Juggleblog: Introducing The Big House Online

Even the year 2020 can’t hold us back. I’m excited to introduce The Big House Online, this year’s version of our cherished fall Smash major. It’ll take place on December 4-6, featuring both Melee and Ultimate.

I’ve always believed constraints can breed creativity, and I fully intend to show that with our online edition of the event. One of the first things I realized while brainstorming this year was: while we miss out on in-person interactions at the venue, we also have no setup resource constraints since everyone playing at home uses their own setup. This frees us to run a swiss pools format that offers more and higher-quality playing time to the average competitor. I’ve always wanted to try a swiss pools format, and The Big House Online is the perfect opportunity to do so. I’ll post another blog about swiss details later.

Another push I’ve made in recent years is diversifying activities for Big House participants of all backgrounds and skill levels. To me, the most rewarding part of an event is the shared community experience. You compete in your favorite game all day, but you also get to participate in non-Smash activities at the venue, or watch the best players in the world put on a show. And while the physical gathering element isn’t there this year, we’ll do our best to provide the next best thing. To that end, you can expect Discord side events on Sunday to enable more fun even after you’re eliminated from the competition. More information on that is coming soon.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you’ll join in on the most unique Big House installment yet!

You can register today at: smash.gg/tbho

Robin Harn / Juggleguy

Join The Big House Online discussion! This year’s installment is set to take place on December 4-6, 2020.



Juggleblog: Wobbling banned at TBH9

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.



Juggleblog: GP Big House

What is GP Big House?

GP Big House is a series of side events that will run throughout the Saturday (October 5th) of Big House weekend, designed to provide attendees with more guaranteed matches in a competitive setting outside of the main tournament. Its format is inspired by the Grand Prix format at TCG (trading card game) events, most notably the use of swiss rounds to maximize gameplay.

Smash events have constantly evolved these past few years, but the one question that’s always on my mind is: how can we make the value of entering tournaments better? After some brainstorming, I came up with the following goal: improve the number of competitive matches an average attendee has access to.

Yes, it’s currently pretty easy to find friendlies and keep playing after you’re eliminated from the main tournament, but that doesn’t mean we can’t improve the accessibility of a competitive match setting. Facing opponents in any structured setting creates more tournament-like pressure and more value for your entry, and that’s what we’re going for here.

There are two main ways Big House could accomplish this goal: increased volume of tournament matches, or structured side events.

The first way, increased volume of tournament matches, would involve a main tournament format that’s more intricate than traditional double-elimination brackets. The issue with this method is the logistics don’t scale well with a large attendee turnout. An intricate tournament format that allows you to play a ton of matches might work great at a 50-player local, but it’s much harder to pull off for a 500-player bracket in the midst of a packed multi-game schedule. I’ve seen major tournaments try these formats over the years to mixed results, and it’s not the right solution for Big House.

What about the second way, structured side events? This involves matches independent of the main tournament, which is good for setup utilization and not interrupting the flow of the overall tournament schedule. And here’s where GP Big House comes in. All day Saturday, we’ll be running a series of side events each comprised of multiple swiss rounds, open to all attendees. So if you’re eliminated from the main tournament and want to play more, now you can hop in and play additional rounds of Smash. And because the side events format is swiss rounds, you’ll be paired against more and more similarly-skilled competition as you progress, creating a better competitive experience for all parties involved.

Now let’s jump into some details about the side events!

  • Entry Fee: $5 cash or 1 voucher (every competitor will get 1 free voucher during check-in to use once at any later time)
  • Schedule: All day on Saturday October 5th, with specific starting times to be announced later
  • Games: Melee, Ultimate, SSB64, and Rivals, with each game’s side events being run-to-demand (more turnout = more side events)
  • Prizing: Anyone who achieves a 4-0 record will receive prizing in the form of credit for merch/product from Big House sponsors

Brief FAQ:

  • Don’t feel like competing in the main tournament? We have you covered, as our Grand Prix style side events are open to  all attendees, spectators and competitors.
  • Worried about going 0-2? Don’t be! Our side events feature four swiss rounds of gameplay which means you keep playing for a guaranteed four matches.
  • Can’t stay for the whole time? Totally fine, as you’ll still have the option to drop midway through any given side event, just make sure to tell the TO before you leave.
  • Want to do side events all day? Go for it, you’re allowed to enter as many as you can squeeze in. Just remember it’s $5 cash per side event after you use your 1 free voucher.
  • Tired of brackets running at an unpredictable pace? It won’t be a problem — our swiss rounds will start at distinct times so you know exactly how long you have to take a quick food/bathroom break.

As the Smash tournament landscape evolves, I want to keep adapting to meet attendees’ needs, and an improved accessibility to competitive matches is at the very top of the list this year. After 9 years of TOing Big House, it’s refreshing to keep finding ways to improve, and I hope the GP Big House concept announced today excites you as much as it excites me and the rest of our staff. Many more details to come, but if you have any feedback in the meantime, don’t hesitate to tweet #TBH9 or contact us directly here.

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.



The Big House 8 is presented by eSports Ecosystem!

The Big House is made possible by the people and organizations that support us. We’re excited to announce this year’s edition is presented by eSports Ecosystem!

The biggest fall Smash event is back for the eighth time, and this year we’re title-sponsored by the fastest-growing cryptocurrency company in the gaming realm, eSports Ecosystem.

eSports Ecosystem is an eSports-based cryptocurrency company whose mission is to be the standard cryptocurrency in gaming in the form of dynamic ESE tokens. Built on custom blockchain technology, the ESE model will enable better sustainability for gamers, teams, and organizers with a wide variety of uses. The company has already hit the ground running into the world of Smash by sponsoring top-ranked Samus player Duck and has plans to continue doing so.

Make sure to give eSports Ecosystem a follow on Twitter @esporteco and check out their website: www.esportsecosystem.com

Furthermore, eSports Ecosystem will be represented at The Big House this year by none other than Justin Wong! The legendary FGC player will be attending Big House on Saturday, October 6th and taking part in various side events at the venue. Don’t hesitate to stop by and say hi!

Join The Big House 8 discussion! This year’s installment is set to take place on October 5-7, 2018 in Detroit, MI.



Juggleblog: Four-Port Arduinos at The Big House

The Big House intends to use four-port arduinos for Melee this year. But we need your help!

For those who don’t know, the four-port arduino is an external accessory that sits between console and controller, allowing for a legal hardware solution to the universal controller fix wished for by a significant portion of the Melee player population. The four-port arduino allows any player on a setup to toggle between universal controller fix or vanilla Melee; it’s the player’s choice when they plug in. The four-port arduino has been manufactured in small quantities up to this point and tested extensively to success at Melee locals in the United States by the 20XX team comprised of:

Stephen “Streamlord” Kasmir
Kyle “Simple Controllers” McDowell
Aziz “Hax$” Al-Yami

So what’s the situation with The Big House?

There aren’t enough four-port arduinos in existence yet. While a few dozen of these impressive devices have been manufactured and tested at locals for the past few months, The Big House is a major event that requires way more equipment than the typical tournament. Because of this, the 20XX team has begun the manufacturing process for several dozen additional four-port arduinos. The catch is since we’re only three weeks away, the urgency of this process has forced manufacturing to begin in good faith before being able to raise enough money to cover it all. This means there’s a huge cost that needs to be recouped, and we’re hoping that’s where the community can help out.

While the following numbers aren’t nearly enough to cover everything, it’s what we deem reasonable to make four-port arduinos happen at The Big House in the short amount of time we have. The 20XX team and The Big House team are asking for the community to help us raise:

+$2500 to bring the four-port arduinos to every Melee setup at Big House

+$2500 to provide additional support for the ongoing manufacturing process


Sounds good; how exactly can I help?

* Buy items on #TBH8 Compendium and choose the four-port arduino goal

* Direct donate to #TBH8 Compendium and choose the four-port arduino goal

* Share this post with friends in the Smash community


Again, The Big House intends to use four-port arduinos for every Melee setup at this year’s event. But we need your help, and we need it right now. Please consider supporting this effort via #TBH8 Compendium so that for the first time at a major, players have a choice on every setup between playing on a universal controller fix or playing on vanilla Melee. It’s what the players deserve, it’s what the community needs right now, and we’re very close to making it happen for The Big House and beyond.

More information about the four-port arduino device itself, including technical specs and QA, will be provided by Aziz “Hax$” Al-Yami in a YouTube video aiming for release on Monday, September 17th. I’ll update this original post with a link to the YouTube video when it’s uploaded.

Robin Harn / Juggleguy

Join The Big House 8 discussion! This year’s installment is set to take place on October 5-7, 2018 in Detroit, MI.



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