Sephiroth’s stage could be Smash Ultimate’s first tournament-legal DLC

Published: 22/Dec/2020 0:07

by Michael Gwilliam


Despite Super Smash Bros Ultimate having a record number of fighters and stages, there has never been a DLC stage balanced enough to find its way into tournament play. Now, that all could change thanks to Sephiroth and his Northern Cave stage.

The reason why so few stages are legal in Smash Bros has to do with elements of RNG, stage hazards, and layout. If a stage has walls or awkward starting spawns, it could give one player an advantage.

All of the DLC in Smash Ultimate and even Smash 4 previously have had stages that just didn’t make sense from a competitive standpoint and as such, they were never allowed in tournaments.

Luckily, Northern Cave seems to be the first-ever exception to the rule, but its legality may depend on another stage being removed from competitive play for it to work.

Sephiroth in Smash
There’s a case to be made for legalizing Northern Cave.

As professional player Jason ‘’ Zimmerman explained in a new video, Northern Cave shares some similarities to Kalos Pokemon League: “Why this stage should be legal is because it’s actually very unique from all the other stages,” he stated.

After some testing to determine the stage’s length, ceiling size and more, Zimmerman had some interesting findings.

“In a nutshell, it has the lowest ceiling in the entire game,” he revealed, adding that some moves can kill 1% earlier than other stages.

The ledge to blast zone will also kill about 1% sooner than on a stage such as Final Destination. The big thing, however, is that the platforms on Northern Cave are quite different compared to Kalos and for the better if you’re an aggressive player.

On Kalos, it’s standard to camp on the edge of the platform and they’re higher, extending far beyond the stage itself. This is very good for fighters who benefit from stalling.

“If you were to compare Kalos and Sephiroth’s stage, it really feels like Kalos is the much more ‘time out stage’,” Mew2King said, referring to how some players win by having the game clock run down.

Kalos stage in Smash
Kalos is an extremely campy stage.

According to the Smash pro, Northern Cave could end up being a viable stage on its own or even replace Kalos as a better version of it.

As for the background potentially being distracting, Mew2King also addressed that, noting how it’s very similar to Final Destination, so there is no reason why Northern Cave should be an issue.

While LAN events may have taken a big hit in 2020, it will be interesting to see how Smash tournaments proceed in the new year and if organizers decide to legalize Sephiroth’s stage in place of Kalos.


Blizzard changes Overwatch Priority Pass again to stop system abuse

Published: 16/Jan/2021 2:04

by Andrew Amos


Blizzard has implemented more changes to their Overwatch Priority Pass program to stop players from abusing the system to get their preferred role more often.

The Priority Pass system in Overwatch has been a successful addition so far. Giving players the option to jump the queue for high-traffic roles by sacrificing a few games has helped tackle the game’s long queue times.

However, it hasn’t been without its flaws. Game quality has been pulled into question, with people playing off-role for these passes. Also, people have been abusing the current system to just stack passes quickly by intentionally losing.

The Priority Pass system in Overwatch
Blizzard Entertainment
Priority Passes have been a hit with Overwatch players, but it’s not perfect.

Blizzard are looking to crack down on the latter issue with their latest changes to Priority Pass on January 15.

“Our data indicates that the Priority Pass is functioning as intended, generally providing shorter queue times for those who use them. The goal of the Priority Pass is to improve player experience and get players into matches quicker,” community manager Josh Nash told players.

“In the same vein, we don’t want this feature to have a negative impact on the quality of matches for yourself or others. We want to do our part to discourage players from intentionally losing and ruining matches for the sake of earning priority passes.”

If you lose a match while playing for passes, you’ll only gain one pass instead of two. This will stop players from just inting their games for the ticket.

Blizzard are also refunding passes to players if they queued up for a role using Priority Pass, but then had to wait longer than the estimated time for it.

Oni Genji Overwatch skin
These changes mean you won’t burn through your passes as quickly.

These changes are active immediately, so you can make use of them straight away. Blizzard are continuing to tweak the system as time goes on, and are “ looking into how we can better communicate when you are rewarded passes after playing a match.”