It is not news anymore that Injustice: Gods Among Us is a popular game. The DLC characters have been adopted far more quickly than they are in most fighting games as a side effect. Lobo and Batgirl were accepted in tournaments immediately on release. Scorpion, the third DLC character, is causing an uproar, however. The discussion is not revolving around how strong he is, but about how he plays.
How Scorpion plays might actually cause serious damage to the game’s competitive scene.
So what is so broken about him?
Scorpion is the cameo character for Injustice. Obviously, if you care enough to still be reading this, you know he’s originally from Mortal Kombat. One of the major differences between Mortal Kombat and Injustice is how they handle blocking. In the former a block button is used, while in the more recent game players move away from their opponent to block. From a community standpoint, shifting to back-to-block was a tremendous boon for Injustice. Dozens of high-profile players moved to play Injustice as a direct result of that simple change in basic mechanics.
Scorpion, however, was not a character originally designed with back-to-block in mind. He was designed with a block button, and one of his signature moves changes what side of his target he is on very suddenly. Even worse than the speed is the realization that as long as he burns meter to enhance the teleport punch, it is safe. This makes it possible for Scorpion to play his own guessing game based entirely on abusing the blocking system of Injustice, a guessing game no other player can play.
Why is this a big deal?
Many of the professional players agree Scorpion is not actually necessarily an overpowered character. What they generally agree upon, with the notable exception of Perfect Legend, is that he changes the way the game plays in a negative way. He makes it random. In Mortal Kombat, Scorpion is famous for his vortex combo, a series of moves that when performed correctly is sustainable literally as long as necessary. At one point in the combo, players are able to block, and there are two ways Scorpion can attack, giving the players a 50/50 chance of guessing correctly to stop the combo and retaliate.
In Injustice, Scorpion can control the battle with extreme ease. His ability to hit an opponent from behind their block from any range combined with his ability to apply pressure requiring that block makes him a character able to defeat any opponent in the game. The real problem comes with the realization that using these tactics is not even remotely dependent on actually being good at the mechanics of the game.
The professional players in the chat heading the article point out seeing competitors in tournaments who, frankly, are not very good at the game who are still eliminating opponents simply because Scorpion introduces a constant guessing game no player can be right on every time.
The fun ends here.
How likely is this?
The professional discussion on this is not something to be taken lightly in the competitive scene. It is actually seriously threatening Injustice’s long-term viability as a competitive game. No one wants to play a game where every other tournament match they play is a constant non-stop guessing game where they are literally just waiting for their opponent to make a mistake. Even if they win it every time, it’s boring as hell to play and to watch.
The issue is already causing players to seriously discuss leaving the game, competitively. EVO itself has even noticed. A poll was started on TestYourMight, asking players if they think Scorpion should be banned. This poll is important, not just because of how one-sided it is in favor of banning, but because of who started it. MrWizard is the head tournament organizer for EVO.
I am hoping NetherRealm winds up patching these issues, mostly the teleport, but until then I can only hope players do not lose their enthusiasm for the game. Competitive fighters can lose their hype very suddenly, and the hype for Injustice has been a lot of fun.