by Doc – Owner, Founder, Author of “All the World’s a Stage, and all the Men and Women Merely Amiibo Trainers”
The Steve amiibo is going to wreck our notion of a “fair stagelist”.
Steve Is Weird
As you’re aware, Steve’s entire moveset relies on his resources, and his resources are procured using his Mine ability. If Steve has easier access to more powerful resources, he has a much easier time KOing on average, and will perform better overall.
This unique characteristic presents two problems for Steve.
- On some stages, Steve will mine with his Pickaxe, which shares a durability pool with Forward and Back Air. On other stages, he mines with his Shovel, which doesn’t share a pool with any moves.
- Steve pulls different resources from different stages according to their resource category. Certain tournament legal stages are classified as “Iron”, which produce many more diamonds than other stages. Other stages are “Neutral” or “Dirt”, and those stages take much longer to produce a diamond.
Basically, the stagelist itself can indirectly nerf Steve by affecting the durability of his tools and his ability to KO. Final Destination, for example, uses Shovel mining. Small and Regular Battlefield use Pickaxe mining. This means that, while their resource categories are all “Neutral”, Steve will technically be slightly better on Final Destination and Omega Stages because his Pickaxe won’t be losing durability while mining, preserving that durability to be used in Forward and Back Air. Steve amiibo love their Forward/Back Air and will use it offstage to the point that it loses durability, so having that extra durability really makes a difference.
Can We Solve It?
If we expand the typical stagelist to try to correct this imbalance, we still run into problems. Stages like Pokemon Stadium (which are considered viable substitutes for Small Battlefield when hazardless) are “Stone”, which gives Steve a diamond and iron faster than almost any other resource category. Smashville is entirely “Wood”, which gives less durable materials on average than “Stone” or “Iron”, but still gives more diamonds per mine than the “Neutral” stages. There’s really no fair stage: everything either favors worse or better materials cumulatively. In fact, the “Neutral” stages are actually the worst for Steve because they take the longest to give him a diamond.
It’s functionally impossible to create a stagelist that’s fair to Steve, and at some point tournament hosts have to decide: do we use a stagelist that will overall benefit Steve, or hurt him?
This is part of the larger issue with stage choices. Some amiibo benefit greatly from having platforms on stage. Steve’s Up Smash, for example, can completely dominate a Battlefield platform from below. Since the earliest days of the meta, Link has been able to crush airborne opponents with his own Up Smash, and even Mega Man significantly benefits from getting underneath an opponent on a platform.
Other amiibo benefit from large, flat stages like Minecraft World and Final Destination. Do I need to explain how Min Min or Mii Gunner would benefit from that? It’s practically impossible to get to the opponent when giant fists and missiles are repelling you. Putting so much distance between the campy amiibo and the chaser amiibo is an easy win for the camper.
Stages are, broadly speaking, the least fair part of the amiibo ruleset, and it’s not clear that this will get any more solveable with the release of the Steve amiibo.