Ladders or ladder tournaments are matchmaking system that allows players to play sets between each other in a point system. They are usually held online on websites such as Anther's Ladder, Smashmate, and start.gg.
Similar to a Swiss bracket system, players are assigned to match against others of similar level. However, players can choose how many matches they play instead of playing the same number of rounds. When a player win a set against the opponent, they earn points and get higher ranks. Oppositely, players drop in ranks when they lose points after losing a set. Player with the higest point is at the top of the leaderboard.
Ladders may or may not have cash prizes, with some of the ladder tournaments in Anther's Ladder having $200 for the winner, which is a large amount of payout during Brawl's time. With Smashmate however, players don't get any prizes, instead they usually celebrate or get a shout out on Twitter when they reach a certain goal or end up being top 50 for the ladder season.
Ladders started as a popular format back in Brawl, where All is Brawl had its prime. Players would do matchmaking on the site and participate in ladder tournaments that carried prize pool. Later, Anther's Ladder was created in 2014 as a replacement for Project M IRC channels and DaBessDI Wi-Fi Chat. However, as time goes on, these websites became less popular and players would instead participate in online tournaments held on start.gg.
In Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, a matchmaking website called Smashmate started making its appearance. It has a seasonal ranking system that allows players to reach the top of the leaderboard by achieving the highest rating. The largest Japanese online tournament series Tamisuma also started making an appearance on the website. Over the years, many Japanese Wi-Fi Warriors has succeeded on the website. With acola as the prime example, who has achieved ratings of over 2,400 and won multiple Tamisuma and Maesuma tournaments, he is considered the best online player in Japan overall. Due to how popular matchmaking is in general, Anther's Ladder is making a return in 2022, with top players such as Riddles having success on the site.
- Anther's Ladder - A ladder that is available for every Smash game. Some of the ladder tournaments consist of prize pools.
- StormFreaks - A series of offline Japanese ladders that has notable players.
- Smashmate - The largest online matchmaking system in Japan. 50 players with the highest points are ranked on the Smashmate Rankings for each season.
- Panda Global Online Leaderboard - A ladder with point system based on online tournament results.
- Start.gg Ladder - A ladder with prizing and final bracket.