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Oct 27, 07 at 11:57pm ^Tier List Discussion
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Unfortunately, threads concerning the tier list are already becoming filled with posts arguing about their legitimacy. This isn't ideal, because it drags the threads off-topic and detracts from their intellectual value. For that reason, I'm going to explain what a tier list is, so many of you who argue against them can finally understand what they mean, and hopefully we can move away from this recurring debate.
In Smash Bros., the purpose of the tier list is to rank characters according to how well they do against all the other characters. I often see "The tier list is about who is fastest/strongest/heaviest", and while that is part of it, it is not the whole story. The tier list is more focused on character match-ups.
Using Melee as our example (since we know all the characters in that game), let's take Fox verses Link. Assuming that both Fox and Link are played to their maximum possible potential (ie. neither player makes any mistakes, and both use the best moves at the best times), Fox has the upper hand. He is faster than Link, very capable of comboing the heavier characters, can reflect all his projectiles, etc. In this match up alone, Fox is favorable. This does not mean Fox will always win, it just means that the fight will be easier for Fox to win than it will be for Link.
If the only two playable characters in Melee were Link and Fox, the Tier List would look like this:
That is a fact. We've established that Fox finds this fight easier than Link does for several reasons, so Fox goes to Top Tier.
To actually build the Tier List, that process is repeated again and again, until it is decided how well Fox does against the other 24 characters in the game. If Fox has the advantage over 23 of those 24 characters, he'll obviously be Top Tier. But what about Link? Well, after testing, it turns out he has the upper hand against 12 characters, but an unfavorable match-up against the other 12. This would then place him at the middle of the list. Pichu has an advantage over no one? He goes to the very bottom.
That is the process by which the tier list is decided. To help understand the list better, and why it exists, there are several important points you should note:
The reason we must assume that players have perfect skill with their characters is because if we included imperfect player skill, it would cloud the results. For instance, a veteran Pichu player will very likely beat someone who has never used Fox before. Does that mean Pichu is a top-tier character? No, it doesn't. It wasn't Fox's fault he lost, it was the incompetent player using Fox who lost the match. As you can see, the tier list compares characters based on their own potential (which is programmed into the game), not the skill of the player using them.
This is not a pot-shot at your skills, by the way. Some players simply don't want to "waste their lives" learning the advanced techniques and would rather play without them. That's fine, but remember that the tier list does not apply to you. Other people find it more fun to play the advanced metagame, and you should respect how they like to play and the fact that for them, the tier list is a very important thing.
If you don't like them, stay out of the threads concerning them. If you don't understand them, re-read this post until you do. To claim tier lists are irrelevant is simply ignorant, to pretend they don't exist is even worse. If you have ever played a game and thought "This character sucks", then you have acknowledged the existence of Tiers.
Hopefully you now understand why we have tiers. If I see anyone trying to argue against them with ill-informed opinions, your post will be deleted and you will be linked back to this thread. The tier list argument is like a broken record, but I'm putting an end to it now. Kindly stay out of any tier list thread if you do not intend to contribute, or risk facing time on the sidelines.
Just to add in:
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