What Is A Crew battle In Smash?

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As one begins to dive into the world of competitive Smash, they’ll likely stumble upon “crew battles.” Crew battles are unorthodox side events that can sometimes be one of the most hype parts of a Smash tournament.

Crew battles were designed as a way to settle rivalries between regions, and have now become a staple event for having groups of Smashers fight against each other for glory.

What Is A Crew Battle In Smash?

A crew battle is when two groups of Smashers face off in a series of 1v1 matches. Rather than everyone fighting against each other round robin style, both crews have a set number of “stocks” that are divided among all the members of each crew; for example, if a team starts out with 20 stocks and has five players, each player will have four stocks.

The winner of a match will have their stocks carry over to the next opponent; if Player A defeats Player B with two stocks remaining, then Player A will face off against Player C with only two stocks. This is done by having Player A self-destruct when the match starts until they only have two stocks. This process is continued until there is only one player (or team) left standing.

Animation showing the concept of how crews work. Credit: The Smash Brothers documentary.

Crews must always have the same number of players on both teams to distribute the stocks fairly. The number of total stocks per crew is dependent on the game that’s being played, and will usually just follow the standard tournament ruleset; Melee crew battles will aim to have four stocks per player, Brawl will tend to have three stocks per, and so on.

What Are The Rules In A Crew Battle?

The biggest two rules that will almost always apply in crew battles is character locks and counterpicks.

Character locks means that once a player chooses a character and plays a match in the crew battle, they are locked into that character for the remainder of the crew battle; they cannot switch to a different character for their remaining stocks.

Counterpicks are generally done in a way to benefit the player who is replacing the one who just lost; if Player A defeats Player B, then Player C will get to choose the counterpick stage that Player A must play on with their character locked. Sometimes, there will be bans allowed but most times, it’s whatever stage the new challenge wants.

Because of the strength of counterpick stages, as well as the opponent always being locked into their character, it’s considered very important to win the initial match in a crew battle. Any team that loses the first match in crews will be fighting an uphill battle unless they’re able to pull off some heroics and take the stock lead again.

How Are Crews Decided?

Crews will always vary depending on the theme of the crew battle, but it can realistically be anything to designate two groups of people. Some examples of crew battles could be:

  • Country/region based
  • Character specific (i.e Luigi Vs. Mario crew battles)
  • Draft crew battles (where two team captains will select from a pool of players)
  • Meme crew battles (i.e pineapple on pizza vs. no pineapple on pizza, or something to that effect.)

Basically, crews can be decided based on heated rivalries or just fun/joke vibes. So long as there’s two evenly numbered crews, a crew battle can be had.

What Are Some Of The Best Crew Battles?

The original great crew battle was the Melee FC3 crew battle between the East Coast and the West Coast. It featured all the top talent of the time, and the hype (and pressure) surrounding it had been building up for some time. It can be seen here.

Another great crew battle was the one done at The Big House 6 between SoCal and Florida. Florida boasted an insanely talented squad, with Hungrybox, Mew2King, Plup and Wizzrobe all top 10 players worldwide. However, SoCal puts up a mean fight to make it a crew battle for the ages.

In Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, there was a crew battle with a $10,000 prize pool that served as the basis for the Civil War tournament, one of the most prestigious and memorable events in Smash history. A culmination of the Ally vs. ZeRo rivalry, two crews handpicked by both players went at it for one of the largest prize pools in crews history.

As you dive deeper into Smash tournaments, you will learn that whether it’s at a small local tournament or at one of the biggest events of the year, crew battles have become a staple in Smash culture.