This week I mained Mii Brawler, a seemingly simple character with infinite potential.
Preconceptions on Mii Brawler
Mii’s were first introduced on the Wii console, which was incredibly popular with many people who had never been exposed to gaming before. Grandma’s who couldn’t tell you what a Mario or Pikachu was could create a Mii of themselves and then go bowling. The popularity of Mii’s was an instant hit and with the next Smash installment we were introduced to Mii Brawler, Gunner, and Swordfighter. These characters were the gateway to including literally any character you wanted that didn’t make the final cut. Finally, Goku can settle it in Smash!
But the way Mii’s were implemented in Smash 4 was problematic for the competitive community. Mii’s could adjust both their moveset and size. Small Mii’s are incredibly fast and nearly impossible to hit. Combine this with custom moves that were controversial in Smash 4 and many tournaments just decided to ban Mii’s instead. In Ultimate Mii’s could no longer adjust their height and became the only characters to have a customizable moveset. With this standardization of Mii’s they were finally allowed back into tournaments.
But at the beginning of the game’s lifespan they were largely ignored. This tierlist created for patch 3.0 has Mii Brawler in E tier. However, as players began to explore the Mii Brawler meta they began to realize that this character was actually really good. His frame data is equivalent to many top tiers and his ability to change moves based on the matchup was novel. Thanks to the hard efforts of many Mii Brawler players, many would consider him to be a solid high tier with some even going so far as to say he’s a top tier. I have been asked to play Mii Brawler for the past 6 videos so it’s about time I learn how to play this character and eventually play them in a tournament myself.
Mii Brawler Training Mode
On the surface Mii Brawler is a relatively simple character. His moves are fast, deal good damage, and link together in ways that more or less makes sense. As his name would suggest he embodies the Brawler archetype and wants to get in close and beat his opponents to a pulp. But what makes Mii’s special is their customizability. For each special move you get to choose from one of three options. This means that even though there are only 12 moves to choose from there are 81 potential combinations for Mii Brawler. Let’s talk about each move individually and what it brings to the character.
Neutral Special 1: Shotput
Shotput is Mii Brawler’s only projectile and it can range from meh to great. It’s slow startup and endlag make it difficult to use in neutral but where it excels is ledge trapping. Shotput can condition your opponent to shield which is ideal because Brawler is dangerous whenever he lands a grab.
Neutral Special 2: Flashing Mach Punch
While Shotput is considered the “default” option by many Brawler players, after receiving many buffs a lot of Mii players are now trying out Flashing Mach Punch. This move has great kill power and stalls you for a bit which can be used while recovering or to punish someone jumping out of shield.
Neutral Special 3: Exploding Sidekick
I can describe this move in one sentence. What if Falcon Punch was actually really good? Exploding Sidekick takes what we love about Falcon Punch and makes it better in almost every way. While it takes an entire second to come out the move surprisingly has armor and almost no endlag. It deals great shield damage and can just explode opponents when it hits. While it may not be as consistent as Shotput or Flashing Mach Punch, this move is still incredible and should not be overlooked.
Side Special 1: Onslaught
This move has the most range and kill power out of all the side specials but it comes with some major downsides. It’s slow to come out and has a lot of endlag which opens you up to getting hard punished. But no other move can kill as early as Onslaught which can be very helpful against superheavies.
Side Special 2: Burning Drop Kick
Burning Drop Kick is one of Mii Brawlers best movement options. Unlike the other side specials Burning Drop Kick doesn’t put the user in free fall and can be used multiple times in the air. It’s a great burst option and with a technique known as slingshotting (no not that slingshot) you can greatly increase the distance it covers.
Side Special 3: Suplex
Command grabs are among the most powerful options you can give a character and Mii Brawler is no exception. This move deals 15% and can set your opponent up for a tech chase which can be followed up with another Suplex. Suplex is great for building up damage but will almost never kill the opponent.
Down Special 1: Head On Assault
There is one reason to pick this move above any other. It is a funny move. In all seriousness it’s not great, it has horrible endlag and while it can kill it’s nothing special compared to other moves in your kit. It did get buffed to break a full shield if you start it from the ground, but if your opponent is aware of that, they can just roll inbetween the hits and you just have to sit there helplessly as they charge up a smash attack.
Down Special 2: Feint Jump
It’s been said before and I’ll say it again. It’s Zero Suit Samus’ Flip Jump but worse which means it’s still very good. This move is great for recovering and the mixup of either kicking forward or drifting away keeps your opponent guessing. It can also kind of spike people and send them at a bad angle to recover from. Truthfully, very few serious Brawler movesets don’t run this move due to it being one of Brawler’s best recovery options.
Down Special 3: Counter Throw
At first glance this is your standard counter attack but a few things makes this move different from other counterattacks. Mii Brawler doesn’t just hit the opponent back, he’ll grab them and launch them behind him which is arguably the best direction for a counterhit. This move also sets itself apart by being ridiculously fast. Most counters last for a full second before you are actionable again, but Mii Brawler cuts a 1/3rd of a second off the standard recovery time which matters a lot in a game as fast as Smash.
Up Special 1: Soaring Axe Kick
Out of all the moves that define a Brawler moveset none matter more than the Up Special. Fortunately all 3 are pretty good! Soaring Axe Kick is the best option for recovering and gives you the most mixups from the ledge. If your opponent tries to challenge you off-stage they can sometimes just die even at 0 percent. It’s also really good out of shield but will take the longest to kill your opponent out of all the special moves if you aren’t cheesing them with it.
Up Special 2: Helicopter Kick
If you want to kill someone off the side few moves are as dangerous as Heli Kick. It’s his most dangerous out of shield option out and gives you a lot of control over your horizontal drift which lets you mixup how you land if you whiff. However, while finding early kills with Heli Kick is very fun I find this to be his most inconsistent Up-Special either with characters falling out of the move or the hitbox not being as big as I’d expect. Given the right circumstances it can be Mii Brawler’s most deadly Up-Special.
Up Special 3: Thrust Uppercut
At the start of Brawler’s meta this move was written off for having the worst vertical and horizontal range out of all the up specials. But after it got buffed in patch 4.0 this move went from worthless to character defining. If you ever get grabbed on a platform anywhere from 50-90% your stock is already gone. If you hold in after connecting the first hit you can gain some extra height that will kill opponents even earlier. However, because this move has such a poor recovery it often means you’ll need to spend other moveslots on recovering.
Mii Brawler Combo Video
When it comes to creating the “optimal” Mii Brawler moveset the truth is as long as it works for you it’s a good moveset. If I had to pick a standard Mii Brawler moveset I’d recommend 1232 which gives you a projectile, multiple recovery options, and Thrupper as a way to rob stocks. But there is far more creativity to this character beyond one moveset and I hope my combo video can showcase some things that are possible with this character.
Mii Brawler Tournament Report
This tournament marked the beginning of a brand new ranking season. Every three months the ranking is reset giving players a chance to climb without previous seasons affecting them as much. When I started Character Crisis I was ranked as 51st in the state with the goal of reaching top 50 while doing this series. I ended the season ranked 86th, and even though it’s not a bad ranking it’s pretty far from my goal of top 50. The start of the season is important and getting a good placement early on helps you maintain a good ranking moving forward.
However, I was feeling a little nervous about Brawler. The sheer quantity of potential movesets complicated the learning process with the character more than I expected. He was also a character I was struggling to click with which surprised me. Regardless, I had faith that my fundamentals were good enough to carry me through the bracket even though I didn’t have confidence in my character pick. Let’s see how I did!
Round 1 Winners Arktos
I started off the tournament by fighting Arktos, a Zelda main that I was projected to beat. I decided to opt for a standard Mii Brawler set featuring Flashing Mach Punch instead of Shotput because of Zelda’s reflector. I won game 1 pretty confidently but Arktos made some great adjustments and started catching me with a lot of Up-B’s out of shield in game 2. By game 3 I’m starting to get nervous and I misinput leading me to fumble several kill opportunities. Because of this Arktos is able to maintain the lead, capitalize off my mistakes, and eventually take the set.
Round 2 Losers VildeScarz
My next opponent is VildeScarz, a player who used to be on the same Smash team as me. I’ve played against him many different times and know that he is a formidable opponent. Fighting him to not go 0-2 was less than ideal. He pulls out the Piranha Plant and I opt for a Heli-Kick set. I start off really hot and get him to over 100% by the time he takes my first stock. That ended up not mattering as he held onto that stock until 190%.. It’s a close game but he steals it with a Back-Air that hit in front of him. (I’m still salty btw). I switch sets and go with the standard 1232 but before I know it I’m on my final stock. Despite this I still manage to bring it to last hit, but it’s not enough for me to take the game.
I was pretty disappointed with my results at this tournament. Going into it I knew that I didn’t know as much about Mii Brawler as I wanted to. There were a ton of different movesets to learn and I had handicapped myself unintentionally by releasing an extra video about stages we don’t even play on. Brawler is a character that is heavily influenced by stage choice which meant my practice with him wasn’t as focused as it could be. I was resigned with going 0-2 with the character until my computer got the blue screen of death and I couldn’t work on the video anymore. With nothing else to do on Tuesday night I decided to enter another bracket and see if I could do better on my second try.
Round 1 Winners Extremideez
My first opponent was Extremideez, a ROB main who I ended up fighting on stream. ROB was my most recent character for Character Crisis and as a result I now understood how to fight this menace of a top tier. Mii Brawler’s combo game is amazing against ROB and as long as I played around his Neutral-Air and projectiles I could bully him every time I landed a hit.
Round 2 Winners Mint
For my next round I was put back on stream to fight Mint, a Bowser/Game and Watch main who has a pocket Dr. Mario specifically for Mii Brawler. Right before the set started I decided to open up some soda I had left in my backpack all day which then exploded. Surely this isn’t some kind of cruel foreshadowing from the universe. Once the match started I quickly learned that Dr. Mario is a much scarier character in close quarters than Mii Brawler, something I was not used to dealing with. Mint is a great player and it didn’t take long for him to dispatch Mii.
Round 3 Losers Thermal
Back in the losers bracket I was up against Thermal who last fought my Olimar. It looks like I’m not the only one going through a Character Crisis as Thermal was playing ROB instead of Kirby and Pac-Man. I take game 1 only to lose game 2 because of some very stupid self destructs. In game 3 I play more patient waiting for ROB to throw out moves that I can parry. I then clean it up with a down-throw Thrupper at 50%. After the set Thermal told me that I was his new rival and that I’m the opponent he’s going to do everything he can to beat. Bring it on.
Round 4 Losers AJW
AJW was a face I had never seen at the local before and it turns out this was his second tournament that he had ever gone to. His Diddy Kong was incredibly patient and each stock averaged two minutes. While both of our games went to last stock last hit he ended up clutching it out before I could. If you’re seeing this AJW you should go to more tournaments you’re pretty good at this children’s party game.
I initially underestimated Brawler. On the surface he seemed like a very simple character who just wanted to get up close and beat the shit out of the opponent. And while that is definitely a major part of Mii Brawler’s gameplan something I didn’t realize at first was that this gameplan is heavily informed by the moves at your disposal.
I hit a wall with Brawler because I was approaching every moveset with the same attitude of charging in at my opponent with no thoughts in my head. This actually caused me to drop out of Elite Smash after a really bad losing streak. I realized that I needed to approach each moveset as if it were its own character. One moveset I liked had Suplex on it, which made me ask myself what would happen if I kept grabbing my opponents with it. Typically the next thing they’d try to do is jump which then made me think about how I could counter that option. Flashing Mach Punch is great at catching jumps out of shield and will kill them after Suplex has built up percent. Thinking about the moves in this way allowed me to create synergy that wasn’t there before and get more out of the moveset than if I were thinking about each move in a vacuum.
Mii Brawler is a character that is only gaining more meta relevance as time goes on. His ability to take stocks extremely early combined with a very adabtable moveset makes for a character who will be a threat regardless of how the metagame develops. If you’re looking for a character to play who you can sink dozens of hours into and still feel like there is more to learn I’d happily recommend Mii Brawler. But I’m still having a Character Crisis. Comment below what character you want to see next and I’ll be sure to add them to a future poll. The results of the latest poll are in and it looks like my villain arc has just begun. See you on Tuesday!