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Thursday, November 4, 2021

What is the NintendoVS US Challenge Cup Fall 2021?

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - A miserable, horrible experience. Coming twice!

It's approaching: the Nintendo-sponsored NintendoVS US Challenge Cup Fall 2021! Happening in two events: Event #1 is this Saturday, November 6, from 6 PM Eastern to 9 PM Eastern. Event #2 is two weeks later on November 20, also from 6 PM Eastern to 9 PM Eastern. So... what is it? It is an entirely in-game anti-competitive Super Smash Bros. Ultimate event open to Americans. Unlike in previous events, you can only register starting now, as opposed to much earlier before it occurs. Unlike the last time they had this in December 2020, there are no character restrictions.

The in-game rules are two stocks and a five minute time limit... with the Final Smash Meter on, and Low Items featuring the Smash Ball, Container, Star Rod, Home-Run Bat, Fire Bar, Killing Edge, Ray Gun, Drill, Bob-omb, Green Shell, Mr. Saturn, Pitfall, Banana Peel, Unira, Boomerang, and Screw Attack items. Any stage's Omega or Battlefield forms can be randomly selected.

NintendoVS US Challenge Cup Fall 2021 items
Extremely dangerous items include the Screw Attack, Drill, Bob-omb, Home-Run Bat, and of course, Smash Ball.
The Hammer should not be highlighted, but Green Shell should be.

Players will repeatedly match-make themselves in the temporary in-game mode to acquire Tourney Score, an anti-transparent and awful system because you have no idea what your score means or where you stand in relation to other people.

The ruleset here itself is terrible because Final Smash Meter plus two stocks is inherently stupid. The first stock might play out normally, but when you get to the second stock, you'll probably both have the Final Smash, and then it's a matter of who hits with it to get an early second KO. The characters’ Final Smashes are wildly unbalanced. Some are easily dodgeable and/or weak, while others are nearly unavoidable and KO at very early percentages. And, of course, with extremely powerful items like the Drill that can just outright delete your opponent's stock, having only two stocks, best of one matches means the worse player could very well win. This makes playing this event extremely unpleasant: You're expected to play three hours straight of jank, cheese, and luck with no sense of progression. It gets very demotivating.

Still, past events indicate competitive players will rise to the top and win prizes over casuals, if only because higher-skilled players who take things seriously know how to best use the available items. Speaking of prizes, I guess I gotta discuss those.

NintendoVS US Challenge Cup Fall 2021 register tourney qualifiers Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
It's unclear what tourney they think you're qualifying for.
There is no additional event that comes after this. You get prizes as a direct result of the Challenge Cup.
The only thing you're fighting here is your better judgment. (I hope that judgment wins.)

There are eight prizes per event. There are three kinds: For top two (Grand Prize), third and fourth place (First Prize), and then for fifth through eighth place (Second Prize). Second Prize gets $50 of My Nintendo Gold Points (eShop money), a Nintendo Switch Carrying Case, a Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Pin Set, a NintendoVS Badge, and a NintendoVS Lanyard. First Prize gets the same thing, but $75 total in My Nintendo Gold Points. Meanwhile, Grand Prize gets that same merchandise, $100 total My Nintendo Gold Points, a Backpack, and a Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Jacket... PLUS a NintendoVS US Challenge Cup Fall 2021 Trophy. Nintendo will notify the winners around November 27, but they make no promise as to when they'll actually send winners their prize. You can play in both events for double the misery. Erm... for two chances at prizes. If you won a prize in Event #1, you can still play in Event #2, but you'll only get one prize (the better one).

If you wanted to join a Nintendo-sponsored tournament that was actually fun, competitive, had good prizes, and treated its player base with respect, then you should've joined the NintendoVS US Fall Open 2021. But that has passed. A lot of bad people spread FAKE NEWS about the NintendoVS US Fall Open 2021, but it really was a good time that was relatively close to actual tournament rules, with the exception of stages being set to random (but legal) instead of having stage-striking. Meanwhile, the NintendoVS US Challenge Cup deserves all of the scorn, because I'm not sure which constituency is supposed to actually have fun with it. Well, at least you can study the usage stats from the competitive event to prepare for common online match-ups you may encounter in this one.

Despite Ludwig's insistence throughout this article that these Challenge Cups are not fun and are a poor time, he's still entering it. Perhaps if he successfully dissuades everyone else from joining it, he can have an easy time being in the top eight of one of them and he'll end up actually winning a prize.

The next Challenge Cup was for February 12 2022, but Ludwig won't be playing it. Same rules as the Fall 2021 one.


  1. I for one applaud this ruleset for at least purporting greater inclusivity among Smash players in spirit, though of course it won't be whatsoever effective in that regard.

    Everyone's gonna complain, because that's what gamers DO in the 21st century. But at least Nintendo isn't kowtowing to the festival of rampant gatekeeping that is the Smash tournament scene.

    1. The Smash tournament scene isn't gatekeeping, unless you count entry fees to be gatekeeping. In that respect, Nintendo's stuff is all free to enter. ^_^

      But this specific ruleset is designed to frustrate people, and that's anti-competitive and anti-casual... but at least competitive people can handle it better.

    2. The scene itself might not be intrinsically gatekeeping gatekeeping, but God, the people in it…

    3. In a way, they're bringing everyone together in denouncing how bad this is. :D

    4. For the record I believe that I only said gatekeeping twice in my last comment because of a quirk of my phone's speech to text. I really should know better than to trust it!

    5. Gatekeeping gatekeeping could be a thing, though! Only allow certain people to gatekeep! And Smash Bros. players aren't certain people, apparently.


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