Recently the Smash Ultimate community has been stuck in a debate over whether or not Steve should be banned. Recent tournament wins at “The Gimvitational” and “Get on My Level (GOML)” have had people questioning if Steve is too overpowered (OP) to play alongside the rest of the Smash Ultimate roster. So let’s explore this and see what we can make of the situation.
Smash Bros. has had a long history of players crying fowl for X character is too OP and should be banned going as far back as Melee. Is this any different? History tells us that a ban is difficult to enforce. Case in point Brawl had a Meta Knight ban but tournament organizers had a difficult time enforcing it because players were threatening to drop out of tournament attendance if the ban was enforced. Tournament organizers had to relent to attract top talent including international players. By the time Smash 4 considered banning Bayonetta the game’s scene was dead because Smash Ultimate was on the horizon. The only bans that have been successfully enforced are soft bans including (but not limited to) Wobbling (an Ice Climbers exclusive move) in Melee, a ledge grab limit in Melee, and no double Clouds in Smash 4 doubles brackets. So the idea of banning Steve is not looking good.
But why ban Steve? This boils down to one move, Steve’s ability to place blocks. That one move invalidates a lot of characters and set-ups. The reason is that when Steve sets blocks, he creates his own platforms. I cannot stress how vital platforms are in a PLATFORM FIGHTER. It’s in the name, so the only character in the game that can create their own platforms will be able to escape certain combos and make intricate set-ups not possible by the rest of the roster. In a platform fighter positioning is everything and Steve has both a pressure tool and a get-out of pressure tool affording only to him.
But Steve came out in October 2020 why have this conversation almost two years later? Well, there are two main things at play: #1 – the pandemic meant no in-person tournaments, and wifi-only tournaments making play for everyone difficult due to delay. #2 – Steve actually takes a lot of skill to get good. Nobody on day 1 or day 30 was going to win a major as a Steve solo main.
Ultimately, I personally am of the opinion of telling people to just “Get Gud!” besides the competitive Meta is always shifting and my experience with the game is there is always counterplay for every option we just need time to develop new strategies to combat it. Case in point Smash 64 Pikachu is widely regarded as far and away the best character and has no weaknesses, but around 2014 or so new strategies were developed by Captain Falcon players that almost invalidate Pikachu because instead of exposing a weakness in a character, they opted to take away their strength. I think there were even certain players that were figuring out the Bayonetta match-up at the end of Smash 4 and if the Smash 4 scene were still alive today (by some miracle) maybe we wouldn’t need to enforce a Bayonetta ban because the competitive meta would have resolved itself.