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Is One Stock A Viable Format?

OH - May 30, 2018

Way back in August, there some buzz on smash twitter regarding a new ruleset. It would change our standard Two Stock and bo3/bo5 to a One Stock bo7 format. While it may have been started as a joke by Dabuz, it got me thinking.Dabuz's Tweet

Let's analyze some of the quirks of the format.

In a Two Stock bo3 set, you need to take four stocks to win, and it would be the same as a One Stock bo7. However, in a bo3 you have a maximum of six stocks, but in a bo7 you get up to seven. In a b05 you need six stocks to win and have up to ten stocks. While this may be a solid pools, what about top 32? I'd suggest that a One Stock b09 might actually work better for a top 32. You get a maximum of nine stocks, but a minimum of five. In comparison, in a Two Stock bo5 you get between six and ten. You need to take five stocks in One Stock bo9, in comparison to the six stocks you need to win in a Two Stock bo5. These are comparable.

So what are the benefits of a One Stock match? One of people's biggest gripes with the game is rage, a mechanic that is meant to allow comebacks but takes away from the competitive balance of the game. The Idea is One Stock doesn't neutralize rage, but could nerf it slightly. I'll give you a scenario. You're playing a Two stock bo3 with a Bayonetta and in game one, you're having trouble killing the Bayo. When she kills you, she's at 150% or max rage. While she's close to death, she racks up a couple of hits on you and then gets a combo that wouldn't normally connect or kill and you die. At this point, you're already halfway to being sent into losers bracket, partially because of rage. However, in a One Stock bo7, you may have dropped the game but it's not as big of a deal and the rage doesn't factor in as much. Instead of being halfway to losers bracket, you're only one quarter of the way. 

What about SDing? How the balance of a low percent SD get affected in one stock? Let's run through a whole set. Let's pick up where you left off, down 1-0 to your local Bayo main. Game 2, you clutch out a last hit game.


Game 3, you have a lead but drop a mid percent SD to drop game 3. See, in a normal set where you'd lost game 1 to a rage combo, this likely costs you the set. This because you would've been on a near even playing field on your final stock before dropping the same SD. Just like that, you would be in losers bracked courtesy of an SD and a rage combo. Instead, you're only down 2-1.

While you may be down 2-1, you're still in it. In a normal bracket, you'd be out for one mistake and a difficult time killing. Game 4 is another close game, this one with another win for you. 2-2.

Game 5 is another close one, but you get lylatted to end game 5. At this point, even in a bo5 you're probably out. After the close game 4, you would've got lylatted and ended your set with a 3-0 loss to a player at roughly your skill level.

Games 6 and 7 aren't incredibly important, but you could always make it back despite having been "janked" on multiple occasions. That alone is enough to give the one stock format serious consideration.

The main issue I see with the One Stock format is that there may be more down time on stream. The length of the games will be shortened but the time between games is not minimized at all. This leads to more time allocated to players stage striking and counterpicking, but that shouldn't be too large of an issue.

In closing, I believe that the One Stock format isn't a joke format or even non-viable. I believe that it has benefits in balancing out some of the jank or non-competitive aspects of the game. A mistake could only cost 1/4th of your set in comparison to half of your set. I think that if smash 5 is a port or has a simmilar engine to smash 4 it would be worth testing the one stock format at locals and maybe even regionals or events of that like down the line.

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

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