One of the biggest stereotypes that go around the Smash community is that online is instantly bad. Ever since the COVID pandemic, players that once swore against online play found themselves participating in tournaments online. Despite Smash Ultimate having one of the most notoriously hated online experiences of any Nintendo or fighting game, many players still find themselves logging onto getting some practice before entering the now-returning offline tournaments.
With that being said, online can be used as a tool. In my personal experience, I’ve played more than my share of fighting games with bad online netcode. Smash Ultimate is only par for the course in my experience and overexaggerated as far as online experience woes go. Instead of avoiding it altogether, I want to show you how you can use online to your advantage to improve in the game.
Playing Sets With People You Know
One way I practice is to play sets against players in my state’s Discord. Georgia features a growing number of players taking games and sets off of notable PR players like Fatality, Kola, and Mugen. In addition to Georgia, your own scene’s Discord server may already host a number of strong players online.
Play sets with them instead of an infinite number of friendlies. Playing Best of 5 or First to 5 sets simulates a tournament set with a real victory or defeat at stake. This could lessen your tournament nerves at an offline event and prepare you to play with the proper mindset you adapted from playing sets online.
Playing Elite Smash
While much of the community swears against Smash online just for its netcode, Elite Smash comes with its own host of problems. The random matchmaking system might have you facing someone you just left or even pair you up against a player with a terrible connection. Additoinally, Elite Smash also hosts complete strangers who might subject you to their bad attitudes.
Despite this, Elite Smash is the most readily available option to just grind in Smash. While the GSP is, at best, a minuscule guideline on rank and skill, you’re at least likely to play someone around your level. This is the quickest way for you to just play buttons and remind yourself to play with your good habits.
Use it for reinforcement training and repetition. This will go a long way when you can manage your play by muscle memory. You can practice what to do when in disadvantage state, while recovering, and other on-the-fly situations.
Mileage May Very
Please remember that you will still encounter players who will swear against playing online at the end of the day. Pikachu and Rosalina mains, for instance, may avoid using online as they allege certain tech cannot be used well online. Some of the best players I know tend to swear against it unless they’re streaming, for instance.
Rather than avoid online play entirely, please consider adapting into your routine. You’ll learn much more about matchups and possibilities than you could by avoiding it. If you’re learning a main, new tech, or fundamentals, this is honestly the best way you could practice. If you don’t have an offline venue where you can practice with friends regularly, this will help open up your possibilities and bridge the gap in competition.
I’ve personally used online for most of my practice. Since I do not live in a scene where I can regularly play with offline players several times a week, this is how I learn. I maintain my own repetition and good habits while transferring my play to an offline event. If anything, the only real difference I see offline is that I’m able to react better to attacks and vice-versa. Otherwise, it’s largely the same for me. Just remember to get to events early to practice friendlies before bracket starts!
If you found this entry helpful, please consider following my blog. Also, if you seek further training, I encourage you to book me for a coaching session on Metafy.