Dragon Quest’s Hero has been the subject of controversy in the competitive Super Smash Bros. community since his release. This controversy has culminated in South Australia, where a new ban makes Hero illegal to play in Smash Ultimate tournaments.
The announcement of this ban came via the South Australia Smash Central Twitter on Aug 15. The Twitter page posted a TwitLonger explaining the community’s rationale for banning Hero from all tournaments in the foreseeable future.
Last weekend, Hero mains were allowed to compete at a major for the first time at Super Smash Con 2019. There were no solo Hero players in top 32. However, 9th place finisher Sota “Zackray” Okada did use Hero for some matches. In addition, Saleem “Salem” Young placed 49th using a mix of Hero and Snake. Similarly, Dacota “Ryuga” James placed 65th using both Hero and Ike.
While many in the Smash Ultimate community have considered Hero bans, South Australia is the first to take action. It is unclear if any other local communities will follow their lead. However, it would likely take some time to implement a large-scale Hero ban.
The decision to ban Hero from Smash Ultimate tournaments boils down to the character’s RNG-dependent design. Many of Hero’s attributes are inherently random. This includes the moves that appear when using Down-B, the chances of a smash attack critical hit, and the effects of Hocus Pocus. South Australia’s Smash community has argued that Hero is so dependent on randomness that he is unfit for competitive play.
This community also argues that some of Hero’s moves, like Magic Burst and Zoom, have no reasonable counterplay. For them, banning Hero from Smash Ultimate tournaments is comparable to banning items. Like items, Hero’s moves can occasionally replace the need for skill with good luck.
South Australia’s Smash community pointed out that it is not banning Hero because he is “too strong.” Rather, it is because he is “anti-competitive.” The community’s Twitter noted that they will revisit their Hero ban if Nintendo changes Hero in a patch. They also decided to ban Hero quickly so that no one would invest significant time into Hero, only to have their character banned later on.
Dylan Tate is a student in the Hussman School of Journalism and Media at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a gaming journalist with a love for Nintendo esports, including Smash Bros., Splatoon, ARMS, and Pokémon. Dylan also writes Nintendo news articles for Nintendo Enthusiast.