It was announced via the Smash Boards forum that, starting on January 9th, 2012, Meta Knight will be banned from tournaments utilizing the Unity Ruleset. For those unfamiliar, the Unity Ruleset was created by a collaboration of prominent and respected tournament organizers throughout the U.S. and Canada, called the Unity Ruleset Committee. It is widely used, and although a few other standardized rulesets exist in the U.S. and Canada, it is the Unity Ruleset that is most popular.
This ban comes after a very long-running debate on whether or not Meta Knight should be allowed in tournaments based on his exceptional recovery skills in conjunction with his high damage output. The most problematic are his recovery skills; The Unity Ruleset actually implemented a Ledge Grab Limit (LGL) specifically because of Meta Knight. Unfortunately, this didn’t prove very effective in evening the playing field and actually hurt the play of other characters.
Ultimately, the ban was voted on 14-0 (1 abstaining). One of the main reasons cited was the high usage of Meta Knight, but overall there were a large variety of reasons, and the committee collaborated with some of the top players in the tournament scene before making a decision. Community polls across the fandom were also taken into account.
Analysis: While I only slightly pay attention to the Brawl metagame, the most glaring issue I see with this is the stage list. Looking at various regions, it appears that the more liberal the stage list, the more likely the region is to have problems with Meta Knight. This is further supported by the fact the Japanese Brawl community hasn’t even considered banning the character and thinks the North American ban laughable.
Japan usually utilizes just the Final Destination, Battlefield, and Smashville stages for tournaments. It is apparent from their tier lists that this changes the metagame by quite a bit. For instance, in the U.S. tier lists Zelda, my favorite, is considered essentially shit-tier. On Japanese tier lists, she ranks mid-tier. Flat stages also pose less of a problem to everyone as a whole, so Meta Knight’s exceptional recovery would only give him a moderate advantage as a result.
Overall, I expect this to be reconsidered. Whether or not the ban will stay remains to be seen, but given the number of stages available under the Unity Ruleset, I’m willing to bet it will come down to a decision between stage variety or Meta Knight. Stage variety will likely win.