The 'Shroom:Issue LXXXV/Brawl Tactics
What's up, Brawlers? I'm sure many of you have seen the recent reveals for the new Super Smash Bros. games, as I have, and let me tell you, I'm excited to see what all of these returning veterans and new fighters bring to the party!
Now, onto this month's issue. Pulling from a series that many fans are hoping will be represented in the new games, I will be covering the stage Shadow Moses Island, from the Metal Gear Solid series.
Shadow Moses Island is dark, depressing, and, actually, a bit smaller than it looks. The sides of the stage are relatively deep to compensate for this, and you'll have to do quite a bit of work to launch your opponent upwards. Since this stage is grounded, you will lose a huge part of your KO opportunities from not being able to knock your opponents off the bottom of the stage, but this way, it helps to catch and keep a lot of items. The only parts of the stage that can be destroyed are the two side pillars, and they're actually pretty nice to have gone. You will occasionally see some Metal Gear crashing through the backdrop, but they usually won't bother you or your fight. I can't remember the last time one of them inflicted real damage on me, so they're not too much of a problem.
The sides of this stage are where you can really get your KOs up, and if you haven't been knocking them down regularly and using this advantage, you're really missing out on a lot. They are incredibly deep, enough so where you can have quite a bit of combat entirely off-screen, and this can work really well when you've got your opponent in a position where they can't struggle away. Despite the initial layout of the stage working pretty poorly for items and Pokémon, some of them are incredibly helpful once you get the pillars down. Take Piplup, for instance. Against those pillars, it won't do anything to your opponents except annoy them and buy you a little time. But with even just the top sections knocked off, Piplup can go all the way off screen and finish the job. The same goes for Suicune and Staryu. Some Final Smashes also work much better in this situation as well. Once you get at least one side down, I recommend using Marth's Final Smash. You'll have the security of that second side to catch you if you miss your target, and since you're grounded from the other sides, he won't fall off or keep running to his death, although if you fire from over halfway in one direction you are cutting it awfully close.
I know I just told you how great it is to bring these walls down. It's a good time, I promise! But they won't stay down forever, and if you keep trying to knock them down when they reform, you'll probably end up wasting half your match on battering these walls. Not so much fun. So you need to know how helpful they actually are when they're up. One of my favorite strategies to use on them is a spam attack on an opponent. This kills two birds with one stone: you'll be doing a lot of damage to your opponent and you'll also be doing damage to the wall, making it easier to knock down later! All three of the fighters from the Kirby series are good at this, but I have to say that my favorite to use in this situation is Kirby himself. The walls will hold your opponent down for you, and you can swat at them for as long as you can keep up the spam rhythm on your controller. The fan item also works great here, if you like to use that one. And there are other Final Smashes that benefit from the walls being up, too. DK's and Luigi's Final Smashes both work well here since the walls trap your opponent and keep them from going too far. They'll work fantastic for targeting enemies with Link, Toon Link, or Zelda's Final Smashes, and if you aim Samus' right, you can destroy the wall along with your opponent. Very helpful!
Now, though, I do have a word of caution about using a Final Smash with the walls up. You'll really want to watch out if you end up launching your opponent since the walls act as buffers and can take a lot of the force away from your hits. Basically, if you launch an opponent and they hit the wall, don't expect them to go very far. It's one of the most frustrating parts of this stage, actually, which is why I like to do quite a bit of combat with the walls down. They're great for holding your opponent down so you can smack them around like a rag doll, but once you need to lunch I would definitely try to bring them down, if at all possible.
This stage also has two and a half levels to it: the ground level, the two halfway fall-through platforms, and the top fall-through platform. If you like using items as much as I tend to, this layout can get incredibly annoying at times due to the tendency of the game to drop items between the platforms. It's not a long drop from the bottom to the top, but if you're pressed for time and you need to reach something that's on the ground before it, say, disappears completely from not being used at all, well, you really need to keep moving. And speaking of moving! This layout also can make for a long game of cat-and-mouse at times when your opponent is trying to avoid a KO. The platforms make for easy getaway, and if your opponent is a real jerk, you'll spend quite a bit of time chasing them up and down the stage. The levels also make it hard for Assist Trophies to move around. Little Mac, Waluigi, Knuckle Joe, and Saki shouldn't have too many problems (in theory), but Isaac, the Infantry and Tanks, and the Excitebikes are all pretty much useless on this stage seeing as how all your opponent has to do is move to a different level to avoid them completely. The two you'll never have a problem with are Gray Fox and Barbara, however; Gray Fox's tendencies to jump all over the stage and pop up in random places come in very handy for him here while Barbara's excellent range of attack will guarantee you at least one hit, provided the walls of the stage are up (and they won't be up for very long after you use her!). Many Pokémon also face mobility issues with the levels, but since Pokeballs aren't as limited-launch as Assist Trophies, you can at least work with where you want the Pokémon to land after you call it out.
That's all for me this month, Brawlers! Jump into the flow of combat and give Shadow Moses Island a try!