Author: Barmy Brat
Date: Oct 27, 07 at 11:57pm (PST)
Subject: Tier List Discussion
As Brawl comes closer and closer to release, and our knowledge of the characters in the game increases, it is only natural that we begin to be curious about just how "good" the different characters can be. This process of ranking characters in a list from best to worst is called creating a Tier List.
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:TOP
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:Individual player skill does not affect the tier list.
Character are compared with the assumption that both are being played perfectly. If a perfectly played Fox goes up against a perfectly played Pichu, Fox has the advantage.
The Tier List does not tell you who you can, and can not, use.
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.
A common misconception seems to be that the tier list says "Bowser sucks, never use him. Use Fox instead". That is absolutely incorrect. What the tier list is saying is that Fox will win a lot of battles more easily than Bowser would. That doesn't mean Bowser can't win, and it doesn't mean you shouldn't use him. It just means he will face many more unfavorable match-ups than Fox would.
The Tier List does not apply to anyone not trying to play at the competitive level.
If you play Smash casually, that is, you never learnt the advanced techniques in Melee, then the Tier List does not apply to you. This is a huge issue I see many people complaining about. If that isn't how you play the game, then disregard the tier list altogether. Remember, it only applies when the characters are being used to their maximum possible potential. If you're not using characters to that potential (which you're not, if you didn't learn the advanced techs) then the tier list has far less of an effect on how well you will do with your character. Remember, unequal and unrefined player skill makes it possible for any character to beat any other, which will happen a lot more often when both you and your opponent are not playing with advanced knowledge and ability at the game.
And there you have it. That's what tier lists are all about.
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:
With Brawl having been out for some time now, talk of a tier list is inevitable. Since the previous sticky addressing this issue was somewhat lacking, long, and dated in areas, it's obvious that a new thread is needed to address any misconceptions one might have about the purpose, practicality, and legitimacey of Tier Lists. So, let's keep this short and sweet.
To start off, one must understand that characters are not created equally. Where there is difference, there will be deviations in performance, and that's what leads to a Tier List existing in any fighting game from now until the end of time. That being said, let's move on.
A Tier List IS:
-a reference tool intended to show TOURNAMENT-LEVEL viability of characters.
-something that can be interpreted as a "character threat list" for the competitive level.
-compiled based on tournament results, character match-ups, and many other factors.
-in the Smash Bros. community, officially created by the Smash Back Room of SWF (Smash World Forums, aka Smashboards). Smash Back Room consists of the most talented and respected players and tournament organizers in the community.
A Tier List IS NOT:
-meant to say what characters one should and should not play.
-a match-up chart. That is to say, character X isn't necessarily going to beat character Y based on rank.
-accounting for individual player skill or experience (skill is greater than tiers).
-in any significant way, opinionated.
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