Trinidad’s Smash scene and character usage is not centered around the international Tier listings. Character usage is diverse because even if a character is viewed as a ‘strong’ character, Trinidadian players pick characters which they can relate to whether they are highly ranked or not.
Super Smash Brothers Wii U or Smash 4 (as it’s more commonly referred to) debuted in November 2014 to many eager fans ready to try the newest iteration of Super Smash Brothers. However, with each new Smash game, characters are changed from their previous version. With the newest release, all characters were changed from their previous version (Super Smash Brothers Brawl) to see many improvements.
From the first local Smash 4 tournament, the character variety within the community was very clear. Players were not picking characters because that character was dominant in international tournaments. Players were using characters that felt fun to them. In the early life cycle of all competitive games, this is a normal occurrence as the player community gets accustomed to what works or what doesn’t work. This character variety was also seen internationally in Smash 4 in the first several months. However, it soon became clear which characters were better than others, as some characters had traits which made it easier for them to win tournaments.
In competitive videos games, particularly the Fighting Game Genre, Tier lists are created to categorize the strength of characters. This helps people to understand which characters are viewed as the strongest or the weakest in a game. Normally when Tier lists are created, most people would pick characters based on the tier list because it makes it easier to win with a stronger character. This is the most current and popular tier list for Smash 4.
Now let’s take a look at some of the regular players in the Trinidad Smash scene and the characters they use in tournaments:
- Wabz – Sonic
- 3C – Mega Man, Captain Falcon, Ryu, Ike
- Krumm – Corrin, Mario, Duck Hunt Dog, Lucina, Marth
- Milo – Samus, Ryu, Bowser
- Richie – Captain Falcon
- SSJ3 – Pit, Mario. Donkey Kong, Yoshi
- Cokot – Toon Link
- Kalel – Mario, Ganondorf
- Freezy – Villager, Corrin
- Ninja644 – Sonic
- JMA – Peach, Luigi, Cloud
- Nick – Shiek, Luigi, Marth
- Joker – Captain Falcon, Cloud
- Jabari – Fox, Bayonetta, Diddy Kong
- Aery – Bayonetta
- DQ – Sonic
Using the information from the Trinidad Smash scene, there are 37 characters being used among the 16 players. If we compare it to the tier list, this is the character usage when sorted into tiers:
S Tier – 2 Bayonetta, 1 Diddy Kong, 2 Cloud, 1 Shiek (16%)
A Tier – 3 Sonic, 3 Mario, 1 Fox, 2 Marth, 2 Ryu (30%)
B Tier – 2 Corrin, 1 Mega Man, 1 Villager, 1 Lucina, 1 Toon Link, 1 Peach, 3 Captain Falcon (27%)
C Tier – 1 Bowser, 2 Luigi, 1 Donkey Kong, 1 Pit, 1 Yoshi (16%)
D Tier – 1 Ike, 1 Duck Hunt Dog (5%)
E Tier – 1 Samus (3%)
F Tier – 1 Ganondorf (3%)
From the information, it is seen that most Trinidad players use A Tier characters, then B tier characters. This is surprising because S tier characters in Smash 4 are considered to be very strong characters e.g. a player using Bayonetta to win EVO 2017, however there are only 2 Bayonetta players. Also Cloud is a very strong character and there are only 2 Clouds.
Let’s compare this information to the results of EVO 2017 and the top 16 players:
1. MVG|Salem – Bayonetta
2. TsM|ZeRo – Diddy Kong
3. MSF|Larry Lurr – Fox
4. P1|Tweek – Cloud
5. NRG|Nairo – Zero Suit Samus, Bowser
5. KEN – Sonic
7. CLG|VoiD – Sheik
7. RNG|Dabuz – Rosalina & Luma
9. Elevate|False – Sheik, Marth, Donkey Kong
9. LG|Abadango – Bayonetta, MewTwo
9. Yatta|JK – Bayonetta
9. SWG|Lima – Bayonetta
13. 2GG|Komorikiri – Cloud, Sonic
13. WaDi – MewTwo
13. Manny – Sonic
13. NAKAT – Ness, Fox
Using the information from the EVO 2017 results, there are 21 characters being used among the 16 players. If we compare it to the tier list, this is the character usage when sorted into tiers
S Tier – 4 Bayonetta, 1 Diddy Kong, 2 Cloud, 2 Shiek (43%)
A Tier – 3 Sonic, 2 Fox, 1 Rosalina & Luma, 1 Zero Suit Samus, 1 Marth, 2 MewTwo (48%)
B Tier – No characters (0%)
C Tier – 1 Bowser, 1 Ness, 1 Donkey Kong (14%)
D Tier – No characters (0%)
E Tier – No characters (0%)
F Tier – No characters (0%)
Comparing the two Smash scenes, it can clearly be seen that in the International tournaments, there is a clear focus on stronger character usage i.e. S tier and A tier characters, as compared to the character range seen in Trinidad.
Smash 4 is a very volatile game competitively. While tier lists do exist for Smash 4, it is possible for any character to win in a tournament. Which is why Trinidad players would not flock to only S Tier characters. Smash 4 gives any character in the roster an opportunity to win, however it is dependent on the player’s skill. Sometimes it isn’t only about winning a game, it’s about the enjoyment that is gained through playing that game with friends and competitively. While Cloud, Bayonetta, Shiek and Diddy Kong have excellent tools to win, it may not be as satisfying as winning a game with a down tilt into K.O. punch with Lil Mac or a bike setup into Waft Combo with Wario.
Members of the Trinidad & Tobago Smash Bros community along with Jay Miller – United Kingdom (Top Row, Centre) , Keitaro – United States of America (Top Row, Right) and Kevin Lee A.Ping -CEO of E-Sports Caribbean League (Bottom Row, Centre) after Gamescon 2017.
At Gamescon 2017 in Smash 4 Jay Miller placed 1st, Keitarto placed 2nd and Wabz (Darien Jardine) placed 3rd.