Image: Bandai Namco Studios/IGDB

Steve to face ‘Smash Ultimate’ tournament ban after glitch discovery

Minecraft’s Steven might be banned from competitive tournament play in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate after the discovery of a completely advantageous glitch.

Since the fighter was added to the game in October 2020, he has faced accusations of being broken and overpowered. This was due to his combo potential and large swath of ranged attacks when optimised, as well as his ability to construct new blocks of stage.

Not many characters in the game’s roster work as a hard counter to Steve, and thus there have been calls to ban him since his addition.

In the post-lockdown era, after Japanese Smash player ZETA Acola’s dominance with the character, there were pushes for a ban to counteract what is perceived as an unfair level of advantage simply by selecting the character.

The discovery of the glitch, known as ‘Phantom MLG’, has compounded these calls. Essentially, the glitch is associated with his recoil animations, and enables him to recover at a faster rate than other characters in the game, meaning he can break combos that should otherwise work with other characters and retaliate before his opponent can respond. This means, in the hands of an expert Steve player, it is pretty much impossible to fight back.

Smash Ultimate is no longer receiving balance updates from Nintendo, so competitive tournament organisers are faced with either banning the strategy linked to the glitch or banning the character altogether.

Due to the difficulty and time requirements linked to specifically managing Steve, a number of organisers have just opted to ban Steve. Juan Manuel DeBiedma, a prolific Smash player and organiser of online tournament The Coinbox, has said that the character will not be allowed “until further notice”.

Others have put restrictions on players using Steve, such as allowing him in local tournaments but not state tournaments. The Collision Series will prohibit Phantom MLG at their March event, and not allow Steve at events temporarily in order to “collect data for both our immediate local community and beyond”.

For Microsoft fans, talk of a ban is potentially good news – if Steve is banned from Smash Ultimate, they suggest that Microsoft may intervene and push for an emergency patch that could restore and balance the character.


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