Squad Strike (団体戦, Team Competition) is a multiplayer mode in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate that enables players to fight against each other with a squad of either 3 or 5 fighters. The mode can be played in three formats: Tag Team and Elimination, which both have the winner of each round stay in, ending when one squad eliminates all characters from the other, and Best Of, which has characters from both sides swap out each round, and ends after all 3 or 5 fixed matchups are played.
In all formats, after the characters are selected for each squad, each player selects the order of fighters within the squad via discrete button inputs. The order is not revealed until both players have confirmed their choices. From that point onward, the order of the characters is fixed.
Replays can only be saved in Elimination and Best Of formats.
In this format, the entire 3v3 or 5v5 match takes place in a single continuous battle, with each character loading seamlessly onto the field after the previous one is defeated. This concept was formerly utilized in the final battle of Smash Tour in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and as a single-player/co-op feature in Adventure Mode: The Subspace Emissary from Super Smash Bros. Brawl in stages with multiple characters or in all of the post-game. It is also used in the final stage of World of Light. Players do not change characters until they are defeated, creating a "winner stays" format within the single battle, and the ultimate winner of the match is the player who eliminates all fighters from their opponent's squad.
This format is similar to Tag Team, but each round is a separate battle, with a return to the menu screen each time a fighter is defeated. Otherwise, it has the same features, with the winner of each round proceeding to take on the next character from the enemy squad, and the ultimate winner is the one with the last fighter(s) standing. The winning character keeps their current stock count from round to round, but can optionally recover some damage between rounds.
This format features a fixed series of 3 or 5 rounds, with each round matching up a new character from each team. Players will return to the menu screen between each round. The winner is the player with the most rounds won after all matchups are played. The odd numbers available as squad sizes ensure this format cannot end in a tie.
Squad Strike is played in Stock or Stamina mode with 1 stock per character, with an optional time limit as well as all other standard Smash mode rules. Squad Strike's advanced rules allow choosing the number of stages to be played in Elimination and Best Of formats; up to 3 can be selected and will be played in order, cycling back to the first two if 4 or 5 matches are played. In Elimination format, the amount of damage the victor recovers after each round can also be adjusted (from 0 to 100 in increments of 10).
Players may not select the exact same character more than once in Squad Strike.
Number of players
Although Squad Strike has only two-player slots, an option for quick controller switching is available on the menu screen between rounds in the Elimination and Best Of formats, allowing teams of players to hand off control with one character per team member. If using the Elimination format, this creates a style of gameplay comparable to a crew battle.
Due to the "Last Man Standing" element of using multiple fighters in a single match, the order they are placed in is just as important as the fighters themselves. While any fighter can be placed in any order, strategies and terminology present in other team-based fighting games also apply here:
- Point: The fighter that starts the match. This fighter is most often used as a buffer to gauge the abilities and strategies of the opponent while saving the more powerful fighters for later. They are capable of quickly racking up damage and building resources, but often have little in the way of closing stocks. In essence, while they are not expected to win the battle, they greatly contribute to winning the war.
- Middle: The fighter(s) that are ordered in the middle. One to three middle fighters can be used in Ultimate. The more "gimmicky" fighters thrive in this position, as they often keep the opponent on their toes by drastically switching up the gameplan. And since the point fighter (hopefully) has already done some damage, these fighters have some room to set up their win conditions or close out a stock if the opponent is being aggressive.
- Anchor: The final fighter on the team. As the last line of defense, this fighter should be relatively straightforward to use with priority going to closing stocks. This fighter could also use any built up resources that carry between fighters, such as Final Smash Meter, to quickly kill the opponent. Alternatively, the anchor can simply be the player's main or a fighter they have ample experience with and knows how to use well.
With a total of 86 available slots for Squad Strike as of version 13.0.1 and a total 102,340 different team orders as a result, countless strategies can be made around each one. Common plans include the aforementioned method of a sacrificial point, gimmick middle, and powerful anchor (e.g. Pichu → Duck Hunt → Ganondorf), with variants including fighters that cover each others' bad matchups (e.g. Jigglypuff → Mega Man → Donkey Kong), filling the other slots with high-tiered fighters if the player's main happens to be low-tier (e.g. Dr. Mario → Wolf → Palutena), or simply using fighters that all play similarly and treating it like a normal game (e.g. Lucina → Marth → Roy).
In competitive play
Tag Team Squad Strike has been a popular side event at Ultimate tournaments, on a level nearly equal to that of doubles, as it allows players to better show off their proficiency with a variety of characters, and for spectators to see a greater variety of characters being played than they would see in the standard singles bracket. Events for Squad Strike follow the typical rules of a singles double elimination tournament, which with them running three stocks, leads to Squad Strike tourneys running three character teams. Additionally most Squad Strike events will have a rule in place that ban Echo Fighters from being used on the same team as their parent character, due to them being excessively similar to their parent character gameplay-wise, if not virtually identical, and so being seen as the equivalent of picking two of the same character, giving an unfair advantage to players who happen to main a character that is part of an Echo pair. However, Ken, Chrom, and/or Lucina may be exempted due to the TO(s) believing they're different enough from their parent character to not inherently advantage players who main them or their parent character, though where this line is drawn varies depending on the tournament.
The character selection screen for Squad Strike, with no DLC fighters included.
- If a 3v3 Squad Strike is started and any number of characters are selected, the selected characters will be preserved if the character select screen is left and a 5v5 Squad Strike is selected.
- Pokémon Trainer does not appear in the background of the stage. As a result, when using Pokémon Change, the Poké Ball animation is triggered from the foreground.
Names in other languages
|French||Smash en bande|
|Italian||Smash di gruppo|