High Tier Abuse

Do you have a main in Guilty Gear?

Not really. I don’t play the game as much as I’d like. I sort of faff around with Sol, Ky, Slayer, Bridget, and Ramlethal. Ramlethal was nerfed bad and I don’t play her anymore. I hope Bridget returns because I actually played him unlike a lot of memers. I tried developing a Leo briefly but never played anyone with him.

I play multiple characters in every fighting game except Melee and SFV, where I only play Marth and Cammy. I just can’t make any other character work for me in those games.

You admitted that you only play one character in Melee and SFV because you can’t win otherwise. Could it be that your support of imbalance and only playing one character is self-serving rationalization?

I don’t support imbalance. I just think small viable casts are okay, as long as that cast is fairly balanced amongst themselves. Also, I sometimes play Bowser in Melee and beat them. I once beat someone’s Jigglypuff in bracket with Bowser. That’s a 10-0 matchup. I also narrowly won a small round robin Melee tournament, then beat the two next best players with Bowser as they played Fox. I’m no stranger to playing low tiers for fun, and being moderately successful at it.

I’m saying of the other good characters in melee, I can’t make any of them work for me. I’m too used to pressing X to jump for fox and falco and unlikely to ever get their shine shit down. I don’t really like sheik’s ground movement because of her small dash dance window. Falcon just never appealed to me. Peach, I’d need to learn more about her timings and crazy hover cancel shit. Jigglypuff, I can’t get down her aerial jump movement.

I play a few more characters in PM, Bowser, Snake, and ROB. Bowser’s a low tier, Snake and ROB are high tier.

I mean, the reason is really just that I don’t feel comfortable with any other character. I play multiple characters in every other game. SFV is even fairly well balanced I think (or it appeared that way at the beginning, dunno how it stacks up now).

You don’t feel comfortable playing other characters… in the same way some people “don’t feel comfortable” not using savestates for actually difficult games. What’s the distinction between that bullshit rationalization and yours? You’re both rationalizing playing the easy way as if it’s not lame.

What? You’re mixing metaphors here.

In 2 of the like, 15 or so fighting games I play, I only play 1 character. Playing a character well takes time and effort. Are you seriously going to fault me for investing time into multiple characters in every fighting game I play?

What exactly is lame about playing only one character? You’re saying I’m taking the easy way out? Like it’s not hard to play one character at a high level? Are you saying that I’m taking the easy way out by picking single top tiers? Too bad, pick a top tier, fight me.

Are you saying I should play every single character in the game (or multiple) in every fighting game I play because it’s harder? This is nuts. Nobody has time for that. I don’t have time for that when I’m already juggling a billion games I’m trying to get done. I can have a difficult enough time getting good with one character. There’s always something new to learn, something to optimize. And if I want to juggle a bunch of characters, I literally already do that in Third Strike, SF4, Guilty Gear. I can’t make any characters besides Marth and Cammy work for me in two games. I’m not interested in the other characters very much. I had an actual interest in those other characters I play in PM, and snake took me putting in the work to make him viable for me.

How the fuck are you aiming to guilt me into playing multiple characters? I’m actually mystified here. I play one character in Melee, so what? I don’t get your problem.

I mean, my saying I’m okay with Melee being imbalanced like it is was a conclusion I came to over a long period of time. It’s always before recently just been something I accepted as not being the best about the game, and it still isn’t. The viable 12 aren’t very balanced at all, and that’s pretty lame. I still completely support the approach and efforts of SD Remix and Project M, but I have come to recognize that there’s downsides to massive balanced casts too.

In fighting games, the best players only using the best characters is like the best athletes in sports also using steroids. It’s no longer “the best man wins” so much as it’s “the man with the best combination of dirty and skilled wins.”

Not a fair comparison. Steroids are bad because they cost money to obtain, and harm the health of the athletes. In fighting games, everyone is allowed to pick any character they want to. You have access to the same characters everyone else does.

A more fitting comparison might be the different styles of high jump in the olympics. It used to be everyone had different techniques, but then Dick Fosbury invented the one that most people now commonly associate with the high jump. It was such a good technique that you’d be an idiot to not use it.

For that matter, when you play a fighting game, your goal is simply to defeat your opponent. The game does not care how you do this. It doesn’t care if the character you choose is overpowered or underpowered. It doesn’t care if you can literally infinite your opponent. It doesn’t care if you wall them out for 99 seconds. Your only goal is to win and not lose. You can and should use absolutely everything available to you in pursuit of that goal. This is a multiplayer game. You should assume your opponent is going to do the same. If you intentionally pick a bad character to earn brownie points or something, you’re a bad player. They only give out prizes to people who win, not people who play low tier characters to show off. You wouldn’t applaud someone who jumped in on someone who is knocked down when the guy waking up has a reversal, you wouldn’t applaud someone who doesn’t hold the ledge when their opponent is trying to recover. Character picks are a part of the game.

The best players use the best characters because they are going up against the other best players who will also use the best characters. There’s no reason to intentionally choose a worse character if you feel it will affect your chances of winning. You’re not showing off. You’re not being a low tier hero. You’re being an idiot who will be forgotten. This is not the same thing as choosing to make a singleplayer game harder on yourself. In a multiplayer environment, your challenge is your opponents. I’m not alright with a small viable cast of characters because it perpetuates my dominance, I’m alright with it because it means the bad characters are effectively out of the game.

Of course, some people are really good with lower tier characters. It’s what they’re compatible with. It’s your duty to find the character that works best for you, which may not always be the best in the game. Lower tier characters can also have lesser known matchups, which might give them the competitive edge they need. This is how Axe keeps beating PewPewU, even though Marth is favored over Pikachu. PPU can’t figure out the matchup.

I’ve been telling this to a local guy who wants to play game and watch, either stick to PM, or pick a top tier.

How would you feel about weighted victories to balance out fighting game imbalance? For example, if you beat Bowser as Sheik, you get 1 point. If you beat Sheik as Bowser, you get 5 points. Failing that, why don’t tournaments have “weight classes” separated by tiers?

That’s stupid because tier lists and character matchups are not set in stone. They get redefined as players show how they can be played differently. Making rules about the tiers directly fucks with the tiers. It’s also stupid because tournaments aren’t about collecting points. They’re about beating someone or not. You can’t have unequal payouts for winning. There’s already a reason we don’t do round robin tournaments commonly.

Some tournaments do limit the characters though. Some people run Low Tier tournaments, with different cut-off points for what counts as a low tier. Pokemon Smogon has some crazy system for different tiers that are literally treated like weight classes, which I’d think was excessive if it weren’t Pokemon, and if there weren’t empirical evidence that without the crazy restrictions Smogon uses that literally everyone would use a 90% identical team. (see pokemon company sponsored official tournaments)

Some characters are bad, some options are bad. Accept it and pick the top tier characters. Don’t be a scrub who dies in low tier obscurity. Especially don’t be a scrub who goes for the low tier option select, ie. “Haha, I beat you with a low tier” or “Pfff, it’s a low tier, who cares if you beat a low tier.” Handicapping yourself is not honorable. There is no concept of honor within a competitive game. Honor is purely how you treat your opponent outside the game. Do whatever is allowed that it takes to win. If the game breaks, then that is the fault of the game, not the player. You are not making a contract with yourself, you are making a contract with your opponent and the tournament organizer.

4 thoughts on “High Tier Abuse

  1. DJaeger December 2, 2016 / 7:10 pm

    What the hell? I thought this kind of scrubtalk was dead to rights, save from idiotic comments on the IGN youtube evo finals videos, and from some bootlegged wannabe fighting game-esque communities going through their puberty like the Dark Souls community (“muh honor u casul”). I am surprised you even bothered to reply to him, instead of just linking him Sirlin and peacing out.


    • Chris Wagar December 3, 2016 / 2:20 pm

      It’s alive and well everywhere. LTG is popular in his own right after all.

      Still a topic worth exploration.


      • DJaeger December 4, 2016 / 10:04 pm

        LTG is a laughingstock though. Still, I appreciate that you took the time to convert him to the winners side. Just surprised you had the patience for it, I have kinda lost mine, and just accept that scrubs be scrubbing.


        • Chris Wagar December 5, 2016 / 6:58 am

          He is outside his own community, but he still has a community that looks up to him.


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