The State of Sm4sh: November Edition

It’s been a full year since Smash 4 was released on the Wii U, and the meta is nowhere near settling down. Last month, Sheik was below both Diddy Kong and Mario in terms of top 8 usage. Lets look at how this has changed throughout November.

Top 8 Appearances

November 2015 top 8 showings

Sheik’s back at the top followed by a four-way tie at 9 top eight showings between Captain Falcon, Mario, Diddy Kong and Rosalina. The full picture this month, however, is better seen by the tournament wins charts.

Tournament Wins

November 2015 tournament wins

Mario and Villager round off the top of the tournament wins chart. Ranai has been doing work in Japan and the tournament wins show it. Most surprisingly, Sheik only has one tournament win out of the qualifying tournaments even though she appeared 22 times in top 8s.

Top 8 vs Tournament Wins

November 2015 top 8 vs 1st place

Sheik players are consistently able to make top 8  more so than any other character, but are having trouble winning. Mario, Diddy Kong and Sonic are still consistent in both top eight showings and tournament wins.

Lacking Wins

A trend across months of the State of Sm4sh is Sheik having relatively low tournament wins compared to her top 8 showings.  There is no doubt that Sheik players are consistently making it to top 8 of tournaments and that, in general, she has great matchup spreads, frame data, and a variety of options in every situation. The next step, however, is for Sheik players outside of the top players like ZeRo and Mr. R, to win more. Sheik is the only character to consistently make it to the top 2 of these graphs in top 8 showings. It’s time for someone new to add to her wins.

Rising Up

Mario and  Villager are doing better as time goes on. Ranai in particular has been tearing up Japan for months and MJG’s villager in the U.S. is nothing to scoff at. Players are starting to think that Mario is a definitely in the top 5 or possibly top 3 in the game. Mario’s up smash is often considered the best up smash if not one of the best moves in the game due to its backwards hitbox, speed, and kill power. There are also a myriad of Mario mains across the world like Ally, Zenyou, Anti, Dai and Ron are all able to make waves in their respective regions. It’s likely that we’ll see Mario continue to appear in top 8 and take wins, and as long as Ranai is around, Villager will keep showing up on these charts. 

Low Percent Slayers

Besides Diddy Kong and Sheik, characters that have the ability to and consistently are being used more and more. Meta Knight, Ryu, and Zero Suit Samus have all been on the rise in the past few months and all have the ability to kill earlier than expected with or without rage due to spike combos, high knock back specials like True Shoryukens and Up air>Up b combos. Meta Knight especially has been seeing widespread use outside of Leo, Abadango and Tyrant, showing that Meta Knight is being excepted at least a high tier character.

Moving Forward to the New Year

It’s hard to believe that there is a full year of Smash 4 behind us. We’ve seen Diddy Kong destroy just about every tournament back on patch 1.05, The first nerf of Diddy Kong, the second nerf of Diddy Kong and the rise of Sheik. We’ve Seen ZeRo go undefeated for over fifty tournaments, and the development of Zero Suit Samus and other characters that have true kill combos under 60%. The East Coast demolished West Coast in the Evo crew battle and the Midwest is being recognized for strong performances against the rest of the U.S. at The Big House.

The point of this series is to see shifts in the general metagame trend of Smash 4 by month, and the diversity that this game offers has proven to be constantly entertaining and developing. I can’t wait to see what the rest of 2015 has to offer and what will come with the new dlc characters and 2016.



Z2G is a fantasy writer and smash 4 analyst. He's played Smash competitively since Brawl, and continues to play and write about the Smash 4 scene.

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