After a September hiatus, The State of Sm4sh is back for its October edition. This month is host to a few surprises in the top 8 showings, albeit with fewer tournaments in general. This data comes from Smashboards tournament results pages and includes tournaments between Oct. 1st and Oct. 30th. To be eligible tournaments needed to have +32 entrants and have no more than two missing results in their top 8 (missing 1st place is an auto disqualification).
Top 8 Appearances
Diddy Kong and Mario tie for most top 8 showings followed by a tie between Fox and Sheik. The general trend is showing less Sheik play in top 8 and more of other high tiers and an increase in tournament reporting from regions with strong Diddy Kong mains.
Diddy Kong tops Tournament wins by a nearly Patch 1.05 esque margin. Zero Suit Samus is in second place with three wins including Nairo’s win at MLG. Key to note is that every tournament ZeRo wins usually adds a point for Diddy Kong and for Sheik as he uses both.
Luigi is still used regularly after his nerfs practically ended his viability at the top-level. Dr. Mario makes it to use and wins because of Nairo’s impressive use of the doctor to put down ESAM’s Pikachu. Captain Falcon is surprisingly not a part of the included characters on this chart.
The Effects of 1.11/1.12
Luigi was nerfed heavily with the KBG on his down-throw increasing, but the general trend is that he is still, on a wide level, being used. It appears he’s less successful, but dedicated players like Boss and Loe1 are still able to put in work on the green plumber. Zero Suit Samus and particularly Nairo have been vastly successful with the new shieldstun changes. ZSS’s N-air being electric hitstun makes the move positive on shield, and so the new patch has made her neutral game have significantly more shield pressure, leading to more situations where she can read a shield and grab. Her usage rates continue to be relatively low for a top-tier character, but that is likely to change as the community continues to explore how well Zero Suit Samus can be used. While low-key the new shieldstun hurt Sheik relative to other top-tier characters. Between Zero Suit Samus, Pikachu and Rosalina, Sheik gained the least from the changes due to her low damage, high range/speed character design. ZSS, and Pikachu both have sources of electric hit stun, and Rosalina has Luma for high damage, multi-hit, and high shield knock back situations. Sheik is still widely considered the best character, but that position is more contestable with the new patch changes and an increased use of other characters.
Everyone Needs a Plumber
Mario is tied with Diddy Kong for highest top 8 usage. This marks the plumber’s first time in this article series where Mario has been #1 in top 8 appearances. Mario’s ease of access as a character has always been appealing no matter what smash game it is. Finally, Mario’s kit is worthy of being called top 10, if not top 5 in the game. Mario has always been a consistent contender with the likes of Fox and Captain Falcon, but this past month has shown that Mario players may be stepping up their gameplay.
The Second Coming of Diddy Kong
The last time Diddy Kong was trending as heavily as these charts show was back in patch 1.05. This was before the two up air nerfs, down-throw nerfs, and more that occurred on patches 1.06 and 1.07. Diddy Kong has always had good usage results and tournament wins, but there are a few possible explanations of why he is trending now. Across the top-level in multiple regions, there are high-ranking Diddy Kong players. Zinoto is #1 in Michigan, above Rayquaza who placed 5th at The Big House. GGA | JJRockets, Player 1, JTails, and MuK.LyFe Marshall, are also high-ranking Diddy Kongs that might not gain as much attention at a national level, but show good results at regional and local levels. This is not to mention that TSM | ZeRo and PG | MVD both use Diddy Kong at the top-level and commonly make top 8 or win events. All of these Diddy Kong players have been playing Diddy Kong and kept his results high since they started playing, and most of them used Diddy Kong to some degree in past games. Diddy Kong’s successful trends are likely to stay in part due to the quality of players that represent him.
San, Ryuga and Ryo turned heads when all three placed 17th at The Big House 5 with Ike followed by Ryo placing top 8 at the MLG Finals. While these Ikes are doing well, outside of them, Ike isn’t placing too well. It’s clear that Ike has the potential to match high tier characters, but we’ll have to see how Ike does in future tournaments. One thing to keep in mind is that all San, Ryuga and Ryo all played Ike in Brawl, where he was relatively worse. In some ways, their familiarity with the character as a whole helps them place higher than new Ike players.
Predictions for November
I expect to see a rise in Zero Suit Samus’ usage. Nairo beating ZeRo at MLG was huge for influencing other players to pick up the bounty hunter. I don’t expect an increase in Ike’s top 8 showings, but I do expect Diddy Kong to remain close to the top in both tournament wins and top 8 showings because of his widespread top 8 showings. Unless more U.S. players pick up Sheik, I don’t expect her to rise and dominate the meta game again. Overall, I expect slightly more diversity at the top of character usage, and one or two extra placings by new characters that are likely to be announced during the Nintendo Direct on November 12th.