Early birds

This Google Doc is a bit outdated, but it keeps track of the known changes in Ultimate.

The version of Ultimate that was used at E3 and the subsequent appearances has something very important on its title screen: “Event Ver”. This is clearly short for “Event Version”, and having a pre-release version of the game is pretty normal for the video game industry. In fact, even Smash 4 3DS had a pre-release demo that came out before the game. Nintendo seems to enjoy having those small peeks at the final product.

However, what we saw at E3 is not the final product. We haven’t seen half of the announced cast, and we don’t know all of the stages that will be in the game. Even if you’re certain that a top-tier amiibo will be improved between the games based on what you’ve seen in videos, it’s entirely possible that a different character is also changed so as to counter that amiibo. It’s also probable that the amiibo in question will be changed in other ways between the creation of the demo and the game’s December 7 release (not to mention the fact that the game probably won’t have a final version for a few years).

But, purely for the sake of argument, let’s operate under the assumption that the fighter’s movesets stay the same as Smash 4 and customs return in the same form that they previously had. There’s still no reason to assume we can know what the Ultimate metagame will look like at this point in time. There’s quite a few reasons why, even with those generous conditions:

  • Dodging and perfect shielding changes means amiibo have to now play offensively, or at least less defensively
  • We don’t know if amiibo AI will be programmed the same way
  • Directional air dodge mechanics could make aerials more viable, or at least allow amiibo to get back to the ground more often
  • Reworked knockback means moves with high hitstun likely won’t KO as well
  • New characters can significantly change the metagame
  • Rage doesn’t seem to take effect until 120% is reached
  • Grabs can now be teched, much in the same way players and amiibo can techroll.

The point I’m trying to make here is pretty sensible. We don’t have our hands on Ultimate’s release version, and it seems clear that the new physics of the game are going to disrupt the amiibo game in as many ways as possible. When Ultimate releases, we’re going to have to start over.

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