCARY LAST STOCK SITUATION. I didn't get bair-looped this time at least.

      ROUND 2, WINNER'S SIDE: Vs. KR, Seed 8. He got disqualified for not making the 5-minute check-in. I'M IN TOP 8!!

      ROUND 3, WINNER'S SIDE: Vs. Summit. He's Seed 1. A ROB player. He wants to "gentleman" Pokémon Stadium 2 but I rejected it. Then he wanted to do stage strikes and stuff like a normal competitive tourney, but I said no and I'd like to play with the tourney ruleset… which I don't think he's actually read. Anyway, eventually we got it and we got Yoshi's Story in game 1, which he hates. I WON WITH BOWSER.
      Game 2 was on Kalos, I lost because he did the ROB 0-to-death combo on me witjh rotor.
      Game 3 was Battlefield, another stage he hates, but this time I got two-stocked and wrecked.

      ROUND 4, LOSER'S SIDE: Vs. DTFaux… again. Once again, Incineroar vs. Bowser. He two-stocked me easily on Battlefield.
      So then I did a risky move… I switched to JIGGLYPUFF. And I got two-stocked even easier on Smashville.
      And that's my tournament run. I got 9th place.


      Here's a video of my Game 3 vs. Pikachu.

      As for 9th place, that's the best I've ever done in these tournaments by far.


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