While an ordinary game of Mario Tennis Aces is a fun, light, casual affair, the Mario Tennis Aces matches at CEO 2018 were as intense as a high-level fighting game.
A Mario Tennis Aces tournament was held at CEO Daytona over the weekend, helping illuminate more about how Mario Tennis functions in a proper competitive setting. Some fun lessons: local play between multiple Switches can add a bit of input lag, and players resorted to the splitscreen method on a single screen instead.
And while some of the winner bracket games were a little sloppy, the finals were a great spectacle of what happens when two players who can consistently return the ball square off. At some points it's a constant rally of trick shots back and forth. Some rallies went for more than 60 shots.
Special shots are used rarely, only when one player is definitely out of metre, while zone shots are more sparingly used depending on whether a mixup is required. Swterra's Yoshi eventually began to assume control of the grand finals, with Swterra abusing Sembal's penchant for backward trick shots. Swterra would hit a shot towards the back of the court, encouraging Sembal to trick shot backwards for metre gain, but that would be followed up with a charged drop shot, causing Sembal to burn more metre to keep the point going.
Since the most recent patch, Yoshi has emerged as a solid counter to the Waluigi/Bowser Jr. play. Their smaller frame is less of a problem when being knocked back, and the speed helps minimise the amount of zone speed needed to catch up to particularly tricky shots.
It's a fascinating series to watch, and a good indication of how intense Mario Tennis can be just to watch. Whether it picks up amongst the local fighting game scene is another matter. Yoshi emerging as a solid Bowser Jr. counter, though, helps plenty.