ROB is Easy (For the Most Part) | Character Crisis

This week I played as the infamous Robotic Operating Buddy also known as ROB!

Preconceptions on ROB

Ask anyone what their feelings are on ROB and you’ll be hard pressed to find someone saying ROB isn’t a top tier. ROB has excellent tools to deal with any character such as powerful projectiles to attack from afar, absurd frame data to bully up close, and if it’s an “unwinnable” matchup ROB can just 0-Death them. Despite what popular opinion may now say about ROB this hasn’t always been the case. ROB’s rise to dominance has been gradual, seemingly fading in the background as other characters take the spotlight of being the best in the game.

At the start of Ultimate ROB wasn’t on anyone’s radar as potentially one of the most broken characters in the game. Because of his poor results in Super Smash Bros Brawl and Smash 4 ROB was nothing more than a forgotten mid-tier. On r/smashbros after the game had been out for less than a week 14,320 players voted on a tier list which ended up placing ROB as a low mid-tier. With Genesis 6, Ultimate’s first Supermajor players were starting to notice that this version of ROB was kind of good and was moved up to B tier ranked as the 18th best character in the game. However, it wasn’t until Zackray began to pick up this character that players began to realize his true potential.

A few years later and many people will confidently agree that ROB is now a top tier. Solo ROB won his first supermajor at the hands of Zomba who claimed the Crown beating the likes of MKLeo and Tweek along the way. ROB has become the second most successful character in Ultimate only behind Steve in terms of results. He’s very easy to pick up compared to many other top tiers and will likely destroy lower level players. Yet for one of the most dominant characters from mid-high level smash the amount of results for ROB at top level play are comparatively absent. Hold onto that thought while I explain what it takes to play ROB at a competitive level.

ROB Training Mode

If you want to get good at ROB as quickly as possible there is only one technique you must learn, Z-Catch Aerials. Learning this is what allows ROB to perform his 0-Death combo and is a relatively easy technique to master. By pressing the grab button while you are holding an item and airborne you will drop your item. ROB drops his gyro just in front of him and while it is falling it has an active hitbox. If you then perform an aerial such as Neutral Air you can combo the gyro into the Neutral Air while simultaneously catching it. You can repeat this process again and carry them all the way to the blast zone and finish them off with a Side Special. Congratulations, you are now a ROB main!

While this will work against many different kinds of players, the reality is the 0-Death combo actually becomes less important the better the player you’re playing against. The thing is, while landing 0-Death’s is very strong, ROB’s combo starter for this is very obvious to players who know what to look out for. If a ROB player has gyro in hand and jumps in the air, there is a very strong chance they’re coming down with a Z-Drop Nair. Neutral Air is a pretty slow move and strong opponents will know how to time a parry against it and get a punish.

The thing is though. ROB can do more than the 0-Death. Instead of picking up Gyro everytime you shoot it, instead leave it spinning on the ground. As long as it is spinning it controls that part of the stage. Your opponent can either try to grab it, which is hilariously enough a little tricky to do sometimes, or they can jump over it. When you limit your opponents options in this way it becomes much easier to predict what they’re going to do next. For example, if they choose to jump over the Gyro ROB can cover that space with a laser. The 0-Death combo is important to learn because it teaches you multiple aspects of ROB’s combo game. But when playing as ROB, it is much more relevant to instead focus on having a good neutral game. That being said, it’s still easy to land cool combos on elite smash scrubs. I hope you enjoy my ROB combo video.

ROB Combo Video

ROB Tournament Report

I was looking forward to playing as ROB in tournament. Back in Smash 4 when he was much worse he was one of my favorite casual characters to play as. Now I was getting a chance to play a version of the character that is an inarguable top tier. However, despite ROB’s insanely powerful moves and amazing zoning potential I learned something very important. ROB is big. This has become a huge meme in the Smash community but it honestly is one of ROB’s biggest weaknesses. ROB has a large hurtbox, weak air drift, and moves that aren’t the best in disadvantage. Dare I say playing as Donkey Kong felt easier in disadvantage than as ROB. I had to be very careful with what options I selected or else I would get put in the blender. Going into the tournament I understood how important it was to never let my opponents hit me. Let’s see how I did!

Round 1 Jawedude

I haven’t fought Jawedude yet so it was good to fight someone new. I feel like ROB does pretty well into Pac-Man thanks to his assortment of projectiles and powerful moves that can break hydrant from a distance. Pac-Man can’t really contest in close quarters thanks to ROBs huge disjoints and ROB can pressure Pac-Man without taking on very much risk. A clean 2-0 to start off the day.

Round 2 Scend

Scend is probably a name many viewers of this channel are familiar with. Formerly known as BestNess, Scend is one of the strongest Ness players in the world and was ranked as the 34th best player worldwide last year. However, in round 2 of pools he choose to use his Palutena against me. I feel like it didn’t really matter what character he could have chosen to play against me. I put up as best of a fight as I could but his combo game was better than anyone else I had fought up to this point and my attempts at reversals were either denied by careful spacing, parries, or Palutena’s shield blocking the move. It felt like I was stuck on the ledge the entire set. Maybe one day I’ll take more than just one stock from him.

Round 3 Narukami

Sonic is easily the character I have had to fight the most while playing this series. Fortunately ROB is one of the few characters who doesn’t severely struggle against Sonic and can harass him from both near and far. Fully-charged laser beats spindash and ROB’s ledge-trapping does really well against Sonic. I was able to use the setup of Gyro at ledge into Up-Smash to secure several stocks throughout the set.

Round 4 Z-NIX

A returning opponent last time Z-NIX and I fought I was an Incineroar main. ROB vs Zelda as it turns out is a radically different matchup. ROB’s ability to harass Zelda from afar makes it difficult for her to setup Phantom Knights which combined with my incredible recovery and reflector makes the ledge trapping process much less obnoxious. I lose game 1 in large part because I go too deep trying to catch a gyro but in games 2 and 3 I’m able to abuse Zelda’s slow speed and control the neutral winning the set.

Round 5 Running Buffalo

RunningBuffalo is officially the player to show up in this series most so far having fought my Link, Steve, and now my ROB. Game 1 was pretty convincingly in his favor but I had a solid grasp of what went wrong and was able to adapt going into game 2. I focused on using my projectiles to keep King K. Rool away from me and threw him to the corner as much as possible. This strategy was paying off and I had a massive lead during the final stock. I was slow to pull the trigger on my side-special, however, which gave Buffalo the chance to make a comeback. He buried me at 80% and was able to kill me across the stage. Had it gone to game 3 I’m confident my ROB would have been able to take the set. Well played Buffalo I’ll get you next time.

Final Results

I’m really happy with how I performed as ROB. Going 3-2 is my best record so far in the series and I know I had it in me to go even further than I did. ROB was an easy character for me to pick up and do well with and none of that had to do with the 0-Death combo. I believe the real reason why ROB is an easy character to become good with is because his neutral game is one of his strongest attributes. When both players are trying to land the first hit ROB has some of the safest pressure in the game. This can force your opponent to make mistakes which ROB can then capitalize on better than most.

However, this oppressive neutral game is balanced by the fact that ROB is big. It sounds like a joke, but the fact that ROB can just explode when someone breaks through his neutral is difficult to deal with. RiskTKR, the 7th best player in Utah has gone on record saying that ROB is arguably the strongest character at mid-high level but drops off when he reaches top level play. As I experienced during my set with Scend, top level players know how to avoid the 0-Death combos, navigate neutral better than weaker players and exploit ROB’s greatest weakness because they have mastered their respective characters combo game.

ROB is still undeniably a top tier. Zomba has proven that it’s possible for ROB to succeed at the highest level and if you pick up ROB, there’s a good chance you’ll find success at the lower levels too. As fun as ROB was, there’s still a lot more characters left for me to play. If there’s someone you want to see me play as comment below and I’ll try to add them to the next poll. After weeks of asking, I am happy to announce that I will be maining Mii Brawler next! And maybe someone else alongside them. See you on Tuesday!

One thought on “ROB is Easy (For the Most Part) | Character Crisis

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.