If you are someone who follows the competitive scene of Super Smash Brothers, you likely know a few characters that tend to get a bad reputation. Whether if it was Metaknight in Brawl or Bayonetta in Smash 4, these were characters the community did agree to ban due to being too powerful. Nowadays with Smash Ultimate, it can be almost hard to imagine that you can have a roster of over 70 characters and how each and every one of them have a fair chance to win. Previously, some fans thought Persona 5’s Joker was too powerful, but after some time, players were able to figure out how to use him to his fullest while also countering his unique playstyle.
All was good in the world of Smash Ultimate up until recently. It might seem silly to consider having this conversation about a character that came out about two weeks ago, but we do find ourselves in a rather unique situation. Say what you will about previously “Banned” characters in other Smash titles because Hero might go down in the history of Super Smash Brothers as being the first character ever to find himself permanently banned.
This is a rather bold statement for one to make, and yet recently, South Australia’s Smash community were in agreement to ban Hero out of competitive play. It may sound extreme but when you look at the evidence laid before you, you can start to understand why and how people came to this conclusion.
No one Love the Random Number Generator (RNG)
If you were to describe Hero in one word what would it be? For many, it would either be “Luck” or “Gamble.”
Now bear in mind that Hero technically is not the first character in the series to have RNG mechanics. Whether if you have Peach pulling out a Bob-omb or Mr. Saturn, or Mr. Game & Watch slapping you with a perfect 9, some characters do have some luck to them to pull out something that could change the course of the fight. The issue with Hero though is that his RNG stretches out to two attacks: His Down-B, and the much more concerning Smash attack.
While there are several RPG characters in Smash Ultimate, only Hero has access to the common RPG trope known as, “Critical hit.” This unique perk has a 1/8 chance of triggering, and if it connects, it doubles the damage and knockback a target receives. This means that should Hero get in one lucky hit, he could take out enemies at rather low percentages. Perhaps we could see a balance change where the critical hit doesn’t do as much damage or knockback instead of just a pure “double.” Still, it does seem like a touch overkill to some to give Hero such a powerful utility.
As for his Down-B, command selection gives Hero one of four spells to use. While these can range from range attacks to close range hitters, you can also gain access to abilities that almost feels like equipping an item. You boost your speed, increase your attack, auto-reflect projectiles, put enemies to sleep, or even have a “get back on the stage” free that throws you right back on the stage just to name a few. And even Thwack showing it can indeed KO at 0%.
And then there’s Hocus Pocus!
For the people who really want to take a gamble, you can try your hand at a spell that has completely random effects to it. Imagine having access to a spell that will not only let you do one of the other 20 spells Hero can cast but then you also make yourself bigger? Or Smaller? Slowing you down or draining your MP? Making you invincible or putting you to sleep? Hell, you can magically blow yourself up if you luck really is that poor! It can be rather daunting for the number of things Hocus Pocus can do alongside with all other skills Hero has to his name.
Now, it’s fair to point out that each spell does have some odds to of appearing. You will likely see Sizzle, Kaboom or Flame Slash much more than you would see Whack, Magic Burst, Kamikazee, or Hocus Pocus. It is also possible that depending on the rate Hero gains MP or how often some spells do appear, Sakurai and his team can adjust the appearance rate of each spell in case the more “overpowering” abilities tend to pop up more often.
Hero is certainly a gamble, and if you play your cards right, he looks rather unstoppable. Then again, if your luck is poor, you cast Kamikazee by mistake at 0% and not hit your opponent.
So let’s say the RNG does see some addressing and either see a tweak or balance changes to be more consistent than random. That would fix all the issues and Hero would be able to play with the other characters, right?
This might not sound like a big issue if you enjoy playing locals wherever you live, but in some parts of the world, the game tournaments are much more “international.” One best example to consider was EVO 2019’s Top 8 for Smash Ultimate and consider the following: You have three Americans, three Japanese, one French player, and MKLeo out of Mexico. That is at least four countries with four languages, and that’s not taking into account of all the other countries that did partake at EVO 2019.
Smash Ultimate does support 11 languages (English, Japanese, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Dutch, Russian, Korean, Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese). Riddle me this: If you have two players from two separate countries play Hero and neither of them can read the same language, what do you set the game’s language as? It is one thing to make it where Hero can select from so many spells during a fight, but it’s another when your opponent can’t see what you are picking. If Hero decides to go supernova, but you can’t read “Magic Burst” or “Kamikazee,” do you rush in and hope you don’t suddenly blow up? Or hang back when the opponent really had “Kacrackle Slash” on standby?
Chances may be low to see two international Hero players go up against each other, but there’s still a chance that this can happen. And when it does, let’s hope things don’t go horribly wrong!
Now there is one other thing we need to consider: Why Hero was made this way? While this may not be an answer some would like to hear, it is entirely possible that Sakurai did not intend Hero to be competitive and more for casual play. If that were the case, then it would be understandable if Smash Ultimate players are in full agreement to keep Hero out of the competitive scene from now to the end of Smash Ultimate’s run.
If this weren’t the case though and Hero was indeed meant to be a character for all players of skills to use, where do we go from here? Some players feel like the ban seen in South Australia should stretch out worldwide while others think Hero needs time to know if he is even worthwhile. It wasn’t that long ago players people were under the impression Joker should be put in the ban list due to Arsene. And yet a few months later, we do see how players can take out Joker instead of him feeling too overpowering to the rest of the cast.
If you can knockback a character, you can KO it.
Ok, maybe not the best spin on the classic Predator quote, but you get the point. Hopefully, whoever the final two Smash Ultimate characters are, they will not generate as much RNG-based mechanics like Hero.
So what do you think? Should Hero be banned permanently? Should he get adjustments to be less overpowering? Or are people overreacting like some tend to do and just let Hero fight? Leave your thoughts down below and be sure to follow us here at Culture of Gaming for more articles covering Smash Ultimate and other things in the gaming world.