What Pros Have to Think About in Every Smash Bros. Match

By Yannick LeJacq on at

Super Smash Bros. is the quintessential Nintendo game: it's incredibly fun, and easy for inexperienced players to enjoy thanks to its chaotic mixture of cartoon items and characters. But once you get a handle on how the high-level game works, things become far more interesting. It just takes some time to get there.

If you're in the same camp as I am as a curious player who's occasionally overwhelmed by the awesome level of depth and complexity in Super Smash Bros., I would highly recommend watching this video by YouTubers Rush Hour Smash called "Smash Theory: The Neutral." Watch the whole thing below. It's not even three minutes long!

Unlike many other Smash-related videos on the internet, it won't give you a strict tutorial on how to do anything in Nintendo's excellent new fighting game. Instead, it does something arguably more important: it explains one of the core dynamics at play in almost any competitive Smash Bros. game. This is enormously valuable for pretty much anyone looking to learn a thing or two about the tactical muscles one must flex during a Smash match— whether you're looking to step up your own game or just appreciate other players' more fully.

For the uninitiated, the "neutral game" in Smash refers to "the positioning in which both players have approximately even stage control, vying to convert their advantages into an edge guard." Remember that one of the chief factors that sets Smash Bros. apart from other fighting games is that you win by knocking your opponent off of the stage you're fighting on, rather than simply depleting his or her health. Getting the upper hand in a match therefore becomes a question of which opponent can best control a stage—pressuring his or her opponent into a defensive position where they're always trying to make it back onto solid ground.

As narrator Corey Shin explains in the video, the "neutral" game in top-level Smash matches "is an exchange of high-level baits where the slightest micro-movement or overextension can lead to the loss of neutral [i.e., one player's relative control of a stage] or, in some cases, the stock [a player character's life]."

Again, this is just the first in a series that Shin says he is planning to help explain the high-level Smash game to aspiring competitive players and curious onlookers. But it's great for that exact purpose. Give the thing a look before you watch, or play, your next game of Super Smash Bros.