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.
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.
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.