The tier list is a list that ranks all characters in order of their potential to win under tournament conditions, assuming equal skill on the part of each player, based on analysis of the current metagame. Tier lists are commonly made for competitive fighting games and high level play, as well as strategy games that involve a selection of usable characters.
Characters' individual matchups with other characters also affect their placements on the list. However, one cannot determine the rankings of two characters without looking at their matchup spread as a whole. For instance, let's assume that character A is a hard counter for character B. However, character B has better matchups overall than the rest of the cast when compared to character A. As a result, character B would likely be ranked above character A. However, individual matchups can still have an effect on the positions of these two characters. Even if character A has a worse matchup spread, they have a chance to be ranked higher than character B if they have stronger matchups against the top ranked fighters, as character A would be more viable for competing at the top level of play when compared to character B.
The first Super Smash Flash is considered to be competitively unviable, primarily because the camera follows only player 1, giving player 2 an unfair disadvantage that breaks the symmetry necessary for a true competition. Looking beyond that, the meta is still extremely hard to measure, given the game's primitive engine which is prone to suffering from game-breaking glitches that renders most of the differences between characters moot. Still, it is not impossible to determine how the characters would fare from a theoretical standpoint, but special measurements have to be taken into account to construct a tier list.
Super Smash Flash 2, on the other hand, is more refined and provides a much more authentic Smash experience that encompasses techniques and strategies that have proven useful during tournament matches. Thus, the tier list for the game ranks and measures the expected competitive performance of every character, based upon analysis of these techniques and strategies from the current demo. The tier lists are produced by the Smash Flash Back Room, a small subforum in the McLeodGaming Forums.
Super Smash Flash tier list
This is the tier list made by the CSFBR that corresponds to December 23, 2015:
|Super Smash Flash tier list|
This is the second tier list created for Super Smash Flash (officially recognised), however, unlike the previous tier list, this was instead created by the CSFBR, a group who focus on datamining the game and providing matchups, as well as discovering exploits in the engine. The same factors were taken into consideration by the new people who made the tier list, who were DSwift, Ironed Sandwich and Skailler. Once again, the veracity of the tier list can be placed on doubt.
Super Smash Flash 2 tier list
There is currently no tier list for SSF2 Beta, as of this writing; the version is still too young and unstable for proper competitive analysis. The tier list below, created on February 5, 2017, pertains to the previous version, v0.9b. As v0.9b's servers permanently shut down on May 29th, 2017, it is no longer valid for online competitive use:
|Super Smash Flash 2 v0.9b tier list 3|
This tier list was created over the span of approximately 3 months by the Back Room. This tier list takes into account individual character MUs in addition to how each character is expected to fare at the top level based on the current meta.
Controversies and misconceptions
Tier lists have been made for all of the competitively viable Smash Bros. games, from the original Super Smash Bros. to Brawl and even to fan games such as Smash Flash 2. The tier list's intended function is to predict which characters, when played at the highest level allowed for all given characters, will win under tournament conditions. Despite this, there are still misconceptions about the tier list, which lead to sometimes unwarranted criticism of it. There are many people in the Smash Bros. communities, including the Smash Flash 2 community, who disagree with the idea of tier lists. They commonly see the tier list as a "popularity contest," where the creators just put their personal best characters at the top, or think the list is written to deter players from choosing low-tiered characters. In the latter case, these people, known as "anti-tiers," argue that each characters' individual strengths and weaknesses balance them out. They state that tier lists should not exist because all characters can be played equally. More inexperienced anti-tierists will often boast that they can beat a level 9 AI with a character on the bottom of the list, and use that as a reason why tier lists are inaccurate.
To counter these claims, competitive players have created some counterarguments to the issue. A common counterargument against anti-tierism is that it is extremely difficult to perfectly balance a cast as diverse as that in Super Smash Flash 2 for competitive play. Even if measures had been taken to balance the game, the variables included would still cause the game to become at least slightly skewed towards characters whose strengths overshadow their weaknesses. Another counterargument is that since the tier list only predicts which characters would win if they were played at the top level under tournament rules, it should not affect any player who does not play in these conditions. Thus, many players should not care too much about the tier list if they're playing just for fun. Citing that one can defeat an AI with a low tier character is a weak claim because the AI in Smash games, including Super Smash Flash 2, have poor habits and do not properly utilize advanced techniques or mindgames, forcing players to learn the AI's specific flaws to defeat them, which can actually deter them from performing well against real players and reinforcing cerebral ability. Finally, even the lowest tier characters have professionals dedicated to using them, constantly finding new things about those characters that make them strong. With all these factors weighed in, tier lists are controversial and some players see it in a negative light.
However, because the official tier list of Super Smash Flash 2 is always changing, it does not get as much controversy. While there are some people that may dislike the tier list because they think it tries to dictate which characters to use, they also appreciate the tier lists for being fairer than the those from the official games. They generally like the ability of fighter to "take their turns" at the top of the tier lists. The latter fact is backed up by the idea that a fighter could be at the top of the tier list one version, yet the bottom of the next one. Because of this, arguments about the official tier list for Super Smash Flash 2 are fewer and farther between than those of the official games.
- List of tier lists for Super Smash Flash
- List of tier lists for Super Smash Flash 2
- Character matchup
- Tournament legal