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Evaluating Doubles Participation and Cloud's Prevalence in Doubles

Jaaahsh - August 24, 2017

ZeRo tweeted recently that Doubles is "dying" and that participation in Doubles is suffering. Though he didn't explicitly say it was because of Cloud, his tweet sparked debate around Cloud's popularity in Doubles—but were his initial assertions about Doubles true? Let's investigate.


One of the more interesting elements of the recent debate surrounding banning Cloud in Doubles is the idea that the surge of Cloud over the past year and a half is causing a decrease in Doubles participation and player enjoyment. This was spurred, primarily, by ZeRo passionately tweeting soon after 2GGC: SCR Saga.

Though it's impossible to quantify statements like "less interest from spectators" or "the metagame is degrading," ZeRo does make many claims about the state of Smash WiiU Doubles in his tweet and responses to it, the largest of which are:

  • Doubles is getting fewer entrants.
  • Doubles participation is on the decline.
  • Viewership of Doubles is declining.

Though the final claim isn't one I'm equipped to handle (leave that to someone closer to Twitch's statistics to determine that), the first two claims listed above are able to be tested statistically, and this write-up is a result of checking the accuracy of the first (with a bonus analysis of Cloud in Doubles!).

Before I jump in, it is important to note that this is NOT meant to refute ZeRo's point, nor am I aiming to embarrass or question him. The basis of his tweet is feeling—that is to say, his experiences as a player—and there's no value in attempting to contradict that. Truly, ZeRo senses a malaise in Smash WiiU's Doubles scene, but his tweet has sparked an intense debate about Cloud in Doubles. Some folks participating in this debate assume the presented-as-facts elements of his tweet are true when, indeed, they may not be as valid as they appear, and information is paramount for event organizers seeking to make an informed decision about the fate of [Cloud within] Doubles.


Now, let's get to the stats!

Taking the data provided on SmashWiki (which, whenever possible, was corroborated with Challonge and, I listed the Singles and Doubles entrant numbers for every event listed under SmashWiki's list of national-level tournaments. Plotting the percentage of Singles players that played in Doubles over time, I identified a strong level of consistency since the game's release.

Chart Plotting Doubles Participation

Barring some extreme outliers, Smash WiiU has enjoyed a very consistent rate of Doubles participation, hovering around 50% at major events for the entire life of the game. Though it's difficult to quantify general tournament attendance growth or decline over time (given the huge diversity of geographic locations and relative cost to travel/enter), many regular tournament series (Genesis, 2GG, Big House, etc) have posted consistent participation numbers or, in the case of Super Smash Con, constantly improving numbers.

But what about Cloud, the probable subtext to ZeRo's tweet (and the focus of the larger community debate)? Is Cloud's surge in Doubles quantifiable over time? Actually, yes.

Chart Plotting Cloud Usage in Top 16 Doubles

The blue line above charts the number of times Cloud appeared in a Top 16 listing on SmashWiki (when a full Top 16 list was available). The red dots shows rough averages over four-month periods (functioned as a pseudo best-fit line), and looking at those points alone show a clear increase over time, starting right around the summer of 2016.

Though the rate of Cloud's appearance has gone up, it's important to keep in mind what this number means. If, in a given event, there were eight Clouds in Top 16, it means he made up a quarter of possible character spots (since 16 teams use at least 32 characters)—as an example, the 10-use peak event (Umebura S.A.T. in August 2016) featured around 36 character slots, as many players opt to use different characters in different situations. Without more rigorous data, it's impossible to plot the percentage of Cloud appearance, but this is definitely a metric that, going forward, event organizers can use to help make decisions regarding Doubles.


Here's your teal dear, dears:

- Though ZeRo observed Doubles participation going down, it has, at least in the context of national-level events, remained constant in its relation to Singles participation.
- Cloud appearance in the Top 16 of Doubles events has definitely increased since the summer of 2016, but Cloud still makes up less than a third of all used characters in the Top 16 teams at national-level events.


For other Smash WiiU stats musings, general cattiness or more information about the Minnesota Smash scene than you can handle, follow me on Twitter over at @Jaaahsh!

Also, say hi when you see me at your next major—I tend to be around, helping out behind the scenes. :D

Curious about my stat-gathering? It's not a gorgeous spreadsheet, but feast your eyes here.

This blog post was written by a SSB World community member. Share your Smash 4 knowledge by creating your own blog post now.


Let's go Jaaahsh.
MintyGuy700 - August 24, 2017
So, since this is supposed to be a statistical argument. Was there a particular reason why Top 16 was selected as the cut off? and not say, top 64/32/8/1 etc?
DRX FAITH - August 24, 2017
It was a practical decision. For the larger tournaments listed on SmashWiki, Doubles results reports ended at Top 16. Since not every event includes detailed character data on (yet), I was forced to lean on what I had available. In an ideal world, more data would allow for a more rigorous conclusion, but I was at least satisfied to get 16 teams' worth of data for the 29 events that had it listed.
Jaaahsh - August 24, 2017
More than good enough reason for me
DRX FAITH - August 24, 2017
Can we get how many Cloud's make up Top 8 of these events?
Afro Smash - August 24, 2017

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