Recently, heavyweight balance in Smash Bros. has become a hot topic. No matter how much buffing heavyweight characters get, they are completely subject to having their opponents still turn them into glorified pi(n)atas, and it doesn’t help when the buffs they are given are often uncharacteristic speed buffs, leading to homogenization and definitely a lack of playing to strengths. Particular aggravating is the notion of unconditional flinching, where if you get hit, you have any attack you had thrown out get completely cancelled. Smash Bros. does NOTHING to balance this issue out and so heavies are absolutely stuck with having to do reaction races they can’t reasonably compete in.
Kid Icarus Uprising, while it does have depth issues with the core gameplay, does have its share of ideas to making the Mighty Glacier more viable, without resorting to uncharacteristic speed buffs. One idea is big and does get to addressing the Unconditional Flinching issue, but it’s not quite a core mechanic, despite being a very good one, believe me. I will cover the core mechanics first because those do contribute. It’s also worth noting that Clubs, which I’ll focus on and they DO have the worst frame data of the weapon families, do suffer the issues of replacing Rapids with some extremely niche Swings, being limited to 2 hits on the Melee Combo, and most importantly, having severely gimped momentum on the mobility with any of the dash attacks. These will punctuate how effective the below points are at allowing Clubs to be viable even before getting into cases like Magnus or Capricorn Club. And for reference, this will not account for weapon modifiers, since those create way too much biased gameplay. I also will not directly point to Kid Icarus Uprising not having certain options such as Shielding and Grabbing, since although those contribute in Smash Bros. to heavies being suffocated, they do so by bad execution and their not being in KIU at all isn’t a positive. This is more focused on good ideas that KIU has for Mighty Glacier balance.
Getup options are more effective yet more committal
One nasty problem that suffocates heavies’ durability in Smash Bros. is how getups are too predictable. Kid Icarus Uprising may provide fewer input options, but it isn’t stuck on a 2 1/2 D plane. Smash Bros. has its getup options be anything but versatile in their individual tasks, and to punctuate why that’s a problem, I will provide the frame data for the getup options in both KIU and Smash 4.
|Normal (Smash 4)||22||30|
|Roll (Smash 4)||23||36|
|Attack (Smash 4)||26||46|
|Ukemi Normal (Smash 4)||21||27|
|Ukemi Roll (Smash 4)||21||41|
You might notice that KIU does get insane with the intangibility duration amounts, though the Normal Getup, which has the most of this, is surprisingly justified somewhat. First off, the Normal Getup, to do manually instead of waiting for the game to have the player do it automatically, requires pressing the Aim button multiple times, seemingly a random amount. This is likely to be the touch screen, though Align Camera could be an alternative substitute to this, except Align Camera can mess with the player’s camera control. What makes the Normal Getup not ridiculous, however, is that the player is STILL in the same position as before. The real reason for KIU’s getups being better is that they are good at their unique tasks, with the Rolls having more than one dimension to work with and the Attacks launching a Forward Shot as a safeguard against excessive range abuse, instead of involving some awkward close range sweep that doesn’t even have anti-air. The Roll Getup also has a burst of movement at 8 meters of travel distance, compared to the First Blade’s run speed of 10m/s, further ensuring the potential of an escape path and giving slower fighters a consistent emergency movement option. The Attack Getup, meanwhile, has the added advantage of getting around chargeup requirements which Clubs generally have in spades. Because of the versatility allotted, the state of being in disadvantage can be mitigated by being less predictable to effect, disrupting any attempt at easy chaining that faster foes could try.
The trade-off is that KIU’s getups have more committal time. While the surplus intangibility does carry over, it doesn’t quite add to any in a followup move, so much as it sets a minimum for if the followup move would provide less on its own. Because of that limitation, it is still quite feasible for the attacker to chase against roll getups if they predict the defender’s movement, and the comparatively higher committal time gives heavier attacks an easier time landing their mark with the reduced difficulty in reading opposition. Add to it that Club shots are often big and lingering, and there’s a reason the likes of Skyscraper Club doesn’t need everybody trying to keep their distance to be able to punish roll getups, even if that does help. This IS a double edged sword for Clubs as well, since they can get socked by heavier attacks too, but fair is fair, and this does lead to more coherent gameplay than if the getups was more catering to lighter attacks.
Further addressing the invincibility frames, since KIU does also give the knockdown states a case of Mercy Defense at 1/3 damage taken–this, by the way, further promotes good burst damage usage, somewhat given it’s still division defense–allegedly, the surplus intangibility just gives the person in knockdown the advantage. While a position reset IS made much easier, the attacker still has more options for handling their own positioning, including an immediate cast of a casting animation Power such as Meteor Shower, and can do this to set up traps. The getup state can only be forced by the player going into it by using Angelic Missile, which as a Power has its own strings attached even without Angelic Missile also locking out the Ukemi input, so getup options can’t chain into themselves or each other, and that “infinite” invincibility that could allow for stopping reads toward followups will quickly prove itself as anything but infinite.
In comparison, Smash Bros.’ getups feel too generic, actually a common problem in the series in the midst of making Olimar’s Pikmin maturity stages do nothing in gameplay or Robin’s weapon durability mechanic feel laughably inept at curbing the abuses it was designed against like it was in the Fire Emblem series. This sort of thing does bring up the next subject.
To be sure, Kid Icarus Uprising is a shooter and thus every weapon type having projectiles is inevitable. However, it IS fair to point out that the clear majority of characters in Smash Bros. have projectiles anyway, with the percentage never going below 66% for Smash 64 and Brawl, and that percentage in both cases is discounting Kirby, Bowser, Charizard, Squirtle, and Wario–with them, Smash 64 has the percentage at 75% and Brawl has it at slightly less than 80%. Further worth noting is that of Smash Ultimate’s newcomers, the only one without a projectile other than Chrom, an Echo Fighter, is Incineroar, who as a Mighty Glacier/Melee Tornado hybrid has the exact sort of stats build as characters who commonly gets suffocated in competitive play, and not-so-incidentally, Incineroar has been placed in low tier. One particular sticking point? Incineroar has to play defense because he’s too slow and incapable of range combat to approach. Unfortunately, by playing defense, Incineroar has no way to hit to even deal his damage. Anybody can see as much AND can tell you how that’s asking for being shelled by projectiles.
Kid Icarus Uprising gives EVERY weapon type projectiles, with varying strengths and weaknesses to make sure range combat stays interesting. What allows for classifying a weapon type as a Melee Tornado is when its projectiles have weaknesses that prevent efficient range combat. Magnus Club is a perfect example with its projectiles being limited in their maximum range, softening potential issues with an above average mobility weapon that has its Neutral Shot be equivalent to an aerial in Smash Bros. that deals about 18%, something Bowser barely achieves with his Back Air in Smash 4. Believe it or not, I don’t even get scared of Magnus Club, because one particular weakness that Clubs have is that they lack rapid fire attacks; as I mentioned before, they instead use Swings that are laughably niche. (Swings could have stood to be much better to allow nuanced usage, honestly. Instantly destroying any hit projectile and not resetting chargeup on use doesn’t really cut it.) This forces Clubs to wait until they get chargeup to use their projectiles, although melee attacks won’t reset chargeup so there’s that at least. Magnus Club has the lowest chargeup requirement of any weapon type in the game, though this doesn’t change its low shot range. Other Clubs in general have much higher chargeup.
Of particular note with the Melee Tornado classification from this are Babel and Skyscraper Clubs. Their shots have a clear drawback of low velocity that prevents being able to hit an alert fighter so easily, especially at longer range where the shots’ velocity issues would add up, which makes the general objective obvious: close the distance. That is, naturally, easier said than done, because as one can expect, Babel and Skyscraper Clubs have nearly the worst mobility of all 108 weapon types, only really beating Ancient Staff and that’s because Ancient Staff has to deal with the stamina system, more on that later. This makes it easier to treat Babel and Skyscraper as the same weapon type for the primary purposes of this post, although Babel’s differences from Skyscraper is that its Shots (other than the Back Shot) are bigger, as well as multi-hit to allow for incredible potential damage, but at the expense of a minor acceleration factor reducing the hit count upon distant targets, as well as a general inability to block higher Shot Cancel attacks at all without the Back Shot or a Swing. At any rate, Babel and Skyscraper–and I will refer to just Skyscraper alone further down the post for convenience–can be classed as close range attackers, despite being very much more subtle about it than Ogre and Magnus Clubs.
Skyscraper fits the mold for the standard Club, and what the standard Club’s shots are about is being big and powerful, but also slow and requiring plenty of chargeup. Skyscraper (but not Babel) actually doesn’t have its shots be as big as those of Ore Club’s (Ore is the base Club), but it more than makes up for it with incredible power that even has them able to destroy higher Shot Cancel projectiles through the immense base damage. On the topic of Shot Cancel, all projectiles in KIU have 3 values to determine whether the given projectile gets to continue through interaction with an entity: Shot Cancel, where the projectile must have the higher value–a tie will not suffice; Shot Stamina, which is reduced by an interacting shot’s Base Damage value with the projectile of course falling at 0 left; and Shot Pierce, the maximum number of entities a shot can hit before being used up. On standard, Clubs’ Shots have above average values for all 3 in spades, most notably the Neutral Shots already having 5 Shot Cancel, which beats out the 4 Shot Cancel for the DASH Shots of standard weapons. This allows Club Shots to have a clear advantage in attrition when they can’t be stopped so easily.
The big advantage of standard Club Shots is that the low velocity can be used to the Club user’s advantage to disrupt escape routes with trapping ability. Standard Club Shots actually have very long range which again is made irrelevant by the low velocity, at least in terms of landing a direct hit, but it does allow them to last a while. Skyscraper makes the most of this with the extreme combination of both, also having the highest range of any Club other than Earthmaul and Hewdraw Clubs, on top of the incredible damage to prevent any ideas of simply taking the trap shot to avoid the ever compromising position of being up close against a Club, so there’s something to help make sure positioning is more important.
Also helping is that for all Clubs other than Atlas and Magnus, the Neutral Shot innately has the Slip Shot property, which allows the projectile to ignore terrain. The Dash Shots still have added power and trapping potential going for them, but the Neutral Shot can be used to bolster defilade usage, especially with the relatively higher velocity allowing for a sudden hit sometimes.
Suffice to say that everybody getting projectiles does help when the projectile usage is kept subtle enough to make sure character theming doesn’t get broken. But surely there would have to be more measures to make sure the gameplay doesn’t become so much about projectile warfare.
This is referring to stuff that, for the most part at least, doesn’t fit into the above 2 sections, and also won’t fit into the section after this, which you can guess what that will be about even if you haven’t scrolled down because it will be absolutely big.
I will first cover the aspect that would fit into the second section, but it’s obscure enough to warrant being part of this one and making sure the section isn’t too short. The mechanic in question is indicated by a loading screen tip that mentions how directly dodging an attack provides some chargeup. This mechanic has been dubbed Parry Chargeup, after the point of directly going toward an attack to use a Parry Dodge (Dasharounds won’t work) in order to gain chargeup, ala Cuphead’s Parry mechanic. Since projectiles would be the big concern at any range, this would already be beneficial to Clubs without further favors, especially when their own Shots are harder to Parry Dodge to welcome effect. What really has Parry Chargeup help Clubs, of course, is the provided chargeup amounts: they’re almost proportionate to the chargeup requirements, and not only that, but the rates are generally based on the weapon families with Clubs getting the highest percentage at about 31.25% before the added base.
What this results in is Clubs being able to use Parry Dodges to mitigate their chargeup drawback, using attempts at free offense exploiting their weaknesses against their opposition. This particularly makes their Neutral Shots even more capable of surprises when they can come out a full second earlier. Even without that, the general reduced wait in chargeup is a clear boost providing more of those big Shots that can be used to discourage the opponent from not considering burst damage attacks that inevitably have nuances for the Club user to work with, which is going to be the big explanation for what make Club balance work in KIU as I’ll get into.
I also mentioned earlier about a stamina mechanic. While this could be improved, such as having an actual meter showing remaining Stamina, the idea with the Stamina mechanic is that running too much depletes Stamina, and running out leaves the player winded and unable to move for a moment. Stamina is gradually restored otherwise in general, and that includes when walking. Besides being unable to just run past all the enemies (darn you, balanced gameplay!), the inability to run too much makes escape from enemies harder, and this again gives the heavy hitters a chance to catch up. Further making sure that this happens, is Clubs getting the most Stamina of any weapon family, clocking in at 12 seconds worth, compared to the next highest, from Cannons, being 10.5 seconds. A Club user can consequently afford to run more frequently, further evening out the speed contest to cut down on beating a Club user just by having superior walking speed than the Club user’s running speed.
Running also has a forced wait before being able to do a dodge move at all. This not being around in Smash Bros. contributed to obnoxious gameplay there by rewarding hawk-dove games where players milking the obvious roll back out of run shenanigans couldn’t care less about their own finesse and the result was system exploitation that favors faster characters. This is kept from happening in Kid Icarus Uprising, so if you run, you actually have to stop well before an attack would hit where you would travel or you’re getting socked good from being unable to transition into a dodge move. It’s telling when there’s a reason I would prefer the game where dodge moves last 2/5 of a second with intangibility for 3/10 to 11/30 of a second, to a game where the dodge moves last at least 9/20 of a second with intangibility for at most 1/3 of a second, obviously less for all cases that aren’t Samus’s Rolls; and you can bet it’s because running is committal.
And yes, dodge moves are less committal, so counterattacking sooner is more feasible. Also, if you’re wondering which of the two provides the 11/30 second (IOW, more) intangibility between Parry Dodges and Dasharounds, it’s Dasharounds, which can only be done close to an opponent, fancy trying that against somebody with a megaton hammer and solid ability to guess your movement. 3/10 second intangibility for Parry Dodges, meanwhile, is so not what it’s cracked up to be that it’s actually worth noting that there is a frame perfect Advanced Technique of inputting for Parry Dodge and then Dash Attack immediately after to do a Dash Attack with the Parry Dodge’s intangibility provision, and the reason for noting as much is that the Dash Attack inevitably lasts much longer than the intangibility with this technique even with any Claws’ Side Shot. That’s how under control move intangibility is outside cases like Evasion+ getting involved, despite the game’s lack of a stale dodges mechanic that would have become welcome to discourage abuses.
The point about move speed brings up my final miscellaneous point: general attack speed between attacks. Primarily, my focus is comparing melee attacks to range attacks in this regard to punctuate how distinct they are. The lowest committal time for a Dash Shot goes to Claws’ Side Shot at 11/15 of a second, and for a Dash Rapid, it’s a tie between the Claws’ Side Rapid and Claws’ Back Rapid at 4/5 of a second. Since Claws are generally more focused on melee and have the best speed stats in the game, I’ll just state that 1st place outside anything involving Claws is a tie at 9/10 of a second from Blades’ Forward Rapid, Palms’ Forward Shot, and Arms’ Forward Shot. Compare to Blades’ Melee Dash Attack having 2/3 second of committal time, or the Melee Combo 1 of any weapon family, including Clubs, requiring less than half a second, and sure hitlag becomes an added factor for melee attacks, except an attack already has to land its mark for hitlag to be involved, at which point it’s normally redundant for a 1V1 scenario. Also of help is how early the melee attacks hit from when they start, even with Clubs, which do so 1/6 of a second for the Melee Combo 1, and 2/15 of a second for the Melee Dash Attack, both generally forcing reads for dodges for anybody who doesn’t have above average reaction time. Even the Forward Shot of Clubs releases about half a second into the attack. This is why the committal time of attacks can be punishing: because it provides so much vulnerability to ambushes.
Of course, this can still only do so much to mitigate the point that Clubs still have the worst attack times of any weapon family, the only possibly worthwhile strength being the late release of the Dash Shots making the Spin Shot technique easier, but skill can be used to overcome this, even if this does become strict with Claws’ and Staves’ Forward Shots, or Cannons’ Back Shots; and Clubs don’t even gain momentum when using Dash Shots anyway. In the meantime, there’s still attack interruption being an issue at all, because something was happening to have Bowser turned into a pi(n)ata in the allegedly balanced Super Smash Bros. Melee, and even in the later games, a character clearly has to have mobility and/or projectiles to not be instant trash. The underlying problem that heavies have to deal with is that they’re basically heavy infantrymen who get beaten by cavalry types instead of the other way around, while STILL having their issues against artillery types aggravated. Something drastic would have to get involved.
Fortunately, Kid Icarus Uprising provides that something drastic, and you can guess what it is.
The Power system
This is a mechanic that I would repeatedly speak highly of, and while there are issues that I still have in its handling (needing to collect Powers, having absolutely no way to regen them mid-battle other than dying, and also a lack of global check against spamming Powers with the casting animation for their intangibility), the merits outweigh the defects by a large margin, so much so that I would need to spend much of this post talking about it.
The Power system, explained in-universe as Palutena’s support in place of a machine gun robot girlfriend, is about using activation abilities, called Powers, for a sudden boost in momentum, to shift the tide of battle in the user’s favor whenever they wish. The available options for Powers and their effects are varied and, as both the localization and the original Japanese name of “kiseki” (lit. “strange impression”, actually “miracle”) would imply, far-reaching. Activation is done by pressing on either the Power’s icon on the touch screen, or the assigned button for “Use Power” (defaulted to Up on the D-Pad) when highlighting the Power. The highlighted Power is changed with the “Select Powers” buttons (defaulted to Left/Right on the D-Pad) to shift between them, or the player can put the stylus on the touch screen and slide to go through the Powers that way too.
Input already brings up a point about how any Power activates on the very first frame of input where applicable, and if not immediately so, there’s also a full second of buffer checking for a change in that, also possible to cancel by attempting to use another Power, which resets to buffering for that. This allows any Power to come up without worry about interruption. Buff Powers (Powers that provide temporary status buffs) particularly benefit because they can also be done during a Getup option other than the Attack Getup, or also in the middle of a Neutral Shot or Rapid/Swing attack; and they will not interrupt or be interrupted by the player’s current non-Power behavior, which means they won’t disrupt the flow of battle in an unexpected manner. Because of the clear availability, Powers are but a mere thought away in usage to a player with firm handling of the involved controls, and I can tell you despite, or actually because of, being a natural southpaw how that becomes enjoyable when setting Powers to ABXY because all the Power usage is handled by my right pinky finger.
This is not even mentioning how Power choosing actually provides the player something to do during dead time. Melee Tornado characters enjoy viable activity in dead time; just ask the Flame Veteran in Battalion Wars while he’s off commanding his anti-armor support to clear the way for his infantry burning or whatnot. And when you’re slower, you can expect more of that dead time.
Ease of controls for an entire mechanic capable of varying effects, while not all that much for bolstering Mighty Glaciers, is obviously just the beginning. I will go into my own Power setup for Skyscraper because I do of course have experience with that, although there are people who could bring up ideas like Invisible Shots. My setup is built to involve active versatility with a more simple yet effective approach, though the setup goes into key design aspects that ultimately compliment Club usage.
Where better to start than the very Power that had me sold on Kid Icarus Uprising. I refer to none other than Super Armor. I mentioned at the beginning how unconditional flinching is aggravating and the Mighty Glacier suffers the worst of the deal, inevitably snowballing into favoring the Meta Knights or Bayonettas of the world or any other such characters who don’t have given tactics that get rendered worthless in general checking them. Super Armor opens up a whole new world of possibilities, because no longer is just getting hit a death knell; just activate it and you’re immune to knockback for a good while.
What this especially allows is direct counterattacking. The stuntime would already be removed from play, which alone is significant in getting an attack out sooner, and if an attack is already being thrown about when hit, any time spent on windup would no longer be at risk of being wasted on the interruption. Suddenly, those super strong blows are coming through instead of getting tangled by some frame perfect timing into having to be done in a vacuum where they are stuck with their telegraphing regardless. Attacks with low windup, which have been obnoxious in Smash Bros., get equalized in particular and that allows any high cooldown drawback to come into play. What I especially like to do with as much against melee rushes is to deliberately delay my attack, most notably in a round of Clashing, so that yes I do get hit, except I can then counterattack to deal the megaton damage I have to work with, catching the opponent getting too tense with the attacking while I poetically show a sense of finesse. Equally useful from the counterattack prospect is the removal of the same impunity that allows combos, which besides also gimping multi-hit attacks (including Babel Club’s non-Back Shots, to be sure) especially prevents touch of death hits outside attack power boosts of varying degrees, since not even Flintlock Staff’s Forward Shot at maximum range deals enough damage at base to achieve 1HKO. These benefits and the added agency are so good that forfeiting the high Mercy Defense that could be had from being knocked into a senseless state is a small price to pay.
This Power effect additionally turns the base of hits still causing flinching from a humdrum weakness of a standardized fighting game into an invigorating strength, both for Clubs AND the game’s design. For starters, all Powers have limited charge counts, and Super Armor is definitely no exception. Even from my day 1 viewpoint, I could tell that this turns its usage into a timing game, where using it too early burns it out, but too late also means that the durability that could have been useful via the magnification would be eroded first. Further cementing people not wanting to just use Super Armor, is that it’s a Power with a considerable cost. Its Power Grid space is just low enough that its availability can be treated as a baseline standard, but by that token, since the required space is still enough to want to treat it as a staple Power, it can be traded out for other options that would involve more innovative ideas than what can be deemed as a safety net. The general design, though, IS Fridge Brilliance that I deciphered on day 1: that the Big Guy’s energy is absolutely finite, but still high, and still capable of effectiveness with the right sense of channeling; the important idea with Super Armor usage is to be the one who makes the armor, not the other way around. Even the shapes reflect that; the shape for Level 2, the Level I use with SA for reasons I’ll get into soon enough, is an awkward U shape that although it can make perfect fitting troublesome is still worth the trouble, while the shapes for Levels 3 and 4 get held down by their sizes for the most part.
There IS an aspect where Powers generally have cost effectiveness being higher at higher Levels, probably an attempt to encourage perfect fits. It’s kind of iffy, kind of reducing reward for Power options, and kind of favoring speedsters who would want their Powers to be at higher Levels instead of using the Power system as a potential swiss army knife as again I’ll get into. Super Armor is again among the Powers that has this going on, having its charge count equal to its Level, but it’s not such a big deal, because it’s only really useful for mitigating the punishment of getting hit. Clubs will still hit hard enough through it, so using Super Armor would need some actual justification for flow; otherwise, its usage will be just a reckless gamble on having superior raw power, which Clubs have the clear advantage with. This is where the base of unconditional flinching in gameplay helps Clubs now, because plenty of players will not carry around Super Armor, so they flinch upon getting hit and are every bit as subject to comboing or whatnot as ever, but Clubs, using Super Armor, won’t be worrying about that, definitely not too soon.
This also ties into the defense boost, which reduces damage by 30%. Division defense is capable of its own grating issues by suffocating burst damage, but the boost here is actually inoffensive, especially with Super Armor’s cost, and Super Armor’s potential to be treated as a baseline can turn the thinking around, into the lack of the boost that more ambitious players would go through magnifying damage taken by 142%, which does support high end damage quite nicely. It even helps the point that Super Armor at Level 2 and above has potential for trading against either less cost-effective Buff Powers such as Slip Shot, Bumblebee, and Playing Dead, or usage of multiple Buff Powers simultaneously, which seems innocuous even considering that Super Armor lasts longer than the standard buff (20 seconds compared to the bar of 16), but it can actually help buffer the nastier combinations until the time to really counterattack comes.
If that isn’t enough, there are 3 other Buff Powers that prevent knockback, although 2 are expensive with only 1 charge apiece regardless of Level (Aries Armor and Libra Sponge) so I won’t go over them. Instead, I’ll go over the remaining one, Counter, which has its reward part of its risk-reward aspect be cost-effectiveness. Counter needs only half the space count Super Armor does to achieve the same charge counts, so already it’s consistently useful for Clubs, especially when few Buff Powers will trade cost-effectively with Counter and they’re not ones you can expect results from. By the way, Counter’s max Level is 3 but it starts off at 4 spaces with 2 charges for Level 1.
What makes Counter really good for Clubs, is why it lives up to its name: getting hit instantly provides a free Neutral Shot. As you can guess, Counter being active means that Clubs can seriously mitigate their high chargeup weakness, which is around to prevent a flood of Club Shots, by getting hit. This speaks for itself even without the knockback prevention to also ensure that this doesn’t get cut off, and it’s even more powerful than Parry Chargeup as well. How do you get around this? Simple: keep the attack count low and focused with burst damage strikes, so as to not have to contend with a potential imitation of DLN-007 that isn’t stuck with NES AI. Nobody wants to take those heavier hits themselves without good reason, and compared to Super Armor, Counter’s damage taken reduction is not nearly as high, clocking in at only 5%, 10% at most.
The obvious explanation to Counter costing so little can be deduced for the perspective of most weapon types: the free Neutral Shot is redundant and the knockback immunity, while lasting 20 seconds like it does with Super Armor, is only so helpful when the damage taken is still there. For Clubs, there’s another explanation, namely that when the Counter user is hit, there’s also automated aiming and virtually forced immediate attacking at the attacker. The automated aiming already prevents using the free Shot as a good trap shot, and also interferes with certain mobility options, and while the forced attack can catch the opponent in cooldown anyway, sometimes this can be useless or even a bad thing, which you just know some Powers are going to make sure of as much. The forced attack can be delayed by buffered dodging or going into a state that prevents using a Neutral Shot (Super Speed movement) as need be, but it will still be buffered by default otherwise, though it won’t interfere with the natural chargeup of another Shot before the forced attack. The Counter trigger as a whole can at least be prevented by using Neutral Rapid/Swing, and the knockback immunity is still maintained this way, but by doing this, the free chargeup is aborted. Even then, it’s still nice to at least have some modicum of control over this.
Ultimately, Counter has different, and more sophisticated mechanics, though it still achieves the effect of allowing for potentially being better at the handling of the counterattack aspect, with the only real concerns being bids at extreme tempo and usage of its power against itself.
Let’s not forget that both Super Armor and Counter are Buff Powers and consequently involve their rules, which by the way includes a limit of 3 simultaneous Buff Powers active (the oldest one will get removed), not that that affects my own usage since I have only 2 Buff Powers in my setup anyway (Super Armor and Counter, of course), just that it affects anybody else’s. What I particularly want to point out again, is that the Buff Powers can be used during general Getups, especially with the lenient buffer. The combination of this that means that even when the base unconditional flinching does catch me, it still doesn’t aggravate me here because I can just immediately activate one of my Armor Powers and end the chaining shenanigans in case the Getups somehow aren’t enough. That’s how much of a Godsend the Armor Powers are when their mere existence is clearly stress relief without degenerating into brokenness.
But of course, all this leading into allowing for much needed direct approaches to be viable only helps so much. It does at least discourage opponents from doing some brain-dead melee rushing when Clubs don’t have to fear being beaten around by melee attacks. However, this doesn’t quite address longer range combatants who can still use faster footwork to maintain a kept distance and potentially even mock the trap shots. Thankfully, there’s still 18 spaces, which would be assuming Super Armor and Counter at max Level, left on the Power Grid to work with. The other half of the equation does in fact help with addressing attempts to open distance.
When all is said and done, projectiles can be a necessary evil as a way to siege enemies playing too much defense into submission. Without them, having to personally move into a clustered mess is never a promising prospect and gives the opponent more credit than they probably warrant. However, they bear being brought up on the count of the exact opposite problem involving camping: providing a safety net resource to somebody who doesn’t have map control and can even punish a player for even caring about it. Not helping is that even the best of variety can all too easily blend together when when it’s just not reasonably challenged, which keepaway to handle projectiles threatens to involve if it isn’t checked.
Mobility is a basic answer to projectile usage, as it allows for easier control of the ability to choose your distance from the opponent at a given time. Getting closer is not challenging with higher mobility, but the problem is that not every character choice is going to have mobility. Skyscraper Club is particularly bad off without Powers, with its only mobility advantage over Ancient Staff, itself the least mobile weapon type in the game, being higher Stamina, which is completely strategic, whereas Ancient Staff at least maintains Dash Rapid/Shot momentum for Spin Shots. This is mixed in with the low effective range, so Powers would have to come to the rescue.
There are a few Powers, unofficially dubbed Tag Powers, that allow for a method of sudden distance closure for a brief moment that benefits close range burst damage–naturally, Clubs have precisely that in general. Tag Powers aren’t incredible in matchups against opponents who themselves have focus on close range, but less coverage for matchups that the Armor Powers are already useful enough for is a small price to pay to have better ability to disrupt obvious answers, to the point where I actually have Super Armor at L2 instead of the max of L4 on my setup, because believe me when I say those 4 extra spaces are useful for more Tag Power involvement. (You can also count Invisible Shots as a Tag Power other than it innately allowing distance closure, by the way.)
I will go into the 2 burst movement options I have on my setup: Jump Glide and Super Speed. Both require some tactical setup to make sure they play out correctly, but they can allow for shifting faster than Brawler Claws can run without its own mobility boost, allowing for landing point blank strikes on efficient reads, and on my setup, each of them has 5 charges, so they don’t dry up so easily. There’s also knockback immunity during the durations, though the durations aren’t so long and the surrender of movement options does keep the knockback immunity under control.
The way Jump Glide works is that the glide momentum is initially based on one’s momentum upon its use, with any direction change in mid-glide having to go through an acceleration factor. You might think that Clubs wouldn’t achieve good momentum for the glide, but in fact, the initial part of a dash actually provides high speed that decelerates to the weapon type’s intended running speed. Jump Glide getting triggered during the part of the dash before the deceleration allows high distant travel. While this can be disrupted by consistent harassment, when it isn’t, Jump Glide allows for moving far, with the added benefit of clearing chasms or height-based obstacles to an extent. Of course, the glide does restrict attacking ability to the Neutral Shot/Rapid/Swing, which at least can let Skyscraper catch an opponent by surprise with a Neutral Shot, for better or worse but it’s great for clipping off an Energy Charge use, though the user’s altitude will have this also demand precise aiming and reading by shooting at a given position to make up for the Shot’s angle needing to be tilted downward and limiting its coverage.
Super Speed, while having higher costs, has significantly more consistency: it involves running at 2.5 times the user’s general running speed for 6 seconds, during which the user takes half damage from attacks as well. The direction turning’s limit this time around is going into a sudden stop when trying to turn at too sharp an angle, though the turning angle without going into said stop is actually competently wide, I believe around 30 degrees off center, definitely enough that I could notice it far more than I could ever notice Directional Influence in Smash Bros. at all because of how ineffective that mechanic is.
The attacking capability when within Super Speed movement is a Forward Shot/Rapid/Swing or non-manual Melee Dash Attack. For Skyscraper, the Forward Shot, although given some predictability by the inability to do other attacks in general, is kept useful by being not only at point blank where its lower velocity and lack of innate Slip Shot compared to the Neutral Shot is a non-issue, but also having enough time to re-aim and catch the opponent likely spooked by the movement jump scare.
Super Speed can be used to escape bad situations as well, thanks to the jump in mobility, and the primary counterbalance to this, its full Line cost regardless of its Level, is unlikely to bother Skyscraper Club, because Slip Shot doesn’t make the Dash Shots much harder to dodge in their still low velocity, Aries Armor lacks the cost-effectiveness to manage a sense of staying power, and Trade-Off is a complete gamble that Skyscraper’s abysmal speed turns into a long shot. On my setup, though, Super Speed is one more reason Counter isn’t so mindless just because it’s synergetic with Skyscraper Club, because getting clipped still causes the automated aiming of Counter to activate, and this has had me lose a Super Speed escape attempt to suddenly aiming and thus moving toward the opponent I want to get away from. I don’t want to open distance often anyway, but in some scenarios, most notably the opponent having Aries Armor or Trade-Off active, Counter becomes a complete liability, and the only mercy is that at least a Counter-triggered Neutral Shot stays buffered when in Super Speed state, though that’s only really more helpful for handling movements.
All the same, the two burst mobility options do allow for getting closer with little warning, so the kiters can be kept on edge at least. However, even without the added limitations to the burst mobility, the more mobile weapon types can just as easily turn usage of Super Speed and Jump Glide into the speed game that becomes a losing battle for Clubs. Something more foolproof would have to be involved or none of this means a thing. Fortunately, there is a Power so useful, so drastic, that it actually needs only the 2 charges it gets to defeat setups that theoretically stump it. Ladies and gentlemen, cue the music “Boss Battle 2” from this game, because I introduce to you…..
B L A C K H O L E
This is the big safeguard against obvious kiting efforts, so much so that it needs its own section especially when it involves a more meta mechanic. Black Hole is classified as an Attack Power by the game, such where it can’t be used with other Attack Powers, and this by the way includes Mega Laser for anybody coming from Super Bash Sisters and remembering about Palutena’s Final Bash hiding behind a potential excuse that she’s the goddess behind the Powers, which doesn’t change the issues in advertising Black Hole’s usage. Well, theoretically, it could, if she would be testing mortals because come on, that’s just what these questionable at face value deities supporting the good guys do. One would hope anyway that Palutena would be doing that to see if she’d get called out for having the followup to Black Hole be Mega Laser on mere concept rather than any game-based limitations to show us mortals as working off of a little something called creativity.
The reason for that is that Black Hole is actually more of a support Power. What it does is generate a black hole (obviously) within a set distance. The black hole has both a wide, strong vacuum effect and a damage effect at the epicenter. The damage is absolutely minor, although it can’t be Parry Dodged, which can provide utility support as will be covered in case you can’t guess how.
What makes Black Hole every bit as useful as I imply? Simple: the vacuum effect. This makes Black Hole into a method of keeping opponents rooted to a particular position denying their escape. Palutena’s Final Bash does make use of this to have the opponents consistently stuck in position that Mega Laser is used on, but that doesn’t answer any questions to why generally use Black Hole. The answer, though, is actually obvious here: close range burst damage.
The shortcoming of the burst mobility options is that the opponent could still use their own mobility without issue. Black Hole locks that notion out by keeping foes in a consistent place where they can’t escape distance closure for a pivotal moment, and without the ability to move well, they have to take the brunt of the most powerful followup. Skyscraper particularly works off of its naturally 2HKOing Forward Shot for this purpose, making sure that Black Hole is even more terrifying. This especially helps when Black Hole also still allows any attack option as opposed to being restricted to one or two like what Super Speed and Jump Glide cause.
I’m making Black Hole sound like it’s broken, but there are actual countermeasures, just that those countermeasures have their own stipulants. The first way to disrupt Black Hole usage, is to destroy the followup with an attack of your own. Skyscraper Club’s followup is likely going to be a Forward or Side Shot, which plenty of weapons aren’t going to be able to take on directly with no way to 1HKO the Shot via either enough base attack power or a minimum Shot Cancel value. Weapon types that can manage to do that are more bound to stand out and have their own drawbacks that would make them easier to catch at all, and that’s when Skyscraper doesn’t bait the attack attempt out, quite possibly using an Armor Power to plow through it, so as to have the defender dealing with the attack on an emptied tank.
The second way, and the one that ensures added depth, is using Powers to keep Black Hole from simply being used. The ones that most exemplify the depth involved are the Armor Powers. As a rule of thumb, if a Power prevents flinching, it also nullifies wind effects on the user, and this includes the Black Hole vacuum. I had initially thought that this would make Black Hole situational, but when I did try Black Hole out in response to managing success with a more subtle manner of countering a kiting manual unit type in Battalion Wars 2’s multiplayer (protected Submarine tempo against the manual Sub if you must know), I ended up with a success story against an Aries Armor setup by using Black Hole on it after the Aries Armor was gone and realized that in truth, Powers still eventually dry up, at which point they aren’t around to protect against Black Hole.
This provision of demand for regard to Power management completes the depth of the Power system that Super Armor already showed, with the limited charge counts disrupting earlier protection buffing, and the fact that the defensive Powers still use Power Grid space reducing viable offense to more tolerable levels. Once again, the standard Armor Powers favor the Mighty Glaciers, and Black Hole makes their exclusion even more drastic on a setup.
Of course, the threat of having a sufficient countering Power at all still exists, a way to prevent Black Hole from just being thrown about. I caught onto this too, and came up with a practice called Grid Reading. This builds off of the point that Powers use different Tetris-style shapes and are to be fit onto a 6×6 grid called the Power Grid. What Grid Reading is, is mentally putting together the shapes of the Powers the opponent has used, especially to determine any weak points and work from there. The intent is, of course, to avoid losing Black Hole charges to a countering Power, though it can also become useful for other purposes, most notably combatting Powers that require a full line.
The full line Powers need their own point because 4 of them had proven infamous: Aries Armor, Trade-Off, Slip Shot, and Bumblebee. All 4, without their Power Grid involvements, would be heavily biased against Mighty Glaciers in different ways, with Aries Armor involving heavy division defense exploitation for its duration; Trade-Off adding a big offense boost, a minor mobility boost, and flat invincibility for its potentially long enough duration; Slip Shot having projectiles suddenly ignore defilade for its 3 charges worth of duration at max Level; and Bumblebee nullifying the damage of an individual attack per auto-dodge.
Why aren’t these Powers hopeless situations unto themselves? Because the first 3 actually require a full row and column (aside from Slip Shot L1, which comes close enough and has only 1 charge), which in case you can’t see why that is significant means that they contradict any Powers requiring a full line on the spot. This is particularly significant with Slip Shot, because that has the most kiting potential of the 3 by a wide margin, so having it contradict Super Speed or Bumblebee quickly enough damages its ability to shut out sudden distance closure or especially the ability to protect Energy Charge, and if a line Power is instead used, that’s an immediate signal that terrain cover won’t get gimped by Slip Shot, making sure that defense can be maintained against, for example, the offense that Bumblebee would be shielding. Also worth noting that Slip Shot + Autoreticle has one of the two needing to be at Level 1 because Autoreticle Level 2 and above requires a full line, so Autoreticle ends up with either minimized duration or an inability to support multiple Slip Shot charges, and only in the combination of both can a Power requiring a full line be added. This is how easily the full row and column cost can snowball.
Aries Armor and Trade-Off have a reduction in some of their ability to cause issues as well. While they are more focused on pulling an overpowered melee rush, which is the exact opposite extreme, and while Power Thief and Virus, which also require a full line, aren’t commonly used, the mere presence of a line Power still becomes a morale boost, and it certainly makes Power Thief and Virus clearer about being anti-armor Powers. Power Thief is subtler about that notion, but manages by targeting the Power system with granting the user the ability to rob the opponent of Power charges by landing melee attacks. Which Power gets taken is random but seems to roll for a Power Grid space occupied by a Power that has charges left, and nearly anything getting taken for what I have is going to be a hindrance about catching the opponent at range, so it becomes a good thing that Power Thief contradicts Trade-Off on the spot when I can just use Counter without fear of being subject to extreme tempo.
Grid Reading in general is hard to develop, especially when line Powers are less likely to involve more advanced contradictions and Powers that don’t quite justify requiring a full line, such as Energy Charge, work more off of being chunky, but there are some other worthwhile mnemonics, such as Reflect Barrier having pure rectangle shapes that widen at higher Level, culminating in Level 4 having a 2×6 rectangle, which, yes, contradicts Slip Shot even at Level 1. Additionally, certain Powers at given Levels require one of the 4 center spaces, which their usage would have implications about them being chunky or arguably oddly-shaped, but Pisces Heal unconditionally requiring a center space limits the choices of accommodating Powers when it’s used with Trade-Off, which already has the easy mnemonic of reducing the space for anything else to a 5×5 area, and Pisces Heal’s shapes also prevents the Massage Chair shape (Health Recovery L3, Warp L3, Homing Boost L3, Angelic Missile L3, Tempura Attack L1, or Spite L1) or its objective shape expansions from fitting in the combination, further ensuring that Pisces Heal + Trade-Off has a drawback compared to Libra Sponge + Aries Armor to help justify the definite power edge, since Libra Sponge in the Aries Armor combination can actually avoid needing a center space at L1 or be relatively squeezed in enough to add in the Massage Chair shape at L2.
Energy Charge’s mnemonics are a bit more complicated, although its popularity could actually soften the blow: each Level of Energy Charge has 1 of the 4 center spaces at least flanked, if not outright used–Level 3 doesn’t use any center spaces but does flank 3 of them treating the directly flanked one as a used space, even if the space’s not being used is an important distinction when Energy Charge is used with Slip Shot, despite being outed because the other Levels DO use at least 1 center space outright. Energy Charge has its charge count directly equivalent to its Level, so each recharge actually has implications, especially when having it at Level 2 or above to account for reads means that Energy Charge has multiple, adjacent rows ending up with an effective width of 4 spaces, which can interfere with some key fits, most notably preventing Playing Dead if Slip Shot is around as well. These key factors allow Energy Charge to be subject to Grid Reading as I had actually done before despite the lack of a line Power’s presence in the combination.
There’s probably more examples that I’m not touching upon here, but what allows for Grid Reading to get going is surviving onslaughts enabled by Powers, and where better to go than cost-effectiveness with the Armor Powers. Counter has a charges per 4 spaces value of 2 at L1 going up from there to a maximum of 2.67, so even before mixing in the above average duration, it actually beats many individual Buff Powers reliably in that regard, actually tying with the low-key disruption Status Attacks. When it isn’t worrying about tempo that overwhelms the free shots, this allows it to trade against Buff Powers as a whole. Of course, surgical strikes and insane combinations are an issue, and something would be needed for that. Fortunately, Super Armor is up at bat for that, and even though it has half the cost-effectiveness at L2 to L4 that Counter has at L1 to L3, even at L2 Super Armor is solid at buffering multiple Buff Powers, and even instantly trades with Energy Charge before Level 4, Bumblebee, Lightweight, Slip Shot, Playing Dead, Trade-Off, and all 3 Zodiac Powers. The Power trading aspect becomes important because the Powers of the player defending against Grid Reading could be driven into burnout in combination with giving the player doing the Grid Reading more intel than the defender could welcome.
The summary of Grid Reading is that it ultimately lets Black Hole punish offense Power spam AND defense Power burnout. Of course, it IS complex, but even without Grid Reading, plenty of Powers that do protect against Black Hole are not foolproof, being inept against Skyscraper Club, having actual ways to outmaneuver them, or even potentially backlashing; or any combination of those 3, really. Counter is the standout example of the first, as it does not trade against burst damage well, which means that in the matchup against Skyscraper Club, Counter’s low cost becomes justified by lacking flow against any part of the setup that isn’t Black Hole. Reflect Barrier becomes an example of the second one; although it’s particularly an imitation of judo against Skyscraper Club, it can end up twitched and then Black Hole can be placed where the defender would get dragged out of its protection, and even if Reflect Barrier IS used in direct response, Super Speed can just allow for a rush through the barrier to overwhelm the defense. As for potential backlash, there is of course Bumblebee which besides the full line requirement giving away the lack of leveled Slip Shot also involves the auto-dodges having forced clockwise movement around the attacker, even getting stopped if terrain gets in the way, which can allow for looping hits with Black Hole that eventually clips off the protected Energy Charge, or even causing the Bumblebee user to get moved with little choice right into the strong attack before they can react. Aspects like these ensure that even the protection against Black Hole usage has to be handled well, and when even pure panic buttons can get faked out into uselessness, it shows.
Of course, the obvious solution against these ideas with Black Hole would be to just not use Powers in the first place except as pure reaction. This, however, has to contend with how the Club user could prepare their relatively more passive Powers, which on my setup is Counter, Super Speed, and Jump Glide, to call out an apparently empty hand by waiting for them to crack into using Powers. Black Hole only even needs 6 spaces anyway, so managing this or something similar shouldn’t ever be unreasonable. The end result is that overcommitted attacks get walled by Armor Powers, lax sieges can get subject to ambushes such as with a surprise inspection use of Black Hole, and excessive defending provides Counter and the burst mobility Powers more space to work with for setup.
This is really the big explanation for why Black Hole becomes such a Godsend: directly or indirectly, it creates much needed chaos that makes distance warfare FAR more interactive, and when distance warfare is more interactive to useful effect, the Mighty Glacier’s worst weaknesses stop being so condemning.
Now this section is actually going to delve into points that don’t make my setup more powerful, and if anything would make it less so, but generally in a manner that punctuates that all of the strengths I mentioned above are kept satisfying by being the reward for perseverance through clear weaknesses and input demand to overcome.
I won’t go in depth on the speed-based factors (bad attack speed, the 2 hit limit on the Melee Combo, the wanting mobility, the bad velocity) on their own innate factors because those would speak for themselves, although read-based punishment against getups is worth a quick mention for being a case of “fair is fair” even if the resulting gameplay is more desirable. Of course, anything that merely heightens the speed issues is fair game. Notably, the 2 hit Melee Combo further puts demand on a sense of finesse because the final hit of a Melee Combo has does in fact have the most committal time of any of the hits and ideally it should only be thrown out when it is sure to hit. There’s also Melee Clashing to contend with–while I am not clear on the specifics, Melee Clashing does happen with the collision of 2 melee attacks regardless of the attacks’ individual strength, which can run afoul of some issues and certainly isn’t nice to Clubs, but the workaround is that Shots do avoid clashing, so they can be used to disrupt melee abuse, and even the Neutral Swing does have some reliability in providing a relatively maneuverable melee attack that has the added advantage of being possible to cancel into a dash or casting Power and even without that can transition into another move sooner than the Melee Dash Attack can. You can tell how Clubs have depth with the melee combat and having a handle on it is how their users prove they make the power, not the other way around.
It’s also worth mentioning here that most weapon families walk more slowly when trying their Neutral Rapids, but Clubs are the opposite, walking 10% faster when using their Neutral Swings, with the exception of Capricorn Club, which doesn’t get a boost at all, and Magnus Club, which walks 20% faster if it can do that instead of having to throw out its fast charging Neutral Shot. That does bring up why it’s just as well I didn’t mention this earlier as a miscellaneous point benefitting Clubs: the boost that replaces a penalty for other weapon families is feasible to have around when no chargeup is available, but it also turns Clubs’ high Parry Chargeup into an opportunity cost, because getting chargeup can lead to having full chargeup resulting in being unable to use any further Neutral Swings before throwing out a precious Shot first. This adds a sense of reward with managing Club movement by being able to move not as slowly with input management, while still wanting attention to positioning to manage the powerhouse Shots and the inevitable dodging.
Power management is also worth bringing up, because Clubs inevitably need them for added and consistently usable options and would likely want to have quantity over quality, which adds having to scroll between Powers more frequently. Also, once again, the Super Armor Power goes into being an input check for the player, seeing when they will use it to sponge damage and knockback at the best times, already the big reason to have the game appeal to me when it provides a happy medium that turns unconditional flinching into a design strength. Not only that, but when Counter gets added into the mix, that adds a choice of which Armor Powers to use and when with the promise of risk-reward in their handling and a maintained active sense of finesse you’d expect out of martial arts.
Tag Powers, meanwhile, are more focused on rewarding the player for being more methodical, since they’re more varied, allowing them to combat projectile management and actually punish predictability, but once again, they have to be managed well to avoid burnout issues, and the game’s already fast pace can put this to the test. Grid Reading is similarly made more impressive by overcoming the game’s pace, perhaps moreso, because there’s already needing to give the bottom screen enough glancing to keep a lookout for Power usage, providing more opportunity to be caught off-guard by a sudden development; then there’s needing to mentally put the Powers’ shapes together to determine what is going on, which would demand leg room an opponent will not provide so easily; and finally, there’s needing to figure out the underlying countermeasures, something that can require weathering the shower of shots and can be disrupted by creativity such as applying Strategem #32 with Playing Dead. Grid Reading also has the blind spot of being pure intel, and against setups that go for innovation-based risk-reward as my own actually involves with Counter on Skyscraper Club, it can become easy to throw off. Of course, that’s the real beauty of Grid Reading: that it’s more of an equalizer than anything. It’s significantly less useful in chaotic situations, in close range combat, or against setups that give up easy distance maintenance, but it’s also less needed with all 3 for obvious reasons.
The Power system also inevitably provides tools against Clubs. Slip Shot, Energy Charge, Bumblebee, Reflect Barrier, and Trade-Off ALL exist, and I can just say that much for anybody to get the picture. The damage boost Powers are also able to enable 1HKOs here and there, some of which even accounting for Super Armor’s boost, in V100 gameplay, while the notion of more nuanced anti-armor also gets handled by the likes of Power Thief, which would be good to promote to have creativity flourish. And even the Powers on my setup provide niche ability to stagger what I have to work with, granted that more general flow would still be desirable. This ultimately brings up everything the challenge of carrying some heavy hammer around to effect ends up punctuating: that those Powers providing seemingly overfavoring bias to Fragile Speedsters at face value still get overcome, inevitably by a player making a clear character choice type that already hadn’t been known for viable results in past games, and if it’s because the Armor Powers and Tag Powers are efficient at chipping away at the defenses, then that means that both manage the much needed drastic effect to carve out their own place in higher level play without eliminating the need for skill, while if the opposing Powers have weaknesses, that just brings up that the weaknesses are inevitably nuanced enough that figuring out how to capitalize to effectiveness is its own story, a story told by practices like Grid Reading. This also supports a fire-tested mind when the adaptability they bring to the table becomes able to stop any overly obvious solutions.
Oh, and by the way, the Spin Shot technique provides mix-and-match ability for Dash Shots/Rapids, except Clubs don’t get the usual momentum with Dash attacks. Fortunately for Clubs, the Spin Shot tech merely bolsters already available kiting options, but doesn’t directly add anything new that would make kiting more capable of overly unpredictable behavior.
As a final note, I realized at this point of writing this that my setup is a case of “easy to learn, hard to master” which is very much desirable and very much should be emphasized with the Mighty Glacier. It is easy to learn to use Armor Powers to block off obnoxious flinching, and equally easy to learn to use Tag Powers to catch people keeping their distance at a moment’s notice. Mastery, of course, inevitably involves things like Grid Reading, which mercifully on its memorization demand aspect other setups wouldn’t need as much other than perhaps realizing that opponents with Bumblebee are unlikely to be able to shoot through walls, though even Grid Reading has its starting points at least. It really shows, though, how Kid Icarus Uprising gets this notion right in this regard by maintaining the baseline simplicity of sacrificing speed for power but still has surprising depth encouraging understanding of the battle system and providing the tools to equalize speed edges.
I will not pretend that Kid Icarus manages the execution of Mighty Glacier balance perfectly, and obviously there are still rough edges even before getting into issues with panic button Power spam ability or weapon modifiers, or even a lack of stage builder to have symmetrical maps that don’t suck like the Arenas do. (Yes, KIU’s Final Destination versions are WAY too big, with SMALL Arena having a 50 meter RADIUS. And that’s not even going into the lack of defilade on them anyway.) However, what is available, when it doesn’t get gimped by the nastier imbalances of the game such as Evasion+ or Celestial Fireworks, is MILES better than what happens in Super Smash Bros. where you can get stuck with little way to discourage things like Mr. DLN-001 spamming his Jab/Forward Tilt/Neutral Air to the effect of creating matchup bias at the very least. Not every heavyweight will get mobility after all.
Now sure, what Kid Icarus Uprising does right for Mighty Glaciers can’t be given a 1:1 transition to Smash Bros., most notably that Armor Powers would still have to be significantly nerfed to not have the flinching prevention be unconditional. Nevertheless, Kid Icarus Uprising does have plenty of sound ideas to making the Mighty Glacier more viable, without breaking simplicity at that, and of course, Smash Bros. absolutely could stand to listen.