Nintendo revealed that Minecraft Steve will be joining Super Smash Bros. Ultimate as its 77th fighter on October 13, and many of the game's best players, analysts, and fans are afraid the blocky bloke might completely break the game.
Game Director Masahiro Sakurai broke down Steve's full move set in a pre-recorded video that was published on October 3. The Minecraft character's kit is unlike any other fighter's. Many pro Smash players have theorized that what Sakurai showed off recently has the potential to be oppressively powerful against many of the game's characters.
For starters, Steve falls into the "zoner" character archetype meaning his primarily goal is to control the stage in order to freely mine to gather resources that power-up his moves. Steve's most unique characteristic is his Neutral Special, which mines the ground and gives him materials to upgrade his weapons, which boosts his normal attacks and power-up his Specials.
Steve's kit has a lot of moving parts. Excelling with him will rely on executing setups by putting your opponent in a compromised position and skillfully using his kit to keep them there.
Potential Steve mains will need to use his moves in a carefully calculated manner instead of throwing out his best moves whenever they get the chance. This could mean that playing as Steve will be a bit counterintuitive, but he'll be a forced to be reckoned with when mastered despite a high skill threshold.
Keep in mind, Nintendo might end up changing the speed and power of many of Steve's moves when he launches on October 13. But here are two specific theoretical setups the Minecraft character seemingly has based on his character showcase.
Minecraft Steve could have a zero-to-death combo
Smash personality and self-proclaimed video game scientist Calvin "GimR" Lofton posted a YouTube video on October 4 pointing out that Steve could have a "very simple zero-to-death that works on most characters." A "zero-to-death" combo refers to a sequence of moves that a Smash character can make to kill an opponent even when that opponent begins this confrontation without any damage.
The combo involves dragging the opponent to the edge with Steve's quick jab, transitioning the final jab into a Forward Aerial spike that pushes the enemy down, and then keeping the opponent from recovering using blocks adjacent to the ledge.
Here's GimR summarizing how Steve's theoretical zero-to-death could work:
Much like Mega Man, Steve can walk forward while holding A to continuously jab and walk, whereas most characters stop moving when they attack. When opponents are at zero and low percentages, Steve's jab won't push them very far away making it easy to link into another jab with no chance of escape. To top it off, Steve can act very quickly after completing a jab which is important for the second part of this combo.
Once the opponent is past the ledge, you need to jump and Forward Aerial to hit them with Steve's pickaxe and send them downward with its meteor effect, or "spike." Steve's Forward Aerial appears to be wickedly fast, giving players an ample amount of time to link a jab into one.
At this point, characters with weak recoveries like Little Mac might already be dead, but Steve has an answer to characters with powerful recoveries like Pikachu and Inkling: his blocks.
By pressing the B-button in the air, Steve's neutral special creates a Block out of any material he's mined. Placing a row of blocks in front of the stage's edge appears to block the ledge, or the corner of the stage characters snap to. Theoretically, this should keep most characters from being able to grab the ledge entirely, but there are some unknowns about Steve's kit that might not make this as good as it seems.
Other characters can break Steve's blocks, but it's unclear how many moves will interact with these blocks. For example, Captain Falcon and Ganondorf go into free fall if they don't grab the ledge or hit an opponent with their Up Special. Will breaking a block reset their Up Special or will it send them careening to their eaths?
Also, the first two parts of Steve's combo rely on him having weapons readily available. His swords and pickaxes all have durability so if one breaks mid-combo, you won't be able to pull it off. This reinforces the fact that Steve will be all about resource management and playing keep-away from your opponent when you're mining materials.
Minecraft Steve could be a ledge-trapping and edge-guarding menace
If it wasn't already obvious, Steve seems built for keeping opponents stuck off-stage until they fall to their death (edge-guarding) or forcing them to take a ton of damage before they're able to get back on stage (ledge-trapping). Long-time Smash competitor Juan "Hungrybox" DeBiedma showed a diagram in a video about how Steve could set up a near-inescapable ledge trap if the player is quick enough.
The diagram shows Steve setting up a TNT block (Down Special) at the ledge and covering it with blocks, which invalidates nearly every option available to players at the ledge.
To make things worse, if you're caught off-stage without a jump, Steve can spam his Down Tilt which summons a flame that lingers for a long time.
This could force characters that don't have many options to get back on stage to continuously use their Up Special, which Steve can perpetually snuff out with his Down Tilt.
Sakurai showed off this strategy in action during the new fighter's showcase:
For now, all of this remains theoretical based on what we've seen so far. Nintendo might end up changing how fast, how large, and how strong many of Steve's moves are because of how potentially lethal the Minecraft representative could be.
It's also important to note that Steve will have the shortest initial jump in the game and will suffer against "Rushdown" characters like Fox and Sheik, speedy characters who function by not allowing opponents any breathing room to let them execute strategies such as these. Without being able to freely mine, Steve could struggle against some of Smash Ultimate's fastest characters.
Things could change when he's actually released, but Steve might be a top-tier Smash Ultimate character in the right hands.
Minecraft Steve will be available as part of Fighters Pass 2 on October 13.