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Context: My GSP ranking in elite matches is currently around 4.000.000, which I think is pretty good at the time I posted this, although it's hard to tell where you are ranked with this weird inverse ranking system. Most of the people I fight I'd say are pretty good, but recently, I had a lot of trouble fighting against a specific character: Snake.

I play a lot of heavyweight characters, my main trio usually being Incineroar, Ganondorf or Piranha Plant. As you can imagine, especially with Incineroar and Ganondorf, I have a hard time fighting Snake players with their bajillion projectiles. That's fine. But in some cases, it seems winning against Snake players is actually impossible, especially when you have to recover.

Incineroar and Ganondorf's recoveries suck to begin with, but it's especially infuriating playing against Snake. Usually, I manage to find a way to avoid an edgeguard, but recovering against a good Snake player seems impossible. He'd either:

  • keep spamming up smashes while I'm hanging onto the ledge, meaning I can't ledgejump (get hit by mortar), stand up (get hit by mortar) or attack (get hit by mortar). If I choose to roll behind him, he has enough time to turn around and do his insanely overpovered up tilt to potentially kill me.
  • he'd use his Side B... like... seriously, how are you supposed to dodge the damn thing? It moves so slowly and can't be destroyed without exploding, and he has full control over it! And he can just always make it drop out of the sky and resume whatever he wanted to do.

Am I missing something? Am I forever doomed to lose as a heavyweight player against Snake players?

  • 2
    fwiw, tiers form for a reason. Some characters are simply better than others, and some characters or character types will always be at a disadvantage against other characters or types. Sometimes there is no way to recover, and the goal is to not get yourself into a position where you need to recover. I believe Incineroar is currently considered one of the lower-ranked characters in the game, so at your level, it might be making a difference (especially vs. Snake) – Apologize and reinstate Monica Mar 8 '19 at 21:10
  • I don't think that this is a full answer, so I'll put it in a comment: In a tournament (if you do tournament play at some point), you might want to have a counterpick to snake. Pit comes to mind as a decent character in this matchup - (he's been buffed since Sm4sh, don't worry lol, and) he has a reflector and a very good recovery. Palutena, Mewtwo, and Sheik might be nice as well since their recoveries render them intangible. None of these characters are very heavy, so that might not be fun for you, but if snake is your problem, there's an idea. – Brandon_J Mar 8 '19 at 23:32
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I empathize with this way too much. The #1 player in my scene was a Snake (until he moved a few weeks ago and we all celebrated :P).

Your pain points

It sounds like you have 2 pain points in particular that you find difficult:

Recovering back to ledge/stage

Snake's side-special, Nikita (which we jokingly call "Taquito"), makes this near impossible, as you've noted. This is a situation where a good Snake has an extreme advantage in most matchups, so you're not alone here!

To counter this, there are 3 options I think you can use effectively depending on where you get knocked off-stage:

  1. If you got hit low, try to either hug the wall as you're coming back up or go a little under stage if there is no wall. The Taquito covers away from stage very effectively, but it has a harder time if you're right below the snake (and even if he does somehow turn it all the way around, you'll only be in a tech situation, not dead).

  2. If you get hit just a little off-stage, instead of drop and recovering, try to jump and immediately air-dodge into the ledge. If the Snake goes for an immediate Taquito, the air-dodge should put you through it and if not, you'll be on the ledge as fast as possible.

  3. This one is Ganon specific, but if you get knocked high and away from stage, you're in the worst possible position for yourself. This is where Taquito is at its strongest. I'd suggest an immediate down-special (warlock kick) to get you low and then use one of the first two bullets.

Getting back to neutral from ledge

It sounds like you're having trouble with some of Snake's tools punishing you for getting off of ledge. This isn't something I've really experienced with our Snake, so I can't give you any tried and true advice. However, I'd find a willing friend to go into training mode with you and spam up-smash so you can try:

  1. Jump-getup into an immediate neutral-airdodge. This one is going to take some timing to get down, but you should be able to get through and up-smash with the air-dodge and safely make it back to center stage.

  2. This is Incineroar specific, but since neutral-special (Lariat) gives you invulnerable frames, maybe you could do a jump-getup into an immediate neutral-special to tank the up-smash and hit the snake? I know specials come out pretty dang fast after a jump getup and since Lariat cancels Incineroar's momentum this will probably let you act faster than neutral-getup into Lariat.

Again, I haven't tested either of these, so I can't promise they'll work, but they'd be the first things I'd experiment with.

So what's the game plan

Notice that both of your pain points occur when you've been knocked off-stage (I'm guessing you're not hopping onto ledge by yourself). So a big part of your game plan with Snake should be staying on stage. How can you accomplish this?

Play safe and slow. This doesn't mean to wait on your side of stage for the Snake to take his time approaching you. On the contrary. You want to be right up in his face--but not so close that it's dangerous. You want to strike the perfect balance of being close enough to punish if he starts pulling out grenades/C4 or does something punishable, but not so close that he can hit you immediately. This will keep the pressure on them and ideally suffocate their neutral without you over-committing and being hit off-stage.

For more on this, I'd suggest watching this match between Ally's Snake and a Ganon. Watch how the Ganon tries to stay within a Nair2-foot-length of the Snake at all times, since that's one of Ganon's safe and fast moves. You can also look for more competitive matches to see how the pros deal with this matchup.

An aside on GSP

You can use this site to get a pretty good read on where the Elite GSP currently is and what that means for your standing, but in general I wouldn't put a lot of stock in GSP.

There have been countless posts about how finicky it can be. Not to mention that my roster avg right now is around 4 million, so if I pickup a character I've never played before and win one match I'm suddenly in Elite with them.

Honestly I'd ignore the GSP if you can. Play online to have fun and learn matchups. Rematch if you can to try to get a more realistic competitive/tournament feel.

In general unless you're someone who can't get a GSP over 2-3 million right now, the number really doesn't say a lot about your skill level.

  • "you'll only be in a tech situation, not dead" tough situation, perhaps? – Mast Mar 9 '19 at 4:59
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    @Mast tech is a Smash term. I’m referencing how OP will have the ability to cancel knockback and jump off the wall to make it back if they can time pressing shield. Usually this is called a “tech situation” where you have the opportunity to make or miss a tech. – scohe001 Mar 9 '19 at 5:22
  • Ah, that makes sense. I'm lagging a couple of SSB versions, so I wasn't aware of that term. Thanks for the clarification. – Mast Mar 9 '19 at 8:21

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