Posted by: frozenroy | January 10, 2013

The Forgotten: Darth Vader

Most MYM sets will be forgotten by the masses. Sad, but true: with contests going at least 100 sets, only 50% will rise to the echelon of the Top 50 to stand as a mark for eternity, and fewer still will be enshrined to the Valhalla that is the Top 10. And as for winners…have you ever heard the one about there being only one?

But some movesets make a mark beyond simply being remembered for a Top 50 place. Some touch our souls in ways that will never be forgotten. The Headless Horseman, for example…the original, not my crappy tribute. Jafar. Dark Bowser. Team Rocket Grunt. Even if talked about in ways that reveal their issues in a modern environment, they will never be forgotten.

But that is only one half of the story. Other sets rise to the greatest of heights, crack the mythical top ten, receive many votes in their hardship to get there..and are nary spoken of even in a whisper. How did such sets come to reach such heights, when they are not even spoken of? When support seems as if it was a distant memory in a foggy haze? I do not know. But they are The Forgotten. And this is the discussion of one. To make it a little less forgotten.

Darth Vader reacts to being forgotten.

If you want a link, here it is. It’s great if you’ve…forgotten…what the set does. I’ll tell you what I think of it and you can decide what you think on your own. Do, however, heavily consider listening to this music while reading. It makes everything better.

The first thing to note is the organization. The black font is admittedly harder to read than I would like, but it’s fitting: Black, the color of Vader’s armor and almost iconic if combined with him, and red, the color of the Sith, of unrestrained emotion and fury over infuriating calmness. The moveset’s writing during the entire set is superb: The backstory section is compact and tells you what you need to know, but in a manner that feels fitting for Vader, direct confrontation over complexities and the Sith pragmatism, not to mention Vader’s iconic status. The statistics described give an aura of intimidation and heavy words, the Dark Lord of the Sith presented in all his glory…and all his weaknesses. And the move descriptions are excellent, each special oozing with lush words that call to mind all the things that made Darth Vader such an iconic character, even simple slashes work in words that remind you of the Sith Lord’s supreme power.

And for Vader’s moves? Most excellent. Vader’s mastery over the force is never given so much focus as to overtake his expert lightsaber skills, allowing it to remain in-smash, but with enough done to give it depth of moveset and an excellent playstyle. His Neutral Special and Down Special are probably my favorite moves in the set, so allow me to drone on about them for a moment.

Neutral Special is an infinite range grab. Wait, no, don’t go yet! It’s not broken! The grab difficulty gets more and more difficult the further away they are, you see. Unless a foe is a Battlefield platform or closer, they’ll be able to escape at merely a quarter of the difficulty, severely limiting Darth Vader’s throwing options and making it entirely unviable early on. And past three Battlefield platforms…well, that’s only useful to stop Doc Scratch from stalling or break a momentum character’s momentum. Opponents are also free to attack during this time, though movement attacks are severely movement nerfed. Once in the grasp of the Dark Lord of the Sith, he has a few options, such as throwing a saber at his foe, which causes a trade-off between it’s constant poison damage and Darth Vader’s strong lightsaber attacks, which are replaced by force pushes which deal no damage. He can bring the foe effortlessly too him (at higher percentages anyway) to his normal grab, send a force wave to send foes flying away…or, my personal favorite, the iconic Force Choke, dealing constant agonizing damage to the foe. It’s all greatly characterized and is in general well numbered.

But the best move, and possibly my favorite, in Vader’s arsenal is his Down Special, the Force Burst. This passively charging move has a kickass animation, as his red Dark Side aura grows like a swirling storm of hatred and malice, while also providing a great effect. The move can either be released for an amazing GTFO move, though without damage, or held up for time to give a passive buff to Vader’s standards, smashed and aerials, or you can hold on to it for a while to gain some of both. But it comes with a downside…hold it for too long and Vader’s rage will grow so strong that his force attacks become worse due to concentration issues, giving all of his force attacks (Or Specials, anyhow) much increased lag. This move is just practically the perfect move. It gives the user cerebral choice that is open ended enough that there is no One Right Choice for every matchup or situation. It isn’t too strong but yet it is useful enough to not become weak. It’s excellently characterized, mastery of every Vader element is present, while providing a downside that doesn’t make it automatic. It also makes Vader matchups MUCH more interesting.

After that, Vader gives a well written melee game with his lightsaber, with the twist that Vader ultimately semi-combos and flows better as foes have higher damage percentages. The moves are elegantly designed to seamlessly transition from force based ranger character to close ranged melee combatant, with the Down Special tying the two together beautifully. Forward Smash is probably my favorite of the smashes/aerials, being simply designed and yet in the context of the playstyle a great move, not to mention how Force Burst causes the move to transition from being better for a force user to a lightsaber user. Vader’s aerials, although not as impressive as the standards and smashes, are aesthetically pleasing and playstyle relevant, giving Vader an aerial game to work with his Force Leap Up Special despite him not having traditionally good aerial tools. And the standard grab? It gushes with character, a supreme showing of Vader’s physical superiority as he lifts them up, slams them down, throws them around and strangles the last breath from their broken body. Combine with the Neutral Special and it transitions smoothly into Vader’s lightsaber-based ground game.

Ultimately, I like this set upon a reread even more than when I first read it, which was in the middle of MYM12. It radiates character in every way possible. Playstyle seamlessly straddles between a more Brawl set and a more zany one, ultimately remaining grounded in reality but with plenty of tricks to excite the reader. I feel it was one of the Top 5 MYM11 movesets in retrospect. It placed 8th.

And yet it is forgotten. But why?

One factor is timing. Darth Vader was posted relatively late into the contest, moveset 128 out of 149, but worse than that was sandwiched between two movements: ForwardArrow’s extremely popular and successful Praetor movement and the 8-set Kirby Boss Movement which would also place sets. Because of this, comments were slow: It received a single lonely comment before Advertising, funny enough from ForwardArrow. All others came during advertising period, though it arguably remained low. Hyper_Ridley advertised it, but he was the only one. But the timing goes even deeper than that, as n8 would immediately open MYM12 with the overrated Kang, which would top Warlord’s boss list and so be talked about greatly fairly soon after Darth Vader had reached it’s apex. It could not even call itself n8’s best placing set: Dormammu placed 7th in MYM9, besting it by a single placing. With other great sets such as Death and Urabrask posted in what is considered a great contest, it could not even rise too far in the context of MYM12.

But I feel it has aged like a graceful, fine wine. It is still one of the greatest examples of an in-smash set that is not boring, to me, as it creates multiple interesting decisions for the player, such as the Down Special and saber tossing, remains correctly balanced enough, produces enough to go with Brawl style moves to elevate them beyond being simply moves-to-be-moves and creates something more. Screw a million traps or invisibility: I’ll take the crushing power of the force and the simplicity of these lightsaber attacks to play any day.

“I find your lack of faith in my set…disturbing.”

Of course, that’s just my opinion. Feel free to express yours! But at least try to remember Darth Vader. He’s great for matchups. And I hope you enjoyed my first article: Hopefully I will have more in the future.

Until then, farewell.



  1. You linked to the wrong moveset dude, here you go:

  2. oh you

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