Is Dragon Quest's Hero a ban-worthy character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate?

Hero's RNG mechanics could be the cause for a lot of controversy in the tournament scene

Posted by Justin 'AdaptiveTrigger' Gordon • August 13, 2019 at 7:39 p.m. PDT

When details about Hero's moveset in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate first emerged, there was some controversy regarding the character's RNG (random number generator) mechanics. Even more so than Peach and Mr. Game and Watch, Hero has a great deal of potential when it comes to high rolling.

As a result, there has been a meme going around that suggests that the Hero should be banned from tournament events. It's important to understand that while this has mostly been a meme, there has been some serious discussion regarding this topic.

Regardless, let's take a look at why this is even being joked about and why it's likely not going to happen.

So the main fear with Hero is the potential for a top level competitor to essentially get defeated by random chance while used by some "no-name" player. Obviously this possibility can't be entirely excluded since the potential high rolls could make Hero the best character in the game.

But how often is this actually going to occur? Although moves like Whack and Thwack can possibly K.O. an opponent at 0%, this occurrence is exceedingly rare. Remember that this attack's chance to defeat someone in a single blow is increased based on how high a character's damage sits at.

Critical hit smash attacks are also quite powerful. These tend to be more frequent than the one-hit properties of the aforementioned specials. Given the right circumstances, it's once again possible that these attacks are able to steal stocks at ludicrously low percents — including 0%.

I recently attended a small round-robin tournament, ended up winning, and somehow managed to not drop a set. Ironically enough, the only matches I lost were against Hero users as I was unfortunate enough to be on the receiving end of critical hit forward smashes.

It most definitely does not feel good to experience a loss to these type of attacks. Ultimately though, I accepted that it was my own fault for being hit by these smashes in the first place, even though I was at what is normally a safe damage threshold.

Against Hero, it's important to keep a cool head and play cautiously. Although the character is able to create situations that can really put a player on tilt, letting things get to you only makes you more susceptible to losing against his tools.

If we were to look at the frame data of Hero's smash attacks and actually ignore the critical hit chance, there's not really a lot to these moves. They're pretty unsafe on shield, so you just need to play around them as though they're always a threat.

There's also the case for Hero's other Command Selection specials. Oomph, Psyche Up, and Acceleratle are extremely powerful buffs, but they have slight drawbacks and limitations.

Bounce is a tool that completely nullifies and counters zoning as long as it is active. This doesn't change the fact that Hero's approach options are slow (unless Acceleratle is also active). It's not too difficult to wait until the barrier disappears before resuming your zoning.

Magic Burst and Kamikazee are very strong when used near the ledge against a recovering opponent. Having said that, there are a number of characters that can snipe Hero with a projectile as he is paying attention to his menu. Wii Fit Trainer and Zelda are good examples of fighters that can do this.

Hocus Pocus' effects can be completely random. While there's a chance that the player can become completely invincible or giant-sized, there's also the possibility that this move can completely backfire on them.

As for all the other specials, the player will generally need time to mentally process which technique they want to use in situations where they can still be pressured. Otherwise, they'd just have to take a chance and test their luck by selecting whatever comes first. Again, this can net a negative result for them.

Although it's a good idea to want to keep the opponent pressured so they can't freely access Command Selection, it's still important to play cautiously around their options as previously mentioned.

While up special, forward special, and neutral special are also incredibly powerful in their own right, they are all linked to a mana system. If they keep using spells too often, their resources will eventually run dry.

All of this is attached to a character with somewhat sluggish aerials, tilts, and jabs. This isn't to say they're bad, but plenty of other characters have way better normals.

So what does this mean for Hero? It's not to say he's amazing or even bad. Simply put, there's some counterplay present — even when it comes to his heavy reliance on RNG.

More importantly, it's unlikely that Hero will become overcentralized in the game's meta. This is the only reason why there was talk to ban Meta Knight in Brawl and Bayonetta in Smash 4.

Thinking about it logically, if a high level player is in the grand finals going 2-2 against some opponent, how are they most likely going to respond in the next game: a character they're most familiar with or take some chances with Hero's RNG?

Most of the world's best competitors stick with the characters that they choose because they feel the most consistent to them. Indeed, these are usually the top tiers.

While Hero does have the potential to high roll and completely rob games, they also have a chance to net absolutely terrible luck too. This doesn't offer the type of consistency that most top players seek.

So while I'll hold the opinion that Hero's overall design isn't particularly interesting, there doesn't really appear to be anything that suggests that the character needs to be banned from tournament play.

Casino image source: Needpix.

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