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Smash World Tour Championships results marred by underdog boost controversy

The final Smash tournament of the year is not ending as well as some community members had hoped. Several match results are being called into question.


The Smash World Tour Championships were set to bring 2021 to a glorious close for fans of Melee and Ultimate, but some controversy surrounding the game settings have put the results into question. It appears that underdog boost was enabled for several matches at the tournament. 

Several players at SWTC 2021 pointed out the settings issue after they noticed variances in damage done from their moves. Smashers study frame data and have a very good feel for how the game should operate. Many top players were knocked out earlier than expected this weekend, and some even called for the results to be thrown out.

It's undeniable that the rules not being consistently applied at the tournament could have affected the results of SWTC 2021, but the tournament organizers opted to power through the rest of the event. 

While this is an extremely unfortunate turn of events, some of the best players in the world are still battling in the tournament. With a prize pool of $150,000, the inconsistently applied ruleset has many fans losing it. You have to feel for the TOs, as tonight was the culmination of years of planning and the Smash World Tour Championships 2021 were set to be a successful conclusion to the series of offline Smash events that were held this year. 

We are not sure how many matches in the tournament were affected by this issue, but many players have indicated that it was present yesterday and today. It is also possible that the Melee and Ultimate tourneys were both affected. VGBootcamp is still streaming the tournament right now on their Twitch channel, so we had to wait a bit for this underdog boost setting controversy to be addressed by the TOs. 

The Smash World Tour organizers have posted a tweet thread addressing the underdog boost controversy, confirming that it affected at least one match yesterday.

Here is a transcript of the entire tweet thread:

Tonight it was brought to our attention from a Twitter user that Underdog Boost was unfortunately active on the stream setup. We are currently investigating, but as of now evidence is pointing to the setting being turned on immediately before Saturday's final set on VGBC4.

 We believe as of now it was done accidentally while checking the rules. The setting has been corrected, but unfortunately five sets in-total were affected before the error was caught.

We will be making contact with the affected players.

Rule 8.18 in the SWT Rulebook serves as a final back-up check for situations like this, so the tournament has continued as scheduled.

We are incredibly sorry this happened, and will continue to update as we find out more. Thank you for understanding.

A terrible situation will seemingly come to an end without much justice for players affected by this controversy. Surely, the level-headed Smash community will take this well. Right?

Mkleo won the first ever Smash World Tour Championship in Ultimate.
Mkleo won the first ever Smash World Tour Championship in Ultimate.

Mkleo won the tournament anyway, so maybe we should cut VGBootcamp some slack, but the final results will always have a cloud of uncertainty.

Here's how the top 8 played out:

  1. Mkleo
  2. Cosmos
  3. Sparg0
  4. Zomba
  5. Dabuz
  6. Kola
  7. KEN and Protobanham

And that's the way the cooke crumbles for Smash esports in 2021. Tune in next year. It should be interesting with Nintendo and Panda Global teaming up for a tournament series.


Asif Khan is the Luminary and majority shareholder of Shacknews. He began his career in video game journalism as a freelancer in 2001 for Asif is a CPA and was formerly an investment adviser representative. After much success in his own personal investments, he retired from his day job in financial services and is currently focused on new private investments. His favorite PC game of all time is Duke Nukem 3D, and he is an unapologetic fan of most things Nintendo. Asif first frequented the Shack when it was sCary's Shugashack to find all things Quake. When he is not immersed in investments or gaming he is a purveyor of fine electronic music. Asif also has an irrational love of Cleveland sports.

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