It’s been a rough couple months for Super Smash Bros Melee. Due to declining interest in the game’s competitive scene, members of the community have been reconsidering the standard tournament rules. Discussions have included possible bans to Jigglypuff, and the Ice Climber’s “wobbling” technique. Lately the conversation has shifted over to the hungry hero from Dream Land, Kirby. Although this opinion has recently become controversial, I still believe that Kirby should not be banned from competitive Melee.
One of the main arguments for the ban is that Kirby is not a traditional Melee character. He is considered to be slow, floaty, and boring to watch, often stalling via his multiple jumps. He stands out from the sharp technical game play that viewers come to expect when watching Melee. And sure, Kirby may take a different skill set to master, but this should be celebrated. It’s the diverse styles of play that make the game interesting. Banning Kirby would make the game one dimensional.
Another thing people like to say is that Kirby’s combos are too easy. The main example is his up-tilt to back-air, a devastating 2-hit combo that is also incredibly easy to perform. Some believe that is just too much power for the ease of access. However, I believe that it is not our role as players to decide what is too easy or too hard. Some try to meet in the middle on this argument and only want to ban the deadly up-tilt to back-air combo, but without this crucial part of his game plan he might as well be bottom tier.
I also can’t get behind a Kirby ban when the results show that he’s clearly not necessary to win. At least 5 other characters are more common than him in a typical Melee top 8. Also, when was the last time a Kirby player took a set off of top players like HungryBox or Mang0? Some people say he’s just not played as much because he isn’t as fun. But if he was truly ban-worthy, people would be choosing him regardless. Even though you might have to pick up a secondary character to counter him, Kirby is clearly beatable.
It’s also clear that a lot of players aren’t capitalizing enough on Kirby’s weaknesses. Although he may be tough to fight against, he actually has quite a few flaws that you can take advantage of with some practice. If you really take a good hard look at his move set, you’ll notice that he actually has a pretty lackluster jab and dash attack, in addition to underwhelming throws, tilt attacks, smash attacks, aerials, and special moves. Even his infamous down-B attack turns out to be heavily overrated once you learn how to play around it.
I think a lot of people are in a panic due to changes in the scene and the recent news of Melee being cut from EVO. People want change without questioning if we really need it. It’s clear that banning Kirby would only hurt us in the long run. After all, we’ve made it to 17 years of competitive Melee without ever needing to ban Kirby before. It’s worth remembering that we’ve never been the type of community to ban something without a good reason so why change now?