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Has Minecraft Steve Finally Been Banned from Competitive Smash Bros?

Discussing how the new Steve tech and loss of tournament circuits is causing trouble for the Smash community

Minecraft Steve. Image: Smash Bros.

The competitive community behind Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has been facing some issues recently.

First, the discovery of a game-breaking new technique, and now the closing of an entire tournament circuit. Can the Smash community survive?

The Trouble with Steve

For those unfamiliar with the Smash Bros. franchise, Minecraft’s Steve joined the roster in 2020. Since his release, he has been nothing but trouble, skyrocketing to the top of nearly every tier list.

On February 24th, 71 top players gathered and made an ‘official’ tier list, with Steve at the top. But what makes this character so strong? Steve has elements some characters could only dream of. Steve has incredible combo potential, with his combos being simple to execute. His far-reaching recovery allows him to return to the stage from extreme distances. Steve’s ability to place blocks on the stage and manipulate the terrain is also powerful. Steve has all the tools to sit him comfortably at the top of the tier lists.

Steve’s newest tool

If all the tools mentioned previously were insufficient, Steve’s players discovered a new technique that jeopardized the game. Steve’s latest tech, “Phantom MLG,” allows him to cancel the hit stun of nearly any move in the game. For those unfamiliar, hit stun occurs after a character takes damage and puts them in an inactive state. Their opponent can follow up for combos. Steve can negate that completely. This technique is relatively easy to execute, too; it only requires three inputs! There has been a boisterous call from the community to ban this technique, or even Steve as a whole, from competitive play.

Can you ban a technique?

With the outcry from the Smash community over this new technique, many have questioned whether such a technique could be appropriately policed. Tech, such as wobbling in Smash Melee or Infinite Dimensional Cape in Brawl, has been banned. Unlike the older Smash games played in person, Ultimate has a sizeable online scene. In offline tournaments, you could quickly call a judge to observe if your opponent used a banned technique. But in online brackets, with hundreds of matches being played, saving every replay for a judge to watch is not feasible. Thus two significant camps have formed. You either let the technique be or ban the entire character.

Who has banned Steve?

Many circuits have already banned Steve. The most extensive online tournament series, Coinbox, has already done so. Coinbox is a weekly online tournament headed by professional Smash player Hungrybox. Hundreds of online matches were being played weekly, so they banned the character entirely not to overwork the judges. The Collision series of tournaments has followed suit.

Read More: Major Smash Ultimate tournaments ban Steve after discovering new game-breaking tech.

The crumbling of official tournaments.

For those unfamiliar, two large Smash tournaments would have occurred in 2022. Smash World Tour hosted by VGBootCamp, which was an international tournament circuit was one. Panda Cup hosted by Panda Global was the other. The Panda cup was North America only and had official Nintendo backing. Officials canceled both of the December tournaments. VGBootcamp has survived, shutting down many other events, and Panda Global went under entirely. Other Esports organizations have been slowly deflating as well. Many have been laying off top players, including one of the best players in Smash Ultimate, MkLeo.

Read More: Why Has Video Game Live Streaming Become So Popular Among Gamers?

The end of Summit.

Things turned for the worst when the Esports organization Beyond the Summit announced it would shut down. Summit was not only an organization but a location, hosting many events over the years, most notably, the Smash Summit series. This year’s Smash Summit 6 will be the last; the venue will close its doors for good. This news is a heavy blow to the Smash community, as Summit was one of the year’s most anticipated events. With the loss of yet another tournament series, many question the future of Smash.

Could this be the end of Smash?

With these developments, competitive players fear the worst; their beloved game is on its way out. A character tech has not needed to be banned since 2008’s Smash Bros. Brawl. And a character hasn’t dominated top-level play to such a degree since Bayonetta in Smash for Wii-U and 3DS. The loss of tournament circuits also surprises many, as E-sports, specifically, Smash, seemed to be on their way up in recent years. Has the E-sports bubble begun to burst? Could this be the end of Ultimate?

JD In a Dig Dug Shirt with a Mothman Pin doing a thumbs Up
Written By

I am a graduate of University of North Carolina Greensboro. I am quite proud of my fiction and poetry, and I have been published several times.

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