Discussing the Raid Boss Open tournament

I’d like to start out by saying something important: we completely disavow people who knowingly spread negativity in our community. It’s not cool. In general, we don’t write posts regarding amiibo tournaments that don’t involve Exion, but we’re making a rare exception for a moment due to recent happenings regarding YouTuber Choctopus’ Raid Boss Open — the largest amiibo tournament to ever take place.

Last year, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate received an update allowing Figure Players to be used in Battle Arenas. Thanks to this generous patch, amiibo trainers worldwide finally gained the ability to use their amiibo online. And it was this update that made a tour like this possible in the first place!

If you haven’t heard, Choctopus is a YouTuber with a large following who occasionally posts amiibo content. It’s already rare for YouTubers (who don’t revolve around amiibo training) to post amiibo content, but it’s even rarer for that person to spend their valuable time, effort, and patience to host a huge tournament to spread the good word of amiibo training. In other words, Choctopus spend all that time and effort to help the community and to give viewers a good time.

In this tournament, Choctopus did not implement any of Exion’s bans (of Bowser and Incineroar). This was done to allow as many of his viewers to participate as possible, which is a completely understandable point of view. Which means that both Bowser and Incineroar were allowed. Unfortunately, some members of the community expressed intense frustrations about this in Choctopus’ Twitch chat. We don’t condone this behavior at all, as Choctopus went out of his way to put forth time, hard work, and money all for our sake.

On that note, allow me to clarify something for a quick moment. Bans in the amiibo metagame are much different than bans in the competitive Smash metagame (human versus human). They aren’t like the whole “Hero ban” debacle that happened a while back. Bans are put in place because Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s developers don’t balance around AI at all. Each patch brings buffs and nerfs to certain characters, and none of these are tailored to Figure Players. It’s safe to say that the developers never intended a competitive metagame to form around amiibo.

Bans are also put in place because Ultimate’s AI is incapable of many things. In this case, there’s two important points: the AI can’t tell when an opponent is spamming a move (so it won’t change its gameplay to avoid that attack) and it can’t tell when the opponent has super armor active. Incineroar takes advantage of the first flaw while Bowser takes advantage of the second. For more information on why these characters are so difficult to deal with, please see here and here, respectively.

Now, even though Incineroar and Bowser were banned from our metagame some time ago, these bans are not universal. YouTubers have no obligation to follow rules we put in place for our specific community. On that note, even tournament hosts within our community can allow Bowser and Incineroar. Bans we enact are moreso recommendations than rules. Choctopus most likely allowed Bowser and Incineroar for accessibility. Accessibility is something we don’t worry about when we host our comparatively small tournaments. But it is something to worry about when you’ve got over a thousand entries, which Raid Boss Open did. There are plenty of trainers out there who probably only have a Bowser or Incineroar amiibo, and wouldn’t have been able to enter if they were both banned. Indeed, there were trainers like this in the tournament. To add to this, a lot of new trainers who aren’t so familiar with the competitive scene might not know how strong Bowser or Incineroar really are.

As mentioned before, the tournament had over 1,200 entries, and the top 8 of the competition were seven Incineroars and one King K. Rool. Bowser isn’t there because Incineroar is the only character in the game with a good matchup against him. That’s understandable. What isn’t understandable is that a fair amount of viewers (and trainers) have criticized Choctopus for allowing these characters. And as we stated, this was most likely about accessibility. To make this tournament as easy to enter as possible with the purpose of gathering as many entries as possible. And although Bowser and Incineroar are strong, we have to applaud Choctopus for even hosting this tournament in the first place. We’ve never seen anything like it, and if members of the community criticize people who are ambitious enough to host these competitions, we may never see anything like it again.

The issue here is a complicated one, but it boils down to amiibo being inherently unbalanced. There’s always going to be a strongest character. There’s always going to be characters people are frustrated about. It’s up to the players to learn to take amiibo training a little less seriously. Sure, you can be serious in the context of training a strong amiibo, but when it comes to results, you’ve gotta accept what happens no matter what. Be a good sport. I’d also like to add that – due to the imbalanced nature of amiibo – it’s almost impossible to run a tournament with all three of the following: a prize pool, no character bans, and fun. I think this tournament is the closest we’ve seen to attaining all three. And though some of you might be frustrated by its cat infestation, we should all extend our thanks to Choctopus and everybody involved for their willingness to host this tournament. It was a massive undertaking, to say the least, and we should be very grateful for our time in the limelight.

It’s fine to raise an amiibo to be as strong as you can make it, but let’s have a little fun, too. Figure Players weren’t intended to be part of a metagame, but they were intended to be fun. That’s something I know for sure. I think that, in the future, we should all take amiibo training a bit less seriously and just have some fun with it. Because in the end, that’s what it’s all about! I would like to once again extend my thanks to Choctopus for hosting this tournament — and I hope he will consider hosting more in the future.


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