Maybe Sonic has finally gone too fast.
Controversial Super Smash Bro's Ultimate character Sonic will not be banned in upcoming Coinbox tournaments. Hungrybox, popular Smashbros competitor and runner of Coinbox events, floated and then debated the idea of a ban on social media.
Coinbox events are part of 'The Box', a series of Smash Bros tournaments run by Hungrybox. These events started back in 2020. There have been several iterations and categories. Coinbox events started in February 2022, with sometimes over 1000 players registering to play.
Coinbox events are designed to be an "online spectacle" providing entertaining and exciting Smash Bros events that are both enjoyable to watch and play.
Should Sonic get a Coinbox ban?
As a fighter, Sonic is a 'cheap' character. He is all about speed (no shock there) over power. This means that Sonic can chain up multiple quick hitting attacks. These form combinations that can be near-impossible to escape.
It would be unfair to say that Sonic is overpowered though. He's hard to use for newer or casual players, with his high speed making it difficult to control. Of course, for the professional players competing in Coinbox events, this is not an issue.
Where the issue lies with Sonic, and why there has been calls for a Coinbox ban, is simply how boring he can be to watch.
Sonic players spamming Homing Attacks, camping, running away and repeating this over and over is not entertaining. Hungrybox wants Coinbox to be a spectacle, and this gameplay detracts from that.
Sonic is a mainstay in Coinbox
This isn't an occasional issue either. The finals of the last 13 Coinbox events have featured at least one Sonic. The latest final, on February 7, saw both fighters use only Sonic.
This final, and the audience reaction to it, is why Hungrybox was forced to consider a Coinbox ban for Sonic.
Viewership is key for any esports tournament. It helps attract sponsors, and it shows the event is successful and enjoyable to watch. The finals would usually be the most watched and most interesting part of any event in any game.
However, the latest Coinbox event saw a drastic drop off as the finals started. Fans saw two players using Sonic, and chose to switch off.
So why is Sonic not getting a Coinbox ban?
Ultimately, Sonic has survived a Coinbox ban. Sonic isn't a broken character, and to remove him could disproportionately impact players who use him.
Viewership is important, but a Coinbox ban for Sonic is a very heavy handed approach. The tournament isn't responsible for the game's balancing. Equally, the players who find success with Sonic are not at fault for being boring to watch. They want to win the money, as is their right.
What about Steve?
Of course, there is a fighter banned in Coinbox. Steve, from Minecraft, was added in the last DC addition to Smash Bros Ultimate.
He proved to be incredibly broken, and was banned as a result. This was a bit different to Sonic, as it was about the actual power of the fighter rather than from a subjective audience perspective.
So what happens now?
Hungrybox, after a long debate that lasted over four hours, has decided not to ban Sonic from Coinbox events. However, there will be some changes given the drastic impact the all Sonic final had on viewership.
- New rules and stages will be trialled, including variety and bounty rules.
- Variety events will also continue to happen
- The Steve ban will be revisited in April
Hungrybox is keen to keep Coinbox events fun to watch. Introducing bonus prizes for things like being the highest placing user of a specific fighter might help shake up the meta.
The bottom line is, Sonic survives, for now...