Posted by: forwardarrow | December 10, 2017

Old Bad Sets #2: Vorinclex

Praetor's Council

Moveset Link

As you might expect, being around in the MYMX-12 era means I had my share of stuff that ages like absolute garbage. So before I go back to talking about how other people sucked at making sets back then, now is probably a good time to show I’m not above criticism. I did a self-review a while back, and while I do actually take down a lot of my more popular sets at the time in that, I realized recently that I basically left Vorinclex alone. At the time, it was because the set had a certain degree of sentimental value to me, as it was actually the first Praetor I completed of the bunch, and was in my mind the first really competitive set I ever wrote. Smady and half_silver also gave it very glowing endorsements while Urabrask got stuff from Rool and Warlord, and I had and still have a lot of respect for Smady so obviously it was awesome to have him appreciate something of mine as the best set in the contest. Jin-Gitaxias meanwhile got its glowing endorsements from uh, Legend of Link and Nate. It took me a while to realize that of those 3 sets, yeah Jin actually is the best and was the one that deserved the highest placing probably because of this. It does help that nobody really brought up much of a legitimate argument against Vorinclex at the time, other than just hating terraforming in general.


So, with the nostalgia goggles off, how bad is this set? Well I like to think it’s better than Fright Knight, but that bar is so low a centipede could clear it. But before I go into detail, I figure I may as well talk about what I believe the positives are and why I’ve tried to stick with this set for so long beforehand. The problem with a lot of heavyweight sets at the time was that they weren’t really using much of their physical strength, largely just relying on being bulky while doing setup. Vorinclex fights while he terraforms to a degree most other sets at the time struggled to do, making the logical connection that if your attacks can move about the stage itself, they probably hit pretty hard too and should hurt the opponent in the process. There was some of that in the past too, like Cairne’s stomp being a decent damage-racker while he makes his pits, but Vorinclex made another step in what was… almost the right direction by saying that trapping foes in a pit wasn’t a very fun playstyle. So instead, Vorinclex dug up the stage into mountains, and abused both the now thinner stage and the giant mountains he built for to actually serve as supplements to his rushdown.


The whole idea was that on top of this, his massive build would give him the strength to fight with power above that of even Ganondorf as he moved the very stage and chased opponents everywhere, even the underside of the stage if he so chooses. His weakness would come from his massive size giving him his fair share of blindspots, and he also had a weakpoint that could be exploited to inflict massive damage and combined with his poor recovery allow for some surprisingly early KOs. It offered the promise of playing out like a boss fight, except you get to control the boss and wield all the satisfying, bruiser-like power you could ever desire. The appeal of creating power characters whose intrigue comes from actually landing their incredibly impressive strength does carry over to the modern era, and there are a lot of great sets that pull it off where Vorinclex failed. Of my own sets, I think Metireon is a satisfying bruiser that even kind of fills the glass cannon niche, and in the most recent contest Doomfist and Recoome are both very satisfying in regards to being bruisers with interesting conditions to utilizing their full power. It’s a fun archetype, and while Vorinclex hardly invented it since the archetype’s basically been around since Ganondorf and Bowser in Melee, there weren’t really many sets that actually utilized this part of the heavyweight instead of using their bulk as a vehicle to produce setup or weird, nonsensical combo stuff.


I keep talking about Vorinclex in abstract like this because I think that’s probably what captured Smady’s attention and made me so proud of this set back in the day is that yes, the visual of this huge monster with enormous power chasing foes to the ends of the earth is a really satisfying one. The problem comes down to that if you actually know your stuff, and  you read the actual numbers this set presents, it’s easy to realize that this set goes way too far in trying to deliver on this fantasy, creating a horrible overpowered mess that is only slightly mitigated by Vorinclex being hilariously easy to kill if the opponent manages to get an advantage state. To give you an idea, let me just copypaste the stats description of this set.


“Vorinclex is absolutely enormous, at 1.8X Ganondorf’s height and nearly twice the width of Bowser. Fortunately, the space between Vorinclex’s arms is not a part of his hitbox, though his ribcage and legs are. His weight is also ungodly heavy, taking until around 250% to launch off the blast zone. He’s shockingly fast moving as well, dashing around at Sheik’s dash speed.

Vorinclex’s main downside is his abominable recovery. He has a huge first jump that he can use only on the ground that launches his twice his own height into the air. Unfortunately, his second jump is the only one he can use in the air, and it’s fairly small. That’s not the worst of it though, because if Vorinclex is hit in the mouth, he take 1.5X as much damage and knockback. So despite his imposing figure, he’s not nearly as durable as he might look, being horrific combo food in addition to these other weaknesses.”


Okay so you can probably see several problems here. For whatever reason he has weird unorthodox jumps just for the sake of making his recovery garbage but allowing him to go high into the air anyway, and check out that size. I list it as size 18/10 in the moveset, but I’m pretty sure this character is bigger than characters with far larger listed sizes, being kind of hilariously impractical to actually put into the game when he’s that big. And while the weight listed is obviously very heavy, that mouth weakness is far bigger than I realized at the time as 1.5x damage and knockback is a gigantic multiplier. He’ll probably be dying earlier than most Smash heavyweights from any direct hit to the mouth, especially with his rather awkward recovery(though I don’t think it’s as awful as I intended it to be). I’m not sure making a giant character is unviable, but you would really need to put more thought into it than here, where its basically just slapping together stuff that MYM11 me thought was satisfying.


The core terraforming mechanic of mountains is different, but its handled in a stupid and poorly detailed way. The rapid flinching hits the mountain makes while Vorinclex is pushing it along honestly makes it seem like a fairly broken pressure tool, especially when it would absorb all projectiles and quickly grow to a size foes couldn’t reasonably jump over. It also interacts with the stage in a way that basically requires the stage to be a certain amount deep for him to be able to even make mountains, so if the stage is too thin he can’t even make them and instead just does this awkward stage-shaking attack to basically camp the foe. Apparently this move can be used mid-dash, and no further explanation is given in the move for some reason when it involves Vorinclex sticking his arms inside the stage itself. I’d assume this just means he transitions right into mountain-making as he digs it up while moving, given he’s in motion while making the mountains in the standing version too. This set could really afford to be better detailed in more places than just this, as we’ll get too.


Its also worth mentioning that Vorinclex can push the mountain back into the massive hole he left to return the stage to flatness as the mountain collapses back into it. Somehow, this has absolutely no hitbox. At all. You’d think this would be some huge potential KO move but instead it just puts the mountain back without doing anything to an opponent who happens to be in the way. Also I figured I would mention that Vorinclex just becomes a hitbox while dashing down the side of slopes, which is a pretty weird property to give a smash character in general just because he’s big, and for some reason I felt the need to edit in a specific instance of it ignoring a tacky effect in a bad Hyper Ridley moveset. It looks less good when this set doesn’t really hold up either, though saying “fuck you” in a moveset isn’t really a great look no matter what.


As a final note, the stage is considered “thin enough to travel through” after Vorinclex’s terraforming if its thinner than half a Ganondorf height. I clearly have no idea what a Ganondorf height is, because drop through platforms are not “slightly thinner than half a Ganondorf height”, I’m pretty sure there are plenty of non-drop through stages that are thinner than that to begin with. But apparently because of Vorinclex voodoo, you can scrape off the very thinnest top layer and now those stages are drop through platforms? It makes absolutely no sense and looks ridiculous visually. This is honestly one of the worst things the set does, which is saying a lot.


The other specials aren’t really much better, if they are at all. Down Special forces Vorinclex into a state where he’s permanently dashing, but “it’s okay because he has 5 dash attacks”. For the record, his Forward Dash can only be used in this context, since that would be impossible to input otherwise. He can pause this dash through the use of Grab and Up Smash, and nothing else. Hell with Up Smash, the frenzy won’t even end and he’ll just keep going. The Up Smash doesn’t even And I’m not really sure what this is supposed to imply for Vorinclex in the air at all, the moveset never says and that is some very critical information its missing. As is I assume he can function however in the air and is only stuck dashing on the ground. Either way the benefit to this move is that while he’s in it Vorinclex straight up does not take hitstun, which basically means you lose your normal ground game for a ridiculous buff. Not sure where that comes out on the seesaw, but I’m leaning strong rather than weak as Vorinclex has some monstrous aerials.


Vorinclex’s Up Special is one of the things I liked most about the set at the time, but the intended use of it is rather nonsensical looking back. He can cling to the sides or underneath a stage, and can actually cling quite effectively given he can straight up move around at his regular dash speed under the stage. Between this and the recovery going his massive body size in distance, I’m really not sure this move is nearly as bad of a recovery as I intended. The concept isn’t inherently bad, but the entire moveset fails to account for how Vorinclex would function if using things on the side of the stage, and hell in some cases, what happens if he uses this move under the stage. Nothing is ever mentioned about how using the mountain building under the stage works, and you would really, really think it would be different. Making upside down mountains or sideways mountains makes absolutely no logical sense whatsoever given the move’s animation.


Side Special is not exactly as goofy as the other specials, but the effect it has on mountains of causing people to sink into them is definitely awkward and leads to pitfalls becoming a core part of Vorinclex’s playstyle. When the objective of this set was to avoid the interactivity problems a lot of cage and pit based sets had at the time, making a stun a core part of the playstyle probably wasn’t the best idea, and while it oculd’ve been salvaged if it was just a pitfall, the set offers the option to stack the escape difficulty. Twice. We’ll get to that. Also the oil onstage causes foes to automatically trip if they dash over it, and the set just dismisses this as completely irrelevant when its actually a relatively big deal. I suppose in the scale of what this set does it’s not an overwhelmingly powerful effect, but it makes Vorinclex even more ridiculously oppressive to fight.


Moving on from the specials, the Jab does introduce something of a core component of the set’s Melee, in that Vorinclex has something of blindspots on his body. Being such a big monster, there are parts of him the opponent can go after and mostly avoid his hitboxes as they rack up damage on him, and Jab is one of his few ways to deal with foes who sneak below his arms. While having pieces of a character’s range that are very weak or blind actually does make spacing pretty interesting, Vorinclex’s version of this is probably a bit too extreme where all he can do is weakly poke when the foe is far enough under him and they can happily rack up his damage… provided he doesn’t just use Side B which invalidates a lot of his weaknesses anyway. Up Tilt is the opposite of this move, providing a very powerful attack at a point on Vorinclex’s body he doesn’t want the opponent near, and suffice to say this is where we get into the set’s most obvious problem.


This attack deals 18%, KOs at 70%, and is “incredibly fast”. It is a small hitbox that’s hard to hit with and on his weakspot, but these kinds of numbers are a trend in this set, and they’re not always on small, impractical parts of his massive form. Even in the context presented, the sheer power and speed this move has is pretty ludicrous and its probably not even that hard to actually abuse it in the context of the hills. The numbers don’t get any less ridiculous if you look at the move I just skipped over to talk about this with the Forward Tilt, which is a slam with Vorinclex’s gigantic arms that is not even particularly slow, deals 15%, and pitfalls. There is no way Vorinclex can’t link a pitfall into one of his other attacks and when those other attacks hit, the president shown by FTilt shows they hurt a lot. Also it spikes foes who are in the air, so god have mercy on the foe trying to deal with Vorinclex near the ledge. Though I guess this is a Brawl set where it’s really hard to kill basically anyone on the ledge.


Now we finally get to the pitfalling in this set, and it’s a bit of a doozy. Vorinclex can move pitfalled foes along the stage if they’re in a mountain, and if you sandwich two mountains together, one with the foe in it, they get trapped inside the mountains for an additional grab escape before being dropped off up top. Also if he grabs them, the grab escape difficulty stacks with the pitfall escape, and if you’re wondering, yes he can grab them inside the mountain too for 2x Grab Escape difficulty + a pitfall, which can deal 12% per second while the foe is inside the mountain and 7% in the pitfall phase, which is absolutely horrifying amounts of stun, and for that matter damage. This is all to flow into a mechanic on Down Throw, but stacking stun in a set where my goal was specifically to make it fun to play against is especially terrible.


Down Tilt is its own can of worms, and is possibly the worst standard. First of all it just makes holes in the stage if you can make it thin enough, which is straight up impossible on stages that aren’t floating and just have depth to the bottom blast zone. The whole under the stage game in this set only really works on stages that don’t have that, but I guess I thought it was okay because he has the mountains on those stages. This is why if anyone does under the stage anymore, it operates the same as using the side of the stage so those stages can be incorporated too. The terraforming aspect is not all however, as the move deals a whopping 20% and knockback that KOs at 95%. It’s also fast and covers a Bowser sized area. Bowser might be a mere ant compared to Vorinclex’s ridiculous size, but that is a really hard hitbox to avoid and has power that some characters can’t even get on their smash attacks.


On top of that, it has a very weird interaction where mountains pushed into it become a rock slide that goes down into the hole, dealing rapid flinching hits and dragging foes down in what makes for a very easy gimp, especially with Forward Tilt. The situation is made slightly less painful by the stage being thin enough for the foe to jump through around Vorinclex if he made this hole, but Forward Tilt basically just means they’re going to die no matter what, and the setup really isn’t even hard. Also, for some reason mountains can only go in these holes, you cannot push mountains off the actual edge of the stage as described in the set. This effect also feels way too important to just be slapped on a Down Tilt, especially when as an actual melee attack down tilt is an amazing move and one Vorinclex will be spamming often.


The dash attacks aren’t really interesting moves aside from him having more options out of a dash than most characters, and honestly some of these aren’t the worst ideas. Forward Dash, as bizarre as it is to give a second input going in any direction, lets Vorinclex attack from a wider variety of angles in frenzy, which is nice for alievating the predictability problem… well it would be, if said predictability problem wasn’t meant to be the only thing balancing his horrifyingly powerful Side Special. Also he has another way to pitfall here and if he uses the regular Dash Attack on a mountain side it KOs at 70% and deals 25%, being another ludicrously powerful move with not nearly as much of a limit as it should have. I mean it apparently only has average start and end lag. Also the start of the dash attacks section says the attacks are buffed under the Down Special’s influence, but no specifics are given. Either way, making the regular dash attack and the pitfall faster, or giving these moves more actual power is a horrifying concept.


Vorinclex’s forward smashes have some absolutely insane numbers, as you probably expected seeing how strong the tilts already were. Forward Smash is an instant kill on all but the heaviest characters even uncharged, and fully charged its meant to have knockback on the level of Marth’s critical hit(though it’s not described as such in the set for some reason, instead referencing a 3v1 boss in a very bizarre example). The attack lacks any practicality due to hitting at eye level with Vorinclex so it will only ever hit aerial opponents, especially since its as laggy as Dedede’s Forward Smash, so it ends up being as hard to land as the infamously useless Warlock Punch. That’s not good move design. Where it makes up for it however, is in the horrific use it has on mountains.


This really deserves its own paragraph, because there are many things that are wrong with this interaction. It launches the mountain forward, with no further description of what happens afterwards other than implying if you use this to put a foe in a mountain into a Down Tilt hole they’re probably just dead. There are a LOT of questions that could be raised about what this would mean in regards to the way the mountain’s new position would work, especially if its put into the middle of a dug out part of the stage or something, but no description is given at all. On top of that, the mountain as a projectile is huge and straight up cannot be dodged or rolled around. It can only be shielded and the shield damage is apparently “huge”, plus the fully charged version deals 28% and KOs at 75%. It even goes 5 Bowser lengths forward, and given how utterly huge these mountains are this attack ends up being comically broken, only really hurt by the fact it doesn’t fit into the character’s usual playstyle at all.


Vorinclex’s Up Smash is downright ridiculous. The basic move is a lot like Donkey Kong’s Up Smash, but instead it deals “25%-33% and knockback that KOs at 60%-35%” while having insane upwards range and not even being laggy. This is supposed to be okay because Vorinclex is big so its not often you’ll be above him, but I’m pretty sure that’s not actually how that works and with stuff like Down Tilt the foe will end up above you plenty. It also has a follow up that lets him slide down an entire mountain as a hitbox that deals 24%-30% and knockback that KOs at 70%-45%.


Down Smash claims to have low range despite how big Vorinclex is, and I’m not sure how that really works with the described animation, but its another move with similar power to Up Smash that is fairly fast when used on thin ground. On thicker ground, it instead produces a projectile that deals 23% and KOs at 80%. The set for some reason treats this projectile which is stronger than almost any projectile in the game like its no big deal and just a pressure tool to bait in opponents, but seriously it’s a projectile that KOs at 80%. That’s absurd. Oh yeah and on the underside of the stage for half a second of lag you get an attack that deals 30%-38% and knockback that KOs at 50%-15% right above, you a massive shockwave that hits 1.5-4 Bowser widths worth of thin stage with an earthquake that is still moderately powerful, and causes mass flinching hits along all the mountains in range regardless of how thick the stage is. Honestly the variable power earthquake in this move is actually something that causes chain reactions along the stage is interesting, and while its not exactly been done before a more complex earthshaking hitbox like this might be fun in the modern day. Plus I kind of like the visual of Vorinclex just smashing himself against the stage, a lot of these moves are kind of visually satisfying if you ignore the kind of nonsense interactions they have. Attempted positivity tangent aside these numbers are just inexcusable, and show how little I or basically anyone cared about balance at the time.


The Nair has the frankly ridiculous effect of being able to push the stage upwards and downwards. As in, the entire stage, and there’s no particular reason why this particular move does this terraforming effect when the more powerful Down Smash just causes an earthquake. The set’s logic with the terraforming is definently all over the place, and honestly this attack feels  like an awkwardly combined Up Aerial and Down Aerial in terms of non-terraforming applications.


Forward Aerial is another absolutely terrible move, for one because it commits a sin that most other moves in this set don’t. Usually, outside of their interactions this set actually has visuals that I like, with Vorinclex just tearing the stage to pieces in his rampage, leaving disgusting oil in his wake and having primal and powerful attacks that are as strong as they look. But in Forward Aerial, for some reason, Vorinclex decides it’s time to flex before slamming his arms forward. I know Vorinclex is proud of his strength, but this is an overly comical way of showing it on an extremely serious character. Also this move splits a mountain into two mountains, a process described in hilariously small detail which makes absolutely no sense for the animation, and on top of that this attack deals 26% and knockback that KOs at 70% on an aerial! If you thought the smashes were nuts this should be practically killing at like 30%, while having huge range due to Vorinclex’s arm size, though I guess it is at least laggy.


Bair doesn’t even give me that luxury and just decides that its going to be not especially slow and deal diagonally downwards knockback that KOs at 75%. MYM11 FA is an idiot and thinks this knockback will never practically KO anyone, when actually diagonally downward knockback is the best kind of knockback in the game and I’m pretty sure even from the center of the stage this will KO earlier than said due to how hard it will be to recover from that position. Let alone if this hits some poor sap at the edge, god save their soul. Also it can push foes who are pitfalled for some ungodly reason, as well as mountains like the Forward Smash, but there’s no hitbox this time because at this point consistency is out the goddamn window.


Up Aerial is extremely generic, and Down Aerial is another pitfalling move that is comically powerful offstage or hell, if the opponent is on stage and gets hit by the attack. For some reason, they only get pitfalled if they take knockback into the ground with this attack. Laggier than Ganondorf’s Down Aerial does not justify the kind of power this move has either way, but mercifully it doesn’t terraform. Actually is that even merciful? Vorinclex was splitting mountains with Forward Aerial and now this even more powerful slam does nothing more than causing earthshaking, which does not even have listed damage. My god this set is lazy with detail.


Mercifully, the grab game is short and doesn’t go into any more terraforming insanity, though  it still has some uh, “interesting” details to talk about. Forward Throw and pummel don’t really do anything that offensive, though Pummel manages to hit foes inside the stage and neither move is remotely interesting. Back Throw is where the ridiculous parts start, because it’s a stun. Vorinclex twisting the opponent’s spine however, somehow only deals 6%. This is Vorinclex we’re talking out, the mountain shaker who is ripping the stage in half, and he is violently twisting the foe’s spine for a grand, whopping total of 6%. What the hell is consistency? Also this move is a stun, and while I went out of my way to prevent infinites with it unlike most sets at the time, due to the ability to grab pitfalled foes and the low lag of Forward Tilt I am pretty sure you can still infinite with this. So if you’re somehow just scrolling through this article literally only interested in if this character can infinitely stun the opponent, like clockwork, yes it can because apparently every MYM12 and earlier set can do that.


Up Throw puts the opponent 3 Ganondorfs into the air, and I’m not sure if that’s 3 Ganondorfs above Vorinclex or 3 Ganondorfs above the ground, though either way it follows up into Up Smash. If the former is true, that means the Up Smash has 3 Ganondorf heights of range above Vorinclex, with low lag and the ludicrous power I mentioned earlier. Just… think about that for a second. For Down Throw he just eats the opponent, which takes like 6 seconds on light and relatively small characters so its not very practical but heals a whopping 50% if you succeed, and isn’t totally impossible due to the comically powerful stun this set has to offer to set it up. This is also, for no explainable reason, the only way to actually end the effects of Side Special, a hilariously impractical pummel KO. For some reason, rather than using Brawl sets as examples, I choose to use my own sets for self-promotion, which is a terrible idea because especially in MYM11 the characters I made were usually either extremely small and light or very large and heavy, so its very hard to extrapolate how this move would work on Mario.


I went on a very long rant about this set and didn’t really bother to point out the good all that much unlike with Fright Knight. Because honestly, most of the good was already mentioned at the start when I talked about the “dream” this set tries to accomplish, and most of that dream aspect is obviously visible in the move’s functions. The power is there, and the ability to chase and be feral is there. The set in later sections gets weird and inconsistent about it, but if you’re just looking for a satisfying meaty heavyweight and don’t care about quality control in any way, Vorinclex will suffice. I like to think the set was somewhat influential on later terraformers that became less focused around using their terraforming to put the foe in a box, like Koala Kong later which while a very bad set nowadays also was more interested in using his stage-shaping prowess to enhance his aggression than just to trap opponents. The desire to make a satisfying and brutal heavyweight never went away, and if anything, we’ve done it so much better since then, kind of leaving Vorinclex to be a relic of his time. But in MYM11 movesets were all basically chasing after real, practical playstyles but not accomplishing them, and for what its worth at least Vorinclex was chasing an admirable “dream”.


But that of course, doesn’t mean its not garbage. And that is something I definently should have recognized long before now.



  1. So for all of you who want to pitch in, which of the following sets should I look at next: Death(MYM11 Winner by Smash Daddy), Manfred Von Karma(5th Place MYM12 by MasterWarlord), Lucio Fulci(Cult Hit MYM11 Set by Rool), Ramses(The Meme in Gauze by Kholdstare), or Dark Bowser(MYM8 Winner by MasterWarlord)?

  2. It’s a tough one, but I’d vote for Dark Bowser so you could talk about how cages/walls fare in the modern MYM era, and perhaps tackle that big boss set.

  3. Dark Bowser next. Fun “lets read” of your own set FA, this was VERY revealing of the times.

  4. I want to see Death myself, then Dark Bowser.

  5. Thirding Dark Bowser as a choice; as you mentioned to me in chat, it’s an example of an archetype and era in MYM that’s no longer around in the modern day.

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