Brawl Playstyles & Skills pt.1
Thursday, March 4, 2010 at 6:53PM
Richard Terrell (KirbyKid) in Competition, Fighter, Skill, Super Smash Brothers

As a preface to what will be my most ambitious endeavor here on the Critical-Gaming Network, I will take a very indepth look at the playstyles of various gamers in Super Smash Brothers Brawl. To ground this investigation, I will explain in detail the design of my main character Pit. From there, you will be able to better understand my end of the fights in the various examples I will post.  

The game at hand is Super Smash Brothers Brawl.


The character at hand is Pit. 


What you need to know about Pit is that he is a fairly irregular character. Out of a handful of basic abilities that a well-rounded core character has, Pit doesn't have a practical/reliable way to KO opponents by knocking them downward(spikes) or upward. Furthermore, Pits two strongest KO moves aren't exceptionally strong not to mention that they can be difficult to land. Pit makes up for these deficiencies with a lot of versatility and nuance. Being able to convert these nuances into power requires some anti-instinctual, indirect, out of the box strategies. Utilizing such nuances is the mark of a good Pit player. 

To help you visualize Pit and understand his basic design the way I understand it, I created this "Pit-map."

 Click to enlarge.

This Pit-map is actually inspired by a map of Napoleon's army invading Russia that I learned about 7 years ago in my high school history class. Like the Napoleon map, the Pitmap represents 6 types of data...


Notice that Pit has an unusually high amount of moves that launch opponents upward and not horizontally. Uptilt, dtilt, dair, up smash, glide attack, the second hit of the dsmash, and dash attack are all attacks that launch the opponent up without being able to KO at reasonable percentages (0-130%). With so many versatile and safe ways to launch the opponent, it's very likely that you'll spend a significant part of your game pursuing the opponent in the air. Let's consider Pits air options. 

Pit's uair is very safe and highly effective when used under a platform. The opponent can't air dodge through the platform, and if they shield the uair attack it is very effective at cracking through shields. Also, using Pit's multiple jumps, he can repeated use uairs if necessary. Uair is so effective, that you can also fake it to scare the opponent into air dodging and follow up with other attacks. If you follow with a launching attack, you can repeat the process. 

All of Pit's attacks are very usable (as you can see in the Pit-map). They generally have decent range, power, speed, and safety (especially for the multi hitting attacks). What makes Pit very effective, some would say annoying, is his arrows. When charged an arrow does up to 11% damage. When controlled arrows can accurately snipe targets from just about any position. When looped they can combo with more arrows or help you get out of tricky situations. 

Defensively, Pit can fly above and below the stage, glide around, use his wings to almost instantly block attacks, pull out a shield that reflects attacks, use the sideB Angle Ring, and loop arrows in addition to all of the standard defensive moves (rolls, dodges, shields).

Pit is one of characters in Brawl who's core design supports a full range of player skills. Without going into too much detail, continually controlling 4 arrows while simultaneously controlling Pit requires a lot of timing and dexterity skills. Pits quick attacks and special defensive abilities benefit the most from players with good reflexes and a large working knowledge base. Figuring out exactly how to convert Pits nuanced ability into very effective strategies requires a lot of adaptation.

In the next post, I'll talk about how Pits core abilities shape my playstyles and my opponent's (who also plays Pit). Look forward to videos.  

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