The Smash World Tour finals concluded on December 19 with Leonardo ‘MKLeo’ López Pérez emerging victorious, but there is some major controversy after a comeback mechanic was turned on during multiple sets.
The Smash World Tour saw some of the greatest players in the world qualify through multiple regional events with a Last Chance Qualifier taking place on location to decide the final competitors.
Everything seemed to be going well, but at some point, whether by accident or intentional, the in-game ruleset was altered in a way that could have completely impacted the results of the entire tournament.
It was determined that for a few matches on stream for Losers Round 3, “underdog boost” was enabled. This feature essentially makes it so that a player who is behind will deal more damage and knockback, thereby making games a lot closer.
Pics 1+2: down 1 stock, fresh Ness DashAttack3 does 7.6%. Expected: 7.6%, Underdog: 8.9%
Pics 3+4: down 1 stock, fresh Mr. G&W fthrow does 11.9%. Expected: 10.1%, Underdog: 11.9% pic.twitter.com/0ZF5gRuOQa
— Andrew Nestico 🐼🌎📊 (@PracticalTAS) December 20, 2021
Smash World Tour results compromised?
As shown by Melee content creator PracticalTAS, during a match between Sonix and Maister, underdog boost was enabled, but it was disabled during the previous set when MuteAce took on Scend.
To make the whole situation even crazier, users may have found the exact moment the setting was switched on and according to PracticalTAS, it’s more difficult to accidentally change a ruleset and save it than to back out with saving.
Maister himself even commented on how something seemed off during his set, and noted that while the “launch rate” settings were correct, he never checked underdog boost.
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.
— Smash World Tour Championships #SWTC (@SmashWorldTour) December 20, 2021
“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,” the Smash World Tour admins addressed the controversy, but the tournament continued on regardless, citing rule 8.18, which is 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.
Multiple players affected by the controversy, however, were livid by the decisions by the tournament organizers.
They really said “the show must go on” and resumed bracket like nothing happened. Disgraceful
— Bandits | Sonix (@UltimateSonix) December 20, 2021
“They really said ‘the show must go on’ and resumed bracket like nothing happened. Disgraceful,” Sonix wrote.
Can’t help but feel like I wasted my time this weekend cause of the Underdog Boost shit. I basically played a different game during that day and many interactions could’ve been different for both
Regardless, I gotta move on from it, it just hurts for now. 2022 will be different
— SSG Maister (@Maister_SSB) December 20, 2021
“Can’t help but feel like I wasted my time this weekend cause of the Underdog Boost s**t,” Maister blasted. “I basically played a different game during that day and many interactions could’ve been different for both.”
Whether or not the end result of the tournament would have changed remains in doubt, as MKLeo had a dominant performance, never dropping a single set. Still, for some, the game settings will forever haunt them with “what ifs.”