It’s that time again. The “I” word. The big one. The one that rips every Smash community to shreds due to the sheer devotion to it. But… it needs to be done.
Let The Great Item Debate Commence!
First, a History:
The Smash tournament scene really started to pave its way with Melee. Matt “Mattdeezie” Dahlgren began to pull together Californians in an attempt to establish a true competitive Smash community, beginning with his tournament series Tournament Go. The original tournament hosted singles, teams, and FFA, all virtually untouched gameplay. This means all stages, all items, everything untouched. The tournament was a great success that spawned 5 successors over 2 years as well as jump starting the Smash community into the giant it is today. Over those 2 years, the rules were tweaked, slowly, but surely, as aspects of the game started to become too polarizing. It started out simple, with removing the clear-cut offenders in items and stages, and made its way down to something most agreed with and lasted until near the end of those 2 years. The debates waged on during that time, largely around items and their place in Smash. Tournaments across the country were organized regularly both with and without them. It was only once it was determined that the exploding capsule causing unpredictable deaths that items began to fall out of the limelight, as they could not be turned off without turning off items altogether. The pro-item fans began to dwindle, the item tournaments stopped being organized in favor of the majority choice.
The real heat in the ideas began when Brawl was released. The biggest complaint was heard - containers had their own toggle. But it had been nearly 5 years. Many players wanting to jump on the new game had only really experienced Melee post-2003, and never got a chance to understand the item alternative due to the estrangement. Animosity formed between those that wanted to see another shot with a new game, and those that had believed the containers were part of a bigger problem that wouldn’t change between games. Members of SRK here became the forerunners for the return of items in Smash (dubbing the ruleset “All-Brawl”), and were met with a large force that insisted that they had no purpose, and the fight raged on as Brawl was being considered for Evo 2k8. In an attempt to lay mediator between the two sides, Mr. Wizard had decided that the ruleset would include a small subset of items. Unfortunately, this satisfied neither party, and despite the at-location hype, the outcome was sorely tarnished, where CPU soundly beat Ken for the victory. Brawl was not included with the subsequent Evo due to the fallout, but did return the following year under the established ruleset and managed by members of the Smash community at large.
We now have a new Smash, and a new attempt to discuss the future of the ruleset options for the Smash tournament scene. I believe it is time to bring this argument to life once again. Once again, the same ideas are on the table as with Brawl. It’s a new game, a new engine, different behaviors, different everything, really. My belief today has shifted quite a bit compared to when I myself was fighting for All-Brawl, and more so from the days of TG. But the basis of it still remains. Today, my proposal is a bit more complicated than my initial “items matches along side no items matches”, but ultimately much more organized than it as well. What I believe should be done is a ranking system for items. A TO can state their tournament to be a “Rank x” tournament to show the types of items to be in play, if any, which greatly simplifies the rule descriptions. My initial idea is as follows:
Rank 5 (The Pseudo-Ban Rank - these items wildly influence the game on appearance due to its overwhelming reward being too good or bringing the game to a halt, or otherwise reward considerably the player instantaneously through little or no interaction)
- Back Shield, Fairy Bottle, Gust Bellows, Heart Container, Lightning Bolt, Maxim Tomato, Special Flag, Starman, Timer
Rank 4 (The High Stakes Rank - these items aren’t necessarily busted but still incredibly tide turning for better or worse or otherwise difficult-to-impossible for an opponent to handle reliably, but not so much that it will either negate or create a kill guaranteed or otherwise bring the game to a halt until it is resolved)
- Assist Trophy, Beetle, Bob-omb, Bombchu, Bullet Bill, Cucco, Daybreak, Deku Nut, Dragoon, Galaga Ships, Gooey Bomb, Master Ball, Ore Club, Poison Mushroom, Spiny Shell, Super Mushroom, Superspicy Curry
Rank 3 (The Deep End Rank - these items may or may not have lethal abilities, or may or may not give great additional control, but most may bring about some risk or disadvantage that can be used against them pretty readily)
- Beam Sword, Blast Box, Fire Bar, Food, Golden Hammer, Hammer, Hocotate Bomb, Lip’s Stick, Metal Box, Poké Ball, Ray Gun, Rocket Belt, Smart Bomb, Smash Ball, Soccer Ball, Star Rod, Steel Diver, Team Healer
Rank 2 (The Conservative Rank - items in this rank shouldn’t really create a killing scenario on its own in any way that a smash attack wouldn’t also, nor should they control a large degree of a stage or otherwise give the player a significant advantage without some drawback)
- Barrel, Beehive, Bumper, Bunny Hood, Capsule, Chest, Crate, Drill Arm, Franklin Badge, Green Shell, Home-run Bat, Killer Eye, Motion-Sensor Bomb, Party Ball, Pitfall, POW Block, Rolling Crate, Screw Attack, Spring, Tanooki Leaf, Unira, Warp Star, X Bomb
Rank 1 (The Simple Rank - items in here are non-lethal in most cases; they should be able to disrupt an opponent and possibly set up for other actions, but unless the setup to make the item lethal is incredibly situational, that’s all they should be able to do)
- Banana Peel, Boomerang, Fire Flower, Freezie, Grass, Hothead, Mr. Saturn, Sandbag, Smoke Ball, Super Scope
Rank 0 - No Items
A Rank 0 tournament would be a very common occurrence for a while, as it is still a very unpopular opinion to play with items on at all. But for other ranks, it basically would include all ranks below it for items. A Rank 3 tournament would contain all items within Ranks 1, 2, and 3.
I believe this is the best way to handle both worlds out there to come together to accept both modes of play, and I am hoping that it can one day be adopted overall. I open this thread, however, as a means to discuss the possibilities of items in play, why some items deserve a given rank, etc. THIS IS NOT A THREAD TO BITCH ABOUT ITEMS. Take that shit elsewhere. This is not the place to discuss the validity of items. The idea within this thread is to discuss which items belong in a given rank and why. This list is what I would like to maintain and update as we discuss. Keep the discussion with the consideration that with this, most stages that would otherwise be considered unplayable may indeed still be viable.