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Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl’s First Big-Money Tournament Bans Ninja Turtle Michelangelo

Nickelodeon’s take on Super Smash Bros. is already having some balancing issues

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A mutated, humanoid turtle rides a skateboard with a blank stare.
Screenshot: Nickelodeon / GameMill Entertainment

Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl is just 10 days old, but serious competitors have already found a problem character: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle party animal Michelangelo. He’s so problematic, in fact, that he’s been banned from the game’s first major tournament.

Super Smash Con, a major Super Smash Bros. event that’s been around since 2015, returns this weekend after skipping 2020 due to the covid-19 pandemic. While that’s plenty exciting, this year’s competition is also kicking things up a notch by introducing its first non-Smash game in Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl. Super Smash Con partnered with All-Star Brawl publisher GameMill Entertainment and coaching service Metafy to provide $10,000 for the game’s prize pool, resulting in a bracket almost 200 players strong.


With so many folks in attendance and so much money on the line, establishing viable competitive guidelines is paramount. Super Smash Con tournament director Michael “Nintendude” Brancato recently released such a ruleset, and while most of it is standard fare—six-minute time limit, three stocks apiece, no abusing overpowered mechanics—the line about Michelangelo’s banning stuck out to those unaware of the terror the pizza-scarfing reptile has been wreaking in Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl.

Nickelodeon / GameMill Entertainment / Monarch (YouTube)

There are two major issues with Michelangelo. The first, as shown in the video above, involves his ability to stall a match indefinitely by way of his Party Dude special, which can be canceled into a jump even if he’s out of jumps (like in Super Smash Bros., characters in Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl can generally jump twice before needing to land and reset).


Brancato told Kotaku, however, that that’s not why Michelangelo is being banned, seeing as Super Smash Con’s general ruleset already prevents players from intentionally delaying or prolonging matches. No, Michelangelo has something far nastier up his sleeve: a simple, devastating, and inescapable combo that can be used to quickly eliminate opponents, even those without so much as a single scratch.

Nickelodeon / GameMill Entertainment / Monarch (YouTube)

The combo itself utilizes just two moves. By chaining together a couple of Shielding Strikes (a neutral light attack in the air), immediately throwing the opponent back into the air before they hit the ground, and repeating ad nauseum, Michelangelo deals a tremendous amount of damage. So much so that, in the hands of a serious Michelangelo player, a single hit can turn into a combo capable of defeating an opponent with just a few repetitions. Smash players refer to sequences of this sort as “zero-to-death” combos.

“Based on the results of tournaments in the week leading up to [Super Smash Con], it was clear to the community that Michelangelo was very overcentralizing due to his combo,” Brancato explained. “We consulted with the dev team before going ahead with the ban.”

As such, you won’t be seeing any Michelangelo at this weekend’s tournament, which is a shame because he’s pretty fun to watch otherwise. But seeing how fast the developers pushed out previous patches, it’s likely both turtle-based issues will be fixed in the near future.