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Stage List Thoughts for SSB Ultimate: Part 1- Intro/Most obvious legal stages.

Firewater - June 14, 2018


Since Tuesday the smash community has been in a constant state of euphoria since the reveal of the newest game within the series at E3. Like many of us who focus on the competitive side of the game, many questions and requests have been wished for in many hearts, from the mundane and obvious (Bayonetta and Cloud balance adjustments), to the few buffs some characters with a dedicated fan base managed to recieve. Regardless one of the most fitting, and honestly most astonishing things that the community at large will have to deal with or think about is the stages that we will use when SSBU releases in December. With the announcement of every character returning, plus the hypothetical list of stages and potential for all of them to return, simiarily to the cast, there is a lot to think about of what is needed in a stagelist, and what gives the best entertainment. I have the disclaimer of being someone who has always been more liberal with stages, of what should be allowed due to enjoying variety, and the strategy behind stage choice in the games of a set. SSBU has the chance to be the most intricate and demanding game in a large amount of areas due to the massive numbers of characters, new tech that has yet to be discovered and the changes to knockback, game speed and other areas.

One area that has always appeared to be ignored is the selection of stages. Whether it's those individuals who default to just smashville every set, or those who ban lylat every game, regardless of matchup or character, the vast majority of players outside of the top percentage don't take a large amount of time of thinking about what stages they should select depending on the situation. One thing that sounds incredibly important for Ultimate is to understand what stages your character is best on and how best to use them. One of the most hype inducing changes that has been confirmed in Ultimate is the remove hazards toggle. The remove hazards option is something, that when selected appears to remove "hazards" or other miscellaneous things from the stage- one good example, though very few have been confirmed would be on Wily Castle in Smash 4 Wii U, if the hazard switch removed the yellow devil- the boss monster who's existence makes the stage unuseable for competitive play because of the amount of stage it takes up, the damage it deals, and the instance of it forcing the players to ignore fighting each other to deal with the larger threat. Another example could be Warioware, a stage where there is a small base with four platforms on top of it, not allowed in competitive play due to forcing minigames that either reward or punish the player based on their success. The Hazard switch allows for many stages to be potentially legal that otherwise had no chance in previous games.

Intent of Article:

There is, by default a massive number of stages. While that's far away from my stance in my community (We have qualified people who'll figure that out nationally) the point is that IF every stage returns and is ported correctly, our stagelist will be massive in Ultimate, meaning that players will have to take more serious thoughts about what stages they take certain characters to in one set or another. As a result of a very high interest i've done some research/thoughts on potential stages, and what stages could be legal, or debatably so given the existence of this new hazards button, and I hope that those with the ability to make the rules acknowledge that the stage options can be a very positve or negative input to the game depending on how it's decided. This series of articles is hopefully theorycrafting the number of stages that could be justifiably legalized when the game is released. These opinions are my own and I do not expect people to agree with all of them.

Legal No matter what unless Nintendo messes up/they're glitched

  • Final Destination
  • Smashville
  • Town and City
  • Battlefield
  • Lylat Cruise****
  • Dreamland***
  • Miiverse**
  • Yoshi's Story
  • Yoshi's Island (Brawl)*****
  • Fountain of Dreams
  • Miiverse
  • Pokemon Stadium 1 & 2*

These stages are ones that have consistently been legal in the various smash games without recourse or rationale for why they would ever be debatably banned. All of these stages except for a few examples have few/no real hazards that would interact with play debatably in a negative fashion and have been proven useable even with those flaws. These are also the stages that unless the new stages coming out for Ultimate introduce something new or similar, would be the only ones considered for starter stages (the default stages that players select to play on for the first game of a set. Some of these, however would be definite counterpicks regardless of stage options, for example Lylat Cruise would logically only be a counterpick stage in any situation.


* (Pokemon Stadiums) - the main issue here is that they are two stages that would be 100% legal with hazards off, but would be questionable/banned if not (Pokemon Stadium 2) or would be a counterpick that would gather a large amount of headache or debate due to the transformations (Pokemon Stadium 1). In theory both can be legal with Hazards off but unless blastzone sizes are dramatically different it would be relatively counterproductive to keep both legal. IF PS1 kept its hazards, it would cause a large amount of debate/complaints but there would be a sizeable enough of a difference to keep the stages different, even if PS1 would be a counterpick in that world. But in a world of no hazards for both- 0 reason to keep PS1 if blastzones are the same, given that PS2 has had universal success and approval when made as an option between Project M and the argument to use 5 person smash PS2 to replace Lylat in Smash 4.

**Miiverse (and arguably Yoshi's Story/other triplat/battlefield like stages): Given the game and the large number of stages we will have, there is a logical debate to argue that only one triplat (stage with a flat floor but three same sized platforms in a triangle above it, two at the same height and one above) should be legal due to questions of how useful a certain version could be/the smash 4 problem of the stages being so similar that banning one of Battlefield/Dreamland did very little to prevent characters who dominated on the stage to have a very powerful counterpick. The logical argument is dependent on stage size- so if all of the battlefields had different sizes, blast zones, platform height/width, etc. it is easy to justify having multiple. BUT if these stages are all similar in size and blastzones then this could cause concerns.

***Dreamland - Most of the debate/concerns about Dreamland are covered above, but overall the main question of the stage is if it works. Arguably hazards off would remove whispy's wind, which in every game is game impacting through blowing players away from setups or punishes. The bigger problem, per say is the size. Melee Dreamland was reasonably different from the other triplat stages as it was much larger in blastzone and in general size, but in its return in smash 4, the stage was virtually identical to battlefield, barring a few small changes which caused the stage to be a less reliable Battlefield in terms if the wind, uneven floor and slightly shorter ceiling. Specifically the size of the stage and actual differences will determine its legality, or ease of being legal in Ultimate.

****Lylat - the most controversial stage in Smash 4. As it looks, it looks far better in Ultimate. Misguided people will argue it should be banned because we have many options, (which we do) and that the tilt should disqualify it (Not really). Point is that regardless of tilt or more options the stage is unique in the slants and the specific platform layout that is distinct from any other stage. The stage, while glitched in smash 4 had very few issues with balance outside of those and is useful for many characters. IF the stage no longer tilts, whether the hazards off or on button, then there are fewer reasons for people to hate the stage other than PTSD from Smash 4. Overall should remain legal unless people are still falling through the middle of it.

*****Yoshi's Island (Brawl) - There have been reports on twitter that the hazard button causes certain stages to stop movements/actions that benefit the stage- IF true, arguably there could be some competitive hits to Yoshi's Brawl and Town and City to name a couple of stages- overall both of those stages would be perfectly fine regardless of the moving platforms/shift in layout (Town & City) or with the platform sliding from side to side (Yoshi's) but that will require more testing and data.




 ***This is part one of this series, given the size/time needed to look at every potential stage, it is much better to split up these discussions between multiple posts rather than one.


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