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Smash World Tour 2021 Championship organizers address discovery of Underdog Boost affecting matches

Posted by Justin 'AdaptiveTrigger' Gordon • December 20, 2021 at 7:58 a.m. PST • Comments: 2

The Smash World Tour 2021 Championships took place this last weekend. For both Super Smash Bros. Melee and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, the best performing players throughout the past year all competed with hopes of achieving that prestigious first place victory.

What should've been a fun and fair competition for all was unfortunately ruined thanks to what appears to be an accidental in-game rule change that affected some of the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate sets. This discovery was posted on Twitter by 16B|Zomba, the top placing R.O.B. player at the event.

It seems that for some of the sets that took place, the "Underdog Boost" setting was flipped to "On." Underdog Boost is a mechanic that works very similar to Lucario's Aura mechanic, except it is purely based on a player's stock standing with the other player or players in the game.

A player that has a 1 stock deficit is said to inflict 118% damage with attacks and will reduce incoming damage to 90%. When this stock deficit increases to 2, that player will instead dish out 136% damage and will increase resistance so that they only take 80% damage from hits.

Tournament rules ensure that players only start with 3 stock apiece, but it's worth mentioning that a 3 stock deficit would increase outgoing damage to 150% and incoming damage to 71%.

It goes without saying that increasing or reducing damage like this will have a direct effect on the amount of knockback a character is dealt when struck. This isn't only true because a character is receiving more or less damage, but the amount of damage a move deals is directly integrated into the knockback formula for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

Players that have practiced their combos under normal rules for the past few years would likely be thrown off by something like this happening. Because of this, affected players walked away from the event with a sour feeling.

The organizers for the Smash World Tour 2021 have since released a statement confirming what happened.

Statement on Underdog Boost at SWT 2021 Championships

Tonight it was brought to our attention from a Twitter user that Underdog Boost was unfortunately active on the stream setup. We are currently investigating, but as of now evidence is pointing to the setting being turned on immediately before Saturday's final set on VGBC4.

We believe as of now it was done accidentally while checking the rules. The setting has been corrected, but unfortunately five sets in-total were affected before the error was caught.

We will be making contact with the affected players.

Rule 8.18 in the SWT Rulebook serves as a final back-up check for situations like this, so the tournament has continued as scheduled.

We are incredibly sorry this happened, and will continue to update as we find out more. Thank you for understanding.

Rule 8.18 of the SWT Rulebook reads as follows:

"If a game was played under a misconfiguration of the Game Settings that could have materially affected the result of the game, a Player may petition the TO to have that game replayed. The final decision is at the discretion of the TO."

"This must be done immediately after the game in question; after the next game is started, the previous game shall not be replayed regardless of whether the rules were set correctly."

Though it seems that the tournament organizers did attempt to acknowledge what had happened and do right by the players, those affected felt disappointed by this outcome. Ultimately, this is a very unfortunate situation in which there's no single solution that would make everyone happy.

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