Critical Edge: A Brief History of Banning...

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I'm not going to pretend in this post that I'm anything more than a scrub in Soulcalibur; whether I was good at one time or another is irrelevant. This month, for the first time ever, I find myself in a leadership position in the community during the launch of a major revision to the Soulcalibur series... And of course, as with anything I do, its not without some drama.

But drama is not foreign to our community; in fact, it probably goes hand-in-hand. In addition to that, to outsiders it looks as if our community is "quick to ban". Now, Soulcalibur V is about to launch and we find ourselves already being forced to make decisions relevant to bans. So before I go into my decisions for SC5, I'm going to do my best to recall a history of banning within the Soulcalibur community.


I wasn't a tournament player during the first Soulcalibur game; it didn't strike my fancy. It wasn't until Soulcalibur II that I go interested in the tournament scene. Any scrub around in those days will immediately remember that Heihachi, Link, Spawn and Necrid were banned during the entirety of the game's lifespan. Assassin, Berserker, Lizardman, Seong Mi-Na and Sophitia were banned at times as well.

Why were these characters banned? Heihachi, Link and Spawn have an obvious answer: they were console exclusive. As console exclusives, not everyone had access to the characters to play them or practice against them. If players do not have even grounds to prepare against other players, it creates an unfair advantage. How can you expect to play against Heihachi when you've never seen the character before, because you have a GameCube?

Assassin, Berserker, Lizardman, Necrid, Seong Mi-Na and Sophitia however were a different story. Back in the days of SC2, the series still had arcade releases; the arcade was where balance testing as done. The game went through many balance patches before it's eventual release on consoles. However, the characters in question did not exist in the arcade versions! They were console exclusive and thusly went through zero play-testing.


WCMaxi, who was in charge of our community at the time, and an employee of Namco Arcade International decided to simply ban them altogether until it could be determined at a later date on whether or not they were tournament viable. Most of them were eventually unbanned later in the game's life cycle. However, Necrid remained banned because he was just too broke.

Lizardman's Reptile Rumble throw had a glitch which was also banned because it could turn into an infinite. And 2G, a completely game-altering glitch which allowed players to block when they should otherwise be unable to do so, was left unbanned because it consequently made the game more balanced... although a lot slower and boring to watch at high level.


Soulcalibur III... the black sheep of the series. The game did not have an arcade version before console release and we now know that the game went through no balance testing. Because of it, the disparity between the highest tier and the lowest tier of characters was larger than any other game in the series. In addition, a very severe glitch known as "Variable Cancel" (VC) threatened to break the game as we know it.

At this point in time, WCMaxi had moved to Japan and was unable to take charge; the leaders we did have were indecisive and slow to act. They tried to make everyone happy, and in turn, nobody was happy. Each region ran their own rules, on different versions of the game. On the east coast, I was the first to take the plunge and ban VC from all tournaments. Eventually Canada followed suit and over the course of the next two years, everyone else eventually fell in line.

Would VC have destroyed our community (anymore than it was already) if it wasn't banned? Probably not. When it comes down to it, it really didn't change the game as much as we expected it to, except with a few specific characters. But our community was in such shambles already that I decided to unban all guest/bonus characters and permit random creation characters into tournaments.


I mean, who cared anymore? On the east coast, our events became less about the game and more about the social atmosphere; which is probably why we have such a tight-knit community now. In hindsight, if the game had remained relevant, unbanning guest/bonus characters would have been a huge blow against balance and the competetive nature of the game. Certain characters like Lynette, Valeria and Strife were abusable to a fault.


Released during a poor time, Soulcalibur IV is probably the best game in the series thus far; but still not without it's faults. During the first few months, Darth Vader, Yoda, Angol Fear, Ashlotte, Kamikirimusi, Scheherezade, Shura and Yoda were banned from tournaments. Darth Vader and Yoda because they were console exclusive, and the remaining because they were guests.

The moment Darth Vader and Yoda became available as DLC on each console, we unbanned them from tournaments. The remaining 5 characters however were another story. They did not have their own moveset, they were just altered versions of existing characters. As an experiment, we unbanned them for a few tournaments on the east coast.

They were rebanned after a few short months. What we realised was that not only did hurt-boxes change on characters, but hit-boxes on weapons could be bigger. Eventually there became little point in a player using Amy, when they could use Scheherezade instead. Or Cervantes over Shura. With the broken hurt-boxes, we decided to end it.

What eventually became the major issue of the game had to do with two characters: Algol and Hilde. Neither character could be considered unbeatable; this was not a no-win scenario. But this issue became so significant that it was clear the majority of the community wanted something done about it.

In the history of SC4, Algol and/or Hilde won very few major tournaments. In fact, neither of them even made it to top 3 at EVO. However, there was a lingering fear. The risk vs. reward was so skewed that it would eventually make not playing these characters a grave blunder for anyone who wished to compete. The fear of "over-centralization" became prominent.

If we permitted them to remain legal, eventually everyone would be compelled to switch characters, or quit the game entirely. Unfortunately, this was about 4-5 months before EVO 2K9 and even though we could ban Algol and Hilde (which I did on the east coast), they would still be legal at EVO. At EVO, KDZ, who at the time was the #1 ranked player in America, had to fight through five Hilde players before eventually making it to grand finals.


So we banned Algol and Hilde. Not because they were "broke", but because we wanted to salvage what remained of the community. I knew we would not likely get players back because they heard Hilde was banned, but in the face of the launch of Street Fighter 4, I figured one less reason for people to quit would be greately beneficial... help stave off the exodus to greener pastures.

In fact, France didn't officially ban Hilde from their tournaments until last year; a good two years after everyone else. They have also never permitted Algol or any Star Wars characters into any of their tournaments; not for balance, but because they didn't fit "thematically" with the game.


So am I ban happy? I was the first to ban VC in SC3 and I was the first to ban Hilde in SC4... which I hope we all believe were right decisions. In addition to that, before SC4 was eventually patched, I believed that Critical Finishes needed to be banned or they would become the central focus of the game. However, at the same time, I was also the first to unban guest/bonus characters in both SC3 and SC4... which we now know were both mistakes.

So now, would you call it ironic, or kismet that we find ourselves in the same situation? Devil-Jin is a "create-a-soul" (CAS) movelist, he does not have it's own character slot, nor a default character design. As it stands CAS is banned because of tournament logistics; we don't want to be giving people time to create custom characters, nor force tournament organizers (TOs) to spend time before the tournament in order to make a set of Devil-Jin CAS. In addition, editing characters can lead to hurt-box issues and masking moves behind obscure clothing.

But what if we could get around these logistical issues when it comes specifically to Devil-Jin? It takes about 5 hours to unlock all characters in SC5; so Namco decided to make it easier for TOs and leave the save files unlocked. A TO could copy a save file with all unlocks and CAS from one console to another. So what if we made a default set of Devil-Jin CAS, distributed this save file freely and TOs could use this as their standard unlocked save file?

Sure, it can be said that people can edit the costume during the tournament in attempts to cheat; but any changes to the costume is clearly evident and will be caught on sight. Not to mention any changes to the characters height (which changes the hurt-boxes) wipes out the character design and it would take a significant amount of time for a cheater to recreate it; which they wont have at a tournament. Problem solved, right?

Well... no. While the lead director of SC5, Daishi Odashima insists that Devil-Jin is balanced for tournament play, the actual play testers for the upcoming Future Press strategy guide say otherwise. In fact, both the French and German communities state that Devil-Jin is completely overpowered and shouldn't be legal in tournaments. So what do we do?

We know from history that we really wont be able to tell a characters tournament viability until we permit them in tournaments. Why would someone learn the ins-and-outs of a banned character? We only knew Necrid was broke in SC2 because he was permitted in Japanese tournaments. We only knew how good Lynette was in SC3 because she was eventually playable. And we only knew to ban Hilde, Algol and Scheherezade because top players learned how to abuse them.

Many are advocates for a "wait and see" mentality. Ban Devil-Jin now, and only unban him if he is deemed balanced... but this doesn't work. We will never know the true strength of Devil-Jin unless he is permitted in tournaments. Not only will we not know how well he can be played, but we will not know how well he can be countered by other characters. Not to mention, the initial surge of potential new players we can get from the Tekken community will be missed.


However, if we allow Devil-Jin, the lingering fear of over-centralization returns. If Devil-Jin is indeed broke, and players start seeing groups of Devil-Jin in top 8 at major tournaments, it will turn many away from the series. A ban later down the line will be too little too late. With how often new fighters are coming out these days, they will have already been lost to other games.


Two rule sets! Stick with me now... In both SC3 and SC4, we had multiple different rule sets. But these rulesets weren't by choice; its because of a lack of leadership. We didn't choose to have varying rules, we just couldn't come together as a community and make a decision. I say with great pride... and anxiety, that the leadership of this community now falls upon me.

I've said many times in the past, the mark of a good leader is whether or not they can make the hard decisions. They don't even have to be the right decisions; but a decision none the less has to be made. Right and wrong is decided by the eventual outcome. Of course, it's this attitude itself that gives many of you readers pause when it comes to my so-called "decision making ability".

So when it comes to Devil-Jin, I've made a decision:
  • At MAJOR events, Devil-Jin will be banned until EVO 2K12 at the earliest.
  • At MINOR events, tournament organizers will be encouraged to allow him.
Two rule sets; that I'm hoping will let us get the best of both worlds, while minimizing the negatives. Since Devil-Jin will be banned from major events, players will not see an over-centralization of Devil-Jin in top 8 (whether or not another character ends up being broke remains to be seen). Obviously Devil-Jin players will be obligated to have a secondary character, so if Devil-Jin eventually gets banned, they will have a character to fall back on and the risk of losing them will be minimized.

As well, since Devil-Jin will be legal at minor events, we can potentially attract a few new players from the Tekken community. In addition to that, more people will be inclined to play Devil-Jin so we will more quickly discover how well he plays, and how well other characters play against him. We'll learn more about him faster, and if he eventually does get unbanned, players will be more prepared to face against him.

If sometime during the next few months, we quickly discover that Devil-Jin is broke, we can ban him from minor events as well at that time. If however, we make it all the way to after EVO 2K12 and we have yet to unilaterally ban Devil-Jin from tournaments, we can come back to this discussion and decide whether or not we wish to make him legal at major events.

I can't force anyone to follow these rules. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if EVO announces that Devil-Jin is legal at EVO 2K12 since Namco is a sponsor and they probably want him to be played. I wont presume to know how much influence Namco has on the decision making at EVO, but its a possibility to be aware of. None the less, these are the rules I will be recommending to the EVO council and I hope they accept them.


Naturally, Dampierre is banned from tournaments until he becomes available as DLC.
Remaining rules for Soulcalibur V can be found here:

The official Devil-Jin CAS design will be decided in the upcoming weeks. A save file will eventually be available for download here at 8WAYRUN. Until then, only two costumes should be considered "legal": Size 3 Samurai preset and Size 3 Ninja preset. Feel free to make two CAS characters with those default design presets; you need two in case of mirror matches.
Jason Axelrod

Jason Axelrod

Owner and Operator of 8WAYRUN
Regardless of Jaxel's ham-fisted attempt to re-frame the issue; it is not, and will not become a "balance" argument. It's logistics argument. Don't fall for this obvious trap.

CaS is banned, hence, DJ is banned until we gets a character model. Not a created CaS that you get with a save- his own model. One that cannot be altered, tampered with, or requires logistical work that we as TO's should not have to do to merit the inclusion of a style.

Edit: I'm also not worried about the EVO ruling, at all.
Since Jaxel is wrong, I will see if I can do a video demonstration so I can end this damn debate. Give me some time.
Not trying to be an ass, but did you really have to quote the whole article?
You thought I quoted the post to take up sh*t loads of space in the thread? Don't ask anymore dumb a** questions sir. I was slightly inebriated when I read this and instead of hitting the like button, I'm sure you know what selection was made. "not trying to be an a**" comments usually mean that you are.
Like I said earlier (in alot more words) banning a character based on balance, without even allowing him to be played tourneys for at least 4-6 months is a DUMB idea. Day/week/month 1 'broken' (like SC4 Mitsu 2KB, Ivy Coil whip 214B-annoying-move-thingy) usually turns out to be not broken(OP maybe though). Insinuating that the Devil Jin debate is about 'balance' is a complete falacy.

I am definitely behind banning DJ based on the fact that he's CaS only. That's the actual debate, though it shouldnt be. It's common sense. Even Namco itself appearantly banned DJ. Case closed.
Also, there is a good reason why Ezio is available for use on both consoles and Devil Jin is just a moveset in this game. Think about that.
I am very strongly opposed to the creation of two rulesets, and opposed to allowing DJ in general. As everyone's already said, making a preset DJ CaS is a logistical hassle that is just not worth the payoff. We are not likely to get a large influx of Tekken fans who stay with the community because they have SxT, TT2 and TxS all coming out in the near future. Compare that to a single character in SC who won't even look like him.

That said, if Namco does release a Harada_TEKKEN for DLC or something, I can say with almost certainty that nobody knows if he's broken yet. It's too early in the game and no matter how good people are at theorycraft, no one can ever see all the developments ahead of time. Not everything works in practice the way it looks like it will, and I have doubts that even top players can look at a list of numbers and predict the future. It's simply too early to tell.

As I understand, it's usually EVO's policy to leave things unbanned until they're proven broken under their roof (though I assume the logistical issues of DJ will prevent him in this case regardless) which led to the giant mess that was Brawl at EVO '08. So I'm also going to say that going by EVO rules because they're EVO rules isn't necessarily the best idea. They may be very experienced at fighters in general, but I think it's likely that this community collectively knows Soul Calibur a lot better than they do.

As others have said, at this time, I don't even know why this is a debate. He's a CaS, he's out.

EDIT: Jaxel says there isn't a logistics issue, but of course I disagree. How are you even going to determine the default CaS? Who's to say he shouldn't be susceptible to combos that work on larger characters or such? Who's going to decide what he looks like? What if everyone thinks he looks like ass? Not that cosmetics really matter, but all this plus making sure every console has the exact correct CaS, dealing with the possibility of cheating, taking the time to upload the save to each console (when after a certain point, one would assume most would have everything unlocked) and a hundred other minor issues just makes it not worth it.
History comes in and has a funny way of repeating itself, and what i mean by that is the uncertainty of SC3 on what should banned and what shouldn't. Typically, games that have banned things because of one thing: BALANCE. nothing more. This thread/debate/arguement is pointless on many levels.

First, the game isn't out it. So having the Soul of DevilJin maybe not even broken, however Evo is probably going to have that in their what do you do? Ban him now and risk having little to no knowledge of the character or play him and then by around May or so if it's painfully obvious that he's broken then ban him? Decisions decisions.

First off, 2 rulesets is absurd, and it shouldn't be an option regardless if you're trying to appease the community. Ideally he should be banned for the simple fact that he's not a character on the roster. The banned set has always been no CaS and it should stay that way. Making the exception for DJ would cause an uproar in complaints because of the rules and how now it supports all CaS.

Second, Most of the Road to EVO tournaments support the 8WR ruleset anyway. So stick to one, not 2. it's aleady confirmed that th human race is a stupid species that happens to be the most intelligent life on earth. So adding confusion will not help anyone at anytime. (bad pun maybe?) So ideally, if you're concerned about weather or not Mr Wizard will approve your ruleset, then you might wanna point out to him that his road to evo tournaments fully support you and are continuing to do so.

I guess what my point is is that you need to man-up, grow some balls, and make a decision already. Not open a thread to issue a debate of any kind. And please, do not become another XCTU. Make up your mind and lets move on, we have a game to play :)
Jaxel, somehow this feels wrong, is plain wrong, you are not discussing to ban or unban a char, put it simple, if we have all the characters unlocked, you may have decide wich chars to ban due to balance issues, but in this case is freaking easier, even with all the characters unlocked, you won't have to worry if someone pick it up in the tournament, they simply can't... And why is that?... Because is not a character...

I really appreciate the leadership that you are trying to show, is needed, but for now your first proposal is just wrong, if you wouldn't have brought this subject to the table, this discussion wouldn't exist cause nobody is taking DJ serious, is a bonus... Maybe some whore tiers and gimmicky players were praying for this to happen, but that's it.

Once again, we are not discussing about a character, Yoda, Apprentice, Hilde, Vader, Link, Heihachi, Necrid, etc... Those were characters, not this.
I'd go with EVO rules simply because it's impossible to tell a game's balance off the first day, first month or even the first year of play. EVO has seen multiple games where it took years before the games definitive tier list came out: it took a few years before the Japanese cracked 3rd Strike and proved that Yun, Ken and Mak could stand up to Chun dominance; meanwhile, the MvC2 top tiers back in 2000 (lol Iceman, Doom, Spiral) look almost nothing like the top tier today. All banning because of "balance" at this point in time is limit the game's growth.

The only type of ban that is justifyable this early on is one for logistical reasons. DJ as a CAS would be a PITA to manage for most TOs. The only way that Daishi can say that he's tournament ready is likely because they're making an actual DJ model as DLC somewhere down the line.
Like the majority here, I oppose DJ simply because he's not an actual character, but a CaS.

I will never take DJ seriously unless he's given an actual character slot.

As for wanting to include DJ to appeal to a small group of players shouldn't be much of a concern at all because there are SC players who have played this series for years who no longer have their character in the game.
Whatever man. Ignoring the problem and going the 'See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil' approach after having such a hands-off approach to the community as a whole gets no respect points from me.

Idlemind laid out everything we needed to know a week ago, and nobody has been able to counter-argue his points effectively. You proponents of DJ are a bunch of ridiculous fanboy bitches that need to sit down and look at things objectively.

I've played more Tekken than most of you here. I've traveled to Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York City, Upstate NY, Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, Phili, New Hampshire, Vermont, Northern and Southern California (countless times), and Japan all to play Tekken. I have mained Mishimas (DJ included) since Tekken 2. I want DJ usable way more than you, but I am not blinded by the fact that the issue of logistics prevents that. It totally and completely prohibits it. If it leaves room for human error or tampering, it MUST not be deemed legal.

There is a reason people like Idlemind have positions like he had - and now we're short one more intelligent guy in our community because you less intelligent guys think kicking and screaming is going to change the facts. IT IS NOT. Namco has banned CaS entirely. Evo will ban CaS entirely. Case closed. Suck my dick.
Allow me to be devil's advocate:The big problem with banning DJ, is if his style shows up with Edgemaster or Killik. If it does, and DJ is banned, Killik and Edgemaster are likely autobanned

....which is totally fine by me BTW :D
Day/week/month 1 'broken' (like Ivy Coil whip 214B-annoying-move-thingy) usually turns out to be not broken(OP maybe though).

Actually, the move was completely broken during the first month, because it was almost safe on block. You could 214B all day, it evaded almost everything and Ivy was always safe on guard (-14 + force crouch + massive pushback).

They nerfed it hard in 1.03 patch.
ROFL Jaxel. Don't know the actual story? CREATE LOGICAL EMBELLISHMENTS! I mean, the real reasons certain characters were banned (or banned at all) is irrelevant, right? You just wanted to write something? Well, good job. Gold star! You're a big boy and made a whole article! We'll take you to Dairy Queen to celebrate!
so...the gist of this entire thing is...

our official rules are that DJ is banned.

what is the problem here? why not use him at minor events? there is absolutely no harm in that. what is gonna happen if we ban him, he turns out very strong, and then is allowed at evo and we all get steamrolled by pocket DJ players? yeah, that would look awesome...
so...the gist of this entire thing is...

our official rules are that DJ is banned.

what is the problem here? why not use him at minor events? there is absolutely no harm in that. what is gonna happen if we ban him, he turns out very strong, and then is allowed at evo and we all get steamrolled by pocket DJ players? yeah, that would look awesome...
I'll allow people in my community to play DJ if I get to curb stomp them and steal their lunch money afterward, regardless of outcome. :D
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