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Smash Bros Tier Lists Discredited By Creator Sakurai

Super Smash Bros and Kirby creator Masahiro Sakurai says all characters have a fair chance of winning, slamming the idea of tier lists. Read on to know more about his thoughts!

Masahiro Sakurai On Game Balance

Any Fighter Has A Shot At Winning

Tier lists for Super Smash Bros may not be accurate or helpful at all, implied creator Masahiro Sakurai in a video titled “Average and Mediocre Are the Same Thing [Design Specifics].”

In the YouTube video, Sakurai delved into Smash’s game design and balance. Games are all about "push and pull"; "trying to make everything fair will just result in everything becoming average, and that’s no fun!" the video’s description read. For example, if you play Mario against Mario, it’s all fair game because of their exact same skills, and there's no balance issue. "But it’s no fun if that’s all you have," he mused.

Having two unique characters going against each other introduces far more variety in strategies and gameplay, hence the reason why Super Smash Bros (SSB) has such a wide array of characters. At least for the SSB series, he advised his team to "keep fighters unique by amplifying shortcomings to offset advantages." He urges other game developers to do the same and introduce variety in their characters.

Tier Lists Are Not Everything


He also tackled the fear that characters that are too unique may disrupt the competitive balance. Some players may feel this particular character is too overpowered, or too weak. A character’s unique aspects could be the reason for someone to either love it, or hate it.

"The internet can tend to be an echo chamber of sorts, so if people start saying something is wrong or weak, that assessment will gain momentum and make people think that it’s truer than it is," said Sakurai. In essence, tier lists may not be as effective as they are made out to be.

Online battle global win rate data for Super Smash Bros Ultimate (SSBU) was gathered, and results showed that the highest win rate is at 51.3 percent, and the lowest being 47.18 percent–only with a 4.12 percent gap. With such a small range and over 87 characters present in the data, Sakurai concluded that "any fighter has a shot at winning a match."


But even if the taste of victory is oh-so-sweet, he believes that win rates aren't everything. "I'm not saying that win rates are everything, as the true metric is how each fighter feels." In the end, it still boils down to whether or not you're enjoying the game, win or lose—-after all, is that not what video games are all about?

Most Fans Agree


SSB fans on the YouTube video and Smash Bros subreddit generally agree with the creator’s comments, saying that the large majority of the Smash community should take notice of this notion instead of putting one another down for their mains. Others chimed in, remarking that this may not have any bearing on competitive play, but is still an interesting tidbit to take note of.

So yes, if you want to play Kirby or Isabelle in Smash despite people telling you not to, you have the blessing of the maker Masahiro Sakurai himself. Play whoever you want to in Super Smash Bros, and enjoy!

If you want that potential 4.12% advantage though, check out Game8’s Smash Bros Tier List below!

Masahiro Sakurai’s Official YouTube

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