Wobbling will be banned in the Melee ruleset this year at The Big House, and I want to use this blog post to explain my reasoning for the decision.
What is wobbling?
This event’s definition of wobbling is a series of moves (4+ pummel effects) by Ice Climbers from a standing grab position that infinitely lock the opponent in hitstun. This applies to Melee only.
Why ban it now?
A long time ago, Big House was one of the last majors to unban wobbling. So why the wobbling re-ban?
* It continues to lead to miserable play patterns and tournament experiences.
Wobbling disproportionately rewards the grabbing player for winning a single neutral game interaction, while invalidating defensive options for the grabbed player with no opportunity to escape using traditional Melee defensive mechanics such as stage positioning and DI. This puts a ridiculously high weight on technical gameplay revolving around grabs. While not necessarily overpowered at the highest levels of gameplay, the effects of wobbling should be considered for attendees of all skill levels. I want to be sensitive to community feedback that it creates miserable playing and viewing experiences.
* It doesn’t fit the skill set criteria that we subjectively deem valuable to test in a tournament match.
Just like how various stages have been banned over the years because they take away from what makes Melee so deep, wobbling doesn’t fit the criteria for what we deem valuable to test in a competitive setting. For example, Hyrule Temple is banned because the cave area of the stage creates degenerate character interactions. Poke Floats is banned because the scrolling aspect of the stage creates a non-interactive requirement to move laterally. A wobbling ban is not fundamentally different from any other subjective ruleset decision, and it forces play patterns that we don’t deem valuable to test our competitors with at this time.
* It’s what the majority of in-person tournament attendees prefer right now.
As a TO, it’s best to balance what I think is healthiest for the game and what the attendees prefer, and in recent months the pendulum has swung back towards a preference by attendees for wobbling to be banned. This wasn’t necessarily the case a couple years ago, but I believe the overall sentiment was skewed for a long time by Evo’s wobbling legal stance — after all, it’s hard for TOs to go against the ruleset of the biggest event of the year, and I’m certainly guilty in some capacity too. As with any ruleset updates, I encourage TOs to think freely and make decisions best for their event. At this point I value attendees’ feedback above all else, and it’s time to go back to our Big House roots there.
Robin Harn / Juggleguy
Join The Big House 9 discussion! This year’s installment is set to take place on October 4-6, 2019 in Detroit, MI.